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Posts tagged "NFL"

Football At Last: A Preseason Preview

Football At Last: A Preseason Preview

NFL preseason games start next week….

The airwaves are crackling hype at the advent of NFL team summer camps. Every year, about a million young men and a hundred or more young women play tackle football at every level. They’re all starting the season about now. 

Fewer than 2,000 of those players are in the National Football League. The NFL is a forced marriage of sports and show biz, but it’s our only national platform for those of us who are hopelessly devoted to a sport that changed our early lives. Having played, coached, and been a part of a son’s…

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Super Bowl Preview #1: The Atlanta Falcons Reject "The Disease of Me" by Embracing "Brothership"

Super Bowl Preview #1: The Atlanta Falcons Reject “The Disease of Me” by Embracing “Brothership”

Here is the first of two Super Bowl Previews (one highlighting each team) and why one can be justified in pulling for either team in Super Bowl LI. Legendary NBA executive and coach, Pat Riley wrote a book in 2013 called The Disease of Me, a treatise on how self-centeredness (being curved in on one’s self) can and does sabotage even the best of teams (be it a team in sports, business, family units, etc.). Riley speaks from a place of experience, having had both underachieving and overachieving teams as a coach and GM in the NBA.  Here are Riley’s key…

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Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

I was born in Wisconsin, as was my dad, and his dad, which means that we are Green Bay Packers fans. Cheeseheads. We bleed green and gold. Our hearts belong to St. Vincent and Lambeau Field. Our loyalty is defined by our history and our sense of place. 

Unlike my dad and his dad and most of the rest of my family, I don’t understand football. I’ve tried. I went to a Big Ten school and attended all of the home football games, but honestly, that was mostly to see my friends in the marching band. (I’m not making…

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Another Week Ends: A Compassionate Judge, Johnny Football, Smug Liberalism, Choose Your Own Failure, Alcoholic Wine, and Hobbes & Me

Another Week Ends: A Compassionate Judge, Johnny Football, Smug Liberalism, Choose Your Own Failure, Alcoholic Wine, and Hobbes & Me

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast.

1) Hard not to start off with this amazing story of grace in practice, of an accused criminal sentenced to 24 hours in jail, and accompanied the whole time by his judge. The Washington Post tells the story of Green Beret veteran Sgt. Joseph Serna and District Court Judge Lou Olivera, and the Veterans Treatment Court over which he presides. The story describes Serna’s three tours of duty, the friends he lost, the multiple times he almost died himself. And the consequential PTSD he faces today.

While Serna’s years in combat…

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The Life of a Coach: "When We Lose, I Lose; When We Win, You Guys Win"

The Life of a Coach: “When We Lose, I Lose; When We Win, You Guys Win”

The day after the last day of the NFL regular season is known as “Black Monday”. It’s the day when typically no less than five NFL head coaches get their walking papers. Every NFL team ownership group makes promises to their fans that they can’t deliver on. Typically, the words are “we’re going to put the best possible product on the field.” And, “we are going to be competitive and make our city proud”. Inevitably, after the pledge to the community has failed, the axe comes down on the coach.

One of the “Black Monday” casualties this week was Tom Coughlin,…

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"The Player vs. The Person" - The Greg Hardy Dilemma

“The Player vs. The Person” – The Greg Hardy Dilemma

Most of us who have been life long avid sports fans eventually face what has always been true. We know the players, we don’t know the people. However, thanks to social media saturation and the endless “behind the scenes” stories about our favorite athletes that are available for our consumption, we tend to think we know the person – certainly more than we used to.

Even in 1976 though, at age 13, I certainly felt like I knew enough about “the person” to crown Bruce Jenner as my favorite athlete and plaster his posters all over my bedroom wall. Not only…

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The Curse of Bad Body Language

The Curse of Bad Body Language

About 8 years ago, when I was coaching our son’s 13 year old rec basketball team, we had a kid, Jessup, on the team who had obviously never played basketball. Worse, his body language told me that he had no interest in playing basketball. I judged the kid quickly, and harshly. As a coach, I was required to play everyone a minimum of two full, uninterrupted quarters (at least half the game). So, every game, in the first and third quarter, I would put Jessup in and hold my breath. We played an aggressive, press defense, and it required that…

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Aaron Rodgers - "God Doesn't Care About Football Game Outcomes"

Aaron Rodgers – “God Doesn’t Care About Football Game Outcomes”

Thank you Aaron Rodgers! The Green Bay QB gave a great answer to a question he was asked on his weekly radio show a few days ago during a “mailbag answer” segment. Here’s the exchange:

(Radio Host) Jason Wilde: Melissa says: I always find it a little off-putting when athletes, actors, and anybody says, “This is what God wanted” or “I want to thank God for helping us win today” — anything along those lines when a game or award is won. I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the gist. Personally, with all the chaos in the world, I’m not sure…

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2014 Sports Superlatives

2014 Sports Superlatives

Here are the (in reverse order) five “sports superlatives” for 2014.  My pledge to you – to try not to be obligatory (think the “anti-ESPY Award” version of sports superlatives, with one self-indulgent exception).  For the most part, this sports year wasn’t marked by numerous, amazing things we’ve never seen before. So, we’ll have to expand our boundaries and categories a tad in order to include the moments, performances, and trends that best put the year in perspective.

5. Most Influential Trend in Sports – The Advent of the MLB “Power Pitcher” –  From MLB.com’s John Schlegel:

It’s no secret pitching has…

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How "Johnny Football" Taught Me My Love Language

How “Johnny Football” Taught Me My Love Language

I’ve never really connected much with that “5 Love Languages” stuff. Legend has it that if we can figure out what our spouse’s love language is (how he/she best likes to have love communicated) our marriages will be blissful. I don’t remember exactly when my wife and I went through this material together, but it was early in our marriage. I learned from the workbook that my wife likes to receive love most via “gifts” and “acts of service”. That’s a heavy yoke, especially since I am far more skilled in giving and inclined to give the other three –…

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HBO's State of Play, Season Two, Episode One - The Science of Happiness

HBO’s State of Play, Season Two, Episode One – The Science of Happiness

Mockingbird favorite Peter Berg (creator, NBC’s Friday Night Lights series, co-creator HBO’s The Leftovers) is back with another season of State of Play.  This season will be a four-part documentary series that goes behind the scenes of the “football life”. In episode one, “Happiness”, Berg features three prominent NFL players and how they have struggled to find happiness after their professional football careers. Berg also interviews a number of high profile psychologists who break down the “science” of happiness.

Berg’s results are mixed. Happiness in a post-NFL life is achieved (according to Berg’s panel of professionals) by finding a combination of…

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Choose Your Own Narrative

Choose Your Own Narrative

I engaged in a Facebook fight recently. This hasn’t happened in a while. I try to avoid commenting on the status updates and posts that particularly (and regularly) annoy me–not so much out of a sense of honor as an awareness that my blood pressure can’t take it. But when I read a comment posted underneath a friend’s status update–a comment that appeared to defend prosperity preachers and minimize the evil of ISIS in one fell swoop–I couldn’t help myself. I loaded up my verbal ammunition and fired.

For the next several hours, I went back and forth with my virtual…

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