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Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
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esayem Offline
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RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-13-2019 01:14 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(02-13-2019 12:20 PM)esayem Wrote:  
(02-12-2019 11:35 PM)Dr. Isaly von Yinzer Wrote:  BTW, there was never any talk of an eastern seaboard conference...

There was talk in April/May of 1985 and January of 1989. Although it was just that, talk.

In 1985 from the Philly Inquirer:

"There have been ongoing discussions (about an all-sports conference) for five or six years," the Temple president said. "But there is nothing imminent. I know the president of West Virginia is very interested."

There has been talk in the past of a possible Seaboard Conference that would include Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Temple and West Virginia. However, Liacouras said a more feasible arrangement would include Temple, Penn State, Rutgers and West Virginia as a starting base.
"Each of us has a comprehensive program which includes graduate and professional schools, and all are in the Northeast," Liacouras said.


So there was talk, and the President of Temple was aware of it. Yes, it was radical at the time, but it was floated out there. By whom? I have no idea.

On a related note, West Virginia's athletic council voted to leave the A10 and join the Metro in the mid-80's (WVU President, Golden Gee, initially supported this).

In 1989 the "Eastern Seaboard Conference" was talked about amongst AD's of West Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, FSU and Penn State. It was blown up by newspapers, but quickly downplayed by those involved as a "30 second conversation over breakfast".

* Later in May of 1989, AD's actually met and discussed the financial matters regarding a football conference. So this was more serious. Mentioned attending Army, Boston College, Florida State, Miami, Navy, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia. Penn State was a no-show.

Interesting, I was unaware of this. By 1989, the schools have direct control of their TV rights. The landscape is shifting, and it would make sense for a group of independents to chat about ideas for how to position themselves together in the market. However, there would not have been any urgency, since the CFA was still functioning and still included the SEC and Notre Dame.

The urgency came when the Big Ten invited Penn State in December 1989, sending Syracuse, Pitt and BC into panic mode. Things became even urgent when Notre Dame abandoned the CFA in February 1990 by signing its own TV deal with NBC. This was followed by the SEC's decision to expand, which would have at a minimum introduced a threat that they were considering leaving the CFA.

Right, and I believe Penn State was in talks behind closed doors with the Big Ten in early 1989, which is why they were blowing off invites and such. I know they wanted an all or nothing conference and it looked as if that wasn’t happening with their chief rivals Pitt and Syracuse.
02-13-2019 03:30 PM
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orangefan Offline
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Post: #42
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-13-2019 03:30 PM)esayem Wrote:  
(02-13-2019 01:14 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(02-13-2019 12:20 PM)esayem Wrote:  
(02-12-2019 11:35 PM)Dr. Isaly von Yinzer Wrote:  BTW, there was never any talk of an eastern seaboard conference...

There was talk in April/May of 1985 and January of 1989. Although it was just that, talk.

In 1985 from the Philly Inquirer:

"There have been ongoing discussions (about an all-sports conference) for five or six years," the Temple president said. "But there is nothing imminent. I know the president of West Virginia is very interested."

There has been talk in the past of a possible Seaboard Conference that would include Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Temple and West Virginia. However, Liacouras said a more feasible arrangement would include Temple, Penn State, Rutgers and West Virginia as a starting base.
"Each of us has a comprehensive program which includes graduate and professional schools, and all are in the Northeast," Liacouras said.


So there was talk, and the President of Temple was aware of it. Yes, it was radical at the time, but it was floated out there. By whom? I have no idea.

On a related note, West Virginia's athletic council voted to leave the A10 and join the Metro in the mid-80's (WVU President, Golden Gee, initially supported this).

In 1989 the "Eastern Seaboard Conference" was talked about amongst AD's of West Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, FSU and Penn State. It was blown up by newspapers, but quickly downplayed by those involved as a "30 second conversation over breakfast".

* Later in May of 1989, AD's actually met and discussed the financial matters regarding a football conference. So this was more serious. Mentioned attending Army, Boston College, Florida State, Miami, Navy, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia. Penn State was a no-show.

Interesting, I was unaware of this. By 1989, the schools have direct control of their TV rights. The landscape is shifting, and it would make sense for a group of independents to chat about ideas for how to position themselves together in the market. However, there would not have been any urgency, since the CFA was still functioning and still included the SEC and Notre Dame.

The urgency came when the Big Ten invited Penn State in December 1989, sending Syracuse, Pitt and BC into panic mode. Things became even urgent when Notre Dame abandoned the CFA in February 1990 by signing its own TV deal with NBC. This was followed by the SEC's decision to expand, which would have at a minimum introduced a threat that they were considering leaving the CFA.

