RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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TFD: NFL's Broncos are watching videos of animals attacking animals to prep for next game

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 20th at 4:31pm 283404931

matthewsIs the NFL violent? The NFL is violent.

Per USA Today, in their defensive meetings the Broncos often watch nature videos. But not so much the ones that depict natural wonders or beautiful lands. They’re more focused on the primal stuff, like watching videos of sharks coming out of the ocean to attack seals.

The shark video was just the latest installment of violent nature videos the Broncos defense has watched this season.

“It’s all aggressive animals going after animals that are not so happy about being pursued,” defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “It’s good stuff.”

So yes, never forget that professional football is a brutally violent sport for which watching animals killing animals is good preparation.

Former Shattuck hockey star and current NHL player Jack Johnson says he's bankrupt, blames parents

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 20th at 12:41pm 283374401

jackjohnsonHere’s a bizarre and interesting story from the Columbus Dispatch about Jack Johnson, who played prep hockey for the elite Shattuck-St. Mary’s program in Faribault:

On the morning of Oct. 7, two days before the Blue Jackets opened the 2014-15 season, Jack Johnson left his Ferrari parked in the garage of his Dublin apartment and drove his BMW to a federal courthouse Downtown to file for bankruptcy. Johnson has earned more than $18 million during his nine-year NHL career, not including the $5 million he will be paid this season by the Blue Jackets.

Almost all of the money is gone, and some of his future earnings have already been promised — which is why Johnson, surrounded by a new team of financial advisers and an attorney, signed his financial surrender. The scene was nearly four years in the making, after a string of risky loans at high interest rates; defaults on those loans, resulting in huge fees and even higher interest rates; and three lawsuits against Johnson, two of which have been settled and one that’s pending.

“I’d say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path,” Johnson, a 27-year-old defenseman, told The Dispatch last week. “I’ve got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It’s something I should have done a long time ago.” He has declined to comment further. But sources close to Johnson have told The Dispatch that his own parents — Jack Sr. and Tina Johnson — are among the “wrong people” who led him astray financially.

The story notes that Johnson’s bankruptcy filing lists assets of less than $50K and debts that are in excess of $10 million.

Crazy, sad story of what — according to the reporting in the story — is a case a pro athlete having no idea what to do with all his money and of his parents taking complete advantage of him.

Here’s the link to read the entire piece.

Thursday (Adrian Peterson and Ben Tate) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 20th at 10:38am 283354051

bentateFrom early on in 2007 through Week 1 of 2014, with the exception of a handful of games missed because of injury, you never had to ask what the Vikings’ plan was at running back. It started with Adrian Peterson, and that was as close to 100 percent of the answer as any team could hope. Sure, he had backups and the Vikings employed third down/blocking backs, but Peterson was the man. There was no running back by committee, unless one man can be a committee.

The Cleveland Browns have had no such luxury since 2007. Since that season and including this one, six different players have lead the team in rushing: Jamal Lewis, Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis, Trent Richardson, Willis McGahee and Terrance West.

West is the last name on the list and is fewer than 100 yards ahead of Ben Tate, who was signed to perhaps be the team’s feature back this season. Tate, of course, was released this week and picked up by the Vikings, who are almost certainly now going to be without Peterson for the rest of 2014.

Beyond that, the Vikings might be moving into a new era where they treat running backs like the Browns, Patriots, Broncos and so many other teams do these days: cycling through a bunch of them in the course of seasons and employing a committee approach during games. Peterson will be 30 before his NFL-imposed suspension is lifted, and as freakish an athlete as he is, NFL running backs have expiration dates and Peterson’s contract makes it very convenient (and prudent) to cut him or trade him before the 2015 season. Peterson’s off-field problems, in fact, could strangely make it easier in a way for the Vikings to sever ties without having it be purely a football or business decision.

But as encouraging as Jerick McKinnon’s rookie season has been at times, he is not Peterson. No one person is going to replace Peterson, and perhaps no one person should. Because as nice as it was for the Vikings to pencil him in for 20-25 carries a game for as long as they did, and for Peterson to deliver in the way that he did, today’s NFL does not demand a dominant running back. It demands an effective running game and an efficient, playmaking passing game.

There was only one Peterson, a gifted athlete who willed the Vikings to the playoffs in 2012 with a breathtaking season. There will always be a guy like Tate — with six career 100-yard games and two seasons over 750 yards to his credit — to grab in free agency or off the waiver wire to bolster a committee.

One is a convenient luxury (Peterson alone rushed for 4.5 yards per carry last season). One is an effective reality (the Vikings, primarily without Peterson this year, have averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt this year).

Now the Vikings are on the other side and might stay there for a long time.

TFD: Here's a web site that will replace "Redskins" in your browser

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 19th at 4:46pm 283259581

redskinsA site calling itself Indigenous Peoples Web Skin offers a simple tool if you find yourself at odds with the Washington Team Nickname:

The word “Indigenous Peoples” is racist. Yet our nation’s capital plays host to an NFL organization that uses the term as its team name, the Washington Indigenous Peoples. It’s offensive. It’s unnecessary. And it needs to be replaced.

That’s where the Indigenous Peoples Web Skin comes in. Simply install the extension into your Safari, Chrome, or Firefox browser to replace the term “Indigenous Peoples” with a more dignified term on the web. And then sign the petition to make Dan Snyder replace the term with something more noble on the field.

It looks as though only the Chrome extension is up and running, with Safari and Firefox to follow. (No word on Netscape, but whatever).

If this tickles your fancy, here’s the link.

We installed it and used it on ESPN.com … it changed “Washington Redskins” to “Washington Indigenous Peoples.”

Report that Vikings won't trade or release Peterson during suspension doesn't mean a whole lot

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated November 19th at 2:21pm 283239561

petersonBart Hubbuch of the NY Post tweeted on Tuesday that according to a source the Vikings have no plans to release or trade Adrian Peterson during his suspension.

That’s a fine piece of information to get and dispense, but it doesn’t really amount to much when considering where Peterson and the Vikings stand long-term.

They couldn’t trade him this season even if they wanted to because the NFL trade deadline has passed. Next year? Peterson’s suspension is until April 15. There’s no reason or incentive for any team to try to trade for Peterson before then, nor is there any reason for the Vikings to trade him while he’s still suspended.

Release him? Again, there’s really no need to do that now. He’s being paid what he’s being paid this year (and not being paid for any games for which he is officially suspended and not just on the exempt list).

They can wait until after April 15 to cut them if they want to and still save big on the salary cap. Peterson is set to make eight figures again next season and technically has three years left on his contract, but that money isn’t guaranteed. The Vikings can cut him and have it count just $2.4 million against the cap.

Really the only reason to cut him now would be as a PR move. But even that would generate its share of backlash from fans who are in Peterson’s corner. While it would surprise us, the Vikings could end up keeping Peterson, we suppose.

And, as always, there is this: the Vikings could change their mind, or the source from the report could be wrong.

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Kansas City 7:25 PM
Oakland
NY Jets 11/23/14 12:00 PM
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(21) Nebraska
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Purdue
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UAB
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(23) Oklahoma
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Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
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Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
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Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
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(3) Oregon
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