NFL Hard Knocks, Head Injuries and The Monza Rebuttal

Here we are at the real, official, start of the football season in earnest. Yes there were a full slate of college games last weekend, but only a couple of decent ones. and, yes, the NFL officially kicked off wednesday with the Cowboys somewhat surprisingly laying one on the Gents – at the Meadowlands no less. Credit to Tony Romo, Rob Ryan’s defense and the ‘Boys, they fairly earned the win. But now the conventions are over and we start it all in full in the football universe. Also, this weekend is Monza on the Formula One calendar and, as always, it looks to be special. I will return to F1 a little later.

Despite the excitement of the return of football, it is time some dues should be paid to the trauma suffered by the working union members of the NFL who provide the spectacle and entertainment for us manning couches and barstools on Sundays. I wrote about this nearly two years ago in describing the “The Walking Wounded The NFL Treats Like Disposable Trash”. So much has happened since then with focus on repetitive brain injuries and high profile suicides like Dave Duerson and Junior Seau bringing the stark reality of the problem home in a powerful way.

But the Ferengi like single minded profit whores of the NFL have paid mostly lip service to the issue, save for a couple of competition rules that fall far short of a prophylactic redress of the problem. Marcy suggested a piece by Dave Zirin in The Nation to bring it all to a boil. She was right:

Beneath the fireworks, concerts and breathless hype that will mark the start of the 2012 NFL season, is a league that’s haunted. It’s haunted by future Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau who killed himself in May at the age of 43. It’s haunted by the recent suicides of Ray Easterling, Dave Duerson, and OJ Murdock. It’s haunted by the now widespread knowledge that the country’s most popular sport can leave you damaged in ways never before suspected. What a sign of the times that the start of the season wasn’t punctuated today with chest-thumping and military flyovers but with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement that the league’s owners would be donating $30 million to the National Institute of Health to further study the affects of brain injuries.This recognition of the danger inherent in the sport has sparked a high profile debate across the political spectrum. The terms of the debate are simple: Given all we are learning about head injuries, should football be banned? Should it be the focus of a new prohibition movement? Both sides of this debate, I would argue, leave much to be desired.
The best way to understand the NFL is to see it as another of this country’s profoundly unsafe workplace. Efforts by the NFLPA to make it as humane as possible should be supported. The insistence of NFL owners to use untrained replacement “scab” referees should be seen as a direct attack on the health and safety of players. As fans we should also never forget that the people on the field are actual human beings taking a tremendous beating for our entertainment. And here we get to a kind of knowledge that’s very difficult to shake. As Arundhati Roy said in a rather dramatically different context, “The trouble is, once you see it, you can’t unsee it.” For the first time in my life, I could imagine myself drifting away from a game that’s brought me such joy over the years. I can’t unsee Junior Seau and Dave Duerson. None of us should. And if that affects the bottom line of NFL owners, it serves them right for caring so little for so many years about the people we’ve tuned in to watch.

Go read Dave Zirin’s entire article, it is worth it. My takeaway from it, however, is that Dave is vacillating a bit on what he sees and/or wants to happen with regard to football as we know it (not just NFL, but presumably college and high school too). He glosses prohibition/banning altogether as well as what others have termed “wussification” and still is torn at the end of his piece when he says:

For the first time in my life, I could imagine myself drifting away from a game that’s brought me such joy over the years. I can’t unsee Junior Seau and Dave Duerson. None of us should. And if that affects the bottom line of NFL owners, it serves them right for caring so little for so many years about the people we’ve tuned in to watch.

It is pretty hard to argue about the brutality and damage to the gladiators we place in our modern Colosseums. And lest anyone think the NFL really gives a shit, today was another reminder. In addition to the Goodell slapdown decision, came news from another court case displaying the wanton and craven minds of greed of the NFL Owners.

I probably don’t need to quote more than the title to allison Frankel’s article to get the point across, but, hey, I am that kind of guy. From “NFL To Retired Players With Brain Injuries: You’ve Not No Case”:

Retired pro football players who claim that the National Football League lied to them about the risk of developing rain damage from repeated concussions have to believe the league’s motion to dismiss their consolidated master complaint is adding insult to injury. As we predicted, the 40-page motion — filed on Aug. 30 in the multidistrict litigation in federal court in Philadelphia by the NFL’s lawyers at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Dechert and Duane Morris — asserts that the players’ claims are governed by the collective bargaining agreements their union negotiated. And because those agreements call for grievances to be arbitrated, the brief said, the players have no court case.

