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The Indianapolis Colts Release Peyton Manning

Manning ends, “And as I go, I go with just a few words that I have to say, a few words that I want to address to Colts fans everywhere: thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback.”

In an emotional press conference this morning, Wednesday, March 7, the owner of Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, announced that they will release Peyton Manning—their four-time MVP quarterback of 14 years—if he is healthy for the 2012 season.

In the press conference, Peyton Manning said,

“I’ve been a colt for almost all of my adult life, but I guess in life and in sports we all know that nothing lasts forever… I’ve always enjoyed having played for such a great team. I will leave the colts with nothing but good thoughts and gratitude…and I’ve truly been blessed. I’ve been blessed to play here; I’ve been blessed to be in the NFL. And as I go, I go with just a few words that I have to say, a few words that I want to address Colts fans everywhere, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback.”

The news—that now leaves Manning a free agent—comes after months of uncertainty regarding Manning’s future due to his neck injuries and multiple neck surgeries—the most recent being a fusion of two vertebrae. Since his last surgery, Manning has been cleared to resume his career playing in the NFL, and, in the last couple of weeks, he has been throwing the ball again and has even geared up in his helmet and pads for a throwing practice.

Without Manning, the Colts finished off the 2011 season 2-14, the worst they’ve played in years. Irsay disclosed that they are now in a state of rebuilding and redefining the organization without their MVP quarterback. In the conference Irsay added, “I want to see him come back and play great, no question about it.” The Colts also announced Wednesday that Manning will be the last Colt to wear the No. 18, as they will be retiring his jersey.

While Manning’s future in the NFL is uncertain, there are several rumored teams who may have an interest in the quarterback, including the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, and the New York Jets. Manning’s impressive statistics include more than 50,000 passing yards, more than 350 touchdown tosses, and more than 200 starts in a row.

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What Does Albert Pujols Mean for the Los Angeles Angels?

With Albert Pujols currently hitting .600, Pujols is bound to improve the Angels’ offense this coming season. When Pujols left the Cardinals last season, they finished No. 1 scoring in the league.

In their Cactus League game against the Oakland Athletics on Monday, March 5, the Angels outplayed the A’s—ending in a 9-1 victory. And Pujols’ performance in the game? He hit a run-scoring double in the first inning (his first time up to bat for the Angels) and a single in the second inning.

Pujols has pumped up Angels fans and helped cause a huge increase in demand for tickets—1,000 fans lined up for eight hours to get tickets during the Angels’ voucher redemption program, which is an increase from last year’s 75 people.

Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million deal seems as though it will play out well for the Angels this 2012 season—especially alongside the acquisition of CJ Wilson. Opening Day for the MLB is April 4, and the Angels’ Opening Game is scheduled for Friday, April 6, against Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium.

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Kelly Clarkson to Perform at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live

Clarkson’s sheer talent and passion guarantee that the performance will be fantastic.

Equipped wit huge Led screens and a designated area for red carpet production, the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live has been open since 2007 and has been the venue for sold-out concerts and performances, product launches, awards shows, corporate showcases, and more—it just recently hosted the American Music Awards in November. The theatre seats 7,100 people with no seat further than 220 feet from the stage.

More recently, L.A. Live plans to expand its campus to include a new stadium that will be called Farmers Field to allow for the NFL to return to Los Angeles, which is scheduled to open by the start of the 2016 NFL season.

The Nokia Theatre L.A. Live is the welcoming venue for artists, such as the Eagles, Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Neil Young, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, So You Think You Can Dance? Tour, Daughtry, and more.

Kelly Clarkson’s most recent work includes mentoring singers on NBC’s The Voice alongside Blake Shelton and traveling on her STRONGER Tour 2012. Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” was covered by the Glee cast on their winter finale episode, “On My Way.” Clarkson also performed at the 54th Grammy Awards. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” has taken the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 multiple times and on VH1’s Top 20 Music Videos.

Kelly Clarkson is scheduled to perform at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 3. Clarkson’s sheer talent and passion guarantee that the performance will be fantastic.

