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League Winner Alert: Draft Mike Evans, TB's New TB TD King

The Man:

Mike Evans, 26-year-old outside receiver going into his seventh season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Current ADP #23 (ECR #21) on FantasyPros, WR8 on Yahoo, WR7 on ESPN (PPR).

The Myth:

Mike Evans, who was successful as the deep threat for former QB Jameis “YOLO” Winston, will SUFFER from new QB Tom Brady’s inability to make deep throws and penchant for short passes to breakout slot receiver Chris Godwin.

The Legend:

Mike Evans, king of jump-ball bombs and contested catches, will THRIVE as an WR1 from TB12’s accurate long throws and efficient red-zone looks, and will be the Bucs leading pass-catcher in fantasy points.

Justifying the Hype:

Mike Evans is currently being disrespected with a lower ADP than his slotty counterpart, Chris Godwin, who exploded last year as the league’s overall WR2. Now that reckless gunslinger Jameis Winston has been replaced with soft-lipped boomer Tom Brady, the expectation is that Godwin will prosper from TB’s "dink-and-dunk" short passes, while Evans will be a forgotten part of the offense due to the lack of desperate Hail Mary’s from TB's apparently disintegrating arm. However, that could not be further from the case. Evans may be inconsistent each week, but he has always been – and will continue to be – a guaranteed WR1 producer that will prove to benefit from Brady's improved accuracy and higher football IQ. To answer some of the questions lowering his perceived value:
He’s already done it before – Brady has a well-documented (but quickly forgotten) history of success throwing to tall, big-bodied receivers…especially in the endzone. His love affair for these big boys first started when Randy Moss was fatefully traded to New England in 2007. Prior to the trade, Moss was fading away with career lows in Oakland. How did his first season with Brady go? He resurged his already legendary career by catching 98 passes for an astounding 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns, becoming the new (and still!) record holder for most TD receptions in a single season. In fantasy terms, he averaged an incredible 21 fantasy points per game (ppg) in half ppr!
Moss had a great tenure with the Pats - even with Brady’s injured 2008 season - until their eventual breakup in the middle of the 2010 season. Brady rebounded his lost red-zone connection with a childlike ogre named Rob Gronkowski. And boy oh boy was Tom able to move on quickly. Gronk had a great first year with Brady, especially considering how notoriously difficult it is for rookie pass catchers to excel during their first year, particularly so for Tight Ends. Despite only starting 11 games, Gronk caught 42 passes for 546 yards & 10 TDs. He followed that with his best year to date: 90 catches for a spectacular 1,327 yards and 17 TDs, averaging 17.9 ppg. Brady would continue to feed Gronk with quality targets and touchdowns to make him an annual first round pick and one of the top scoring TEs in NFL & fantasy history.
But what about Godwin? – If you're worried about the emergence of Chris Godwin stealing looks, don't be. Brady has a proven history with supporting both his large RZ receiver and his smaller slot receiver. For every highlight-reel game Moss played with TB, there's also Wes Welker averaging 15 ppg. For every league-winning match with Gronk, there's still Wes Welker out there averaging 14.5 ppg until he left for Denver in 2013, where Edelman took over and averaged 13 ppg.
But he hasn’t done it lately? – True, but that’s partly because NE only recently focused on utilizing world-class defense and a battering run game. The Pats started their 2016 season with Brady suspended for the first four games due to his involvement with the controversial "Deflategate" scandal. To prepare for this, Bellichick created an effective game-plan based on employing a disciplined "bend, don't break" defense while establishing the run. Their defensive ranks previously hovered between above average to mediocre per PFR.
The Patriots rampaged all the way to a Lombardi via human battering ram LeGarrette Blount, who produced an amazing 1,161 rushing yards and 18 rushing TDs! It obviously helped that their defense was also ranked number one in the league. In fact, this was one of only two seasons in the past decade (at that point) where a single Pats receiver hadn’t scored 10 or more TDs. FYI, 2013 was the other season, and Gronk just happened to be injured during both years. Which brings me to the next topic...
But what about Gronk? – Gronk is back! But is he really? Has any offensive player ever “retired” for at least a year, verified their retirement with a worrying change in physique or hobbies, then come back and had a successful fantasy season? Not Marshawn Lynch. Not Jason Witten. Not even Ricky Williams, who “retired” after only his third season for legal reasons. While Gronk may get a few RZ looks, he retired for a reason, and Evans will easily demonstrate why he deserves to be TB's new goal-line favorite.
But can TB12 still do it? – The rumors of Brady's arm's death are greatly exaggerated. ranked Brady as the #4 best deep passer last year. If you don't trust their opinions, then PFF provides a more analytical approach and ranked Brady at #14. Keep in mind that he only had a single game with Antonio Brown's Big Chest, six games with the ghost of Josh Gordon's, then had to rely on Phillip Dorsett the rest of the way. Regardless of these obstacles, TB actually had the fourth largest improvement in his deep ball accuracy when compared to 2018.
So we addressed Evan's "new QB" questions. On to the next concern...
He’s already done it before – Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has experience working with another "aging, old timer" QB. In 2013, Arians became head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, who acquired veteran QB Carson Palmer via trade with the Oakland Raiders. When Palmer was traded to the desert, the public viewed him as "unspectacular," "lost," and "nearing the end of his career."
During his first season under BA, Palmer threw the most passing yards (4,274) he’s ever thrown at that point. So no “new offense” jitters with a seasoned vet like Palmer, and I would bet the same for a pro like Brady. Additionally, Palmer’s next full season (he was injured early during his following season) saw him throw not only his highest passing yards ever at 4,671 yards, but also broke the Cardinals single season TD record with 35 TDs! BA was able to coach Palmer into playing at his personal best during the twilight of his career, and I anticipate the same happening with Brady.
HE'S ALWAYS DONE IT – Seriously, look at his stats. In his entire NFL career, he's never gone under 1K receiving yards, and averages 8 TDs/year. This includes his rookie year, where both Mike Glennon & Josh McCown shared duties as his starting quarterback. His career fantasy average is 14.0 ppg (0.5 ppr). He led the league in drawing PIs last year, which I'm sure Brady will love to exploit often. Even FantasyPros predicts 2020 will be his best season yet. The biggest drawback with Evans is that while his season total numbers are impressive, he is wildly inconsistent from game-to-game. This reminds me of another highly drafted WR who routinely has extreme boom or bust weeks but always finishes the year as a WR1. That man is Quintorris Lopez "Julio" Jones.
Everyone loves Julio Jones because he has a proven history of high season totals. Even the savviest of managers are willing to draft him early year-after-year, despite being fully aware of his unpredictably volatile weekly production. The allure of Julio lifting your whole team to reach the highest of highs is worth suffering through sporadic weeks of the lowest of lows. Well, if it’s crazy boom-bust potential that you’re seeking, look no further than Mike Evans. Still-anxious owners last year can remember nervously watching each week to witness Evans either conquering insanely high peaks or suffering through soul crushing valleys. If watching Jones play is as anxiety-inducing as watching a film like "Parasite," then Evans is like watching "Uncut Gems."
In just 14 games last year, Julio Jones finished the fantasy season (weeks 1-16) as the #4 WR in all formats. Mike Evans? He ended the season early as #5 in std, #8 in 0.5ppr, and #11 in ppr in only 13 games started. Had he played another game like Julio and scored his fantasy average in std (12.8 ppg vs Julio’s 12.0 ppg) and half ppr (15.3 ppg vs 15.2 ppg), Evans would’ve topped Jones and outranked him. And his two missed games were against Detroit and Houston’s weak secondaries!
Jones has a proven track record of inconsistent consistency, yet he is currently going in the late first/early second round of fantasy drafts as the consensus WR5 with an ADP of #14 (ECR #12). Meanwhile, Mike Evans is going in the late second/early third round as the consensus WR8 with an ADP of #25 (ECR #24).

Mike Evans is a volatile WR1 who should thrive as TB12's new favorite deep threat target and red-zone toy. He's proven to be good for at least 1K yards, regardless of QB. His new QB has proven he can support a deep threat with a strong slot receiver. His coach has proven his offense can support multiple wideouts with a new, aging QB. Evans is a WR1 available at a discount with great TD upside and an improved floor. Don't forget about him.


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League Winner Alert: Draft Melvin Gordon, TD King
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I Read It So You Don't Have To: Secrets of the Southern Belle (by Phaedra Parks)

I hope the past few days have been restful and rejuvenating for you all, but -- as I'm sure you must have learned by this point -- the journey to personal betterment is an eternal endeavor. We haven't got a moment to waste, so let's bid adieu to the sunny serenity of the California coast and settle in down South with Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks, as she descends from her ivory porch swing and illuminates the esoteric in Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment.
True to the title's descriptive and straightforward sentiments, Phaedra begins the book with a concise synthesis of the worldview she hopes to present:
I believe every woman should be a Southern Belle or minimally aspire to being more ladylike, charming, and intelligent, because we should all be treated well.
As she continues, we get our first glimpse of the deep well of compassion that underlies Phaedra's mission to improve the lives of those around her.
Honestly, I sometimes feel sorry for women of northern persuasion. There they are rushing around in their baggy, drab clothes, doing everything for themselves and looking like they just rolled out of bed. They don't seem to understand there's a better way.
Thankfully, I no longer have to count myself among that witless horde. I feel like, until this fateful moment, I have been living like one of those people from the black-and-white "before" footage of an infomercial -- haphazardly bumbling through the most menial of daily tasks with no way of knowing how much brighter my world could be. Phaedra has freed me from Plato's Cave, and I have no choice but to follow her instruction and strive to shape myself in her image.
A true Southern Belle is known -- first and foremost -- for her fundamental kindness and compassion towards others, so it is only appropriate that the book's first section is succinctly titled, "Be Nice." However, even this simple directive has been trampled by the corrupting influence of the modern world. As Phaedra laments,
Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior.
She elaborates, providing specific examples of the personal injuries incurred as a result of these unmannered interlopers.
I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don't speak or thank you for your patronage. Don't they realize that without customers they would not have a job?
I, too, find it offensive when minimum-wage workers have the nerve to act like actual human beings rather than automatons at the mercy of my personal whims, and I appreciate that Phaedra is bold enough to ask the question that has undoubtedly been on the tip of our collective tongue. Yet somehow, she still remains humble enough to freely admit where she has room to learn; here, she lets the reader in on "something I've never quite understood about non-southerners:"
They're suspicious of basic southern warmth because they're worried it's insincere. But at the same time, they will tell you the most inappropriate things! They tell you stuff about their health that you don't want to know. They launch into crazy stories about their terrible childhoods and how misunderstood they are. They complain about what happened long ago, and they fret openly about the future. Then they tell you what they paid for things and you want to crawl under the table.
Frankly, that's not very attractive.
What is attractive, then, you may ask? Effusive compliments, for one thing -- "I don't know why some people are so concerned with being sincere, when being nice is so much more effective." We also learn to "never contradict anyone, even if you know they are wrong." Phaedra illustrates this particular lesson with the following example:
If someone tells you that your taxes are due on April 30 instead of April 15, you look puzzled and say, "Goodness, I had no idea. Did they change the date?"
And what happens after that? Either the person says yes and you're forced to play along with whatever bizarre delusion and/or power-play your companion is currently indulging, or they say no and you say -- what? "Right, of course, I knew that the whole time!" Or, "Gotcha! It's April 15th, you incompetent fraud!" Or maybe, "I don't even know what taxes are -- money is for menfolk!" I just can't imagine any of those scenarios playing out with less discomfort than a simple correction, but after four years living in New England, I can only assume that's just northern negativity clouding my vision.
We are next presented with a list of "compliments that come in handy," a few of which I've transcribed below for immediate incorporation into your own phrasal repertoire.
What an interesting way to think about it. (Good for a point on which you disagree with someone.)

You thought of every little detail; I love a meticulous lady!

