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Waiting for the Weekend: Is the NFL Really in Trouble This Time? 0

Posted on July 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
A recent study of the brains of former NFL players showed almost all had some level of brain trauma.

A recent study of the brains of former NFL players showed almost all had some level of brain trauma.

For the last year or more, it seems every time there is a negative story about the NFL, it prompts the obligatory question of whether that particular issue will be the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and signal the start of the decline for the financial and popularity juggernaut.

Whether it be declining television ratings, continued off-the-field incidents by players, the perception by many that the game isn’t as physical as in past, the abandonment of long-time NFL cities in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland, the general unpopularity of Roger Goodell and the New England Patriots or a number of other “negative” stories or events, they all seem to just roll off the back of the NFL as overall revenues continue to increase to levels envied by most governments or for-profit businesses.

However, news that came out this week may over time be the one story that the NFL cannot easily shake.

A scientific study published this week in the medical journal JAMA looked at the brains of 202 deceased former high school, college and professional football players. Amongst those former players, 177, including 110 of the 111 former NFL players, were diagnosed as having CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy).

CTE is a degenerative brain disease most often found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. To create CTE, a protein called Tau forms clumps that slowly spread throughout the brain, killing brain cells. Studies have found CTE in people as young as 17, but symptoms most typically don’t begin appearing until years after the initial head impacts.

Early symptoms of CTE affect a patient’s mood and behavior. Some common changes often include impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and paranoia.

As the disease progresses, it is typical for patients to experience problems with thinking and memory, including memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, and eventually progressive dementia. Cognitive symptoms tend to appear later than mood and behavioral symptoms, and often first appear when the patient is in their 40s or 50s. Patients may exhibit one or both symptom clusters and the symptoms may often worsen with time (even if the patient suffers no additional head impacts). In other cases, symptoms may be stable for years before worsening. Read the rest of this entry →

The Cleveland Browns Have Finally Reached a Point Where They Can’t Get Worse 0

Posted on December 24, 2016 by Tony Samboras
Even former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III has been unable to help the Cleveland Browns win in 2016.

Even former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III has been unable to help the Cleveland Browns win in 2016.

The once proud Cleveland Browns organization is in tatters. With a current record of 0-14 and two games remaining against teams they figure to struggle against, it seems a certainty the team will fulfill the ultimate in futility for an entire season. After finishing last season 3-13, which included losses in its last six games, the Browns look intent on going into next season with an active 22-game losing streak and a long path back to even being competitive.

This will be the team’s 13th year in a row that they have failed to make the playoffs. That’s the second longest current streak in the NFL (behind only the Buffalo Bills). Going into next season, they face the distinct possibility of breaking the record for consecutive losses by an NFL team. The current record stands at 26, which was set by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers from its inaugural season in 1976 until towards the end of the 1977 season. This is not the kind of number the Browns want to find its name next to in the record books.

Looking at this year’s stats for a silver lining in another exercise in futility. Four different quarterbacks have recorded starts on the season with USC rookie Cody Kessler leading the way with 1,469 yards passing with 6 TDs and only 2 interceptions. Unfortunately, nagging injuries and inconsistent play landed him on the bench in favor of team retread Josh McCown. On the season, McCown has completed only 54.5% of his passes for 1,100 yards and 6 TDs and 6 interceptions.  It might be too early to give up Kessler, who showed some ability to compete earlier in the year, but the rest of the QB corps seems to have more questions than answers. Read the rest of this entry →

What The Original NFL Looked Like 0

Posted on December 22, 2016 by Scott Huntington

The National Football League is rich with history. The league, formed in 1920, hosted a variety of teams, some dissolved or renamed prior to the league’s first Super Bowl in 1967. The fact that only two current NFL teams, the Decatur Staleys – now the Chicago Bears – and the Chicago Cardinals – now the Arizona Cardinals – were founding members of the league shows how considerable and diverse the NFL’s team-based history is.

From the Boston Braves to the Portsmouth Spartans, some early NFL teams are unknown among fans today, though it’s well worthwhile to dig back into history to see their uniforms, success and overall history to get a better grasp of the league’s evolution:

Chicago Cardinals

f21866_chicago_cardinalsThe Cardinals are the oldest team in the NFL, acquiring the Cardinals name in 1901 while starting as the Morgan Athletic Club in Chicago’s South Side. Although showing a strong performance in recent years, the franchise has mostly suffered, only winning championships in 1925 and 1947. Despite being the oldest team, they have yet to win a Super Bowl, their last opportunity coming in January 2009 in Super Bowl XLIII when losing to the Steelers. Read the rest of this entry →

Cowboys and Steelers on Par with Dominant Eras; Meet Again in 2016 0

Posted on November 13, 2016 by Chris Kent

As two of the National Football League’s iconic franchises, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers evoke legacies and memories that date back to the 1970’s. That is where the two franchises forged their reputations as being elite. The two teams met in a pair of Super Bowls and combined to play in seven during the decade. With wins over the Cowboys in Super Bowls X and XIII,

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers to a 4-0 mark in the Super Bowl in the 1970's.

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers to a 4-0 mark in the Super Bowl in the 1970′s.

the Steelers gained the upper hand in the matchup in the 1970’s during which they went 4-0 in Super Bowls and claimed the status as the team of the decade. The two Super Bowl matchups between them in the 1970’s were classics. Pittsburgh claimed a pair of four-point victories with a 21-17 win in Super Bowl X and a 35-31 victory in Super Bowl XIII.

While both franchises fell off the very top of the NFL pedestal in the 1980’s, they came back to prominence in the 1990’s during which they met in a third Super Bowl, that being Super Bowl XXX in 1996 which Dallas won 27-17. It was the third Super Bowl title in a four-year span for the Cowboys who were the team of the decade. Dallas was lead throughout the 1990’s by Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, who collectively were known as, “The Triplets.” They combined with a mammoth offensive line that featured multiple pro bowlers and a pro football hall-of-famer in guard/tackle Larry Allen that dominated opponents. Meanwhile, the Steelers had emerged as a contender with back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game in 1994-95. Pro football hall-of-famers Rod Woodson and Kevin Greene were part of those Pittsburgh teams and soon to join in 1996 would be another eventual hall-of-famer in Jerome Bettis.

The mere mention of the Cowboys and Steelers dueling on the gridiron is enough to get any football fan’s attention. The names on each side represent a hall-of-fame roll call of players and coaches. For Pittsburgh it is the dominant era of “The Steel Curtain” defense in the 1970’s that took the league by storm. That defense was made famous by the likes of “Mean” Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, and Mel Blount who are all in the pro football hall of fame. L.C. Greenwood was also part of the Steel Curtain and was named to the NFL’s 1970’s All-Decade Team. Leading those great Steelers’ teams was the late Chuck Noll who was 4-0 in Super Bowls, the only coach in the Super Bowl era besides Bill Belichick to win four. Those Pittsburgh team’s of the 1970’s also had firepower on offense behind the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster who are all in the pro football hall of fame. Read the rest of this entry →

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.

Food

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.

Drink

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 →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

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