Allison takes the reader through the path through the courts to date that has been very hard on the retired players’ position, but I hope Allison is right when she concludes:

I’m betting that lead counsel in the multidistrict litigation, Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss and Sol Weiss of Anapol Schwartz, will also use the 5-1/2-year time frame in which there was no operative collective bargaining agreement as ammunition against the NFL’s dismissal motion.

Well, so that is the NFL as we start the season in earnest. Zirin, Seau, Duerson and the retired players give a lot of food for thought. But, the title to this post mentioned a rebuttal, and here it is….as a segue into the next section of today’s Trash Talk. Monza.

Monza, of course, refers to Formula One and the fabled circuit in Italy. How does that tie to the NFL conundrum? Easy, the question Zirin raised was a gradual walking away from football by fans and resulting atrophy of the game, even if it was more of a ponderous than predictive discussion.

Can that happen to the NFL? No, not anytime soon. Here is why: Football is much closer to a glamour sport like F1 than it is the gritty underbelly that was boxing (even in its heydey). Football attracts both sexes and families in a way that is too strong. Death and destruction can tarnish it, but not substantively harm it. Auto racing in the 50s, 60s and 70s, especially the 50s and 60s, and F1 was the pinnacle of the sport, had a tremendous body count. But they found ways to make it safer and it lives on today as one of, if not the, biggest sporting league/series in the world in terms of worldwide viewership. TV is king and that, too, will insure the NFL doesn’t slow down. It is GREAT TV.

Okay, on to Monza. Last weekend at Spa was the return from the month long summer siesta for F1. Jenson Button went wire to wire for a surprising win and the drivers standings are now really bunched up. This has been a fantastic season with a new winner almost every week, then a run by Fernando Alonso, and then the field closing again. Qualifying, which will go off in less than 12 hours, will set the plate.

Monza, along with Monaco, is THE heart and soul of F1. It is the home of Ferrari. It has the the steep banked history. It is where champions are born and die. Longtime readers will remember many different descriptions of the history, charms and danger of Monza. For the uninitiated, here is the Monza post from last year with amazing photos from Paul Henri Cahier.

The “More Honest Logos” above are from this piece in the excellent Grantland blog run by Bill Simmons of ESPN, and was forwarded to me by the one and only twolf. Click the link and see the new and improved logos from every team. They are hilarious.

A parting shot of epic proportions: “They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster”: Chris Kluwe Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player Supporting It

Okay, no time or space to go through the individual games this week. There are a LOT of good ones, both college and pro. I will have my eye on the Niners and Pack of course and, closer to home, ASU v. Illinois from Sun Devil Stadium. Whatta ya got on your end? Hilarious ESPN commercial by John Clayton and today’s music by Joe Cocker.

Go get em!

90 replies
  1. scribe says:

    Just to note, the No Fun Leauge Sunday Ticket banners outside your local watering hole will feature, among other players, A boy Named Suh.

  2. emptywheel says:

    One more important trash talk subject to discuss: Was Art Modell (RIP) the anti-Christ or god’s gift to greedy owner geniuses?

  3. scribe says:

    I’ve been told that The Plain Dealer boards, where they seem to moderate and have saner people, have been volcanic. Vesuvius-level. With the hatred. Going back to Bernie Kosar and Schottenheimer (maybe even farther) as sources of anti-Modell rage.

    As someone said, these Cleveland fans are turning purple with suppressed rage working its way out, ironic seeing as how purple is the main color of … Modell’s Ravens.

    Something about moving the franchise and only then winning a Super Bowl is bound to bring out the rage from big guys who wear dog masks to football games and Congressional hearings.

    Regardless of his status as anti-Christ or god’s gift to greedheads, Modell was on a looping cul de sac to the same place. Kind of like how Yogi Berra’s house was on a loop, such that when he said “when you come to a fork in the road, take it” he was being entirely accurate b/c you’d get to his house either way. In Modell’s case, a warm berth in Hell.

    Yes, my inner and outer Stiller fans are showing.

  4. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: Plus, Browns fans are weird.

