If we can believe all that's been written and said recently about what's happening from sea to shining sea, then maybe it's time even we skeptics went out and bought a few lottery tickets.
With the exception of gasoline prices, word is that things in general are looking up for the U.S. economy. Unemployment is falling. We're bringing our troops home from Iraq and, hopefully, Afghanistan. There is optimism about the job market. In New York, the guys in Albany are on the verge of passing the new state budget on time for the second consecutive year, which hasn't happened in three decades.
And--wow!--things couldn't get any better over there in the sports world either, right? That is, unless you're a New Orleans Saints fan. Otherwise, check out some of the historic events taking place:
- The New York Jets signed former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, a saint who isn't a Saint. That has most, if not all, Big Apple fans pushing and shoving to get in line and buy Super Bowl tickets. Hey, it's a given, isn't it? Jets vs. somebody in Super Bowl XLVII, if-and it's a big if-they can beat ...
- The Indianapolis Colts, who finished with a 2-14 record in the Peyton Manning-less 2011 season and no doubt will draft Stanford superstar and NFL Hall-of-Famer-to-be Andrew Luck. The consensus is that Luck will turn the team around-that is, lead it to a 14-2 record this coming season.
- The Boston Red Sox collapsed last September-a 7-20 record to end the season-and this season there will be no beer or chicken in the Bosox locker room during games. Therefore, with new manager Bobby Valentine leading the way, the Red Sox will ... Well, let's put it this way: Look out, N.Y. Yankees and Tampa Bay Buccaneers! No more chowing down, no more burping in the dugout, no more 7-20 record down the stretch.
- Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five shots last Sunday, and the word is, "He's baaack!" Therefore, most people who follow the great game of golf figure the rest of the players on the PGA Tour should call in sick and withdraw if they can't stand to finish second whenever Woods is in a tournament.
- The Buffalo Bills might not be a Super Bowl contender, but after all the hoopla about the team signing Mario Williams, maybe they are. After an abysmal 12 consecutive years, who would've thought that Buffalo signing a defensive superstar free agent would all but guarantee them a spot in the playoffs? And after that, anything can happen.
Well, dear reader, are you buying into all of the above? If so, please get in touch with me, because you might be interested in buying the gold mine I have on the market.
Given that, let's take the five bullets one at a time.
1: Tebow: No doubt he is a wonderful human being (applause, applause!), but when it comes to professional football, that and $2 will get you a cup of java somewhere. Maybe he and Jets starter Mark Sanchez will get along great, as Tebow has said, but when does one sit down and the other get up? Then, who plays when and how much? Many more questions than answers!
2: Colts and Luck: As some coach said decades ago, "All potential means is you haven't done it yet." Luck might have seen a half-dozen different defenses while waiting for the snap at Stanford. In the NFL, he might see a dozen different defenses. And he will notice that players are a step or two quicker than in the college game. Many certain NFL superstars have ended up selling cars or life insurance because they couldn't cut it.
3: Beerless Boston locker room: Is that why the Red Sox folded like a wet noodle in September? And if so, does no alcohol and no chicken wings mean a new team this season? I hope they are new Red Sox, but I doubt it'll be because Terry Francona is gone after he allowed that stuff to be consumed by players not in the lineup during games. What they need-what every team needs-is solid pitching and guys who get base hits with runners in scoring position. Period.
4. Tiger Woods: I hope all those optimists are right. Pro golf is more fun when Woods is in contention, going head-to-head with Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, etc. But assuming that Tiger has now come all the way back is the equivalent of assuming a 6-foot putt is automatically good. Golf is a game that is unconquerable. Swings come and go, and a slight error can lead to a disastrous double bogey. Someone predicted that Tiger will win between four and six tournaments this year, including the Masters next week. As this is written, Woods is the 4-to-1 favorite to win at Augusta. Basing that on Tiger winning one tournament in which everybody else collapsed makes no sense.
5. Buffalo Bills: Great move, getting Williams! If he could do it all-block, run the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball, tackle runners and sack the quarterback-I would agree that the Bills will be a team to be reckoned with in 2012. Unfortunately for them, he can't, and one player cannot change the other 21 starters. Let's hope there's more talent coming with the Bills' 10 draft choices.
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at www.rbjdaily.com. His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at www.authorhouse.com/bookstore. Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.3.3/29/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.