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Sports Then and Now



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 0

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.
Read the rest of this entry →

Meditations on the Dangers of Modern Football From a Former Pro 2

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Thane Ritchie
Thane Ritchie was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears during two years as part of the NFL.

Thane Ritchie was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears during two years as part of the NFL.

American football faces a crisis today, even as the NFL remains more popular than ever. With the ever-increasing evidence and incidence of long-term brain damage from contact sports, the future of American football may not resemble its current form. When I think about the game, I am reminded of the Lao-Tzu quote, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”. Indeed, wise words that ought to be heeded by those who can change the NFL’s present course.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
When I played tight end for the Steelers and Bears in 1989 and 1990, respectively, the average weight for my position fell somewhere around 235 pounds. In the 1950s you would be hard-pressed to find a lineman that weighed that much. Today’s NFL players continue to get larger and larger. Modern offensive linemen average 310 pounds – a nearly 40-pound increase over average O-line weights in the 1980s. What’s more, they aren’t just heavier than they used to be; they’re faster now, too. When the whistle blows, today’s football player might endure g-forces over 15 times stronger than that of an F-16 fighter jet roll.

A couple years ago, NPR compared two of the hardest-hitting players from vastly different eras of pro football. When the 190-pound defensive lineman Red Badgro hit you at full speed in 1930, the New York Giant took you down with approximately 970 pounds of force. Today, 335-pound Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who also runs the 40-yard-dash in less than five seconds, can deliver 1,700 pounds of force at top speed. So what does this mean? If spread evenly across the body, it’s the difference between a very hard hit and an extremely hard hit. The differences become profound, however, when you examine how that force can be concentrated today. Today’s “bigger, faster, stronger” athletes play on a football field that is increasingly more vicious and more dangerous.

Paved With Good Intentions
Anyone familiar with football of the ‘30s can picture the padded leather helmets that make yesterday’s heroes of the gridiron look at best, foolish, and at worst, like they must have a death wish. But not only were the physics of the hits back then “softer” than they are now, the head was never, ever, used as a weapon. If nothing else, the lack of protection to the head and face led to greater care and awareness of these vital body parts. Shoulder and arm tackles were the standard way to bring a man down.

In pursuit of advanced protection, the plastic football helmet debuted in the 1940s and underwent substantial development over the subsequent decades. By the 1980s, polycarbonate alloy became plastic de rigeur for helmets from Pop Warner to the pros. Keeping pace with the enhanced safety of these space-age head protectors, bold, innovative techniques for their use were introduced to the sport. Unfortunately, these tactics trended toward offensive, rather than defensive, strategies. Read the rest of this entry →

What’s New in Football? 0

Posted on April 18, 2015 by Ashley Andrews
Bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles has been a big part of the NFL's off-season discussions.

Bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles has been a big part of the NFL’s off-season discussions.

In an effort to weed out truth from gossip, this article explores the NFL’s rumor mill…..

There have been many rumors about upcoming changes in the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that fans can look forward to the league evolving in the next couple years. Goodell does have an exceptional reputation for making decisions that improve the league’s brand, so it’s exciting to see what’s in store.

Are new stadiums being built? Is the National Football League interested in establishing new expansion teams? These are questions fans are asking right now, but the people in charge are keeping mum, except for few details.

All About the Benjamins
Goodell has a solid reputation for helping owners maximize their annual earnings, and most (if not all) the upcoming changes are geared toward more profits. The NFL hasn’t experienced any problems generating impressive revenue each season, but that isn’t going to stop expansion from happening.

Statistics show that the NFL has consistently increased its profits each year, and the overall revenue is over $9 billion. The commissioner, league officials, and team owners are going to continue to push for additional revenue, which is why expansion rumors should be believed. Expanding their market is a surefire way to earn teams more money. It’s the right time to establish a new team in a big city. Read the rest of this entry →

The Economics of Early Retirement from Football Comments Off

Posted on April 02, 2015 by Peter Getty
Chris Borland decided after just one NFL season that the financial gains of playing in the NFL weren't worth the physical risks.

Chris Borland decided after just one NFL season that the financial gains of playing in the NFL weren’t worth the physical risks.

49ers linebacker Chris Borland recently sparked controversy when he retired after a successful rookie year. Stating health reasons, specifically long-term damage from repeated head injuries, Borland expressed concerns of residual neurological conditions and shortened life span. Two weeks after Borland announced his retirement, University of Michigan offensive lineman Jack Miller followed suit — college football is facing just as much scrutiny over concussion-related injuries as the NFL. Last year, Miller’s coach was criticized for allowing quarterback Shane Morris to play even after an apparent concussion.

Will early retirement from professional and college football be more common in the upcoming years? Borland made $574,359 in his only year in the NFL, on top of a $617,436 signing bonus (three-quarters of which he will return). Although he surrenders nearly $3 million over the three remaining years of his rookie contract, he enters the next phase of his career with financial security if he plays his cards right. Miller, an NFL prospect with a potentially big salary, will not earn a dime playing football. How agonizing this decision must have been for him. He, like Borland, could have put in a year or two of pro football and retired early with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank. In the end, the debilitating effects of past and likely future concussions proved greater than the reward of a large paycheck. Read the rest of this entry →

Super Bowl Favorites After Week 11 5

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Niko de Jonge
Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl, but with six games left anything can happen.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football, but are still not the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

We are now heading into Week 12 in the NFL and the teams have started to really define themselves as contenders or pretenders for this year’s Super Bowl.  With almost every team having played 10 games thus far the playoff picture has really started to present itself as teams get ready for the stretch run.

Below I’ll look at some of the favorites and include their current odds from reputable sportsbook Bovada.lv.  According to this Bovada sportsbook review, they’re a great sportsbook for American bettors.

Arizona Cardinals 10/1

One surprise is the team that currently leads the NFL with a 9-1 record.  The Arizona Cardinals have had a remarkable year so far, posting this record in arguably the toughest division in the National Football League.  With the Cards performing so well, the Seahawks and 49ers, who have been at the top of the league for the past few seasons are in a real tough spot when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs. Not all is good with the Cards though.  They lost their franchise quarterback Carson Palmer for the remainder of the season.  They won their first game without Palmer under center last week over a strong Lions team, so all might not be lost.  According to Bovada Sportsbook, even though they have the best record in the NFL, the Cards are still only the 4th favorites to win the Super Bowl with odds of 10/1.

Let’s look at the 3 teams being given a better shot than the Cards.

New England Patriots 4/1

The Pats are looking like a Championship contender once again.  They’re 8-2 on the season and are currently riding a 6 game winning streak.  The Pats are currently tied with the Green Bay Packers as having the best point differential in the league at +105 and Tom Brady and company look like they haven’t lost a step having scored the second most points in the league to this point.

Add in the fact that the Pats simply blew out the Colts and the Broncos, two top end teams in their last two games and you can see why this team is a 4/1 favorite to win the Super Bowl this season. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Horton Smith: First Masters Champion
      April 3, 2015 | 8:58 am
      Horton Smith

      Horton Smith

      In 1934, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month became the first winner of what is now considered among the most prestigious of all golf tournament championships.

      Horton Smith made his professional golf debut in 1926, in 1929 he won eight tournaments and in 1930 finished third in the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the British Open. However, he entered the first-ever Masters (then known as the Augusta National Invitational) in 1934 without having previously won any of the tournaments that would eventually be considered the “majors”.

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