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12 Feb 2019

40 Best Soccer Players of All Time

 

Soccer (or football and futbol) is the world’s sport. There have been some incredible players over the past century which have influenced the game in a variety of ways. Then there are the ones who became the best of all time at their craft.

Do you agree with this list of the best soccer players of all time?

1. Pele

2. Lionel Messi

3. George Best

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

5. Diego Maradona

6. Bobby Moore

7. Thierry Henry

8. Zinedine Zidane

9. Sir Bobby Charlton 

10. Kenny Dalglish

11. David Beckham

12. Bastian Schweinsteiger

13. Franz Beckenbauer

14. Johan Cruyff

15. Eusebio

16. Ronaldo

17. Paul Gascoigne

18. Gary Lineker

19. Ronaldinho

20. Steven Gerrard

21. Ryan Giggs

22. Wayne Rooney

23. Alfredo Di Stefano

24. Dennis Bergkamp

25. Denis Law

26. Ferenc Puskas

27. Xavi

28. Michael Owen

29. Sir Tom Finney

30. Michel Platini

31. Lev Yashin

32. Gareth Bale

33. Gianluigi Buffon

34. Kevin De Bruyne

35. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

36. Bryan Robson

37. Mohamed Salah

38. Lothar Matthaus

39. Marco van Basten

40. Jurgen Klinsmann

Why Choose Pele as the Greatest of All Time?

Although there are several candidates who could feasibly be called the greatest footballer of all time, it is the statistics which Pele put up over the course of his career that make him stand out.

Over 21 years of playing football at the club and international levels, Pele scored 727 goals. That includes 77 which he scored on behalf of Brazil over 92 caps. He appeared in the 1958 World Cup tournament at the age of 17. 

Pele also debuted for his club as a professional at the age of 16, playing for Santos FC until 1975 when the New York Cosmos paid him an enormous sum of cash to play out the final two years of his career there.

Why Place Lionel Messi Over Cristiano Ronaldo?

When choosing between Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and George Best, there were three elements to consider.

  • Talent for the game.
  • Team leadership qualities.
  • Off-the-field issues.

Lionel Messi was convicted of tax fraud in Spanish courts, then directed to spend 21 months in prison before the sentence was reduced to a fine of £223,000. He agreed to pay £400 per day of the judgment that he would serve.

Messi’s father was also found guilty, given a fine as well instead of his original 15-month sentence.

Cristiano Ronaldo is accused of sexual misconduct during a trip to Las Vegas, NV. Law enforcement officials in 2019 continue to look at the case. The soccer player already paid a monetary settlement as a way to keep it out of the news.

George Best never had controversies like these, though he did struggle with alcoholism throughout his entire life.

Based on this combination of factors, including overall skill in reading the game, we generated the list as printed above. 

Who are your favorite soccer players of all time? Where did we get things right?

Did we get some things wrong? Let the debate begin!

31 Jan 2019

5 Best Fantasy Football Apps for Your Style

 

If you love to play fantasy football with your friends, then these are the apps that will help you get your game to the next level.

#1. Draft Dominator

This fantasy football app offers you more information than you can reasonably use over an entire season. You’ll find access to game scores, player updates, depth charts, rankings, projections, and much more. You could even filter the data to meet your exact needs for whatever is going on during that week of the season for you. It won’t host a fantasy league, but it will help you win one.

#2. Yahoo Fantasy Sports

This fantasy football app might be aging, but it is also still one of the best around. Its primary service is as a league application, though it will give you access to mock drafts, expert analysis, and statistical updates. If you like to play fantasy sports in other leagues, then download this one to play basketball, baseball, and hockey too. It will also help you to manage your roster, make trades, or pick up waivers.

#3. numberFire

What makes this a fantastic fantasy football app is its ability to create auction values and custom rankings to create the ultimate cheat sheet. The internal ranking mechanisms look at the projected fantasy points of each player compared to the replacement cost you would have in your league or team. It also gives you complete control when managing these lists and integrating profiles. You receive real-time news about selected players, updates on the season, and plenty of fantasy data with which to work.

