One of the most popular phrases used in the NFL is the importance of creating separation.
If only we could.
Think about it. The NFL is the most dependable boomerang ever constructed.
Toss and it still comes back. No matter the month. No matter the year. No need to get a microchip implant for this animal because it never leaves home.
January’s playoffs set the table for February’s one-two punch (Super Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine). Then in May it’s the NFL Draft, a televised spectacle that for years made its home in April.
July means players reporting to training camp. August inducts a new Hall of Fame class and bores us to tears with a flurry of hard-to-witness exhibition games.
Finally, on Sept. 4, we begin anew with the traditional Thursday night regular-season opener.
Toss in the usual offseason free-agent signings, brushes with the law, etc., and the NFL more than any other professional sports entity hogs as many of the 365 calendar squares as it can.
And you thought NASCAR seasons dragged on.
It’s an imperfect formula in this sense: No one wants to see Colts owner Jim Irsay go through what he’s going through or unfortunate soap operas like the one involving Richie Incognito drag on.
Conversely, it’s perfect because professional football is always in the news. On people’s minds. Part of our sports discussions.
There’s a reason why the NFL trumps the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball in popularity in this country. Don’t underestimate its ability to blanket cover as one of the reasons why.
Auburn finds a Pearl
Bruce Pearl is beginning to rival Isaiah Thomas in one sense.
No matter how many jobs Pearl leaves or just flat out gets fired from, he always seems to land an even better gig.
That’s because, unlike Thomas, Pearl, who I swear could have convinced Ghandi to play lockdown defense, is one heck of a basketball coach.
Hired six days ago by Auburn University, Pearl and his .761 career winning percentage (462-145) made the Tigers relevant the instant his pen touched paper.
Controversial and at times overbearing, Pearl often finds himself a hated man to fans of college basketball programs he’s not coaching at the time.
He’ll get an earful when Auburn is at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena. The same goes for the Tigers visiting Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, etc.
Great theater will be Pearl’s return to Tennessee, a program he led for six seasons (2005-11) before recruiting violations got him fired and his reputation badly bruised.
Pearl did great things in Knoxville. And one really bad thing.
Hopefully, he learned from it and brings Auburn, a program that hasn’t received an NCAA Tournament invite since 2003, back to the big time.
People forget the 1999-2000 Tigers, led by high-flying 6-foot-7 senior forward Chris Porter, were considered a Final Four possibility. And, yes, the program produced Auburn legends Charles Barkley and Chuck Person.
This can be done. With Pearl in town, it likely will be done.
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.