4 Summer “real” football survival tips

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward (86) tries to break a tackle by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Roderick Hood (26) during the first quarter of the NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. The former UGA standout goes to the NFL's Broadcast Bootcamp on the NFL Network. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward (86) tries to break a tackle by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Roderick Hood (26) during the first quarter of the NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. The former UGA standout goes to the NFL's Broadcast Bootcamp on the NFL Network. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

BIRDLAND – I know most of you all are having the shakes right about now, waiting for training camp to open later in July.

I’m passing time in a fitness bootcamp and working on my ragged golf game.

Here are a couple of NFL Network programs to help you fight through baseball season, the boring World Cup that they are trying to shove down our throats and something to look forward to while you’re working through that list of yard chores.

While the rest of the world is enraptured with “Fake” football, I call it what it is: Kickball.  “Real” football starts up later next month.

Here are four tips to help you get through this weekend:

  1. They will show interviews from the NFL Broadcast Bootcamp with Former UGA standout Hines Ward and
    Anthony Hargroves trip to Swaziland changes his outlook on life. (John FItzhugh, MCT)

    Anthony Hargroves trip to Swaziland changes his outlook on life. (John Fitzhugh, MCT)

    Giants center Shaun O’Hara on NFL Total Access today.

  2. NFL Total Access features ‘NFL Abroad’ highlighting the travels Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He recently traveled abroad to Thailand to soak in the local culture and expand his horizons. Stops for Fitzgerald along the way include trips to a floating market, a Thai boxing match, and an elephant preserve. We missed former Georgia Tech standout and Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove’s trip to Swaziland, which was featured on Wednesday. I’m sure there will be re-runs. Only one week after a victory in the Super Bowl, Hargrove traveled to Swaziland on a missionary expedition with Bills tackle Cornell Green and former Bronco George
    "Broadway" Joe Namath

    "Broadway" Joe Namath

    Foster. Hargrove shares his experience in the AIDS-stricken country and how sights and sounds of life in this Southern African nation changed his life forever.

  3. The Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings (3-8) and Tampa Bay Storm (7-3) play on ‘Arena Football Friday’ at 8 p.m.
  4. Full Re-Air of Super Bowl III between the New York Jets and Baltimore Colts on Super Bowl Classics Saturday at 8:00 PM ET – This is the “guarantee” game where Jets quarterback Joe Namath backed up his smack talk with a 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts.

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44 comments Add your comment

JayDawg

June 24th, 2010
3:19 pm

So ready for real football!!!!!GO DAWGS!!!!

Craig

June 24th, 2010
3:41 pm

DLed: It is nice to see someone who feels the same way about the world cup as I do. I am so sick of hearing about soccer this and the great team Ghana has…I bet 90% of the people running at the mouth dont even know where Ghana is. Preach on

And to the point, I would give anything for even a pre-season game right about now. I try to watch replayed games on NFL network but they tell you what is about to happen before every commercial! If you know anyone over there at NFL network can you ask them whats up with that? Keep up the good work! Us football junkies are dying for anything football

John

June 24th, 2010
3:52 pm

Real football?? Get real. How can it be football when you run with the ball in your hands. What is it with Americans. A world series where no one other than American teams play and when it is a competition where other teams play you can’t win. “Football” is a skillful game and appreciated y many who don’t just jump on the band wagon of their team performing well. I am from Britan and wish the USA team well in their quest.

lanier

June 24th, 2010
4:03 pm

Cgeck the kickball ratings John

ASHCAN.

June 24th, 2010
4:16 pm

I love football and never watched a kickball game. i always thought it was boring.But im not knocking it john if you love it then this is your season.

