Tag: NFL

Yankees Emphasize Russell Wilson over Cam Newton Qualities in Media Training

All New York Yankees can check their attitudes at the door—along with any other excessive outward emotions or opinions.

Following the trend of encouraging progressively more prescribed athlete reactions, the renowned baseball organization aimed to instill within its players the makings of a proper postgame interview.

Their subjects of study? Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Cam Newton.

According to ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand, the session went something like this: 

During the Yankees’ media training, the Super Bowl is being used to portray the right and wrong way to act. Part of a video shown to pitchers and catchers compares how Cam Newton handled his Super Bowl loss to the way Russell Wilson dealt with his defeat the previous year.

Sports fans are already well aware of the dichotomy between Wilson’s polite bow and Newton’s abrupt exit, but as many have pointed out, passion is a difficult thing to quell.

Wilson’s teammate Richard Sherman was mightily criticized for his own postgame outburst. Recently, fellow Seahawks defensive back Earl Thomas took to Twitter to criticize the NFL’s restrictions on individual expression. 

The various personalities seem to suit Seattle, but don’t expect the Yanks to be embracing the assortment of commentary. If tight-lipped is what they’re aiming for, however, perhaps Marshawn Lynch would have been the best example of all. 

[Yahoo Sports]

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People in Sports Who Had the Best and Worst Year Ever

In life, and in sports, nearly everyone experiences prolonged periods of both success and failure. Of course, the 2014 sports year was far from different, as fans were treated to some truly memorable performances, of both the good and bad sort.

Madison Bumgarner, for example, had a downright iconic year, establishing himself as one of baseball’s all-time greats with the type of postseason pitching we’d never seen before.

In a similar vein, Russell Wilson led his Seahawks to the mountaintop and, in so doing, catapulted himself into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.

In contrast, however, Tiger Woods battled injury all year long and lost his spot atop golf’s world rankings, while Robert Griffin did the same and lost his stranglehold on the starting quarterback spot in Washington.

So, with these guys and others in mind, we’ve done our best to highlight 10 People/Teams in Sports who had the best/worst year ever.

We should note, we’ve dodged the heavier side of sports in 2014, excluding from our list major violators like Donald Sterling, Jameis Winston, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Roger Goodell.

Instead, then, we’ve explored those who struggled for non-legal reasons, and exalted the athletes who had a dream 2014.

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Is a ‘Bad Economy’ a Legitimate Excuse for Fans to Resist Buying Season Tickets?

Sports are a quality-of-life issue.

When budgets are tight, which goes first: season tickets or replacing the stove? Well, that depends—does the stove still work?

Keeping your granddad’s seats at The Meadowlands isn’t as important as paying the rent. Starting your own tradition with friends or children doesn’t carry the same imperative as little Joey’s school books.

Nevertheless, season tickets are far more valuable than a new DVD, blouse or video game. Yes, even Madden. In a possessions-obsessed world, it’s time to refocus on giving ourselves real-life experiences rather than merely things.

When was the last time that a new electronic toy let you say, “Yeah, man, I was there!”? The last time that a pair of shoes helped you bond with a relative from a different generation? That “Quest for the Planet Zycor” or “Gunman 14” truly inspired you?

Sports serve a multitude of purposes in our society: catharsis, escapism, motivation. As we head into the Olympics, let’s not forget that sports represent the evolutionary step of cheering our team on to victory as opposed to killing the tribe across the river.

That lesson alone is worth season tickets.

There’s a magical force field around a stadium that refuses to let the real world invade. I defy you to carry daily stress past the ticket-takers—who, by the way, are always smiling. Of course they’re smiling; they work at Tropicana Field.

Forget Disneyland; Dodgers Stadium is the happiest place on earth!

For a couple of hours, all we need to think about is cheering on our Kings/Thunder/Giants. No bills, bosses, laundry or responsibilities. The biggest decision: whether or not to put onions on that dog.

Come on, you know it sounds like heaven.

Remember how it feels getting dressed for a date? Getting the look just right? The tingle of anticipation? Playing out different scenarios in your head as to how the evening will go?