Wow! That is so original. I would never have put it together like that. (In this South this might mean, "I hate it," but in a polite way.)
Boss Babe is out -- Meticulous Lady is in! Phaedra reminds us to keep health concerns -- "especially female issues" -- far from polite conversation, then shifts gears to a much-needed lesson in verbal comportment. It's not just their "attractive regional accents" that distinguish Southern Belles from their less-attractive northern counterparts; they also devote great attention to evoking grace through their cadence and tone.
Sometimes northern women can sound awfully abrupt. It's just a habit they have, poor things.
If you'd like to take your place amongst esteemed gentility, however, I urge you to change your ways! For one thing, when speaking, "slip in something affectionate so that a very harsh reality doesn't come across as rude or abrupt." For example, see how much unpleasant confrontation is avoided with the following turn of phrase:
Darling, don't you know you're too smart and pretty to be the town drunk?
Silly girl, haven't you heard? Addiction is for ugly people! You should also feel free to use these compliments liberally throughout conversation -- "You don't have to mean it, you know." As an example:
If you can tell that someone has put a lot of effort into a particular aspect of her outfit, just draw attention to it. Sparkly stars-and-stripes high heels could be terribly tacky, but you bet they're supposed to be noticed, so go ahead and do it. "Those are certainly patriotic shoes!"
Let me take a crack at it -- This book certainly has a lot of words in it! Writing a book is such an impressive achievement -- I'm sure it feels so rewarding to finally see it In print! And I love the way you occasionally use infinity signs as bullet points -- it's so evocative! I think I'm getting the hang of this!
"Another southern difference?" As Phaedra informs us, "we try not to make direct requests. It just sounds so forward and frankly unpleasant if someone comes right out and says what they want from you." Phaedra's Starbucks barista must really despise her -- If it isn't too much trouble, could I bother you for something to drink? No, anything's fine -- I wouldn't want to impose.
Almost like a modern-day Rosetta Stone, the next passage introduces us to the nuanced connotations that pervade a true Belle's vocabulary. For example, Phaedra tells the reader that "if I tell someone 'Goodness, you must have spent all day on your hair. I am so impressed!' it really means I hate it." Before I manage to convey how impressed I am by the book before me, I read on to learn that "when you're discussing a homely girl, you generally say, 'She's so smart!' The general thought is you can't be both ugly and dumb. God wouldn't be that cruel." Please excuse me while I take a few hours to re-analyze every compliment I've ever been given in my entire life.
Now that that's done, here are a few more translations to help you decipher the Belles in your life.
Belle-Speak: She's a nurse-in-training.
Unvarnished Truth: She dates only old men.

Belle-Speak: She's a butter face.
Unvarnished Truth: Everything looks good but her face.

Belle-Speak: Hope he's got money.
Unvarnished Truth: He's unattractive and pays for affection.
The second one is not even really a euphemism so much as Phaedra trying to demonstrate her knowledge of hip modern slang, but I digress. We transition into advice for conversation starters -- "don't throw them complicated or controversial subjects like politics, animal rights, or local zoning." Truly, I can't tell you how many times I've been approached at a party with an opener about municipal ordinances, and it just kills the mood like nothing else. Worried about how you'll ever find something to talk about under these restrictions?
Don't worry about sounding interesting. "Interesting" is an overrated notion. Just fill the empty air.
That…explains a lot, actually.
Our next lesson is in reference to dinner parties -- "don't make a fuss, unless you're complimenting the cook." In case you're confused as to how this guidance should be interpreted, Phaedra clarifies with some examples -- "'Is there meat in here? I'm a vegetarian' is the wrong kind of fuss." Since I typically ask this question while flailing my arms wildly and making intermittent whooping noises, I completely understand how it could be disruptive amongst refined company. Although I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I won't be able to keep track of these seemingly countless rules, Phaedra's next assurance puts my mind at ease: "If all else fails, remember the secret weapon of the Southern Belle is delicate helplessness."
In the next passage, we learn that, "if there's any characteristic that defines a Southern Belle, it's her habit of firing off little notes on any occasion." Just as with verbal compliments, these notes require little to no basis in factual reality -- "obviously it's perfectly all right to exaggerate." But while truthfulness is more or less dispensable, your choice of writing implement could have grave repercussions. As Phaedra exhorts, "Never, ever write a letter in pencil. You might as well not bother at all." Within the realm of pens, however, "blue and black are perfectly acceptable, even if they do lack panache."
We return once again to the topic of appropriate subjects for conversation, and are cautioned against asking anyone their age. Of course, wild speculation is encouraged, "as long as you're out of earshot." In the next tip, Phaedra declares: "Don't discuss the cost of anything. Any discussion of cost is just in poor taste." I just can't help picture how much of a nightmare this woman must be at a fast-food drive-through. Our final instruction?
Don't discuss hair color. Men always pretend they don't dye their hair, so you just have to go with it.
At first glance, this seems reasonable enough, especially in the context of the social graces espoused by the book so far. However, Phaedra's attempt at further explanation quickly begins to careen off-course.
For women, it's a little bit more complicated because you have the question of whether the drapes match the carpet, so to speak. And I do know some who dye the carpet to match -- that was the big thing in high school. Now with all this weird waxing, you don't have to do as much dyeing, but that's another thing you don't talk about either!
Let's see if I've got this straight: I should always believe a man about his purported hair color no matter what, but if a woman tries to lie about hers, she'll get caught…because I will inevitably be forced to confront the realities of her pubic hair? An intimate partner, sure, but I just can't imagine this situation arises with enough frequency to merit even the few lines its given in this text. And honestly, at this point, I don't even think I want to know what Phaedra means by "weird waxing."
This section of the book concludes with a final catalog of "the 'She did what?' mistakes." The list starts off strong with "wearing white to another woman's wedding." However, by the time we end on the most unimaginable of atrocities -- "drinking beer from a bottle" -- I'm beginning to wonder if this list was actually supposed to have been titled "things the sexy homewrecker does in a bro-country music video."
The following section is titled, "Work Hard," and I am immediately inspired to do exactly so by the implicit challenge thrown down in Phaedra's opening lines, in which she coquettishly asks, "Who always delivers a presentation on time, with the printed materials perfectly written and proofread?" I'm usually quite good at taming my most pedantic impulses, but contrarian passions I never knew I had are foaming at the mouth to find an upcoming typo and self-righteously call her bluff. Although perhaps I should find a more feminine way to phrase that; as Phaedra cautions, "we don't like to think of ourselves as driven, because that sounds so neurotic and unpleasant."
We next learn that "you cannot be a Southern Belle unless you understand what it is to be ladylike." But unfortunately, it is all too easy to be caught up in the ways of the world and lose sight of this primary calling.
A lot of women today enjoy being the feisty, brassy, foul-mouthed kind of gal who drinks with men and shows a lot of flesh. They think it's cool.
Phaedra continues and reflects that, "I've heard the argument that this is progress, from the feminist point of view, but I don't necessarily agree." I can never remember -- which wave of feminism was the one with all the feisty gals? But clearly, their agenda has gone too far! How, in contrast, does a delicate Southern Belle behave?
She looks as if she's heard of sex, probably has had sex, but has no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings.
I'm not sure exactly how to convey this highly specific sentiment in any other way than purchasing a t-shirt custom-printed with the phrase, "I have heard of sex, have probably had sex, but have no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings," so I hope that approach will suffice for now. Phaedra follows up by cautioning us that,
A lady never puts in the shop window what isn't for sale.
Personally, I like to think of myself as more of a museum than a gift shop, but to each their own! We next learn more about the delicate balance a Southern Belle must achieve in order to maintain her esteemed position. For example, while "she doesn't cuss and doesn't talk dirty," frigidity is similarly unbecoming -- "if somebody tells a good dirty joke in her vicinity, she'll laugh." I'm barely a third of the way through this book, and I'm already exhausted at the prospect of having to remember all of these hyper-specific edicts. It's no surprise that the Southern Belle has to remain consistently vigilant; as Phaedra intones, "coming from a Pentecostal family, I hate to see a woman down more than two drinks." It seems to me like the simplest way to avoid such emotional turmoil would be to simply refrain from compulsively tallying the beverage intake of strangers, but I soon learn there are far more perilous hazards lurking around every corner. Phaedra shares her personal strategy for avoiding the very implication of incivility in the following excerpt:
I don't ever go to the bar at a party; I think that just looks terrible. If I must have a glass of wine or crave a fruity adult libation, I'll ask a nearby man to procure it for me.
Sir! Procure me a fruity adult libation -- tout de suite! But I would hate to diminish the male gender by implying that they're only good for the acquisition of potables; no -- men can be leveraged in an increasingly broad array of day-to-day tasks. As Phaedra shares:
I have friends who have never in their lives pumped gas for their own cars. They will ask a complete stranger to do it for them. One of my besties from New Orleans will flag down a man, give him her credit card, and have him pump and pay for her gas.
Honestly, I can't help but wonder if this might actually be some kind of avantgarde performance art, in the tradition of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0. Because the idea that this gambit has never gone horribly, horribly awry truly strains credulity. As I read on, however, I learn that my current train of thinking is sorely misguided.
Sometimes when I'm at a grocery store the fellow bagging the groceries will ask if he can take them out to my car. Why would you say no to this? But sometimes women do. And I look at them and sigh and think, "Poor thing. She has a lot to learn."
Thankfully for my personal development, the next chapter -- titled "A Crash Course in Being (Selectively) Helpless" promises exactly the sort of content that I so desperately need to understand. As Phaedra explains, a Southern Belle is "never intimidating, because some things she just can't do on her own." She goes on to offer concrete examples of how to incorporate this ethos into your life on beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
Experts: assume help will arrive. Flat tire? Pull over to the curb, and don't sweat it. Can't figure out which wrench to buy at Home Depot? Or how to program your DVR? This is what former boyfriends and other gentlemen are for. Believe me, the age of chivalry is not dead.
Rent due? Don't sweat it -- a gallant gentleman likely already has a check in the mail. House burning to the ground around you? You should know a Belle doesn't walk down the hallway on her own two feet! Bear attack? I'm sure a male bear is just around the corner, ready to jump in and defend your honor!
Without a hint of irony, we transition to Phaedra's advice for the workplace. We learn that the quintessential gentlewoman is savvy, competent, and always at the top of her game. For instance, at her workplace, "she figures out how to work the coffee machine and the copy machine." With that kind of go-getting attitude, the Southern Belle will be bound for the C-suite in no time! Provided, of course,
She never does that thing I hear of in the North sometimes of telling you how little she paid for something. Why would you brag about bargains?
I can't hear the phrase that thing I hear of in the North in anything other than the voice of Tinsley's mother, Dale. Except she would probably use it in reference to something like "giving compliments to your daughter" or "weight gain." Regardless, a more appropriate question at this juncture might be, "Are you sure this book was proofread quite as judiciously as you claimed?" As I scan the page, my eyes happen upon the line:
10 percent for tithing, if your religion encourages tithing, which mines [sic] does.
Of course, it would be entirely uncouth for me to brag about my typographical superiority in this context, so now seems as good a time as any to exercise some of my newly acquired techniques. Oh, Phaedra -- bless her heart! I suppose we can't all be detail-oriented, can we? It must be nice to be so casual and carefree when you express yourself!
Without further ado, however, we move along to our next lesson -- "People don't know when you're hungry, because they can't hear your stomach growling, but they definitely know when you're homeless." To be honest, the more I think about this statement , the less sense it makes to me (people…can hear your stomach growling?). Luckily, with the jam-packed schedule of a Southern Belle, I simply don't have time to dwell on the issue for a moment longer!
Our next tutorial? " If you have one fabulous pair of shoes, you will wear them to church. It is the very least you can do for Jesus." As we all know, Jesus loves sweet kicks, so he loves nothing more than to see you rock the newest styles when you drop by on Sunday. And besides -- the higher the heel, the closer to heaven! Phaedra summarizes the Southern Belle's can-do attitude with the line: "We all may not be sitting around big ugly Formica boardroom tables, but we get things done." As someone who has only ever attended meetings held around moderately sized tables, I find this to be a validating sentiment.
When it comes to extracurricular pursuits, "beauty pageants are important." However, "as much as she loves performing, the Belle will not take to the stage: some of those theater people are just too peculiar, bless their hearts." Honestly, Phaedra and I come down on the same side on this one. But I will have to heartily disagree with her next passage -- with respect to traditions of stepping within Black Greek Life -- in which she states,
The traditionally white organizations don't have anything comparable.
Um, excuse me? Have you never seen this iconic video?! However, Phaedra does reassure us that she's far from ignorant in the ways of the world. As she states, "I have read about hookup culture and known a few easy women." Of course, easy men don't exist -- or at least, that's what I've read in all the most prominent textbooks regarding hookup culture. But don't mistake Phaedra's awareness for acceptance -- "that doesn't mean I like any of it." However, this sentiment is belied just a few paragraphs later, when our author recalls:
I offended the mother of one of my best friends once by booking some exotic entertainment at this friend's birthday party. My friend loved the anatomically exceptional dancer, but her mother was livid.
I'm sure that it was only your friend who loved the "anatomically exceptional" dancer, and I assume this must have been one of your aforementioned token "easy" friends, besides. A Southern Belle, in contrast, is interested in serious, long-term relationships. And for this purpose, "it would be much better to marry a young man that you can train. I have always said that I would rather be a babysitter than a geriatric nurse." Yet even these kinds of discrepancies seem trivial in comparison to the boundless passions of eternal love. As Phaedra shares,
I want Apollo and me to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, so I try to overlook momentary annoyances.
That aged well. Bless her heart.
We're soon treated to a cheeky list of "what her husband doesn't know," which echoes several key themes from earlier in the book -- most notably in its bizarre fixation with pubic grooming.
He doesn't know what her true hair color is, because the curtains always match the carpet.

