The Final Interview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The NFL Draft is upon us and while the ‘industrial draft complex’ is in full swing this time of year, this is in the enter a hiring event. Some players will be hired with a big salary, others with a low salary and some will not get hired at all. But some of those trying to get a job know this and there are some of the those who deserve a job anyway.

Scooby Wright III. Yes you read that right and that is his name. His twitter handle, TwoStarScoob. Why? That’s how many “stars” he was given as high school football recruit (max is five).

Scooby is a linebacker who came out of Arizona after his junior season in order to get a job in the NFL. A junior season in which he only played in a few games due to multiple injuries. He returned from all of the injuries to help Arizona to a bowl victory over New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl. A game in which he had 15 total tackles, 11 of those solo and two sacks. Oh and he was also PAC-12 defensive player of the year in 2014.

But Scooby will not be drafted/hired in the first round and probably not the second either.

He isn’t the “prototypical NFL linebacker” when it comes to size and speed. The scouts will say he can’t do this or can’t do that. The hiring managers will find something on the resume that they do not like.

Scooby is a smart guy and realizes what the doubters will say. He knows that some things on his resume don’t pass muster with the hiring manager. That is why his post in The Players’ Tribune is all the more impressive.

Scooby understands that the NFL Draft is a step in the job interview process. The combine, the private workouts, all of it is part of a process. And like applying for any job, there are requirements that you just don’t have.

Not enough experience, no previous experience in this or that and the new favorite…not a good culture fit. For Scooby it’s the size (six foot even) and speed (4.87 40 yard dash) and the fact that he hasn’t been in an NFL locker room before.

But before you feel too bad Scooby just remember, someone will give him a chance and he will in all reality prove to those that past on him……shame on you.

Another job candidate is Colorado fullback Jordan Murphy.

Murphy never carried the ball at Colorado but is trying to make it in the NFL anyway. His story reminds us all why you should always follow your dreams.

Murphy was in the Aurora theatre the night that James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others back in 2012.

So Murphy put in his application with the NFL. He knows his qualifications are probably not what the hiring manager is looking for but he also knows that he only needs one person to give him a shot.

As you listen to ‘draft experts’ and analysis from various coached during the 2016 NFL Draft, just think to yourself, ‘would I want my interview on TV?’

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The Knight Is King

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Phil Knight is worth more money ($25 billion-ish) than the richest owner of any of the five major sports. His NIKE empire is the biggest, baddest kid on the block when it comes to sports shoes and apparel. This past weekend he was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

Another Step Closer

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Sling TV continues to slash and burn it’s way through the jungle of sports rights. Last week it announced that you can now get a FOX package on the service. This includes FS1 and FOX Regional Sports Networks, giving cord cutters another reason to move to Sling TV.

NEW SLING TV OFFERINGThe announcement kind of came in under the radar. It was all of a sudden…there and according to The Verge, you can get this new ‘FOX’ package (which is in beta) along with the original Sling TV package that has all of the ESPN channels including ESPN3.

The big thing here is the FOX Regional Sports Networks (FSN). So if you live in New York and cannot get the Yankees because you are a Comcast subscriber, well now you have an option. This of course depends on if you live in the footprint of the YES Network. While I have yet to confirm it, I am confident that you can cut the cord in Tennessee and get FSN Tennessee with this new package (someone in Nashville confirm this for me please).

I have always made the argument that cord cutting is really possible for the sports fan but this addition only adds to the argument. Now there are still a lot of caveats to cutting the cord. NBC Sports is still not available without a cable or satellite subscription which makes watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs a bit of a problem. There is also the issue of watching local teams in a market like Denver or San Francisco.

None the less, this move by Sling TV is welcome news to the cord cutting sports fan.

Kings Of Nothing

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


While the NBA world has marveled at the skill and domination of the defending champion Golden State Warriors this season, 90 minutes east of Oakland (give or take how bad traffic is) is one of the NBA’s biggest head scratching franchises, the Sacramento Kings. The same franchise that will soon be on it’s ninth head coach since the ’06-’07 season. It’s time to say that it’s not the coaches fault.

The Kings has a good run under in the early 2000’s under head coach Rick Adelman and owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. There were some legendary playoff series between them and LA Lakers that really got the Central Valley of California revved up. Those days are long gone and the Kings have yet to be back to the playoffs since Adelman was the coach.

The Maloof’s sold the team to Vivek Ranadivé back in 2013 and it’s gotten worse despite the fact that Ranadive was able to get a new downtown arena built that will open next season. This season was marked by, well, a lot. The star player hates the coach, the coach hates the front office and the front office is in waaaay over it’s head.

Other than that things are fine.

The sad thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way. The Warriors were almost as bad for a very long time. Between the RUN TMC days until a few years ago with the arrival of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, being a Warriors fan was nothing to brag about. But unlike the Warriors who finally put all the pieces together, the Kings seem to grab nothing but round pegs for square holes.

CousinsAll is not lost for the Kings. They have talent on the roster in DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rando just to name a few. They were within arms length of a playoff spot this season despite the drama. The real problem is is that the front office is asleep at the wheel….or driving from the backseat.

Vlade Divac has no business being a GM of an NBA franchise at this point in his career. He is a great guy and an icon of the franchise but the Kings need a serious GM with some experience. Once they find that then they can go get a head coach. Since Ranadive took over as owner, the front office and head coach have not been on the same page and the results on the court reflect this disfunction. That is a must if you are to be a playoff team in the NBA…or any sports franchise for that matter.