Going to a professional game is just like that.

Making sure your brand new RGIII sweatshirt is ready; worrying just a little bit about Osi Umenyiora. Wondering whether Cliff Lee will finally get a win or if anybody will get a puck past Jonathan Quick.

And then there’s the awe. Maybe we can’t pack up and head to the Grand Canyon, but sheer athletic brilliance can also take your breath away. Heck, Marshawn Lynch’s playoff run activated Richter scales across Seattle.

The hands-down best Super Bowl tweet came from filmmaker Albert Brooks:

“You never watch pro football and think, ‘I could do better than that.’”  

Sports are a showcase for the possibilities of the human body and the human spirit. We can’t do what the athletes do, but we can bear witness to and celebrate the excellence. Much as we may hate to admit it, Al Davis had that right.

And we can celebrate together. Look at the “Jumbotron” during any seventh-inning stretch and you’ll see America displayed at its best as the cameras roam the stands. Men and women; all ages and ethnicities.

“Take Me Out To The Ballgame”* was written as a woman’s plea to be taken to see baseball instead of a show. Females at the ballpark were frowned upon back in 1908. Kind of gives it a whole new meaning, huh? 

Going to “the game” is a privilege and a joy.

If you need any more justification for keeping (or getting) your season tickets, take another look at the Los Angeles Kings’ trip to the Stanley Cup championship. 

What else is there to say? Sadly, some people don’t understand the joyous holiday of attending a sporting event.

Alas, I can’t help them.

It’s like a joke: if I have to explain why it’s funny—it’s lost on you. Give your tickets immediately to someone who “gets it.” Sports outings are too precious to be wasted on the ungrateful.

“Take me out to the ball game.


Take me out with the crowd.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

I don’t care if I never get back.”



*Lyrics by Jack Norworth, Music by Albert Von Tilzer


For more sports and football thoughts:

When Booing is Wrong

When Booing is Right

Peyton Manning as Football Experiment

Junior Seau Changes Us Forever

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

7 Teams in Need of a New Venue

With the economy in the shape it is, fans are being more select with their money. Season tickets aren’t being purchased at as high a rate as before.

Many venues simply aren’t good enough to draw fans into spending hard earned cash. While more nice sites than poor are provided by the majority of American pro franchises, that still doesn’t guarantee successful ticket sales.

Whether it’s history or an inability to generate revenue, these 10 franchises are in need of a new place to play.

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Ranking the All-Star Games in the Four Major Sports

The NBA All-Star Game is to be held on Sunday, and we have every reason to believe it will be a terrific event for fans and families alike.  

But how does it compare to the games in the other professional sports?  

Certainly, all of the games have their own strengths and weaknesses, but which one is the best overall? Here is a comparison of the games for the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB.

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Which All-Star Weekend Is the Best?

The NHL All-Star Game was a blast this season; however, the NFL All-Star Game was not amusing at all. Now, the NBA All-Star Game is coming up.

Which All-Star Game would you prefer to watch if you had to choose just one?

In order, I break down the worst to the best All-Star weekends in the major four sports. Needless to say, the NFL needs to do some studying.

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New York Mets: How They Are Similar to the New York Giants Right Now

The New York Giants have made an improbable run toward the playoffs this season. When they got into the playoffs, they extended that momentum even further into a Super Bowl bid. It wasn’t easy, though. They began the season picked by almost every expert to finish last or near to last in their division.

Another team (the Philadelphia Eagles) in their division had made a flurry of offseason moves, including signing the Giants’ biggest free-agent Steve Smith and grabbed the attention span of football fans everywhere.

Still, another team in their division (the Dallas Cowboys), who were the defending division winners the previous season, were returning with a renewed focus and energy to make good on their previous success.

As for the Giants, themselves, they had lost key free agents and were wondering how and where the replacements would come from. There were questions of chemistry and an unsettling changing of the guard taking place throughout the organization. They spent money on role players as opposed to the big names.

