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The Confidential – Oct. 16, 2017

Braves Break Ground On New Spring-Training Complex Today

-VIA AJC.com


NORTH PORT, FLA. –
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held today for the Braves’ new spring-training complex in southwest Florida, just 16 months before the team intends to hold its first workout at the $100-million facility. 

The stadium and training complex will be built on former ranch land in the West Villages development in the southern Sarasota County city of North Port.

The project, which got its final governmental approvals last month, will officially begin its construction phase with Monday afternoon’s ceremony, which is expected to draw officials from Sarasota County, North Port, the Braves, the West Villages Improvement District and West Villages home-builder Mattamy Homes. 

The construction schedule is aggressive, with the Braves planning to begin holding spring training in the facility in 2019. But there is a recent precedent for building a spring-training stadium in Florida under a similar timetable: A new West Palm Beach facility shared by the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, which opened this year, broke ground in early November 2015 and was built over a span of about 15 months.

The Braves will train in 2018 for the final time at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando, their spring home since 1998. 

Plans call for a North Port stadium with a capacity of about 8,000, plus six full practice fields, two half fields and about 55,000 square feet of clubhouse and office space. 

Taxpayers will contribute more than $40 million toward the new facility, plus interest. Sarasota County will cover $21.3 million of the construction cost, the state of Florida $14.4 million and North Port $4.7 million. (The state’s commitment is $20 million over 20 years, including interest payments.) 

The Braves are on the hook for $55.5 million through a combination of up-front payments of about $18 million and annual payments over 30 years sufficient to cover debt service on $37.5 million in bonds. A private developer will contribute $4.7 million.

Al Michaels Dropped a Harvey Weinstein Joke On "Sunday Night Football," Then Apologized

Al Michaels. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The New York Giants have had a terrible season and a particularly terrible week. Despite this, they are destroying the Broncos in Denver. Al Michaels set out to make this very point mid-way through the third quarter and somehow steered the conversation toward disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Why? No one knows.

Michaels’ ill-advised joke will have significant ripple effects in the outrage pool, and it’s easy to see why.

Certainly an interesting choice when the cost-benefit analysis is considered.

UPDATE: Michaels offered a swift apology moments later.

Report: Jameis Winston To Have MRI, X-rays Negative On Shoulder Today

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

The early news on Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is good.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, X-rays on Winston’s shoulder came back negative, though he will have an MRI on Monday.

Clean x-rays do not mean that Winston has escaped uninjured, but there seems to be a belief around the team that the quarterback has escaped serious injury. He went down in the first half and actually looked like he made a couple attempts to test out the injured shoulder, but it simply did not happen for him. We should know more within a day or two. Ryan Fitzpatrick came in and threw 3 TD’s to make things interesting.

Martavis Bryant’s Girlfriend Appears To Confirm He Wants To Be Traded

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant has denied a report that he is unhappy as a Steeler and wants to be traded. But Bryant’s girlfriend appeared to confirm the report.

Deja Hiott, whom Bryant has identified as his girlfriend multiple times on social media, posted a tweet on Sunday night that responded to the report of Bryant wanting a trade and seemed to confirm that the report was accurate.

“Well. You guys should’ve seen it coming. Taking him off the field, not giving the ball or the chance to reach his full potential,” Hiott wrote, in a tweet she later deleted.

It’s hard to believe Hiott would write that on Twitter if Bryant hadn’t told her privately that that’s the way he feels. So while Bryant is saying publicly that he’s happy in Pittsburgh, there may be more going on than he’s willing to admit.

Ex-Boston College RB: X-Rated Recruiting Parties Ain't New, I've Got Video Proof

 

A former Boston College football player says strippers and underage boozing is nothing new when it comes to recruiting players … and claims he’s got the video to prove it. 

We spoke with ex-BC running back Jamall Anderson — who says he committed credit card fraud to fund illegal recruiting parties to entice top players to join the BC family. 

Which brings us to the video … which Anderson claims was shot on campus in 1995 and shows various football players grinding with strippers, taking shots and one guy even passes out in a bathroom.

“What you see on the video is just us outta control. We just did it all,” Anderson says. 

We reached out to Boston College and a rep told us, “This 22 year old video, which is alleged to have taken place at Boston College, depicts unauthorized and unacceptable behavior that does not reflect the culture of BC or the standards to which our student-athletes are held.”

America’s Obesity Epidemic Reaches Record High, New Report Says

 

America’s obesity crisis appears more unstoppable than ever.

A troubling new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.

The continued weight increase in the youngest Americans is especially worrisome for long-term health. One in five adolescents, ages 12–19; one in five kids, ages 6–11, and and one in ten preschoolers, ages 2–5 are considered obese, not just overweight.

Obesity is medically defined as having a body-mass index of more than 30. The findings on obese kids in the U.S. comes on top of this week’s World Health Organization report that childhood obesity is soaring around the world, increasing more than tenfold over the past four decades.

Overall, 70.7 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, meaning that an unhealthy weight has become the norm, with normal weight Americans — a BMI of less than 25 — now in the minority. Public health experts say that an unhealthy diet and the lack of exercise are still the two biggest culprits.

In addition to unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle, there could be another possible reason for the increasing obesity rates: sleep deprivation. An estimated 50 million and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Inadequate sleep is a risk factor for childhood and adult obesity, says Hu. Sleep-deprived people may be too tired to exercise, take in more calories and may undergo hormones changes that control appetite.

Man Finds $24 Million Lottery Ticket In Old Shirt...Just In Time!

The New York Gaming Commission let local folks know a winning ticket, worth $24.1 million, was sold at a store in New York City last May 25th — but it didn’t know who bought the ticket.

Winners have a year to claim the prize and that expiration day was quickly approaching.

So earlier this year, the New York Lottery started to get the word out.

“We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you,” Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission’s Division of the Lottery, said at the time.

For 68-year old Jimmie Smith, it was an old shirt hanging in his closet he went to check. Stuffed in its pockets was a stack of unchecked lottery tickets.

Smith, a retired security officer, caught a news story about the search for the mystery winner. That inspired him to check his old tickets.

It’s a good thing he did. Because had he waited two days longer, he’d have lost out on $24.1 million. The winning ticket would have expired.

When the numbers matched up, he “stood there for a minute thinking, ‘Do I see what I think I see?'”

Smith chose to receive his payments over the course of 26 years.

Chernoff – The Confidential For 09-25-17

NFL Televised Unity Spot During Sunday Night Football

A day of protests but also displays of togetherness ended with the league televising a “unity” spot during Sunday Night Football on NBC.

The 60-second video, narrated by Forest Whitaker, begins as follows: “Inside these lines, we don’t have to come from the same place, to help each other reach the same destination. Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there is more that unites us.”

The spot shows a crew preparing a field, along with images of players and fans “overcoming differences and banding together,” according to the league.

If nothing else, the events of the last 48 hours have caused a new sense of unity among players, coaches, and front offices. Hopefully it will last.

Kareem Hunt: Best Start For Rookie RB Since Billy Sims

Not since Billy Sims of the 1980 Lions took the NFL by storm has a rookie running back done what Kareem Hunt has

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, left, scores against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

accomplished for the 2017 Chiefs.

According to the NFL, Hunt matched Sims and Dutch Sternaman of the 1920 Decatur Staleys for the most touchdowns by any player in his first three NFL games, with six. (Hunt had a 69-yard touchdown run on Sunday.)

