Italy and Turkey will kick off the 16th edition of the European Championships and in the process kickstart two months of international football that also includes the Copa America, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the Olympics. And just when your missus thought football was over for at least a couple of months.
I love these international tournaments. There is very little room for error, which creates tension and drama. In other words, there will be tears. Lots of tears. And few tournaments produced as much drama (and tears) as Euro 2000.
Most of you will have recollections of your favourite international tournament. For many South Africans, Afcon ’96 is an obvious choice. The old-timers are particularly nostalgic about Mexico ’70, the Dutch could speak about Euro ’88 all day. Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson has referred to Mexico ’86 as the last great World Cup.
Russia ’18 was an excellent tournament and is the best World Cup I have watched. But, without a doubt, Euro 2000 is the greatest international championship that I can recall since I began watching football as a child.
It wasn’t just the drama, it was a tournament filled with some of the best footballers on the planet, who were in their prime. And they delivered. Zidane, Raul, Figo, Beckham, Guardiola, Rui Costa, Owen, Totti, Kluivert, Scholes, Del Piero, Sukur. My goodness, the list goes on and on.
Of course, a significant part of the success of Euro 2000 was the participation of the fans. The cheers of ecstasy, or heads in hands after a heartbreaking loss. Oh, don’t forget the tears. Even though the tournament was co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands, it was the Dutch fans who were really memorable with their sea of orange at every Oranje match.
If Euro ’20 is anything like Euro 2000, we are in for a treat. Likewise with the Copa America. Better warn your better half.
Savo Milosevic (Yugoslavia)
Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands)
Player of the Tournament
Zinedine Zidane (France)
Here are the 10 matches that defined these unforgettable championships.
Portugal vs England – Group A
PSV Stadion – Eindhoven
Group A was the proverbial group of death featuring England, Portugal, Germany, and Romania. Thanks to two David Beckham assists, Paul Scholes and Steve McManaman push England out to an early lead.
But the soon-to-be the most expensive player in the world, Luis Figo, and his partner in crime, Rui Costa, takeover proceedings, as Portugal’s much-heralded golden generation finally come to fruition. This would be the first in a series of tournaments in which Portugal shattered English dreams
England vs Romania – Group A
Stade du Pays de Charleroi – Charleroi
Once again England find themselves in the lead in this winner take all matchup, and rematch from France ’98. But in a case of painful déjà vu for the Three Lions, weak goalkeeping from Nigel Martyn and an 89th-minute penalty concession by Phil Neville send England crashing out in the First Round along with their arch-rivals Germany.
Italy vs Sweden – Group B
PSV Stadion – Eindhoven
Since reaching the World Cup Final at USA ’94, the Azzuri were seen as a team in decline, as a result, they weren’t on many people’s favourites list. But the new generation of Del Piero and Totti were on a mission to prove the naysayers wrong.
Italy comfortably qualified top of the group, and proceed to knock out their Scandinavian opponents, with Del Piero scoring a late winner to break Swedish hearts.
Yugoslavia vs Slovenia – Group C
Stade du Pays de Charleroi – Charleroi
What. A. Match. The two former Yugoslav republics entertain the Charleroi crowd with end to end football. Legendary Slovenian playmaker Zlatko Zahovic provides two goals and an assist to give Slovenia a three-nil lead.
Matters take a turn for the worse for Yugoslavia when dead ball specialist Sinisa Mihajlovic gets a second yellow card. But it is substitute and former Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic who leads the improbable comeback. And exhale.
Yugoslavia vs Spain – Group C
Jan Breydelstadion – Bruges
Defending be damned. 3-2 down with 90 minutes on the clock, and staring First Round elimination square in the face, Spain’s blushes are spared by a Gaizka Mendieta and Alfonso Perez (one of my favourite players of the 90’s). Twenty years later, the Yugoslavians (now Serbians), still don’t know what hit them.
And just when Norway thought they had qualified for the Quarterfinals. To quote a coach, “football will kill you, you’ll die a real death.”
Netherlands vs France – Group D
Amsterdam Arena – Amsterdam
The most anticipated match of the entire group stages pits the world champions and favourites against the co-hosts.
Although both teams had already qualified for the Quarterfinals and made numerous changes, the contest lives up to the pre-match hype.
Spain vs France – Quarterfinal
Jan Breydelstadion – Bruges
Zidane and Guardiola go head to head in a clash between these fierce neighbours. And it’s the Frenchman who opens the scoring with a zinger of a freekick that gives Canizares no chance.
Zidane’s future teammate, Raul, has an opportunity to send this titanic Quarterfinal to extra time after Spain are awarded a late penalty. But the normally ice-cool Spaniard blazes his spot-kick over the bar, in what is an ongoing theme of heartbreak for Spanish football in international tournaments.
France vs Portugal – Semifinal
King Baudouin Stadium – Brussels
About as star-studded a football match you can find in any international tournament. This was a football match of such breathtaking quality I could scarcely believe what I was watching. A throwback to the France v Brazil Quarterfinal at Mexico ’86.
I will never forget Portugal’s seemingly endless protestations against the awarding of a 117th-minute penalty. All while Zidane stood by calmly with ball in hand, waiting for the commotion to die down. Zizou then crushed Portuguese hearts with a nerveless penalty that signalled the end of the contest as the Golden Goal rule was in effect.
Netherlands vs Italy – Semifinal
Amsterdam Arena – Amsterdam
One of the best nil nils you’ll ever see. An early red card for Gianluca Zambrotta forces the Italians to retreat into their shell. Incredibly, the Dutch miss two penalties in regulation time, and three more in the penalty shootout to crash out in front of a stunned crowd. Especially after getting knocked out on penalties, two years prior in the World Cup Semifinal against Brazil at France ’98.
It needs pointing out that there is no way Italian keeper Francesco Toledo gets away with being that far off his line in today’s VAR world. Though Jaap Stam’s penalty is still travelling. Still.
France vs Italy – Final
De Kuip Stadion – Rotterdam
Marco Delvecchio seems to be the hero as the Azzuri are mere seconds away from being crowned European champions. But Sylvain Wiltord stuns the Italians with a 93rd-minute equaliser. Salt is then added to Italian wounds as Arsenal bound Robert Pires cuts the ball back to David Trezeguet who comes up with a clean a strike as you’ll ever see.
That Golden Goal (again) means that the French team are the first team in history to be world champions and European champions simultaneously. French captain Didier Deschamp did the honours to bring down the curtain on a phenomenal month of football.
Let us know your thoughts on the tournament and your favourite moments.
The 2020 NFL season is in the books, and now the time has arrived for one of the most popular nights on the American calendar. The NFL Draft. For a number of franchises, the draft is a time of renewed hope. An opportunity to hit the reset button.
The fortunes of a franchise can hinge on a good draft class, or perhaps even a single draft pick. Like Quarterback Peyton Manning for the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 or Cornerback Richard Sherman for the Seattle Seahawks in 2011.
