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Posted at 11:58 PM ET, 08/27/2014

‘Madden’ features incredibly realistic ‘Manning Face’


The non-virtual Manning Face. (Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

EA Sports’ “Madden NFL” series does nothing but get more realistic with each passing incarnation, but “Madden NFL 15″ has taken things to a whole new level. Now players can get to experience all the wonders of “Manning Face” in the video game.

Twitter user @JesseDNelson clued the rest of us into this wrinkle, demonstrating how uncannily accurately EA Sports was able to render a familiar, baffled look by Eli Manning.


Let’s compare that to other examples of the real thing, shall we?


(Gregory Bull/Associated Press)


(Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)


(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

And, of course, no discussion of Manning Face would be complete without Eli’s older brother Peyton:


(Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press)


Super Manning Face! (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

By Des Bieler  |  11:58 PM ET, 08/27/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Eli Manning

Posted at 11:46 PM ET, 08/27/2014

The rise and very real fall of Josh Shaw


USC cornerback Josh Shaw, shown in December, was suspended indefinitely by the school. (Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News via Associated Press)

By now, you’ve probably heard: It was a lie. USC football star Josh Shaw’s tale of severely injuring his ankles after jumping from a second-story balcony to save his seven-year-old nephew from drowning was, in the school’s words, “a complete fabrication.”

We don’t know yet what exactly Shaw did to incur those injuries, although reports of a “Joshua Shaw” being named in a Los Angeles burglary report could be pointing to a reason why the player felt compelled to come up with an alternative version of the events.

What we do know is that Shaw, who was suspended today by the Trojans after admitting that he had lied, is tumbling down the wrong end of a dramatic, three-day rise and fall.

Shaw’s entry into the national spotlight began Monday with a blog post by the USC athletics department touting his feat:


(USC Athletics via USA Today)

The remarkable story quickly gained steam, and Twitter was filled with praise for the Trojan.

By mid-day Tuesday, however, word was starting to filter out that all may not have been what it seemed. USC Coach Steve Sarkisian announced that the school was planning to “vet” Shaw’s story. This caused the social media reaction to take on a more apprehensive tone.

Of course, once word started to spread that Shaw might have made the whole thing up, the Manti Te’o/Lennay Kekua jokes spread like very hacky wildfire.

By today, the general feeling on social media was of dull resignation to the fact that, once again, we’d been had. A story that sounded too good to be true turned out to be just that, and we all grew, if not more cynical, at least more disappointed that there was one more reason to give in to cynicism. A Twitter search for “Josh Shaw” and “smh” (as in, “Shaking my head”) turned up hundreds of posts.

And it’s not quite over, as the true story has yet to emerge. That could happen either through a police investigation, if the burglary reports prove accurate, or, perhaps more likely, by Shaw himself. He will be getting quite a lot of advice to ‘fess up and try to put this sordid episode behind not only himself, but the USC football program, which kicks off its season on Saturday.

At some point, it will be mentioned to Shaw that he has hit rock bottom, which is a terrible place to be, but at least there’s nowhere to go but up (as long as Shaw makes an effort to repair his image). In the meantime, however, and for years to come, his name will be synonymous with “liar.”

By Des Bieler  |  11:46 PM ET, 08/27/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Josh Shaw

Posted at 08:58 PM ET, 08/27/2014

Position player fills in for goalie and becomes hero of crucial shootout


Cosmin Moti of Ludogorets is shown during last week’s first leg against Steaua Bucharest to determine a place in the Champions League group stage. Moti more than distinguished himself in today’s second leg. (Daniel Mihailescu/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

It didn’t look good for Bulgarian side Ludogorets going into the final moments of its match against Steaua Bucharest, champions of the Romanian League. A spot in the group stage of the Champions League was at stake, but Ludogorets had needed a goal in the 90th minute just to force extra time, and then its goalkeeper got sent off for a hard foul in the 119th minute, just before an all-or-nothing penalty shootout.

Enter Cosmin Moti. Ludogorets had already used its allotment of three substitutions, so it had to send a player who was already on the field into net. Moti, a center-half, was chosen to for that daunting task, but first he also had to take his team’s own initial penalty shot. Goal!

