Podcast: Eric Edholm on the NFL Draft

Looking for a 25 minute NFL Draft crash course? You've come to the right place! Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sport's Shutdown Corner blog talks draft with me. We cover the evaluation process, some of the big names and touch on the Josh Norman story.

Follow Eric on Twitter here and read his work here.

4/7 Hoffman Podcast: Sam Hinkie resigns (with Jeff Platt)

My former co-host and fellow NBA junkie Jeff Platt joins me to talk about Sam Hinkie's surprise resignation in Philadelphia. We also discuss the team Jeff currently covers, the Spurs, and their pursuit of perfection and home and ultimate mission of beating the Warriors.

For reference, Sam Hinkie's letter can be read here. His podcast with Zach Lowe is here. Lowe also did a podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown recently that is very good. That can be found here.

The Battle of the Alma Maters

I left Riverside High School in 2008 bound for Middle Tennessee State University and a career in music production. That lasted about six weeks before I changed my major. Two years later I was a broadcast journalism major leaving Murfreesboro for Syracuse. The details of that aren't particularly relevant at the moment, but it was the best decision I ever made. Being an SU alum has opened more doors than I could ever imagine, but my time at MTSU was just as important, and basketball was an enormous reason why.

Syracuse is as big time as a program can get, which means that it's a little harder to get on the inside. Being a student reporter makes it near impossible. Jim Boeheim has a historical disdain for them and routinely humiliates them in press conferences seemingly for sport. Again, that's a different column for a different day, but I was never more than an educated observer as a member of the media at SU.

That was far from the case at MTSU.

While many of you reading know me as a football guy from my job at ESPN980, basketball is my first love. It's my passion. I love to watch. I love to play. I love everything about it.

That love was cultivated in many ways at Middle. I was incredibly lucky to have two coaches that not only were accessible, but let me into the inner sanctums of their programs. They trusted me. They allowed me to learn.

Rick Insell was an extraordinarily accomplished high school coach before taking over the MTSU women's program. Kermit Davis was one of college basketball's rising stars before he was hit with major violations at Texas A&M and had to rebuild his career, starting in junior college. He made his way back to the D1 ranks and took over MTSU in 2002.

While I watched from press row for much of my freshman year, I started early my sophomore year as both Insell and Davis allowed me to watch practices long before the season started and kept their doors open for the entire year.

It was inside the Murphy Center, where both teams held practice, that I learned more about the game of basketball than at any other point of my life. I learned how much goes into game preparation. I learned the detail with which a team had to execute to be successful. I learned how a coach instills an attitude in a team and a program.

While Coach Insell and the woman's program had more success when I was there, I learned much of that from Coach Davis. The intensity and tempo of their practices showed me what it took to win on the Division 1 level. I knew that if he was given the time, he would be able to build a team that could consistently compete, in large part because of how much Davis taught them to compete.

Not only is Kermit a great coach with an incredible depth of knowledge, but he was also incredibly open and approachable. He, and his staff, would happily answer questions I had about their team and about the game.

Simply put, my career would've played out differently if I didn't spend that time at MTSU, not only from a media standpoint where I was able to get invaluable reps in a less competitive student media program, but from a basketball standpoint where I learned more than I could bargain for.

I took that knowledge with me and was known as a basketball guy until I arrived in DC. I still am. I just have a football education now too.

A lot has changed since I left both schools. None of the players are still at either school, unless you count Trevor Cooney who redshirted during my senior year at SU. Both teams are in different conferences as well. However the coaches are still the same and Sunday they'll play each other for a spot in the Sweet 16.

I've always felt more loyalty to Syracuse because I'm so personally attached to the university. I feel no such attachment to MTSU, and in many ways felt spurned by some of the academic types and administration there. However when it comes to the basketball programs, I certainly could justify rooting for either side.

I have a feeling I'll find myself rooting for the Orange, but if Kermit and company pull out another one, I'll certainly be proud of them. Just like I am now, despite them blowing my bracket to smithereens.

London's Calling...Don't Pick Up

A report from the BBC News says that the NFL still has an eye on London for a permanent franchise. I don't understand why.

Well, I do understand why. The NFL wants to make money and, in theory, could do so by expanding internationally to a new market.

However, there is a point, even in making money, of diminishing returns. Eventually, you have to remember that these aren't pieces you're moving around a game board to make money. There are people involved. A company with the resources of the NFL should surely be able to treat them as such.

It takes a lot to run a football team. There are players, coaches, trainers, video guys, marketing people, a public relations staff, executives of all of those things and so much more. Do you think any of those people want to live in London?

There's nothing wrong with London other than it's really far away. It's that simple. Most of us value some level of accessibility to our families, and even if we live across the country, it's not across an ocean.

Forgetting everyone but the basic football people, the thought that a London franchise could be consistently competitive is laughable. They would never get a top flight coach. Any coach with options would have to be grotesquely overpaid to pick leaving everything they know in the states to head to Britain.

The same would be true for top flight free agents, or even lower level ones. Any players with options would not live in London if given the choice. That holds true for draft picks as well. Even if the London franchise hit on absurd level of picks, they'd have to build up so much loyalty while the players were on their rookie contracts that they wouldn't want to leave the instant they got the chance.

Drafted players are mostly 21-23 year old kids, many of whom have never left the country in their lives. You are absolutely insane if you don't think some flat out wouldn't sign, even if drafted. Would most? Probably. Having to sit out a year isn't fun, but there are absolutely players who would refuse.

This is all before you get to the scheduling and travel logistics. Could you really ask players to travel back and forth across the pond for eight road games? Getting across the ocean takes long enough, but what about that first Londoners game in LA? That's another six hours in the air for enormously large men who barely fit in an airplane seat to begin with. Then you want them to perform athletically at a high level, turn around and go back without time to recover? Good luck with that.

You could just split the schedule. They could host 8 games, have a bye, and then travel the states like nomads for the final 8 games of the regular season. I'm sure the folks in London will love that. "Hey guys, is our team coming back?"

The NFL owns the American sporting landscape and apparently that's not enough. I fully understand the desire to expand because who doesn't want to make more money, but there are limits to all things. I could make more money if fraud, theft and tax evasion weren't illegal. Just because there's a way, doesn't mean it's a good idea bereft of consequences.

The problem isn't about some xenophobia or even American exceptionalism that we're not willing to share our game. It's simply the constraints of space and time. Scheduling would be a disaster and London's a long ways away.

Don't overthink this one NFL. Unless you've got a teleportation machine you're hiding. In which case can I borrow it? I hear there's a lot of snow coming.