#4. RotoWire Kit

This app offers a dynamic cheat sheet which automatically adjusts to the settings that are in your league. You gain access to individual player assessments, predictions for the upcoming football season, depth charts, and pretty much anything else you can imagine in the world of fantasy football. You can even mark specific players as sleepers for your team if you wish. There are defensive player rankings and more in one of the easiest fantasy apps to use for Apple devices today.

#5. ESPN Fantasy Sports

Even though this is the fantasy football app that people love to hate, it’s also one of the most popular that is used for each season. There are questionable tools and resources available to you in terms of overall quality after downloading, but it looks good and gives you decent information that can help you form the foundation of a winning fantasy team. It tends to work best if you pair it with one of the other options on this list to get a well-rounded look at the upcoming season. You can’t beat the fact that it is free either.

If you love to play fantasy football on a competitive level, then data is your best friend. These apps will help you make sure that you can dominate your league from draft day to the finals to win whatever prize is available for you. Even if that means all you get are bragging rights. 

27 Jan 2019

6 Biggest Draft Busts in NBA History

 

Every team in the NBA has made a draft pick that they regret. Most of these players bust out of the league after a handful of seasons, only costing a franchise a little bit of pride and some cash along the way.

Then there are the epic draft busts in NBA history which everyone remembers for all of time. Do you agree with this list?

#1. Sam Bowie, Portland Trail Blazers

Most people don’t remember that Michael Jordan was picked third in 1984. The Houston Rockets got a good deal with Hakeem Olajuwon since they needed a center. As for the Blazers, well… they took Bowie. He was always injured, never played well, and couldn’t even put together a full season of play. He averaged 10.9 points during his career.

#2. Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons

The number of players that came after Milicic in 2003 who went on to have Hall of Fame careers is astounding. You’ve got Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony all picked after him. LeBron James was selected right before him. Milicic could play Euro basketball well, but the physical nature of the NBA wasn’t his style. He became a valuable sixth man instead.

#3. Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers

Oden got bit by the injury bug after being taken as the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. He was dominant in college, but then he had microfracture surgery on both knees coming into the professional game. He only played in 82 games during the first five years of his career because of all the injuries.

#4. Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers

This player was the No.1 pick in the 1998 draft. It was a pick which cemented the franchise’s reputation in a negative light, as he averaged over 10 points during a season just twice in his career. He may have been 7 feet tall, but he couldn’t shoot worth anything. Now think about who the Clippers could have picked: Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Antwan Jamison, or Dirk Nowitzki.

#5. Shawn Bradley, Philadelphia 76ers

The 1990s ran through a series of draft picks that were all tall 7-footers. Each player was expected to dominate around the rim. Most did not. Take Bradley, for example. He played 12 seasons, by at 7’6”, he only averaged 6.3 rebounds per game over his career. Although the historic levels of talent for the 1993 draft were low (only Chris Webber, Sam Cassel, and Bruce Bowen are notable), they could have still done better.

#6. Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies

Even though Thabeet is 7’3” tall, his best minutes-per-game average in the NBA is 13. That means he’s spending more time riding the pine than he is grabbing boards. By 2015, he was playing in the NBA’s development league with the rookies. In September 2017, he washed out completely and went to the Yokohama B-Corsairs in Japan.

These are just some of the draft pick busts that have happened in NBA history. What are some of the picks that you wish your favorite team had never done? 

21 Jan 2019

7 Worst Playoff Mistakes in NBA History

 

The NBA playoffs provide us with some of basketball’s greatest moments. If you are a player who achieves greatness there, then your name is written in the annals of history with plenty of glories to enjoy.

If you make one of the worst playoff mistakes in NBA history, then you’ll be remembered in a much different way.

Do you remember these incidents happening on the court?

#1. Wilt’s Four

One of the best scorers in NBA history decided that he was only going to take four shorts during the 1968 playoff series against the 76ers. His team was built around what he could do around the rim, so his lack of presence cost them a chance at the title.

