Can Manning Live up to His Hype, or Will Sunday be His Final Game?

Peyton_Manning_2014

He hasn’t been at his best all season, but Peyton Manning can still come through, in what could be his last Super Bowl, by grabbing his second ring in Santa Clara this Sunday.

The Denver QB hasn’t quite lived up to his hype since the road to San Francisco opened up in September. He has been plagued by injury this season and many speculate that he will be retiring at the end of the game on Sunday. Manning himself has refused to deny these speculations.

However, the post-season is when the true greats shine, and the Panthers could be the subject of one final demolition by Manning.

Manning and his Broncos have the experience to give Newton and the Panthers a run for their money. With the league’s No.1 defense battling the No.6, I don’t see it as a high scoring game, but it will certainly be and exciting one.

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Thane Colcy sports bloggerTHANE COLCY is a Canadian sports fan currently living in Melbourne, Australia but still following American football and basketball from down-under.

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Cam Newton Confident in Carolina Victory

Does Cam Newton have the team behind him that can make his Super Bowl dream come true this Sunday?

With the big game in Santa Clara less than a week away, it’s all or nothing for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos on Super Bowl Sunday. But Cam Newton doesn’t seem too worried claiming that even if both teams play their best, it will still be a victory for Carolina in Super Bowl 50.

The question is, is Newton speaking with too much assurance of himself and his team? Or is there truth to his confidence? Looking at the past season, you can see why the Carolina QB feels so assured, they are just the fourth team on record in the NFL to start a season with 14 successive wins. They led the NFL in total points, point differential and takeaways. So it’s not like Newton doesn’t have a leg to stand on with his claims.

Of course, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos aren’t going to hand anything over to Newton and the Panthers. Super Bowl 50 will be a tight game no question. But you have to admire Newton’s confidence and passion to win. Newton says that he has “been dreaming of this moment since I was 7 years old.”

Could Newton just be a bit over-confident? Or is does he have the team behind him that can make his dream come true? Based on the past season combined with his passion, I’m not one to argue with him.

 

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Thane Colcy sports bloggerTHANE COLCY is a Canadian sports fan currently living in Melbourne, Australia but still following American football and basketball from down-under.

Cam Newton expected to come out on top in a Panthers Super Bowl Win

Cam Newton Carolina Panthers

Can Cam Newton lead the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl Victory?

Tom Brady has fallen out of the spotlight, but the quarterbacks are still ruling the headlines preceding Super Bowl 50.  As an exciting season draws to a close, predictors say that Cam Newton will lead Carolina to victory over Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Super Bowl Sunday.

But nothing is written in stone yet! Peyton Manning’s experience is still a major factor and, come game time, that experience will put Newton and the Panthers to the test. However, the fact remains that with Newton leading the way, the Panthers have had success in 22 out of their last 24 games going all the way back to the end of the 2014 regular season.

Could Newton be the key to Panther victory? Newton is the leading candidate for the NFL MVP award after being a league leader with 45 touchdowns during the regular season.

MVP is seeing a lot of betting action and so are ‘First Touchdown Scorer’, ‘Winning Margin’ and ‘Double Result’ wagers.

There is no way to tell for sure. But in my opinion, Panthers fans should feel a fair amount of confidence come kickoff this February  7th.

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Thane Colcy sports bloggerTHANE COLCY is a Canadian sports fan currently living in Melbourne, Australia but still following American football and basketball from down-under.

Newton Will Present a Unique Challenge for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers will make for worthy adversaries against the Broncos on Super Bowl Sunday

Quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers will make for worthy adversaries against the Broncos on Super Bowl Sunday

Cam Newton lead the Carolina Panthers to victory in their NFL Conference Championship game over the weekend with a 49-15 win against the Arizona Cardinals. While Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos didn’t have quite the same experience, they still managed to win their game by squeaking by Tom Brady and the Patriots 20-18 on Sunday, with Manning throwing two touchdown passes.

