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Darren Sharper and Visanthe Shiancoe Trading Barbs Prior to Season Opener

Even though we’re still more than three months from the kickoff of the upcoming NFL season, it’s never too early to start talking trash. The Saints and Vikings will open the season on Sept. 9th in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game and are already trading barbs. Why is that the case? Because Mr. I won’t retire til I’m 60 years old, Brett Favre, has decided to get the ankle surgery that doctors told him he would need if he wanted to play football again. Apparently the Saints plan to take full advantage of Favre’s repaired ankle — Saints safetey Darren Sharper said that “X marks the spot” in terms of the QB’s ankle. Ouch. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Sharper’s comments angered Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and that led to him firing back to Sharper in these comments to the media on Thursday:

“Sharper had surgery, too. And it was the knee.” So if ‘X’ marks the spot on Brett, I wonder what would mark the spot on Sharper? I know which one it is. I know exactly which one it is.”

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Cold Super Bowl in New Jersey Is for the True Fans

On Tuesday, the NFL team owners announced that Super Bowl 48 would be held in the new $1.6 billion home of the the New York Giants and the New York Jets — Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants play the first regular season game in the new stadium on Sept. 12 (something I’m sure the Jets are still bitter about). The most exciting part about this development is that the Super Bowl will be played in good ol’ fashion cold weather like it used to be.

Call me biased, call me whatever you want, but when I think of football, I think of cold weather. I think of snow and bundling up to go to a game. I think of wearing three t-shirts, a hoodie under your jersey, as well as thermal underwear and two pairs of gloves to keep warm. I think of drinking hot chocolate to combat the blistering wind blowing on your face. I think of seeing your breath in the air as you cheer on your team. And I think of how much that makes it all better. It takes true dedication to brave the coldest of days just to see your team play some football, whether it be professional or peewees.

Anyone can go sit in warm weather and soak up the sun while watching one of our greatest pastimes, but football is played during the winter season for a reason — because it’s meant to be played outdoors in cold weather! Hey, I can’t help but be excited that Meadowlands Stadium won the Super Bowl bid. I’ll be honest, as a Chicago Bears fan, the door is now open for cold weather stadiums to play host to one of the most important sporting events of the year.

Sources:
New Meadowlands Stadium to Host Super Bowl [North Jersey.com]

NFL Loses Antitrust Case

The NFL missed out on what could have been a huge money-maker for the league this morning and given them a tremendous amount of power with not only licensing and apparel deals; but also labor negotiations.  The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 to overturn a district court decision that had ruled that the NFL was a single organization, not 32 separate organizations (its teams).  Here is what Justice Stevens of the Supreme Court said in lieu of the decision:

Although NFL teams have common interests such as promoting the NFL brand, they are still separate, profit-maximizing entities, and their interests in licensing team trademarks are not necessarily aligned.”

The issue dated back to 2002, when American Needle — a company that had produced NFL merchandise for over 50 years — sued the NFL claiming its exclusive deal with Reebok was a violation of antitrust laws and a result of 32 teams monopolizing the licensing of merchandise.  Deadspin, which created a detailed account of what the Supreme Court decision could mean, points out that the decision to call the NFL a collection of seperate entities could have ramifications for the NFLPA, as well as all companies who have licensing deals with the NFL.  Here are a few snip-its from the Deadspin piece that outline the trickle down affect that could be felt as a result of the Supreme Court ruling:

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Super Bowl on the Verge of Getting Chilly

A new era of Super Bowl play is on the verge of being secured.  Actually, I guess you could say an old tradition is on the verge of returning to the NFL.  With each passing day, it seems more and more certain that America’s most prominent sporting event is once again headed for potentially harsh conditions.  This Tuesday at the NFL league meetings in Dallas, owners will vote “yay” or “nay” to decide whether or not New Meadowlands Stadium — the brand new, state-of-the-art home of the New York Jets and New York Giants — should host the Super Bowl in 2014.  One owner who has been particularly outspoken in favor of a New York bid in 2014 is Patriots owner Robert Kraft:

Doing it in New York is the right thing for a lot of reasons,” Kraft told the Daily News last week. “I’ve been going to Patriots games for 50 years up here. I personally believe all football should be played outdoors. Our league was founded on winter football with the Ice Bowl. Our sport is about resilience, mental toughness, adjustments. I think it will be a great experience for the fans. A memorable experience.”

