On Monday Night Football's late game between the San Francisco 49ers and the LA Rams, a teenager ran onto the field. Although television cameras were quickly turned away from his antics, Westwood Radio announcer Kevin Harlan provided a colorful play-by-play call until the runner was tackled by security at the 40-yard line. The 16-year-old boy who ran on-field wrote his phone number on his chest, so Deadspin called him for an interview.
Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles is the title of an NBER research paper recently published, which showed that unexpected losses by the LSU football team resulted in harsher penalties for juvenile defendants. Reported in the Atlantic, and a .pdf of the draft paper.
Next year, the Australian Football League will debut its first women's league, with eight clubs fielding teams over eight weeks of televised competition in February and March. On Saturday night, an all-star women's exhibition game was shown live in prime time, drawing more than a million viewers at its peak (yes that's a lot in Australia). In footy-mad Melbourne, it had more viewers than any men’s AFL game in that slot so far this year. And yet the league wants to pay many of the female players just $5,000 for the inaugural season. [more inside]
Spencer Hall's Annual Mulling on College Football On the eve of the true first Saturday of NCAA football, Spencer Hall of Every Day Should Be Saturday publishes a slightly deeper essay than the rest of the season's football japery. This year touches on Americanism, violence, race, and bison. Yeah, bison.
After conspicuously not standing up during the National Anthem played at a preseaon NFL game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick explained that his actions were a tribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Moreover, he went on, the song itself has a racist history. If you unfamiliar, here is Jason Johnson of the Root to explain: Lt. Francis Scott Key and the history of the US National Anthem's racist 3rd Verse.
"It is said that every new nation or groups making claims to nationhood needs to have a national football team, otherwise you may as well not exist in the first place. The late historian Eric Hobsbawm once declared: “The imagined community of millions seems more real as a team of eleven named people. The individual, even the one who only cheers, becomes a symbol of his nation himself.” So, in the absence of recognition by formal political bodies, recognition by the Fédération Internationale de Football Associated (FIFA)—which is larger than the United Nations—can be a boon in struggles for political self-determination." Now Western Sahara is trying some football diplomacy of their own.
So why is it we still call him an idiot? Why is it when a semi-professional footballer is done for drug dealing, Sterling’s face is used to sell the story on social media?Carl Anka: We need to talk about Raheem Sterling.
Iceland is in the European Cup football tournament for the first time. In their last game, they were tied 1-1 until the last minute when an Icelandic attacker made a move and scored. This means Iceland will move on to the next round. Listen to the Icelandic announcer absolutely lose his mind for joy.
Hand-drawn maps of Negro League teams, defunct NFL teams, the first NHL league, Ukrainian FCs. More maps, hand-drawn and not.
Why ‘Transcending Race’ Is a Lie [The New York Times] Few American athletes have been as widely beloved as Simpson was. Even today, his popularity seems inconceivable. “O. J.: Made in America,” the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary [ESPN] directed by Ezra Edelman that is airing this week, busies itself with the making of the man at the myth’s center and with the country that helped him become a monster. It’s the best thing ESPN has ever produced. And it answers my question: Simpson’s story is that of a black man who came of age during the civil rights era and spent his entire adult life trying to “transcend race” — to claim that strange accolade bestowed on blacks spanning from Pelé to Prince to Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali. Which is to say, it’s the story of a halfback trying, and failing, to outrun his own blackness. [more inside]
After a grueling club season without major surprises or heartbreak, the best (well, close to half) national teams in Europe meet in France to know who will follow Spain in lifting the Henri Delaunay Trophy in Paris in July 10. This Friday, the Euro 2016 begins. [more inside]
There are a ton of football (soccer, for the US hooligans) songs and chants (Wiki category), enough to warrant a 4 CD compilation of "hit anthems" back in 2010, with such notables as Come On England and Goldenballs, which got both 4-4-2 and Bell and Spurling on Top of the Pops for their respective songs. But what about those lads who petitioned (but failed) to have FIFA get the Italian pornstar-turned-MP Ilona ‘Cicciolina’ Staller to present the 1990 World Cup trophy, Pop Will Eat Itself? They had their turn on TOTP with their unofficial World Cup anthem, Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina (SFW music video).
