Monthly Archives: March 2012
Article written by Michael Cox (Zonalmarking.net)
Before Alessandro Nesta‘s slide tackle had ended, he had raised his arm in apology. Lionel Messi had been hurtling toward the Milan goal from an inside-right position, and Nesta, returning from injury, couldn’t keep up. He only had one option — to bring down Messi.
It was the second time in the match he had deliberately fouled the world’s best player — in the same position on the edge of the box. Nesta’s raised arm in the second instance was surely not a pre-emptive appeal against a booking (it was the most blatant card you’ll ever see) but a genuine apology that he’d been forced into chopping down an opponent in such a cynical fashion. Nesta knew the card was coming — indeed, he happily took it rather than let Messi get past him.
No one would characterize Nesta as brutal defender. Like many Italian center backs, he can be crafty with giving away fouls, but he is more stylish, more composed than his contemporaries such as Marco Materazzi or Fabio Cannavaro. In a way, it was sad to see Nesta forced into the foul — at Camp Nou earlier in the season, he stopped Messi with one of the best tackles you’ll see all season. But in choosing to foul, Nesta was profiting from the situation.
Little instances like this are extremely frustrating. Wednesday’s Champions League first-leg quarterfinal was a superb game of football, featuring great technical quality in midfield. Only some poor finishing meant it finished goalless. But a key feature of the game was the way both sides were able to break up opposition attacks with “clever” fouls, controlling the tempo of the game and preventing quick counterattacks.
There’s nothing new in this type of tactical fouling, of course, but in recent years it’s become particularly obvious. Pace has become a key part of modern football, and the speed of the game is higher than ever before. Attacks can switch from one end of the pitch to the other at a quite astonishing swiftness, and since so many recent European champions have relied upon counterattacking (most obviously Porto in 2004, Manchester United in 2008 and Inter in 2010), attacking quickly through the center of the pitch is of paramount importance.
The problem is that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. In a lot of cases, the offending player knows he will pick up a card and is happy to collect it to prevent the opposition breaking quickly. His side can get back into a good defensive position, and the attacking side has been robbed of a potentially crucial situation. By committing a foul, the defensive side is better off. Why should it be rewarded for committing a foul?
Jose Mourinho has been particularly vocal about the problem with tactical fouling. “It’s a foul they don’t punish enough here in England,” he said during his Chelsea days, in Gianluca Vialli’s “The Italian Job.” “It’s the foul whose only objective is to kill the attacking situation. It’s purely tactical. I remember facing Everton, who had Thomas Gravesen and Lee Carsley. It was tactical fouling, over and over, for 90 minutes.”
In fact, Mourinho has even complained about Milan doing it. “Milan have a lot of experience, and they know how to control the tempo, commit a tactical foul,” he said when his Inter side was defeated in the derby in 2008.
But Mourinho is a clever strategist rather than a beacon of footballing morals, and he has exploited the lack of punishment in these situations as much as anyone. In the Clasicos since he took over at Real Madrid, such situations have been a key part of his game plan — they stop Barca’s attacks and allow Real to get men behind the ball. Since the start of 2010-11, the most booked player in Clasicos is not Pepe or Sergio Ramos butXabi Alonso. The midfielder clearly isn’t a dirty player, but he’s been forced into fouls to prevent being exposed. Like Nesta, he always knows what his punishment will be.
“Mourinho’s side had gone out with a game plan he used to great effect at Chelsea: constant tactical fouling,” former referee Graham Poll said after one of these meetings. “I find it outrageous that deliberate fouls in neutral areas of the pitch … are seen as acceptable.”
But let’s not pretend this is some kind of Real Madrid versus Barcelona or Mourinho versus Pep Guardiola debate, because Barcelona does the same. Seydou Keita did it by bringing down Massimo Ambrosini Wednesday after he’d been dispossessed. Often, Barca does it in a much more subtle way — it fouls as soon as it has lost the ball, stopping a counterattack before its origins have even become obvious. Back in the Supercup win over Real Madrid,Alexis Sanchez was its most prolific fouler. In this season’s Champions League, Messi has committed the joint-most fouls among Barcelona players, along with Dani Alves.
But it’s not a problem with these two clubs, or in Spain — it happens over Europe, and beyond. ESPN freelance writer Tim Vickery has touched on the issue in South America. “Just over a decade ago, some in the coaching fraternity were convinced that part of the secret of victory was to commit more fouls than the opposition,” he wrote in his BBC blog earlier this year. “Indeed, it was argued, a foul is not exactly against the rules. Rather, it is something dealt with by the laws — a resource of the game rather than an offence.”