He doesn't know how often she waxes, or exactly what waxing entails.

He doesn't know that she has her own credit card, her own savings account, and a safe-deposit box.
I've got to say, that last one hits just a little bit different with hindsight. Always timely, however, are Phaedra's views on the importance of the homemaking arts. In this evocative passage, she describes the primal horror of an encounter with a woman tainted by an unimaginable curse:
A nice lady from another part of the country recently confessed to me that she doesn't know how to do any crafts. In fact, she said, she gets all nervous and antsy in crafts stores, because they're so full of things she doesn't understand. I laughed like I thought she was joking, but really, I felt bad for her. Imagine not knowing how to make all those cute objects that brighten up lives in the South! I shudder to think what the inside of her house looks like!
With that fable still ringing in my ears, we transition to the next section of the book: "Look Pretty." Phaedra reflects, "I am always shocked when I leave the South and encounter the enormous number of women who don't seem to understand how their clothes should fit." Now feels like an appropriate time to draw attention to the book's back cover, in which an open-mouthed Phaedra swivels her torso in such a way as to create a bulging protuberance across one half of her chest. In awe of her commitment to inclusivity, I now realize this could only have been an intentional choice to make herself seem more approachable to us northern oafs, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Phaedra goes on to inform us that, "personally, I prefer skirts and dresses over pants." However, although "high-waisted pants and pants with visible hem cuffs are quite elegant and ladylike," one should take care never to forget that "minimalism and menswear looks are just puzzling and not appealing to a Belle." I, too, must admit that I find menswear looks puzzling -- a girl? in boy clothes? I just can't make heads or tails of it! And this is far from the only contemporary fad that baffles the true Southern Belle. As Phaedra continues:
I've never understood the appeal of the natural look. It's so easy to improve your appearance; why wouldn't you take advantage of the many beauty aids available to you?
In a frankly unexpected dig against the ceramic arts, Phaedra notes that "unless you are a professional potter (and I don't think Southern Belles generally are), your nails need to be clean and filed." More generally, your physical proportions should remain mild and inobtrusive:
Ever since voluminous behinds became fashionable, I often see these lumpy, huge derrieres on women with legs as thin as a chicken's, and I think God would never put a rump roast on toothpicks, so why did you do that?
That's why I always caution my friends to pair their butt implants with a battery of leg implants, in order to really round out the overall contour of the body and mimic that structurally stable, God-given look. After all, as Phaedra quips: "'Knowledge is power' -- that's my motto." But this knowledge doesn’t come without a price; being as world-wise as Phaedra often requires direct confrontation with the atrocities of today's world. As she recounts, for example: "I was astonished to find out that not every woman possesses a lint roller." It's truly a tragedy to learn how the other half lives!
We are next informed that, "you have to have your ears pierced, but only one hole in each ear." The consequences for an infraction of this critical edict are left unvoiced, from which I can only assume that they are swift and merciless. Any self-respecting Southern Belle has a taste for the finer things in life, and Phaedra is no exception. As she remarks:
I love diamonds; I'd have a diamond duvet if I could afford it.
Because I am less fiscally endowed, I have had to settle for stuffing my duvet with assorted Swarovski crystals, at least for the time being. However, I'm eager to upgrade -- I can only imagine that the extra hardness of the diamonds will add a satisfying acupuncture affect to my nighttime regimen!
Phaedra moves on to fashion advice, and cautions the well-heeled Belle to remain conservative in her fashion choices. But don't worry -- there is a time and a place to let loose and express your more artistic side. Or, as Phaedra says, "something a little funky or ethnic may even be appropriate from time to time." To further illustrate this principle, she explains: "If I were going out West, for example, I might wear some turquoise bracelets."
But some things are a bridge too far! Any woman with a modicum of dignity would know never to be caught dead in "polar fleece," "a naughty-nurse costume," or "footed pajamas." We are also encouraged to carry around a hand fan -- "the elegant way to stay cool" -- as well as a "small leather-bound notebook for jotting down inspirations." I lose my train of thought for a moment, caught up in a daydream about the ingenious wonderings that must be contained within Phaedra's hallowed journal. But I'm brought back to reality by a declaration of "what's not in my purse," beginning with the stern pronouncement: "any kind of contraband substance."
Our pilgrimage to polite society continues with a comprehensive exploration of the monogram's social gravitas. As Phaedra intones, "I've even seen cars with a very discreet monogram on the driver's door." But with light must come darkness, and the next chapter bravely confronts an issue many others would fear to face: "Looking Like a Tramp" ("There, I came right out and said it," Phaedra breathlessly gasps below the harsh text of the passage's title). She gathers herself together and courageously reports, "some women look downright sleazy."
Alas -- even more tragically -- couture catastrophes are not restricted to those of legal majority. Phaedra heroically pulls back the curtain on a nationwide epidemic of wardrobe misconduct being perpetrated against society's most vulnerable:
I saw a picture not long ago of some hippies or hipsters or whatever you call them from some remote city. The parents looked the way you'd expect them to look, a little bit bedraggled, but the worst thing was they had this adorable little baby all done up in a black onesie. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't even Halloween!
How to combat this terrifying trend? Phaedra offers words of wisdom: "Little Southern Belles always look sweet and appropriately girlish." Specifically, we are encouraged to incorporate design elements like "tasteful, conservative rickrack." By way of further explanation, she clarifies that, "what they don't do is dress like Lady Gaga in dresses made of butchers' best cuts of beef." I'm disappointed to learn that my idea for an Etsy store selling bespoke meat-based children's clothing might be a nonstarter, but I suppose I appreciate our author giving it to me straight.
Another childcare commandment?
No costumes outside the house. Of course every little girl loves to play dress-up. But I truly dislike seeing Snow White or a fairy princess trailing along behind her mother at the Piggly Wiggly.
As she sits in her living room, most likely waiting for a man to come to her aid for some reason or another, Phaedra is struck by a sharp, blazing pain. As the flash of blinding torment subsides, she catches her breath and shakes her head wearily -- another costumed child has gone into a grocery store. Forgive their guardians, for they know not the harm their actions have caused to our author's delicate and genteel sensibilities.
But it does us no good to dwell on the darker side of life! Rather, we'll move right along into the book's final section, "Have Fun." However, this does not seem to be exactly the same kind of "fun" colloquially mentioned in mainstream circles. Rather, the Southern Belle defines fun with the principle, "everybody needs to know that you made an effort." For example, "if you're pouring punch into paper cups for a gaggle of seven-year-olds, put a spring of mint in it." My previous experiences in the general vicinity of children lead me to believe that at least 75% of the seven-year-olds in this group would respond to this elegant enhancement by dumping the punch out on the ground because it has a gross plant in it. Maybe that's part of the fun?
No analysis of Southern culture would be complete without a discussion of that most hallowed of pastimes -- college football. And although "only a really unusual woman watches football alone," it is imperative that a Southern Belle attend the social events associated with the on-season. What's more, she should take care to do with impeccable style. As Phaedra laments:
Sometimes I see pictures of women in store-bought football jerseys and I feel sorry. A store-bought jersey does nothing to flatter the feminine body.
As for the game itself, minimal understanding is required -- "Naturally a Belle knows how much men enjoy telling her things, so she isn't shy about asking questions." True to her generous spirit, however, Phaedra nevertheless provides a basic primer in the rudiments of the sport:
Basically each team is trying to get the ball through the tall H-shaped goalposts at the end of the field. […] The problem is that the ball can look awfully little from pretty much anywhere in the stands. There's no shame in watching the video replay to see what really just happened.
As a final tip, Phaedra suggests that "belles whose husbands have season tickets might even invest in matching linens and china." Our next unit of instruction concerns the arrival of a newborn bundle of joy; as we learn, "the birth of a baby is a big deal in a southern family." It's so interesting to learn all of these unique cultural details! I don't know if I've ever heard of another culture that places such importance on birth -- I'd love to get an anthropologist's take! There are also strict guidelines to which one must adhere regarding the naming of a debutante-in-training:
A Southern Belle's name:
-- is obviously feminine.
-- is two syllables or more (names like Ann or Joan seem abrupt, like so many Yankees).
-- is a real name, not a geographic feature like Sierra.
-- means something. Preferably something nice.
Once born and appropriately christened, children should be painstakingly shielded from the contaminating influences of the world at large. Phaedra explains that "pop culture is full of children behaving disrespectfully." Without the slightest suggestion of self-reflection, she goes on to declare that "besides, we think TV characters are basically tacky."
Phaedra reiterates a few of the courtship commandments mentioned previously, most concisely in the adage, "Belles don't date losers." And, as any suitor worth his salt should know, "a date with a Belle is no time for a boy to experiment with 'alternative' clothes or grooming either." Instead, a Southern Gentleman takes care to keep his language clean from distasteful or offensive language -- "For instance, why say 'liquor' when you can say 'adult refreshment'?"
As we near the end of the book, it seems only fitting that we take a few pages to cover the traditions and rituals associated with life coming to a close. Buttressed by her extensive knowledge of mortuary science, Phaedra instructs us:
Postmortem is no time to experiment with cosmetics. No one wants their sweet aunt Gertrude looking like some ashy Jezebel when she meets Jesus.
The passage concludes with the brassy observation, "we don't usually cremate in the South; we figure if we wanted to burn we'd just live recklessly and go to hell."
Before the book closes in earnest, Phaedra shares a few of her special, meticulously developed recipes. The most evocative of her culinary optimizations is a recipe for sweet tea, in which she thoughtfully informs us, "sweetness can be personalized by adding more water or ice to the tea."
The book's final pages contain an instrument designed to measure the effect of the preceding 252 pages on one's essential courtesies, charmingly titled "The Belle-O-Meter Quiz." As Phaedra explains:
So, ladies, how are you doing? I'm sure you've all been very attentive to my suggestions and are amazed by the results. You're probably totally used to a steady diet of compliments and flirtation and invitations. But here's a little quiz in case you feel the need to measure how far you've come.
If you'd like to take the full quiz, you can do so here. But if your busy Belle schedule doesn't permit you to devote that much time to something so self-indulgent, a few example questions are provided below:
Your routine greeting when you meet a new person is:
a. A surly glare.
b. "Hi."
c. "Well, hello! How are you today?"

If your gentleman friend brought you a corsage to wear on a date you would:
a. Put it in the refrigerator. Nobody wears corsages nowadays!
b. Pin it to your coat collar and check your coat.
c. Pin it in an unusual spot like your waist or behind your ear, after extracting one little blossom to put in his lapel.
The answer key informs us that answering mostly C's means that "you are a genuine Southern Belle." As Phaedra goes on to suggest, "maybe it's time to share your new skills with a friend and pass along this book. I hope it's been helpful to you." As a book hoarder of the highest order, I will have to skip that suggestion, but I am nevertheless thankful to move one step closer to self-actualization with the help of another Real Housewife. Until next time!
Upcoming plans in comment below!
submitted by efa___ to BravoRealHousewives [link] [comments]

SCP-2510, "Got A Secret, Can You Keep It?"

