Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roger Goodell and the current state of the NFL

Roger Goodell is an idiot.  He is selfish, he only cares about money, and he is ruining the NFL.  The NFL has turned in to a joke where a bunch of grown men run around on a field and are penalized if they aren't nice to each other.  You just scored an amazing touchdown? Good for you but you aren't allowed to celebrate it. You hit a guy with your shoulder but he ducked his head so you made contact with his helmet, 15 yard penalty and a $25,000 fine. You sacked the quarterback? Nope, that was apparently a late hit and a 15 yard penalty.  There was news this week that there is consideration to remove the kickoff in the NFL because "it is one of the most dangerous plays in the game".  You know what else is dangerous? THE OTHER 59 MINUTES OF THE GAME!  Do we want to remove that too?  Two years ago the "wedge" was disallowed because opposing teams would run down at full speed and try to break it up by smashing into it which was "dangerous".  Last year the kickoff was pushed up 5 yards which led to a record number of touchbacks. So now in the NFL if you catch the kickoff (that's a big if), you pretty much aren't allowed to block for your returner.  Thanks, Roger Goodell, that sounds like a whole lot of fun.

In the interest of keeping this short, here are a few things (that really piss me off) which have changed in the NFL since Roger Goodell has become the Commissioner:

- The NFL draft is now a 3 day confusing process.  Why 3 days? Well they can sell tickets to Radio City Music hall for the extra 2 days along with advertisements for their TV coverage. So basically more $$$

- The releasing of the NFL schedule has now earned a 3 hour special on ESPN.  Honestly, I don't care who my team will be playing on October 6th.  I don't need to sit through a 3 hour special to see who my team is playing because it is April and that's six months away.  It would seem that if you release the schedule early, you can spark fans interest, and allow ESPN to talk up the games which will result in more $$$.

- Last year Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's single season passing yards mark of 5,084. Congrats.  In the 1984 season when Dan Marino set that record only two other quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards. In the 2012 season when Drew Brees broke Marino's record nine other quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards.  So have quarterbacks gotten better? Probably. Have defenses gotten better? Probably.  Have the rules changed?  Absolutely.  Illegal contact has prohibited tight coverage, personal fouls have prohibited big hits which scare the offense, and the new rules protecting the quarterbacks have prohibited hitting the quarterback.  All of this leads to the Quarterbacks sitting in their pocket and picking apart the "defense".  The reason for this: More touchdowns leads to more exciting games.  More exciting games leads to more viewers.  More viewers leads to more $$$.

- For the first time since 1940 there will be an NFL game on a Wednesday.  If all teams play on the same day then there will be games that people can't watch because their team is playing.  If we have games everyday of the week then the viewer has a greater chance of seeing more football which leads to more $$$

- NFL Network. You know where I'm going with this. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Roger Goodell is a genius.  He is a rich genius who is ruining the NFL and he is getting away with it.  He doesn't care about the fans, he doesn't care about the players, he only cares about his image and making money.  I can't believe this man is getting away with all of this.  He has changed the game of football into a huge business and he is bringing in all the nasty trick of the business world.  The NFL is dying right in front of us and Roger Goodell is to blame.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pretty in Pink

I have accepted I will never be good at golf. Hitting people in the face with golf clubs, losing balls in hazards and hitting casual pedestrians is a sure sign of failure. It was a hard reality to accept, but since then, I have developed my skills elsewhere. The golf cart. I can drive a mean golf cart. Pop that puppy into drive and hit a whopping 10mph, just my speed. The beauty of a vehicle driving that slow, is I get to see what all the golfers are wearing.

Rickie Fowler is a well known golfer on the PGA Tour that has impeccable style. What people notice most about him is his wacky array of colors. From pink to blue, and purple to orange, he looks good in just about everything. At age 14, Rickie traded in his motocross bike for a set of golf clubs and never looked back. In 2009, Rickie entered a sponsorship agreement with Puma. He said this partnership has enabled him to express his personality and style through his clothes whether he is playing golf or hanging out with friends. 
Gorgeous. Real men wear pink.