Craig

June 24th, 2010
4:18 pm

John, I know ignorance is bliss but at least get your facts straight. It may be only American teams that play in most world championships but its not only American players. People from all over the world work their whole life to be the very best at their sport so they can come to America and compete against the best competition in the world. You should go ask Kobe Bryant who has the best basketball team in the world. Or ask a hockey player who has the best team in the world. (America or Canada, still north America). I dont see what is so skillful about running around for an hour chasing a ball like a bunch of kids on a playground, but so as not to disrespect a sport or its players just because I am not a fan (unlike some of our british counterparts) I will just leave it alone.

Knockahoma

June 24th, 2010
4:33 pm

Thanks for setting this one up Led. I am a huge soccer fan and I love to see how people in this region of the world make every excuse to explain why they don’t like soccer. The fact is lanier and craig, you guys just don’t understand the sport, which I’m sure you’re willing to admit. You don’t understand the strategy, or understand when a team is looking good without having scored a goal yet.

I am a born and raised Georgian who used to be all about basketball and football. I still love basketball, but I have to admit that once I got into watching really well played soccer I lost a little bit of interest in American Football. There are just way too many commercials, and no continuous play. Soccer is a beautiful sport to watch, and whether or not you feel that you are in the majority by being non-soccer fans, best believe you are in the minority. The rest of the world is on vacation watching the best sporting spectacle known to man. How the hell could you guys not be interested after the USA win yesterday??!!!!!

dude

June 24th, 2010
4:34 pm

While I am a big football fan I love and follow soccer. Yes I did grow up in Europe so I learned to love it there – it’s an art that most Americans bash because they don’t understand. And those Europeans who call us ignorants…wonder why?

FEATHEREDFRIEND

June 24th, 2010
4:35 pm

C’mon ATL !!!!!!!!!!!! Flyin’ High Again real soon. 14-2…14-2…14-2 Does anyone but me BEEEEELEEEEEEVEEEEE ? The “Iceman” cometh!!!! YEAHOOOOWEEEEEE

falcon4ever

June 24th, 2010
4:38 pm

Americans are a “gratification right now” country and it’s really hard to watch a game for hours to see maybe 3 points scored. I’m not knocking it but I want to see movement in a game not stagnation.

Ethan

June 24th, 2010
4:58 pm

Soccer is the number 1 sport in the whole world Ledbetter i will watch the world cup over any superbowl game. Soccer is just too hard for you Americans to appreciate. Loose the bowtie Ledbetter and join in the fun that is Worl Cup Soccer! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Falcon Devil

June 24th, 2010
4:59 pm

I am a die-hard American football fan. I played in HS and I love it more as a spectator every year.I spend at least an hour a day searching for interesting articles and tidbits on my favorite sport.

That being said I think it’s pathetic the way so many people are threatened by the existence and celebration of other sports. The world cup has absolutely no parallel. No sport is more widely played in the world and therefore most of the world’s elite athletes play soccer. I don’t get offended when morons (not you DLed, you are my boy) spout off ignorant trash about how soccer is stupid, lame, boring and a soft sport. I just have to shake my head and brush it off like all other ignorant crap I’m constantly subjected to hearing in this society. The boring thing is subjective ( I find the 59 commercial breaks in one game of football boring), but obviously American attention spans don’t handle 1-0 games very well. It’s similar to hockey, I find hockey boring to watch on TV typically unless it’s the Stanely Cup or I watch it live. Just because I usually find hockey boring doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the world-class level of skill and athleticism on display or root for USA to win the Gold Medal. Basically the point I’m trying to make is that if you don’t find a sport exciting to watch then don’t, but you can still try to appreciate the level of skill and athleticism these world class athletes possess. And if you don’t find the USA winning with 2 minutes left in stoppage time to keep they’re tournament hopes alive then there’s something wrong with you. Next round when ties are decided by penalty kicks things are gonna get awesome!!!

Delbert D.

June 24th, 2010
5:04 pm

DLed, I can’t hardly stand it no more. I need a 12-step program for the next 6-8 weeks.

D. Bell

June 24th, 2010
5:08 pm

Whoa. As a sports columnists, you should be able to at least appreciate all sports, even if you’re not a fan. And you certainly shouldn’t belittle those readers who do enjoy the sport.