Get in on these tickets as soon as possible! Big Fat Ticket is giving away FREE tickets to Kelly Clarkson’s performance at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 3—Orchestra or Loge guaranteed. Enter into the sweepstakes at www.bigfatticket.com and check out the other hot daily deals Big Fat Ticket of Los Angeles is offering!

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For press or contact information, please contact Daniel Gruber at (866) 999-2323 or at sales@bigfatticket.com. Big Fat Ticket’s website is www.bigfatticket.com.

New Orleans Saints’ Fiasco Worse than New England Patriots’ Spygate in 2007

Goodell is absolutely going to make a statement with the New Orleans Saints and the bounty scandal.

In a time during which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is buckling down on player safety and setting a high safety standard amongst players and teams by issuing large fines for “big hits” and instilling rules that better protect players, most people are speculating that the Saints’ punishment will be worse than that of the New England Patriots in 2007 (Spygate), which consisted of a $250,000 fine to the Patriots, a $500,000 fine to Bill Belichick, and a docking of the team’s first-round draft pick—some of the largest fines and punishments in NFL history thus far. Until now.

In addition to probably receiving the most severe fines and punishments in NFL history, now it is being discussed that certain NFL players who have played against the Saints in the last three years and received injuries during those games are considering filing lawsuits against the Saints.

Source: washingtonpost.com

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was the administrator of the bounty system—the Saints’ Bounty Hunter, if you will—will be suspended, but placing the blame solely on him is insufficient. Many are discussing how head coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis should be fired for their “stupidity and arrogance” in not preventing the Saints’ bounty program, in which Saints players were awarded $1,500 for a knockout of a player on the opposing team and $1,000 for a hit that resulted in the opposing player to being carted off the field. By not stopping the bounties, Payton and Loomis essentially encouraged it.

Criticism of the Saints and the bounty system are rapidly spreading throughout the sports world. However, many people, including former Redskins’ safety Matt Bowen, declare that most NFL teams have some type of a bounty system, and he has no regrets for participating in one himself—although he stated, “It’s an ugly tradition. I’m not proud of it. But the NFL is a small window of opportunity. The normal rules don’t apply.” Trying to justify essentially putting a “hit” on an opposing player and attempting to inflict pain and serious harm seems mind-blowing. But many people are taking this side of “it happens all throughout the NFL. The Saints just got caught first.” Well, yes. The Saints may have gotten caught first. And because of this, they are going to receive the most severe, outstanding punishments.

Goodell is absolutely going to make a statement with the New Orleans Saints and the bounty scandal.

Source: guardian.co.uk

Visit http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/polls?pCat=46&sCat=2928 to place votes on the NFL Bounty Scandal on topics, such as “How long should Gregg Williams be suspended for administering a bounty program while with the Saints?” “How should the Saints be punished for maintaining a ‘bounty’ program from 2009-2011?” and “What is your opinion of bounties in the NFL that involve payment for non-injury inducing defensive plays (sacks, interceptions, etc)?”

While the NFL sorts out this fiasco, visit www.bigfatticket.com for tickets to sporting events of all kinds, including NBA, MLB, WWE, and more. Big Fat Ticket offers daily deals for tickets to entertainment events, including sporting events, concerts, etc.

Interested in tickets to specific games that are not currently available? Add these to your Wish List and sign up for Big Fat Ticket’s Newsletter to be notified when tickets become available.

Right now Big Fat Ticket is offering free tickets to several NBA games, in addition to tickets for several other events. Enter into the sweepstakes at www.bigfatticket.com and you will be contacted if you won. Also, sign up for our newsletter to be notified of upcoming deals and sweepstakes!

For press or contact information, please contact Daniel Gruber at (866) 999-2323 or at sales@bigfatticket.com. Big Fat Ticket’s website is www.bigfatticket.com.

NFL “Big Hits” Rules Make a Tear in the Fabric of Football’s Nature

If the athletes whom the rules are being enforced upon cannot grasp the meaning of the guidelines set forth for them, the league has failed the players as well as the game itself.

