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Sports Then and Now

Big Ben Roethlisberger: Life After Football

Posted on March 02, 2024 by John Harris
Big Ben Roethlisberger retired from the NFL following the 2021 season.

Ben Roethlisberger retired from the NFL after the 2021 season, closing the book on one of the most successful careers by a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback — or any QB, for that matter. But who is Ben Roethlisberger, and what is the larger-than-life “Big Ben” up to since hanging up his cleats?

“A boy from Findlay, Ohio, with NFL dreams, developed in Oxford at Miami University. Blessed with the honor of 18 seasons as a Pittsburgh Steeler and a place to call home. The journey has been exhilarating, defined by relationships and fueled by a spirit of competition,” he said in 2022.

“Yet the time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats, and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children. I retire from football a truly grateful man.”

Who Is Ben Roethlisberger?

Roethlisberger spent his entire 18-season NFL career with the Steelers, building a resume worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for which he’ll be eligible — some say a shoo-in — in 2027. He was drafted 11th overall in the first round in 2004, and made an immediate impact by winning the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Known for his competitiveness, toughness, and uncanny scrambling ability, Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh to three Super Bowl appearances, winning twice. He departed holding virtually every major passing record in Steelers history. Beyond the numbers, Big Ben defined an era of smashmouth AFC North football. His pump fakes, improvised plays, and come-from-behind heroics symbolized the gritty spirit of Steelers football.

Roethlisberger announced his retirement in January 2022 after Pittsburgh’s early playoff exit, going out on his own terms after a career filled with injuries and triumphs.

Roethlisberger walked away ranked eighth all-time in passing yards and 10th in touchdown passes. The six-time Pro Bowler got to go out in front of a cheering Steelers home crowd in Week 17, with Pittsburgh still in the playoff hunt. It was a fitting end to a storied career defined by clutch play in crunch-time moments.

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Virtual Sports in Online Casinos — The Blend of Gaming and Athleticism

Posted on January 11, 2024 by John Harris

Welcome to the realm of virtual sports, where the lines between reality and the digital world blur to create an exhilarating gaming experience like no other. To embark on this journey, it’s essential to grasp the core concepts that underpin virtual sports within online casinos like Verde Casino. Here, players can dive into a world where digital athleticism and strategic gameplay meet, offering a unique dimension to the traditional online gambling experience.

Definition and Concept: Virtual sports represent a fusion of cutting-edge technology and sports simulation. These digital recreations replicate the thrill of real sports events, from soccer and horse racing to basketball and motor racing. They are powered by complex algorithms and computer-generated simulations that mimic the unpredictable nature of live sports, delivering an authentic and immersive experience.

Development and Simulation: The creation of virtual sports is a meticulous process. Talented teams of developers and designers collaborate to recreate the sights and sounds of the sporting world. Advanced software generates realistic player movements, weather conditions, and crowd reactions. The outcome is an ever-evolving digital sports ecosystem that offers a constant stream of matches and competitions, irrespective of the time or season.

Key Features: What sets virtual sports apart are the features that make them truly engaging. Unlike traditional sports, virtual sports are not bound by real-world constraints. Matches are fast-paced, allowing for quick results and continuous action. They offer a range of betting options, making them a gambler’s paradise. Moreover, virtual sports embrace unpredictability, injecting an element of surprise into each event. These characteristics, coupled with impressive graphics and commentary, keep players on the edge of their seats.

  • Realistic simulations of popular sports
  • Continuous availability of matches
  • Diverse betting opportunities
  • Fast-paced action and quick results
  • Unpredictable outcomes for added excitement

Understanding the foundation of virtual sports sets the stage for a deeper exploration of their appeal, their design, and their role in the world of online casinos.

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New Investor Brings Hope to Udinese Calcio and Gino Pozzo

Posted on October 09, 2023 by John Harris

In recent reports, Gino Pozzo, his father Giampaolo Pozzo, and other Pozzo family members are interested in selling a considerable stake in Udinese Calcio, including a 10% stake in Watford FC. Currently, they have had talks with one unnamed investor.

As Udinese Calcio hasn’t seen success over the past few seasons, this new ownership could bring winning back to the franchise. Another objective of the investment is to improve resources for the club.

