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The New England Patriots begin their season Sunday on the road against the Miami Dolphins. Quaterback Tom Brady is expected to be on the field, despite missing practice Thursday.

It’s a Patriots team with a lot of familiar faces, and several notable additions.

Football writer Mike Reiss joined WBUR’s Morning Edition to preview the season. Listen to his full interview above.

How much football is too much for TV?

That's the question CBS and the NFL may face Sept. 11, when the curtain rises on their ambitious experiment to build a new broadcast television home for pro football on Thursdays.

Update at 6 p.m. ET

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted to an NFL team, has been released by the St. Louis Rams, the team has announced.

ESPN.com writes:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, comes a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.

The beginning of the NFL season is only three weeks away. To prepare for Week 1, nearly half the league’s franchises are participating in joint practices with other teams, with varying degrees of success. ESPN’s senior NFL writer and commentator John Clayton joined Bill Littlefield to explain why joint practices are more popular than ever.

BL: Joint practices are not new, but they do seem to have become more popular. Why is that?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revoked the trademark of the NFL's Washington Redskins, after ruling in a case brought by five Native Americans who say the name disparages them. While the decision could have wide repercussions, it does not require the team to change its name. It is also subject to appeal, which the team has confirmed it will pursue.

The old saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans."

But in the case of the Roman numeral for 50, the National Football League has decided, at least for 2016 (and, admittedly in San Francisco, not Rome), to do as the Arabs.

The official explanation is that "Super Bowl L" just isn't as pleasing to the eye as its Arabic numeral equivalent, "Super Bowl 50."

Not so long ago, while enjoying a libation in a decorous saloon, the proprietor — who happened to hail from the fabled Windy City — suddenly jarred the genteel assembled by turning on the Cubs game. Just at that moment, a Cubby was heading toward the plate when the throw came in, and the runner (spoiler alert!), being a Cub, was tagged out.

Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined 48 other senators calling for the name of the NFL's Washington franchise to be changed. The letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell referenced the NBA's response to the Donald Sterling controversy regarding comments Sterling made about African-Americans.

Jeffrey Beall / Creative Commons

Prosecutors say former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who already faces a murder charge in a man's shooting death last year, has been indicted on new murder charges in an unrelated 2012 double slaying in Boston.

The victims in that killing, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, were shot to death as they sat in a car in Boston's South End on July 16, 2012. Police have said they were shot by someone who drove up alongside in an SUV and opened fire. 

The first round of the NFL brought a few surprises Thursday, after No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina went to the Houston Texans, as many expected. For many, the story of the night was Heisman winner Johnny Manziel – and how the Cleveland Browns wound up with a new quarterback after skipping him with its first pick.

The Browns took a convoluted route to get Manziel: the team traded away its No. 4 pick, then made other trades that slightly shifted their other slots.

A small number of universities are starting to go against the grain, reducing amenities and frills in favor of keeping the costs relatively low.

Neil Theobald is the president of Temple University, which recently began offering students $4,000 per year in grants — if they promise to limit the number of hours they work during the school year and graduate on time.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid says the NFL should consider ousting Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Snyder has been criticized — even by President Obama — over the name of his football team, which is considered a racial epithet against Native Americans.

Libby Baker / Wikimedia Commons

Is there a connection between what happens in youth sports and the locker room bullying of Richie Incognito or the steroid-spattered reputations of Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong?

And, we all know that major college sports have become engines of commerce allowing a lot of people, although not the athletes who drive those engines, to get rich.

But, is there any way in which those dollar signs are sliding down into youth and high school sports.

Jim Larrison / Creative Commons

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972  gave women the same rights to educational opportunities as men at every level of schooling.

While the law says that schools must give equal consideration to men and women when deciding who gets admitted to a school, who gets financial aid, and where a student lives while at school, the clause allowing women entrance to sports has long overshadowed the rest. 

Chion Wolf

Four women join us to talk about sports, mostly football. Two of them are sports journalists. A third is a journalist specializing in legal issues, and a fourth is a scientist and engineer.

Now that Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, has announced that he is gay, there's been a lot of mumbling that he would be a distraction — but it's really an issue of antipathy.

NFL Prospect Michael Sam Comes Out As Gay

Feb 10, 2014

On Sunday, in interviews with The New York Times and on ESPN's Outside the Lines, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam said that he is gay.

Michael Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year out of Missouri, talked about being gay in an interview with The New York Times that ran Sunday, although his college coaches and teammates already knew. Sam was expected to be a solid NFL draft pick in May, making this a particularly intriguing time for him to come out. Assuming he's drafted, Sam would become the first active NFL athlete to be openly gay.

Michael Sam has been a star defensive end at the University of Missouri. He's been an All-American and The Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

A senior, he's been among the players scouts have said are sure to be selected by an NFL team when the league holds its draft on May 8-9.

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday night, the first Super Bowl victory in the team's history.

The game got off to an odd start on the first play from scrimmage when Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball past quarterback Peyton Manning, who was walking up to the line and didn't have his hands ready. That set the tone for the trouncing the Broncos would receive over the course of the night at the hands of the voracious Seahawks.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

John Moffitt started playing football when he was 8 years old, and made it all the way to the top of the game. He played offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons, then got traded to another powerhouse team, the Denver Broncos.

Incidentally, those two teams are playing in Super Bowl XLVIII, but Moffitt won't be on the field; he quit midway through this season.

The deluge of hype, buildup, beer and pizza ads will be over on Sunday, because either the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos will rise victorious out of the swamps of Jersey — raising high the trophy that goes to the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII. Back in the hometowns, the fans are gearing up.

On Sunday, the Super Bowl will draw a TV audience of more than 100 million people, spawn countless watching parties and generate a week's worth of chatter about the half-time show and the best commercials. But at the heart of it is a game — one that Ray Didinger has been covering for decades for a variety of media organizations, including NFL Films.

Sure, the game-time temperature's going to be in the low-30s or high-20s at Sunday's Super Bowl in New Jersey.

But brokers say that's not the only reason why tickets to the game aren't going for super-high prices on the websites where they're being resold.

Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

It's Monday. That means our show is The Scramble, where we make a lot of decisions on a last minute basis. We asked our super guest, Marc Tracy of The New Republic, to pick three topics about which Colin would quickly get up to speed. 

Post-game interviews of NFL players are almost always predictable and boring. They go something like this:

Reporter: "Congratulations. How did you guys turn the game around?"

Player: "One play at a time. The team stuck together. We worked hard. The good Lord was with us. The fans were great. Hi, Mom!"

Stefano Tinti/iStock / Thinkstock

Through no act of overarching planning, all three of our segments today will deal directly, or otherwise, with sports.

In our first segment, we talk with Linda Holmes from the NPR culture blog, Monkey See. We also delve into the controversy over a recent New York Times column by former executive editor, Bill Keller

Although he says he still wants to be a quarterback in the National Football League, former phenom Tim Tebow has signed up to be a college football analyst for ESPN.

The sports network announced Monday that Tebow is coming aboard to be part of SEC Nation — a "pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014."

Whether or not you like the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, this news may warm your heart:

Jon Kitna, who is coming out of retirement to be the team's emergency quarterback on Sunday, plans to donate his $53,000 paycheck from the game to the Tacoma, Wash., high school where he now teaches math and coaches football.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

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