Right, and I believe Penn State was in talks behind closed doors with the Big Ten in early 1989, which is why they were blowing off invites and such. I know they wanted an all or nothing conference and it looked as if that wasn’t happening with their chief rivals Pitt and Syracuse.
As I think about it, it is pretty obvious that Penn State's biggest mistake was delay. Syracuse began meeting with Providence, Georgetown and St. John's to discuss forming what would become the Big East in 1978. https://cuse.com/sports/2001/8/8/history.aspx Syracuse had no particular rivalry with Providence or Georgetown, only St. John's. BC was not invited until later, once the initial four had decided to move forward.

Paterno didn't make his move until 1981 (or possibly 1980, at the earliest). By then, the Big East was a huge success and Syracuse and BC would have something significant to lose if they left. In 1978 neither had nothing to lose.

For the 10 seasons from 1968 though 1978, Syracuse played the football schools and the early Big East members the following number of times:

Penn State: 20 (home and home every season)
Pittsburgh: 10
West Virginia: 10
Temple: 10
Rutgers: 8 (8 consecutive seasons from 1970-78)
BC: 5 (5 consecutive seasons from 1973-1978)

St. John's: 10
UConn: 7 (6 consecutive seasons from 1968-1974)
Providence: 1
Georgetown: 0
Seton Hall: 0
Villanova: 0

In other words, Syracuse had significant ongoing basketball rivalries with its fellow football schools, not with this group of basketball schools (aside from St. John's).

These schools had made the following number of NCAA and NIT appearances during the same 10 years:

Syracuse: NCAA 6(Final Four 1975), NIT 2

Rutgers: NCAA 2 (Final Four 1976), NIT 5
Temple: NCAA 2, NIT 2
BC: NCAA 1, NIT 2
Pittsburgh: NCAA 1 (Regional Finals 1974), NIT 1
Penn State: 0
West Virginia: 0

St. John's: NCAA 5, NIT 5
Providence: NCAA 5 (Final Four 1973), NIT 3
Villanova: NCAA 5 (Final Four 1971), NIT 1 (1971 results vacated by NCAA)
Georgetown: NCAA 2, NIT 3
UConn: NCAA 2, NIT 2
Seton Hall: NCAA 0, NIT 2

The non-FBS basketball schools that were early members of the Big East collectively had quite a bit stronger history than the FBS football schools, aside from Syracuse. Undoubtedly, this is why the founding group was talking.

It is worth noting that the football schools generally had better basketball facilities.

Syracuse: Manley Field House, capacity 9,536

West Virginia: WVU Coliseum, capacity 14,000
Penn State: Rec Hall, capacity 8,600 (record crowd 1973)
Rutgers: Louis Brown Athletic Center, capacity 8,000
Pittsburgh: Fitzgerald Field House, capacity 5,308 (1978), expanded to 6,360 in 1980.

Providence: Providence Civic Center, capacity 13,000
UConn: Hartford Civic Center, capacity 11,000 (expanded to 15,000 in 1979)
St. John's: Alumni Hall, capacity 6,000

All other schools played in smaller campus gyms with capacities in the 3,000-4,000 range, although all had access to larger NBA or NHL arenas.

The groups were present in the following large TV markets (the market ranking is my recollection of the rankings at the time):
New York (1): Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall
Philadelphia (4): Temple, Villanova
Boston (6): BC
Washington DC (8): Georgetown
Pittsburgh (11): Pittsburgh
Hartford (22): UConn

My point is that in 1978, Syracuse and BC would have had significant interest in an all sports conference as an alternative to the Big East. By the time the option was presented to them, the Big East was an overwhelming success, and they would have made a significant sacrifice by leaving.

Because the Eastern Independents stuck together for football after the decision to decline Penn State's invitation and the Big East's decision to bypass Penn State, they lost nothing on the football side. Even when Penn State did leave, SU, BC and Pittsburgh were extremely fortunate to "replace" Penn State with Miami, maintaining a solid football arrangement until around 2000, when the Big East's second TV contract for football turned out to be a disappointment.
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019 09:41 AM by orangefan.)
02-14-2019 03:42 PM
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megadrone Offline
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Post: #43
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-14-2019 03:42 PM)orangefan Wrote:  As I think about it, it is pretty obvious that Penn State's biggest mistake was delay. Syracuse began meeting with Providence, Georgetown and St. John's to discuss forming what would become the Big East in 1978. https://cuse.com/sports/2001/8/8/history.aspx Syracuse had no particular rivalry with Providence or Georgetown, only St. John's. BC was not invited until later, once the initial four had decided to move forward.