    I lived w/a Cleveland native in UT (actually, he and his brothers were all born the day of the Pittsburgh home game, 3 even rows in a year, and their dad made all three games).

    And we’d get calls all the time, “Hey Joe the Chief Browns Backer here” in a really creepy voice. Stalkeresque fandom really.

  5. bmaz says:

    Ima gonna ring up the Gulf Coast Pirate. I think he is being a little shy because, well, the Houston Cougs might be a little hurtin this year.

  6. Peterr says:

    That “parting shot of epic proportions” is wonderful.

    One question did come up for me after reading it: is Kluwe related to Marcy or is he related to bmaz?

  7. rosalind says:

    i inadvertently* saw Joe Cocker at the Greek Theatre the other week and man what a great performer and holy crap does he have a lot of hits i totally forgot about. fun show.

    (*another story)

  8. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: Anytime anybody can see Joe Cocker, they should see Joe Cocker. He is incredibly good live. Never seen a bad Cocker show, in fact they all have been absolutely incredible.

  9. scribe says:

    Naww. The Kitties can’t really get to use that Rage Issues logo until one of the defensive players up and bites off a piece of some opponent’s ear after pile-driving him into the turf.

    Not to worry if you miss it live – the No Fun League will let it slip out on a video they’ll profit from and launch (heh! “launch”) a whole line of t-shirts, posters and fatheads featuring the hit and the bite.

  10. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: That would be ‘COOGS’ sir and that is hitting way, way below the belt. I’m going to stop off at the local church this morning, light a candle, maybe say a novena or something, praying that Texas Tech and Oklahome State join the PAC(whatever the number is now insert here)so you have to make yearly road trips to either Lubbock or Stillwater.

    Yes, it was a rather bewildering start. We can take losing but we can’t take only 13 points a game and less than 300 yards of offense. We gave that new offensice coordinator one game and that was all we needed to see. Out with the old and in with the new. We’ll see how it goes tonight.

    I see where Vegas has the Texans as the second highest rated team in the AFC. We’ll see. If Schaub goes down they’re a little thin at QB but it’s a weak division so they should at least make the playoffs.

    I guess you heard about the Rocket’s comeback. Word down here is he may want to pitch a game with the Astros before the end of the year so he can push back the 5 year window on Hall of Fame voting to save himself the embarrassment of not going in on the first ballot. Apparently he had his buddy Toby Keith with him in Sugarland last night and the crowd was given red solo cups for the performance. Must have been quite a sight.

    On this brain injury thing. Has anyone seen any statistics on whether this is getting worse in the modern age as opposed to what it has been in the past? I know there are good statistics on life span decrease of former players but I haven’t seen anything specifically related to head injuries. As players get bigger and stronger seems reasonable to assume collisions of increasing force will cause these types of injuries.

    Go Florida – kick the shit out of the Aggies.

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    The 49ers have a modified offense for the Green Bay match tomorrow. The 2nd string quarterback on one play appears at the halfback position; He receives a lateral, then executes a pass run option in an offense featuring two tight ends and two wide ends. Kap fakes the pass, hands off to fullback Gore, who then forward passes 7 yards beyond scrimage to a lineman eligible receiver. By then Kap is alongside the lineman but does not block for him; the tight ends do that service; the lineman then laterals to Kap, who scampers past a nonplussed defense. The 9ers also muster a swarming sack defense. As for the rest of that game, the non-union, fill-in zebras have iPhones for access to the rules, which are stored in a League diatabase.

    There’s a similarity, to me, between boxing sparring headgear and early leather football helmets. Guys only gradually realized what was going on. Facemasks’ advent also was controversial, as the mask itself was a new source of injuries to wearer and other players. Even the single spar protection afforded a handle for illicit tackles. There was one NFL playoff game 20+ years ago in which slow-motion replay revealed a quite robust and heavy appearing lineman had developed so much muscle bulk at the expense of weakening bone, a signature characteristic of steroid metabolic effects, that he broke both front legs pushing off from scrimage. But those are million $ salaries, too. I forget whether the gent who got 2 broken legs was a brown dog, nor do I have an explanation of why a dog seems more mascottish than cheese. Maybe the problem was deciding whether to put a bull in the Green Bay Wisconsin logo, kind of a rodeo bull who works in a dairy.

