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Former DT Kris Jenkins Says Football Is Hell — Gives Good Insight Into Football’s Reality

Kudos to the NFL for actually linking to the NYT Kris Jenkins post on They've taken their heads out of the sand.

The NY Times, which has done great work on the NFL’s concussion issues, compiled some quotes from DT Kris Jenkins on the behind the scenes parts of football. He describes football as hell and gives some good details about what it does to the mind (foggy thinking) and body (chronic pain and numbness).

The first thing people do when they hear football players talk about the consequences of playing football is get defensive. Reactions range from uninformed ( “Well, they get paid a lot of money so…”) to wildly exaggerated ( “They know the consequences when they begin!”) to irrelevant ( “I don’t feel sorry for any of these guys.”) to blatantly racist (“Well if they weren’t playing football they’d probably be in jail.”)

Being the nice girl that I am, I’ve covered all those bases for you so that you don’t have to. That way, all you have to do is read Kris’ thoughts without being feeling pressured to say something dumb.

The entire piece can be read here.

Here are a couple of the excerpts that stuck out to me the most.

N.F.L. fans, people outside, they have no clue what goes on. This isn’t like playing Madden. This isn’t like being the popular kid in high school. When you do those things in the real world, and it don’t work out, you still have your health. The thing about football is you’re directly playing with your life, the quality of it and the longevity of it. The stakes are up there.

You ever been in a car crash? Done bumper cars? You know when that hit catches you off guard and jolts you, and you’re like, what the hell? Football is like that. But 10 times worse. It’s hell.

I got my first N.F.L. concussion against Green Bay, my rookie year. I jumped, and my feet got clipped, and I hit the ground face-first. Bang! No shoulders. No chest. Nothing. Just my face hit. I got up, and I had the punch-drunk feeling, seeing starbursts and feeling giddy. I knew where I was. I knew what was going on. I also knew I had my bell rung. I made tackles back to back, and I remember one coach saying, the way he’s playing right now, the concussion probably did him some good. I played the whole game.

The debate about concussions wasn’t there yet. I’ve had more than 10, including college and the pros. Nobody cared. And that’s the thing. We play football.

I remember one game, at Carolina, my second year. We played Arizona, and the double team weighed 780 pounds combined. They just kept double-teaming me, hoping I would fold and cave in. I didn’t. But that was probably the most painful day I had.

From the double teams, over the years, I wore the left side of my body down. I was past hurt. I was at the point of numb. Like my body was shutting down nervous systems, so I didn’t have to deal with pain.


I mean, guys play hurt, but it’s a choice. They do a pretty good job now, with all the scrutiny around concussions. On the line, it’s still painful. By the end of the year, half an offensive line might be getting shots, draining fluid from their knees. Most stay away from cortisone now, because it’s degenerative.

Everything gets off center. Bulging disk. Herniated disk. For linemen, it starts in the lower back. Throws everything off.

I can’t blame anybody for my death. I made the choice to play football. I made the choice to walk through the concussions. I could have stopped. I could have said, my head hurts. It was my choice, as a man. We consider football a gladiator sport because we understand you’re going to get hurt. You’re putting your life on the line. You might not die now, like in an old Roman arena, but 5, 10 years down the road, you could. You know that.

I wouldn’t change anything.


When we come into the N.F.L., we’re idiots. Because you’ve been groomed from childhood to think the rules don’t apply to you.

So this is what happens. You’re going to be warned. The first warning is the first meeting you have with an agent, when you realize this is real. My choices count at this point. I’m going to be prostituting myself for the next 18 years of my life.

That’s the first warning. The next one is that good old combine.

That’s when you realize, when you march in that room half naked, I’m a number now. They’ve changed the recruiting process to a percentage.

That’s what you are.

The third warning is when you get that contract. Most of the language in there is standardized. The gist of it is, stay in line, or else.

Your last warning is in training camp because there’s no learning curve. That’s when you realize that it all ties in together, and it will be that way as long as you’re playing.

I went through so much in Carolina, it was ridiculous. People checking up on us in clubs. Concerns with the locker room. John Fox was our coach. He was a big cliché guy. He’d say, do as I say, not as I do.

That didn’t make sense to me.


Right now, it’s more important than ever for guys to take care of themselves off the field. The Patriots do it right. They have an acupuncturist on staff. They do Pilates. That’s one secret to their success: recovery.

