Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Premier League season needs a grand finale

The English Premier League has always reminded me of eating out at McDonalds. I always hope for something new but then end up getting the same as last time.

The new season hasn't even kicked off yet, but if the experts are right, it's already as good as over for nearly all the teams.

In the past 14 seasons, only three clubs have won the title with Manchester United, the Big Mac of English soccer, claiming nine championships, leaving Arsenal (three) and Chelsea (two) as the Quarter Pounder and Cheeseburger.

In the last four seasons, those same three clubs plus Liverpool, have filled the top four places to qualify for the lucrative European Champions League, leaving the remaining 16 teams* just hoping to avoid relegation.

Is Michael Vick an asset or a liability for NFL?

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Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s prison sentence followed by house arrest for participating and bankrolling a dog-fighting operation officially ended on Monday July 20.

It took exactly one night for Vick’s name to be once again embroiled in controversy. Vick’s Virginia-based lawyer Lawrence Woodward denied reports that his client spent his first night of freedom at a Virginia Beach strip club. “It is absolutely, categorically false,” Woodward said.

Terrell Owens hasn’t met a camera he didn’t like

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Terrell Owens’ new reality show on VH1, “The T.O. Show”, debuted on Monday night and the reviews were not kind. One media member simply called it “a train wreck”, while television critic Jonathan Stoowens1rm used more colorful language saying, “The T.O. Show is so shallow mosquitoes couldn’t breed in it…”

Neither the reviews of the show nor the fact Owens allowed cameras to follow him around are a surprise. Ever since he entered the NFL with the San Fransisco 49ers, Owens has been a lightning rod for controversy and has seemingly loved every minute of it.

Fame, fortune and the death of Steve McNair

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mcnairSixty years after former baseball star Eddie Waitkus survived being shot by a 19-year-old female stalker (his life story became the template for Bernard Malamud’s 1952 novel “The Natural”), police suspect former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and former world boxing champion Arturo “Thunder” Gatti were slain by women they were once intimate with.

Less than two years after retiring from sports that brought them fame and fortune, McNair, 36, and Gatti, 37, are dead. McNair, who was married with four kids, was shot to death by Sahel Kazemi, his 20-year-old mistress who worked as a waitress at Dave & Buster’s.

Should Brett Favre come out of retirement…again?

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NFL/Although NFL training camps are still weeks away, each passing day brings new reports suggesting that Brett Favre is about to come out of retirement for a second time in as many years. The Vikings have openly admitted their interest and Favre has done the same.

While the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers are trying to rebuild around younger quarterbacks, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be willing to throw a proverbial Hail Mary pass to an aging quarterback in the hopes he can take them to the Promised Land.

Should NFL give Vick a second chance?

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vickShould a man, having paid his debt to society for a crime he says he regrets, be forbidden from resuming a career at which he excels; a career for which his crime in no way disqualifies him (in the way that an embezzlement conviction might disqualify an accountant)?

This is the question National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell will have to answer when Michael Vick files his reinstatement papers.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

‘A Rose Bowl by any other name would smell as sweet’

The Miami Dolphins used to play at Dolphin Stadium. It was not, it has to be said, a particularly imaginative moniker for the venue but nonetheless it carried a certain logic. But the days of Dolphin Stadium are over: when the Fins kick off the new NFL season in August, they will be performing at Land Shark Stadium.

Land Shark is a not particularly well-known beer marketed by Jimmy Buffett, a singer-songwriter and Dolphins fan who is the owner of the Margaritaville chain of bars and restaurants.

Super Bowl in London? Bring your brollies…

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Having been based in China for the last few years, I am no stranger to the giddy ambitions of visionary sports administrators trying to ”grow” their “brands” outside their heartlands.

We’ve had them all here. NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL, the Asian Cricket Council, Leicester Tigers rugby club, a string of Europe’s top soccer clubs, world snooker, both professional tennis tours and various professional golf tours – all aiming to stake a claim to a share of China’s 1.3 billion-strong market.

Winners and losers of the 2009 NFL draft

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Top NFL prospects stand together on stage before the start of the 2009 NFL Draft

Most football experts will tell you that it takes three full years to evaluate an NFL draft class, but don’t tell that to the media, who are only too happy to provide the instant gratification of a thumbs up or down analysis after less than 72 hours.

Draft guru Mel Kiper of ESPN gave the Green Bay Packers his highest grade, an A, based primarily on their top two picks of defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews. While the Oakland Raiders, who selected the speedy, but unpolished wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay with the seventh overall pick and the Dallas Cowboys, who didn’t have a pick until the third round after trading away earlier selections, both received the lowest mark of D.

Sanchez ready to call New York home

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Richard Cato is blogging the NFL draft

Catching a late cross-country flight, the top pick of the New York Jets, Mark Sanchez, made a surprise appearance at Radio City Music Hall today for day 2 of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Taking a tour of the Jets facilities earlier in the day, the former USC quarterback was greeted with cheers as he took the stage wearing a Jets hat.

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