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All Football Articles – Page 2

The Cold War, Seahawks and the Vikings

After going to see the film “The Revenant”, which takes places in harsh weather and where all you had was your animal hid to keep warm, I thought these football players could handle the conditions in Minneapolis.   Even though the early pioneers didn’t have heaters on the sidelines, on the other hand they were not constantly getting in pile ups with 300 pound men.  Maybe a bear, but not defensive linemen.  The temperature at the University of Minnesota football field on Sunday dipped below 0 degrees.  That’s 0 degrees Fahrenheit, where nobody should be outside.  This supposedly was the third coldest game in NFL history, another case of global warming gone cuckoo, or maybe just another typical day in Minnesota.

There is plenty of statistical data that points out that the home team has an advantage in such conditions especially since Seattle doesn’t see this kind of weather. Whatever the advantage is, it can’t be by much when it comes to this low of temperature.    Both of these teams in this game were wrapped in the latest but greatest high tech clothing that is made for these conditions and the coaches looked like Stay Puff Marshmallow Men draped in coats and beanies.    Read More →

The Heisman Trophy or Atrophy

I have had mixed thoughts on the Heisman trophy award that is given to the best college football player every year. The reason I don’t really give a darn about this award because more often then not this award is given to an athlete that garnered enough popularity votes and statistical data to claim the prize.  Smaller colleges than the typical Division I schools will not stand a chance to win and schools that give the ball to the same guy 30 times a game don’t  stand a chance.   This is why you see running backs or quarterbacks from big schools typically win.

Is it no wonder that a lot of the players that win the Heisman award do not go on to have the same success in the NFL. A lot of these players play behind highly recruited and nurtured offensive linemen and play against a lot of smaller and less talented players.  In the NFL, the advantages of the size and strength of an offensive line is less.  Read More →

Bryant and Manning, The Best of an Era

Two athletes that are arguably in the top tier of their respective sports are soon heading back to locker-room for the final time.  I don’t know if Manning has outwardly said he is retiring but I really can’t see him lacing them up for next year.   Manning has played for eighteen seasons, for the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos.  He will turn forty next year and has diminished arm strength and body movement.  I also don’t see him as the type to play second fiddle on the sidelines while some fresh faced kid is giving it a go as starting quarterback in the NFL.   Bryant announced his departure after this year on his terms after twenty years with Los Angeles Lakers.  Read More →

Jim Thorpe : The First Great American Athlete

Every so often you will hear Jim Thorpe’s name in a sports discussion, but it is very rare.  He is much heralded but little is known about or who he even is to the younger generation of sports fans.  In my younger days he was the type of guy I would write a book report about.  Do kids still write book reports?  Why do I need to bring up an athlete 90 to 100 years ago?  Because I often hear discussions about whom the best player of this is and that sport.  Jim Thorpe was a natural gifted athlete that excelled at  multiple sports.   There has been athletes that have excelled at a couple of different sports but Jim Thorpe was the first to successfully crossover and compete against the best of his generation. Read More →

Thanksgiving, the Detroit Lions and the Relish Tray

On the west coast, it’s 10am on Thanksgiving Day, slippers on, recliner mobilized, remote control in hand and I turn on the tube to find the Detroit Lions playing the Packers.  Too early for turkey but not for this lovely tradition that is older than I am.  In fact, the Detroit franchise has played on Thanksgiving since 1934.  On the west coast, we always got the Lions game first followed by Dallas who started playing in 1967.  Knowing Cowboy fans, some of those Thanksgiving meals were absolute joy, others caused indigestion.

The early NFL had very humble beginnings and owners tried different things to get fans to attend games.   The Lions owner had just moved his team from Ohio so he tried this Thanksgiving game gimmick to capture interest.   They played a good Chicago team that day which was broadcasted nationwide.  They have since hosted a Thanksgiving game every year since, only to miss six seasons during World War II. Their record is 35-38-2.

Most football fans will never see a Lions game if it were not for the Turkey Bowl.  There have been some great football players that have played for the Detroit organization and their chance at national exposure is limited due to Detroit’s  post season appearance has not been on the abundant side.  I remember seeing one of the greatest running backs of all time, Barry Sanders on Thanksgiving against the Bears.  He ran crazy on the Bears that game and scored a few touchdowns.  Sanders had a great record on Thanksgiving, 7-3 and ran for over 900 yards, only Emmitt Smith ran for more, over 1100 yards.

Thanksgiving is one day that most of us are Lions fans, except for the opponents fan base and gamblers.  This has been a up and down year for the boys in blue, but they have won a couple in row and are going to play the Philadelphia Eagles, one they can win.   I may not being eating my turkey dinner at ten in the morning, but the I might start early on the relish tray.  Salute Detroit Lions!