You can do a lot off the field. You can lift. You can run. But that trauma, that rattling, that impact, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Your body is going to naturally react. Your muscles will tighten up. Fluid builds.

The unfortunate thing is the timing of the off-season. You don’t have enough time. You get a month off, and you use that to mentally relax.

But your body is still tense from all that impact, from all that pain.

I don’t think the science is keeping up with the changes in the game.

We’re not on grass anymore. We’re on turf, which is disgusting for fat people. I hate turf. It’s the worst thing ever invented for a lineman.

Your knees absorb the impact. It’s being bounced up through your body through the concrete. Into your lower back. Into your lower spine.

People don’t want to put up with the gunk and the mud, but that was one of the best parts of the game. Playing in mud, when you can’t get a grip, when it’s disgusting. That’s football. The entertainment value was just fine back then.

The thing is, when guys retire, then stuff happens to their body; they’re coming back, screaming like we’re the martyrs in all this.


My primary observation is that the more I read former players’ experiences in football,the more I believe there will be a point where society moves past football due to the brutality of it. Jenkins and other former players like Jamie Dukes and current players like Ray Lewis refer to football as a modern Gladiator sport. I think this comparison is valid for a number of reasons and just as society became too civilized for Gladiator battles it will at some point become too progressive for football.

Information is always the beginning of the end. The only variable is time.

When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of boxing. In fact, I wanted to be a boxer at one point. As I got older watching the sport made me cringe. I’m getting to that point with MMA however the repeated blows to the head in boxing made me more wary of it than the more total body sport of MMA. At any rate, I’ve heard a number of reasons given for why boxing is no longer popular. But what people rarely say is that society just isn’t into the raw brutality of organized blood baths anymore. And watching heroes like Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali struggle post-career makes it much harder for some of us to enjoy current boxers cause we’re now hyper-aware of what comes next.

What keeps football relevant and growing is the distance between the players and fans. The padding, the helmets, the fantasy of it. No, football isn’t Madden, but IS Madden to the viewer. The guys aren’t real or human in any sense of the word to the average fan. They’re largely faceless interchangeable pieces unlike boxers who are bound to and thrive off the extreme individuality of their sport. But now that former players are coming forward telling their stories — not for money, not for sympathy, but just for your information-they’re pouring the warmth of humanity over a sports dish best served cold and nondescript. We’re inching ever closer to thinking about football the way we’ve always avoided thinking about it.

I love football, I believe it is the greatest sport on earth. I enjoy going to games and experiencing the energy of the crowds, the crack of the helmets, the flying turf, the intensity of two teams laying it all on the line. I get into the sheer enormity of something that was just supposed to be a small piece of entertainment. But would I let MY son play? Hell no.











Von Miller And Broncos D Stifles Jets — Tebow Talk Still Vomit-Inducing

Broncos Rookie Linebacker Von Miller maybe running away with that defensive rookie of the year award.

Coverage of Tim Tebow has made me lose so much respect for football analysts and reporters. They have manufactured a train of thought about Tebow and they are determined to brainwash the rest of us too. Before I get to the part where I praise rookie Linebacker Von Miller and the Bronco’s D for a win that really truly belonged to them let’s clear up some of the popular Tebow talking points:

  • Tebow is a winner.4 wins in the NFL does not constitute ‘a winner’ unless the bar for the QB is so low you can limbo under it. Now maybe the New York Jets record and play isn’t as solid as it has been in the last couple years but let’s not forget that Mark Sanchez took his team to the AFC chip two years in a row. Is he a winner too? NFL network analysts didn’t think so last night as they spent 15 minutes cooing over Tebow and then immediately after talked about Sanchez like he’s never accomplished a damn thing in his life.
  • Tebow is a great guy. Maybe he is, maybe he’s not. Sure seems nice, but so do a lot of players. That should NOT prevent anyone from criticizing them.
  • Tebow has “It.” I suppose this is subjective, but given the fact that Tebow has the presence and personality of potted meat and the charisma of a loaf of bread I feel comfortable saying his “it” factor is figment of a certain group of people’s imagination. It’s a made up concept to defend his awful play-which by the way doesn’t even need defending. See next point…
  • Tebow has haters. No, like Rex Grossman, Tebow has people who have seen him play the game of football and are unimpressed. But unlike Grossman, when it comes to Tebow people can’t seem to understand that his inability to play pro-style football doesn’t need to be defended. If you like Tebow, that’s fine. if you think he’s good enough that’s fine. But making up things to defend him is…stupid and annoying.
  • Tebow’s religion makes people hate him. When Deion Sanders asked Tebow why people have such disdain for him and mentioned his faith I almost gagged. Actually, I did gag. That was the point after the game where I OFFICIALLY got nauseous. As Gordy on twitter pointed out, Ray Lewis gives a sermon after every game and no one hates him for it. There’s hundreds of football players who love God and mention their love of God every chance they get. Yes, people make religious jokes about Tebow but they do for the same reason they make dogfighting jokes about Vick-cause they’re corn balls.
  • Tebow performs miracles and magic. If Las Vegas hired Tebow to perform magic he’d be fired the first night. Magic is when you INTENTIONALLY put yourself in a tough spot so that you can escape it later. David Blaine does magic. Tim Tebow takes desperate measures during desperate times. And right now it’s working for him.

