Well, that’s it. The preseason is finally over, and the real game is about to begin. Pretty soon, we’ll get to find out if all the expense of spirit was worth it or not.
Oh, and the Saints lost their last exhibition game to the Titans. Big deal.
Did you think I was talking about what happened on the field? No, I was referring to Jonathan Vilma’s appeal in New York yesterday. Everything may hinge on the decision of a couple of superannuated judges and a law professor. That’s kinda like sending Neal Olkewicz, Benny Blades, and Bill Belichick onto the field to get you a critical stop. On the other hand, the other team has Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, so there’s hope.
What went on at the hearing? No one knows except those in the room, and they’re not saying anything. “Panel members say they’ll try to issue an opinion next week,” according to the Associated Press. I’ve always wondered about this. Does it take me a week to form an opinion about anything? Ever? Not to the best of my recollection. If it were a jury taking its own sweet time like this, the judge would send in the bailiffs with a Diehard and a couple of wet sponges. But judges get to spend time like it’s tax revenue. They must be on expense accounts.
What the NFLPA was arguing, on behalf of all the suspended players, was essentially that arbitrator Stephen Burbank choked when he ruled that Roger Goodell was the proper person to impose discipline on the players implicated in the Bounty scandal, because their behavior represented “conduct detrimental to the league.” The union is arguing that what they’re accused of doing took place on the field, and that according to the CBA such conduct must be reviewed by an impartial arbitrator, not Goodell.
Well…I dunno. Apparently a lot of it took place in the locker room, too. And at the bank. Maybe the NFL actually has a case. I know, I feel so dirty saying that…but it’s all determined by the actual wording in the CBA, which I haven’t seen, and which might as well be in medieval Lithuanian for all I understand of legal matters. Nor do I even understand why the NFLPA thought in the first place that this was something they could agree to: commissioner of the league can issue punishment if you screw up in your private life, but not if you do something heinous during a game? What?
At any rate, Mike Florio has already weighed in on the strong possibility that the suspensions will be overturned…apparently, no matter what the appeal panel’s ruling is, or even if the ruling isn’t delivered before the season starts. And that will have some impact on the Saints’ final roster—but unfortunately, they’ll have to make their final cuts before knowing how any of this will play out. Everyone is assuming that if Vilma is freed, he’ll simply be put on the PUP list to begin the season…but I’m not certain you can do that. Wouldn’t he have to be activated first? In other words, put on the active, 53-man roster, and then moved to the PUP list? And to do that, you have to waive one of your players. And what if that player gets claimed? Friar Bob, help me out here.
And, of course, we have a late spate of injuries to deal with. That meaningless loss in a meaningless game gave us injuries to both Joe Morgan and Travaris Cadet. Maybe that will make the decisions easier, actually. Will it make things easier knowing that “splendid” rookie Nick Toon caught two passes for six yards?
Well…final cut-downs are today, so we’ll know soon. And then it’s time for Joe Vitt and Mickey Loomis to begin their vacations. We enter the Aaron Kromer Era. This offseason has been crazy. The beginning of the season is like giving acid to a crazy person. Will it make things worse, better? Could you tell? We’re about to find out.
On the Jukebox
Ah, acid. I would hate to try to determine a final roster while the room was expanding, but it sure would make whatever was on the jukebox sound outstanding. Hey, wow man, that rhymes! Faaaarrr out.