  12. emptywheel says:

    Art Modell has deprived Cleveland of the opportunity to declare him the Anti-Christ:

    At request of Modell family, Browns will not pay tribute to former owner Art Modell before Sunday’s game. “We’re requesting those wishes,” said Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis.

  13. Peterr says:


    “We’re requesting those wishes. . .” Is the Browns VP saying that the Browns requested that the Modell’s ask the team not to pay tribute?

    Actually, now that I think about it, that does make sense. The Browns’ request probably went something like . . . “You really don’t want us to give Art a tribute, do you? Please, for the love of all that is holy, you need to ask us not to do this, so that both you and we can avoid looking like idiots.”

  14. chetnolian says:

    F1 quali for you to wake up to BMAZ.Hamilton on pole, Button alongside, then Massa, then should be Di Resta (!) but he’s got a new gearbox and drops 5 places, so Schumi gets in there. Alonso’s car broke so he got only to 10th. Should be fun, and who knows how Pastor Maldonado will try to get to the front from 12th this time? Starting earlier won’t do as Charlie Whiting saw him last time.

  15. bmaz says:

    Kudos to Michigan; they beat a very problematic team in Air Force. A nice win, and something to build on going in to the Big-10.X schedule*

    *I dunno how many teams are in my conference either. Except several likely can beat the crap out of my team.

  16. emptywheel says:

    Just finally turned on football, having been watching our yearly “Grand Rapids is Cool” fireworks–20+ minutes of surprisingly excellent fireworks. They had 3 smileyface fireworks, which I had never seen before. I just figured out they do it (or did it this year, anyway) to coincide w/the state GOP convention, which is RIGHT below the site they let them off. Prolly bring in Amway bigwigs for the show, too.

    Whatever. They were pretty. Now watching Nebraska/UCLA go tied into the half.

  17. bmaz says:

    Gotta, very prohibitively, say that the Devils look legitimate. Illinois is, granted without their very decent first string quarterback Nate Scheelhaase, but, still, wow.

  18. Bay State Librul says:

    Great line from McCann’s Sports Blog
    Re: Wisconsin’s Liar, or shades of Clemens,
    the Texas Con Man

    “It’s one thing to tell half-truths about Medicare, the country’s credit rating, or the closing of an auto plant; rabid supporters will never know the difference—or care even. But let’s draw the line at PERs, performance enhancing rhetoric.”

  19. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr: I’m not a fireworks person, cause usually the work–finding parking etc–is not worth the payoff in a 10-minute show. This is worth it bc, 1) I can see it from my house and 2) they’re pretty good.

    So in fact I didn’t even get out to see these. You’re right, I’m a stick in the mud.

  20. Jeff Kaye says:

    This will really make me unliked, but football should be banned. It is way too dangerous. Boxing, too.

    You don’t have to live with the results of the damage, but I’ve worked with those who do (although my experience is limited to boxing outcome and resulting dementia pugilistica, and not football).

    But then, war should be banned, too.

    I guess I’m an unregenerate old peacenik.

    By the way, I have enjoyed watching football (though not boxing) in my life, but it grew too hard to reconcile with the human cruelty in the name of corporate profits (while buying off the majority of players with larger salaries then then could ever get in ‘civilian’ life). As for boxing, if the fate of Mohammed Ali did not turn you off off boxing, then nothing could.

  21. emptywheel says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Uh, I’ve played rugby. I’ve had head injuries. A woman I used to play with died of a head injury on the field (though a number of years after I played with her–she had to have been in her 40s by that point, had played for probably 20 years.

    I’m not unfamiliar with the head injuries that come with sports like football.

    But no one I know–including myself–would have done it differently.

  22. emptywheel says:

    Can someone help Matt Stafford and remind him which team he plays with? Jeff Fisher TOTALLY had him scouted out.

  23. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: Kitties D line is playing great. Secondary, not so much. Rams have gotten into Stafford’s head (and there have been a couple dumb drops).

    So we’ll see if the Kitties can come back w/the TD here. And how many more times Bradford goes down.

  24. scribe says:

    Wonder whether King Roger the Clown will fine the Patsies’ DB who got away with a head-to-head hit in that sandwich on the Titans’ receiver – the one where the Patsies picked up the ball and Locker made an excellent football play to tackle him. James Harrison would have had his wallet cleaned out for that hit. It knocked the receiver silly.


    I should know better. He plays for New England. And they get away with shit just like a bankster.

