NFL has changing of guard, but nary a trumpet is heard

The Kickoff

September 01, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

When Roger Goodell went to bed last night, Paul Tagliabue was the commissioner of the National Football League. When Tagliabue woke up this morning - unless he got up really, really early - Goodell was the new commissioner.

You'd think there would have at least been cake.

The NFL has done some pretty strange things over the years, but crowning the most powerful executive in professional sports in his sleep ranks right up there with Tags telling Baltimore what it could do with its stadium money after the city's abortive attempt to get an NFL expansion franchise in the early 1990s.

No ceremony. No fanfare. The changing of the guard was scheduled for 6 a.m., with neither Tagliabue nor Goodell expected to be in the NFL's central office.

Orioles outfielder David Newhan returned from that broken leg and promptly delivered three RBI hits in his first two games. My life is complete.

You've probably already heard the news that Matt Leinart's ex-girlfriend is expecting a child in the fall. And you thought he would have trouble adjusting to life as a big-money professional athlete.

Alex Rodriguez has been mired in one of the worst slumps of his career, but he delivered three hits in yesterday's victory over the Detroit Tigers. I can't believe anyone really doubted that he would eventually snap out of it, though he has gotten some heat from the Yankees' spoiled fan following.

Question: If you've got one of the greatest players in history on your team and you're in first place, wouldn't you like him to get his big slump out of the way in August instead of falling off the map in October? Of course, he might do that, too.

Here comes a sentence that Red Sox fans never expected to hear this year: David Wells is leaving the team to play for a contender.

The veteran left-hander hasn't exactly set the world on fire in what is probably his last season, but the San Diego Padres are looking past his 2-3 record and 4.98 ERA because he has been a very dependable postseason pitcher throughout his career.

The move was made final right before the deadline for players to change teams and still be eligible for the postseason. The Padres lead the National League wild-card standings.

It can't be very good to be Tennessee Titans quarterback Billy Volek, who moved to the top of the depth chart when the Titans sent Steve McNair to the Ravens and now appears likely to be traded or released in the wake of the signing of veteran Kerry Collins. Volek has spent six years backing up McNair, but Collins seems likely to open the season as the starter and top draft choice Vince Young is in the wings.

Sometimes, life just isn't fair, but Volek will land on his feet. Don't be surprised if he's handing the ball off to LaDainian Tomlinson at some point this season.

The Yankees have told Carl Pavano to take an additional two weeks off to heal his two broken ribs.

If they could, they'd tell him to go home for good, but they're not in a position to terminate his contract the way they were with Aaron Boone a couple of years ago. Pavano apparently concealed the rib injury, but getting hurt in a car accident is not enough to abrogate a guaranteed contract.

Mobile ESPN, the service that brings ESPN programming to your ESPN cell phone, is going to start offering entire football games to subscribers.

Apparently, the company hopes the addition of 25 high-profile games a month (for an additional charge) will juice interest in a mobile concept that hasn't exactly set the sports world on fire. I mean, why wouldn't you want to watch your favorite team on a 2-inch screen?

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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