Dan Wetzel

  • NFL's latest deflate-gate move could make its punishment of Tom Brady, Pats laughable

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 21 hrs ago

    Over the weekend Mike Pereira, the former vice president of officiating for the NFL and current Fox Sports analyst, detailed that the league will use "new procedures" for how the inflation levels of footballs will be "prepared and monitored."

    There will be more footballs used – 12 primary, 12 backup. Each will be numbered. All footballs will be set to 13 pounds per square inch before the game and then measured again afterward. At select games, the primary balls will be measured and removed at halftime and the second half will be played with the backups.

    The story has been framed as the NFL doing a better job securing its game balls – a long overdue development. However, this is way more than that. This is a science experiment, allowing the league to begin to understand how weather, game use and other factors impact the inflation level (if at all) of footballs.

    Commissioning a real study is one of the most responsible and professional things the league office has done in the deflate-gate scandal.

    It's also potentially self-destructive for the NFL.

     

    The NFL didn't have much choice, of course.

     

  • Roger Goodell's handling of deflate-gate has become three-ring circus

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    One month has passed since Tom Brady's appeal hearing in deflate-gate. One month and Roger Goodell still hasn't announced a decision.

    Nothing. No upholding the suspension. No reversing the suspension. No lightening of the suspension. This isn't a Supreme Court case. This isn't complicated. It shouldn't take a month of leaving a player hung out to dry, as the biggest storyline going into the start of training camp remains an overblown, self-inflicted soap opera from last season.

    One month and Goodell still can't figure out what to do, which somehow isn't really all that surprising since if he knew what to do in the first place the entire story would have been snuffed out in a day or so – or however long it took the NFL to figure out it has no idea, let alone any actual proof, that the footballs at the AFC title game were even all that deflated.

    There are three rings to this circus.

    This is truly one of the dumbest scandals in sports history, a molehill the NFL turned into a mountain.

    It was damning.

    It worked.

  • DeAndre Jordan spurns the Mavericks, and the Clippers laugh at someone else for a change

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    For years and years, decades even, seemingly everything about the Los Angeles Clippers felt cloaked in failure and embarrassment.

    There was the racist slumlord of an owner. There were endless losing seasons. There were terrible draft picks, bad trades and brutal injuries. There was a general malaise that surrounded the place. That everything occurred in the shadow of the glamorous Lakers, who turned L.A. into a basketball town, made everything worse.

    So it's a short list when recounting the greatest days in Clippers history. The fact it's probably topped by the time NBA commissioner Adam Silver stripped Donald Sterling of ownership kind of says it all.

    Wednesday was one of the good ones, though, perhaps the most unexpected of them: a day of tweets and emojis and jokes and foolishness befitting a free-agency circus. Only, this time the Clips weren't the punch line.

    Cuban would never get in the door. The Clippers, of all people, got to keep their man, for four years, $87.6 million.

    The Clippers? Yes, the Clippers.

  • Daniel Snyder's fight over Washington's nickname is a lost cause

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    Eventually the nickname and logo of Washington's NFL franchise is headed to the dustbin of history, where future generations will look back in bafflement that it was ever allowed.

    This is undeniable.

    You can support the name and logo all you want. You can decry the excesses of political correctness (no "Dukes of Hazzard"?) You can find a Native American cloaked in an RG3 jersey in an attempt to prove your point. That's fine. This column isn't about trying to change anyone's opinion because too many opinions have already changed that it doesn't matter.

    You can hum the fight song in your sleep and still realize that the die is cast here. It's just a matter of time. That's just being practical.

    Last year, team owner Daniel Snyder declared the nickname and logo would never change. That was last year though. This year is this year and the winds of change have swept swiftly across the nation.

    This is a whole new day and Daniel Snyder is on the wrong side of quickly moving public sentiment.

    The country isn't changing. It's changed.

  • In deflate-gate appeal, Tom Brady and Roger Goodell are locked in a battle for reps that likely can't be fully recovered

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Roger Goodell and Tom Brady, the NFL commissioner and the league's four-time Super Bowl quarterback, meet face-to-face in Manhattan on Tuesday morning. They will arrive with lawyers, teams of them.

    Officially, Goodell is the judge and Brady is the convict seeking appellate relief from a four-game suspension and loss of about $1.8 million in salary for what the NFL deemed was his role in the deflation of footballs used in January's AFC championship game.

    The fact the NFL never really proved the balls were actually, you know, deflated is just one reason this is like no other case in sports and why this is far more than trying to sort out the facts in a story with so few of them.

    From the start, this has been built on the twin pillars of suspicion and perception, each side assuming the worst in each other's actions. It's been fueled by spin, speculation and media leaks, including the NFL allowing a story to run wild of trumped up allegations against Brady that was both extremely prejudicial and demonstrably untrue.

    There will still be enough smoke to cry fire, which is what Wells' report always counted on.

    That's just modern society.

