Monthly Archives: October 2015

NHL: Same Game, Different Season

by Brandon Busuttil

With the NHL season underway, a lot happened this off-season but all teams have the same goal: make the playoffs and win the almighty Stanley Cup. So, how have all those off-season moves and predictions been looking after the first few games into this NHL season.

I think it is important to start with the new overtime format. Instead of the 4-on-4 overtime format, that resulted in only 35% of games tied after regulation ending in overtime, and the rest of the 65% of tied games ending in a shootout; the NHL has decided to move to a 3-on-3, 5-minute overtime format followed by a shootout. Overtime periods just got a lot more exciting. With a lot of ice and some of the most talented NHL players in that open space, you can expect a lot more overtime goals, and that is exactly what happened. The excitement about a game going into overtime has gone way up, and now has fans watching with large rushes of adrenaline. The NHL definitely got it right with this overtime format change.

Mike Babcock has moved on from the Detroit Red Wings to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It can easily be determined Babcock gave up success with the Red Wings for a lot more money and a much bigger challenge. The Detroit Red Wings is one of the most renowned teams in the NHL making the playoffs 24 years in a row. Now with a rookie head coach, Jeff Blashill, can the Red Wings keep it up or will they crumble? With the amount of talent Detroit has, along with the fact Blashill coached the AHL affiliate team of the Red Wings the Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup trophy (much of those players he coached are now playing for the Red Wings), I think the team will be in good hands. Blashill follows a system very similar to Babcock, and if it is truly similar to Babcocks, that means the team will stay successful. So far into the season it has been proven that the Red Wings are exactly where they left off with Babcock, continuing to be successful with two goaltenders whom are good enough to both be starting.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on the other hand, are still struggling. To put this team in perspective, their first line players would be on a third line at any decent NHL team. It will be interesting to see what Mike Babcock can do with this team, but I would not expect a quick fix. Babcock has been signed to a 8 year deal to see if he can be the magician to change this Leafs team around, and it is predicted that it will take a long two or possibly three seasons until we hear of the Maple Leafs making noise in the NHL. This has proven true because the Leafs have continued their losing woes in this 2015-2016 NHL season.

The last big story-line that is looked at is: what is the deal with the Chicago Blackhawks? Coming off of a Stanley Cup championship, can Chicago do it again? Unlikely. They lost some key players due to free agency and trades, but they will still be a force to be reckoned with considering their star players that have stayed are going to make up for the lack of those whom left.

Overall, it should be a great and interesting season this year, filled with some great goaltenders all looking to make a name for themselves and some trying to keep their name as one of the best in the game right now. We have top-notch rookies such as Connor McDavid, whom is compared to Sidney Crosby when he entered the league. Lastly, we have teams that could make a push to be a force this year such as the Florida Panthers, whom have come out this year with a lot of determination and force.

Look for an exciting year of hockey, and one that will probably be filled with the unexpected.

 

Does FIFA Need to Make Changes?

By Josh Roeloffs

What is holding soccer back from being an elite sport in the United States? It’s the most popular sport in the majority of countries around the world, why hasn’t it caught on in the U.S.?

Well at first glance there are a handful of problems that prevent soccer from reaching a popular climax. There are many reasons that seem prominent in the minds of Americans when it comes to how Soccer is played; these problems include low scoring matches, draws, yellow and red cards, faked injuries, the referee having too much influence on outcome, slow pace, the clock doesn’t stop and lack of stops in action or missing the goals.

The list is almost daunting, but there are some simple tweaks to the rules and culture of the game that would immediately fix these issues. There are a few solutions that help to minimize multiple problems on the list.

First of all, FIFA could lax the off-sides rule. At this point, if any part of your body is ahead of the defender, you are off-sides. If it were to be changed that if any part of your body is behind or in line with the opponent there would be a drastic increase in the pace of play as well as the amount of goals scored throughout a match, not to mention that the more goals that are scored by the players without a referee blowing the whistle is a good thing for the game.

