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Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

Are You Ready For Some Fantasy Football?

As the last remnants of Summer lazily drift by, and the crisp chill of Autumn appears on the horizon, I am reminded of an important task I must perform before Summer ends: Reboot my yearly fantasy football league. This year, I thought it might be fun to invite anyone and everyone from the WordPress blogging community family. If you’re interested in playing, please go here to sign up: http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/pureprairieleague It’s free, open to anyone, and a hell of a lot of fun to play!

Sexism Rules as Brent Musberger Drools and Plays The Fool.

During the 15 minutes that I bothered to watch this train wreck of a game, it was my misfortune to witness the slobber fest that Brent Musberger committed over Katerine Webb. If you don’t know, Katherine Webb is the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. If you haven’t watched the clip by now, the gist of Brent’s sexist mooning is this: If you become a quarterback, women will have no choice but to want you because of your status. As a feminist, I have a serious problem with this.

I love football. So much so that I would subject myself to watch two teams that I despise duke it out in a national title game. So much so that I would even watch a high school game televised from say, Boise Idaho, and even choose sides to root for a team I’ve never heard of. I’ve played the game and coached the game. I get excited over the NFL draft every spring, and get absolutely giddy when football season is just around the corner. I live and breathe football. I am truly a football geek, as is my partner. I love pretty much everything about it. What I don’t love about football is the sexist, patriarchal, and often misogynistic view and treatment of women through out the sport.

From the scantily clad cheerleaders to the ogling of player’s wives and girlfriends, women around the sport are objectified. Female broadcasters are pigeon holed into little more than providing injury reports and human interest stories from the sideline, while being addressed as “dear” or “honey” or getting hit on by a drunken Joe Namath, as was the case of Suzy Kolber a few years ago. Worse yet are the stories of domestic violence in the sport, such as Chad Johnson head butting his wife, because she dared to confront him over his cheating on her, or the story of Javon Belcher, who killed his partner because she was talking to him harshly during an argument. Sexual abuse and rape scandals are routinely covered up by football programs on the college, and even high school level. The sport I love is a painful glaring example of just how much our still male dominated society treats women as unequal chattel. It saddens me deeply.

Our society is sports dominated. A lot of men and women grow up in an atmosphere of competition, because of their long time participation in sports. Morality and values are shaped in this atmosphere, and as often is the case when it comes to football, patriarchy and misogyny is encouraged in order for boys to be molded into macho, brutal, football machines. I know this first hand: I witnessed this behavior when I played. Girls were objects to be conquered and fucked, rather than equals to share friendships and intimacy with. It was disgusting.

If our society is going to become truly gender equal, than women in football should not be treated as merely eye candy who can’t help themselves but fall high profile athletes. Get rid of the cheerleaders, open up opportunities in the broadcast booth, as well as front office, scouting, and even coaching jobs to women. Hell, it would be amazing to see a woman play in a big time college program, or even the NFL in my life time, not just as a kicker, but in other positions as well.

Football is a brutal game. However, it’s treatment of women is even more brutal. It has to stop. A good start would be Brent and Herbie not macking on player’s wives and girlfriends on national TV. It was juvenile, sexist behavior, and has no place in the sport- or anywhere else for that matter.

Requiem For a Heavyweight: Jim Tressel Resigns.

Ohio State Buckeyes college football head coac...

Image via Wikipedia

Wow, just wow.

After 10 years of being the face of Ohio State football, coach Jim Tressel resigned Monday amidst a mountain of controversy. Co-Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell was named interim head coach for the 2011 season.

I honestly can’t say that I’m surprised. When Coach Tressel chose to cover up the fact that 5 of his players including Terrelle Pryor were exchanging memorabilia for tattoos and pocket money, he all but sealed his fate at Ohio State. It was just a matter of time before he would either be fired or forced to resign. However, knowing what was coming still didn’t soften the blow, nor did it ease the pain.

As Buckeye fans, Tressel spoiled me and my partner, as well as the rest of the rabid, loyal fans in Buckeye Nation. Under Tressel, we came to expect 3 three things. A win over Michigan, A Big Ten title, and a run at the National Championship. For a decade, Coach Tressel would deliver on all three.

Tressel’s cover up is indicative of what’s wrong with college football; it’s about winning and generating revenue. In many aspects, it’s not much different than the NFL. Ohio State is no different than any other major college program; it’s always about winning at all costs. I could easily see any of the other 120 major college coaches doing what Tressel did. I refuse to condemn the man for getting caught.

