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Volume 24 No. 115


It is a "good statement about where the Dolphins are internally" that Pro Football HOFer Dan Marino was hired by the team as a special adviser, according to Dave Hyde of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel "saw Marino as an asset, not a threat to his turf." The club is "currently stocked with so many out-of-towners that it needed someone with some South Florida heft." Hyde: "Who carries more weight for the Dolphins locally than Marino?" He will "work with team sponsors," and "meet with politicians at times." There is "little question" Marino looks at the apprenticeship Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations John Elway served inside that organization "before rising up to run the team with some parallel wistfulness." The Dolphins "could use a better feel as a family," as even this move "is being handled with the cold, crisp feel of a functioning corporation." But it makes "too much sense for Marino to be a Dolphin to continue the nonsense of him being on the outside" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/26). In Miami, Greg Cote wrote the move is "much ado about very little for now," as "Special adviser" is among the "weightless, amorphous titles that sound mostly ceremonial." Sources said that Marino will "have owner Stephen Ross' ear to offer opinions on personnel but that he'll mostly be a figurehead, a familiar face out front" (, 8/25).

A survey given to more than 100 NFL players shows the Raiders are the "least desirable team to play for in the NFL," according to Rich Cimini of The survey asked the following question: "The only way I'd play for (team name) is if they doubled my salary." Of the 82 players who answered that particular question, 23% “named the Raiders,” followed by the Bills (19%), Browns (16%), Jaguars (9%) and Packers (6%). Raiders S Charles Woodson said, "I've never heard anybody that said they didn't want to play for the Raiders, so that's pretty shocking." Raiders FB Marcel Reece: “The most hated team in the world? The first thing that comes to mind is the Oakland Raiders. The bad boys. The black sheep of the NFL. … We're not the team that's having the most arrests in the NFL, or the DUIs or the drug cases or throwing the big parties. But we just have that stigma around us” (, 8/25).'s Dan Graziano noted NFLers "talk to each other, and teams get reputations -- good and bad." A bad reputation can be "pretty tough to shake." Giants RB Rashad Jennings, who played for the Raiders in '13, said, "The organization is lovely. The fans are great. The people are great. The weather's awesome. I don't really know why anybody would not ... well, if they've been other places before, the facilities there are not the best. ... Have you seen their weight room?" He continued, "My high school's was better, and I'm not kidding about that." Graziano wrote the "lesson for the teams that got these votes is pretty simple: You can't control the weather, but you have to do what you can to control the way people on the outside perceive you" (, 8/25).

The CFL B.C. Lions are now "on the hook for thousands of free tickets to any of their remaining home games" after losing Sunday to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a game Lions President & CEO Dennis Skulsky guaranteed the team would win, according to Mike Beamish of the VANCOUVER SUN. A season-high crowd of 33,196 attended the game after it had failed to draw more than 25,231 for any of the Lions' first four home games. However, it is unknown whether the crowd boost "was a result of the Roughriders’ natural drawing power, or marketing gimmickry" (VANCOUVER SUN, 8/26). In Vancouver, Ed Willes notes some have argued that Skulsky "succeeded in moving the Lions to the front of the city’s sporting consciousness while creating a genuine buzz around" Sunday's game. Willes: "That’s true, to a point." But there is a "larger issue involved here, one that speaks to the state of the Lions." Until this year, the club never "needed a guaranteed win to sell its product." The Lions brand was "built through a series of successful, exciting teams that earned the support of the community." There was "no need for gimmicks, no need for hype." But since moving into B.C. Place in '11, attendance has "decreased every year and, barring a miracle over their final four home dates, it will fall again this season" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/25).

: In Winnipeg, Paul Friesen wonders if anyone else notices the CFL "has become difficult to watch many nights, downright boring on others." Scoring is "at a 29-year-low," as teams have "combined for 45.8 points per game, down nearly a full touchdown per game from last year." CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon has acknowledged TV viewership is "down from last season." Cohon: “We started off the season up against the World Cup, which is obviously an international phenomenon and continues to grow. But the numbers are starting to pick up" (WINNIPEG SUN, 8/26).

In Chicago, Lewis Lazare noted no Bears players "figure prominently" in the team's new "Bear Down" campaign for the season, though Mike Ditka "has a memorable cameo appearance." However, this spot mostly is "about real folk." A Chicago firefighter "tells another to bear down as they get into a fire engine and head off to fight another fire." In another sequence, a "young businessman finds the elevator is out of order and prepares to bear down and climb the stairs -- coffee in hand -- to get to his office." Viewers also "see a young boy urging himself to bear down and eat his vegetables" (, 8/25).

BUC STOPS HERE: In Tampa, Gary Shelton writes the Buccaneers' "kinder, friendlier image took a hit" yesterday morning when the team "asked the toxic Richie Incognito to stop by for a visit." Shelton: "Just like that, the Bucs became all about football -- and only about football -- without any pretense of being standing for anything more." The Buccaneers "don't have to offer the guy a job for this to be a terrible idea." To even "allow the locker room conversation to center around Incognito, to allow the rest of the league to chuckle in your direction, is an awful notion." It "suggests that a team will put up with anything, and with anyone, in the name of football." Any other suggestion "is spin-doctoring" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/26).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? In Richmond, Michael Paul Williams writes the city, the commonwealth of Virginia and a health care system in partnership with the Redskins "should have some say over the name" of the $10M city-subsidized athletic facility, the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Williams writes people cannot control what Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder "calls his team," but they "need to ensure his offense does not become ours." Williams: "The training center should drop 'Redskins' from its name" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 8/26).