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2020 NFL Draft Review - Analysis and Career Predictions for Each Team's Draft Class - NFC West

We roll on with a division-by-division rundown of the 2020 NFL Draft with arguably the best division in football, the NFC West. Catch up on the other installments of this 2020 NFL Draft review series with the AFC South, NFC South, AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, and NFC North.
Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust.
Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level. I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. Nevertheless, this is a fun exercise and gives us a chance to review how each team approached the draft.


Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft.
Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland.
Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat.
As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that here). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams.
So here is the next installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down:
5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position.
4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position.
3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production.
2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions.
1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive.
Next up, the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals dealt their second-round pick for one of the best receivers in football in DeAndre Hopkins. When you add that acquisition into their draft haul, it’s one of the most impressive in the entire NFL.
At No. 8, the Cardinals went best player available with Isaiah Simmons (4) from Clemson. There were some rumors that Simmons would fall a bit on draft day due to teams not knowing what to do with him. Simmons is a quality football player, but not knowing what position room to put him in is somewhat of an issue. He’s not big enough to bang in the box every down and he’s not as fluid in coverage as the best free safeties. He made a lot of plays blitzing from depth and taking advantage of his absurd size-athleticism mix at the college level.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is an extraordinary defensive mind and played him all over the field at every position except defensive tackle. In Arizona I expect Simmons to line up mostly at the second level, doing most of his damage in coverage against tight ends and blitzing. Fitting him in might not be so easy after adding De'Vondre Campbell and Jordan Hicks as off-ball linebackers. I’ll let Vance Joseph figure it out. Simmons can fly and make plays so it will be hard to screw it up.
With a need at tackle, the Cardinals chose to take advantage of the depth at the position and wait until the third round to grab Josh Jones (4) of Houston. Jones was the 19th overall player on my board, so I obviously view this pick as a massive steal. Jones didn’t square off against many marquee pass-rushers, so his film was hard to evaluate in terms of translating to the next level. He won the vast majority of his matchups, showing sound technique, but few crazy displays of domination. He surely graded out well and moves well enough for me to endorse him as a quality starting left tackle in Arizona. People make a big deal about quarterbacks and wide receivers transitioning from spread offenses, but it’s also a whole new game for offensive linemen. With Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme taking a lot from the college game, Jones will be coached similar techniques to what he was taught at Houston. Great pick.
A year after making the wise decision to jettison Josh Rosen and draft Kyler Murray, the Cardinals put together a solid draft. They are talented enough to compete with the heavyweights in the NFC West, but maybe a year away from a playoff appearance.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams essentially used their first-round pick on Jalen Ramsey, who probably would have gone 3rd overall in this draft class. Dealing a first for a veteran with a huge contract is always risky, especially with a highly (and possibly over) paid quarterback. They came into the draft needing help on defense. I don’t think they got much.
When I originally sat down and watched Cam Akers, I became disgusted with the Florida State offense. To say it was a mess is an understatement. Akers made mistakes as well, which made me sour on him quite a bit. I originally ranked Akers 9th in my running back rankings and was met with a fury. I had to go back and watch. You were all right. I had fallen in the same trap I warn draftniks about all the time - valuing college performance too much, and traits too little.
If Cam Akers (4) has any work ethic at all, he’s going to have Pro Bowl seasons with Sean McVay. His traits are actually good enough that he can be an All-Pro if things break right. Akers’ fundamentals and technique were subpar at Florida State. My coaching side also didn’t like his lack of ball security. However, it’s difficult to blame him with how poorly coached everyone else looked.
Athletic and fast with decent hands, Akers has acceleration and creativity traits that translate to the NFL. He can break tackles and hit home runs. He’ll overtake Darrell Henderson right away as the Rams’ 1A back. I am glad I went for a second look. He is going to be a fantasy stud in the Rams zone running scheme.
Van Jefferson (2) has the pedigree and route-running skills to be a quality NFL receiver. When asked to run routes with real breakpoints, he showed the body control and agility that can work in the NFL. However, the constant issue in his film is the lack of separation down the field. When schemed into shallow crosses and screens, Jefferson was productive, showing good hands. The top-end speed wasn’t there, and he doesn’t project as much of a run-after-catch threat. There is little evidence on film that he can get off press, but he has the demeanor that could work. I expect him to become a just-a-guy possession receiver.
Terrell Lewis (2) has traits that play in the league, but he is going to need time to develop. The scariest thing about Lewis is his injury history. On the field, he shows dynamic athleticism and ideal twitch. However, he doesn't execute his gap assignments particularly well and will struggle to defend the run in the NFL. As a rotational edge rusher, it could work, but a lot of his sacks came on inside stunts. Lewis is a developmental project who needs to stay healthy and get stronger to make any positive impact.
Straight from my Terrell Burgess (3) notes: “quick and good.” Burgess projects as a slot corner or sub-package safety. He has hip fluidity, good feet, and covered tight ends well at Utah. I don’t expect him to be a plus in run defense. That Utah secondary was crazy.
The Rams paid Jared Goff and now have to live with the consequences. The 49ers have the most talent, Russell Wilson isn’t going anywhere, and the Cardinals are young with a franchise quarterback. The NFC West is probably the best division in football, and if Jared Goff doesn’t play better, the former hottest coach in the NFL will be looking at back-to-back seasons with no playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers

The defending NFC Champions traded away DeForest Buckner for the 13th-overall pick, giving them two first-rounders. They ended up trading down just one spot to No. 14 and actually using their original first to move up to No. 25. Overall they made just five picks, but with John Lynch’s body of work, fans have reason to be excited.
Out goes Buckner, and in comes his replacement in Javon Kinlaw (4). Kinlaw was my No. 1 interior defensive lineman and 17th-ranked player on my board. He’s big and athletic with an inconsistent get-off. When he times up and correctly leverages his explosion off the ball, he’s very good. He can penetrate gaps, fight versus doubles, and bench press blockers off him. He showed a powerful bull rush against the Alabama right guard. The most underrated aspect of Kinlaw’s game is his ability to get his paws on passes. He can also block field goals. The 49ers' defensive line will continue to be a force.
Trading up for Brandon Aiyuk (3) was extremely interesting considering the depth of this wide receiver class. John Lynch admitted they considered CeeDee Lamb at No. 13, but also would have been fine taking Aiyuk there. Get your guy, I guess. I do like Aiyuk, so I won’t bash the move at all. Aiyuk reminds me of Dez Bryant. He’s a competitive player with strong hands and good footwork in terms of breakpoints.
My final note: he’s a stud, just needs to clean up some technique. Unfortunately, I do not believe he will unlock his full potential as the third receiving option in a run-heavy attack. He takes a while to get going, is a little clumsy, and showed some very sloppy release work at the line. A related observation: the special teams coordinator at Arizona State was excellent.
The 49ers had a ten-point lead in the second half of the Super Bowl and return most of their starters. Yes, they lost Joe Staley, but they gained Trent Williams. Yes, they lost DeForest Buckner, but they gained Javon Kinlaw. John Lynch is doing a fantastic job.

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks general manager John Schneider had an all-time great draft class in 2012 but hasn’t hit on a single first-round pick since. He has been below-average at drafting during that time, as Seahawks fans have seen a once-loaded roster deteriorate into essentially a one-man team. Just as bad, Pete Carroll continues to ignore math and put too much emphasis on running the football (ironic). Defensively, his tendency to play three linebackers on the field together too much has also hurt them. So of course with their first-round pick, they took an off-ball linebacker.
I wrote this article about “my guys” before the draft. Jordyn Brooks (4) was the first guy I featured. I believe he can be an impact pro, and he actually reminds me of Bobby Wagner a bit. However, it is tough to defend a Super Bowl contender taking an off-ball linebacker, likely pointing to keeping three linebackers on the field for too many snaps yet again. I do believe in the player though.
Brooks plays fast, can key and diagnose, and has tremendous power on contact. When he meets a back in the hole, he drives him back. They liked to blitz him at Texas Tech, taking advantage of uncommon movement skills and acceleration. Against Oklahoma, he struggled a bit, primarily used to spy Jalen Hurts. However, the fact his coaching staff gave him that assignment is telling. I predict he’ll be an excellent pro. If they’re going to play three linebackers, at least one of them will be fast enough to keep up with Kyler Murray.
In the second round, the Seahawks traded up for Darrell Taylor (2) of Tennessee. When I began writing the “my guys” article, Taylor was supposed to be the second player I featured. I watched his film again simply looking for a highlight to make a gif of and became so unimpressed with Taylor that I decided to write about someone else. It was mainly Taylor’s film against Alabama that turned me off. The flip-flopping puts me in a ridiculous spot. I went back a third time and kind of liked him more again.
Taylor can bend and his profile fits the Seahawks LEO position perfectly. He showed inconsistent handwork but generally was powerful on the edge with enough speed to keep tackles honest. He showed an ability to finish plays and force turnovers, something a lot of edge prospects struggle to do. There was an odd delay getting off the ball on almost every snap against BYU, but he showed a quick get-off in other games. Only one thing is for sure - he’s better than L.J. Collier.
In the third, the Seahawks took my 92nd-ranked player in LSU guard Damien Lewis (2). Lewis will likely fit right in with Seattle’s underachieving offensive line. He’s good on double teams and has good enough feet to mirror but that’s about it. His functional strength and anchor is below average, getting knocked down by a blitzer and walked back by just one of Derrick Brown’s arms. Anything powerful gets him off-balance. There were better players on the board.
The Seahawks pride themselves in trading down and making picks against the consensus. It has not worked out at all in recent years. It would be a shame if their mishandling of drafts continues throughout Russell Wilson’s career.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the final division, the AFC West, in the coming days.
NFC West Article with gifs: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-west/737289
AFC South: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-afc-south/736898
NFC South: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-south/736460
AFC East: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-afc-east/736202
NFC East: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-east/735919
AFC North: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-afc-north/735564?src=cat_feat_9954
NFC North: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-north/734932
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Aug. 7, 2000