There are differing opinions about when exactly the NFL Draft became such must-watch TV. There are some that feel it is the 1983 Draft which saw 6 QB’s selected in the first round. 3 of whom, John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino, went on to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
This was the first draft in which fans were allowed to attend the event in person. But perhaps more notoriously, the draft is remembered for first overall pick, Stanford University’s Elway, refusing to play for the team that selected him, the Baltimore Colts.
Elway instead opted to play for baseball outfit, the New York Yankees, unless the Colts traded him. Faced with the prospect of losing their pick for nothing, the Colts caved in and traded Elway to the Denver Broncos.
The lead up to the draft was also filled with rumours about University of Pittsburgh prospect Dan Marino. A story was doing the rounds amongst team execs that Marino was using drugs. The rumours proved to be untrue, but that didn’t stop numerous franchises passing on Marino, who was eventually drafted 27th overall by the Miami Dolphins. All in all, 5 QB’s were selected ahead of Marino, including Elway and Kelly. The source of the rumours has never been uncovered.
The second draft to capture the public’s imagination was the 1994 draft. That draft was memorable because of the war of words that broke out live on TV between ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr and Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Tobin, over the Colts selection of Linebacker Trev Alberts.
Right before we go on, some simple facts you need to know about the NFL Draft:
The team with the worst record has the first pick. The reasoning is that the worst team gets the best player in College Football. The second-worst team gets the second pick and so on. The Super Bowl Champions pick last.
The higher a player is drafted, the more money he is eligible to earn on his rookie contract.
Players can only negotiate a contract with the team that drafts them unless a trade can be agreed to.
Only players that are at least 3 years removed from high school are eligible to enter the NFL Draft.
There are seven rounds in the draft. Each team gets a single pick in each round. The picking order of the draft is the same for each round.
Teams are able to trade draft picks with other teams, so it’s possible for a franchise to have more than one pick in a particular round.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, with a record of 1 win and 15 losses, currently hold the first overall draft pick. There isn’t too much doubt in most people’s minds about who the Jaguars will select. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson University has had NFL scouts excited since he was in high school. But it was the 2019 College Football National Championship game that alerted the American footballing public to the talents of the Cartersville native.
Lawrence torched the University of Alabama defense by throwing for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Tigers won their second National Championship in 3 years. Besides winning the National Championship, Lawrence led Clemson to 3 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships, as well as receiving the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, and ACC Player of the Year.
After Trevor Lawrence, the draft selection enters muddy waters. As many as 5 Quarterbacks could be selected in the Top 10. Zach Wilson (Brigham Young University), Justin Fields (Ohio State University), Trey Lance (North Dakota State University), and Mac Jones (University of Alabama).
The New York Jets have the second overall pick, and just like the Jaguars, are expected to select a Quarterback after shipping starting QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. With Lawrence off the board, the Jets are likely to pick between Wilson and Fields. The San Francisco 49ers traded up for the third selection, after their QB Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ankle sprain, and will probably pick whoever the Jets decide not to.
University of Oregon Offensive Tackle Penei Sewell is also expected to be selected in the Top 5. Whilst Wide Receivers Ja’marr Chase (Louisiana State University) and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith (Alabama) will be in high demand.
Tight End Kyle Pitts from the University of Florida is an absolute beast and will be a good bet to elevate the offense of whichever team drafts him. Pitts teammate Quarterback Kyle Trask is expected to be a late first-round selection, or at the latest, an early second-round pick.
On the defensive side, Alabama Cornerback Patrick Surtain and Penn State University Linebacker Micah Parsons are expected to round up the Top 10.
But until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reads out an athlete’s name and the team that has drafted them, everything is pure speculation. You just never know what a franchise GM is going to do.
In the 2000 draft, 30 teams decided that Tom Brady wasn’t the quarterback of the future for them. The New England Patriots would eventually select Brady 199th overall in the sixth round. He didn’t turn out too bad.
In 2005, Aaron Rodgers sat uncomfortably in the Green Room as a team after team prolonged his ordeal in front of millions of viewers until the Green Bay Packers finally put him out of his misery.
But there is a flip side to the draft. As in life, there are no guarantees of success. Trevor Lawrence’s chances of a successful career in Jacksonville depend on a number of factors. How good will his offensive line be? Will he have reliable receivers? Will he be able to read defenses? Will he have a good relationship with the coaching staff? Can he stay injury-free?
NFL history is full of players who didn’t live up to the hype due to a variety of factors. Ryan Leaf was selected second overall, behind Peyton Manning, by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 draft. But due to a combination of ill-discipline and injuries, Leaf was released by the Chargers in 2001 and was retired altogether by 2004.
Peyton Manning, on the other hand, had a 20-year career, won the Super Bowl with 2 different franchises, and enjoyed an epic rivalry with Tom Brady.
Whatever happens, when Goodell steps up and says, “ With the first pick of the 2021 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select……..”, it will be the beginning of a renewed sense of hope, or dreams being shattered.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Facebook.
One of the most tumultuous seasons in NFL history is set to reach its climax with the highlight of the gridiron calendar: The Super Bowl. Like so many other sporting competitions around the world, the NFL has had to deal with multiple positive Coronavirus test results, forcing numerous postponements.
The defending champions Kansas City Chiefs will attempt to become the first team since 2005 to win back to back Vince Lombardi trophies. Super Bowl 55 will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.
However, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the attendance will be limited to 25 000 people, approximately a third of the stadium’s capacity. A portion of those tickets has been allocated to Florida health workers, who’ve already been vaccinated. This will be the lowest attendance in Super Bowl history.
Traditional Super Bowl activities that are held throughout the week for the media and fans have all been cancelled. And Americans are being urged not to hold Super Bowl parties.
If you’re lost and don’t understand what the fuss is all about, please check out our piece on the basics of the NFL.
The man attempting to stop the Chiefs from making history will be 43-year old Quarterback, and six-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady. You read that right, 43 years old. Ironically Brady was part of the 2004/05 New England Patriots. The last team to win back to back Super Bowls.
Tom Brady will be appearing in his tenth Super Bowl. To put that into context, Michael Jordan, the great Michael Jordan, appeared in six NBA Finals. LeBron James NBA Finals appearance number currently stands at nine.
Brady’s previous nine Super Bowl appearances have all come with the Patriots. This will be his first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This season without Brady, the Patriots failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Whilst this was the first time the Glazer-owned Bucs made the playoffs since 2008.
Clearly, the common denominator in either the Patriots or the Bucs failing to make the playoffs is the absence of Tom Brady. Brady and the Patriots organisation terrorised the American Football Conference (AFC) for twenty years, and now Brady is dishing out the same punishment to the National Football Conference (NFC) with the Buccaneers.
Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is looking to create his own piece of history. As aforementioned, Mahomes is looking to become the first Quarterback to win back to back SuperBowls since Brady in 2005. Mahomes will also be to aiming to win back to back Super Bowl MVP awards, after being named MVP for Super Bowl 54.
Mahomes is also the youngest QB to play in three consecutive AFC Championship matches. The first of which he lost against Tom Brady’s Patriots.
