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Sports Then and Now

Tips for Tailgaters 0

Posted on October 21, 2016 by Matt Rhoney

football-tailgating-2Football season is here, and that means one thing: tailgate parties. Yes, it’s time to get your finest football friends together and prep for the big game in style. What could be better than grilling and chilling outside on a weekend, getting psyched to watch the big dogs rumble? Just remember to plan ahead. There’s a little prep work you’ll need to do in order to keep things fun and safe, but it’s nothing too tricky.


Feasting before the day’s events is absolutely essential. Who wants to eat a $7 hotdog inside the stadium? Tailgating is the best way to get your football food fix—grilling your own grub is cheap and delicious.

Brats, burgers, chips, salsa, and other heavy-hitters should be the centerpiece of the tailgate meal. They’ll keep you full and provide the powerful energy you’ll need to keep up with the thousands of amped up fans going wild in the stadium.


Be careful here. While beers are often a key element of the tailgate party, alcohol also ruins more parties than anything else does. Think about who’s coming to your party. Anyone who drinks too much or might decide to drive after they’ve had an unsafe amount? Then leave the alcohol home. You can still have a great time without drinking.

Remember also to check labels when shopping for beer. The craft beers people drink nowadays are often much stronger than the Buds and Millers many of us grew up on. Just one or two imperial stouts or IPAs could make you unfit for the road. And it should go without saying that you need to leave hard liquor at home.   Read the rest of this entry →

Pain On The Gridiron: The 5 Most Common NFL Injuries 0

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Kara Masterson

nfl-injuryFootball may always be fun to watch, but unfortunately, it is not always pleasant to play. According to research by the United States Safety Commission, football is the third most dangerous sport, so it is no surprise that members of the NFL regularly deal with injuries. Players get hurt basically every day in professional football. The dangers of the game are almost endless, however, these five injuries are the most common reasons for injury in the NFL.

Knee Injuries

An analysis of injury data from the NFL shows that knee injuries are the most common football injury by far. This happens because the players are often hit right in the middle of pivoting and making other risky knee movements. Though it is possible to recover from knee injuries, it takes quite a bit of time. In some cases, players cannot continue playing afterwards. Depending on the situation knee injuries can be very serious and even require surgery and physical therapy.

Ankle Injuries

The ankle is also a delicate joint in the leg, and it is therefore the second most likely source of injury. Ankle injuries tend to happen during improper tackles, such as the outlawed “horse collar tackle,” so some players end up needing lawyers, such as those at Ahlander Injury Law, to seek damages after another player hurts their ankle. Injuries like this can also be serious depending on the situation, but if you get it looked at as soon as possible you should be able to have a steady recovery. Read the rest of this entry →

Cowboys Seek to Stay Afloat Without Romo and Suspended Defenders as 2016 Season Opens 0

Posted on September 10, 2016 by Chris Kent

The questions for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be on defense. With defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy

DeMarcus Lawrence leaves a void on the defensive line for Dallas.

DeMarcus Lawrence leaves a void on the defensive line for Dallas.

Gregory along with linebacker Rolando McClain all facing at least four-game suspensions due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the unit projected to have some weak links. Lawrence and Gregory are each suspended the first four games while McClain is suspended the first 10 games. This is the second straight year that McClain has been suspended as he missed the first four games of the 2015 regular season, also due to substance abuse violations.

While the defense will have to weather the storm with some new faces acquired from the draft and free agency, the offense has a glaring absence. Tony Romo. Again.

Romo suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra in a preseason loss at Seattle on Aug. 25. It is the fourth time in his career that he has sustained a back injury and it is the second straight year that the veteran pro bowl quarterback will miss multiple games with an extended absence. Romo will be out anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks from the time of the injury. Romo missed 12 games in 2015 due to two fractures of his left (non-throwing shoulder) clavicle, an injury he has sustained three times in his career dating back to 2010.

The Cowboys now turn to Dak Prescott, a rookie fourth-round draft pick out of Mississippi State. Prescott was impressive in the preseason during which he went 39-for-50 for 454 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. His quarterback rating was 137.8. He also showed his versatility by carrying the ball seven times for 53 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Read the rest of this entry →

Johnny Manziel Going Back to … College? 0

Posted on September 08, 2016 by Scott Huntington


The latest twist on the Johnny Manziel rollercoaster is probably the least-expected one to date. The Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick quickly flamed out of the NFL due to substance abuse problems, but he’s now in the news for a more positive reason. Instead of generating another worrying headline about his personal demons, Johnny Football is reportedly re-enrolled at Texas A&M as a student.

Regardless of how you feel as Manziel as a player or a person, this is good news for the 23-year-old, who won the Heisman Trophy as Texas A&M’s quarterback in 2012. There were serious fears about Manziel’s health — so bad that his own father told ESPN that, “Hopefully he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses.” Going back to the school could be the best thing for him.

The Downward Spiral

Manziel left Texas A&M before finishing his degree, as he was seen as a promising draft pick who would likely go in the first round. That came true with his selection by the Cleveland Browns. The 2014 draft was the peak of Manziel’s career, and it was all downhill for the next two seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

Romo Endures for Dallas Despite Injuries 3

Posted on September 06, 2016 by Chris Kent

Tony Romo has been beaten and battered throughout his career with injuries. At 36, the veteran quarterback is in the twilight of his playing career. The 2016 season – which kicks off Sept. 8 – will be Romo’s 14th season in the league and his 10th full season as the starter for the Dallas Cowboys.

