Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

The Lineman’s NFL picks: week 3

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That was a hard earned 3-3 in Week Two that could have very easily been 5-1. Really, it could have. The Eagles failing to cover by .5 and the Raiders happy to give up a score at the death against St. Louis were gut-wrenchers. But then the Texans did come back from the brink to beat the Redskins so, I guess it all evens out in the end. Sort of.

Record: 7-5. Last week 3-3

Pick of the Week: 1-1

PICK OF THE WEEK
Green Bay Packers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (2-0) (Line Packers minus-2.5)

The battle for bragging rights in the NFC North was suppose to be between the Packers and the Vikings not Green Bay and the Bears. But Vikes Brett Favre is looking old and after last season’s flop Bears Jay Cutler has been reborn in the Windy City with the help of offensive mastermind Mike Martz, the man who produced the Greatest Show on Turf when the Rams were Super Bowl champions.

Cutler threw up an NFL high 26 interceptions last season but two weeks into the new campaign he is the league’s top rated passer. I’m not buying it, at least not yet.

Can European soccer learn from NFL on team parity?

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The NFL prides itself on ‘parity’, on the competitive balance between different clubs being close, ensuring that games are tightly-fought contests and that as many teams as possible start the season with some sort of chance of making the Super Bowl.

Looking at the start to this season, with surprise results and with unfancied teams such as Houston and Tampa making bright starts, the balance is very healthy.

The Lineman’s NFL Picks — Week 2

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NFL/Just like the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers it was a decent if unspectacular start to a new season for the Lineman, who was a respectable 4-2 in Week One.

But still room for improvement so here we go with another Six-Pack for Week Two.

from Shop Talk:

Check Out Line: PepsiCo offers up to $5 million for amateur Super Bowl ads

Check out how you can earn $1 million by wearing an electric dog collar.

Okay, not exactly. That was the punch line of a successful amateur ad this year created for PepsiCo's Super Bowl commercial contest, which the food and beverage company is running again for the 2011 Super Bowl with a prize pool of up to $5 million.

Makers of the best ads for zero-calorie Pepsi Max soda and Doritos chips can win $1 million for an ad that scores No. 1 on a USA Today ad poll, $600,000 for No. 2 and $400,000 for the third spot. A sweep of all three spots earns a $1 million bonus for each winner.

Jaguars have some roar left in them yet

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The NFL has a history of team owners packing up – sometimes in the middle of the night – and moving cities, leaving behind their fans, taking their history, trophies and name to another city.

It is one of those differences with soccer’s traditions that leaves Europeans scratching their heads but the truth is, most Americans don’t like it either. Fans look back with some bitterness on how Cleveland or Baltimore lost their teams (later to regain them in different forms).

The Lineman’s NFL picks: Week 1

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NFL/The Lineman is back for another season of Pick Six that will end with the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl. Yes, the Lineman likes the Pack baby. In fact so does Ms. Lineman and some out of work Octopus.

So, let’s have some fun. Here we go Week One.

PICK OF THE WEEK:

San Diego Chargers (0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) (Line Chargers minus-4.5): The Chargers have been slow out of the blocks under coach Norv Turner but that will not happen this season.

Who will have last laugh in Favre’s finale?

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‘Unnecessary Roughness’ is a new regular column on the NFL from an international perspective written by Simon Evans, a British born Reuters sports reporter in Miami.

There is something both admirable and tragic about the way in which Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is ending his NFL career and on Thursday we should get a clue to whether we are to witness one last year of fine passing and success for Favre and his Vikings or hobbling and interceptions from a soon to be 41-year-old quarterback.

from Shop Talk:

World Cup is no March Madness in sapping productivity

cup1It may be the World Cup, but when it comes to sapping productivity in the United States the global soccer tournament still has a thing or two to learn from March Madness and the National Football League.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which often measures lost workplace productivity, said many U.S. fans will tune in for the quadrennial soccer tournament, which kicks off Friday in South Africa, but the event still trails the NCAA men's basketball tournament, dubbed March Madness, and other events.

If no one shows up for a baseball game…

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Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow follows through on a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto April 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

In North America sports culture summer is the time for baseball. The MLB season kicks off in early April and for the most part flies under the radar for the first few months as fans’ attention is focused on the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft and to a lesser extend the NHL playoffs.

By the middle of June an NBA champion is crowned, (sorry LeBron, maybe next year with your new team) the NFL is as far removed from the ever watchful media’s eye as it ever is, (thank you Brian Cushing, OTA’s were still a few weeks away) and the NHL playoff run receives unprecedented media coverage…in Canada.

Ten events that capture the essence of American sport

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BASEBALL/Passion for sport is no greater or less in North America than in other countries but there is a difference. The focus here is unashamedly on the domestic, with an ambivalent attitude among many fans about what the rest of the sports world is doing or thinks.

On the same day that Woods held his first media conference before this month’s US Masters at Augusta, an event that was streamed live around the globe, the hottest topic of conversation in North America was who would win that night’s college basketball final between Duke and Butler.

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