Joe Santoro: Will Kap get a call after the draft?
April 27, 2017
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Where would Colin Kaepernick be selected if he was available in this year's NFL draft? No, not the young wet-behind-the-ears Kaepernick coming out of a Nevada where he ran a gimmick offense and put up video game numbers against weak opponents. We're talking about the 29-year-old veteran quarterback with 58 NFL starts under his belt as well as a Super Bowl appearance. We're talking about the guy who has passed for 72 touchdowns and 12,271 yards in the NFL. The guy who has a 4-2 record in the NFL playoffs. Isn't that guy more desirable right now than an untested Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer or Patrick Mahomes? Then why can't Kaepernick find a starting job in the NFL? There's a good chance none of the quarterbacks taken in this year's draft will win as many games or pass for as many TDs and yards as Kaepernick has already done in his career.
Kaepernick's biggest obstacle right now just might be his tremendous pride. This is a guy, don't forget, who walked into Chris Ault's office four games into his freshman year, after the quarterback starter (Nick Graziano) just beat UNLV, and complained about not playing.
He doesn't like sitting on the bench and will likely not accept an obvious backup role in the NFL like Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel did this offseason. Mike Glennon, who has done almost nothing in the NFL, after all, got a starting job as a free agent this off-season. Why can't Kaepernick, a guy who has been in a Super Bowl? And, no, don't blame it on his national anthem protest. NFL teams aren't afraid of controversy if they think you can play. Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Robert Griffin also don't have jobs right now. And it's because they're not ideal backup material, like Kaepernick. With Kaepernick, the draft was always going to be the key to any legitimate offers he was going to receive. He will look much more attractive to NFL teams once the draft dust settles.
ESPN got rid of about 100 staffers this week, mainly slashing a bunch of unknown college reporters and forgettable SportsCenter anchors from its payroll. The recognizable names sent packing, like Trent Dilfer, Jim Bowden, Doug Glanville, Danny Kanell and Dallas Braden, were more familiar for their careers in professional or college sports rather than their ESPN work. But there were some excellent journalists let go, veterans like Ed Werder, Jarrett Bell, Melissa Isaacson, Andy Katz, Johnette Howard and Jayson Stark. Journalism and ESPN, though, have nothing to do with each other.
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These layoffs are the first sign ESPN is admitting its glory days are long gone and it has drastically overpaid for meaningless NFL, NBA, college football and basketball games.
There's simply far too much sports on television these days and far too many all-sports stations. ESPN will never have the influence it once had when it was the only all sports station in the 1980s and 1990s. SportsCenter, which carried the network for years, has become meaningless. All you have to do to watch highlights of any game anywhere in the country now is turn on your phone or computer. The sports television market has been flooded.
ESPN, like newspapers and radio, will never again be what it once was.
Who makes your Top Ten of best ESPN SportsCenter anchors? We all have our favorites but there's a good chance nobody on your list currently does SportsCenter now on a regular basis. Here's one old guy's list: Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Craig Kilborn, Chris Berman, Kenny Mayne, Stuart Scott, Charlie Steiner, Bob Ley, Tom Mees, Gary Miller.
Just two (Ottawa, Edmonton) of the remaining eight NHL teams in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs are from Canada. The last team from Canada to win the Stanley Cup is the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. Before this 22-year Canadian Cup drought (there was no Cup Finals in 2005), the longest the league went without a team from Canada winning the Cup was six years (1936-41). There's a reason the NHL has settled in with the likes of the WNBA, tennis, boxing and women's college sports in the sports marketplace. It's because its biggest and most loyal fan base isn't being rewarded with championships. The league is also in Tampa, Miami, Carolina, Nashville and Arizona and the city it picked in the state of Ohio is Columbus and not Cleveland or Cincinnati. All you need to know about the NHL and its popularity is fans in this country can list the top four quarterbacks in the draft but couldn't name more than two teams still alive in the NHL playoffs.
Madison Bumgarner is allowed to do something stupid now and then. He's earned it. And, really, is riding a dirt bike on your off day all that reckless? The odds of Bumgarner getting hurt driving to the grocery store are probably higher than him getting hurt while riding a dirt bike. Bumgarner's dirt bike incident barely rates a mention on the list of goofy baseball injuries. See Glenallen Hill and his spider nightmare, Wade Boggs putting on his cowboy boots, Jose Cardenal and his crickets, Joel Zumayo and Guitar Hero and Marty Cordova and his tanning bed. Bumgarner's dirt bike tumble wouldn't even make the Top 100.
Who will be the first major league manager fired this season? Toronto's John Gibbons currently leads that list with Kansas City's Ned Yost in the conversation. But Yost and Gibbons are probably safe through this current season after appearing in the last three American League championship series combined (Yost in 2015 and 2014, Gibbons in 2015 and 2016). Both the Jays and Royals will likely gut their rosters at the trade deadline before making a manager switch.