Tiger Woods also had a unique outfit. He always wore red shirt and black pants on Sunday. When asked why he wears the same outfit, he said it was the colors of his alma matar, Stanford, and that his mom was always a fan of the color red. Momma's boy.

Well as Iverson put it in one word: practice. Maybe I just need a spiffy outfit and a little practice. Helmets might be necessary at the driving range. 

To send you on your way:

Pittsburgh: City of Champions... and the Pirates

It is 445 miles from my doorstep, to waterfront of the Strip District in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Being a dislocated fan of all things Pittsburgh has its unfortunate encounters: you can not listen to this song without being judged, Primanti Brothers is not across the street, wearing this usually provokes a conversation about him being a pussy, and you can't escape jokes about Big Ben and the farm team of the MLB. But, the City of Champions has it's perks. For example, the skyline in PNC Park when you have seats on the 3rd base line.

And... six Lombardi trophies. Just putting that out there.

But I have coped with this awful epidemic that affects many sports fans by ordering the "Sports Fan Displacement Package" on DirecTV. It is well worth it to see Sidney Crosby and Chase d'Arnaud in high definition (if you're flippin', what I'm fryin'). I am a second generation fan, meaning I wasn't born in Pittsburgh and no... I am not from there. My ENTIRE family is from the Pittsburgh area except me and my sister who were born in South Carolina. Not sure why my parents thought moving down there was a good idea. Anyway, point blank- I bleed Black and Gold, dry off after a shower with a Terrible Towel, and when asked what kind of burger I want, I always answer, Roethlisberger.

Although my infatuation with the city of Pittsburgh and its teams is indescribable, my love of sports can best be summed up in one word: Family. My family has bonded over sporting events since I can remember. It has brought us closer together, sometimes too close with our endless cycle of football, hockey, baseball-wash, rinse, repeat. I saw what sports was doing for our family, and it made me want that feeling for other families. The love our family shares for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates connects us in a special way that every family should experience. 

This blog is going to be a chance to talk about Pittsburgh sports (obviously) but also about other controversies in sport, from a woman's viewpoint. 

A video to send you on your way...


Friday, April 13, 2012

There's something about sports...

There's something about sport that I can't explain.  There's something about the way it makes me feel that I cannot explain. I know it is not the same for everybody but the people who have a true passion for sport can relate.  I have one particular instance in mind that I would like to share.  Before I get started I want you all to watch this video: .  So this video was from the 2010 World Cup where the United States was facing elimination in the final game of the group stages.  With the score tied at 0-0 and only 3 minutes of stoppage time remaining, Landon Donovan raced down the field to place home the game winner.  This goal not only helped the United States advance in the World Cup, it also helped them finish atop the group (above the favored England squad). Now I know this isn't the prettiest goal that was ever scored but what makes it beautiful is the pure joy it brings to so many people.  Here is the game play of the goal.  The joy on the faces of he players can only be matched by the joy of all the other US Soccer fans in the world.  Watching the reaction video gives me chills because I know those fans are experiencing the same emotions that I felt. Unfortunately, I did not film my reaction to this goal but in the pure excitement I jumped up and punched the ceiling which left my hand a little bloody. A memory that I will cherish forever and a moment that I can never forget is a great trade-off for a little scar on my hand.

Every single time I relieve this moment I get goosebumps.  This is one of the moments that I know will stick with me for the rest of my life.  It is incredible that sport can have such a lasting impact of those watching.  The sad part is, this wasn't even that big of a game on the grand scheme of things.  I can't even begin to image how Spain supporters felt when Andres Iniesta scored the game winning goal in the 116th minute to clinch the countries first ever World Cup title.  The United States' goal just helped us get out of the group stage whereas the Spain goal clinched the whole thing.  I have honestly sat here for 5 minutes and tried to think about what it would be like to be a Spanish fan whose team just won the World Cup with only 3 minutes of time to spare and I can't even dream the feelings they must have felt.  If I get chills whenever I watch the US goal, I might freeze if I was ever in the same place as a Spanish fan (stupid joke, I know but it holds some truth).

