Archive for January 2010
As everyone interested in football and the Super Bowl knows, the Pro Bowl game is coming up this Sunday. This is a rare thing for the Pro Bowl as it is usually held in Hawaii and it has always been held the Sunday after the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl, which is seen as a fun post season game for most players, has taken a turn against the players this year with their one-year experiment. The NFL is not really concerned about the safety of those participating in the Super Bowl, but that the players fulfill their Pro Bowl obligations. In their contracts with the NFL, all players are required to fulfill media obligations if they are voted to the Pro Bowl which puts the seven Colts players and seven Saints players are a disadvantage with their team. Both teams stated that they do not plan on making the team trip to Miami the site of the Super Bowl till Monday. Neither teams had made any public outcries against the NFL until Colt’s President Bill Polian expressed on his weekly radio show his disgust with the Pro Bowl planning committee and how their bad planning is hurting the players in the end. Both teams have stated that their seven players will fly to Miami after a brief morning workout and fulfill their obligations and then fly back that night before returning the next day with their respective teams to begin preparation for the Super Bowl.
The backlash against the Pro Bowl has been significant this year as 29 players have pulled out due to injury or participation in the Super Bowl. Instead of a game of all-stars, the Pro Bowl has now become a game of second, third and even fourth best. With the changes this year, the NFL has turned the Pro Bowl into a game anyone can play in instead of the prestigious game that only the best of the best could compete in. It is just plain silly that the NFL is requiring the players of the Super Bowl to make an appearance because of the bad publicity that the game is receiving. I understand that it is a contractual obligation, but they are more concerned about the money and media attention these players can garner rather then what multiple plane trips can do to an athlete’s body. The players playing next weekend in the Super Bowl are putting more strain on their bodies by flying three times to and from the same place in a 24 hour period. Jon Gruden, former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers commented that the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of any player’s career and the added stress of extra travel could be harsh on their bodies.
The NFL needs to evaluate what it thinks is important. Having players make an appearance for possibly more money for the NFL or having healthy players that could make the Super B0wl that much more interesting.
After Sunday’s close loss to the New Orleans Saints, Brett Farve is now the talk of every sports broadcast. Will he stay or will he finally retire for good? Although this speculation has been surrounding Farve for the past three years, this year is especially crucial for the 40-year-old. After having shoulder surgery last year and purposefully missing training camp, Farve signed with the Minnesota Vikings after much speculation that the dependable quarterback was too old and not up for the task. Well Farve proved them wrong by having one of the most successful seasons of his career statistically. After almost leading the Vikings to the Super Bowl, many broadcasters are saying that Farve just needs one more year and then he can finally attain that second Super Bowl he has been longing to get.
The big question here is how old is too old when it comes to competing in professional sports. Although Farve has had an outstanding career, is it really worth the pain and suffering? During Sunday’s loss, Farve was literally beaten to the ground almost every play by the Saints. Farve is known for being a warrior on the field, so it was no surprise that he got right back up and lead his team farther down the field. Not even a sprained ankle would stop Farve who was 19 seconds and a field goal away from having his team in the Super Bowl in less than two weeks. Today, it was announced that Farve would sit out next week’s Pro Bowl game in Miami because of injury and it makes me wonder if this is the last straw for him. Is this the final injury that will send him to retirement? Lets look at his past behavior.
- September 19,1987- Farve is put in during the second half of his college’s game against Tulane. Besides being hungover from the night before and puking during warm-ups before the game, Farve leads Southern Mississippi to a come from behind victory
- September 8,1990- Farve leads Southern Mississippi to a come back victory over Alabama after being involved in a near fatal car accident six weeks before that where the doctors had to remove 30 inches from his small intestine
- On December 22, 2003- Farve opted to play the Monday Night Football game against the Oakland Raiders after his father had died of a heart attack the day before. Farve threw for four touchdown passes in the first half and finished with 399 completed passing yards
- 2004 Season- Farve suffered a concussion in the game against the New York Giants and was not medically cleared to reenter the game. After reentering the game, Farve threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to win the game. It was reported that after the game, Farve commented that he did not remember the pass.
As you can see, there are numerous instances in Farve’s past that makes me believe that he is not ready for retirement. Even though he has had many injuries and he has had ankle and shoulder surgery, it is almost if Farve has not lost the drive for the game. Although he tries to fool the public with his teeter-tottering and his flip flopping as to whether he will be back next season, I think we all know that this is not the last time we will see Brett Farve. His passion for the game is something we can all inspire to achieve one day. He sees injuries not as a setback, but just an obstacle he must overcome. I think age does not matter. If you have the drive and passion and the talent to compete with someone who is almost half your age, then more power to you.
Farve deserves one more year. I wouldn’t want to go out on an interception and I don’t think he does either.
