• Popularity of NFL set to diminish

    In this day and age, the NFL is regarded as the most popular sports league in America as 35 percent of sports fans call the NFL their favorite sport, followed by Major League Baseball (14 percent) and college football (11 percent).

    Most fans consider Pete Rozelle, the late former commissioner, to be responsible for the NFL’s immense popularity; however, over the last decade, the NFL’s success can be attributed to elite quarterback play.

    When mentioning the NFL’s elite quarterbacks Denver Bronco’s Peyton Manning (age 38), Green Bay Packer’s Aaron Rodgers (age 30), New England’s Tom Brady (age 37), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (age 35), and Pittsburgh Steeler’s Ben Roethlisberger (age 32) are always at the top of every NFL analyst’s list.

    Their résumés are impressive and illustrate why they are considered elite and so entertaining to watch.

    Collectively, these five quarterbacks have eight Super Bowl victories, 13 Super Bowl appearances and 32 division title in the past twelve years. There have only been two years since 2002 when none of these quarterbacks were playing in the Super Bowl (Super Bowls XXXVII and XLVII).  Not to mention, all five quarterbacks this season are in the top ten for most passing yards and touchdowns.

    So what will happen to the NFL when they all retire?

    Football fans everywhere should feel blessed to have had the privilege to watch these great quarterbacks in action on Sundays over the past decade. When they retire, the league will not be the same. Their successors have shown potential but they aren’t as consistent as the current elite quarterbacks.

    Most NFL analysts believe that the quarterback position will continue to evolve from a pocket passer style of play to a dual threat style of play, meaning a quarterback who is a threat to throw the ball downfield and rush for big plays.

    This dual threat style of quarterback play has been problematic for many defenses around the league as quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III have all thrived in this new era of NFL football.

    However, the NFL is a league of adjustments. As defenses have been able to figure out how to contain these dual threat quarterbacks, their style of play has been less impactful. This season, these dual threat quarterbacks are a combined 20-23-1 and none of their respective teams are a lock to make the playoffs, as all of the quarterbacks have struggled.

    Of all the younger quarterbacks in the NFL, Indianapolis Colt’s quarterback Andrew Luck has shown the most potential in becoming one of the elite as he currently leads the league in passing yards and is second in touchdown passes. However, Luck is considered to be more of a pocket passer than a dual threat quarterback.

    This dual threat style of play at first seemed like the future of the NFL but has proven to be less effective and not as enjoyable to watch for NFL plans.

    The NFL will most likely still be the most popular sport in America but the switch from pocket passing quarterbacks to dual threat quarterbacks will diminish its overall popularity.

  • Lydia Ko sets record as Stenson holds on to win in Dubai

    Seventeen-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko finished her rookie campaign of the LPGA Tour on top. 

    As she entered Sunday in a three-way tie, she won $1 million bonus in the inaugural “Race to CME Globe.”  For the tiebreaker, the PGA committee chose the No. 18 hole to playoff since four birdies had occurred at the shot during the week.  Ko finished for par all five times to come away with the victory

    On top of the win, Ko won another $500,000.  She finished with a total of $1.5 million and the biggest pay off ever in women’s golf.  Excluding the million she won entering the playoff, Ko extended her earnings to over $2 million, making her the first ever LPGA Tour rookie to surpass the total. 

    As much as Ko is credited for her win, she had help from competitors Carlota Cingada of Spain and Julieta Granada of Paraguay. 

    Granada was the first to be knocked out of the playoff as her five-foot putt on the 18th hole spun out.  Cingada with a score of 70 had two opportunities to take the lead.  At the No. 17 hole in regulation, Cingada missed a 3-foot birdie along with a five-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole in the third playoff.      

    On the fourth time at the No. 18 hole, Cingada pulled her shot from the fairway, but watched as it rolled down the slope.    

    At the season ending event in the European Tour, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai was a tight race among the top four. 

    Henrik Stenson entered Sunday 2-under 70, but won by two strokes and a total of 16-under 272.  Ryder Cup teammates Rory McIlroy, Victor Dubuisson and Justin Rose all shared second with 14-under 274.

    This was the first time in Stenson’s career where he successfully defended his title.

    Following the tournament, Stenson was very excited and is looking forward to trying to win the tournament for a third straight year.

    McIlroy, on the other hand, felt that no one appeared to take control of the tournament, but he acknowledged he knew he did not play well.  

  • Three stars of the NHL

    There is no holiday better than Thanksgiving. It's a simple fact.

    You got football, family, and food with the food being the best of all. I'm not going to bore you with a list of Thanksgiving food here, but rest be assured, I love a good pumpkin pie, some stuffing (not dressing), and a turkey leg. It's just the perfect holiday, so gluttonous and mellow. It is this holiday spirit that has compelled me to take a look around the league and find the plumpest of turkeys in the NHL.

    Turkeys are the star of the Thanksgiving show. While your side dishes can be excellent role players, a perfectly roasted and seasoned butternut squash is worthless without a plump and juicy turkey. Keeping turkey's part in the Thanksgiving play in mind, I picked out three rotund stars of the NHL.

    Dustin Byfuglien is a defenseman for the Winnipeg Jets who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 260 pounds. He's a big dude. But, he has also been an All-Star twice and played for a Cup. He's always been a solid player, playing an offensive-minded defensive game with that big body of his. At times, he's also played the power forward position, intimidating opponents with his strong shot. He's a scary sight on the ice as well as in a Google image search.

    Two-time All-Star Phil Kessel is one of the best offensive players in the league. He has been a top-10 scorer three years straight, the only player to do so. He's also 6 foot and weighs 202 pounds. We all know that he's one of the best snipers in the game capable of taking on the best in world. His world-class reputation was affirmed when in 2014 at the Sochi Winter Olympics, he was named the best forward of the tournament after leading everyone else in scoring. So, yes, he's a bit bigger than most, but he's also a fantastic player.

    This last one is a former three-time MVP. He's 6-foot-3, 230-pound Alexander Ovechkin and he's wants to be formal, but he's just here to party. The big Russian has had an illustrious career. While he hasn't played for a Cup yet, he's won almost every major award and given Sidney “The Chosen One” Crosby a run for his money. His size has allowed him to be a hard-hitting scorer, a rare combination in the league. His size has also allowed him to look like he was wearing a few too many Kosovorotkas underneath his uniform. But, no matter his size, Alex Ovechkin is a one-of-a-kind player who already has a hall of fame resume.

    These stars are the Thanksgiving turkeys of the NHL. They rule their teams and deserve your attention, just like that big bird in the middle of the table.