- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 30, 2009

The NFL just issued some updated rules for dealing with punts that hit the giant TV screens in Cowboys Stadium. And I gotta tell ya, the first one sounds a bit harsh:

“If a ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, the down will be replayed at the previous spot and the punter will lose his television privileges for a week.”

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Then again, maybe I read it wrong.

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Idle thought: If a punter bangs one off the “JumboJerryTron” (as a Dallas-area columnist has dubbed it) and sets it swinging to and fro, can his team be penalized for a moving screen?

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An interesting item in the Wall Street Journal the other day by David Biderman explored the issue: “How Long Does It Take an Athlete to Make $100,000?”

Ben Roethlisberger, it turns out, earned 100 thou every 3.6 snaps last season, and Alex Rodriguez does it every six pitches. (And Big Ben, Biderman points out, handed off on most of his plays.)

Of course, Billy Cannon, the 1960 Heisman winner and erstwhile AFL star, used to make 100 grand a lot faster than that.

But then, he was a counterfeiter.

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Citing figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, Biderman said it takes the average American “a shade under four years” to earn $100,000. That means - A-Rod, please note - those pricey front-row seats at the new Yankee Stadium, the ones going for $2,500, cost the typical U.S. citizen more than a month’s wages.

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In his interview with Jeremy Schaap on ESPN’s “E:60,” Plaxico Burress bemoaned the sheer improbability of his gun going off in a night club last season. In Burress’ recounting, he missed a step while walking upstairs and felt the gun sliding down his pant leg. When he grabbed it, he inadvertently pulled the trigger.

“My finger hit, like, right on the trigger,” he told Schaap. “What the odds of that happening?”

To which I reply: I really don’t know, Plax. But I think the odds increase dramatically when you’re carrying a gun.

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As we bid adieu to Ted Kennedy, the former Harvard tight end, let’s also remember that his family once considered buying the Philadelphia Eagles. The story goes like this: The three Kennedy brothers - President John, Attorney General Bobby and Senator Ted - were in the Oval Office one day in October 1962 when they read about the franchise being for sale. (Jim Clark, the Eagles’ principal owner, had recently died of a stroke.)

As Bob O’Donnell wrote in “The Pro Football Chronicle,” “Jack and Bobby thought it would be a terrific investment. Jack pointed out that he would still be young [51] when his second term was completed. He then instructed Ted to go up to Philadelphia and meet with the club’s management.

“Alas, something came up: the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

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Postscript: The Eagles were eventually bought by Jerry Wolman, a 36-year-old construction mogul, for $5.5 million - well within the Kennedys’ means, you’d assume. Wolman is infamous for giving a 15-year contract to his coach, Joe Kuharich - only to be forced to sell the team in 1969 to settle his debts. (His successor, Leonard Tose, had to play Kuharich 11 years’ salary.)

In the decades that followed, Wolman made a financial comeback and - how quickly we forget - was one of the eight finalists trying to buy the Redskins from Jack Kent Cooke’s estate. His pockets weren’t as deep as Dan Snyder’s, though, which is why, among other things, Norv Turner never got a 15-year deal.

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I always loved Kuharich’s reaction to becoming the Eagles’ coach-for-life (practically). “This must be the way Sutter felt,” he said, “when he found all that gold in 1849.”

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Speaking of funny lines, did you see what Boomer Esiason said to Sporting News Today about his old team, the Bengals?

“It’ll be interesting to see how much more Carson Palmer can take if the Bengals have another bad year,” Boomer mused. “Sooner or later, he’s got to take stock of his career and wonder whether he can have the career he envisioned when he got to Cincinnati. They still haven’t signed their No. 1 draft pick [Andre Smith], an offensive lineman who’s a loop job anyway, and they’ll expect him to start when he comes in. It just all works against having success at the highest level of the NFL. I lived it; I know. He’s a great talent who is going through the Cincinnati Bengals’ car wash, and there’s no wax.”

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The only way it could be worse for Palmer, in fact, is if the car wash was previously owned by Lenny Dykstra.

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How wild is this? You can now insure your fantasy football team - with Lloyd’s of London, no less - to protect yourself against catastrophic injury (read: Tom Brady blowing out his knee in the first quarter of the first game).

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about stuff like that. I mean, it’s already included in my umbrella coverage.

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Just wondering: Do they offer policies with a $500 deductible? What if I wanted to get double indemnity on, say, Adrian Peterson?

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According to his Web site, BeamerBall.com, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has begun fining his coaches for uttering profanities on the job. “It’s just simply trying to do things the right way,” he says. “We’re supposed to be setting the example for our players… and if we, as coaches, make a conscious effort to try and always conduct ourselves professionally, I hope our players will see that and follow along.”

The fines range from $10 to $50, and Beamer has reportedly handed out three of them. He wouldn’t say what the offending words were, though, because, well, then he’d have to fine himself.

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And finally…

The doors to the new George Steinbrenner High School swung open Tuesday in Lutz, Fla.

From what I hear, the place has its pluses and minuses. Yes, the athletic department has an unlimited budget, but students are none too pleased with the policy banning long hair and beards.

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Also, the principal is expected to be replaced every time SAT scores drop.

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