Please NFL, keep 1st down chain gang

Originally Published: August 8, 2010
By Jerry Greene | Special to Page 2

Technology, what's it good for?

The NFL is thinking about selling its soul to Cairos Technologies, the German company that's been trying to sell its "smart ball" to the other football (i.e. soccer). It's a computer chip-in-ball plus a magnetic field around the football field that allows the ball to know where it is at any moment and pass that information to the referee by a phone-watch on his wrist.

Ref: "Hello, who is this?"

"The ball."

Ref: "What do you want, ball, I'm kind of busy here."

"I'm on the 38-yard line."

Ref: "I know that! I just put you there!"

"Just thought you should know. I'm on the 38."

Ref: "Oh, shut up."

At least that's how we imagine it at Sunday Brunch. Plus we don't want a technology that does away with the first-down chain gang on the sidelines. Those guys are great comedy relief.

Besides, have you seen what those "smart balls" look like on the inside? They look like electronic watermelons. And that's just wrong.

But if the NFL does adopt this devil's handiwork, we hope we are there when the Lions have the ball on their own 38-yard-line at Philadelphia but the ball shorts out and announces "Touchdown!"

You think Santa Claus had it bad there. Those fans will eat that ball.

Some other bits of sporting tid before we get to the Brunch's main courses:

• The Vikings' 2010 media guide has 13 pages devoted to Brett Favre. What will they do if he actually doesn't come back? Add a page that just reads: "Never mind."

• The Knicks are bringing back Isiah Thomas as a consultant? What is he supposed to consult about? Bankruptcy? Certainly not basketball.

• We learned recently that John Madden has never allowed a salad to be eaten on his bus. Show of hands if you were surprised? Anyone? Anyone at all?

• Hey, LeBron James did thank Cleveland briefly during his thank-you speech in Akron. So we're all good, right?

• Nebraska AD Tom Osborne said the Cornhuskers jumped conferences because it was "more a matter of feeling comfortable with what we knew of Big Ten culture." Here's what they know about Big Ten culture -- Texas isn't in it.

• Florida Gator senior wide receiver Chris Rainey about the difference in this year's team from last: "I guess we got rid of the prima donnas, all the selfish cats." Yeah, those guys really sucked.

• BCS Exec. Dir. Bill Hancock about going to a playoff system: "I don't see it happening in my life." That prompts the national question: "So how's your health, Bill?"

• The UNC-Charlotte 49ers have the green light from the State of North Carolina to start playing intercollegiate football by 2013. The Brunch can neither confirm nor deny that eight SEC schools have offered to play the 49ers in the 2013 opener.

• Tim Tebow -- or Friar Tuck? Too close to call.

• And Albert Haynesworth finally passed his conditioning test Saturday. So let's see, in his battle of wills with Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, Haynesworth is still a multi-millionaire who got to sit out the first week of practice. So who do you think won?

And now the tasty main dishes in this Sunday Brunch:

• We're in an NFL mood, so let's start with a team that's celebrated around the globe. That's right, the Cleveland Browns. Don't snicker. Bill Lubinger of Cleveland's The Plain Dealer tells us that the Browns are big in Perth. Yes, Perth, as in Australia.

• Ah, but are the Browns bigger than New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan? Last year he had his own gravitational pull. But Ryan has lost weight and "seen the coaching light," according to William C. Rhoden of the New York Times in a profile of the man poised to lead the Jets to Super Bowl glory.

• Speaking of glory, we may have just watched the induction of arguably the greatest class in Pro Football Hall of Fame history. Wide receiver Jerry Rice was in that class. Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times introduces us to the man who threw more passes to Rice than any other. No, not Joe Montana or Steve Young. Meet Ted Walsh.

• OK, this can't all be pro football much as that works for us. Kansas City's Joe Posnanski gives baseball fans a real treat -- a search for 2010's "Worst Player In Baseball." And he's got a list of 10.

• We'll close with golf. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune looks at Tiger Woods' game right now and wonders if 18 is the loneliest number. Teddy also makes us wonder that if Tiger does wear red for today's Sunday Brunch, will it be a bloody red?

Jerry Greene is a retired sports columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. He can be reached at

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