Hunt’s 538 yards from scrimmage is second only to Sims, who had 562 during his first three games for the Lions. Hunt easily surpassed Sid Blanks of the 1964 Houston Oilers for the No. 2 spot; Blanks racked up 452 yards in three games.

Odell Beckham Pretends To Pee Like A Dog After Scoring TD...But Won't Face Suspension For It

PFT.COM

New York Giants’ Odell Beckham, right, celebrates with Sterling Shepard after a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

After scoring his first touchdown of the season, Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dropped to all fours and lifted a leg, miming the creation of yellow snow. As in he was peeing like a dog…Keep it classy Beck

Despite the relaxation of the celebration rules for 2017, the Beckham celebration crossed the line. It drew a flag and it will be reviewed for a potential (inevitable) fine.

Could Beckham be suspended for his conduct? “No suspension,” a league spokesman told PFT.

Beckham’s second touchdown was followed by the placement of a fist in the air.

Lavonte David To Undergo MRI on Ankle Injury

PFT.COM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) is carted off the field after getting injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won 34-17. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense may be forced to fill a key void, as linebacker Lavonte David left the team’s game Sunday due to an ankle injury.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team believes the injury is a high ankle sprain, although Monday’s MRI should provide a more accurate timeline.

David made seven tackles before being carted off the field in the fourth quarter of a 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Cam Loses Another Big Weapon

PFT.COM

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13). (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Carolina’s reeling offense lost another key piece on Sunday.

Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin did not return to Carolina’s Week 3 loss to the New Orleans after suffering a knee injury, the team announced. Benjamin limped off the field after suffering the injury in the first half.

Bad Break for Eagles Little Back

PFT.COM

Philadelphia Eagles’ Darren Sproles, left, tries to slip past New York Giants’ Olivier Vernon during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Eagles running back Darren Sproles is believed to have suffered a broken arm, Rapoport reported. The veteran will undergo an MRI on Monday to learn additional details, but is out indefinitely.

Snit has not lost the clubhouse, his players continue to have his back

Atlanta Braves interim manager Brian Snitker (43) gives a sign from the dugout during a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Bob Nightengale‏ – USA TODAY BASEBALL WRITER

All-Star Freddie Freeman and several ‪Braves players have informed the Braves’ front office that they want manager Brian Snitker back.

Blue-chip prospect Michael Devoe commits to Georgia Tech

AJC.com

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has his first commitment from an elite recruit. Mike Devoe, a guard ranked among the top 60 players in the country by ESPN, announced his commitment to Tech on Saturday from his Twitter account.

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner reacts during the second of an NCAA college basketball game against Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

After Pastner’s first class consisted mostly of developmental players, Devoe could be an impact player from the time he sets foot on campus. From Orlando, Fla., he is rated the No. 15 point guard in the country by ESPN and reportedly chose Tech over Wake Forest and USC. Devoe can sign with Tech during the early signing period Nov. 8-15.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 163 pounds, Devoe joins Texas forward Kristian Sjolund in the 2018 class. Sjolund, rated the No. 18 player in Texas by ESPN, committed in August. Pastner has one more scholarship to give, although it’s conceivable more spots could open up.

Tech offered Devoe in October 2016 and showed strong interest. Devoe said in July that Pastner had seen him play more than any other head coach. He made his official visit to Tech in August.

Ex-Lakers Player BURNED By Twerk Queen, "I Ain't Bangin' You for a Plane Ticket!"

TMZ.com

Ex-Lakers player Jordan Hill is getting called out by one of the most famous booty models on the ‘Gram — Ghetto Barbie claimed Hill tried to fly her out to smash on a road trip, but she burned him good instead. 

Here’s the deal … Ghetto Barbie and ‘Love and Hip Hop’ star Jhonni Blaze talked about some of their NBA crushes. 

Jhonni Blaze shouted out Jordan Hill as her crush — and that’s when Ghetto Barbie revealed that he once slid into her DMs and bought her a ticket to fly.

Ms. Ghetto wasn’t having it…

Barbie says she wanted to teach Jordan Hill a lesson — don’t think a free airplane ticket means you automatically get the booty. 

Lesson learned.

Chernoff – The Confidential 09/11/17

Falcons plan to open roof for home opener if weather cooperates, Offenses looked bad across the NFL on Sunday, NFL Fights Back, Appeals Ezekiel Elliott Injunction, Kevin Sumlin to take legal action against sender of threatening letter, Dennis Schröder represents Atlanta Hawks on Sports Illustrated’s list of top 100 NBA players, and Lonzo Ball Drops 1st Rap Single claiming Melo’s the Greatest 16-Year-Old Alive!

Falcons plan to open roof for home opener if weather cooperates

via AJC.com

The ceiling of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the Atlanta Falcons football team and the Atlanta United soccer team. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Falcons plan to open the retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for next Sunday night’s home opener against the Green Bay Packers if weather conditions are favorable.

 It would be the first time an event is held in the new $1.5 billion stadium with the roof open – and the first open-air Falcons game in Atlanta since Dec. 15, 1991, the team’s final game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. 

The Falcons played their home games indoors at the Georgia Dome from 1992 through last season.

While work on the roof is expected to continue through the fall, enough progress has been made for the Falcons to decide to open it, weather permitting, for their nationally televised home opener against the Packers on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

The Falcons haven’t specified the weather parameters for opening the roof, but both the chances of rain and the temperature will be considered. 

The Falcons-Packers game is an 8:30 p.m. start. 

The roof will remain closed for Atlanta United home matches Wednesday and Saturday this week.

Offenses looked bad across the NFL on Sunday

via PFT.com

If you thought the offenses looked bad across the NFL on Sunday, you were correct.

Yesterday’s 12 NFL games averaged just 37 points and 593 yards of total offense. That’s a far cry from what fans came to expect in 2016, when the average NFL game had 46 points and 701 yard of offense.

Offenses were down both passing (an average of 420 yards yesterday, compared to 483 yards last season) and rushing (173 yards per game yesterday, compared to 218 yards last season).

The Bengals were shut out in their loss to the Ravens, while the Giants and 49ers scored just three points each. In the NFL last year there were only three shutouts all season, and only seven games in which a team was held to just a field goal.

NFL Fights Back, Appeals Ezekiel Elliott Injunction

via TMZ.com

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21). (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The NFL isn’t giving up in the fight to punish Ezekiel Elliott — the league has filed court docs to appeal the preliminary injunction that had been awarded to the Dallas Cowboys running back last week. 

The point of filing the appeal … the league wants to enforce the 6-game suspension as soon as possible, ideally this season — and the appeal is the best way to try and get that result. 

So, what’s next? The NFL will file more papers detailing why they think the judge who handed out the preliminary injunction got it wrong. Elliott will then respond to those arguments.

Eventually, a 3 judge panel will likely hear the appeal. The panel could reverse the decision which would give the NFL the power to enforce the suspension ASAP. 

According to our lawyer (hey, he went to Harvard), it’s possible the decision could be reached by the end of the season.

Rams announce paid attendance of 60,128 but far fewer show up

via PFT.COM

If the Rams win a game and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound?

The Rams announced a paid attendance of 60,128, but judging by the pictures on social media, far fewer people than that showed up. The Coliseum seats 90,000, and it looked less than half full.

That’s with tickets going for as low as $6.

But if the Rams keep playing like they did in Sunday’s 46-9 victory over the Colts, their crowds are sure to grow.

Notes to fans in L.A.: Good seats are still available.

