Category Archives: Football

10 Possible Replacements for Arian Foster

She’s back. We honestly can’t get rid of her. She keeps showing up on our doorstep, trying to look through the peephole to see if we’re home. We think she might also be following us around town. We figure if she’s gonna be here, might as well let her keep writing. That’s right, Diane Sevenay has another very serious and factual sports breakdown to share.


I’m not sure who received worse news about his groin this week, Arian Foster or Lenny Kravitz.  But while all Kravitz needs to do is buy a pair of pants that fit, the Houston Texans have a much tougher road ahead as they attempt to replace Foster.  Reports say that Pierre Thomas turned down the Texans’ offer to join their backfield, and this leaves Houston with only a 14-year-old girl and a department-store mannequin to play running back this year.  However, there can be help on the way if the Texans decide to bring in one of these possible replacements:

1. Ashton Kutcher – If he replaced Charlie Sheen, he can replace Arian Foster.

Us Magazine
Us Magazine

2. OJ Simpson – Pros: Outstanding slasher with a killer instinct. Cons: He’s a 68-year-old man who’s currently in prison.

Splash News
Splash News

3. Ronda Rousey – Who in their right mind would attempt to tackle Ronda Rousey?  Sign her, Houston, or she’ll beat you up.

Associated Press
Associated Press

4. Jason Pierre-Paul’s index finger – This finger was an NFL star once, and it could be again if given an opportunity.

jason-pierre-paul-happy-gilmore

5. Rudy – Could there be a better story than RUDY leading the Texans to the Super Bowl?  Yes, Rudy Ruettiger is a 66-year-old man who wasn’t very good at football when he played at Notre Dame in the 1970s, but nothing can stop this guy once he sets his mind to something.

RudyRuettiger.co
RudyRuettiger.co

6. Michael Strahan – Since joining “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” this former NFL superstar has had people saying, “Regis who?”

Us Magazine
Us Magazine

7. Groot – He’d be the first sentient tree in the NFL.  Make this happen, Texans.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

8. Donald Trump – He swears he’ll make America great.  Why not start with Houston?

LM Otero
LM Otero

9. Jim Thorpe – Pros: Thorpe is one of history’s greatest athletes and football players. Cons: He has been dead for over 60 years.

Sioux City Journal
Sioux City Journal

10. Batman – He’s not the hero Houston deserves, but the one it needs right now.

DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment

Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.

Football is Football

dallas elite logoThis past weekend, I ventured out to the old confines of the Alfred J Loos Stadium in Addison, Texas. The event was to decide which gridiron team would go on to Los Angeles for the annual championship of their respective 2015 season. It pitted the visiting Surge of San Diego against the hosting Elite of Dallas. One quick side note: if a team name is meant to represent something on which that city is based, is there any doubt what “Elite” means for this Dallas squad? Yes, that was a silent nod to “America’s Team.” My apologies to the REST of the football nation.

As is customary, at least for ME, I arrived to the game early. If there is a distinctive term for being earlier than early, then this would be the time and place to use it. As it happens, a friend and former classmate of mine (from American Broadcasting School) would be gearing up for this match, as a piece of the defensive front for Dallas. She had already properly warned me on Facebook that “I wasn’t ready for this kind of action!” It was merely a friendly taunt, yes, but would a player on just any ordinary football team say such a thing? I hasten to wonder, but can only achieve an unclear, ambiguous response. Clarity and ambiguity aside, it did not take long for me to realize that when the pads and helmets are thrown on, all I see is a football player.

(That’s right, read back a few lines. I said “she.”) 

At the onset of the warm-ups, the two teams defined themselves for what the outcome of the big game would ultimately be: one team was quiet and uninspiring to watch, and the other was loose and enthusiastic. If you ever get to see any pregame warm-ups, do not neglect what your instincts would tell you about each and every player on their respective teams. As I once heard Robert Parish say in his prime with the Boston Celtics of the 1980s, they often could sense whether a team was ready to win or lose just based on how they looked when they were warming up on the court right before the game. If you know anything about the Celtics of that era, then you can imagine what the results were about 90% of the time.

DallasEliteFootball.com
DallasEliteFootball.com

The fans, in decent numbers for the Dallas faithful, were exuberant and undaunted. Even when the San Diego Surge took a 14-8 lead into the 2nd quarter and marched down the field for a potential double-digit lead, they never seemed to lose their confidence, nor did the Elite players on the field. What looked like an overmatched defense in the early goings for Dallas quickly tightened like a vice grip midway through the game. By halftime, it was 22 all and in the 3rd quarter, Dallas gained a 28-22 advantage. Some questionable penalties attributed to the Elite offense, often times negating a large gain or even a touchdown to widen the lead, kept San Diego just within striking distance.

