Australia’s Women’s National Soccer Team Thrashed 7-0 by Male U-15 Team

Since the end of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, much attention has been focused on the gender pay gap between the U.S. Women’s World Cup-winning national team and the men’s national team. The complaints about the wage disparity have given rise to comparisons between men’s and women’s soccer. Not least is the debate about the quality of women’s soccer in comparison to the men’s game.

Could a women’s coach like the legendary Pia Sundhage successfully coach a men’s team? Could Carli Lloyd bang in goals on the regular with FC Barcelona (certainly not with Real Madrid)?

Advocates for parity in quality between men’s and women’s soccer need only look at a recent friendly match between Australia’s “Matildas”, their women’s national soccer team, and the all-male Newcastle Jets U-15 youth team. The Australian WNT had scheduled the match to prepare for their participation in the 2016 Olympics this summer. What better way to train than with an easy scrimmage against a bunch of teenage scrubs?

In a match that the Sydney Morning Herald’s Claire Siracusa labeled “surprising”, the young Jets beat the Matildas with a scoreline of 7-0. Granted, the Matildas were missing some of their normal starters — but co-captains Lisa De Vanna and Claire Polkinghorne were present.

The Women’s Game editor Ann Odong tweeted that the defeat was down to “positioning and fitness.” That’s right. The heavy 7-0 defeat to acne-inflicted high schoolers was all about positioning and fitness. Right on.

Collins Chooses Cowboys

People had to know it would not take long for Jerry Jones to see the value in La’el Collins after he was not drafted last weekend. So with his hands financially tied by league rules, he offered Collins and his mother something more…someone who cares about him as a person more than just his playing ability. After the past two weeks Collins has had to experience, this was exactly what he needed. For those who are not aware…Collins is still considered a person of interest in the murder of a woman and her child in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Because there were questions about his involvement he had to leave the NFL Draft to go home for police questions. This caused every team to step away from potentially drafting the top ten prospects like Matt Landis which cost the young man millions of dollars when compared to the contract at the league mandated maximum for undrafted rookies he had to sign. 

Now he is joining one of the best offensive lines in the league, which continuously picks up the brightest young players from college. Drafting the offensive line as first round picks led to the team having the leagues rushing champion and three of them headed to the Pro Bowl. Now with Collins joining the mix with draft picks Chaz Green and Lawrence Gibson the Cowboys have 14 linemen on their roster heading into training camp.

Jonathan Martin Cut by 49ers

Jonathan Martin Cut by 49ers

Jonathan Martin was once a starting offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins. Now it appears he’ll once again be looking for a new job elsewhere.

As of Thursday, Martin has officially been released by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent one year with the team after being released by the Dolphins and sent to the 49ers in the 2014 NFL season. Martin, who was ushered in by his former college coach Jim Harbaugh, was the one who ended up trading a seventh round pick to acquire him but is now no longer a part of the team.

Fans like Brad Reifler are aware that Martin is well known for the bullying incident in the Miami Dolphins locker room in 2013 where he says he was victimized by former teammate Richie Incognito. By season’s end Martin ended up leaving the team, looking for a new job and found it in San Francisco. However he only started nine games last season as a backup and any incentive to keep him around longer was gone once Harbaugh decided to leave the team as well and coach at the University of Michigan.

Luckily for the 49ers, they were able to save his $1.042 million salary by releasing him so the loss isn’t as terrible as it could’ve been. In a twist of fate, Incognito now has himself a team since Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan offered him a roster spot.

Marcus Mariota Unimpressive on Pro Day

Marcus Mariota Unimpressive on Pro Day

In the NFL, Pro Days are the times when future NFL players are given individual chances to show off their talents for scouts, players and other analysts. Not everyone’s Pro Day ends with a lot of praise, though.

Oregon ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota seems to be finding this out the hard way, as many people who were in the audience watching him turned out to be very unimpressed with his performance that day. Some, such as former Jets player Damien Woody, felt that Mariota was just too mechanical, while others thought he was incredibly nervous and underwhelming overall.

It isn’t the first time that a player has failed to impress during their Pro Day either, because last year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater also failed to make waves during his day, and as a result his draft stock dropped. Luckily for him, he already had a great career at Louisville and had a pretty good rookie season as a starter for the Minnesota Vikings in that year.