Kevin Sumlin to take legal action against sender of threatening letter

via Thebiglead.com

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is seen against UCLA during an NCAA college football game, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Kevin Sumlin and his family intend to take legal action against the sender of the threatening letter they received last week, his wife said on Twitter Sunday.

Last week, Sumlin’s Texas A&M Aggies blew a 44-10 lead at UCLA in their season opener and lost 45-44. Days later, Sumlin’s wife Charlene posted on Twitter a photo of a letter she says their family received at their home. The letter contained a racist word and threat.

The letter is below, but beware: it has offensive content.

Three days after posting the photo of the letter, Charlene shared a follow-up on Twitter. In her note, which Charlene appears to have originally posted on Facebook, Mrs. Sumlin says part of her mission to posting the letter online was to receive help in trying to track down the sender. She said they contacted local police, but they hit a “dead end,” leading her to post on Twitter. The result was people providing help in how they could track down the sender. She says they want to press charges against the sender to make an example of them.

On the field, Sumlin’s Aggies faced a tougher than expected game and beat Nicholls State 24-14 on Saturday. After the game, the coach commented on the letter, saying the open-ended threat crossed the line.

“The racial (aspect) is one part of it, but the open-ended threat at the end, (sent) to my house … I’ve got to draw the line there,” Sumlin said, via the Houston Chronicle. “(Charlene) didn’t like it, she didn’t feel safe about it, my kids didn’t feel safe about it. Beyond that, I want to thank the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office for what they’re doing right now, and I want to thank all the people who sent me notes and text messages and calls and things like that. That’s important, too.

“When you cross a line like that with people who have nothing to do with decisions that are made when it comes to my job, that’s not OK.”

The Sumlins have received the support of many since publicizing the letter, including from Texas A&M’s president.

Dennis Schröder represents Atlanta Hawks on Sports Illustrated’s list of top 100 NBA players

via Peachtreehoops.com

Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (17), of Germany, dribbles past Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Dennis Schröder was the only member of the Hawks to make the cut but he comes in at No. 76 overall. Rob Mahoney of SI had this to say:

It’s reasonable to wonder, however, just how much further Schröder (17.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.3 APG) can go within this sort of role. His credentials off the dribble speak for themselves; only Isaiah Thomas averaged more drives to the basket, per NBA.com, and yet Schröder still converted 50.4% of his shots off those drives. What’s off is his sense of timing.

Schröder is a reasonably effective playmaker who tends to irk his teammates by when he chooses to pass and when he does not. Lobs are sometimes thrown a beat too late. Shooters who were open just a moment previously find themselves covered once Schröder finally decides to send the ball their way. Schröder just isn’t a natural playmaker. Passing is a part of his game born of expectation rather than instinct. Other players have forged fine careers playing that way, though it does curb Schröder’s ability to actually lift an offense with his play.

Lonzo: Melo's the Greatest 16-Year-Old Alive!

Via TMZ.com

A PAIR OF BALLS: UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, right, walks away after hugging his father, LaVar. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Lonzo Ball has finally released his first rap single — and it’s a 2-and-a-half minute tribute to his 16-year-old brother, Melo

It’s called “Melo Ball 1” — portions of the song were used in the first promo spot for LaMelo Ball’s new $395 shoes … but now, the Lakers star has dropped the entire track.

He brags about how his family’s “ready for war,” how Melo is the youngest person on the planet to have his own signature shoe … and how it’s all part of his father’s genius vision.

Here are some of the lyrics … 

“See my lil brother, he just doin’ him. You can check the ‘gram, he got a million fans. Got his brothers, he don’t need no friends. He swagged out, he a walking gem.”

“On the ball, that’s just what it is. I’m a king, lil bro a prince. Throwin’ racks and you throwin’ fits. How you hatin’ and you bangin’ this?”

“Melo Ball 1, youngest in the game. Only 16 in the Lam’ and he switchin’ lanes.”

By the way, Zo has another brother … LiAngelo … just in case he forgot.

Chernoff’s Confidential – 08/31/17

Texans reportedly hope to play season opener in Houston as scheduled, Leonard Fournette pledges $50,000 to Houston recovery, Terrell Owens: It’s a “joke” I’m not on the field, FOX will use six-second commercials on NFL broadcasts, With eight practice games under his belt, Tony Romo ready for CBS debut, A Tweet by Adam Caplan from ESPN, and Triple X Legend Kendra Lust Blasts Royals GM: “Porn Ain’t Evil!!!”

Texans reportedly hope to play season opener in Houston as scheduled

The Houston Texans stretch on the field at the start of a morning workout at the Dallas Cowboys training facility in Frisco, Texas. The Texans are working out in the practice facility of the Cowboys because of floods pounding Houston. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

As the city of Houston begins the arduous cleanup process after Hurricane Harvey, the NFL season looks poised to start on schedule.

Robert Klemko of the MMQB indicated Wednesday that the Texans seem to believe that they’ll be able to stage the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Houston as scheduled on Sept. 10.

Texans sound intent on holding the season opener in Houston next week as long as it’s safe. Desperate to give city something to smile about.

Houston would have a week and a half of prep to see if they can manage it, though a decision would obviously have to be made beforehand. The good news is that the Astros are set to return Saturday, which means there is a very real chance the Texans could play as scheduled. However, unlike Minute Maid Park, NRG Stadium is currently being used as a shelter, which obviously takes precedence and could pose a logistical issue.

Rescue boats fill Tidwell Road as they help flood victims evacuate as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Leonard Fournette pledges $50,000 to Houston recovery

PFT.COM

Leonard Fournette of the Jacksonville Jaguars. (AP Photo)

Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette has found something good to spend part of his $17.9 million signing bonus on.

Fournette announced on Twitter that he will donate $50,000 to recovery efforts in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. He later announced, through the Jaguars, that the money will be part of Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt‘s fundraising efforts, which have now totaled more than $8.5 million.

Fournette has first-hand experience with the devastation a hurricane can bring: He was a 10-year-old living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.

The Jaguars are slated to play the Texans in Houston in Week One.

Terrell Owens: It’s a “joke” I’m not on the field

Former NFL player Terrell Owens. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

always was in the best of shape. He has that much right. But to think he could still play in the NFL?

Owens thinks he could. Or at least that’s what he says.

“Me not being on the field right now is a joke,” Owens said on Fox Sports Radio with Eric Dickerson. “I don’t care what people say. Even though I’m 43, trust me, I’m not your average 43-year-old.”

Owens, who turns 44 in December, hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 19, 2010. Jerry Rice was 42 when he played his last game on Jan. 2, 2005, the oldest receiver to play an NFL game.

“Even when I was 35, 36, 37 they said I was too old, but I was still ballin’ out with the 20-year-olds. I can go out right now and give you a 4.4 [in the 40],” said Owens, who ran a hand-held 4.63 at the 1996 combine.

Owens, a six-time Pro Bowlers and one of the most productive receivers in NFL history, has been a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame the past two years but has yet to advance to the reduction to 10.

Six-second commercials on NFL broadcasts? YUP!

FOX will use six-second commercials on NFL broadcasts.

As the human attention span shortens, so do the efforts to capture it.

For NFL games on FOX this season, the network will debut six-second commercials. They’ll be used along with the more traditional 15-second and 30-second spots.

“When the six-second ads are placed in unique positions, it has the potential to gain even more attention than a traditional unit,” FOX Sports president Eric Shanks told Sapna Mahewshwari of the New York Times.

The spots also will be used by FOX during the World Series and other big events. In some cases, the commercials will be shown on a split-screen basis. The goal will be to find natural lulls for insertion of the six-second unit.