As the 4th quarter was set to begin, I overheard the rowdy bench of the Dallas Elite echoing what I can only assume is a routine chant in such situations: “We all we got! We all we need! We all we got! We all we need!” Did they know they were in trouble, only ahead by a mere six points? Did they know they were going to have the kind of 4th quarter that only championship-caliber teams are capable of having in such a big game? Did the fans share the same emotional sentiment as they chanted along with the team from the hard, aluminum bleachers?

Phoenix Lovell
Phoenix Lovell

By the 11-minute mark on the countdown clock, the lead had expanded to 34-22. The players embraced the audience, ushering in a seemingly premature celebration for the win. Perhaps it was I who was out of touch as a spectator and fan. Three consecutive turnovers for the Surge led to three quick touchdowns for the Elite, and suddenly, the game was out of reach with just under half a quarter still to play. I was mesmerized by the fierce, combative energy the Dallas Elite displayed once they had the game in hand. Their tenacity, in the midst of team struggles for much of the first three quarters, was inspiring. I was NOT just watching “football chicks” aspiring to be something they could never be. They WERE what they sought to be. They ARE what they say they are, and it is SO much more than a casual moniker.

When you attend a game in the Women’s Football Alliance, you can forget about the “no frills” experience of the presentation. I, myself, enjoyed a homemade brisket sandwich straight from a grill on the footsteps of the stadium. I sang the Star-Spangled Banner along with the crowd, hat off, facing the national flag, led by a team captain of the Dallas Elite. I smiled with a wide grin, consistently, when the un-uniformed mascot/cheerleader for the Elite urged the team and fans on with anticipation for “DE-FENSE!” dallas elite champs

I rushed the field after the game, with the rest of the fans, to feel the elation and spirits of sweat, Gatorade and water, as the team excitedly celebrated their bid to fight for the 2015 League Championship. The Dallas Elite will head to Los Angeles to play the D.C. Divas for the National Title on August 8, 2015, at Los Angeles Southwest College.

I forgot about all those fancy, typical football frills because the product I saw in Alfred J Loos Stadium that night was all that mattered. Football is football! Period.


Alex Moore is a Sports Contributor at The Scoop.

 

10 Things Tom Brady Can Do While Serving His Suspension

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension has been upheld by the NFL.  Love him or hate him, we’ll miss Brady when he’s not on the field.  But let’s see this from Brady‘s point of view.  Every September since he was a young boy, he has been living and breathing football.  What is he going to do without an extremely deflated football in his hand and a game to win?  How can he fill this emptiness in his heart?  What can Tom Brady do while serving his suspension?

1. Be obscenely and arrogantly wealthy. This will be pretty easy for you to accomplish, Tom.  Instead of buying a car, buy 15.  Why just settle for a swimming pool that wraps around your house when you can also have one in your kitchen?  Or two…

tom gisele house

2. Sleep with your ridiculously good-looking model wife. You know you want to, Tom.  Now’s your chance!

gisele swimsuit

3. Run for public office. Do I see a Trump-Brady ticket in your future?

trump hair

4. Get a makeover. A new hairstyle and a snazzy new wardrobe can add up to a WHOLE NEW Tom Brady.

tom gisele

5. Write the great American novel. I’m thinking Gronk fan fiction.  Because EVERYONE loves Gronk fan fiction.

gronk book

6. Take up another sport. You’re already the Michael Jordan of football.  Now be the Michael Jordan of BASEBALL!

jordan baseball

7. Start filming “Ted 3.” According to Ted the teddy bear, “Tom Brady is a f*cking wicked awesome actor.”

ted movie

8. Start a feud with Drake and/or Nicki Minaj. You know you want to, Tom…

drake pats meme

9. Write season 3 of “True Detective.” Because it can’t be any worse than season 2.

brady belichick

10. Learn how to stop cheating at football. I know it’s going to be tough, but you can do it.  I think…

Tom Brady Crying


Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.

When LeSean McCoy Says “Females Only”

Diane Sevenay returns, reluctantly, to share a filthy, yet factual, account of LeSean McCoy‘s party lifestyle. Well, at least we think it’s factual. Hell, it’s probably not. Eff it. We need the page views. We should probably also warn you about a couple of mature topics within this article. Don’t read this to your kiddies before naptime. Or ever, really.


Instagram
Instagram

The Buffalo Bills traded for running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy to bring a little “heat” to their backfield.  However, this week’s news was not what the Bills had in mind. Multiple media outlets reported that McCoy posted an invitation to a private “females only” party, and the general response was disgust.  Well, not to brag or anything, but I happened to attend McCoy‘s party last year, so maybe I could shine a light on what “Shady” is all about.

I received the invitation last July.  Females only?  That could mean only one thing: ORGY.  Of course I was interested.  I put on my best orgy outfit, laced up my fanciest orgy shoes, and I put on my prettiest orgy smile.  I was totally ready to put more than several penises inside me.  Yup, it was just like any Saturday night.

So, I get there, and there’s more security than I’ve ever seen.  I have to give them several DNA samples, some “stem cells,” and all of my Social Security and banking information.  This was a small price to pay for what was to be the wildest night of my life.

