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CoolBeaver83

Beauty is only pig-skin deep

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I am fond of DFS. The format is great. The experience is thrilling. It accelerates the spectator’s fun factor.

But there was never a sport for me to try myself out in. Soccer is not my cup of tea hockey is too research intensive with 3 games per week per team. I tried Dota2 back in the day, but it was hard to find great information, and I’m not too excited to watch Dota games anyway.

And then a chance appeared. The sport of American Football arrived.

2019-2020 NFL season was the first one I followed closely. In fact, I took part in some of the season-long leagues, and I’ve done some research in that department. But I thought it would stay locked to the free-to-play season long fantasy, as AF DFS was USA only thing.

And then it suddenly changed. Just a week or two prior to the season’s start I got a note that Fanteam launches AF DFS. I was pumped up as hell, ready to give it a go.

It failed spectacularly. Here’s why.

I won’t be analizing it from player picks, as 1) it was too long ago to even remember it and 2) there’s hardly anyone here who is deep into AF. Instead, I will talk general reasons for my failure.

1.     Lack of confidence

I was too afraid to take risky moves, when it came to playing for money. Prior to the season start I was confident that Lamar Jackson, a QB in his second year, who is supper-great at running the ball will take the league by storm. Despite many people criticizing his playstyle and his throwing abilities, I believed in him. I took him in season longs. I predicted his team to win the division. I was telling my AF teammates to watch him closely. I was on his bandwagon before it became a trend.

He was unanimously named the NFL MVP at the end of that season.

Yet I got too scared to pick him week1 for a pretty favorable price.

He threw 5 TDs in his first game.

This is a move I’m still regretting.

2.     Too much research

AF DFS started in mid-September, when my sophomore year in University just started, so I had a lot of time to spend on fantasy. I was watching many American videos, I was reading articles, running the numbers. Yet when it came time to build my teams, I was left stranded between all that info, not knowing what to do with it.

3.     Those damned regs

I thought that the competition would be pretty lacking at such an unusual sport. Yet now I see that sharks are ready to play absolutely everywhere. My mere 5 teams were drowned in a sea of those sharks. Granted, a better player would have ITMed even with 5 teams, but still.

4.     Sheer luck, or lack thereof

Nick Foles was one of my QBs for the week1. A contrarian, bargain in terms his price tag. He started well, throwing a TD in the early first quarter. The only problem: he broke his collarbone in that very same play, instantly decreasing the number of teams I would be able to get ITM. I mean, luck is obviously a factor, and blaming it is unreasonable, but I didn’t get much of it anyways.

5.     Demoralized after a bad start

In my first 5 weeks of playing, I got 1 ITM out of 25. I felt like I was doing everything I could, yet it didn’t work. So naturally my interest started to degrade. It is not even about money; I wasn’t getting positive emotions out of my picks. Add to it the fact that I was finally having to spend more time on my University, and that I had I sudden urge to replay XCOM2. With free time limited, I was more inclined to spend it on playing my favorite PC game (and being good at it) then to spend it on losing money in DFS. So, after 7 weeks of playing, with 1 ITM out of 35 and a net lose of 50 euros, I called it quits.

The tale is neither tragic nor unusual for the world of DFS. I bet there are thousands of people with stories like my own. I wasn’t even really losing my own money, and 50 euros is not much anyway. And I would like to give it a second try. But for now I enjoy a role of silent observer of the DFS world much more, that a role of active participant.

DFS week1.jpg


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(edited)

After your last detailed post I have but one question to ask - how did your season-long fantasy team do?

You mentioned one thing - quitting after it stopped being fun and a lot of negativity losing all the time. When all the dust settles, give it another go. Many started just like you - losing their first deposits. It doesn't end there. On the other hand - you have to have fun, if you don't better not play at all.

Edited by KJIIOIIIKA

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11 hours ago, KJIIOIIIKA said:

After your last detailed post I have but one question to ask - how did your season-long fantasy team do?

You mentioned one thing - quitting after it stopped being fun and a lot of negativity losing all the time. When all the dust settles, give it another go. Many started just like you - losing their first deposits. It doesn't end there. On the other hand - you have to have fun, if you don't better not play at all.