Then, when they began to practice, that’s when everything really turned for the worse. Their top cornerback Terrell Thomas went down with a season-ending injury. That was followed by a string of several other injuries to the roster. The Giants were a team in despair—injured, mismatched and lacking motivation.

They only had two things going for them. One was a coach the players would run through a wall for in Tom Coughlin. Two, their long-time locker room leader and face of the franchise Eli Manning.

Then, something miraculous happened. They found their stride. The rest has brought them to where they are today—two weeks away from playing in their fifth Super Bowl.

You may be asking yourself  “That’s great for them, but this is a Mets’ site so what does this has to do with the Mets?”

The answer to that is very simple: with just weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the Mets are in a very similar place at this point of the offseason as the Giants were just before their season began.

Think about the staggering similarities. The Mets lost their key free agent. Everyone has spent the offseason pining over the departure of Jose Reyes.  Whether it was the right move by the Mets or not will be determined by hindsight. For now, let’s all agree that it has the potential to hurt them this year if no one steps up to fill the void.

Next, the Mets are picked to be last or next to last in the division for this upcoming season. Here’s why:

The Miami Marlins made a series of splashes (pardon the pun) in the offseason that have put them in the headlines and become the media darlings. One such move includes signing the Mets big free-agent Jose Reyes.

Another team, the Philadelphia Phillies, are the defending division champions and have an equally strong team returning with a renewed focus and determination to make good on their previous success. That’s not even mentioning the Washington Nationals’ or the Atlanta Braves’ offseason stories into the mix.

As for the Mets, themselves, they are a team entering the season replacing their roster losses with role players as opposed to big names. They are wondering where the production will come from to adequately replace the voids left behind.

They have a question of chemistry and an unsettling changing of the guard taking place within their clubhouse. There are questions of health across the board for this roster as well. In particular, Johan Santana and Ike Davis seem to have their names mentioned often in that discussion over the past few months. They are a team in despair; injured, mismatched and lacking motivation.

They only have two things keeping them afloat from last season. One is a manager the players would run through a wall for in Terry Collins (funny how he has the same initials as Tom Coughlin, isn’t it?). Two, their long-time locker room leader and face of the franchise David Wright.

Much like the Giants, something magical could happen in the season for the Mets too. Everything fell into place for the underestimated and overlooked Giants team. The Mets are underestimated and overlooked too. Why can’t they find their stride.

After all, the games are won on the field, not on paper. If that were not true, the Giants would never be where they are right now, and the Mets can draw motivation and solace from that fact.

They have to play the games. They have to perform to their capabilities and see where it takes them.

If they leave it all out on the field, they will have made another miraculous New York storied season by this time next year.


(For more on the New York Giants, please visit Big Giants Boom. For more on the New York Mets, please visit Mack’s Mets.)

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MLB and NFL Former All-Stars Barry Bonds and Terrell Owens Victims of Collusion

After reading the TMZ story of a paternal court judge telling former NFL star Terrell Owens that his career was over I couldn’t help but think of former MLB star Barry Bonds and the similarities in the circumstances surrounding his exile from pro baseball. 

Much like Bonds in his final season Owens was an extremely productive player. In 2010 he played to the tune of: 72 receptions, 983 yards and nine touchdowns.  Also like Bonds, Owens has been blockaded out of the league, by what any reasonable person would deduce is a sad display of collusion. 

In an age when offense is so valued across sports, and stars that can sell tickets are as prized a commodity as a championship ring, it’s simply hard to believe that guys like Bonds and Owens could not find work after their respective final season of 2007 and 2010. 

 Both men are polarizing stars with influence that stretches well beyond the barriers of sport.  Both men were still highly productive players at the time of their exodus and perhaps most importantly both men sell tickets. 

Everything on the surface would point to Bonds and Owens being very employable men in their line of work. 

However, both men have been locked out and labeled as modern day lepers by an increasingly volatile media whose sole mission often times seems to be to build stars up only to tear them down. 

But still the media’s agenda driven coverage does not in and of itself explain the collusion that any reasonable person can realize has gone on in the cases of Bonds and Owens.  It goes much deeper than that. 

