National Football League
It’s been nothing but scandals and bad publicity lately for the famously image-conscious NFL. The league is facing a “bounty” scandal (in which players were paid to knock their competitors out of games), a former player’s recent suicide (which may be linked, like others, to head injuries), and a lawsuit joined by over 1,500 former players accusing the NFL of understating the danger of concussions. With so much talk about head trauma, it’s easy to forget that football players face other injury risks.
Since the 1960s, professional football has supplanted baseball as our nation’s favorite sport—generating higher revenue and better television ratings. And, as the past few weeks have demonstrated, college basketball has captured the attention and diminished the productivity of the American workforce in ways baseball does not. But let’s not confuse popularity with superiority. Major League Baseball (MLB), the oldest spectator team sport in the nation, has become the most affordable and least exploitative one—and its labor relations are remarkably harmonious, too.
Angels in the Backfield: Can Tebow's Faith Explain His Success?
November 18, 2011
Tim Tebow, better known in some circles as God’s son, last night led the Denver Broncos to an improbable and crushing last-minute victory over the New York Jets. In trying to reckon with Tebow’s improbable 4-1 record this season, there are two salient factors to consider. One, he runs far better than he throws—normally an impediment to success at the quarterback position (his completion percentage is at a historically low, NFL-worst 44.8 percent). Two, he is intensely spiritual: Aping “The Thinker,” Tebow periodically drops to one knee and begins praying during games.
Will Obama’s Jobs Speech Matter?
September 01, 2011
President Obama has accommodated Speaker John Boehner by moving his speech from Wednesday to Thursday. He also intends accommodate football fans by finishing his address before the Packers and Saints play in the NFL season opener that evening. Kickoff is at 8:30, so I suppose that means the president plans to begin the speech early or to speak really, really quickly. Maybe he can get some pointers from the guy who used to make those FedEx commercials. But does the speech even matter?
While the end of the National Football League’s labor hostilities was met with cheers this week from sideline to American sideline, my thoughts turned to Dave Duerson’s family. Duerson played 11 NFL seasons as a safety—the sport’s most wide-ranging, hard-hitting defensive position—and was part of Super Bowl-winning teams with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. In February, after reportedly complaining for months of neurological torments—splitting headaches, mood swings, memory loss—Duerson committed suicide at age 50.
July 21, 2011
-- The adventures of utilitarian superman. -- What’s in the latest Greek bailout. -- A poorly lit room, Doug Holtz Eakin, and a dry-erase board. -- We have math, and then we have the awful things Heritage does to numbers. -- “NFL owners have ratified a proposal to end the current lockout in a 31-0 vote, according to the NFL Network.”
Metropolitan Boston ... #winning
June 17, 2011
with Carey Anne Nadeau With the Bruins’ defeat of riot-prone Canucks (who’d have thought?) Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston area has now laid claim to a championship in each major American sports league (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) within the last seven years. The New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl in 2005; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2007; and the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008. Our analysis confirms that, indeed, Boston is the first metro area to achieve the distinction of having held all four major sports titles within such a sho
Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Flu Vaccines
June 16, 2011
University of Florida football fans everywhere are downcast today at the news that former quarterback Danny Wuerffel has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. The 1996 Heisman Trophy winner was one of the all-time great college quarterbacks, leading the Gators to 4 SEC championships in 4 years, and the 1996 national championship. His NFL career was less successful, however--just 10 starts and 2100 passing yards over 6 seasons--and he retired from the game in 2002.
2011 NFL Mock Draft: Is the Combine Reliable?
April 25, 2011
The 2011 NFL draft starts on Thursday night, and eager football fans are already conducting mock drafts around the internet to predict who their favorite teams will pick and/or who will draft their favorite college players. Similarly, reporters covering the NFL are trying to demonstrate their football acumen with their own mock drafts. One opportunity to directly compare prospects before the draft is the NFL combine, held in late February, where prospects compete in a battery of tests of their physical and football talents, such as the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump.
The Incoherent Case For Paying Student-Athletes
April 05, 2011
Matthew Yglesias continues his jihad against college sports, which is always premised on the idea that there are no important differences between college athletics and for-profit economic cartels: Allison Schrager stands up for mandatory amateurism for guys who are skilled at football and basketball: Second, playing on a college team instead of a professional minor league one is often better for the athletes.