I was playing in 3 season-longs. Ended 3rd out of 20 in one, somehow 11th out of 12th despite having the fourth best team in terms of points in the other. The third league got cancelled due to some problems, pre-season my draft was third best, but that tell nothing. Overall, it went pretty well for a first try. Also, played in a 7 euro tournament on Zwheeler, where you choose 8 teams  like in DFS - you have a limited budget to buy the teams you think will win most and get furthest + "captain" one team to get extra points if they win the Superbowl. Finished pretty high up after correctly predicting KC's championship, winning 25 euros or so. 

 

I will give it a try next autumn and see how it goes.image.thumb.png.db3ac4b8e81c11f6b7db295a5f3e14ad.png


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On 5/4/2020 at 3:59 PM, CoolBeaver83 said:

Most people, who play DFS regularly got into that hobby due to their interest in sports. But what if I told you that in my case the very opposite thing happened: my interest in DFS led to me discovering American Football as a sport.
Cause that’s what actually happened.

Today is one-year anniversary of my first game in a starter capacity, so I thought I would tell you my rather unusual backstory. Brace for a longpost.
As a kid I was playing hockey and was somewhat good at it too. Ay my peak I was actually playing for u13 Sibir (middle of the pack KHL team) as a third line defender. However, I didn't want to pursue professional sports career (and probably would not have too much chances at it either), and with turmoil amongst our coaching staff (3 head coaching changes in 2 years) I left for good. After that I played for amateur teems until the end of my school years. So I was no stranger to physical and brutal sports.
When I was 15, my father and uncle were actively playing hockey DFS, so naturally I got interested in it. In fact, I tried to play Dota fantasy, but ended up winning 5 euros over half a year, and then the website died.
But while I was at it, my uncle suggested me to read a famous book by Daniel Barbarisi "Dueling with Kings". I enjoyed the book, but when American football and baseball DFS were mentioned, I struggled to understand what's going on. So, I went to Wikipedia for answers.
Baseball rules seemed unusual, but while I liked the idea of the sport, watching the games was boooooring.
Football, on the other hand... it was something.
The rules were long and nuanced. I loved it. Then I got to watch some games. I loved it. Then I installed madden 13 on my tablet. And I loved it.
I was in my final school year at the time, and I was dead set on applying to Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. So, I was glad to discover that "Wild Pandas" American Football team was actually practicing at FEFU's facility. Getting to try Gridiron for size was one more reason for me eagerly waiting for my freshman year.
Than another shocker happened. Completely by accident I discovered that in my hometown there was also an American football team. Even better, they were practicing at an indoor facility two blocks away from my house.
The next day I was there.

December 17, 2017 marked my first American football practice.
Wow, that was quite long. Still, it is amazing how DFS had such an impact on my life, even though I barely played DFS itself.
Anyway, in the next post I will cover the start of my career as a wide receiver for Novisibirsk American Football team "Iron Wings".

Sibir.jpg

I wonder who your father and uncle might be heh😉here's a question for you (I'm a total football noob, bear that in mind) - aren't football games kinda boring too? I mean, obviously not for you 'cos you love 'em, but those bits and pieces that I saw were kinda blah (again, IMO). I also know that a football game may continue for like 4 hours (including the half-time break), so how is it possible to capture viewers' attention for such a prolonged period of time?


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On 5/6/2020 at 2:44 PM, CoolBeaver83 said:

Today I want to take a detour from telling my backstory to share my thoughts on something more relatable to some of you out here. Here is my take on soccer vs American football comparison.

Disclaimer: I absolutely love five-a-side football. It’s action-packed and exciting. The 11vs11 football on that gigantic pitch though… I’ve tried it a couple of times, and it really is not even that interesting to play it, let alone watch it. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

1)     General accessibility.

People say that best ability is availability, and it is why soccer is so popular around the world. The only thing you need to play it is a ball. Having additional accessories (i.e. goalposts, boundaries, a ref or two) is great but unnecessary. And you can easily have fun even if there are six of you.

AF, on the other hand, requires a more exotic kind of ball, is hard to play without ref and boundaries and you can’t full-contact variant without armor (which at the cheapest costs 100 euros). Sure, there are non-contact game (flag-football, ultimate football), but even then, they are pretty contacty and require 8 guys at the bare minimum, in my experience.

