Archive for April, 2005


Tuesday, 19 April, 2005

Hey, what stations the game on? That’s what you can hear said in numerous households throughout the country when they’re trying to tune into a sporting event. Especially if they have cable in which they’re constantly switching stations to different channels. In the NFL there have been quite a bit of transitions going on in the past few years. Just when people are getting use to the new realignment, the NFL will now also switch up the major broadcasts that we’re so use to.

The NFL is one of the most marketable lanes and they truly do capitalize on that when there is a contract up for grabs. ABC, who has televised Monday Night Football for 35 years will suddenly be left in the dust as far as NFL coverage goes. The company has seen ratings go down, and the NFL feels that it is better suited for cable. After all, ESPN and ABC are a joint venture so it isn’t like ABC is completely out of the fold.

ESPN will take over the Monday Night games in 2006, so that leaves ABC with one more great grand finale to go. For ESPN it only allows the network to keep expanding, which seems to be growing by the year new clever ideas related to sports. ESPN, also relinquished their rights to Sunday night games which has had its up and downs but has been an overall success.

NBC will take over in that area, and will broadcast NFL games for the first time since 1999. If that game is going to succeed, there will need to be better matchups presented. A lot of times, especially last year there were countless bad matchups that devoted no interest to NFL fans. After a long day of watching football, and tallying their fantasy sports teams, no one wants to sit around watching a boring Sunday night game. With all of the exciting prime time television shows, those boring Sunday night games turn into commercial break check ins.

The NFL has really changed rapidly over the last five years, and even has a scheduled Sunday Night game this year with the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers competing in Mexico. The globalization and market value of the NFL continues to soar, and networks are catching on. By signing long term tv contracts it allows them to side step inflation taxation prices that would have hiked up dramatically, if it were two to three more years down the road.

The Real World

Thursday, 14 April, 2005

The past few years in the draft have been thin and wary for teams looking for a running back. How quick things can change with a graduating class, as this year’s crop is loaded. There are some real gems that will make immediate impacts with teams. With the depth of the running backs, it’ll let team scouts really dig in and do their job. This is the type of draft, where a guy drafted in the fourth or fifth round could end up having first round value down the road.

Auburn deserves huge props for the backfield they were able to recruit, with Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams. The two displayed a dynamic duo that was unprecedented in college football, and probably won’t ever be duplicated for some time. Both had 1,000 yard seasons and double digit touchdowns, and neither was obviously stoppable. That was a year ago, and the past is over, and both athletes have been given comparisons to top backs in the NFL. With both likely being picked in the top five of the draft, it’s time to get ready for the stage.

Everyone knows that the NFL can be a lonely road for a rookie, because of the adjustment from college life. No longer are there the same teammates you’ve been playing and living with the past few years. You’re on your own in a new city, left unguarded to roam and make adult decisions. Most professional athletes treat their job solely as a job, and the buddy-buddy teammate label is gone. Once you acquaint with a few teammates, it turns into flashback days of elementary and middle school. The teammates vanish either by being cut or traded, just like in school days when parents would pack up and move.

The same core of coaches you’re use to having in college is also thrown out. Unless you land on a team with a coach like Bill Cowher, there is no room to get accustomed to a coach or an assistant for that matter.

A rookie will also have their own specific coach, who’ll put them through an array of rigorous boot camp drills all summer long (Beyond college drills). It’s a strenuous avenue, but every individual coach likes to push the new guys to the limit, and see what they’re made of. Does this kid have a bad attitude now that he has made millions, or does he have that burn inside of him to be a great athlete? That’s what they are looking at from the second a rookie puts on that actual uniform.

The acting or gimmick that an athlete may have used to sell himself to a team, has worked in the past with prior athletes. With the way teams work contracts though, a professional franchise could give a squat on a bust. It’s like a shrug of the shoulders to them, you win some and you lose some. The influx of athletes is only getting better, as the field is expanding with talent.

So the devoted attention that Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams is probably affecting them for the time being. Any person that is garnering sudden massive attention would be a liar if they aren’t soaking it in. Heck, an athlete with a chance of being picked in the sixth or seventh round is probably hyped. As soon as the draft day rolls around though, the fun and games is over.

They’re men physically, but intellectually they’re still in a primitive mind frame. They’ve heard what life is like in the NFL, but now they’ll be living it. Reality will set in, and mini and training camps will be roaring. They’ll soon find out how minimal job security is in the NFL. The competition is unreal, as new hungry athletes are brought in constantly to do what every team is to do, and that’s find the missing pieces to the puzzle.