I can remember walking into the club; you could only imagine what I saw.  Women as far as the eye can see, doing things that I didn’t even know existed…Spa treatments, facials, homeopathic massage.  There was an omelette station that featured fresh organic kale.  A Pilates class was in full swing.  Sara Bareilles played piano.  And in the center of it all, LeSean McCoy released a flock of doves flying in a formation that spelled out the word “FEMALE.”

@JamieSportsTalk
@JamieSportsTalk

I soon found myself exchanging recipes with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeliene Albright and Barbara Walters.  I enjoyed a soy latte with Angelina Jolie.  I was transfixed when Hillary Clinton took the stage and spoke about female empowerment.  I laughed uncontrollably at the comedic stylings of Ellen DeGeneres.  Then I finally I got what I came for: a little one-on-one time with LeSean McCoy.

@JamieSportsTalk
@JamieSportsTalk

He told me his heroes were Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, and his mother.  He said that his nickname “Shady” came from how he loved to pick flowers on a shady autumn day.  He said that he wished men could become pregnant; he yearned to have a life grow inside him.  He read from his favorite Maya Angelou poem, and I held him as he wept.

I can only hope the young women who attend this year’s party have the same transcendent experience I was lucky enough to have.  There is no more important feminist icon today than LeSean “Shady” McCoy.


Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.

A Lifetime of Memories

This is a special contribution from The Scoop’s Founder, Jamie Kelly. Listen to her on The Scoop Radio every Monday & Wednesday night from 9-11pm CDT on KTSR-db, part of the Texas Sports Review Radio Network.


This week has been an emotional week for me. Today, my childhood hero and the best athlete I’ve ever seen finally takes his place among the greatest to ever wear the green and gold.

My story goes far beyond football. This is a story about a father and daughter brought immeasurably closer by the common bond of football, and watching a legend cement his place in history before our eyes.

In the 1980s, if your favorite team happened to be in another market, you had to go to some lengths to watch them on television every week. Especially if your favorite team was, shall we say, awful. My dad, being the techie geek that he was, went out and got us a home satellite dish. He mounted the large, cumbersome monstrosity on a wooden pallet, and positioned it carefully in the backyard between the sandbox and the swingset.

Sundays were part magic and part dumb luck. Dad would go out into the backyard, weather be damned, and lay under the dish, moving it ever-so-slightly in each direction, while I stood in front of the television and shouted every time the black and white fuzz showed glimmers of green and gold.

One Sunday in 1992, like many other Sundays, Dad & I were gathered around the TV watching Don Majkowski try to once again pull a rabbit out of his hat. The Packers were down 31-3 to the Bucs, and the Majik Man was sent to the bench for the entire second half. In came some wide-eyed kid named Favre. “Fa-ver? Fa-vrah? Fav-ray?” Hell, nobody knew how to pronounce his name. Nobody cared either. His first pass as a Packer was a completion to himself for a loss of 7 yards.

The following week, Majkowski went down, and the legend of Favre began. After four fumbles and a frenzied Lambeau crowd chanting for Ty Detmer, he led the Packers to a 24-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

What followed was a lifetime of memories. From the scrambling to the ill-advised passes to the interceptions to the Super Bowl to the retirement(s), Favre took us on a journey that will never be forgotten.

The pinnacle took place on a cool and rainy day in November 2001. By a pure stroke of luck, Dad and I found ourselves waiting outside the ticket office at Lambeau Field for the players’ tickets to be released. Through a mutual friend from Baylor, I had been put in touch with Santana Dotson, who left us two tickets for a game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The nerves were building as game time approached, and our tickets still hadn’t materialized. Had we made the long trek from Texas for nothing? Would we end up listening to the sounds of Lambeau from the parking lot? Dad and I both tried to keep our cool, but we both knew that panic was starting to set in.

Finally, the players’ tickets were released, and we headed into the building that we had only seen on television, not knowing or caring where our seats were. We were truly just happy to be there. That first glimpse of the somewhat soggy tundra was breathtaking. We stood in one of the breezeways and took it all in, replaying memories of games gone by. Making our way through the sights, sounds, and smells of game day at Lambeau, we soon realized that we had the best seats in the house: second row, 50-yard line behind the Packers bench.

It didn’t even matter to us that the day ended with a loss. It was the adventure of a lifetime, our trip to Graceland, and the memories will never die. This love affair with the Green Bay Packers, which has been made so exciting by the presence of a kid from Mississippi, was made to last.

Here I sit today with my own little Packer Backer, sharing with her the stories of that gunslinger who stole our hearts. Yes he’s a flawed man. Yes he made mistakes. But who are we to judge the mistakes of others? His pure joy in playing a kid’s game is what made us love him, and that joy is what the world will remember.

Thanks for a lifetime of memories, 4.


