Tag Archives: nfl

In support of gay marriage, the lustful monster, and the missing link

I love this story for its integrity and raucous quotes. So raucous I can’t post them, but you can read them here. The full story below, but it leaves one obvious question unanswered. Why did two seemingly random football players, both married to women, come out in support of gay marriage, with one loudly defending the other?

The answer at bottom and shame on the media for not reporting this crucial fact.

The summary, from NPR, and sorry for the lengthy quotation but it will lure you into reading the story.

The debate over same-sex marriage has collided with the world of professional football in a loud and public way. Let’s roll back. It started with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who’s a vocal supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage, an issue on the Maryland ballot this November.

Well, that drew the ire of Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr., a Democrat, who wrote a letter to the Ravens’ owner. He said he was appalled and aghast that a Ravens player would, in his words, step into this controversial divide. Burns called on the Ravens to order Ayanbadejo to cease and desist.

Well that, in turn, drew a lengthy, extremely colorful response from another NFL player, Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings. Writing on the sports website Deadspin, Kluwe defended his fellow player and called Burns out for what he called his vitriolic hatred and bigotry.

And that, according to sportswriter Dave Zirin, is arguably the greatest political statement by any athlete ever.

 

Continue reading, Same-sex Marriage Debate Collides with the NFL.

And the one piece of fact that all the journalists missed, the link between Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo…

They are both alumni of UCLA.

Go Bruins!

 

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How to watch sports online in 2012, packages from NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, and ESPN

This is an update of the 2011 post. Not much has changed in the leagues, but ESPN has really pushed the Watch ESPN app. With a cable subscription you can watch ESPN on any mobile device from anywhere.

Prices range from $60 – $250 per season for 2012, not a bad deal if you’ve cancelled your cable and need some sports. For 2012, DirectTV is offering their NFL package at $250, instead of $350 (but only available to non-DirectTV customers, details below). The other prices have largely stayed the same, but mid-season deals are being offered more. If you’re late to the game they can be a good option.

MLB

Major League Baseball offers MLB.TV which is $120 for the entire season and includes any out-of-market game and, depending on your broadband, up to six games at once. Audio to any game, anytime and a full on-demand archive of all the games.

They also offer an offseason package for $25 which allows you to watch any game of the season and playoffs in full HD and includes next year’s spring training.

NBA

The National Basketball Association offers up NBA League Pass for $110-190, with more options at higher prices. The general package includes up to 40 out-of-market games per week, an ability to watch three games at once, DVR-like controls to instant replay your own highlights, and a full archive of the season.

NHL

The National Hockey League offers NHL GameCenter for $170 which includes all out-of-market games, DVR functionality for replays and highlights, radio broadcasts, and a new slow motion feature.

NFL

The National Football League is the laggard, but Direct TV does offer the NFL Sunday Ticket for $250. It’s only available if you’re, “not able to subscribe to DIRECT TV service at your current address.” The package includes all out-of-market games on Fox and CBS, a Red Zone channel which shows the final yards of every scoring drive, and instant stats.

There are also options from the NFL itself, including a $40-70 package called NFL Game Rewind that includes all past games on-demand from the 2009-2011 seasons, and for $30 NFL Audio Pass which includes every radio broadcast live and on-demand.

On a side note the NFL Network recently tested out a free broadcast of one of their Thursday night games using their NFL ’12 iPad app.

MLS

Major League Soccer also has a package called Match Day Live for $60. This includes 221 games, live games on an iPad, HD quality, DVR ability, the ability to watch up to three games at once, archived games, and condensed (20 min) games.

ESPN

The worldwide leader in sports is playing a tough game when it comes to online content. They have one of the most popular websites in the world but keep their TV content off the web. If you visit ESPN.com the content is created for the web with no SportsCenter, limited highlights, and no games.

For that you will need the Watch ESPN app (iPhone, Android). It’s free to download but requires a cable subscription to use. There is no option for paying separately if you don’t have cable, and that feature may be a long time in coming. ESPN is betting heavily on this Watch ESPN program. They are pushing it across everything they do, all the channels, and it does offer a lot of games, but it does lock you into the cable world.