To the tune of a blood hungry roar from a packed coliseum, an ancient Roman gladiator marches into battle, his sword and shield in hand, eager to quench his blood thirst. Since 1920, this gladiator has taken a different form. No longer does he don a metal helmet and sword; his helmet is made of polycarbonate plastic, and he carries an egg-shaped ball. He does not fight for a lanista, but for an organization, the NFL. Much like the sport of gladiators, football players willingly engage in brutal combat each time they take the field, laying their bodies on the line for the love of the game. Fans idolize the players, religiously cheering at each bone-crunching hit. To remove the “big hit” from football, as the NFL is seeking to do with harsh fines and rule changes, would be an affront to the nature of the sport. Due to the strain being placed on officials, the fans’ desire to see big hits, and the looming danger that the essence of football may be compromised by rule changes, the NFL must adjust the definition of a legal hit and cease the issuing of penalties and fines to players who make illegal hits.

It is understandable that as the game of football evolves, rules must change to keep up with the sport’s dynamicity. However, without clear guidelines as to which types of hits are legal and illegal against a defenseless player, it is the officials who bear the burden of interpreting the newly-instated 2011 rule which controversially defines a defenseless player as one who, “Has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner,” (NFL Fines). Amidst the heat of the moment on a field dominated by speed, not everything is clear to an official. Whether or not a player has established himself as a runner is a snap decision made on the fly by a referee that can differ from play to play. Decisions that call for personal interpretation of the rules cannot expect to be made by officials with consistency, and if the goal of NFL officiating is consistency, rules shrouded in ambiguity are unacceptable. For example, a hit made by Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman on Indianapolis Colts receiver Austin Collie in 2010 was deemed illegally made against a defenseless player, earning a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty despite the fact that Collie was enough of a runner to cover the ball, lower his head and prepare himself for impact following the catch. Due to the speed of the game, an official rushed to judgment following the hit without realizing that Collie was hit first by another defender, Quintin Mikell, whose initial tackle forced Collie’s helmet to change direction and crash into Coleman’s. Because the contact made between Coleman and Collie was deemed incidental following a league review, no fine was issued. Though the 15-yard penalty made due to an official’s judgment call could not be taken back during the game.

Conversely, in 2010 when the New England Patriots faced the New York Jets in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, Patriots receiver Wes Welker was hit hard by Jets safety Eric Smith immediately after catching a pass. Both players’ helmets connected on a hit so vicious that paint chipped off of Smith’s helmet. Following the play Welker got up, unharmed, and a flag was not thrown. Welker was in a position where he had done less to establish himself as a runner than Collie had, without making a cut, covering the ball, or bracing himself, but due to the inconsistency of officiating, no call was made.

Source: usatoday.com

The vague wording of the defenseless player rule leads to frustration for officials and players alike. A defenseless receiver in the eyes of a certain official is different from one seen by another referee. Rule changes such as these open up the door to a subjective form of officiating where collisions can be deemed illegal simply when the play results in an injury. In a 2011 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Dunta Robinson made a hit on Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin that warranted a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty and a $40,000 fine from the league. Maclin caught the football and took three steps, clearly establishing himself as a runner, before bracing himself for a hit from the approaching Robinson. Robinson hit Maclin forcing him to the ground where he remained for several seconds. A flag was not thrown by the nearby line judge until well after it was realized that Maclin was injured. Robinson’s hit, which would have garnered praise in the NFL of years past, was deemed illegal by the league seemingly due to the result of the play. For players who have been trained to play the game with intensity since their youth, the dilemma is even harder. All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher voiced his displeasure with the new rule, stating, “It’s just frustrating because you don’t know what’s going to be a penalty and what’s not going to be a penalty and you’re assuming if you get a penalty you’re going to get fined… I don’t understand” (qtd. in Pollard Says). If the athletes whom the rules are being enforced upon cannot grasp the meaning of the guidelines set forth for them, the league has failed the players as well as the game itself. While hundreds of collisions occur in a single football game at speeds and frequencies much too difficult to police, unnecessary, flagrant hits are easier to spot than the everyday football variety, which are being flagged at an ever-increasing rate. If the NFL reserves fines and flags for hits intentionally made to endanger other players, the issue of players and referees not being able to distinguish a legal hit from an illegal one can be put to bed. Fines are meant to change a player’s behavior and attitude towards the game and should not be issued in response to clean hits, no matter how vicious.

