Today in ALDLAND History: Two football coaches reveal the sports industry’s inner workings; the NFL media probes regional stereotypes; and a blockbuster MLB free-agent signing

Now that ALDLAND has been up and running for more than a decade, we’ve amassed a meaty body of sports stories, data, and observations we can mine for memories and reengagement.

And speaking of meaty bodies, eleven years ago today, we brought you the stories of Steve Spurrier, then coaching at South Carolina, who volunteered that he did not want to hire “fat, sloppy guys” as assistant coaches, among other preferences, and Todd Haley, who believed the Kansas City Chiefs still were tapping his cell phone a month after he’d been fired from the head coaching job there. Read more in The sports profession: Where not everybody’s working for the weekend.

Spurrier spent four more seasons in Columbia before resigning in the middle of the 2015 season. His next head-coaching job came in 2019 with the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos.

Haley next worked as an offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Riverview (Sarasota) High School before returning as a head coach for the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits and Memphis Showboats.

Continuing the football time traveling, ten years ago today, we already knew the matchups for the NFL playoff conference championships, and the coverage of the NFC’s pairing of Atlanta and San Francisco was anything but imaginative. Read more in Stereotyping the NFC Championship Game.

The Falcons would fall to the 49ers, helping set up the Harbowl.

From postseason to offseason, eight years ago today we brought you the breaking story of Max Scherzer’s departure from the Detroit Tigers and signing with the Washington Nationals for $210 million over seven years. Read more in Mr. Scherzer goes to Washington.

During those seven seasons in Washington, Scherzer was a six-time All-Star, a two-time Cy-Young winner, and a World-Series champion. I, on the other hand, did not win any awards during those seven years for my conclusion at the time of Scherzer’s Nationals deal that “it wouldn’t be prudent to commit the amount of money he’s due to another long-term contract for another player on the old side of thirty.”

Thanks for re-reading.


Is Dwight Howard the new Big Baby?

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and former Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neal recently had a public spat over the former’s claim to the Superman mantle (cape?), but Howard’s real nomenclature-based friction actually may be with current Orlando Magic forward Glen Davis.

There won’t really be any friction between those two, of course, because Davis doesn’t want to be known as Big Baby anymore (even though everyone, including him, still wants to call him that). But that’s exactly how Howard’s acting– large, immature, and lacking in foresight.

Back when the league-wide Chris Paul trade operations were in full force, Howard made sure everyone knew he wanted out of Orlando too, and even held in his hand a faintly McCarthyesque list of names of the teams where he would like to go. When he didn’t get moved around the time that Paul finally made it to L.A., Howard pulled back on his trade request, only to slowly walk back to it ever since. Every week, it seems like he adds a new team to his list, an act that garners him headlines for at least a couple days each time. The Lakers and Nets have been on the list since the beginning. Then he added the Clippers, and, most recently, the Bulls, a decision so newsworthy it has been on’s front page for two days:

Most agree that Howard is the best center in the game right now, and the Magic rightly would demand a king’s ransom to part with him. Orlando is willing to pay him, but Howard doesn’t seem to believe he can win there– his trade decision is about winning championships and boosting his personal brand more than it’s about pure dollar figures. Given this reality, many have pointed out that it makes no sense for Howard to demand a trade to a contender, because that team would have to gut its roster to get him, and his new situation would probably end up looking a lot like his current one. Instead, he should play out the year in Orlando and let one of these teams sign him when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Howard must know this, but he keeps talking and keeps his name in the news for little other purpose than that. At this point, I’m just waiting for him to add the Columbus Blue Jackets to his “list.”