Black Friday. Experience it? Love it? Hate it? The Times is not here to judge what you think of the biggest shopping day of the year, the day after the holiday we’re supposed to commemorate our gratitude.
But, what if there could be a Black Friday sale for sports? Like, if teams or athletes could get deals that could give them that edge.
Yes, this reads like a Santa’s wish list. But, based on what we knew before 2020, compared to what we know now, here are ideas for some organizations and players who could some help.
Lamar Jackson/Gregg Roman - The Baltimore Ravens quarterback-offensive coordinator combo need to ditch last year’s playbook and find December’s magic. The knock on Roman in the past was that he got predictable in his playcalling. Somehow, the NFL MVP couldn’t land his OC a head coaching job. After ousters in San Francisco and Buffalo, he may not see 2022 in Baltimore unless he and his rekindle some of 2019.
Jim Harbaugh - Urban Meyer’s leftovers. That’s because Ohio State head coach, Ryan Day, seemed to inherit all his mentor’s riches. Harbaugh, who went to three NFC title games and a Super Bowl in San Francisco, and turned around college programs at San Diego State and Stanford, couldn’t return home to take back the rivalry with the Buckeyes. Now, not beating OSU may not even be his biggest problem anymore.
Dabo Swinney - A COVID psychic. In fact, put all of us down for that so we can plan accordingly.
Theo Epstein - A plan to Make Baseball Great Again. Seriously. He stepped down over a week ago as the president of the Chicago Cubs as a surefire Hall-of-Famer just for breaking both of the game’s famous curses. But even Theo admitted his analytical approach, which inspired a dynamic shift in franchise construction and management, has led to a game that’s not “aesthetically pleasing.” He’s right. And, if there’s one guy to fix that, it would be him. But, the damage may be done.
Brian Cashman - Someone to remind him the game has a heartbeat, as Joe Torre famously told him. Maybe he should visit the Wizard of Oz instead of Santa.
Josh Allen - An offensive line that’s not shuffled week-to-week and a situational run game that’s not using his legs all the time.
The NFL - A complete season despite the current COVID climate, provided it’s not a league full of practice squad players.
Carson Wentz - A new opportunity. But, given his cap number, that’s almost impossible. Could Philly win the NFC East with a sub-.500 record AND fire its Super Bowl-winning head coach?
Rochester Red Wings - Ten years of bliss with the Washington Nationals. The idea is not a Governor’s Cup win, though nice, but rather a roster of future stars to remember, and as good a relationship as they had enjoyed with the Minnesota Twins.
Trevor Lawrence - Any team but the New York Jets.
Notre Dame - It’s first national title since 1988. Can we be honest for a few seconds here? At some point, college football needs to return to everybody, instead of being the southern sport it’s become. There’s the SEC, Clemson, Ohio State, and then everybody else. Notre Dame has always been in conversation, but comes-up short when pulled-out of its independent vacuum and thrust against real competition. This year, the Fighting Irish beat Clemson. Granted, Trevor Lawrence was out with COVID, but that’s not ND’s fault. The other thing? Somebody needs to put the narrative to rest that academic schools can’t win. The Fighting Irish have a real shot at winning it all this year. Ironically, when facing the usual suspects of success--Alabama, the Tigers (either Death Valley works), the Buckeyes--the Irish may be America’s underdog to root for for a change. And college football is better when the Golden Domers are good.
How about you? Send your Black Friday sports list to firstname.lastname@example.org.