To help the growth of soccer in the United States, FIFA may want to re-evaluate a rule that they have rejected for years: stopping the clock. This is something, that as a fan of soccer in America, I have heard over and over.  People say things like, “Soccer is ridiculous! Why would I watch a sport that doesn’t even stop its clock for injuries?” But a problem that would be addressed if FIFA were to implement this rule is the epidemic that is faked injuries. A player will fall to the ground writhing in fake pain just to waste a minute or two in the finals moments of a game; but if the rule is in place, there is no reason for them to do this as the clock will just stop.

An alternative solution for faked injuries would be to force anyone who stays on the ground injured, real or not, to stay out of the game for about 5 minutes to help discourage the action. When it comes to the clock, the opposition to this rule change would argue that the final attacks in extra time of the half and match are important. What if the referee could still let a final attack continue? It would be fine if the referee was the final say on the game ending clocks, but it would be on a shorter leash than it currently is.

Another way to help prevent these late game injuries would be to allow for one or even two more substitutions. It has most definitely been a problem in the past when it comes to the final ten or fifteen minutes, as well as regarding the longevity of players’ seasons and careers. Another benefit of additional substitutions means that the fans as well as the coaches will be able to see a larger variety of players on the pitch. It would also benefit the young players as it would give them opportunities to grow their skills with in-game experience. It could potentially hurry the maturity of superstars, therefore getting them into the match earlier in their career.

There’s a concept that Americans struggle to accept and generally refuse to watch soccer because of it. This concept is a tie. Americans grew up with tournament style, elimination, no ties type of games. When it comes to soccer, a 0-0 draw is possible, and many Americans hate it. Unfortunately, it’s a tough problem for FIFA. FIFA’s only option is to make draws less likely. They have a few options to consider. First of all, there could be a short extra time in regular season matches, decreasing the chance for a draw.

A final reason that the sport has seen slow growth in the United States is the lack of commercial stoppages available for TV providers. With a lack of potential income comes the lack of TV coverage. With the lack of TV coverage comes a lack of attention and fan dedication, which has been a massive problem for the MLS in the United States. Say if FIFA was to rule that there would be a few minute stop at the 20th minute mark as well as say the 65th minute mark, therefore increasing advertisement profit possibly all the way up to 30%! This income could allow for cash to be put back into the sport furthermore increasing coverage specifically in the United States, but potentially around the world. It would also provide the players for a quick break to rehydrate. It could reduce the amount of late game injuries and cramps that are all too common from game to game.

In response to the proposed rule changes, FIFA has a responsibility to make changes to adapt our beloved sport to competition in the 21st century. America is slowly taking interest in soccer, but the U.S. lags way behind when it comes to national interest in comparison to countries around the globe. The adoption of any of these small changes would be a step in the right direction for the sport as a whole, and would eventually lead to an extreme increase in interest in the United States in the years to come.

Johnson Continues To Fly Under Radar

by Nicholas Muhl

Averaging over 400 yards passing a game, top 5 in touchdowns thrown, only three interceptions in two wins against major non-conference opponents; Matt Johnson is flying under the radar.

According to Scott Swegan (@ScottSwegan), Assistant Director of Athletic Communications for Bowling Green State University and ESPN Statistics , BGSU Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson has accumulated some impressive numbers and accolades in his 2015 campaign, including:

  • 5-time MAC East Offensive Player of the Week
  • In the last two weeks he has thrown almost as many TD’s (10) as he has incompletions (11).
  • Has led the Falcons on opening drive score 6/7 games.
  • Through 7 weeks, the nations leading passer in yards (2891), 3rd in Touchdowns (24)
  • 2-time Manning Award Star of the Week, Manning Award Midseason Watch List
  • 70.5% completion percentage, 5th best passer rating (174.1)
  • Led the Falcons to two wins over Big Ten opponents for the first time in school history
  • http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?path=aspirants_&roster=2
  • http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/513573/matt-johnson

Some are going to accuse me of being a homer, because I do attend Bowling Green State University. However, I believe Johnson’s numbers and the game film truly speak for themselves. Here in northern Ohio, just off I-75, we are aware of the incredible talent throwing the football for our BGSU Flacons. It’s time the rest of the country is aware of him too – so let me introduce you to Matt Johnson who is a serious Heisman candidate, and one of the best quarterback prospects in the NCAA.