Because of the increasingly cooperative nature of professional sports and major media, it is not unreasonable to suspect that the angles which the media has used over the years to paint Bonds as a villain and Owens as a team cancer were at least, in part, orders from league powers.

As these guys get older teams are less and less willing to pay them what there performance and standing in the sport would still command.  The solution?  Have the league’s media partners cover Bonds’ and Owens’ off field issues hard enough, intense enough and long enough to allow the league to hide its collusion behind the lie of Bonds and Owens being team cancers, distractions and whatever other labels are applied. 

The truth of the matter is, Owens had not been a real team cancer in over five years, since his time with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Bonds meanwhile, while always a grouch to the media and a polarizing figure in the locker room, was still well respected for his ability within the baseball world by countless players and managers. 

 Because they fail to appeal to the media apparatus, Owens’ and Bonds’ careers were cut short due not to inability to perform or help a team win, but rather to owners/team executives who are spellbound by the negative coverage of these two men to see the obvious; they can help you win. 

To Bud Selig the name Barry Bonds is synonymous with cheating. To Roger Goodell the name Terrell Owens induces a massive headache.  To me the names conjure up a different adjective…


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

The 20 Greatest Individual Seasons in Sports History

Brady and Moss both had great 2007 seasons, but were they good enough to crack the top 20?

The athletes on this list had absolutely amazing and dominant seasons. There are some names you know will be on this list and there may be some you did not expect.

The list consists of athletes from sports that are big in America: football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, etc. Sorry soccer fans but there are no soccer players on the list. Also there are no rugby, cricket, Formula 1 racing, or athletes from other sports that are popular around the world but not in America.

So here it is; the 20 greatest individual seasons in sports history.

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Vick Scrutinized and a Bias Against Bagwell’s Hall of Fame Candidacy

Material for articles is never-ending. There is always something to write about when it comes to the world of sports.

Even on a quiet news day, a player or team can be analyzed. That’s what makes sportswriting in particular great.

On this day, three unrelated topics came to mind, two of which I would have known little to nothing about had I not hopped on twitter.

I was going to write solely about the Boston Red Sox, making the case that Jed Lowrie should start over Marco Scutaro at shortstop while also relaying the importance of a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury. That topic I will cover at a later date.

For the time being, two interesting opinions–to say the least–caught my eye, and I feel compelled to counter.


Carlson vs Vick and Obama

First, Fox commentator and vehement animal rights activist Tucker Carlson said Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick “should have been executed” for dogfighting.

Carlson just wants to get in the news, and his goal his attained by voicing such an opinion about one of the more popular and controversial athletes.

Dogfighting is a serious crime. Vick committed murder. And maybe 18 months in prison wasn’t enough. But Carlson has the viewpoint that correlates with the capital punishment theory of “kill, then you should be killed.” There is nothing to that.

What makes Carlson’s comment hard to comprehend is that he also says he “fervently believes in second chances.” Doesn’t this belief imply that to have a second chance one must have done something heinous?

What also makes his comment ludicrous is its timing, as it comes after President Barack Obama called Eagles owner Jeffrey Laurie and applauded his signing of Vick. Leave it to uber-conservative Fox pundits to make the most of an opportunity to criticize the President, as Carlson does take the time to attack Obama, saying, “The idea the president of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs is beyond the pale.”

Obama called Laurie initially to discuss the Eagles aggressive plan to bring renewable energy to their stadium, Lincoln Financial Field. The Vick segment of the one-on-one conversation, in hindsight, may have been best kept between the two, considering how many of Fox’s vultures, not just Carlson, immediately feasted the comments.

He was just the latest to criticize the President, who wasn’t condoning dogfighting. Given Vick’s play this season, Obama only acknowledged Laurie’s part in Vick’s redemption in a talk surrounding another topic entirely.

According to Laurie, the President said, “So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance … It’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail.”

According to Carlson, those like Vick deserving of a second chance should be sent straight to the gallows.


