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Author Archive for Oliver Connolly

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Size matters: Why NFL teams are obsessed with quarterbacks’ handspans

The merit of Joe Burrow’s grip has been a hot topic as the college star prepares to enter the league. It’s not the only measurement players need to worry aboutEvery year, the league’s executives go doolally over the size, or lack thereof, of a quarterb…

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The NFL combine: an ethically dubious meat market wrapped in junk science

The annual carnival in Indianapolis is supposed to showcase players’ talents. But the event instead swings between pointless and demeaningThe underwear Olympics, otherwise known as the NFL combine, will roll into Indianapolis next week. College stars w…

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The NFL’s new evil empire: who will replace the Patriots as league supervillains?

With New England’s dynasty apparently reaching its endgame, the search if on for the team that fans love – or love to hateThere is just something about rooting against a team isn’t there? Sure, there is joy in watching your own team win. But there’s an…

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The 49ers were Super Bowl champions until angst and fear set in

The Kansas City Chiefs were ripe for the taking in Miami, but errors from San Francisco’s head coach and quarterback helped them escapeLosing any Super Bowl is painful. But losing a Super Bowl like this will be all the more difficult for San Francisco …

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How the 49ers transformed from losers to a perfectly balanced Super Bowl contender

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have developed a team with almost no weaknesses. The Chiefs will have to be superb to beat them on SundayWhat a remarkable turnaround this season has been for the San Francisco 49ers. A year ago, the team was already well i…

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NFL offseason questions: rule changes and the return of Andrew Luck?

Only two teams are still playing football, which means their rivals are already pondering what comes next in the calendarThere is just one meaningful football game left this season, and teams have already moved on to planning for next year. With that i…

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The reborn Packers no longer need to rely on Aaron Rodgers’ brilliance | Oliver Connolly

For years Green Bay depended on their quarterback hauling them to victory but head coach Matt LeFleur has changed thatThe Green Bay Packers no longer need Aaron Rodgers to be Aaron Rodgers, and that has made them more dangerous than at any point since …

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Chiefs-Texans was a classic, the future … and a coaching apocalypse

On Sunday we saw two brilliant young quarterbacks who embody the future of the NFL. That outlandish talent was not on view on Houston’s sidelineBad decisions are going to haunt Bill O’Brien this offseason, and may cost him his job.The Houston Texans le…

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Tom Brady’s next move: the Patriots, retirement or a new life in California?

A disappointing season has many wondering whether the quarterback will make a move away from New England in 2020. Where is he likely to land?At 42, the end is near for Tom Brady, though the quarterback insists he can still play until he’s at least 45. …

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Why the Dallas Cowboys opening is the best coaching job on the market

There is not a microphone the Cowboys’ meddling owner Jerry Jones will run from, but in the words of one NFL executive: ‘They will do whatever it takes’Jason Garrett is finally, mercifully out as the Dallas Cowboys head coach.Make no mistake, this is a…

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Beast Mode is back. But can Marshawn Lynch’s shock comeback save Seattle? | Oliver Connolly

Few athletes are so perfectly built for a team as Lynch is for the Seahawks – and his return may be what injury-hit Seattle needBeast Mode is back. The coolest athlete in the NFL has returned to Seattle. And he did so in the most Marshawn Lynch-y way p…

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Why did the Cincinnati Bengals fight so hard to avoid the No1 pick?

Cincy were 23 points down and set for their pick of the best players in college football – all they needed to do was lose. So why didn’t they lie down?The Cincinnati Bengals are officially on the clock. The Bengals wrapped up the No1 overall pick in ne…

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From the Browns to Aaron Rodgers: the NFL season’s biggest disappointments

The likes of Lamar Jackson and Michael Thomas have dazzled in 2019. But others in the NFL have failed to live up to expectations No team or player has been more disappointing than the Browns this season. Their whole season has been a mess. To recap: Co…

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Farewell Brady and Brees? The NFL quarterback retirement index

A golden generation of quarterbacks are now in their late 30s and early 40s. Who should press on for glory and who should call it a day?The NFL’s old guard is nearing the end. Advances in training, sleep science and nutrition – not to mention the expan…

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The Panthers and Cam Newton were indestructible until they weren’t

Ron Rivera led his team to Super Bowl 50, with a quarterback who looked almost unstoppable. Now both men have uncertain futuresThe Carolina Panthers are at a crossroads. On Wednesday they fired their long-time coach, Ron Rivera. Now, the question that …

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Did the Miami Dolphins pull off the greatest trick in NFL history?

Miami were supposed to stink this season, but Brian Flores has turned out to be a creative, inspiring coach. A brilliant touchdown on Sunday proved thatIf this is not the best touchdown in NFL history, it is at least the most pleasing:I’ve watched this…

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Monday Night Football: the once great NFL show is now the worst on television

Overblown announcing, incoherent analysis and bizarre graphics: ESPN’s broadcast checks every box when it comes to bad TVThe NFL has a real problem when the marquee match-up for its most famous broadcast is best enjoyed on mute. This week, Lamar Jackso…

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Critics such as me thought Jon Gruden’s Raiders were a joke. We were wrong

The veteran head coach appeared to be building a backwards-looking laughing stock. But now the team look like they have a bright futureThe Oakland Raiders are a playoff contender and Jon Gruden deserves the bulk of the credit.Twelve months ago, the Rai…

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Forget a Super Bowl slump. The LA Rams have a Jared Goff problem

The defending NFC champions have wedded themselves to a kind-of-sort-of OK quarterback they’re paying like a superstar and the consequences could be far-reachingThe Rams have a Jared Goff problem. At 5-4, in the toughest division in football, the upsta…

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Forget a Super Bowl slump. The LA Rams have a Jared Goff problem

The defending NFC champions have wedded themselves to a kind-of-sort-of OK quarterback they’re paying like a superstar and the consequences could be far-reachingThe Rams have a Jared Goff problem. At 5-4, in the toughest division in football, the upsta…