#2. 39 Points

The 2008 NBA finals had the Lakers looking to be the dominant force in the league. In Game 6, the fell flat for whatever reason, failing to play offense or defense in all four quarters. They wound up losing to the Boston Celtics by 39 points.

#3. Choking Charles

The New York Knicks were stomping down on the Chicago Bulls something fierce. They’d won twice, then lost the next two. That set up an epic Game 5 showdown. With 20 seconds left, Charles Smith had the ball for the Knicks right under the basket. Then he missed four consecutive shots. He didn’t even draw a foul. Chicago went on to win the game.

#4. Isiah’s Throw In

The 1987 playoffs between the Pistons and the Celtics are remembered for one specific play. Isiah Thomas attempted to throw in the ball while up by one point. There were five seconds left on the clock. Larry Bird stole the pass, made the layup, and the Celtics held on to win the series.

#5. The 1994 SuperSonics

This team, led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, held the best record in the NBA in 1994. They cruised through the Denver Nuggets during the first two games of the quarterfinals. Then they lost the remaining games to become the first No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 8 seed in the history of the league.

#6. Nick’s Free Throws

Nick Anderson went to the free throw line five times in game one of the 1995 NBA finals. He made just one of them. Orlando was up by four points when he started missing them. The Houston Rockets went down the court to make up the difference and win the game – even though there were only 5.6 seconds left in the game.

#7. Kobe’s Airball

Kobe Bryant came to the NBA straight out of high school. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Championship against the Utah Jazz, with the game tied at 89, he had a chance to make history. He threw up an airball instead. Then he kept doing it, throwing up a total of five terrible shots. 

These are just a few of the biggest mistakes that have happened in NBA history. What are some of your favorite “least memorable” moments? 

01 Jan 2019

Worst Hockey Injuries of All Time

 

The worst hockey injury of all time occurred in the stands. Brittanie Cecil was only 13 years old when a puck deflected upward in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. It struck her in the left temple while watching a game that her father got her tickets to as an early birthday present. The incident caused all rinks to add mandatory netting behind both goals.

Here are some of the other worst hockey injuries of all time.

#1. Bill Masterton

Masterton took a hit from Ron Harris and Larry Cahan during a sequence on the ice, which caused him to fall backward and hit his head on the surface. He never fully regained consciousness after the hit. He would die 30 hours later at the hospital, with some accounts saying he was awake enough to say, “Never again. Never again.” His name is now on the trophy which awards sportsmanship and perseverance.

#2. Clint Malarchuk

Malarchuk got tangled up with Steve Tuttle of the St. Louis Blues in front of the net. Then both men fell on top of the keeper. One of the skates nicked Malarchuk’s jugular vein and severed the carotid artery. After emergency surgery, he would return to the ice just 10 days later. After retiring, Malarchuk admitted that he also survived a suicide attempt due to the PTSD he suffered from this incident. 

#3. Steve Moore

Moore had his career ended in 2004 when Todd Bertuzzi grabbed him from behind, threw a sucker punch, and then drove him into the ice. He stayed there for 10 minutes before being stretchered off with a concussion and three broken vertebrae. Bertuzzi was charged with criminal assault for his actions during the game, which resulted in a guilty plea. Both sides reached an agreement in a civil suit in 2014 to settle the matter.

#4. Bryan Berard

Berard took a stick to his right eye from Marian Hossa in 2000. It caused him to drop to the ice immediately, with blood pooling out of his face. The orbital bone had been fractured, his cornea cut, and the retina detached. It took 7 operations to save the eye. Doctors gave him a special lens to wear during games that allowed him to continue with his career.

#5. Howie Morenz

It was a 1937 game between the Canadiens and the Black Hawks where Morenz lost his balance. He fell to the ice, then crashed leg-first into the boards. His left skate caught in the slide as well, with pursuing defender Earl Seibert then landing on top of him. The injury would fracture his leg in four places, ending Morenz’s career.

#6. Ted Green

It was an exhibition game where Wayne Maki and Green began swinging their sticks at each other. Maki caught him in the head, which caused a fractured skull and left Green temporarily paralyzed. Green would return the next year with a metal plate in his head, leading his team to a Stanley Cup win in 1972.

