‘All of Nothing’ Drives Home Ruthlessness of NFL

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 7.8.2017

The second season of Amazon’s ‘All of Nothing’ series starts off with Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher informing the team that he was fired.  From here the show takes you through the ins and outs of the Rams 2016 season and finishing off with the hiring of a new coach and the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s a long journey and one that NFL Films tells very well.

The Rams 2016 season was teed up pretty well for the producers of ‘All or Nothing’. You had the move from St. Louis, the trade to get quarterback Jared Goff with the #1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, young stars like running back Todd Gurley and defensive tackle Aaron Donald and a schedule that saw them log more miles than anyone during the 2016 season. Add in the unexpected firing of the head coach and you have enough material to fully flesh out 8 hour long episodes.

This series is not HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’. In fact ‘All or Nothing’ doesn’t even touch on training camp. It dives right into the season and does a pretty good job of avoiding the typical NFL game camera angles while it’s at it. There are solid shots from the sidelines and great sound from the coaches throughout the season. From their homes, to the meeting rooms to the sidelines.

One aspect of this show that was very interesting goes back to something that former Notre Dame head coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz once pointed out and that is when a coach is fired it’s not just him who is effected. It’s the assistants and their families too. ‘All or Nothing’ does a great job of driving that home. How the families deal with the never ending moves from city to city. For example, offensive coordinator Rob Boras ended up as the tight ends coach for the Buffalo Bills shortly after being let go by the Rams following the season. So in under a year he had moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles to Buffalo while his family was still in St. Louis. It gives you a great look at how much of grind an NFL season can be not just for the players but on the coaches.

This season of ‘All or Nothing’ is compelling and could be compelling for someone who isn’t the biggest football fan. It shows how difficult and ruthless this game can be on the players, the coaches and the families and how everything can change in an instant. It’s story telling at high level and worth checking out.

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Tour de Drama

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 7.4.2017

During the final sprint in stage 4 of the Tour de France, world champion Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish were driving to the finish line when Cavendish went into the barrier and was run over by cyclists behind him after it appeared that Sagan nudged Cavendish causing him to fall. At least that is the way the Tour sees it and now both riders are out of the race but for different reasons.

First Cavendish. He took a hard line with no room for error and it didn’t work out. He has a fractured shoulder blade and a nasty cut on his hand. He is out of the race due to injury.

Sagan, the five time Green jersey winner, was initially relegated to 115th place among other penalties but then the Tour changed it’s mind and disqualified him from the race entirely. Sagan denied the claim that he elbowed/nudged/winged Cavendish into the barrier but the race organizers see it differently and have made their decision in the name or ‘rider safety’.

Social media is a buzz about this. While some see a clear elbow by Sagan others point out that Sagan does not need to give a rider behind him a clear path and that Cavendish took a very dangerous if not reckless line.

The bottom line is this, Sagan and Cavendish are out. Two popular cyclists out of cycling’s biggest event of the year. It also means that the race for the Green jersey is wide open. This will either make the 2017 edition of the Tour de France incredible interesting or it will forever have yet another asterisk next to the results.

The Sunday – Doin What You Do

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 7.2.2017

Nolan Being Nolan

There is a benefit to living in Denver, Colorado and being a baseball fan. That is that you get to watch Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado work. Or as we say in Denver, ‘Nolan being Nolan.’

 

Just A Little Taste

 

The Grab

Tim Tebow, who once threw touchdown passes, shows that he can catch baseballs.

 

Finishes

But how bout Jordan Spieth sinking this one from the bunker to win the Travelers Cup last weekend.

 

 

22 It

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 6.25.2017


The Canadian Football League (CFL) kicked off its 2017 season with a game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes this past Thursday. Unless you are a football fanatic like myself or a Canadian with a vested interest in the two teams on the field, you probably didn’t ever know the game was going on. My hope is that someone at the NFL office or at one of the NFL TV partners was watching so that they could be reminded about an angle that they are missing during their broadcasts. The wide angle or as they call it in America, the ’22’ angle.

Roughriders at Al’s CFL 2017 Opener.

For the uninitiated, the CFL has 3 downs, 12 men aside and unlimited motion. Which means that at least three of the receivers get a head start on their routes before the ball is ever snapped. This requires the TV cameramen to get a wider shot of the field because you don’t know where these guys are going. It’s not a genuine ’22’ angle but you have a better view of what the receivers are doing and how the defense is lined up to defend them.