The Chiefs and the Patriots have already met during Week 12 of the regular season. Kansas City won a nail biter 27-24, that was headlined by Chiefs Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill’s sensational first-half performance. Hill and his jet heels torched the Buccaneers defense to record a career-high 269 yards, thirteen catches and three Touchdowns. The wideout performed a backflip into the End Zone for one of the TDs. I’m sure the Tampa defense hasn’t forgotten the showboating.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs won fourteen matches and had two losses during the regular season to finish on top of the AFC West and clinch the number one overall seed in the AFC. The second loss came on the final day of the regular season against the LA Chargers when coach Andy Reid rested most of his starters due to the number one seed already being secured.
The Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional Round in a tight affair that saw the Chiefs finish the match without star QB Mahomes, who had to be assisted off the field with a concussion. Mahomes returned to lead the Chiefs to an impressive win over the dangerous Buffalo Bills to claim the franchises second AFC Championship in a row.
Kansas City has the number one offence in the league for total yardage, and the sixth offence in points scored. At the heart of this potent offensive unit is QB Patrick Mahomes. The Texas Tech Universe alumni haven’t dominated the season single-handedly, however.
His primary targets have been Tight End Travis Kelce and the rapid Tyreek Hill. Both men have wreaked absolute anarchy with opposition defenders. The supporting cast of Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, and Demarcus Robinson have also proved themselves reliable targets for Mahomes. Whilst rookie Running Back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has gone from strength to strength.
However, the key to the Chiefs aerial attack, Pro Bowl Left Tackle Eric Fisher tore his Achilles against the Bills in the AFC Championship and will miss the Super Bowl. Fisher is the leader of the Chiefs Offensive Line and an integral part of Mahomes blindside protection. Bucs Defensive Ends Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul will fancy their chances of sacking Mahomes with Fisher out of the picture, as will Linebacker Shaquil Barrett.
Defensive Tackle Chris Jones will lead the Chiefs defensive line in trying to succeed where many others have failed, disrupting Tom Brady. While Safety Tyrann Mathieu will be crucial to thwarting Brady’s inevitable aerial bombardment.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In order to reach their first playoffs in twelve years, the Bucs won eleven matches and suffered five defeats to finish second in the NFC South behind the New Orleans Saints. Two of those defeats came in brutal fashion at the hands of divisional rivals, the Saints.
Tampa’s offense was ranked seventh in the league in total yards and third for points scored. Even at 43 years old, Tom Brady has proved to be a significant upgrade to previous QB and former NFL Draft overall number one pick Jameis Winston. Brady threw 40 TDs and 12 interceptions, whilst in the season previous, Winston threw 30 TDs and 30 interceptions.
In contrast to the Chiefs, Tampa had to navigate the long way round to reach the Super Bowl. All their playoff matches were played away from home. The Washington Football Team was dispatched in the Wild Card Round before the Bucs got sweet revenge by knocking out the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round. Brady and the Bucs completed their amazing playoff run by beating Aaron Rodgers and the NFC number one seed Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship match at Lambeau Field. By doing so the Bucs will become the first team in NFL history to contest a Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Much like Mahomes, Brady has some serious firepower at his disposal. Wide Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are two of the best Receivers in the league, whilst Scotty Miller’s electric speed is a nightmare for Defensive Backs. Veteran wideout Antonio Brown has experienced a career resurgence with the Bucs following his legal troubles.
The Chiefs defense will also need to keep an eye on the Tight End duo of Cameron Brate and Brady’s former Patriots teammate and future hall of famer, Rob Gronkowski. Running Backs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette have combined for over 1300 rushing yards and 13 Touchdowns. LeSean McCoy is another option at Running Back, even though his best days are behind him.
But as good as the Brady’s offense is, their defense is even better. I’ve already alluded to the talents of edge rushers Suh, and Pierre-Paul. Linebacker Shaq Barrett will be ably assisted by Devin White. These physically imposing individuals will be looking to ensure it’s a long day for Patrick Mahomes, particularly in the absence of Eric Fisher.
The defending champion Chiefs are the bookies favourites to win the Super Bowl. And I have to say, I agree with them. Mahomes is a generational athlete. Barring any injuries, he will pose a serious threat to Brady’s numerous records over the course of his career. However, you’ll bet against Tom Brady at your peril.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Facebook.
Oh man, what a crazy year. Not since the Second World War has the sporting landscape been so adversely affected. In March, sports events around the globe ground to a screeching halt. Administrators desperately sought ways to find a solution on how to safely continue their competitions during a pandemic.
The NBA and the PSL created bubbles that isolated athletes, coaches, and match officials away from society. Whilst the UFC was the first organisation to hold an event after the world had come to a standstill. Oh, and the Tokyo Olympics and the Euros were postponed. At least we have that to look forward to in 2021.
The sight of empty arenas has become commonplace. Coaches shouting instructions at players clearly audible as though you’re at your local rugby club. Accept for the Kiwis, whose ruthlessly efficient way of handling the virus has seen a return to normal life, including sold-out rugby matches.
As devastating as the Coronavirus has been, it wasn’t the only bad news we had to deal with. We sadly bade farewell to some sporting icons. Diego Maradona finally succumbed to his health issues, and the football world conveyed their condolences in various ways.
However, the biggest outpouring of grief was reserved for Basketball legend Kobe Bryant who tragically perished in a helicopter crash. The aviation accident also claimed the lives of eight other people, including Kobe’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Gianna. Details of the crash are still sketchy because the helicopter was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder.
A CVR is a major piece of evidence when authorities are conducting an air crash investigation. Surely future legislation will require helicopters to have a CVR. Because as long as the truth is missing, anything can take its place. Particularly in the world of social media misinformation.
Okay. Exhale. We did a recap for the 2019 sports year https://sleb.co.za/lets-check-out-the-sporting-highlights-from-2019/
And now we are here to focus on the positive sports stories of 2020 and those that triumphed, whether expectedly, or against the odds.
Whichever way you cut it, Liverpool have been phenomenal over the last three years. Only City’s oil money has prevented a complete takeover of English football. But right now, Liverpool are the best team in the country.
Jurgen Koop deserves a huge amount of credit. And when the next round of contract negotiations rolls around, Liverpool needs to pay the man whatever he wants. So dominant were Liverpool during the 2019/20 season, that the only thing that could’ve prevented a Premier League championship, was a pandemic. Alas, the Reds would not be denied their first championship in 30 years. https://sleb.co.za/liverpool-fc-and-the-thirty-year-premier-league-mystery/
In a 38 match season, Liverpool won a staggering 32 matches. Out of their 19 matches at Anfield, only Burnley were able to manage a point. Liverpool began the season with 18 consecutive wins. And with a run that began in the previous season, went 44 matches unbeaten. Six short of exceeding Arsenal’s invincibles record. This was a run that was ended by Watford of all teams. Liverpool fans won’t be too bothered about records. The 30-year hoodoo has finally been shattered.
Los Angeles Dodgers
After a significant drought, it has been a good year for LA-based sports teams. And in particular, the Dodgers, whos last World Series championship win was in 1988.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has been desperate for some positive headlines in light of the Houston Astros cheating scandal. But things got off to a rocky start as the beginning of the season was delayed due to the Coronavirus.
