Last fall, the FCC voted unanimously to eliminate its own sports blackout rule. At this week's NFL annual meeting, the league approved a suspension of the rule. The blackout rule, which came into effect if a game was not sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff, was enacted in the '70s in order to prevent cable companies from airing events broadcast on local stations. [more inside]
ESPN's Outside the Lines has reported that promising 24-year-old football player Chris Borland, who was drafted last year by the San Francisco 49ers as a linebacker, will retire as a "proactive" move to avoid the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. [more inside]
Essentially two-hand-touch taken to bloodsport level, with two 25-minute halves, a mostly running clock, and referees to nominally control the mayhem, it's the closest these weekend warriors will come to professional sport, though many are high-caliber athletes.
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.
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]
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]
"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.
"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]
"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]
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.
The World's Ball - the NYT reviews the design evolution of the soccer/football from 1930 to the present
Simpson is in Lovelock because he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Nevada in 2008; he's serving a sentence of up to 33 years, with the possibility of parole in 2017. He will turn 67 next month, but the O.J. personage who remains a cultural touchstone is much younger. That one was born 20 years ago this week, on June 17, 1994, a day that spawned a series of events that are as ingrained in Americana as anything that happened at Valley Forge or in Dealey Plaza. Sports Illustrated tackles Orenthal James Simpson.
Brazil has spared no expense for the upcoming World Cup. The month-long competition will feature 64 matches in 12 cities across the country. Refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones has cost Brazil $3.6bn. Several of the new stadiums will seldom be used after the World Cup, and Brasilia's World Cup stadium is estimated to have cost taxpayers $900m. [more inside]
"This project started with my dad on Thanksgiving. He was reminiscing about Doug Williams, who in 1988 became the first black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl. All these years later, he was still proud of Williams, whose name to some may be that of a half-remembered player from the past but to millions of others remains a powerful symbol of progress. It stayed with me, and it seemed that it was worth telling the story not just of Williams, but of everyone—of all those generations of players who struggled so that Russell Wilson could be, simply, a good young quarterback." Deadspin's The Big Book of Black Quarterbacks.
Jared Lorenzen briefly played backup quarterback in the NFL and became famous for his unusual size (for a quarterback). When videos of him dominating minor league arena football recently appeared online, SBNation tracked his entire fascinating post-NFL history in Jared Lorenzen: 300+ pound QB, American folk hero.
NFL holds Super Bowl in NYC; NYC unimpressed. While the stadium is technically in New Jersey, it is considered equally if not primarily a New York stadium, and the NFL turned Times Square and Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered By GMC. Visitors can kick a football, watch television, ride a toboggan, shop, enjoy a free slice of Papa John's pizza, play XBox, take a photo with the oversized Roman numerals 'XLVIII', use relevant Twitter hashtags, and more. It is not decadent and depraved, though Vice and Gothamist would tend to disagree. The Times discusses less vehement disapproval and disappointment, while Business Insider wishes ill upon the city. Ticket sales are faltering relative to recent years, with the new mayor among those skipping out.
It's been a decade since the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction. What happened is still somewhat a mystery, writes Marin Cogan in ESPN Magazine. [more inside]
Northwestern Football Players Are Trying To Unionize. More coverage from Deadspin, ThinkProgress, and Bleacher Report. The NCAA's predictable response.
The NFL's Modern Man: How Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin — a bike-riding, socially conscious, Animal Collective–loving hipster — is redefining what it means to be a football player.
Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth discusses poorly designed sports team logos throughout history.
When the announcement had been made that Wimbledon FC would be moved to Milton Keynes, to later be rebranded MK Dons, a meeting was called by Wimbledon fans. Toward the end of a charged meeting in the Wimbledon Community Centre, Kris Stewart, then chair of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Club, realized that the fans had no chance of hanging on to their club and that no amount of protests would stop the franchise moving to Milton Keynes. In that moment Stewart made his walk through the crowd toward the microphone. “I’m tired of fighting,” he said before issuing a spontaneous rallying cry that has become legendary among fans of AFC Wimbledon. “I just want to watch football.” (SLTheMorningNews)
"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.
Nightmare in Maryville - The Kansas City Star investigates the backlash against the victims family after rape charges were brought (and dropped) against local atheletes. The pattern of victim blaming and local indiference have brought comparisons to the Steubenville, Ohio case (previously) and anger on the internet. Meanwhile the Grand Jury investigation into Steubenville has brought it's first charges against an adult involved with the cover-up.
