Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 11.13.20 …
*Wait, who? Next week will present the most unpredictable and unknown draft in NBA history. An aberration that it’s occurring in November. Anonymous because last March – just before the Madness and the time when most casual hoops fans start watching games and learning players – sports was swatted into the cheat seats by COVID.
Watched ESPN’s mock draft Wednesday night and the No. 1 overall pick (Timberwolves) was point guard and Lonzo’s little brother, LaMelo Ball.
I saw all three games of James Wiseman’s career at Memphis, and he’ll no doubt be the best player in this draft. For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony had the Dallas Mavericks taking Alabama guard Kira Lewis. I watch a lot of college basketball but gotta admit, never been moved to take note of him.
Dallas, of course, has the 19th and 31st picks in the Nov. 18 NBA Draft. Move up? Move back? Move sideways? DBcom is planning an exclusive sit-down with GM Donnie Nelson in the next few days. I bet we get some hints.
*Bye = Bad. The Dallas Cowboys’ bye rarely comes this late. And it’s never arrived this lousy.
At 2-7 and with arguably their two best offensive players (Dak Prescott and Tyron Smith) not coming back, the Cowboys’ season is kaput. Usually, the bye week is a time to heal injuries, survey the standings and recalibrate for the upcoming stretch. But with JV talent like Terence Steele and Saivion Smith on the field, this situation is hopeless.
How bad exactly?
Since the NFL introduced the off week in 1990, this is the bleakest Cowboys’ bye week. In the previous 30 seasons, they have never been five games under .500. Not even close.
In 2001-02 – fondly remembered as the days of Dave Campo and Quincy Carter – they were three games under .500 at the bye. Both 1-4 in 2001 and 3-6 in 2002 resulted in 5-11. Never has an in-season pause prompted so many Cowboys to consider not the future of this season, but the prospects of next season.
*With our current President irrationally attempting to alter the results of the election, it prompted me to wonder what final score I’d like to change.
I considered Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals (Heat 98, Mavs 96) and Super Bowl V (Colts 16, Cowboys 13), but clearly it’s Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
DFW would have much more sports tranquility and accomplishment had the Texas Rangers held on to their 7-5 lead over the Cardinals in the 9th inning.
*Speaking of tweaked numbers, a change in how Nielsen monitors listeners drastically – almost unbelievably – set October’s DFW radio ratings on its ear. We’ve been anticipating the rating company combining over-the-air listeners for stream listeners. In advance, in fact, I’ve combined those numbers for The Ticket and The Fan the last couple of months. But no one in the industry saw this coming. Seems Nielsen performed a study of former PPM listeners and learned that a bulk listened via headphones. And, up until now, headphone listening wasn’t recorded by PPMs. So, beginning with October’s ratings, Nielsen is making what it calls a “Headphone Adjustment.” More like a Headphone Avalanche. The local winner in this shift is The Ticket, which boasts the largest stream audience in DFW. Look, for example, at the bump the station’s morning show drive show is getting.
So the “Headphone Adjustment” almost doubled its rating? And, with the adjustment that is supposed to add listenership, The Fan lost all of its stream numbers. From 0.3 to 0.0? There are veterans in the industry scratching their head over these changes. An aberration? A recount in order? Or simply a new world order?
Will be interesting to see if this is merely a hiccup or rather a return to dominance by The Ticket. Bottom line for now: A station that held a tiny lead on The Fan in September is suddenly (Sept. 10-Oct. 7) clobbering its competition:
Overall 8.0 5.5
Mornings 8.0 6.1
Middays 7.2 6.2
Afternoons 8.8 3.9
*Let’s all pretend to be surprised that America’s best mullet is proudly worn by a Texan.
*The U.S. set a record with 144,000 new cases of COVID Wednesday. We’re experiencing our highest daily death tolls since May. And today there are more people hospitalized because of the virus than at any time during the pandemic. It’s not surprising that the NFL and college football are under siege from COVID. It’s science.
