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What All Goes Into a Super Bowl Halftime Show? 0

Posted on October 08, 2018 by Scott Huntington

This year’s upcoming Super Bowl Halftime headliner was recently announced, and Maroon 5 will take their place on that iconic stage. While not everyone is happy about this announcement, it does lead us to another question — what really goes into creating those massive halftime shows?

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Planning Comes First

The planning stage takes the longest. The Superbowl is usually played in February, and the planning stage will start the June before the big game starts. This is what experts call the “nuts and bolts” stage — figuring out how to put together a massive show and get it all on the field in six minutes.

Yes, you read that right — in just six minutes the entire stage gets set up. This is when the show planners figure out the technical side of things, such as where to put the broadcast trucks, where to position the speakers to create the most optimum sound and how they’re going to plug in all the toys.

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Babers Has Syracuse Football on the Rise 0

Posted on October 04, 2018 by Chris Kent

Syracuse is climbing its’ way back to prominence in college football.

Dino Babers has Syracuse thinking big again on the gridiron.

Dino Babers has Syracuse thinking big again on the gridiron.

Known more for its’ notoriety as a college basketball power over most of the last two decades during which the Orange went to three Final Fours and won one national championship, Syracuse is re-emerging on the gridiron. In his third year as head coach of the Orange, Dino Babers is resurrecting Syracuse while positioning the program to return to its’ glorious past. That has not been seen since names like Donovan McNabb, Keith Bullock, Dwight Freeney, Rob Konrad, Marvin Harrison, and Donovin Darius dotted the roster from the mid and late 1990’s to the early 2000’s.

The chief evidence for the rise of the Orange came last Saturday, Sept. 29, when Syracuse took No. 3 ranked and undefeated Clemson (5-0, 2-0) to the brink of defeat on its’ home field. Only a timely and late rally by the Tigers held off a very game Orange team as Syracuse came up just short in a 27-23 loss. The Orange lead 16-7 at the half and had a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter before the Tigers rallied with two unanswered touchdowns to pull out the win and drop Syracuse (4-1, 1-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. That is news in itself as this season’s 4-0 start marked just the fifth time that Orange football opened 4-0 and the first time since 1991. It was a marked improvement for Syracuse which had been outscored by the Tigers 70-6 in its’ last two trips to Clemson Memorial Stadium, including a 54-0 blowout there in 2016, Babers’ first season. This year’s showing against the Tigers proved that the Orange can play with a perennial power that has made the last three college football playoffs and is trending there again this year.

Lofty accomplishments like that were mirrored earlier this season on Sept. 15 when Syracuse defeated Florida State 30-7 for the first time as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in this there sixth season as an affiliate. The gigantic victory ended the Orange’s 10-game losing streak to the Seminoles and marked Syracuse’s first win over Florida State since 1966 when pro football hall of fame running back Floyd Little played for the Orange.

Although Syracuse has been 4-8 in each of Babers’ first two seasons, there has been progress. Babers’ has lead the Orange to landmark victories against teams nationally ranked and at the top of the ACC during each of his first two seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Network’s A Football Life Has Jumped the Shark 0

Posted on September 30, 2018 by Dean Hybl
NFL Network's show A Football Life debuted in 2011.

NFL Network’s show A Football Life debuted in 2011.

In case you are not familiar with the term “Jumping the Shark”, it refers to the great 1970s TV Show Happy Days. Towards the end of its run on ABC, they had an episode when “The Fonz” somehow ended up on water skis and actually jumped a shark (or at least a mechanical shark). To fans, it signaled the moment when they knew the show was out of realistic plots and was on its way towards the end.

Given that the first three episodes of season eight of A Football Life have included a pair of shows about quarterbacks with a combined total of one conference championship appearance during their careers, I think it is clear that this once great show has passed its “Jump the Shark” moment.

When A Football Life first came on the air in 2011, it provided a fresh and innovative approach for telling about the football journeys for some of the great figures in recent NFL history. Most of those highlighted were living at the time they were featured, though that has not always been the case.

After starting with a two-part episode about New England Coach Bill Belichick, they followed up with a fresh look at a pair of former teammates whose lives ended early, Reggie White & Jerome Brown. Other tales from the opening season focused on the cinema worthy stories of Kurt Warner, Walter Payton, Ed Sabol, Mike Ditka, Tom Landry and Al Davis.

Though the second season began with a nod to the “flavor of the moment” by featuring Tim Tebow, the remainder of the season was excellent with every episode telling a unique, behind the curtain, story about an NFL Legend.

As a fan of NFL history, if there has been anything significant to criticize about the choices of former players to feature, it would be that they have almost totally ignored players from the pre-Super Bowl era and in reality, have focused disproportionately on players from the 1980s to today.

The term "Jumping the Shark" refers to an episode of Happy Days where "The Fonz" jumped a shark.

