Football

What’s Old Is New Again: How The Rams Moved Back To LA And What It Really Means For NFL Fans

Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, Universal Studios and Chaz Bono, now has its own professional football team once again.

A vote last week among NFL owners rendered the final nail in the coffin for St. Louis fans; their Rams will relocate to Los Angeles for the immediate 2016 season.

For owner Stan Kroenke, the 30-2 decision serves as a victory to return his team to their previous home. It’s been 21 years since the Rams played their last game in Los Angeles, in which time Kroenke has repeatedly criticized the economic and fan support put forward by St. Louis and will now cough up $550 million in order to leave the city.

Waiting for him, however, is one of the largest entertainment markets in the country and enticing plans for an alluring new $1.8 billion dollar stadium located in Inglewood, 10 miles from downtown L.A. Until the completion of the stadium in 2019, the Rams will make their home in the L.A. Coliseum.

The narrative is thrilling and nostalgic for former Los Angeles Rams fans—who claimed the team for the majority of its existence—but is far more somber for St. Louis fans, victims of yet another NFL team to jumped ship on the city.

In 1988, the St. Louis Cardinals (yes there was an NFL team called that too) left and relocated in Arizona. Now, despite the city’s proposal for a new $1.1 billion dollar stadium along the Mississippi River, St. Louis fans are left in the same position as they were almost thirty-years ago.

The city has long been at odds with Kroenke and the NFL. Last Wednesday, Mayor Francis Slay spoke out saying, “At this point I’m so frustrated and disappointed with the NFL.”

Slay went on to call the league “dishonest” and added that he has no desires to re-involve himself with the NFL.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will serve as the temporary home of the LA Rams until they open a new stadium in 2019. Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrustFlickr (CC By 2.0)

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will serve as the temporary home of the LA Rams until they open a new stadium in 2019. Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrustFlickr (CC By 2.0)

Kroenke’s feud with the city and its fans has continued despite the team’s departure. In an interview with the LA Times Kroenke stated that he wasn’t going to, “sit there and be a victim.”

However the move is not unlike many before it, leaving fans and taxpayers as the true victims.

The city and county will be forced to pay off bonds used to fund the stadium until 2021, but will do so without a team to cheer for. Instead, they’re left only with the memory of four winning seasons and one Super Bowl in the team’s tenure in St. Louis.

Fans in San Diego and Oakland may have reason to fear the same fate. Although the state of California will undoubtedly welcome its fourth NFL franchise in the near future, Commissioner Roger Goodell also gave the San Diego Chargers the option to jointly join the Rams in L.A.

The team has one year to accept the offer, which would then be passed to the Raiders should San Diego decline. Both teams were additionally granted a $100 million dollar incentive to build new stadiums in their current locations.

Only the coming months however, will prove whether or not the incentive money is enough to draw owner’s eyes away from the glamorous Los Angeles market. The league is about dollars and cents, and they will do anything to further their product.

The near future will also indicate whether the Rams’ move is a good one. Los Angeles undeniably offers economic opportunities, but it also carries its fair share of baggage. The results had in St. Louis will far from satisfy Los Angeles fans who have been spoiled over the years with the success of teams like the Lakers and Kings.

The fans, after all, they are the true life-blood of the league (whether they be in the seats or on the couch).

It’s time now for Stan Kroenke to deliver his new fans with a product that will succeed beyond the balance sheet.

Cover Photo Credit: Emmanuel_D Photography/Flickr (CC by 2.0).

This Former College Football Star Has Some Tough Advice For High School Players

By Curtric “Spiffy” Evans

Football has always been a huge part of my family. I’ve been playing the sport for as long as I can remember so it’s safe to say it’s been my life. I was blessed with the chance to play Division I football at Boston College.

Football gave me the chance to do what I loved and obtain a top-tier education in the process.

When I look back to the recruiting process that took place while I was in high school, it’s a bittersweet feeling.

By the time signing day rolled around in 2011 I had earned over 40 Division I scholarships to schools like Stanford, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Tennessee and even some Ivy Leagues.

With some many schools were  inviting me to join their teams, it made high school interesting.

I recall receiving text messages throughout the days and nights from different coaches from all over the country trying to sway me to make their school my home for the next four to five years.

“Coaches change every year so to choose a school based on people is a big mistake.”

Tons of letters to both of my parents homes and even my grandmother’s house.

I have over 5,000 hand written letters from coaches that I saved to show my son one day.

The most memorable moment came when coach Tim Tyrell (the then coach at Chaminade- Madonna in Hollywood and a former player at Youngstown State) had Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel come to the school and speak with two of my teammates and myself.

A large part of my recruitment started from performing well at the Ohio State camp before my junior season, and that led to big opportunities later.

Competing against the top athletes in my class gave me a deep sense of perspective of my skill level and ultimately showed me I could play at the next level.

If I could do it over I would go to OSU being that they truly wanted the best for me.

Some advice I can offer for any high-school recruits, choose a school on how it best fits you not what they show you.

Coaches change every year so to choose a school based on people is a big mistake.

