Rub some dirt on it-Football’s concussions and injuries not that big of a problem?

It’s a topic people don’t like to talk about, lest they ruin their favorite Fall past-time: Football is a dangerous sport that causes injuries some players will live with for the rest of their lives. Football players are becoming bigger, faster, and stronger than ever before, meaning hits and tackles have more punch in them today than they have since the sport’s existence. Will injuries move fans away from the sport in the future, or is there anything that will keep peoples’ eyes off the game?

Aaron Williams carted off field
Former Longhorn and current Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams was carted off the field after a neck injury in the second game of the Bill’s season.

According to information released by the NFL 15% of its players had been injured by the second week of the season. As the season has continued more and more players have suffered injuries on the gridiron, tearing ligaments and breaking bones. Being carted off the field has become a weekly occurrence, this week’s victim being the New England Patriot’s tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Texas Longhorn’s had seven players injured in a single game on Thursday. Watching players get injured can’t be good for viewership, right?

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan
This season’s Michigan-Michigan State match-up came in as ESPN’s most viewed college football game in October for the last 20 years.

Viewership in football, at all levels, is up. Teams and media are making their money with viewers at rates they have never seen before. The NFL is reporting an increase in viewership in all of its showtimes, even with Thursday night and Sunday morning games in England bringing in respectable, increased ratings.

The sport is even bringing in record viewers outside of TV – new deals with Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook are bringing in new eyes that previously would not have invested any time in the sport.

Case Keenum concussion
Case Keenum appeared to suffer a concussion after being hit near the end of the St. Louis Ram’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Keenum was kept in the game and fumbled the ball two plays later.

It could be argued that injuries and concussions are bad for the sport even outside of the player’s health and safety. As mentioned above, ignoring signs of a concussion potentially cost the St. Louis Rams a win against the Baltimore Ravens. Bigger hits are taking out key players like Tony Romo and Jamaal Charles, whose presence is missed on game day.

So long as viewership remains the same or continues to increase, changes are not likely to come to the sport. Players dying on the field hasn’t been enough to stop fans from coming to support their teams. In fact, articles and videos of players being injured draw a large amount of attention from fans, fantasy football players, and people just wanting to see violence.

If players being destroyed for the rest of their lives doesn’t drop football from being the number one sport in the country, nothing will. Football at high school, college, and the pro’s will continue to reign supreme for the foreseeable future.

 

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Underrated Texas Women’s Basketball make a statement

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The Texas Women’s Basketball team have made some noise! No. 8 Texas Women’s basketball knocks off No. 4 Tennessee in front of 10,204 fans Sunday in Thompson-Boiling Arena. Texas ranks sixth all time in NCAA Division l women’s basketball history with 984 wins. The Longhorns are one of only 13 programs nationally to have eclipsed the 900-victory plateau. As a whole the Texas team is dominating, with a great work ethic and incredible team work.

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During the Hampton game, Senior Imani Boyette had two steals, and three blocks alongside her 13 points which pushed her career total over the 1,000 mark. Boyette became the 38th player in Texas history to reach the 1,000-point milestone, giving her 1,009 for her career. Against Tennessee Boyette nearly reached a double-double with 11 points and a team-high of nine rebounds.

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Sophomore guard Brooke McCarty is off to a strong start so far this season. She is averaging a squad-best 16.0 points per game, including a career-high 22 in the season opener against UTSA. She also has made a team-high eight three-pointers, averaging a team-high 29.7 minutes per game.

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As Texas knocks off Tennessee Coach Aston has nothing but positive thoughts for the future of this women’s basketball team. “I am really proud of our team’s mentality,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We’ve talked a lot about how we had to have a better road mentality. It was a bit of an ugly game, but it usually is an aggressive game when these two teams play. Our defense from a team perspective was extremely good and we stayed disciplined defensively. Our guards made good decisions, especially in the first half, and that gave us a lot of confidence. The exciting thing is, I think we can get a lot better, but I am very proud of how we came in and played with a great road mentality today.”

With a 5-0 run, will the winning streak continue? We’ll have to sit back and watch their incredible talent go to work.