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
1-3-2000 1-10-2000 1-17-2000 1-24-2000
1-31-2000 2-7-2000 2-14-2000 2-21-2000
2-28-2000 3-6-2000 3-13-2000 3-20-2000
3-27-2000 4-3-2000 4-10-2000 4-17-2000
4-24-2000 5-1-2000 5-8-2000 5-15-2000
5-22-2000 5-29-2000 6-5-2000 6-12-2000
6-19-2000 6-26-2000 7-3-2000 7-10-2000
7-17-2000 7-24-2000 7-31-2000
  • We open this week with the death of legendary commentator Gordon Solie from cancer at age 71. Considered by many to be the greatest announcer of all time, Solie had been in bad health for several years after retiring in 1996. He had lung and liver problems from a lifetime of smoking and heavy drinking (if you hadn't heard, Gordon Solie was actually kind of a legendary high-functioning alcoholic). After the cancer and throat surgery robbed him of his voice, he gave up smoking after 55 years. But the surgery didn't work and the cancer spread to his brain. Solie didn't want people to know and asked his closest friends to keep his impending death quiet and until the last couple of weeks, no one outside of his inner circle knew how bad his health had become. Following the death of his wife in 1997 from cancer, Solie had been depressed and was scared of going through the same kind of suffering and had looked into assisted suicide but decided against it. Solie wasn't much of a fan of modern day wrestling but he considered Jim Ross his successor as the best announcer in wrestling and was high on Mike Tenay also. Ric Flair called Solie shortly before his death and is thought to be one of the last people to talk to him. Dave covers his career, from the days of Georgia Championship Wrestling and the Florida territories and eventually becoming the voice of the NWA. The term "crimson mask" is believed to be a Solie creation. He went back to WCW in the early 90s as the Dean of Announcers where he would film little segments here and there (I just recently read Jim Ross' book and he talks about this and basically, they didn't bring Solie back as an announcer full time because he was such an alcoholic that they couldn't depend on him. They'd bring him in early in the morning to do voice-overs because if they waited until afternoon, he'd be too drunk. Ross also tells stories of Solie drinking vodka at the announce table while calling Clash of the Champions shows with him). He was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1995 but he was unhappy about some of the other inductees and it led to a fight with Eric Bischoff that led to him leaving WCW. There's a LOT of really good historical info about the early GCW and Florida territory days and this is a must-read if you're a fan of that era.
  • There's a whole mess of news coming out of the Owen Hart family lawsuit and related to the typical Hart family drama. This gets a little complicated so follow along. In a wrongful death case, only Owen's parents, wife, and children stand to gain any financial rewards. However, the Kansas City lawyers representing Martha Hart have been accused of entering into an agreement with some of Owen's brothers and sisters for them to receive Stu and Helen's portion of any award, assuming they both die before the case is settled. 5 of the 10 surviving Hart family children signed the agreement. Ellie Hart (married to Jim Neidhart, Natalya's mom) has been the most loyal to WWF in this situation and she's the one who exposed the agreement by sending it to WWF lawyer Jerry McDevitt. The lawyers argued that they did nothing wrong and argued that the document was priveliged information and that WWF lawyers obtained it improperly. The agreement required the siblings who signed on to agree not to communicate or cooperate with the WWF in the case and noted that doing so would make them ineligible to share in any awards if Stu and Helen pass away before the case is over. Some legal experts have said it's arguably witness tampering because it gives potential witnesses a financial incentive to testify the way the prosecution wants.
  • A big part of this case is getting family members to testify to determine how much longer it's believed that Owen would have continued wrestling, which will determine what the lost earnings compensation might be. Hart's lawyers have argued that Owen, who was 34, would have continued wrestling for another 8-15 years, meaning a lost income of anywhere between $6-11 million over that time. Of course, that contradicts what many Hart members stated in the past, that Owen had grown to dislike the business and planned to retire when his contract was up. Of course, everyone in this business always says they're retiring but then they stick around because the money is too good, so who really knows what Owen may have done. Anyway, this could all lead to the lawyers being kicked off the case and possibly even disbarred if it's ruled to be witness tampering. As of now, the agreement that the siblings signed has been rescinded (Martha Hart later said these shenanigans really fucked up their case and was a big part of why she eventually took a settlement and cut the rest of the Hart family out of her life).
  • The WWF has entered into the world of national politics, starting a voter registration campaign and announcing that The Rock will appear at the Republican National Convention. WWF was already planning to do a voter campaign when they got an invitation for The Rock to appear on behalf of Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert as a way for the Republicans to portray themselves as hip and cool to younger voters as the 2000 presidential election looms. WWF claimed to have 14 million eligible voters as fans, which is not true. They're basing that number on the number of 18-and-older fans who watch their shows and arrived at that number by counting all the shows separately, and even that number is inflated. In reality, most fans who watch Raw also watch Smackdown. They're not separate fanbases that you can total up, so once you start factoring in all that stuff, the real number is probably closer to 5.5 million and even that might be a stretch. But hey, if they can encourage that many people to get out and vote, that's nothing to sneeze at and as WWF has proven, if you go out in the media and repeat a lie long enough, people will believe it so the 14 million number is what's being widely reported. WWF is claiming that this will be a bipartisan effort and they plan to have a presence at the Democratic National Convention as well. Dave says there's a history of wrestling fans affecting elections. Obviously, Jesse Ventura and Antonio Inoki rode their wrestling fame to election victories and there's records saying that Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign, in which he barely beat Hubert Humphrey in one of the closes elections on record (just wait 2 months), targeted wrestling fans in the south with heavy campaigning because they were thought to be an easily manipulated audience (whaaa? Wrestling fans easily manipulated? Perish the thought!)
  • This isn't the first appearance by a wrestler at one of these conventions. Gorgeous George was a guest at the 1952 or 56 Republican convention and Fritz Von Erich attended several of them in the 70s and 80s. Ric Flair was invited to this year's as well but he won't be attending. The announcement of Rock at the RNC immediately drew the ire of the PTC. The PTC chairman L. Brent Bozell III put out a statement talking about how Rock uses obscene language on TV and uses weapons and makes demeaning comments about women. "It is unconscionable that one of America's major political parties would give a prime time platform to someone who encourages young children to behave in such a violent and vulgar manner," he said. The PTC urged presidential candidate George W. Bush to withdraw Rock's invitation and is pressuring Speaker Hastert to dis-invite him as well.
  • NJPW ran its first ever PPV event this week and as of press time, there's no PPV number details so who knows if it was a success. PPV is a much smaller business in Japan than the U.S. As a live show, it was a huge success, selling out the 18,000 seat arena and doing a near $2 million gate. The show was built on Atsushi Onita facing Riki Choshu, who came out of a near-3 year retirement, in an exploding barbed wire typical Onita match. It was a terrible match, with Choshu not taking any big bumps and basically throwing Onita around the whole time. Onita ended up needing 43 stitches in his arm and 6 in his back, bringing his alleged career stitches total to 1,322 (remember, he was trying to go for a world record on that at one point). Onita also came into the match really banged up and needed painkiller injections in his arm and knees just to go out to the ring. After the match, Choshu cut a promo saying this was his one and only comeback match and he's going back to being retired but nobody buys it and due to how quick this show sold out and how much money there is to be made, he'll almost definitely keep wrestling (yup). Meanwhile, Onita is claiming he will retire at the end of this year (lol) but wants to do one of his exploding ring matches in the U.S. first, probably for XPW in October. In the opening match on the show, young lion Shinya Makabe beat young lion Hiroshi Tanahashi with a boston crab (I found the match on NJPW World, for those who have a subscription).
WATCH ON NJPW WORLD: Atsushi Onita vs. Riki Choshu - barbed wire death match - July 30, 2000
  • The Rock/Lita vs. Triple H/Trish main event of Raw did a near record number of viewers. 9,965,000 people watched the match, which makes it the 5th most watched match ever on cable TV. Several segments and matches on Nitro (particularly the women's hardcore match and the infamous Viagra-on-a-pole match) did near record-low numbers.
  • CMLL wrestler Dr. Wagner Jr. has apparently agreed to lose his mask before the end of the year against Rayo de Jalisco Jr. which would be one of the biggest matches of the year if he does it (doesn't end up happening and Wagner keeps his mask all the way up until 2017 before losing it and unmasking to reveal himself as the most interesting man in the world).
WATCH: Dr. Wagner Jr. unmasked in 2017
  • In a bit of a surprise, Motoko Baba named herself as the new AJPW president rather than Toshiaki Kawada.
  • A promoter in Australia put together a Superstars of Wrestling tour that featured the in-ring return of Dennis Rodman, along with all the typical chaos that comes along with booking Rodman. He flew to Australia a week in advance to do publicity but partied so much that he missed all his scheduled media appearances the first day, no-showed an autograph signing on another day, etc. He was supposed to appear at one show to set up an angle with Curt Hennig which would lead to a match at the next show but he showed up late, at the very end of the show, and ended up doing a run-in after the match was over right after his arrival. But the next night, Hennig and Rodman had a match that was said to be surprisingly good in Brisbane and another the next night in Sydney that was the best match of the show.
WATCH: Curt Hennig vs. Dennis Rodman
  • Update on the Brian Pillman benefit show from a few months back. Kevin Nash still hasn't sent the family the $20,000 he claimed he was donating. David Arquette also hasn't yet donated what he said he would, but that's because he's still waiting on some big PPV money from WCW to come in, but he has said he is donating all his WCW profits to the Pillman, Hildebrand, and Droz families (Arquette does indeed pay up as soon as those checks come in. Dave will periodically remind us for the next year that Nash still hasn't).
  • Indie wrestler Shark Boy will be appearing on a show during the Discovery Channel's Shark Week but Dave doesn't know what he'll be doing.
  • Not much new on the ECW TV situation. Viewers Choice in Canada may no longer air ECW PPVs there since, as of next month, they will no longer have TV in Canada after TNN cancels them. They've basically got 8 weeks left on TNN. Heyman is still deep in negotiations with other networks but the problem is, ECW needs more than just a TV deal right now. They need a TV partner that is also willing to pump significant money into the company to help them stay afloat and a lot of these TV companies see that ECW is struggling to survive and they're hesitant to invest in it (and thus, the crux of why ECW went out of business. They were a dying company who desperately needed someone to throw them a life preserver and nobody wanted to do it because no one wants to invest millions of dollars into a desperate, dying company. Catch-22'd right out of business).
  • Notes from Nitro: Lance Storm won the cruiserweight title, and now he has 3 of WCW's championships. Then just to show how much it means when a guy in WCW holds 3 titles at once, Kevin Nash came in and disposed of him like garbage before cutting another lame "shoot" promo about the time Pierre Oulette refused to do a job for him when they worked in WWF together, which Dave says only about 10 people in the world probably had a clue what Nash was talking about. He also brought up the idea of bringing Scott Hall back again, because Nash apparently isn't going to let that one go even though Brad Siegel has already said it's never happening. The Shane Douglas vs. Kidman Viagra-on-a-pole match happened and the less said about it the better, other than Mark Madden on commentary being hilarious, jokingly referencing past "famous" Viagra-on-a-pole matches such as Gagne vs. Bockwinkel.
WATCH: Kidman vs. Shane Douglas (Viagra on a Pole match)
  • Notes from Thunder: the taping was delayed about 30 minutes due to a bomb threat in the building. Vince Russo cut a "shoot" primo talking about taking himself off TV, which Dave predicts will last 3 weeks tops. Goldberg also cut a "shoot" promo basically turning himself babyface again. and talking about guys who draw money and yada yada. Dave thinks its probably the best promo Goldberg has ever done but it's still more of the same that the casual fans (which is most of them) have no idea what he's talking about. The problem with this and everything else Russo is booking is that the whole gimmick seems to be "Everything else you see is part of the show but this part is real." But if you do that multiple times per show in nearly every storyline, it kinda loses its impact.
  • Ric Flair is due back around October and is said to be really excited because for the first time in over a year, he's able to train his chest and shoulders again and he hopes to get back into the best shape a 52 year old man can be in. He'll also be able to throw punches and chops again without pain. Word is Brad Siegel actually doesn't want Flair back in the ring, because in keeping with tradition, everybody who's ever ran WCW has tried to push Flair out and they always fail. Russo does want Flair back in the ring, so there ya go. Speaking of Flair, he's currently working on an autobiography.
  • Bret Hart has been working on an autobiography as well. Speaking of, he wrote another Calgary Sun article this week talking about wrestler deaths and acknowledging Davey Boy Smith's current addictions and said, "quite frankly, Davey's situation scares me."
  • WCW contract news and releases: Roddy Piper has been let go, but Dave doesn't have any details. Kathy Dingman, formerly BB in WWF and who appeared on Nitro last week as Kiwi's valet, is already gone from WCW. People in the company are claiming that Bob Holly (her fiance) didn't want her working there. And finally, Nora Greenwald (Mona) has been released (she turns up in WWF soon as Molly Holly). Bobby Heenan has been taken off TV and will only do studio voice overs from now on and his contract expires soon.
  • Goldberg and Booker T pretty much injured each other last week on Nitro. During the match, Goldberg suffered a separated shoulder while Booker T has some sort of knee injury from the match. For what it's worth though, a lot of people in the locker room are said to be skeptical of how hurt Goldberg really is (he was also accused of milking his arm injury awhile back too so he could stay home longer).
  • I'm just going to copy and paste this one because I don't really know what this means or what half of this is in reference to and Dave doesn't really explain. So here goes: "There was an interoffice memo that went around WCW on 7/31, which I guess shows just how respected Russo is these days internally. The memo was entitled "Top Ten Questions Not Asked of Vince Russo." 10) Would you like to take this opportunity to claim credit for the return of Cake Day?; 9) If the Possum is going to wrestle for us, what reoccurring Saturday Night Live character will he be ripping off?; 8) How much did SFX front you for decreasing the value of the organization?; 7) Are you going to let Bill hyphenate his name to Banks-Russo?; 6) Can you funnel the unwanted talent to the Marketing Department? The New VP of Marketing has numerous openings with lots of opportunity for advancement; 5) When is Hulk coming back?; 4) What does the second "W" in WCW stand for?; 3) How many "young and hungry" employees does it take to screw....up an entire company?; 2) "WCW Creative" -- is it a misnomer or simply a contradiction in terms?; 1) Would you know an original idea if it jumped up and bit you on the ass, or would you just think it was the Possum."
  • Fully Loaded looks to have done around a 1.04 buyrate which is better than expected with the unproven guys like Benoit and Jericho in top matches. It's also the Rock's 8th PPV main event to do a 1.0 or higher buyrate which puts him 5th place all time between Hogan, Flair, Austin, and Bret Hart.
  • Notes from Raw: the show was clearly built around pushing Lita and Trish Stratus. The company really has something with Lita and they recognize it. She has sort of a tomboy appeal that is likely to get over big with teenage girls whereas others like Trish or Sable in the past are mostly there to appeal to guys. Steven Richards and Bull Buchanan are now going by the name Right To Cencor (RTC, an obvious spoof on the PTC).
  • Speaking of, the PTC plans to start monitoring Raw, Nitro, and ECW as well along with Smackdown. Dave thinks WCW will back down immediately because the higher-ups at Turner aren't going to fight back against them the way Vince has. And ECW is in an even tougher situation because they can't tone down their product without alienating their fanbase but they also can't afford to start losing advertisers.
  • Both the Undertaker and Chris Jericho injury angles this week were done to write them off TV for a week or so because they're both taking off for their honeymoons. Jericho's wedding was front page news in the Winnipeg Sun the next day noting that Manitoba's sexiest man (which he was recently voted in a newspaper poll) was now off the market. In attendance at Jericho's wedding were Don Callis, Billy Kidman, Lance Storm, Edge, Christian, and Disco Inferno. In unrelated news, Jericho is also filming a Chef Boyardee commercial next month in the Bahamas.
  • Jim Cornette basically isn't planning to return to Knoxville until if/when the charges against him are dropped.
  • Steve Austin is still training like a madman for his comeback and they're optimistic that he'll be okay to at least come back in a limited role later this year. His legs are reportedly huge because for most of the time he was out, that's the only training he could really do.
  • A recent news story came out noting that the XFL is having trouble attracting advertisers because all the major companies are being cautious because no one knows what this whole XFL thing is gonna be yet. No one knows if this is going to be closer to NFL football or WWF wrestling and basically, sponsors are hedging their bets until we get a better idea of what exactly the XFL is going to be. Some people are already predicting failure, with one sports marketing expert quoted saying that he thinks the XFL will make a splash in the beginning, but won't last in the long run.
  • Raw on TNN begins on Sept. 25th. The final WWF show on USA will be Sunday Night Heat the night before that.
  • The Haas Brothers (Charlie and Russ) appeared as extras during the Edge & Christian and Acolytes skit on Smackdown along with wrestlers Patty O'Brien and Billy Reil, all of whom wrestle for Jersey All Pro Wrestling (the Haas brothers end up getting signed eventually but sadly Russ dies while they're still in OVW. Charlie went on to have a pretty decent career).
  • Regarding rumors that Eddie Guerrero, Saturn, and Dean Malenko are regretting their decision to jump to WWF, Dave says there's no truth to it. Eddie and Saturn are both working through nagging injuries right now which has taken a told mentally and physically, and Malenko is said to not be thrilled with his current storyline of wrestling against women, but all that said, all 3 men are said to be very happy where they are and glad to not be in WCW anymore.
  • There's been some talk of doing a Benoit vs. Triple H match at Wrestlemania next year, with Triple H expected to be a babyface by then. Rock vs. Austin would still likely headline the show. Of course, things change hourly in this business now and Wrestlemania is still many months away so don't hold your breath.
  • In its annual SEC report, the WWF revealed that the World Wildlife Fund has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against them relating to a contract both sides signed back in 1994 regarding the WWF initials. The suit claims that the WWF violated the contract by using the WWF logo in places it had agreed not to use it, such as internet domain names like wwf.com and wwfshopzone.com as well as using the term "WWF" in foreign broadcasts. WWF argues that the current WWF scratch logo was created after the 1994 agreement and thus not covered under the deal they signed. In the SEC report, WWF noted that if the court rules against them, it could "have a material adverse effect" on company operations. Yeah, just a tad. I'm sure this doesn't turn into a big deal or anything......
  • At a recent house show in Pensacola, Mick Foley came out beforehand and talked about the last time he was in that city, he worked for a different company (meaning WCW) which got the crowd to boo. Foley then said they weren't booing loud enough so of course, they booed even louder. Then he pulled a great rib on Al Snow, saying that when Snow comes out to wrestle his match later that night, the fans should chant for Foley. Needless to say, that's exactly what happened and Al Snow wrestled a match while the entire crowd chanted "Foley! Foley!"
  • A few letters this week trashing Vince Russo and talking about how he's so obsessed and into the hardcore internet fanbase reaction that he assumes everyone else is too, but they're not. Someone writes in about the recent "shoot" promos and how most people at home were probably scratching their heads going, "Who is Brad Siegel?" since he's never been a character or mentioned on TV before until that promo. Someone else points out that by pretending this match you're seeing here is a shoot, it kills the credibility of the rest of the show and all the worked matches, which is the business that WCW is in.
WEDNESDAY: the future of WCW in question, Observer Hall of Fame news, more on Hart family lawyer mess, and more...
submitted by daprice82 to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

