Why Is the NFL’s Trade Deadline So Boring?
November 13, 2012
The game of football and the NFL conspire to limit midseason trades, denying fans excitement and players autonomy.
The Man Who Shaped the Way We Watch Football on TV
November 03, 2012
Some years ago, I got a call from NFL Films, from a man named Steve Sabol. Yes, he realized I was English by birth and might not know much about American football. So I explained to him that I had arrived in San Francisco in September 1981 at the start of the season in which the 49ers won their first Super Bowl—their first of five. Mr. Sabol was encouraged, but he had called me because he’d read some writing about movies that I had done. I believe I had compared Joe Montana and Gary Cooper in the way they gazed at space. That was his kind of dream.
The NFL Replacement Refs Reach the Tipping Point
September 25, 2012
The story of the locked-out refs is about NFL greed. But it's also about more than football.
A Journey to the End of Football
September 14, 2012
The cradle of quarterbacks in the age of concussions.
With Sports and Gays, It Will Get Better—But Not Just Because of Chris Kluwe
September 12, 2012
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is right about gay rights, but he's not the norm.
Football Wreaks Havoc on Democratic Convention Schedule
August 31, 2012
The Obama campaign has done a poor job dealing with the NFL regular season opener.
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.
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.