Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. How to Improve the NFL’s Goofy Point-After-Touchdown


The 25-yard point-after-touchdown kick is a bad rule change. It introduces uncertainty, but at the cost of reduced heroics, which is the lifeblood of any spectator sport, and greater disappointment and heartbreak, which only sells tickets in certain unusual markets.

danmowrey_display_imageOne of the most exciting, dramatic, and satisfying aspects of football is the fourth-quarter comeback. The trailing team gets the ball deep in their own territory with the clock breathing down their necks. But they hit a couple of key passes, step out of bounds at the right times, and make efficient use of their timeouts. As the seconds wind down, they put the ball in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown!


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Primal Conservatism of the Littlest Ram


CharlieOutlined against a blue-gray October sky, the mighty Rams stood in the majestic calm of their frigid, pre-game battlefield. Outside without a proper coat, my six-year old, Charlie, stood in an eternal line at the frozen, undermanned concession stand. The undefeated Rams awaited the opening kickoff of their game against the hated Spartans — their bitter rival, the only team to beat the Rams in over three years. Charlie awaited a Styrofoam cup of tepid cocoa — bitter swill, sold for two bucks a slug by the girls in the pep squad. The Rams had been waiting for this game all season. Charlie had been waiting for his cocoa for half an hour. The excitement was palpable. The cocoa? Palatable.

It was a chilly Friday night in America and Charlie had come to cheer his Rams on to victory in the biggest high school football game of the season. Damn the cold, daddy; this is war. And Charlie wanted to be on the front lines.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. ESPN Scatters the Embers


grantland“Sports serves society by providing vivid examples of excellence.” — George F. Will

Earlier today, ESPN announced that it is shuttering its sports commentary website, Grantland. Dear friends, I am heartbroken. I will miss the well-written, offbeat sports journalism, but I will get over that. Somehow, someway, the internet will provide me with something else to read in the bathroom. The handful of Grantland contributors whose work I followed religiously will no doubt resurface elsewhere. The sun will rise; the world will turn. But my heart breaks, nonetheless, because I cherished the idea of Grantland.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Media Death Watch: The Sports Edition


shutterstock_58823527There have been several threads in these parts noting the threat to traditional media from technology. The conventional wisdom is that live sports is the only thing going for cable and broadcast. Mostly, that’s true. Forbes had a story that 25 of 29 domestic local telecasts of MLB games led their markets in cable viewing this summer. A third of those also led when broadcast stations were included.

But that doesn’t mean anyone is breathing easier tonight. Your sports watching experience is about to get, well, different. In order to compensate for smaller fractionalized audiences and escalating rights fees, both ESPN and Fox Sports are changing the way they cover games.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. God and Man at Notre Dame


The cocaine was in the back bedroom. NotND my scene. I have always been more of a shot and beer and a shot and a beer and a shot and a beer and a shot and a beer man, myself. I wasn’t in the market for a new habit that evening, so I declined my share of Colombia’s finest, comfortable in the knowledge that my comparatively abstemious nature would mean a healthier portion for someone with a better traveled nose than my own.

At Notre Dame, we are not above trafficking in portents (or narcotics…), so I was especially averse to dabbling in the illicit that particular evening. One ought not tempt the wrath of the Almighty by taking up law-breaking on one’s first night in law school. At least, that was what I believed. But looking around the room at my new classmates, it was clear there was a healthy diversity of opinion as to what constituted impermissible taunting of He under whose sign we had come to study. But what was never in dispute that evening or any other was the sign itself. Pablo Escobar may cater the mixers, but we all knew and would never deny that Christ Crucified quietly watched over even the snowiest noses at Notre Dame.


