On Wednesday, MDS pointed out some interesting comments from Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. The coach of one of the cheapest teams in all of sports isn’t happy that the Bucs lured receiver Dez Briscoe to the Tampa practice squad by paying him more than the practice-squad minimum.
We’ve stumbled across a take from Bucstats.com, a feisty and fiery blog that has much more fire and feist (I know “feist” isn’t a word) than the team is covers. The author of the item, known merely as “Scott,” spots the potential problem with Marvin’s message.
And while Scott apologizes for “going all Florio” on his audience, Scott points out that Lewis essentially is grumbling because the Buccaneers aren’t following the unwritten rules that potentially amount to illegal collusion.
That’s how collusion works. There’s no secret covenant locked in some old guy’s safe with a combination based on hieroglyphics and retinal scans. Nothing is ever written or said that would constitute an agreement. But when someone doesn’t comply with the understanding that every team is supposed to honor, the team that steps out of formation takes grief for it.
Why do you think so few teams sign restricted free agents to offer sheets, and why no offers sheets ever contain the poison pill that the Vikings and Seahawks used on a tit-for-tat basis in 2006? When the team officials get together for annual meetings in March, the teams who violate the unwritten rules get the cold shoulder and/or a finger wagging from one or more of their peers.
In this case, Lewis erred by saying publicly something that ordinarily is handled privately. And we’d bet one of Briscoe’s paychecks that Lewis has gotten a call from the league office reminding him that he should never use words publicly that tend to peel back the curtain and expose to the union circumstantial evidence of the league’s unspoken arrangements and/our courtesies that limit the amount of money a member of the NFLPA will make.