Even if you accept that definition, it’s clear that the laws are not dealing with it well enough. A yellow card is often not a fitting punishment in these situations, because it’s not acting as a deterrent. It’s difficult to know what the solution is — sin-bins (aka the orange card) have been suggested to make the penalty more severe, but this is an alien concept in football. Red cards would generally be too severe.
But referees must be stricter on deliberate fouls. There should never be an instance in which a player deliberately infringes an opponent and receives no punishment — this means that every shirt pull, push or intentional trip should be a yellow card, even if in a completely nonthreatening area of the pitch. Miroslav Klose felt harshly dismissed when he was shown a red card against Serbia in the 2010 World Cup after two relatively innocuous trips when Germany lost possession, but this was fantastic to see. Germany was the counterattacking master at that tournament, and as Mourinho has demonstrated, those who play on the counterattack know the value of stopping the opposition from doing so.
As mentioned earlier, the laws of football are gloriously simple and barely change from decade to decade. But rules must adapt to the nature of the game, and at the moment the balance is in favor of those who want to foul, rather than those who want to play.
As a New Yorker, I can’t say that I am excited about Tim Tebow invading my city. To annoy me even more, Tim Tebow was “formally” introduced today to the media. I can’t remember another time when a backup, yes not starting, quarterback was given a press conference in lieu of being acquired.
I am annoyed about Tebow on the Jets because it means that there will be incessant coverage of Tebow doing everything, from throwing a ball in practice, eating dinner, holding a clipboard, running the “wildcat,” the inevitable starting over the awful Mark “off the Mark” Sánchez. I thought that there was too much coverage of Tim Tebow by the national media last year when he was on the Denver Broncos, but it’s going to be even worse in New York with the New York media making a story about anything and everything he does.
In addition, it bothers me to no end that now because of Tim Tebow, religion is now being pushed upon the sporting public. Sports and religion don’t mix. Sports shouldn’t be a medium to push religious beliefs on the audience. With Tebow now playing for a team who plays in the media capital of the United States, everything is going to be magnified.
Well, the Peyton Manning sweepstakes has come to an end. As a huge Peyton fan, I just don’t believe that the Broncos are the best fit for Peyton.
Both the 49ers and the Titans have more talent and are more equipped right now to make a deep playoff run than the Broncos. The 49ers would’ve been the lead Super Bowl favorites if they signed Peyton. If Peyton went to the 49ers they would’ve had a top defense, a very good running back, a top-level tight end, a good offensive line, a solid wide receiving core (with the addition of Randy Moss.) Why would Peyton say no to the 49ers? The answer: Eli Manning. Peyton didn’t want to go to the NFC, he stated in the beginning that his wish was to stay in the AFC. Peyton didn’t want to face his younger brother in the playoffs, if it wasn’t going to be in the Superbowl.
The Titans would’ve been a good fit for Peyton because they have a solid defense, a solid offensive line, a good #1 receiver in Kenny Britt, a top level running back who should be happy now since he’s paid in Chris Johnson. And with all of that Peyton would get to face the Indianapolis Colts twice a year and make them regret trading him
According to multiple sources, Peyton signed with the Broncos due to his comfort level with John Elway and John Fox. If that’s the case, it’s more understandable why he signed. However, the Broncos have many holes which need to be filled. These holes make it difficult to pick the Broncos over the 49ers and the Titans as the best choice for Peyton. The Broncos have an average defense with an old secondary which needs help, they desperately need a tight end, another solid wide receiver, Willis McGahee is getting long in the tooth. A plus is that they’re in the sub-par AFC West and should be the favorite to win the division.
I hope that Peyton proves me wrong once again and leads my new favorite team, the Denver Broncos, to a Super Bowl championship.
After hearing the news and watching the video of Fabrice Muamba you must realize how unimportant sports really is. No matter what team you support, you should understand that life is much more important than sports.
Events such as Fabrice Muamba collapsing in the middle of the FA Cup match between Tottenham and Bolton hopefully make you realize that sports should always come second when you’re comparing it to life. All you need to do is look at the impact this had on all the players and the coaching staffs.
Everyone keep Fabrice Muamba in your well wishes. And remember life is more important than sports.