To be clear, I have no issue with Tebow. My issue is with all the announcers and analysts that go out of their way to criticize QBs like Michael Vick and Vince Young but rush to praise Tebow. The same announcers that can find fault with everything Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez do cannot bear to hear Tebow critiqued. And doesn’t anyone think for a moment that if Jamarcus Russell was allowed to run a high school style offense that maybe he could still be in the NFL sloppily winning a few games for the Oakland Raiders? Perspective has been lost. And there’s not much more I can say.

Now enough about Tebow, let’s talk about the real magician last night-rookie Linebacker Von Miller. Not only does Miller look mature in the face (I’m sorry, but I have to say that he looks like he has 5 kids and is head of the Deacon board) his play on the field is just as sophisticated. The Jets offensive line barely allowed Sanchez to take even three steps back all night and Miller and the Broncos defense was right there to exploit their spotty protection.

The Broncos D was able to use Miller to blitz and he consistently hurried, hit (4) or sacked (1.5) Sanchez. Even when he didn’t get to the QB the pressure was there. And he wasn’t hurrying the QB he was deflecting passes. Miller is becoming a complete player in front of our eyes in his rookie year. I can’t wait to see more from this guy. And if the Broncos are going to win with a Pop Warner offense, they’re going to need more performances like this from Miller.

Ultimately the Broncos defense held the Jets offense to just 13 points. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that if not for a ill fated throw by Sanchez that resulted in the Bronco’s D intercepting and scoring a touchdown the Jets probably would have overcome. In fact, if not for big misses by their kicker and punter the Jets may have over come. But alas, mistakes on offense and special teams sealed their coffin with rusty nails. And kudos to the Bronco’s D for taking advantage of every failing.

Still, if they hadn’t been playing an off-balance, short weeked Jets team the Broncos might have really gotten their asses whooped good defense or none. The Chargers, Bears, and Patriots will present a real challenge to the Broncos on both sides of the ball. I’m pretty sure Julius Peppers is licking his chops at the chance to get at Tebow.

Sidebar: Former Eagle, now Bronco, S Brian Dawkins was recognized for his endurance. I figured this was worth mentioning given what a great asset he was to the Eagles until they unceremoniously dumped his ass like they do all veteran leaders. 16 years in the game and he ain’t what he used to be but he’s better than what the Eagles have now. Congrats Dawk.







Change Is Good — My New Twitter Account, You Tube, Podcast Etc.

Light hair? Not anymore. Change change change change!

I’m obsessed with change.

I love newness…new people, new things, new surroundings.

No surprise that my love for newness spills over to the social web. That means I have lots of new things going on.

First of all, I am deleting my old twitter page which is now at “nflgoodwitch.” I started the account over 2 years ago because I was having surgery and needed something to do while lying in bed for 6 weeks. Since then, I amassed over 5K followers which sounds like a lot but really isn’t when you consider 84 million folks (or more??) use twitter.

I think what’s more important than quantity of followers is quality. When most of my followers started following my personal account they did so cause I was pretty irreverent and free spirited with my tweets. I’m not as much now, though I could never tone down all the way…but things have definitely changed. And now, I’d like to get a real gauge of who’s interested in my work.

I thought the best way to do that was to start my account over. If you haven’t noticed the longer twitter has been around the less amounts of followers really determine influence. Some folks are just voyeurs and other accounts are dead (not spam) and twitter hasn’t deleted them. No reason to keep a high follower account just so it looks like you’re somebody. Besides, like Jesse, I AM SOMEBODY.

