Author Archives: Darth Muhl

About Darth Muhl

Bowling Green State University and ΛΧΑ Alumni. Manager at Mr. Spots & Staff at Uptown Downtown Bar in Bowling Green. Avid lover of Hip Hop & Rap.

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

Media Reacts: NFL’s First Month in 6 Years With No Arrests

by Nicholas Muhl

The first month of the 2015 NFL regular season ended this past weekend. The end of September also marked the first month in 6 years that no NFL player has been arrested.

According to Reuters reporter Mike Rosenberg, the NFL has averaged “an arrest per week” since 2009. Rosenberg also reported that this is the first time in 15 years “the NFL went a calendar month during the season without an arrest.” The league has already had 33 total arrests in 2015, most recently San Fransisco 49ers Linebacker Ahmad Brooks who was charged with sexual battery at the end of August.

Alexandra Sifferlin reported the news for TIME and included a link in his article to USA Today’s NFL arrest archive. The archive contains a complete, descriptive account of a total of 805 NFL player arrests records dating back 15 years to January 24, 2000 when Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was arrested for allegedly beating and choking his wife. It seems paradoxical that 15 years later we continue to see so many similar headlines. Katie Link and Christian Bryant of the Ventura County Star posed this question about the news of an arrest-free month, “should we view this ‘achievement’ as pathetic, or impressive?” On the other hand, the Dispatch Times referred to it as a “mind-blowing milestone.”  

Since 2009 the NFL has been subject to many media and criminal investigations regarding their many player arrests. Most notably is former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez who was convicted of murder in April. Hernandez and other high profile players like former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, San Francisco’s Ray MacDonald, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice, and Viking’s Adrian Peterson have made national headlines and brought up many social issues outside of the sport of football; including rape culture, drug use, animal cruelty, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

The criminal history and violent backgrounds behind many NFL players is not an issue the media has shied away from reporting. However, it is important to note that news of the NFL’s arrest-free month quickly spread on social media, sports blogs and major media conglomerates. This differs from the issue of injuries which I detailed in my article last week, “Protecting the player’s or Protecting the Shield”. Approximately 15 percent of players in the league have experienced an injury this season. While on an individual level this has been heavily reported, injuries and their increasing totals have been a largely avoided issue. However, media and the league did not shy away from making sure (quite literally) that everyone knows it went through an arrest-free month. The NFL and it’s PR department have attempted to put some distance between itself and both the injury and conduct issues the league faces, and will jump at any opportunity they can to make the league look better as it and commissioner Roger Goodell continue to face extreme criticism for the way the league is currently being run. It remains to be seen whether real change is progressing in the league or if this month was merrily a statistical anomaly that further proves the major conduct issues the NFL faces.

Protecting It’s Players or “Protecting the Shield”

by Nicholas Muhl

“We’ll take a quick break while the trainers tend to the player down.” I have never heard this statement made by football broadcasters more than this National Football League season. As of last week, according to official NFL statistics, 15 percent of NFL players had suffered some type of injury through the first two weeks of the season.

15 percent. That’s 234 players.

If you want to take a look at it another way, NFL teams can have an active roster of 53 players. That means that over four full active NFL rosters had suffered an injury out of 32 total NFL teams. Worse than you thought, right?

This past weekend was highlighted by even more injuries, specifically Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who suffered an MCL sprain and bone bruise to his left knee. He joins starting quarterbacks Drew Brees (Saints), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Jay Cutler (Bears) on a growing list of high profile NFL players who have suffered serious injuries this season.

A lot of sports media coverage has been highlighting these individual NFL injuries, specifically the quarterbacks ones, but coverage of the overall issue seems to be lacking. A simple google search of “15 percent of NFL players hurt” will provide you with very limited results. Outside thinkprogress.org and one Bleacher Report article, the only coverage of this issue seems to be on the many low profile sports blogs. ESPN and other major sports media outlets continue to shy away from serious dialogue about the growing injury problem in the NFL. They rather spend most of their time discussing how long players will be out and how it effects our fantasy football lineups.

The NFL continues to damage control as it faces more and more questions about the safety of it’s players and medical care after their careers have ended. According to a report released by Frontline earlier this month,  87 of 91 deceased former NFL players that were included in their study tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The leading cause for CTE is repetitive trauma to the head. This report comes just a few weeks after the trailer of the new movie Concussion, which stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. A doctor who challenged the NFL’s policy’s and medical treatment of players, specifically after retirement, when he discovered CTE in the brains of several NFL players.

Despite new medical research being done everyday and legal action being taken against the NFL, it seems that the major media still is shying away from the issue. Whether its because the NFL is working to repairs its image in cooperation with the media or because major media decides fantasy football and other coverage brings in better ratings, something needs to change. The media needs to begin asking the question, is the NFL and commisioner Roger Goodell truly doing everything in their power to protect it’s players? Or are they more concerned with “protecting the shield.”