Source: sports.espn.go.com

As a collision sport, there is no shortage of violent impacts in the game of football. Big hits have been a part of the game since its inception, and must remain as the game progresses if the NFL is to stay true to the spirit football has carried for decades. Eliminating big hits would be taking away the unique essence of professional football, the only sport that creates a forum for grown men to release years of pent-up aggression brought on by doubters who never believed they would see a day in the NFL. The NFL allows men to legally assault one another once a week for five months out of the year, a privilege not granted anywhere outside a football stadium. The players know what they are getting themselves into when they join the NFL, and are prepared for the bruises and broken bones that are to come. Kris Jenkins, a retired three-time All Pro selection at defensive tackle speaks from experience, voicing many of the sentiments held by current players regarding rule changes when he says, “The violence, we love it. The madness, we love it… Those guys express themselves with their pads. You soften the game, you’re taking away their freedom of expression” (qtd. in Bishop). Few have the vantage point of a ten-year NFL veteran like Jenkins, having witnessed firsthand the best and worst football has to offer. When looked at in the context of sport-based artistry, NFL fines can be seen as a form of censorship, an oppressive safeguard put in place to limit the abilities of athletes. The athletes are less concerned with their personal wellbeing than the league’s governing body because they are willing to sacrifice themselves for their art.

They are the Vincent Van Goghs and Francisco Goyas of the sporting world, suffering artists prepared to lay down their own lives and allow their pain to shine through their work.

In order to preserve the artists and the game of football, a reversion to the days of past when players were not penalized or fined for big hits is necessary.

For almost a century, the NFL has prided itself on jarring hits, creating highlight reels and handing out accolades for the league’s hardest hitters. Since big hits are a natural consequence of football, they need not be corrected by rules, as they are inherent to the game. To remove big hits would be to make a tear in the fabric of football’s nature. Because players take the field with the intent of punishing their opponents and will do so regardless of the penalties, no number of rule changes will change the nature of football as a collision sport. Instead, rule changes designed to eliminate big hits actually hinder the sport in its development. From its gritty beginnings as a heavily run-oriented game, the NFL has naturally progressed towards the game it is today, where Super Bowls are won predominantly through the air. The evolution of professional football to this point has been natural, with players, coaches, and the game itself dictating change, but with rule changes preventing big hits, the scales are set to be aberrantly stacked in the favor of the offense. Eventually, players will grow tired of the fines taken from their paychecks and the penalties called at the expense of their teams, big hits will drop off substantially, and the game will change yet again. This time, however, the change will not be welcomed by fans, players, and coaches alike. The beautiful sport which has progressed with such remarkable, traceable fluidity will take a man-made turn towards offensive dominance, a turn brought about by the NFL’s desire to fill seats, give fans more points, and sell their product with high-scoring affairs. The league is prepared to sell the game short for the almighty offensive touchdown. While it is what the NFL wants, to remove hard hits, changes to football’s natural order brought on by additional rules are detrimental to the game and prevent it from moving forward properly.

Source: draftzoo.com

Many would argue that rule changes designed to put a damper on big hits are put in place to protect players from the epidemic of concussions the NFL has experienced over time. While concussions, injuries that occur when the brain is slammed into the inside wall of the skull following impact, have serious long-term health repercussions, teams now treat them more seriously. A newly-instated 2009 rule lays out the strict guidelines for a player’s return to the field, stating, “The player should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptomatic… has a normal neurological examination… and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s)” (League). What the NFL is doing correctly is creating a safe environment for players following concussions. Requiring players to pass concussion tests and get clearance from doctors is an effective step towards controlling concussions. However, attempting to eliminate concussions altogether through defenseless player rule changes is a fruitless fight that would require players to approach the game differently, something most are not willing to do. Jenkins states that, “Finding the line between insanity and sanity, that’s the exact reason why you play. That’s the reason fans like football in the first place” (qtd. in Bishop). The idea of dressing twenty-two men up in full padding and sending them out onto a field to tackle each other seems to teeter on the brink of insanity. However, no one is forcing NFL players to take the field and hit one another as the Roman gladiators were. Voluntarily sacrificing their bodies for the game, the players love the hits more than anyone else, and they will continue to make the hits with a full understanding of the costs. It is the player’s choice to make a career playing football, a decision with consequences that are to be dealt with directly. For 91 years professional football players have willingly put their bodies on the line, and they will continue to do so regardless of the health impacts.