For what’s its worth, I don’t buy that “gratification right now” theory, becauase the average baseball game runs twice as long as a soccer match and it’s a slow, low-scoring sport predicated on the art of pitching. People get most excited when one team fails to even reach first base. The only baseball I ever watch is live minor league on $1 beer night, but I still appreciate why some people enjoy it. Hell, Americans like watching golf.

Another interesting fact: Americans are only second to South Africans in World Cup attendance.

gabeaux

June 24th, 2010
5:21 pm

Hey soccer fans, real football players don’t writhe in agony every time someone accidently touches them or heaven forbid, steps on their foot. I haven’t seen that much overacting since Bette Davis retired.

Tom

June 24th, 2010
5:40 pm

By the way – those of you saying that “Americans” don’t understand the sport, or “Americans” don’t have the attention span, etc, that’s a lame argument, untrue, and a massive over generalization. I’m an American and I love soccer. Also, it makes you sound snobby.

Tom

June 24th, 2010
5:42 pm

That’s funny – Ledbetter can bash us (soccer fans) but we lowly commenters can’t return the favor. I’ve had two posts rejected already!

Falcon Devil

June 24th, 2010
5:48 pm

Generally speaking people naturally fear the unknown and resist change. That’s why it’s hard for a lot of Americans to embrace soccer or anything out of their typical familiar comfort zones. Wake up – variety is the spice of life people!

dodirty

June 24th, 2010
6:02 pm

Enter your comments here

gabeaux

June 24th, 2010
6:12 pm

Hey Tom, you moved out of your parent’s basement yet? Spending so much time criticizing a professional must mean you’re really quite the accomplished one, huh? Everyone here is very impressed. Write again when you find work.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 24th, 2010
6:21 pm

Sorry. I’m not a soccer fan. Like the drinking and singing though. That’s pretty good. Rather watch paint dry.

Knockahoma

June 24th, 2010
6:47 pm

Glad to see that the majority of the posts are pro soccer. I thought I would add my own interseting tid-bit.

gabeaux-I’m sure Tom didn’t realize that Led is your hero. He’s sorry and you can quit your whining and assuming that anyone with an opposing view is unemployed.

Led-enjoy watching the paint dry. When you get bored with that come join the rest of the world watching the party that is the World Cup. Anyone who has intelligence and watches the beautiful game with educated fans can’t help but get carried away in the hysteria.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 24th, 2010
6:49 pm

Where did that Tom guy’s post go? Can’t seem to find any of them.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 24th, 2010
6:54 pm

Knockahoma – Knock yourself out. I’ll be cutting grass or something. Or I’ll go up to the stadium to help clean off the youth football equipment for some young “real” football players.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

robertussen

June 24th, 2010
7:02 pm

thats funny d led

Delbert D.

June 24th, 2010
7:06 pm

Y’all have obviously never seen anyone score a century. That’s a real sport. Go Leicester Foxes!

falcon4ever

June 24th, 2010
7:51 pm

i’VE HEARD “BEAUTIFUL SPORT” 3 TIMES. Can you please tell me the beauty in it? It’s a game ,very low scoring and helps my insomnia, but I see no beauty in it. Beauty is a post pattern with the ball slightly over the finger tips of a defender into the outstretched arms of a reciever resulting in a 75 yd. score!

rekingball

June 24th, 2010
7:55 pm

Nothing against soccer, but a ball game in which you can’t use your hands, is just boring to me.

Can’t get into watching a bunch of people run up and down a field kicking a ball, it’s even worse than golf.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 24th, 2010
8:01 pm

rekingball — I was with you until you started dissing golf!!!

Tom

June 24th, 2010
9:17 pm

Now that’s funny – one of my posts actually showed up briefly, and was THEN deleted (I’m glad at least gabeaux and knockahoma got to see it). I wonder who’s in control of the delete button.

