Oakland deserves to have Beast Mode before losing its team. Plus, a look at Tony Romo’s new career, the Richard Sherman rumblings in Seattle, and why you should ignore Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly
1) The Raiders had Marshawn Lynch at their facility on Wednesday? Hmm, you don’t say. A team that just announced it will be leaving Oakland—a place it has called home for 37 of the last 50 years—a team that is spending the next two to three years playing in Oakland as a lame-duck franchise, met with an Oakland-born free agent who is beloved in the Bay Area and around the country? A free agent who would start for them at running back?
I think the Raiders need to make this happen. Acquiring Marshawn Lynch out of retirement would help the Raiders mend their relationship with their Oakland-area fans just long enough so that, when the Raiders leaves for Las Vegas in a few years, there won’t be a pitchfork-wielding mob chasing them out of town. Or at least the mob won’t be as large, perhaps.
2) I think Marshawn Lynch knows what he’s doing, too. Playing for the Raiders, he’d have QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper to take the pressure off the ground game, and he’d be running behind perhaps the best offensive line in football. He’d have three to four yards on every carry before he even had to consider running someone over. They’d have one of the most dangerous offenses in football, and, pairing that with an up-and-coming defense led by Khalil Mack, the Raiders would have a real chance to knock off the Patriots in the AFC.
Imagine that Super Bowl parade: Marshawn Lynch throwing Skittles into the crowd.
3) Did you hear? Tony Romo is moving to the broadcast booth. He’s going directly from playing to CBS, where he’s slotted to be on the network’s top broadcast team, with Jim Nantz. Peter King did a good job in his Wednesday column breaking down the challenges facing Romo. A few examples: he has zero experience, he’ll be calling mostly AFC games after having played his entire career in the NFC, and everything he says will be scrutinized on social media.
This is speculation, but I think CBS paid Romo top dollar despite all those challenges because the network wants a star commentator that can relate to millennials and younger fans. If you didn’t hear, the NFL’s ratings were down last season. NFL fans have more alternative entertainment options than ever. So maybe in order to stay relevant and contemporary, CBS hired Romo. He was in the news cycle every week last season, it seemed … even though he was injured! The talking heads of sports TV couldn’t stop speculating about Romo’s feelings after losing his job Dak Prescott. Romo is a star (the talking heads of sports TV decided that for us) and CBS probably decided they needed a star to draw viewers.
Quick: which team did Phil Simms play for?
I don’t think many millennials outside New York would be able to tell you.
It’s not a knock on Simms, who is getting bumped from CBS’s No. 1 booth by Romo. He’s a Giants legend. But time marches on.
4) After the news of Romo-to-CBS broke, Romo said that the Texans were at the top of his list of teams. That sound you hear is the knife twisting in the Texans’ back. If Romo does ever unretire and returns to football—as a lot of people are speculating—why would he pick the Texans? He clearly had a chance to do that now, and he chose broadcasting instead. I think that Romo saying the Texans were his second choice—second to retiring from football—only shows Texans fans that at least the team tried to upgrade at quarterback. Now, they’re left with Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden and nothing else.
5) Last month, MMQB video maestro John DePetro and I shadowed Adam Schefter on the first day of free agency. It was the first in a series of stories called 24 Hours. You should check out the story and video. Schefter broke the news about the Texans trading Brock Osweiler while we watched. Do you think Houston wants to take that one back now? Now that they’ve missed out on Romo? I think … probably not.
6) I think the Texans should call Colin Kaepernick. I don’t think they will.
7) Richard Sherman is on the trading block—the Seahawks have made that entirely clear, and GM John Schneider reiterated that point on Wednesday during a radio interview. This whole situation strikes me as strange. I think if the Seahawks were really interested in moving Sherman, they wouldn’t announce it like they have. I think the Seahawks are trying to send him a message: fall in line, get with the program, or else we’re going to exert our power and exile you to another team. Unfortunately the player has few options to counter that.
8) I think … or maybe, I hope … NFL teams are smart enough to see through Brian Kelly’s comments on DeShone Kizer. Kelly, the Notre Dame coach, recently said that Kizer, the quarterback who just left Notre Dame after his junior season, was not ready to start in the NFL. Kelly said something about how Kizer needed more seasoning … more time at Notre Dame … with Kelly.
9) My non-football reads of the week: I think you should read these two stories by Michael Rosenberg and Luke Winn, from SI’s coverage of the college basketball championship on Monday night. The game was an ugly rock fight, and these guys produced two great features that really captured what it took for Gonzaga and North Carolina to reach this point.
10) Here’s my non-sports read of the week: I think you should read this story from The New York Times Magazine, by Jonathan Mahler. It goes deep inside the relationship between President Trump and CNN’s President Jeff Zucker. It goes back as far as a decade ago, when they teamed up to create The Apprentice on NBC. It also discusses how Zucker was inspired by ESPN’s sports debate programming—shows like First Take—in designing CNN’s politics coverage. It was fascinating to read how Zucker turned the election into a sports TV, manufacturing drama and intrigue and then having people take sides and shout at each other across a desk.
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