“[F]or example, if a pitching coach comes to the mound just to have a conversation and you know that conversation is going to last 30 seconds, is a six-second unit in there going to add to the experience and then be able to decrease the amount of ad inventory somewhere else?” Shanks said.

As applied to NFL games, this could happen when officials are huddling to determine a ruling on the field, and during the replay review process. It also could happen during short time outs taken by a team not to regroup but to simply stop the clock.

This effort by FOX is separate and apart from the league’s desire to trim fat from broadcasts and to shorten commercial breaks. If the shorter commercials work for FOX, other networks undoubtedly will try them.

Tony Romo ready for CBS debut

With eight practice games under his belt, Tony Romo is ready for CBS debut.

Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo leaves the broadcast booth. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will soon be embarking on his latest challenge without a formal dress rehearsal.

After five in-studio practice games and three on the road, Romo will debut as the No. 1 NFL analyst on CBS without having broadcast a preseason game. He was due to help call the Chiefs-Seahawks game on Friday night, but the birth of his third child kept him from going.

Again, Romo very well may deliver when he and Jim Nantz bring the Raiders-Titans game into millions of home. But there’s no way he will overdeliver, because CBS consistently has overpromised.

Tweet by Adam Schefter from ESPN

Adam Schefter, ESPN reporter. (Adam Hunger/AP Images for Sabra)

Since August 11th,  11 trades have been completed in #NFL; 16 players were moved: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 OL, 2 Long Snappers, 2 LB, 4 CB, 3 Safety’s

Adam Schefter‏Verified account ‪@AdamSchefter 3h3 hours ago

By Saturday, 32 NFL teams will release roughly 37 players per team – 1,184 lost jobs. Up to 320 back to practice squad. But no more for 864.

Triple X Legend Kendra Lust Blasts Royals GM, Porn Ain't Evil!!!

TMZ.COM

Photo Courtest TMZ

Kendra Lust has a huge bone to pick with K.C. Royals G.M. Dayton Moore — claiming the baseball honcho is dead wrong about linking porn to domestic violence. 

Lust — AVN’s reigning “MILF Performer of the Year” award winner — came out swinging hard against Moore … claiming she’s sick of people blaming adult videos for their problems without a shred of evidence. 

“In all honesty, I think that porn helps keep people’s relationships healthy,” Lust says. 

“It helps keep [people] safe from maybe going out and being unfaithful to their spouse … it helped my life a lot.”

Lust slams Moore’s insinuation that porn is dangerous like booze and drugs as a “cop out” — and says he needs to support it … instead of demonizing it.

Chernoff’s Confidential – 08/18-2017

Here’s a look at my Confidential for Friday August 18th. Enjoy and if you a story for a future Confidential you can email it to matt@680thefan.com or tweet me @realmattlanta

NFLPA leader: Lockout or strike in 2021 a ‘virtual certainty’

Profootballtalk.com

A labor disagreement between the NFLPA and NFL is imminent, according to one executive.

De Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, told The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer that a lockout or strike in 2021 is “almost a virtual certainty.”

“I think that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout in 2021 is almost a virtual certainty,” Smith told Breer.

Ezekiel Elliot plans to appeal his six-game suspension

By: Ryan Glasspiegel – The Big Lead.com

NFC running back Ezekiel Elliot (21) applauds during the second half of the NFL Pro Bowl football game. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
 Ezekiel Elliott’s plan to appeal his six-game suspension continues to take shape. Today, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reported that there are documented text messages between Elliott’s accuser and one of her friends in which the accuser broached the idea of selling a sex tape with herself and Elliott:

The exchange is contained in the 160-page report prepared by NFL investigators into allegations that Elliott committed multiple acts of violence against ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson. Within that report, investigators noted a September 2016 text message exchange between Thompson and a friend, in which Thompson raised the idea of selling sex videos of herself and Elliott. During the conversation, Thompson’s friend suggested, “we could black mail him w[ith] that,” to which Thompson responded, “I want to bro.” The NFL’s report also stated that Thompson admitted registering an email address titled “ezekielelliott sex vids” in August 2016.

Robinson’s full report features the entire text exchange.

Earlier this week, we learned that Elliott alleged that Thompson made repeated threats to ruin his career, including, according to Elliott, saying, “You are a black male athlete. I’m a white girl. They are not going to believe you.”

Elliott also filed a harassment report with the Frisco, Texas police after Thompson allegedly called him 50-plus times in less than eight hours.

Clearly, the intent of these leaks is to impugn Thompson’s credibility. But it doesn’t change the fact that the NFL determined Thompson is a victim of domestic violence, finding evidence that Elliott “engaged in physical violence” against her three times in one week. A victim doesn’t need to behave perfectly to remain a victim.

All of the information leaked was in the hands of the NFL when the league made the conclusion that domestic violence had occurred and that Elliott would be suspended for six games. It remains to be seen if this information, now that it is public, will have any impact on Elliott’s appeal, given that it is being heard by the same people who presided over the first investigation and punishment process.

How Netflix changed David Johnson's diet

PFT.com

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson smiles as he gets ready to put on his football helmet during an NFL football training camp. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

There’s a fad spreading through the NFL, and Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is among the latest to pick it up: a plant-based diet.

After watching two food documentaries on Netflix, Johnson and his wife, Meghan, both adopted a plant-based diet about a month ago. Thus far, according to Johnson, an All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection a year ago, he feels better since (mostly) removing meat from his diet.

He reported to training camp at 223 pounds, lighter than he had been in the past. His lower weight made him more agile, which Johnson said benefited him as a receiver, but he needed to maintain a certain weight to be effective, so he began adding meat in his meals.

By and large, he’s cut most meat out of his diet and has noticed he has more energy and less fatigue.

Johnson changed his diet after watching two documentaries on Netflix: “What the Health” and “Forks Over Knives.” Both films expound on the benefits and virtues of a plant-based diet, using support from research papers and experts. Those documentaries, plus their own research, led the Johnsons to make the switch.

Report: New Marlins owners will seriously consider trading Stanton

Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton prepares to bat during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire, and it’s getting pretty smoky on the Giancarlo Stanton trade front.

Earlier this week a report said Stanton cleared revocable waivers, which is not too surprising given the slugger’s bloated contract. Clearing waivers means Stanton could be traded prior to the end of the month. Some teams reportedly have shown interest in Stanton, but they would likely need the Marlins to chip in some money to cover what the $295 million Stanton is owed.

Then on Wednesday, a report said the team was open to trading Stanton. As if that message were not clear enough, Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman says the Marlins will seriously consider trading Stanton this winter.

The Yankees, Giants, Cardinals and Phillies are all teams that have been linked to Stanton, who this year has set the Marlins’ single-season record for home runs.

The Marlins are in the process of being sold, and the new owners are said to have a desire to shed payroll. Getting rid of the $25-plus million a year Stanton is owed would be the easiest way to do just that.

Hawks land jersey sponsorship with Atlanta-based health company led by Dr. Oz

The Atlanta Hawks have landed a uniform sponsorship for the upcoming season with health and wellness engagement platform Sharecare that will place the company’s logo on the left shoulder of the team jersey, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The agreement between the Hawks and Sharecare, according to the report, spans for five years; the NBA‘s new pilot program that made the ad space on the jersey available is only a three-year program, but could be extended.

Atlanta is the 13th team to take advantage of the NBA’s new rule that allows a team to sell the coveted ad space on the jersey, joining the likes of the Cleveland CavaliersBoston Celtics and others. Previous deals have varied from $2.5 million to $10 million annually, and although financial terms haven’t been disclosed for this particular agreement, Sharecare CEO Jeff Arnold said it might be in the mid-range of that price point.

