THE COUCH SLOUCH

If you bet on Roger Goodell completely changing his stance on gambling, cash your ticket

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Money never sleeps, correct? Well, the sun never sets on the sports-betting empire either. What, there are no games right now? Recently, Bovada started allowing action junkies to place bets on the weather – that's right, over/under wagers on the high temperature of, say, Philadelphia.***

Gambling never sleeps.

Which immediately brings us to Roger Goodell, the man who pimps for the National Football League at $40 million-plus per annum and a man who probably sleeps in his Armani suit to remind himself that there is moolah to be made every day and twice on Sundays.

While America snoozed during the early days of the coronavirus crisis in mid-March, NFL players approved the new collective bargaining agreement with league owners through 2030. And in that CBA, the NFL – that beacon of morality fighting against the point spread since the days before Pete Rozelle turned 21 – reached an accord with its players to share gambling revenue.

Before we get back to that betting blockbuster, let's briefly review the current NFL commissioner's public-stance history vis-à-vis gambling.

Ooh, this is going to be fun!

In 2003, Goodell and the NFL would not allow the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau to run a 30-second commercial promoting the city's tourism during the Super Bowl.

In 2009, Goodell wrote a letter to then-Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in protest of his state's effort to renew its NFL betting lottery, saying, "By legalizing sports betting it will be in Delaware's interest to create ever larger numbers of new gamblers as the state attempts to maximize any revenue found in this promotion. The negative social impact of additional gambling cannot be minimized in a community."

In 2012, as the NFL challenged efforts by New Jersey to legalize sports gambling, Goodell said, "It's a very strongly held view in the NFL, it has been for decades, that the threat that gambling could occur in the NFL or fixing of games or that any outcome could be influenced by the outside could be very damaging to the NFL and very difficult to ever recover from."

In 2017, after league owners voted approval of the Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas, Goodell said, "Society in general has a little bit of a change with respect to gambling in general. We've seen that. I think we still strongly oppose legalized sports gambling. The integrity of our game is No. 1. We will not compromise on that."

And now, in 2020, Goodell, on a visit to Las Vegas, said, "We think that sports gambling in many ways creates a lot more engagement for our fans. It gives them another opportunity to engage with the game."

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, Roger Goodell is a BORN-AGAIN GAMBLER!

How did this happen? Well, a Supreme Court ruling nearly two years ago opened the door for states to allow sports betting and the Raiders begin play in Las Vegas this fall, so, suddenly, the NFL stance is: Let's roll the dice and join the party!!!

Which brings us back to the new CBA. David Purdum of espn.com reported last week that the agreement refers to revenue from "gambling on any aspect of NFL games, any performance of NFL players in NFL games or in any other NFL/Club-related activity." Owners and players will share revenues, the CBA states, generated "by the operation of gambling-related businesses located in or physically attached to an NFL Stadium."

It even mentions potential profits from slot machines "located in or physically attached to an NFL Stadium."

I'll let you all absorb that for a moment or two.

After generations of stonewalling and bad-mouthing sports betting, the NFL now embraces gambling as long as the league gets its cut. Seventeen states, including seven that are home to NFL teams, already operate legal sports books.

Sooner or later, fans will be placing bets on NFL games while in NFL stadiums.

P.S. The NFL reportedly also is looking to hire a "vice president of sports betting."

I am available, but I do not work weekends.

(*** Pro tip: It's always going to be hotter than you think in Philly in the summer and colder than you think in the winter.)

Ask The Slouch

Q.With strip clubs closed, strippers in Portland, Ore., are making food deliveries topless. Did you think nothing positive could come out of this pandemic? (Jim O'Brien; Racine, Wis.)

A. You have inspired me – I am writing next week's column bottomless.

Q.If I told you that President Trump reached out to Alex Rodriguez last week for coronavirus advice, what would you say? (Julian Kaplan; Chicago)

A. I did not realize that human growth hormone was a possible vaccine for covid-19.

Q. So everyone now is sitting around watching TV all day. Why are you getting paid for it? (Mark Cohen; Gibsonia, Pa.)

A. You have uncovered my adult-lifelong professional scam to financial independence.

Q. Since this was supposed to be the start of the baseball season, are the Orioles already mathematically out of it? (Mike Kupiec; Green Island, N.Y.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!



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The NASCAR Cup Series heads for Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers 400. MIS is one of the fastest racetracks in the country, as cars are capable of reaching speeds of 201-205 miles per hour. Hopefully, we will see a safe race considering the speeds we see here. We will more than likely see a race that is vastly different from what we saw last here when the drivers utilized the draft to pass around this track. This year, the cars are less aero-dependent and will be much more spread out. The drivers will need to continue to manage their tires as they have been doing all year.

Last weekend at Indy, Tyler Reddick captured his second victory of 2022 in dramatic fashion. The race came down to numerous restarts where drivers would drive way too deep into the first corner and run into each other each time. This was the central theme of the race, as restarts pretty much decided everything. We saw drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney get swept up in wrecks in turn one. On the final restart, Ross Chastain decided he didn’t want to be a part of these shenanigans and took the access road that skipped turn one. This moved catapulted him to the lead with Tyler Reddick as the two battled for the lead in a two-lap shootout. When the dust settled, Reddick came away victorious and Ross Chastain was black flagged for shortcutting.

The finish of this race sparked a serious debate among drivers and fans alike about ditching the Indianapolis road course and returning to the oval in 2023. Personally, this doesn’t make any sense to me. While yes, turn one is difficult to maneuver, it’s mainly because drivers all decide to send it as deep as they can, not because of the racetrack configuration. It’s also a bit disingenuous as for years, drivers and fans have been saying they don’t want to see the oval and that the track is designed for IndyCar. If I had to choose, I would say NASCAR just stop going to Indy and go to the short track down the road at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. We have seen so many great races there, and I think the Cup Series would be perfect for that track. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how NASCAR responds to this and what they decide to do for next season.

Kurt Busch will be out for the third consecutive week as he continues to recover from a concussion. This has been tough to hear about, and now there are legitimate concerns that he will not return to racing. There is a good chance however that 23XII could be saving him for the playoffs which are coming up.

For now, Ty Gibbs will continue to fill in for Busch. In his two starts the young phenom has performed extremely well, finishing 16th at Pocono and 17th at Indy. It’s clear that this young man can drive these cars, the only problem is finding a place for him to run next season.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Martin Truex Jr. By any other standard, the season that Truex is having has been great. Constantly up front, leading laps and just overall contending. Unfortunately for him, 2022 hasn’t been just any average season. With 14 winners and Truex not being one of them, he is on the playoff bubble even though he is fourth in points. While his playoff future maybe uncertain right now, there are some good racetracks he is going to where can easily get that first win, and Michigan is one of them. Over the last four races here, he currently has the highest average finish, the highest percentage of laps led, but no victories. I see that changing this week. Toyota and Gibbs have been fast this season as Truex’s teammates have all punched their tickets to the playoffs. Look for Truex to be next in line.

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