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Ralph's Mouth

Ralph's Mouth

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

A display of sheer, green envy just isn’t becoming of an 88-year-old man. But Ralph Wilson showed his colors in an Associated Press article published last week.

The Buffalo Bills’ owner called out Redskins owner Dan Snyder by name as the talked to the AP reporter as one of a group of owners who “To me, and this is just my opinion, [they] don't have the same values about the league as the old guard did.”

Wilson whined on, "I just don't think they're as interested in the game as the old owners, I really don't."

The other two owners Wilson singled out by name are Jerry Jones of Dallas and Robert Kraft of New England.

Presumably, the “values” that Wilson is referring to have to do with money and the unwillingness of Snyder, Jones, Kraft and others to “share” it. Wilson located a lapdog in the Buffalo press, the Buffalo News to be exact, who was willing to do his bidding and further articulate his position:
The problem is a Cold New Breed of big-market, huge-egoed owners like Washington's Dan Snyder and Dallas' Jerry Jones, who can't control their Inner Capitalist. They either don't understand or don't care about the all-for-one concept that built the league into a mega-monolith.
Uh, where is the evidence of that? In keeping all of the revenues from luxury seating, stadium naming rights and other sources, Jones and Snyder were just doing what league rules allowed them to do. Nobody asked them for a cut until recently. The first time they had a serious meeting about revenue sharing, which was last month, they were among those who voted to give money—tens of millions of dollars—to the lower-revenue clubs. What, where they just supposed to take out their pens and write out a check to Wilson without any kind of structure, any kind of formula in place?

By the way, what Wilson and his hack writer have conveniently forgotten was that the very same vote that created the revenue sharing plan also kept intact the salary cap system. While the higher-revenue owners like Snyder and Jones must have been tempted to try out a landscape that would have let them bid unlimited amounts of money to acquire the best players, they decided to keep the system in place, certainly not something that their “Inner Capitalist” would have them do. But, no, because they didn’t just hand Ralph Wilson a blank check they’re greedy, their values are misplaced and they don’t care about the game.

While we’re on the subject, can we talk about this myth that it is things like revenue sharing and the salary cap that have made the NFL popular? It has suddenly morphed into The Truth. The NFL is wildly popular not because of its business model but because Americans like football. If people didn’t like the game, the best business model in the world wouldn’t be able to make it any more popular that soccer is.

What’s the second-most popular sport out there? It’s college football, which has very little revenue sharing. Sure, the conferences share TV and bowl revenues among their members. But when Michigan and Notre Dame hook up in The Big House, we don’t see a dime of the millions that such an event generates going to Wake Forest or Vanderbilt. Northwestern, being in the Big Ten, gets a few bucks thrown its way but by far the main financial beneficiaries of such an affair are the participants. And if a rich alum cuts a check for $10 million to have the field named after him, none of that gets shared with anyone outside of the university. Yet the sport thrives because Americans love the game.

And the people of western New York love the game too, perhaps as much as anyone in America, and it’s unfortunate that the Bills may end up moving, to Los Angeles or elsewhere. However, to blame that situation on Kraft, Snyder, and Jones is patently ridiculous. As a Rust Belt city, Buffalo has been in decline for a couple of decades now, perhaps longer. Population and the economy are shifting to the south. That’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the way that things are. The Redskins and the Cowboys could pour all kinds of money into the Bills and that wouldn’t change these facts. If the city of Buffalo can’t support an NFL team, it’s certainly not up to the cities of Washington, Boston, and Dallas to do it for them.

Wilson isn’t just enlisting allies in the media; he is turning to where most corporations looking for a handout do, the government. All-Pro Buffalo linebacker Cornelius Bennett never put a hurtin’ on anyone like the last person to get between Chuck Schumer and an TV camera got, so he was eager to jump into the fray. A Buffalo congressman named Higgins wants to have a committee hearing to investigate the revenue sharing plan. I’ve been looking through the US Constitution to find out where the Congress has any express or implied powers to ensure that a sports franchise can stay in a particular city. I’m also trying to find out where they will find all of the time and resources needed to conduct such an inquiry. Your tax dollars at work.

