National Football League

The Rich Are Different: They're Luckier
April 01, 2011

This long attack on the unfairness of progressive taxation from the Hoover Institution by Kip Hagopian usefully embodies a lot of right-wing delusions about income inequality. It argues that a person's income is determined by three things: America’s free enterprise system provides an environment in which the substantial majority of its citizens can realize their fullest earnings potential.

How The NFL Filibustered Overtime Reform
February 10, 2011

In response to my item yesterday about a totally unworkable proposal to reform NFL overtime, which overwhelmingly favors the team that wins the coin toss, reader David Leonhardt sent his 2005 article about a much more feasible (and interesting plan): A bolder, and fairer, idea comes from two fans, Andrew and Chris Quanbeck, engineers who have sent their proposal to N.F.L. teams. William S.

NFL Overtime Reform And Progressive Overreach
February 09, 2011

  Steven Brams and James Jorash propose a new system to eliminate the advantage of receiving the ball first in NFL overtime games: Dispensing with a coin toss, the teams would bid on where the ball is kicked from by the kicking team. In the NFL, it's now the 30-yard line. Under Brams and Jorasch's rule, the kicking team would be the team that bids the lower number, because it is willing to put itself at a disadvantage by kicking from farther back.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Future of Football
February 04, 2011

This past summer, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell found himself facing a situation every authority figure dreads. His reputation hinged on how he handled a greasy-haired young man sitting in front of him, brandishing a smirk. The lug in question was Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, who had been accused of rape for the second time in a year, in this instance by a 20-year-old college student in Georgia. Arming himself for the conversation, Goodell had talked to two dozen other players, including other Steelers.

The Jets Go Hollywood
September 13, 2010

The Jets begin this season as a Super Bowl favorite. That in itself is unusual. But there is something even more unusual taking place, something that rarely happens in the world of sports: The team appears to be in the process of upending its identity as a secondary attraction in its own city. As a longtime Jets fan, I know this is supposed to make me thrilled. But the truth is, I feel a bit uneasy. Sportswriters commonly mischaracterize the identity of the Jets, labeling them perennial losers, disappointments, or underdogs. But this isn’t really accurate.

Americans and Soccer
June 27, 2010

Every time the World Cup is on the same annoying question comes up: Will Americans accept soccer? Well, frankly, I could not care less. Yesterday I watched the US-Ghana game in a steakhouse in the suburbs of Nashville, with the game sound replaced by a country music selection so immaculately insufferable that they’re surely using it to extract bogus information in the Guantanamo Bay torture resort. Apart from me, there was a guy drinking alone, and some of the kitchen staff. Did I care less about the game because of that? No.

The Soccer Wars Are Over
June 17, 2010

OK, a note on the Soccer Wars. The truth is this: soccer has won.  No-one expects soccer to supplant the NFL in American affections but any comparison of soccer in America in 1990 and 2010 reveals how much progress the game, and most especially the World Cup, has made. Indeed, I was struck last weekend by how much "bigger" the tournament was in Washington, DC than it was even in 2006. And it's not just international, immigrant-stuffed cities such as DC, NYC and LA in which soccer has taken root. Among the five TV markets in which the England-USA match did best? Cincinnati.

Soccer Triumphalism Turns Ugly
June 15, 2010

I've been a long-time, tongue-in-cheek participant in the regular soccer Kulturkampf. But there seem to be a lot of people who take this issue deadly serious, and it's a little frightening. Max Bergmann at the Center for American Progress rounds up some of the unhinged conservative rhetoric about soccer. So let me say that, as a confirmed non-soccer fan, the prospect that America will one day become a soccer-loving nation does not strike me as dangerous in any way.

Life Imitates The Simpsons
June 13, 2010

Last week, New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey called the USA-England World Cup match "the most anticipated American sports event in many years, perhaps decades." It turns out that the game drew a 7.5 overnight rating, less than any of the NBA Finals. So in fact the soccer match was the most anticipated sporting event in... almost two days.

The Pathos Of The Soccer Fan
June 11, 2010

Daniel Gross writes the most sympathetic testimony I've seen from an American soccer fan. The usual American soccer manifesto consists of bluster about soccer as the sport of the future because lots of American children play it (the same logic would suggest apple juice is the drink of the future) or optimistic predictions about "huge" T.V.