T.O. controversy underscores need for Hall of Fame transparency

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I started down the T.O. Hall of Fame time out rabbit hole a week ago due primarily to concerns regarding a lack of transparency in the selection process. After a week of arguments, counterarguments, and a few condescending comments from voters who resent being questioned or criticized by people who don’t know the inner working of the process, I’m back to where I started.

Those who criticize the process indeed don’t know the inner workings of the process because the process is kept completely secret. And the T.O. case proves that the time has arrived for transparency.

As Peter King of TheMMQB.com pointed out earlier this week, those who voted against Owens largely have slipped into hiding.

The fact that Owens didn’t make it from the final 15 to the final 10 suggests that the nays are more plentiful than necessary to transform him from one of the final five into a Hall of Famer. Don’t underestimate, however, the possibility that the voters collectively realized that enough of them would never get behind Owens on the final ballot (where it takes only 10 to put the kibosh on Canton) to make pushing Owens to the final 10 or the final five an exercise in futility.

It ultimately may be only 10 people who are anti-T.O. Maybe there aren’t that many; maybe the handful was loud enough and zealous enough that they managed to convince enough of their peers to think that pushing Owens through to the final five would set the stage for an ugly filibuster at best or a complete waste of time (and a spot that could have gone to someone else) at worst.

The only obvious “no” votes currently known (by me) are Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (he wrote a column about it), Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (ditto), Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts (he made his case against Owens in a radio interview), and Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report (his Twitter account makes his position clear). All of the “no” votes should be known, and those who have kept quiet while the process has been challenged generally and a small handful of their colleagues have been attacked specifically should speak up.

Even if all the “no” votes were known, we still won’t know everything that needs to be known. Those voters who have chosen to disclose their position on Owens refuse to disclose the identity of other Hall of Famers, players, and/or coaches who have privately said that Owens doesn’t belong. Setting aside the question of whether these non-voters should have so much sway over the process, the refusal to name them makes the process even harder to accept.

It’s one thing to gather facts anonymously. Gathering opinions anonymously allows for those anonymous opinions to be tainted by personal animus. Also, it makes objective assessment of the basis for the opinions impossible, allowing for all sorts of subjective factors to be twisted and warped — and for the voters to abdicate their responsibility to assess the candidate to the whispers of those who, given the benefit of secrecy, are far more likely to yield to the temptation of human factors.

The broader concern is this: When evaluating a player based on what he did on a 100-by-53-yard patch of grass or FieldTurf or green cement, it’s easy to assess the opinions of the voters and to develop opinions on the accuracy of the outcome of the votes. When things that happened from the sideline to the parking lot become relevant to the process, it becomes impossible to know what is being considered, why it’s being considered, which others have made it through despite similar concerns, and whether those standards will be applied to future candidates.

There can be no consistency without transparency, and with no transparency it’s impossible for those who view Owens as a knee-jerk Hall of Famer to understand his omission for a second straight year. The voters who oppose Owens can either sneer at those of us who think they got it wrong or they can heed the criticisms, lobby for meaningful change, and bring a different approach to the process in 2018.

If it’s the former, there will be more sneering at those of us who think they got it wrong, both as to Owens and as to others who seem to pass the Hall of Fame eyeball test but can’t get in.

Falcons set to duel Packers as betting favorites on Sunday Night Football

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The Atlanta Falcons might never live down their Super Bowl LI collapse, but that was one game and Matt Ryan and cohorts are reliable when they are laying points.

The Falcons are listed as three-point favorites on the NFL Week 2 odds against the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers with a 55.5-point total in their Sunday Night Football matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Falcons are 7-0 straight-up and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games as a favorite, as well as 7-1 both SU and ATS in their last eight games in Week 2. The Packers are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against the NFC South division.

The teams’ last three matchups, including last season’s NFC Championship Game, have had totals of 65, 65 and 80 points.