Newton will present a unique challenge for Denver in Super Bowl 50. While Manning and the Broncos have piled up 14 wins this season, they haven’t played a quarterback quite like Newton, who is looking as though he will be up for MVP honors this season.

Newton’s journey towards MVP didn’t truly begin until halfway through the season, after which he greatly increased his efficiency and decreased his turnovers, making him a much more dangerous opponent. However, all that matters now is that Newton and the Panthers will surely be a force to be reckoned with come Super Bowl Sunday.

All things considered, odds makers’ early line predict Cam Newton and the Panthers a 4.5-point favorite in their clash with Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Santa Clara. I think they’re right.

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Thane Colcy sports bloggerTHANE COLCY is a Canadian sports fan currently living in Melbourne, Australia but still following American football and basketball from down-under.

Panthers may be going into Thanksgiving undefeated… but Tony Romo is back!

NFL Thanksgiving betsAs American sports fans prepare for a four day weekend of football and food, the Carolina Panthers are hoping to give their fans a real Turkey Day treat with yet another win in Dallas.  Thanksgiving Day betting is always heavy and this game – one of three NFL games on Thursday — is seeing a whole lot of action. 

“The Panthers are still undefeated, but Tony Romo just returned from an injury,” noted one Intertops’ bet manager.  “The win at Miami after 7 straight losses in Romo’s absence has kept Dallas’ slim playoff hopes alive, but can the Cowboys stop the still-perfect Panthers, that’s the question.”

“Cam Newton’s career-high 5 TD passes against Washington showed that he has no intention of letting up with a perfect season in his sights.”

On Thanksgiving Day both QBs will be keen to use their arm and if one of them throws for over 300 yards in the game, Intertops Sportsbook customers betting on “Total Team Points” get losing stake back.

Along with pages of other NFL bets this holiday weekend, Intertops Sportsbook has the Carolina Panthers as an early one-point favorite over the Dallas Cowboys.

“That could change by Thursday, of course,” reminded the Intertops bookie.  “It could easily move a point either way.”

NFL set for its elite eight!

NFL Divisional Playoffs this weekend!

Tom Brady is looking to lead the Patriots a step closer to Super Bowl glory!

The race to Super Bowl XLIX continues to pick up momentum as we head into the Divisional Playoff round of games this weekend. The top four teams from the regular season are back after their weekend off and are the bookies’ picks to continue their quest towards the biggest single game in US sport on February 1st.

Wild Card weekend saw the Carolina Panthers take down the ailing Arizona Cardinals to be “rewarded” with a trip to face defending Super Bowl champions Seattle. The Seahawks, who started the season looking anything other than potential “repeaters”, are now the team of the moment in the league. They are almost unbeatable in front of their own boisterous crowd at CenturyLink Field and even the most loyal of Carolina fans will admit to them having little chance of causing an upset.

The same cannot be said of the other three weekend matchups. Whilst the Packers, Patriots and Broncos all start their home games as warm favourites, the Cowboys, Ravens and Colts have the qualities to get the job done on the road. Baltimore, especially, looked good when defeating AFC North rivals Pittsburgh in their Wild Card encounter last week and Men In Purple have won two of three postseason encounters at Foxboro since 2000.

Many neutral fans would love to see yet another instalment of the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning rivalry in the AFC Championship Game, but there is still plenty of work to be done by both the Pats and the Broncos before this showdown can become reality.

NFL Divisional Playoffs Odds

Baltimore Ravens 3.45 New England Patriots 1.34

Carolina Panthers 4.90 Seattle Seahawks 1.19

Dallas Cowboys 3.20 Green Bay Packers 1.38

Indianapolis Colts 3.45 Denver Broncos 1.34

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Can Philly fathom Rodgers?

Eagles vs. Packers should be a classic on Sunday

Aaron Rodgers is looking for another huge performance against the Eagles on Sunday!

It’s all eyes on Lambeau Field in Green Bay this Sunday when the Eagles travel to the Packers in what promises to be one of the top games of the NFL regular season’s Week 11 action.