The term “Jumping the Shark” refers to an episode of Happy Days where “The Fonz” jumped a shark.

Not counting shows on former players who became coaches or broadcasters, through the first seven seasons there have only been four shows featuring players whose primary years in the league occurred prior to 1970 (Jim Brown, Joe Namath, the Los Angeles Rams Fearsome Foursome and Chicago Bears greats Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus).

To me that is really a shame. I understand maybe not going back to the beginning of NFL history to feature former greats who have been gone for generations, but given that NFL Films originated in the 1960s, I cannot understand why they have basically ignored that great era of the NFL and AFL.

Off the top of my head, I can name 10-20 players who were active in the 1960s and either are still alive or were alive when the series started that would be great to feature. Players like Bart Starr and Willie Davis from the great Packer teams, the first Dallas Cowboy draft pick Bob Lilly, Sam Huff, Alex Karras, Y.A. Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen, Len Dawson, John Brodie, Lenny Moore, Hugh McElhenny, Fran Tarkenton and the recently deceased Tommy McDonald are just a few of the many players from that era that had amazing NFL journeys and would have been great to feature in the series.

Though the bias to the post-merger era has always been there, in the early years there was at least a balance with some shows featuring players from the 1970s and early 1980s.

However, in recent years, the show seems to have become more of a vehicle for current broadcasters and recently inducted Hall of Famers.

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New Laws and Pro Sports in Vegas Turns the Gambling World Upside Down 0

Posted on September 27, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Vegas-hockeyIt is amazing how much the gambling world has changed in a relatively short period of time.

Not long ago, the big innovations were related to online gaming and poker while legal sports gambling was available only in Las Vegas.

Now, with the advent of daily fantasy sports and the ruling by the Supreme Court that has paved the way for every state to legally accept sports betting, the landscape is quite different.

Since the Supreme Cot ruling earlier this year, four states: New Jersey, Delaware West Virginia and Mississippi have already legalized some form of sports betting in their states. Three others: Pennsylvania, New York and Rhode Island are in the final stages of legislation and will likely join the mix very soon.

According to an ESPN study, there are 15 additional states that have started the process towards legalizing some form of sports betting.

All of the remaining states have laws prohibiting sports gambling, but ESPN wrote that with the exception of Utah, there is at least a possibility that sports betting could eventually become legal in those states.

Another dynamic that has changed is the insistence that Las Vegas could not be a professional sports city due to the proximity to gambling. Read the rest of this entry →

5 Predictions for the 2018 NFL Season 1

Posted on September 08, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Expect Ezekiel Elliott to have a huge season in 2018.

Expect Ezekiel Elliott to have a huge season in 2018.

It is finally that time again, can you say “Are You Ready for some football?”

The 2018 NFL season should be an interesting one as the Philadelphia Eagles are the defending champions, the New England Patriots may finally be coming back to earth and the Cleveland Browns seem likely not to go 0-16 again.

For anyone looking to make a killing at 10 Bet Football below are five predictions for the 2018 season.

Buy Ezekiel Elliott and Sell Le’Veon Bell

Last year Le’Veon Bell was one of the best players in the NFL and Ezekiel Elliott suffered through a rough sophomore year that included a six game suspension.

After a full training camp, watch for Elliott to be focused on returning to the elite running back status he displayed during his first NFL campaign in 2016.

Conversely, Bell sat out training camp for the second straight year and after returning before the first game last year, he is not playing in the 2018 opener and could be out for a while.

Given that the prime performance years for running backs is historically short-lived, Bell is determined to get a large guaranteed payday while still at his highest level.

Last year he touched the ball more than 400 times, which is usually one of the major reasons that running backs don’t last. Knowing that the Steelers are not going to use him wisely once he joins the team, Bell and his representatives have decided that they need to take control by sitting for what appears to be multiple games.

So, my prediction for 2018 is that Elliott will be an All-Pro while Bell will not have a special season, but will likely position himself for a pretty good payday in 2019.

Watch Out For the Browns

I am tempted to predict that the Cleveland Browns will win more games than the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, but that might be just a little too bold.

What does seem likely is that the 2018 Cleveland Browns will win more games than has been won in Cleveland over the last two seasons. Granted, they just need two wins to exceed that total, but I do believe the Browns have elevated their talent level and will be competitive this season.

Heck, even though they were the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 last year, head coach Hue Jackson had them playing hard almost every week. They just lacked enough talent to make enough great plays to win games. Read the rest of this entry →

Billy Kilmer: Hard-Nosed Quarterback 0

Posted on September 02, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Kilmer

Billy Kilmer

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Billy Kilmer: Hard-Nosed Quarterback
      September 2, 2018 | 7:32 pm
      Kilmer

      Billy Kilmer

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

      Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers.

      Read more »

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