Jamie Kelly is the Founder of The Scoop, and hosts The Scoop Radio every Monday & Wednesday night on KTSR-db, part of the Texas Sports Review Radio Network. Follow her on Twitter @JamieSportsTalk.

 

SEC Football: What Stock Would Your Favorite Program Be?

LSU running back Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette via FoxSports.com

If your favorite Southeastern Conference football team was a stock in the market, who would they be? Would they be a savvy tech company, or a stodgy old blue chip? This is a look at which company each SEC most closely resembles.


MSFT_logo_pngFlorida $MSFT Florida was the top program in the country when Urban Meyer was at the helm. Now they are under new leadership and everyone needs to take a wait-and-see approach as to how Jim McElwain works out. They have immediate access to an unlimited amount of talent, and could be the trend-setter in college football with the right man in charge. Like Microsoft, they used to be great.

500px-General_Electric_logo_svgAlabama $GE The Crimson Tide is the biggest, baddest football program in the country. They are a blue chip program that always produces solid results. Alabama has been the definition of consistency under Nick Saban.

Tesla-Motors-symbolTexas A&M $TSLA Like Tesla, the Aggies are led by a brilliant mind in Kevin Sumlin. Although they have had flashes of greatness,  everyone is waiting for the Aggies to explode on the field and measure up to the recruiting hype.

1000px-Goldman_Sachs.svgAuburn $GS The Tigers feature good leadership, good talent, a proven system, and are poised to be strong for years to come. Just like with Goldman Sachs, there are detractors from the outside who question whether Auburn has achieved their success through nefarious means.

ups-logo-vector-01Arkansas $UPS It is tempting to compare the Razorbacks to Walmart for obvious reasons, but the program resembles the people in brown more. Arkansas slowly grinds away and gets the job done. There is nothing exciting about the Arkansas offense, but it wins games, kind of like the way UPS does a solid job day in and day out.

king logoMississippi State $KING King Digital Entertainment produced Candy Crush Saga and was wildly successful. Their failure to produce another game that has approached Candy Crush‘s popularity has caused the stock price to drop 28 percent since their initial public offering. One must wonder whether MSU will see a similar drop-off on the field once quarterback Dak Prescott graduates.

American_Express_aiOle Miss $AXP In the 1980s, the American Express card in your wallet was a status symbol. The people at AMEX still think it is 30 years later. Similarly, Ole Miss fans think that their football program is a traditional power because they experienced success in the 1950s, and the Grove has some cache as a tailgate spot. Rebel fans can look down upon Mississippi State just like AMEX execs can look down upon Discover card holders.

apple-logo-2014-pngGeorgia $APPL Apple is an extremely successful company that produces stylish products. Georgia has been consistently successful on the field, and regularly produces first-round draft picks. Techies will argue that Droid products are more capable than their more aesthetically pleasing counterparts from Apple. Alabama and Auburn fans will point out that they have won more national titles in the last decade than UGA, despite their recent run of elite skill players and NFL talent.

900x900px-LL-0f9e13fa_jim-beam-logoKentucky $BEAM Does this need any explanation? The number-one producer of bourbon in the world happens to be located in Kentucky. Most of the Wildcat fans partake in their homegrown product while counting the days until basketball season begins. The Jim Beam distillery was de-listed after a private company purchased all the shares; some Wildcat fans believe their football team has been de-listed for the past decade.

ford logoMissouri $F Ford was the only American car company that did not require a government bailout. They quietly made a profit while no one was watching. Everyone forgets that the Tigers won the East the year before when making predictions for the next season. Mizzou is not a flashy program, but they have consistently won since joining the conference.

Twitter-Logo-Icon-by-Jon-Bennallick-02Tennessee $TWTR The Volunteers have amazing potential just like Twitter. Both the Vols and Twitter stock have under-performed up to this point, but are poised to break out in a big way. The Vols have a killer app in quarterback Josh Dobbs, while Twitter has Periscope.

McDonald's_2006LSU $MCD Everyone knows that going to McDonald’s too often will likely lead to an early demise. The same can be said for visiting teams who venture into Baton Rouge. McDonald’s has hit a lull as a company. They are no longer everyone’s favorite burger joint, as the Whataburgers and In & Outs of the world have cut into their market share. Yet, McDonald’s still serves billions of people annually. LSU has seen their win totals diminish over the past few years, yet they still produce as much NFL talent as any program in the country.

callaway-logoSouth Carolina $ELY Callaway Golf Company is one of the most successful manufacturers of golf apparel in the world. Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier was drawn to Columbia because of all the nice golf courses in the area. Spurrier is the Gamecocks program. It is doubtful that Callaway will steal market share from Nike any time soon, just as it is doubtful that South Carolina will win the Eastern division any time soon. Spurrier will continue to play golf and the Gamecocks will be a winning program as long as he is the head coach.

internet america logVanderbilt $GEEK Internet America is a small internet service provider that will never compete with the large telecommunication companies out there. The same can be said for Vanderbilt‘s prospects for consistently competing in the SEC East. There will be outlier-type years like the period under James Franklin, but the ‘Dores cannot be expected to consistently compete for SEC championships.