Philadelphia looked good storming past the Carolina Panthers last Monday, whilst the Pack annihilated their bitter rivals from Chicago in a laughably one-sided affair. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has been in MVP form for most of the fall so far, threw for an amazing six first-half touchdowns – becoming only the second player in NFL history to achieve the feat.

Whilst we can’t reasonably expect more of the same this time around, Rodgers could be in for another big game as the Eagles’ defense is hardly anything to write home about. Ranked 12th in the league in points allowed per game and only 21st in yards allowed per game, head coach Chip Kelly and his staff are going to have to find something special to keep Rodgers on the leash.

On the other side of the ball, however, the Eagles are a different story altogether. At 404.3 yards per game so far they are right up their amongst the best and the good news is that regular quarterback Nick Foles’ injury doesn’t seem to have affected them. Stand-in Mark Sanchez, making his first NFL start in almost two years, did everything right against the Panthers with 332 yards and two TDs in the 45-21 win. He may have been found not good enough by the New York Jets, who are now one of the worst team in the NFL, but confidence still seems to be high and Sanchez will be relishing the challenge of resurrecting what looked like a floundering career.

The Packers have lost just three of their last 35 regular season games at Lambeau Field with Rodgers at the helm and they should prevail this time around, but their Cheesehead fans shouldn’t expect them to have an easy ride in what could yet prove to be a dress-rehearsal for the NFC Championship Game in January!

NFL Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers Betting Odds:

Philadelphia Eagles 3.1
Green Bay Packers 1.4

To win the NFC Championship Odds:

Green Bay Packers 4.0
Seattle Seahawks 4.0
Philadelphia Eagles 7.0
Arizona Cardinals 7.5

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Can Brees banish the road blues at last?

The Saints face a crucial game against the Panthers.

Drew Brees and the Saints need to get winning on the road!

One thing is pretty much certain in the NFL – if you can’t win on the road, then you have little chance of making the Super Bowl!

After starting the season as one of the favorites to challenge in the NFC title race, the New Orleans Saints now have to change their priorities in order to keep their season alive. Drew Brees and Co. are almost unbeatable at their own Superdome, but currently just cannon-fodder on the road. Eight straight regular season away defeats since last November are a sorry tale indeed and everyone at the franchise knows that this needs to be changed quickly.

Just four days after showing what potential they have by thrashing highly-fancied Green Bay in Week 8, the Saints travel to NFC South rival Carolina on Thursday desperate to make a statement away from their own fans at last. Luckily the division is the worst in the NFL at the moment with no team able to boast a positive record so far.

After starting the season with two wins, the Panthers have managed just one victory in their last six games, but are still top of the division standings. Last week saw them put up strong resistance against defending Super Bowl champion Seattle before eventually going down 13-9.

Thursday’s game could have a crucial bearing on the NFC South title race because however bad the teams are throughout the season, the division champion lives to fight another day in the playoffs! The Saints will be highly motivated to beat their rivals, overtake them in the standings and prove that they can win on the road after all!

NFL Week 9: New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers Betting Odds:

New Orleans Saints 1.71
Carolina Panthers 2.20

To win the NFC South Odds:

New Orleans Saints          1.5
Carolina Panthers            2.85
Atlanta Falcons                13.0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  67.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

 

Battle of the Quarterbacks Dominates Playoff Schedule

Will Andrew Luck (#12) come out on top against Tom Brady?

Will Andrew Luck (#12) come out on top against Tom Brady?

Betting Instinct blogger Zito Madu previews all four of the NFL divisional matchups

Indianapolis @ New England

The match-up between two marquee Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, the all-American Golden Boy (Man) of New England, 3-time Superbowl champion and Uggs model. Against Andrew Luck, a legend in the making, accurate and undeterred in the face of the seemingly impossible with a forest-like neck beard. Both of these quarterbacks have made miracles an everyday thing this season, Brady with numerous last minute wins in the regular season, and Luck, more recently, showing that the Colts are never truly out of a game with him at the QB position against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend.