The problem for me with all of this is that I care too much.  It's almost to the point where I am scared to watch a sporting event because I don't want to get my hopes up and then have them slashed right in front of me.  Sport for me is kind of like a relationship where I am scared to open up because I don't want to let someone get too close to me and then hurt me.  With sport, if I never care about a team or care about a game, I can never get hurt.  This is stupid.  If I never opened myself up and watched any of the World Cup games, I would never have experienced one of the greatest sport-related moments of my life.  The good (or possibly bad) part about sports is there is always next year.  The United States got knocked out of the World Cup in the round of 16 to Ghana.  After the sour taste of defeat left my mouth, I was excited for the next World Cup.  Those 4 years couldn't come fast enough.  I knew that my team performed well which gives me confidence that we can perform well in the next World Cup.  At the start of the next World Cup my heart will be open a little more than it was the last time in the hopes that my team can provide another moment of happiness like it did before.  But again, with an open heart for sports you leave yourself open for disappointment/ heartbreak when your team loses or doesn't live up to your expectations.  I am prepared to take on this possible heartbreak in the hopes that another magical moment happens where my team surpasses my expectation.  I am prepared to move on in the future with an open heart and I can thank sport for that.

Pure excitement after Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal against Algeria

Oh, just pageanty and sports...

2010 Winter Classic Logo
Since birth I have always been obsessed with sports. I have never been able to put into words what the single reason I love sports so I have stopped trying. It is a complicated process that can truly not be explained. But one of the reasons I do love sports is the pageantry of it all. At first you might have visions of the TLC reality thriller Toddlers and Tiaras but that is not the direction I am attempting to go. By pageantry I mean those games you love to watch with the classic teams, the classic venue, or unique event. The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games is one of those classic events. I mean how do you not watch the lighting of the Olympic torch. Despite zero affiliation with either service academy I always seem tune in to NBC and watch the Army-Navy game. Again, it is just one of those classic events that garners your attention every year. But the event that truly keeps me infatuated for all of New Year's Day is the NHL's Winter Classic. The unique qualities of a rotating location, participants, and it's outdoor venue make it one of the coolest events every year (No pun intended).

In the past 5 years or so I've seen a rise in popularity of throwback or classic uniforms. Many professional franchises have pursued these options. The most recent of these was the re-branding of the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. The Jays new unis aim to remind fans of the '93 Joe Carter days and hopefully let them forget the meager attempt to be relevant with their alternates. While the O's new look redesigns that loveable bird from the 70's and 80's. This idea has also been seen in the NHL's Edmonton Oilers and NBA's Philadelphia 76ers with both teams making primary uniforms from classic looks. Both relatively dormant recently, they have used the re-brands to ignite the fire that these storied franchises once possessed. This phenomenon has even permeated college athletics with NC State choosing to loose the "N" and "C" on many of their sports teams' jerseys and go with just "STATE" similar to the 1983 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship team. My favorite display of this is in the NHL Winter Classic match ups. With classic jerseys from the Penguins, Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks, and Capitals, it really is a field day for uni lovers like myself.

I tried to understand the infatuation with this re-branding to a classic uniform look and could not grasp it. Yes, I loved it but why did everyone else and why was this a trend. I then remembered the craze 10 years ago involving a mass modernization of franchise looks such as the Denver Broncos. Many of those teams shed their classic look for a more modern and hip style. Unfortunately many of them failed and the franchises are still in a tailspin from that first bad front office decision. I then realized that this trend was cyclical and soon another idea will take over this great honoring of historic teams with classic jerseys. But until that sad day I will continue to enjoy the throwback and classic uniforms that I love. If you are interested in more uniforms and jerseys please check out The guys there know there jersey and uni info and have tons of cool images to check out.

This blog is a three headed monster comprised of three college students studying sport who hope to provide their fresh and unique look on various topics. Each of the authors will provide their own style and choice of topics providing an awesome experience for you the reader.