Ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, the New York Times Magazine's Mark Leibovich dives deep into Tom Brady, one of the "most famous [people] in the world nobody knows," and finds a man "bent on nothing less than subverting the standard expectations of how long a superstar quarterback can play like one." Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl about whether the Patriots deflated balls in their playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts -- and if so, how and why, with Coach Bill Belichick appearing to point the finger at Brady, the superstar quarterback himself. Others question the Deflategate/Ballghazi hype. [more inside]
Russia and Qatar World Cups are 'insane' due to homophobia, says Robbie Rogers. Soccer/Football's first openly gay player, RR has things on his mind. Will Klinsmann come around? On Mefi Previously.
“At first we’re like, ‘What the hell is this? Brick? Wool? What kind of game is this?’” said starting center Corey Linsley. But that quickly faded. “We are completely addicted to it, we play it whenever we can,” said tight end Justin Perillo.
Recently released into the public domain - the oldest known football footage in existence. The 45 second film is of a First Division match between Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion at Ewood Park, which took place on the 24th September 1898. [more inside]
How nice it would have been if the whole sorry saga of Ched Evans had been left in 2014. Unfortunately, Oldham Athletic are the latest team to suggest that they are considering signing the convicted rapist to play for their side, here on the other side of December 31st. If you - like me – think this is a truly terrible, awful decision, then you will be used to hearing the same arguments put forward in his defence, so here is a handy rebuttal guide.Lucy Hunter Johnson on why convicted rapist Ched Evans shouldn't play football. [more inside]
From That Guy On Your Fantasy Football Team, With Love — Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas writes for The Players' Tribune about the pros and cons of being a prominent fantasy football asset
If you built a $7,000 pool table big enough to walk around on and replaced the balls with soccer balls, you'd be playing Snookball. The sport was invented by two French entrepreneurs and there are 10 tables in that country so far. "We know this game will be popular when beer is involved," one told Sport Bible.
The FBI announced today that they will open an investigation into the death of 17 year old Lennon Lacy. [more inside]
"It is an unbelievable goal. Both feet, over her shoulder. It is totally instinctive. The technique and contact required to volley a ball that is coming over your head is amazing. If Wayne Rooney or Ronaldo had done something like that you would be talking about it for years. It is the best of the three."And the nominees for the FIFA goal of the year are James Rodriguez, Robin van Persie and Stephanie Roche, the first woman football player to ever have been a finalist for the Puskas Award, beating out people like Diego Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimović.
"With Christmas not far away, you may start seeing ads for video games that try to marry the VCR with traditional board games. Unhappily, that marriage more often resembles the bickering Lockhorns than the mild-mannered Nelsons. Here's a look at three of the games now
out in 1986." But that's only a snapshot of the dynamic world of VCR board games, which peaked in the early 1990s with the Atmosfear series, known as Nightmare in Australia, where the game series was a huge cross-media empire, bigger than "Crocodile" Dundee. Another significant game was Star Wars: The Interactive Video Board Game, if for no other reason that it is canon and expands the story of the second Death Star. There are less than 100 VCR board games, and the videos for many of them are currently online, with more game documents and details on Board Game Geeks. By the end of the 1990s, the VCR was on the way out, replaced by DVD board games. Let's browse the isles of toy stores past, thanks to the crowd-sourced nostalgia that is the internet. [more inside]
I’ve been watching Odell Beckham practice similar one-handed catches for the past several weeks. He caught half a dozen in practice before Sunday’s game, and had an amazing one-handed fingertip catch in practice several weeks ago. So he was definitely on my radar screen. Today I was making a point of keeping track of where Beckham lined up, so I would be ready. -- The New York Times interviews photographers about how they themselves caught this incredible catch in the Giants game last night.
How much is a brain worth to the NFL? FRONTLINE reporter Jason Breslow hosts a three minute video on the latest development between the NFL and former players. What's the monetary value of a human brain in this context? [more inside]
Goalkeeper Saves Five Penalties - With His Face (SLYT) A soccer match between the Yale Bulldogs and the North Carolina Tar Heels comes down to the most epic penalty kick shootout you'll ever see. A sketch from Studio C.
"MIT’s students, faculty, and alumni won 80 Nobel Prizes between 1944 and 2013. In that time, MIT football won a total of 80 games." Until this year. This season's MIT football team is undefeated, 8-0.
At the beginning of the 2014 North American Soccer League season, the San Antonio Scorpions unveiled a subversive mascot who—at the very core of his being—presents a critique of capitalism and the military industrial complex. Stinger the Scorpion forces the contemporary spectator to recognize the existential angst at the center of contemporary soccer.
