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THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE ONLINE
Features & Blogs
"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
The San Diego Chargers may look back on London with fond memories.
It seems like San Diego have kept sports writers one loss away from dusting off all those old criticisms of Norv Turner, but it is only thanks to the unfortunate intervention of referee Ed Hochuli that the Chargers aren't atop the AFC West. The faithful are still waiting for the Chargers to break through, but here's a couple of statistics to play with: the Broncos have conceded more points than any other team in the AFC, while the Chargers have scored more points than any other team in the AFC.
The Chargers wasted an opportunity this past week, and they know it. On the road in Buffalo, they let a second–half lead get away from them on the same weekend as the Broncos got blown out 41–7 by New England's backup backfield. This week they can make up for it in London, against a Saints team that is without Reggie Bush.
Of course, the Chargers have the worst pass defense in the league, and the Saints the best offense (in terms of yards), so neutral fans giving Wembley a second shot after last year's lumpy drizzlefest should see a whole lot more scoring — this is a match–up of the highest rated passer in the NFL (Philip Rivers) and the man he replaced, Drew Brees, who leads the league in yards. If statistics are to be believed, a lot of the scoring should be against the Chargers, but I can't shake the feeling that it's a bit of a stretch to call a dome team a 'home' team when they're playing on a surface more familiar to their opponents.
The weather forecast is fine and bit cloudy, the field is said to be better than last year's embarrassment, and with the quarterbacks on show, we should at least have the attention of the fantasy football fans. We didn't know last year that we were witnessing the league's worst against the eventual Super Bowl champs, and we can't even be sure that this is a 'must–win' game while San Diego's divisional rivals are so unconvincing, but we can say that if San Diego end up fulfilling their promise and turning the season around, the fight–back started in London.
A bright day in rainy England? It could happen.
Stick A Fork In ... Mike Nolan, apparently!
As you will have read by now, the San Francisco 49ers have sacked head coach Mike Nolan. At 2–5, the 49ers didn't look like competing for a playoff spot in the NFC, and Nolan's 18–32 record didn't seem to be getting any better. Replacing him — at least in an interim role — is Mike Singletary, the legendary former Bears linebacker. This will be an interesting appointment to watch. Singletary had been linebackers coach in Baltimore before defensive coordinator at the 49ers. Whether Singletary is a strong Xs and Os guy remains to be seen, but he is an outstanding motivator and leader. He may be exactly the personality the 49ers have needed since Steve Mariucci's early seasons. Whether he can bring back the success the organization enjoyed before the DeBartolo era became the York era remains to be seen. Frankly, if Singletary can't inspire success, I have to wonder if success is even possible under the present ownership.
Why?: Mike Nolan, again
Now there are things about the sacking of Nolan that I like: (1) clearly things were going nowhere; (2) they didn't appoint Mike Martz as interim coach; (3) they did appoint Singletary. But then there's the bit that leaves me scratching my head: were they really expecting Nolan's 49ers to jump up and beat the reigning Super Bowl champions on the road? What was there in the 40–29 home collapse to Philadelphia that made them think "Well, let's give him another week"?
No Fluke: Ryan Grant
Grant practically came out of nowhere last year to become one of the hottest running backs in the NFL, with almost 1000 yards in what amounted to half a season of action, and he scored 8 touchdowns. This year he hasn't been quite as hot, but he's starting to break out. This past week he had his first 100 yard game and his first score of the year. This has a lot to do with more touches, of course — 33 the past two weeks whereas he hadn't been given the ball as much as 20 during the first five games of the season. Maybe the Packers got so caught up in proving they were right about the Favre/Rodgers decision that they forgot that Grant had been their pulse late last season. Expect to see a lot more of Grant these next few weeks.
Reality Check: The Black and Blue Division
The home of knockdown, drag–out, in your face physical football, right? Looks more like Arena League. This week the Bears and Vikings flung the ball at each other to a 48–41 conclusion, and while the likes of the AFC West and NFC West are worse than the NFC North, whatever happened to the theory that Chicago was a good defense without an offense, or that Jared Allen completed the defensive puzzle for Minnesota? Well, maybe that's still true for the Vikings, whose special team were the culprits this past weekend. With Grant coming through (see above) and Adrian Peterson leaving earlier hamstring problems behind to post back–to–back 100–yard games for the first time since the opening weekends, don't be surprised if a little possessional football finally returns to the division in the second half of the season.
It All Worked Out In The End: Sammy Morris
A big 'thank you' to Sammy Morris, this week. For anybody who recalls the tale of my fantasy team and their Shaun Alexander–induced keeper league disaster of the past two seasons, you might be interested to know that my roster full of hobos now stands at 4–3, in part due to last week's acquisition, Sammy Morris, who quirkily stepped up into a starting role in time to prove the difference in a Monday Night fantasy squeaker. I'm sure Mr Morris is blissfully unaware of his value to Knute's Knightmares, but he sure must be feeling a world away from his one–score–a–year days on the dismal Dolphins.