Sports Outside the Beltway

Update: Tuberville Resigned


WSFA 12 News has confirmed through a person close to Tuberville that the coach resigned and was not fired.

The University will still honor Tuberville’s buyout clause and he will receive his $6 million severance package.

Of course, if they are honoring the buyout, one has to wonder if the resignation wasn’t a negotiated one…


Auburn Fires Tuberville

I just received a news alert from WSFA in Montgomery, AL stating that Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville has been fired.

I am not an Auburn fan, but rather just an observers of the world of Alabama college sports. This strikes me as a horrible move, given that he has really only had one bad season (i.e., this one).

Here are the basics: Report: Auburn Fires Tuberville

Tubberville was 85-40 in his decade with Auburn, including a 13-0 season in 2004 when the Tigers finished No. 2 in the nation.

But Auburn went 5-7 this year and was routed 36-0 by rival Alabama, currently ranked No. 1.

Apparently no official word from Auburn as yet, just a report out of the Birmingham News


NFL Rules Named After Players

A discussion with Steven Taylor about the new “Marion Barber Rule,” a new point of emphasis against offensive players stiff-arming to the head, prompted me to note how many rules are (informally) named after Dallas Cowboys.

A quick Web search found the following (Cowboys in bold):

    * Bert Emanuel rule — the ball can touch the ground during a completed pass as long as the receiver maintains control of the ball. Enacted due to a play in the 1999 NFC championship game, where Emanuel, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had a catch ruled incomplete since the ball touched the ground.

    * Bill Belichick rule — two defensive players, one primary and one backup, will have a radio device in their helmets allowing the head coach to communicate with them through the radio headset, identical to the radio device inside the helmet of the quarterback. This proposal was defeated in previous years, but was finally enacted in 2008 as a result of Spygate. This rule is the first, and thus far only rule named after a head coach.

    * Bronko Nagurski rule — forward passing made legal from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. Enacted in 1933. Prior to this rule, a player had to be five yards behind the line of scrimmage to throw a forward pass.

    * Chad Johnson rule — players may no longer use a prop or do any act while on the ground during a touchdown celebration. Enacted in 2006. (While Johnson was the foremost offender, the rule also might be considered the Joe Horn rule, after an infamous post-touchdown incident involving Horn and a cellular phone after he scored for the Saints against the New York Giants. [13]

    * Deacon Jones rule — no head-slapping. Enacted in 1977.

    * Deion Sanders rule– Player salary rule which correlates a contract’s signing bonus with its yearly salary. Enacted after Deion Sanders signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 for a minimum salary and a $13 million signing bonus. (There is also a college football rule with this nickname.)

    * Deion Sanders rule II — Player salary rule which correlates a contract’s signing bonus with its yearly salary. Enacted after Deion Sanders signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 for a minimum salary and a $13 million signing bonus. (There is also a college football rule with this nickname.)

    * Emmitt Smith rule — A player cannot remove his helmet while on the field of play, except in the case of obvious medical difficulty. A violation is treated as unsportsmanlike conduct. Enacted in 1997.

    * Erik Williams rule — no hands to the facemask by offensive linemen.

    * Fran Tarkenton rule — a line judge was added as the sixth official to ensure that a back was indeed behind the line of scrimmage before throwing a forward pass. Enacted in 1965.

    * Greg Pruitt rule — tear-away jerseys are now illegal. Pruitt purposely wore flimsy jerseys that ripped apart in the hands of would-be tacklers. Such a jersey was most infamously seen in a game between the Rams and Oilers where Earl Campbell’s jersey ripped apart after several missed tackles.

    * Ken Stabler rule — on fourth down at any time in the game, or any down in the final two minutes of play, if a player fumbles, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball. If that player’s teammate recovers the ball, it is placed back at the spot of the fumble. A defensive player can recover and advance at any time of play. Enacted in 1979 in response to the 1978 “Holy Roller” play.

    * Lester Hayes rule– no Stickum allowed. Enacted in 1981.

    * Lou Groza rule — no artificial medium to assist in the execution of a kick. Enacted in 1956.

    * Mel Blount rule — Officially known as illegal use of hands, defensive backs can only make contact with receivers within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Enacted in current form in 1978.

    * Mel Renfro rule — allows a second player on the offense to catch a tipped ball, without a defender subsequently touching it. Enacted in 1978.

    * Michael Irvin rule — no taunting. Another rule, resulting in offensive pass interference, prohibiting WRs to push off CBs, is also often called “the Michael Irvin rule.”

    * Neil Smith rule — prevents a defensive lineman from flinching to induce a false start penalty on the offense. Enacted in 1998.

    * Phil Dawson rule — certain field goals can be reviewed by instant replay, including kicks that bounce off the uprights. Under the previous system, no field goals could be replayed. Enacted in 2008 as a result of an unusual field goal that was initially ruled “no good” but was reversed upon discussion.

    * Ricky (Williams) rule — rule declared that hair could not be used to block part of the uniform from a tackler and, therefore, an opposing player could be tackled by his hair (aka “The Ricky Rule” due to Williams’ long dread-locks). Enacted in 2003.

    * Roy Williams rule — no horse-collar tackles. Enacted in 2005 when Williams broke Terrell Owens’s ankle and Musa Smith’s leg on horse-collar tackles during the previous season.

    * Shawne Merriman rule — Bans any player from playing in the Pro Bowl if they test positive for using a performance-enhancing drug during that season. Enacted in 2007 after Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman played at the 2007 Pro Bowl after testing positive and serving a four-game suspension during the preceding season.

    * Terrell Owens rule — no “foreign objects” on a player’s uniform (enacted in response to the 2002 “Sharpie incident”), though existing rules already forbade this.

