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Author Archive for Les Carpenter

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NFL offseason predictions: Saints for Super Bowl champs and the protests end

Sports forecasts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on: which is why we’re publishing these online. But are the Browns set for a spectacular improvement?The problem with predictions in this space is that they are comically flawed.Six months ago, we…

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Three Eagles will shun a White House visit. Will their team-mates follow?

The Super Bowl champs are perhaps the NFL’s most socially conscious team. But the league wants to keep political upset to a minimumThere is nothing that says the Philadelphia Eagles must visit the White House this year. Just because they carried the Vi…

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Three Eagles will shun a White House visit. Will their team-mates follow?

The Super Bowl champs are perhaps the NFL’s most socially conscious team. But the league wants to keep political upset to a minimumThere is nothing that says the Philadelphia Eagles must visit the White House this year. Just because they carried the Vi…

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The Eagles triumphed exactly when their hearts were supposed to break

Tom Brady has made a career out of killing opponents’ dreams in the final moments of games. But on Sunday it was Philadelphia who held their nerveTo grasp the improbability of the play that clinched Super Bowl LII for the Philadelphia Eagles, you must …

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Nick Foles made the catch the great Tom Brady couldn’t in Super Bowl LII

In the NFL’s biggest game, with the crowd roaring, the old master failed at the one play he needed to make while the underdog executed his to perfectionOne man is perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history. The other is a career fill-in – the play…

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How the Philadelphia Eagles became the NFL’s wokest team

Amid a renaissance of athlete activism, the NFC champions rate among the league leaders of the new social awarenessThe questions were good.That’s what top Philadelphia civil rights attorney David Rudovsky thought as he listened to Philadelphia Eagles p…

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UFC and Ronda Rousey had a marriage of convenience. But it was a superb one

Ronda Rousey helped her fellow female fighters gain a foothold in mixed martial arts, while Dana White’s organization raked in huge sums of moneyLooking back, Ronda Rousey was done in the UFC when Holly Holm knocked her out at UFC 193. That was 15 Nove…

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The resurrected XFL is the perfect exponent of Trump’s America

While the original XFL sought to profit on players’ freedom of expression, Vince McMahon’s reboot is based on limiting it. The message is clear: shut up and Make Football Great AgainVince McMahon screamed.It was 2 February 2001 and the man who made pro…

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Are NFL owners making a mockery of the Rooney Rule?

After a season trying to stop African American players’ protests hurting their profits, NFL owners have bypassed black coaches this winterNFL owners spent much of last fall dragging black players to their feet, trying to break the anthem protest lest t…

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Tom Brady was vulnerable against the Jaguars – but he refuses to break

A hand injury was supposed to hamper the New England quarterback but – as ever – he took apart the opposition when it mattered“We’re not talking about open-heart surgery,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Sunday evening. Belichick was tal…

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The Vikings needed a miracle against the Saints … they got a beautiful one

This has been a season of improbable storylines for Minnesota, and now they are one victory away from a Super Bowl in their own backyardIn 51 years of Super Bowls no team has ever played for football’s championship on their home field. The closest were…

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Is the Raiders’ move for Jon Gruden just an expensive grab at the past?

Oakland’s new coach has always been known for his scary intensity. But has age – and a long spell in the TV booth – softened what made him great?This was in the summer of 2000, back when Jon Gruden was still the impossibly-young coach of the Oakland Ra…

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Few will be surprised if the NFC’s ‘best’ teams lose next weekend

It’s probably unfair to say this but Minnesota and Philadelphia simply don’t have the quarterbacks to make a convincing playoff runOver the last 42 years the regular season’s top teams have gone to the playoffs with an expectation of winning their firs…

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Few will be surprised if the NFC’s ‘best’ teams lose next weekend

It’s probably unfair to say this but Minnesota and Philadelphia simply don’t have the quarterbacks to make a convincing playoff runOver the last 42 years the regular season’s top teams have gone to the playoffs with an expectation of winning their firs…

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The man who wasn’t there: 2017’s most impactful player was Colin Kaepernick

If we’re being honest about 2017’s most impactful player then we have to say it was the quarterback who was deemed toxic for the crime of making us thinkSomeday people will look back at the just-completed 2017 NFL season and behold the brilliance of To…

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The Cleveland Browns can’t be terrible forever. Can they?

The Browns are on the brink of a winless season and the projected No1 draft pick has reportedly said he doesn’t want to play there. How’s your week going?There is no football futility quite like the touchdowns you think you have until you don’t have th…

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Panthers’ Jerry Richardson’s exit from ownership ranks is a sign of the times

The Panthers are 10-4 and a team no one wants to face in January, but they’ve lost an owner in an era where the old harassment game is no longer playedWhen one of the NFL’s most stable and respected owners is forced to sell his team the rest of sports …

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The Tom Savage fiasco shows the NFL’s concussion protocol is not working

When Houston’s quarterback returned to the field only minutes after a big hit left him twitching, it showed the NFL doesn’t care about getting concussions rightThe lasting image of the 14th week of this NFL season won’t be the Bills and Colts romping i…

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The limping Seattle Seahawks simply refuse to go away

Seattle’s famous defense has been severely weakened but their victory over the Eagles showed they may be finding form at exactly the right timeLast week, with the Seattle Seahawks weakened by injuries and the NFL’s best team coming to town, Seahawks li…

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Chiefs’ slump prompts question: when do you bench a competent quarterback?

Kansas City have fallen off badly after a good start. They’ll now consider whether to risk bringing in the talented but unproven Patrick MahomesKansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid is not an impulsive man. He learned at the feet of Mike Holmgren, a coach…