Peyton The Ram, Mr. Clutch, & Big Goony.
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Quick Hits

The Main Event
To no one's surprise, another prominent, late football player has been diagnosed with CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a brain disease caused by repetitive brain trauma.

This time, it was badass former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken "The Snake" Stabler. When not on the field, Stabler could be found with a cigarette in his mouth playing a game of pool, driving his speed boat, or bouncing a hot blonde in his lap. The man was the definition of cool. Unfortunately, Stabler died of colon cancer last year. His brain was studied after his death, which resulted in a stage 3 (of 4) CTE diagnosis. This diagnosis can be linked to his many health issues in the final years of his life, which included a decline in his cognitive functions, confusion, and memory loss... all prototypical symptoms of CTE. Stabler, one of the more well-known players to be diagnosed, has fanned the flames of an already heated debate about player safety in football.

There are two clear sides to this issue: Those who believe significant changes need to be made in the NFL to protect the players, and those who aren't yet convinced there's a clear link between football and CTE. As CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously, it will be some time before enough evidence is collected to conclusively link the disease to football. Until then, we say either rip off the band-aid and turn the NFL into a two-hand touch league (which is the path it's already going down), or make players sign death waivers and let them duke it out like Roman gladiators. If they sign their life away before they play, they can't sue (yes, we're pre-law). The defunct XFL (founded by WWE owner Vince McMahon) was a nice preview of what a no-holds-barred league would look like. Remember the no fair catches on punt returns rule? It was always a delicious recipe for disaster.

Good Sport
Barcelona strikers Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi put on a clinic yesterday, accounting for every goal in Barcelona's 7-0 throttling of Valencia during a Copa del Rey (an annual soccer tournament for Spanish clubs) semi-final match. Suárez knocked in four goals, while Messi scored a hat trick to surpass 500 career goals, giving Barcelona its 27th match in a row without a loss, one shy of the club record. Yup, it's all smiles for everyone in club Barcelona... except for Neymar, the tax-dodging striker who's being investigated for seven years-worth of fraud. Good luck with that.

Bad Sport
Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames received his official punishment from the NHL for laying a Goon-style hit on a referee last week. He'll be suspended 20 games, amounting to $564,516 in forfeited salary. That's enough money for Wideman to consider picking up a second job during his suspension. The WWE has made a habit of obliterating referees, and may very well be looking for new talent. With his newly-minted skillset of hitting refs with blunt objects, Wideman would be a shoe-in.

Good Old Caption
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What to Watch (All Times Eastern)
NBA. Knicks at Pistons - 7pm on TNT; Lakers at Pelicans - 9:30pm on TNT
NHL. Islanders at Capitals - 7:30pm on NBC Sports; Ducks at Kings - 10pm on NBC Sports
COLLEGE BASKETBALL. Ohio State at Wisconsin - 7pm on ESPN; Texas A&M at Vanderbilt - 7pm on ESPN2; Connecticut at Memphis - 9pm on ESPN2; Colorado at Oregon - 9pm on Fox Sports 1; Utah at Oregon State - 11pm on ESPN2
GOLF. LPGA Tour: Coates Golf Championship, Second-Round Play - 11am on Golf Channel; PGA Tour: Phoenix Open, First-Round Play - 3pm on Golf Channel
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