http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?path=aspirants_&roster=2

The “it” factor – Dino Babers coached Garoppolo (Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports)

Drew Brees College Highlights

Hershey Co. Signs Deal To Sponsor USOC Through 2020 Tokyo Games

by Angeline Seames

Hersey Co. signed a five-year deal with Team USA, which makes the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) back in the candy game. The iconic candy maker is now an official sponsor and confectionery partner through the 2020 Tokyo Games. This is USOC’s first deal in the confectionery category since the 2008 Beijing Games, when Hershey then had a supplier deal.

Olympic marketing experts say a sponsor-level partnership with the USOC sells for between $1-3 million annually. With only 10 months left until the Rio Games, Hershey and USOC will immediately tackle activation details. This in mind, the USOC came out with a statement stating “We hope we have a really great footprint in the candy aisle thanks to Hershey.” Brands of candy bars that will be included in the relationship are: Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Twizzlers, Brookside dark chocolates and Krave premium jerky.

The USOC has even bigger names brought together for its consumer-packaged goods partners like Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble. Team USA displays of these partners are at retailers during the Olympics. The big name brands want to be able to capitalize and get partners motivated around, making an even bigger footprint in their aisle.

The Hershey Director of Partnership Marketing David Palmer, was instrumental in reuniting Hershey Co. and the USOC.  Hershey before hand has been a longtime supporter of USA Track & Field, and signed a deal in 2014 to become its second-largest sponsor behind Nike. Hershey Co. has had experience with USA Track & Field for over 30-plus years. Hershey’s statement stated that, “This is just a part of our longtime commitment to supporting skills for a lifetime of physical activity for people of all ages.” This legacy at Hershey will undoubtedly benefit the sponsorship it shares with USOC.

Hershey is truly one of America’s most iconic and beloved companies. With the announcement of the sponsorship both companies together shared a statement stating; “Both Hershey and Team USA share a unique, irreplaceable place in the hearts, lives and memories of many Americans; we want our country and athletes to know that Hershey is here to help bring moments of goodness and patriotic pride throughout the games and beyond.”

Hershey will support its USOC sponsorship through a variety of media channel activation’s over the course of 2016 leading up to the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Greg Hardy is Back in the NFL But Has He Changed?

Bernadette Compton is a PhD student (with an emphasis on sport) in American Cultural Studies at BGSU. She graduated with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology from the University of Central Arkansas. She received her Master’s in Sport Psychology from Miami University (OH) where she first became interested in sports media writing. She spends most of her time watching, reading and writing about, and discussing any and all sports. Specifically, she is interested in the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and sports. Her main sport writer influence is Kate Fagan.

By Bernadette Compton

If you haven’t heard, Greg Hardy is back playing football, after serving a four game suspension for his relation to a 2014 domestic violence case. Back in 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend, but his conviction was overturned when she failed to cooperate with the case. Hardy, former player for the Carolina Panthers, left Carolina as a free agent, and the Cowboys signed him to a one year deal this March. In the week leading up to his first game in over a year, Hardy met with the media for the first time since coming back from suspension (Moore, 2015). Here is part of that interview: http://www.dallascowboys.com/video/2015/10/06/greg-hardy-breaks-his-silence-after-suspension.

There are a few comments that many people addressed, especially with his recent domestic violence case. When asked if he was ready to start playing again, he responded with “I hope I come out guns blazing, I’m full of excitement and full of juice. I’m ready to go” (Martin, 2015, para. 4). While “guns blazing” is a common phrase used in sport, it is questionable for Hardy to use since he had thrown his girlfriend on a couch with at least four semi-automatic rifles (Moore, 2015). He also deflected a question about if he had remorse for his actions, and instead focused on how sorry he felt that he couldn’t be there for the team. At the end of the interview (not included in the above video), Hardy had this to say about heading to New England, “I love seeing Tom Brady, he’s cool as crap…. Have you seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game, all her friends come to the game. One of my favorite games of the year, guys” (Martin, 2015, para. 6). And when a reporter mentions Blake Bortles’ wife’s attractiveness, Hardy responded “Is she? This kind of information is important. That’s how I select my Pro Bowls” (Martin, 2015, para. 8).