Both teams offenses come down to these two players, with New England’s situation at receiver making national headlines during the course of the regular season: Aaron Hernandez arrested for murder, Rob Gronkowski’s surgery, return and then subsequent knee injury taking him out for the rest of the season and a very long time, the injury prone-ness of Danny Amendola and the inexperience of the rookies. There’s also questions at running back for The Patriots with Steven Ridley willing to give the ball to the opposing team by the way of fumbles and Shane Vereen’s inability to stay healthy leaving only Blount (and Bolden) as the most dependable of the group.
On the Indianapolis side of things, you have the fact that they traded a first round pick for Trent Richardson (who wants to make a statement in this game), master of the 2 yard run, who lost his starting place to Donald Brown who seems to be a star on the rise. The Colts best weapon besides for Andrew Luck’s brain, T.Y Hilton, has been on a tear lately. Matched against an ailing New England defense he looks poised for a big game unless Aqib Talib rediscovers his early season form (which was, to be fair cut short by injury. Having a bye week is sure to be a big boost for him). For the rest of the receiving corps, it’s nothing to write home about with Coby Fleener being the standout of the group as Darrius Heyward-Bey seems to be suffering from injury as well.

New England comes in suffering injuries to many key defensive players: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes recently, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Adrian Wilson, so on and so forth. The Colts on the other hand, while not suffering from the same injury bug as New England are abysmal in defending the run (as the Patriots have been after losing Wilfork and Mayo), ranking 26th and generally ranking 20th in pass yards allowed with 357.1 yards a game.
With all of the injuries and plain ineffectiveness of the offense and defense of both teams, this game looks set to come down to which Quarterback plays better or which one decides to lead another miraculous comeback in the final few minutes of the game.

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots Betting Odds

Indianapolis win – 3.55

New England win – 1.36

(All odds supplied by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Saints @ Seahawks

The last time these two met, the Seahawks didn’t just win against the Saints, they beat them down 34-7 and limited Drew Brees to 147 yards passing. Of course, this was in the regular season and before the Saints became the Road Warriors (They finally won a road playoff game after a 0-9 start) they are today. Sean Payton has been doing the best that he can, short of kidnapping the Seahawks starters, to replicate the environment that the Saints will encounter, though it’s not yet quite clear if painting the Seahawks logo on their practice field will prepare them well enough for the real thing.

The Saints will be hoping Drew Brees plays like his usual self in the matchup and not his road version, who is prone to turnovers and wobbly passes. The Seahawks of course, have the best young Quarterback in the league and arguably one of the best as of right now in Russell Wilson, who can make plays with his arm and his feet but is not as run happy as many other mobile quarterbacks of his age. And now with the returning Percy Harvin, he welcomes in another weapon to an offense that was desperately needing of passing weapons.

The Seahawks also have a defense that was ranked first in points given up, yards conceded, and pass yards conceded, falling short to 7th on rush yards (which the Saints should look to exploit with their rejuvenated running game and a motivated Mark Ingram), and lets not forget the 12th man who also add a different dimension to their defense.

The key to this game will come down to how the Saints deal with the multi-faceted offense of Seattle and if they will be able to crack a defense that is seemingly impregnable.

New Orleans @ Seattle Betting odds

New Orleans Saints – 3.85

Seattle Seahawks – 1.26

(Odds supplied by Bulldog777.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

San Diego @ Denver

This game looks as if it should be a blowout in Denver’s favor. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the exploits of Peyton Manning this season, who shattered Tom Brady’s record for most passing touchdowns in a single season and then also Drew Brees’ record for most passing yards in a single season.

He leads an offense that’s ranked first in everything but rushing yards and even that seems to be coming along well, an offense that broke the record for most points in a season and one that seems poised to lay waste to any team in its path. Except for apparently San Diego. The Chargers who barely made the playoffs (thanks to the Chiefs reserves and Succop), are one of the few teams that have beaten the Broncos this season.