I also restarted my you tube account, and I now have a podcast version of all my videos. The links are below, but you know you can always find me by clicking the social media buttons on the front page. When I get my itunes link I will update this post with that info.

Last note: the web site is being designed so that it is more simple and more fitting of me as a person. I think right now this design is a little “faceless.” So I’m excited to reframe pretty much everything.

Thanks for reading!



Catch Me On The Radio Tomorrow Talking About My Post on Joe Paterno

me me me me me me me me me oh yeah and ME.

Catch me live on the radio tomorrow giving my thoughts on the legacy of Joe Paterno. I wrote about it here.

8:00am The Morning Report with Dan Kennedy

8:10am Zito & Garrett

8:20am The Morning After

8:30am Ryan and Tyler f. Jessica Chandler

8:40am The Vennie Penn Project

For my Connecticut folks, I’ll be on at 3:30 for Don Lovallo’s drivetime radio show on WRDC 102.9. Don’t think there’s a feed for this one though.

Also, as a reminder to always tweet as though someone is watching, CNN snatched up one of my tweets for their blog roundup.



When It Comes to Joe Paterno Maybe We Were Wrong All Along

Count me among those who couldn't muster up any regard for the crumbling of Paterno's "legacy"

I have used my twitter account to rant and rave about the Penn State child rape case and in particular my thoughts on Joe Paterno.  So I’ve said my peace much to many people’s chagrin. The highlights?

  • This is not a complicated issue, you see first-hand or hear a first-hand account of a child rape and chain of command should no longer exist
  • Everyone involved should be let go.
  • Based on the grand jury report and Paterno’s subsequent actions, I believe that Paterno knew about the investigation into Sandusky in 1998
  • There is no such thing as Paterno reporting to his superiors as Sally Jenkins suggests. Paterno has no superiors.
  • When the Board of Trustees meets on Friday, they should remove Paterno from his position without further deliberation.
  • When QBs coach, then graduate assistant, Mike McQueary said that he witnessed something inappropriate in the lockerroom between Sandusky and a 10 year old boy and Paterno didn’t ask “what exactly did you see?” that, alone, was grounds for firing.
  • I think McQueary is despicable for not stopping the rape-but I must acknowledge that reporting things to powerful people who can blackball you is a very tough position to be in. Still, I don’t want to live, work or be anywhere that requires me to hide a child rape.
  • Penn State students should be embarrassed at their support of Paterno. I can only assume they did not read any of the 23 pages of the grand jury’s report.
  • There could be and SHOULD be legal ramifications for Paterno’s (alleged) inaction.
  • At-risk children are prime targets for abuse because they are less likely to be believed, more likely to not be aware of appropriate adult-male behavior (ex: touching during wrestling), and more likely to be grateful for gifts or promises of spots on a sports team. I believe Sandusky knew this fact very well.
  • Even though McQueary and Paterno may have “done what was required” a society that accepts that as the standard is doomed to fail.

I’ve never been the most sentimental person, but I especially don’t get the obsession with legacies and images. And that’s what this post is really about. I don’t want to be condescending and I’m sorry if it is, but I learned a long time ago that people are multi-layered. And just cause someone is good doesn’t mean they’re not, also, bad. More importantly, just cause someone is good to you doesn’t mean they’re good. I read an article that referenced Paterno’s new neighbors talking about what a great guy Paterno was cause he was nice to them and their family. It’s odd to me how a few casual interactions with someone can prompt a full vote of confidence from some people.

Not me.

Further, although I think the media is doing a fantastic job taking Paterno to task, I anxiously await their attempts to reframe Paterno’s history in light of new evidence. For now, the media is still reinforcing the narrative (driven by Paterno and his PR team which is separate from the school’s and has been for years) about the high standard Paterno held his student-athletes to.  And how he was “Mr. Clean” of the NCAA. Maybe this is true, but is it not also possible that a brilliant person knows that making an example out of a few people keeps prying eyes away from the real bullshit that’s going on?  I’m appalled at how naive adults can be. There are some people on this earth, Paterno included, who are very adept at managing relationships and leveraging personal traits such as charisma to exert control over people and situations.

From the Post-Gazette:

He chose unforgiving punishments for players who drank too much or skipped class, like when he cut star wide receiver Joe Jurevicius from the travel roster just before the Citrus Bowl Jan. 1, 1998. Yes, he was willing to worsen his team to strengthen his way.