Although he insists it has not affected his stance, Kraft is undoubtedly considering his own team’s interests.  If New York hosts a Super Bowl in its outdoor stadium, that would eliminate a major obstacle when it comes time for the Patriots owner to lobby for a Super Bowl to be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.  If, and when, New York breaks the cold weather barrier, harsh conditions can no longer be used as an effective argument against holding the big game in a stadium with the potential for snow and freezing temperatures.

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Cardinals Don’t Seem Comfortable With Quarterback Situation

As we inch closer and closer to training camp and NFL rosters start shaping up, we get a better sense of teams’ needs — or at least their perceptions of their needs.  At this point in the off-season, it would appear the Arizona Cardinals aren’t exactly feeling confident with the quarterbacks they currently have on their depth chart.  Matt Leinart’s motivation is questionable, and he was terrible in place of Kurt Warner last season with no touchdown passes and three interceptions to go along with an embarrassing passer rating of 64.6.  Leinart has never thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in a season with the Cardinals, and his passer rating has never exceeded 80.2, which he finished with in 2008 after only playing in four games.  Whether or not he’s ready to take the next step remains to be seen, but thus far the former Heisman winner has an unimpressive resume.  I highly doubt his attempt at MMA training is going to get him there.

Derek Anderson — who the Cardinals signed to a two-year free agent deal in March — has been a model of inconsistency throughout his young career.  He followed an impressive 2007 — in which he threw 29 touchdown passes — with passer ratings of 66.5 and 42.1 in 2008 and 2009.  If 2007 Derek Anderson were to show up, he’d almost certainly be the starter in Arizona.  The chances of that happening seem slim at this point, and if the season started today the Cardinals would seemingly be best off flipping a coin to decide on a starter.

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Marcellus Wiley on NFL Hotel Sex Parties: ‘Of Course it Happens’

Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe blew the cover for NFL players when he shared a story about his teammates setting up a hotel sex party during a road trip to San Diego. While it’s not surprising to hear that this stuff goes on, it’s a shocker to hear a player speak about it openly to the media (Bowe wrote it as a contribution to ESPN the Magazine). Former NFL player and current analyst Marcellus Wiley joined the Jorge Sedano Show on 790 the Ticket in Miami and discussed the Bowe story.

Wiley started off by saying that Bowe “broke the code” by publicly talking about a “dirty secret” like that. Wiley then shared a story that happened during his third year in 1999 when as a member of the Bills, they had a road trip to Seattle and had a similar setup to the one Bowe described. “There were a few ladies already setup, already there, already in the hotel,” Wiley said. His team wound up losing that game despite going 11-5 on the year.

Although Wiley noted that “of course it goes on, of course it happens,” he clarified by saying these organized groupie imports don’t happen every road trip, nor every other other road trip. That seems to make sense because you figure it takes a lot of time, money, and planning to orchestrate something like what Bowe described. Hitting up your girls in a given city the day before a game seems much easier to do. Wiley also estimated that 80% of NFL players cheat on their spouses/girlfriends. Any wonder why one of Bowe’s former teammates is trying to dispute the claims?

Sources:
Marcellus Wiley on The Jorge Sedano Show [790 the Ticket]

Favre Finding New Ways To Make a Big Deal of Himself

Does Brett Favre really have no idea if he’s retiring or not every off-season, or does he just like creating a buzz about himself?  As he ponders whether or not to have minor ankle surgery which would allow him to play for the Vikings next season, Favre seems to be getting creative in finding ways to keep the media talking about another potential return.  It already seems like ten years have passed since the once teary-eyed quarterback announced his playing days were over, only to promptly unretire and yell his way out of Green Bay.

The Mississippi boy has seemingly found a way to kill two birds with one stone this time — motivate the Southern Miss baseball team to succeed while placing yet another stipulation on his return to football.  Favre reportedly told the Golden Eagles on Thursday that if they reach the College World Series — which would be an impressive feat considering they are currently 30-20 and in danger of missing the postseason — he will return to play for the Vikings next season.

Big deal.  Sure, this might be fun for the college kids playing for Southern Miss, but to the common fan (or, at least, to me) this is a continuation of the charade that has led to people resenting Favre and growing tired of his back-and-forth routine every off-season.  In his defense, I suppose he didn’t ask for this story to be run as headline news, but something tells me he doesn’t mind.  Let’s all cross our fingers the Golden Eagles can somehow secure a spot in the CWS.  After all, we wouldn’t want to run out of things to talk about.

Source:
Favre hangs NFL future on CWS [AP/ESPN]