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NFL Preseason Has Different Focus Than In Past Eras 0

Posted on August 26, 2016 by Dean Hybl
The NFL Preseason used to include an exhibition game between the NFL Champion and a team of NFL rookies.

The NFL Preseason used to include an exhibition game between the NFL Champion and a team of NFL rookies.

While we could fill pages with what is different about the NFL today compared to 40 years ago, during this time of the year one noticeable difference is how preseason games are handled by the teams and viewed by fans and the media.

Exhibition games have been part of football history since the very beginning of the NFL. For many years, some of the NFL teams would play exhibition games against non-league teams. From the 1930s through the mid-1970s, the NL Champion played an annual exhibition game against a team of college all-stars who were beginning their rookie season.

Preseason exhibition games amongst league teams became more standard in the 1950s and have continued in similar fashion for the last 60+ years.

Because low player salaries meant that many players had offseason jobs, for many years the preseason schedule was seen as crucial to helping players get in shape and prepare for the upcoming season.

It was not uncommon for starters to play a majority of the time during preseason and often how a team performed during the preseason was seen as a precursor towards whether they would be successful in the regular season.

In some cases, the preseason also served as an opportunity for teams to exact revenge for previous results.

After the Kansas City Chiefs lost the first Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers and Green Bay Coach Vince Lombardi commented that the Chiefs would be an average team in the NFL, Chiefs coach Hank Stram used the next preseason as an opportunity to exact some frustration and send a message to the NFL.

Because the NFL-AFL merger called for exhibition games between the two leagues, the Chiefs treated their 1967 exhibition game against the Chicago Bears like an act of war. The Chiefs pummeled the Bears 66-24 to let the NFL know that the AFL was filled with more than just second tier teams. Read the rest of this entry →

Questions Are Abundant For AFC Contenders 0

Posted on August 10, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Even though Tom Brady will miss the first four games of the season, the New England Patriots are still the pick of many to reach the Super Bowl.

Even though Tom Brady will miss the first four games of the season, the New England Patriots are still the pick of many to reach the Super Bowl.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

According to Top Sports Betting Sites, even the absence of starting quarterback Tom Brady for the first four weeks of the season isn’t enough to knock the New England Patriots out of their familiar role of favorite to win Super Bowl 51.

Even though the Patriots lost last year to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game and Tom Brady recently turned 39 years old, many still believe there is enough left in the tank for the Patriots to propel them to their seventh Super Bowl appearance since 2000.

One potential reason for that has little to do with the Patriots themselves. Of their top AFC competitors, most have just as many question marks as the Patriots, if not more.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos begin the 2016 season with a huge question mark at quarterback. Though Peyton Manning spent most of last season as a caretaker, rather than game-changing quarterback, he did provide experience and stability during their Super Bowl run.

The primary candidates for the position this year include former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Northwestern University product Trevor Siemian and first round draft pick Paxton Lynch.

Though Sanchez once led the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship Games, his recent history has not been anywhere near as impressive. His final years in New York are best remembered for the infamous butt-fumble and he spent last season as a backup in Philadelphia.

Siemian got into one game last season for the Broncos while Lynch could be the quarterback of the future after being selected with the 26th pick of the 2016 draft out of Memphis.

While Denver certainly rode Von Miller and their strong defense to the championship last year, they cannot expect another Super Bowl season if there quarterback play is again unspectacular. Read the rest of this entry →

What Do Injuries Spell for NFL Betting Fans 6

Posted on August 04, 2016 by Andrew Scott
After missing the 2015 season with a knee injury, can Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson return to past form?

After missing the 2015 season with a knee injury, can Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson return to past form?

Fans who plan on betting on NFL football should know there are two crippling components in the league, injuries and suspension. Players misbehaving off the field is one thing, but players not playing due to something that is completely out of their control is soul crushing for both the athlete and the sportsbook user. While offseason injuries can usually be accounted for, a mid-game injury could have a drastic outcome for the game. Sometimes a player being carted off can open the lane for a future hall of famer, as was the case for Brett Favre. Other times it can cost teams the game and those betting on NFL football their money. In a sport as physical football it’s important to have an indication of which players are prone to injuries, and which players are recovering from injuries. A quick glance at NFL history will reveal just how devastating injuries can be to players, teams, and sportsbook users.

Indubitably the biggest injury sustained in the history of the NFL was suffered by Joe Theismann. In one of the most memorable hits ever delivered legendary linebacker Lawrence Taylor snapped both the tibia and fibula of the former Redskins quarterback. The film The Blind Side highlights this moment and states that this hit is the reason that left tackles usually receive the second highest salary on the team. Theismann’s career was ended and it took Washington 9 years to win another Super Bowl. The NFL lost a great quarterback, and those who picked the Redskins as favorites for NFL futures lost their money.

While not all injuries sustained in the NFL are that tragic, they can be just as costly to fans betting on NFL football. Last season Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers went without his favorite target, Jordy Nelson. Rodgers was able to find success by putting up modest numbers and the Pack still made it to the divisional round, but there’s no doubting that if Nelson had been on the field the Packers would have gone further. This example proves the impact injuries have on a football team, even if that injury isn’t sustained by that team’s most valuable player. Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Injuries That Will Impact the 2016 Season 5

Posted on July 18, 2016 by Scott Huntington

The 2016-2017 NFL season is fast approaching. The first game is a Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, on Thursday, September 8th, and for most fans, it can’t come soon enough.