Want doggedness? For the opener of the 2005 season, Paterno insisted on starting inferior Robert Price at right guard to punish senior Tyler Reed for his tertiary involvement in damaging an on-campus apartment wall. Want strictness? Before a recent news conference — conducted in front of only a half-dozen media attendees — Paterno asked his participating players to dress in suits. “Coach’s orders,” senior cornerback Alan Zemaitis explained, pointing to his black two-button jacket. “If it was up to me, I’d be wearing a do-rag.”

If Paterno wasn’t and isn’t willing to hold himself or a close friend to the same standard as student athletes, then why should I trust that his harsh treatment of students was anything more than a front for something more sinister? Or, even, simply things he did just because he could. Maybe Paterno wasn’t some sort of hero for driving many students away with his abuse (that people love to say “taught kids lessons”). Perhaps Paterno was just a mean old coot who benefitted from the public’s incessant drive to deify mere mortals.
I may have just inadvertently answered my own question about the obsession folks have with legacy. See, if you find out something horrific about someone you must reevaluate everything you’ve ever thought of them…everything you ever thought you knew. And when you do, there’s a strong possibility you may feel foolish afterward. But avoiding that sick feeling that we have all been duped by an elaborate 46 year ruse is no reason to defend someone who could have used their near-infinite power to save multiple children from a lifetime full of pain.

It’s time to accept that maybe we were wrong along. People have always thought Paterno showed us all how to win without cheating. But now is the time to question whether or not that’s true.


Matt Forte, Arian Foster, Peyton Hillis: Of Interventions and the Law of Diminishing Returns

For just $2 a day, you can help Bears running back Matt Forte.

I’m working on a post about the fabulous running back play across the league this year. That’s coming up soon. But in the midst of it, I gave a little thought to the guys like Matt Forte, Arian Foster, and even Peyton Hillis who are all battling issues with their contracts. Last year Hillis’ breakout performance spurred the viewing public to vote for him to be on the Madden cover. Matt Forte is currently 45% (maybe more) of the Bears offense, and Foster is getting the ball so much it’s a wonder his notorious hamstring is holding up at all.

Hillis is by far having the worst season having been injured for much of it amid accusations that his injuries aren’t even real and that he’s sitting out cause his discontent with his contract. Last week, Hillis’ teammates staged a sort of “intervention” to let him know that they need him to be a part of the team and that his attitude needs improvement.

Easy for them to say.

By Wednesday, a group of about eight Browns veterans had summoned Hillis into a meeting room for an intervention-style, air-clearing session designed to restore his focus. After a breakout season in 2010 that vaulted him to national prominence, including a spot on the “Madden NFL ’12” cover, the 25-year-old back’s consuming desire for a new contract has become a locker room distraction that numerous teammates regard as an impediment to cohesion and collective success.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says one Browns veteran. “Last year, Peyton was such a positive, inspirational force on our team – but now he’s like a different guy. It’s like he’s in a funk that he can’t get out of, and it’s killing us, because we really need him. And we’ve told him that. But we’re at the point where we just don’t know what to do.”

During an interview session with reporters in the locker room of the Browns’ training facility Thursday, Hillis conceded that his dissatisfaction with his contract and the accompanying controversies – including his decision to miss a late-September game against the Miami Dolphins while suffering from strep throat – have made it difficult to get his “mind right.”

And with good reason. Some guys handle stuff like this better than others. Some guys have more concerns about money than others as well. One of the most striking things about athletes is how often they don’t really believe in the fleeting nature of their careers. I don’t know Hillis, but I do know that guys who understand how short the ride is going to be typically struggle harder to reconcile the situation mentally.

With the new rookie wage scale, RBs might be the most negatively impacted by having lower pay from the jump. And with teams wanted to see more than one breakout season before renegotiating (which is a very good explanation for why Hillis hasn’t received a raise) there are going to be more ugly situations with RBs going forward.

So as bad as things are for Hillis right now I wonder how much worse off he is than Forte or Foster. Playing well and playing hard is WONDERFUL…but playing too well and too hard activates the law of diminishing returns when you’re a running back. Can anyone seriously say that Forte being 45% or more of his team’s offense for half the season already makes them feel good about how his body will hold up in a year? And Foster has averaged 25 carries a game since returning from injury, will he be alive at week 13??

Look at the way the Washington Redskins’ over reliance on Clinton Portis both in the ground game AND blocking cut his career off at the age of 28. Though he remained in the league the following season and was sideline due to injuries that just wouldn’t heal but let’s be honest, his career was done the year before. Forte is on the cusp of 27 which I suppose accounts for him wanting more guaranteed money than was originally alleged to be put on the table.

