Close Call on Super Pick; Kelly Bails on Bruins; New Sports TV Bundle; Big Two Form Advisory Group
The Inside Track's crystal ball has often been clouded by faulty judgment or letting emotion overrule objective analysis.
This time we got it right in the Super Bowl. Our pick was just a couple of points off; we had it 27-24 Chiefs instead of 25-22.
And we correctly pegged the decisive elements that turned the game in Kansas City's favor--an edge at quarterback, kicker, and head coach.
49er quarterback Brock Purdy played well, but Patrick Mahomes was, well, super. He's won three Super Bowls and could very well pass Tom Brady one of these days in Super Bowl victories and become recognized as the greatest quarterback of all time. He's that good.
Mahomes' performance on the final game-winning drive in overtime was sheer perfection. Eight straight completions and two scrambles for first downs. If you give him an opportunity to win the game, he will.
It's that simple.
49ers kicker Jake Moody drilled a 55-yard field goal early and added another field goal, but he blew an extra point that would've given the 49ers a four point lead, instead of allowing the Chiefs to tie the game with a late field goal in regulation.
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers' coaches did a great job. Their team dominated the first half and could easily have won the game. His only questionable call was deciding to take the ball to begin the overtime.
But when it mattered most, Andy Reid made the brilliant play calls that helped Mahomes engineer the touchdown drive in overtime, including the game-winning pass where no 49er was within five yards of receiver Mecole Hardman, Jr.
Reid has now won three Super Bowls in the last five years. And with Mahomes around, the expectation is that he'll win a few more.
For Shanahan and the 49ers, it was another heartbreaking loss on the game's biggest stage. And for the second time in four years, a blown 10-point lead in the Super Bowl. Other than Mahomes sheer brilliance, this one came down to a fumbled punt and a missed extra point.
But the future remains bright in San Francisco with Purdy and all of his key weapons---Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuels, Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Juszczyk--still around.
Chip Bails on Bruins: Last week Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley resigned to become defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.
Then last Friday, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly resigned to become offensive coordinator at Ohio State.
What's going on here? Two well-paid head coaches at prominent universities resigning to take assistant jobs elsewhere?
For starters, these decisions have one thing in common. Both coaches hate the direction college football is heading, with the emphasis on NIL and the transfer portal.
Kelly's decision is the more surprising of the two because of the money involved. Hafley likely didn't take much, if any, of a pay cut from his salary at BC to join the Pack.
But Kelly was making $6 million at UCLA. He'll probably make about one third of that as the OC in Columbus.
So why did he leave?
1) Kelly's tenure has been lackluster, at best, at UCLA, and his seat was getting warmer. He went 35-34 in six seasons and there were a lot of fans and media types who thought he should've been fired this season. When he resigned last week, KNBR's Brian Murphy, a diehard UCLA alum, tweeted "our long national nightmare is over."
2) The AD who hired him, Dan Guerrero, retired a few years ago and Kelly's relationship with the current AD, Martin Jarmond, has been pretty frosty.
And with Gene Block retiring, the university will have a new chancellor in July, who may or may not want to get involved in the football program.
3) His Bruins are headed to the newly-expanded Big Ten, where the level of competition will be considerably tougher than the old Pac-12. The Bruins will be looking up at Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington, for starters.
4) Kelly has never liked recruiting, and frankly, he's always been a lousy recruiter. NIL only increased his frustrations. At Ohio State, he won't be on the hot seat as the head coach, and he won't be judged by his school's recruiting success, or lack thereof.
5) He has a strong relationship with OSU head coach Ryan Day, who played for Kelly at New Hampshire. Day has been under fire for losing to Michigan three straight years and for failing to get the most out of his offensive talent.
Kelly, in all likelihood, will improve the Buckeyes' offense. The former Oregon, Philadelphia Eagles and 49ers coach is one of the brightest offensive strategists in the game. And I imagine his job description under Day won't include too many recruiting responsibilities.
So he'll sleep better, and he'll do much more hands-on coaching.
Sports Streaming Bundle: ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery announced last week that they are launching a joint venture, sports streaming platform this fall.
The new service will include the companies' sports networks and sports rights, including will offerings from 15 networks--ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, ESPN+, SEC network, ACC network, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.
No NBC or CBS, though, so this "skinny bundle" is not quite a one-stop shop and it wouldn't have included yesterday's Super Bowl on CBS.
Media analysts expect the price to be in the $50 per month range, although it wouldn't surprise me if it was more like $65. You can already watch nearly everything that this new service offers on YouTube for around $70.
The prediction here is that it won't revolutionize sports viewing or attract that many customers.
Big Two Advisory Group: The Big Ten and SEC have announced the creation of a joint advisory group of presidents and athletic directors to address the problems facing college sports and steer their conferences into the future.
Commissioners Tony Petitti (Big Ten) and Greg Sankey (SEC) insist that this is not a move to break away from the NCAA.
Don't believe that for a second. The two behemoths--who have the most talent and money--are going to figure out the future of college sports themselves without waiting for the NCAA or Congress to do it.