Did the Media Cover the Wrong Story Following Super Bowl XLIX?

By Nick Muhl

February 3, 2015

I feel the need to start out my story by saying this: what a fantastic Super Bowl.

It was truly a back and forth game, ending with a 10-point fourth quarter comeback by Tom Brady and the Patriots. Nobody said it was going to be easy, it never is for the Patriots in the big game.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks did their best impression of the New York Giants, but came up short of repeating as champions and robbing Brady and Belichick of their fourth Super Bowl title.

Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews not only caught his first pass of the NFL season, but three more totaling 109 yards and a touchdown. Beastmode did as Beastmode does, Lynch ran for 102 yards and a 4.3 per carry average. The Legion of Boom’s defense held the Patriots to 57 rush yards.

Even then, Brady looked to have solidified his fourth title, joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with his touchdown to Julian Edelman with 2:02 remaining.

Then came the insane catch by Jermaine Kearse, who was able to pull down a David Tyree-esque catch to bring the Seahawks in scoring range.

Second and goal following a Lynch handoff and the clock ticking under 35 seconds, Belichick trusted his defense and decided against calling a timeout and giving Brady and his offense another chance at a possible tying field goal.

We all know what happened next. Wilson threw the ball on a goal-line pick play, and Pats defensive back Malcolm Butler picked it off to seal the Pats victory.

Immediately following the electric turn of events, Chris Collinsworth and his fellow NBC Super Bowl broadcasters commented on their disbelief that Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll decided against giving their star running back Marshawn Lynch the ball on a second and one.

Social media, newspaper headlines, online blogs, all giving their input on the terrible job Pete Carroll did. From what I hear, there now crowning it “the worst play call ever”.

As football fans know, you can’t play the “if” game. Well IF this player didn’t get hurt, IF he caught that one pass, IF we had a different quarterback, ect. Consider it an un-written law of football fandom.

Sure, we could look at the play over and over again and wonder why didn’t Carroll run it with Lynch? It could be the fact that everyone thought that was the play call and he wanted to catch them off guard. It could be that the Seahawks have run that play call before during the 2014 season and is a standard inside the five yard line call for the Seahawks.

It could be a lot of things. The fact of the matter is, Malcolm Butler did his homework and the Patriots won the Super Bowl. However, it seems to me all the major media wants to discuss is the “what if” Lynch got the ball. Who says the New England d-line doesn’t claim Super Bowl glory and stuff Beastmode?

That’s the beauty of football.

“Worst Play Call Ever” will continue to be spread and numerous articles will continue to be written all criticizing Carroll’s play call.

Brady and Bellichick’s fourth Super Bowl, Brady’s 37 completion Super Bowl record, Bellichick trusting his defense, there all the second story. After the worst play call ever.

The media covered the wrong story.

And I haven’t even mentioned yet that the Super Bowl ended in a brawl.

Medical Marijuana Receives Endorsement From Former NFL Players

By Nick Muhl

January 29, 2015

What was once a somewhat taboo conversation topic, is now a hot debate among american citizens – Marijuana Legalization. Whether it’s local news talk radio, Nancy Grace on HLNtv, or at the family dinner table, the issue of marijuana legalization, recreational and medical, is now being discussed by practically every type of media, corporation, and american household.

The National Football league is no exception.

Earlier this week, three former NFL Players – Marvin Washington, Scott Fujita, and Brandon Ayanbadejo, published a joint article in the Huffington Post titled, “The NFL Needs to Rethink Marijuana”. In the article, the players call for Roger Goodell to begin supporting and allowing players to be prescribed and use medical marijuana. All three players are former Super Bowl Champions and published their joint statement just days before Super Bowl XLIX takes place in Arizona – a state where medical marijuana is legalized.

As mentioned in the article, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a brief statement last year, that he was willing to consider the medical use of marijuana by its players where it is legal. The players call to action for Goodell comes at a time when the league continues to search for solutions to the deteriorating health of players after their careers end.

The league is also facing additional pressure from many players and fans regarding the same issue after the suspension of such players like Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and New England Patriots running back Legarrette Blount who have been suspended for “simply smoking a joint”. Last February, while live on ESPN, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark claimed many of his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates and many other players he knows, smoke pot both during and after the NFL season for multiple different reasons, health being the number one. Click here to see Ryan Clark’s Interview last February on Numbers Never Lie

Fujita, Jackson and Ayanbadejo cite the compound in marijuana known as Cannabidiol (CBD), which has the “scientific potential to create a neuroprotectant for the brain.” With the NFL and its players frantically searching for solutions to the head trauma players receive throughout their careers, many scientists agree that marijuana is the perfect solution to the NFL’s problems.