Member Post


The good, decent, upstanding Pittsburgh Steelers demean themselves by playing those inveterate scumbags, the San Diego Chargers. [Gary is under the weather. Filling in for Gary tonight is Gary’s doctrinaire liberal friend, Harry. Harry does not apologize in advance for being better than you.] More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Fifty-Six to Four: The Tears of a Sportsman


Billy CropAt his natural position, no one in the league was his equal. He was what hockey folks call a “stay-at-home” defenseman, a player who specializes in using his physicality, vision, and disciplined play to neutralize the opposing team’s offensive star. He had always been one of the smallest players on his team, but he compensated for his modest stature by playing with a bulldog’s tenacity. He was fearless and the fans loved him for it. Opposing centers hated his miserable guts, but to the people in the stands, he represented everything beautiful about the game.

Ohh, did I mention he’s eight-years-old? Gonna be nine in January.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Stop It, Dad, You’re Embarrassing Me


Friday-Night-FightsI’ve long felt conflicted about Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. True, it’s one of the worst federal agencies, but that particular trio is my favorite weekend agenda — especially when football is added in. Leave it to the government to screw that up.

During the halftime of a high school football game, BATF Special Agent Marc Delpit allegedly beat up the dad of one of his son’s teammates and allegedly threatened an allegedly gathering crowd at gunpoint. Allegedly. According to multiple witnesses, Delpit punched the victim to the ground and kept on punching. When bystanders tried to step in, witnesses said the agent drew his pistol and brandished it at the crowd. (Actually they said he “waved” it, but how often do you get to use the word “brandished?”)


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. RIP, Yogi Berra


66653Yogi Berra — one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history, and one of its wittiest sages — has died at 90, exactly 69 years to the day after his major league debut with the Yankees. Since then, he became a 15-time All Star, three-time American League MVP, and led teams from both leagues to the World Series as a manager. In all, he either played or managed 21 World Series, thirteen times for the winning team.

Berra was a beloved figure for the sayings he offered which came to be known as Yogi-isms, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” probably being the most famous. He once gave directions to his house as “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Gun Grabbers’ Mask Slips


When Democrats and gun control advocates talk about “gun safety,” they mean only one thing: banning guns and attempting to confiscate them from law-abiding citizens. Sure, they may talk about “gun safety” or “gun violence*,” but what they really want are guns out of the hands of the private citizens.

Gun safety isn’t all that hard, actually. The four rules were laid out almost 50 years ago by Marine Colonel Jeff Cooper, and they’re still true today. But to the gun grabbers such as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), those rules don’t exist. All guns are capable of magically leaping off the table or out of the holster and inflicting wanton destruction, all by themselves. Any attempt, therefore, to increase gun safety that doesn’t involve turning your guns in is evil, and in their eyes, deserves ridicule. But they have now taken their opposition to new lows by opposing a federal grant to help educate kids about gun safety.


Member Post


Just wondering: Would there be any interest in a Ricochet fantasy football league? I’ve played fantasy football for years, but have never run a league. Still, it might be fun to step away from our political battles and hit the gridiron each week. For all I know, members have already arranged their own. But if […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Curt Schilling and Logical Fallacies


CurtSchillingTweetFormer star major-league pitcher and current ESPN broadcaster Curt Schilling found himself running afoul of proper online sensibilities today when he tweeted (and then deleted) a picture comparing Nazis to contemporary Islamic extremism.

Naturally, outrage followed, particularly from Gawker Media’s Deadspin, which referred to Schilling as a “big idiot.” (Watch out, Oscar Wilde!) As expected, Schilling was savaged in the comments, and the discussion quickly turned to how Republican presidential candidates are roughly as extremist as Islamic terrorists.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Olympic Hurdles


LHMOjgYVThe splendid news that Boston’s controversial 2024 Olympics bid has come to an end is just the latest evidence that people are beginning to wake up to the fact that hosting a five-ring spectacle of totalitarian bloat is not something that any city should want to do. As NPR notes:

The Olympics are often presented as a chance to enrich a city with new public spending. But Bent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart, the Oxford economists, point out that every Olympics since 1960 has gone above budget an average of 179 percent. They call the Olympics “one of the most financially risky type of mega projects that exists, something that many cities and nations have learned to their peril.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Are You Ready for Some Canadian Football?