On draft day, many athletes will think their future careers are set in stone. First round picks mean absolutely nothing, just ask Freddie Mitchell. Mitchell was the 20th pick in 2001, yet still never solidified anything except the ability to be a garbage talker that couldn’t back up his statements. It’s called being big headed, and that’s what happens to a lot of athletes with money and a lost will and continual love for the game.

Steroid Testing Needed In High Schools

Thursday, 14 April, 2005

Many people in today?s world our worrying about getting in shape by losing weight. For an athlete though getting stronger, bigger, and faster is pushed on them everyday by their coaching staff. Constant hard work without any improvement puts an athlete in a frustrating frame of mind. With steroids an athlete can instantly boost their weight and strength abnormally, which leads to instant success in athletics. The under the radar usage of steroids has ballooned out of control in all sports, but the main focus has to start on the high school level and not the opposite way as what is being done. The playing level in athletics needs to be evened out, and in high schools mandatory steroid testing is needed.

Without steroid testing, domination of certain high schools is evident. Just watching a powerhouse high school team, you can see certain schools that have men playing against boys. Just a year ago a lot of these athletes were averaged sized junior varsity players. O, but put them on the right workout regimen and there all of the sudden overnight successes. It doesn?t matter what workout plan you?re on, it takes many years of hard work to gain an extreme amount of muscle mass. Plus with more schools being built, the school boundaries have become more condensed, and thus should result in an eventual fallout of talent level for any school.

In 2003, Buckeye high school based in Phoenix, Arizona made national news when ten players were kicked off the team for steroid use. The whole situation wouldn?t have happened if a mother didn?t find steroid pills in her son?s room. Myself, I attended Highland High school and knew several kids that were using steroids. Most had steroids incorporated as a two to three week part of a ten to twelve week workout cycle.

The easy attainable access of steroids can stem from any local gym. A couple of my friends attend a local World?s Gym, and have said they?ve been offered steroids over five times. A survey done by the Centers for Disease Control found out that steroid usage amongst high school athletes has doubled from 1991 to 2003. At it is the website of an organization created by Don Hooton in dedication of his son, Taylor. Taylor committed suicide July 15th, 2003 and the depression caused by steroid usage is what led to his suicide. On the site there are a handful of other high school and collegiate athletes that?s parents have detailed information on their deaths caused by usage of steroids. Including, Rob Garibaldi who was told at USC he could be a great future baseball prospect if he could add weight to his 160 pound frame. Working out didn?t help, and Garibaldi started using steroids he obtained from a USC trainer. He ended up gaining fifty pounds, but just like Hooton the harmful side affects of the steroids led to suicide. According to the Taylor Hooton organization they estimate that 500,000 to one million high school athletes use steroids.

Only four percent of high schools have mandatory steroid testing, and one of the main reasons why is because the tests run around $100. If a school can afford to put in extra money on jerseys, warm ups, weight lifting equipment, and out of state trips to compete, than they can find the money to institute mandatory tests. They should be done at random times, so that students can?t work their way around the test. If the test is done right before the season, than an athlete can start doing steroids right when their season starts and get away with it. Doing it randomly though would keep athletes on their heels and afraid of embarrassment from getting kicked off the team. If they get kicked off the team for steroids, they?d still have to attend the classroom part of school and face humiliation.

Gaining an upper hand is the sole and only reason why an athlete chooses to do steroids. If it isn?t stopped soon, than there are going to be more stories that should?ve been prevented told.

The only way for high school steroid testing to be done, is for the media, parents, and coaches to bring out the idea more. High school coaches more than anyone should start teaching their athletes on the harms of steroids to keep them from doing it. Telling someone something still doesn?t stop anything if there is no punishment involved. Steroid testing amongst high school athletes would open up a lot of eyes and change athletes steered in the wrong direction. Who knows if Taylor Hooton or Rob Garibaldi would?ve changed their ways if they failed a steroid test.

Watchout for Walters

Friday, 8 April, 2005

Participating in draft combines and separate workouts in front of scouts is a great way to boost or denote a college athlete?s status for the NFL Draft. Often when a great athlete has a serious injury towards the end of the season, NFL teams are scared to take any sort of chance. A high round draft pick is very valuable to the future of any NFL franchise, and team personnel want gems that are ready.