In all of Pozzo’s team ownership efforts, his goal is to always boost performance on the field. Being a dedicated football fan, he’s passionate about what he does on a day-to-day basis. With this dedication, not to mention his extensive business and management background, he has grown into a well-respected owner across sports. His professional experiences and Harvard Business School degree have shaped him into the influential leader he is today.

Taking Watford FC to new heights

One of Pozzo’s best accomplishments was when he enhanced the Watford FC program. After acquiring the team in 2012, he quickly made lasting improvements to the club. In fact, the team would join the Premier League after a very successful 2015 season. 

While Pozzo gained many of his skills from his schooling and experience, some of his talents were taught by his family. His father owned the Spanish football club Granada CF for multiple years, and his mother and father also had ownership of Udinese in the 1980s.

With the Pozzo family’s multi-club management strategy, they have been able to provide lasting benefits to the teams they own. For example, they have the ability to move players between clubs to achieve more success. Several popular Watford FC players used to play for Granada FC and Udinese, including Almen Abdi, Gabriele Angella, and Matěj Vydra.

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Why Slot Machines Are Popular Online?

Posted on September 28, 2023 by Mia Natalia

Online slots have been a prominent trend in the area of online entertainment and gambling in recent years. These computerized replicas of classic slot machines have become extremely popular for several strong reasons. We shall examine why slots like are popular online and why so many players are drawn to them in this post.

Accessibility and practicality:

The accessibility and convenience of online slot games are one of the main factors in their appeal. Players no longer have to go to actual casinos to play their preferred slot machines. They can play slots from the convenience of their own homes or while on the go if they have access to an internet-connected computer, smartphone, or tablet. Slot gaming has become more inclusive and appealing to a wider audience because of this level of accessibility.

A Variety of Games:

Slot machines online like come in a remarkably wide variety of games. There is a game to suit every player’s preference, whether they prefer vintage fruit machines, video slots with intricate narratives and animations, or progressive jackpot slots with life-changing wins. Because there is such a wide range, gamers never grow tired and may always try something new.

Appealing Themes and Visuals:

Online slots’ visual and thematic components are a big part of their attractiveness.Slot machine creators put a lot of money into creating captivating themes, stunning graphics, and engrossing sound effects. Players are immersed in a variety of situations thanks to these elements, which ups the gameplay’s excitement and fun factor.

Abundant Bonuses and Promotions:

Slot machines played online are renowned for offering big bonuses and promotions. To entice and keep customers, the majority of online casinos provide alluring welcome bonuses, free spins, and continuous promotions. These bonuses can substantially increase a player’s bankroll, enabling them to play additional spins and possibly increase their winnings.

Progressive Jackpots:

Another motivating factor behind the growth of online slot games is the allure of progressive jackpots. As a portion of every wager is added to the prize pool, these jackpots increase with time. Players are drawn in by the chance to win enormous sums of money with only one spin, which inspires excitement and anticipation.

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50 Years Ago: King Beats Riggs in Battle of the Sexes

Posted on September 20, 2023 by Dean Hybl

It was 50 years ago today, September 20, 1973 when Billie Jean King struck a major blow for women’s athletics by defeating the flamboyant Bobby Riggs in a made-for-television extravaganza billed as the Battle of the Sexes.

It is hard to step back in time 50 years and remember just how different the perception of female athletes was at that time. While today great female athletes are revered for their talents and in some sports are regulars on network television and in front of large stadium crowds, in the early 1970s women’s athletics was given very little value by much of the general population.

While today women are generally judged athletically based on their own skills and abilities, in the early 1970s equal rights era many dismissed the accomplishments of even the best female athletes because they were obviously not competitive with male athletes.

In early 1973 former men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs proved that by thoroughly dismantling Margaret Court, one of the top women’s tennis players of all-time and winner of 24 Grand Slam titles (a record she held alone for 50 years before being matched by Novak Djokovic earlier this month), 6-2, 6-1.

Before facing Court, Riggs had actually first challenged Billie Jean King, but King initially declined the match, which led to the contest against Court.

After Riggs defeated Court, he again challenged King and this time she accepted.

Their match was played in front of a huge crowd at the Houston Astrodome and in front of millions watching on television.

