SI Vault
August 07, 1961
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August 07, 1961


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The essence of the National Football League's contract with CBS, which has now been ruled in violation of antitrust laws, is that all NFL clubs would share equally in the money paid by the network to televise games. The reason for such an arrangement is that a team like the New York Giants, with a huge home-area audience, has no difficulty getting a good price for telecasts of its road games, while a team like Green Bay has difficulty even selling TV rights to its games. Obviously, therefore, if each team negotiated TV rights on its own, those in big cities would have a tremendous financial advantage over those in small cities, though both are selling the same commodity—NFL football. Indeed, many league owners believe that without a reasonable share of TV money some NFL clubs would be forced out of business.

Federal Judge Allan Grim's decision negating the contract has the effect of encouraging the rich to get richer and obliging the poor to remain that way, surely the opposite intent of antitrust legislation. In addition, the richer teams would inevitably become better teams, and the poorer teams would become worse teams. It seems to us too bad that a distinction before the law cannot be made between a sports association—to whose advantage (and the public's) it is to field evenly matched teams—and, say, a group of car manufacturers. Pro football, we agree, is as much business as it is sport, but it is a special kind of business and should be judged accordingly.


The poll has clearly become as much a part of baseball as the bat and ball. No aspect of the game goes blissfully unrated. To the old list of Most Valuable Player, best manager, outstanding pitcher and top rookie such newcomers as best sophomore and biggest comeback have recently been added.

Umpires, once faceless bodies of unquestioned integrity, are also getting the treatment. As listed in The Sporting News , a poll of sportswriters, coaches and managers tells us which umpires are the neatest (Ed Vargo, Ed Hurley, Jocko Conlan, Larry Napp and Cal Drummond), which are the least likely to eject players (Dusty Boggess, Bill McKinley and Red Flaherty) and which are the quickest at making decisions ( Jocko Conlan, Charlie Berry and Larry Napp). We also learn that Frank Dascoli and Hurley are the most difficult to talk to, the worst pop-offs and the biggest grand-standers. The most surprising of the 20 categories listed is "best knowledge of rules" (Al Barlick and Berry), because all umpires are supposed to know the rules thoroughly.

When the poll was published, Barlick—also one of the "most respected, most serious-minded"—became, in this instance, the quickest to call the play. He decided the poll was ridiculous. "What do the writers know about umpiring?" he asked. "All they know is what they're told." As for the category "most respected," Barlick said that the respect of players for umpires is such a fickle thing that it defies any attempt at analysis. In short, he rated the poll as most foolish and least likely to succeed.


If Mr. Lawson pays $65 a month rent and earns a salary of $3,120 a year, what percent of his salary does he pay for rent?

What is the opposite of diminutive—distraught, large, inductive or reluctant?

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