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Volume 24 No. 160

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The NFL Career Development Advisory Panel, made up of eight former coaches and GMs, has made final its "inclusive list of coaching and GM candidates, with special emphasis on minorities," according to Peter King of THE MMQB. A source said that the "top minority coaches preferred by the committee" are former Bears coach Lovie Smith, Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (, 12/18). In Houston, John McClain reports the Texans earlier this week made Smith the "first candidate to be interviewed" to fill the team's vacant head coaching position after Gary Kubiak was fired earlier this month. Smith "should be a leading candidate for several jobs once owners start firing coaches after the season ends" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/20). But Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted team owners are "going to do whatever they want" regardless of the committee's recommendations. As long as teams "comply with the Rooney Rule, they can hire anyone they want, whether it's on the NFL's list or ot not on the list." Florio: "So the list is largely meaningless" ("PFT," NBCSN, 12/18).

INJURY EXAMINATION: This week's edition of Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” featured a panel discussion on the increase of injuries in the NFL despite new rules focusing more on player safety. Showtime’s Cris Collinsworth said, “I’ve probably polled 10-15 receivers in the league, not one ever has said, ‘I would prefer the knee shot to the head shot.’ They would rather have their knees protected and take their chances with a concussion.” Showtime’s James Brown said, “It would seem to be a foregone conclusion that the Competition Committee is going to have to tweak that rule somehow." Showtime’s Phil Simms said that if you polled 32 head coaches in the NFL, the vast majority would say the new CBA is "terrible for the coaches, because the time you can spend on the field with the players now limits the contact, everything you do preparing them for the season (and) everything that’s coming up." Pro Football HOFer Franco Harris noted players in his era were pushed to get back on the field after an injury and said, "Sometimes I look at that, though, that sometimes that led to a culture of pain pills, led to a culture of other things that starts to be a negative sort of thing because there was that pressure to get on.” Harris added, “That is what the NFL is going to have to figure out. Where is that balance because right now, I don’t think it's working" ("Inside the NFL," Showtime, 12/18).

NBA Commissioner David Stern said he is "looking forward to the continued growth" of the league following his retirement on Feb. 1. Appearing on CNBC's "Closing Bell," Stern said the NBA is "in the midst of an extraordinary growth spurt." Stern: "But the best may be yet to come. We've got the digital world, where the NBA is at the top. We've got globalization where our games are seen in 125 countries and 43 languages. And we've got a new network television negotiation coming up. So it's just going to keep getting better." Stern said of new revenue streams, "I think we're seeing a move to digital distribution." He discussed the rising ticket costs for NBA games and said, "The average fan has been provided for in the less-expensive seats and the average fan now can get every game on television. Here's a secret: Most fans don’t go to games, they watch them on television. We felt the imperative was to make sure our games were distributed to the widest possible audience." Stern also was asked how sports gambling affects the NBA and whether sports betting should be legalized across the country. He said, "I don't think that institutionalizing (gambling) will have an influence one way or the other. I think the broader issue is that because the states and the federal government are so hungry for additional resources that there is this movement towards legalizing gambling on sports. How that ultimately comes about, if it does, is a subject of great interest to me because you can't have 50 states rushing out to tell their citizens that they should bet the grocery money to make a bundle on sports" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 12/19).