Drew Brees-Citrus Bowl mess latest warning on sports betting problems

Notes, quotes, anecdotes and weekend morning antidotes:

Little-reported history was made on Dec. 29, when the Citrus Bowl between LSU and Purdue suddenly descended into unprecedented financial disarray.

Problem: NFL and Purdue QB legend Drew Brees, who joined Purdue as an interim assistant bowl coach, has significant investment and television promotion in a sports gambling operation that shamelessly encourages young naïvetés to bet every game, every game.

Brees is a spokesperson and shareholder of the PointsBet sportsbook. When he was named an assistant coach for his alma mater, that previous relationship ran afoul of New Jersey state regulations.

So in NJ, betting on the Citrus Bowl has been halted and previous bets on the game have been voided – thus protecting against any real or imagined insider trading.

Guess that charming piece of history will be written into Brees’ biography? Inducted on his Hall of Fame plaque?

And for those trying to score at home, there’s more to come. And much uglier.

With so many big-money sports betting operations here, there and abroad, suspiciously significant operations are harder to detect and trace, and less likely to produce telltale movements in the betting line.

Drew Brees

Professional tennis, as has been discovered several times before, remains the easiest sport to fix, as it often only takes one player to jump — plus the bettors.

The lure to fix team games — college basketball for all its games and nightly action — increases as the real and perceived chance of getting nailed decreases.

Have there already been fixed games inspired by the flood of new, legalized betting certified by leagues and teams give us your cut? You wouldn’t bet against that, would you?

Boom or bust: Esiason’s split personality on display again

Boom Esiason — the “Weekday Boomer” — made news and noise last week during an interview with Boston’s WEEI. Of Patriots QB Mac Jones, Esiason said:

“Here’s the thing that I really don’t like about Mac Jones, if you want to get to the root of it: His body language, his facial expressions, his spin on the court – they piss me off. There is some stupidity in them. I don’t know how else to explain it.”

Here’s what I really don’t like about Esiason. It’s his body language coming from his mouth. There is falsity in it. And that’s how I explain it.

Boomer Esiason

As CBS’s “Weekend Boomer,” Esiason has a completely different vocabulary and perspective on NFL players. He is clean, careful, careful not to offend. WFAN’s “Weekday Boomer” is a crude, gratuitous humiliation artist and name-caller who craves an audience of socially desensitized young men.

And that’s why no matter how “corrupt” Mac Jones behaves, Esiason is a far bigger fake.

Is it too simplistic to say that Roger Goodell should have called Monday’s Bills-Bengals game a 0-0 tie, refunded ticket holders or credits, and then moved on?

What a few years ago we would rather fix than suffer more ridicule, ESPN has only made worse, so ESPN remains the home of comically stupid, self-deprecating, flashy graphics, the kind that so often reveal national all-sports networks to not understand sports.

On Wednesday, ESPN brought to our attention a graphic bearing the stunning news that Georgia men’s basketball’s win over Auburn was “UGA’s first home win against a ranked opponent since 2021.”

To make matters funnier, Auburn was ranked 22nd, which made the “breaking news” all the more insignificant.

How many red cards did Pelé receive in his career? no?

Well, there’s an old but unconfirmed report that Pelé was sent off in a match against Colombia for insulting the referee’s mother, followed by the referee’s self-removal for his own survival lest he be killed by the crowd. Allegedly, his mother also followed him.


Who knows? Pelé started playing professionally in 1956, and yellow and red cards were used for the first time at the 1970 World Cup.

And this season, Jets and Giants radio as an alternative to the rampant garbage so often heard on TV has become a dubious substitute.

The voice of the Jets on the radio, Bob Wischusen, who plays calmly and centrally as ESPN’s college football play-by-play man, continued to scream like an unhinged madman whenever the Jets’ accomplishments exceeded the norm.

Why Wischusen still chooses to be heard by New York audiences as transparently forced, hysterical, insultingly childish and grossly unprofessional is his business – and our burden.

As for the voice of the Giants, Bob Pape, he has once again chosen to be heard as an indiscriminate stat machine, giving the same emphasis — often right after a play — to the barely significant as the utterly inconsequential.

During last Sunday’s Colts-Giants game, Pope was eager to share information like Saquan Barkley’s 43-yard run against the Colts in 2018, how WR Parris Campbell’s pass was the Colts’ 30th of 30-plus yards this season and more irrelevant red zone stats – attack and defense – than you could shake a pylon.

Good play-by-play radio requires setting the scene, then description, not statistics or screaming.

Cross your eyes to watch FS1

The simplest lesson in television – we can’t watch two things at once – remains unlearned.

The next time the geniuses at Fox Sports 1 get the idea to show a three-screen basketball game that includes both coaches with microphones, like they did at Xavier-St. John’s game on December 28th, I hope Fox hires an outside consultant to remind the think tank:

1. Spectators have at most two eyes, through which they can see only one thing at a time.

2. Viewers have, at most, only two ears, through which we can clearly hear only one person speaking … with the exception of my sister-in-law.

Coach St. John Mike Anderson was miked by FS1.
Getty Images

Reader Alan Hirschberg: “I watched as I would if I were in the arena – one eye on one coach, one eye on the other coach and one eye on the game.”

On Sunday during Colts-Giants, in case viewers didn’t notice, Daniel Jones was throwing punches.

So CBS shortened the scene so we could read all about it in one of its long, vertical, multi-color graphics that track the QB’s past 10 passes with ticks for completions and Xs to indicate incompletions — plus yards per catch , TDs and interceptions — while allowing viewers a few seconds to read, remember and apply.

Or laugh.

As a matter of applied common sense, we would have discarded this worthless “additive” years ago, but CBS is sticking with it, as if network executives and shareholders demand to see how one of the QBs fared eight passes ago.

Why does stupidity persist and even grow? Because sports broadcasters – the ones who should know best, if not better – keep adding “stuff” just to add stuff.

Phil Simms once told me he attended a production meeting before a game where the producer said he wanted to include as many graphics as possible. When Simms asked why, the producer was stuck for an answer—even a bad one.

Just as an annual reminder, always protect yourself: I am not on Twitter, nor have I ever been. The person using my name and claiming to have thousands of followers is not me, nor do I know who he or she is. I do not, nor have I ever had an account on any “social networks” (nor was I a member of the Communist Party).

Furthermore, I pay my taxes, I don’t litter, and I haven’t committed a murder in almost a week.

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