Enlightened uncertainty

I don’t know.

That felt so good.

OK, yeah, you don’t know, either. And, yeah that felt pretty good, too.
Some things are certain, because they have been factually established. The acceleration of Earth’s gravity near the surface of our planet is 9.8 meters per second per second. I’m disinclined to argue with you about it. Smart folks have worked this out. So, yeah, I know that. And in this case, it would be disingenuous for me to say, “I don’t know.” I do. And denying a known fact is as unethical as advancing a known falsehood.

We don’t know everything. We never will. I find that exciting. It puts a little kick in every day ending in “y.”

We only know what we know when we know it. But we don’t have to know everything to know something. Knowledge is cumulative. There are things we don’t know yet, but inevitably will.

There are other things we don’t yet know but probably will.
And then there are things about which we should be humbly uncertain, because they are by definition uncertain.

Hubris is never on uglier display than when we assert certainty about a subject whose status is permanently uncertain. See, “Religious Wars” for $200.

Fair warning. “My god can whup your god” is not gonna go well for you here. Similarly, “There’s only one way to salvation, and it just so happens to be mine,” is not rational, and will command no intellectual respect. Please remember the name of our company.

Faith will be respected. Dogma, not so much.

Nothing is more enlightened than acknowledging our uncertainty. It is not only rational and ethical, it is “lightening.” It will lighten our load.

“I don’t know,” is not weakness. It’s strength.

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    The Games People Play—All Things Sports

    01/29/23 Stripes vs. Wings

    I’m not going to bury my lead. It will be the Eagles against the Bengals in Super Bowl 57, following two of the best conference championship games we have seen since, since—well—last year. Here is how and why we will end up with Stripes vs. Wings two weeks from today in Glendale. NFC Championship—San Francisco at Philadelphia These are not only the two best teams in the NFC, they’re also the two most physical teams in the entire NFL. The 49ers and Eagles have the deepest and most complete rosters in the league. San Francisco comes in riding a 12-game

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    01/28/23 As a fan, I can’t lose!

    For different reasons, I’d be happy with any possible remaining Super Bowl matchup. Chiefs-Eagles would be full of story lines, as Andy’s current franchise meets his former one. Chiefs-‘Niners? We’ve done that before, and it was a good one. ‘Niners-Bengals? We’ve done that twice before, and both games were very compelling. Eagles-Bengals would be fresh. So, as a fan, I’m really playing with house money. Tomorrow morning I’ll take off my fan hat and we’ll get deep in the weeds.

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    01/27/23 For Cowboys, no “Sea of Tranquility”

    And to think that it was only a week ago that I suggested here that the Cowboys’ upcoming offseason might turn out to be relatively tranquil—at least by Cowboy standards. “You may say I’m a dreamer…”   Yeah, I’ll own it. “Tranquil”?  Only in the sense that an 8.7 earthquake is “tranquil.” Here was my (alleged) thinking at the time. Dallas was coming off that Wild Card pounding of the Buccaneers. Dak had just played the best game of his career, accounting for five touchdowns with no turnovers. As I put it at the time, peace was possible, “unless Dallas lays

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    01/26/23 Mahomes says he’s “ready to go.” Is he?

    “Ready to go.”  That’s how Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes describes his status for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Bengals. Mahomes was listed as a “full participant” in Wednesday’s practice, despite the high ankle sprain he suffered in K.C.’s divisional playoff victory over the Jaguars. We won’t know—and neither will Cincinnati’s defense—how much mobility Mahomes has until the game starts. That means Bengal D.C. Lou Anarumo will have to prepare two separate game plans—one for a Mahomes who can get outside of the pocket, and another for a stationary Mahomes. That’s a tall order, both in scheme and preparation. But

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    01/25/23 Goodbye to Zeke?

    Self-inflicted team distractions are a staple of NFL conference championship weeks and Super Bowls. The 49ers Monday became the first conference finalist to stumble when defensive lineman Charles Omenihu was arrested for misdemeanor domestic abuse following an alleged altercation with his girlfriend. We’ll see where this leads. The four conference finalists share many characteristics and tendencies. They all run the hell out of the ball. With the occasional exception of the Chiefs, they don’t blitz very much. They all can really get after the opposing passer with a four or even three-man rush.   The 49ers and Eagles are particularly

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    01/24/23 Is this too much even for Mahomes?

    I don’t know how even Magic Mahomes can pull this off. A high ankle sprain is a big deal. Usually six weeks, sometimes more. And he says he’s going to play Sunday? He will have zero mobility, and mobility is a huge part of his game. Wait ‘til you see how Bengals DC Lou Anarumo heats up Mahomes. It’s going to be up to Andy to adjust. Nobody does it better. Knowing Mahomes can’t run, that could free Anarumo to play more man-to-man coverage than he normally would. Remember that Anarumo frustrated Mahomes in the second half of last year’s

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    01/23/23 This should not come as news.

    And, again, right on schedule, the Cowboys and their fans enter the annual offseason of their discontent. Make it now 27 straight years without a Super Bowl or even an NFC Championship Game appearance. And there is not one reason to think that dubious streak will end next season. The four teams who remain standing in the NFL postseason are in fact the best teams in professional football. And the Cowboys remain mired in the Valley of the Pretty Good. I don’t see that changing. Here’s what else is not going to change. The Cowboys are not going to change

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    01/22/23 It’s all about first down.