More than that, the Chargers seem to always find a way to be near perfect in order to beat Peyton Manning, whether in a Colts uniform or a Broncos and Philip Rivers will once more need to play perfectly in order to keep up with Manning as there’s almost no way that;s ranked 29th in pass yards will be able to cop with the unlimited weapons on offense that the Broncos have.
Philip Rivers can take heed that the Broncos defense has steadily fallen off since the injury to Von Miller and the rise of Keenan Allen as a potential rookie of the year will be a boost against a team that doesn’t deal too well with the pass. After handling Cincy, the Chargers have shown that they belong in the playoffs and will be looking to conjure old whatever magic they have to once again stop Peyton Manning.

Betting Instinct Tip – Denver -9 is 1.91 with AllYouBet.ag

San Francisco @ Carolina

One and two of the NFC West face off in a battle between two dynamic QBs with incredible arm strength and game winning speed with each team boasting a top ranked defense. Carolina in 2nd in points given up, 2nd in yards total given up, 6th in pass yards and 2nd in rush yards while the Niners are 3rd in points, 5th in yards 7th in pass yards and 4th against rush yards. San Francisco has the edge on offense ranking 11th in points to Carolina’s 18th and with the return of the “Greatest catcher of all time” Michael Crabtree, their offense has finally hit its stride.

Now Carolina has to deal with the receivers, the ageless Frank Gore and the unpredictable Colin Kaepernick. That’s not to say that San Francisco will not have their hands full with Cam Newton seemingly becoming the unstoppable quarterback that many envisioned he would be. An accurate passer, Newton has learned to pick his spots with his runs, trust his receivers and trust that Ron Rivera will not hinder him anymore with conservative playcalling.

He will also be welcoming back the evergreen Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart back in this game so this game seems as if it’s going to come down to which team will grind it out more. The front seven of the Panthers have stopped Kaepernick before and will be looking for a repeat performance but the first year starter will be out for revenge for their embarrassing early season loss.

Betting Instinct Tip Carolina +2 is 1.73 with GR88.com

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e8erHZO3ZITO MADU (zitov2) is a writer for SBnation, and has written for Surreal Football, LiveBreatheFutbol, and numerous other sports sites

Time For Saints to Show They Can Perform on the Road

Marques Colston is the form player for the Saints, with two touchdowns last week

Marques Colston is the form player for the Saints, with two touchdowns last week

Saints @ Panthers

It’s rare we have the situation of a matchup where the reverse fixture was as recent as two weeks before (it feels rare, it might not be rare). This, in theory, should give us plenty of points of focus where coaches are determined not to make the same mistakes while at the same time reinforcing their existing competitive advantage.

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers Betting Odds

Saints to win – 2.55

Panthers to win – 1.57

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are correct as of today and subject to change)

The main talking point around the New Orleans Saints this week has been the announcement that their rookie left tackle out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Terron Armstead, will replace 4th year USC alum Charles Brown. The left side of the New Orleans offensive line was undoubtedly tortured by Robert Quinn last week (think Gareth Bale v Maicon in 2010, soccer fans), but even the most competent blockers around the league wouldn’t be able to avoid being trampled by the Rams pass rush right now. Armstead will almost certainly be up against Greg Hardy for most of the afternoon, and while Hardy is no slouch (6th best 4-3 defensive end in the league according to Pro Football Focus), he was well and truly blunted by Brown in Week 14, in what was a pretty ignominious night for the vaunted Panther defensive front.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the New Orleans Saints are famed for Drew Brees and the prolific pass attack he commandeers. They ran riot in the previous fixture at home to Carolina, with Brees throwing for 313 yards and four touchdowns, and stellar wideout Marques Colston having his best game of the season (9 catches, 125 yards, 2 touchdowns). The secondary had been the main concern for this Carolina defence but they have surpassed most expectations, with PFF’s pass coverage metric ranking them a very respectable 8th overall. Regardless of the Saints’ recent stutters, the Panthers defence will need to be on the top of their game if they are to best one of the greatest passing offenses the game has ever seen.