Katie Nolan, host of a Fox Sports show called Garbage Time, voiced her concerns with Hardy’s comments, especially with those mentioned above. Here is Katie Nolan:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGrL39Q99sE

While many people agreed with her comments and how it seemed Hardy still shows no remorse for his previous action, many people disagreed with her. But instead of just stating their points, they instead were sexist towards Nolan, which is difficult to take when the main conversation with Hardy is his previous domestic violence case.

For example, some comments on Facebook found it appropriate to say she belongs in the kitchen and not talking about sports or sport related issues. This is a common occurrence in comments towards female sport announcers and journalists.

Another felt the need to make a sexual reference about Nolan, the below comment being the cleanest comment regarding this reference.

And finally, Greg Hardy found it necessary to retweet the following tweet “Gonna buy his jersey now because of the wife comments @OverlordKraken go boys!!”

There were many other comments and tweets on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook involving the same sort of language towards Nolan, even using extreme vulgar language regarding her looks and what she should be doing instead of talking sports. These comments and tweets came from both women and men.

This language towards female sport announcers and journalists is very common. Jane McManus, a sport journalist for espnW, also received comments about being in the kitchen when her article on Greg Hardy was published (McManus, 2015).

In the MLB, Jessica Mendoza, the first female announcer for an MLB postseason game, also received remarks about being on air (Rogers, 2015):

In a recent Sports Illustrated article on women in sport and social media, this language towards women is very real (Dicaro, 2015): http://www.si.com/cauldron/2015/09/27/twitter-threats-vile-remarks-women-sports-journalists?utm_source=The+Daily+Rally&utm_campaign=39a87457a0-The_Daily_Rally_20150929&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8529cab2df-39a87457a0-128054941

Lack of respect towards women in sport and social media is still an issue. Women are sexualized, viewed as objects, and constantly receiving comments using vulgar language. We see this not only in comments on articles, but in magazines, commercials, and discussions on blogs about the typical “beautiful” female athlete. So while women have made great strides in sports, there is still a long way to go to gain respect as a sport fan and journalist.

References

Dicaro, J. (2015, October 1). Threats. Vitriol. Hate. Ugly truth about women in sports and social media. Sport Illustrated. Retrieved from http://www.si.com/cauldron/2015/09/27/twitter-threats-vile-remarks-women-sports-journalists?utm_source=The+Daily+Rally&utm_campaign=39a87457a0-The_Daily_Rally_20150929&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8529cab2df-39a87457a0-128054941

Martin, J. (2015, October 8). No apologies from Greg Hardy as he talks about Tom Brady’s wife. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/08/us/nfl-greg-hardy-returns/

McManus. J. (2015, October 9). Greg Hardy’s comments make a mockery of NFL change efforts. espnW.com. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/13838832/greg-hardy-comments-make-mockery-nfl-change-efforts

Moore, D. (2015, October 7). Suspension over, Cowboys DE Greg Hardy meets the media: Here’s what we found out. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved from http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-cowboys/headlines/20151006-moore-suspension-over-cowboys-de-greg-hardy-meets-the-media-here-s-what-we-found-out.ece

Rogers, K. (2015, October 7). Criticized for being a ‘woman announcer,’ Jessica Mendoza shines anyway. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/sports/criticized-for-being-a-woman-announcer-jessica-mendoza-shines-anyway.html?_r=0

Link

by Brandon Busuttil

Toronto Blue Jays Playoff Hype Video

The hottest team in Major League Baseball is no doubt, the one Canadian team there is: the Toronto Blue Jays. This team has shown it all season long that they can hit. Game after game, home run after home run. These guys can get it done in the hit and run column.