There have been many other brutal injuries suffered during hockey games. What are the worst ones that you feel should have made this list?

30 Dec 2018

8 Best US Cities Who Should Have an NFL Franchise

 

The National Football League is thinking about expansion again. Although there are 32 teams currently competing to become Super Bowl Champions each year, the current format of the league with four divisions featuring four teams creates the potential for eight expansion opportunities.

We’ve seen franchises move in recent years, with the Rams returning to Los Angeles, the Chargers leaving San Diego, and the Raiders making their way to Las Vegas. Oakland, St. Louis, and San Diego are natural cities which should have an NFL franchise in the future if the league decides to expand.

London is another potential venue for a franchise.

That means there are four additional cities to consider if the NFL were to follow this model. Here are the best options which are located in the United States.

#1. San Antonio

Although not everyone may be a fan of placing a third team in Texas, the NFL expanding to San Antonio makes sense. The city has facilities which could host a franchise immediately. Football is also part of the culture in the state, with some high school stadiums outshining college venues. That’s why the Raiders had this city near the top of their list when they wanted to leave Oakland.

#2. Oklahoma City

This city also has most of the infrastructure in place already to support an NFL franchise. Football culture here is just as strong as it is in Texas too. You will find plenty of Oklahomans ready to start getting behind a hometown team instead of one that is south of the border. The success of the OKC Thunder proves that football could be played here full-time too.

#3. Portland, OR

The Seattle Seahawks are on their own when it comes to playing in the Pacific Northwest. Their closest rival is the San Francisco 49ers. If an NFL franchise came to Portland, then the Cascadia rivalry that we see in Major League Soccer would transition to the NFL. We already know the city is passionate about the sport thanks to the Oregon Ducks. Now might be the perfect time to take that love to the next level.

#4. Albuquerque

The number of professional sports teams found in the U.S. Southwest are minimal. There are only a handful of minor league teams out there to consider too. New Mexico doesn’t have a single professional sports team that plays on a first-division level. Their best options are the Lobos or the Aggies, so it would make sense to give the market an NFL franchise.

#5. Honolulu

Hawaii is another state which finds itself lacking in the way of professional sports. Although there are some challenges for a team to be placed on the islands, like traveling logistics and market size, they aren’t any different than putting a team in Mexico City or London. You wouldn’t have the passport issues either – and you could market to the South Pacific, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

Listen up ownership groups. If the NFL goes forward with expansion efforts, then these are the cities which should gain a franchise. What do you think? 

12 Dec 2018

6 Toughest Tracks in NASCAR History

 

When you compete in NASCAR, then the advice which comes from crew chiefs, team owners, and veterans is the same: you must always race the racetrack.

There are tracks in NASCAR which are old, while there are some that are new. Some races are tougher on the equipment than others. There are places where your tires will get eaten up faster.

Then there are the NASCAR tracks which are robust in every way. These are the ones that make history because of the challenges they present. 

#1 Infineon Raceway

Street driving is always tough on NASCAR teams. Your equipment is designed to go straight, and then turn left. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of bumping and grinding on the small track where drivers are flat-out wrecking one another. If you’re in the starting field at this track, then you have a chance to win the race.

#2. Darlington

This historic venue never seems to get any easier. Drivers prefer the racing groove that is right around the top of the track. If you want to create a successful pass, then you must bomb down underneath and hope for the best. Most drivers end up seeing the right side of their vehicles trashed because of all the wall impacts that occur.

#3. Richmond

This race track is interesting for NASCAR because it’s ½ a short track and the other half an aerodynamic track. There is a balance of temper and downward force which must combine to create a successful driving experience. If your vehicle isn’t handling well, then there’s a good chance you won’t be finishing this race.

#4. Daytona

The granddaddy of them all is still a tough place to win a race. When you add in the two-car drafting habits that have developed in recent years, it gets even worse. You’re not going to win if you don’t have a partner to help you out here. Trying to figure out who will work with you, or who wants to take advantage of you, becomes a challenge that no game of chess could ever prepare you to manage.

