Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Could be better, could be worse

The NFL and Nike unveiled the new uniforms for the 32 teams on Tuesday and the Browns uniforms are essentially unchanged.

It shouldn’t really come as any surprise as the Browns have one of the iconic uniforms in the league. Plus, as Paul Lukas points out at ESPN.com, the league isn’t going to just let Nike come and make any changes without a team saying it is OK. Lukas writes that, “Nike is just a vendor supplying a service to a client, and in this case the client is the NFL, whose team owners are some of America’s most conservative businessmen. They’re not the sort of people who want their teams to look, for lack of a better term, wacky.”

It definitely could have been much worse.

The one disappointment is the gloves the Browns will use. We like how Nike makes the gloves show an image when you put both sides together, but would it have killed the NFL to use the Brownie Elf?

Who would argue with that?

The most important thing to remember, of course, is that the uniforms themselves don’t matter, what’s important is the players inside the uniforms.

***

LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne reportedly scored a four (out of 50) on his Wonderlic test at the NFL Combine. According to ESPN, his score is the lowest known result by a draft prospect since Iowa State running back Darren Davis reportedly received a 4 in 2000.

“I haven’t talked to anybody about it. All I know is that (Claiborne) was from a complicated defensive system and he flourished in it. I’ve never seen any sort of deficiency in him,” Claiborne’s agent, Bus Cook, told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. “I’m sitting here in shock at what you’re telling me. And if it is true, how does that get out? I thought the commissioner was going to put safeguards on this information and there would be severe discipline if it ever did get out. I don’t know if he scored a 4 or a 40. All I know is he’s a great kid, he’s smart, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with everything about him.”

Our reaction is: who cares? We’re still cool with the thought of the Browns drafting Claiborne and teaming him with Joe Haden in the secondary. As long as he knows to hit the guys in black and gold extra hard, the rest is irrelevant.

More importantly, there is little evidence that the Wonderlic has any value in predicting how a player will perform in the NFL.

According to ESPN.com, a 2009 study by professors from Fresno State University, the University of Georgia and Towson State found no connection between Wonderlic scores and performance during the first three years of a player’s NFL career. The group studied 762 players from the 2002, 2003 and 2004 draft classes.

John W. Michel, an assistant professor at Towson University who co-authored the study, told The Washington Post: “We found in no cases was cognitive ability related to (football) performance. We did find a negative relationship for tight ends and defensive backs. For defensive backs, it was the most pronounced; basically, the lower you scored on the Wonderlic, the better you performed.”

***

Finally, it turns out its not only the win totals that are dropping for the Washington Redskins – attendance is also on the decline.

The team announced they are cutting 4,000 seats from FedEx Field, bringing the seating capacity to 79,000. As recently at 2010 the stadium sat 91,000.

But it’s OK but the Redskins reportedly are a team that wants to “win now” – just without the win part and with fewer fans in attendance.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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