- Bolton’s Muamba critical after collapsing (vivaafricasports.wordpress.com)
- BBC Sport – Fabrice Muamba remains in critical condition in intensive care (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- Fabrice Muamba in critical condition after collapsing (twitchy.com)
- Pray For Muamba (jasonvonberg.wordpress.com)
- FABRICE MUAMBA COLLAPSE: Soccer Star in Critical Condition (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
After watching this video you’re going to laugh. The Space Cadet is here for us to laugh. My condolences to all the Washington Wizards fans out there.
A post I wrote on another blog of mine. If your interested in the New York Knicks situation take a look.
J.R. Smith fined 25k for tweet of a half naked woman who had the “the biggest ass ever,” wearing a thong in his bed
J.R. Smith is prone to lapses in judgement, so this should be no surprise to anyone. However, you hope at some point he’ll get it and mature into an adult who thinks before he tweets. At least this time Smith said that he made a poor decision in tweeting the picture.
When will J.R. Smith troubles outweigh his talent?
- J.R. Smith Fined For Inappropriate Twitter Photo (tracking.si.com)
- NBA Fines Knicks’ J.R. Smith $25K For Twitter Photo (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- J.R. Smith Lives Up to His Reputation with Idiotic Twitpic (bleacherreport.com)
- J.R. Smith Tweeted A Photo Of “The Girl With The Biggest Ass Ever” Wearing A Thong In His Hotel Room Bed [J.R. Smith] (deadspin.com)
- Get A J.R. Smith’s-Eye View Of Tahiry From The Bedroom [PHOTOS] (hiphopwired.com)
These percentages are from accuscore. What do you think?
|w/ Peyton Manning||10.7||5.3||52.50%||69.80%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||10.5||5.5||26.80%||73.90%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||8.1||7.9||10.50%||25.40%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||9.7||6.3||49.90%||62.50%|
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||W||L||DIV%||PLAYOFF%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||8.5||7.5||14.70%||37.50%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||7.8||8.2||4.00%||22.40%|
|NEW YORK JETS||W||L||DIV%||PLAYOFF%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||10.2||5.8||24.00%||65.20%|
|SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS||W||L||DIV%||PLAYOFF%|
|w/ Peyton Manning||11.5||4.5||90.90%||93.40%|
I am surprised here that the 49ers aren’t projected to win more games when you put into account that they went 13-3 last season. It’s interesting to note here as well that neither the Jets or Dolphins would be favored to win the AFC East because of the Tom Brady led Patriots. The Browns, Chiefs, and the Redskins are all projected to be .500 teams with Peyton.
A minimum requirement for a Peyton Manning led team is a playoff birth which according to accuscore should lead him towards the 49ers, Dolphins, Jets or Cardinals. Let’s wait and see!
After some thought I thought of 12 possible teams would be the best fit for Peyton.
Note the man whose insider knowledge is unquestioned, Adam Schefter, has said that the final four teams are the Jets, Cardinals, Dolphins and Redskins.
These are my rankings 1-12.
There are many reasons why this would be a great match for Peyton. First he gets to face the Colts two times a year. Plus with Peyton as their starting quarterback Texans would be the Superbowl favorites having an elite running back in Arian Foster, an elite wide receiver in Andre Johnson, a great offensive line and a top-level defense.
Their current starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, is injury prone and they like their back-up Tyler Yates. If they sign Peyton and he gets hurt at least they have confidence in their back-up which is a lot more than other teams can say. This would be the ideal landing spot for Peyton. And they play in a dome!
A lot of people believe this is the best place for Peyton to play. There is definitely some appeal here for both sides. Alex Smith had a great season last year, but he’s not Peyton Manning- so they’d be a massive upgrade at quarterback. The 49ers already have an elite defense, a very good offensive line and good running backs. They don’t have an Andre Johnson, but Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are willing to follow Peyton to his next location. Plus Jim Harbaugh is an offensive mind that Peyton would respect and they play in a horrible division, so the playoffs would be a mere formality.
The only negatives are the it’s windy in San Francisco and their stadium is awful. This should be Peyton’s #2 option after Houston.
Great weather. Their owner has already stated that he’d do anything to sign Peyton. Peyton already has a place in South Beach. The Dolphins have a top-level wide receiver in Brandon Marshall, a surprisingly effective rushing attack led by Reggie Bush and a very solid defense.
The downfall here is that owner is known to be a bit of a headcase.
I seriously hope he doesn’t go to the Redskins. Mike Shanahan is said to regard Peyton as the greatest quarterback of all-time, I can’t argue there. Daniel Synder, the Redskins owner, is known at making big time moves (ie: Albert Haynesworth). Unlike Donovan McNabb, Shanahan seems to be willing to give Peyton a lot more say in running the offense. The parts aren’t bare for the Redskins, but there are definitely more talented teams which Peyton can join.