Green Bay, which is 1-0 SU and ATS, can likely count on Rodgers continuing his success (325.6 yards/game in seven career games) against Atlanta. Having WR Jordy Nelson, who was out all last season, available this time around should help Green Bay move the ball. They will have to contend with Atlanta being deep on the defensive line, particularly in the interior where it’s added DT Dontari Poe. Getting pressure up the middle is usually about the only way to disrupt Rodgers.

Two of Rodgers’ primary protectors, LT David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle/illness) have not had a full week of practice. Their health will factor in whether the Packers extend a trend of being 9-1 SU over their last 10 games.

The main concern for Atlanta, which is 1-0 SU and 0-1 ATS, is that it bogged down in the rushing phase during its Week 1 road win against the Chicago Bears, as RG Wes Schweitzer in particular struggled. However, notwithstanding disruptive DT Mike Daniels, Green Bay doesn’t appear to be as deep in the front seven at Chicago.

When Atlanta clears space for RB Devonta Freeman and RB Tevin Coleman to get going, Ryan and the passing game is that much more dangerous.

Julio Jones and fellow WRs such as Taylor Gabriel will have a tougher matchup than they did in the NFC Championship Game in January, now that CB Davon House and CB Damarious Randall have shored up the Packers’ secondary. Ultimately, Atlanta just has too many dangerous receivers to be shut down totally.

The total has gone over in seven of the Packers’ last eight games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone over in four of the Falcons’ last five games in September.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Best Fantasy Football waiver wire pick-ups for Week 2

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By Rotoworld.com

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Waiver Wired for the 2017 season. The opening weekend did not produce a large number of injuries, but that will not help ease the pain of David Johnson, Allen Robinson, and Danny Woodhead owners. Kevin White owners were already in pain at having Kevin White on their team, but his injury is yet another blow. Unfortunately for Robinson and White, their seasons are already over, although there is a slight chance White makes a late-season return. Johnson’s and Woodhead’s timelines are less certain, but both likely will miss significant time. All of that added to several surprise performances creates a hectic situation on the Week 2 wire.

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-owns, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worthy of a roster spot if possible, and deep cuts are players owned in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

The Drop List
QB: Andy Dalton
RB:
Eddie Lacy, Darren McFadden
WR:
Allen Robinson, Kevin White
TE: 
C.J. Fiedorowicz

There were concerns about how Dalton would fare behind a bad offensive line, and at least through one week, those seem legitimate. With the Texans coming to town on Thursday night, Dalton is almost impossible to trust this week, and he is not good enough to stash on the bench. Even with Thomas Rawls out, Lacy only played seven snaps against the Packers. He looks done. McFadden was a surprise inactive Week 1, and it looks like Alfred Morris has earned the backup job behind Ezekiel Elliott. There are not any receivers owned in enough leagues I feel comfortable calling a drop, so I will take the cop out with the injured guys. After suffering a concussion Week 1, Fiedorowicz is unlikely to play on a short week, and he is not good enough to stash.

Quarterbacks
1. Alex Smith
2. Sam Bradford
3. Tyrod Taylor

Running Backs
1. Tarik Cohen
2. Buck Allen
3. Chris Carson
4. James White
5. Kerwynn Williams
6. Alvin Kamara
7. Chris Johnson
8. Darren Sproles
9. Andre Ellington

Wide Receivers
1. Corey Davis
2. Kenny Golladay
3. Cooper Kupp
4. Nelson Agholor
5. Danny Amendola
6. Paul Richardson
7. Marqise Lee
8. Zay Jones
9. Kendall Wright
10. Markus Wheaton
11. Allen Hurns

Tight Ends
1. Cameron Brate
2. Jared Cook
3. Charles Clay
4. Julius Thomas

Defense/Special Teams
1. Ravens
2. Bengals
3. Raiders
Looking Ahead: Packers

Kickers
1. Giorgio Tavecchio
2. Cairo Santos
3. Phil Dawson
Looking Ahead: Graham Gano