Baylor University has fired football coach Art Briles and demoted university president Kenneth Starr upon receipt of an independent report detailing how the football program concealed rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence accusations against Baylor football players. The announcement has come as a shock, as it had seemed that Starr would be the scapegoat for the scandal, with his demotion used to protect Briles, the most successful coach in the school's history. However, increased media scrutiny due to the 2016 campaign season bringing up Starr's role in the Whitewater investigation, drawing greater attention to what happened at Baylor.
This Premier League season has been insane. What the stories of other over-performing smaller clubs and failing giants telling us about English football now. [more inside]
Leicester City Football Club has won the UK's Premier League title, an event which bookies were giving 5,000 to 1 odds against at the beginning of the season. As a result, bookmakers will be paying out £25 million, the biggest loss in British history on a single sporting market, with some people winning £10,000 on £2 bets. Striker Jamie Vardy broke a league record for goals scored in consecutive games. The team's new manager, Claudio Ranieri, was initially viewed as an uninspired choice; in another betting market statistic, he was initially considered the most likely manager to be the first to lose his job this season. Ironically, the game that sealed Leicester City's victory was a drawn match between Tottenham City and Chelsea, a team that fired Ranieri in 2004.
The Seattle Seahawks picked up Arkansas running back Alex Collins in this year's draft - "the epitome of consistency, rushing for over 1,000 yards and at least 5.4 yards per carry in each of his three seasons. Vision and footwork are the catalysts for his elusiveness and he has flashed long speed." But where does he get his fancy footwork? Irish dance.
With three matches to go, Leicester stands seven points clear at the top of the Premier League. If I had bet on Leicester, I would need to keep the ticket in a bank vault: it will be worth 100,000 pounds if the team wins just one of its remaining three games (and Leicester may not even need to do that if the second-placed team, Tottenham Hotspur, slips up). Earlier this month, fearful bookmakers started offering Leicester fans the chance to cash in their betting slips early for around 75 percent of their potential value. [more inside]
In 1989, ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of the crush in the Hillsborough Disaster at the 1989 FA Cup Semi-final (previously). Today, after 27 years of campaigns calling for justice, an inquest has finally ruled that their deaths were unlawful. The result of deadly, and tragically avoidable, mistakes and failures by the Police and Ambulance services. [more inside]
Tom Brady’s Deflategate Suspension Reinstated [The New York Times] Roger Goodell, the most powerful man in football, appears to have prevailed in a 15-month battle with Tom Brady, one of the game’s most celebrated quarterbacks. In the end, their feud — known as Deflategate, and a subject of intense derision for the league — will likely end with Brady’s serving a four-game suspension. A three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday overturned a lower-court ruling, deciding that N.F.L. Commissioner Goodell had broad discretion to suspend players according to the collective-bargaining agreement with the players’ union. The panel’s decision can be appealed to the full Second Circuit, or even the Supreme Court, but a victory for Brady at this point is a long shot, legal experts said.
Dan Marshall (@danthat) knows nothing about football. Is that going to stop him from making a football game? It is not! [more inside]
The fall: how diving became football’s worst crime
On the racial injustice of big-time college sports: "Amateurism rules restrain campus athletes—and only campus athletes, not campus musicians or campus writers—from earning a free-market income, accepting whatever money, goods, or services someone else wants to give them. And guess what? In the revenue sports of Division I football and men's basketball, where most of the fan interest and television dollars are, the athletes are disproportionately black."
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.” Five members of the World Cup-winning USWNT have filed a wage discrimination complaint against US Soccer for being paid less than then men's team "despite the women’s team being more successful and, at the moment, more profitable."
One of the only football (soccer) players to have invented a move that is known by his name: The stunning Cruyff Turn. "The move became instantly world famous, seared indelibly on the brain, stored forever and available for replay on your mind’s eye-player." In slow motion.
ESPN estimates nearly a third of young Americans play soccer, so why can’t a sports powerhouse of 320m people produce a Messi – or even a João Moutinho?
As the US searched for a new league after the 1994 World Cup, a rival to MLS emerged – complete with four goalmouths and striped pitches. [slGuardian]
ESPN's oral history of Marshawn Lynch's post-game celebratory trip in the injury cart after his Cal Bears knocked off the University of Washington Huskies in overtime. [more inside]
Premier League leader Leicester City entered the season as a 5,000-1 underdog -- the same chance as a bet on Elvis being alive -- which is why the English soccer team could become the undisputed champion of beating the odds. [more inside]
Hingle McCringleberry and Kimble Mathias of the Portland Tigers are known for their unique endzone dances, often taking them too far.