#5. Pocono

This track only offers three turns, so it earns the nickname of the “Tricky Triangle.” Each corner is different, but that doesn’t mean you slow down. Cars are traveling 200mph, which leaves little room for error. It is rare that a driver has a vehicle which works well in each turn. Whoever wins this race tends to be the one that can manage the one turn their car doesn’t like in the best possible way.

#6. Indianapolis

Your car chews up its tires when racing here. Part of the reason is due to the age of the track. There’s also the issue of the right tire needing more strength than the others because of the wear patterns that happen to the vehicle. If you push too hard on it, then you’re going to smash into the wall at some point during the race.

What are your favorite races to watch during the NASCAR circuit each year? 

26 Nov 2018

Who Are MLB’s Greatest Pitchers of All Time?

 

There are plenty of pitchers who were able to dominate Major League Baseball during their era. Some of them, like Randy Johnson, offered overpowering stuff to opposing hitters that always seemed to help keep their team competitive in close games.

There are several elements to consider when determining who the greatest pitchers of all time are. We must look at their career ERA, strikeouts-to-walks ratio, and WAR from a statistical standpoint. Then there is the postseason success and long-term dominance to consider.

Here are the top pitchers that we think are the GOAT. 

#1. Christy Mathewson

From 1907-1911, Mathewson won 139 games, which averages just under 28 per season. His ERA during this period was only 1.69, and he averaged almost 7 shutouts during the year. Christy even had 30 saves during his career. He also had about four strikeouts for every walk he gave up. He would go on to win 373 games and finish with a career 2.13 ERA.

#2. Walter Johnson

Johnson is one of a handful of pitchers to win over 400 games during his career. Over 13 consecutive seasons, he never had an ERA higher than 2.22. His 1913 season was one of the best of all time, going 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. From 1910-1914, he struck out almost 500 more batters than any other pitcher in the league.

#3. Cy Young

There are incredible numbers to look at over Young’s career. He won 511 games, but he also lost 316 of them. He pitched 184 complete games over one five-year stretch during his career. He didn’t get to compete in the postseason since the World Series didn’t start until 1903, but he did make four appearances for the Boston Americans in the first one.

#4. Sandy Koufax

Even though he only won 165 games in his career, Koufax saved his best work for last. He retired abruptly while still on top, so it is difficult to give him a fair ranking. During four postseason runs, his ERA is an incredible 0.95. He was also the MVP of both World Series in which he appeared. Over his 12-year career, he won the Cy Young three times – in 1963, 1965, and 1966.

#5. Roger Clemens

With 354 wins, the career of Clemens is still shrouded with the steroid era. He was a three-time AL Cy Young winner with the Red Sox, plus earned the runner-up in 1990 with a 1.93 ERA and a 21-6 record. He won the AL MVP in 1986. Then he received the Cy Young in 1997 and 1998 with the Blue Jays, in 2001 with the Yankees, and in 2004 with the Astros. His 1.87 ERA in 2005 was incredible for his age.

Some incredible pitchers deserve an honorable mention too: Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Bert Blyleven, Tom Seaver, Rollie Fingers, Lefty Grove, Greg Maddux, and Clayton Kershaw are all fantastic players. 

Which pitchers do you think should make this list which we didn’t include for this piece? 

16 Nov 2018

5 Best Fantasy Sports Apps for Soccer, Baseball, and Hockey

If you love to play fantasy sports, then there is a good chance that you are playing football (gridiron) and basketball right now. 

These are the two sports which dominate the fantasy industry at the moment.

Others are getting into the mix too. Did you know that you can also play soccer (football/futbol), baseball, and hockey with a fantasy league?

There are plenty of fantasy sports apps which focus on a specific professional league. If you want to play multiple sports from the same fantasy platform, you will find that it is more difficult to download what you need.

These are the best fantasy sports apps that will give you an all-around experience while focusing on sports like soccer, baseball, and hockey.