So where does Ohio State go from here? They are facing probation, as well as the possibility of having to forfeit their 2010 season including the Sugar Bowl, pending the results of the NCAA investigation. They are also facing the possibility of losing QB Terrelle Pryor for the entire season once the NCAA investigation into his activities are concluded. Interim coach Luke Fickell has no small task in front of him; whether or not he is up for the job of salvaging an already tarnished season is up to him. If he is up to the challenge, he can write his own ticket.

Here’s the thing: In Ohio State’s case, the program makes the coach, not the other way around. Tressel was not a household name when he was hired, nor were the names of Cooper,Bruce, or Hayes, the coaches who preceded him. Coach Fickell is a high energy, intelligent coach who steadily worked his way up the OSU rank and file. As a former 4 year starter for the Buckeyes, he gets it. He know what’s expected of him: Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten, compete for a national title. He will not get a pass for this season, in spite of the external challenges he is facing. Even if the Buckeyes land on probation, Fickell is expected to win if he is to remove the interim tag.

I want to finish with this: Thank you Coach Tressel for all you’ve done for Buckeye Nation. You will always have a place in my heart as the greatest OSU coach ever. You brought a lot of joy into our house, and you will always be remembered fondly. I hope you land another coaching gig soon; they will be lucky to have you.

And to Coach Fickell I offer congratulations and some advice. I can live with a rebuilding year this season considering what you’re facing, but you sure as hell better beat Michigan!

O-H-I-O!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Cameron Heyward Joins The Steel Curtain!

The Steelers went defensive line last night with their first pick by drafting Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward. As a rabid Buckeye fan I can tell you that Heyward was the heart and soul of the Buckeye defense for three years. He’s a natural born leader with a motor that just won’t quit, and always comes up with the big play when the game is on the line. With Heyward, the Steelers just found their replacement for aging Aaron Smith, as well as the perfect bookend to former first rounder Ziggy Hood.

Bengals go Green: Draft The “Perfect Receiver.”

The Bengals take wide receiver AJ Green with the fourth pick in the draft. The dude is a man among boys. With or without Carson “Pick Six Palmer,” the Bengals offense is going to be fun to watch in 2011.

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The NFL Players and Owners Can Kiss my Ass!

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Image via Wikipedia

As football addicts, Ms TFH and I have been following the NFL labor negations fairly close. We have been trying to get our football fix with Arena Football and pretty soon Women’s Professional Football. Both are highly enjoyable, affordable means to feed our football addictions. In the meantime, what about the failed negotiations, ensuing lock out, antitrust suits, and the very real possibility that there will not be a 2011 season?  In my opinion, both sides can go pound salt.

The labor negotiations that are going on here is akin to a financial argument between Republicans and Tea Baggers; it’s a battle between the haves and the haves. Owners make billions from ticket sales, concessions, parking, merchandise sales etc, while the tax payers foot the bill for their stadiums. On the other hand, the players, while not doing as well as the owners, still make out like bandits. The lowest paid players in the NFL make $320 thousand a year, while the elite are mega millionaires. Here in Boehnerville, Bengals quarterback Carson “pick six” Palmer is threatening to retire if he isn’t traded. What is his financial situation? He claims that he has $80 million in the bank. I repeat, 80 fucking million dollars. Something is incredibly wrong with this picture folks.

Personally, though I dearly love the game of football, I’m not going to suffer if they never come back. In Hamilton County where I live, the budget deficit may actually be erased if there was no NFL. The county would recoup millions spent yearly on stadium upkeep, and would not have to increase taxes to stay afloat, on those who can least afford it, which would be people like me and you. If the owners and the players truly wanted to do the right thing, they should stop worrying about who gets a bigger piece of the pie and start concerning themselves with the fans and the people who work in and around the stadium. Whatever the difference in revenue sharing that is holding back an agreement should be directed toward making games more affordable and raising the wages of those who work in the stadiums. Until they can do that, I propose that it’s the fans that should go on strike. Stop going to the games, stop buying merchandise, stop all means of enabling. Maybe then the NFL will get the idea that none of us feel a bit sorry for either side.

After Further Review: It Was a Pretty Damn Good Super Bowl.

Some thoughts I had from last night’s Super Bowl while I was drowning my sorrows with veggie lover’s pizza and chocolate dipping sticks: 

My partner bought me a Steelers jersey for our 5 year anniversary; that’s how much we love football.

I hate being right. The score was higher than I anticipated, but Green Bay got there pretty much the way I expected.