*On Sept. 22, 2019, the Cowboys were 3-0 and had outscored their opponents by a whopping 97-44. Dak had nine touchdown passes to only two interceptions. He had myriad of weapons and plenty of protection behind the NFL’s best offensive line that included Travis Frederick. The defense was led by playmakers Chidobe Awuzie, Leighton Vander Esch and Demarcus Lawrence.
And then … New Orleans.
The Saints handcuffed the potent offense in a 12-10 Sunday night loss that, in retrospect, was the beginning of the end. Since that 3-0 start the Cowboys have gone 7-15. From first to (almost) worst.
*For the first time since they were defending champions, the Mavs will play on Christmas Day. Here’s betting we’ll see Luka and the boys in the afternoon, probably against the Rockets.
Last time they appeared on the marquee holiday was 2011, when they raised their championship banner but then trailed the Heat by 35 points in commencing a very disappointing season.
*In the wake of long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s death, the show should look to sports for its next voice. Forget Ken Jennings or George Stephanopoulos, the obvious smug, intellectual choice is Al Michaels.
Best DFW candidate: Brad Sham.
My idea for the show is rotating weekly hosts, much like Saturday Night Live. One week Jerry Seinfeld, the next Jerry Jones. I’m tuning in.
*Can’t give the Cowboys’ coaching staff credit for much this season, but last week looked like it finally played to Tyrone Crawford’s strengths. A guy who has consistently been shoved off the line on running plays, Crawford played 25 snaps against the Steelers – all passes.
(Unfortunately, Crawford is now in the headlines for being a COVID case.)
*The Weeknd (that’s right, no second 'e' for some reason) will perform at halftime of Super Bowl LV in Tampa on Feb. 7. Wonder if he’ll perform “Can’t Feel My Face”, which the moms think is about being in love but the kidz (that’s right, a z instead of an s) know is about have a deep relationship with cocaine?
*Even if you don’t like chess, I highly recommend Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit. Takes me back to Friday nights as a kid: Walking to Duncanville High School’s football game and then going home to play chess while half-watching Dracula movies.
The world would be a better place if chess was a school curriculum requirement. Thinking two moves ahead is a lost art.
*Strange as it is to watch The Masters just before Thanksgiving, it’ll be just as disconcerting attending next Spring’s Byron Nelson tournament in … McKinney.
*Though it seems country music has its “biggest night of the year” about twice a month, the awards shows usually feature a different version of the same ol’ star. Let me guess, this week’s awards were dominated by a pudgy, pasty white dude with an everyman name and a beard. Sure enough.
*You know it’s a forgettable year when one of your highlights is Antwaun Woods preventing JuJu Smith-Schuster from celebrating a touchdown at the midfield star in AT&T Stadium.
*I pride myself on getting comfortable being uncomfortable. That way, when the discomfort inevitably arises I’m semi-prepared for it.
Some people strive to be comfortable: Same routine. Same songs. Comfort food. Comfort zones. And that’s okay. For them. From little things like brushing my teeth left-handed every now and then, to wearing a long-sleeved shirt during tennis practice in July, to becoming a Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor, life begins outside my bubble.
*When promising rookie Trevon Diggs left last Sunday’s game with an injury, the Cowboys trotted out someone named Saivion Smith.
I’ve been watching the Cowboys since 1970 and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a worse sequence by a newbie.
Smith, with his mouthpiece dangling from his facemask instead of, ya know, actually in his mouth, surrendered a 42-yard completion on his third snap. Two plays later, he dove at the feet of – and was embarrassingly hurdled – by Steelers tight end Eric Ebron for the game-deciding touchdown.
I didn’t think Alabama turned out bad players. I was wrong.
*Happy Friday the 13th. If you claim to legitimately suffer from triskaidekaphobia, there’s a better-than-zero chance we won’t be friends.
*This Weekend? Friday is for one of the last golf days of 2020. Saturday and Sunday are for, dunno, putting up the Christmas tree? As always, don’t be a stranger.