Item #: SCP-2510
Author: Cerastes
Hello SCPDeclassified, Brewsterion here. Today, I wanted to tackle SCP-2510, which while it's an older slot it's a newer article due to shenanigans. This one was requested by a few people, so without much further ado, let's just dive in.
Now before I start the piece off, you know the drill and the disclaimer. This declass is my personal interpretation of what both the events in the piece are and what the meaning of the piece is, and while some parts may have been confirmed by the author to match their interpretation, you are free to come up with your own. This declass is going to do double duty as both discussing the events and what I feel the meaning is. With that established, let's hop in and start snitching on this secret.
Unfortunately, the conprocs don't tell us much that we don't find out immediately, so I'm going to be skipping them and jumping straight to the description. It saves us time, I swear.
Description: SCP-2510 is a phenomenon surrounding Samantha McArthur (hereby referred to as SCP-2510-1), a 17 year-old high school senior who from 2016 to just before her death in 2019, attended Oakhill Secondary School in Converse, Indiana. While autopsy reports have been inconclusive due to the condition of her body, Foundation coroners have estimated SCP-2510-1 died approximately five months prior to discovery, in late December. Her death is currently believed to be self-inflicted and non-anomalous.
So 2510's some sort of phenomenon surrounding the corpse of this girl, a high school senior from the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Whatever it was, it somehow caused her to just be stuck unnoticed for five months after she... yeah. Something fucked's happened here.
All individuals within Converse will refuse to acknowledge SCP-2510-1, ignoring it entirely when within the vicinity. If brought up tangentially in conversation, those affected will choose to focus on other topics of the discussion. When directly pressed on SCP-2510 or SCP-2510-1, individuals will remain entirely silent. Individuals appear to possess the relevant knowledge, but are unwilling or unable to express it. Individuals pressed sufficiently will refuse to speak with Foundation personnel any longer.
So everybody in Samantha's town just won't acknowledge what happened. They ignore the body when they're near it, they brush it off in conversations, and anybody that directly asks them about it won't get answers. For some reason, they're just ignoring a young girl's suicide.
Now, we're gonna ask why.
Discovery: SCP-2510 was discovered by Reba Sinclair, the aunt of a student at Oakhill, who traveled to Converse to attend their nephew's graduation. Upon entering the women's bathroom and encountering SCP-2510-1 she became distressed and called the authorities, who were also subject to SCP-2510. Sinclair then escalated to the Indiana State Police, informing them that the local police were refusing to investigate a death, where Foundation-embedded agents responded.
She—what—she was in the bathroom for five months?
Let's assume that they didn't go in the stall as a side effect of whatever the 2510 effect actually is, so nobody went and reported the corpse to anybody. That's still She was in the bathroom, and nobody gave a shit. This is just tragic now.
Foundation attempts to investigate SCP-2510 have been unsuccessful at this time. The initial attempt involved posing as state police, and attempting to question students and faculty about McArthur. Despite threats of legal action or jail-time, all individuals refused to speak about the anomaly. Attempts to place undercover agents in either the faculty or student population, while being successful, have not resulted in any individuals willing to share information. Attempts to covertly gather information on SCP-2510 have resulted in suspicion towards the agents' unorthodox behaviour, forcing the Foundation to withdraw them.
The list of Foundation attempts to figure everything out that worked is a nice shade of blank, it seems. Not only are the people ignoring it, they get really suspicious and weird when asked repeatedly about it. It's almost like they're trying to ignore it.
Analysis of SCP-2510 has identified it as a type of socio-antimeme, spread through social bonds rather than traditional methods. Any attempts by Foundation personnel to learn it would thus be impossible, as no Foundation staff had any social links to the community of Converse.
This doesn't tell us much that we couldn't already tell, it's an antimeme, but I personally find the idea of an antimeme spread through social bonds absolutely fascinating. The point is that this is specific to the people of Converse. They're really emphasizing how it's just specific to this town, huh.
Efforts have instead shifted to finding an individual that would be considered sufficiently removed from the community to be willing to speak to the Foundation, but also possessed knowledge of SCP-2510-1.
Yeah, good luck with that in a small Indiana rural town—you got one? Wow. Alright, let's check this interview out.
Interviewed: Zachary Amos
Interviewer: Agent Barnes
Foreword: Searching school records for new arrivals, the Foundation contacted Amos, a senior at Oakhill who moved to the area six months ago, in order to discuss SCP-2510.
There's two important things to notice here. This kid moved to Converse a month before Samantha died, but he's also only been here two months, so while he has to know what happened it's entirely likely the community doesn't fully accept him yet. It's a small rural town, you've seen the movies. They're not exactly the friendliest to people new in town. So let's start listening to our snitch.
Barnes: Thank you for agreeing to speak with me. Most of your friends haven't been so cooperative.
Amos: No problem. Can we… can we just keep it between us? I don't want them to know about it.
Barnes: We'll make sure they're kept unaware. (pauses) Do you think they'd be mad at you for speaking to me?
Amos: Not sure. I think it's more of an unspoken thing, maybe? Like I don't know all of them that well, but I just… I don't know, get the feeling I'm not supposed to talk about… it.
Barnes: I see. And what exactly is "it" supposed to be?
Amos remains silent, although visibly distressed.
Well we're off to a solid start.
Barnes: Can you tell me about McArthur? Why was her body left undiscovered in a school bathroom for five months?
Amos remains silent.
Even for somebody so removed from the community, the antimeme's kicking in. Damn, this thing's effective.
Barnes: You know what, let's talk about something else for now. Tell me about your life at Oakhill. Do you like the place?
Amos becomes visibly relieved.
Amos: Yeah, it's a good school. I was kinda worried about moving, you know, how everyone in these types of town know each other. Like, everyone. You know what I mean?
Barnes: Yes, I think so. Continue.
Amos: It kinda feels very closed off, from what you see in movies and stuff. But I got over it. It's great. Everyone knows each other, and everyone watches out for each other. No matter what.
You know, something makes me think that last line's just not true.
Barnes: Noted. Can you tell me about your classmates? Anyone who comes to mind, for any reason?
Amos: Kevin Cosniak and Derek Thompson. They're both on the football team, everyone knows them. Very popular. Sort of the ringleaders of the school.
Barnes: Have you interacted with them-
Amos: I mean, they're kinda dicks, If I'm being honest. But they're not that smart. They get through most things by dumb luck, from what I can tell. That's just what I think of them.
We've got more names. Kevin and Derek, two highly popular star football players. Apparently not the smartest, but popular. Based on what Amos just said, I'm willing to bet the whole town would be willing to cover for these two, and coincidentally that's what the author said this section is trying to imply. The two players might be suspicious, but they also didn't technically or directly cause the antimeme. This wasn't something that stemmed from one specific person.
Barnes: …Ah. I'll keep that in mind. But going back to the question, have you interacted with them much?
Amos: Uh, not that much. Like, I'd see them around school, I had most classes with them, homeroom too, same with- never mind. But we didn't really talk to each other.
Oh? Same with who? Maybe he was in the same class as Samantha? Not much else he would try to avoid in a conversation.
Barnes: Why not?
Amos: Well, they're kinda dicks, already mentioned that. But I always got this weird feeling from them.
Barnes: Can you elaborate?
Amos remains silent.
Wait. He's trying to avoid something in the conversation again. But the only thing he would be trying to avoid is...
What the hell did these football players do involving Samantha?
Let's try and find that part out.
Barnes: Alright. When would you say is the last… significant encounter you had with either Derek or Kevin in the past, let's say five months?
Amos: It was at the party. Team just won a pretty important game against the- well, you wouldn't really care. Just meant we were contenders for the state. So Derek invited some people over to his place to celebrate, it's pretty big.
Barnes: Anyone interesting attend it?
Amos: Uh… well there was Derek, his girlfriend Caroline, Kevin, everyone on the football team and our homeroom, a few people from the other classes as well.
Barnes: Everyone from your homeroom?
Amos nods enthusiastically.
Oh no. Parties with that many people don't go well. But the fact Samantha was there...this doesn't sound too good.
Barnes: Alright. How did the party go?
Amos remains silent.
Barnes: Let me rephrase that. How was your mood at the beginning of the party?
Amos: Pretty good. Derek's older brother managed to get some beer, so everyone was having a pretty good time at first. Everyone got pretty drunk, though. Like Derek and Kevin.
Oh no.
Barnes: Did Derek or Kevin do something to disrupt this mood?
Amos nods, but does not elaborate.
Oh no.
Barnes: From what we've seen, most students at your school seem to be in a good mood. Would you say that you and most people disagreed on the incident?
Amos: I think one of the things about small towns like Converse, like I said earlier, everyone looks out for each other. Especially for the football team. No one wants to ruin anything.
Barnes: People didn't want to rock the boat. Even if it meant covering something awful up?
Amos remains silent.
Barnes: Everyone just ignored whatever they did?
Amos remains silent.
Barnes: What did they do to Samantha?
Amos remains silent, and is visibly distressed.
Oh no.
That's the end of the interview. Amos doesn't say anything else the whole time, and they give him amnestics and let him go. But I don't think he needs to tell us much more. Two drunk football players, a party with lots of empty room, something they did that the town then tried their hardest to cover up, something that Samantha was likely the victim of. Something that, when combined with the stress of the town ignoring that it happened and trying to cover it up so the football players can get off scot-free, led her to commit suicide.
They sexually assaulted her. At least, that's what I think they did. It could realistically be quite a few things, but this is what immediately jumped to my mind, so let's stick with that as what happened. The football players sexually assaulted her, but she's not in a city. She's in a small Indiana town. Some people, like Amos, wanted to call the players out on it and make them face the consequences, but it's a small town. Everybody knows each other, nobody wants anybody to suffer. And apparently, they thought the futures of two football players were more important than the life of a young innocent girl. Eventually, she couldn't take it anymore, and...yeah. But even then, the town ignored it. They ignored it to the point they literally blocked it out of their minds. Some people could talk about it a bit more than others, but more just ignored an absolute tragedy, essentially giving up a transfer student so two football players that happened to be popular could get away.
From here, we're going to get into what my personal interpretation of the piece is, what the deeper meanings is and all that. This part is all subjective, so if you don't care or want to voice your own interpretations, hop to the end or jump into the comment section. Honestly I'd love to hear y'all's interpretations, but I'm gonna get mine out of the way first.
This piece has a twofold meaning. One of them is more obvious, the small town culture that covers up things that go wrong. Samantha was new. A transfer student. Kevin and Derek were popular football players, known by everybody. From the perspective of the people in the town, they didn't have a choice. They wanted to cover for their fellow students, and they viewed Samantha as an outsider. This culture of those in town and those from outside it made this division in the town, leaving Samantha high and dry, without any support as they ignored her, trying to save the futures of the two football players who ruined her life. Ever after she died, they just ignored her, pretending the whole thing never happened. They didn't even move her corpse, because even the slightest acknowledgement of what happened to her could ruin Kevin and Derek.
I did say the meaning is twofold, which leads into my own interpretation. To me, this piece stands as a direct callout of American high schools' responses to suicides--or lack thereof. Often, high schools react to student deaths by simply doing nothing about it, acting as if it is a problem that's not there. This stands as a direct correlation to the piece, with the town, not just the school, acting like it's not a problem. Of course, often a problem isn't just the event, but the aftermath as well. And like how schools in life ignore the aftermath effects of students dying, moving on and pretending like everything's fine when there is something very clearly wrong, the school and town in the piece did as well. Even when everybody saw that something strange was at work in the town, preventing them from talking about this event, they just ignored it and continued as normal. People in life, in all circumstances, more often than not like to ignore problems they don't want to address, and that almost never ends well. But, again, I'd love to see your all's interpretations of this piece in the comments.
And so ends SCP-2510, a tale of covering for people and getting lost in who you should back up. I hope this helped you understand this SCP better. Thank you all for reading, and remember that some secrets shouldn't be kept.
submitted by Brewsterion to SCPDeclassified [link] [comments]