So, you are not going to see people had to playground for a AF match. Not in Europe, at least.

2)     The rules

This is really just an extension of my previous point. I can brag all I want about how unintuitive soccer’s offside rule is to me (seriously, why it works even off random bounces?), but amateurs can just play without that rule, and there are no other puzzling rules for amateurs. No one in their right mind can claim that American football rules are more comprehensive. Seriously, many of my teammates still struggle with some basic rules, and they have been playing AF for years.

In fact, pigskin football holds the record for the longest rulebook out of all sports. Not sure if soccer even has a rulebook)

3)     Spectators’ interest

Well, hard rules push spectators away from the screen. That’s a huge win for soccer.

On the flipside, I think AF is much more exciting. The action is concentrated in one spot on the field, every play is meaningful and so on. To that I would add the AF is much more brutal, and while I myself don’t care that much about the brutality, remember, we are a mere million years removed from bashing each other’s head with clubs, so many are pumped up by those crazy hits.

One more point in AF’s favor is that scores happen pretty common, especially in the modern league. The last scoreless tie in the NFL dates back to… WW2. EPL features a couple of them every game week.

I feel like Russians would have enjoyed AF a lot if they knew the rules. Sadly, they don’t. And that American in the name doesn’t help one bit. It’s funny how one guy on the internet was telling us to stop playing that American game and instead go play… hockey. Cause that’s a traditional Russian sport, apparently.

4)     Injuries

A fun fact: my only AF injury (broken toe) happened during… pre-practice game of soccer. Pure evil.

On a more serious note: American football is much more dangerous. That is bad for the sport, sadly. Professionals are fine, they are paid handsomely. But what about amateurs (like us in Russia). You don’t want to suffer a broken leg when you are the only source of profit for your family. Not every parent is ready to send his child into the fray (and rightfully so).

So yet again, soccer is the winner.

5)     Miscellaneous

It’s easier to find a team to cheer for in soccer.

There are more leagues to choose from in soccer.

AF has salary cap and draft, so teams are more equal. Good or bad – decide for yourself.

There are no international competitions in AF.

It’s very hard to find an American football field in Europe. Amateurs have to draw yard lines themselfes (using choke are white tape). Even for so called NFL “international game” in London, they use a soccer stadium with a changed the pitch (I think they played on Wembley).

Yikes that’s long… To sum it up, AF is generally at a huge disadvantage in non-America, and I just don’t see that changing in a near future.

This is something I am looking forward to discussing with you.

wembley.jpg

Salary cap is a win, that's for sure. See, hockey is a Canadian sport, and they haven't done anything wrong against Russia, so I guess that's that lol. By the way, why is the American football ball called 'pigskin'? Is that what it's made out of?

Another thing that I would add - football in the States is a pretext for the entire family gathering together in front of a TV, so this is more like a family thing for them. If Russians watch anything at all at family dinners, that would be soccer, and even that is a stretch.


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On 5/9/2020 at 5:33 PM, CoolBeaver83 said:

Thanks for your opinion. I think you're right, it's just that the rules are not that simple. I will try though.

My family was rather supportive in that department. I mean, hockey wasn't any less risky in terms of injuries. And it's just a hobby. Plus, I was 17 at the time, and I was spending my own money on the hobby, so they weren't against it. They went to my only game in my hometown and watched those that I played elsewhere online.

My father likes to make fun of the hobby, but not in a mean way. And he actually dived into the sport a bit himself. We even throw ball sometimes these days.

My mother doesn't care too much. As long as I do some kind of exercise, she is happy.

My younger brother is a soccer player, so naturally we argue sometimes, but again it's in a friendly way. Just two hours ago we played real-life soccer penalty kicks, then some AF, then FIFA. Glad to say I won all 3, but he is 7 years younger, so it's not a big deal)

So yeah, they aren't actively against it. And they tell about my hobby to their friends, so I guess they approve it.

father.jpg

Your choice of an NHL gear is better in this pic😄😄by the way, do you have your favorite NHL teams? I suppose your father likes the Devils, but what about you? Is it the Pens?


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On 5/14/2020 at 9:00 AM, CoolBeaver83 said:

I had a hard time going to sleep last night, so I was think about stuff, American Football included, and I remembered one bizarre and, I shall say, outright bad thing in the NFL and AF by extension. Behold - the overtime rules.