Once the season was underway, the difficult challenge that lay ahead became increasingly clear with the Covid-19 outbreak at the Miami Marlins. The MLB had opted against the NBA-like bubble, and thus positive tests were inevitable. Therefore the season was shortened from the regular 162 games to 60 games. Though the MLB ultimately decided to move the teams into a bubble for the playoffs.
And so the World Series came down to the final two teams, Tampa Bay Rays and the LA Dodgers. The best of seven series came down to Game 6 at Globe Life Field in Dallas. Dodgers pitcher Julio Arias closed out the match after Dodgers Mookie Betts’ double homer in the seventh inning to hand the Dodgers their first World Series win in 32 years.
Bizarrely, and keeping in line with the 2020 theme, Dodgers Third Basemen Justin Turner received news he had tested positive for the Coronavirus in the middle of the eighth inning and therefore had to be removed from the match.
For more than 300 consecutive days, Kaizer Chiefs sat atop the ABSA Premiership table. Ernst Middendorp and his men looked a sure bet to be crowned champions. But when the season resumed after a three-month pause, and with no fans allowed in the stadiums, Chiefs suddenly looked a shadow of their former selves.
It was Pitso Mosimane and Sundowns who capitalised on the Amakhosi’s faltering form and eventually leapfrogged over the gold and black on the final day of the season when Chiefs were held to a draw by relegation-threatened Baroka FC.
Incredibly, Sundowns only spent two days of the entire season on top of the PSL log, one of which was the final day of the season. The fates of the two coaches couldn’t be any more different. Ernst Middendorp was fired for his failure to deliver the championship. A bit harsh, but that’s Kaizer Chiefs for you. Whilst Mosimane is now the coach of Egyptian outfit, Al Ahly. African football’s most successful club.
The highly anticipated rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder seems like a lifetime ago. A sold-out MGM Arena witnessed both men enter the ring in typical theatrical fashion. Any thoughts of a repeat of the first fight, a twelve round war, were dashed when Wilder was floored by a Gypsey King shot to the temple, that resulted in Wilder bleeding from the left ear.
A clearly disoriented Wilder was dominated until the fight was stopped in the seventh round after his corner threw in the towel, to ensure Fury remains the Heavyweight Lineal Champion.
After the fight, the Bronze Bomber chastised his team for throwing in the towel, and then blamed the 18kg custom outfit he wore to the ring for taking away his legs, and claimed Fury cast a gypsy spell on him. Yep.
Nonetheless, a trilogy fight has been muted, but no agreement has so far been reached. If anything, we are closer to a Tyson Fury/Anthony Joshua bout.
Kansas City Chiefs
For a more comprehensive understanding of the NFL check out this article https://sleb.co.za/let-me-take-you-through-the-basics-of-the-nfl/
Over the last twenty years the New England Patriots and Tom Brady have ruled over the American Football Conference (AFC), and indeed cast an overbearing shadow over the NFL. But when the Tennessee Titans dumped out the Patriots in the AFC Wild Card Round, and with Brady’s contract up in the air, it felt like the end of an era.
The question now is who would be the league’s next dynasty? Could it be either of the established Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks or Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers? Both of whom are looking to win their second SuperBowl.
Or would it be the young bucks stepping up? The Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes), Buffalo Bills (Josh Allen), Houston Texans (DeShaun Watson), and Baltimore Ravens (Lamar Jackson), all teams who made the playoffs, have starting Quarterbacks aged 25 years or younger.
Ultimately it was the Chiefs who separated themselves from the pack, as Patrick Mahomes and his explosive offensive unit scored 21 points in the fourth quarter of the SuperBowl against the San Francisco 49ers to win the franchises first Vince Lombardi trophy since SuperBowl 4 in 1969.
Mahomes was named SuperBowl MVP after throwing for 286 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, as well as a single rushing touchdown. Running Back Damien Williams rushed for 104 yards and 1 touchdown. Tight End Travis Kelce had six receptions for 43 yards with 1 touchdown. Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill led the team in receptions with nine catches for 105 yards. Like I said, an explosive offensive unit.
It has been quite the year for the God of War. A little known fighter in 2019, to a dominant UFC Champion in 2020. His biggest adversary though has been himself. He should’ve been crowned flyweight champion in February after knocking out Joseph Benavidez, but he was precluded from doing so after failing to make the 125lb weight limit.
The Brazilian made amends in the rematch, choking out Benavidez in the first round to finally claim the vacant Flyweight Championship despite testing positive for Covid-19 a couple of weeks prior to the fight. In his first title defense, Figueiredo easily submitted Alex Perez via guillotine choke in the first round.
And then just three short weeks later, a UFC record for title defenses turnaround, Figueiredo fought to a majority draw against Brandon Moreno in a brutal fight of the year contender. A fight Figueiredo likely would’ve won if not for a point deduction for a low blow. Figueiredo was the only UFC champion to defend his belt more than once in 2020.
A rematch against Moreno is probably on the cards in 2021, but what MMA fans want is for former flyweight champion Henry Cejudo to come out of retirement and fight Deiveson Figueiredo.
German football coaches are currently in high demand! Hardly surprising considering the quality of football played by teams such as Liverpool, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach. To name a few.
At the beginning of the year, the most famous German coaches were Klopp, Joachim Low, Thomas Tuchel, and Julian Nagelsmann. Hansi Flick was a name unfamiliar to the non-German football world. Which isn’t a surprise considering he’d never held a head coach position prior to November 2019.
Flick was hired as interim manager after Niko Kovac was fired following a 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt that left the Bavarian giants languishing in seventh place. The sacking of the Croat was harsh considering he won the league and cup double the previous season. But the change proved to be an inspired one as Flick led his charges to a treble of the Bundesliga, German Cup, and the club’s sixth UEFA Champions League. Hansi Flick has since been appointed on a permanent basis. Duh.
Bayern became the first club in UCL history to win every match of the campaign. With Polish striker Robert Lewandowski the star of the show, the highlight was undoubtedly the 8-2 dismantling of Messi’s Barcelona. I couldn’t help but feel as though that felt like a passing of the torch, from one dynasty to another. Time will be the judge of that.
Disclaimer: I’ve got serious reservations about Formula 1 or NASCAR drivers being referred to as athletes. How much is the car responsible for a drivers success? Or vice versa? Anyway, with that being said, you cannot discard Hamilton’s achievements.
In a season shortened F1 calendar, the Stevenage native won his seventh F1 World Championship. In the process tying Michael Schumacher’s record. But the record-breaking didn’t stop there for the Mercedes driver. Hamilton won eleven races this season, despite missing the Sakhir Grand Prix due to the Coronavirus, to take his overall tally to 95 wins, overtaking Schumacher’s record of 91 wins.
To top off an amazing year for Hamilton, he made the Queen’s New Year’s honours list as the announcement was made that he would be knighted. Arise, Sir Lewis.