  • Browns' Mike Pettine has remedy to overcome 'Johnny Football' drama and team in-fighting

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    BEREA, Ohio – It was probably naïve that Mike Pettine thought he could get away from football, but there he was in the summer of 1988, trying to do just that.

    He'd literally grown up around the game. His father, Mike Sr., was a legendary coach of Central Bucks West, the high school powerhouse in Pennsylvania, where he won 326 games and four state titles. Son played for dad, then eventually at the University of Virginia but the goal was to use a business degree to avoid the family business.

    A job underwriting life insurance for Prudential near the Pettine's hometown of Doylestown came along right after graduation and that's where things were headed – until late summer hit.

    "I was going through withdrawal, like something was missing," Pettine said. "Whether it was the smell of cut grass in August or the warm nights under the lights, all of that stuff just flows back to you. It was just something I was drawn back to."

    Pettine signed up for a flex shift that sprung him from work at 3 p.m. and became a volunteer assistant for his father. There was no avoiding it now; real jobs in the real world were done.

  • LeBron gave it all he had, but in the end it's just another tale of Cleveland sorrow

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    CLEVELAND – Stuffed in the corner of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room, LeBron James sat alone, wearing nothing but oversized gym shorts and a white towel draped over his face.

    His hands rested on top of his head. Each knee was wrapped in ice. Each foot sat in a bucket of freezing water.

    He wanted a chance to think. Other than a couple brief hugs from his teammates, everyone obliged.

    It should surprise no one that James was beaten down – physically, mentally, emotionally and, most painfully, on the scoreboard 105-97 in Game 6 of these NBA Finals,losing the series 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors, who were outside, in his house, spraying champagne.

    He’d hauled an undermanned team here, deep into June, six games into the Finals, like few, if any, ever had. It wasn’t enough.

    “If I could have given more, I would have given it,” he said later.

    [More NBA Finals coverage: Stephen Curry leads Warriors to NBA title his way]

  • Stephen Curry leads Warriors to NBA title his way

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    CLEVELAND – Throughout his entire basketball life Stephen Curry has been told what he was and what he couldn’t be: too small, too slight, too one-dimensional, too much a product of small schools to ever make it in the big time, NCAA or NBA.

    And throughout it all, he shrugged his thin shoulders and cut his own path.

    So it should be no surprise that here in the NBA Finals, here staring across from the greatest force of nature in the game, it was all the same … including the response.

    Curry ignored early series cries of not being aggressive enough, physical enough, just, well, not LeBron enough, to stay the course, let his game come to him and eventually deliver in MVP fashion. In the end, he didn't get a single Finals MVP vote, but this doesn't occur without him and everyone in the organization will tell you that.

    Once trailing 2-1 in a street fight of a series, the Warriors won each of the final three games.

    And there was Steph Curry.

    [More NBA Finals coverage: The secret to the Warriors' first championship in 40 years]

    “He’s just been an MVP for us.”

  • Win or lose, LeBron James is the MVP of the NBA Finals: 'I'm the best player in the world'

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – This felt like the last stand of LeBron James, the last stand of these Cleveland Cavaliers or at least that's how LeBron appeared to be approaching it – now or never, even if, technically, it wasn't.

    Two and a half hours before tip of Game 5 of these NBA Finals and there LeBron was, getting up extra jumpers on the Oracle Arena floor, a significant departure from routine. He might not have done that five times all season, a Cleveland source said.

    At the opening tip, there was LeBron, ball in his hands on nearly every possession, everything running through him, passes, rebounds, shots, play calls, everything, the star trying to will this raggedy supporting cast to make it happen. And at the end – 40 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds later – there was LeBron, seated dejectedly on the bench, the scoreboard reading Golden State 104, Cleveland 91, so out of hand he was pulled to rest for future battles.

    "We have enough," LeBron said. "I'm confident."

    Other than that …

     

  • Weight of carrying Cavs taking its toll on LeBron James

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    CLEVELAND – The King had been hit across the arm, causing him to stumble and fumble into a row of courtside cameramen, where head eventually met metal. Now there was a hushed crowd and cops pushing folks and a white towel collecting LeBron James’ red blood.

    It wasn’t a dirty play by any stretch of the imagination. It was a purposeful one though.

    Andrew Bogut had noted that Cleveland was playing an East Coast style in this series, and that, he promised, was fine by him; LeBron wasn’t going to get to the rim so easy. For all the flash and flare of Golden State, it has some Warriors too, guys not happy about being not just outplayed, but out-toughed by the Cavs.

    So here was LeBron, trying to stop the bleeding off his own dome and up on the scoreboard where Golden State had already collected a lead it would never relinquish.

    Here was LeBron, watching everything he and the Cavs had clawed and fought for, everything they had willed and won in this series, disappear all at once.

    “We don’t have many options,” he noted of an injury-riddled team that is barely seven deep.

    “I mean, I came out of the game as well early,” he said. “So we were on the same page.”

    They couldn’t.

    “Horses---,” he said.