During the 1920s, Bears Hall of Fame center George Trafton was called the "toughest, meanest" player by Red Grange. Trafton ruined Grange's leg on a tackle, was chased out of a city, changed how centers snapped, boxed a baseball player and a world champion, and helped coach the Packers to a title.

A while back, I published this write-up on George Trafton being chased out of Rock Island after a rather violent game and the resulting media feud. In it, I briefly mentioned Trafton’s life and my intention to expand on it in a later article.
Well, here it is. Enjoy.
The NFL has had its share of dirty and mean players, from Bill Romanowski to Ndamukong Suh to Vontaze Burfict. However, they played in an era where other players at least had the protection of a football helmet and pads. What about the league's bullies of the days when the leather helmet was still a newfangled item that not everyone wore?
Look no further than George Trafton. The Chicago native and Notre Dame center joined the Decatur Staleys during the league's inaugural season in 1920, and stayed with the team when they moved to Chicago and became the Bears. For over a decade, he served as the anchor of the Bears' offensive line, winning two championships and being named to the All-Pro Team six times, but he had a reputation. In the eyes of his peers, he was a nasty man, one who was hated by rival teams to the point where he was even chased out of a city following a game.

George Trafton: Notre Dame Star and Original Staley

Trafton was born in Chicago in 1896. In 1918, he enlisted in the Army and played for the Camp Grant football team.[1] After his discharge, he attended Notre Dame, where he was a member of the school's varsity basketball and football teams, while also running track. In 1919, he helped lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated record and the national championship. However, his time at Notre Dame was short: during the Christmas break in 1919, it was revealed he had played professional football under a fake name, thereby forfeiting his status as an amateur athlete and rendering him ineligible to compete for Notre Dame in future sporting events.[2] Head coach Knute Rockne personally kicked him off the team.[1]
In 1920, the American Professional Football Association prepared to play its inaugural season. George Halas, player and coach of the Decatur Staleys, launched a nationwide recruiting tour to build up the roster. In addition to signing his old Illinois and Great Lakes Naval Station teammates, he decided to add Trafton.[3] As a member of the team, he was also employed as a worker at the A.E. Staley corn starch factory; on the field, the 6-foot, 207-pound center helped lead the Staleys to a 10–1–2 record and a second-place finish in the standings. He remained with the team as they moved to Chicago in 1921, helping lead them to the title that year.[4]
For the 1922 season, the Staleys rebranded to the Chicago Bears, but Trafton was unavailable. Instead, he left to become the offensive line coach at Northwestern University, where he established himself as a tough but solid coach; for example, he would have his linemen practice blocking sawdust dummies well after the rest of the team had showered.[5] Unfortunately for Trafton, he was forced to resign after just one year due to Big Ten rules prohibiting professional players from serving as coaches. Northwestern Athletic Director Dana Evans expressed unhappiness at the news but praised Trafton's work, describing him as "one of the best line coaches in the conference and a large factor in developing the 1922 Purple eleven."[6]

George Trafton: The Toughest, Meanest, Most Ornery Critter Alive

"Imagine…when I started with the Bears we had fifteen (players). You were hired to play a football game and you played it—all 60 minutes of it."
– George Trafton[7]
Once again out of a job, Trafton elected to return to the Bears in 1923, for whom he would play ten more seasons. The center who wore the very lucky number 13 created a lasting impact on the sport in various ways; for example, he was the first player to snap a ball with only one hand. He also left literal lasting impacts on his opponents.[7] In fact, Trafton admitted playing center was boring; during practice, he would often fall onto his stomach after snapping the ball. Instead, he prided himself on his defensive prowess and said, "That I loved. You could really find the action on defense."[49]
Before the 1923 season, Rock Island Independents coach Walter Flanigan unsuccessfully tried to sign Trafton and teammate, quarterback Joey Sternaman.[8] This was bizarre, considering what Trafton did during a game against the Independents in 1920...
As said in the introduction, I already wrote a piece on it, so I won't elaborate on it further here. Instead, here's a quick summary: four Rock Island players were injured in plays involving Trafton. Whether there was malice involved is not known. Either way, it pissed off Rock Island fans, who chased Trafton out of the city.[9]
At the teams' next meeting a year later, Trafton became the center of attention once again. At the time, the away team received its share of the ticket revenue in cash on the field immediately after the game. When this happened, Halas gave the money-filled envelope to Trafton.[10]
"It seemed like a prudent thing to do, because the Rock Island fans were in a characteristically unhappy mood," Halas wrote. "If they started looking for trouble, I figured Trafton would be running for his life, whereas I would have had nothing to run for except the $3,500."[10]
During another game between the Bears and Independents, he and Rock Island center Lou Kolls clashed on multiple occasions, prompting them to repeatedly commit personal fouls on one another. However, referee Bobie Cahn decided against penalizing either of them, knowing it would just slow down the game: "We figured we might as well let them kill each other."[1]

Busting the Galloping Ghost

Trafton's reputation was also noticed by his teammates. Running back Red Grange described him as "the toughest, meanest, most ornery critter alive."[1] Incidentally, Grange himself fell victim to Trafton.
In 1927, Grange's New York Yankees took on his former team, a game that ended in a 12–0 Bears win. On one play, Grange was tackled by Trafton while catching a pass and his cleat dug into the turf, twisting his knee. Trafton and other players helped carry him off the field.[11][12] While Grange remained a successful back in the years following the injury, he lost much of his speed and agility in the incident.[11]
"After it happened, I was just another halfback," he commented.[11]
The Coffin Corner tells of another story during a Bears/Packers game. When the Packers' Verne Lewellen were punting from his team's goal line, Trafton blocked it and the ball went into the end zone and was recovered for a touchdown. A peeved Lewellen asked who was responsible, to which Trafton pointed towards Bears rookie Bill Hewitt. On a later punt, also from the Packers' goal line, Green Bay decided to place more men against Hewitt. Now wide-open, Trafton charged through and blocked Lewellen's punt again, resulting in another touchdown. The Bears would win 14–10.[1]
However, this tale has some holes. There was only one 14–10 Bears/Packers game during Trafton's career, which the Packers won in 1925. Although Trafton did have a blocked punt touchdown in the game, it was not two as the story goes and, obviously, the Bears lost.[13] Hewitt's rookie season was Trafton's final (1932), and although the Bears beat the Packers in one game that year, it was 9–0 and the result of Bronko Nagurski's touchdown run, not Trafton's block.[14]
Even if the aforementioned story is likely untrue, Lewellen and Trafton had their engagements during their careers. In a 1926 game, Lewellen intercepted a Bears pass and began running; he was promptly clobbered by Trafton and had to be carried off the field.[15]
Before the 1931 season, Bears co-owner Dutch Sternaman prepared to sell his stake in the team as the Great Depression hit the NFL. Halas wanted to buy out his friend's share, but needed more money to do so, so he received loans from his mother and longtime friends Ralph Brizzolara (who would later become the Bears' acting GM during World War II), Charlie Bidwill (future Cardinals owner), Jim McMillen (a former Bear), and... Trafton's mom? Mrs. Halas, Brizzolara, Bidwill, and McMillen floated $5,000 each to Halas, while Mrs. Trafton gave him $20,000.[16][17]
Trafton retired after the 1932 season, ending his career on a high note as the Bears won the championship. He was a six-time All-Pro, a two-time league champion, and a member of the 1920s NFL All-Decade Team.

George Trafton: Not Exactly a Family Man

Off the field, Trafton had a... less than ideal family life. In fact, his first marriages ended in complete disaster.
In 1923, Trafton married Suzanne Kellington in Decatur. Three years later, it fell apart when Trafton accused her of deserting him just two months into their marriage.[18]
In 1929, Trafton tried again and wedded a woman named Alyce. After two years, Trafton sued for a divorce, accusing her of violent acts like breaking a bottle over his head, throwing a chair at him, using a carving knife against him, and kicking him repeatedly.[19] Alyce responded by calling him a gigolo.[20] The divorce was official in June.
Trafton married two more times in his life, both featuring far less drama than his previous ones.