When the game is tied after regulation, the overtime sets in. However, American Football is a very asymmetrical sport. In hockey the OT starts with a faceoff, so it's everyone's game. In soccer there are two symmetrical extra halves. But gridiron has a system that I just can't fathom. 

A coinflip decides which team gets to attack first. If they score a TD on their first possession, they win. Yep, just like that. If they score a field goal, their opponents get one attack to match (and then the game is in sudden death) or score a TD (and then they win).

In there is no score on the first attack, the game is in SD as well.

I hate it. You see, the first team gets an advantage. It's like a penalty shootout, where the game can end with the first team scoring, never giving the second team a chance. And even if the first score is a field goal, just matching it will lead again to the same situation. And even if both teams don't score.

There are people, who defend the OT rules, but rarely do the do it sanely. Here are some of their points.

1) "It's a tradition". Hard to argue here, but it's hardly a strong point in the OT's defense either.

2) "Well, the team should just defend well, if they let a TD, they don't deserve to win". I strongly dislike this phrase. AF is the ‘teamest’ sport of all team sports, so just not letting half of the team on the field is unfair.

3) "There are no ties in American sports". Sound solid, until you realize, that there actually are ties in AF. In regular season, OT lasts 10 minutes, and if the score is still tied - it's a tie. 

So, what are the solutions?

1) Just don't play OT in regular season - ties are normal for American football, there are a couple every season. Nothing crazy will happen, if there are a dozen of extra ties. This reduces meaningless injury risks as well.

2) Play some real football in playoffs OT - just play two 10-minute halves of real football, have one team start one half, another start another. The problem is extra injury risks - the game is extended by 33% after all, but it's only in playoffs, where you can't preserve you anymore anyway.

3) Two-point-conversion shootout - The closest thing to a penalty shootout in other sports - attacking team starts 2 yards away from the goal line, and has one try to score. Then another team is in the same spot. Do that 3 or 5 times, highest score wins, a tie is broken by extra tries. A 2pt is successful 50% of the time, so a tie should be broken pretty fast. And that's not just my opinion - an alternative league XFL, which sadly went bankrupt due to our friend COVID-19, had this system in the rulebook. Sadly, there were no OTs in the first 4 weeks, and then Coronavirus struck.

4) Modify current OT rules, so that the second team gets to match a TD, but force teams to go for 2pt after a TD. There won't be too many situations, where both teams score a TD, and both fail\succeed of a 2pt. If that happens - repeat. Again, do this in playoff games only.

Recently, NFL was more open to modify their rules, so my prediction is that in 5 years they will adopt an alternative. Until then, there will be some bad and unfair OTs, like 2018's NE Patriots win over Kansas City in semifinals. It was one of the greatest games I have ever watched, here are the highlights. 

 

I actually like options #2 and #3, the second one being the fairest, I think. Here's a question for you - does AF have the same rules as rugby in terms of passing only sideways (I may be wrong here, but don't judge a noob😀)


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I totally understand your frustration after multiple non-ITMs. And now Fanteam is making it even harder for the non-regs to win because of the buy-in/payout structure, scoring, and new formats. And like you, I'm also willing to continue playing when this COVID shitstorm dies down. By the way, I didn't lose my first deposit - I deposited 20 euros and quickly tripled or quadrupled my bankroll. Thank you, will be here all week😃


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21 hours ago, JumboJoe said:

I totally understand your frustration after multiple non-ITMs. And now Fanteam is making it even harder for the non-regs to win because of the buy-in/payout structure, scoring, and new formats. And like you, I'm also willing to continue playing when this COVID shitstorm dies down. By the way, I didn't lose my first deposit - I deposited 20 euros and quickly tripled or quadrupled my bankroll. Thank you, will be here all week😃

Speaking of losing your startin deposit. Fanteam, where I have made the most profit compared to other DFS sites I had played on, is the only place where I lost my deposit. Well, it wasn't really a deposit, I won 50 euros in a freeroll, which I then went on losing. After that, I made a deposit and managed to put it to good use.