The much-anticipated Frontline documentary "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis" premiered on PBS last week. In August, ESPN pulled out of the project, reportedly due to pressure from the NFL (as previously discussed on MetaFilter here), while the NFL itself only days later announced a $765m settlement with over 4500 former players for claims of concussion-related disability. Reaction to the Frontline program was unsurprisingly mixed from factions involved with the issue, but generally well-received by journalists and TV critics. [more inside]
There has long been protest about the name of Washington's NFL team - the "Redskins". In September, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell changed his stance from supporting the name, to saying "if one person is offended, we have to listen." Then last week the President of the United States sided with changing the team's name. Shortly afterward, the NFL agreed to have representatives meet with the Oneida Nation about the name in the next month. Then yesterday Washington team owner Dan Snyder wrote a letter to fans and season ticket holders in an attempt to defend the name "Redskins". But one writer tells what Snyder essentially said with his letter. Amid an official campaign and groundswell of support for changing the name, Ray Harbritter of the Oneida Nation professed "This is not going to away this time" [more inside]
After (intentionally?) missing a last second penalty kick, the US Men's National Team beat Mexico in Columbus by a now famous final score. Following the game, the team watched Honduras hold on for a 2-2 draw against Panama which officially cemented the team's slot in the 2014 World Cup. An unassuming venue [autoplay video], Crew Stadium was the first purpose-built soccer facility in the US, and it has become the preferred location for the US to take on its most-powerful CONCACAF rival.
The New York Times is reporting that pressure from the NFL led ESPN to pull out of an investigative project with FRONTLINE regarding head injuries in American Football. The two-part investigative report and book will reveal how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage. ESPN has a $15.2 Billion deal with the NFL. (Football concussions previously: 1, 2, and 3)
Dynamic target tracking camera system keeps its eye on the ball - motorized mirrors track a moving object of interest every thousandth of a second, reflecting its image into a camera
The Other Redskins. 62 US high schools in 22 states currently use the name "Redskins" for one of their sports teams. 28 high schools in 18 states have dropped the mascot over the last 25 years. As public pressure continues to intensify on the Washington Redskins football team to change their name -- one many consider a racial slur that disparages Native Americans -- similar debates are being waged in towns across the country about their local high school teams.
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was held yesterday, leaving two of the most-talked-about players undrafted: QB Geno Smith and Linebacker Manti Te'o. [more inside]
It's the NFL Combine! Where NFL teams size up the year's top prospects; where sportscaster Rich Eisen runs the 40; and where at least one team wants to know, "Do you like girls?" [more inside]
"Organized crime gangs have fixed or tried to fix hundreds of soccer matches around the world in recent years, including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games, Europol announced Monday. The European Union's police agency said an 18-month review found 380 suspicious matches in Europe and another 300 questionable games outside the continent, mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. It also found evidence that a Singapore-based crime syndicate was involved in some of the match-fixing."* [more inside]
"We're just trying to lead normal lives, doing what we want to do. Why shouldn't we?" The members [of Afghanistan women's national team], who range in age from 16 to 24, are up against widespread resentment from their relatives* and neighbors, and threats from men who disapprove of women playing sports. They managed to participate in an inclusive tournament in Berlin and they registered their first official win as they defeated Pakistan national women's team 4-0 and reached the semi-finals of the 2nd SAFF women's championship in 2012 improving on their past performance (rough 2010 SAFF footage). They're able to practice just three times a week for 90 minutes, occasionally at the stadium (2) or in its gym, but more often at a helicopter landing pad on a base for NATO troops, where practices are interrupted by takeoffs and landings. Players have some outside support from hummel, the sponsor of the women's and the men's team, and have had football clinics in Stuttgart and with Olympic U.S. player Lorrie Fair in Kabul. [more inside]
"Las Vegas bookmakers make their money by balancing their risk, but sometimes they simply come out on the wrong side of too many bets." With the regular 2012 NFL season now over and the playoffs about to begin, please take a moment and shed a tear -- or more likely, raise your beer -- as you consider the terrible beating Las Vegas sports books absorbed in 2012. (LAT link, so potentially behind a paywall depending on your number of previous visits in last 30 days.) [more inside]
Baseball Magazine, founded by Jake Morse in 1908, was the first monthly baseball magazine in the United States. The LA84 Foundation has posted free online copies of the first thirteen years of Baseball Magazine. [more inside]
The NFL is again thinking of getting rid of kick offs. Recently kickoffs were moved from the 30 to the 35 yard line in an effort to create more touch backs (and thus fewer returns of kicks) and reduce injuries. Now they're considering getting rid of kick offs altogether. [more inside]
The retirement of Fireman Ed is more than just an index of the toll taken by the Jets quarterback controversy on fans. It’s also a glimpse into the agonizing heart of fandom. [more inside]
Today, in Toronto, the Grey Cup will be awarded for the 100th time, to the CFL champion. What is it? What is the history? Who is playing? Why was someone riding a horse in the best hotel in town? [more inside]
"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
Internet sensation: Nine-year-old girl shredding defenses to the tune of 25 touchdowns Sam Gordon just wanted to run with the older kids. The coaches in the local tackle football league figured, hey, why not? Maybe they could turn it into a drill: Who can outrun Max's little sister? They were shocked to find the answer: no one. "Some kids, right before the contact, they stop," Sam told her father. "I don't. I just hit 'em."
Baseball or Football? How Your Sports Choices ... Reveal your Politics. StubHub crunched their ticket data and found that baseball states tend to vote blue and football states tend to vote red. [via PostRoad's very excellent linkblog (nsfw)]
NFL Chiefs player Eric Winston rants (audio) against stadium fans who cheered when Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell was knocked out during game play. "We are not gladiators and this is not the Roman Colosseum. This is a game."