George Trafton: Boxer

During the 1920s and 30s, boxing was one of America's premier sports, and Trafton got involved. In 1929, he fought his first match against White Sox first baseman Art Shires. Holding a 40-pound advantage over Shires, Trafton easily knocked him down twice in the first round, but Shires kept his ground during the later rounds as Trafton began experiencing signs of fatigue. Shires could not take advantage, and Trafton was eventually decided as the winner.[21]
The next day, Cubs center fielder Hack Wilson, who had originally planned to fight Shires despite resistance from his wife, canceled the $15,000 match as he felt there was no reason to take on a defeated boxer.[22]
"Why should I lick him too?"
The Tribune writer quoted Wilson as saying:
"If Shires had beaten Trafton I might have gone to Chicago and tried to talk to President [William] Veeck of the Cubs into letting me go thru with it, but there is no use in bucking the Cubs and making my wife mad just to floor a guy who was already licked."
A year later, "Supergreat" Trafton defeated Rudy Hoffman,[23] Battling Criss,[24] and Harvey Starr. Criss and Starr were both defeated by knockouts.[25]
Riding a four-match win streak into March, Trafton turned his attention to future world champion Primo Carnera. Despite skepticism from fans, especially as Carnera was much larger than him (271 pounds vs. Trafton's 229), Trafton was confident in his chances as he proclaimed, "My plans are simple. With the bell I'm after that big hunk of cheese, and then let him look out."[26]
In Kansas City, Trafton found himself quickly overwhelmed by the Italian. After being knocked down two times, he attempted to fight back before he was pummeled into a knockout.[27] Shortly after the match, Trafton was suspended by the Missouri Boxing Commission for not putting up enough of a fight against Carnera, ending his boxing career. The Commission's Kansas City representative Harry Davis commented, "To me it looked as if Trafton went down 'oth the first and second times without being hit."[28]
Although his time in the ring only lasted two years, he operated a boxing gymnasium in Chicago during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1941, he became the manager for Willie Joyce, who went on to become a successful lightweight boxer.[29][30] Trafton even had a 10% stake in Joe Louis' contract.[31]

George Trafton... Packers coach?

Trafton's Pro Football Hall of Fame bio reads, "One writer reported that Trafton was strongly disliked in every NFL city, with the exception of Green Bay and Rock Island. In those places, 'he was hated.'"[7]
Therefore, for Packers fans at the time, things must have been awkward when Trafton became the team's line coach in 1944, replacing longtime assistant Richard "Red" Smith. After his firing, Smith went to the Giants to serve as their line coach.[32]
Trafton's hiring came as the result of a meeting with Packers coach Curly Lambeau... in which Trafton called out his players for not being tough enough like in the old days. As Associated Press writer Charles Dunkley wrote:[33]
"What's wrong with that club of yours?" [Trafton] demanded.
"They don't scrap back like that old Green Bay crowd. Why, right now, in this dinner jacket, I could chase those mugs out of the park."
"You've got a job," Lambeau replied. "Show up in Green Bay August 20."
Trafton will find things a little different from the way they were back there, say in 1925, when he played 30 games in one season. The game has changed. So have the players. But not Trafton. At 47, he thinks he could do it again.
"Imagine," he says in amazement, "33 players on one squad. Why, when I started with the Bears we had 15. You were hired to play a football game and you played it—all 60 minutes of it, brother.
"That Halas used to come into the dressing room and say: 'Now, boys, this half Trafton will replace Trafton, Hunk Anderson will replace Hunk Anderson, and [Ed] Healy, you'd better replace Healy.'"
Henry J. McCormick of the Wisconsin State Journal commented on the Green Bay Press-Gazette's story on the hiring, pointing out various inaccuracies like it saying Trafton was a Notre Dame graduate. The article also added Trafton and Anderson disliked each other; McCormick didn't doubt that, but he was skeptical of the story's claim of a boxing match in which Trafton destroyed Anderson (there's a reason he was nicknamed Hunk, after all) Regardless, he wrote to "take it as a fact that Anderson didn't get along very well with Trafton, the latter being a person who never hesitated about telling any one that Trafton was the best center that ever lived."[32]
Instead, McCormick suggested there would be a grudge between Trafton and Smith:[32]
I'll also assume that Trafton and "Red" Smith won't be exactly friends; Coach "Curley" Lambeau of the Packers, another fellow who played one year at Notre Dame, fired Smith, and "Red" is going to be pretty critical of his successor.
"Red" will be helping coach the New York Giants this fall, and I imagine he won't be above having his charges give the Packer linemen the business any time the teams may meet. And you can bet your sweet life if such a thing comes to pass that Trafton will give his charges the green light for mayhem.
Just what broke up the Lambeau-Smith connection is something I wouldn't know.
In any case, the line coaching for the Packers now has been turned over to Trafton, a fellow who once was cordially hated by all Green Bay fans.
That was in the days when Trafton was playing center for the Chicago Bears, playing center and doing it about as close to the rules as anybody you can name.
Furthermore, Trafton took great delight in egging on spectators by word and deed, and there are a good many partisan spectators at Green Bay and elsewhere who can work themselves into a white hot rage without any particular stimulus from a player.
If things get a trifle dull in the professional league this year[...], they could have Trafton and Smith trade a few punches.
That shouldn't be hard to arrange. You have a certain amount of mutual dislike to start with, and there is the added fact that neither of the gentlemen named ever was caught going the other way when trouble threatened.
Well, personally, I'd much rather see them go after each other than witness a fight between any of the current crop of heavyweight boxers.
At least you'd be sure that this one was for keeps, and some of the "duration" heavyweight bouts have been open to suspicion.
Green Bay's offensive line was anchored by Buford "Baby" Ray, whom Trafton proclaimed at the start of the regular season would be the best tackle in the NFL in 1944.[34] Referring to Trafton as a "demon-man", the News-Record described the Trafton-led Packers line as a "scrappy forward wall".[35] Trafton had whipped the line into shape over the summer; in an interview with the Chicago Tribune:[36]
"To put it mildly, I was surprised when I watched the Packer linemen in action a few weeks ago[.]" [...]
"Actually," said George, in a voice that showed a narrow triumph over disbelief, "these big Packer linemen were just a group of billy goats. As far as they were concerned, their big hands were just something to use in downing a meal. They might as well have had their hands tied in back of 'em for all the good they were doing."
Then—thrusting out both of his brawny arms—"I taught 'em that these were weapons to use in a football game. Imagine this—Baby Ray, 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds—four years with Tennessee, six seasons with the Packers—was depending solely on shoulder blocks. I gave him a few pointers on use of the hands. Came the exhibition game with Boston and the Baby tore thru there, blocked a punt, picked up the ball, and stepped over a touchdown."
"And what do you think Ray said?
"This is fun!" he exclaimed to Trafton. The idea of using the hands as a potent weapon has spread to the linemen and when the Bears go up against the Packers Sunday they will not be long in noticing that something drastic has happened to those gents in the forward wall. This year Packer linemen have blocked five punts, in other years normal production for an entire season.
The Packers opened the season with a win over the Brooklyn Tigers. Next on the schedule, Trafton's Packers battled his former team in the defending champion Bears, a game that he was understandably eager for. "You know, those Bears are going to be in for a surprise Sunday," he said.[36] True to his word, Green Bay won 42–28, their first win in the rivalry since 1941.[37]
That year, Green Bay went 8–2; their only two losses were shutouts in a rematch against the Bears and — you guessed it — Red Smith's New York Giants. In the Championship Game, they took on — you guessed it — Red Smith's New York Giants. This time, the Packers got the last laugh with a 14–7 victory.[38]
Despite the successful season, Lambeau revealed Trafton had been signed to just a one-year deal, which was not renewed for 1945. Lambeau explained the team could not keep him staffed due to the era's circumstances (World War II) forcing the Packers to only have three coaches at most; including Lambeau, Hutson was an assistant coach, while Trafton's slot was filled by former Steelers head coach Walt Kiesling.[39]

The Rams and Blue Bombers

Now out of Green Bay, Trafton joined the Cleveland Rams as their OL coach on another one-year contract.[40] The Rams, playing in just their second year after returning from hiatus due to the war (4–6 in 1944), surprised many with a strong 1945 season as they went 9–1 and won the title. For Trafton, it was his second NFL championship in a row.[41]
The Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1946 and Trafton followed, the two recording another title game appearance in 1949, where they lost to the Eagles. He later served as public relations director for the Rams.[31] Yes, he had his share of clashes in LA, including getting involved in a locker room brawl during a game against the Bears in 1947.[42] Speaking of clashes, he and Rams head coach/former Bear Joe Stydahar struggled to get along, disagreeing on multiple occasions before Trafton decided to resign.[43]
Now out of the NFL, he crossed the border into Canada. Along with Halas, former Rams head coach Clark Shaugnessy gave a resounding endorsement: "If he takes one of those jobs in Canada I'll assure the fans up there that he will do a great job and furthermore I'll give him some of my new offensive plays that will electrify the football fans of our great neighbor country."[43]
After conducting interviews with various teams, he decided to become the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on a one-year deal; Trafton replaced Frank Larson, who had been fired after losing the 1950 Grey Cup to the Toronto Argonauts.[44]
Using the T formation made famous by Shaughnessy and Halas, Trafton's team struggled with injuries in his first season. Winnipeg Free Press sports editor Maurice Smith described him as being "very well liked" by fans and media even though he was "a little loud for us conservative Canadians."[45] Amusingly, Trafton commented on the volatility of Canadian football fans in 1953:[31]
"Everybody wants to be a coach. If all these people know so much about football, then what in the H— did they bring me up here for," says the 56-year-old coach, whose language at times would make a stevedore sound like a choir boy.
"Last year, I got the club into first place. We lost the playoffs, so I got panned. This year, we pace ourselves and finish third. I still get it."
Trafton says when Bombers walloped Saskatchewan Roughriders, 43-5, in the first game of this season's two-game, total-point semi-final, "everybody climbed on the band wagon and there was no room for the driver. A week earlier, the driver had no one to talk to."
He recalls the fans "soon jumped off again" when Bombers lost the first game of the finals, 25-7, to Edmonton, but "climbed back" after Winnipeg's victory in the last two games.
"This is the greatest city for rumors and criticisms I've ever been in," Trafton claims. "Canadian football is a colorful game. There's lots to write and talk about without chasing rumors and worrying whether I sold my house or whether I'm going to get canned."
"It's the ball club that suffers by these rumors; nobody else."
That year, Winnipeg made it to the 41st Grey Cup, where they lost to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Despite the championship appearance, Trafton suffered the same fate as Larson, making him the fourth consecutive coach to lose his job after being defeated in the Grey Cup (all of whom were from West Division teams). As he had one year left on his contract, Trafton claimed he was fired, though general manager Karl Slocomb denied it; instead, he said that while discussing Trafton's contract, the team management committee came to a unanimous agreement that "a new man as head coach should be hired for 1954."[46] While it might seem extreme to fire a coach for losing the title game, rumors had been circulating of his departure regardless of whether Winnipeg made the Grey Cup or not.[47]
The two parties eventually settled on a deal in which Trafton would receive his full salary of $12,580 for the 1954 season, but would not coach the team that year.[48] In three seasons with the Blue Bombers, Trafton recorded a career record of 28–17–1 with playoff appearances every year. As for Trafton's successors? Former Giants protege Allie Sherman led the team for three seasons before a certain future Hall of Famer named Bud Grant took over.
Despite receiving coaching offers in the NFL, Trafton elected to stay in Winnipeg and announced his retirement with the intention of working in television. In an interview regarding his decision, he stated, "You can announce my retirement from football. I'm not saying I'm finished with coaching for good, but for the time being, at least I want to be known as having retired from the game."[50]
Trafton died in 1971 at the age of 74. Months before his death, he underwent hip surgery to treat an injury that he traced back to his playing days five decades ago.[49]
At his funeral, his pallbearers were friends and former teammates Halas, Ed Healey, and Link Lyman.[51]
submitted by ZappaOMatic to nfl [link] [comments]

Homophobia snd hypermasculinity in locker rooms aren't a good thing.