Professional athletes have always been held to a higher standard. It doesn’t matter what sport you take part in, you make the higher-ups mad, you will get fined. There have been many instances the past couple of years where athletes have acted out and their behavior is criticized and ultimately fined or suspended. After Serena Williams recent outburst at the US Open and after receiving a fine of over $92,000, the most in professional sport history, it begs the question: Are women judged more harshly than men?
This YouTube video that I posted is the excerpt from the US Open when Serena Williams verbally threatened a line judge after a foot fault was called on her second serve. Her unsportsmanlike behavior resulted in a point for her opponent, Kim Clijsters, which ultimately resulted in Clijsters winning the match. On the spot, Williams was given a fine of $10,000 and in November 2009, she received an extra fine of $82,500 and put on probation for two years. With famous players like John McEnroe who threw his racket at least once every match, it was a little surprising to me that the authorities that be fined her so much money. I realize that she did say some very harsh words to that women, but there have been many worse situations in basketball games between players and refs. It seems as though the Grand Slam committee wanted to make an example of Williams maybe because she was a more aggressive player and because that behavior is not normally expected from a girl. As expected in most woman’s sporting events, there is no outward aggression or violence, but in a mens sports, it is always expected and not always penalized.
The second video that I choose to post as contrast to the Williams situation was the 2004 Brawl at the Palace at Auburn Hills between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. In this video, Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons throws a hard foul on the Pacer’s Ron Artest. Artest initially walks away as Wallace starts to come after him and both benches are emptied to pull the teams apart. The Pacers immediately call a timeout where Artest proceeds to lounge on the scorer’s table waiting for the game to begin again. Suddenly a fan from the crowd throws his cup of beer at Artest which lands squarely on his chest and prompts Artest to run into the crowd and start punching the man. Fellow teammate Stephen Jackson follows him into the crowd and the two teams start going at it again with the coaches getting involved as well. A situation has never happened like this in any previous NBA game and the punishments were harsh. Instead of fining any of the players, NBA commissioner suspended all the players involved at least one game and Artest was suspended the entire season without pay. Although Artest lost $7 million in salary for not playing, I felt as though it was wrong for the NBA to not fine a single player. Even though their course of action was detrimental to the Pacers, in the end, I believe not very many current players learned from this situation. Also, the Pistons organization was not penalized or forced to change any rules regarding alcohol being sold at games.
Recently, Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Boston Celtics was recently fined $25,000 for yelling obscenities at a fan during the Celtics recent game against the Detroit Pistons. This is not Davis’s first altercation this season. Earlier in the NBA season, Davis fractured his right thumb in an off-court incident which required him to miss the first 27 games and be fined by the Celtics. This recent altercation prompted Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers to say that “Glen Davis has to grow up.” Although Davis was being heckled by the fan for the majority of the game, Davis needed to know not to take him seriously and to brush it off. Athletes need to learn that they need to be mentally stronger than the fans if they want to make it in professional sports.
When it comes to advertising, most companies are looking for their own Peyton Manning. Manning, an athlete that can promote pretty much anything is a company’s dream sponsor. With the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games coming up, many new and different companies are trying to jump on the athlete bandwagon to promote their products. The most recent is Pampers, who recently designed a new high performance diaper mainly for the future Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Game’s athletes and their families. Pampers partnered with Team USA and are using two hopeful athlete’s families to promote this new high end diaper. Olympic gold medal speedskater Chad Hedrick and skeleton World Champion and Olympic hopeful Noelle Pickus-Pace were each chosen along with their families to proudly display and promote this new diaper. Pampers angle with this whole new promotion and advertising campaign is that every athlete’s dream is to make it to the Olympics and it is not only a personal goal, it is a shared goal with the whole entire family. Pampers also wants to show that these athletes are also parenting inspirations by showing that while they gain success through training, they also gain success through parenting.
Although I think it is a little strange that Pampers has pulled the athlete’s families into the mix instead of just focusing on the athlete, this twist in the campaign may really work for them. The marketing for this campaign will be geared towards mothers with young children but instead of just an average diaper campaign with a baby crawling around everywhere, this campaign will take what is happening in current events and promote it to their advantage. This campaign is also a smart move for Team USA. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games have not been given a lot of promotion because no one is excited for them. There are not too many famous athletes competing and there really isn’t any profound story lines happening to make the event more appealing. Team USA was smart to pair up with Pampers and try and broaden their audience viewership with the targeting of the young mom. Although this is the only new and unusual marketing idea I have seen for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, it should not be the first. Team USA not only needs to be actively seeking other companies, but different companies also need to be finding an angle with Team USA. With the popularity of the Olympics down, it will be a lot less cheaper for many companies who can’t afford spots in the Super Bowl to start thinking about partnering up for the Olympics. If a company were to find that unique angle, it could pay wonders for them later. Most companies just need that something unique that can stand out from the other competitors and bring attention not only to your company, but also to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.