Chris Maragos has become a lobbyist, or so people might assume, considering all the effort the Philadelphia Special Teams Ace is injecting into his fight against the League’s plans to change the kickoff rules once more. At this point, the NFL spread doesn’t seem so important, what with all the hullaballoo surrounding NFL coaches and their stand against league executives.
If you talk to NFL executives, they will tell you that they are simply trying to make NFL games safer, this after analyzing statistics and determining that a lot of the high-speed collisions that cause injuries manifest during the kickoff.
Maragos claims that the kickoff is hardly as chaotic as some people think and, surrounded by so many talented players, he has never felt that his safety was compromised at any time. If anything, Maragos thinks that people like competition committee member Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys are the true threat; having already moved the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line a few years back, Maragos has more than had enough of the NFL’s meddling.
It has been the NFL’s goal for a while now to reduce the number of returns, which is one of the reasons why the ball will be put on the 25 rather than the 20 (though only for a trial period of one year). The NFL isn’t completely deaf to the calls of coaches. During the offseason, senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino met and spoke to special teams coaches.
Whether or not the meeting (conference call) achieved its objectives, it should be noted that Blandino downplayed any rumors about the Kickoff being eliminated, admitting that it was still one of the most exciting plays of the game. Yet, the NFL’s determination to make changes cannot be ignored. Clearly, the league thinks that the kickoff is a threat. All the attention surrounding the issue of concussions in the NFL is driving executives to take action to rebrand the game of football.
For Jones, coaches and executives should stand ready to take every step possible to ensure the safety of players. At the end of the day, no matter the conversation, the safety of players should be prioritized, even if that means that players might get fewer opportunities (especially those not good enough to shine on offense or defense). Maragos would probably disagree here, especially considering his opinions about the vital importance of kickoffs and punts as effective gateways to stardom. In support of his point, Maragos has been known to point to Delanie Walker (Tennessee tight end), his teammate in San Francisco for whom Special teams was essential to keeping him on the roster.
Another supporter of Maragos’ position, Minnesota Receiver Adam Thielen believes that the key to safety is practice. If players do what they are supposed to do on the practice field, they are less likely to make mistakes during NFL games.For Maragos, the further alteration and eventual elimination of the kickoff would be a great blow to football, removing a play that many have come to associate with the game.
If you can rattle off football stats faster than you can remember your mom’s birthday, there’s probably some kind of statistical probability that you are involved with a fantasy football league. They’re fun and interactive, aren’t they?
The Winnetka, Illinois-based FX comedy show “The League,” features six salt-of-the-earth football fans who take their fantasy football league to the extreme. Trying to incorporate some of their more outlandish antics and shenanigans into your team’s extracurricular gatherings is entirely up to you, of course. But hey, coming up with your own Shiva-esque trophy is one place to start.
Your entire team should keep up with all the stats, facts and games with “NFL Sunday Ticket” for this coming season. For those with players on out-of-market teams for your viewing area, you can all keep tabs throughout the entire day. Once you have your viewing schedule all mapped out, it’s time to start coming up with your own shenanigans to keep things interesting for the team.
Choose a Name for Your Team
Creating a team identity is a great way to have fun with puns and use your imagination. Sometimes fantasy football players choose names based on favorite players or teams. You can also draw inspiration from a group joke or something you remember from a previous game. One notable mention from Fan Duel Insider is “Forgetting Brandon Marshall,” inspired by the Chicago Bears wide receiver. Another classic name is the “Bradshawshank Redemption.”
Roast Your Fellow League Players
Not with actual fire, of course — use your word fire. Plan an evening involving a decadent vice or two. Beer, perhaps? Maybe you can all have a cookout leading up to a critical game and do some serious, yet well-organized, trash talking. With this event, choose an emcee that you all agree will keep the event fun and lively.
Go to Some Games Together
This one seems obvious, but sometimes working on the logistics can be tricky since cost and everyone’s respective schedules could be mitigating factors. At the very least, put it on the table for everyone to discuss.
Sour the Pot
Personal bets that don’t involve cash usually carry far more weight and laughs in the end for the person who loses. The gang on “The League” came up with some over-the-top wagers, so see what you can all come up with. One idea is for the loser (the “Sacko” equivalent from “The League”) to be required to sing a different embarrassing song in a restaurant, once a month. The crooner has to perform the song on command from the rest of the team.
As summer comes into full swing, it means football season is only a few months away. This year, use those pre-season months to create the perfect place to watch games, play fantasy football and host parties. You may already have a man cave or a spot for your family to watch football, but there are some updates that would take your NFL season to a new level. Whether you want to make a few simple changes or go for a complete overhaul, these upgrades are sure to give you inspiration for a better football experience this fall.
Comfortable Seating for a Crowd
Having your dream football man cave isn’t about keeping it all to yourself. Make sure you have plenty of seating for when you invite your friends over to watch the game or host your fantasy draft. Armchairs and comfy sectional couches are great for hosting friends or even when you want to watch a movie with your kids. However, it can be difficult to give every seat a good view of the screen. If you have the space for it, install stadium-style seating. You can use comfortable chairs in any style and build a platform so the back row has a great view of the game. You can create as many seats as you need without sacrificing comfort or the view.
