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Examples in Excellence: Most Inspiring Coaches of the Last Decade 0

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
Jill Ellis has been successful building the U.S. Women's Soccer Team into a team of stars.

Jill Ellis has been successful building the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team into a team where everyone plays their role.

The greatest sports coaches have the power to inspire their athletes to be better than they’ve ever been and change the whole dynamic of a team. We’ve all seen what an amazing leader can do for an otherwise scrappy team, and here are just a few of the most remarkable examples of the last decade.

Build Teams with Great Players, Not One Great Player
Jill Ellis experienced incredible training as a young coach at UCLA when she was mentored by John Wooden. Now she is the manager of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team.

Ellis creates a clear team concept and teaches each player their role within it. At her father’s suggestion, she learned communication outside her sport. For a while, she was a technical writer. Now she can explain her team vision and help her players to be their best within it. Her background was able to prepare her for seeing a big picture and what each part needs to do to organize a working machine.

Leadership by Listening
Steve Kerr was the first rookie head coach in the NBA to win the championship since 1982. The Golden State Warriors were a team of current and future all-stars, but they needed someone who could pull all the pieces together.

Kerr created a system based on the strengths of his players to maximize the team’s performance. He also empowered his coaching staff to share their ideas and listened to everyone. Most significantly, in the NBA Finals, an assistant coach wanted to change the starting line-up to help them deal with the previously unstoppable LeBron James. Kerr accepted and implemented the idea. Not only did it work, Kerr publicly identified his assistant as the source of the idea. This is one example out of dozens of Kerr giving credit to others for the team’s success.
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Is it Time to Like Brett Favre Again? 0

Posted on July 18, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Brett Favre told Sports Illustrated that he could still play in the NFL.

Brett Favre told Sports Illustrated that he could still play in the NFL.

I don’t know if you’ve had the same reaction, but for at least the last five years (and probably for all seven years since he left the Green Bay Packers) every time I see Brett Favre in a commercial or hear his name mentioned in any context, I do an internal eye roll and automatically tune out the discussion.

Earlier this month when the cover of Sports Illustrated showed a grinning Favre and promised insight into whether he thinks he could still play (of course he does), I had to set the magazine aside as just the thought of Favre returning to the NFL gave me a twitch.

That someone who was so beloved and enjoyed by football fans for over a decade somehow became the crazy uncle that no one wants to acknowledge or discuss is really one of the strange stories of the recent NFL.

There is little dispute that Favre was one of the quintessential players of the NFL from the early 1990s through the late 2000s. Even if you were not a Green Bay Packer fan, you knew about Favre and dazzled in his exuberance and talent.

He was the gunslinger who occasionally shot himself in the foot, but more often put the bullet directly in the heart of his opponents. He won a Super Bowl as a 28-year-old and very nearly made it back late in his career with both the Packers and later the Minnesota Vikings.

However, for many football fans, it was his inability to exit gracefully that is still remembered and is the reason he often is omitted from lists of the top quarterbacks in NFL history.

Though he had hinted at retirement a year earlier, it was not until March 4, 2008, just weeks after Favre had thrown an overtime interception that helped the New York Giants defeat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game, that Favre announced his retirement.

Had Favre’s story ended there with a tearful goodbye and a career full of Packer memories, his place in history would certainly have been secure.

However, as is well documented, Favre spent the next three seasons turning the idea of retirement into a national joke.

Just three months after retiring, he told the Packers he wanted to come back. That led to a heated battle that burned many bridges between the quarterback and the team he had led for 16 years. The Packers had committed themselves to Aaron Rodgers (which turned out to be a pretty good decision) and hoped Favre would honor his decision to retire (they even offered him a $25 million marketing agreement to walk away).

Favre was clear that he was no longer interested in retiring and wanted to return to the NFL. If the Packers were not going to give him the starting quarterback job back, then he wanted them to release him so he could sign with any team. Rumors were swirling that he wanted to play for the division rival Vikings both because of their head coach (Brad Childress) and because they played the Packers twice during the season. Read the rest of this entry →

What the NFL’s Response to Domestic Violence Has Shown Us 0

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
Roger Goodell and the NFL have been very inconsistent in dealing with domestic violence.

Roger Goodell and the NFL have been very inconsistent in dealing with domestic violence.

The NFL’s response to charges of domestic violence by players in recent years has shown us that things are not as simple as they may appear on the surface. The role the NFL can and should play in dealing with this issue is hotly debated.

What the Issues Are
James Knox, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases in California with Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP, discussed the issue on the law firm’s website recently. Knox brings up that domestic violence laws vary from state to state. Since the NFL is a national organization dealing with teams in 22 states, it is difficult for them to enforce a one-size-fits-all policy. Not surprisingly, the NFL hasn’t even tried to apply a standard response to situations. Instead they seem to be as arbitrary as the prosecutors that Knox mentions who address domestic violence when it is a popular topic of outrage and practically ignore it otherwise.
Because of so many high-profile cases in the last few years, the NFL has funneled money into No More, a corporate-sponsored branding campaign whose Super Bowl PSA was widely critiqued for failing to address prevention efforts. It simply isn’t enough to throw money at awareness campaigns that focus on the aftermath of violence, while doing nothing to stop players and fans from engaging in the behavior to begin with. The tendency to be reactive rather than proactive has been the hallmark of the NFL’s responses overall, and that is exactly what is wrong with the situation today.