But that was just the start of Moti’s heroics. After Seaua successfully converted its first penalty kick, Moti’s teammate Wanderson — who had scored the game-extending goal — missed his penalty shot. Suddenly, Moti was faced with answering right back. Save! The teams then traded eight successful conversions until Ludogorets went ahead, 6-5. Steaua’s Cornel Rapa stepped up to face Moti, and sent a low shot to the emergency goalie’s right. Moti guessed right (in every respect) and smothered the ball. Save!

And just like that, Ludogorets had its first trip to soccer’s biggest club tournament, and Moti etched his name into the sport’s lore. Wearing a jersey emblazoned with “Cvorovic,” the backup goalkeeper’s name, Moti charged over to  the stands to celebrate with his side’s delirious fans.

Adding a note of irony is that Moti is Romanian himself, and he played for many years with Steaua’s arch-rivals Dinamo Bucharest. Here are some highlights from the game; Moti’s goalkeeping feats start around the 2:27 mark.

By Des Bieler  |  08:58 PM ET, 08/27/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:07 PM ET, 08/27/2014

This fan emblazoned his prosthetic eye with the Seattle Seahawks logo


(Stephen Brashear/AP)

Seattle Seahawks fan Bill VandenBush likes to keep his eye on his team. Or rather, his team on his eye.

The superfan, who lost his eye in Vietnam War in the ’60s, recently upgraded his prosthetic eye by emblazoning it with the Seahawks logo where the pupil would otherwise be. It’s simultaneously admirable and terrifying.

But mostly admirable. The eye was a gift to VandenBush from his wife for their 10th wedding anniversary, KIRO-TV reports.

“Every game I’ll have it in, or any gathering with Seahawks’ fans present,” VandenBush told KIRO.

(H/t: Yahoo! Sports)

By Marissa Payne  |  04:07 PM ET, 08/27/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:46 PM ET, 08/27/2014

U.S. soccer parents file class-action lawsuit against FIFA in effort to change concussion protocols


Christoph Kramer of Germany lies on the pitch after a collision during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Parents of soccer players in the United States have filed a class-action lawsuit against FIFA and a handful of other soccer authorities over their concussion policies in U.S. District Court in California, the New York Times reports.

Besides FIFA, the lawsuit targets U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization, accusing all three organizations of being negligent when it comes to dealing with head injuries. Instead of money, the plaintiffs are seeking rule changes that, according to the New York Times, range from limiting the amount of headers allowed when children play to changing FIFA’s substitution policies.

FIFA’s questionable head-injury protocol became all-too-evident during the World Cup final, when Germany’s Christoph Kramer suffered a concussion after he collided hard with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay. Instead of being instructed to leave the game to get a proper medical evaluation, Kramer was allowed back in the game, which he later told German newspaper Die Welt (via ESPN), “I can’t really remember much of.” As a spectator, it was horrifying to watch.


“There is an epidemic of concussion injuries in soccer at all levels around the world, including in the United States, from youth to professionals, from elite players to children playing for the first time, women and men, girls and boys,” the filing says (via the New York Times). “FIFA presides over this epidemic, and is one of its primary causes.”

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a “concussion summit” that brought FIFA, the NFL and others together on Sunday and Monday to talk about the issue and how to remedy the problem.

“This will change the paradigm,” Rich Ellenbogen, chairman of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee, said about the new cooperative effort (via ESPN).

It’s unclear, however, how motivated FIFA is to changing the paradigm, as it were.

Jiri Dvorak, chief medical officer and chairman of the medical and research center for FIFA, told USA Today when he left the summit on Monday:

“We are not alarmed. The situation is about the same over the past 16 years with a drop (in concussions) in 2006 when we introduced red card (match disqualification for an elbow to the head).”

The plaintiffs — who include Rachel Mehr, a former youth club soccer player; several parents on behalf of their children in youth soccer leagues; and Kira Akka-Seidel, a former club player at the University of California at Santa Cruz — are not satisfied with the status quo, however. Per the New York Times:

The suit seeks an injunction that would change the way soccer is played at all levels. Children under 17 would be limited in how many times they are allowed to head the ball. The suit also seeks to require professional and other advanced leagues — which are currently limited to three substitutions per game — to allow temporary substitutions while a player is examined for a head injury. Medical testing would also be available for soccer players who competed as long ago as 2002 and are now suffering from the effects of concussions.

FIFA has not commented on the lawsuit.

By Marissa Payne  |  03:46 PM ET, 08/27/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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