Breaking Records Never Looked So Easy

The Warriors were one game away from making history, all they had to do was defeat the Lakers to be the first NBA team to start the season 16-0. Naturally, they did so with ease. 12289508_10153839191912526_5067040958087430112_n.jpg

One way fans could keep up with how the game was going was through Twitter. Clips of amazing plays were posted, along with gifs of Draymond Green, vines of Steph Curry making the Lakers look bad, and graphics of the scores after the end of each quarter. CUoSSQgVAAEMfx7.jpg-large

The Warriors Twitter account did not overwhelm followers with an outrageous amount of tweets. They were mostly just graphics and clever tweets that were more likely to get retweeted and liked.  Once the game was over and the Warriors officially made NBA history, the hashtag #H16t0ry was used throughout all of the social media. This hashtag spread and fans tweeted using the hashtag. Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 8.33.05 AM

After being off to the best start ever, the team continued their winning streak after beating the Suns 135-116. Things were different this time with the use of Twitter. For example, the lineup for the game against the Lakers was not tweeted but of the Suns game it was. Also, this time there were more tweets with a play by play feel, but not too many to where the tweets would cover someone’s timeline. Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 8.38.11 AM

The stats continued to roll in, as did the use of that one wet looking emoji. After the Warriors defeated the Suns, a graphic was shared by the NBA and retweeted. Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 8.40.53 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-29 at 8.41.06 PM

For the 18-0 game, the Warriors continued to share emojis and videos, along with Vines from their actual account. These received a lot more retweets by followers than from the past games. Their Twitter followers have increased since making NBA history.

The Warriors are scheduled to play the Jazz on Monday, November 30th. This is going to be one heck of a record.

Controversial Officiating Plagues the NFL

The National Football League has been afflicted this season with botched calls by officiating crews. While the NFL has always had some issues with calls made by referees, as does any league, this season seems to be worse than previous years. In fact, multiple plays this season have resulted in the NFL having to announce after games that referees had made the wrong calls. The problem with some of these calls is that, if the officiating crews had corrected such mistakes during the games, the final scores would probably be different. While there are multiple plays to point out, one specific call that was missed this season occurred during the game between the Seahawks and the Lions.

During the final two minutes of game, Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver for Detroit, was running for a touchdown when the ball was knocked out of his hands and into the end zone. K.J. Wright, a linebacker for Seattle, batted the ball out of the end zone. Below is the NFL’s rule about batting a ball:

NFLRule

Based upon this rule, the Lions should have gotten the ball back where Johnson had fumbled, which was near the one-yard line. However, because the official did not call the foul, the Seahawks got the ball and ran out the clock to finish the game. The NFL’s Vice President of Officiating, Dean Blandino, announced after the game that the official had made the wrong call. It is arguable that, had the call be corrected during the game, that the Lions would have scored and won the game. However, at this point, that is simply a hypothetical argument because we will never know. What is known is that the NFL is having a multitude of problems with incorrect or missed calls this season (just check out this list), and something needs to be done about the problem. Fans, athletes, and coaches understand that sports are not perfect, but we certainly want to know that officials are doing their best to make correct calls.

So, how do fans and sports professionals feel about the referees incorrect calls? Some fans, like Jeff Atwood, feel the referees should be punished.

JeffAtwoodTweet

Some people, like Don Banks, who works for SI.com, argue that the NFL rulebook is confusing and too complex, thus resulting in the officials being unable to know all of the rules well enough to make correct calls all the time.

DonBanksTweet

Others, like the one below, find the calls to be outrageous and just want the referees to start making sense in their decisions.

RefMeme

Everyone has different ideas and opinions in terms of how the NFL should handle the issue of bad calls, and, in reality, the league needs to determine the best course of action to overcome the problem. The truth is, fans and teams will not be satisfied with corrections after the fact for much longer.

What do you think? How should the NFL handle this problem? Leave a comment with your thoughts on how the NFL should proceed.

The Pursuit of Perfection-What’s the Value of a Win?

From the dawn of mankind humans have always had an innate desire to be number one. This can be seen in wars between nations, capitalism, and elections in government. However, not everyone can take part in these ventures, so the desire is quenched in a universal activity-sports. Winning a match against an opponent is always the best outcome. But what about winning them all?