When times are tough, one can hunker down, get tough, and try to figure out a way to deal with it, or one can whine and cry and get someone to threaten a congressional hearing and find a bogeyman. Wilson and his media mouthpiece have, of course, chosen the latter.
Credit the late commissioner Pete Rozelle, who sold a socialist concept to a bunch of capitalist owners on the grounds that parity pads everybody's profits.

One by one, richer owners broke ranks to go for more of the gold. Dallas' Jones was the first to exploit the loophole of unshared revenue from luxury boxes. The me-first principle prompted a glut of new stadiums filled with luxury seats (or hefty upgrades of old ballparks) that cost taxpayers in NFL cities billions of dollars.

The rich got richer, and they don't want to share their excess with their (relatively) poorer brethren. It threatens the competitive balance that turned the NFL into a money-printing machine.
Conveniently left out here is the fact that the stadium that Snyder’s team plays in was built by the team and that he is currently making heft payments on it and that Kraft had to kick in on the construction of the Patriots’ stadium and that Jones will likely have to help pay for a new stadium in Dallas. Apparently, the concept of “excess” when it comes to money only takes into account the revenue side of the picture and ignores the expense side. I guess it’s like that when you play in a 100% taxpayer-financed stadium.

And speaking of excess, how about this: Wilson paid $25,000 for the Bills. He could sell them tomorrow for something in the neighborhood of $800 million. The value of his investment has increased by a factor of 32,000. Wouldn’t a profit of $799,750,000 have to be considered to be excessive, even over the course of 45 years or so? That’s over $17 million a year in appreciation alone. You’re telling me that’s not excessive?

Wilson warns, “Don't buy all of that stuff that the league's PR machine puts out.”

Don’t buy in to all of the “woe is me” spin that Wilson is putting on his current situation, either.

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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USA Today Sports/AP Images

Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

For many fans who would like to see the Redskins move on from Kirk Cousins, the case was closed by the results of the divisional playoff round.

When the dust settled from the weekend, three of the four winning quarterbacks were Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. In Foles and Keenum, two journeymen who were free agents last March, available to any team that had a million bucks or so of salary cap space. Bortles was the third overall pick of the 2014 draft but he was widely viewed as a big-time bust.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

So, to some the lesson was that you can roll any random quarterback out there and if you have some other pieces in place you can get to the final four.

Not so fast, my friend. Such thinking is based on a small sample size. This year is very much an outlier in terms of the quarterbacks who make the conference championship games. Let’s expand the sample size and look at the final four QBs standing in the previous six seasons.

2016: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

2015: Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Brady

2014: Russell Wilson, Rodgers, Brady, Andrew Luck

2013: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, P. Manning, Brady

2012: Kaepernick, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Brady

2011: Brady, Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith

There are 13 different quarterbacks here. Ten of those, Ryan, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton, Palmer, Wilson, the two Mannings, and Luck, are true franchise type quarterbacks. Of those, five were first overall picks in the draft, Ryan was the third pick, and Roethlisberger was the 11th, and Rodgers went later in the first round. Only Wilson and Brady were late-round finds.

Of the three others, Smith (1st overall) and Flacco (18th) were first-round picks. Kaepernick was a high second-rounder.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

At the time of their playoff games, all of the 13 quarterbacks were on the teams that drafted them. None of them were looking for work the previous March, or at any time, for that matter.

As the Redskins decide if they should make a desperation attempt to retain Cousins or let him walk and start over at the most important position on the field, which data point should they consider? The most recent season in front of them, or the six prior years (and many more before that)?

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your house and you want to figure out a fair price. One comparable house down the street recently had sold for $200,000. But the previous six houses that sold in the last couple of months all went for around $300,000, Are you going to price your house based on the most recent sale? Or are you going to factor that in but pay much more attention to the six previous sales?

You have to step back and look at the larger sample size before using a particular set of facts as even a partial basis for a major decision with far-reaching ramifications.

With all that said, there are other factors at play besides what other teams have been able to accomplish. There are plenty of valid reasons for moving on from Cousins and those may outweigh the case for keeping him. But pointing to three quarterbacks on four teams and saying, “case closed” is way too simplistic an approach.

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