CFLlogoOnce again, football season is finally here. No, not the NCAA or the NFL, whose seasons do not begin until late August and early September, but rather the Canadian Football League, the first game of the 2015 season being a showdown tonight between the Ottawa RedBlacks and the Montréal Alouettes on ESPN2 at 6:30pm CDT. As for how I became interested in Canadian football, here is the story…

It was July of 2012 and I had just returned to Lubbock after having spent nearly two months in the United Kingdom doing historical research. The beginning of the NCAA and NFL football seasons was still several weeks away, but I noticed that there were a number of Canadian football games showing on ESPN3, so I decided to check them out. Almost instantly, I was hooked.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. UNC’s Academic Probation


unclogoThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a nationally known institute of higher learning. That, and they are known for their basketball history and some successful other sports as well. Last week, an academic accrediting body officially put the school on a one-year probation, after finding widespread fraud over an 18 year period in its African and Afro-American Studies department. The department is closely tied with the college’s athletics programs, and has cast a pall over the entire academic integrity of the school:

Wainstein’s report went much further than previous investigations and revealed an extensive pattern of academic fraud, which stretched nearly two decades and encompassed hundreds of fake independent studies and no-show classes in the African and Afro-American Studies department. Athletes were disproportionately enrolled in the sham classes, which helped them maintain sufficient grades to remain eligible to compete.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Everything You Know About FIFA is Wrong


shutterstock_82074565FIFA is a shadowy tax-free organisation whose army of bureaucrats has been extorting bribes for years while they auction off the rights to host the World Cup. All that is evil about FIFA is personified by Sepp Blatter, who was forced to resign as a result of corruption investigations led by the FBI. Because FIFA controls world football with an iron fist, only change at FIFA will clean up the game.

Right? Wrong.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Tom Brady and “Deflate-gate” — The Penalty Phase


brady_CBS Sports imageThe NFL is now weighing sanctions against Tom Brady, following the completion of its “Deflate-gate” investigation and the issuance of a long report. It’s a perfect, lighter-than-air cheating scandal for fans to ponder during the long off-season.

Per the rules, a proper NFL game football “shall be made up of an inflated (12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind.” Brady’s New England Patriots were caught using balls which later tested out as low as a relatively Charmin-soft 10.5 psi. That is one soft urethane bladder!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Who Have You Got in the Kentucky Derby?


 AP Photo/Garry JonesThe first Saturday in May is upon us: Derby Day! I’ve become a fan ever since getting an HDTV. It’s so beautiful, and I’ve been known to well up during “My Old Kentucky Home”It’s about memories — not of Kentucky bluegrass, but of Carry Back and Secretariat.

Care to pick a winner? I’m sure you can beat my method, the tried-and-failed “great name” strategy.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. New Baseball Commish Wants to Play Ball with Cuba


PitcherFidelAccording to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred wants to schedule a Spring Training game in Cuba in 2016.

“To the extent that we can play a role in helping the United States government effectuate a change in policy, that we’re following their lead and we’re acting in a way that’s consistent with what they want us to do, that’s an honor for us,” Manfred is quoted as saying.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Death of Football


Chris Borland, promising young linebacker and nominee for the 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award shocked the world of professional football by announcing his retirement yesterday after just one year in the pros. He cites concerns over his health related specifically to several concussions, including one in his first preseason with the 49ers (he played through the pain for fear of losing his shot at the big leagues.) For a team that has already seen several prominent players retire early since the Super Bowl last month, Chris’ decision is a particularly devastating development.

Borland is not the first young player to announce he is retiring due to safety concerns; oft-injured Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker retired last week stating he no longer had the burning desire necessary to compete in such a physically demanding sport. Jason Worilds, too, has hung up his cleats, although his decision is based on a desire to pursue religious interests.