Sports

The football stadiums that never were
Sports

The football stadiums that never were

Peter Storrie can remember visiting the London studio of Herzog & de Meuron, the renowned Swiss architects, and being shown a striking vision of Portsmouth’s future.“It was something else,” he tells The Athletic. “They put it up on the screen for us and it certainly had the wow factor.”This was 2007 and the ambitious plans were for a new 36,000-capacity stadium on the city’s docks. Storrie, then chief executive, had accepted that Portsmouth would need to leave Fratton Park, the club’s home since 1899, and a proposed relocation could hardly have been more impressive.Located in between the Spinnaker Tower and the historic naval base, a £600million waterfront project that would include apartments and restaurants promised a transformational impact.“This will be the most spectacular stadium...
First World War Christmas truce: How much football was actually played?
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First World War Christmas truce: How much football was actually played?

It’s one of the best-known stories about the First World War: the Christmas truce of 1914, when soldiers from both sides spontaneously laid down their guns and, for a few hours at least, acted as if they weren’t trying to wipe each other out in a cruelly pointless war.Part of the story was the football match that broke out in No Man’s land. The image of the two sides uniting, in a manner of speaking, over the common language of sport became incredibly evocative, a slice of normality amidst the horror.It’s gone down in English mythology, encouraged by appearances in various elements of culture, from art to history books to things such as the TV comedy Blackadder. “Remember it? I was never offside, I could not believe that decision…” the titular character says when asked if he recalled the m...
NFL playoff picture after Week 16: Ravens close in on AFC’s top seed; NFC up for grabs
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NFL playoff picture after Week 16: Ravens close in on AFC’s top seed; NFC up for grabs

The Baltimore Ravens scored their most impressive victory of the season Monday night, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 33-19. Along with making them look like worthy Super Bowl contenders, the victory puts them in a fantastic position in the AFC. At 12-3, they’re a game ahead of Miami and have a chance to clinch the top spot next week in a game against those very Dolphins.Meanwhile, the 49ers’ loss sends them to 11-4 and a three-way tie atop the NFC with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. The 49ers own the tiebreaker over both, but with two games to go, there’s still time for the Eagles or Lions to make a move.As for the rest of the NFL, Week 16 saw plenty of movement in the playoff picture. Let’s take a look at where things stand as we enter Week 17.Listed odds to make the playof...
Golf with a purpose: How The Park dared to be different
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Golf with a purpose: How The Park dared to be different

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It’s lunchtime on a mid-November Saturday afternoon and the word of the day is eclectic. I’ve just finished my morning round at The Park with a three-putt for par on the forgiving 18th hole, and I saddle up at the cabana, the bar/small bites stand strategically located at the front of the property.A foursome that was a few holes ahead of me is heading off to their vehicles — while allowing for their anonymity, let’s just say they can be members anywhere they want to be in the golf-rich West Palm Beach/Jupiter area. Making the turn to the back nine are the bros wanting to chase down their transfusions with High Noons. Though they represent very different ends of the Saturday golfer spectrum, you recognize both groups as what a golfer “looks” like.But the cabana occup...
No Hit League? The ‘lost art’ of body checking in the NHL
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No Hit League? The ‘lost art’ of body checking in the NHL

Seventeen years and more than 1,200 games ago, Andrew Cogliano remembers how difficult it was to traverse the state of California.The Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks were three of the biggest, heaviest teams in the league. If you had to play all three in succession? Well, good luck. Not only were those teams willing to play a punishing brand of hockey, but they were all highly skilled and generally successful, too.After a few years in Edmonton where he broke into the league, Cogliano was dealt to the Ducks as a free agent in the summer of 2011 and was part of a team that qualified for the playoffs in six straight seasons from 2012-13 through 2017-18. Those California road trips became regular intrastate battles. And they were vicious.“My first couple years in Anaheim, ...
Football conspiracy theories: Are we in a ‘golden age’ of fan paranoia?
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Football conspiracy theories: Are we in a ‘golden age’ of fan paranoia?

One of the most eye-catching bios on X, or Twitter as we all know it, belonged to a sports writer with one of the UK’s biggest national newspapers. It was plain and simple and boiled down to five words: “Biased against your football club.”Which is true. If you’ve followed football for any length of time, then you know that every arm of the media is out to get the club you support. You should see The Athletic’s morning meetings where we plot against the teams we most want to stitch up (all of them, obviously). Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to get Mikel Arteta banned from the touchline. Or perpetuating bias in favour of London. Or scheming for more points deductions at Everton. It’s All the President’s Men meets 24.Truthfully, more attention is paid to the subsid...
Sean Payton’s flare-up at Russell Wilson puts coach-QB relationship back in spotlight
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Sean Payton’s flare-up at Russell Wilson puts coach-QB relationship back in spotlight

(Editor’s note: This is excerpted from Mike Sando’s Pick Six of Dec. 18, 2023.)Sean Payton blasting quarterback Russell Wilson on the sideline, then suggesting he was merely upset about officiating, invited all sorts of speculation.It’s hard to fault Payton for losing his cool when officials wiped out a Broncos touchdown with an offensive offside call that seemed indefensible. As one former head coach put it, officials have “lost their minds” searching for penalties associated with Philadelphia’s tush-push plays.It’s just difficult to understand why Payton would funnel any of that rage toward his quarterback.GO DEEPERSean Payton downplays sideline flare up with Russell WilsonThe nature of Payton’s relationship with Wilson faded into the background during a five-game winning streak fueled b...
Jesse Lingard is a non-footballing footballer – he won’t be the last
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Jesse Lingard is a non-footballing footballer – he won’t be the last

Follow live coverage of Liverpool vs Manchester United in the Premier League todayIt’s Jesse Lingard’s birthday. He turns 31 today and, at this stage of his life, he must realise it is not going to be easy shifting some of the perceptions that come from being a non-footballing footballer. For now, at least.Speak to Lingard’s former team-mates and they will talk about a guy who has been popular at all his clubs and played at a level, including a World Cup semi-final, that automatically commands respect among his fellow pros.But it is also a harsh reality that many others will be wondering how a player with Lingard’s record of achievement has spent so long without a club and seems less troubled by that situation than you might assume.Lingard last played competitive football in April, a two-m...
Morning Person? You Might Have Neanderthal Genes to Thank.
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Morning Person? You Might Have Neanderthal Genes to Thank.

Neanderthals were morning people, a new study suggests. And some humans today who like getting up early might credit genes they inherited from their Neanderthal ancestors.The new study compared DNA in living humans to genetic material retrieved from Neanderthal fossils. It turns out that Neanderthals carried some of the same clock-related genetic variants as do people who report being early risers.Since the 1990s, studies of Neanderthal DNA have exposed our species’ intertwined history. About 700,000 years ago, our lineages split apart, most likely in Africa. While the ancestors of modern humans largely stayed in Africa, the Neanderthal lineage migrated into Eurasia.About 400,000 years ago, the population split in two. The hominins who spread west became Neanderthals. Their cousins to the ...