It was, by far, the most disturbing NFL story of the year.
No, not the love-hate-triangle report out of Dallas that suggested Terrell Owens is jealous of tight end Jason Witten's relationship with quarterback Tony Romo. That was the NFL's most predictable story of the year and we'll talk more about "How the Cowboy Turns" in a little while.
The most disturbing report of the year came from New York, where commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the league plans to eliminate about 150 of the 1,100 workers from the league's New York offices, NFL Films in Mount Laurel and the NFL Network studio in Los Angeles.
"These are difficult and painful steps," Goodell said in a memo. "But they are necessary in the current economic environment. I would like to be able to report that we are immune to the troubles around us, but we are not."
An anonymous player in the Eagles' locker room was shocked Friday to learn about Goodell's announcement.
"We still have the same television contract, don't we?" the player asked. "How are we making less money? I'd like to have that explained to me."
A league source said that the NFL is hoping that many of its older employees will accept severance packages and spare the jobs of younger employees. The source said the league definitely has more people than it needs in certain jobs.
That's fine. If the league feels as if it's wasting money in some areas, then, by all means, it's entitled to cut jobs. The NFL just shouldn't pretend it's having the same sort of economic issues that are confronting the rest of the world. If that's really true, Roger, could we take a look at the league's financial records just to verify your version of this little holiday tale.
"That stinks," another Eagles player said. "I really find it hard to believe."
It's impossible to fathom the idea that the NFL wouldn't continue to operate at an immense profit if it kept the 150 employees it plans to show the door. Let's assume that those 150 employees make an average of $85,000 a year. That means it's costing the league $12.75 million in salary to employ them. Add another $1.2 million in health insurance and you're talking about a cost of close to $14 million. Take away $440,000 profit from each of the league's 32 owners and that would cover the cost of those 150 employees who are about to lose their jobs.
Is there an owner in the league who couldn't afford to cough up $440,000 this holiday season or are they just a bunch Scrooges who could care less about the little people who work for them?
T.O. hurting sales
The news out of Dallas can't be good for Terrell Owens' book sales. Indeed, it just has to be destroying the sale of that classic children's book,
Little T Learns to Share
A report from ESPN's Ed Werder indicates that everything Little T learned about sharing has gone out the window in Big D because Romo throws the football far too often to Witten. Werder quoted team sources as saying that Owens is jealous of Romo's relationship with Witten and that the wide receiver believes the tight end meets privately with the quarterback to draw up plays.
"He's insecure about it," the Cowboys player said. "The thing that bothers me more than anything about this problem is that it's always something with him - San Fran, Philly and here; always something. And he brings other people into it. You know, he talks to Sam Hurd and Roy Williams, who just got here and doesn't really know these guys. T.O. talks to him and so now he probably thinks Witten politics with Tony for the ball. That's so far from the truth. You think Tony is throwing to him because that's his buddy? His best buddy is Bobby Carpenter, and that's not helping him too much. It's crazy to think that, and I hate that he acts that way."
Poor Little T. He just wants to win. That's what he said and I believe him.
Hail to the Redskins
The NFL Pro Bowl is probably the worst all-star game in professional sports and that includes whatever they call that indoor lacrosse league these days. The only thing worse than the game is the convoluted method the league uses to select the NFC and AFC rosters.
In case you didn't notice - and apparently only Redskins fans did - the voting for the Pro Bowl ended last week. Redskins players led at nine of the 19 positions on the NFC roster. Kicker Shaun Suisham, who leads the league in missed field goals, was among those leaders.
Unlike baseball, however, the fans don't get the final say in the Pro Bowl voting. The players and coaches will cast their votes next week and then the rosters will be named.
The Eagles, by the way, were the only team in the NFC East that didn't have a player leading at any position in the fan voting. The Giants had four players and the Cowboys had two. The Saints' Drew Brees, the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald and the Packers' Charles Woodson were the only non-NFC East players among the top vote getters.
It's bad karma to campaign for another man's job, but that didn't stop ESPN analyst and former Tennessee general manager Floyd Reese from doing so last week. Asked by the Akron Beacon Journal if he'd be interested in the Cleveland GM job if Phil Savage was fired, Reese gave an honest, sleazy answer.
"When I look at organizations and potential jobs, you always look at do they have what it takes to win," Reese said. "That's an owner willing to invest, the facility, the stadium, the fan base. Cleveland's got all of that. Have they won the way they wanted to since their rebirth? No, they haven't. Is that something that can be fixed? All you've got to do is look at the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins to say, 'Yeah, it can be fixed.' "
Now pardon Floyd while he sticks the knife in Savage's back.