Infinity Inc. #13 - Nothing Gold Can Stay

Infinity Inc #13 - Nothing Gold Can Stay

Arc 3: Metamorphosis
Author: u/PatrollinTheMojave
Editors: u/dwright5252
A mass of metal and concrete hurtled through the air towards Jaime. He fought down a pang of fear and shouted “Scarab!” just before the tons of rigging collided. With two metallic clunks, hooks shot out from Jaime’s feet, anchoring him to the stage.
{ Approaching weight limit. Shifting configuration. }
He felt waves of nanomachines brush through his arms and towards the structure, forming support after support until the debris wasn’t at risk of falling on bystanders.
The panicked screams of the audience began to mingle with applause and Jaime winced. How could these people think this was part of the demonstration? They were going to get hurt. He looked down at the suddenly fearless audience members - investors, military officers, fans, and little kids all standing their ground.
“All of you need to evacuate!”
{ Jaime Reyes, this structure may be used as a bludgeon. }
“Wha-” Jaime started before his eyes flicked up to a NIGHT suit coming directly at him. Scarab was already realigning to deliver a blow with the concrete, but dozens would be hurt if he dropped this thing, let alone slammed it into a guy in a mech suit.
Jaime gritted his teeth and braced. A flash of gold streaked across his vision and into the NIGHT suit, slamming both into the stage.
“Booster!” His head turned over to the hole in the stage where Booster was standing. The NIGHT suit landed a punch square in Booster’s face, staggering him backward.
“Scarab, I need to put this down without hurting anyone.”
{ Calculating. }
Jaime could’ve sworn he heard a hint of annoyance, but sure enough, the nanomachine scaffolding folded in on itself, sliding the mass of metal onto an empty section of the stage.
As soon as it slammed against the ground, Jaime’s arms reshaped into a pair of massive blades. If this tech could withstand a hit from Booster, it could take some punishment. At least, that’s what Jaime told himself as he rushed over.
Before he reached it, Booster was knocked out of the hole and tumbled across the ground. When the hero finally began pulling himself back up, Jaime let out a sigh of relief.
Jaime’s facemask melted away into the rest of the suit, revealing a tense expression. “Are you alright?”
Booster smirked. “He got a lucky shot.”
“Are you sure? You-”
“Beetle.” Booster interrupted. “If we were really in trouble, would the crowd be cheering so loud?”
Deafened by the rush of adrenaline and blood beating in his ears, Jaime finally heard the excited voices of the crowd. “Blue and Gold! Blue and Gold!”
“We’ve got this.” Booster said.
“Right.” Jaime reactivated his faceplate. Hearing everyone’s fear replaced by excitement - maybe Booster wasn’t all wrong.
A low rumble moved through the ground. The NIGHT suit rose from the hole, propelled by a set of bright blue thrusters.
Booster raised his arm and shot a blast of energy at the NIGHT suit, forcing it off balance. Jaime frowned, not totally sure what a ‘demagogue’ was. He shook his head.
“Booster, I’m going to try something. Protect the crowd.”
Booster nodded and a pair of insectoid wings folded out of Jaime’s back. He shot towards the NIGHT suit. Booster held his own taking down those parademons, sure, but protecting people? He tried to have a little faith.
“Hey, overthrow-the-government guy,” Jaime cringed, part of him missing the flashy mercenaries of Palo Alto that chose their own names. “You’re going to need more than a punch to stop me.”
{ Jaime Reyes, performing diagnostics on enemy exoskeleton unit. Heavy ordinance fire is impossible without significant loss of life. }
“I’ve got this.” Jaime said, a bit proud that Scarab was concerning himself with ‘loss of life’.
“GLOAT ALL YOU WANT. YOU’RE NO MATCH FOR YOUR MASTER’S WEAPON!” An array of weapons unfolded from the frame. Micro missiles, a LightTech cannon, and a half dozen other implements Jaime couldn’t recognize. He was going to have some words with Ted Kord after all of this.
Then, with a solitary click, the arsenal was unleashed at Jaime.
{ Jaime Reyes, kinetic barriers-! }
Jaime launched into the air, moving end over end through the air to dodge an incoming explosive. He forced his way through the onslaught of deadly technology until he’d made it behind… Overthrow.
“Booster, now!” Jaime turned his head and the gold-clad hero was already shooting missiles out of the area and zipping from point to point to move bystanders out of the way. The detonating explosives looked a little like fireworks going off above the crowd.
“We’ve got this.” He reassured himself and Scarab in equal parts. He raised an arm towards Overthrow, where an extended weapon had left a gap in the armor. Jaime’s hand crackled with electrical energy as he fired.
The bolt of electricity struck Overthrow and he crumpled like a doll onstage, paralyzed under the massive weight of the mech suit.
Jaime descended to the ground next to Booster and scanned the crowd, looking for any places where one of Overthrow’s attacks might’ve gotten through.
“See? I told you everything would work out.”
“I guess you’re right on some things, Blooper Gold.” Jaime’s faceplate went up and he stifled a small laugh.
Meanwhile, the chants from the crowd were louder than ever. “Blue and Gold! Blue and Gold!” The crowd parted as Ted Kord hurried towards the stage, flanked on either side by a musclebound bodyguard.
“Jaime, Booster, that was amazing! How did you know an electrical pulse would short the neural interface?”
Jaime and Booster glanced at each other, then back to Ted, silent.
“...Right!” Ted’s cheerfulness was unshaken. “Fantastic demonstration. Truly, it blew me away.” Ted turned to address the crowd and pulled a small microphone from his jacket pocket. “Ladies and gentlemen, please give another round of applause to the Infinity Inc. sponsored Blue Beetle and Booster Gold for defeating-” Ted put his hand over the mic turned to Jaime. “What was that guy’s name?”
“Ah- Over… throw?”
“For defeating Overthrow!” Ted turned back again. “Seriously, Overthrow?”
Jaime stood outside of Booster’s VIP suite. The events of the day meant the publicity tour was postponed and everyone was being put up at the ritziest hotel Los Angeles could offer.
{ Detecting inferior intelligence ahead. }
“Scarab, that’s rude. And Booster isn’t that bad.”
{ The inferior intelligence holds the designation: Skeets. }
“Be nice.” Jaime raised his fist and knocked on the carved cherrywood door. After a few seconds, the door swung open.
Standing in the door frame, in a snug pair of Infinity Inc. pajamas was Booster. A large bruise was already forming on his cheek. “Hey Jaime. What’s up?”
“Can I come in?”
“Oh- yeah, of course.” Booster gestured inside, revealing the room’s king bed and raided mini fridge.
The two moved inside and took a seat at the room’s small table. Jaime spotted Booster’s weird, golden drone thing pop up from the other side of the bed and hover forward. “*On behalf of Michael, I would like to extend my gratitude for formulating a plan of attack against the mech suited maniac despite the flaws in your hardware. I was glad to see that even when I was absent, there was someone there to give him sound strategy he is otherwise incapable of making on his own.”
{ Tactical analysis: the inferior intelligence is incapable of strategy. }
Skeets let out an indignant beep. “Please tell the piece of space junk on your back that I understand its poorly constructed insults.
“Skeets!” Booster looked up, confused.
Michael.” Skeets replied. An uncomfortable silence drifted over the room for a few seconds until, “I don’t think your robot likes my robot.” Booster said.
{ Your robot? } Scarab buzzed in Jaime’s skull, annoyed.
Your robot?” Skeets asked.
“Booster, the reason I came here to talk to you is because you were right.”
“Right.” Booster nodded. “About what?”
“You told me I needed to enjoy myself more and while I might not totally agree with-” Jaime gestured vaguely at Booster and Skeets. “You’re right. The past few months have sort of been terrifying nonstop - so uh - thanks for getting me to slow down. A little.
“It’s like - I kind of got dropped into the deep end of all of this. I’ve been caught up in trying to figure out how to do this. I guess I missed out on the why. Hearing all of those people in the audience-” Jaime stopped, at a loss for words.
“You found your calling?” Booster asked, raising an eyebrow.
Jaime shrugged. “Yeah, I mean - I guess so. That’s why I just wanted to say thanks. Anyway, it’s late. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“See you then, kid.” Booster smiled.
“You’re still only a few years older than me!”
Booster showed Jaime to the door, then sunk into the Egyptian silk on his bed. “He seems like a good kid.”
Skeets drifted through the air above. “Despite the fact that you are only 5.3 years older than the kid, yes. Michael - did you take any of what he said to heart?
Booster sat up. “What do you mean?”
“Michael - in your months of heroing, has your goal really been to land a sponsorship?”
“Of course it has! We had a little bump in the road with the Soder Cola people, and now, we’ve finally made it.” “Have you not felt the joy and wonder of saving those bystanders’ lives? Booster Gold has become a hero, are you willing to throw that away to become a brand name?
Booster thought for a moment, then nodded emphatically. “Yep, that’s pretty schway!”
Skeets’ internal processors froze at the sheer stupidity of his partner. Once they resumed computing, he decided to take a different tactic.
Booster Gold as a side act in the Kord Enterprises press tour. I had thought you were capable of more. Was I mistaken?
“Aw come on, Skeets. Don’t be like that! Ted’s done a lot for us. He patched up my costume, for one.”
You didn’t answer my question. Is Booster Gold a mascot for Kord Enterprises products?
“No, damn it!” Booster banged his hand against the nightstand and moved out of bed. “You know Skeets, I really hate it when you’re right, but you are right. I’m going to be the main attraction, without Ted Kord having to prop me up.”
I see.
Booster grabbed his suitcase and marched over to the door. “I’m going to go see Ted right now and hand him my resignation.”
I don’t think the hotel’s business center is still open.
“I’m not- fine! I’ll tell him I quit!”
Booster pulled open the door, took a step out, and plummeted into a blinding light.
Booster felt sick as he crashed to the ground. The bright light that had teleported him to this new location faded as quickly as it appeared, leaving him in darkness.
“Hello?” His voice echoed around him, bouncing back to his ears as a slightly panicked tone. Last thing he remembered was going to break off his promotional deal with Ted Kord. Was this God’s way of punishing him for throwing all that money away? He resolved to kick Skeets’ metal ass as he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Michael.” Booster recognized the voice immediately. He turned to find his sister Michelle standing over him, her blue Supernova mask covering her face. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?” Booster stood up, wobbling a bit from the teleportation. “What’re you-”
A bulb switched on above him, illuminating the Carter siblings in a halo of light. He could hear footsteps coming towards them and placed himself in a defensive stance.
“Michael Jon Carter. Born December 29th, 2442. Fled that time period on August 21, 2465 and arrived in 2019. Son to Jonar and Ellen Carter.” A man stepped into the light, his hair long and dark and his eyes glued to the folder he was leafing through. “Quite the rap sheet you’ve compiled here, Mikey.”
“OK, chucklehead.” Booster attempted to sound confident, but was shaken by how much this man knew about him. As far as he knew, the only beings that were aware of his origins were Skeets and Michelle. “Who are you? How do you know so much about me? If you strong-armed Michelle into this-”
“On the contrary,” the man responded, a pleasant smile formed on his face. “Michelle here was all too happy to help us out.”
“And just what, exactly, did she help you with? Why am I here?” The man placed the folder somewhere out of the light and signaled to someone. The entire room lit up, revealing a massive space that was almost entirely empty besides two other individuals and the cracked Time Sphere Booster had traveled to the past in.
The two men stared at Booster, their demeanors smug and satisfied. Their garbs seemed familiar to him, as one of the men was wearing an outfit similar to his own, complete with a yellow star in the middle of his chest. However, the costume was a silver alloy instead of gold, including the man’s face. The other man almost reminded Booster of his dead friend David Knight, Starman, especially the star rod-like device he twirled in his hands. But the outfit looked much more refined and updated, as realistic stars lined the flowing cape that trailed behind him and a crimson helmet covered his entire head, except the sneer on his face.
The man with the folder pulled out a set of handcuffs and placed them on Booster. For a second, he flashed to the time when he was escorted from the football stadium by officers, the disgrace of his team and his family for betting on his own games. This time, Michelle was there to see it for herself. The man put a hand on Booster and led him towards the two men.
“Michael Jon Carter, alias Booster Gold. I, Rip Hunter of the Time Masters, place you under arrest for altering the timeline and committing acts of chronal terrorism.”
submitted by PatrollinTheMojave to DCNext [link] [comments]

[Translation] The Libero's murderer: how Arrigo Sacchi revolutionized tactics and built the best team of all times.