    Sure, third down conversions are critical. It’s often how NFL teams move the chains and keep drives alive. Duh. But today’s Cowboys-‘Niners game will be decided on first downs. Track them. Chart them. Be mindful and aware of them. The team that controls first down, offensively and defensively, will control the game. You don’t want to wind up in third and six or more against either of those pass rushes. SF will commit to the run on first down. It’s what they do. It’s who they are. Dallas may view first downs as their best downfield big-play opportunities. This will

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    01/21/23 Best football weekend of the year!

    I wish I had the stones to pick the Giants, because they can win this game. But I don’t and they won’t. Eagles 27, Giants 21. Jags, you are a very nice story, and you are only a year or two away from being a very good NFL team. But right now is right now, and right now you are in way over your heads. Chiefs 38, Jags 17. It is, however, at least interesting to note that Trevor Lawrence has never lost a Saturday game in high school, college, or the NFL… ‘Niners edge-rushing holy terror Nick Bosa has

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    01/20/23 The NFL’s best postseason rivalry

    Of this there can be no doubt. The Cowboys-49ers playoff rivalry is the NFL’s best, certainly in the Super Bowl era. When you combine regular season meetings with postseason games, the all-time series is tied 17-17-1. (The 13-13 tie was on Thanksgiving night at the Cotton Bowl in 1969. I remember, because it pissed me off.) But the Cowboys have won five of their eight playoff matchups with San Francisco. The exceptions were the NFC Championship Game following the 1981 season (“The Catch”), the 1994 NFC Championship Game  that kept the ‘Boys out of their third straight Super Bowl, and

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    It Was My Privilege

    I’m fortunate that over the course of my life and career I have encountered many unforgettable newsmakers. This series is not about self-aggrandizement or name-dropping. It’s just me expressing deep gratitude.

    Paul’s Memorable Encounter: Keith Hernandez

    My first full day of work at KMOX (now KMOV) TV in St. Louis was June 7, 1980. I was a 25-year-old, just-hired sportscaster whose previous tv jobs had been in Tucson and Austin. Movin’ on up to the East Side! I was incredibly fortunate and grateful. KMOX was CBS owned-and-operated. I reported to the newsroom at 8:30 a.m. and was immediately told to high-tail it to the airport along with photographer Bob Bauer. The Cardinals had just fired manager Ken Boyer, a former Card All-Star third-baseman and St. Louis hometown fan favorite. The early-morning whacking had occurred in Atlanta,

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    Paul’s Memorable Encounter: Joe Namath

    This would have been the summer of 1981. I was working as a nightly sportscaster at KMOX (now KMOV) TV in St. Louis. My sportscasting partner was a very gracious gentleman named Tim Van Galder. TVG had been a record-setting quarterback at Iowa State (The ‘Clones) and later spent time with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals, primarily as Jim Hart’s backup. But it must be noted that in one of his NFL starts, he led the Cards to a win over the Colts and Johnny Unitas. Yes. That Johnny Unitas. Timmy also had a cup of coffee with the Jets.

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    Paul’s Memorable Encounter: Howie Long

    January, 1984. I was working for CBS, based out of St. Louis.  I was sent to Tampa to cover Super Bowl XVIII between the Washington Redskins (yes, at the time) and the Los Angeles Raiders at The Big Sombrero. Washington was the defending SB champ and was heavily favored. The Raiders flew into Tampa on Monday. They arrived at their team hotel about a half hour before I was supposed to interview Raiders Coach Tom Flores in the hotel lobby. We had set up the interview through the Raiders’ p.r. staff.  Everything is cool. Until…two minutes before airtime and Coach

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    Paul’s Memorable Encounter: Walter Payton

    Fact.  I used to have a shoe contract.  Yeah, that still sounds every bit as absurd to me as it does to you. But, yeah. Mid-80s. I was living and working in St. Louis as a television and radio sportscaster. I was approached by a representative of a newly-launched athletic shoe company named “Kangaroos.”  They were sharp enough kicks, especially for the era. White, with red ‘Roos on both sides of the heels. Enter Big Money. Rep tells me Kangaroos will pay me fifteen dollars a week to wear their shoes. I asked my tv station management if they were

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    Paul’s Memorable Encounter: Deacon Jones

    This would have been the mid-1980s. My agent got me a gig doing two weeks of promotional work for Miller Lite. The star of the promotion was retired NFL Hall-of-Famer Deacon Jones.  The co-star was another unforgettable retired NFL defensive lineman, Ben Davidson. So on the first Monday morning of the gig, I walked into the coffee-break room of the production studio, where I was told I was to meet Deacon and Ben, aka Mr. Jones and Mr. Davidson.  I entered the break room and tried to stay as inconspicuous as possible. But suddenly, The Voice of Thor rang out. 

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    It was the Spring of 1980. I was living and working in Tucson as sports director at the CBS affiliate, KOLD-TV. I learned that one of history’s greatest athletes was being treated for a terminal illness at the University of Arizona Medical Center.Jesse Owens. The news staggered me. I’ve always been a track buff and an amateur Olympic historian. There was no American athlete for whom I had more respect and even reverence. When I was a very young child, my former sprint champion father taught me to revere his name and legacy.Jesse Owens. That Jesse Owens. The American hero

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