According to Dr. Barth Wilsey of the University of California San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research in a 2014 article with Men’s journal, “There are five studies that were congruent in finding smoking cannabis alleviated neuropathic pain, or pain due to nerve injury.” Wilsey believes that the compound known as THC found in marijuana, in addition to CBD, can relieve the neuropathic pain NFL players continue to have during and after their playing careers.

Almost half of the states have now legalized medical marijuana, and according tot the Drug Policy Alliance about 70 percent of Americans support the reform. HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”, which was cited in the player’s article, reports that between 50-60% of players currently use marijuana legally, most of them for the therapeutic effect.

Recently, President Obama has suspended much of the federal enforcement of marijuana policies in states that have legalized. The Commander-in-Chief also predicts many more states will pass legalization of medical marijuana within the next few years, “The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”

It will be interesting in the next few months and years to see if the NFL will adjust its marijuana policy as more and more states continue to pass legalization. While the issue is still in hot debate across the country, there remains the strong possibility that the NFL will become the first professional sports organization at its level to allow players to use medical marijuana. With commissioner Roger Goodell not shying away from the topic thus far, continued media coverage and pressure on the NFL’s stance could push them to make a final decision on the topic, sooner than later. In the eyes of Fujita, Washington, and Ayanbadejo and many other players and fans, the NFL shouldn’t squander it’s opportunity to become a leading activist and take a stance in supporting and improving the medical treatment of its current and former players and others who can medically benefit from its legalization.

Violence Again the Topic of Another Weekend’s NFL Headlines

By Nick Muhl

Many of this weekends National Football League games brought about more headlines discussing the violence and the aggressive nature of some of its players. Rather than game recaps and analysis, many media outlets have taken this opportunity to once again criticize the NFL for not doing a better job in educating players to avoid these types of incidents.

The largest incident this weekend by far came in the game between the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. Late in the third quarter, Jets quarterback Geno Smith and Titans defensive lineman Jurell Casey exchanged words following a play. Jurell Casey seemed to take offense to something Geno Smith said, and threw a punch into the right side of his helmet as Smith walked away. Chaos ensued after, with both teams clearing benches into a massive brawl.

In the game between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, Redskins receiver Santana Moss had to be ejected from the game after his furious outburst in the face of an official. Moss was upset after the officiating crew overturned a Robert Griffin III touchdown at the end of the first half.

Reporters and writers did not shy away from reporting on a heated exchange of words between Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. The two players only seemed to jaw at each other for the most part, but the conversation did not look like a friendly one.

While some of these examples may seem petty, it brings to light an important issue the NFL must face. Since news stories of Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Darren Sharper, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald broke, the NFL has tried to distance itself from being associated with questionable characters. All of these are either current or former NFL players currently under investigation in cases involving domestic violence, rape, child abuse, and other violent crimes.

This weekend is another example of how much work the NFL still has ahead of it, if it wants to repair its image and regain the respect of many. Sundays NFL games were another example of how the media will do everything it can to continue to highlight the NFL’s issue as long as it remains fresh on fans minds. The NFL may continue to grow frustrated with many media headlines, but they must focus on changing the culture of the NFL and it’s players if it wants to avoid further such headlines.

Mumps Outbreak Spreads Through NHL

By Nick Muhl

Yes, you did in fact read that last headline correctly. The National Hockey League is currently experiencing a moderate outbreak of the mumps. While NFL headlines argue whether Johnny Manziel should or shouldn’t be a starting quarterback and the NBA is going wild watching the Golden State Warriors fast start to the season, the NHL is investigating one of the strangest stories to hit a major sports league in 2014.

Mumps is “an acute, inflammatory, contagious disease caused by a paramyxovirus”. Symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle pains, fatigue and swollen glands but can be prevented by a vaccine and mostly only affects children.

Currently multiple teams and players have contracted the disease including players on the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, and several superstars including the Duck’s Cory Perry, the Rangers Tanner Glass, Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Suter, and now most recently the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby.

Crosby, like many other NHL players, received a mumps vaccine booster shot prior to traveling to Russia for the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. In an interview with ESPN, Dr. Greg Wallace, a lead epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said that “considering the lengthy incubation period of the mumps, it’s virtually impossible to predict how long this outbreak will affect the league.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, also reports several hundred to a couple thousand cases of the mumps every year. The high number of cases in a little over a month in the NHL is alarming. However, with close contact locker rooms and multiple games in different cities each week – it is understandable why the disease has spread somewhat quickly and yet the origin cannot be traced.

According to USA Today, the NHL released information to each team regarding the mumps outbreak and how to prevent the spread of the disease. It remains to be seen if the NHL will provide additional support to prevent the spread of the disease, because of its nature there is no telling when the outbreak may end for the league.

While many fans, players, and media want the NHL to track down “patient zero”, it may be more important for the NHL to find a way to prevent the further spread of this disease before the NHL becomes subject to more serious headlines.