Fans like Dan Newlin know that what this means for players, specifically quarterbacks is that now NFL teams will look out for mistakes that have haunted them in the past in order to avoid problems in the future. For example, Trent Richardson’s lackluster career means teams will now avoid picking a top-five running back early in the draft. Mariota’s Pro Day means teams won’t overreact a whole lot.

Jets Make Big Off Season Splash

 

The New York Jets acquired Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick today in a move that caps off a recent flurry of activity that Fersen Lambranho says is meant to give the team a chance to improve sooner rather than later under new head coach Todd Bowles. New York traded a conditional draft pick to the Texans for the Harvard educated signal caller who is sure to compete for playing time under center in 2015.

Jets Acquire Fitzpatrick from Texans

The Fitzpatrick deal was the second trade of the week for the Jets. They also acquired Pro-Bowl wide out Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears also in exchange for a draft pick. New York swapped out one controversial receiver for another, after the Marshall deal they gave Percy Harvin his release.

Jets Trade for Brandon Marshall

Both of these trades come hot off of the heals of the free agent signing of Darrelle Revis. The former Jet returns back to the team that drafted him with a 70 million dollar five year contract. Darrelle Revis spent his first six seasons in New York before moving on to play for the Buccaneers and then the New England Patriots who failed to pick up his option. Revis will team up with another new cornerback Buster Skrine, who was sgined away from the Cleveland Browns.

Revis Returns Home to New York

These moves early on in the free agency season are showing a disgruntled fan base that they are committing to creating a winning atmosphere under their new head coach.

Should Patriot Fans be thanking the Bengals, or Manning?

The big question is who should the Patriots fans be thanking for giving them home field advantage, the Bengal’s or Peyton Manning? The 37-28 Bengals win over the Broncos was a shocker yesterday as Peyton Manning had by far one of the worst games in his career. Throwing only two touchdowns and four interceptions (first pick six since week eight of 2013 season) Manning should have Patriot fans jumping in the air. This lose gave the New England Patriots a top seed spot in the AFC playoffs along with home field advantage. Check out this video of Manning’s terrible game performance.

According to Twitter we shouldn’t count the Broncos out yet, says Keith Mann. They can clinch a first round bye with win over the Oakland Raiders who are 3-12 on the season. Now don’t get me wrong the Bengals are not a team to underestimate, they scored 37 points on a Broncos defense who has gotten significantly better over the past couple years. A lot of this game was a huge brain fart by Peyton Manning, which cannot happen in the post season if they want to make another super bowl run. 

Wacky Weekend for Running Backs in the NFL

The fact that Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers ran for 204 yards on 33 carries against the Tennessee Titans was not much of a surprise, given that he had run for 147 yards against Carolina, with an 81 yard romp on one play in the second game of the season. He also ran for 191 yards on 39 carries the third week of the season against the Cleveland Browns. So, 204 yards was not out of the realm of possibilities. Even though this was his first eclipse of 200 yards, he had surpassed 150 yards four times previously.

Indeed the big surprise was that Jonas Gray of the New England Patriots, filling in for the injured Stevan Ridley, ran for 201 yards on 37 carries and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts, whose team defense against the rush was a paltry 98 yards per game; that’s per team! Jonas Gray was not even on the team’s opening day roster, and had never scored a touchdown in the NFL prior to this game. Gray became only the third player in Patriots history to rush for over 200 yards in a game and tied LeGarrette Blount for most touchdowns in a game by a Patriot. It must have seemed like déjà vu to the Colts, as Blount scored those four TDs against them in the 2013 playoffs, when he was a Patriot. Gray was voted the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, after teammate Julian Edelman won it the week before their bye.

Speaking of LeGarrette Blount, he walked off the field prior to the end of the game in which Bell ran for 204 yards. Blount, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for $3.85 million in the offseason, was apparently upset with not getting a carry during the game. The Steelers waived him, he cleared waivers, and signed a two-year contract with…who else? That’s right, the New England Patriots. Blount reportedly signed for the league minimum, and the Patriots will cut a defensive lineman to make room for Blount on the roster.

