Playoffs!

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"Playoffs!"

I like the Patriots and the Packers in today’s games.

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Jets QB Mark Sanchez for his hits on Pete Carroll at yesterday’s postgame press conference. Carroll, you see, has long been a professional football coach. What he does is that in exchange for money, he coaches football teams. Why do people pay him to coach football teams? Well, they do it because they believe the popularity of the teams he coaches will allow them to obtain TV revenue, sell tickets & concessions at the stadium, and sell shirts and other merchandise. The ability to sell this kind of stuff has value to his employers, so in exchange for his valuable work he gets paid money. In his most recent job, however, Carroll coached a football team on behalf of the University of Southern California which is part of a cartel dedicated to the idea that the people who perform valuable services in the form of playing football games should not receive monetary compensation for their work.

One of Carroll’s subordinates at this USC gig was Sanchez, a quarterback. Following his junior season, Sanchez had an opportunity to get paid to play football so he sensibly took it. Carroll, sensibly, didn’t want to lose an employee to a higher-paying competing firm. But instead of admitting the obvious, he went in for some silly paternalism and moralism, saying: “The facts are so strong against this decision. After analyzing all the information, the truth is there, he should have stayed for another year.”

Now in his rookie seasons, Sanchez won a playoff game. And Carroll is quitting the USC job in order to be a professional football coach for a firm that employs paid football players. So Sanchez had a bit of fun:

“I just wanted everybody to know I completely disagree with his decision,” Sanchez said, unable to stifle laughter. “Statistics show that it’s not a good choice.”

Good for him. Given the realities of the NCAA cartel, it’s actually the case that for the majority of talented football players it’s rational to play the maximum allowable number of years as an unpaid intern for a football team at which everyone but the players is a paid professional. But anyone who has the opportunity to leave early and become a paid professional would be foolish to decline the chance.

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