On the gridiron, Michael Sam, who has not taken a single snap in the NFL, has turned the NFL, ESPN, and all sports media outlets into his personal circus since his coming-out announcement. LGBT activists are overjoyed at the announcement, thinking he will be a symbol of courage, as an inspiration to the future’s gay in-the-closet athletes who fear being judged in the harsh confines of the locker room by their fellow, pussy-juggling teammates.
In reality, Michael Sam is simply the first drop of poison in entering the NFL system, and it will continue to spread. What people are failing to realize is that locker rooms are not at all politically correct. Players do not censor themselves like we are forced to do in the corporate world. While homosexuality has been gaining acceptance momentum in society as a whole, the locker room is a vastly different animal.
You see, locker rooms are one of the last true places that contain only, or close to only men. It is a place where men are free to make all of the crude jokes they want; where they are free to bond together as males without fear of outside judgment. Of course, Sam claims the people making these jokes are simply uneducated:
So homosexuality is not masculine, thus crude jokes at their expense are ok? Also can you explain the apparent link of asserting masculinity by hazing and abusing percieved homo homosexuals in the locker room?
Or how male victims of assult fear being called less then manly i.e. "not straight" i.e. "gay", so they do not come forward?
Gay rights activists want homosexuality to be viewed not only as acceptable, but natural. They want to push gay propaganda on to children, and they will throw fits if they are not allowed to do so. They are supporting athletes like Collins and Sam simply because of the publicity it brings to their movement.
How about the fact they have to keep quiet while everyone else asserts their heterosexuality and can possiblly be harassed for even mentioning that they are different.
When Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, was rumored to be gay last year, he put an end to those rumors. However, even if he had been gay, then up to that point, he had been living his life as a model homosexual. His respect from his NFL peers would have remained intact, for keeping his personal life and exploits under wraps, and focusing on the task at hand, playing football.
But you said that the locker room was a place to assert your masculinity, and I expect that involves talking about 'female conauests'. See the double standard?
No longer is it enough for homosexuals to be given equal opportunity and not be hated. No, now they want to poison the entire nation, and that starts by hitting the sectors of culture that have been dominated by the masculine up to this point.
How does homosexuality hurt masculinity?
So when one gay athlete couldn't bring himself to admit he was gay to a woman he most likly didn't love...
I’d be the first to tell you that if you break up with a girl, you don’t owe her any closure. However, if she is going to have the mainstream media knocking down her door, and she never really wronged you (and from all accounts, it doesn’t seem she did), then some explanation is in order. The fact that he didnot taken the time to make a phone call to her and give her some answers shows he was too busy relishing in his new fame.
Except he did call her you lying bastard, You even link to it! http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/exclusive/jason-collins-is-my-ex-fiance
Jason told me he’s gay over the phone on a Monday morning in April, the same day the magazine hit newsstands. However, he didn’t mention the article—that came as a surprise when I heard about it from a friend. In his essay, Jason wrote that he’d once been engaged to a woman. Reporters zoomed in on me, thrusting my name into the news. My in-box exploded with e-mails from women saying the same thing had happened to them. I’m sharing what I’ve learned from my experience in hopes that it might help others.
So how is he still a coward if by your definition he should've told her?
The selfish, diva-like actions of Sam and Collins have flung open the closet doors for all current and future American sports athletes. Soon, the Vegas bookies will cease to bet about covering the spread, and instead ask people to place bets on the over and under about whether a player likes to take it up the ass. Rather than beer being sold at sporting events, you will pay $20 for an appletini.
Say goodbye to the blood, sweat, and tears of the American sporting world. They might as well dub it Project Runway. You can blame the homosexual athletes like Collins and Sam for ruining sports, as they have injected the culture with poison, killing off one of the final forms of pure masculinity supported by the American public.
As of now, there is no antidote.
You are relying on untrue steryotypes to jusify paranoia.
The new Russian law:
  1. Proscribes fines for propaganda promoting homosexual sex to minors;
  2. Bans homosexual rallies; and
  3. Bans the distribution of homosexual propaganda to minors
First off, homosexuality is attraction, not sex acts: http://homoresponse.blogspot.com/2011/05/countering-heterosexist-arguments.html#08
The ensuing uproar over the new Russian law in the cultural marxist outlets of the Western media was immediate and predictably overwrought and hysterical. According to them, the Russian’s are not qualified to determine what laws are best for Russia. Instead, only homosexual activists and their cultural Marxist cheerleaders in the West are qualified to determine Russia’s laws. And the homosexual activists, unsurprisingly, were against leaving the Russian kiddies alone.
Of course, the open contempt that the cultural Marxists exhibit towards the will of the Russian people is not surprising. It is, in fact, their standard operating procedure. They exhibit the exact same contempt towards the American people whenever their will conflicts with whatever socially destructive and morally abhorrent policies of the moment the cultural Marxists wish to inflict upon the United States.
Because homosexuals aren't allowed to even exist or have a voice to fight back:
All this is under the assumption gays are pedophiles and thus after children, which is stupid: http://homoresponse.blogspot.com/2011/05/countering-heterosexist-arguments.html#11
If anything, this law causes more issues! https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/29/stigma-means-russia-risks-hiv-epidemic-as-cases-rise
Anything about homosexuality that doesn't say it's a perversion is banned, allowing fear and false information to be peddiled arount by tge state controlled media!
submitted by ryu289 to BadEverything [link] [comments]

132+ Teams in 132+ Days: Jacksonville Dolphins

Year Founded: 1934 Location: Jacksonville, FL Total Attendance: 4,157 (3,425 undergraduates, 732 graduates)
Mascot: The Dolphins Live Mascot: RIP Nellie Cheerleaders: Picture Stadium: DB Milne Field (picture from late in now-complete renovation) Stadium Location: North end of campus Conference Champions (2): 2008, 2010 Number of Bowl Games: 1 Appearance National Titles
  • UNF: Though they don't have a football program (losers), the section on "rivals" wouldn't be complete without them. Our rivalry with the Dollar Store Eagles is a microcosm of the city itself: the relationship between the fallen-on-hard-times urban core and the well-heeled south and east of the city/county. Our traditional upper hand is fading as UNF flexes its financial advantage, but don't count us out.
  • Stetson: Our all-time, all-sports most common opponent, Stetson added football last year and joined the PFL, making them our only all-sports conference opponent. Though they'll obviously need time to get going, they give JU football something it's been sorely needing: a nearby (DeLand, FL) and institutionally comparable program.
  • San Diego: A consistent league contender since Jim Harbaugh's revitalization, the two schools make the PFL truly coast-to-coast, and the matchup is usually exciting.
2013 Season
Record: 5-6-0 Coach: Kerwin Bell Key Players:
  • Kade Bell (QB): Despite missing a month due to an emergency appendectomy, threw for 2397 yards and 25 touchdowns. Like his father (head coach and Florida legend), showed an electrifying ability to escape trouble.
  • Andrew Robustelli (WR): Put up a 1,000-yard receiving season on the way to FCS All-America status (program firsts on both counts).
  • Dylan Lynch (P/K): Finished 2nd in the PFL in net punt average and received second-team All-PFL recognition at both positions. Invited to (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) rookie minicamp, the closest to the NFL a Dolphin has come in the Kerwin Bell era.
Biggest Plays:
  • In the opener against Delaware, JU raced to a 14-0 lead before Delaware caught up late in the first half. Kade Bell hooked up with Andrew Robustelli on a 57-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter to give JU a near-halftime lead of 21-14 against a scholarship FCS opponent (Delaware would again tie before half). It would be a herald of the remainder of the season in two ways: the Robo-Bell (or Steven Hughes) connection, and the JU tendency to blow leads or ties in the second half.
  • Losing 13-10 and struggling to find the throttle in a key conference matchup against Drake, backup quarterback Steven Hughes found Andrew Robustelli late in the third for a 77-yard touchdown.
  • After JU blew a two-possession lead in the third quarter (as seen below, this was a theme), the last play of the third quarter found us in a tie ball game with Stetson at the JU 28 with an eye on putting the JU season out of its misery. Suddenly, a fumbled pitch attempt put the ball on the 40, where freshman linebacker Charles Jimenez scooped and scored to give JU a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
2013 Season Recap
After two straight years of being one game out of a conference title share, the 2013 season brought with it optimism and an exciting new opportunity: for the first year, The PFL champion (or one of them, at least) would receive a bid to the FCS playoffs. A strong showing against Delaware in the opener led observers to believe that could be us. Sadly, that same showing against Delaware, where two early leads were blown en route to a 16-point loss, showed us why it wouldn't be. Hamstrung by injuries, the defense fell apart in late, close situations. A 27-14 third-quarter lead against Butler became a 45-27 loss. A 17-13 fourth-quarter lead against Drake became a 27-17 loss. A 28-28 third-quarter tie became a 42-35 loss to Marist. A 35-24 lead became a 45-42 loss to Mercer.
Still, it wasn't all bad. Kade Bell showed a remarkable playmaking, trouble-escaping ability that bodes well for his remaining two years. Andrew Robustelli became our first 1,000-yard receiver and first All-American. We opened our new Stetson rivalry with a double-digit win.
2013 Season
2014 Schedule 2013 Roster
The Greats
Greatest Games:
  • Jacksonville 19, Dayton 14 (2008): After years of wandering in the wilderness, the second year of the Kerwin Bell era found us 8-4 and facing Dayton in the final game of the season for the de facto PFL championship game...which we proceeded to lose the first three quarters of by a score of 14-0. Then a long interception return and a short drive made it 14-6 (conversion failed). Then, a touchdown punt return made it 14-12 (conversion failed). Finally, a fumble recovery set up receiver Geavon Tribble's 7-yard reverse, it was 19-14, and we were champions.
  • Jacksonville 37, Charleston Southern 30 (2011): Our first scholarship scalp. We jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and though the final score was close, we trailed for only two minutes of game time.
  • Jacksonville 86, Valparaiso 7 (2010): The offense put up 658 yards. The defense gave up 195 yards on 17 possessions. The crown jewel of a 10-1 season that saw us ranked #22.
Greatest Players:
  • Josh McGregor (QB): The quarterback of the scorched-earth 2008-11 years, he finished his career 8th all-time in FCS passing yards (11,230) and fourth in touchdowns (116). Almost single-handedly began Pro Day at JU, and finagled a tryout with the Jaguars. Last seen in 2009 somewhere in indoor football.
  • Lin-J Shell (DB-PR): 1999-2002; a key figure in JU's first winning season (6-5 in 2001). Holds JU's record for interceptions and pass breakups in a single season, and the career record for punt return average. Has had JU's only sustained pro football career, with four years in the Arena League and another five in the CFL.
  • Micah Ross (WR): Though his JU football career didn't amount to much (third on the team in receiving yards in his only season), he makes the "greatest" list for two reasons. The first: he's one of JU's greatest athletes in any sport, managing a 1,000-point career in basketball before walking on for the football program's inaugural 1997 season. The second: he's so far JU's only NFL player, playing special teams in 44 games over four seasons with the Jaguars, Chargers and Panthers.
Greatest Coaches
Kerwin Bell: I like to use this story to explain just how much Kerwin Bell has transformed the program: when JU picked a 15th-anniversary All-Time Team, Kerwin Bell had been with the program for five seasons, and no currently active players were eligible. There were two players on the first team Kerwin Bell had never coached.
A quarterback at Florida who went from walk-on to SEC Player of the Year, he was plucked from Trinity Catholic High in Ocala largely for name recognition, and immediately talked upgrades and even scholarships. For a university on less-than-solid financial footing, this seemed out of this world for a football program with one 6-5 finish to its name. At 49-32, it's decidedly less so.
Steve Gilbert: I won't lie that Steve Gilbert is largely on this list because the template says to make it plural and we only have two head coaches in program history, but as a student in the tail end of the Gilbert years, it's hard not to at least empathize with him. He was asked to put together a football team at an expensive private school, and not use scholarships to do it. There was no institutional support for the program; there was barely any institutional support for the institution back then. He took a bad situation and put out better football than a lot of coaches could.
  • Mock Rock: the non-football highlight of Homecoming Week started as a lip-synch competition amongst student groups. Very little of the "mock" remains, but the sororities, fraternity pledges (no it isn't hazing shut up), and NPHC organizations put a lot of effort into routines, and it's always a good show. Formerly located in the Valley (a 50-stair carve-out left from redirecting the St. John's that now divides the dorms and classrooms), it was moved to the fancy riverfront amphitheater for the spoiled undergrads that will never know the real JU in 2010.
  • Homecoming Tailgate: As seen above, JU is a tiny student community in the "wrong" part of a town so spread out there are separate alumni chapters for different neighborhoods, so even alumni who live here (raises hand) don't get back to campus often. Homecoming, then, literally becomes when the alumni come home, and you're suddenly back where everyone comes home, and you're back where most of the younger kids know you by reputation and most of the adults know you by name. It's not much in the way of uniqueness, I guess, but it's nice.
Campus and Surrounding Area
City Population: 821,784 (the most representative of several figures) Skyline view from Campus(Note: JU has a phenomenal view of the skyline, represented by exactly zero pictures for some reason)
Iconic Campus Building: JU has no iconic building, but the first picture on the homepage is its iconic setting.
Local Dining (as far as "local" goes in Jacksonville):
  • Lupita's: The best Mexican in Jacksonville is served from a tin shack a mile down University Blvd. Get the chorizo con huevos.
  • Metro Diner: The place to eat in Jacksonville. Assuming you're coming from JU, your best bet is the original location on Hendricks. Make a reservation or be prepared to wait (it's worth it).
  • Angie's: You're very unlikely to make a trip to Jacksonville without a beach day, so grab a couple of sandwiches for the road. The Peruvian is your best bet.
  • Any food truck: Jacksonville has a strong and delicious food truck scene, so if you see one parked (or you're hungry at the game), you're probably better off stopping.
Random Trivia
  • JU is the smallest school to reach the NCAA basketball final, losing 80-69 in 1970 to UCLA. The same season, we were the first college basketball program to score more than 100 PPG.
  • One of America's finest collections of carved ivory, Pre-Columbian artifacts, Steuben glass, Chinese porcelain, Cloisonné, Tiffany glass, and Boehm porcelain is open to the public weekdays in the Brest Gallery inside the Phillips Fine Arts Building. (We have heard all of your Brest Gallery jokes...and we'd love to hear them again).
  • Wondering why JU got such a late start in a recruit-rich city/state? Rumors say that benefactor Col. Alexander J. Brest, of the above gallery and several other campus buildings, had a son who was seriously injured playing football and made all his donations contingent on JU never starting a football program. I've never been able to confirm it, but he died one year before the first football game.
What Is and What is to Come
The improvements that Kerwin Bell talked about in his opening presser appear to finally be coming along. The stadium, a popular contender for worst in Divison I, has been renovated to respectability (though I, for one, will miss the free reign the old setup gave). Fresh from the institutional rebuild of the Romesburg years, new president Tim Cost has made fundraising a priority, and athletics a key focus of that. There's been no word about the more ambitious advancement plans.
On the field, the setup looks both encouragingly and distressingly familiar: the key players in the high-powered offense are back alongside an untested defense. PFL coaches listed the Dolphins at #3 in their preseason poll, which is a nice worst-case, but fans can't be blamed for wanting more.
In the long-term future, more questions abound. Kerwin Bell wants to be at Florida and everyone knows it; the turmoil at Big Distant Cousin from the Rich Side of the Family can't make fans feel much better. The head coach rumors that flew around in 2009 and '10 feel far-fetched, but UF's position coaches out-earn him right now. If he leaves, the job search will fall on new Chief Athletics Officer Donnie Horner, a former West Point quarterback transitioning from chairmanship of the Management department with decades of military, administrative, and education experience--but none until now as an athletic department official. Whether he'll be able to hire the right guy in the face of the loss of the program's architect is a fair question.
I've criticized "the administration" a few times here, so let me be clear: Kerry Romesburg was an excellent president who can credibly be said to have saved the university, and Tim Cost seems to be doing a phenomenal job taking it to the level of prominence its students and faculty deserve.
*a ASigIAm213 production* 
Please upvote this thread even if you are not interested in the team so that users who are interested will see it For more information on the 132 Teams in 132 Days Project, click here.
submitted by ASigIAm213 to CFB [link] [comments]