On your visits be sure to find out all the questions and your biggest advisors will be the guys already on the team.

Don’t shy away from leaving the state if you have a chance because going away definitely broaden my horizons.

And lastly, enjoy it. Once you sign you name and start summer workouts no more of the glamour that you thought would be waiting for you unless you work for it.

The life of a highly recruited high school athlete was one of great times and experiences of my life, while also being one of the most chaotic times as well. Don’t get lost in the chaos.

Breaking Down How The Undefeated Carolina Panthers Have Gone 13-0

By David Brown

As the Carolina Panthers continue to extend a somewhat improbable undefeated season, the team has already clinched a playoff spot in the NFC with three weeks left to play and sit at number one in the power rankings.

After making the playoffs in a weak division in the 2014-2015 season, the Panthers went 7-8-1 where they lost in the second round to the Seattle Seahawks. Low expectations stuck with the Panthers through the offseason as sport analysts and writers doubted their legitimacy as real contenders.

The players and coaches responded accordingly.

With the team on the rise, head coach Ron Rivera is now a legitimate contender for coach of the year after the teams longest win streak in franchise history. Rivera’s offense has been deadly to opposing teams this year sitting at number one in points per game with 31.

Cam Newton’s play has been a determining factor in Carolinas undefeated season as he has stepped up significantly as a leader on and off the field. Newton is sixth in touchdowns thrown this year and is tied for sixth with seven rushing touchdowns.

Being nearly impossible to defend in the red zone, Newton has proven to be more than reliable this season in the passing game. The progress made has earned him a contending spot for MVP, although his stats aren’t at the top of the league, he has still been a clutch playmaker that has led his team to thirteen straight wins. Pretty hard to argue against those results.

As the offense is dabbing on the sidelines, the Carolina defense has shown elite status on the field as well.

Jonathan Stewart has also been a key contributor in the Panthers high scoring offense. Stewart is third in the league with 989 rushing yards and is second in the league with 242 attempts. Stewart has racked up five touchdowns and averages 79.2 yards per game and has continued to be a workhorse for this offense. It is worth noting that Stewart was injured last week with a sprained foot. He’ll miss the game this Sunday against the Giants but is expected to be fine for the playoffs.

Greg Olsen, one of the top tight ends in the NFL, leads the Panthers and all NFL tight ends in targets, being thrown the ball 107 times. Olsen leads the team in receiving yards with 969 and has pulled in six receiving touchdowns, second in the league among tight ends.

Throughout these 13 games the Panthers are first in the league in points per game and are second in the league for most rushing yards per game.

As the offense is dabbing on the sidelines, the Carolina defense has shown elite status on the field as well. Carolina’s D is third among yards per game and fourth in rushing yards per game. This defense is most dangerous in its turnover ratios.

The Panthers lead the league in takeaways with 33 total. With one of the top linebacker cores in the NFL, Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly lead the team with a combined 119 tackles and 17 turnovers. Both with high expectations to make the Pro Bowl. This defense only gives up an average of eighteen points per game, the lowest in the league.

This Carolina team’s surprise breakout year has led many to believe the squad as Super Bowl material. They seem to have all the components to be considered a Super bowl team and have proved that through their undefeated season.

As the season wraps up this team’s future is still a debate and it will be interesting to see them in the playoffs. Will the Panthers go undefeated? Could this be Carolina’s time to bring home the Lombardi trophy? Has Cam done enough to earn the MVP award? The Carolina Panthers proved everyone wrong, and yet, have so much more to prove.

Cover Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Are There Too Many Bowl Games?

Ah, the FBS Bowl games.

A litany of college football action stretching from December 19 through January 11, encompassing 41 games and involving 80 teams. From the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl to the National Championship Game.

But while each of these games bring their own sense of basic enjoyment, even more so for the players and fans of those who are deemed worthy to compete in them, the basic question must be raised: are there too many bowl games?

In short, yes there are.

While it is a treat to have as much college football as humanly possible, and there is no shortage of pride when it comes to these post-season games, there are certainly too many in existence.

To understand why there are too many, one must understand what the bowls are meant to represent.

They are meant to be a reward, a pat on the back for success during the season.

However, in recent years, the meaning of “success” has become stretched.

For example, the Cure Bowl features a 5-7 team (San Jose State) facing a team that needed a win on the final weekend to reach .500 (Georgia State).

Another interesting thing that the bowls bring to the fans is an opportunity to see teams play against opponents that they would never face otherwise. But this novelty is undermined this year by the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, which features two teams from the Mountain West Conference  (Nevada and Colorado State).

How do so many absurd bowl match-ups come about? For starters, take in this statistic. Of the 128 FBS programs in the country, a whopping 62.5% of teams make it to the post-season in some respect.

This makes a mockery of the idea of the post-season, and calls into question their true purpose (which is to make money for the numerous sponsors and TV networks).

The real question is not if there are too many bowl games. The real question is how many bowl games should there be.

The answer to this question: 14.