Hatin' Ass Spurrier has nothing to do with Steve Spurrier, the always colorful Head Ball Coach at the University of South Carolina. Hatin' Ass Spurrier does, however, channel the same spirit that Spurrier has brought to college football ever since he first put on a Gators jersey in 1963. Hatin' Ass Spurrier reviews the Saturday action once per week during football season, thanks to the surprisingly literate blog Every Day Should Be Saturday. [more inside]
Among a rising chorus of folks speaking out about problems caused by America's obsession with football at every level, author (and fan) Steve Almond's voice stands out the loudest. His new book Against Football argues that "our allegiance to football legitimizes and even fosters within us a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia." In a nutshell "Fans should stop watching." Needless to say the book has provoked a strong reaction in fans (and defensive sportswriters), most notably in New York Mag, with Jonathan Chait's personal story of how football made him a better person: "In Defense of Male Aggression: What Liberals Get Wrong About Football". [more inside]
Apparently (or maybe allegedly) there was a lot more going on between Charlie Brown and Lucy when it came to kicking footballs.
The NYT, following up previous maps examining the relationship between geography and baseball and basketball fandom, has released a college football fandom map. Like the previous maps, it's based on Facebook Likes and zip code data, so its accuracy may be a little suspect. But it's still fun, especially when it supports your preconceived opinion of a rival school! We discussed the baseball map previously.
Metafilter's own Mark Saltveit profiles eclectic Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly for Philly.com. Saltveit already wrote the book on Kelly, and the profile is part of a follow-up effort called "Controlled Chaos: Chip Kelly's Football Revolution." [more inside]
When I won, as a high school junior, a state-wide essay writing competition, I was invited with sundry other academic winners to a celebration at the capitol. Rick Perry was to preside. All of us — champions in debate, calculus, physics, music, literary criticism, and more — gathered on the floor of the Texas state senate to accept Governor Perry’s congratulations. Perry took the podium as he does, with all folksy gravitas, gripping its edges in each hand. But when he addressed us he didn’t talk about academic achievement. He talked about football.The Homecoming Queen: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig writes about Texas, football dreams, and homecoming mums. [more inside]
There are many foreign players in English football today, but back in the 70s and 80s there were only a few. Some became club legends, others had disappointing spells with their club. This Daily Mail article has lots of lovely 70s and 80s style pictures of many of these players, including Ardilles, Grobelaar, and, of course, a young Alex Sabella.
Two years after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to prison for child sexual abuse (previously), the NCAA has lifted all remaining sanctions against Penn State and reinstated postseason eligilibity effective immediately, and a full roster of football scholarships starting in the 2015-2016 year. [more inside]
Earlier today, TMZ released a new video (warning: graphic/disturbing) of a February 12 incident involving NFL running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée. A few hours after the video's release, the team terminated Rice's contract; shortly thereafter, the NFL reportedly suspended Rice indefinitely. [more inside]
A county-by-county breakdown of NFL fandom across the United States, or: nowhere is home for a Jets fan.
The 2014 NFL season begins tomorrow, and with it comes the return of MeFi Favorite Jon Bois' weekly quest to destroy the laws of God, man and video-game football, Breaking Madden. The first installment, in which he seeks to record 201 sacks in a single game with Houston Texans rookie Jadeveon Clowney, is already up. Breaking Madden previously. His similar basketball series, NBA Y2K.
With the English Premier League season heading into its second week, The Guardian took the opportunity to publish a strange series of pictures from photographer Ray Wright of some of the top footballers of the 1970s posing at home with their families and a few choice possessions such as vacuum cleaners, radios, moving boxes, tricycles, wallpaper, axes and globes.
The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles Jon Bois (previously) writes what Spencer Hall called "the world's first CFL-seaventure-GIFstory novella" covering Tim Tebow's future as a Toronto Argonaut and a whole lot more.
"Friends tell me I’ll be remembered as the author of the definitive book on football [The Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football]. Or as the writer who popularized weekly NFL picks. Or one of the early crossovers into 24-hour sports television. To me, none of that matters. Right now, I’m just a guy whose library went dark on November 22, 2008."[auto play video] - Paul Zimmerman, known as Dr. Z, collaborates with Ken Rodgers, the supervising producer for NFL Films, to tell his story. Thank you, Dr. Z. Yours truly, Everybody.
The true origins of Australian rules football, first codified in 1859 following a famous letter by Tom Wills, have been the subject of sometimes bitter disputes that have been referred to as football's history war. Although the earliest formal football clubs were founded in 1858 (and the earliest known women's clubs in the 1910s), informal football games were widely played in the early 1850s. Scholarly and public discussions about the origins of the game centre on Marn Grook, a collection of indigenous games played with possum skin game balls. Although the lack of documentary evidence makes definitive answers hard to come by, the link between Marn Grook and Aussie rules in modern culture is very prominent, showing up in documentaries (clips: 1 2 3), TV shows, and even children's books. [more inside]
Fresh off his 6 1/2 hour stint as head coach of the Tottenham Hotspurs (previously), Ted Lasso returns to Premier League television as a pundit and to the world of
soccer football as coach of the St. Catherine Fighting Owls (WHOO?). Guest starring Tim Howard and Mini Bradley Cooper.