Michael Taglienti is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeTag98.

Casinos Are Bad, Mmmkay?

As you have heard by now, the NFL stepped in it AGAIN. This time they banned the first ever National Fantasy Football Convention, just weeks before its scheduled opening.

Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison
Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison
Tony Romo has been the public face of the event, the NFFC, for the past several months. However, in the proverbial eleventh hour, the NFL put the deep-6 on the convention on, get this, moral grounds. The League had concerns about the event being held at a Las Vegas casino, because, of course, gambling does not look good for pro sports (see Tim Donaghy, Pete Rose, and the 1919 Chicago Blacksox).

The NFFC would have provided a great opportunity for players and fans to meet, greet and mingle. Not that anyone would want to help GROW the NFL brand, or anything.

Tony Romo, who only recently joined Twitter, thanks in part to the investigative work of our Founder, Jamie Kelly, said in one of the few tweets from his account:

Cowboys teammate and fellow NFFC headliner Dez Bryant was quite agitated in his response:

Fantasy football is a $3 Billion industry that affects every facet of the NFL. It brings in more fans who love fantasy sports, and it increases viewership, which obviously helps the League.

The NFFC was to feature Cowboys Romo, Bryant, and Jason Witten, and many other NFL stars, including Jamaal Charles, Antonio Brown, DeMarco Murray, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, Julio Jones and DeMarcus Ware. It was to also feature around a dozen media personalities, including Michael Fabiano of the league-owned NFL Network and NFL.com. Fabiano‘s participation alone further proves that the NFL has nffc posterknown about this event for some time, and simply chose to wait until it was beyond the point of no return to pull the plug.

This three-day event was scheduled to be July 10-12 at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. The NFL confirmed via email a Fox Sports report about the league’s longstanding policy that, “Players and NFL personnel may not participate in promotional activities or other appearances in connection with events that are held at or sponsored by casinos.”

HUH? The NFL won’t allow that, but they allow NFL owners to own stock in racetracks in New Jersey, Baltimore and Florida.

CBS Las Vegas
CBS Las Vegas
The NFL‘s indignation about gambling is a glorious, joke. It is estimated, conservatively, that anywhere from $70-100 BILLION is wagered on NFL games each year, and only a small part of that is done legally. I’m sure that many of you have participated in office pools, bought squares for a big football game, or even bet someone a Coke on a game. Obviously gambling boosts attendance and TV revenue. When you have money invested in something, you’re typically going to watch.

I’ll give you an easy example of how the NFL‘s actions are counter to what they say about gambling. The League requires each team to state before games (usually on Thursday) which players may have to sit out due to injury, and which players are questionable. Why? The information benefits gamblers. Does the League care that newspapers run the points spread? Of course not.


Just when you think it can’t get any worse… No, on second thought, I think we all agree that it can, and will, get worse. There are, in fact, several documented cases of the NFL getting in bed with either organized crime or big time gamblers.

1. The Chicago Bears

largeIn the early 1920s, George Halas turned to a man who was a noted bootlegger, gambler, racetrack owner and known associate of Chicago’s Al “Scarface” Capone‘s mob to finance the Bears. His name was Charles Bidwell. Yes, THAT, Bidwell. Later on, Bidwell bought the Chicago Cardinals. Guess whose family owns the Arizona Cardinals? Yep. The Bidwell family.

2. The Cleveland Browns

Cleveland_Browns_63602_zpsb375f1adThe Cleveland Browns were owned by crime syndicate bookmaker Arthur “Mickey” McBride, the head of the Continental Racing Wire, the mob’s gambling news service. The U.S. Senate’s Kefauver Committee called that news service “Public Enemy Number One.” In 1961, the team was sold to Art Modell, who among many things, was a partner in a horse racing stable with Morris “Mushy” Wexler, whom the Kefauver Committee named one of the “leading hoodlums” in McBride’s wire service. In 1969, Modell was married in Las Vegas at the home of William “Billy” Weinberger, who just happened to be the president of Caesar’s Palace, whose hidden owners included: Tony “The Big Tuna” Accardo, Sam “Momo” Giancana, and Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo. When he finally died in 1996, The Las Vegas Sun called Weinberger the “dean of casino gambling.”

3. The San Francisco 49ers

159571aThe Youngstown DeBartolo family, long involved in casinos and racetracks, owns the Niners. In the late 1990s Edward DeBartolo Jr., then the head of the 49ers, paid the Louisiana Governor $400,000 to get a riverboat casino license. The Governor went to jail for that crime, and DeBartolo got a slap on the wrist. He did have to leave the 49ers, but his family still runs the team while DeBartolo Jr. runs the company that is based back in Youngstown.

joe namath bachelors iiiNow, here’s an oldie but a goodie. In 1969, a hypocrisy of all hypocrisies happens in the Big Apple. New York Jets quarterback, Joe Namath invested in a Manhattan bar. The National Football League told him to sell his shares because the joint had ties to big time gamblers and unsavory individuals.