-"How was Italian football before Sacchi?" -"Like now."
Just two words are enough for Arrigo Sacchi to disarm your face-to-face strategy and leave you out of the game like a beginner. Three words that, however, do not strictly correspond to reality. They are only half true. Only by digging deep into his footballing imagination can one discover how the man who built one of the greatest teams of all time is able to disregard his legacy and blur it in the timeline of the evolution of the beautiful game in Italy. Despite his modesty, there is no doubt that Arrigo Sacchi and his Milan team mark a turning point for Italian football, although from the manager's point of view it is not a turning point but a mere parenthesis. Italian football changed during his time on the bench, but recovered its natural course as soon as he stepped off the pitch and into the offices. "Clearly there has been some change, but not like in the rest of Europe. The televisions have made us see that a different kind of football is being played. 'They've changed all over the world except in Italy,' Costacurta told me a few years ago when we were watching the Italian U-21s against Denmark," explains Sacchi. What are the reasons for this lack of evolution in Italian football? Sacchi is able to recite them with the confidence with which a surgeon points out the ills to be removed. "In Italy, you don't know what the merit is, you just want to win. The fans and the journalists don't ask for the show or the fun, they ask for the victory. -And then how do we seek this victory? -We seek it in the way we know best, through cunning or the art of achieving what we set out to do. Then, our football is a football that costs to be updated and to evolve". Like a wharf which, however much you stretch, returns to its original form, Italian football always tends towards its most primal concepts. And to find the origin of those concepts, you have to do some archaeological work until you get back to the embryonic stage of football in Italy.
World football is roughly divided into four schools. First we have the direct style which was born in England and is still representative of British teams nowadays. Then we have the cheerful, colourful and lighthearted way of life that the Brazilians have been able to bring to the pitch to the height of artistic movement. Thirdly, there is the Dutch philosophy. The so-called total football with which Rinus Michels overtook Herbert Chapman's WM team to surprise the world, generating an idea of play that still has imitators, as is the case of Barcelona in recent times. Finally, we find the Italian style, baptized under the term of Catenaccio, which means lock in Italian. A nomenclature, by the way, quite illustrative of the ideals of the game. In its most basic concepts, the Italian is a football mostly defensive and disciplined, where the result prevails over any commitment to aesthetics. In line with Niccolò Machiavelli's 'Prince' ("the end justifies the means"), Italian football has always assumed that anything is permissible as long as victory is achieved.
Ironically, Catenaccio has no Italian parents. It is not clear who invented this style, but none of those who claim paternity were born in Italy. According to the accomplished historian Brian Glanville, the Catenaccio was invented by the Austrian coach Karl Rappan during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1940s, Rappan developed a tactic that the press christened Riegel (lock, in German) and consisted of having one of the five men on the WM front line move in behind the three defenders. The job of this sweeper would be to keep an eye on the opposing forwards who were running away from their marker. Helenio Herrera, however, not only proclaimed himself the inventor of the Catenaccio but claimed to be the first player to play the role of a sweeper. "It occurred to me when I was playing in France," explains the Argentine coach, as Simon Kuper relates in Football Against the Enemy. "We were playing with the WM formation then," continues Mago Herrera, "and in a game where we were winning 1-0 with 15 minutes to go, I left my position to get behind the defense. I had these ideas in my time as a player and when I became a manager years later I remembered them." Glanville believes Rappan invented the Catenaccio, Nereo Rocco introduced it to Italy and Helenio Herrera perfected it. Whether it was one or the other who invented it, both versions agree that the key piece of this style is the figure of the Libero. Without it, there would be no Catenaccio.
The success of the ultra-defensive Inter Milan during the 1960s, which razed Europe to the ground with two consecutive European Cups (1964 and 1965), made the Catenaccio the book that rested on the bedside table of any self-respecting Italian coach. Anyone who wanted to win had to resort to defensive football. Nereo Rocco's triumphs with Milan in the late 1960s and Giovanni Trapattoni's triumphs with Juventus in the 1980s did not invite the idea of an alternative. That was the context in which a discreet footballer who had not managed to get out of the lower ranks of Italian football decided to hang up his boots to become a coach. At just 26, Arrigo Sacchi sat on the bench for the first time. At Baracca Lugo, a team in the neighbourhood where he worked as a shoemaker. "I was 26, my goalkeeper was 39 and my striker was 32. I had to win them" It was the start of a rise to the elite with stops at Bellaria and Rimini and the youth teams of Cesena and Fiorentina. But fate awaited him at Parma, with whom he would achieve promotion to Serie B in just one season and leave him three points behind the top flight of Italian football. During that season, a 1986-1987 Italian Cup play-off would change his life forever. He would beat AC Milan by the smallest of margins, playing a game that caught the eye of the Rossoneri's top executive. It was on that night that Silvio Berlusconi was enthralled by Arrigo Sacchi.

01. "The birth of Sacchi's Milan"

Silvio Berlusconi had recently became the owner of Milan. After a failed attempt to take over Inter Milan, he ended up buying the Rossoneri on 20 February 1986, ready to build the best team in the world. Although Milan did not seem to be the most suitable club to do so. The golden years when Europe was painted in red and black had already long survived only in the history books. In the early 1980s, Milan was going through its most traumatic period. Former president Felice Colombo, members of his board and some players were involved in the 'Caso Totonero' (blackjack), the illegal betting and match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football in the 1979-1980 season. As a result, Milan were administratively relegated to Serie B and began a dark period from which they could not escape. Despite the arrival of stars such as Paolo Rossi, top scorer in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, or the hiring of symbols such as Nils Liedholm to the bench, Milan did not get off the ground again. Berlusconi would become the end of Rossoneri's troubles. He took over from Giuseppe Farina in the presidency, brought optimism to the stands, millions to the coffers and, above all, a new philosophy for the team. He set himself the goal of becoming the best club in the world by always opting for attacking football that would be attractive to fans. To achieve this ambitious goal, he relied on the coach he had fallen in love with when he faced him in the Italian Cup. He trusted Arrigo Sacchi.
An unknown, with no past as a footballer, he was in charge of one of the most successful teams in Europe, making front-page coverage in the Italian press. The headslines that considered Berlusconi's gamble to be wrong were multiplying. They accused him of losing his mind. It was too shocking that someone who had not previously been a professional footballer should take over one of the giants of Italian football. That was the first obstacle Sacchi encountered in his promotion to the elite. It was a rare thing at the time. Ottavio Bianchi coached Napoli, Rino Marchesi coached Juventus, both of whom had a history with the Italian national team, and the illustrious Giovanni Trappatoni, who was a European champion in Rossoneri colours, sat on the Inter Milan bench. However, Milan's fate was in the hands of a rookie who was not known for his footballing skills. Replacing a myth like Liedholm didn't make things any easier either. Sacchi defended himself as his Milan would later, knocking out the critics with a simple phrase: "I didn't know that to become a jockey, you first have to be a horse".
Despite the doubts of the surroundings, there was total confidence in Arrigo Sacchi at the club. Silvio Berlusconi gave his new manager full powers to build a team to suit him. "My work at Milan is made possible by a great club. A club that was positively impressed by what I did at Parma, that believed in a few things and followed me completely. They even threw out some players who were undoubtedly valuable, but who were not functional and others who were not professionally as I wanted them to be," says the Italian coach. Sacchi does not give out any names so as not to reveal the identity of these non-functional or unprofessional players, but to draw your own conclusions you need only look at the list of players who left Milan that summer in 1987. Agostino Di Bartolomei set out for Cesena despite being the player who had played the most matches the previous season. Dario Bonetti, Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley, among others, followed the same path.
But the key of that summer was not in the departures, but in the arrivals. Sacchi marked a clear line in the transfer policy. "I believed in ideas and work," says the Italian coach, "and to do this I needed to have reliable people, people who were enthusiastic, generous, a culture of professionalism, perfectionists, and we looked for these kinds of people. Then, that they were functional to the technical project we had in mind and that they were complementary to each other." It was within these parameters that Sacchi brought Walter Bianchi and Roberto Mussi with him from Parma, requested the signing of Carlo Ancelotti and was given two top stars by Silvio Berlusconi's checkbook: Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit. The former arrived from Ajax in exchange for 1.75 million euros. For the second, 13.5 million was paid to PSV Eindhoven. Both would become the totemic symbols of their Milan. "Van Basten was the best, but Gullit was the emblem. Without being the best he was the one who helped me the most", Sacchi confesses. Together, they formed the basis of the team along with promising youngsters such as Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Roberto Donadoni. Frank Rijkaard, the Holy Trinity's companion from the Rossoneri tulips, was not due to arrive in Milan until the following summer.
After a summer of avoiding criticism and disdain while transmitting to some heavyweights that they should make the suitcase, Sacchi managed to build his Milan and this had its first test in official match in the Coppa d'Italia against Bari. The business card could not have been better. The Rossoneri won 5-0 with goals from Donadoni, Virdis, Van Basten, Gullit and Massaro, and that 23 August 1987 has become a holy day in the history of Milan. It was the moment when the team that changed the destiny of the entity was born. Three days later it would beat Como, then Monza, and then make its Serie A debut with a win over Pisa. Milan had become a machine, from the beginning, that was very difficult to stop. Disappointments such as the early elimination from the UEFA Cup against Espanyol and some unexpected results injected doubts in Berlusconi, who even flirted with Johan Cruyff to give him the Rossoneri bench, but negotiations with the Dutchman did not bear fruit. Sacchi held on to his position and ended up building one of the best teams in history.

02. Milan's tactical analysis.

Sacchi's avant-garde ideas were the reconstruction of tactical values not only in Milan and Italian football, but also had a great impact on the world stage. His tactics marked a complete break with the style that was being imposed in Italy and, therefore, also in Europe. It was a tactical revolution and, as such, it required some sacrifice. Marat's death set fire to the French revolution and the assassination of Martin Luther King accelerated his 'dream'. For his own revolution, Arrigo Sacchi murdered the Libero. The Libero represented the icon of the Catenaccio, the figure with which the hitherto unquestionable WM formation was overthrown to create a new style in which defensive concepts were varied. "Italy has a defensive mentality in general, not just in football. For centuries everyone was invading us. When I arrived, most of the attention was on the defensive phase. We had a libero and a line of markers. The offensive phase was left to the intelligence and common sense of the only creative element in the team, the number 10," he says in 'Inverting The Pyramid'.
Sacchi changed everything. He abolished the law of the sweeper to form a very forward four-man defensive line that was perfectly synchronised to zonal marking and managing offside when necessary. Franco Baresi was in charge of the back line and marked the line over which the rest of the defence was to be deployed. Such a forward defensive line meant that spaces were reduced, providing a key safety net for the other two lines to push the opposition's ball out of their control. Thus, if an opposing player crossed a line, he immediately crashed into the next one. "We wanted to get the ball back as quickly as possible," says Sacchi, as if it were the simplest thing in the world. However, every move of that pressure was totally studied. To the extent that there was a false pressure, like the striker: "Sometimes we practised a false pressure. We pretended to put pressure, but in reality we used that time to recover our strength".
That kind of defensive work was the first necessary condition for a footballing bet that depended solely and exclusively on ruling the game through possession. Without the ball there was no plan. So it was necessary to get it back as soon as possible. In a way, it was a reinvention of Rinus Michels' total football. "We had the presumption, also the hope, of knowing how to do everything. We wanted to get the ball away from our opponents quickly and when we had it, we wanted to know when to have possession or when to play a vertical game. We defended by attacking, by running forward," explains Sacchi, "and when we had the ball we knew when we had to play upright or, on the contrary, when to pass backwards, change sides." As he talks about his tactical ideals, Sacchi seems to have moved into the dressing room for a moment. He looks down, forgets about the camera, the focus and even the journalist in front of him, and stands in front of an imaginary team he's coaching before a game or during a training session. He speaks without resting. Having a tactical conversation with Sacchi is the perfect metaphor for the game that Milan played on the field: he takes possession, monopolises the words and leaves hardly any space for the interlocutor to interact. He is the unequivocal master of the dialogue and one can only shut up, listen and learn. "We trained believing that pressure was important because it allowed us to grow our self-esteem and personality and impose on others a rhythm of play they were not used to. We also tried to condition them when they had the ball. But when we had the ball we had to know how to manage it and understand if it was time to play vertically or start again with the ball, change the game or change the zone. It was a team that I think knew everything and was played by excellent performers, with a great club behind them. We had the interpreters and they were all functional. For me, they were the best players in the world, all 18 of them. I knew that wasn't the case, but I wouldn't have swapped them for anyone else," he concludes, before taking a breath. By way of false pressure, we intuited.
Paradoxically, that Milan that needed the ball so much to represent their football ideas on the field, often worked out without it. The ball was not a usual assistant in Milanello, training center of the Milan team. Sometimes, Arrigo Sacchi designed purely theoretical work sessions in which the players did not even need to jump onto the field. At other times, he encouraged positional play and Sacchi forced his disciples to show him where they should be on the pitch depending on where an imaginary ball was. The coach would walk around the pitch and the players would have to correct their position with millimetric precision. His tactics revolutionised Italian football to the point where the foundations of the game were called into question. Italian teams were divided internally according to the characteristics of their players. Some had the responsibility to defend and others were in charge of attacking, being exempt from running backwards. With Sacchi, although this had already happened with Michels, both parties merged to reward the block. They all ran to get the ball back and they all represented basic pieces in the creation of attacking football. With Sacchi came the supremacy of the group over the individual in the Serie A.