From the very beginning it was clear that this was not any ordinary tennis match. King entered the stadium carried aloft in a chair held by four bare-chested muscle men dressed in the style of ancient slaves.

Riggs followed in a rickshaw drawn by several scantily-clad models. He then presented King with a giant lollipop and she gave him a piglet named Larimore Hustle.

The match itself proved to be somewhat anticlimactic. Rather than aggressively attack the net, King stayed primarily at the baseline letting Riggs make mistakes. He was clearly not in his best shape and made many errors throughout the match.

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Howley and Ware Represent Dallas Cowboys along with Thomas at 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductions

Posted on August 04, 2023 by Chris Kent
The Dallas Cowboys are common in Canton, Ohio.

The Dallas Cowboys are well represented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a total of 32 individuals enshrined who spent all or parts of their careers with the franchise. Included are former players, coaches, and front office personnel who have been crucial to Dallas winning five Super Bowls in eight appearances while producing many epic moments throughout its’ 63-year history. Iconic players like Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, and Larry Allen to name just a few, are among the all-time Cowboy greats enshrined in Canton, Ohio.

As of Saturday Aug. 5, the tally will grow to 35 with the addition of three players who spent time in Dallas, two of which played most of their careers with the Cowboys. Outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Chuck Howley spent the bulk of their careers in Dallas while middle linebacker Zack Thomas played his final season for the Cowboys after a 12-year tenure with the Miami Dolphins where he built his hall of fame profile. These three players give Dallas 19 inductees over the last 18 classes dating back to 2006 when Aikman and the late Rayfield Wright were enshrined.
This trio is part of the nine inductees in the Class of 2023 that will be enshrined this weekend. The other six enshrinees are Ronde Barber, Don Coryell, Joe Klecko, Ken Riley, Darrelle Revis, and Joe Thomas. The enshrinement ceremony is set for noon on Saturday. For a complete list of events and details go to,

Each of these former Dallas players showed toughness, leadership, and great tenacity during their careers. With linebackers being so vital for calling formations, blitzes, and tackling opponents within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage to prevent big plays, these players have much responsibility. Their performance often dictates whether a team makes a big play or obtains a first down. Games can be won or lost by a linebacker due to issues with coverage or tackling. However that was rarely the case with each of these linebackers.

In this his 45th year of eligibility, Howley enters the hall of fame in his first year as a finalist. Howley had an inauspicious start to his pro career. Selected in the first round with the seventh overall pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1958 National Football League Draft, Howley played his first two seasons in Chicago. After suffering what was considered to be a career-ending knee injury during training camp in 1959, Howley appeared in only three games that season and then retired. After missing the entire 1960 season, Howley decided to make a comeback in 1961 after particiapting in an alumni game at his alma mater, West Virginia University. The event ignited a spark in him to give the game one more try which he did in 1961 after being traded to the Cowboys. From there on, he and Dallas never regretted it. Howley became a defensive mainstay for the next 13 seasons and was part of the Cowboys’ “Doomsday Defense” in the early 1970’s.

Chuck Howley intercepts a pass against the Baltimore Colts.

In his 180 career games played, Howley recorded 25 interceptions, scored two touchdowns, and had 26 sacks. He also recovered 18 fumbles which he returned for 191 yards – a total that still ranks seventh on the NFL’s all-time list. Howley was durable, remarkable when you consider his serious knee injury early in his career. He missed only four regular season games from 1961 to 1972 during which he played in 176 games and made 11 playoff starts leading Dallas to the first two NFL Championship games and two Super Bowls.

From 1966-1970, Howley was selected to the Pro Bowl and was named a First-Team All Pro each season. He also received Pro Bowl recognition in 1972, his sixth and final selection, and was named a second team All-Pro in 1971. In 1977, Howley was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. Howley had two interceptions and one forced fumble in Super Bowl V en route to being named the Most Valuable Player despite a 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts in 1971. To this day, Howley holds the distinction of being the only player from the losing team to be named MVP of the Super Bowl. The following season, Howley helped Dallas win its’ first Super Bowl with an interception and a fumble recovery in a 24-3 win over Miami in Super Bowl VI.