  25. FrankProbst says:

    Re: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

    You don’t need $30 million to see where this is going to end up. The sample size thus far is small, but the conclusions are pretty clear. At least some fraction of individuals who suffer recurrent head injuries (like concussions) earlier in life will develop varying degrees of brain disease later in life. That’s going to kill high school football (whose players are too young to consent to this increased risk) and probably college football (where the players are old enough to consent, but no school is going to want the publicity of a high profile lawsuit).

    I think that football will end up being a lot like race-car driving. There will still be professionals, but the high school and college teams are going to go away.

  26. bmaz says:

    Aw crap, just realized I cannot see the Pack and Niners game because…..I have to watch the freaking Cardinals. UGHHHHHHH

  27. scribe says:

    @bmaz: And next week, you get to watch the Patsies host the Cardinals in the Patsies’ home opener.

    I’d say getting ready for guys in colonial unis shooting off flintlocks is a good bit of your viewing prep for that game.

  28. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: A) those were both fair hits, one came in above and another came in below the head.

    B) Goodell ain’t gonna do a lotta fining off calls that didn’t get made. He’s got to pretend his scabs know what they’re doing.

  29. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: What are you whining about? You’ve been following Wilson for quite a while. It’ll be exciting to watch this game, which Seattle could win.

  30. scribe says:

    @emptywheel: Yeah, and the Titans player wasn’t knocked silly, either. Riiiiight.

    That was helmet to helmet, period.

    And James Harrison wasn’t flagged for the hits he was fined for, either.

    Clay Matthews just got a roughing the passer for something, in the words of Aikman, “I don’t know what it was he did wrong there … another bad call by the officials.”

    While we haven’t yet had an episode of the refs pissing their pants in screwing up, the knowing eyes of coaches, broadcasters, executives, players and fans are seeing just how brutally bad these replacements are. We’re one coach deciding to write a $25k check over a bad call screwing his team away from blowing this up. It’s only a matter of time.

  31. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Spidey only 6 receptions away from 700 for career. wow, didn’t realize he had that many already. Would probably be at 800 already if Kurt Warner had not retired.

  32. Peterr says:

    @emptywheel (also @scribe:

    Re Marcy’s point B: Bingo.

    See also (h/t BustedKnuckles) the well-crafted words of Dave Zirin on the lockout of the NFLRA:

    However, like the high-skilled workers at a Honeywell uranium plant in Metropolis, Illinois, learned after a fourteen-month lockout, today’s bosses rarely listen to appeals about safety. Furthermore, as they learned, the longer the lockout drags on, the more time employers have to increase the quality of their replacement workers. The quality of the godawful refereeing on display will, with time, improve as well.

    John Paul Smith, who was one of those Honeywell workers that suffered through the lockout, which ended in August of 2011, says now that having been through the pain of a lockout himself, there is no way he could watch the NFL this year. John Paul Smith is now calling on other fans to boycott watching as well, knowing that the only way to make the owners back off is if they feel it in their wallets.

    “I have been a Dolphins fan since I was in the fifth grade and I can’t watch shit. It’s killing me,” said Smith. If Goodell and friends don’t care about the refs, the health of their players, or the quality of the games, then maybe they’ll care about that: people like John Paul Smith turning away from the game until NFL owners remember that owning the game doesn’t mean owning the people who officiate it.

    On Fox, the announcers of the 9ers/Cheeseheads game noted that the coaches scouted the refs via preseason films. The announcers also don’t seem terribly surprised at the late calls, no calls, and bad calls. They’re not calling out the replacement refs and belaboring the point, but they’re not letting bad calls go unnoticed.

  33. rosalind says:

    ok, that was one of the funniest things i’ve seen. SF goes for a 63 yard field goal at end of half. kicker kicks, ball sails, hits goal post, launches straight up then…falls over on the “field goal” side.

    3 points.

  34. Peterr says:


    As a former soccer goalie, my first thought in seeing that was “sometimes the post is your best friend”.