WHAT?

The league said NOTHING about Modell‘s ties or the unsavory ties of numerous other team owners.  The late Carroll Rosenbloom, a high roller with major interest in a mob-run casino, owned the Baltimore Colts AND the Los Angeles Rams at different times.


I personally think that the NFL got its feelings hurt because this National Fantasy Football Convention did not include them, nor were they going to see a red cent of monies from it either.

And, lastly, the NFL showed it’s immaturity when the NFL tweeted this to Tony Romo:

Was the league trying to be funny, or were they trolling Tony Romo? In either case, the league looks bad, and guess who’s the head of the NFL? Good ol’ Roger Goodell.

America! You can gamble on our games, but please don’t ask our players to have a meet, greet, and mingle with you at a resort because well, we have our integrity to protect.

TOO LATE.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

Where Have You Gone, Willie Mays?

AP Photo
AP Photo

No doubt, if you are a sports fan, you’ve noticed a couple of things. First, there is a vast disparity between the major sports in terms of color within that sport. Secondly, in some sports, there is virtually no diversity.

According to a report by Henry Johnson of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, for example, there are issues with diversity in basketball. The NBA, WNBA, and NFL are predominantly African-American, while MLB and MLS are predominantly Anglo.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-11-at-5.46.36-PM
Harvard Sports Analysis Collective

 

In a story written by Paul Hagen for MLB.com, fewer African-Americans are playing in Major League Baseball today than two decades ago; the percentage was 8.5 percent on this season’s Opening Day rosters. Some have estimated that number to be around 27% in the 1970s, but exhaustive research by Mark Armour, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, shows that the actual number never exceeded 19 percent.

So, what is Major League Baseball doing about this? Commissioner Bud Selig announced in April the formation of a task force to tackle the issue of on-field diversity.

“To be fair, the numbers have dropped. I believe the numbers have dropped from 18-19 percent, which is what they were for about two decades. From the 1970s through the ’90s, the numbers were in the high teens. Now they’re half that,” said Armour, who writes software for the Environmental Protection Agency. “What I determined, and I analyzed data from 1947, when Jackie Robinson made his debut up to 1986, is that the number never got to 20 percent. The black-player number, counting all dark-skinned players, was in the high 20s for a period. But not the African-American number. All the press stuff that comes out every April compares the African-American numbers from today with the all-black-players number from the ’70s. And that’s where they make their mistake.”

Even with all his data, Armour can’t fully explain why fewer African-Americans are playing big league baseball beyond the fact that there are so many players of other ethnicities, primarily Latin American and Asian, now in the game.

Let me hazard a guess: MONEY.

First off, where is the allure for baseball? While it may be “America’s Pastime,” the money can be made elsewhere. The NBA has shoe endorsements and multi-million dollar contracts. In my job as an educator, I come in contact with many athletes. 98% tell me that they are going to play basketball in the NBA or play football in the NFL. The NFL has popularity and name recognition. If you play in the NFL, chances are good that you are well known, at least in your region. Same is said for basketball.

The NFL and NBA have a sexiness to them. Major League Baseball has a workman ethic. Not sexy, but more of a grind. While the NFL has a 16-game season, and the NBA has a 82-game season, Major League Baseball has a whopping 162 games. With football being played once a week, it captures more attention. An NBA team may play 2-3 games in a week’s time, but baseball plays almost every day. Perhaps it’s a case of oversaturation?

SLAM Magazine
SLAM Magazine

The NFL is at an all-time high in popularity and the NBA is very visible with stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden. The NFL has superstars like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady, among others.  Major League Baseball has stars like Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and others. Notice a trend? The majority of superstar athletes that play in the NBA and NFL are African-American; the majority of superstars in MLB are Anglo or Hispanic.

Why? Again, I go back to the money issue. Who remembers the Peyton Manning commercials where he chants, “Cut that meat!”?

Who remembers the McDonald’s commercial where Larry Bird and Magic Johnson play HORSE for a meal?

Remember that baseball commercial where…uh…where…ah…well…you get my point. Major League Baseball doesn’t have that appeal to fans, although you will always have diehard fans who keep scorebooks at games. When’s the last time you went to a football game and kept a book for penalties called? When’s the last time you saw someone keeping a book at a basketball game?

Check out these numbers provided by the NCAA.

baseball_0

football_0 mbb_0

In these statistics from the NCAA, you can clearly see that NOT MANY athletes make the cut. Many boys and girls grow up dreaming of playing sports in college and the pro ranks. But of the nearly eight million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States, only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools. And of that group, only a fraction will realize their goal of becoming a professional athlete.

The sad part is, while some athletes are good enough to play in college, their grades will not get them into college. That frequently forces them go to Junior College where some, if not all, never make it out.