#1. CBS Fantasy Sports

This app is one of the few that offers an all-in-one experience. You conduct mock drafts or live ones based on your current needs. There is access to draft help, player news, and much more. The user experience is streamlined to make the information easy to access. It covers football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.

#2. ESPN Fantasy Sports

This fantasy sports app covers the Big Four leagues in the United States. It gives you the option to join a public league or create a private association for your family and friends. You can even receive weekly emails that track your performance during the season. There are projections, player rankings, and some additional features that can help you take your game to the next level.

#3. Pocket Casts

This app isn’t your typical fantasy sports product. It will provide you with access to the best podcasts which are available for your favorite sport. There are daily and weekly discussions about fantasy projections, player performance, and much more. If you have a long commute or have some time to fill, then this app scrubs all the popular networks to ensure that you have access to the best podcasts available. It will then sync them across multiple devices so that you don’t miss anything.

#4. RealFevr

This app is more for those who follow soccer from a European perspective. It offers you a variety of events and leagues, including a specific game for the World Cup. There are salary cap models, playoffs, multi-platform support, and even prizes that you can win. If you love to play multiple events and don’t want to pay anything for the download, then you will enjoy the game structures that this app brings your way.

#5. Yahoo Fantasy Sports

This app is another popular option which covers most sports. You gain access to a variety of league types, including public leagues that you can join, once you tell it the fantasy sports options you prefer. There are daily leagues and tournaments what you can enter as well.

If you like to play fantasy sports and want to experiment with a different game, then these are the best apps to consider using right now. Every app can make a mistake, but if you’re attentive to what is going on, then you will find that the benefits far outweigh the negatives with these examples.

03 Nov 2018

7 Coolest NHL Logos of All Time

 

There are three elements of a sports franchise which make it a memorable experience for fans: the players, the stadium, and the logo.

With over 100 years of competition, the NHL has seen some incredibly cool logos come and go – while some have continued to stick around. Here are the ones that we think are the best. 

#1. Hartford Whalers

Before they moved to Carolina to become the Hurricanes, the logo for this franchise featured a green “W” with the tail of a while on top. Then there was the “H” for Hartford located within the white space between these two design elements. It was officially retired following the 1996-97 season.

#2. Toronto Maple Leafs

The iconic white-and-blue of this logo has taken on many forms since it was first introduced in the 1927 season. It offers a current version with 31 points, representing the year that their stadium first opened. Then the 13 veins in the leaf represent the number of Stanley Cups the franchise has earned in their history.

#3. Detroit Red Wings

This logo is one of the longest-lasting visual images of the NHL. It was first created in the 1932-33 season, but it has not received an update since 1948. The inspiration came from the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, who won the first Stanley Cup in 1892. James Norris purchased the Detroit Falcons in 1932 and brought the logo over.

#4. Chicago Blackhawks

This NHL franchise has the most controversial logo on this list. It was originally designed by Irene Castle, who was the wife of the franchise owner, and has been on display since 1926. The team dropped the circle around the logo in the 1950s, and has worn the current version for almost 60 years.

#5. Hamilton Tigers

Although they only played five seasons in the NHL, they had three different logos. Their best once came out in 1921, featuring the face of a tiger on the sweater. Since the patches were made by hand, the work was time-intensive and expensive, so they kept the look for a single season only.

#6. Quebec Nordiques

The logo for this NHL franchise pre-dated their entry into the league. Featuring a lower-case “n” with a red hockey stick and a blue puck to the side, the shape formed an igloo when the elements were put together. This image stayed with the team until they became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.

#7. Pittsburgh Pirates

Most people don’t remember that there was a hockey team in this city 40 years before the Penguins arrived in 1967. They took the name of the local baseball team, adopting a black-and-gold logo that featured the face of a pirate – eyepatch, mustache, and everything. They only stayed one season, becoming the Philadelphia Quakers next, but that logo is still a classic.

Several iconic logos have come and gone throughout the years in the NHL. Some of them have even made a comeback in recent years, like the Anaheim Ducks and their hockey mask with crossed sticks. What are some of your favorite images from the National Hockey League?