In summation, the NFL must cease the fining and penalizing of hard hits to preserve the integrity of the game. Football is a collision sport where big hits are necessary, as athletes are trained to crash into one another at high speeds. Creating vaguely worded rules designed to eradicate the big hit creates unwanted confusion for officials as well as players. If the NFL continues to attempt to control an otherwise reckless, raw sport, the essence of the game itself will be compromised. With a reversion to classic football where big hits are not penalized and players are not issued weekly fines for their play, fans and players can again enjoy the game they love in the way it is intended to be played.

Visit www.bigfatticket.com for tickets to sporting events of all kinds, including NBA, MLB, WWE, and more. Big Fat Ticket, located in Los Angeles, offers daily deals for tickets to entertainment events, including sporting events, concerts, etc.

Interested in tickets to specific games that are not currently available? Add these to your Wish List and sign up for Big Fat Ticket’s Newsletter to be notified when tickets become available.

Right now Big Fat Ticket is offering free tickets to several NBA games, in addition to tickets for several other events. Enter into the sweepstakes at www.bigfatticket.com and you will be contacted if you won. Also, sign up for our newsletter to be notified of upcoming deals and sweepstakes!

For press or contact information, please contact Daniel Gruber at (866) 999-2323 or at sales@bigfatticket.com. Big Fat Ticket’s website is www.bigfatticket.com.

Will Knicks’ Jeremy Lin’s Fire Dwindle or Continue to Surge?

Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks point guard, has sparked quite a lot of attention as of late, and it has become deemed “Lin-sanity” and the “Lin-derella story of the NBA,” resulting in the catch phrase, “All he does is Lin, Lin, Lin.” So, it is only natural to make a comment—a rather lengthy one—on Jeremy Lin and his influence on the NBA.

Undrafted out of Harvard, assigned to the D-League multiple times, cut by the Warriors and the Rockets, and essentially overlooked by several teams, it was only due to a series of injuries of other Knicks players that Lin finally saw some playing time on February 4—playing time that has since helped to rejuvenate the Knicks.

Lin’s strong performances in his last seven starts and his humble demeanor have created a Lin phenomenon—something many sports critics and analysts are comparing to the Denver Broncos Quarterback, Tim Tebow, and the “Tebow-mania” phenomenon of the NFL. However, amidst strong performances, Lin is criticized for having too many turnovers, an inability to go left, an inconsistent jump shot, and the need to find a style of play that suites him—a pick-and-roll offense (which so happens to be D’Antoni’s preferred style of offense). Inconsistency. It’s leaking into “Linmania” just as it did Tebowmania. However, despite the criticism, Lin remains positive and humble and gives all the credit to the Lord and his teammates.

Will Lin stay hot, or will his fire dwindle as the season progresses? Sports analysts are torn, but fans remain optimistic and loyal. And the league? The NBA is enjoying the ride—The Knicks vs. Lakers game on February 10 became ESPN’s most-watched-Friday-night game this season with more than 3 million viewers stuck to their television screens. In addition, Lin’s jersey was the top-selling jersey from February 5-February 14, the Knicks were the top-selling team on NBAstore.com and at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue—resulting in an increase of 200% in sales from last year.

Due to his rapid rise in fame, Lin landed a 20-minute press conference to appease the media in which he stated that, ultimately, he hopes “Linsanity or whatever” will diminish and the New York Knicks as a team will rise to notoriety and win basketball games. This self-effacing attitude compliments Lin’s presence and play, which have helped to rekindle the Knicks’ chemistry and to bring more enthusiastic and hopeful fans into Madison Square Garden in New York.

Want NBA tickets to see Jeremy Lin or any other hot players or teams? Right now Big Fat Ticket is offering free tickets to several NBA games, in addition to tickets for several other events. Enter into the sweepstakes at www.bigfatticket.com and you will be contacted if you won. Also, sign up for our newsletter to be notified of upcoming deals and sweepstakes!

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