Both Forte and Foster need to be carrying the ball a lot less or the return on the investment THEY provide the team is going to be lower than it would be otherwise. The problem is how to hit just the right stride, and I don’t have the answer for how to do it. In fact, it may be impossible.

This is not to say that I don’t understand the team perspective and the hesitation to pay. Running back is a position that wears players down super fast, and strong resurgences after injury (like, for example, Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner) are pretty rare at this point. In particular, on teams like the Texans, Browns, and Bears where the offense is so horribly out of balance that the running back isn’t just a critical piece of the offense-he IS the offense.

It’s great to see Forte get such support from his teammates though. At least they realize that without Forte their team would be unwatchable this season. And if no one else has Foster’s back publicly at least Jason LaCanfora does. He stuck up for Foster when some dimwitted fans insisted that Foster was one credit union savings account from Michael Jordan money.

As for Hillis, even if you think he’s a whiny faker the Browns couldn’t be handling this any worse. And that includes the players. Hearing Scott Fujita WHINE about being asked about Hillis by beat reporters was completely over the top. I’m not in the locker room with these guys and there’s certainly a lot going on that I don’t know about that could provoke Hillis’ teammates’ anger toward him. For all I know, Hillis is a complete jerk and/or mental case. But what we CAN see from the outside is that the Browns have an injury depleted offense and a struggling 2nd year QB and it’s very easy to direct all the frustration at Hillis rather than looking at the total picture.

Unlike his teammates, obviously Browns management doesn’t think Hillis not playing is the reason the Browns are losing games. If they did they’d pay him and fix the problem…right?

Oh and can we stop blaming Chris Johnson for teams’ hesitation to pay RBs? This issue existed long before Chris Johnson came along. In fact, he was originally impacted by these issues. How in the fuck did people forget the things that happened during the pre-season already? Johnson didn’t invent underperforming after a raise just like he didn’t invent out playing a contract.


And while we’re here, Arian Foster is fascinating. Love it.



Phillip Rivers Said We Read His Lips Wrong. But…What Else Could He Have Said? #LipGate

Thought this photo of Rivers was funny....

I wasn’t going to post about #lipgate, but I have to cause it kinda makes me laugh. San Diego Chargers QB Phillip Rivers fumbled the ball away and afterward APPEARED to say “This was the worst day ever.” But Rivers said no…that’s not true.

“I didn’t say that. I don’t know if I ever said that. It wasn’t the worst day ever. It may have been the worst play I’ve ever been a part of, but it wasn’t the worst day,” Rivers said as the Chargers began preparing to face the undefeated Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Well I took a whole 2 minutes to review @jose3030′s twitpic:


And by my EXPERT analysis, he says “this was the worst day ever.”  He does not appear to say “play.”

Other options:

the worst GAY ever?

the worst DATE ever?

the worst THING ever…as in worst play ever??

*falls asleep before I can figure it out*

Not sure why Rivers would deny saying it was the worst day ever cause if he did he’d have a hell of  a case. From beginning to end the Chargers offense was sloppy and didn’t take care of the ball. They were also quite repetitive with Rivers often scrambling to the sidelines and hitting receivers on hitch routes repetitively. Overall, they looked uncomfortable. They were still able to consistently get into Chiefs territory and finally looked as though they might pull out a win when Rivers fumbled the ball away which allowed the Chiefs to recover and go on to win in over time.









TMZ’s Harvey Levin Talks About Women Being Kept On The Sidelines in Sports

When asked about women color commentators, Michael Strahan had nothing to say. I wonder if his gap has an opinion?

Harvey Levin’s crew struck again when they caught former NY Giant Michael Strahan, Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez, and Jay Glazer outside of a restaurant and asked them why women aren’t allowed to do color commentary. None of the 3 guys saw fit to comment. They basically just looked goofy and gave no response. I’d actually love to hear what Strahan thinks about this-he obviously has an opinion on pretty much everything else under God’s green earth. I’m SURE he has some thoughts on this. Whether they’re sharable, who knows…

Women being relegated to the sidelines (literally, as sideline reporters) is something that bothers me. And I especially don’t like the fact that people are always talking about how these women bring nothing to the broadcasts. First of all, most sideline reporters (male or female) add nothing to the broadcast. And since this has been the case for years my assumption is that they’re not hired to bring anything to it. Sideline reporters are there to make the broadcast FEEL interactive, not to elevate the sports discourse.

