And your United Soccer League champion for 2020 is … COVID-19!
The USL canceled its Nov. 1 title game between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Phoenix Rising FC after too many Rowdies players tested positive.
• At TheOnion.com: “Antonio Brown agrees to one-year plea deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
• At ESPN.com: “Vikings let Dalvin cook.”
That rundown feeling
NFL viewers thought they were seeing a once-in-a-lifetime come-from-behinder when Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf chased down Cardinals safety Budda Baker after 90 yards and kept Baker from reaching the end zone.
“Hold my beer,” said Joe Biden.
NFL Lingo 101
Seahawks D-lineman Damontre Moore got suspended a half-dozen games for violating the NFL’s policy on using performance-enhancing substances.
In other words, a sit-six.
Penn State freshman cornerback Joseph Johnson III has been hit with marijuana charges twice within two months.
So that’s why he’s been so susceptible to roll-outs.
One third of the Pac-12’s season-opening football games — Washington at Cal and Arizona at Utah — have been canceled due to COVID-19.
Updated 2020 conference motto: We’ve Gone Viral.
The Eagles’ offense leads the NFL in sacks surrendered.
Bet those players’ houses were popular on Halloween.
Grab your checkbooks
The NFL fined the Raiders, Steelers and their head coaches a combined $1 million for violations of COVID-19 protocols.
Now that’s what you call an illegal-contact penalty.
MLB announced its won’t discipline Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner for returning to the field to celebrate his team’s World Series championship after testing positive midgame for COVID-19.
Hey, it was either that or suspend him for 10 spring-training games.
Flag on the play
Raiders/Steelers (cont’d): You know it’s 2020 when you get penalized for NOT grabbing the facemask.
Pass the utensils
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson applied for a trademark of the phrase “Let Russ Cook.”
“Now you tell us,” said the Steelers, after buying dinner for the entire Allegheny County ballot-counting site in Pittsburgh.
The NFL suspended Bears receiver Javon Wims for two games for cheap-shotting the Saints’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson — one game for the blows and, presumably, another game for being stupid enough to repeatedly punch a guy’s helmet.
Talking the talk
• Jack Finarelli of the SportsCurmudgeon.com, on the Packers’ 34-17 victory Thursday night: “The Niners put up a struggle but, with eight starters out of the lineup from the outset, they brought brass knuckles to an ax fight.”
• Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on Sunday’s matchup pitting 40-something QBs Tom Brady and Drew Brees: “If it goes to overtime, they’ll play shuffleboard to decide it.”
• Bob Molinaro in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: “When the Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner are fined $5,000 for wearing their socks too low, it’s again time for the NFL to get over itself.”
Getting a bellyful
The Falcons’ Keith Smith says he eats chicken with sides of rice and beans at Chipotle “about four or five times a day … same thing every time.”
Smith, it goes without saying, is a fullback.
• Blogger Chad Picasner, on MLB sabermetrics: “You used to judge a pitcher by things like: How good is his curveball? Or how hard does he throw? Now you need to know spin rates, arm angles and BABIP, which is Batting Average of Balls In Play. Hitting coaches have to know bat speed, time in the zone and launch angles. Base-running coaches need to know … a different career, since the new metrics frown on stealing bases.”
• Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, on the midfield brawl between Florida and Missouri players: “But sure, these young men are mature and disciplined enough to play football during a pandemic.”
Quote, end quote
• Dan Daly of ProFootballDaly.com, after Raiders coach Jon Gruden got fined $150,000 for repeated violations of coronavirus protocols: “Maybe it would help if somebody explained to Gruden that COVID gets up even earlier in the morning than he does.”
• RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, recalling the time Evelyn Lozada filed for divorce from ex-NFL wideout Chad Johnson after just 41 days: “Or as football receivers call it — a quick out.”
• Hall of Famer Joe Namath, to ESPN, on whether Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence might force a trade if he’s drafted by winless New York: “Anything could happen in this world, damn near anything — except for the Jets maybe making the playoffs this year.”