I see two major issues here. One being I don’t see Peyton wanting to face his little brother Eli twice a year. The second being Mike Shanahan is a control freak, that’s not going to change-this will ultimately lead to a power struggle at some point.
t’s hard not to laugh at this notion. The Broncos have some pieces, depending on who you ask Tim Tebow is one of them. John Elway would be more comfortable in having a prototypical quarterback such as Peyton. For all the Tebow fans, they should be able to accept the fact that Peyton is a better quarterback.
I just don’t see this happening. Peyton wouldn’t want to come to the home of Tebowmania plus it snows there, screw that!
Well, the Seahawks are desperately in the need of the quarterback. They have a good running back in Marshawn “skittles” Lynch, but besides that there isn’t much there. I doubt Peyton would be very fond of the coaching staff which includes Tom Cable. The weather isn’t ideal. He would have to face the 49ers defense twice a year which isn’t appealing to someone coming off of neck surgery.
This is an intriguing prospect for Peyton. Rex Ryan is a players coach who wouldn’t have an issue ceding power to Peyton. The Jets have a solid, not great, defense. They have talent on the offensive end, with a decent o-line, Dustin Keller, and Santonio Holmes (when his heads right is a good player.)
However, there are many reasons why this wouldn’t be a good marriage. First the Jets might be skeptical after their Brett Favre disaster. I don’t see Peyton wanting to play in the biggest media market in the country. This reeks of a train wreck waiting to happen. Don’t do it Peyton!
This is another intriguing prospect for Peyton. Like Rex Ryan, Ken Whisenhunt is a players coach- he does have a good offensive mind (ask Kurt Warner and Big Ben.) The Cardinals have a pretty decent defense and one of the top, if not the top, receiver in football Larry Fitzgerald.
However, the negative here definitely outweighs the positive. The Cardinals have a shaky offensive line which isn’t good news when you have to face the 49ers twice a year. But, the biggest reason this isn’t going to happen is Cardinals management, they’re notoriously cheap. They just gave Kevin Kolb a 5 year/$63 million contract with a $21 million signing bonus. I just don’t see them pulling the trigger on a 36-year-old quarterback coming off of multiple neck surgeries. Next.
I am grasping at straws here. Peyton would get to face the Colts twice and he would have Maurice Jones Drew. The new Jaguars owner wants to make a splash; however this isn’t going to happen. Next.
Another long shot which I am only mentioning because the Chiefs head coach said that they’d be crazy not to look at a player like Peyton. However, there are many red flags here, one being their new offensive coordinator wasn’t respected by Colt McCoy, enough said. Two, Scott Pioli is another control freak who wouldn’t be willing to give Peyton the control he desires. Three, their offensive line isn’t good enough. Just isn’t going to happen. Next.
11. Cleveland Browns
No shot! But the Browns do need a quarterback. The Browns offensive coordinator, Brad Childress, and Peyton would be a terrible match, Brett Favre has said that Childress knows nothing about offense. Childress is a stubborn and talkative man, this would equate to a disaster, plus he’d have to face the Steelers, Ravens, and the up and coming Bengals twice each. Next!
12. Buffalo Bills
Hahahahahahaha. Not happening.
This is a tragic end to a great relationship. Peyton Manning is the reason that Lucas Oil Field was built. While Manning was quarterback, the Colts broke the record for most wins in a decade. Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but due to his missing the 2011 season the Colts went 3-13 and came to the conclusion that they need to go in a different direction.
Jim Irsay suffers from the Jerry Jones syndrome. Irsay wants to be the face of the Colts franchise and the only way that’s possible is with Peyton Manning no longer being a part of the Colts franchise. Irsay was hoping that Manning would retire to avoid this tough predicament; however, Irsay shouldn’t have made this situation public, but he wanted his face to be seen as the new head of the ‘horseshoe.’
Colts cutting Peyton Manning is a massive mistake. For a team that many analysts widely agree has many holes, the Colts are in the perfect position to trade their #1 overall pick and then get multiple draft picks which would help them rebuild. No matter how good Andrew Luck is, he’ll never be as good as Peyton Manning.
As an avid Peyton Manning supporter, I only wish him the best and hope that he finds the right match and they win the Superbowl. Hopefully the last few years of his career are great and he doesn’t wind up tarnishing his legacy.