Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 12, 2021

To quote Tacitus:

Rumor is not always wrong. (Life of Agricola)

Then again, sometimes it is. Maybe.

In the wake of Home Depot’s acquisition of Orlando-based Hughes Supply Inc. for $3.19 billion yesterday, the first thing that came to my mind was the unconfirmed rumor, from Sticks of Fire, about Home Depot buying Cox Lumber. It wouldn’t be the first time the heat of an impending deal fingered the wrong target.

I dropped the news to Tommy at Sticks. He mentioned he’d been getting a few hits regarding Home Depot, Hughes, and Cox. Which sent me off on a search about how long the Home Depot-Hughes rumors had been around, and uncovered a trade journal report from back in November citing the rumblings.

And the kicker: That report quoted one Michael Cox, industry analyst at Piper Jaffray, about the likelihood of Home Depot picking up Hughes.

Put it all together, and it looks like the “Cox” in this whole thing belonged to an investment banker, and not to the local lumber company. Which, if that’s the case, turns out to be a funny anatomy of the way a rumor comes into being. Just think: All this could have been avoided had Neely Tamminga been the Piper wonk quoted.

Of course, Cox might still be in play. So all this meta-analysis might have been for naught. But what the hey.

On a related note: With the Hughes deal, plus Codina Group being scooped up by Florida East Coast Industries earlier this month, I’m waiting for the triple-play in major Florida corporate M&A to drop. I’m betting on Danka going next.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/12/2021 09:55:13 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Business | Permalink | Feedback (2)

I’m wondering if Allen Barra’s “The Last Coach”, the recently released biography of University of Alabama football legend Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, is worth a peek.

Not so much because I’m interested in the subject matter — I love the NFL, but don’t give a whit for the minor leagues college game. But I’m interested if Barra ever came across a persistent rumor about Bryant having been offered the inaugural head coaching job of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the team’s first owner, Hugh Culverhouse.

A Web search has yielded nothing. I’m not sure just how true it is. I remember hearing about it a couple of times, back when I was working in Sports at the St. Petersburg Times, but don’t remember the source or the veracity of it.

The connections are clear: Culverhouse was an Alabama alum, and made his mark on the university. Bryant was heading to the twilight of his career by the time the expansion Bucs joined the NFL in 1976. And, more tangentially, Bryant’s immediate successor at Alabama, Ray Perkins, was eventually hired as Bucs coach, being declared by Culverhouse to be “his Vince Lombardi”. So I can see how all those tidbits could be molded into a false rumor.

If the Bryant-to-Bucs thing ever was true, it’s just as well that it didn’t happen. Otherwise, Tampa Bay would have been denied John McKay’s coaching platitudes, including his assessment of those early-history teams:

Throughout it all, there was McKay, laughing through the pain. In those awkward, stumbling first steps, McKay was the only reason to smile when someone mentioned that professional football, sort of, had come to Tampa Bay. The execution of his offense? He was in favor of it. The future of his kicker? Capece was kaput.

No way could the Bear have been so loquacious. He probably would have beat on his kicker instead.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/12/2021 06:10:46 PM
Category: Football, History | Permalink | Feedback (1)

not for long
Not that comparative object lessons are needed in the case of Marcus Vick, but bringing up the ghosts of Lawrence Phillips and Maurice Clarett serves to underline just how badly Vick the Younger has already fouled up his NFL career, before it even started.

Let’s not forget the likes of Ryan Leaf and Demetrius Underwood, either. Sometimes all the pre-draft research teams commit doesn’t amount to squat.

Virginia Tech finally washed its hands of Vick even before the latest incident, cutting its ties to him just four days after he stomped on the left calf of Louisville’s defensive end Elvis Dumervil in the Gator Bowl.

But Vick should have been gone a long time ago. This was a player who was charged at various times with marijuana possession, furnishing alcohol to minors, having sex with a 15-year-old girl, and reckless driving.

This was also the most valuable player of a highly ranked team. And, because Vick was such a talent, Virginia Tech kept him even after he made an obscene gesture to fans at West Virginia in October and was caught driving with a suspended license in December.

If anything, Virginia Tech should be embarrassed it used Vick for its own purposes, waiting until after he helped the Hokies win their biggest game of the year before dumping him.

Vick’s latest encounter with the law was his most serious. He wasn’t going to be a top draft pick. Now, he may not be drafted at all and will have to wait for an invitation to a training camp.

True, Marcus will be at some team’s training camp this summer. He’ll probably even stick on a roster as a backup. But he’ll come in with a very short leash, and it would surprise no one to see him get bounced on the very first infraction he commits, no matter how major or minor.

Talent makes up for a lot, but when the warning signs are so obvious, it’s not going to be enough. And as noted, Marcus was never going to be a high-round pick anyway; after the first-rounders, the tolerance level among NFL clubs drops off significantly. If he has this little self-control, discipline, and discretion before signing his first pro contract, imagine how hog-wild he’d go once he had the big money in his pocket (although, obviously, he’s already had a taste of that through his brother’s millions).

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/12/2021 05:29:25 PM
Category: Football | Permalink | Feedback (7)

By the time I started my professional life in the late 20th Century, the H.L. Mencken-fostered stereotype of the hard-drinking editor had largely faded into history. So I never got to avail myself of that bottle of Scotch in the desk drawer, which was formerly de rigueur in the biz.

Little did I know that I was missing the boat — or, more appropriately, the booze cruise. University of Buffalo researchers have found that 15 percent of workers routinely spend their working hours tipsy or hungover.

I am, of course, currently between assignments. But, as a show of solidarity with the working stiffs, I’ll get myself liquored up today.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/12/2021 11:11:38 AM
Category: Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback (2)