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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can suit up for his team’s season opener after a judge erased his four-game suspension for “Deflategate.”

The surprise ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman came Thursday after more than one month of failed settlement talks between the NFL and its players’ union. Many legal experts believed the judge was merely pressuring the sides to settle when he criticized the NFL’s handling of the case at two hearings in August.

But the judge wasn’t posturing.

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56 million people play fantasy sports in the United States and Canada. This is an enormous increase for a hobby-turned industry that just three years ago boasted 33 million players. 

On Wednesday, in honor of footballs that are inflated, we must discuss extra points. The NFL is monkeying around with the extra point again. You think it should? Do you have a better idea? Do we even need an extra point? Why do we have an extra point?

Well, the extra point is vestigial, a leftover from the good old 19th century days when football had identity problems and couldn't decide whether or not it was rugby. Or something. At that point, in fact, what was sort of the extra point counted more than the touchdown itself.

Ed Shipul http://bit.ly/1NEk6ai

On Monday, The National Labor Relations Board punted on the question of whether college football players are employees. In a unanimous ruling the board overruled a regional director of the NLRB who found that players at Northwestern University were employees and therefore could unionize. Stating that asserting their jurisdiction would not serve the stability of labor markets the NLRB has left it to the courts to sort out whether or not students athletes are employees.

Twenty-seven years ago, journalist Buzz Bissinger decided that he wanted to write about the big-time stakes of small-town high school football — he just needed to find the right town. At the suggestion of a college recruiter, he visited Odessa, a west Texas town with a high school football stadium capable of seating 19,000 — and a population of approximately 90,000.

"Odessa is just kind of a dusty, gritty place," Bissinger tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "And I see that stadium ... and it's like a rocket ship on the desert."

Courtesy: University of Texas / Wikimedia Commons

AUSTIN — University of Texas athletic director Steve Patterson says the Longhorns could play football in Mexico City by 2020 as UT considers expanding its brand internationally.

Patterson, who took over as athletic director 19 months ago, spoke at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ Southwest Region meeting Sunday in Austin. Patterson says UT has a natural advantage because of its proximity to what he considers to be a lucrative fan base in Mexico.

Tom Brady Suspended For 4 Games For Deflated Footballs

May 11, 2015
Jeffrey Beall / CC

NEW YORK — The NFL came down hard on its biggest star and its championship team, telling Tom Brady and the Patriots that no one is allowed to mess with the rules of the game.

The league suspended the Super Bowl MVP Monday for the first four games of the season, fined the New England Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks as punishment for deflating footballs used in the AFC title game.

“Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent wrote to Brady.

Archbridge / CC

IRVING, Texas — Randy Gregory glanced toward Dez Bryant’s locker several times, the new Dallas defensive end noting he didn't think it was an accident his neighbor was an All-Pro receiver whose career started with off-the-field issues.

The Cowboys drafted Gregory despite a failed drug test and concerns about his maturity after making one of the most notable moves in free agency with pass rusher Greg Hardy despite his role in a domestic violence case.

Add the unique signing of La’el Collins after his draft was ruined by a police investigation that so far hasn’t turned up any involvement by the former LSU offensive lineman in the shooting death of a woman he knew. Dallas has an interesting locker room mix for coach Jason Garrett coming off an NFC East championship.

“I think the main thing is trying to keep all the baggage outside the locker room,” Gregory said Friday after his first workout in the rookie minicamp opener. “I think that's what Dez has done. I think that’s what guys in my position have done that’s been in the past, and that's what I'm going to do.”

Parents worry about a child getting a concussion in the heat of competition, but they also need to be thinking about what happens during practices, a study finds.

High school and college football players are more likely to suffer a concussion during practices than in a game, according a study published May 4 in JAMA Pediatrics. Here are the numbers:

  • In youth games, 54 percent of concussions happened during games.

Once again, the question of the NFL's pre-eminence — even existence — has been raised with the retirement of Chris Borland, a very good player, who has walked away from the game and millions of dollars at the age of 24 in order to preserve his health, or more specifically, his brain.

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