While the Birdie waits for an NIL deal, he’ll make his Week 9 Westmoreland County picks

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 | 5:48 PM

The Birdie

Last week: 13-1 (92.9%)

Season: 88-21 (80.7%)

The Birdie gets paid to predict football games.

When he found out high school players might be getting paid for endorsements, he nearly fainted in the break room.

He never thought he would see the day. He even missed his pickleball league night because he was so distraught.

“The PIAA passed a second reading on Name, Image, Likeness,” Birdie said, wearing one of those cushy practice helmet covers on his head and looking like Dark Helmet from “Spaceballs.” “If they pass a third, it’s going to happen. I can’t believe this. Johnny Golden Boy Quarterback is going to get coin for hawking pepperoni pizzas and workout videos. What are we doing here, folks?”

The Birdie, who had a 13-1 week, also claims he gets paid to stir the pot — “I’m like a pickle slice on a Chick-Fil-A sandwich,” he said. “People either love me or hate me.”

The Trib’s party of one has a hot take on NIL, so this week’s column is more letter-to-the-editor style than the usual cut-ups and tall tales.

He is strongly against NIL deals at the prep level.

“I predict this trend, if it happens, will have long-term effects on teams and coaches and will change the game,” Birdie said. “If one kid is getting paid to attach his name to a product or to get clicks for his ‘brand,’ he will be held to a different standard. Coaches will look at them differently and that will trickle down to the guys who have to wash dishes and deliver newspapers to make a buck. ‘Lesser’ players are going to give up on the game.

“In this time of fairness and participation trophies, who decides who gets paid and who doesn’t?”

The Birdie was looking at Halloween costumes when he saw a bright yellow bird get-up complete with sunglasses and arrogance for the affordable price of $19.99.

“Now, come on,” Birdie said. “I believe that is a likeness. Pay me. I should at least get a royalty.

“See, this NIL stuff may even ruin my favorite holiday.

“Where does it end? Will schools use it to recruit? If there are no parameters or ways to police this stuff, we’re doomed.”

Until capitalism hits the WPIAL, the Birdie will continue to offer his thoughts on amateur football.

Franklin Regional (6-2, 4-0) at Penn-Trafford (5-4, 2-2): The Birdie thinks Penn-Trafford still has some gas left in the tank, and too much pride, to miss the playoffs after a championship season. This will be a helmet-cracking grind of a Big East finale. Penn-Trafford, 20-19

Norwin (1-8, 0-4) at Hempfield (5-4, 1-3): With little at stake, these teams will have some fun in the season finale. Norwin, 23-20

Belle Vernon (6-2, 4-0) at Elizabeth Forward (9-0, 4-0): All the marbles in the Interstate on the line here. Elizabeth Forward’s defense is slightly better than the Leopards’. Elizabeth Forward, 20-18

Greensburg Salem (3-6, 0-4) at South Allegheny (1-8, 0-4): Greensburg Salem will end the year on a high note. Greensburg Salem, 28-14

Mt. Pleasant (5-4, 2-2) at Southmoreland (4-5, 2-2): The Scotties have been waiting a long time to avenge last year’s lopsided loss. This one will be fun, but the Vikings just get by. Mt. Pleasant, 42-35

Derry (0-9, 0-6) at Ligonier Valley (6-3, 4-2): Officials want to name this rivalry game for future meetings. The “Birdie Bowl” did not get a single vote. Ligonier Valley, 31-13

Imani Christian (4-5, 2-4) at Yough (2-7, 1-5): Yough should get into the end zone, but the Cougars won’t be able to match the Saints’ speed. Imani Christian, 26-16

Jeannette (3-6, 3-2) at Clairton (4-5, 4-1): There was a time when this game decided the Eastern Conference champion. Not this year. Clairton, 43-13

Leechburg (7-2, 4-1) at Greensburg Central Catholic (7-2, 5-0): The Birdie loves games that match high-level athletes. He thinks GCC has more of those. GCC, 24-16

Beth-Center (3-6, 2-4) at Monessen (5-4, 4-2): Playoff-ready Monessen will take it to the Bulldogs. Monessen, 50-15

Butler (4-5) at Latrobe (5-4): Latrobe steps out of conference for a playoff tune-up against a former WPIAL member. Latrobe, 24-14

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