Why would the NFL or college football widen out the camera shot and show more of the field? Well it could be a source of revenue. Most of us, believe it or not, don’t care about the close up of Tom Brady or the coach on the sideline. We care about how the formation and who is on the field.

The down side is that you may reveal a bunch of empty seats at the stadium caused in no small part by a teams performance and high ticket prices. The upside is that nerdy football fans like myself would pay a fee to get just this angle.

ESPN Megacast during the 2014 National Championship game

The reason why a portion of us would pay for this is that we want to see for ourselves how the defense is lining up, who is coming in and out of the game and have a visual representation of where our team is on the field which let’s guess what our team should or should not do. We don’t want an analyst telling us after the fact or being burden by replays when a team goes without a huddle and we miss the beginning of the next play.

Eventually, having graphics overlay that one could turn on and off would be nice as well. I don’t mean your stats of total yards, etc but a marker on a player so that while viewing the ’22’ angle, a mark or flag can pop up over a player as they come on and off the field which is turned on and off automatically by when they cross the sidelines into the field of play.

While there is a lot of talk about how to improve the in-game experience for fans (none of this talk includes lowering ticket prices or beer mind you), very little is talked about improving the home viewing experience. These are two things could improve the viewing experience immediately. While the graphics overlay may take some doing, it’s hard to believe that having a camera zoom out would be much of a technological feat. Extra costs, I think I pointed out earlier that there are plenty of us who would give you money for this.

The Gentle Giant

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 6.18.2017

1-4 in the UFC and being on the receiving end of the quickest knockouts in UFC history isn’t the way you’d want to be remembered but I am sure that’s how some will remember Tim ‘The Thrashing Machine’ Hague who passed away Sunday at the age of 34. I don’t remember his record in the Octagon. No I remember Tim as a Canadian version of a gentle giant.

I worked at the UFC for nearly seven and half years. I interviewed countless fighters before and after fights. While I remember a lot of them Tim stuck out. While he was built more like an offensive guard for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, he was genuinely the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. Which is why it came like a punch in the gut to find out that Tim passed away after being violently knocked out in a boxing match in Alberta.

Tim taught fourth grade. A 6’4″ 265lbs man teaching English to a bunch of fourth graders five days a week and then finds time to go train combat sports. That still makes me shake my head but it’s one of the big reasons why I remembered him. Calm, polite, pretty much what you would expect out of someone from Western Canadian.

A gentle giant. One who taught children when he wasn’t fighting and That’s how I choose to remember Tim. It’s sad to lose such a nice guy. Rest easy big Tim.

CTV Edmonton

 

The Sunday – Legacy

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 6.11.2017


The Series

There were people out there who thought that a Pittsburgh v Nashville Stanley Cup Final would be a ratings downer. Wrong. Apparently ratings are up and pretty substantially.

The Final has not been without it’s controversy. The fact is that even if the Pittsburgh wins this series which is likely, will it tarnish Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? Nashville’s P.K. Subban has clearly gotten under the skin of his Team Canada teammate and also that of Malkin.

Crosby is one of the few NHL players that transcends the sport. Is it good for hockey if he is doing what he did above? Yes Subban can get under your skin. That’s part of his game as one of the better defensemen in the league but Crosby and Malkin need to rise above. Not only for themselves but also for their team and for the league.

Bye Bye Big Game Bob

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops stepped down abruptly this week at the ripe old age of 56. He over course will stay on at OU as ‘special assistant to the Athletic Director’ meaning he gets paid to go do some fund raising.

He has 190 wins (most in Oklahoma history) and one national title (2000). He was nicknamed ‘Big Game Bob’ for his ability to win big games early in his 18 year career as head coach at Oklahoma. It was a nickname that some mocked later on going 0-3 in National Title games after winning his first and only title. Oklahoma did have 4 Heisman Trophy winners during his time as head coach and nine former assistants have gone on to become head coaches.

 

What?

LeBron showing why he is The King.

This is just mean…

…and so is this.

Moment of the Week

Let’s face it, the only thing missing from this picture is Gisele.

 

Beat The Freeze

Not sure when or why the Atlanta Braves started this but it’s amazing….

The Sunday – Achieving Goals

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 6.4.2017

600

Mr Albert Pujols. He is the quietest major leaguer to ever get to 600 home runs and only the 6th one to do it in history. Up next on his Hall of Fame – to – be – career? 3,000 hits.

Fight!

Now for the bad side of baseball, a revenge beaning followed by a fight. But first, the history between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland.

