Wednesday, Sep, 2 2015
It's interesting that on the same week we get our first look at the soon-to-be released film Concussion starring Will Smith, I also receive a barrage of NFL-issued propaganda suggesting just how safe they believe the game to be. Of course, they present a number of statistics and anecdotes designed to convince us that football has never been safer or healthier in terms of participation, but it's all just too convenient. I don't believe many films through time have completly altered the way we look at certain societal issues (although examples do exist), but it's obvious the NFL is, at the very least, anxious to find out what effect this particular movie will have on the general public. Five years ago, few of us had ever heard of chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, but here we are now discussing its medical merits and whether it presents a legitimate threat to the game as we know it. While I tend to believe no level of counter-NFL propaganda will ever prevent people from watching on Sundays, presenting this threat as real could very well curb participation amongst youth -- and ultimately that could mean a slower, more drawn out death of America's favorite game. Of course, only time will with any of this but there's no question the NFL feels just a least bit threatened and this will undoubtedly lead to some interesting discussions pertaining to health in the near and distant future.
posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 3 hours ago
Wednesday, Aug, 26 2015
The topic of preseason football and whether its existence is warranted has once again become a fashionable topic amongst sports fans. Is the reward worth the risk? Should starters be participating in meaningless games? These are all questions that have been asked countless times over the last week, most recently spurred by the Jordy Nelson injury. The fact of the matter is, this is a far more complex topic than meets the eye. Yes, there is the financial element as NFL owners would undoubtedly never agree to shortening the preseason without an alternative plan for making up lost revenue. There's also a competitive side. Consider the new collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect in 2011, only allows for so many practices throughout training camp. Subsequently, we've seen the elimination of two-a-days as well a significant increase in the number of days off. How is a team such as the Packers -- which prides itself on drafting and developing young talent -- expected to take an adequate look at their personnel with so few opportunities. The preseason games help to satisfy that need. Sure, the question of whether the first team should participate remains, but based on the small sample size of players we've heard from on this issue, opinions vary on the worth of such games. Finally, there is a contingent of fans who likely will never have the opportunity to attend a regular season game, instead opting to purchase tickets to attend a pre-season game. It's just one more opportunity for fans to flock to the stadiums they love -- in our case, Lambeau Field -- and soak up the atmosphere. That said, if starters don't participate in these games, these fans will be left watch the second and third stringers compete for roster spots. Many will say there's nothing wrong with that ... but some will disagree. So while preseason football may seem like more of a nuisance than any sort of worthwhile endeavor, we must attempt to see this from another perspective and realize there's more than meets the eye.
posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 7 days ago
Tuesday, Aug, 25 2015
As the initial shock of Jordy Nelson's ACL tear wears off and we begin the process of moving forward, let's keep one thing in mind; the Packers are still a very good football team. The prevailing mindset since Nelson went down Sunday seem to be that the sky is falling and the Packers are no longer in contention for a trip to the Super Bowl. This couldn't be further from the truth. Ted Thompson's decision to stockpile young talent at the wide receiver position these last two years is now proving prophetic as several candidates stand in waiting to assist in Nelson's absence. This isn't to say the Packers offense won't take a step back. That's inevitable when a team loses its biggest downfield threat and position group leader. But to suggest their offense will no longer be effective is just plain silly. Perhaps the Green Bay offense no longer resembles that of the 2011 team and points don't come once every eight plays ... so what? Is it really a stretch to think the Packers can still score while spreading the wealth amongst three or even four different targets? Randall Cobb and, somewhat surprisingly, Davante Adams now emerge as the leaders of this unit with guys like Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis needing to step up. Based on what we've seen to this point in the pre-season, the talent is there but a honing of the skills must take place. Only time -- and reps -- will tell us the real story of this offense in 2015, but for the time being, let's take a positive approach and know that as long as Aaron Rodgers still quarterbacks this team, Green Bay has a chance at the Super Bowl -- just ask Vegas! They're still given 6-to-1 odds on winning it all.
posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 8 days ago
Thursday, Aug, 20 2015
Two years ago it would have been hard to imagine Ryan Braun's overtaking of Robin Young on the franchise's all-time home run leaders list as being anything other than special. That was then and this is now. After a tumultuous two-year period which saw Braun suspended for 65 games, as well as an up-and-down 2014 season in which the health of his thumb was questioned on the daily, Braun no longer finds himself the envy of every Wisconsin baseball fan. Instead, the dishonesty displayed throughout the PED scandal has led many fans to shun Braun and his accomplishments. That attitude has been on display since Braun blasted the 252nd homerun of his career on Wednesday and the collective attitude of the fan base was a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders. Of course Braun could play himself back into the good graces of the fans to some extent, it seems far-fetched to believe he'll ever be a revered figure in Milwaukee or any other baseball city again. There are plenty of lessons to learn from this. If Braun had simply confessed guilt after his first positive test rather than throw the handler of the sample completely under the bus, we likely would have forgiven him and moved on. Sure, we would have been disappointed and a faction of fans would always question him, but to nowhere near the extent we're seeing today. Unfortunately, Brewer fans are stuck with their much-maligned right fielder due to his hefty contract. For that reason alone, it sure would be nice if he could find a way to perform in a manner similar to the beginning of career. But no amount of batting titles will ever completely undue the damage Braun did to his image and people will rightfully look with a skeptical eye upon any future accomplishments.
posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 13 days ago
Monday, Aug, 17 2015
Don't get this post twisted ... I love Bo Ryan as a coach and leader of men. He's taken the Wisconsin Badger program to places few dreamed it could ever go, and his legacy will endure for years to come. That said, his decision to tell the press he might not be done after next season is a peculiar one and puts the program in an awkward position. If this were pro basketball, it might not be such a big deal ... but this is college basketball and the never ending quest to keep atop the recruiting world is daunting -- even for a program like Wisconsin which prides itself on often taking less heralded players. Kids crave some level of structure -- regardless of what they may tell you -- and want to know who their head coach is going to be when committing to a particular school. I know what some will say to that ... kids should choose a school based on the institution and its academics, not the head coach. That's a fine thing to say when you're not the one being recruited. The fact of the matter is these players will spend the majority of collegiate lives in the presence of their coaches and teammates. No matter how much you love the academics and campus life, this fact cannot be ignored. With that being the case, finding the right coach is every bit as important as finding the right major. For some kids, the head coach might very well be more than just the man who leads them in practice every day -- for some, he'll be a father figure and/or mentor in the game of life. I don't know about you, but I consider that to be important. Of course, Wisconsin sports fans are no stranger to waffling. Brett Favre did that successfully for a number of years before the messy breakup in 2008. I'd rather not go down that road again with another iconic figure. The bottom line here is that everyone is forced to make difficult decisions regarding their careers and few are afforded the luxury of being able to go back and forth on the decision. If Ryan was so uncertain of what he wanted to do, there was absolutely no reason to go public with his choice just a few months back. Simply tell Barry Alvarez you're considering it and to be prepared. Of course, many will speculate and suggest they heard a rumor that explains away the behavior ... fine. We all deal in speculation and it certainly sounds like there could be more to this than meets the eye. If this is some sort of political power-play, I have no problem saying I'll be even more disappointed. Bottom line is this, Ryan is a great coach and that should never be taken for granted or forgotten, but even the great ones move on at some point. It's a part of life. And in making an announcement only to go back on it a few months later, you put a great deal of undue stress on the UW program -- let's not forget, nobody is bigger than the program.
posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 16 days ago
It's interesting that on the same week we get our first look at the soon-to-be released film Concussion starring Will…
posted by Marques Pfaff 3 hours ago
The topic of preseason football and whether its existence is warranted has once again become a fashionable topic amongst sports…
posted by Marques Pfaff 7 days ago