It is amazing the transformation that this team has gone through this MLB season and it seems to be a hot topic for all baseball analysts and fans. At one point right around the beginning of the summer the Blue Jays were sitting at 4th place in the AL East, a few games below .500 and it looked like this was going to be a similar season to the one they had the past season. Talk on the street was that this team, with some good hitters, was going to struggle to even try and make the wildcard spot with pitching being a weakness. The team got their act together midway through the summer getting to around a .500 average. Media and fans were wondering if that was going to be enough to get a team with a 22-year playoff drought into the postseason.

At the end of July everything for the Blue Jays changed. Acquiring ace pitcher David Price would be a game changer, but he wasn’t the only one. They also acquired Ben Revere, all-star short stop Troy Tulowitzki and other supporting players that would take large roles in relief pitching. Something for the Blue Jays changed after these moves and made them the team to beat. A 10 game winning streak that took place in August pushed the Blue Jays into battling the Yankees for 1st place in the AL East, which they successfully won.

For the first time in 22 years the Toronto Blue Jays are in the playoffs and not only is Toronto loving it, but all of Canada is loving it. Players and coaches of not only the Blue Jays, but any team that had to play the Blue Jays in the final 21 home games of the season have spoke on how insane it is to play at the Rogers Centre. For the final 21 home games of the season, 20 of them were sold out crowds of around 50,000 people.

It is going to be interesting to see how a team, city and country with a lack of playoff experience will perform in this situation. The Toronto Raptors used to be the talk of the town with their ability to make the playoffs two years in a row, but still could not get over the hump of getting through to the second round. Now, not only has the Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs, but they are also picked as a favorite to win the World Series. If we take a step back in history, the last time the Blue Jays were favored to win the World Series was in 1993 (22 years ago) when they won their last World Series (part of the back-to-back World Series championships) and the last time they made playoffs.

Canadians are expecting a lot of their team this postseason. Even with the expectations, there is no worry with the Blue Jays’ ability to play in front of a post-season crowd. In reference to the past 21 games of sold out crowds (minus one game) John Gibbons (Blue Jays Manager) had this to say about the crowd in the late part of the season: “From pitch one, everybody’s been on their feet, really into it. I don’t know how it can be much different, to be honest with you, as loud as it’s been, as enthusiastic as they’ve been.” From hearing this it sure sounds like a dare to every Blue Jays fan in the stadium and beyond.

Youth Sports getting out of hand?

by Angeline Seames

In San Diego, a youth football and cheer league got a little out of hand. With 30 seconds left in a youth football game, adults in attendance broke out into a fight in the stands. With this occurring during the game the league commissioner decided to remove both teams from the San Diego Youth Football and Cheer League. The parents and players now are protesting and threatening to sue the league.

What has caused youth sports to escalate to parents fighting against each other? Parents and coaches is the answer. For many reasons parents have this void or withdraw from the competitive spirit of sports. That is the reason why many parents allow their child to play in sports. Parents become emotionally involved and see their young athlete as an investment. While parents believe their child is gifted and could be rewarded with college athletic scholarships. The sad reality of it all is that in men’s football and basketball for every 10,000 high school student athletes, nine will play in the NFL and three will play in the NBA.

The Michigan State University Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, found that 70% of kids drop out of sports by the age of 13 because of adults. The main reason why kids play sports is to have fun, socialize and learn new skills. When parents become too involved  they overemphasize performance and winning, creating pressure for the kids which is no fun for the kids.

Just the same as parents, coaches get lost in the way of winning instead of teaching life lessons, values, new skills and socialization. Coaches most of the time focus on outstanding athletes, instead of allowing undeveloped athletes playing time to grow, to give their team the better outcome of the game.

These adults are role models to the children that are participating in the youth sports team. While parents and coaches are just focusing on winning, they are teaching their children that winning is everything. This statement is true because the U.S. is a very competitive country but, adults should be teaching their children morals and fighting for them no matter what it takes.

With that in mind, youth sports may see changes in crowd control, coaching staff and allowing adults to cheer on their children during sporting events. As parents become more involved in youth athletics, there’s the true question about if youth athletics will stay around.