NFC East: Fantasy Football Outlook

Dallas Cowboys (12-4 in 2014):
Darren McFadden (RB, from OAK)
Greg Hardy (DL, from CAR)
DeMarco Murray (RB, to PHI)
Let’s start at the quarterback position since it will likely be a fairly quick trip through the depth chart. Tony Romo has been the Cowboys’ starter since 2006 and known no other professional team during his career in the NFL. Romo has been a consistently undervalued fantasy QB over the past four years (2011-2014), putting up an average stat line of over 4,100 yards and over 30 TDs each year. His passing yards have decreased over the past two seasons due to the increased lean on the running game, but with question marks hovering over the talent of this year’s backfield he is likely to finish with over 4,000 yards yet again. Backup QB Brandon Weeden is barely worth mentioning as Romo is one of those guys that will play through injuries, even fairly major ones.
I mentioned the running back situation being a cloudy one: after the departure of DeMarco Murray (who rushed 392 times for over 1,800 yards and 13 TDs in 2014) this off-season, the Cowboys are left with 3rd year RB Joseph Randle (51 rushes for 343 yards and 3 TDs in 2014 but also adding in 2 fumbles), Darren McFadden (who hasn’t even gotten close to rushing for over 1,000 yards since his breakout season in Oakland in 2010) and Lance Dunbar (a small framed, speedy back whose total all-purpose yardage over three years in the NFL is 633 and has never scored a TD). It’s likely that this unlikely bunch forms a committee with Randle as the lead RB unless he goes on any more shopping sprees without paying the bill. Rumors have been swirling in the past few weeks about the Cowboys signing another veteran running back (Ray Rice, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Johnson and Pierre Thomas are all free agents currently), but no moves have been made as of yet.
Dez Bryant was finally signed to a long-term contract recently (five years, $70 million with $45 million guaranteed), making him one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL. Bryant should perform at a high level all year and some experts (including me) think that he will finish in the top 3 fantasy points at his position due to an increase in production for the Cowboy’s passing offense. Terrance Williams put up 621 yards and 8 TDs in 2014, but was very inconsistent in the second half of the season. According to ESPN Dalls, Williams had a great off-season and was able to run routes with the first team at all receiving positions (mostly because of Bryant’s absence during the majority of the Cowboys’ training and minicamp). Williams could contribute to fantasy teams but his production is dependent on the volume of targets he receives. Slot receiver Cole Beasley was recently resigned to a four year deal and was very productive (unlike Williams) in the second half of the season. In PPR leagues, Beasley is a late-round sleeper that could perform at a steady WR3 level all season. I don’t see any other relevance in the Cowboy’s receiving corps except to say that UDFA Lucky Whitehead has an unfortunate name.
Tight end Jason Witten has spent his career catching passes from Tony Romo and although he did see a decline in production over the past two years, that decline coincides with the recent rise of the running game in Dallas and since I am predicting an overall increase in passing yardage, Witten’s stats should rise slightly. At an ADP somewhere between rounds 10-12, Witten is a value pick that could end up finishing the season somewhere around #10 at his position. 33 years old this season, it’s my opinion that Witten is a great pick in redraft leagues (especially PPR) but is nearing the end of his relevance in dynasty and standard scoring leagues.
New York Giants (6-10 in 2014):
Shane Vereen (RB, from NE)
Steve Spagnuolo (Defensive Coordinator, from Ravens – assistant head coach)
Antrel Rolle, Quintin Demps and Stevie Brown (S)
Zackary Bowman and Walter Thurmond (CB)
We don’t often start the conversation talking about the defense, but the Giants loss of most of their backfield (see above) after just making it over in 2013 is troubling for a team that has been treading water lately. Still, they can’t be much worse after retooling their defense with a younger bunch of players; they ranked as the 4th worst defense in total yards last year – just above the Chicago Bears – giving up 6012 all-purpose yards over the course of the season.
Eli Manning (or, ‘The Winning-est Manning’ as he likes to be called) has certainly has his ups and downs as a fantasy QB. Over the past four years (2011-2014) he has averaged over 4,200 yards and just over 25 TDs per season. The main issues at play here are his consistency and his interceptions. Manning has averaged 18 interceptions per year over that time (more than 1 per game!), which makes any smart fantasy football manager question the decision to draft him in leagues that penalize for INTs. This is his second season under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and that’s great news because his passing completion percentage last year of 63.1% was his highest ever and he only threw 14 interceptions (tied for his lowest ever when playing a full season). With great receiving talents and the addition of passing back Shane Vereen, I’m betting that Manning will have a great 2015.
Odell Beckham was a rookie in 2014. A rookie that put up insane stats, that is. 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs. Try as I might, I can’t throw his performance in 2014 away as a fluke. It’s difficult to put a 2nd year receiver up there with guys like A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson, but – difficult or not – he deserves his current ADP of first or second round overall. I’m going to assume a slight regression in stats for Beckham now that he is on tape and opposing defenses have had time to study and plan against him, but he should still be a WR1 regardless – he’s just too talented not to be. Remember when picking up Victor Cruz as a free agent in 2011 would have won you a fantasy football tournament? Well, he’s back and supposedly ready to produce at a high level. After regressing each year since his breakout 2011 performance, though, I’m going to hold off on drafting Cruz and let someone else salsa their way into misstep during the draft (yes, I think his current ADP in the 10th round is more than fair – Cruz will not be the same receiver that he once was. Reuben Randle is a name that has come up a lot in recent years, always with the possibility of breaking out as a big receiver in the red zone. He has not yet lived up to the hype, but if we are to follow the trends, he has continued to improve year after year (2014 stats were 71 receptions for 938 yards and 3 TDs) and he had some ridiculous games at the end of the year. It’s odd, because he currently has an ADP in the 21st round but I see him ending up as the WR2 on the Giants – not Cruz.
Ah… running backs. The Giants have always kept a big stable of RBs on the roster and this year is no different. Rashad Jennings should lead the charge at the start of the season and perform decently, but he has never played all 16 games in a season (11 in 2014) and his yards per carry were dismal last year at just 3.8 – this should give pause to anyone looking to draft Jennings as a RB1 or RB2 to count on. He is also just recently celebrated his 30th birthday. Old and injury prone is not what you should be looking for in your RB! Andre Williams is a 2nd year RB that will start off the season behind Jennings, but will likely end up splitting the carries later in the season. He had 217 rushes for 721 yards and 7 TDs last year – making his average yards per carry even worse than Jennings’ at 3.3 but his age and ability at the goal line should not be ignored, especially in dynasty leagues. I would shy away from both RBs in redraft leagues unless you have a very accurate magic 8-ball. An interesting addition to the team is former New England Patriot Shane Vereen, who excelled as a passing back there and will have the same job in New York. He’s going to have a hard time putting up big numbers, but should be valuable in PPR leagues as Manning’s new best friend when the going gets tough.
Larry Donnell is a 6’6”, 265 lb. beast who ended up as the #12 tight end at the end of the 2014 season. This is mostly due to a 3 TD game against the Redskins in week 3, but he was involved in most games during the season, averaging 3-4 receptions per game. The major issue here is that he is a touchdown dependent player on a team that needs to utilize him for blocking as well except that he graded out as one of the worst blocking TEs in the NFL. Tough to pull the trigger on this guy.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6 in 2014)
Sam Bradford (QB, from STL)
DeMarco Murray (RB, from DAL)
Ryan Mathews (RB, from SD)
Nelson Agholor (WR, Rookie)
Tim Tebow (QB)
Nick Foles (QB, to STL)
LeSean McCoy (RB, to BUF)
Jeremy Maclin (WR, to KC)
The Eagles are likely the NFL team to have made the biggest moves in the off-season this year. We’ll see how it pays off for Chip Kelly & Co. There is certainly a lot of explosiveness and firepower here to go around and the Eagles have been running an exciting, fast paced offense that figures to get even more exciting and fast paced in 2015.
Sam Bradford is the QB that everyone thinks could be great but those expectations are continually cut short by injury and also by the lack of weapons that he had available to him in St. Louis. Here in Philadelphia, Bradford could be a high scoring fantasy QB but what are the odds that his knee acts up again? Probably about 1 in 2. Meanwhile, The Eagles have taken Tim Tebow and are looking to use him in any way possible (which will probably be to come out and confound the defenses in the red zone) and Mark Sanchez is fighting every day for the possibility of being the Eagles’ signal caller. He also knows that there is a good chance that Bradford either gets re-injured or doesn’t live up to expectations in this new offense that he knows well.
DeMarco Murray is the #1 RB here any way you slice it. Reports from the Eagles’ camp are saying that Kelly will spread the football around, but this probably just means that Murray will be spelled by both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles from time to time and Sproles will mix in similar to how he was used last year. I’m not expecting big things out of Mathews with Murray around, so his 11th round ADP is probably warranted, though if Murray were to go down Mathews would immediately become a RB1 in this system. Murray’s ADP, on the other hand, is currently in the middle of the 2nd round. How likely is it that his production warrants such a high draft spot? I think he is being slightly overvalued but should put up similar numbers to RBs drafted around the same time, such as LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Hill.
The departure of former WR1 Jeremy Maclin came as a shock to many, but you have to remember that Maclin was not a guy picked by the current administration. After the shake-up, the new receivers of note here are Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Riley Cooper and Josh Huff. Matthews was a rookie last year and ended the 2014 season with 67 receptions for 872 yards and 8 TDs behind Maclin. He showed great promise and ran routes both in the slot and as an outside receiver, and this year should have the most targets out of the Eagles’ receiving corps. Agholor is a rookie from USC with great measurable and projects to replace Maclin on most snaps – putting him in prime contention with Matthews for targets and setting the bar high out of the gate for production. It’s tough to say how well he will perform over the course of the season, but his 10th round ADP is undervaluing him – I would have no problem reaching for Agholor in the 8th round, for example, if I’m in need of some high risk/reward WRs at that point in the draft. Huff and Cooper both have too much preseason hype, if you ask me – I’m staying away from the both of them because even if they are strong fantasy producers, it won’t be consistent.
The tight end situation in Philadelphia is an interesting one. Zach Ertz has been heralded as the second coming, but the Eagles are too much in love with Brent Celek and his amazing blocking skills to truly switch over to Ertz as an every down player. I do think we’ll see more of Ertz this year, however, as he has just started playing over 50% of snaps in 2014 and has increased his blocking abilities. 2014 brought us a good stat line of 58 receptions for 702 yards for 3 TDs and I’m not jumping on the bandwagon like some others, but I think Ertz has a shot at being a top 10 TE if he has proved himself an able blocker in Chip’s system. His 9th round ADP is not such a tough sell and I see some people probably reaching for him earlier than that in drafts this year.
Washington Redskins (4-12 in 2014):
Terrance Knighton (DL, from DEN)
Chris Culliver (CB, from SF)
Matt Jones (RB, Rookie)
Brian Orakpo (OLB, to TEN)
Leonard Hankerson (WR, to ATL)
Roy Helu (RB, to OAK)
Santana Moss (WR, Free Agent)
Everyone was so enamored with Robert Griffin III’s 2012 season that the subsequent years of sub-par performance came as quite a shock. Explaining away a poor sophomore effort doesn’t take much of a stretch, but he may never return to his previous form after having been injured and losing both physical explosiveness and mental confidence in his game. The Redskins are going to continue to give Griffin a chance, however, and he was starting to grasp Jay Gruden’s new offense. The interesting thing here is that RG3’s draft stock is so low that he could end up being an extreme value pick as a late round flier. That said, I’m avoiding this situation regardless of whether or not Griffin shows signs of turning his career around. Based on past history, we’ll likely see one of either Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy taking the field at some point in 2015 – neither of which are worth much consideration.
-- Can't fit the rest of the analysis on the Redskins in due to space restrictions on these posts, feel free to read the rest here, though.
submitted by alittlesavoirfaire to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: IAm Sheila Norman-Culp, leader of the AP “Dirty Game” investigation into match-fixing in soccer. AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-02-20
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Did you see that ludicrous display last night? I assume u are talking re Arsenal. yes, yes yes. Not as gut-slamming bad as Saturday's disaster against Blackburn, but no fun for sure.
