Want to play hardball? That is much easier to suggest from the outside.
Taken together, these moves left the Cavs worse off today than need be, but it is hard to see any of them unfolding much differently given Cleveland’s unique and messy circumstances.
The Supreme Court ruling was specific — in the absence of federal legislation regarding sports betting, states can call their own shots. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is working to install some federal oversight. Hatch, who was one of the authors behind PASPA, made a predictably anti-gambling statement to announce he’d target further regulation in the wake of the court’s decision.
The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago, the outgoing senator said. But the rapid rise of the internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports.
While it’s unclear what Hatch’s plan will be, his efforts could be the start of federal legislation aimed at creating a standardized plan for state-by-state sports gambling regulations and oversight.
We saw this in 2017 when the Philadelphia Eagles leapt from last place in the NFC East to Super Bowl champions behind a rock-solid defense, 13 games of MVP-caliber play from Carson Wentz, and a Super Bowl MVP performance from backup Nick Foles. In 2015, it was the Carolina Panthers rising from a losing record to sprint out to a 15-1 regular season and a spot in Super Bowl 50.
That means it’ll be no surprise to see some turnover at the top of the league’s eight divisions this fall. Last season, we got new champions in the AFC South and all four of the NFC’s divisions. Here are the divisions that could see some similar tumult in 2018, ranked in order from most to least likely.
The Saints were worthy champions in 2017 and remain stacked for 2018, but the South stands to be the NFL’s toughest division after pushing three teams to the postseason last year. Both the Panthers and Falcons are coming off double-digit-win seasons with the cores of their rosters intact, and a few small additions could be the tweak needed to overtake New Orleans.