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The Clemson Tigers, 11-0, look to have a clear shot at making the College Football Playoffs and winning it all.

College football has seen many undefeated teams come through since its inception, with those teams often winning a National Championship the same year. CFB is also the league where remaining undefeated is the most important – Despite a team losing on a freak play in a game that they should have won (See Michigan vs. Michigan State), it could be argued that their ranking should remain the same, that they are obviously the better team and would win the match 9/10 times if not for the randomness that sometimes graces the sport. But the team that got the ‘W’ can’t be punished because luck is on their side, as putting wins on ‘luck’ could lead to a slippery slope of not giving teams credit while giving others leniency.

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Michigan, now with two loses, sits outside of the College Football Playoff hopefuls even if they win out.

While the new 4-team playoff system and equal talent levels have evened the field for teams trying to get to the National Championship, losses are still crippling. Teams’ seasons can end on one single play of the game. In college football, more than any other sport, being undefeated is King.

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The New England Patriots (9-0) and the Carolina Panthers (10-0) are the NFL’s two remaining undefeated teams for 2015, with the Patriots trying to repeat what they achieved in 2011.

The NFL, where nowadays more than ever has 32 teams that could all upset one another any given Sunday has only witnessed one undefeated squad in its time. The 1972 Miami Dolphins won all their games including the Super Bowl, resulting in a 14-0 season. This seems to indicate that wins, while still important, are not as valuable as they are in CFB. The prime example of this – The 2011 New England Patriots went into the Superbowl 15-0 after a bye and one game facing the  9-7 New York Giants, who had only managed to scrape their way in through a wild card spot at the end of the season.

And we all know how that turned out.

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The Golden State Warriors (15-0), coming off winning the NBA Finals are historically and statistically unlikely to finish the season undefeated.

And then there’s the National Basketball Association. In the NBA Finals for the 2014-15 season the Golden State Warriors met the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors winning 80% of their games that season to get there, the Cavaliers winning 60%. Yet after a few games into the series the Cav’s had a legitimate chance to win before falling in Game 6.

The NBA is the prime example in sports of ‘On any given day, anyone can win.’. 1 Seeds rarely meet in the finals, and often teams get in through upsets. Fans could go into the postseason with their team at the 8th seed with a sliver of hope that they could win it all.

Which ‘Winning” is best?

Positives and negatives can be seen with each system and its tendencies – CFB rewards teams that  are successful while not giving more teams a chance, the NFL rewards successful teams while giving lower teams a shot, and the NBA almost only requires that a team makes the playoffs, after that it’s up in the air.

The audience doesn’t seem to dislike any of the systems-Viewership for all three is continuing to grow and schools and teams in each are making more money than ever before. It all comes down to preference in the end. How do you like your league? What should the value of a win be?

The Right Man for the Job

If you look at the numbers alone, it would be very reasonable to believe that Charlie Strong is on the thinnest of thin ice at UT. The Horns are currently 4-6 this season, which has featured horribly botched special teams plays, a blowout to TCU, and a loss to Iowa State. Strong’s Texas was the first team in university history to lose to Iowa State, let alone be shut out completely. In fact, of the 17 head football coaches that have lasted more than one year at Texas, Charlie Strong has the worst overall record of all but one of the coaches–Dana X. Bible, who ended his tenure at Texas in 1938. So, why is Strong still so beloved in Texas? Why did Texas decide to let go athletic director Steve Patterson (a decision that undoubtedly was made at least partially in response to the Longhorns’ poor results on the field) before letting go of Strong?

Strong’s job at Texas is much more than just winning games. Right off the bat, Strong sacrificed potential wins in favor of improving the culture of the football program. He removed nine players from the team and suspended several others, including starters and players with heaps of potential. Not many coaches would take such a drastic risk in the beginning of tenure–Strong isn’t here just to win games; Strong is here to make Texas great again. That said, winning matters, and if not for some freak errors outside of Strong’s control, Texas could have a winning record. If not for a missed extra point, Texas could have completed an epic comeback against Cal. Texas could have, and should have beaten OSU if not for horrid refereeing and a botched punt that gifted OSU a field goal. The positive results of Strong’s work are visible, but not in the numbers alone.

