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Sports Then and Now


Novak Djokovic Building His Own Tennis Legacy

Posted on January 31, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Novak Djokovic claimed his 11th grand slam title and sixth Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic claimed his 11th grand slam title and sixth Australian Open.

Since the turn of the 21st Century, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won a combined total of 31 grand slam singles titles to rank first and tied for second all-time. They seemingly have been the dominant faces of the men’s tennis world, yet, at the end of the day it now looks possible that they both could be overtaken by another player who once lived in their shadow.

With his three-set victory over Andy Murray in the finals of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic claimed his third straight major championship and has now won 10 major titles since 2011 and 11 overall.

Nearing his 29th birthday, Djokovic is now tied with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver for fifth all-time in major championships. He has won five of the last seven and many think he could become the first men’s player since Laver in 1969 (the first year of the open era) to win all four major championships in the same year.

Even if he doesn’t claim all four this year, Djokovic can become the first men’s player since Laver to hold all four major titles at the same time if he can win the French Open in June.

He nearly won the grand slam last year as it was only a four-set loss to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open Finals that kept him from the amazing feat in 2015.

If his dominating victory over Murray is any indication, Djokovic is a man at the peak of his game ready for the challenge associated with achieving new heights. Read the rest of this entry →

#TBT Sports Blog: Former Philadelphia Flyers Bobby Clarke

Posted on January 28, 2016 by Mike Raffone

Today’s TBT sports blog remembers my favorite hockey player of all-time – Bobby Clarke – who once starred for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Seems like only yesterday that Clarke was skating effortlessly up and down the old Spectrum Arena ice in Philadelphia in his orange, black and white #16 Flyers jersey.

Now, long since retired and 66 years-old, this Flin Flon, Manitoba native became a three-time NHL Most Valuable Player and skated his way into the hearts of hockey fans everywhere.

That’s because Bobby Clarke personified old-school hockey. He played without a helmet and hit about as hard as any player who ever took the ice. The Flyers captain was easily recognizable by his wide, toothless smile, long curly blond hair and incredible skill on skates.

The 17th pick of the 1969 NHL Draft, Clarke played his entire career for the Flyers franchise. Even after retiring, Clarke continued with the organization for many years first as General Manager and most recently as a Senior Vice President. He’s still Philadelphia’s greatest player ever, holding team records in total points and games played. He also appeared in eight NHL All-Star games.

As the Flyers captain, Clarke excelled during the 1970s. In both 1974 and 1975, he led the notorious Broad Street Bullies to back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. Read the rest of this entry →

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Manning and Brady to Duel Again with Super Bowl Berth at Stake

Posted on January 24, 2016 by Chris Kent

It’s late January and the NFL playoffs are in high gear. While the NFC Championship Game matches upstarts from Carolina and Arizona, the AFC Championship Game has the usual combatants in New England and Denver facing off. While the NFC Championship Game features a first-ever matchup of teams, the AFC Championship Game is the second matchup of these AFC heavyweights in the last three years with the Patriots and Broncos battling at Sports Authority Field in the Mile High city of Denver. The winner punches its’ ticket to Super Bowl L.

That can only mean one thing. Another chapter to be written in the storied saga of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady dueling with playoff lore and supremacy on the line, not to mention a trip to the Super Bowl at stake. While it will more importantly be the Broncos and the Patriots competing against each other that will impact the outcome, the competitiveness of these two future hall-of-fame quarterbacks cannot be underestimated. It is also highly likely that how Brady and Manning perform will go a long ways in determining who wins. That is the way it goes when you play quarterback. Perhaps no one other position in all of sports has more responsibility and glamour tied to it.

Entering Sunday’s game, Manning and Brady have met 16 total times during their NFL careers with Brady holding an 11-5 edge. This season’s AFC Championship Game will be the fifth time they have met in the playoffs where they are 2-2. Sunday’s game also is the fourth time the two have met in the AFC Championship Game with Manning holding a 2-1 edge. Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to the 2006 AFC Championship over Brady and New England en route to his only Super Bowl victory and also beat Brady and the Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship game in Denver. Brady’s lone win against Manning and his team in the AFC Championship Game came in the 2003 game with a 24-14 victory over the Colts en route to a win over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Furthermore, the winner of their head-to-head playoff matchups has gone on to win that season’s Super Bowl three out of four times. The only time it did not happen was in 2013 when Manning and the Broncos won 26-16 to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII where they got routed by Seattle 43-8.

Peyton Manning can recall a lot of big games against the Patriots during his time as a Colt.

Peyton Manning can recall a lot of big games against the Patriots during his time as an Indianapolis Colt.

So what is it that has made Brady and Manning not only stand out but remain so good for so long? In a league where it is possible for a team to go from worst to first in a year within a division and turn the fortunes of their franchise around in just two or three years, it seems as though father time would of caught up with them and the core of their respective teams by now or maybe earlier in their careers. While both have showed signs of slowing down, it appears that they each still have something left in the tank.