Sure, plenty of people think that soccer is stupid. They’re not necessarily any less sophisticated. Those who think that they can argue that one sport is truly better than another might be a little idiotic (since it’s a personal preference). I think that others have put this a little more articulately than I will, but a sports writer who mocks a sport, especially a major sport, falls into the category of idiotic. Ledbetter comes across as someone who is convinced that he must be smarter than all of the rest of us fools who actually like soccer. The worst part is that he can’t even see that he might have made a mistake!

I could give a hoot if you like soccer, D. Led, but don’t put it down.

Tom

June 24th, 2010
9:19 pm

Falcon4Ever – fair point. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I see beauty in both soccer and football. Soccer certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on that title.

FalconsFan284

June 24th, 2010
11:09 pm

Did anyone notice the political discussion from yesterday had a lot more conversation?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 25th, 2010
7:41 am

Tom – I can put it down. If the soccer players were any good, they’d be playing “real” football. What position could Landon Donovan play in “real” football? I think I’m still ticked off because I got all worked up about the World Cup last time. After the Germans tossed us around like rag dolls I concluded that we’re never going to be good enough globally because our best athletes are playing basketball and “real” football. But my man Mike Cunningham (our new Hawks writer) has talked me into watching the game tomorrow. I’m going to take a couple of no doz before it starts and hope I stay awake. Because I’m an “real” American — GO USA!!!

Tom

June 25th, 2010
8:31 am

D. Orlando Ledbetter – I wish I could say I was surprised at your ignorant comment. I’m assuming that by “good,” you mean athletic? You can’t honestly think that soccer players are sitting there thinking, “gee, if I was a better athlete, I could play football!” I see what you are trying to say by asking which position Donovan would play, but it’s a stupid argument. That’s like saying, which position would Grady Jackson play in soccer. I’m sure there are plenty of elite athletes in each sport who could cross over to the other had they trained for that sport.

You bring up a good point when you say that most of our good athletes are playing basketball and football. That may be true. In our country – this is me making an educated guess – soccer is played predominantly by middle class whites and Hispanics regardless of their socioeconomic status. A lot of potentially great athletes are left out. That isn’t the case overseas. That said, I think soccer is growing rapidly in popularity and diversity, and I think we’re starting to catch up to the rest of the world.

I’m sorry that you were so let down by our performance in the last World Cup, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a stupid game. So, if we were more successful, then you would think it was a good game? I think I see where your real issue lies.

Anyways, glad to hear that you are going to watch the game tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it, but I honestly don’t care whether you do or not. I just ask that you don’t use your position as a professional sports writer to bash a sport because you personally find it boring.

SeenThisB4

June 25th, 2010
10:56 am

TOM: D. Led has the constitutional right to bash any sport, as long as he does it in an acceptable manner. Which, as best I can see, he has. And he certainly hasn’t stooped down to your level of name calling. Besides, this is an NFL blog, not a soccer blog. YOU ARE OUT OF PLACE.

That’s not to say that D. Led is without his blemishes. For one, he is a Fan of the falcants, which in my opinion is like being a fan of Tony Hayward, or Al Gore and other world class failures.

GEAUX SAINTS!!!! OUR TIME!!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 25th, 2010
11:19 am

TOM – I’m sorry, I’ve tried VERY, VERY HARD TO LIKE SOCCER for the last 20 years. I just don’t. My undergraduate college (Howard U.) won NCAA national championships and I couldn’t get excited about that. We had great teams filled with a bunch of players from Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad and one guy from like St. Louis or Detroit. I tried the last two World Cups, but it is just kickball to me.

Don’t know why your banging on me for not liking soccer. (I guess because I’m banging on soccer. Makes sense now.) I’m going to try it again tomorrow. I might even sing a song and drink a beer to fight off the pain of watching the game.

My premise is that Soccer players are too scared to put on some shoulder pads and play “real” football.

