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Posts Tagged ‘football’

Below are my primary reasons why the English Premier League far outshines the NFL. By the way, with my father’s ancestors came to America in the mid-19th Century from Greater Manchester (Stockport and Aston-under-Lyne). Personally I am a Manchester City fan, but it is hard to deny the historical significance and importance of Old Trafford and Man U.

Suspense – some uninitiated people may say soccer is boring. Pish-posh! The suspense at a soccer match builds up throughout the match until a team scores. This is particularly dramatic in the latter stages of a match or in a tightly contested game.

No commercials – EPL has none other than prior to the match, halftime, and afterwards. The NFL has become an elongated advertisement with some occasional football plays in between to break up the monotony. College football is better than the NFL, but even there the number of commercials can be a bit much.

Celebrations – the No Fun League has taken far too much of the fun and spontaneity out of the game.

Endurance – NFL players are winded after only a few plays, while soccer players are running nearly constantly for 90 minutes.

Fortitude – There is no doubt that NFL players endure a lot and head injuries are particularly important to guard against. But, they endure nothing quite like the impacts, slide-tackles, and other mistreatment that unprotected soccer players receive during a match. In many cases, soccer players play through the pain, while NFL players are sidelined even for minor of injuries.

Skills – some of the ball skills of soccer players are just amazing.

Rowdy stands – the crowds at English Premier League matches always seem to be having a jolly good time, despite the weather or the score. In addition, an English soccer crowd is devoutly loyal to their hometown team no matter their ranking. However, I should note that rowdy fun is fine, destructive and mean behavior is not.

Tradition – I believe this to be self-explanatory, but the fight songs, many of the historic venues, the history of the game itself, the rivalries, and the overall atmosphere all combine to ooze great and long-standing traditions.

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Last night I watched a very interesting and entertaining program on PBS about the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park in Boston. I highly recommend the special.
The show got me to thinking about what my favorite stadiums are (or were) and what was likeable about them. I certainly cannot claim to have visited or seen very many, but here’s my list of the one’s that impressed me the most, primarily from their outward aesthetic appearance, location, and compatibility/context sensitivity with the surrounding neighborhoods. This list includes stadiums used for American football, soccer, cricket, rugby, and baseball. Also, here is a weblink to a cool website called world stadiums.

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That may be the title of Bob Hope’s theme song, but for those of us who lived and died with the Colts every weekend for many years, it is our farewell song to Peyton Manning.  A genuine gentleman, Peyton is not only a future hall of fame football player, but a model citizen, and the catalyst to making Indy known worldwide for more than just auto racing.

The last game I had a chance to see him play in person was at the old RCA Dome when he broke Dan Marino’s season touchdown record. In an ironic twist, his opposing quarterback that game was none other than Drew Brees, who was in his last season as a San Diego Charger. Drew happens to be from my alma mater and would go on to shatter NFL’s passing yards record this season.

I am happy to know that Peyton’s team jersey number will forever be retired and pray that when he is inducted into Canton, it will be as an Indianapolis Colt.

Thank you, Peyton, from all of us who enjoy football and love our hometown of Indianapolis. You are a good and gracious man.

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With all the media hype and well-earned praise that Peyton Manning has received throughout his collegiate and professional careers, his younger brother, Eli Manning has always seemed to be living in his older brother’s shadow.

Even after their Super Bowl victory in 2008, Eli and the New York Giants were regarded as surprising underdog victors who defeated the evil empire of New England.  Fast forward to 2012 and Eli Manning and his team are headed to their second Super Bowl, once again to play their nemesis from New England.

Yes, Peyton has been to two Super Bowls as well, with a 1-1 record. But, what is most remarkable about Eli’s achievement is he has led his team to five road wins to get to the Super Bowl (three in 2007-08 and two in 2011-12). This is more than any other quarterback in NFL history.

Could it be that the greatest of the Manning quarterbacks is currently playing in New York City? Food for thought, even for a native of Indianapolis and a huge Colts/Peyton Manning fan. Eli may not match Peyton’s amazing statistical thresholds, but he has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. If the Giants win the Super Bowl this year, Eli’s shadow may very well supersede Peyton’s – and in of all places, Peyton’s home stadium and kingdom of Indianapolis.