Los Angeles Lakers
Eyebrows were raised when the Lakers traded Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and several future draft picks for New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Power Forward Anthony Davis. No pun intended. There’s no doubting AD’s talent. But the consensus was that Lakers GM Rob Pelinka gave up far too much to sign the big man.
AD put all that noise to one side, and let his numbers do the talking. Averaging 26.1 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, and 2.4 blocks during the regular season, and 27.7 points per game, 9.7 rebounds in the playoffs to help lead the Lakers to their first NBA Championship in ten years.
However, AD didn’t win the championship on his own. There were other role players. Center Dwight Howard turned back the clock, averaging 4.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs, and allowing coach Frank Vogel to rest Davis.
Veteran Guard Rajon Rondo also played a significant role, totalling 105 assists during the playoffs. The most assists by a bench player since 1971. Rondo’s big moment came in Game 6 of the NBA Finals as he torched the Miami Heat for thirteen points in the first half, including six for six from the field, as the Lakers equalled the Boston Celtics record of seventeen NBA Championships. Ironically Rondo won a championship in 2008 with the Lakers heated rivals, against Kobe’s Lakers.
But the star of the show was the man from Akron, LeBron James. During the Lakers playoff run, James averaged 27.6 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game, and 8.8 assists per game. At 35 years and 287 days old, James became the oldest player to receive the NBA Finals MVP Award. And the first player to win the award with three different franchises. As for the LeBron James/Michael Jordan debate, well let’s leave that discussion for another day.
In a year that saw Laker Nation lose one of their own in Kobe Bryant, there was no better homage to pay to the Bryant family, then honouring Kobe’s memory with a championship.
The city of LA had two championships to celebrate, with the Dodgers win, something that last happened in 1988. But due to the pandemic, there will be no parades going down the Miracle Mile.
But we’ll let LeBron James have the final word:
“We just want our respect, Rob wants his respect. Coach Vogel wants his respect. The organization wants their respect. Lakers Nation wants their respect. And I want my damn respect, too.”
Professional athletes are an easy target. Criticised for being detached from reality, living in a bubble, and being devoid of the ills that plague society. Whilst millions around the world lost their jobs due to the effects of the Coronavirus and fretted about paying rent at the end of the month, footballers continued to live a life of luxury.
But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find this criticism isn’t entirely accurate, or fair. Sport, like any other industry, is about supply and demand. Football, or more accurately top-level football, recoups billions every year. Whether us fans like it or not, athletes are paid market value. That’s not to say there aren’t any douchebags out there. But, money or no money, there are douchebags in every realm of society.
Against this backdrop, we tend to forget the amount of charity work that athletes are involved in. And in 2020 no athlete made bigger headlines for their charitable work than Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford.
Following the UK lockdown, imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Rashford teamed up with FareShare to raise over £20 million to feed school children, who, if not for schools closing, would’ve otherwise received free meals.
Rashford, himself received free school meals as a child, urged direct intervention from Johnson. Johnson was initially reluctant, but after public outrage agreed to grant nearly £300 million in food vouchers.
Rashford was included on the Queen’s birthday honours, receiving the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Let us know if there are any other sports stars or teams worth mentioning in the comments section below.
‘Tis the season to be merry. Though this year, I’m just counting down the days until the sun finally sets on 2020. What a crazy year. But in keeping with the spirit of the festive season, we look at some of the best Christmas films out there.
I’m not big on the soppy stuff, that’s supposed to teach us life lessons or whatever. I just want to be entertained, pure and simple. And we get to learn about American food you’ve never eaten, such as yams and egg nog.
Director: Chris Columbus
Box Office: $477.1 million
I mean duh. This is the highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time. If we ignore the obvious question of how Peter McCallister can afford that enormous house whilst supporting several children, 30 years later Home Alone is a movie that has stood the test of time and can be enjoyed by both kids and adults.
Director: Richard Curtis
Box Office: $248.5 million
The ensemble cast and diverging storylines of this British rom-com will play an emotional tug-of-war with you, right until the very end. And any movie that stars Mr Bean is guaranteed to entertain.
Office Christmas Party
Director: Josh Gordon
Box Office: $114.5 million
This is a film most of us can relate to. Employees letting their hair down, open bar, and some Uh-hmm, illegal substances. What could possibly go wrong? The plot is predictably over the top, but at least you’ll have Jennifer Aniston and Olivia Munn to hold you over.
Director: Joe Dante
Box Office: $212.9 million
This won’t be the last movie on our list that begins with a father looking to buy a Christmas present for his son. What’s the worst that could happen when you get a furry little creature as a gift? Nothing much, just a mogwai apocalypse that terrified me as a child and nearly destroyed a town. Gremlins goes against the traditional festive spirit, but hey, there’s a young Phoebe Cates.
Director: John McTiernan
Box Office: $141.5 million
The eternal question. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Well, are there Christmas trees? Is there Christmas music? Someone being wished a Merry Christmas? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. So what’s the problem? You’ve got Bruce Willis at his best, and the late great Alan Rickman. Stopover analysing, and enjoy. “Now I’ve got a machine gun. Ho, ho, ho.”
Jingle All The Way
Director: Brian Levant
Box Office: $129.8 million
There’s no choppers here, just Arnie living a parents nightmare on Christmas Eve. Some of you reading this may have even gone through the experience of desperately trying to fulfil your child’s Christmas wish. This advice may not help you now, but Christmas Eve is not the time to be out shopping for gifts. In fact, Christmas Eve is not the time to be shopping for anything. It’s like the Royal Rumble out there.
Director: Richard Donner
Box Office: $100.3 million
The legend that is Bill Murray drives this modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. But could you imagine our politicians being visited by the three ghosts of Christmas? Now there’s a thought.
Director: Seth Gordon
Box Office: $163.7 million
The Christmas movie for the children of divorce. Attending multiple Christmas dinners sounds like a complicated process. Vince Vaughn has a**hole written all over him, but he always on point in the comedy genre. And sprinkle in some Robert Duvall and Reese Witherspoon, and off we go. I still wonder what spray can cheese tastes like.
Friday After Next
Director: Marcus Raboy
Box Office: $33.5 million
Okay, I’m going to be honest. This is just a way for me to sneak in the first movie of the franchise. It’s the holidays. You’ve got time to watch the trilogy of Craig and his crazy family and friends. On that note, R.I.P. Deebo. “What bike?”
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Box Office: $73.3 million
National Lampoons journey into the Christmas genre hits the jackpot with Chevy Chase of Caddyshack fame. There isn’t much of a plot here. Just random ridiculousness. And somewhere along the line, you’ll feel a lot better about your own family.
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Box Office: $300.4 million
Rocky fights Russian machine Ivan Drago on Christmas Day, so this qualifies as a Christmas film. End of debate. Besides, do you really need an excuse to watch a Rocky movie? Except for Rocky 5. We’ll just pretend that monstrosity does not exist.
Check out our favourite sports movies of all time.
The weather had certainly played its part. Clouds sparsely populated the London sky, but this was a beautiful summer day, that signalled the dawn of a new era for Arsenal Football Club. The man of the moment, Dennis Bergkamp, strode out onto the field sporting an ear to ear grin, flanked by his father and his son. Three generations of the Bergkamp family, held hands while the Arsenal faithful greeted them with rapturous applause.
