For many people, 2016 has been a rough year (probably an understatement.) However, for two football teams in rival codes, 2016 has turned into a very good year indeed. [more inside]
Sam Borden on calcio storico, Florentine historic football
With two teams of 27 players placed in a sand pit and told, essentially, to do whatever is necessary to get a ball into the other team’s end zone, the sport is a strange mix of American football, rugby and street fighting. Watching it live, a more direct comparison might be to the children’s game Red Rover, but with punching and tattoos.
"This is Brett Keisel, a defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers who makes the usually frustrating identifying process of having to look for pictures of NFL players sans helmet an unexpected pleasure. Consider two things: i) Why in the name of all that's holy would anyone want to imprison this cascading, oddly backwoodsesque yet pleasingly groomed beauty behind visor, mask or grille? And: ii) Given that he has nonetheless to do so, how the hell does he cram it all in? I'm picturing, in a pleasing sort of reverie, some sort of monstrous snood." The Guardian presents the Greatest Beards in World Sports, parts one and two.
Information on cricket salaries in England is difficult to find, though the amounts are acknowledged to be low; many cricketers take on a second job during the off-season. One of the top flight teams, Durham, is the first county fined for narrowly exceeding the total playing staff salary cap for the year. As a cross-sport comparison, the top flight football (soccer) team wage bills for 2010-11, and the team salary caps for rugby.
"I'm just looking for a second chance. Other people get second chances. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Spousal beaters. Not gamblers, though. But, if you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me, it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in. So that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports. No one else can say that." Here, Now is a short documentary that looks at baseball legend Pete Rose, as he lives his life today. [more inside]
Sir Clive Woodward to switch from rugby to football? Sir Clive Woodward is the head coach of the England rugby union team. Appointed in 1997, he has had stunning success, including winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup. On Tuesday, the Daily Mail carried an incredible story: Woodward was planning to turn his back on rugby in favour of association football (soccer). Premiership club Southampton appear to be his next port of call with his ultimate aim, the England football team. Is it possible for a head coach to switch sports like this? Many experts think not. Is there any previous example of a coach switching sports like this?
Think you're dedicated? Aussie football player has a finger chopped off at the first joint because it was affecting his ability to catch the ball.