“We’re not the lowest, and we’re not the highest,” Arnold told the paper.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz from television, is also one of the founders of Sharecare.

Monetary value of the ad space will vary from team to team, as reports from July suggested the NBA champion Golden State Warriors were seeking $15 to $20 million for their ad space, which is still yet to be sold.

According to Hawks chief revenue officer Andrew Saltzman, the deal with Sharecare is the team’s second largest annual sponsorship, behind only the Philips Arena naming rights deal.

Report: Ric Flair’s drinking problem contributed to health issues

Former professional wrestler Ric Flair poses for photographs. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

WWE legend Ric Flair remains in the hospital after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed medical issue, and one report claims his admitted problem with drinking alcohol helped lead the 68-year-old to where he is.

A source close to the Flair family told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated that the Nature Boy had part of his bowel removed after being diagnosed with an intestinal blockage. Reports of Flair having heart issues are said to be inaccurate.

According to SI, Flair’s drinking problem has “exacerbated his issues.” Earlier this month, Flair admitted that drinking alcohol has been his “one vice.”

“I had one vice,” Flair said. “I’m not going to point my finger at anybody else. My vice was drinking. I didn’t have any pain issues, addiction problems, marijuana, cocaine, nothing like that. It’s a fact that I kept myself up all night and always had a good time.”

Flair is expected to recover, though he could need to spend an extended period in the hospital after the surgery led to further complications. His fiancee, Wendy Barlow, wrote on Facebook Wednesday that Ric has had “multiple organ problems.”

“Just want to give an update to my friends and family as I have been unable to talk on the phone without crying and just feel shocked over events,” Barlow said. “I took Ric to the hospital Friday night with severe abdominal pain. From that moment on it all seems like a nightmare … multiple organ problems.”

While Flair’s family has yet to reveal the exact nature of his medical problem, a social media post from his daughter indicated the situation is serious. Hopefully the Nature Boy gets some good news in the coming days.

Mayweather/McGregor Fight Attracts a Slew of Big Celebrities

FILE – In this May 2, 2015, file photo: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

The Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor fight will be riddled with celebrities … and TMZ Sports knows some who will be front and center.

Here’s a partial list:

— Angelina Jolie

— Drake

— Elon Musk

— Diddy

— Mark Wahlberg

— Denzel Washington

— Charlize Theron

— LL Cool J

Nov. 9, 2016, file photo: Conor McGregor. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

— Jamie Foxx

— LeBron James

— Bob Kraft

— Rick Ross

— Adam Levine

— Michael Bay

There are other celebs who have bought tickets under the radar and will just show up. And there are a bunch of celebs who will go to Vegas a week from Saturday but won’t go near the ring. They’ll watch the fight at party venues and attend what everyone expects to be the wildest after-parties of the year.

Chernoff – The Confidential 08/09/2017

Patriots first NFL franchise to purchase team planes, Colin Kaepernick Did NOT Turn Down NFL Contract, Spike Lee Pushing Rally for Colin Kaepernick at NFL HQ, NBA is Changing Scheduling Rules to Avoid So Many Players Resting, Kobe Bryant’s Extremely Rare Air Jordan 3s Sell For $30,000, Umpire Joe West Suspended Three Games for Calling Adrian Beltre Biggest Complainer, Disney Cites Higher Rights Fees, Less NBA Finals Games and Talent Terminations in Big ESPN Profit Decline, and David Letterman Will Return to TV in a New Netflix Series!

Patriots first NFL franchise to purchase team planes

The New England Patriots set a new bar for NFL luxury when they became the team to first purchase their own airplane.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the Patriots not only bought one, but two Boeing 767 airplanes complete with the team’s red, white and blue logo. The planes reportedly come equipped with first-class seating throughout. Even better, some of the seats completely recline.

Insert picture of quarterback Tom Brady snoozing away in his custom Under Armor PJs.

Per the report, the Patriots bought extended-range planes that can fly up to 12 hours nonstop. The plan is that one plane will be the primary one used for transportation to and from game locations. The other is considered the backup, according to the report.

The increasing cost of charter traveling and limitations by major airlines likely had a lot to do with the Patriots’ decision in taking traveling matters into their own hands.

According to the report, the Patriots plan to rent out the planes when they are not in use during the regular season.

 

TMZ - Colin Kaepernick Did NOT Turn Down NFL Contract

San Francisco 49ers ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) stands on the sideline. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Colin Kaepernick‘s camp is adamantly denying he turned down an NFL contract in order to “play up the race card” … calling the report a “bold faced lie.”

Multiple people in the QB’s inner circle say there’s absolutely zero truth to a Daily Caller report that Kaep shot down an offer from an unnamed NFL team in order to stir up “a media frenzy that eventually leads to a more lucrative deal.”

As one well-connected Kapernick source tells TMZ Sports, “Colin NEVER had any talks about any contract or any money” with any NFL team.

Several teams have reportedly considered making an offer to Kaep — including the Ravens and the Dolphins — but as of yet, no one has pulled the trigger.

TMZ - Spike Lee Pushing Rally for Colin Kaepernick at NFL HQ

Spike Lee attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Dunkirk”. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Spike Lee is clearly fed up that Colin Kaepernick is unemployed — and now he’s going to bat for the QB. 

The legendary director of movies like “Do the Right Thing,” “Jungle Fever” and “Malcolm X” is promoting an event called, “United We Stand. Rally for Colin Kaepernick.”

It’s all going down on Wednesday, August 23 in front of NFL Headquarters in NY. Multiple organizations are on board — including the Justice League NYC and the Empowerment Movement. 

The Justice League is the same organization that made the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts that a bunch of athletes wore in the wake of the Eric Garner killing.

NBA is Changing Scheduling Rules to Avoid So Many Players Resting

The NBA has issued a memo to teams this week advising of scheduling changes to impact player participation, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

The season has been extended for a week starting earlier in October, and several rules are being put in place to disincentivize the stars from resting so much. ESPN, which is reporting on this, is also in a position to be a beneficiary of changes, as a broadcast partner. Last year, there were several moments where ESPN on-air personalities complained about stars resting in primetime games.

The changes include:

  • No 4 games in 5 days stretches;
  • Fewer than 18 games over every 30 day period;
  • Reduction of 5 games in 7 days stretches for each team, by cutting those types of scenarios in half (40 total occurrences next season versus 90 times last year);
  • 40 fewer back-to-back games this upcoming season;
  • More weekend games, even during football season.

We’ll see if these changes cause the star players to participate and not avoid certain primetime matchups during the lengthy regular season.

Kobe Bryant's Extremely Rare Air Jordan 3s Sell For $30,000

FILE – Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24). (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas, File)

The only pair of Air Jordan 3’s ever made for Kobe Bryant has raked in an insane amount of cash on the auction block … selling for more than $30,000!!

Here’s why they’re so freakin’ expensive … the kicks were exclusively made for the Black Mamba when he was in between shoe deals back in 2002. According to Nice Kicks, he even tested them out in a couple games that season.

But Kobe never ended up signing with the Jumpman. So, as legend has it, this is one of the only pairs of Kobe Bryant Jordan 3s in existence.

No word on who coughed up the $30,400 for the shoes … but it’s gotta be a big-time Kobe fan.