What the Situation Is
As an employment issue, domestic violence lawyers in Sacramento might say the NFL needs to be thoughtful of the steps they take. Employers cannot discriminate against employees by disciplining them based on allegations or enact disparate discipline on different employees for the same or similar actions. For this reason alone, the NFL should tread lightly in getting involved in allegations that have no bearing on the ability of players to do their job, which is to play ball. Read the rest of this entry →

Tips on Choosing College Football Winners 1

Posted on May 14, 2015 by Edwin Smith
Oregon was a popular pick for 2014. Who will be the pick for 2015?

Oregon was a popular college football pick for 2014. Who will be the pick for 2015?

One of the biggest industries in the world is sports betting and for most people this is an opportunity to make a few extra bucks and to make games more interesting. Although there is no formula for picking winners in college football, you will can take a few factors into consideration to help you win a bit more. There are a number of sites you can bet on and finding the right one will take some time and effort on your part. The following are a few things to consider when trying to get the right college football picks scores predictions.

The Difference in NFL and College

One of the biggest misconceptions people have regarding betting on college football is that it is just like NFL. This is not the case due to the fact that most college teams will run up the score in order to increase their rank. This can either make or break your betting venture. The last thing you want to do it bet big when the points spread is close. When first starting out, you want to bet on games with low points spread due to the higher probability of your winning.

Choosing the Right Venue

The next thing you need to consider when trying to make a sound bet is where you will you will place you bets. There are a number of different websites out there where you can bet, which will require you to do some research. The more you are able to find out about the websites and the track record they have, the easier you will find it to choose the right one. The last thing you want to do when trying to get the right betting site is to choose one in haste. Read the rest of this entry →

Is the NFL Preparing to Burn Tom Brady at the Stake? 1

Posted on May 10, 2015 by Joe Gill
It appears that circumstantial evidence will be enough for the NFL to punish Super Bowl quarterback Tom Brady.

It appears that circumstantial evidence will be enough for the NFL to punish Super Bowl quarterback Tom Brady.

Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady will soon be nailed to the NFL Shield and will be made an example of.

Everyone outside the five New England States (well maybe not Connecticut) will salivate and feed their blood lust on the day of Brady’s crucifixion (suspension).

For what, what heinous act did he commit against the most powerful sports league on the earth?

Did he punch his wife in the face and knock her out cold like Ray Rice? No.

Did he whip his child with a tree branch like Adrian Peterson? No.

Did Tom Brady throw bleach on a woman’s face or drag her alongside a car like Terrell Suggs? No.

Did he sexually assault a woman in a bathroom like fellow Super Bowl Winning Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger?

That would be another resounding NO.

His ultimate sin…”more probable than not” was asking for his footballs to be a tad bit below the league’s legal limit. Read the rest of this entry →

2015 NFL Division Predictions and Latest News Affecting Your Favorite Teams 1

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Ashley Andrews
After rumors to the contrary, looks like Philip Rivers will be back with the Chargers in 2015.

After rumors to the contrary, looks like Philip Rivers will be back with the Chargers in 2015.

What does the 2015 NFL season have in store for fans, players, and the league alike? From top draft picks to team standings, predictions are already flying ahead of the upcoming preseason. From the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East all the way to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West, here is a look at what some are saying will be the best season of football yet.

NFC East
In the NFC East division, analysts believe that the Dallas Cowboys stand the strongest chance and give them the lead. Part of the reason for this prediction is the relatively easy schedule during the 2015 season. Add the fact that the Cowboys have a super star in Dez Bryant and the Cowboys seem to be strong contenders for the NFC East title.

NFC North
The Green Bay Packers are predicted to have the strongest year in the North. Despite the fact the team will face the Seattle Seahawks at home and Arizona and San Diego are favored during the 2015 matchup, ESPN analysts seem optimistic. Green Bay’s final season ranking? Survey says; 11-5.

NFC South
In the NFC South, it appears to be a duel between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Each team is given an overall 2015 season win/loss prediction of 10-5. With the return of ten out of 11 of the defensive starters and nine out of ten starters showing up strong for the offense, the Panthers show a promising season ahead. New Orleans, on the other hand has the second-easiest schedule at home in 2015 which could prove favorable for them.
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    • Maureen Connolly: Little Mo
      July 3, 2015 | 3:39 pm
      Maureen Connolly

      Maureen Connolly

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the most dominating women’s tennis player of her career before a tragic accident ended her career while she was still a teenager.

      Maureen “Little Mo” Connelly won the final nine majors in which she competed, which is quite impressive given how challenging Serena Williams is currently finding it to win four straight majors for the second time in her career.

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