    Back in the day, my high school football team was . . . not so good. As I recall, one year we had lost several games in a row because (among other things) we could not kick an extra point, let alone a field goal. One day, I was goofing around with some friends on the high school football field, and kicked a couple of 35 and 40 yard field goals. The coach noticed it, came waddling over (his diameter was rumored to be equal to his height), and said “Son, I’d like to make you the kicker on our team. You know we need one, and you could be a hero.” Said the soccer goalie, “Coach, any sport that requires large amounts of armor is not a sport I want to play.” Replied the coach “But you’re a kicker. No one hits the kicker.” Said me, “Sorry, but if I’ve got to wear armor, I’m not interested. I don’t like pain, or even the potential threat of pain.”

  35. freepatriot says:

    contrary to popular opinion, al davis is the anti-crist
    art modal might qualify as an imp

    if you want to stop head injuries in football, ban helmets
    that would stop players from using their melons as weapons

    and I can’t believe I’m saying this;
    how bout them forty fookin niners

  36. Peterr says:

    Yet another delay as a call that was overruled on the field is being reviewed . . .

    (Why do I get the feeling that the announcing crew is laughing their heads off during the commercial, so as to get it out of their system by the time the game resumes?)

  37. Peterr says:

    Not one but two blocks in the back by the Cheeseheads on the kick return for a TD were not called, and they end up with 6+2, and are climbing back into the game.

    If the Niners lose this game, I think Harbaugh may be the coach that writes the $25,000 check that scribe mentioned above.

  38. Peterr says:


    Meanwhile, the NFL is already announcing that they are pleased with the performance of the replacement refs. From

    The initial review of replacement officials’ performance in Sunday’s early games “went well with no major issue,” said Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations.

    The replacement officials already have been assigned to Week 2 games, Anderson said.

    The NFL is clearly missing a marketing opportunity. They should be selling tops for kids, because they can spin better than almost anyone.

    And, on cue, another “you talk about a late call!” and “inconsistent at best” in what gets called from the niners/cheeseheads announcers

  39. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: Yeah, he got sandwiched. Between one guy’s chest and another coming in low. It happens. But neither of those amounts to a hit on the heatd.

  40. scribe says:

    @emptywheel: There was helmet-to-helmet contact.

    James Harrison got fined for less.

    I’m betting that Titans receiver will join Silverback in not deigning to piss on a flaming Goodell. Once he comes to, of course.

  41. Peterr says:

    It seems at least one player is willing to speak publicly about the refs:

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Buffalo Bills marquee free-agent acquisition Mario Williams ripped the NFL’s replacement officials for not calling numerous illegal hands to the face penalties on New York Jets right tackle Austin Howard in his team’s 48-28 loss Sunday.

    “Pass blocking doesn’t consist of illegal hands to the face just about every play, which, when somebody tells you that, and you’re five yards away from it, and you walk away like you don’t see him telling you you’re getting punched in the face every time, then that dictates somebody like myself having to take care of that on my own,” said Williams . . .

    I wonder if TBTB at the NFL will express their dissatisfaction with Mr. Williams.

  42. jo6pac says:

    Go 9ers, Great win:) Thanks to dog for replaement refs, please everyone send an email send the nfl an email about please pay the Big Kids and what a sad day around the league. Oh as I 9er fan I now move over to red wine after drinking white during the game:)

  43. scribe says:

    I would love to see someone leak some of the “Cutouts” that coaches send to the League every week when they compain about the refs.

    That would be a lot of fun,….

  44. emptywheel says:

    @Linnaeus: Packers now have singlehanded ownership of the NFC North basement.

    I’m gonna say this now before the Kitties have to go TRAVEL to play the 9ers, bc I don’t suspect it will last long. Particularly not if Stafford keeps throwing to the other team.

  45. quebecois says:

    Kimi Räikkönen is having a steady year, fights hard with an inferior car, and now is in the third place of the driver’s championship. Spectacular stuff. And Kluwe’s letter was very satisfying.

  46. mark says:

    One player I don’t hear much about is Mike Webster. from Wikipedia;

    ” After retirement, Webster suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain. He lived out of his pickup truck or in train stations between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, even though his friends and former teammates were willing to rent apartments for him. In his last years Webster lived with his youngest son, Garrett, who though only a teenager at the time, had to act as the parent to his father. Webster’s wife divorced him six months before his death in 2002. He was only 50 years old.”

  47. JohnT says:


    It’s odd – knock on wood – but after next weekend the Vikings could be 2-0 and the leaders in the NFC Norris (not that it’ll last long)

    Packers beat da Bears, then the Niners beat the Kitties

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