Umpire Joe West Suspended Three Games for Calling Adrian Beltre Biggest Complainer

Umpire Joe West. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Umpire Joe West has been suspended three games for telling USA Today that Adrian Beltre is the league’s biggest complainer.

West, who has worked the third-most games in league history including five World Series, made the comment in a wide-ranging interview that was published on June 20. In the piece, West gives his views on how the game has changed, the best pitchers and hitters he’s ever seen and much more. 

When asked about who the biggest complainer he’s dealt with is, West said the following:

“It’s got to be Adrian Beltre. Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, “that ball is outside.’

“I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.’’

In the interview, West clarified that he and Beltre are on good terms, and Beltre later said he thought the suspension was unnecessary and that West told him he was joking.

It is unclear whether the league waited to enact the suspension or if it was given shortly after the interview and West was appealing until now. 

“Joking interactions between umpires and players are a routine part of the game,” the World Umpires Association said in a statement. “We disagree strongly with the decision to punish Joe West simply for sharing a humorous exchange with a player.”

Disney Cites Higher Rights Fees, Less NBA Finals Games and Talent Terminations in Big ESPN Profit Decline

“Mickey Mouse”: Down, but is he out? (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Disney stock was down about 4% in after-hours trading after the company announced that it missed revenue forecasts. A large part of the reason for that was their cable business, and a large portion of that is ESPN.

Said Disney’s earnings report:

Cable Networks revenues for the quarter decreased 3% to $4.1 billion and operating income decreased 23% to $1.5 billion. Lower operating income was due to a decline at ESPN. The decrease at ESPN was due to higher programming costs, lower advertising revenue and severance and contract termination costs, partially offset by affiliate revenue growth.

The programming cost increase was due to a contractual rate increase for NBA programming, partially offset by a decrease in the cost of time for ESPN programming aired on the ABC Television Network. Lower advertising revenue was due to a decrease in average viewership and lower units delivered including the impact of two fewer NBA finals games, partially offset by higher rates. Affiliate revenue growth was due to contractual rate increases, partially offset by a decline in subscribers.

Breaking this down bit by bit:

  • Everybody knew that the costs were going up sharply. ESPN’s NBA costs more than tripled this season, going from $400 million per year to $1.4 billion.
  • When ESPN laid off about 100 on-air talents in April, they ate the costs of all the employees’ future money right away. Many of the people laid off had multiple years left on their contracts, and instead of incurring those costs as they came ESPN decided it was better to take their medicine now with them.
  • It was a big deal for ESPN that the NBA Finals were five games this year when they were seven in 2016. The way this works on Disney’s financials is ESPN pays ABC for the airtime and then gets the revenue. So, while they had to pay less for airtime, they lost out on potentially over $100 million revenue right there (Ad Age estimated they’d lose up to $130 million if the series was a sweep).
  • This year, ESPN aired the Western Conference Finals, which were a sweep. Last year they had the Eastern Conference Finals, which went six games. That difference also matters a good deal.
  • While cord cutting continues to affect ESPN — they lost about 2-3 million cable subscribers year over year (and gained some of those back in skinny bundles like Sling TV), they made more money in the quarter than they did in 2016 because they charged the remaining subscribers’ cable companies more per month.

Much will be made of the announcements about an OTT streaming network and acquiring a majority stake in BAM Tech as mechanisms for mitigating further attrition in cable subscribers. It will be interesting to see how many people are willing to pay money to stream the niche sports.

David Letterman Will Return to TV in a New Netflix Series

Former talk show host David Letterman is heading to NETFLIX. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

David Letterman is preparing to return to television in his first continuing series since stepping down as the host of CBS’s “Late Show” in 2015.

Netflix announced on Tuesday that it had picked up a new show from Mr. Letterman, the comedian and broadcaster.

Each hourlong episode of the series, which will run for six episodes next year, will feature a long-form interview between Mr. Letterman and a guest, as well as segments in which he explores the wider world.

Mr. Letterman said on Tuesday in a phone interview that ever since he signed off from his “Late Show” duties, “Everybody would come to me and say, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I kept saying, ‘Well, jeez, I did what I wanted to do.’”

But his new series, which does not yet have a title, “feels like exactly what I want at this stage of my life,” he added.

As Mr. Letterman described it, his Netflix series would not much resemble his past network late-night shows.

His current stage of planning, Mr. Letterman said, was to “write down a list of people that you know you’re not going to be able to talk to, and those are the people that I want to try to get to talk to.”

He said he had already booked one such guest “that I’m delighted about, that I’m told I can’t reveal.”

Mr. Letterman was also adamant that he would keep his beard for the Netflix series.

“Between you and me, the beard is to cover up botched plastic surgery,” he said. “The beard has to stay. It would be hideous. Children would be frightened.GH

Chernoff – The Confidential For 08/03/17

Luiz Gohara has strong outing for the Gwinnett Braves, BTW another Braves pitching prospect shined last night as well, Tom Brady turns 40 today…So we now have that in common, Former NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart offers Colin Kaepernick some advice, Von Miller: 30 sacks in a season is ‘definitely doable’, Where ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ Will Be Week 2 (Probably), Allen Iverson Suspended 1 Game For BIG3 No-Show, Floyd Mayweather: I’ll Make $300 Mil for McGregor Fight, Maybe More, AAAAND Suge Knight indicted for threatening ‘Straight Outta Compton’ director.

Luiz Gohara has strong outing for the Gwinnett Braves

Gwinnett starter Luiz Gohara allowed just one run in six innings and Ronald Acuna had an RBI single as Gwinnett beat the Norfolk Tides 5-2 Wednesday night in Lawrenceville.

Overall Gohara – 6 IP, 5H, 1R, 1BB, 8K He has 112 strikeouts in 99 IP this year. 

Acuna was 1-for-3 and is hitting .325.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .217.

BTW another Braves pitching prospect shined last night as well

RHP prospect Bryse Wilson of The Rome Braves: Last night: 6 IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 6K

‪Season: 8-5, 2.65 ERA (3rd in SAL) with 8.8 K/9

Tom Brady turns 40 today...So we now have that in common

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski came up with a pretty good idea for a 40th birthday present for quarterback Tom Brady when he said he gets Brady touchdowns because all the quarterback wants is for his receivers to catch the ball.

More importantly what does GIsele get him? Does she dig into the outfit drawer?!?!

Former NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart offers Colin Kaepernick some advice

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

As things stand now Colin Kaepernick remains the biggest-named free agent in football with training camps getting going. And everyone seemingly has an opinion on his situation. Former NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart is no different.

“Right now he’s not giving himself a chance,” Stewart said, via NFL No Huddle (h/t Pro Football Talk). “I don’t think it’s the owners; I think it’s more or less Colin Kaepernick in my mind. Stay off of social media, and when it comes to the political side of everything, you can express yourself, you can do it quietly.

Stewart seems to be blaming Kaepernick for his current situation. It’s pretty much the same stance future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis has taken recently.

No matter where we stand on the Kaepernick-led National Anthem protest, we can all agree that his on-field resume speaks for itself. The former Super Bowl quarterback put up 18 total touchdowns compared to four interceptions for the then talent-stricken San Francisco 49ers last season.

Stewart seems to agree with this sentiment.

“You see what’s taking place with him right now,” the former Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback said. “He’s not even getting a chance to play and he’s better than 90 percent plus of the backups playing in the National Football League, let alone some starters that are playing right now.”

Von Miller: 30 sacks in a season is 'definitely doable'

Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack during an NFL football training camp Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Oakland Raiders star Khalil Mack recently told Peter King that he wants to record 30 sacks for the 2017 season. While the goal certainly is lofty, it’s something that Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller sees as realistic.