I don’t think it’s fair to make an assessment of what hiring more women could potentially add to sports broadcasting by basing it on the performance of women who were specifically hired to do not much.

Not only are women not doing color during games, they’re not really giving analysis on sports shows either. Most are either hosts or anchors whose job it is to facilitate discussion, not to actually add their own opinion to the conversation. I am hoping, myself, to be one of the women that gets to opine about sports so that door needs to be busted wide open immediately.

Also, if the requirement is that all women sports broadcasters look like they belong on Sideline Hotties then the pool of candidates is automatically narrowed. That has nothing to do with women not being able to provide commentary. It’s all about what the viewing public prefers to see.

I thought it was pretty random that this seems to be a topic that got Harvey’s attention, although I didn’t understand his reference to Jackie Johnson. Maybe you guys do? If so, set me straight in comments.


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I Want To Start Watching Football…But Where Do I Start? (Advice from Some Experts!)

Football is a complicated sport, but never fear--all you need is the basics and you're up and running.

It only took me forever, but I finally wrote the post regarding the question I get most often…HOW DO I LEARN FOOTBALL.

I explain my tips for learning football in the vlog below, but I also wanted to get the thoughts of folks who know football better than I! So check out what they had to say…

Sheil Kapadia is one of my favorite writers. He really gets into the nuts and bolts of Philadelphia Eagles football. And when I say nuts and bolts I mean counting snaps, looking at how each member of the team performed in each game, and other meticulously executed things of that nature. I never miss a post from him. Find him at Moving The Chains.

Sheil’s advice:

Consume football in a variety of mediums. Watch games, listen to the announcers and analysts. But also read about football from many of the great writers out there. Listen to sportstalk radio as well. That would be a good start.

Patricia Traina is a really talented writer that focuses on the Giants for Inside Football. In fact, she’s the editor. She knows more about stats and the salary cap than I ever will.

Patricia’s advice:

My suggestions would include reading about the game — there are some really, really good books out there that describe everything from the fundamentals of each position (Pat Kirwan’s book “Take Your Eye Off the Ball” is excellent) to specific books on different coaching philosophies

The other thing I suggest is watching film of games — NFL and college. Listen to the commentators and take note of what they’re saying. Then go back and watch the play in slo-mo if you can. You can really see a lot when you slow down a play and reconcile what the analysts said vs. what you’ve seen.

It takes time to really get a good grasp on the game, but no one ever really learns every little detail. You might want to specialize in one side of the ball which would require a basic understanding of the other side, or maybe you just want to try to learn it all. Study, study, study. If you get a chance to ask a coach or player (at any level questions), do it.


Michael Felder is a former safety for the University of Chapel Hill. He has his own site and podcast where he gets deep into both the game and business side of college football. You can find his work on his own site In The Bleachers and on a host of other sites! He’s really good at breaking down the game. He’s also really nice and never complains when I bug him with questions about defenses.


Michael’s advice:

I’m going to assume you’re a fan already and understand the root of the game itself. With that out of the way the best process to learn more about the game is a two pronged approach; watching and reading. By watching I’m talking active watching, not just following the football around and staring at the screen. Pick out positions to observe during series and see what responsibilities they have in different down and distances as well as in various personnel sets.

Next step would be taking what you’ve observed and hitting the internets. Line up what you’ve seen with the copious amounts of diagrams, video clips and schematic write ups that are available for free all across the net. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because everything is not exactly easy to digest and often football-centric sites are written in the game’s vernacular which for folks not schooled in the lingo of smash routes, progressions, T-E games and inverted coverage might as well be in chinese.

The info is out there and any fan or writer that wants to learn about individual schemes, techniques or other nuances of the game definitely can. Personally when I’m not at games or watching them with my friends I tend to jot down odd things I see or diagram plays that pique my interest.


Joe Briggs is a jack-of-all trades who wears the best bow ties you have ever seen. He’s the founder of IMPACT, and organization that fosters civic engagement and enhances empowerment opportunities for young leaders. He’s also a lawyer and works on finance issues for the NFL Players Association. He’s quickly become one of my favorite folks to tweet with.

Joe’s advice:

To start watching football you need to know the basics.