Romo is tackled by Seattle's Cliff Avril during a preseason game on Aug. 25. Romo suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra on the play.

Romo is tackled by Seattle’s Cliff Avril during a preseason game on Aug. 25. Romo suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra on the play.

Romo suffered a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra in a preseason loss at Seattle on Aug. 25 when he was tackled from behind by the Seahawks’ Cliff Avril as he was going into a slide. Romo stayed down and immediately reached for his back before walking off the field on his own power after trainers attended to him on the field. This was the worst thing that could of happened to Romo and the Cowboys as Romo – although tough and still a very capable player – is fragile. This is the product of many injuries that the four-time pro bowler has been victimized by during a career full of injuries.

Specifically, the injuries and re-injuries to both his back and left clavicle have caused him to miss 24 games over the last six seasons during which Dallas has gone 6-18. Since 2010, Romo has suffered four back injuries and three fractures of his left (non-throwing shoulder) clavicle. This has left him more vulnerable to open hits by unblocked defenders and blitzing linebackers. Romo’s first back surgery was in April of 2013 to remove a cyst. He had another back surgery that December to repair a herniated disk that he suffered in a game where he lead the Cowboys to a come-from-behind win at Washington.

Romo goes down during a game in 2010 against the New York Giants with what was the first break of his left collarbone.

Romo goes down during a game in 2010 against the New York Giants with what was the first break of his left collarbone.

Back in 2010, Romo broke his left clavicle for the first time in a home loss to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football on Oct. 25, the team’s sixth game of the season. He missed the rest of that season as Dallas was 1-7 at midseason, fell out of the playoff race in early December, and finished just 6-10. Read the rest of this entry →

Pro Football Hall of Fame Still Missing Many Deserving Players 0

Posted on August 06, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Jerry Kramer has shockingly been bypassed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for more than 40 years.

Jerry Kramer has shockingly been bypassed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for more than 40 years.

With the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducting its newest class of enshrines, it provides the annual opportunity for discussion about which former NFL stars that seem worthy of being included in the Hall of Fame still are without busts in Canton.

Since he first became eligible in the early 1970s, former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer has been high on most lists of best players not in the HOF. As other Packers, as well as other offensive linemen with lesser career resumes, have received their HOF moment, Kramer has annually been denied.

A ten time HOF finalist, it has been nearly 20 years since Kramer last received serious HOF consideration. Some speculate that Kramer’s exclusion has been due to a glut of Packers from the 1960s. However, given that linebacker Dave Robinson became the 11th member of the 1960s Packers inducted just three years ago, that doesn’t seem totally accurate.

Given that the HOF selection committee has a history of vendettas (Ken Stabler was not selected until a year after his death), the explanation that seems more plausible has to do with Kramer’s foray into the world of journalism.

Following the 1967 season, Kramer and journalist Dick Schapp chronicled what turned out to be the last of the five championship teams of the 1960s in the award winning book Instant Replay. Two decades later, Kramer and Schapp revisited those players in the book Distant Replay.

There has been some speculation that journalists at the time resented Kramer treading into their world. In addition, because the Packers were known for their team mentality, having one player step out as a self-proclaimed spokesperson may have also created resentment.

Kramer’s on-the-field accolades would seem to unquestionably be HOF worthy. A five-time first team All-Pro offensive guard, Kramer was one of the lead blockers of the famed Packer Sweep. He also threw the lead block on one of the most famous plays of all-time to help the Packers defeat Dallas in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. In 1969 he was honored as one of the members of the NFL All-Time team for the 50th Anniversary of the league.

In recent years, his contemporaries Gene Hickerson, Billy Shaw and Dick Stanfel have received HOF selection while Kramer continues to wait for the call. Given that Stanfel is being inducted this year, slightly more than a year after his death at the age of 87, I hope the HOF Committee doesn’t wait too much longer before electing the 80-year-old Kramer.

While he is the most notable, Kramer is one of many former NFL stars who seem to have a strong case for HOF selection, especially when compared to others from their own era who have been inducted. Below is a breakdown of how some of those players compare with others from their own era who are members of the HOF.

1970s Wide Receivers:
Inducted: Lynn Swann (9 yrs, 336 receptions, 5,462 yards, 51 TD, 1 time All-Pro; Career-Highs: 61 receptions, 880 yards, 11 TDs)

Not Inducted: Drew Pearson: (11 yrs, 489 rec., 7,822 yds., 48 TD, 3 time All-Pro; Career-highs: 62 rec., 1,087 yds, 8 TD)

Cliff Branch: (14 yrs, 501 rec., 8,685 yds., 67 TD, 3 time All-Pro; Career-Highs: 60 rec., 1,111 yds., 13 TD)

Harold Jackson: (16 yrs., 579 rec, 10,372 yds., 76 TD, 1 time All-Pro; Career-Highs: 65 rec., 1,116 yds., 13 TD)

Otis Taylor: (11 yrs., 410 rec., 7,306 yds., 57 TD, 2 time All-Pro; Career-Highs: 59 rec., 1,297 yds., 11 TD)

While I have included only these four, in reality there are perhaps a dozen or more receivers who like Swann played much of their careers before the new rules started to increase the numbers for receivers in the late 1970s and are more deserving of being in the HOF than the former Pittsburgh Steeler. Read the rest of this entry →

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