The non-Flying Dutchman wasn’t the only legend on display. Ian Wright, David Seamen, Patrick Viera, Emmanuel Petit, and Marc Overmars had all donned the Gunners kit one more time, to help mark the occasion for Dennis Bergkamp. On 22 July 2006 Arsenal held a Testimonial Match to celebrate Bergkamp’s eleven years at the club.
But the entirety of the Dutchman’s Gunners career was played at Highbury. Arsenal’s claustrophobic, unwelcoming old stadium. It was a hugely successful period that yielded three Premier League medals and three FA Cups. All six trophies were won under the management of Arsene Wenger.
The opening of the new state of the art Emirates Stadium, to celebrate the occasion, was meant to keep the club financially competitive with Manchester United. But nearly fifteen years later, Arsenal find themselves in a relegation scrap, rather than a championship charge. The demolition of Highbury has since become a metaphor of the club’s subsequent fortunes.
Now it’s time to ask the long-overdue question. How did English football’s third most successful club end up in this quagmire?
The Emirates Project
During the 1990s, vice-chairman David Dein, and Arsene Wenger felt Arsenal were at a financial disadvantage to Manchester United, simply due to Old Trafford having a larger attendance capacity than Highbury.
Arsenal even played their Champions League fixtures at the old Wembley Stadium, at the turn of the century, to try and maximise profits. The end result was the 60 000 all-seater Emirates, which increased the club’s match day attendance by nearly 22 000. But new stadiums ain’t cheap. Despite a naming rights deal with airline juggernaut, Emirates, that has netted the club over £250 million, loan repayments from the stadium development project have been prioritised over player transfers.
Not only did Arsenal struggle to compete financially with United, but they had to contend with the emergence of the nouveau riche at Chelsea and Manchester City, and a resurgent Liverpool. This has meant Arsenal have slowly regressed over the last fourteen years. You need to only look at the previous transfer window and see how Frank Lampard was backed compared to Mikel Arteta. The Covid19 pandemic has certainly compounded the situation, to the point that Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus was let go.
Arsenal are expected to finalise their loan repayments later this decade, at which point they’ll begin to fully reap the rewards of a larger stadium. But until then, Arsenal are unlikely to be title challengers. A sobering thought for the Arsenal supporters.
The numbers speak for themselves. Seven red cards in the last twelve months. Three of which have come in the last five Premiership fixtures. This surely cannot continue.
Mikel Arteta needs to get this situation under control. Premier League football is an unforgiving arena as it is, but Arsenal unnecessarily shooting themselves in the foot just makes it that much more difficult.
Again, the numbers reflect poorly on Arsenal. Jokes aside about the Gunners firing blanks, this is a very serious situation. If you cannot create opportunities, you will not score goals. And creating chances is proving to be rather difficult for the North London outfit.
Arsenal are currently ranked 16th in the league for shots and shots on target. And have created fourteen big chances. That’s essentially one big chance a match. As a result, the goals have dried up for star striker and club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Though he did break his duck against Southampton.
The optics don’t look good, as the goal drought has come in the aftermath of a lucrative new contract. It seems if Aubameyang doesn’t score, Arsenal don’t score. Which is a damning verdict on Alexandre Lacazatte.
Brazilian winger Willian registered three assists on the opening day against Fulham but has not provided any since. And the less said about the £72 million man, Nicolas Pepe, the better. It’s hard to believe Arsenal signed Pepe over Wilfred Zaha.
And it gets worse. The only central midfielder who has an assist is Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, who has a single assist to his name. If only Arsenal had a top-class creative player on their books.
N.B. Stats are for Premier League only
Arsenal Fan TV
In this digital age, footballers have learnt to live with social media criticism from fans. It’s near impossible to avoid. Open up Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, choose any player, and read the comments on one of their posts. Yep.
But one fan channel has stood out above the rest. And not for good reasons. Arsenal Fan TV. Their colourful opinions of their team’s performance is highly entertaining, and usually draws hundreds of thousands of views per post on YouTube.
Whilst players for other clubs rarely comment or react to the opinions of their fans, Hector Bellerin has felt the need to speak out against the popular forum. Even Gary Neville feels Arsenal Fan TV is a distraction the club can do without.
As for regular Gunners supporters, they seem to be split, with some who feel as though Arsenal Fan TV is an embarrassment to their club. But blaming fans for a team’s poor performance is beyond ridiculous. Whatever your thoughts are, fan channels on social media are here to stay.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has stated that playmaker Mesut Ozil has been dropped for football reasons. But I’m not sure I buy that statement. For football reasons? What does that even mean?
Previous Manager Unai Emery made it clear that Ozil wasn’t suited to a high pressing game. Even going as far as questioning the players work ethic. It didn’t help Ozil’s cause that he only had two assists for the entire 2019/20 season.
There have been off-field issues too, that may or may not have contributed to the current situation. Ozil’s criticism of the Chinese government for the persecution of the Uighur Muslim population, led to inevitable pushback from China. Arsenal’s match against Manchester City was removed from Chinese television. Ozil’s jersey became unavailable for purchase in China. And Arsenal released a statement distancing themselves from Ozil’s comments.
Further damaging his relationship with the Arsenal hierarchy, Ozil refused to take a pay cut of his £350 000 per week salary during the pandemic shutdown. He claimed he wasn’t the only player to turn down a pay cut, but his refusal was the only one made public.
And then, of course, Ozil offered to pay the wages of Gunnersaurus, after the mascot was made redundant. Which proved to be an embarrassing episode for the club.
Whether Ozil is done at the club, we’ll have to wait and see. He is not part of Arsenal’s 25 man squad, therefore he is unavailable for selection despite the club’s creativity struggles. But Arteta can register Ozil in January. If not, the Germans time at The Emirates will surely be over.
Every time the music stops, the Manager is the one left without a chair. If matters don’t improve, the blame will fall squarely on the Manager. Of course, there are others who should share in the responsibility. Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke seems to be indifferent to the situation, or at least that’s the way it appears, as he hardly says anything. The American mogul isn’t going to sack himself, is he?
Graduating from the Pep Guardiola school of football, Arteta has Arsenal playing a possession-based brand of football. But instead of Kevin de Bruyne, he has Granit Xhaka. Just kidding, though Gunners fans are probably short on a sense of humour at the moment.
As I’ve mentioned already, creating chances is a very big problem. Arsenal have completed 6 798 passes this season. And have attempted 133 shots. That’s an average of 51 passes per shot. With the pace of Aubameyang and Lacazette, Arteta needs to have his team playing more direct football. That’s easier said than done.
The key is to find a consistent playmaker, just like United did with Bruno Fernandes. Ozil has been frozen out. Ceballos is not a long term option, as he’ll probably return to Los Merengues at the end of the season. Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny are not good enough for Arsenal. Thomas Partey is struggling with injuries.