“I think it is,” Miller said, per Nick Kosmider, of The Denver Post. “You’ve got to come out and get 10 in that first month, which is doable. You get two-and-a-half and then get two-and-a-half the next game and two-and-a-half the game after that. You might miss a game and then you get two-and-a-half again and you have 10 in five games. Then you get three, two, three. It’s definitely doable.”

When you think of it that way, it seems possible.

Still, it has to be pointed out that Mack has never recorded more than 15 sacks in a season. Miller’s career high, meanwhile, if 18.5. Those are great numbers, but a far cry from 30. In fact, nobody in NFL history has come remotely close to 30. Michael Strahan’s single-season record is 22.5.

Where ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ Will Be Week 2 (Probably)

Here’s where ESPN’s College GameDay will probably be Week 2:

We now know, officially, where ESPN’s College GameDay will be Week 1 of the 2017 college football season.

The pregame show announced on Twitter this morning that it’s headed to Atlanta for the Alabama-Florida State showdown. It could, potentially, be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. We’ve never had that to start the season.

So, where will they be Week 2?

The logical guess: Columbus.

Ohio State, a likely preseason top-five team, is set to host the now-Lincoln Riley led Oklahoma Sooners at Ohio Stadium.

GameDay has a couple of other good options – most notably, Clemson hosts Auburn in a 7 p.m. E.T. contest on ESPN that day – but we can’t see the show passing on the opportunity to be in Columbus for a top 10 showdown.

Ohio State and Oklahoma are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. E.T. on Sept. 9.

Allen Iverson Suspended 1 Game For BIG3 No-Show

FILE – In this July 16, 2017 file photo, 3’s Company coach Allen Iverson yells to his team during a game against Tri State during in the BIG3 Basketball League in Philadelphia. Iverson did not show up for the Big3’s games in Dallas, and the league says it is investigating his absence. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz, File)

It’s shades of 2000 all over again for Allen Iverson — who was just suspended 1 game for blowing off the BIG3 in Dallas. 

As we previously reported, The Answer was a no-show in Dallas last weekend when his team — 3’s Company — was scheduled to take on Team Power. 

Iverson had been hitting the casinos hard in Chicago before the game — and was spotted at a Chicago restaurant Sunday night, after blowing off the league. 

Iverson apologized to Ice Cube but did not explain his absence publicly.

Floyd Mayweather: I'll Make $300 Mil for McGregor Fight, Maybe More

May 2, 2015, file photo, Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates during his welterweight title fight against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Floyd Mayweather is expecting to make more than $300 MILLION from his fight with Conor McGregor … which would break down to more than $8 MILLION per minute in the ring. 

The boxer spelled it all out for Showtime’s “All Access: Mayweather v. McGregor” — explaining why no other professional athlete in the world is more bankable. 

“I mean, am I the highest-paid athlete out there? And just coming back? We not talking about no contract. We not talking about no contract for no 4 years, or no contract for no 5 years. I can do it in 36 minutes. $300 (million) or better. In 36 minutes.”

Not a bad deal. 

As for Conor, the UFC fighter is expecting to rake in around $100 mil for the August 26 superfight — but it’ll be largest payday an MMA fighter has ever made … so he’s not complaining either.

Suge Knight indicted for threatening ‘Straight Outta Compton’ director

July 7, 2015, file photo – Marion Hugh “Suge” Knight sits for a hearing in his murder case in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Attorneys for Knight are returning to court to seek information about prosecution witnesses in a murder case against the former rap music mogul. (Patrick T. Fallon/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Suge Knight, the former rap impresario and founder of Death Row Records, has been indicted by a grand jury in Los Angeles County for making criminal threats.

The violation cited on court papers obtained by Variety dates to Aug. 8, 2014, while F. Gary Gray was shooting the movie “Straight Outta Compton.”

Knight is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 3.In January, 2015, Knight was arrested on murder charges for running over Terry Carter while on the film’s Compton set with his car.

According to TMZ, Knight was “extremely unhappy with his portrayal in the movie” and threatened the director by text. The website says Gray was interviewed by Los Angeles police at the Slauson Swap Meet where “Straight Outta Compton” was filming.

It is the latest in a long line of legal problems for Knight, dating back to 1987, when his then-girlfriend filed a restraining order against him and he shot a man in the leg and wrist while attempting to steal his vehicle. The legal troubles continued to pile up since then. In 2014, he was arrested in Las Vegas in connection with an armed robbery, along with comedian Katt Williams. That same year, he was shot at a pre-MTV VMAs party hosted by Chris Brown.

The Confidential For 07/07/2017

Today in the Confidential: Tennessee AD predicts ‘orange will be the predominant shade’ during matchup with Georgia Tech, Aaron Rodgers will be first QB with 300 TDs before 100 interceptions, Tom Brady to release book in September, Kris Bryant loses Final Vote, Cubs set wrong kind of All Star Game history, Ringside seats for Mayweather-McGregor fight selling for nearly $100,000, Sylvester Stallone hints that a Creed sequel could involve Ivan Drago and How to get free Chick-fil-A next week.

Tennessee AD predicts ‘orange will be the predominant shade’ during matchup with Georgia Tech

Tennessee’s athletic director John Currie. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Even though Mercedes-Benz Stadium is less than three miles from Georgia Tech and Bobby Dodd Stadium, University of Tennessee athletic director John Currie is confident in Vol fans’ ability to show up for Tennessee’s Sept. 4 matchup with Georgia Tech.

“It’s a neutral site game and the Vol nation will be in there in force, and I’ll bet you orange will be the predominant shade, but we’re still the team that’s got to get on the bus for three hours,” Currie said on Knoxville’s WKGN-AM 1340 on Wednesday. “I’m proud and pleased with the way our staff is going about preparing for that, and I know our team is going to be ready to play.”

Out of the 71,000 seats in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tennessee was contracted to buy 25,000 while Georgia Tech will purchase 30,000.

After both teams finished last season 9-4 and lost their respective starting quarterbacks to the NFL, the Vols and the Yellow Jackets will open their 2017 seasons at Atlanta’s newest stadium.

“This is a tough business, we got new quarterbacks coming this year, excited about them, the quarterbacks in our program that are competing for our job,” Currie said, according to Mike Griffith of SEC Country. “It’s a big transition opportunity for us, and we have an extraordinarily difficult schedule, having to go down to Atlanta to play in that game against Georgia Tech.”

Aaron Rodgers will be first QB with 300 TDs before 100 interceptions

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers participates in an NFL football practice Tuesday May 23, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Ten players in NFL history have thrown 300 or more touchdown passes. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is poised to become the 11th — and the first to do so before throwing 100 interceptions.

As noted by Elisha Twerski, Rodgers needs three touchdown passes to become the 11th player in NFL history with 300. The other 10 quarterbacks averaged 171 interceptions before throwing their 300th touchdown. Rodgers has thrown 72 interceptions.

Here’s a look at how many interceptions each of the other 10 quarterbacks with 300 touchdown passes had thrown at the time they got No. 300:

Peyton Manning is the NFL’s all-time leader with 539 career touchdown passes. He had 152 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Brett Favre threw 508 career touchdown passes. He had 175 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Drew Brees has 465 career touchdown passes. He had 154 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Tom Brady has 456 career touchdown passes. He had 115 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Dan Marino threw 420 career touchdown passes. He had 169 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Fran Tarkenton threw 342 career touchdown passes. He had 219 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Eli Manning has 320 career touchdown passes. He had 205 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Philip Rivers has 314 career touchdown passes. He had 146 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Ben Roethlisberger has 301 career touchdown passes. He had 160 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

John Elway retired with exactly 300 career touchdown passes and 226 career interceptions.