Paterno didn't make his move until 1981 (or possibly 1980, at the earliest). By then, the Big East was a huge success and Syracuse and BC would have something significant to lose if they left. In 1978 neither had nothing to lose.

For the 10 seasons from 1968 though 1978, Syracuse played the football schools and the early Big East members the following number of times:

Penn State: 20 (home and home every season)
Pittsburgh: 10
West Virginia: 10
Temple: 10
Rutgers: 8 (8 consecutive seasons from 1970-78)
BC: 5 (5 consecutive seasons from 1973-1978)

St. John's: 10
UConn: 7 (6 consecutive seasons from 1968-1974)
Providence: 1
Georgetown: 0
Seton Hall: 0
Villanova: 0

In other words, Syracuse had significant ongoing basketball rivalries with its fellow football schools, not with this group of basketball schools (aside from St. John's).

These schools had made the following number of NCAA and NIT appearances during the same 10 years:

Syracuse: NCAA 6(Final Four 1975), NIT 2

Rutgers: NCAA 2 (Final Four 1976), NIT 5
Temple: NCAA 2, NIT 2
BC: NCAA 1, NIT 2
Pittsburgh: NCAA 1 (Regional Finals 1974), NIT 1
Penn State: 0
West Virginia: 0

St. John's: NCAA 5, NIT 5
Providence: NCAA 5 (Final Four 1973), NIT 3
Villanova: NCAA 5 (Final Four 1971), NIT 1 (1971 results vacated by NCAA)
Georgetown: NCAA 2, NIT 3
UConn: NCAA 2, NIT 2
Seton Hall: NCAA 0, NIT 2

The non-FBS basketball schools that were early members of the Big East collectively had quite a bit stronger history than the FBS football schools, aside from Syracuse. Undoubtedly, this is why the founding group was talking.

It is worth noting that the football schools generally had better basketball facilities.

Syracuse: Manley Field House, capacity 9,536

West Virginia: WVU Coliseum, capacity 14,000
Penn State: Rec Hall, capacity 8,600 (record crowd 1973)
Rutgers: Louis Brown Athletic Center, capacity 8,000
Pittsburgh: Fitzgerald Field House, capacity 5,308 (1978), expanded to 6,360 in 1980.

Providence: Providence Civic Center, capacity 13,000
UConn: Hartford Civic Center, capacity 11,000 (expanded to 15,000 in 1979)
St. John's: Alumni Hall, capacity 6,000

All other schools played in smaller campus gyms with capacities in the 3,000-4,000 range, although all had access to larger NBA or NHL arenas.

The groups were present in the following large TV markets (the market ranking is my recollection of the rankings at the time):
New York (1): Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall
Philadelphia (4): Temple, Villanova
Boston (6): BC
Washington DC (8): Georgetown
Pittsburgh (11): Pittsburgh
Hartford (22): UConn

My point is that in 1978, Syracuse and BC would have had significant interest in an all sports conference as an alternative to the Big East. By the time the option was presented to them, the Big East was an overwhelming success, and they would have made a significant sacrifice by leaving.

Because the Eastern Independents stuck together for football after the decision to decline Penn State's invitation and the Big East's decision to bypass Penn State, they lost nothing on the football side. Even when Penn State did leave, SU, BC and Pittsburgh were extremely fortunate to "replace" Penn State with Miami, maintaining a solid football arrangement until at least 2000, when the Big East's second TV contract for football turned out to be a disappointment.

Given who Syracuse was playing on a regular basis, you wonder why they weren't in the Eastern 8. PSU, Rutgers, Pitt, WVU and Villanova were all members there (although PSU left for a while). If BC and Syracuse had joined, that would have been the all sports conference (espeically if Temple joins in 1982 after Villanova drops football).
02-14-2019 06:49 PM
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gosports1 Offline
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Post: #44
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
still find it curious why an eastern league wasn't formed 50 plus years ago. P10 SEC, Big 8 ACC B10 have/had all been around for a long time.



side note about he founding 4 of the BE I think Gavitt and Crouthamel had a personal connection. College roommates maybe?
02-14-2019 10:55 PM
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Post: #45
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
Got to remember the Ivy League was the east's powerhouse league for a long time.
02-14-2019 11:11 PM
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orangefan Offline
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Post: #46
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-14-2019 10:55 PM)gosports1 Wrote:  still find it curious why an eastern league wasn't formed 50 plus years ago. P10 SEC, Big 8 ACC B10 have/had all been around for a long time.



side note about he founding 4 of the BE I think Gavitt and Crouthamel had a personal connection. College roommates maybe?