So while the Warriors break NBA records and have the star player of the NBA on their roster, the Kings fans will have to wait another couple season before they will see playoff basketball in the River City. But on the bright-side, at least they get a new arena next year.

Twitter Winner

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Twitter beat out Amazon and Verizon among others for the right to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this fall. It comes as a surprise to many but in the end it may be the right move by both the NFL and Twitter.

The deal is interesting for many reasons, one of which is how is Twitter going to pull this off? MLB Advanced Media President and CEO Bob Bowman was at the Code/Media conference a few months talking about how much of a technological challenge it would be to pull off weekly streams of an NFL game. Possible yes but dicey at best.

Maybe the fact that Twitter is primarily a mobile application means that the video will be limited in Mbps and screen size. The games will after all be available via traditional broadcasters (CBS and NBC respectfully) so you would logically think that these live streams would not see the same usage as say a game that was only live streamed and not on TV.

nfl on yahooThe second interesting fact is that it only cost Twitter $10 million or a million dollars a game. Last year Yahoo paid almost $20 million for the Buffalo Bills vs Jacksonville Jaguars. Granted Yahoo was the only place you could see the game and had control over the advertising which is probably why the rights cost them more. Twitter is getting none of that.

One more reason why this deal probably got done, Twitter’s CFO Anthony Noto was once the CFO of the NFL. You can’t say that that didn’t play a part.

When you think about it, this deal seems to help both parties. It shows that the NFL is serious about cord-cutting because you don’t have to be a Twitter user to watch the game (which makes sense since you don’t have to have a cable or satellite subscription to get NBC or CBS). It also helps Twitter who has hard a hard time of it lately with flat user numbers and a lack of advertisers.

See SBNation’s Matt Ufford on Nightly Business Report. 

No doubt that there will be a lot of eyes on Twitter come the fall when they begin streaming games. Will the quality of the stream be there? How much strain will be put on mobile carriers and CDN’s? Interesting questions indeed. Almost more interesting than some of the games will be.

Put A Roof On It

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Opening Day 2016 in Major League Baseball (MLB) was not without it’s weather events. Two games were postponed and another one was delayed. There would have been three postponements if it wasn’t for the Milwaukee Brewers having the forethought to build a stadium with a retractable roof. If there were so many postponement and delays, why don’t more baseball stadiums have roofs?

brewers VS giantsIt was coming down in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today. It looked like it was coming down sideways there for a while. Inside Miller Park though the players were in short sleeves as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3. There was no such luck in Cleveland, Ohio or in the Bronx where the New York Yankees Wild Card rematch against the Houston Astros was postponed due to inclement weather. For whatever reason, Yankee Stadium and Progressive Field in Cleveland do not have retractable roofs.

Why?

It was more or less an tradition thing although the Indians could make the argument that the technology wasn’t in place when they built their ballpark back in the early 90’s. But why don’t the Yankees have one? Their stadium opened in 2009. Where they unconvinced about global warming? Where they thinking that it was going to be warmer in October or think that thunderstorms were not going to happen during the summer?

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy battered a good portion of the Northeastern United States. The very outer bands were making their presence felt in Game 4 of the World Series in Detroit, Michigan where the aforementioned Giants were in the midst of sweeping the Detroit Tigers. What if the Giants didn’t win that game? Hurricane Sandy would have delayed the World Series at least a few days. With a retractable roof, the game would have been played the next day.

What if the World Series was in New York or Boston or Philadelphia that year? We’re talking postponements of a week or more.

It’s not just a matter of comfort but of economics. How much does it cost to postpone a game? How cumbersome is it for the fans? Will that effect future games they may come to? Wouldn’t a retractable roof provide more comfort for fans and hence have them attend more games?

The fact is that humans cannot control the weather. They can control what it effects though. While there are very few plans to build any new baseball stadiums any time soon, when they do build the next generation of stadiums, they should consider a retractable roof. For economics sake.

Digital Dugout

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Normally Major League Baseball (MLB) is the last sports league to adopt change much less technological change when it involves the game itself. Tradition is very important to the gatekeepers of baseball which is why a partnership with Apple to allow iPads in the dugout during games is all the more shocking. This change is a quantum leap in a lot regards and puts MLB in front of the other major sports when it comes to using technology during a game.

Apple’s iPad Pro and an app called Dugout will allow each team to access their own proprietary data during a game. This is includes video if the player or coach so desires. Now think about this for a second, the NFL and their much ballyhooed deal with Microsoft to allow Surface tablets on the sidelines only allow pictures and even those are limited. Meanwhile, the old school MLB is going to allow actual video and hopes to get to a point where it’s real time sometime in the near future.

The handoff  is going to be key. As Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon pointed out, until you have AI moving at the speed of thought there is going to be limit to the technology. The anticipation, preparation, etc will eventually come but Maddon makes the same point that Bill Gates made years ago which is that the computer needs to be as easy as a piece of paper.

There must have been some hesitation in the offices of general managers and mangers across the league when this idea was initially floated. Why? Well there is always the old school fear that the other team will ‘steal your signals’ but the most recent technological example is when the Houston Astros were ‘hacked’ by the St Louis Cardinals.

Regardless of the past, come Opening Day players and coaches can ditch the binders (if they want) and grab the iPad to access information. A massive leap indeed for MLB and a move that will have other leagues monitoring the move closely.