03. Opera Prima

Sacchi's Milan reached its peak in the European Cup. During his time on the Rossoneri bench he gave Silvio Berlusconi a Scudetto, an Italian Super Cup, two European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and, above all, two European Cups. But, above the titles, key moments are remembered, matches in which Milan was consecrated as one of the best teams of all times. Probably one of those matches was the one that pitted them against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the 1988-1989 European Cup. Sacchi was facing his second season at the head of Milan. After winning Serie A, he had to export his success to Europe, where Berlusconi's most coveted ambition lay: the European Cup. After beating Bulgaria's Vitosha Sofia (2-7 on aggregate), Red Star on penalties and Werder Bremen with a solitary goal from Marco van Basten in the second leg, he would face Real Madrid in the semi-finals. Although the Merengue players barely remembered those European Cups that Di Stefano won in black-and-white television, they had brought together a generation that had been thrilling the stands: the Quinta del Buitre. The Butragueños, Michel and company were joining international stars like Hugo Sanchez to dream again with the trophy with big ears. There was plenty of talent in Madrid and it was, along with Milan, the fashionable team in Europe. It was unquestionable that the Spanish capital smelled of the Seventh, but the first leg generated doubts. After 90 minutes, the score was a 1-1 draw, but the feeling was very different. Sacchi remembers it clearly and confesses that even Butragueño recognized to him years later that he did not know how they had obtained that draw in the Bernabéu. "Butragueño told me when I was at Real Madrid - when he was vice-president and had been a great player since he was little and therefore knew everything about Real Madrid - that he had never seen in his life, having followed football and having played it, "a team that came to the Bernabeu to do what you did. We managed to recover a draw not knowing how. You looked like twenty and we looked like ten or eleven. You attacked even Buyo", recounts the Italian.
The key to Milan's dominance in Madrid was once again pressure, the hallmark of Sacchi's Milan. Such was the superiority shown by the visitors that, when adding up an insufficient result, the Milan players went into a state of depression. Sacchi had to work as a psychologist to lift the spirits of his team and show them the way to seal their qualification for the European Cup final. "I remember that in the following 15 days I was telling the players: 'Remember that at certain levels, when you have to win and you don't win, you lose nine times out of ten. So either we make a masterpiece or we lose here". That work of motivation was the first stone to build what later has been considered the Opera Prima of Milan. Milan has given three artistic jewels to the world: the Scala, the Duomo and the Manita to Real Madrid. Milan came back with a 5-0 win at the San Siro, although things did not start off well. So much that as soon as the match got underway, Sacchi considered removing his main star Marco van Basten from the field. "When they came here, Madrid started well, we didn't start so well; van Basten was static, so much so that I immediately got a striker warming up. I remember Ramaccioni saying to me: 'Arrigo, calm down a bit'," said Sacchi. Then came the stroke of genius. All it took was a tactical move and the game changed in favour of the Rossoneri. Carlo Ancelotti was the embodiment of the strategy. To find the origin, you have to go back a few days before the meeting. "Carlo unlocked everything," analyses Sacchi, "and that's how I see football. On Tuesday, Evani had been injured in a clash with Albertini; because we trained on Tuesday as if it was already the match, with that strength. I had many solutions to replace him: to put Donadoni as a winger, who although many journalists put him there, we didn't use as a winger. We used him as a midfielder, the fourth central player, because if he ended up on the right or left wing, he bothered the wings, which were Evani and Colombo. Or putting Virdis in attack with Van Basten and Gullit as a midfielder in Donadoni's place, but Gullit didn't guarantee me on a tactical level what Donadoni guaranteed me... In the end I played the player least likely to replace Evani, who was Ancelotti, but he was the most available and gave me his 100%."
The gamble proved to be perfect: "The prize was that the first goal was scored by Ancelotti. And then he played the final in that position too. What did the Steaua coach do? He put Hagi in that area, but he didn't know that we never had a marker, we had two or three, because our team was, in that way, compact, short in that period of time compared to the others, but we were always going to mark with two or three men. And this happened against Real Madrid, where we had a numerical superiority in the pressure on the ball." Sacchi believes that the basis of the victory over Real Madrid was, as it was throughout his career, the importance of the team over the individuals. "They had players with great technique, probably better than us, but we were a great team. They had a group, but less of a team than we did. And in football the collective achieves more than the individual. You have to know this," says the Italian. That victory marks the definitive explosion of Milan, who went on to become the dominant force in European football.
After that, they won the Intercontinental Cup against Nacional de Medellin and went on to reach the footballing heavens. However, that match also represented the change in the way teams faced Milan. The Colombians were the first daring ones who forced Arrigo's thoughts to change. "With Nacional of Medellin they were the ones who made things difficult for us because for the first time we were up against a team that attacked us a lot. Then, of hunters we became hunted. It took us tranquility, security. This requires patience, which is a virtue I have not always had, but at that time I had it. I remember that at half-time Van Basten said to me: 'We are not well, we are not in shape, we have to have patience'. It wasn't a pretty game, but I was amazed at how many people said it was bad. Those people never understood that Milan were playing great football. I have to say that it was a game similar to reading a Kafka book: heavy, difficult," says Sacchi for El Enganche about that 1-0 win for Evani in the last minute of extra time, which represented the club's second Intercontinental and the first one to be shown in his living room. Milan, however, were already a despotic side who had challenged the previously dominant footballing laws and turned them to their advantage.

04. Gullit vs Van Basten, angel vs demon.

Despite the successes achieved with his Milan, Arrigo Sacchi was not lacking detractors. His style was so far removed from Italian traditions that some were unable to digest the change. "Even now it is said that when Milan played well it was because they had good players and when they played badly it was because Sacchi was there," joked the Italian coach, seeking complicity. Gianni Brera, the legendary Italian sports journalist, was one of his fiercest critics. Brera, an exquisite connoisseur of football and tactics, professed admiration for a doctrine that was antithetical to that represented by Sacchi's Milan. His attacks on the ideas of the revolutionary coach were commonplace in the Gazzetta dello Sport. Although Arrigo was intelligent to take advantage of these criticisms and reverse them in his favour. Before the 1989 European Cup final against Steaua Bucharest, he used an article by Brera to motivate his players. "I remember before the final with Steaua, that the greatest Italian sports critic, the poor Brera, an excellent writer, very good indeed, but with footballing ideas very distant from ours, said: 'Milan will play against the champions of dancing football, against the champions of possession of the ball, they will have to wait for it, defend it and go on the counterattack'. On Tuesday before the match the best Italian sports journalist wrote this and I read it because I needed to know his convictions. You cannot say 'do it because I say so'. According to him, we had to use that strategy. Gullit stood up and said 'we'll attack them from the first second until we have the forces. Okay, everybody? And we did."
However, Sacchi's most surprising enemy was not Brera, but was hiding in his own dressing room: Marco van Basten. Known to all, the relationship between the two was not good. So much so that the Dutchman often questioned him in front of the group. Sometimes he found it hard to see the logic in his coach's approach, and so he let him know. "Van Basten asked me why the others were winning and why we had to win and convince them. He also told me that we worked too hard and didn't have any fun. I always told him: 'You're a clever boy and you have to have fun in a different way. We're here to make sure the audience has a good time. He never understood that you can't get a lot without giving a lot. Van Basten has been an extraordinary player for me, not easy to manage, but extraordinary," says Sacchi. Years after their paths diverged, Sacchi and van Basten crossed paths again and the Dutchman acknowledged his mistakes: "When World Soccer recognised not too long ago that Milan had been the best team of all time, from when football existed, I said to him: 'Did you understand why we had to win and convince? And he said: 'I understood. And I understood something else too. Now I am a coach and I understand how many problems I created for you". And I said to him: "If I can console you, I didn't solve many of them." Nevertheless, Sacchi admits that he wouldn't have swapped van Basten for any other player, either of the time or of the present. "When they tell me 'between Ronaldo and van Basten who would you have signed,' I have no doubt: van Basten. But not because van Basten was more talented than Ronaldo, but because he was more functional in terms of our style of football and was a professional who gave more guarantees than Ronaldo, who was an unimaginable talent."
While the estrangement with Marco van Basten was evident, Sacchi had a close relationship with another Dutchman in the team: Ruud Gullit. He was his main support in the dressing room and the player through whom he injected his philosophy to the rest of the players. "Gullit was considered the emblem, for me he was a phenomenal player and an extraordinary person; probably the one who helped me the most without being the best, because the best was van Basten, but he had personality while van Basten hid himself, he was discontinuous. Gullit helped me a lot in making Italian players who always ran backwards run forward. He was the most convinced of this," he says. Sacchi changed the philosophy of Italian football, but Gullit transformed the philosophy of the Milan dressing room. The combination of the two Italian players made Rinus Michels' total football a success, building a Milan that would go down in history.

05. Revolutionary without revolution

After winning everything with Milan, he took over the reins of the Italian national team with whom he was second in the 1994 World Cup. He then went through an erratic career with a brief return to Milan and a few stints with Atletico Madrid and Parma before making the jump to the offices. With the perspective of his entire career, it's time to ask the same question as at the start: what was Italian football like before Sacchi? How have things changed since his revolution? Sacchi himself answers: "There has clearly been some change, but it is not linked to globalisation. Capello said it: 'We've rediscovered the Libero'. Most teams play with a fixed sweeper in the back." With Sacchi, Italian football learned that everyone must defend and attack as one, as a whole, without the previous attack-defence division. But it has forgotten everything else, and that takes its toll in Europe: "More and more we are getting slapped around and then we say: 'Why don't we spend? Why don't we use more start-up money? Then it happens that Borussia Dortmund reach the final and spend less than most of the big Italian teams or that Atletico Madrid reach the final of Champions and spend less. Our clubs are full of foreigners, full of fear, full of an eminently defensive football, playing with a sweeper. Then the result when they play at international level, where they find themselves with one less player in midfield or in attack, with the rival having players of level and leaving the ball and the initiative to them... well, they put you in difficulties".
"Also because outside the country, in general, they're much better at attacking than defending. So, if you want to put them in trouble, you have to attack them, not stop their attack. But all this requires work, organization, time, planning, programming and less improvised teams, teams that make some sense. What does a sense mean? Putting each value in its place. Since we are talking about a team sport, let's start with what unites the team: the game. What is the game about? From ideas and work. And without ideas and work, you don't have the game. If you don't have the game you rely only on individuals, and no individuality will ever have the power of a team. In some teams, this tendency to improvise - which we call fantasy - causes total disorganisation, with the consequence of losing the team," he adds to close a precise X-ray of the ills that Italian football is suffering from. Three decades after the birth of Sacchi's Milan, Italy has forgotten everything it has learned. There is no trace of the game with high pressure, offside is just another resource and even the sweeper, whose assassination triggered everything, has come back to life. Sacchi is a revolutionary without revolution. No one has been able to pick up on his witness. Italy has forgotten him, but football hasn't. Football just cannot forget the creator of one of the best teams in its history.
by Massimo Callegari & Francisco Orti for El (2016).
submitted by LordVelaryon to soccer [link] [comments]

Sports streaming group DAZN seeks cash to help secure future

inserts Kawhi Leonard-style laugh
Article below taken from FT online:
Online sports group DAZN is racing to secure its financial future, with billionaire owner Len Blavatnik exploring options to raise money for a business hard hit by the pandemic.
The London-based company has in recent years spent billions of dollars for the rights to live sporting events, including European football matches and high-profile boxing contests. This was to help build a subscription streaming service dubbed the “Netflix of Sports”.
The global suspension of sports fixtures during the pandemic has seen some subscribers pause monthly payments. DAZN has also sought to defer payments it owes to sports leagues, citing the lack of live action.
Mr Blavatnik is exploring ways to inject new money into the lossmaking business, according to several people familiar with the talks, with the sale of an equity stake in the business the preferred option. However, an outright sale would also be considered, the people said.
Just two years ago, the company was valued at £3bn when it sold a 10 per cent stake to Japanese advertising giant Dentsu for £300m. People familiar with its business said it is currently unlikely to reach a similar valuation.
Research group Enders Analysis has estimated DAZN’s financial commitments on securing sports rights total at least £3.7bn.
In recent weeks, the group has approached big media companies over a potential investment, including John Malone’s Liberty Global, but as yet has received little interest in a deal, according to people familiar with the talks.
The company has sought to challenge established sports broadcasters, from ESPN in the US and Sky in Europe. Among DAZN’s biggest deals are the domestic screening rights for the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-flight football league, and Serie A, Italy’s equivalent. It also has contracts with the promoters behind boxers such as Britain’s Anthony Joshua and Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
But the sporting world has proved to be one of the industries hardest hit by efforts to contain the virus, leading to a crisis at the company.
“[This] is the biggest disaster to hit the sports world in 75 years and the biggest challenge our business has ever faced,” Simon Denyer, DAZN’s chief executive, wrote in an email to staff in April.
Mr Blavatnik’s Access Industries fully acquired UK-based Perform Group in 2014, an umbrella organisation for a number of businesses, including sports betting services and the Opta statistics group. In 2018, Perform group was rebranded as DAZN group.
In 2019, DAZN Group sold its Perform division to US fund Vista Equity Partners.
The sale of the Perform content business to Vista, which owns Stats, a rival sports statistics group, was seen as an effort to focus on the DAZN sports streaming service but also allowed Mr Blavatnik to recoup some of the money he had invested in the business.
The group hired Goldman Sachs last year, seeking to raise $500m, according to people familiar with the terms, but paused that effort at the start of the pandemic.
“They are at a crossroads as a business,” said a leading executive at a rival broadcast group said. “If it succeeds, it’ll be a great story. If it fails, then it’ll be a story of a trying to disrupt the [sports broadcasting] industry too soon.”
DAZN and Access Industries declined to comment.
submitted by jonnysion to dazn_ca [link] [comments]

2020 NFL Draft Review FINAL - AFC West + links to all divisions - Analysis and Career Predictions for Each Team's Draft Class

The AFC West is the final division in the 2020 NFL Draft review series. Catch up on the other installments of this 2020 NFL Draft review series with the NFC West, AFC South, NFC South, AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, and NFC North.
Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust.
Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level. I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. Nevertheless, this is a fun exercise and gives us a chance to review how each team approached the draft.


Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft.
Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland.
Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat.
As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that here). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams.
So here is the next installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down:
5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position. 4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position. 3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production. 2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions. 1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive.
Next up, the AFC West.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders came into the draft with needs at wide receiver and cornerback. They wasted no time addressing those positions and ended up taking two corners and two-and-a-half wide receivers total. I think they aced this draft, but not for the reasons you might think.
Las Vegas opted for speed over production by selecting Henry Ruggs III (3) as the first receiver off the board. Ruggs played a supporting role alongside lead dog Jerry Jeudy at Alabama, but ran a 4.28 at the combine and aced the draft process. His speed popped on film, as he routinely cribbed slants and ran by people in the SEC. Ruggs was lauded for his competitiveness and edge, particularly as a blocker, which directly conflicts with my notes of his film. I noted missed blocks, him getting tossed, and labeled him as “weak.” Perhaps I watched the wrong games or my standards are too high.
As far as receiving the football, Ruggs was fantastic, making highlight diving catches and using his hops to climb the later and show off his above-average hands. There are two major unknowns with Ruggs - how he will deal with being the No. 1 option, and how he will develop as a route-runner. Unfortunately, I do not believe he will live up to his physical attributes. Derek Carr ranked 25th in Air Yards Per Completion last year, and while accurate, has never excelled at utilizing a deep threat. I also have a hard time endorsing a player who was not the number one receiver on his own team to be the number one receiver in a loaded draft class.
At No. 19, the Raiders took Damon Arnette (3), which was a surprise to some. I had Arnette going in the first round in my first mock draft of the year and liked his film more than most. His skillset is that of a quality starting corner, despite unorthodox technique and tendencies. Arnette’s play was up-and-down at Ohio State, in part due to being thrown at so much. He showed weird stances and punches from all different angles and body alignments in press coverage, but generally got the job done.
At the NFL level, if unique individual technique is effective, coaches don’t care. Arnette is more comfortable in press than off and will give up the inside. Most importantly, he can get his head around defending vertical routes in man. He was competitive and alert on film, flying down in run support and showing the necessary swagger and short memory needed from a pro corner. He’s going to get beat, but I like his transition to the league as someone who’s been picked on a bit but kept getting better.
At No. 80, the Raiders took one of my favorite players in the draft in Lynn Bowden Jr (4). Lynn Bowden Jr. played quarterback and receiver at Kentucky and is most known for throwing a punch in a pre-game scuffle before the Belk Bowl. Bowden’s film is that of a grown man with an edge. His receiver film shows nothing in terms of advanced route-running, but his speed absolutely plays and his hands are good enough. His quarterback and returner film shows joystick moves in the open field and elusiveness that rivals Lamb and Shenault. I don’t know if he’s a pro wide receiver (neither do the Raiders), but I’ve seen too many converted quarterbacks have success to bet against his natural football traits. I expect Jon Gruden to use him all over the field and for him to be one of the most explosive swiss army-knife weapons of this generation.
With the very next pick, the Raiders again took one of my favorite players in Bryan Edwards (4) of South Carolina. Edwards was the No. 15 overall player on my board so I obviously loved this pick. Aside from injury concerns and a few miscommunication issues working the boundary with his quarterback, Edwards’ film was outstanding. He’s technically sound with strong hands, tremendous contact balance, evidence of beating press, and great concentration skills. As a physical run-after-catch threat, he’s dynamic and strong. He is the prototype big-bodied NFL receiver in terms of traits, plucking the ball and transitioning as a runner smoothly. I predict he’ll be better than Ruggs. He just needs to get and stay healthy.
I think Tanner Muse (2) can be a special-teamer (tripping up J.K. Dobbins was a gigantic play in the National Semifinal), and John Simpson (3) was a steal. I love mauler guards who fall due to a lack of quickness. Simpson is physical and sometimes dominant in the run game. His stance gives away pass or run, but he can be coached and work on his body to develop into a starting guard.
The Raiders took yet another one of “my guys” in Amik Robertson (4) at pick No. 139. I had Robertson ranked 75th overall and featured him in this article. Robertson is tiny and his film isn’t without flaws, but I am always a proponent of taking players whose main knock is lack of size. I think Robertson will struggle with the brute size and strength of NFL football, and I actually don’t think he’s that fast (didn’t run a 40). But as far as being a pure football player and having coverage instincts and ball skills, Robertson is unbelievable.
Robertson plays big, talks a lot, and backs it up. He jacked up the 6-6 Collin Johnson at the line of scrimmage and almost mossed No. 16 on Texas. He’s able to match everything, has a smooth pedal, and gives up almost no separation in man. Slight jersey tug but disciplined hands play in the league. His production at the college level was unreal - 14 interceptions, 2 blocked kicks, 3 defensive touchdowns, and an onside kick return for a touchdown. I worry about his tackling, but I project him to be one of the best slot cover men in the league.
The Raiders chose to stick with Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, despite having enough draft ammo to move around and take one of the quarterbacks. I loved what they did with most of their picks. Carr now has more weapons and zero excuses. This is a huge year for him.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers came into the draft with primary needs at quarterback and inside linebacker. They addressed those needs in the first round, selecting the No. 3 and No. 8 players on my board.
The madmen did it. They took Justin Herbert (4) at 6. After being inundated with negative Justin Herbert analysis, I went back for a second look at the former Oregon Duck. In terms of college performance, Herbert’s film is reminiscent of recent busts, including Mitchell Trubisky. He lacks ideal anticipation, inexplicably misses some throws, and wasn’t always trusted by his coaching staff. It is also fair to wonder about his transition, coming from a screen-heavy, spread system at Oregon.
However, evaluating NFL prospects is not just about college performance - it’s about projecting traits. Scouting quarterbacks is difficult, and there’s a reason so many teams miss. A lot of times teams fall in love with physical traits such as arm talent and are burned because the player struggles with the complexities, speed, and decision-making difficulty of the NFL game. I believe a critical look at Herbert’s film through the lens of traits-based scouting gets him to potential franchise quarterback level worthy of a high pick. Like with all prospects, his ultimate NFL fate will come down to a lot of surrounding and unknown factors such as situation, coaching, and intangibles. I will pick my No. 3 overall prospect to succeed. His traits are that of a franchise quarterback and his intelligence and athleticism will help his transition.
Arm talent, throwing on the run, short-level accuracy, ball handling, and mobility make Justin Herbert the complete package in terms of traits. He poorly placed just one throw under five yards in the games I watched. He has good footwork, touch, and excels with play-action. The translatable trait that makes me confident is his ability to look like the best player on the field in the face of pressure. Herbert can move around and deliver strikes on the run or simply use his legs as a weapon. He also showed the ability to go through full-field "rainbow" reads. Players with his running ability can afford to not be the most accurate passers in the world. He showed off his rushing skills in the Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin.
I understand the negatives, but with good coaching, I think Herbert can develop into a franchise quarterback as a mix between Josh Allen and Cam Newton.
After selecting their quarterback at 6, the Chargers traded up for the best inside linebacker in the draft in Kenneth Murray (5). Murray had a productive and storied career at Oklahoma, displaying all the traits of a great pro off-ball linebacker for the Sooners. His speed and instincts make him a sideline to sideline threat, and he has the strength on contact of a thumper. His tackling technique is terrific, pointing to his ability to be coachable. He’s a little out of control at times, but he’s better than Devin White. The move up was worth it.
The Chargers want to bring Justin Herbert along slowly, and will look to make the playoffs with Tyrod Taylor as the starter. The surrounding talent is enough to take them there. With young stud defenders at all three levels, the Bolts just need to build an offensive line and add weaponry for Herbert to compete with the Chiefs in a few years.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos came into the draft with a clear plan - get Drew Lock some weapons. To say they achieved their goal would be an understatement. Their haul included my No. 7 overall player and my No. 1 tight end.
Jerry Jeudy (5) suffered from some prospect fatigue as analysts scrambled to poke holes in his game. While most of his success did come from the slot at Alabama, it’s not like his traits don’t translate to the outside. In Denver, Jeudy can man the slot primarily, whereas if he went to the Jets he may have had to learn an entirely new position. The only question about Jeudy is whether or not Drew Lock is good enough to allow him to reach his extremely high ceiling.
Jeudy has amazing quickness, length, and top-notch speed, but is known most for being an outstanding route-runner. He is the best route-runner I have ever scouted in college. He understands the nuances of changing speeds, is quick with a plan, and shows an uncommon ability to separate that surely translates to the pro game. He’ll be a star if Drew Lock proves to be competent.
With their second pick, the Broncos doubled down on wide receiver with K.J. Hamler (2) of Penn State. Hamler is the prototypical deep threat and an excellent complement to Jeudy and Courtland Sutton in theory. He might be too small for the NFL, but his college film shows route-running ability on slot fades and out routes that rival most pros. His main weaknesses are due to his lack of size, as he struggles in contested catch situations and is dominated by strength in terms of ball security.
Hamler made a couple of tremendous sliding catches but does not display much in terms of hands an almost exclusively body-catcher. It’s a common misconception that receivers are never taught to catch with their body as coaches will teach it in certain situations. Hamler can succeed in the NFL, but there are too many mouths to feed in Denver for him to be more than a situational deep threat.
Michael Ojemudia (2) has the athletic profile and size to be a starter, but his film doesn’t show the natural football traits of a pro. He isn’t physical enough and doesn’t show great awareness in zone, letting receivers get behind him.
Lloyd Cushenberry (2) was one of the most overrated prospects in the draft. He’s a classic case of a decorated collegiate who gets overdrafted due to great character. He was beaten badly by the Texas nose tackle and generally lacks balance.
McTelvin Agim (1) was overdrafted as a former five-star recruit who didn’t dominate in the SEC. He has the size and tools to be a rotational defensive lineman, but plays too high and bends at the waist, losing leverage and balance too easily.
Denver's best pick after Jeudy was Albert Okwuegbunam (3). His size/hands mix is rare and his physical ability is special. After last season I thought he’d be a high pick, but he never seemed to put it together. He’s an instant red-zone threat as a project with huge upside.
The draft community is giving high praise to this Broncos class. I think they nailed their first pick but wasn’t overly impressed with the rest of the haul. Denver’s defense is loaded with talented veterans and a returning Bradley Chubb, so Drew Lock’s progress will be an intriguing storyline in the AFC Wild Card race.

Kansas City Chiefs

Congratulations to the Chiefs and their fans on winning the Super Bowl. The World Champs came into the draft without any pressing needs and selected three extremely talented young prospects with their first three picks.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (4) is a perfect fit in Andy Reid’s offense. My No. 2 running back, CEH reminds me of Maurice Jones-Drew. His lack of height is a non-issue, if not a positive, as he gives defenders a small target on his way to eluding tacklers and making guys miss. He's short but sturdy. His film against Alabama was inspiring, breaking tackles and moving piles against defenders twice his size. His best trait is his ability as a receiver, showing advanced route-running skills and soft hands. He’s competitive, fiery, and tough.
While he didn’t quite excel against the Georgia pros, he’s going to have so much space with Patrick Mahomes it’s scary. His 4.6 40 shows a lack of ideal long speed, but his ten-yard split was among the best for running backs at the combine. Amazing fit, PPR fantasy points everywhere.
Willie Gay Jr. (3) has very inconsistent film and character red flags. Andy Reid took a chance on Marcus Peters years ago, who has had a very good pro career. The Chiefs culture should keep Gay on the right track. His film in 2018 was better than 2019, as he had more splash plays and tackled better. In 2019, some of his film showed poor angles and undisciplined missed fits. His speed plays and if he puts in any work at all his floor is a talented special teamer. I think Reid gets the most out of him and he starts at linebacker as a rookie. The burst and pop when he hits people is impressive.
Lucas Niang (3) has a very ugly body, but I liked his film a lot. He has a small lower half and is fat up top, which teams usually don’t like. He can be effective and quick, and has functional strength and movement skills despite his odd shape. I had him at No. 39 on my big board and project him to be a starting right tackle whenever the Chiefs need one. Solid pick.
The Chiefs have the best player in the NFL and a good enough defense. They should be favored to win it all again. The main takeaway from this class is that Andy Reid running backs are fantasy gold and he just got one that fits his scheme perfectly.
That wraps up the 2020 draft review series. Thank you so much for reading. On to 2021!
AFC West article with gifs:
NFC West:
AFC South:
NFC South:
AFC East:
NFC East:
AFC North:
NFC North:
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I'mma head out

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Football Odds Analysis & Predictions

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