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LSU versus Alabama. How nauseating. I refuse to watch this game and hope it gets miniscule ratings. There is no logical reason why two teams from the same conference should be playing this game when the opponents are “chosen” versus earning their way to the game through a tournament.  Otherwise, the BCS (Bull Crap Series) should just be renamed the SEC (Southeast Conference) Series.

Most everyone should know that much of the SEC is essential a semi-pro football league because many of the schools have lower education and enrollment standards. All this game does is reiterate that point big time.

UPDATE – Glad to see it had the lowest rating ever for a BCS Championship Game. Apparently, I was not the only who who could care less. 

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Desmond Howard

Of all the possible scoring plays in football, the kickoff return often provides one of the most thrilling moments of the game. Let me rephrase that to “could” provide.” Unfortunately, the hand-wringers at the No Fun League (NFL) have decided to virtually eliminate kickoff returns as a part of the game by moving the kickoff to the 35 yard line. Modern kickers can easily reach the end zone from there.

During the preseason, this meant that approximately 3/4 of all kickoffs were never returned. Take a knee and on to yet another bland commercial. At least kickoffs in their previous format gave the viewer a momentary respite from advertising and hopes for a scintillating play. Now, its commercials after the extra point, a touchback, and then more commercials – oh joy! Give me English Premiere League soccer instead.

Many NFL legends were at least partially enshrined due to their thrilling kickoff returns. Gale Sayers, Bob Hayes, Mel Gray, Mercury Morris, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, “Neon” Deion Sanders, Desmond Howard, Joshua Cribbs, and Devin Hester are just a few.  Why tamper with such an exciting part of the game?

According to the NFL, the changes was made to lessen injuries. While important, how about starting with the basics, like requiring all players to start wearing knee pads again? Another possibility is to have the kick come from the 30 yard line but the kickoff defenders start from the 35 yard line so they have less momentum built up. Just a thought…

No one wants to see injuries on the field, but by over-sanitizing the game, the NFL risks destroying the very elements that made it great in the first place. I for one, think punt returns are much more dangerous than kickoff returns because the return man is so exposed and looking up as the opponents pounce on him.

Surely, a method can be found to provide added safety while also maintaining excitement – perhaps the league just needs to get out of its own silo and look around for some fresh options.

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Thought of few more fun NFL/CFL team names.

Amarillo “Armadillos”

Anderson “Windows”

Aurora “Borealis”

Austin “City Limits”

Brownsville “Stations”

Burlington “Coat Factories”

Dayton “Hudsons”

Hammond “Pianos”

Kingston “Trio”

Le’vis – Genes

London “Fogs”

Mississauga “Rattlers”

Regina “Spectors”

St. Catherines’ “Tsars”

St. Cloud “Nines”

Sioux City “Sues”

Springfield “Simpsons”

Tacoma “Sack of Potatoes”

Toledo “Klingers”

Twin Falls “Double-dippers”

Tyler “Tippecanoes”

Vaughn “Vinces”

Waterloo “Loos”

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My choices for the five most bland and/or objectionable NFL team helmet logos.

1. Washington Redskins – Sorry fans of old DC, your helmet logo and team name are inappropriate, inconsiderate, and terribly outdated.  Let’s trying joining the 21st Century.

2. Cleveland Browns – For heaven’s sake, put something on the helmet – even a dog biscuit would be better than the bland design that is used.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers – Haven’t they won enough Super Bowls to afford a logo on both sides of the helmet? I have no problem with the design, it’s the oddity of only being on one side.

4. New York Jets – Yawn…boring logo and boring team colors. You would think if your team name were the Jets, something more exciting could be thought up and designed. To my recollection, I have never seen a green and white jet.

5. Chicago Bears – Just an orange “C” on the dark helmet is uninteresting. Why not  the “C” with an image of a Bear like can been seen here and there?  The design is very basic (some will say traditional), but lacks any flair.

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