1. Google the teams! don’t be out here talking about the Denver Nuggets got Tim Tebow on the bench?

2. Check in on ESPN Monday Morning either online or Sports Center for the first couple weeks of the season. This will help you get used to the lingo and give you talking point for the conversations with others about football

3. When you want to get deeper, Google Walter Camp and The History of Football.

4. Fantasy Football helps! it gets you deeper into your involvement with players. Put those facebook stalking skills to use finding bits of information about which player may be better each week.

And there you have it! I hope this post was helpful!

**oh funny note: I asked a 2 NFL players and 1 former NFL player what they would suggest, and they all came up blank except for saying you should watch. *faints* I thought that was funny.



NFL Week 7 - A Blatant Disregard For Football — and Flex Scheduling

Roger, girl, did you see these games this weekend?

The first article I read upon waking up this morning was a recap of the sloppy game last night between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens in which the Jaguars beat the Ravens 12-7. The always cocky Ravens had been on a roll before last night’s game, and although there’s always a chance in football, the Ravens were CLEAR favorites.

The Washington Post summed up last night’s game like this:

What was an opportunity to show a national television audience that they are one of the league’s elite teams — and match their best start since their Super Bowl season of 11 years ago — turned into a nightmare for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, a game that featured untimely penalties, a blatant disregard for the football and one of the worst offensive performances in team history.

The Post used the phrase “a blantant disregard for the football,” as in not protecting the ball, but I’d change that to a blatant disregard for football period. And not only did the Ravens disregard the game of football, so did most of the teams that played during week 7.

Sunday was the worst spate of games we’ve seen thus far. Not only from a matchup standpoint but from an execution standpoint. From Broncos Tim Tebow’s odd idea of quarterbacking to Tennessee’s complete inability to get anything going against the Texans, to the hapless Colts who were pounded 62-7 by the Saints. And we can’t forget the Redskins listless showing against Carolina’s 32nd ranked defense, the Raiders fruitless attempts to score ANY points against a barely-there Kansas City Chiefs, and the poor, poor Rams who made the Cowboys look like the cohesive team they wish they were.

The only bright spot in Week 7 was my new object of football affection, Minnesota Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder! Ponder took over for Donovan McNabb who was benched the 2nd year in a row. Ponder led the Vikings to an impressive showing against football’s undisputed best team the Green Bay Packers. Under Ponder’s on-field leadership, the Vikes looked calm, motivated, and capable. Nothing like the team that got their asses handed to them against the Bears in week 6.

I have high hopes for Ponder. I’m a fan of a lot of guys on the Minny team including Visanthe Shiancoe, Adrian Peterson (who FINALLY had his first 100+ yard performance this season), and Percy Harvin. I will always be a fan of McNabb and he certainly wasn’t playing badly, but I suspect his eyore-like personality really didn’t inspire much confidence from teammates or coaches. The Vikes have said that McNabb’s poor work ethic is why he was benched. I think it’s possible that his work ethic was a problem, but less so than his willingness to discuss where he is and what he does.

I’m excited to see what the Vikes can do with Ponder. Especially next year when they have an opportunity to get the defense a little bit younger.

As for the Ravens, they’re only as good as Flacco. When he’s on, they’re rolling, When he’s okay, they skate by. When he’s bad, it’s a wrap. After last season, Flacco’s QB coach Jim Zorn was fired. The reason given was that there was a chance of insubordination of the Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Now, I don’t know Jim Zorn, but this is a guy who says “hip hip hooray” with 100% seriousness. I doubt he was a cancer to the coaching staff. I have issues with Cameron’s “system” cause it’s the system that managed to lose TJ Hous and Anquan Boldin for stretches at a time. I don’t care if both skills had diminished (which I highly doubt) there’s simply no excuse for that.

Flacco threw two tantrums in the off season, one over Zorn and one over his contract. Well the latter thing now doesn’t seem so justified, but I wonder if, like in Cincinnati (Bratowski), the OC just isn’t the right one for the job. Terrell Suggs is the first so far to come out and bash the Ravens offensive strategy. Next, maybe it’ll be someone whose opinion matters (NO OFFENSE). But here’s a start.

Week 7 is only the first of many bad weeks of games to come. Last year I counted about three weekends that were utter snooze fests. But if I remember correctly, they all came after week 8 when most fans were suffering from a little football fatigue (especially once Thursday games start) and appreciated some of the afternoon naps and reasons to skip the night game and head to bed early. It just sucked that this weekend took place when our football libidos were still up and raring to go.




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