Olympique Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar has been widely linked with a move to the Emirates. But can Arsenal afford the French maestro? Or maybe Arteta needs to give more game time to the young guns. Saka is the best of the bunch. Nketiah, Willock, Martinelli, Salaba are all big prospects.
From the outside, Arteta doesn’t seem like much of a disciplinarian. But he needs to get a grip on the spate of red cards, and quickly. It’s a point worth repeating.
Is firing Arteta the solution? Or will another Manager face the same issues? I mean could Massimiliano Allegri get more out of the likes of Xhaka and Willian? I can’t see it.
Whatever solution Arteta can find, it needs to happen sooner or later. For his sake, it has to be sooner.
Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments section.
Every four years, the international news cycle is dominated by the phenomenon that is the American elections. But the 2020 elections have undoubtedly drawn a higher than usual interest from casual political observers, such as myself. The reason for this is the polarising figure that is President Donald J. Trump.
If you’ve been following events closely, you may have noticed numbers attached to photos of each candidate. As though Donald Trump and Joe Biden are engaged in a Basketball match. Those numbers represent the number of Electoral votes each candidate has garnered. Ah yes, welcome to the world of the Electoral College.
Honestly, before the 2016 elections, I was vaguely aware of the Electoral College. Until I found out Donald Trump had been elected President, even though Hilary Clinton had won more popular votes. Going back further back in history to the 2000 elections, and the commotion surrounding Florida. The battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore ended up in the Supreme Court. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that for a country as large as the United States, an election came down to a single state. But I was a young man, and let’s just say I had other priorities in life other than reading up on the Electoral College.
The Electoral College is a group of electors who congregate every four years to elect the President and the Vice-President of the United States. There are a total of 538 Electors. The number of Electors from each state is determined by the state’s membership of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In order to be elected, a presidential candidate needs a minimum of 270 Electoral votes. U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico are not allocated Electors, despite being American citizens.
The rationale behind the Electoral College was established in the 19th century, in the newly created republic after the War of Independence against the British empire. That’s right, a law passed more than 200 years ago is still in effect in 2020.
James Madison was the brains behind the Electoral College. Madison opined that the average citizen in the street was unfamiliar with the dynamics of Washington D.C. politics. Madison also felt most Americans would not know the presidential candidates, and thus Electors would be better placed to vote on behalf of the population. It made sense, considering there was no radio or tv, or the internet.
Article 2 Section 1 Clause 2 states:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
Did you get all that? Maybe Trevor Noah can explain it better.
Unsurprisingly, the Electoral College has courted much controversy. As a South African, determining the outcome of an election is as simple as one person one vote. That’s how democracies around the world elect their leaders. Apart from the U.S. obviously. What’s also baffling, is that Americans utilise the one person one vote creed to elect Mayors and Governors.
Due to the liberal or conservative nature of particular states, the outcomes of some Electoral votes are predictable. For example, California’s votes are always won by the Democratic Party, and Alabama is claimed by the Republican Party. But there are states that fall somewhere in the middle, such as Florida and Pennsylvania. These states are referred to as the battleground states or the swing states.
Political candidates focus the bulk of their campaign resources to these states. It is often claimed Hilary Clinton lost the crucial state of Wisconsin in 2016 due to her failure to campaign in the Badger state.
There have been efforts to abolish the Electoral College, but this is a complicated and lengthy process. A constitutional amendment is required. Which means it would take a vote of two-thirds
majority in the House of Representatives, a vote of the two-thirds majority in the Senate, and finally the ratification of three-quarters of the states. And considering the Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on the colour of grass, the Electoral College is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
The repercussions of the Electoral College votes are substantial. The Republican presidential nominee has only won one popular vote in the 21st century, Bush in 2004 against John Kerry, but the Republicans have held the White House for twelve out of the last twenty years.
Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016, has been able to appoint three Supreme Court judges. That’s a third of the highest court in the land. And let’s not forget, Supreme Court judges in the United States are lifetime appointments.
Where American politics is headed from here, is anyone’s guess. What I do know, is that four years from now, they get to do it all over again.
Weightlifting is a difficult endeavour. The lactic acid buildup, an indescribable burn, pushing your muscles to absolute failure. So why make it even more difficult? Think about it. Only a crazy person would do that. Right? But pump iron for long enough, and you’ll realise you have little alternative.
At some point, your results will plateau. It’s a wall many lifters will run into at some stage. Frustration may occur, causing some to call it quits. Others will take the chemical route. There are a number of techniques you can utilise to break the plateau. The key is to break the monotony of the usual sets and reps.
One of my favourite intensifiers is supersets. A superset is performing two exercises back to back, with little to no rest in between. A tri-set is performing three exercises back to back with little to no rest in between. And then you have a giant set which is four or more exercises done back to back with little to no rest in between. You get the picture.
You can perform opposing muscle group supersets. E.g. back and chest or triceps and biceps. This was a favourite of bodybuilding icon Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or you can perform the same muscle group supersets. Which is exactly what we’ll be doing here.
I’ve drawn up two different workout programmes here. Both are fairly intense. These workouts are not for beginners, but those of you who’ve been training for a while, and are looking for something different to what you’ve been doing. There will be no time for chitchat, so suck it up and dig deep. Some key points to remember:
Try to set up your equipment at a single station, in order to minimise the time between exercises.
If you’re able to complete the prescribed reps, next time increase the weight.
Keep a diary, so that you’re able to keep track of your rep count and amount of weight.
Stay adequately hydrated.
Perform each workout programme for a time frame of 4 – 6 weeks.
If you’re currently in the middle of another workout programme, that’s okay. Shelve this one and pick it up in the new year.
Consume a minimum of two and a half times your body weight in grams of protein on a daily basis. E.g. if you weigh 100kg, consume a minimum of 250g of protein per day.
Try to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
For single-limb exercises, complete the total reps on each side.
Complete Workout 1 before moving onto Workout 2.
The focus of these workouts is muscle gain. But if you want to attain or maintain a lean physique, then you can refer back to some of our previous cardio workouts, which you can do directly after the weightlifting workout.
Seated Concentration Curls 4 sets/25 – 30 reps. 1 min rest between sets
Please seek advice from your GP if you’re suffering from any pre-existing medical condition/s before considering embarking on an exercise programme. Neither Sleb nor Sizwe Luthuyi may be held liable for any medical complication/s. Only do exercise programmes in accordance with your health practitioner.
Sizwe Luthayi (Qualified Personal Trainer)
If you have any questions for me on training programmes please get in contact with Sizwe. Details below.
ESPN and ESPN 2 are once again available as part of the DSTV viewing package. I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s been a frustrating seven years with no NFL or College Football on our screens. But the new NFL season is upon us, and South Africans will be able to watch. And I’m way too excited.
So I thought I’d go over some basics of the NFL for all the novices out there. The competition format, rules, teams etc. And maybe, you’ll give the sport a watch sometime.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. The league consists of two conferences, each comprised of sixteen teams: The National Football Conference(NFC), and the American Football Conference(AFC). Each Conference is divided into four divisions consisting of four teams, based on geography.