 

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NFL moves toward slimmer players, former players explore healthy eating

There is a new trend in the NFL, slimming down those plump players. After years of super-sizing lineman with each team stocking a dozen 300 pound players, speed and agility is starting to get wins.

The stars in the NFL last year were at much healthier weights in the mid-200 pound range. Players with a height of 6 feet go from weighing 340 to 270 pounds, and some new draftees are even making a difference at 220 or 230 pounds.

Trevor Pryce, who played in the NFL for 14 years and was one of those 300 pounders, discusses this in the N.Y. Times. He recognizes the change as turning players into specialists, asked to perform specific roles for only a few plays:

Those 260-pound run-stoppers were suddenly asked to learn how to line up with their hand on the ground and rush the quarterback, and linebackers became 225-pound hybrids who could run with wide receivers, blitz when asked and make the occasional tackle on a running play.

 

Not really on-topic for this blog but I felt like it was good news. Maybe the slimming down of the NFL to healthier weights could inspire a trend among the rest of us.

Here is another article from Grantland, where many of those players share their tips and experience trying to lose weight:

The common threads between the players who successfully shed weight are motivation, momentum, and reachable goals that are determined by rigid rules. Damien Woody’s faith is now in what he calls his “hand rule.” If a meal portion does not fit in his palm, it does not go in his mouth.

In the morning, he eats proteins and carbohydrates for the energy to sustain him through two daily workouts. As the day wears on, he eats more proteins than carbohydrates. Water is his beverage of choice.

 

#200PoundsIsBig

#SlimFL

#HealthyNFL

#NFLDiet

 

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NFL to debut first female referee, Shannon Eastin, for Thursday’s preseason game

**Update: Shannon continues her historic journey – works her first regular season game.

 

It will be history in the making Thursday night as for the first time in NFL history, a woman will officiate the contest between the San Diego Chargers and the Green Bay Packers.

All eyes will certainly be on Shannon Eastin, who has officiated games for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, when she works the sidelines for the preseason opener.

When asked about the impact of a female official, the Chargers spoke glowingly about what it means for both the sport and the advancement of gender equality.

“It’s historic,” said head coach Norv Turner during his daily press conference following Monday’s practice. “I’m excited about it.  It’s going to be different, but the league has done a great job getting the refs ready.”

“I think it is massive,” said Nick Hardwick. “I think it’s a massive step in the right direction. This is what this country has been about for a long time, and this is certainly a step in the right direction. As a player it doesn’t matter at all if the official is male or female.  As long as they make the right calls, that’s all that matters.”

Source - First Female Official to Work Thursday Night’s Game

 

 

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Fantasy Football gets Google Hangouts – live draft parties, meetups, trades

Google announced today a pretty major deal with the NFL which will help it to grow adoption of Google+ Hangouts. With a full rollout coming later this month, NFL.com will soon be offering one-click access to Google+ Hangouts, allowing fantasy football players to video chat with their league in real-time. This is big news not just for  Google+ itself, but also for the NFL.com website, since it means that players from  all over get to have the same experience of hosting live draft parties and meetups, even when they’re too far to travel back and forth between people’s houses.

Hangout members can also chat, perform trades, or host other meetings via the feature, which later this month will include a live indicator on NFL.com/fantasy that indicates whether or not anyone in your league is online and hanging out. And the feature will work from the Google+ Android and iOS apps, too, says Google.

 

Source: TechCrunch - Take That, Yahoo Fantasy Football: NFL Adds Google+ Hangouts To Its Fantasy Football Site

 

 

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New stadium rules for NFL games – free wifi, unlimited noise, more instant replay

Professional football, America’s most popular and profitable sport, is preparing to tackle a glaring weakness: Stadiums are increasingly empty.

As part of sweeping changes designed to give teams more flexibility to fill their seats, the National Football League is watering down its controversial TV “blackout” rule. And this season, for the first time, fans in the stadium will be able to watch the same instant replays the referees see during reviews of controversial calls.