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Wow, JumboJoe, that's a lot of questions. I was thinking about a long post for today, perhaps about my experience as an American Football ref (yep, refed one game, completely by accident), but I am not in the mood right now, so instead I will answer your questions.

1) Is AF boring? - Honestly, yes. I like hockey as a spectator sport more. But AF's action is condensed, and all the plays are interesting. There's too much downtime, not gonna deny. But what kills NFL in terms of game length is its obsession with adds (that's what it takes to be the richest league in the world, sadly). A good third of those 3+ hours long games is actually advertisements. What saves is that there are games happening at the same time, so you can switch back and forward. And as you have pointed out yourself - it is their national pastime, so they don't really sit all those 4 hours attached to the screen.

Our games fit in under 2-and-a-half hours. 

2) Why is AF called pigskin? - Yep, they used to make balls out of pig bladder. Ironically, nowadays they make it out of cow hide leather, but the name stuck. Or maybe it didn't, as I haven't heard term pigskin football very often if at all. I remembered it in the back of my head somehow, and it was useful when it came time to name this blog, but in reality, gridiron (football), American football, or just football is how they call it.

3) On the topic of the favorite team. - I don't think my father is a fan of Devils. We have a lot of hockey merchandise, so we do wear it quite often. I would say my father is Blues' fan, not for no reason too. I don't really have a favorite team, last time I was rooting for an NHL team was Hurricanes back in the season when they were "a bunch of jerks". Those post-game celebrations I loved big time. If I had to play NHL on the console today, I'd probably play for the Pens. Yours are Sharks, I’d guess?

4) About passing. - I failed to emphasize in my rules post the fact that you can only make one forward pass during each play, and only if you haven't yet crossed the line of scrimmage. Lateral passes are allowed in an unlimited amount anywhere on the field.

It's great to hear questions from you.

P.S. just days ago my father decorated balcony in his flat. Made it a "hockey balcony". Will attach a picture when I get one.


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Thank you for your complete answers! Now it's time to do some answering of my own)

I also don't have a favorite NHL team - I just follow the league closely. However, I found myself rooting for the Avs a couple of years ago because I fell in love with Nathan Mackinnon and his style of play. So, I guess you could say I'm a Colorado fan. And no, my nickname does not have to do anything with the Sharks as my favorite team - I just like the way it sounds😀I have a great deal of respect for Joe Thornton though.

So, it is allowed to make one forward pass, alright.

I absolutely loved the 'hockey balcony'! I have a small collection of jerseys of my own, but it doesn't compare to what you have there. Loved it! Maybe one day I will post the pics of my collection, which now has about 10 items.

P.S. Loved the memorabilia as well! Spotted Jaromir Jagr, a cool calendar with young Vlady Tarasenko, even a Thrashers baseball cap. Awesome!


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Sorry for a week of idleness. Between having to write a paper for my university (5000 words long) and playing in an online board game tournament (which I’m glad to announce I actually won) I had neither time nor the mood to post a write-up.

I was thinking about writing my thoughts on the ongoing crisis in America, as the NFL has had some issues of the same nature in the past, but then I thought the last think we need in the sport’s world is more political discussion, so I will be avoiding the situation here altogether.

Instead today I wanted to cherry pick some of the best games I have watched during my brief tenure as an American Football fan. Those game might attract you to the sport of American Football, as they are indeed incredible. I will try not to spoil it too much.

1.      Superbowl 54. Chiefs – 49ers.

The most recent game in the NFL was also a pretty action-packed one. Young prodigy Patrick Mahomes versus one of the scariest front-seven defensive unit of the 49ers. Plus, it is one of the rare Superbowls in 21st century without NE Patriots in it.

 

2.      The 28 to 3. Superbowl 51. Patriots – Falcons.

The most well-recognized game out there in the NFL. «Matty Ice» and Falcons’ offence is in the prime position to finish the season with a trophy, overcoming New England’s sturdy defense like it’s nothing. What will Tom “the GOAT” Brady do to stop this rampage? Remember those numbers: 28 to 3.

 

3.      The Minneapolis Miracle. Divisional Round of the 2017 NFL Postseason. Saints at Vikings.

This is an all-around great game. However, the duel of one of the greatest QBs Drew Brees versus Case Keenum, a middle-of-the-pack passer seems to be in favor of the former one. Will Minnesota fans walk away disappointed again?

