Lewis: Proposed changes to NFL out of touch with sport


Lewis: Proposed changes to NFL out of touch with sport

So NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is looking at expanding the playoffs, which comes on the heels of him saying he would consider removing kickoffs from the game. Those are two drastic moves that would have big impacts on the game and its players.

Let's start with the kickoffs. I'm not sure why the commissioner feels he can just change a game that was around long before he ever got his powerful position. Kickoffs are an integral part of the game and it makes no sense -- including injuries -- to simply remove it.

Several players enter the league and later thrive in other positions becuase of playing on special teams. The play itself can be one of the most exciting aspects of the game. Think of Devin Hester returning kicks for touchdowns.

You can't just decide to change the game. Imagine the NBA taking free throws out of the game because they thought it slowed the game down. Ridiculous, right? It's just amazing that this is even being considered.

If that's not bad enough, Goodell wants to expand the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 or 16. C'mon man. Stop the madness now.

We already have seasons when 8-8 teams make the post season. Now he thinks that adding teams will somehow benefit the game, the shield the league talks about? He should say it's about money, which it is and it still makes it wrong.

Making the playoffs is and should only be a reward for the very best teams in the NFL. The battle of the NFL season is special for that very reason. Why dilute it with teams that didn't earn the right to play in the playoffs? This isn't pee-wee football, where everybody gets a trophy. The is big boy, grown man football. Some teams just are not good enough to be included. Period.

If the league office talks about the integrity of the game and the shield, well part of that should be making the value of the product mean something, not selling out for money. It certainly can't be sold to real football fans.

Look at the college game. Everybody plays in a bowl game that nobody watches or cares about and most schools actually lose money by going to bowl games when travel costs are finally tallied. Six-win teams are now rewarded, why? Because they reached mediocrity, it's a shame.

When I played in college at Arizona there were only a handful of bowl games. Sometimes top 25 teams didn't make a bowl game. It actually meant something. Seven-win teams were left out and we only played 11 games then, not the 12 that schools play now.

So now the NFL wants to celebrate mediocrity too? It's enough to make me become a curling fan...

White Sox offense can't stay hot in loss to A's

White Sox offense can't stay hot in loss to A's

A day after having quite the offensive party, the White Sox didn’t save any production for Friday.

The White Sox couldn’t muster any offense in a 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics in their series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field in front of 25,370 fans.

After recording 18 hits in Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, the White Sox were held to just seven on Friday, but it felt like fewer. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Mike Pelfrey, who fell to 3-6 on the season, took a step back after delivering a strong performance in his last outing against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old struggled with his command against the A’s all night. He pitched 4 2/3 innings and issued five walks. Pelfrey also allowed all three runs on four hits and two homers.

The A’s got on the board early with a two-run shot to center field by Khris Davis. In the fifth, Pelfrey allowed another homer, a solo shot, to Matt Joyce to make it 3-0.

The White Sox bullpen staved off any further production and combined for 4 1/3 shutout innings between four relievers. But they weren’t able to generate any of their own.

Not even ejections from Tim Anderson and Rick Renteria could spark a cold offense.

The White Sox best chance came in the bottom of the ninth, where Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu opened with back-to-back singles. After an Avisail Garcia flyout, Todd Frazier popped one over A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso, but Abreu was thrown out at second. Matt Davidson flew out to center field at the warning track to end the game.

Friday marked the start of a season-long 10-game homestand, somewhere the White Sox were happy to be after playing 15 of their last 19 on the road.

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Brandon Saad talked to plenty of people after he was traded back to the Blackhawks. Some were now ex-teammates from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Others, soon-to-be-teammates again from the Blackhawks.

One of the first people he talked to on Friday? Jonathan Toews.

“He’s someone I talked to shortly after it happened. He’s a guy I’ve always kept in touch with, great friend,” Saad said. “To be reunited, getting that chance to play with him again, he’s an incredible player and his resume speaks for itself. I look forward to trying to rekindle that.”

The two didn’t lose touch the past two years. Now that they’ll be reunited on the ice, they hope they didn’t lose the chemistry either. Saad and Toews formed a great combination a few years ago, a steadiness that’s been missing from the top line, especially at left wing, ever since. With Saad’s return, however, the Blackhawks are looking to get that top line consistent again.

[MORE: Blackhawks trade back, select Henri Jokiharju at No. 29

Toews was at the NHL Draft on Friday night, announcing the Blackhawks’ first-round pick with Patrick Kane. The thought of getting Saad back on his left wing was appealing.

“Well there’s no doubt getting an old teammate, an old friend back, another guy who shared that same bond, friendship and having the experience of winning a Cup together with Saader. I guess there’s some reconciliation because you know what you’re getting,” Toews said. “You know what type of guy he is and how he’s going to fit into the locker room and what he’s going to bring.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said via conference call today that, while Toews and Saad had great chemistry the first time around, Saad could fit with others. It all depends on what works best.

“That’s up to Joel [Quenneville] on where he wants to use him,” Bowman said. “No doubt they had tremendous chemistry; he found a home on Jonathan’s left wing. But the one thing I’m trying to stress to everyone, even internally, is we don’t want to look backward and replicate some old formula. He’s had great success with Jonathan and if they go back to that, great.”

Toews and Saad found their niche together pretty quickly the first time around. It’s only been two years since Saad departed, so finding that chemistry again shouldn’t take long at all.

“I don’t think so,” Toews said of chemistry taking long to rekindle. “You play at that caliber you just worry about your own game. Go out there and have fun. be prepared, be ready to roll and it shouldn’t take long for things to happen out there.”