And now the replay..

It is good to know that neither Harper or Pujols will be threatened by UFC President Dana White when it comes to hitting a baseball.

 

It’s Good To Have Goals

Juventus may have lost the Champions League final but we all won when Mario Mandzukic made this one in the first half.

And now for the rest….

Textbook

Just for Kicks

It’s all fun and games until someone turns out the lights with a head kick.

 

The Sunday…On Monday

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 5.29.2017

The Crash

The most amazing part of this that everyone walked away. However I can’t help thinking, ‘Yep, I’m flyin through the air this ain’t good.’

 

Defending The Plate

So You Want To Be  A Major League Baseball Player?

Good, then try to hit these….

But if you can, hopefully you can do it like Mike Trout. Cause….damn.

How It’s Done

Shaq vs Chuck

 

Diary of a Sports Cord Cutter: Carnage and Opportunity

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 5.23.2017


It’s what they call in Washington a ‘True Fact’ that cord cutting is affecting the sports world in a major way. North America’s biggest sport rights holder, ESPN, is front and center in this battle of the cord cutting and the traditional way things have been done.  Subscribers are fleeing at a rapid rate (down 12% since 2010) and ESPN along with the sports leagues are trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding or profit from the change. While the traditional powers are nervous, small leagues and up and coming sports are rejoicing.

ESPN has spent billions on sports rights between the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and others. To give you an idea of how much they do spend a year, they spend over a billion dollars on the NFL alone and they only get one game a week! With the old cable and satellite model being blown up, the network and the leagues are looking at every option available to them which is partially why ESPN’s parent company, Disney, bought into MLB Advanced Media last summer.

The NFL, MLB, MLS, PGA and NBA are already reaching out in different ways to get their live programing to their fans. Whether it is the NFL cutting a deal with Amazon or MLB and MLS signing deals with Facebook, the sports leagues are already preparing for the day when they see a decrease in the value of their sports rights. Gone are the days of multi-billion dollar deals for the exclusive right to show a sport. In the near future the leagues and big time college conferences will have to spread the costs among several outlets.

ESPN is approaching this transition a little discombobulated. The fact is that live streaming on platforms like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter will not replace the loss of dollars from the traditional cable/satellite/TV world. However, these new platforms are a life saver to niche or relatively new entities like eSports, MMA and others.

ESports were born online and are thriving on platforms like Twitch, YouTube and even Facebook. These OTT platforms are also paying a whole lot less for the sports rights than ESPN, NBCSports and Fox Sports are paying for traditional sports like the NFL and NBA. These new platforms also provide these niche or newer sports the right demographic and a ton of exposure.

What does this mean? A lot more exposure for League or Legends, Overwatch and even the UFC if they play their cards right.

Remember, these niche and newer sports and starting from scratch in a way. An mid eight figure deal for an eSports league or new MMA organization is a windfall for them. The same can be said for a non-power five conference like the Mountain West who floated the idea earlier this year of going to straight OTT model.

The fact is that Disney, Comcast, and Fox are unlikely to retract the amount of cable outlets they have. And if they are unwilling to play these huge amounts for the rights to the NFL, NBA and others then they’ll have to fill the hours on their networks somehow. That could give newer, cheaper sports entities like Riot Games League or Legends or the UFC an opportunity to swoop in provide quality content that pull desirable demos for a reasonable price.

The winds of change are upon the sports networks and leagues. You are already seeing layoffs because of these changes and you are going to see more. But these changes are inevitable and disrupting but not the end all be all. Opportunity does exist for the traditional sports networks and leagues but the have to accept the fact their options may not be as beneficial to them as things were in the past. For the newcomers, get ready for a windfall of money and a lot more exposure. Here’s to hoping that you know how to scale.

The Sunday – Right Back At Ya

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 5.21.2017

Ouch

Some days you think, ‘man, that guy doesn’t deserve all that money to be a pitcher.’ Then other days you see the hazards of being on.

 

Well Done

And now it’s time to take a look at the best of MLS this past Saturday.

 

 

 

Goals

It turned out to be the game winner for the Nashville Predators. And all it took was a dive from a kid.

While this was impressive, it may not have been as impressive as the Tennessee Titans slamming tallboys during a previous game in Nashville.

 

Respect

Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell died this past week from an apparent suicide. The Seattle Mariners honored the Seattle native during their game Thursday night with a moment of silence and a playlist featuring Cornell’s music.