News of a great night with
Do not invite Gruden and NFL Network czar
The NFL Network planned to put Gruden on the air all season, then move him to the Thursday night football booth alongside
One of the reasons the NFL Network is so steamed, I'm told, is that no one from the Gruden camp called Bornstein to tell him. In many cases like this, the league might work with its TV partners to tell them, "Hey, hands off,'' or "Play fair here,'' but that didn't happen here. ESPN got to Gruden too fast.
Now there are two people who should have been NFL Network stars this fall -- Gruden and ace reporter
Wonderful event Monday night at Mayfair Farms here in North Jersey. And it wasn't just because more than $150,000 was raised for aggressive rehab that we hope will get SI pro football maven Paul Zimmerman back in his curmudgeonly writer's chair soon after three strokes in November. It was just the feeling in the room -- 250 coaches, friends, family, fans, media, students, TV execs, oenophiles and auction bidders from around the world (believe me, your presence was felt in the room) that combined to make it one of the nicest nights I've seen in the football business in my 25 years of covering the NFL.
There's an old saying about great things getting done when no one cares who gets the credit. That's what happened here Monday night, when
Where to begin?
How about when Coughlin approached Paul Zimmerman -- who looked fantastic, resplendent in a dark suit, goateed, trimmer than I'd seen him in years -- at the start of the night and said, "Missed you at the league meetings this year. You didn't chew me out about anything.''
Rex Ryan, who is going to be good at the story-telling part of the job, believe me, spun a good yarn about Zim -- the New York Jets' beat man for the
SI group editor
Coughlin: "Oh, I've had my ass ripped by Dr. Z, and I'm in good company.''
Just a few things about the bids on this auction. Amazing. Lunch for two with
I'm in disbelief writing a lot of that. It's so far beyond what we thought when we started this circus a few weeks ago. So much of it is due to you, the readers who made this night compelling. I mean it. It wouldn't have happened without you, because you propelled the auction. Your desire to help a man you've been reading for decades made it happen. Thank you.
And Zim. Great night for him. It's been almost six months since he's spoken, and he can't write, and he can't read, though he's trying daily to do all three. This therapy, starting with aggressive speech work in New Jersey and then six weeks at an immersion program in Ann Arbor, Mich., is the only way he's going to have a chance to be an important voice again. Will it work? I don't know. Linda doesn't know. The doctors don't know. But I'll tell you this: The old man will die trying. He's already walking 700 feet at Kessler Rehab in New Jersey. He felt the love Monday night. How could he not? I just shook my head about it all when we were together during the evening. "Man, imagine if people actually liked you.'' He liked that.
"It's nights like this that make me proud to have anything to do with the National Football League,'' Sabol said, gripping my hand tight and not letting go for three, four, five seconds.
Now for your e-mail. It's all Vick, all the time. I think the best way for me to handle these are, for the most part, to let your voices be heard. You know my feeling: Once a man has paid for his crime and done his time, and served whatever suspension the NFL hands down, he ought to be able to be eligible to resume playing football. Men who have been steroid cheats are back in the game. A man who drove drunk and killed a woman is back in the game. Men who have multiple DUIs are back in the game. Men who have been wife- and girlfriend-beaters are back in the game. Men who have used their football bulk to bully and beat the crap out of other men are back in the game. Have I heard one talk-show host or columnist scream that if
"However, in my opinion he should not be afforded status in the NFL. Much like the privilege of voting, some privileges should not be reinstated after incarceration. I truly hope Roger Goodell does not afford Vick the privilege of representing the NFL ever again. If Vick is reinstated, I am done with the NFL -- absolutely done and will not watch another game again. I know many [including you] people disagree with me and that is certainly their [your] prerogative. But I stand firm with my convictions. I trust that I am not the only person. I love life and dogs more then the NFL. Please don't reinstate him Commissioner Goodell.''