USATSI
USATSI

Baseball is the only sport now that allows players from high school to go straight to the pro’s. Noah Syndergaard, a pitcher from Mansfield Legacy High School in Texas, went from high school to the New York Mets farm club. He is currently on the major league roster.

The NBA has enforced the “one and done” rule, requesting high school basketball prospects to wait at least one year before declaring for the draft. Contrary to popular belief, the NBA does not require athletes to attend one year of college, but they must wait an entire year or be at least 19 years old to declare for the draft.

The NFL will not draft a player from HS. They prefer the player have at least 2 years in college. More underclassmen are declaring for the draft, and more and more are going UNDRAFTED.

Sexy vs. the Grind. Which would you choose?

Which brings me back to my first question: Where have you gone, Willie Mays?


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

Alabama Football: Is The Crimson Tide’s Dynasty Over?

Nick Saban has spent the last eight years building the Alabama football program into the most dominant program in the nation. The Crimson Tide‘s time in the sun is now over as spread offenses and simple complacency have signaled the end to Alabama‘s run.

USA Today
USA Today

Saban took over the Alabama program in 2007, and has produced a 91-17 record during his tenure as the head coach in Tuscaloosa. He has averaged over 11 wins per season by transforming the Crimson Tide into a college version of an NFL team.

Alabama wins by shutting the opposition down with an elite defense, and pounding the ball and controlling the clock on offense. Saban‘s coaching philosophy mirrors the philosophy of old NFC East teams where a strong running game and a stout defense equaled victories.

College football has changed during Saban‘s tenure, and he still has not adjusted to the times. Alabama has lost games in January for consecutive seasons for the first time under Saban.


The Spread Dilemma

The majority of college football teams in America are now running the spread offense. This flies in the face of traditionalists like Saban who prefer to line up and physically beat teams. The issue for Saban is that spread teams have historically given his defense fits.

The spread allows offenses to spread defenses out, and minimizes the advantages of opposing teams that have superior talent on the defensive line. This means that smaller programs who lack the recruiting prowess and tradition of Alabama can play with them on the field.

In the past, the team with the most talent and ability on the offensive and defensive lines won the game. The spread allows teams with average talent on the offensive line to score points in bunches against teams with superior defensive talent.

AP
AP

Alabama has lost four games during the past two seasons. All four of those opponents ran spread offenses. In those four losses, the Crimson Tide defense allowed an average of 36 points per game.

In the past two seasons, that Alabama defense has allowed 16.3 points per game. Obviously Saban‘s defenses have issues dealing with spread offenses.


Passers and Pass Rushers

The best way to stop the spread offense is to put consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. If a defense can disrupt the rhythm of the quarterback, then the spread offense will stall.

This has been an issue for Alabama because they have not had an elite pass-rusher on their defense for years. In 2014, Xzavier Dixon led the Tide in sacks with nine in 14 games. In 2013, A’Shawn Robinson led Alabama with 5.5 sacks in 13 games.

Saban‘s defenses do not excel at putting a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Only twice during his eight years in Tuscaloosa have the Tide produced a defender who averaged more than half a sack per game: Dixon in 2014 who averaged 0.64 sacks per game, and 2011 when Courtney Upshaw averaged 0.73 sacks per game.

USA Today
USA Today

If you cannot consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, you will not be able to consistently beat spread teams. Alabama lost to Ohio State in the 2014 college football playoffs because they could not get pressure on Buckeye quarterback Cardale Jones, and he completed multiple long passes on third downs to extend drives.

If you cannot shut down spread offenses, you need to be able to outscore them to win games. Saban has recruited a number of elite receivers to Alabama, including Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. Unfortunately he has not been able to develop an elite quarterback.

Since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide have not had a quarterback who averaged 250 yards passing per game. The closest they got was in 2014 when new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin installed elements of the hurry-up spread offense, and Blake Sims averaged 249.1 yards per game.

The quarterbacks under Saban have always been expected to manage the game rather than be true playmakers. This changed a little bit under Kiffin in 2014, but the Tide enter 2015 with major questions at the position.

Senior Jacob Coker is expected to start at quarterback in 2015. David Cornwell, Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman are competing with Coker at the position. Coker was expected to beat Sims out in 2014 but was not up to the task.

Alabama has recruited exceptionally well under Saban. According to 247Sports.com, Alabama has signed the best recruiting class in the nation five years in a row. They are accustomed to reloading every offseason, not rebuilding. Alabama‘s roster may be tested by the number of losses on the offensive side of the ball from the 2014 team.

The Tide graduated three members of their offensive line, their starter at running back and all three of their starting wide receivers. Alabama returns two starters on an offense that has not won a bowl game in two years.

They return one starter from a secondary that struggled mightily to get off the field on third down late in the 2014 season. The bottom line for Alabama is that unless Derrick Henry has a huge junior season at running back, the Tide will struggle to remain among the elite teams in college football.