The Story Behind New Kids on the Block’s Insane (and Preempted) 1991 Halftime Show (SL Playboy) NSFW
This is where Cam Newton comes from: an institution where being African-American and excellent, African-American and respected, African-American and optimistic are normal conditions. A visit to the church Cam grew up in.
"Demaryius Thomas has just sent his mother a picture of the most unlikely Super Bowl ticket of all, the one intended for her, and now Katina Smith has a few days to decide whether she's prepared to take it."
It began as a strange post on the Redskins's subreddit outlining the secret to quarterback Kirk Cousins's talent: faithfulness to his wife, Julie. This has spun off into an entire community celebrating the couple, which is currently excited about a touching moment from Kirk's AMA today. [more inside]
“the eleven most boring conversations i can’t stop overhearing” (in which a liberal white male american san francisco bay area resident possessive of the auditory acuity of a baby chihuahua learns to scream).
The (completely fake) 1941 football season of the (completely fake) Plainfield Teachers College.
Former football star Lawrence Phillips has been found dead in his jail cell. Phillips was a star running back at the University of Nebraska, where he won back-to-back national championships in 1994 and 1995. The latter is often considered the best college football team ever assembled. Phillips was as well-known for his off-the-field problems, one of several troubled star players that legendary NU coach (and now ex-Congressman) Tom Osborne was accused of coddling. [more inside]
NFL football returns to Los Angeles next season. After 20 years in St. Louis, the Rams will be relocating (or re-relocating) to Los Angeles, to play in a new stadium built by owner, Walmart heir, and real estate mogul Stan Kroenke. The San Diego Chargers will have the option to join next season. [more inside]
For two days in 1975, rock band KISS took over the town of Cadillac, Michigan, and played at the Cadillac High School Homecoming. [SLYT] What started as a football coach looking for a way to inspire his players ended up bringing the entire town together in the name of rock and roll. [via]
"Jose Mourinho - the manager, his methods and why it always goes wrong in the third season." The Blizzard with a 12,000 word essay on The Special One. Part One. Part Two. Also a long read from a few years ago about Jose, Real Madrid, and the Spanish National team: The Assassination Of Iker Casillas By The Coward José Mourinho
Former NFL quarterback and current Fox Sports college football analyst Joey Harrington reflects on his NFL career.
A FIFA-charterd independent ethic committee has suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter from all football-related activities for eight years. The decision takes effect immediately. [more inside]
BBC: "Former Match of the Day presenter Jimmy Hill, one of English football's most influential figures, died on Saturday at the age of 87. As chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, he led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers. He played 297 games for Fulham and was later manager and chairman at Coventry. Hill - diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 - made more than 600 appearances as presenter of Match of the Day." Guardian Report - Guardian Obituary.
Last night on Monday Night Football, the Baltimore Ravens and The Cleveland Browns (both with terrible records and disappointing seasons) battled it out to stay out of the bottom of the AFC North rankings. The Browns seemed to have the game in the bag, as a series of Baltimore mistakes placed them within field goal range and a victory. However, the kick was blocked (a rarity in the NFL) and then returned for a touchdown (even rarer) for a 0 second win by The Ravens. Browns fans were upset (NWS: cursing). The media exposure of this unlikely series of events has caused renewed interest in a list that a fan compiled in October of this year: Every Browns Loss Since 1999, Ranked.
In honor of Thanksgiving, Sports Illustrated presents their 2015 Turkeys of the Year slideshow.
Playing in the Red: College athletic departments are taking in more money than ever – and spending it just as fast — a Washington Post report on how perennial NCAA powerhouses and aspiring contenders alike are using student fees to pay for exploding athletic department budgets. [more inside]
Less than half of FIFA’s national federations have girls soccer programs. Those that do exist give a girl less access to facilities, less support, and poorer development pathways than her brother. She will play in competitions with less investment, minimal promotion, and consequently fewer fans than the all-important male versions. Media coverage will amplify this skew, battling age-old preconceptions and making her all but invisible in the mainstream. Administrators preoccupied with the men’s game will struggle to meet her needs. (SLNYT)
The Stade de France–A History in Fragments
Or did he, and the other players, make the same decision that many are now saying we should: that in the face of horror the only thing to do is to keep playing, moving, living? Watching it now – knowing all that we do about what happened Friday night in Paris – we can perhaps count it as one of the most surreal things to ever take place in this storied stadium, a place built nearly two decades ago specifically to house history.