Before that, though, millions of fans are speculating on everything NFL: Who should I pick for fantasy this year? How will my favorite team perform? Will injuries wreak havoc like last year? They’re all valid questions that fans will be discussing until opening night and beyond.

While the preseason brings a variety of injuries that are speculative in nature, at least in terms of how long they’ll hold a player out, there are several injuries that have a high certainty of impacting the NFL season. These are four of the high-profile NFL injury names to keep an eye on as September approaches:

1. Sammy Watkins

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The Buffalo Bills #1 wide receiver is clearly a star in development. When he’s on the field, he’s electric. However, injuries have derailed him so far at times, with a broken foot putting into question Watkins’ readiness for week one. Recent news is optimistic though, as Watkins posted a video on Instagram of him running, while mentioning that his goal is to “get ready for the first game.” Even if he’s slow or a non-participant during training camp, Bills fans can likely expect him lining up for week one. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: Happy Birthday Barry Sanders 4

Posted on July 16, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Happy 48th Birthday Barry Sanders!

Happy 48th Birthday Barry Sanders!

It is hard to believe that Barry Sanders turns 48 years old today and that it has been 18 years since he ran wild through the NFL.

Seems like just yesterday that Sanders was winning the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma State and then dazzling the NFL with his elusiveness.

After serving as the under-study to Thurman Thomas for two years at Oklahoma State, Sanders exploded onto the scene in 1988 with a mind-blowing 2,628 yards rushing in just 11 games. He also scored 37 rushing touchdowns and also scored returning both a punt and kickoff.

Part of the star-studded 1989 draft in which four of the top five picks eventually earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Sanders was chosen third by the Detroit Lions. He finished second in the NFL in rushing as a rookie and won the first of his four rushing titles the next year.

By 1991, Sanders had the Lions in the playoffs as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their playoff opener before losing the NFC Championship Game to the Washington Redskins. Though the Lions would make four additional playoff appearances during his career, they were eliminated in their first playoff game each time.

Sanders reached his zenith in 1997 as he eclipsed the prestigious 2,000 yard mark with 2,053 yards. After gaining 1,491 yards as the Lions went 5-11 in 1998, Sanders surprised the sports world by retiring prior to the 1999 season. He was less than 1,500 yards from passing Walter Payton for what was at the time the top spot on the NFL all-time rushing list.

Because he had just turned 31 years old and had showed no signs of slowing down, his retirement was quite a surprise. In some ways, it mirrors the recent retirement of the best Detroit Lions player since Sanders as Calvin Johnson seems to also be done with the NFL at the age of 30.

In honor of Sanders amazing NFL career, here are some vintage clips of his once-in-a-lifetime moves.
Read the rest of this entry →

Where are They Now? 7 Sports Stars after Retirement 0

Posted on March 14, 2016 by John Harris

Going from having millions of fans worldwide watching your every move and genuinely being one of the best – if not the best – at what you do on the planet, to the realms of being mere mortal is a difficult transition. And it isn’t one that every sportsman is able to navigate successfully. Largely due to a combination of a startling lack of business acumen, poor decisions, lavish lifestyles and divorce (reputedly around the 80% mark for top US athletes), it doesn’t take long for one time heroes to become zeros – sometimes literally when it comes to finances.

In 2009, Sports Illustrated published a report highlighting just how bad this problem is. It found that an astonishing 78% of NFL players find themselves in “financial distress” within just 2 years of retiring. Around 60% of NBA players, who with an average salary of $5million is higher than every other sport, are bankrupt within 5 years of calling it a day on the court.

This isn’t always the case however, here are some examples where top sportsmen have gone on to build a successful – and occasionally surprising –  career after retiring from their former profession.

 

1. Magic Johnson

One of the finest basketball players of all time, the point guard achieved practically everything there was to achieve in the game. During his 14-year career which included 2 comebacks, Johnson won 5 NBA titles, 3 Final MVPs, and 3 regular season MVPs, and even found the time for an Olympic gold medal. He still has the highest average assists per game in history – 11.2, and playoff assists – 12.3.

His career since retirement has been no less successful. Despite a less than auspicious start (his TV show was pulled after 2 months) Johnson found a taste for business and never looked back. He was one of those who invested in Starbucks before anyone had even heard of the now omnipresent coffee shop brand. His company – Magic Johnson Enterprises – has its fingers in many industries from banking to entertainment and has helped the former Laker star earn a reputed $500 million.

 

 

2. George Foreman

Foreman’s recent career has become so successful and high profile that anyone who can’t remember back to a time when everyone didn’t have a cell phone could be forgiven for thinking that this is what he has always done. The rest of us of course know that he was one of the most formidable and talented heavyweight boxers of all time. He will always have a place in boxing folklore due to his part in the Rumble in the Jungle – one the most famous and entertaining fights of all time, but his record stands up for itself: 81 fights, 76 wins, 68 of those by way of KO, and just 5 defeats. And don’t forget that most of those were during the golden era of heavyweight boxing.

ALI FOREMAN

When he came out of retirement at age 45 to knock Michael Moorer (then 27) out, he became the oldest heavyweight world champion in history.  When he finally retired for good, he teamed up with Russell Hobbs Inc, and launched the George Foreman Fat Reducing Grill, which he had helped design. It was an instant success and has sold over 100 million units in less than 15 years. Though he has never disclosed how much he has made from the grill, it is believed at its peak the preacher was earning $4.5 million a month. In total, it is estimated he has earned in excess of $200 million from the endorsement. A lot more than he than he ever made in the ring, actually. Read the rest of this entry →

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