For the Saints, a win would answer some of the questions starting to bubble up about their credentials, whether they’re just one-trick ponies who can only perform at home (only the Bengals have a greater differential between their home and away records). In fact so dominant are the Saints at home, this surfaced on one of their fansites. And for the Panthers, despite statement wins in San Francisco and against New England on Monday Night Football (although even the flawed Colts beat San Francisco and Seattle), beating the regent Saints would go a big way to proving they are a big time contender. There are some people* who still think their franchise quarterback hasn’t established himself the way Luck, Wilson and even Kaepernick have. A win on Sunday would surely paid to that.

*People? What people? ME

Patriots @ Ravens

If the Baltimore Ravens were a sensitive bunch, they might think they were being disrespected. A norm for the Super Bowl winners is to play the first game of the next season at home, but they had their opening night home game privileges stripped from them, and now NBC, who hold the rights to a primetime Sunday night matchup, decided to “flex out” of airing the Ravens’ final home game in favour of an Eagles-Bears game which could feasibly have the home side resting their key starters depending on a result earlier that day.

Still, after losing (what people considered to be) the lynchpins of their Super Bowl winning side to retirement and free agency in the summer, the supposedly decimated Ravens have got to the penultimate game of the season with their place in the playoffs in their own hands. All they have to do is win both of their games and they’re in. Except, they’re playing the powerhouse New England Patriots who are always in contention for a world championship (yes, I went there) and away to their division rivals the Cincinnati Bengals (who, as you read above, have a pretty considerable home-field advantage).

Trouble, you may think. Alas, the Ravens are 3-2 against New England in their last five encounters. Only the New York Football Giants are able to match such a record – if you only count the five games occurring in this millennium.

Baltimore have won their last 4, while New England are coming off the back of a slap-in-the-face loss in Miami, who incidentally are one of Baltimore’s main challengers for a playoff place. It hasn’t been the first such defeat for the Patriots this season, whose other defeats came away against the New York Jets, the Carolina Panthers and the Cincinnati Bengals. All four boast outstanding defences, something the Baltimore Ravens pride themselves on.

Patriots starting left tackle Nate Solder suffered a concussion last week, and if he’s fit to play he’ll have his hands full with a rampant Elvis Dumervil (ranked 2nd in the league among 3-4 outside linebackers) and a healthy dose of Ball So Hard University alum Terrell Suggs.

New England have spent most of the season without their superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski (I won’t even mention the other one), and after his week 7 return, they tragically lost him to a season ending ACL tear against Cleveland in Week 14. Any offense in history would have a gaping Gronkowski-sized hole in it if he was shorn from it, but it has especially hindered New England considering the deficiencies in their other offensive skill players. Ridley (butterfingers), Thompkins and Dobson (inexperience), Amendola (always injured), Hoomanawanui (not Gronkowski) and Hernandez (homicide charges, ok I mentioned him) have left the imperial Tom Brady with Julian Edelman and not much else all season.

This has shown in their results – six of New England’s wins have come with a three point winning margin or less. Meanwhile Baltimore won on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions without scoring a touchdown, and being stalwarts of the AFC North they are more than familiar in the art of grinding out close wins.

The most recent weather forecast suggests there will be thunderstorms during game-time in the Maryland area with a medium strength wind. Rain usually means running the football, and while Ravens tailback Ray Rice has had an appalling season by any measure (PFF have him as by far the worst running back in the league this season), he appeared to be workable in his last two games (4.2 yards per carry).

With the strength of their defence and with kicker Justin Tucker having a career night earlier this week, a slugfest could play right into Baltimore’s hands, setting things up for a Week 17 for the ages with supporters in the stands obligingly having their ears pinned to the wireless. And who doesn’t love those days?

Betting Instinct TipBaltimore Ravens -2.5 is 1.91 with Intertops Sportsbook

saadaab avatarSAADAAB JANAB is a recovering football fan (he doesn’t like to call it soccer) who discovered NFL and MLB in the depth of his crisis. He is back on amicable terms with his original passion, but American football and baseball get as much attention as ever.