  • It was a great game, but not one of the best. Steelers vs Cardinals was the best.
  • This really was a match up of the two best teams. Nice to see that in a championship game. Are you paying attention BCS?
  • The commercials sucked. No exception.
  • If the Steelers get that running game going earlier, it’s a different outcome.
  • Steelers O-line played fairly well. Doug Legursky filled in admirably, but he’s no Maurkice Pouncey.
  • Aaron Rodgers is an absolute artist. He is a joy to watch.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is as tough as they come. He could play in any era.
  • You don’t free lance defensively against Green Bay. Polamalu was out of position most of the night and Rodgers made the Steelers pay for it.
  • Cameron Diaz feeding popcorn to A-Rod was kind of creepy.
  • You don’t run the ball out of the end zone on kick returns. Period. You either get buried inside the 20 or a penalty nullifies the return. The Steelers were guilty of this all night.
  • Clay Mathews is a beast. His hit on Mendenhall to force a fumble in the fourth quarter was the game changer. Without it, Pittsburgh probably scores and keeps momentum.
  • Pittsburgh needs better corners. That was painfully evident last night as Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings made big catch after big catch.
  • John Starks can do more than run the ball. He consistently picked up blitzes and deserved a lot of the credit for Rodgers mostly having time to throw the ball.
  • Green Bay’s offensive line made Harrison and Woodley non factors. The Packers quick passing game didn’t help matters either.
  • I hate Super Bowl half time shows; this year was no exception. WTF was Will I. Am wearing? He looked like Mike Tomlin in a Bobby Brown costume.
  • I thought for sure with two minutes left Big Ben and company take it down the field. That’s what they do.
  • The Steelers never panic and they never give up. I admire that a lot.
  • Both teams had a lot of key players out due to injury. When they come back next season (hopefully there is one) either team is going to be hard to keep out of the next Super Bowl.
  • Both teams are class acts. Tomlin in particular stood out in that department.
  • I’ll bet that giant bag of douche Roger Goodell was relieved to hand the trophy over to the Packers instead of the Steelers.
  • If I’m the Steelers, I draft nothing but defensive backs and offensive lineman this April. Taking Mike Pouncey from Florida in the first round would be a good start.
  • I already miss football. A lock out would break my heart.

Is This Going to be The Best Super Bowl Ever? Steelers vs. Packers.

Aaron Rodgers

Image by elviskennedy via Flickr

The Super Bowl this weekend promises to be an exciting match up, but who’s going to win? Green Bay features Aaron Rodgers and a precision passing game that puts a lot of points on the board while killing the clock. The Packers also have a stifling defense that stops the run and puts pressure on the other teams quarterback, often forcing him into mistakes.

Pittsburgh’s key strength is their #1 defense. This year’s version of the Steel Curtain virtually mirrors Green Bay. They stop the run better than everyone else, pressure the quarterback and do not give up the big play. The offense is troublesome however: key injuries to the offensive line have limited the offense and center Maurkice Pouncey’s high ankle sprain is going to be a serious problem if he can’t play or his mobility is limited. 

How is this game going to play out? The key is how well the Steelers’ offense plays. They are going to have to run the ball effectively, stay in short yardage situations and keep Rodgers off the field. If they can do that and if the defense can hold Green Bay to field goals instead of touchdowns, the Steelers win. 

For Green Bay, the defense is the key. Clay Matthews and company will look to take advantage of the Steelers weakened offensive line and get to Large Benjamin. Getting to him isn’t enough though. Their going to have to get him to the ground, otherwise Roethlisberger will move around enough to exploit the aggressive Green Bay secondary and make some big plays happen. When Green Bay has the ball they are going to have to run the ball just enough to keep Woodley and Harrison out of the back field, while Rodgers needs to convert long drives into touchdowns. If they do this, the Packers win. 

My prediction?  My heart says the Steelers, my head says Green Bay. Look for Green Bay to shut down the Steelers rushing attack and consistently put Roethlisberger on his broad backside. Rodgers continues his high level of play and puts points on the board while running off huge chunks of time. 

Green Bay 20- Pittsburgh 10. I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong.

NFL Conference Championship Preview.