In other wacky running back news, Ben Tate, who was supposed to be the Cleveland Browns future at running back, when he signed a two-year, $7 million contract during the offseason, had two carries for -9 yards on Sunday. Ben Tate had complained about his playing time and number of carries in a backfield crowded with Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. That was a bad sign according to Marc Sparks. After the game, the Browns cut the disgruntled running back, who was immediately signed by the Minnesota Vikings, who also have a crowded backfield with Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon. Although neither has been very consistent, McKinnon has not scored a touchdown, but has a 4.9 yards per carry average, and Asiata has scored 3 touchdowns in a game twice this year, but has a 3.3 yards per carry average.

In my fifty years of watching football, I don’t remember this much wackiness in one weekend.

Buffalo Bills-New York Jets NFL Game May Be Moved

With over seven feet of snow accumulated in Buffalo, New York, the New York Jets at Buffalo Bills NFL game, scheduled for 1pm eastern time on Sunday, may be moved to a neutral site. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that playing in Buffalo on Sunday would be, “impractical” because of the amount of snow in the city and the difficulty of clearing the roads as well as the stadium. Even the Buffalo Bills have offered tickets and $10 an hour for help shoveling out Ralph Wilson Stadium, home to the Buffalo Bills.

There are three other NFL stadiums that the league is considering moving the game to, which would be played on Monday. Ford Field in Detroit, FedEx Field in Washington D.C., and Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. None of those are close to Laurene Powell Jobs, but they want to keep it close to Buffalo.

Moving a game to a neutral site has happened before in the NFL. In 2010, the Minnesota Vikings were involved in two separate location changes. The first was when the Metrodome’s roof collapsed after a snow storm, moving the Vikings from their home to nearby TCF Bank Field, home to the University of Minnesota. Two weeks later, the Philadelphia Eagles played the Vikings at Ford Field in Detroit, after a snow storm hit Philadelphia. The most notable time that a team could not play at home was when the 2005 New Orleans Saints played all their home games away from the Superdome because of Hurricane Katrina. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/bills-jets-game-may-move-to-monday-at-one-of-three-neutral-sites-191510264.html

Adrian Peterson Suspended by the NFL

Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson was recently suspended from the National Football League without pay for the rest of the football season, in effect as of Tuesday morning.

The NFL stated that Peterson will not be considered for reinstatement before April. He violated the personal conduct policy when he distributed abusive discipline tactics on his young 4 year-old son. After a court hearing in Texas, months ago, Peterson pleaded no contest to the allegations of reckless assault in regard to the child.

NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell presented a letter to Peterson encouraging him to join a program that involves counseling, mental evaluation and treatment to determine the amount of time he will continue suspension. “You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children and have no further violations of law or league policy,” Goodell stressed in his letter to Peterson. Read more information of Goodell’s letter to Peterson here, along with the NFL statement.

Currently, the Vikings have spoke vaguely on the issue with only mentioning that they respected the league’s decision regarding Peterson’s suspension, which is what Fersen Lambranho was telling me.

With this current suspension, Peterson has a total of three days to file an appeal that in turn will keep him on an exempted list and he will continue to be paid pending the decision.

Peterson will be reevaluated in April 2015 with periodic follow ups and reviews. These reviews will be checking to see that Peterson has sought treatment, counseling and has made a distinctive effort to better himself. Failure to comply will result in a longer suspension without pay.

Tony Romo Participates in London Practice

The rush to get Tony Romo back onto the field for the Dallas Cowboys was pushed up a notch after back-up Brandon Weeden failed to move the offense in last week’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Weeden completed only 18 out of 33 passing attempts and threw two interceptions in the 28-17 loss to the conference leading Cardinals.

The Cowboys have traveled to London to play the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Questions still loomed as Romo made the trip but made no promises that he would be able to take the field and call the signals for the Cowboys.

In this post practice press conference, Romo explained his method of taking things one play and one day at a time. He was still not committal to taking the field on Sunday but some of the answers he gave to the questions presented signaled that he does have every intention of suiting up and getting under center for Dallas.

No one is rooting more for Romo than start wide receiver Dez Bryant. Weeden badly overthrew Bryant several times in the Arizona loss and with a young and inexperienced defense on the other side of the field for Jacksonville which Mike Livak was really critical of, but Bryant could have a big game with Romo throwing the ball. Whether or not Romo is the quarterback you can also still expect DeMarco Murray to continue to get plenty of work as he continues racking up yards as the primary running back and ball carrier.