New York Giants
Washington Football Team (formerly Redskins, awaiting a new name)
Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Each team plays a total of sixteen matches during the regular season, including home and away fixtures against their divisional rivals. Division winners automatically progress to the playoffs. From the remaining teams, the three with the best overall record in each conference join the division winners in the playoffs.
Playoff contenders are restricted to their conference. The winners of the NFC and AFC face each other in the ultimate showdown, the SuperBowl.
Most SuperBowls: Pittsburgh Steelers & New England Patriots (6)
Most NFC Championships: Dallas Cowboys (8)
Most AFC Championships: New England Patriots (11)
Current SuperBowl Champions: Kansas City Chiefs
Football matches take place on a field that is 120 yards in length(including the end zones), and 53 yards in width.
Each team is allowed a maximum of eleven players on the field of play.
A football match has a total playing time of 60 minutes. Each match is divided into two halves of 30 minutes, and each half is further divided into quarters that last 15 minutes.
A team can advance a football by running, passing, or kicking.
A team has four plays(downs) to advance a ball ten yards. If they are able to break the ten-yard barrier, they will receive a fresh set of downs. Failure to advance ten yards results in a turnover of possession to the opposition.
During a single play, once the ball has been advanced beyond the line of scrimmage, a forward pass becomes prohibited.
Turnovers occur from kicks, fumbles, and interceptions.
Touchdown = 6
Conversion = 1
2-point conversion (attempting a touchdown instead of a kick after a touchdown) = 2
Field Goal = 3
Safety (when the ball carrier is tackled in own end zone) = 2
Put pressure on the Quarterback before he can make a play.
Stop running plays.
Judged by the number of tackles and sacks made.
Normally the biggest and slowest players on defence, but still possess explosive speed off the mark.
Assist the defensive linemen in stopping running plays.
Assist the defensive backs in stopping passing plays.
Pressure the Quarterback.
The hybrid between defensive linemen and defensive backs.
The Quarterbacks of the defence. Receive instructions from the Defensive Coordinator.
Cover the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends.
Stop passing plays.
Last line of defence.
Judged by interceptions and pass interruptions.
Fastest players on defence.
Need good hands to catch possible interceptions.
Protect the Quarterback.
Create openings for running plays.
The biggest and strongest on both sides of the ball. But also the slowest.
Protect the Quarterback
Block for Wide Receivers.
The hybrid between Offensive Linemen and Wide Receivers.
Incredibly fast for their size.
Run the ball, usually through a lot of traffic.
Protect the Quarterback on passing plays.
Judged by yardage gained and touchdowns.
Stocky, strong runners.
Shorter than Wide Receivers and Tight Ends.
Block for other Receivers and Tight Ends.
Judged by receptions and touchdowns.
Tall and fast.
Phenomenal handling skills
Lead the offence. Call the plays.
Advance the teams position by either passing or running the ball.
Receives instructions from the offensive coordinator or the head coach.
Throwing the ball with pinpoint accuracy.
Calm under pressure.
Reading the defence.
Leave your comments/questions below.
If you were never into NFL below be sure to get into it this weekend when the season starts. You’ll love it!
Gyms all across South Africa have finally been allowed to open their doors. Now some of you have used the national lockdown as an excuse to not do any exercises. Hey, no judgment from me. We are focusing on the future, not the past. Others may have tried our home workouts.
Now that your local gym is operational, it’s time to pack away your 3kg dumbbells, dust off your favourite stringer vest and get back to the grindstone. Not only that, but December is also around the corner and though these December holidays may see fewer visitors to the beaches than in previous years, dropping as much body fat as possible in the next 14 weeks is still a worthwhile goal. What that means, is cardio. Ah yes, the vegetables of exercise. That necessary evil we need to endure on the path to six packness. More specifically the focus of this article is the rowing machine, a.k.a. the ergometer.
The ergometer is an acquired taste, but it is my favourite cardio machine. It is a non-weight bearing cardio workout, which means it isn’t destructive on your joints. And it’s a full-body workout. However, there will be no 20 or 30-minute sessions here. Instead, we’re going to perform HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts. For a more detailed explanation of HIIT, you can check out our Tabata column
These ergometer exercises should not be done as a standalone workouts. Perform these directly after your weightlifting session. The reasoning for this is that your body’s preferred energy source is glycogen. Glycogen is a converted form of carbohydrates that are stored within your muscle fibres and the liver. Once the glycogen stores are depleted, only then does your body begin tapping into its fat reserves for energy. Your weightlifting workout should be sufficient in burning through the glycogen stores, meaning by the time you strap your feet on the ergometer, your body is in prime fat-burning mode. That’s your biology lesson for the day.
There are exceptions if you have an ergometer at home or at your workplace. You can always sneak in a session in the morning or at lunchtime. For these workouts, the damper settings are of no consequence. The damper setting is the lever on the side wheel, with a 1-10 setting. When you’re rowing at an all-out intensity, the damper setting makes little difference.
Experienced rowers normally pull the handle to chest level, but you can bring the handle as low as your belly button. Use your legs to drive the initial part of the movement, and then once your legs are fully extended, your arms can come into play. If you suffer from pre-existing hip or back issues, stay clear of the ergometer.
Before you begin this phase of your session, you can spend some time doing a warmup. Row between 3-5 minutes at a low intensity just so you can get your bearings and make sure the foot strappings are set correctly.
Remember! The periods of work are performed at all-out intensity. Row as fast as you can, as hard as you can. Okay, ready! It’s choose your own adventure time.
Round 1. Row 600m/Rest 50 seconds
Round 2. Row 500m/Rest 40 seconds
Round 3. Row 400m/Rest 30 seconds
Round 4. Row 300m/Rest 20 seconds
Round 5. Row 200m/Rest 10 seconds
Round 6. Row 100m
Row for 40 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for a total time of 8 minutes.
10 minutes for as many rounds as possible
15 Air Squats
10 Butterfly Situps
5 Pushups (Burpees if you dare)
If 10 minutes is too much, reduce the time to suit your fitness levels, but you still need to be pretty gassed when time is up.
Choose 3 songs from your playlist. Ensure each of those songs has a chorus. Work during the main verses of the songs, and rest during the chorus part. If you don’t have your own music, then you’re at the mercy of the gym’s music. If 3 songs are too much, again make the necessary adjustments for your fitness levels.
The 2000m challenge
This is a gut check challenge. How fast can you row 2000m? Anything under 7 minutes is impressive. Oh, and try not throw up in the middle of the gym.
How many times a week you perform these workouts depends on a couple of factors such as your fitness experience, your schedule (not everyone can train 5 days a week). But try to exercise a minimum of twice per week.
The workouts are not cast in stone. You can adjust them to make it easier or more difficult depending on your fitness levels. Take deep breaths during the rest phase.
Please seek advice from your GP if you’re suffering from any pre-existing medical condition/s before considering embarking on an exercise programme. Neither Sleb nor Sizwe Luthuyi may be held liable for any medical complication/s. Only do exercise programmes in accordance with your health practitioner.
Sizwe Luthayi (Qualified Personal Trainer)
If you have any questions for me on training programmes please get in contact with Sizwe. Details below.