August 11 to August 11…


I haven’t had a great amount of time to sit down and think over everything other than some stray thoughts in passing this past week.

August 11 in 2014: the day I was put in the hospital, learning that night I was suffering from heart failure

August 11 in 2015: moving day to a new apartment

I have spent the last few days having to remind myself that, yes, while I’m getting winded carrying a box or two up stairs, it’s nothing like August 10th of 2014. Then it would take me five minutes just to recover from carrying something upstairs, spooking both of us.

In other words, the alternative is worse.

It’s amazing what this year has brought, even though I’m not all the way back yet. The fact that I’m close is a tribute to great doctors, tremendous support and a spectacular wife and family.

ESPN’s highest web traffic comes almost exclusively from fantasy football


ESPN September visits

We knew fantasy football was big, but we didn’t know that it could dominate a website’s pageviews. ESPN put out its monthly press release on the unique visitors to, a record 94.4 million for September beating the previous record set in January. While the press release is nothing to write home about, one piece […]

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NFL Europe is perhaps easily forgotten now, but it had an impact


NFL Europe is one of those “Oh, right!” things in sports history. Without prompting, you probably wouldn’t easily remember it existed.

The league lasted a surprisingly long time for something that never really caught on outside of a relatively small pocket of fans. It went from 1991-2007, with no football played two of those years. Did you remember it lasted that long? There is no real reason to remember it, outside of “Kurt Warner played for the Amsterdam Admirals!” mentions or if you owned some of those snazzy Pro Set cards from the early 1990s.

Maybe you remember the league better from its first name, the World League of American Football (and the unfortunate WLAF acronym). Then it became the World League, which later became NFL Europe, which then became NFL Europa.

The league was successful in some ways, and not so much in others.

NFL Europe reportedly lost about $30 million a season, according to the New York Times. With the insatiable appetite for the NFL, it seems odd there has never been a successful spring league or a viable minor league (major college football of course is the real minor league, which the NFL make sure stays strong through the unfair rule that a player needs to be three years removed from high school to get drafted). The USFL failed. The XFL didn’t work. When the World League started it included American teams, but after a couple seasons of that, it was clear that the WLAF wasn’t catching on in the United States. After a two-year hiatus, the league re-emerged in 1995 with only European teams.

Scottish Claymores' Kerry Hicks attempts to tackle Amsterdam Admirals quarterback Kurt Warner during a NFL Europe football game in Amsterdam. (AP)And the league did help develop some players who went on to have fine NFL careers. Warner is probably the best example, though Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri also established himself in Europe. Jake Delhomme, Jon Kitna, Brad Johnson, James Harrison, La’Roi Glover and Brian Waters are a few of the other players who graduated from NFL Europe and had nice NFL careers. Imagine NFL history without some of those guys.

Maybe the most important legacy of NFL Europe is as a stepping stone to the NFL International Series. Some NFL Europe teams did fairly well in attendance, showing that American football could work there. When the NFL announced it was shuttering the league, the main reason given was that the NFL wanted to shift the focus to its own regular-season games being held overseas. The NFL has held at least one regular-season game at London’s Wembley Stadium in each season since 2007. The Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game on Sunday will be the 13th game as part of the NFL International Series. The NFL announced earlier this year that it has extended the ability to play regular-season games outside the United States through 2025, and some of those games could go to countries other than England. The Jaguars agreed on Thursday to play at least one game at London’s Wembley Stadium through at least 2020. The 15 seasons of NFL Europe certainly played some role in how the International Series has grown. The NFL saw that there were fans in Europe who enjoyed its league, and the fans there got a taste for the sport.

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While NFL Europe never blew up, it had its moments for those who participated or watched. The Frankfurt Galaxy became the most successful franchise, winning four World Bowls and appearing in four others before the league was ended. The Berlin Thunder won three titles, and the Rhein Fire won a couple. Stan Gelbaugh was the league’s all-time leading passer, Siran Stacy was the all-time leading rusher and Mario Bailey was the all-time leader in receiving yards (h/t to Total Football Stats). Hamburg Sea Devils quarterback Casey Bramlet was the final World Bowl MVP.

NFL Europe/WLAF/World League/NFL Europa hung around the fringes of the American sporting world, never getting much attention here. But it definitely has a legacy. Who knows, without it, there might not be a game in London on Sunday.

More on the Bills-Jaguars game in London this Sunday:

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Ray Lewis’ new book addresses 2000 Atlanta stabbings


NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 24:  ESPN analyst Ray Lewis appears on set prior to a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 24, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

ESPN’s Ray Lewis remains controversial 15 years after the deaths of two men outside an Atlanta nightclub. He was convicted of obstruction of justice in regards to the stabbing of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker in 2000 and to this day, their murders are unsolved. In his new book, “I Feel Like Going On: Life, […]

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We have nobody to blame but ourselves for the First Take plague



We’ve spent enough keystrokes over the years to write a Stephen King novel with all of the horror produced by ESPN’s ghoulish sports debate show First Take.  It is without doubt the worst sports show that has ever been made, and I’m talking all the way from actual sports shows to Pete Rose’s reality show […]

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Not everyone understands how your heart & mind work. What you see as kindness & as well intentioned may not seem that way to the recipient.

Sac State Highlights – Bears win 27-20


It was an odd Saturday night…Sac State outgained UNC nearly 3-1, yet the Bears win behind their defense & special teams. Heck, add in the fact that it was UNC’s first win in 10 tries against the Hornets, and it just was out of the norm all around.

How to Tear a Small Town Apart, OR, “Can Someone be an Adult Here?”


I have held my tongue on the Jim Danley mess at Eaton High over the past few weeks, mostly because it’s a no win for everyone. Especially for someone who doesn’t live in the district.

So, why say something now? Because, I’ve been thinking through the similarities and differences from other blow ups I’ve seen over the years.

Only one comes close in matching the details, though when my old high school moved to replace the football & boys’ basketball coach because of a legal issue, things got even more stupid. After all, making physical threats to a rural mail carrier because of a difference in opinion is beyond over-the-top (It’s also a federal crime). I haven’t heard of much “between party” fighting, though threats to the superintendent & school board members was just something I’ve come to expect.

Speaking of that group: I’m not going to tell you that you were wrong or right in making the decision you did. I am going to tell you, however, that you came off as the biggest (censored) in the entire situation by not contacting Mr. Danley BEFORE listing his job as open online. I’m especially sensitive to that move, which I can’t describe fully without using words that would get this blog flagged.

Why? That’s how I learned I was being removed from a job over a decade ago.

It was a (censored) move then and it’s still a (censored) move.

As for the community, I wish I could tell those around Eaton that it will clean itself up after a few months. I know better. I just have to look at some of the ill will that is still present where I went to school over the decision that school board made close to ten years ago. Some of it has died down, but there’s still a good amount of bitterness, and that’s just sad.

Can someone be an adult here? That rings so true in any situation like this that tears a small community and its schools apart. Too many egos, not enough maturity.