Btw Matt Ryan has 240 TD’s and 114 Int’s

With just 115 interceptions at the time he threw touchdown No. 300, Brady had the fewest picks of anyone to reach the mark. Rodgers will throw No. 300 with about 40 fewer interceptions than Brady had.

Tom Brady to release book in September

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady #12 . (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will begin his push for a sixth Super Bowl ring in September while he also tries to head to the top of the best seller list.

Simon & Schuster announced in a press release on Thursday that they have acquired the rights to The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, which will be released in hardcover, digital and audio formats in September.

The “oversized, heavily illustrated, revealing yet deeply practical” book will focus on the approaches to training, nutrition and overall well-being that Brady has developed over the years. It will also include “step-by-step action steps” designed for readers to use in order to increase their own productivity in a way similar to the Patriots quarterback.

“We expect this book to become an essential source for the way athletes of all ages live and train, whether they are in high school or in retirement,” said Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster. “The fact that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time gives him the authority to write this book — but the fact that the principles that he’s espousing go well beyond sports is one of the reasons readers are going to pay close attention to his message.”

Brady previously released a cookbook that sold well despite a $200 price tag. There’s no word on how much this tome will set readers back, but it’s a good bet that there will be plenty of them willing to plunk down what’s necessary for a glimpse into Brady’s life away from the field.er argues that he is not competent to stand trial.

Kris Bryant loses Final Vote & Cubs set wrong kind of All Star Game history

Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant (17) scores during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

While Kris Bryant was a nominee for the National League’s Final Vote, the spot ultimately went to Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. As far as defending World Series champions go, that puts the Chicago Cubs in a dubious class by themselves.

ESPN Stats & Info ‪@ESPNStatsInfo

Kris Bryant is not an All-Star, so the Cubs are the 1st World Series champ ever with 0 All-Stars that made it previous year (‪@EliasSports)

In fact, barring any replacements, nobody who was on the 2016 World Series champions will be in Miami. Closer Wade Davis is Chicago’s lone All-Star, and he was with the Kansas City Royals in 2016.

It’s no secret that the Cubs’ World Series defense has not gone smooth. At the beginning of the year, it would have been unfathomable that one of baseball’s most-talented rosters wouldn’t feature more than the minimum one Chicago player. By contrast, in 2016, the Cubs had seven All-Stars including five starters and the entire National League starting infield.

Ringside seats for Mayweather-McGregor Fight selling for nearly $100,000

FILE – Conor McGregor gestures toward fans. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
FILE – Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates during his welterweight title fight. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

The upcoming Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather boxing fight will be quite the

spectacle, and attending the bout will not be cheap.

Tickets for the Aug. 26 bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas are available on the venue’s box office website. The prices range from $2,425 at the lowest to $98,500 at the highest. The low-end tickets are for nosebleed seats way at the top. The best ringside seats are priced at $98,500, while others in that area are around $80,000 per ticket.

That is a ton of money and more than a year’s salary for most people, but for a fight fan like celebrity Dave Chappelle, it could be well worth the buck, especially when you consider it could be Mayweather’s last fight ever.

Back when Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao two years ago, StubHub’s top tickets sold for nearly $41,000. Whether T-Mobile Arena is able to sell premium seats for double what the Mayweather-Pacquiao seats went for remains to be seen. One thing that helps their effort is that McGregor, who is a UFC champion and from Ireland, brings in an entirely different fan base compared to when two top boxers meet.

In other words, don’t count anything out for this one, especially when the revenue estimates for the fight are north of a half-billion.

Sylvester Stallone hints that a Creed sequel could involve Ivan Drago

Sylvester Stallone, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Could we see Creed vs. Drago in the ring again?

It’s been more than a year since we’ve heard anything about a sequel to Creed, a continuation of the Rocky Balboa saga that was a breakout success for star Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler. Last January, MGM said there would undoubtedly be a sequel, which shouldn’t be a surprise for a film that earned $173.5 million worldwide (against a $35 million budget).

Since then, however, there hasn’t been much movement on a follow-up. MGM eyed a November 2017 release, but that’s not going to happen. Coogler is busy with Marvel’s Black Panther, for one thing. Jordan is highly in demand as an actor.

But Sylvester Stallone has apparently been thinking about a Creed sequel quite a bit and has been sharing those thoughts recently with fans on Instagram (and a #CREED2 hashtag). Creed introduced us to Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s rival and friend Apollo Creed. What if Adonis ended up facing the offspring of Ivan Drago, the man who killed Apollo in the ring (in Rocky IV)? Pursuing some form of revenge against the man who killed his father, even if it was through his son, would certainly be an intriguing storyline.

Such a story could also answer the question of whatever happened to Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren) after he lost to Rocky in mother Russia. Was his boxing career over after that? Did the Russian government reassign him to other tasks? Was the program that seemingly built the perfect, indestructible fighter discontinued? (this could be an opportunity to comment on recent Russian doping scandals.) Maybe Drago’s son would hold a grudge over that.

That may not be a storyline fans ever wanted to revisit. The Rocky movies have always been about Rocky Balboa’s career and life. But the saga has moved on to Adonis Creed’s story. Rocky may still be a part of that, as his mentor and trainer. And if a sequel did somehow involve Ivan Drago and his family, Rocky could certainly be a part of that. After all, he’s the guy who didn’t throw in the towel when it was clear that Apollo was overmatched and was being severely beaten. Both fighter and mentor would have some issues to confront in such a story.

Another plotline for a Creed sequel could also involve flashbacks to Apollo and Rocky during their heyday. Variety reported last January that one of the ideas Stallone and Coogler were bouncing around was going back into the past with the two boxers. Maybe those flashbacks would also involve Ivan Drago.

But Stallone is 70 years old, Lundgren will turn 60 this year and Carl Weathers is 69. All three actors are still in outstanding shape, but going back in the past would surely involved some digital de-aging effects, like what we saw in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this year with Kurt Russell. That would make Creed 2 much more expensive than its predecessor.

Maybe Stallone is being taken a bit too literally here, and is talking more about the sons of Creed and Drago facing each other. He mentioned “sins of the father” in one of the Instagram posts. What isn’t clear is if this is entirely Stallone’s idea or if this is something he’s been talking with Coogler about. Black Panther will be released next February and perhaps a Creed sequel could be his next project. (That is, unless Marvel ends up wanting Coogler on a Black Panther follow-up. But with Marvel’s big slate of films, there will probably be time for him to revisit Adonis Creed.)

Regardless, it looks like Adonis Creed and the entire Rocky saga aren’t quite done yet with the past.

How To Get Free Chick-Fil-A Next Week

Chick-fil-A is giving away tons of free food on July 11 for its annual “Cow Appreciation Day.”

The fried-chicken chain will offer a free entrée — which includes chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and more — to anyone dressed in “cow attire,” which can include a full costume or simply a cow-themed accessory like a handbag.

The promotion applies to breakfast, lunch, and dinner items for adults from the time that Chick-fil-A’s restaurants open to 7 p.m. 

Children in cow-inspired attire will be given a free kid’s meal.

The event is Chick-fil-A’s biggest promotion of the year.

The chain gave away nearly 1.6 million free entrée to cow-dressed customers last year, according to the company