Fantasy football in the age of CTE: So, here's the deal: for the past five years, I've run my (small) company's fantasy football league. It's become something of an office institution, with two annual trophies (the championship trophy and the Toilet Bowl) that get passed on to each season's champions, with a new plaque with their names. We have a lot of fun with it. I'm just not so sure that I can continue to have fun, given what we're learning about CTE.
I'm not interested in getting into a debate about whether CTE caused Junior Seau to kill himself, or about whether his career as a football player caused the CTE. It's enough for me to know that former professional football players seem to be showing up with a lot of CTE, and that CTE's effects are profoundly crippling (not to mention the other ailments that ex-NFLers are prone to). It's enough for me to know that this happens and that the NFL is soft-pedaling it, when (as I see it) the only ethical course of action would be to pursue it as aggressively and discuss it as fully and publicly as possible. I can't make the NFL do the right thing, but I can refuse to give my support to them as they do the wrong thing. Withdrawal of fan support over this issue is the only thing that will cause the NFL to take it seriously.
Accordingly, I'm thinking about resigning my commissionership this year, and announcing my reasons why to my league. I'll hand it over to anyone who wants to run it, but to be honest, I think that once I speak up about it, no one is going to feel ok going ahead with it. I don't want to be the Ruiner of Fun, but I don't feel ok just starting up the league as if nothing is wrong.
One alternative that has occurred to me is to charge would-be players $20 to join the league, and donate the money to an organization such as PAST (see the link) that unlike the NFL, is actually doing something about CTE. I don't know much about PAST, though (like whether they're actually doing any good). I also don't know if there are other organizations that are either helping former athletes directly, or working on the NFL to change policies. So, this was all a rather long-winded way of asking: does anybody out there know more about organizations that are doing something to address the issue of CTE and other health problems in ex-NFL players?
How to go 0-8 and still win the ballgame: if your DH isn't getting it done as a DH, pretend there's no such thing as a DH rule and make him pitch.
Not your business: after a yes-it-is-no-it-isn't ruling on the permissability of her underwear, Tina Maze tells the FIS where to get off.
The members of many collegiate women's sports teams....aren't: Aren't what? Aren't women? Aren't team members? Aren't athletes? The answer: yes.
Jets fined $100,000 for Alosi tripping incident: the NFL has announced a $100,000 fine against the New York Jets for violating league rules in the incident where Jets strength coach Sal Alosi tripped Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll during a punt return.
Hawkins gets the hook at CU: with a cumulative 19-39 record and no winning seasons since joining the Buffs in 2005, head football coach Dan Hawkins was finally handed his walking papers. The last straw came on Saturday when the Buffs blew a 28 point lead over the Jayhawks, giving up 35 points in the final 11 minutes of the game.
The NFL will begin suspending players for "dangerous and flagrant" hits: NFL football operations executive Ray Anderson announced on ESPN Radio that the league intends to enforce a "strict liability" standard for illegal hits to the head and neck, and will suspend players for dangerous and flagrant hits, particularly those involving helmet-to-helmet contact. ESPN's Gregg Esterbrook comments on the fact that the solution is merely the enforcement of existing rules, and what that says about the culture in and around the NFL.
"This will be the last time I put on a uniform. It's been very special to me.": After half a century as player, coach and manager, Lou Piniella retires from baseball.
Is there fantasy football?: Anyone running an NFL fantasy league this year? Any interest?
What happened to losing? : In the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Neil Swidley (author of The Assist) discusses the emergence of non-scoring leagues in youth sports, the problems they attempt to solve, and whether they are successful.
Where the road to the playoffs is a trail through a chain-link fence: without a diamond to call their own, the UMass Boston Beacons have nevertheless played their way into the NCAA Division 3 national championship.
71 and counting: the women of UConn break their own record for the most consecutive victories by a women's college basketball team.
Bode collects the set: : a bronze in the downhill, a silver in the super G, and now gold in the Olympic super combi. Trailing Sweden's Aksel Lund Svindal by .76 seconds after the downhill portion of the race, Bode made up the difference and then some to finish .33 seconds ahead of silver medalist Ivica Kostelic of Croatia. Switzerland's Silvan Zurbriggen claimed the bronze.
Washington Times cuts staff, eliminates sports section: : "Somebody's gotta do it, deliver the eulogy for The Washington Times sports section, so it might as well be me. You see, I'm the department's Ranking Day Laborer, the first to set foot in the place in May of 1982 - almost half a life ago."
Three-peat in the making for Vonn?: With a decisive win in Val d'Isere, World Cup '08 and '09 champion Lindsey Vonn moved into a two-way tie with Maria Reisch for first in the 2010 overall World Cup standings.
How to create an NFL playoff pick em?: As the commissioner of my company's fantasy football league, I'm currently putting up with tons of bitching as people are being knocked out in the playoffs and don't get to play any more. In the interest of shutting them up and getting myself another month or so of peace, I'm thinking that I will probably run a pick 'em. I'm soliciting advice for how to do that, particularly from those who have been there and done that, either as organizers or participants. - What scoring rules do you use? In pick 'ems that we've run on Spofi in the past, I recall a points system something like this: you pick the winner and point spread in each game, and you get a certain number of points for each correct pick. But how many points should you award for each? Do you do "on the nose" spread or plus-minus? - Of course it is illegal to gamble, and of course we would never do such a thing, but if we were to play for...say...Skittles, I'm thinking about something like this: everyone kicks in 10 skittles (or maybe 20). Post-Superbowl, the points leader gets 50% of the skittles pool, second place gets 30%, third place gets 20%. If there's a points tie they split (so for example, if two people tie for first, they each get half of 50%+30%, and the next person gets 20%). Sound good? - Bonus questions: good idea, bad idea, what? How many points to give, and what are some good bonus questions? - Any other pitfalls or ideas for making this more funner? Thanks!
1,000: with a home-court victory over UGA on Thursday, Pat Summit became the first Div I basketball coach to click the odometer over to four digits.
Drainage luge? Wrestle ball? Freestyle snowshoe boulder jumping? : The results of the 2008 Horny Toad Invent-A-Sport contest are in, and there are some beauties.
"Papa, I gotta go potty. Hold my fishing rod." : Man lands record catfish with daughter's Barbie fishing rod.
I was robbed: : James Blake knocked out of Olympic final by Fernando Gonzalez, complains about contested point.
NFL.com fantasy football vs. Yahoo fantasy football: besides participating in the Spofi head to head, I usually run a h2h league at work. In the past I've used Yahoo, but I wondered if anyone has experience with the NFL.com free fantasy game and has an opinion of their respective goodness. Any thoughts?
It's a sister slam! : Venus and Serena Williams cruised through the Wimbledon women's singles semifinal with straight sets victories over Elena Dementieva and Zheng Jie, to advance to their third straight all-Williams Wimbledon final.
Henin retires. : Number 1 ranked Justine Henin has announced her immediate retirement from professional tennis.
US claims the crystal globe: : US skiers Lindsay Vonn and Bode Miller took the women's and men's overall World Cup Sunday, claiming the highest honors in one of the world's most challenging athletic competitions. Miller and Vonn each also claimed a discipline World Cup, in super combi and downhill respectively. The US total of five crystal globes (Ted Ligety of the US won the men's GS World Cup) was the most of any competing nation.
If it's not one thing, it's another. : Curt Schilling isn't just wrassling with Congress, he's now engaged in a dispute with his employer, the Boston Red Sox, over his readiness to start the '08 season. The issue: a bum shoulder. The disagreement: what to do about it -- and whether Schilling's condition would allow the Red Sox to void his one-year contract.