What was the most surprising facet of the story that you discovered? I was shocked at the Amazonian river of money that sports betting generates... the Interpol chief Ron Noble says several billion euros a year, an ex-FIFA official has said up to $500 billion a year. BILLION...! if you are a criminal mastermind, all you have to do is use some fixed games to deliver a tiny sliver of that and you will be wealthier than you ever imagined. That's about the yearly GNP of Switzerland, no slouch economy.
This is the crazy thing to me, how many people are betting on what are ultimately not high level events. I would like to think that high levels of betting on one side of a small matchup could be observed and regulated. Until lately, no one thought to look for match-fixing in the soccer wilderness. but extremely low level games in Finland, Norway and Canada that were fixed proved that theory wrong. for fixers, best thing is virgin territory not already claimed by other fixers...
Which mobs were most involved? Turkish? Russian? Romanian? Prolly the shorter list would be what mobs DON'T want to get involved with match-fixing... AP talked to Turkish commentators who said fixing allegations have cropped up every year for at least 40 years, and even Turkish prosecutors in court documents noted that mobs had infiltrated Turkish soccer since at least 1980... As for Russia, one illegal Asian betting den that an AP reporter visited wouldn't even touch bets for Russia's 2nd division (or Greece's for that matter). Even illegal sites know when to run! Italy's match-fixing has produced over $2.6 billion for the Camorra and the Mafia. And since the vast majority of sports betting money originates in Asia, Asian crime gangs are said to be intimately involved in fixing games.
Where in Asia is the money coming from? It's coming both from billions of small bettors (betting is a way of life i many Asian countries) and from Asian crime gangs who are recycling dirty money to launder it.
How is the research going on the dinamo zagreb - olimpique game, where olimpique scored just enough goals to kick Ajax out of the champions league? Ah yes, where a zagreb player winked on a YouTube clip. plenty of suspicions, Ajax started howling immediately, no good evidence ever emerged. was about the same time in which Croatian first league (where dinamo played) was riddled with match-fixing (see our story about Croatia Seveste player Mario Cizmek) but dinamo never implicated in those trials.
To borrow from Grantland's Brian Phillips, "How #*%!ed is the beautiful game?" It's more &&#$ than top officials want to publicly admit. There are large areas of the world where football has been not only infiltrated by criminals but is being run by criminals. Last year in China, two ex-chiefs of its FA (football association for American fans) got 10 1/2 years in prison for corruption. In 2011, the national TV channel in China REFUSED to broadcast matches from the Chinese League due to widespread match-fixing. I can't imagine the reax here in London if Sky or the BBC refused to broadcast Premier League games...
What is the highest level that you believe some form of match fixing has taken place? European competition? WC qualifying? Where is match fixing most prevalent? Well, our FIFA correspondent Graham Dunbar says that depends if you include the 1982 World Cup West Germany-Austria game, which appeared to be a deal with the teams. FIFA changed its rules after that so games at the end of rounds start simultaneously. More recently you have the 2010 WC qualifier between Liechtenstein and Finland ... and Latam types will always debate whether the WC 1978 Argentina 6, peru 0 was fixed, sent host Argentina into final...
So...Juventus. As a fan, I just have to know. How involved are they in match fixing? They're always surrounding by rumors of it. Hmmm. where to start? well, going way back, juventus reputedly bough the ref in the 193 European Cup semifinal, according to one of our top football guys... and they were pretty front and center in Italy's 2006 match-fixing scandal, where they were regulated to Serie B (2nd division), got 9 points deducted, got hit by a massive fine, got stripped of their 2006-07 league titles, got tossed out of the Champions League for a year. Their club president at the time was fined and banned from the sport for five years. Their current coach, Antonio Conte, just got back in December from a 4-month FIFA ban for a separate match-fixing allegation. As Premier Mario Monti said, maybe Italian football should just shut down for a few years to get rid of that corruption thing...
I have to ask. Have you or anyone in your agency been approached or threatened as a result of your investigations? Gotta give kudos here to Chris Brummett, our Vietnam bureau chief, who visited a Wild West betting boomtown on the border of Cambodia. Going around illegal Asian betting dens, talking with bettors about fixed matches, looking for hints of Asian triad involvement. Not a place that you could take TV cameras or where bettors would let u take a picture, that's for sure. And when I was filming a TV segment at a Zagreb stadium with a player convicted of match-fixing, all of a sudden we saw that a photog with a long lens was zooming in on us. The guy came over to see what we were doing, I made sure not to speak a word of English and our photographer Darko talked to him. After that, Darko said "it's time to go." When a photog who just got back from Syria says its time to go, u go.
Do you think that this type of match fixing also extends into American sports such as Major League Baseball or the National Football League? I think of a game like the Super Bowl with all the money bet on it and I can't help but wonder if games are often fixed or the outcome affected artificially. Super Bowl betting is big in the US but is tiny in relation to global soccer betting. And the Super Bowl has one big thing that keeps it from being fixed -- very high player salaries. Players in countries like Croatia are match-fixing sometimes for as little as 2500 euros ($3300). Major league baseball salaries and NFL salaries are too high -- and you need to involve too many players to ensure a rock-solid fix. In soccer, the goalie alone has enough influence to fix a game by himself.
Where do the criminal gangs get the action on? Betfair? For a blow-by-blow account of how it all goes down, check out these links: Player who rues getting involved in match-fixing: Link to apne.ws Unwritten rules of match-fixing: Link to apne.ws
How exactly does it work? The players just play terribly when instructed? The criminals have money on the over? In terms of the betting, there's about five-six levels of betting in Asia, which leads from local illegal betting shops that deal in cash to next level, regional betting houses, still in cash, to next level, super betting sites, to online betting sites that take credit cards and are openly operating. Asian betting sites don't know their customers, so its easier to disguise large wagers as many small ones. European betting sites know their customers via credit cards, but criminals can use fake credit cards. anyone who knows about a fixed game can bet on whichever betting site offers the odds
Where are most of these criminal organizations based? What country? Are international matches ever fixed(England vs San Marino or something) or just club matches? Actually 'friendlies' between two nations are a prime target for fixers, because football associations can hire agencies (some of which later turn out to be fronts for fixers) to arrange the games and give a cut of the proceeds (or even bribes) to corrupt FA officials Just imagine, in a friendly you can get world-class talent for free and they can generate gobs of TV revenues. some suspect friendlies in recent times: Nigeria-Argentina 2011, one or more South Africa friendlies right before the World Cup, Bolivia-Latvia 2011, Bulgaria-Estonia 2011, several Latam games involving Venezuela and Bolivia. These are all men's games, so far no whiff of suspicion among women's friendlies.
Is there any suspicion of fixing in women's soccer in the past Olympics? It has bothered a lot of people the way the gold medal game finished. It didn't make any sense at all. Edit: I did mean semi final. My bad. No, so far no reports of match-fixing in any women's games. in fact, some of the bettors AP interviewed in the illegal Cambodian den were at the time betting on live women's U-20 game between New Zealand and Japan just because they felt it was not fixed.
Has there been any instances when you had suspicion BEFORE a match? What do you think about the recent EUROPOL expose about the 380 european matches? What does only 1 english match (liverpool v debrecen)(albeit english team not involved) say about how things are done in uk v thing elsewhere.what is it that they are doing right/others doing wrong? Me and another AP reporter have visited a betting monitoring site that runs 31,000 games thru computer models to see if they may be fixed. Companies like that can often see if games are suspicious up to two days before a match _ ie they know if XXX amount bet on a Italian league game is normal or way off. They also keep tabs on 110,000 players, teams, refs and officials and give them match-fixing credit scores... they have seen where a suspicious player changes teams and infects a previously untouched team with his knowlege of fixing... Only one match in England reflects high premier league salaries that protect the players and the game. But bet monitors do have one person on their top 20 'to watch' match-fixing suspicions list that lives in the UK.
What is the best part about your job? The sheer variety. I mean there are some things we can plan for _ we know when the 2012 London Olympics will start _ but you never know each day what will happen. Will an Icelandic volcano erupt and blow the travel plans of 10 million people to bits? Or maybe a meteor will hit Russia? i am constantly amazed.
How has the series been received by soccefootball officials? It seems to expose some dirty laundry and gotten news and TV pickups across the globe. Yes, we were very happy with the wide range of media that picked up the stories _ everything from papers in Thailand to ESPN and Sports Illustrated to non-sports outlets like Huffpost and Salon.com.
Which team do you support and who is your favorite player? Well, i live and work now in north London, so i would be crucified if I didnt keep up with Arsenal (condolences will be accepted here today). Favorite player, hmm. got two. Fernando Torres because i was living in Zurich during Euro 2008 (he was electric then) and he looks just like my hubby did years ago with his freckles; Robin van Persie now because the man just dances on the field, a joy to watch.
Fernando Torres is my favorite too, and believe me he will be electric again! and another question, what is the most memorable match you have ever watched live at a stadium? At a family level, I brought my ten-year-old daughter and her soccer team to see the American women play at Giants stadium in NJ when the US hosted the Women's World Cup in 1999... Mia Hamm and her buddies really inspired a generation.
Do you see any problem/conflict with betting companies (such as Bwin) being significant sponsors of the game? Betting companies are always going to advertise next to matches, its the smart operating model for their business. but it is interesting how they can be in severe denial about match-fixing. I went to a London betting conference in Nov, and a top representative from Ladbrokes insisted to me that 'maybe 5-6' games were fixed a year. he claimed that some betting monitoring companies have an incentive to say there are hundreds of possibly fixed games a year just so they would get contracts from FIFA, UEFA, national leagues. On the other hand, his own industry has a HUGE interest in not talking about fixed games -- who is going to bet if they think things are fixed? he did me a big favor though - AP reporters could not get into the monitoring sites until we reported his ludicrous comment to them.
How does it start? Does someone from the criminal organization approach a player in a shady alley? Do players that fix games do so repeatedly? Do multiple players on a team need to be bought to pull off the fix? And finally, how do the criminal organizations actually make money off fixed games? Presumably by placing the bets they've arranged, but don't the people taking their bets get suspicious? What i'm going to do is give u some link to our stories that explain all this. ironically, match-fixers often groom players just like pedophiles groom targets, according to a major 2012 study on sports corruption. Players can be seduced into fixing by other coaches or players or agents. Or they can be ordered to fix by their corrupt soccer club bosses. Or they can have no idea a game is fixed because the refs were bought off instead. so many ways to match-fix...!
How in the world would FIFA (or possibly another organization) go about fixing this or at least starting to fix it? Is the problem already too deep that anything other than a complete scrub of all teams and parties involved would fail? And could the sport even survive something like that or would it be best for the game if everyone just operated like business as usual? FIFA's latest anti-match-fixing project is to educate players and refs about the problem. A noble idea, for sure, one that no one can find fault with. but it's kinda like warning your kids not to play with matches when your kitchen is already on fire and that may burn down your whole house. Time to get out the big firehose. Let's not forget how doping has driven sponsors and TV revenues away from cycling or even track. And soccer authorities also have another problem -- their own officials may be the ones driving the fixing. A major sports corruption report last year even gave that a label "chairman-to-chairman" fixing. in turkey last year, 93 people went on trial for match-fixing, and only 14 were players. I think the best model to emulate is germany's, its FA has a omsbudman where players, refs, anyone can call to report fixing worries anonymously.
Is it anyway connected to the fixed cricket games and why is this not getting as much coverage considering soccer is a much larger sport? And do you think the Ireland v France world cup 2010 qualifier was fixed, where Thiery Henry blatantly hand-balled to knock Ireland out of the competition? That was one darn obvious handball but absolutely no suggestion of fixing in that. as we say in our Dirty Game series, referees and players can perform poorly for all sorts of legitimate reasons. Gotta say, American fans could never stomach bad ref calls like that, that's why they love NFL instant replay. the concept that such a bad call could knock a team out... it's why the NFL had to end its referee lockout...