    * Tom Dempsey rule — any shoe that is worn by a player with an artificial limb on his kicking leg must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.

    * Tony Romo rule — teams will now be given 45 minutes – 25 extra minutes than in years past – to prepare the balls for the game; and 12 sequentially numbered “K” balls will be used in the game, monitored by an official, instead of the ball boys. Enacted in 2007.

    * Ty Law rule (also known as the Rodney Harrison rule — placed more emphasis on the Mel Blount rule after the New England Patriots utilized an aggressive coverage scheme, involving excessive jamming of wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, in the 2003 AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Sources: “National Football League lore – Rules named after players,” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “National Football League – Rules named after players,” Spiritus-Temporis, “Penalties Named after NFL Players,” The Football Palace Forums


Golf Declining as American Pastime

Americans Giving Up Golf America’s love affair with golf has been fading with fewer men willing to devote a huge slice of their free time to the sport, forcing club owners to scramble for new ways to hook customers.

“We have to change our mentality,” said Richard Rocchio, a public relations consultant. “The problem is time,” offered Walter Hurney, a real estate developer. “There just isn’t enough time. Men won’t spend a whole day away from their family anymore.”

William A. Gatz, owner of the Long Island National Golf Club in Riverhead, said the problem was fundamental economics: too much supply, not enough demand.

The problem was not a game of golf. It was the game of golf itself.

Over the past decade, the leisure activity most closely associated with corporate success in America has been in a kind of recession. The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. More troubling to golf boosters, the number of people who play 25 times a year or more fell to 4.6 million in 2005 from 6.9 million in 2000, a loss of about a third. The industry now counts its core players as those who golf eight or more times a year. That number, too, has fallen, but more slowly: to 15 million in 2006 from 17.7 million in 2000, according to the National Golf Foundation.

The five men who met here at the Wind Watch Golf Club a couple of weeks ago, golf aficionados all, wondered out loud about the reasons. Was it the economy? Changing family dynamics? A glut of golf courses? A surfeit of etiquette rules — like not letting people use their cellphones for the four hours it typically takes to play a round of 18 holes?

Or was it just the four hours?


The disappearance of golfers over the past several years is part of a broader decline in outdoor activities — including tennis, swimming, hiking, biking and downhill skiing — according to a number of academic and recreation industry studies.


But golf, a sport of long-term investors — both those who buy the expensive equipment and those who build the princely estates on which it is played — has always seemed to exist in a world above the fray of shifting demographics. Not anymore.

Jim Kass, the research director of the National Golf Foundation, an industry group, said the gradual but prolonged slump in golf has defied the adage, “Once a golfer, always a golfer.” About three million golfers quit playing each year, and slightly fewer than that have been picking it up. A two-year campaign by the foundation to bring new players into the game, he said, “hasn’t shown much in the way of results.”


Surveys sponsored by the foundation have asked players what keeps them away. “The answer is usually economic,” Mr. Kass said. “No time. Two jobs. Real wages not going up. Pensions going away. Corporate cutbacks in country club memberships — all that doom and gloom stuff.”


At the meeting here, there was a consensus that changing family dynamics have had a profound effect on the sport. “Years ago, men thought nothing of spending the whole day playing golf — maybe Saturday and Sunday both,” said Mr. Rocchio, the public relations consultant, who is also the New York regional director of the National Golf Course Owners Association. “Today, he is driving his kids to their soccer games. Maybe he’s playing a round early in the morning. But he has to get back home in time for lunch.”

Steven Taylor and I managed to play nine holes just about every week when we were teaching together and had the luxury of a cheap university course within half a mile of our offices. But I’ve hardly played since leaving academia. Finding the time is difficult.

While our lifestyles are almost immeasurably more comfortable than most experienced generations ago, they’re different. We’re seldom truly off work, even on weekends or vacations; that’s the nature of the information age. We’re simply expected to be within Blackberry reach during waking hours.

It may be that the pastimes of yesteryear will simply fade away as a result of this changed consciousness.

We can find a few minutes to play video games, taking a quick mental break. But to change into golf gear, drive out to the course, hit a bucket off the practice range, and spend four hours playing 18 holes? Let alone coordinating to find a partner or three, all of whom have to be able to do these things at the same time?

While I still follow baseball, for example, I don’t have time to watch 162 two-and-a-half hour games and the passion’s not the same if you just catch a game now and again. Its appeal is the slow evolution of a long season. Even great teams will lose fifty or sixty games a year, so none of them matter all that much, but the drama is the off chance that you might see something truly special.

Football, by contrast, is an event rather than a pastime, with a relative handful of games that are action packed and crucial to the success of a season. It has long since become our most popular spectator sport.

Photo via


CB Glenn Cut

Via the FST: Cornerback Glenn doesn’t make cut

Cornerback Aaron Glenn, 35, was among 22 players released as the team trimmed its roster to the mandatory 53-player limit.

A mild surprise. Given his age and the fact that reports from camp were that he had lost a step or two, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise at all. Still, the assumption was that he could play nickel, and given the questions about Newman’s foot, one would have thought the Boys would need all the help at DB it could get.


Appalachian State Upsets Michican!

The Mountaineers bested the Wolverines 34 to 32, which means that Michigan’s season is largely over before it started.



HGH and the NFL

Are we on the cusp of a big story about HGH and the NFL? First Tim Couch admitted to using the substance in the past and now these two stories today:

It makes one wonder what is coming next.


Cowboys Draft Washington QB Isaiah Stanback (as WR?)

Isaiah Stanback Photo Washington Huskies Dallas Cowboys .ocm NFL Draft Logo 2007 The Dallas Cowboys selected Isaiah Stanback, a 6’2-3/8″, 216 pound quarterback out of the University of Washington with their pick from Cleveland in the 4th round (#103 overall).


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