Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

The Changing Room

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

New York Times Magazine (February 3, 2008)

The first time I walked into an N.F.L. locker room — the locker room of the New York Giants, as it happens — I was shocked by how little effort went into making me feel as if I didn’t belong. I’d grown used to baseball locker rooms, where the players’ edginess made outsiders feel instantly unwelcome and rendered useful human interaction all but impossible. In their private sanctums, baseball players behave as if someone might walk in at any moment and ask them to leave; they’re a bit like starving dogs who have just stumbled upon a slab of raw meat. Not all of them, of course — the effect is atmospheric, produced by the sum of the personalities. Give 25 professional baseball players a place to call their own and they give it a forbidding name: clubhouse. If you aren’t a member, you don’t belong.

via The Changing Room – New York Times

The Kick Is Up and It's … A Career Killer

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

New York Times – Play Magazine (October 28, 2007)

The Saints had the ball, and a field goal would win it — except the ball was in the Saints’ half of the field, on the 43-yard line. And the record distance the ball would have to travel — 63 yards — was only the first of the kicker’s problems. He was kicking from a dirt surface churned up like a World War I battlefield. The ball would need to cut through the thick, humid New Orleans air and into the closed end of Tulane Stadium, where the wind swirled unpredictably. On top of all that, the kicker lacked the most basic requirement for his job: a foot.

via The Kick Is Up and It’s … A Career Killer – New York Times

What Keeps Bill Parcells Awake at Night

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

New York Times – Play Magazine (October 29, 2006)

After racing out to a 10-0 lead, the Cowboys collapsed. They threw interceptions, dropped passes, allowed sacks, committed penalties. The journalists know this, but they also know that they saw only the same tiny slice of the game that the fans saw on TV. They don’t really know why the team fell apart, and the only way to find out is from the inside — from some coach with a knowledge of the plays, who has studied the game film. But since the head coach, Bill Parcells, forbids his 14 assistant coaches from talking to the news media, the pool of possible informants is one. It’s as if a sensational crime has occurred in broad daylight and there’s only one witness. And he is an extraordinarily reluctant witness.

via What Keeps Bill Parcells Awake at Night – New York Times

The Ballad of Big Mike

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

New York Times Magazine (September 24, 2006)

From the tape alone, Lemming couldn’t say how much Michael Oher had helped his team, just that he was big, fast and fantastically explosive. The last time he met a player with this awesome array of physical gifts was back in 1993, when he went to the Sizzler Steakhouse in Sandusky, Ohio, and interviewed a high-school junior working behind the counter named Orlando Pace.

via The Ballad of Big Mike – New York Times

First to the Ball

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

New York Times Magazine (February 5, 2006)

Willie Wood was never the fastest defensive back on the field, but he was often the first to the ball. He was never given a fixed assignment; he really was a free safety. During a game, he felt like the quarterback of the Packers’ defense. His gift was for making judgments (about the flow of the play, the weaknesses of his teammates, the strengths of his opponents) and turning them into big hits and interceptions. The Packers listed him at 5-feet-10 and 190 pounds, but he weighed only 175. He made up for the missing pounds with instinct and need.

via First to the Ball – New York Times

The Eli Experiment

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

New York Times Magazine (December 19, 2004)

When Eli was a star quarterback at the University of Mississippi, Montgomery recalls, Archie would drive up from his home in New Orleans to see his son play at the school where he once filled the same role himself. Ole Miss fans still speak of these visits as a Roman Catholic might speak of a trip by the pope. There are streets in Oxford, Miss., named for Archie Manning, halls devoted to his memory, ballads written and actually sung to commemorate Archie Manning. The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is Archie’s old number, 18. Archie played games in the late 1960’s that they still talk about.

Yet so far as anyone could tell, Eli hadn’t read his Scripture — hadn’t even bothered to skim the Cliff Notes. Archie can recall Eli wanting to discuss his legendary performances only once: ”When he called me after he got to Ole Miss and said he came across my stats in the media guide, and that they weren’t very good.”

via The New York Times > Magazine > The Eli Experiment