 

4.      For those who love high scores. Week 11 of the 2018 season. Chiefs at Rams.

This game is considered to be the greatest regular season game of all time. Young prodigy Patrick Mahomes (even younger than in the SB54) and KC’s electric offense, versus hot Jared Goff, his sidekick Todd Gurley the second, and Rams’ electric offense. What also helps is that both defenses are lackluster as ever. This all leads to a combined score of more than 100 points. You don’t get to see it every day.

 

5.      Battle of the Lolcows. Week 16 of the 2019 season. Bengals at Dolphins.

They say that a match between two of the worst teams is nauseating. Well, this match was shaping to be just like that. 1-13 Bengals were seemingly overmatched by 3-11 Dolphins in all phases of the game. And then they weren’t. Check out this incredible game with a very unexpected final.

 

6.      (un)Honorable mention. The Monday Night MUD Bowl. Week 12 of the 2007 season. Dolphins at Steelers.

This is the game no one would be exited to watch. Usually, bad weather games are fun and unpredictable, but not this one. It even featured a ball outright being stuck in the mud. This is a rare one-score game in the world of the NFL.

 

Well, that’s it. There are many games to watch out there in the NFL, here are some of the games I have personally watched and can recommend for a first-time spectator.


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(edited)

Today I want to write about a rather controversial topic: video-review technology in sports. It is a problem not exclusive to the NFL, and in fact many sports are testing the waters regarding assisting the refs on the field. I want to share my thoughts and invite others to share theirs.

First things first: I am no conservative or something. I am 100% for implementing technology in the world of sports. Millions and millions of dollars are invested in the pro leagues, so it makes perfect sense to use technology. Granted, some will say “it’s not the old school sports we loved”, but while this kind of an approach is understandable, it is also undesirable. We will never progress if we cling onto the past. So yeah, I like the idea of VAR in soccer or coaching challenges and mandatory scoring reviews in hockey/American football.

But then comes the question of the implementation. NFL and, as far as I know, other sports keep stating that they support their refs and that video reviews should only overturn obvious mistakes, not judgement calls on the field. And here is where it gets hard. As far as I can remember, @KJIIOIIIKAtold me that VAR is not received well by the fans, as too many games are prolonged due to some half-inch offsides being reviewed. Not great for an already somewhat long game.

But in the NFL, it gets even worse. Not only are the games longer, but the pauses are way too omnipresent. Two years ago, a blatant pass-interference was missed in the conference finals. Here is the reaction to episode back in 2019.

 

This lead to a test of allowing coaches to challenge PI no-calls. A great idea that I support 100%. The problem was in the execution. You see, the guy who reviewed all those challenges is NFL’s VP of officiating Alberto Riveron, and his stance was way too protective towards the refs. He refused to make his refs look bad by reversing their on-field judgements, which lead to those challenges being almost universally useless and time-out wasting (you lose a time-out on failed challenges in the NFL). I even once saw a coach waving his challenge flag to the fans without throwing it, as in saying “I know that the call on the field is incorrect, but they won’t overturn it regardless”.

The removed the PI no-call challenge for the next season. What they should have done instead is removing Al Riveron.

IMO, there should be an extra official, who is watching the game from all the cameras with the ability to buzz refs on field when he sees a missed call. But that’s how VAR works, right? And it seems like it is imperfect too.

Should reviews be limited somehow? Should coaches have opportunities to challenge the calls? Too many questions, too few answers. And I guess there will always be someone offended by the refs. After all, they say “A team is responsible for the wins, a coach is responsible for the loses, and ref is always the one to blame”.

Edited by CoolBeaver83

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While I agree that technology is a rather positive inclusion in modern sports scene, it will take time to strike that perfect balance. It was ridiculous when they were measuring millimetres when it came to offside in the EPL. I would use it for blatant fouls missed, red cards, penalty decisions, obvious offsides missed etc. Not for that millimetre crap.


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The all-star match is a bellowed tradition of all the American sports. The event, where best of the best gather together, where some of the worst rivals play and have fun alongside each other - it is magical. As a kid I loved to watch NHL's master show, and I still remember Ovechkin's two stick shootout back in year 2k9. Relay races were cool. NBA's dunk contest is also very attractive, even for me, a guy, who was never good at basketball on offense and never liked it too much (was a point guard for my class in school competition we won back in the days, but mostly for my defensive and passing skills). 