Like Howley, Ware was also a mainstay at outside linebacker for the Cowboys. He played nine seasons for Dallas before spending his final three seasons with the Denver Broncos. Drafted with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of little known Troy University in Troy, AL, Ware entered the league with something to proove. It did not take him long to do so as he finished his rookie season with 58 tackles and a team-best eight sacks while starting all 16 games for the Cowboys. That was a sign of things to come as the 6-4 258-pound linebacker went on to record double-digit sack totals in each of the next seven seasons, all team-bests, during which he did not miss a single regular season game. Ware’s career-high 20 sacks in 2008 and 15.5 sacks in 2010 both lead the league.
Ware played on only one team with a losing record over his 12-year career and was part of team’s that made five playoff appearances. During the 2013 season, his final one in Dallas, Ware become the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks with 117, a record that still stands. Ware always had to be accounted for by opposing offenses and was a dominant player who would also line up at defensive end on occassion.

DeMarcus Ware used his size and strength to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

After signing with Denver in 2014, Ware totaled 21.5 sacks over the next three seasons. Ware had three solo tackles, two assists, two sacks, and four hits on the quarterback helping the Broncos to a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl L following the 2015 season. Ware finished his career with 138.5 sacks and intercepted three passess for 44 yards and one touchdown. He also returned two fumbles for touchdowns. Selected to nine Pro Bowls, Ware was voted first-team All-Pro four times and second-team All-Pro three times. Ware is also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s. In 2016, Ware was honored by the Broncos with the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, an annual award the franchise presents to a player from their team “who best exemplifies Williams’ enthusiasm, cooperation, and honesty while dealing with members of the press.”

These same kind of honors were also earned by Zack Thomas who produced similar statistics as Ware. Although undersized at 5-11 he packed a punch at 235 pounds and was a relentless hard-nosed player built on toughness and grit. While not the biggest or the fastest, Thomas made up for it with great knowledge and a strong sense of anticipation. Thomas credits his success to his meticulous preparation helping him to always know where the play was going.

While he played his final season in Dallas in 2008, Thomas enters the hall based on his terriffic 12-year career with the Miami Dolphins where he played for former Cowboys’ head coach Jimmy Johnson from 1996-99. A versatile middle linebacker from Texas Tech, Thomas made an immediate impact for Miami after being drafted in the fifth round with the 154th overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Thomas had 131 tackles, 49 assisted tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions to earn the team’s MVP award. He was also named AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Zach Thomas used his toughness and smarts to run down ball carriers and accumulate tackle after tackle.

Thomas lead the team in tackles in 10 of his 12 seasons with the Dolphins. A tackling machine, Thomas racked up 100 tackles in each of his first 11 seasons in Miami. His play was pivotal in helping the Dolphins make the playoffs five straight seasons from 1997-2001. In a playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens following the 2001 season, Thomas had 22 tackles including 14 solo. Thomas finished his career with 20.5 sacks and totaled 17 interceptions for 170 yards and four touchdowns, a Dolphins career record for interceptions returned for a touchdown. Thomas played in 184 games including 168 starts, the most in team history by a defensive player. Voted a first-team All-Pro five times and a second-team All-Pro twice, Thomas was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000’s. Thomas was also the first player in Dolphin’s history to win the team’s Leadership Award three times.

Howley, Ware, and Thomas. Three players who spent time in Dallas. Whether it was just for a short time or for most of a lengthy career, these players are part of this legendary franchise that is a five-time Super Bowl Champion with many iconic individuals and moments. As they enter the hall of fame this weekend, the star is shinning a little brighter on the helmet for this proud franchise that is always in search of its’ next individual to receive a hall call.


  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Archie Griffin: 2-Time Heisman Winner
      December 11, 2022 | 1:42 pm
      Archie Griffin

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

      As a star running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Archie Griffin claimed the Heisman Trophy during his junior season in 1974 and then was able to repeat the honor the following season.

      Griffin joined the Buckeyes for the 1972 season, which happened to be the first in which freshmen were eligible to play varsity football, and made an immediate impact. After fumbling in his only carry of his first game, Griffin more than made up for it in his second game by rushing for 237 yards against North Carolina. By the end of the season, Griffin had rushed for 867 yards.

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