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It also helps that Strong is so damn likable, and that somehow, someway, he manage to beat a much stronger OU in the Red River Showdown. For the current generation of Texas fans, Strong donning the Golden Hat after upsetting OU will be an amazing memory for years to come. Wins and losses do not define Charlie Strong, but that win certainly does.

Not All Interviews are Created Equal

Think back to the last time you saw an athlete interviewed. What kinds of questions did the interviewer ask them? Did they talk about great athletic feats and game stats? Did they ask how the athlete balances family or dating life? Well, your answer probably depends on whether the athlete was male or female. #CovertheAthlete is a campaign to promote fair and balanced interviews of male and female athletes. The campaign sheds light on the inappropriate and sexist interview questions that trivialize the accomplishments of the female athletes. To prove their point, they created an experiment  whQuote 1ere they asked male athletes the exact same questions that female athletes get asked. They shared the results in a Video. From the reactions they got, it’s safe to say that male athletes are not used to getting asked petty and insignificant questions such as “Give us a twirl, and tell us about your outfit”.Quote 2

Male athletes receive overwhelmingly positive press about using their appearance. David Beckham was voted People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive this year, and he’s no stranger to modeling campaigns and endorsements. He is rarely criticized for his sexy image and in fact, has made quite a business out of it. His image is added to his list of accomplishments as an athRodger Federerlete and as a family man. Rodger Federer is another accomplished athlete and family man that is built up by his interviewer to be David Beckhamquirky yet suave.

The male athletes, in sports media’s eyes, become the perfect balance of good looks, dedication and success. The female athletes cannot seem to possess any of those traits without mentioning attractiveness or image in a negative way. Or counting it against her athletic performance should she choose to take advantage of her appearance.

#CovertheAthlete is creating a way to expose what is appropriate and inappropriate for a sports media outlet to ask. Sports media is in a position of power. What they say and publish is saved, shared, and talked about around the world and seriously impacts the perception of an athlete. Professional sports at the end of the day is a business and if it benefits the athlete to accept another stream of revenue in the way of modeling or product endorsement that is their choice, and sponsors are willing to pay for it. However, lets keep the body shaming away from sports, and leave the dating talk for talk show hosts. So in the words of Serena Williams…

Serena Williams

For more information, visit Cover the Athlete

 

University of Houston Makes a Statement

imageCollege football is known for its craziness, unpredictability, and surprises. The top 4 and the top 25 are constantly changing. Teams with a history of dominance lose in upset games, and teams with no spotlight to begin with end up having near perfect seasons. The University of Houston is one of those teams that is beginning to catch people’s eyes and attention.

During his first year as head coach, Tom Herman has been able to lead the Cougars to a 10-1 season. The team remained undefeated until yesterday’s game against the Connecticut Huskies. Though their undefeated streak was broken, the team holds a record that deserves notice. Herman was granted on Friday a raise for his successful coaching career start, making his annual salary $3 million.

With the program on the right track, many are wondering if the U of H has what it takes to compete in one of the bigger conferences. This was a question for Texas Christian University not too long ago when Gary Patterson took over, and we all know how well TCU has dominated since its’ admittance to the Big 12 Conference. Maybe there’s room in the Big 12 for the University of Houston too.

Notable wins for Houston this season include, Louisville, SMU, Vanderbilt, and Cincinnati. The U of H beat Louisville, who was formerly coached by Texas head coach Charlie Strong, 34-31. SMU, who gives a good fight to rival TCU every year, lost to the Cougars 49-28. SEC’s Vanderbilt lost to Houston 34-0. Cincinnati, who beat the University of Miami, was beaten by the U of H 30-33. Of course, as stated in the beginning, college football is so unpredictable and the value of a team can’t be determined by one win against a historically valuable team. But what about 4 wins?