Grady Jackson is an athlete. He probably could play goalie. He could dunk a basketball! Donovan might be a corner or a slot receiver, now that I think about it. A Wes Welker type, but he’d probably be afraid to go across the middle.

They have been saying that soccer is growing in popularity for the last 20 years. It’s not. Face it. That’s a myth.

GO USA GO!!!

Tom

June 25th, 2010
3:10 pm

D. Led – my last comment didn’t post for some reason and I’m not going to rewrite it all again. In short:
I’m sorry I was harsh. Out of character for me. Please accept my apology. My point is that its not cool to mock a sport, especially from your position as a sports writer. It’s offensive to the fans and players of that sport. Insinuating that soccer players are scared sissies is juvenile, stereotypical, and just wrong. I wasn’t banging on you for not liking soccer, I was banging on you for making your statements about it being “boring” or “fake” or “kickball” as if that was a fact. It’s a preference – you have yours and everyone else has theirs. This could go on forever, so I will leave it be. Thanks at least for responding, and again, I apologize for being harshly critical – it was my defense mechanism kicking into overdrive because I’ve heard these criticisms all of my life (usually from stupid rednecks).

D. Bell

June 25th, 2010
3:32 pm

You’re wrong when you say that soccer in the U.S isn’t growing in popularity. More children now play it in rec leagues than any other sport. Also, there are more Americans at the World Cup right now than other nation on the planet, save for the host country.

Tom

June 25th, 2010
4:45 pm

Thanks, D. Bell, for your support.

Knockahoma

June 25th, 2010
4:57 pm

Led if they lose tomorrow it’s all your fault. Just playin. I hope Cunningham is able to get you interested. Any true sports fan can appreciate soccer. What’s really cool for Americans who just don’t know that they like soccer is that it’s something that can fill the void while you’re waiting to watch American football. And if your like me it will almost completely replace all the sports you used to watch. I still love basketball and baseball, but I don’t get more amped up for anything like I do for a big soccer match.

scott

June 30th, 2010
1:34 am

D. Orlando,

I like how the best athletes only play basketball and football. Just come out and say it, black people play those two sports. Whites play football and baseball, Hispanics play baseball and soccer, blacks play football, basketball, and some baseball. With Hispanics about to become the majority in twenty years soccer will probably be the real football in this country too just like it is in every other part of the country. And look at Chris Henry, the guy had brain damage so bad at the age of 26, that his brain looked like someone with late stage dementia. That is scary and if the NFL doesn’t do something about it, it’s going to end up like boxing where no one is going to want their kids to play the sport because they don’t want them to talk like Evander Hollyfield does in his 40’s.

Also the thing about American football is there is so much stopping and starting and so much dead time where there is nothing going on. I’m a huge Falcons fan but that crap gets old for me and not to mention all of the commercials. It’s like the NFL could care less about the live experience, it’s all about TV. People can rip on the other sports and say there boring but American football can be just as boring. Watching two teams play to a 6-3 win is worse than some soccer games that end in a 0-0 tie. Also I don’t know why you are publishing this column to begin with most real sports fans watch more than just football, if anything after the superbowl I’m so tired of having the NFL shoved down my throat I enjoy the break.

scott

June 30th, 2010
1:39 am

Lanier,

Do you really want to compare the World Cup’s ratings to the NFL’s? There’s a billion people watching the World Cup no one outside of the United States and Canada care about the NFL.

D Led,

You can talk about how tough American football players are and how sissy the soccer players are in the world cup but the rest of the world also plays another game called rugby where they wear no pads and people get smashed even worse than the NFL. I have European friends that laugh when they see American football and think we are the sissies because we are basically playing rugby with a ton of pads on.

Real Football is American

July 3rd, 2010
8:17 pm

Heck yeah i’m ready for some Real Football. I watched a few matches and it bored me sleep. It’s hilarious that people outside the US are so hurt that we don’t like it. Get over it, people are free here to watch what the want.