Good catch, both were Dartmouth, Class of '60. I never knew that before.

With respect to forming an Eastern conference 50 or 60 years ago, you have to keep in mind that the Eastern schools were never as homogeneous as the members of the Big Ten or SEC.

In 1950, there were 24 football independents playing in the East. However, the early '50's were a tumultuous time for college sports. There were the point shaving scandals in basketball, a couple of academic cheating scandals in football, and major debates over the structure and amounts of athletic scholarships, and whether to allow televising of college football games and, if so, who should control those rights.

Disagreements over how to deal with these challenges led to different decisions by different schools. By 1955, the Ivy League (which banned athletic scholarships) had formed, NYU, Fordham, Georgetown and Duquesne had all dropped football, and Temple had dropped down to college division for football. This left 11 football independents in the East: Army, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Colgate, Rutgers, BC, Holy Cross, Boston University, and Villanova. Of these, Army, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were all clearly committed to competing at a national level. Others had a range of commitment levels, varying from essentially matching the non scholarship approach of the Ivy League (e.g., Rutgers) to a level close to but not quite as great as those committed to playing at a national level (e.g., BC).

Of course, on the basketball side, there still were more than 20 independents, making it relatively easy for schools to build a schedule that met their individual needs with respect to geography and competitive level.

It was really the NCAA decision to split Division 1 football into 1-A and 1-AA that created a group of schools that was potentially homogeneous enough to form a conference for football. Division 1-AA started play in 1978, but Division 1 schools weren't required to meeting 1-A standards until 1982. Some schools chose to increase their commitment, e.g., Rutgers and Temple, while others dropped to 1-AA. This left 9 Eastern Independents in Division 1-A: Army, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia, BC, Rutgers and Temple.

At the same time, the NCAA was modifying the rules for participation in the NCAA Tournament, expanding the field to 32 and allowing two schools per conference to participate beginning in 1975, and expanding the field to 48 and allowing unlimited schools per conference to participate beginning in 1980. This eliminated the primary benefit to remaining independent in basketball. Finally, this same period saw the birth of cable sports, with ESPN launched in 1979, SportsChannel launched in 1979, and USA launched in 1977 at the original Madison Square Garden Network.

These factors collectively created an extremely positive environment in which to form a conference. As a result, college basketball went from 19 conferences and 81 independents in 1973-74 to 28 conferences to 21 independents in 1979-80. Again, 1977-78 was the time to strike. 1980-81 was too late.
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019 09:46 AM by orangefan.)
02-15-2019 08:38 AM
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esayem Offline
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Post: #47
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
There is one homogenous northeastern conference that existed back in the 40's, the Yankee Conference, made-up of northeastern land grant schools (although Boston Univ. joined in the 70's). Funny enough, a few of the northeastern sportswriters mentioning these schools in the 80's mocked them and their agriculture-centric mission in general. A lot of belittling the fanbases as bumpkins almost.

[Image: YC%2Bhelmets%2B85.JPG]

It seems the "YanCon" became pretty much just a football-only conference in the mid-70's for whatever reason. In the 80's they added Richmond, Delaware, and Villanova. Some more schools were added in the 90's and then it became the A10 football conference and now the CAA football conference.
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019 11:34 AM by esayem.)
02-15-2019 11:33 AM
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orangefan Offline
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Post: #48
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-15-2019 11:33 AM)esayem Wrote:  There is one homogenous northeastern conference that existed back in the 40's, the Yankee Conference, made-up of northeastern land grant schools (although Boston Univ. joined in the 70's). Funny enough, a few of the northeastern sportswriters mentioning these schools in the 80's mocked them and their agriculture-centric mission in general. A lot of belittling the fanbases as bumpkins almost.

It seems the "YanCon" became pretty much just a football-only conference in the mid-70's for whatever reason. In the 80's they added Richmond, Delaware, and Villanova. Some more schools were added in the 90's and then it became the A10 football conference and now the CAA football conference.

No doubt that the Yankee Conference was a pretty homogeneous group of schools, as was the Ivy League. However, the Yankee was never a D-1 conference until Division 1-AA was created. The Ivy League was a D-1 conference, but was formed on the basis that nobody would offer athletic scholarships. Because of this, unlike the performance of its members prior to its official formation, the level of play of its members after its formation was rarely at a national level.