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in ac...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend’s conference championships promise to be two brutal, gut punching games. Storied rivals Green Bay and Chicago tussle for a third time this season, while Pittsburgh gets a chance to atone for their late season loss to the New York Jets. Who am I picking? Like a scrotum here it is in a nutshell:

Green Bay vs. Chicago

Look for the Aaron Rodgers lead Packers offense to march off several long drives through the Bears defense the way Genghis Khan lead the Mongols through Persia. Except there won’t be a 90,000 skull pyramid left outside the stadium wall. That might draw a stiff fine from Roger Goodell. Meanwhile the #2 defense in the league shuts down the Bears running game and forces Jay Cutler to try to win the game by himself, which never turns out well.

Packers 31, Bears 17.

Pittsburgh vs. New York.

Look for the Steel Curtain to give the Jets offense a Dirty Sanchez by stopping their methodical running and short passing game and forcing the second year quarterback into some mistakes. On the other side of the ball Mike Wallace may become the next castaway on Revis Island, but expect a heavy dose of Rashard Mendenhall and count on large Benjamin to keep plays going long enough to complete some passes to the rest of his talented receiving corp. Look for the Steelers to pull this one out in a low scoring game leaving Jets coach Rex Ryan to ponder if Troy Polamalu’s feet are as pretty as the rest of him.

As an added bonus James Harrison will eat a live puppy that’s wearing a Jets Jersey at halftime. Because fuck the Jets. Harrison’s halftime show will earn him a 1.5 million dollar fine from Goodell, and kudos from Mike Vick.

Steelers 17, Jets 14.

I Can’t wait until Sunday!

Update: Packers 21- Bears 14.

It was closer than I predicted but the Packers defense performed as expected. Two names to keep an eye on: Sam Shields and Caleb Hanie. They were difference makers in this game. Look for more of both players in the future.

Update: Steelers 24-Jets 19

It was a close game as expected. Too much of a Steelers first half for the Jets to overcome though. Where’s that puppy wearing the Jets jersey? Stay tuned for my Super Bowl preview!

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Would you let this man date your daughter? It’s all about the Benjamin.

There are many reasons why I have been paying particular attention to the latest controversy surrounding Ben Roethlisberger. As a native western Ohioan, I have been interested in his career ever since his heroics at Miami of Ohio placed him in the national spotlight. As a football fan and someone who appreciates the legacy of success that the Steelers have provided over the years, I have watched and cheered for Ben as he made clutch play after clutch play to lead Pittsburgh to two Super Bowls. I’m also interested because once again, Big Ben has scrambled away from another half hearted pass rush by prosecutors who happen to work in a state that is crazy for football. 

The fact that Big Ben has not been convicted of any crime doesn’t mean a damn thing. There are now no less than two documented cases of sexual assault allegations in less than a year. The fact that the investigations were wrapped up in a hurry can only reinforce the belief that if you are a successful high profile athlete, a successful white athlete, chances are good that the charges will never hit a court of law.  

Where there’s smoke there’s fire: This is more than just a matter of innocence or guilt. The worst case scenario is that he is a sexual predator, and needs to rot in jail for a very long time. The best case scenario is that he is an alcoholic prone to selfish juvenile behavior and needs some intense counseling. One thing is certain: Roethlisberger is on a path to self destruction and he doesn’t care who he drags with him.  

What makes this completely infuriating is that in sexual assault and rape cases the victim is always assumed guilty until proven innocent. In each case, the accuser becomes the accused. Both women have been portrayed by many as money grubbing skanks while Ben declares himself an innocent victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s no wonder that only a small number of sexual assault victims ever press charges; who would want to go through that type of persecution and subject themselves to emotional bullying? Our justice system along with the media makes it virtually impossible for a victim of a “sex crime” to step forward and reclaim what was brutally taken from them. 

It also boggles my mind that many, including the media still make rape an issue about sex: It’s not about sex; it’s about a sick individual who is trying to satisfy an unquenchable thirst for power. Sexual predators including Roethlisberger, in my opinion, should be put in a position where they are stripped of all power and control so that they get a measure of what it’s like to feel helpless, and robbed of their dignity and autonomy. This is assuming that sexual predators are even capable of feeling empathy. I’m not advocating that they be raped; my opinion is that they are sociopaths incapable of any empathy and should be locked up for life. 

Roethlisberger is getting off easy AGAIN. A six game suspension? Counseling? A verbal smack down from the Steelers organization? Not good enough in my book. The way I see it Big Ben should be cut down to size; he doesn’t belong in society, let alone the NFL. Eventually he’s going to feel the need to hurt someone else: I can only hope that the next prosecutor will forget the fact that he is the face of an NFL franchise and do the right thing. Two prosecutors in Nevada and Georgia have already dropped the ball.

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