To put it simply, only the top 26 teams, as ranked in the final College Football Playoff standings, should qualify for the post-season. These are the teams that not only have good, if not excellent, records, but they showcase the best of the conferences (and Independent teams). Why one more than the standard 25-team rank? On the surface, it is because an even number of teams must be chosen. But pragmatically, it is to allow for the inclusion of the best military academy (if not already ranked).

Below is this writers personal list of which bowl games should exist. Some of these may not be the heaviest hitters on the normal schedule (and one doesn’t even really exist), but there are reasons for all of them.

  • Military Appreciation Bowl (Annapolis, MD) – This game already features the top military academy. In the event that one of the academies makes it to the CFP, the naming tag still works.
  • Detroit Bowl (Detroit, MI) – Currently, the bowl game in Detroit is called the Quick Lane Bowl. Give this a new name and continue to play it, because there deserves to be at least one bowl game not in the south or west.
  • Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu, HI) – Just as the NFL Pro Bowl used to be played in Hawai’i as a sort of vacation destination, this will allow college players who normally wouldn’t play in that city/state to enjoy the experience.
  • Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) – Normally a very solid bowl game. Could be used for the SEC, ACC, and/or Big East teams in the 20-26 range in the rankings.
  • Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) – Mainly here because Texas is too big (both in size and football fanaticism) to only hold one bowl game. Good site for Big 12, SEC, AAC, Sun Belt and/or C-USA competition.
  • Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego, CA) – Who wouldn’t want to go to sunny San Diego for a bowl game? Not to mention that the Mountain West teams could use a closer bowl destination.
  • Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA) – A staple of the bowl game schedule. Usually includes an SEC team, but this year is hosting an ACC-AAC match-up.
  • Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) – Another bowl game with a lot of history which falls just outside the “Big 5”. Would be a nice fit between the New Year bowls and the National Championship.
  • Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) – The “granddaddy of them all”. Will of course continue the Big 10 vs. Pac-10 history.
  • Fiesta Bowl (Phoenix, AZ) – Not as historic as the other FBS bowls. Good place for the match-up of next two teams behind the playoff contenders.
  • Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) – A major bowl in the house that Jerry Jones built. Kind of wish they still used the proper Cotton Bowl, but that’s life.
  • Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) – Historically the place for the ACC champions vs. Big East champions match-up. Few places better to hold a football game outside in January.
  • Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) – Normally reserved for the top SEC team. In the age of the CFP, it continues to be held in high regard.
  • National Championship Game (Various) – The one game to decide the champion. Will continue to bounce around the five FBS bowl sites.

Now this plan probably isn’t perfect, and there would be some hiccups in the early years. But eventually, everyone would adjust just as they have adjusted to the new playoff system.

In the end, while not everyone will be happy, enough people will be to keep this bowl game line-up intact and bring the bowl games back into reverence as the games which decide who the best teams really are.

Cover Photo Credit: Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

PEOPLE POWER: Mizzou System President Resigns After 7 Day Campus Hunger Strike, Football Team Strike

UPDATED: 11:29 AM EST

Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system has resigned after a 7 day hunger strike led by graduate student Jonathan L. Butler.

The mass protest, organized by the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement was given support by a large number of football players and coaches who refused to practice or play until Wolfe resigned.

Original story:

A day after over 30 African-American football players at the University of Missouri announced their intention to strike until university system Tim Wolfe resigned, the rest of the team and coaching staff has joined the effort.

Head Coach Gary Pinkel announced the solidarity of the team via Twitter in a message that quickly went viral:

By using the #ConcernedStudent1950, Pinkel and his team linked themselves to a growing campus movement that is demanding change.

A graduate student and campus activist named Jonathan L. Butler has been on a hunger strike for the past 5 days. He is a leader of the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement.

Butler has demanded that Missouri system president Tim Wolfe resign or Butler will starve himself to death.

Wolfe has been the target of a large protest over the past week due to perceptions among some students that he does not care about recent racially charged incidents that were reported on the campus.

“There is no reforming him,” Butler told Rise News of Wolfe. “With him as a leader, he has not taken a firm stance on these issues or tried to make it a more inclusive campus.

Read this: University Of Missouri Student Starts Hunger Strike To Oust System President From Office

Last night, over thirty black players on the Mizzou football team announced that they would not participate in any further football related activities until Wolfe left office.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Gary Pinkel/ Twitter

Florida Gators QB Will Grier Suspended For Season After PED Use

The Florida Gators have lost their weapon at quarterback for the season after the team announced that Will Grier was suspended for failing a test for performance enhancement drug use.

According to multiple media reports, Grier received an automatic one year ban from the NCAA after failing the test for PEDs.

According to ESPN, Grier failed the test after taking an over the counter drug that was not approved by team trainers. It is not clear what he took that would have triggered a failing test result.

The news was first reported by gridironnow.com

Grier is a freshman from North Carolina who has taken the league by storm after leading the Gators to a perfect 6-0 record.

Florida will play undefeated LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday.

The Internet reacts:

Read More: The Florida Gators Will Shock The College Football World This Year

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Photo Credit: arctic_whirlwind/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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