Concussions and Football, Where is it Headed?

If there ever has been a sports story that has evolved more the concussion discussion it is hard to find one.  Maybe the whole steroid issue has had as much attention but the concussion crisis is much more wide ranging in scope.   Steroids affected only certain percentage of athletes and mostly at the professional level. Head injuries are across the board affecting all athletes from small kids to seniors.

The rash of reported concussions in sports hasn’t really risen to due to more people sustaining head injuries but more for the better diagnosis.  Especially football where getting knocked in the head was something that you had to except as part of the game.  In the past you would have to shake it off and gather yourself then go back into the game.  That may be a simplified excuse, but you can ask any professional football player and they will tell you to a man, that is the reality.  Even in today’s hyper awareness for concussions sustained in sports, many athletes are still reluctant to report symptoms of head trauma.  Read More →

The Rugby World Cup versus Dan Marino

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Rugby World Cup match on Sunday with New Zealand and South Africa. These two teams have a storied rivalry and the match on Sunday was close and hard-fought.  The New Zealand All Blacks battled their way to a 20-18 victory which propelled them into the final against Australia.  The Rugby World Cup has been played in the United Kingdom for the past month and the last two teams standing will play on Saturday, October 31st.

For those of you not knowing much about the World Cup or rugby in general, it is worth a watch to try and understand its beauty. Yes, there is beauty underneath the physicality and display of brute strength.  Like American football, in rugby, one team tries to advance the ball over a goal line or try to kick the ball through the goal post uprights.  The beauty of rugby is the free-flowing nature of the play which is sometimes frantic and sometimes a testament of wills.  I will not go into the rules and subtleties of the game but if you watch for at least 10 minutes you will get the basic premise.  Read More →

Spartans vs the Wolverine’s and 100,000 Fans

Michigan Stadium, shown Sept. 27, 1997, during a University of Michigan game with Notre Dame, might once again become the nation's largest college football stadium. The University's board in control of intercollegiate athletics unanimously approved a plan Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1997, to add 5,200 seats by adding four rows to the top on three sides, and three rows on the west side. The project, if approved by the U-M Board of Regents, would be finished by the time the 1998 football season starts.  (AP Photo/The Ann Arbor News, Nikki Boertman)

Michigan Stadium, shown Sept. 27, 1997, during a University of Michigan game with Notre Dame, might once again become the nation’s largest college football stadium. The University’s board in control of intercollegiate athletics unanimously approved a plan Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1997, to add 5,200 seats by adding four rows to the top on three sides, and three rows on the west side. The project, if approved by the U-M Board of Regents, would be finished by the time the 1998 football season starts. (AP Photo/The Ann Arbor News, Nikki Boertman)

There are plenty of storied college football match ups and rivalries to write about, such as Notre Dame and USC, Alabama and Auburn, Nebraska and Oklahoma but I am choosing Michigan and Michigan State.   The reason is because they are both really good this year and you have the lightening rod of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh bringing his surging team against the 7th ranked and undefeated Michigan State Spartans.

They will lock up on Saturday in Ann Arbor at Michigan stadium with a crowd to exceed 100, 000.  “The Big House” is the largest football stadium in the United States.   Since Michigan State has won the last seven games, this game is huge for Michigan and their frenzied fan base.    There is a lot at stake in this game because the winner with probably go on to win the Big Ten title and get a trip to the Rose Bowl. Read More →

Pulaski Academy Football is Still Doing it Differently

You may or may not have heard of the little Arkansas School that doesn’t punt on 4th down.  They also use the onside kick and like to utilize downfield laterals often.  I love it!  This distinction belongs to Pulaski Academy Prep School in Little Rock, Arkansas.  These theories come from the mind of Coach Kevin Kelly, a devotee of statistical analysis and considered legendary in high school coaching.

The fanfare and hoopla about Pulaski Academy about using nontraditional playing tactics is valid because they win.  They have won a lot of football games under Kelly’s tutelage.  Pulaski’s record through the 2014 stands at 138-25-1 and he is 4-0 this year.  They are have won 4 state championships in the thirteen years he has been the head coach.  Not bad considering Pulsuski Academy did not have a big winning tradition before he came.  Kelly has built this program into something incredible using his own unorthodox coaching style which has gone beyond gimmickry. Read More →

Football Trench Warfare

I don’t like to use war terminology but the physical skirmishes at the front line in the NFL are battles.  Now that three hundred and thirty pounds athletes are the norm on NFL offensive lines and the average defensive lineman weighs closer to 290, big mounds of muscle and flesh are pounding it out every down.  When the two sides collide on any given play, the fighting for balance and positioning is study of physics and cause and effect. Read More →