For Andrew Walter he is in a tough predicament. He had a remarkable four-year career as ASU?s quarterback, and set countless Pac-10 records. In fact, he threw 85 touchdowns, which is huge considering the quarterbacks that have come and gone in the Pac-10. The bad for Walters came in the Vitalis Sun Bowl in which he severely separated his shoulder, and was forced to rush through a rigorous rehabilitation program.

A serious shoulder injury like Walters is definitely something to take notice of. Since he?ll always be throwing with that arm, the chances of it reoccurring are highly. It?s like a baseball pitcher, any nagging arm injuries usually harm them later in their careers. The key for Walter?s though is not to rush his recovery or it will subject him to a short NFL career.

On Wednesday though, Walter did the unthinkable in doing a full thirty-minute workout in front of scouts. He knew he needed to give them a little taste that he still can play, and that?s exactly what he did. He admitted at only being around eighty five percent, but factor his forty times in and everything went great. His forties speed was clocked in around 4.8 and shocked a lot of scouts. For his size at 6?6 and 230 pounds, he?ll be in the upper echelon with the likes of Daunte Culpepper for sizeable quarterbacks.

During his career at ASU, Walter?s biggest asset was throwing the deep ball. There are probably more than a few teams out there that think they?ll be able to get away with letting Walter slide on their draft board. Flashback to a few years ago when Willis McGahee was hurt in the Fiesta Bowl, but still went in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. Some teams like to draft for risk, and Walter?s is just that.

With the type of performances in stats he put up in his career, he is worthy of being a first day choice. That likely won?t happen, but expect him to be a high day two draft pick. The extra experience Walters has under his belt is going to help him a lot down the road in the NFL. Not many quarterbacks get four full years to develop and reign like he did. He is a gutsy player that should be able to stick around the NFL for a while.


Thursday, 7 April, 2005

Baseball has been scrutinized on another level and the affecting results are to be determined. It may take a long time for the real truth to come out over the last fifteen to twenty years, but in all reality steroid use is a worldwide issue. All sports levels from professional, college, and high school are using it on a different scale.

If there is going to be a designated steroid test for professional athletes, than maybe it should also be brought into the collegiate and high school ranks. Any athlete that wants a boost or upper hand to prosper is going to do all they can to improve. When their work ethic starts to fail and they grow tired of their coaches daily abuse, what do you think they are going to do? Quit is an alternative some athletes do, but steroid use has become a growing problem especially on the high school level.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger recently shot down a proposed bill to implement steroid testing in the high school ranks, it makes you scratch your head for obvious reasons. Here is a guy that?s career was propelled by steroids, and even though it wasn?t banned at the time, it destroyed a lot of the early users lives. He has seen it first hand what the effects can be, but yet pushed it aside.

Another problem with athletics is the advice athletes are receiving. Most athletes have some sort of workout regimen that they follow, and then before or afterwards they have ten thousand pills they are suppose to take. These trainers are telling when and how often to take every pill in the book. More than often when a professional athlete tests positive for a drug, they automatically will say I had no clue. Nine times out of ten, I?d agree with that, because why research when you?re the one paying your trainer? Still athletes should have some sort of responsibility to ask questions, or figure out for themselves what they are taking.

Steroid use isn?t just a problem amongst athletes, as you can go into any average gym and point out users. In fact, if you go to a gym on a consistent basis, it wouldn?t be shocking to hear about someone approaching you about taking steroids. It?s around that much, and something needs to be done to cut it down.

David Boston recently failed another test for steroids, and the NFL is still researching a leak of information on nine current or former Carolina Panthers that allegedly bought steroids from an undisclosed source. Steroids may be illegal in the NFL, but there is an obvious loophole in the testing. Since testing is done on specified dates an athlete can do almost anything, and stop a few months before the test. On the other hand maybe the NFL should include the same sort of testing they have for first and second time violators, and that is random tests multiple times during the season. That system has been very effective, and often has pushed violators out of the league because they can?t get their problems solved.

The media can keep dwelling on Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, but in all actuality they are old news. If they have done it, it was five to seven years to late. McGwire is out of baseball, and Bonds may have a year or two left at best. They need to focus on the next generation and prepare the athletes that are on the verge of using steroids not to. Waning out the usage is going to be a long process but can happen if a system is implemented.