While Manning, drafted number one overall in 1998, missed all or parts of six games due to injury in 2015, he still has immense wisdom from 18 years of experience which includes three trips to the Super Bowl. Brady, selected in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, is 4-2 in six Super Bowl appearances. Outside of the 2008 season, which he missed due to a knee injury he suffered in the season opener, Brady has been a constant presence for New England. Brady has started 223 out of 225 games he has played in during his regular season career. Furthermore, Brady has defied any kind of skill erosion with age by logging 13 seasons in which he has started all 16 regular season games, including the last seven straight. Brady continues to play at a high level and has been able to avoid injury while playing through the typical strains and sprains encountered in playing professional football.

What is more impressive about Brady is that he has played with different players at the offensive skill positions and still performed at a high caliber level for so long while attaining both individual and team success. Between 2001 and 2004, when the Patriots won three Super Bowls in a four-year span, Brady was throwing to players like wide receivers David Patten and Troy Brown while handing off to running back Antowain Smith. Brady also had a great multi-purpose player in Kevin Faulk that was a threat as a runner or a receiver and he had Jermaine Wiggins at tight end. As the decade moved on, Brady had players like Corey Dillon at running back along with Deion Branch at wide receiver. Branch was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XXXIX, won by New England. Brady also looked to tight ends Ben Watson, Christian Fauria, and Daniel Graham. Read the rest of this entry →

History of Skiing: From Simple Transportation to High Speed Racing

Posted on January 22, 2016 by Brooke Chaplan

skiingFor millions of people worldwide, there’s nothing better than barreling down a snow-covered mountain at breakneck speeds on a long pair of high-tech alpine skis. For others, gliding serenely through the snowy countryside on a pair of cross-country skis is pure ecstasy and enjoyment. Whatever skiing does for you, it’s a fact we have strapped skis to our feet and glided over snow for nearly five millennia now.

Archaeological History
The earliest known examples of skis were Russian-made, and archaeologists estimate they date from 5000 BCE. Skiing as an activity, though, may be even older, with 10000-year-old cave paintings in China suggesting people skied even then.

Scandinavian Origins
Skiing as a regular transportation activity traces its origins to Scandinavia, where other cave paintings depict skiers using poles to propel themselves along the snow. Examples of old skis dating back to 4500 BCE, and come from various Norse peoples, including the ancient nomadic Sami. It wouldn’t be until much later, however, that skiing would become more of a recreational activity rather than just for transportation.  Read the rest of this entry →

Does Mobile Technology Influence the World of Sports?

Posted on January 19, 2016 by John Harris

Mobile-techA good question – and, in my opinion, the answer is a definite no.

Today’s mobile technology influences a lot of aspects of our lives. It has changed the way we communicate with each other, growing the use of social media and various chat apps over the traditional voice calls and text messages. It has changed the way we consume media, putting video streams into our pockets. The increased use of smartphones has determined the increase of mobile internet speed, allowing for faster downloads and seamless video streaming. But sports? No, it didn’t change it in any way.

But mobile technology has had a major influence on how we attend our favorite games. The improved speed of video streaming makes it possible for a basketball fan to watch a game live at the stadium, while following another one on a smartphone. You can even bet on a game while you sit in the stands if you like, thanks to your smartphone and the various online betting services available today. Mobile technology allows you to be in two places at the same time (virtually, of course), or even three. Read the rest of this entry →

The Biggest Football Injuries of 2015 & How Players Are Recovering

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Ashley Andrews
Losing Tony Romo to a broken collarbone twice in the 2015 season derailed the season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Losing Tony Romo to a broken collarbone twice in the 2015 season derailed the season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Football is a tough sport. Injuries are a constant part of the game that can even occur on the practice field when players aren’t even giving it their all. That’s the nature of a contact sport with strong guys that can weigh in at a solid 300 pounds.

But the 2015 season was riddled with hundreds of injuries that sidelined just as many players. Experts are blaming the onslaught of injuries, many of which happened early in the season, on overuse. It’s a result of football teams training and/or playing almost year round.

Past injuries were also a hot topic. One of the biggest stories of 2015 was the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement that is now being appealed. The settlement would pay a total of $1 billion to 20,000 plaintiffs that suffered brain trauma while playing in the NFL.

Let’s check in on how players with some of the most serious injuries this season are recovering.

Ricardo Lockette’s Possible Career-Ending Neck Injury

Mid-way through the NFL season, Seattle Seahawk’s wide receiver Ricardo Lockette suffered one of the scariest injuries of the year. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Lockette said that he was extremely dazed after a hard hit and felt completely numb. He ultimately had to have neck surgery for the disc and ligament damage that he suffered. Lockette felt normal mentally after surgery, but he then began a long physical rehab process that started with just walking down a hall. It’s still uncertain where he’ll be at the beginning of the 2016 season. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Ken Anderson: HOF Worthy Quarterback
      January 10, 2016 | 3:06 pm
      Ken Anderson

      Ken Anderson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was one of the most accurate passers of his era an arguably among the most glaring omissions to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

      An unheralded third round draft pick out of Augustana College in Illinois, Ken Anderson arrived at a crucial time for the Cincinnati Bengals and their coaching staff that included legendary innovator Paul Brown and up-and-coming genius Bill Walsh.

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