Pre- and Post-Game Fun
A man cave is more than a room with a big couch and a television. Create a space to hang out, play games and catch up with your buddies. Dust off that old poker table or dart set that’s sitting in your garage and use them to create a perfect clubhouse for your friends to hang out before and after the game. Get a billiards or foosball table if you have the room, and include additional seating and tables around for those waiting to play or not watching the TV. You can even use an old video game system or used arcade games for some fun during half time.
Surround Sound Makes all the Difference
Face it, you can watch football on any TV, but adding a surround sound system will give you a more immersive experience during the game. There are many systems available today that won’t break the bank and that you can install yourself. Depending on how the room is laid out and what kind of features you want, soundbars and speakers around your man cave will give everyone the full game experience through every play. A sound system upgrade is not just for watching sports, either. Your whole family can enjoy it whether they are listening to music, watching movies or playing video games.
Get Smart Technology
If you are into the latest tech trends, integrating some smart technology will really give you an edge for football season. Automating your man cave will help you create the ultimate cool space, as well as make things easier when you are getting ready for the game to start. For example, Wareable recommends the Belkin WeMo system, which can control almost anything you can plug into an outlet, or the Philips Hue smart lighting technology that you can program to change the lighting automatically. Or get the Amazon Echo, a device that lets you check news, weather, game scores or anything else through voice commands. If you have an iPad Pro or similar mobile device, you can usually sync any smart tech you have to it and control it all from one place. It truly is the future of man cave perfection.
Build a Wet Bar
Last but not least, you can’t have a proper football-inspired man cave without a place for cold drinks. You may think installing a wet bar would be too pricey or require major renovations, but you can actually build your own small man cave bar to keep you and your buddies stocked with beer and cocktails all season long. HGTV offers several bar inspiration ideas, depending on how fancy or simple you want to get in your man cave. For an easy weekend project, use pallets or recycled wood to build a small bar, then bring in a mini fridge stocked with beer and some team-themed glasses. If you want to go a bit more elaborate, include a small sink and a built-in kegerator in the bar and add floating shelves to hold bottles of your favorite spirits.
When former NFL quarterback Brett Favre entered the Hall of Fame in 2015, he had not been out of the public spotlight for very long. His long, drawn-out retirement, which started in 2002 and continued into 2013, kept his name in the news. Unlike Favre, though, many other famous football players didn’t stay in the news after their retirement, even when their post-retirement achievements were newsworthy. That being said, here’s a look at what a few famous players of yesteryear have been up to since retiring.
Many people consider former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown to be the greatest player in NFL history. A multi-sports star and All-American lacrosse player at Syracuse, Brown entered the NFL as the first round sixth pick in 1957. His 942-yard rookie year earned him the league’s rushing championship, which he would win eight more times. By 1965, Brown held league records for 100-yard games, single-season yards, career rushing yards, average yards per carry and career touchdowns. In his final game, Brown scored three touchdowns.
Before retiring, Brown had already begun an acting career. He became the first major black action star, appearing in such classics as “The Dirty Dozen” and “Three the Hard Way.” In 1993, Brown helped kick off the Ultimate Fighting Championship as a commentator. Since 1988, he has helped kids from gang backgrounds through his Amer-I-Can program. He is part-owner of a lacrosse team, and remains an adviser to the Browns.
A Purdue Boilermakers All-American defensive back, Tim Foley joined the Miami Dolphins as a third-round pick for the team’s first winning season in 1970. That year, the Dolphins’ defense allowed an AFC low of 11.6 yards per catch. The next year, Foley made an interception in three consecutive games for a total of four in the season, which culminated with the Dolphins going to the Super Bowl for the first time. In 1972, Foley added three more interceptions to his stats as the Dolphins won every game to take Super Bowl 7 from the Washington Redskins. In 1973, Foley returned two blocked punts for touchdowns in one game as the Dolphins won a second consecutive Super Bowl, defeating the Minnesota Vikings. Foley continued playing until 1980, going to the Pro Bowl in his second-to-last year and achieving career totals of 101 games started, 510 tackles and 22 interceptions. He was named the Dolphins’ 28th best player of all time by The Phinsider.
Foley went on to an equally successful career at Amway, America’s 30th largest private company. By 1998 Foley had qualified as a Crown Ambassador, which had been the highest possible level until Amway added a Founders Crown Ambassador level to recognize exceptional achievers. In 2005, Foley became a Founders Crown Ambassador.
Following a come-from-behind Notre Dame Cotton Bowl win, the all-time greatest clutch quarterback joined the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 1979 draft. Replacing Steve DeBerg midway through 1980, Montana led the league with a 64.5 percent pass completion rate, scoring the first of 31 come-from-behind victories with an overtime win over the New Orleans Saints. In the 1981 NFC Championship, Montana marched the 49ers down the field from the 11-yard line to come from behind and defeat the Dallas Cowboys with a pass that would go down in NFL history as “The Catch.” The 49ers went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 16, the first of Montana’s four Super Bowl victories. After earning three Super Bowl MVPs, Montana went down with a 1991 injury that took him out for the 1992 season, propelling Steve Young to starting quarterback. Requesting a trade, Montana ended his career with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1993 to 1994.
Today, Montana struggles with chronic pain from his football injuries. He and his wife, Jennifer, have been horseback riders since 1996, and they raise horses and produce wine in Napa when they’re not in San Francisco. This year, Montana tossed the coin to start Super Bowl 50.21