Graziano vs Bagwell

Ballots are being casted for the Major League Hall of Fame, with inductees to be announced next week. AOL’s Dan Graziano was outspoken about one candidate in particular, giving his reason for leaving former Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell off his ballot.

That reason? Suspicion of steroid use by this member of the Astros’ Killer B’s.

Statistically, Graziano said Bagwell is Hall of Fame worthy. But because he played during the Steroid Era, hit hundreds of homers, and was muscular this writer feels compelled to let his opinion enter into his voting.

Perplexing stance, to say the least.

That said, he has the right to his opinion. He can believe Bagwell did steroids. But I cannot respect his leaving Bagwell out based on a hunch. Put that opinion in an article and leave it at that.

Bagwell spent 15 years with Houston, his career ending in 2005, making this his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. Graziano is right in saying he is Hall of Fame worthy based upon his statistics; after all, Bagwell was a .297 career hitter with 449 homers, 2,314 hits, a .408 on-base percentage, and more than 1,500 rbis and runs.

Bagwell first denied steroid use in 2004 in an interview with the Houston Chronicle and gives another pretty adamant explanation for why he didn’t do steroids in an interview with ESPN:

“I never used (steroids), and I’ll tell you exactly why: If I could hit between 30 and 40 home runs every year and drive in 120 runs, why did I need to do anything else?” he said. “I was pretty happy with what I was doing, and that’s the God’s honest truth. All of a sudden guys were starting to hit 60 or 70 home runs and people were like, ‘Dude, if you took (PEDs), you could do it too.’ And I was like, ‘I’m good where I’m at. I just want to do what I can do.’

“I wasn’t trying to do anything crazy. I hit six homers in the minor leagues. Six home runs. I hit 15, 18 and 21 in Houston, and then I hit 39 in 1994 when I started working with Rudy Jaramillo and he helped me to understand my swing and I actually learned how to hit. And I was like, ‘I don’t need anything more. I’m good.’ When I walked on the field I thought I was the best player on the field, and I didn’t need anything more than that. It was never an ego thing with me, and I think at some point, it became ego to some people.

“I know a lot of people are saying, ‘His body got bigger.’ Well, if you’re eating 30 pounds of meat every single day and you’re working out and bench pressing, you’re going to get bigger. You can go to every single trainer and they’ll say, ‘He was the first here and last to leave, and that dude worked his ass off.’”

After what has become of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds’ reputation, former players would be foolish to deny using steroids when they did. Because of this, as well as his detailed and emotional comments, I believe Bagwell.

Can’t a differential in home-runs year to year be because of vast, clean improvement and not syringes? In my mind, he hit the weight room, got stronger that way, and had a tremendous career without steroids.

Admittedly, he said his only regret was working out too much.

So, given how I feel about this situation, what does including biases in Hall of Fame voting do for a writer’s and voter’s credibility? I like and respect Graziano. I think he’s a good writer and I agree with many of his opinions. But casting a vote based off suspicion? That’s not right.

It’s similar to refusing to vote for a player because of their attitude and is a watered down version of refusing to vote a player into the Hall of Fame based on the color of his skin, which has also been done in the past.

Such prejudices can still be intertwined and go relatively unnoticed. Per Graziano, making a case for a potential Hall of Famer’s exclusion or inclusion doesn’t have to purely be based on statistics.

I find this to be terribly wrong and saddening, but Graziano said “writers vote because [the] Hall of Fame deems us best qualified to do so.” When I asked if a voter could, hypothetically, refuse to vote for Pedro Martinez because of his or her prejudice against him, Graziano responded, “Theoretically, yes.” It doesn’t matter if it’s speculative, based on dislike, or because of racism; opinion fused into a vote isn’t justifiable.

Rafael Palmeiro, who is also on this year’s ballot, did steroids and should be left out of the Hall of Fame, despite collecting over 550 homers and 3,000 hits.

But Bagwell hasn’t done anything wrong. And just as sourcing should be credible, voting should back up fact.

The only facts associated with Bagwell are his amazing statistics.

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