It's amazing how deep seeded the corruption is in the sport. Do you know how much money was made globally from the match fixing (an estimate)?? FIFA has estimated between $5 billion and $15 billion a year. not chump change.
I think it's more spot-fixing than match-fixing, right? Or at least the higher up the leagues go, the more it deviates towards spot rather than match. If you got any knowlege of this, let FIFA/UEFA/the national leagues know. AP took a deep dive into fixing in Croatia's first division, (let me tell u google translator is a mess with croatian court transcripts) and found both match and spot fixing in the same games. one sports expert, David Forrest of University of Salford, says that's a great way for gangs to increase revenues, you get to place two-three-four bets on the same fixed game.
Do you think that the punishment for participants should be more severe the further up the ladder the investigation goes? That is, should the first-year first-teamer found to have been involved be given less of a penalty than the national team star? Or should a message be sent with uniform penalties for even the least involvement? Hmm. it's kinda like doping in that you need zero tolerance. That said, its clear that match-fixers target players like lions on the savannah, picking off the young (easy to manipulate) the old (nearing the end of their employment, fearing what's next) and the weak (those with betting problems or financial difficulties. Young players lured into fixing by older players should get lesser sentences if it's found that they were forced or pressured into it. Older players (or refs hitting age limits) should get harsher penalties because they absolutely knew what they were doing. national stars who fix bring shame upon an entire nation but the fixing penalities should be the same no matter what the league.
Do you feel like, historically, there has been more corruption in Italian leagues, or is it more a matter of the Italian investigations being more frequent and successful in revealing the corruption and making cases stick? There's no question that Italy has had repeated, major match-fixing instances at least since 2005. And each case seems to bring new amazing allegations. My all time favorite is the goalie who wanted to fix a game, so he drugs the water bottles of his teammates to play poorly. they stink, lose the game, and one even crashes his car afterward. Since Italy takes drunk driving quite seriously, the driver gets a blood test which shows he is full of sedatives, and the whole fixing operation is unveiled. can't make this up. I give plenty of kudos to Italian prosecutor Roberto Di Martino but the country has had plenty of corruption issues in all walks of life ... , so i dont think we can just credit good prosecutors for us hearing about italian match-fixing
At what point do you as an organisation decide that you will look into that matter. How did this all start - or better yet, what event triggered this investigation? We noticed that AP was doing about a dozen match-fixing spot stories around the world a month... but it was country by country. This trial, that arrest, this investigation. It was time to look at the whole of the sport, something that fits an international news agency better than a local or national paper. I had been interested in match-fixing since i covered FIFA for AP in 2007-2008 and did a story when they first set up their EWS monitoring site. got promoted to London, distracted by volcanos and a wonderful London Olympics, but began interviewing people last june.
Glad to oblige blatter? justkidding. What i should have said yesterday -- this AMA is about match-fixing, not Blatter. Blatter is such a vast topic that he needs a whole 'nuther forum. Maybe ask him to come on himself.
How do you stop match fixing? Whoever figures that out gets a nobel peace prize.
Do you have any knowledge of match fixing in Latin America? Specifically Libertadores Cup and Brazilian and Argentinian national leagues? Bolivia and Venezuela have had several suspicious friendlies, Guatemala had 3 players banned in recent months for fixing.
What do you have to say about one of the most outrageous things that happened in the last decade: Lyon 7-1 Zagreb leaving Ajax out of CL? Everyone seems to have forgotten about that thing and no one ever really talked or investigate that game further. That is certainly the one game that Europeans came away thinking must be fixed. it would be a great subject for a magzine piece. maybe when everyone in that game has retired, more might come out.
Which league do you believe to be the most corrupt? Even if it isn't one you've investigated. Impossible to say. too many candidates.
My dad used to bet on soccer matches with his buddies frequently, and pointed out how he would know if a match is fixed or not depending on the players' reactions during a penalty kick. Apparently, whenever a player looks backwards before taking a penalty, he is always looking for a signal as to whether or not he is allowed to make the goal. Is there any merit to this conspiracy theory that my dad and his friends developed? Wild theory, too bad it's prolly not true -- they must have been drinking pretty heavily! If a game is fixed by players, they know beforehand and they know exactly what marks they need to hit: X-X score at halftime, X-X final result, X goal differential. No need to look over their shoulder, they already know if they should make it or not. If the game is fixed by club officials, they have already told their players what to do. If the game is fixed by referees, often players don't even know. They might think it's a ridiculous penalty call but they are not going to hurt their stats, they are going to try to make the penalty.
Who's going to win the European Cup? Going to leave all game analysis to commentators and Match of the Day boys. I'm just all about corruption.
Are there times when two different groups try to fix a match with conflicting goals? This was a significant problem in Asia, and its a terrible business model when two crime gangs are trying to fix the same game. That propeled at least Asian gangs to seek out more European games, which were considered several years ago to be much cleaner. One monitor told me about a match in which his company's spotters at the game saw thugs from two different crime gangs shouting with the ref at halftime. Only one side won. (think the ref in that case had a death wish or was just blinded by greed)
What is the most common betting market on fixed games? A straight win? or something like over 2.5 goals? Or even corners or number of cards? Do you bet on any games? I don't bet on sports, not after seeing all this...! The most common bets on fixed games are four things: final score, half-time score, total number of scores and score differential. who is taking the corner doesnt bring in enough money...
Where does the actual money the gangs win come from? Is straight from the betting agencies pockets? David Forrest, the UK economist who specializes in sports betting, tells us that fixed sports betting is a fabulous way to launder money. You take cash from drug or trafficking operations, you bet on fixed games, not only do u make a profit but dirty money comes back clean. He says some crime gangs are trying to buy soccer clubs just to launder money through them.
Was the Qatar bid for hosting the 2022 world cup involved in bribery of any kind? Sri, this AMA is on match-fixing. The FIFA decision to give the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively is a whole separate (and vast) discussion.
Did your investigation have any overlap with Declan Hill's investigations in the past? Declan is a pioneer, kudos to him. Suggest everyone interested in this topic read his book "The Fix: Organized Crime and Soccer"
a comment: Kudos to you and your team for really doing some real investigative journalism. Too much TMZ-style or reactive news these days so it's refreshing to see some real shit. Second my question: I saw the amount of profit gained from this scheme was a seemingly paltry $11m. In 2012, $94m was bet on the Super Bowl alone. Is the $11m as truly insignificant as it appears? What percentage of the pie is legitimate vs illegitimate? You maybe are just looking at one Italian match-fixing investigation. Multiply that by investigations in 50 nations last year, add to it all the bribe money that is linked to organizing friendlies that can generate big TV revenue... the point about match-fixing is not illegal or legal betting. It is tainting all betting with a fix. European betting agencies pride themselves on their legality, but anyone can be undermined by a fix. In asia, illegal gambling dens thrive because gambling in an ingrained cultural habit that is going to occur even if govts ban it.
Does this only happen with football? are there stories of match fixing happening in the European basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo leagues? All sports can be vulnerable to match-fixing, especially if there is betting on them. add tennis, cricket, horse racing to that mix.
I don't really understand soccer but how and what makes a game suspicious? Huge amounts of late bets on an obscure game. In-game live betting in which lots of bettors put money on another goal and the referee orders a penalty for an unfathomable reason. Games in which all scoring is due to penalty kicks. Games in which scoring is so high that it looks more like baseball. Games in which many goals are disqualified for offsides. so many options i just cant list them all
Does anyone know if Domenico Cricito is still being investigated or if they've finished with him? Cricito, an Italian defender who plays for the St. Petersburg club Zenit, was cleared, not charged with any match-fixing. He has said that he's trying not to be angry but still is about how he was dropped from the Italian team playing in Euro 2012 due to allegations that turned out to be unproven.
How are investigations going in regard to serie a? i know the mafias in Italy have a lot of control over players and referees. Big break on Thursday (feb 21, day after this AMA). a top suspected fixer was arrested by Italian police, Admir Sulijic. he reportedly has links to singapore money man Dan Tan. --- Big break on Friday, Dan Tan being interviewed by Singapore police!!!
Is there a chance Chelsea has been involved with match fixing please say no? I'm such a cynic that I can't say 'No' about any team. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, that's a 'known unknown' -- we know there are some things we do not know. that applies to all teams, not just Chelsea.
Have there been any murders or serious crimes committed in the name of covering up max fixing? In Bulgaria, over a dozen soccer officials have been slain over the last decade. and the crime gangs there don't even pretend to make it look like an accident, they just gun people down in the street.
Due to the nature of your work, do you ever feel in danger? Our medical writer tells us that sitting at a computer for hours on end is the most deadly thing for reporters. if she's right, we are all doomed.
Which top leagues would you say are the least corrupt? Certainly the premier league, due to the players' huge salaries.
Why do FIFA or UEFA never step in to take action on the obviously corrupt English FA, more specifically, Referee's decisions going heavily in the way of a certain Alex Ferguson? There is plenty of evidence, but you just leave them to get away with it. Why? Gotta say, FIFA and UEFA are clearly not fans of the English FA and are certainly not favoring them in any way re refereeing decisions.
I like how this question is dodged. Glad to oblige.
Please tell me the Celtic v Barcelona game wasn't fixed! I have to be sure... Hey even amazing teams lose sometimes! Plus this doesnt match the typical M.O. of the most successful match-fixers. When great teams lose, it always raises more suspicions among bet monitoring companies than when bad teams lose (our reporters visited some secret betting monitoring sites). A convicted midfielder who talked to us about match-fixing says it's always better to simply have bad teams lose once again -- criminals just pre-determine HOW MUCH that team will lose by and play those odds.
Whoever figures that out gets a nobel peace prize. Sri don't mean to be flippant. You go for zero tolerance, you establish anti-match-fixing officials in every national league, you teach players and refs and soccer officials how to recognize approaches by fixers, you increase criminal penalities for fixing, you don't stop investigating serious allegations just because a referee has retired 'from the football family,' (FIFA) you protect whistleblowers better. Italian defender Simone Farina told police about being approached by a fellow player to fix, and that effectively ended his playing career and made him a pariah in italy...happily months and months later Aston Villa made him a 'community coach'
No question, but thanks for doing what you do. This kind of high quality investigative journalism is what the free press is all about. Very kind to hear. are we related? jk. hope you got a chance to read, watch or hear all the eight Dirty Game stories, three sidebars, online video, broadcast video, radio reports, etc.
What's amazing is how ESPN hasn't said a word about this yet. Because they'd rather show more Tim Tebow praying coverage, or Mark Sanchez picking his asshole coverage, or LeBron James changing shampoo types coverage, or Erin Andrews trimming her fingernails coverage. ESPN online did pick up the AP Dirty Game story... and they did a video piece after Europol cited 680 suspicious games. but on that video piece they got an Italian soccer commentator who thought this was being overblown...
Could you please investigate the NBA now pls. Hmm. I saw an NBA rep at the London conference on sports betting. the major difference, obviously, is the huge number of scores in basketball and low number of scores in soccer. 1-0 wins a soccer game, but you need what, 35-50 scores to win an NBA game? So many more scoring variables in the NBA and such high salaries. I would think college ball (no salaries) would be much much more vulnerable to spread fixing.
I am Sheila Norman-Culp, AP’s Assistant Editor for Europe, who led the AP's “Dirty Game” multiformat team that investigated match-fixing in football. FTFY. Ahh, you say football, i say tomato. Let's call a truce. Otherwise Americans in this chat will start talking about Alabama
Last updated: 2013-02-25 02:10 UTC
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