The performance of Houston’s key players is another thing to note when looking at the Cougars’ capability. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. has 2194 passing yards, surpassing Baylor quarterback Seth Russel’s 2104 yards. Wide receivers Demarcus Ayers and Chance Allen also contribute to the team’s success. Ayers’ 979 receiving yards would have him at #5 in the Big 12 for receivers, and Allen’s 624 would have him at #12. Houston’s running back Kenneth Farrow has more rushing yards than Texas’ D’Onta Foreman, and would hold #7 for running backs in the Big 12. Farrow also has 12 rushing touchdowns, which would have him tied for #2 with Deandre Washington of Texas Tech.

Regardless of statistics and schedule, the University of Houston still has a lot to prove. The team needs to prove their consistency. They have to show that the performance we’ve seen in 2015 will be seen again in 2016. They need to clearly prove their dominance in their current conference. A loss to a 6-5 team proves neither of these. With these improvements, I could easily see the University of Houston being placed in one of the top 5 power conferences.

 

 

 

Fearless Freshman

With a new season comes new players. Here are three prospective players to followed throughout the offseason, wondering where why would end up by the end of the season.

With this year UT men’s basketball here are the three new players to look at, the freshmen added onto this year’s roster. Since the Texas Tip-off, the freshmen have showed up and made a point they are players to watch this season. The three to keep your eye throughout the season are, and undoubtedly the one that has made the biggest impact so far Kerwin Roach.

Kerwin Roach has turned eyes since the Texas Tip-off, the article from the UT athletics website titled “Roach leads White to 72-63 win at Texas Tip-Off Men’s Basketball scrimmage”. The freshman had a game high 18-points and 5 assists. During one of the first plays on the game, Roach made a statement with a clear block over Cameron Ridley’s attempt at a shot and from there had a great scrimmage.

Moving to Tevin Mack, he led the orange team with 16 points that scrimmage.Next freshman to look out for is Eric Davis. racking up 16 points just as Tevin Mack.

As for the game against Tarleton State for an exhibition game, two of the three leading scorers for the team were the freshmen. Roach and Mack with 16 points each and Davis not too far behind the leaders with 12 points. All three starting the game strong, starting out with three-pointers, giving the Longhorns the start they need.

Coach Smart has even commented on the freshmen about how “they have been three of our better players, particularly offensively” since practice has started this season.

I am not saying these three guys are going to be the only players to watch, but they have something to prove. Look past the fact they are first-years and that they are ready to play.  “They’ve got so much to learn”, as Shaka Smart has said, but if this is how they are playing at the beginning of the season, I can’t wait to see how they will learn and develop over the season. Hook Em Horns.

Let’s follow them and see what kind of players they become over the season. 

Sports Gambling is 100% (il)legal!

Many media platforms have recently discussed the issue of whether or not daily fantasy sports are considered to be gambling or not. FanDuel and DraftKings have made it very clear that they do not believe they have crossed the line into a gambling website. Both companies claim that by only requiring an entry fee it does not translate as making a bet. By allowing participants to pay an entry fee, they promise that there is a chance to win cash on a daily basis based on athlete’s performance at various sports and levels.

But, what constitutes gambling? The NFL and NBA, along with a few others, lobbied for Congress to pass the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which made sports betting illegal in all states, except Nevada and Delaware. This is tricky because there is no statement about fantasy sports. In 1992, people were using fantasy sports leagues but no one thought about daily fantasy sports becoming popular nation wide.

The basis to their argument is that it is a game of skill and by using the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as their source, technically that allows it to be legal in most states. John Oliver, as usual, voiced his opinions on the topic and added in his own witty twist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq785nJ0FXQ

There is a fine line that I believe FanDuel and DraftKings have crossed, The New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman also agrees and stated that:

“Daily fantasy sports is neither victimless nor harmless, and it is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multi-billion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country. Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York, and not on my watch.”

The legal team arguing for DraftKings told ESPN that, “We look forward to our day in court”.

Yeah, I bet you do…

http://espn.go.com/chalk/story/_/id/14148242/newyork-judge-denies-draftkings-fanduel-restraining-order-request

We’ll see how long this lasts, but I have a strong feeling that the websites are going to be shut down very soon. Happy gambling!