NBC’s Tony Dungy discussed the NFL's Rooney Rule and said, “There’s a problem with the system. ... It’s not just minority coaches, it’s the way the system is run." No minority coaches were hired to fill the eight head coaching vacanies this year, and Dungy said, “We can’t blame it on not having candidates. We can’t blame it on interviews. Owners want to make a splash. They want a big name, they’re looking for big names and they’ve got to go deeper than that, they’ve got to investigate.” He added owners "have to take their time” before hiring a new coach. Dungy: "They’re in such a hurry to make that splash they’re not really investigating” (“NFL Pro Bowl,” NBC, 1/27). SI.com's Peter King writes, "What's the hurry? Why the race? Pittsburgh had a deliberate process that resulted in the hiring of Mike Tomlin on Jan. 22, 2007, the day after the two conference title games. ... Teams seem to be sprinting to get a coach named instead of making sure they've interviewed a wide spectrum of candidates" (SI.com, 1/28).
NEGLECTED CLASSIC: With the third World Baseball Classic taking place this spring, in Philadelphia, Bob Brookover wrote, "We certainly love baseball more than soccer as a spectator sport, but a lot more people get excited about the World Cup than they do the WBC.” The reason is that “we know the game of baseball so well." Brookover: "We know when the best players aren't involved. We know we don't want to watch Team USA play Italy. We know it's not really the best possible baseball when starting pitchers are on a pitch count” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/27). In Toronto, Richard Griffin wrote MLB players “should embrace the Classic, because this is as good as it will get for baseball.” The USA treats the WBC “quite poorly while everywhere else in the baseball world has greeted it with enthusiasm.” That “needs to change” (TORONTO STAR, 1/27).
TWO-HANDED SLAM DUNK: ESPN’s Bill Simmons said the NBA has "never had a rivalry" like Heat F LeBron James and Thunder F Kevin Durant, and the two can “carry the league.” Simmons: “They’re doing things statistically we've never seen and there's nobody like them.” ESPN’s Jalen Rose said if James and Durant “continue to meet each other” in the NBA Finals, “that’s going to be something special for the league.” ESPN’s Magic Johnson said, “These two guys have to guard each other so I think that's going to be special in itself.” He added, “They're going to carry this league, and they have a hell of a supporting cast” (“NBA Countdown,” ABC, 1/27).