Saban was able to dominate college football early during his tenure in Tuscaloosa by running a superior program to everyone else in the college game. The opposition has caught up to Alabama, and the Tide‘s dynasty is over.


Mike Taglienti is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeTag98.

 

Deflategate: Where Do We Go From Here?

ABC News
ABC News

If you are an avid sports fan or just a casual fan, by now you have surely heard of “Deflategate.” The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are in the spotlight for (GASP!) cheating, once again.

While this is not earth-shattering news in and of itself, it may show a pattern of rule-bending. I’m not accusing the Patriots of anything, but the facts do speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at where this saga is headed.


Fool Me Once…

spygate1The 2007 New England Patriots videotaping controversy, widely dubbed “Spygate,” refers to an incident during the National Football League’s 2007 season in which the New England Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals during a September 9, 2007 game. The Patriots were videotaping the Jets’ coaches from their own sideline, which is not allowed.

Videotaping opposing coaches is not illegal in the NFL, but there are designated areas allowed by the league to do such taping. The act was deemed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be in violation of league rules. After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 (the maximum allowed by the league, and the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league’s 80+year history) for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, which would have been the 31st pick. The fine garnered significant media attention for being the “maximum amount” an individual could be fined.

When it came time to penalize the Patriots for their latest transgression, the 2007 incident gave the League the precedent they needed to establish a pattern of calculated and deliberate attempts to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field.


Glass Houses

Photo by Maddie Meyer
Photo by Maddie Meyer

Now we arrive at the current day. The New England Patriots were charged with deflating footballs used in a playoff game. “Deflategate” is a major controversy in the NFL, stemming from allegations that the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18th, 2015.

Depending on who you believe, many claim that the Patriots have been cheating for years and are just now getting caught.

Before you get all hot and bothered, you might be surprised as to who ELSE has been rumored to have doctored footballs before and during games. In a report published by NESN, the Indianapolis Colts may have done the EXACT same thing. The report stated:

The NFL was alerted to the Deflategate situation by the Indianapolis Colts, who lost to the New England Patriots 45-7 in last season’s AFC Championship Game. Turns out the Colts might not be choirboys themselves.

In the Patriots’ Thursday rebuttal to the Wells Report, the team said it supplied evidence about the Colts’ potential wrongdoings. The first came from a Colts-Jaguars game that took place sometime before the 2014 season. “Evidence was also provided that Indianapolis ball boys, in a prior season, had been seen by Jacksonville personnel with ball needles hidden under their long sleeves,” the Patriots wrote in “The Wells Report in Context.” Separately, the Patriots pointed out the Colts took a PSI reading of a football during the AFC title game, which is an NFL rules violation. “Once the game starts, neither team is allowed to gauge the footballs, pump them, or the like. That is solely the province of the referee, who is to be the ‘sole judge’ of whether footballs comply,” the Patriots wrote. “The Colts, with advance concerns about PSI, did not take the issue to the referee. They took the matter into their own hands and had an intern gauge the football. (pg. 63) This conduct was in violation of Rule 2. Nowhere does the Report identify this conduct as a violation of the Rule.”

What are we in, third grade? I got caught cheating, so I’m going to turn you in? What do you think? Is this sour grapes, or do the Colts have some “’splainin” to do?


Brady’s Day in Court

ABC News
ABC News

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decided this past Thursday that he’ll be the one to preside over the appeal filed by Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady.

The NFL said in a released statement, “Commissioner Goodell will hear the appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension in accordance with the process agreed upon with the NFL Players Association in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.”

The NFLPA did NOT want any part of Goodell, and had specifically requested that a neutral third party hear Brady’s appeal. The Commish decided otherwise.

“Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal,” the NFLPA said in a statement when Brady’s appeal was filed on Thursday. “If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is ‘direct’ and ‘inculpatory,’ then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.”

Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Goodell has the option of hearing Brady’s appeal himself, or designating an officer to hear the appeal. The NFL commissioner also could have sent the case to a neutral arbitrator. Obviously, Goodell went with option A.

With Goodell presiding over the appeal, it’s likely going be tough for Brady to get his four-game suspension reduced, mainly because Goodell himself signed off on the punishment.

This can only mean one thing. Lawsuit.

USATSI
USATSI

You can bet that once Goodell upholds the 4-game suspension, the NFLPA/Brady/New England Patriots will file suit in Federal Court.  One has to wonder what Goodell is thinking. By taking over in hearing Brady’s appeal, Goodell has all but finalized the 4-game suspension, thus opening the door to a major lawsuit. One that he will have a hard time winning.

As numerous outlets have reported, there is no DIRECT EVIDENCE that Brady told anyone to deflate footballs. The Wells Report got as close as possible to pinning the rule-breaking on Brady.

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.”

Is that the smoking gun?

This will most certainly land in civil litigation, and the League is going to be hard-pressed to win this one. Perhaps Commissioner Goodell should have sat this one out; that’s the only way he can save face over what is quickly becoming his Waterloo.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.