Mental Floss links to free How-To guides from a hundred years ago that are still helpful if you need to mesmerize someone or name a baby
Dilma Rousseff is the current president of Brazil and the first woman to hold the office. She faces re-election in October this year. While by the end of her first year in office she held higher approval ratings than any of her directly elected predecessors (59%), by early June of 2014 her approval rating had fallen to its lowest point (33%) since she assumed office in January 2011. A major contributor to this decline in approval ratings has been the country's hosting of the World Cup, plagued by cost overruns and accidents during hasty infrastructure construction. Estimated to have cost the country between $11 and $14 billion, the World Cup sparked protests up to the opening game (previously). Stadium construction was carried out in 12 instead of the required 8 cities, resulting in white elephants projects in Brasília and Manaus. Brazil's crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals generated speculation about its impact on Dilma Rousseff's political future. While some sports moments are attributed to have changed the course of national politics and identity, how the World Cup loss will affect Dilma Rousseff's re-election chances remains murky.
"Casually, I click in a compilation of clips I've never seen before. I think it's another video like other thousands of thousands, but I soon realize it's not. The clips are not Messi goals, his best runs, nor his assists. It's a strange compilation: the video shows hundreds of clips, two or three seconds long each, in which Messi receives strong fouls and doesn't fall to the ground." Messi es un perro is a short essay by Argentine writer Hernán Casciari on Lionel Messi. You can read an English translation on Reddit, Messi Is a Dog. Perhaps the best way to enjoy it is to listen to the original as read by Norberto Jansenson with English subtitles. [via this Deadspin article about Messi by Billy Haisley which you should also read]
The World Cup is hardly an unmitigated joy - bone crushing injuries, protests in Brazil, FIFA being FIFA,
backshoulder biting. But lets forget all that and embrace the feel good moments of World Cup 2014. Friends helping a deaf and blind fan experience the World Cup. The victors comforting a heartbroken opponent. A player stopping to tie the shoe of his child escort. The Greek team returning their bonuses to build a new training center. The Brazilian team being generally awesome with starstruck fans. [more inside]
BBC: Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, has died. The 88-year-old suffered a heart attack on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital. Real Madrid confirmed the news, saying Di Stefano, their honorary president, died at 17:15 CET (16:15 BST). The forward won five straight European Cups, scoring in each final between 1956 and 1960. Tim Vickery Article on Di Stefano.
Walter Tull was the first ever Black officer in the British Army, and the first black officer to lead white men into battle. He was also only the second black player to compete in the top division of football, playing for the Tottenham Hotspur and Northhampton Town. An unassuming pioneer, his life has inspired a play, a documentary and a petition. As part of a series of coins on the centenary of the Great War, The Royal Mint has begun a programme of commemoration that will continue over the next five years, telling the emotive story of the journey from outbreak to armistice through a series of United Kingdom £5 coins, arranged in six-coin sets. Passed over for the Military Cross, allegedly due to the Army's institutional racism that banned "negros and other persons of colour" advancement to officer ranks, Walter Tull has his own coin at last.
Abstinence is not a new tactic when it comes to sports competitions. Ancient Greeks restricted sex ahead of major events and some athletes still do it today. But does sex really affect athletic performance? Judging by the current World Cup, a strict sex ban doesn’t help to win. “All the teams known to have banned that kind of scoring in Brazil have been knocked out.” Specific sex rules seem to have less negative impact. In today’s quarter finals, France vs. Germany and Brazil vs. Colombia, different guidelines come into play. [more inside]
As the last of the African teams exits at the Round of 16, filmmaker and columnist Farai Sevenzo looks at the state of African football, bedevilled by the perennial problems of poor organisation, tactical indiscipline and rows over money. [BBC]
Lionel Messi is impossible. Benjamin Morris of 538 uses statistics to prove that Lionel Messi is the best footballer on Earth.
This blog will keep you up half the night when you should be trying to sleep for an early morning meeting. The post The Secret History Behind Today’s Algeria-Germany #WorldCup Match being timely and tweeted is what brought it to my attention. But what to share? There is so much good stuff, that the rabbit hole beckons...
With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
"And looks like an almost goal. If that whole goal system would have been moved over maybe thirty more feet, we would have been looking at a goal." -- MeFi favorite Reggie Watts (previously) doing World Cup commentary alongside MeFi favorite Peter Serafinowicz (previously) on his Mixlr account, where Serafinowicz has been providing comedic commentary for the games for the last week. [via]
Karim Benzema is ticked off because you stretched out his favourite t-shirt. FIFA filmed every footballer present at the 2014 FIFA World Cup folding their arms and looking moody, to be used in VFX. Now, thanks to Josh Cluderay, you can find out why they look so pissed.
So earlier today Luis Suarez, striker for the Uruguay side, bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during their respective teams' final group play match for the World Cup. This is not the first time he's done this--in fact, folks were taking bets that Suarez would bite someone during World Cup play. Biting is a major taboo in sports, and sure enough, Suarez is now facing a ban of up to 24 games by FIFA. Indeed, Suarez has a history of violent behavior and racist statements, even when you leave aside the biting incidents. And yet, despite all this, Suarez is generally regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world today. So it's fitting that, just before this year's World Cup began, ESPN published an essay by Wright Thompson (previously) on the many myths and contradictions that surround Luis Suarez.