Since there’s no actual NFL this weekend, I thought this would be a good time to dip into the ol’ USB Mailbag! Once I put all of the tax forms & adult magazines off to the side, this is what we had left. Enjoy!

Steve Cook, long time reader, first time responder. Can you please tell us your loyal readers some of your favorite alternative facts in sports from over your many years of covering the sports.
Todd in Waldron.

Kellyanne Conway

People have been dealing in alternative facts in sports for years. Especially when it comes to attendance numbers. Teams lie about that all the time. People lie about going to sporting events too. I could probably find at least 100,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati area that would tell you they were in Riverfront Stadium when Tom Browning threw a perfect game back in 1988. Riverfront only held 52,000, they sold about 16,500 tickets, and there were less than 10,000 people still there when the game actually started at 10 PM due to a rain delay. Lying about large numbers of attendees is par for the course in sports, I’m actually surprised it took that long for the government to start doing it.

People saying they attended games they weren’t at is always a favorite alternative fact. Other favorites include people in Africa thinking the Buffalo Bills won four straight Super Bowls because everybody had the t-shirts when they were kids, Pittsburgh Steeler fans deeming anybody that ever wore the uniform a Hall of Famer, Barry Bonds not holding the home run record because steroids, and pretty much anything coming out of Skip Bayless’s mouth.

what’s your opinion on child kidnapping? – @jeremylambert88

Never understood it. I don’t get why people want kids that are actually theirs, so people wanting kids that aren’t theirs is really confusing to me. Those things are expensive, you know. The main reason Jeremy hasn’t been around here much lately is that Dustin’s loaning him out to other sites so he can get some extra moolah. I suspect I’ll be the next one to go…

What changes do you see the NFL needing to make to avoid Mark Cuban’s predictions of becoming hogs that get slaughtered. – Pete


To be honest, I think Cuban’s predictions are highly optimistic for himself & NBA owners, who would hope to capitalize off of a decline for the NFL. I do think there will be a day that the NFL won’t be the number one sports league in America, but I don’t see it happening for a very long time. There are a number of things that the NFL could do to shut the naysayers down and make things even bigger & better, and we’ll go over some of them now…

-Allow the players to be individuals. One of the big things the NBA has going for it right now is the superstars. LeBron. Steph. KD. Russ. The list goes on and on of guys that have big personalities and big games. Who are the NFL superstars beyond Tom Brady? Nobody gets to stand out, and the ones that do stand out & express themselves (Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick) are shouted down by the NFL. There’s positives & negatives that come with superstar athletes, and Cam, Sherman & Kaep’s experiences have shown that there will be some backlash from the fanbase along with whatever accolades they receive, but the important thing is that they get people talking.

-Quit fining players over shoes. Nobody outside the NFL offices gives a damn whether player shoe colors meet league regulations. In the same vein, let the players celebrate & don’t make referees decide how many pelvic thrusts result in a penalty.

-Make the rules easier to understand. Most football fans have no idea what is a catch and what isn’t a catch anymore. If referees have a tough time keeping track of new rules, how can we expect fans to know?

-Make the rules consistent. I’m all for promoting player safety, so the increased penalties are fine. I think most people get that, but they don’t think that it’s done on an even level for everybody. The fact that there’s a different set of rules for people hitting Cam Newton than there is for people hitting Tom Brady is madness.

-Dial it back a little bit. Too much of anything is a bad thing, and I think we saw that early on in this season. Thursday night games might be good for the bottom line, but they’re killing the perception of the product with poor quality. Stick to Sunday & Monday, and maybe even take a month or two during the off-season & chill with the hype. The fans will come back in September for sure and check in on the draft & free agency & stuff like that, you don’t need to keep beating them over the head with non-events.

-Once you get rid of the Thursday nonsense, make the prime time games special again. I really think one of the main reasons people were down on the level of play this NFL season was because we see more and more bad teams in prime time windows. I know Goodell put ESPN in the doghouse for a couple of years there, but we need to go back to the days where teams weren’t given Monday night games simply for existing. The Bengals went more than a decade without playing on MNF, when they finally made it back it was a pretty big deal locally, and a sign that the team had made some serious progress.

Why is it you always seem to put the USB in upside down on first attempt & then have to correct it? – @BobbyGod


So I’m not the only one? The way my computer set up is, it looks like it would make sense to put my USB drive in facing the monitor, which is to the right of my drive, so I can see the light blinking. But I have to put it in the other way, so I don’t see the light and I don’t know if the thing is on or not.

Thanks for reading THE Ultimate Sports Blog! See you guys next time!