And then there's NFL's pro bowl. And it sucks.

You see, the show match is where no one wants to get injured. In NBA and NHL they just avoid physical contact and play a game without it fine.

But that doesn't work for American Football - the only way to stop the player is to contact with him. Linemen's battle is all about contact. So, the match is a mere parody of the real football - they do tackle, but they do it very gently, which just looks boring at best.

That is not the only issue though. The pro bowl happens right in-between the semifinals and the finals, so no players from two of the best teams in the league are present - not cool.

The master show is somewhat cool - they do relay races, QB's are challenged in an accuracy competition (quite like NBA's 3-point contest or NHL's "shoot the target"), there are some additional competitions every year, and then there is a game of dodge ball - actually fun to watch, albeit too short.

It's the game itself that sucks. And it's not like you can't change it. You can. Here's how:

1. For non-linemen: play 6on6 flag-football in the sand. It will be a true game AND it will feel like a show match. To top that all, many NFL players have extravagant haircuts, and it will be on full display in that kind of a match.

2. For linemen: a sumo-tournament. No explanation needed; I would watch it 100%.

3. For linemen, who are more about strength then agility: a strong men competition: lifting rocks and pulling trucks. Would watch it too.

4. Move pro bowl to Hawaii and hold it after the Superbowl. That way there are much less players, who would decline the invitation (I gather that Hawaii is more holiday-ish than Orlando, where pro bowl takes place at the time). And award price money for those, who win the games too. Granted, many established players won't care about extra hundred grant when they have millions of dollars, but for many of the less accomplished players (i.e. rookies, linemen) it will be a nice incentive.

At the mo, pro bowl is not worth the time. And it is a shame. It's not like the NFL doesn't have money to make it look fancy...


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Well, the football season is back and so am I. Looking forward to tomorrow's match between reigning champions Chiefs and Texans. A rematch of last year's divisional round is shaping up to be a high-scoring affair. I would take over on the 54.5 O/U, and as for the winner, I would take Pat Mahomes fresh of his half-a-freaking-billion contract extension with a one-score lead, something along the lines of 35-28. 

I will touch on how NFL plans on handling the COVID season, but as of now it is a pretty usual season. There were no preseason games, sure, but they are lame anyway, and while there will be no spectators, it is not such a big hit for my personal NFL experience. I hope they don't botch it like MLB did in some ways.

Hadn't checked out DFS yet, as I'm in the middle of leaving my hometown for my university but starting from the following week I might play recreationally.


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The ongoing NFL season was a typical NFL season three weeks in. Sure, there was a slew of injuries, with some of the top players sidelined for the season or multiple weeks (including two of the top running backs CMC and Saquon Barkley), and 49ers having a literal dozen of starting players out for their week3 game (which they still somehow won), but other than that it was business as usual.

That all changed prior to week4 however. It started with ~10 players from Titans being diagnosed with COVID-19, leading to their game vs Steelers being rescheduled to week7 (Titans had their bye week here, while Steelers and Ravens had their byes week8, with their game that was supposed to happen on week7 moved to week8). A pretty neat maneuver, which on its own would have prevented any serious issues with scheduling. Sadly, lightning struck twice, with players from NE and KC also being COVID+. The NFL is hoping to hold the game on Tuesday instead of Sunday, and provided that this goes through, there will be no issues. The reverse will be true if more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days.

Regardless, it's hard to deny, that the NFL is walking on thin ice. With teams having to play 16 regular season games in 17 weeks, there is little room to maneuver, especially in the second half of the season, where some of the teams will have had their byes already. I am hoping that the NLF is able to steer clear of any additional problems, but it takes just a couple of bad breaks to jeopardize the whole season. American Football is the sole sport which had barely suffered from COVID pandemic, and hopefully it remains that way. It’d be a shame to put an asterisk on this NFL season.


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It looks like there are breakouts in every sport. NBA and NHL had the best bubble, virus-free setup. Was to be expected elsewhere. It's hard to see anything being shut down again, hope we barrel through i every sports.


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