The league also is planning to introduce wireless Internet in every stadium and to create smartphone apps that could let fans listen to players wearing microphones on the field.

With declines in ticket sales each of the past five years, average game attendance is down 4.5% since 2007, while broadcast and online viewership is soaring.

In hopes that professional football can mimic the wild stadium atmosphere typical of college football games, the NFL says it has “liberalized” its restraints on crowd noise. Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.

 

Read moreGame Changer: NFL Scrambles to Fill Seats

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As the Junior Seau tragedy shows – life after football needs help

A man took his own life, and we might never know exactly why.

But regardless of what comes of any investigations or revelations, we’ve got enough circumstantial evidence already to have an idea that the NFL, its players and those who claim to love both have got to do something.

Fact is, too many men are stumbling unprepared into a scary world when the game stops and real life starts.

Whether Junior Seau’s ultimate decision to commit suicide can be traced in any way to his having suffered concussions during his playing career is important to find out.

But that just might be too neat a bow to tie on this tragedy, too straight a line to draw from head trauma to depression to death.

“The NFL is doing all these things to make football better and safer,” said former San Diegan John Lynch, who retired in 2008 after 15 years in the NFL. “But in a lot of ways it seems like they’re ignoring a real issue … The automatic response right now is it’s got to be concussion-related. I’d be cautionary of that. The league should do everything they can to find out more (about the long-term effects of head injuries), because I believe it’s real. But there are a lot of other dynamics that go with retiring and leaving that world.

- Seau’s death sheds light on strain of life after football

 

// Photo – NFL.com

NFL blackout rule in dispute – serves no financial purpose but lingers on

The most significant discussion of NFL blackouts in 40 years is taking place right now. Given the fact that the NFL’s blackout rule punishes disabled, poor and elderly fans and the fact that the rule doesn’t even work, it’s long past time the rule was eliminated.

According to NFL rules, if a game is not sold out within 72 hours, the television broadcast is blacked out in the local market. The Federal Communications Commission then steps in and says that if local broadcasters can’t air a game locally, then neither can cable or satellite companies.

These blackouts happen despite the fact that the NFL is making hand over fist and will earn $6 billion per year from its television contracts starting in 2015.

In 2011, the Chargers had 2 home games blacked out, Buffalo lost three games; Tampa missed out on five games and Cincinnati was unable to watch six of its team’s eight home games.

In January, the FCC agreed to review its 36-year-old blackout rule in response to a petition filed by Sports Fans Coalition and other prominent public interest groups. On February 13, the initial deadline for public comments, formal comments were filed by Sports Fans Coalition, the NFLMLB, the National Association of Broadcastersfive U.S. Senatorsseveral top sports economists (who said “blackouts have no significant effect on ticket sales in the NFL”), and over4,000 individual fans around the country.

via Brian Frederick

 

In the petitions filed, the NFL still supports blackouts (“supports contractual provisions”), while the MLB petitioned to get rid of the rule.

Five Senators also petitioned in opposition, they are – Senators Stabenow (MI), Harkin (IO), Blumenthal (CT), Brown (OH), and Lautenberg (NJ).

Finally, nine sports economist petitioned in opposition with the following reasoning:

Research on the economics of sports and broadcasting lends no support to the concerns that have been expressed by the NFL and broadcasters. There is no evidence that the current blackout practices of the NFL have a significant effect on attendance, revenues, profits and the allocation of television rights between over-the-air and MVPDS broadcasters.

Blackout rules were created in the mid 20th Century, before professional sports attained its current popularity and financial stability. Steady growth in demand for both attendance and television rights have caused dramatic increases in ticket prices, television rights fees, revenues and profits, especially in the NFL.

The NFL‟s defense of blackout rules hinges on their financial significance, yet the available evidence indicates that these rules have at best a very minor effect of the NFL‟s financial performance.

As stated by Commissioner Goodell, the NFL sees blackouts as a means for “driving people to … stadiums.” Blackouts have no significant effect on ticket sales in the NFL and increase no-shows only when the weather is bad.