My point is that there was not a sufficient number of Eastern schools legitimately trying to compete at a national level to form a conference of homogeneous schools until the 1-A/1-AA split.
02-15-2019 01:12 PM
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esayem Offline
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RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-15-2019 01:12 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(02-15-2019 11:33 AM)esayem Wrote:  There is one homogenous northeastern conference that existed back in the 40's, the Yankee Conference, made-up of northeastern land grant schools (although Boston Univ. joined in the 70's). Funny enough, a few of the northeastern sportswriters mentioning these schools in the 80's mocked them and their agriculture-centric mission in general. A lot of belittling the fanbases as bumpkins almost.

It seems the "YanCon" became pretty much just a football-only conference in the mid-70's for whatever reason. In the 80's they added Richmond, Delaware, and Villanova. Some more schools were added in the 90's and then it became the A10 football conference and now the CAA football conference.

No doubt that the Yankee Conference was a pretty homogeneous group of schools, as was the Ivy League. However, the Yankee was never a D-1 conference until Division 1-AA was created. The Ivy League was a D-1 conference, but was formed on the basis that nobody would offer athletic scholarships. Because of this, unlike the performance of its members prior to its official formation, the level of play of its members after its formation was rarely at a national level.

My point is that there was not a sufficient number of Eastern schools legitimately trying to compete at a national level to form a conference of homogeneous schools until the 1-A/1-AA split.

Correct, although the Yankee was D1 for other sports including basketball until they stopped sponsoring the sport after the 1975-76 season. Football was rated at the “college division” until 1-AA, if I’m not mistaken? I know they had some Tangerine Bowl appearances.

There were so many eastern independents back then, it appears scheduling wasn’t complicated.
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019 03:01 PM by esayem.)
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Post: #50
RE: Could the Eastern 8 have become a power football conference?
(02-14-2019 03:42 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(02-13-2019 03:30 PM)esayem Wrote:  
(02-13-2019 01:14 PM)orangefan Wrote:  
(02-13-2019 12:20 PM)esayem Wrote:  [quote='Dr. Isaly von Yinzer' pid='15902543' dateline='1550032520']
BTW, there was never any talk of an eastern seaboard conference...

There was talk in April/May of 1985 and January of 1989. Although it was just that, talk.

In 1985 from the Philly Inquirer:

"There have been ongoing discussions (about an all-sports conference) for five or six years," the Temple president said. "But there is nothing imminent. I know the president of West Virginia is very interested."

There has been talk in the past of a possible Seaboard Conference that would include Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Temple and West Virginia. However, Liacouras said a more feasible arrangement would include Temple, Penn State, Rutgers and West Virginia as a starting base.
"Each of us has a comprehensive program which includes graduate and professional schools, and all are in the Northeast," Liacouras said.


So there was talk, and the President of Temple was aware of it. Yes, it was radical at the time, but it was floated out there. By whom? I have no idea.

On a related note, West Virginia's athletic council voted to leave the A10 and join the Metro in the mid-80's (WVU President, Golden Gee, initially supported this).

In 1989 the "Eastern Seaboard Conference" was talked about amongst AD's of West Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, FSU and Penn State. It was blown up by newspapers, but quickly downplayed by those involved as a "30 second conversation over breakfast".

* Later in May of 1989, AD's actually met and discussed the financial matters regarding a football conference. So this was more serious. Mentioned attending Army, Boston College, Florida State, Miami, Navy, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia. Penn State was a no-show.

Interesting, I was unaware of this. By 1989, the schools have direct control of their TV rights. The landscape is shifting, and it would make sense for a group of independents to chat about ideas for how to position themselves together in the market. However, there would not have been any urgency, since the CFA was still functioning and still included the SEC and Notre Dame.

The urgency came when the Big Ten invited Penn State in December 1989, sending Syracuse, Pitt and BC into panic mode. Things became even urgent when Notre Dame abandoned the CFA in February 1990 by signing its own TV deal with NBC. This was followed by the SEC's decision to expand, which would have at a minimum introduced a threat that they were considering leaving the CFA.

Even when Penn State did leave, SU, BC and Pittsburgh were extremely fortunate to "replace" Penn State with Miami, maintaining a solid football arrangement until around 2000, when the Big East's second TV contract for football turned out to be a disappointment.

Which ironically that second tv contract was a disappointment mainly because Miami was in their down period.
02-15-2019 06:13 PM
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