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Nation’s Soccer Star Tries the Nation’s Game

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The US Women’s National Soccer Team captivated many on their run to a historic fourth World Cup victory. Behind the feet of Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, the squad had record setting 13-0 type of victories and nail biting 2-1 type of victories along the way and became a story of the summer in sports.

The success has created quite a buzz around the team. Leaders of the USWNT have been outspoken on social injustices, and not backed down when called out by politicians. Additionally, they have been involved in a law suit for several years now over equal compensation with their male counterparts. The popularity of the women on the team has soared, and resulted in several victory tour stops across America, both on the field and on parade routes. The most visible was in New York, which featured droves of fans crowding Manhattan streets and swarming the floats, and ultimately culminating in Megan Rapinoe’s inspirational victory speech.

But now, a USWNT player is eyeing, potentially, a new opportunity. On August 20th, the USWNT twitter profile sent out a video of forward Carli Lloyd hitting a 55-yard field goal at a Baltimore Ravens practice, on noticeably narrow goal posts (designed to make practicing harder than a game). The Philadelphia Eagles also tweeted out the video, confirming the 55-yard make and demonstrably impressed.

Lloyd has received an immense amount of positive feedback from folks around the league. She has commented that she’s “laughing about it, but the more [she] thinks about it, this has the chance to be a sort of a pioneering moment for women.”

“It could be a huge pivotal moment. There is no reason why a woman could not do this. And I actually invite the pressure. I love the pressure. When I have to nail something—shooting hoops, ax-throwing, kicking a field goal—that is the moment I live for and want. It comes down to the mind, training the mind.”

Lloyd commented that she has received some commentary from multiple NFL teams, we may see she (or another female soccer star) try it out one day.

While it may not be Lloyd, her pushing the gender line in the NFL is just the latest in a constant fight for equality out of the USWNT. As the representatives for a nation of “We the people,” no American national team has done as much to represent those people. While it sent shockwaves throughout the twitterverse, it is certainly not off brand for the USWNT to be pushing the present boundaries and speaking on equality.

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Football

Colin Kaepernick to Workout for NFL Teams on Saturday

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We are three years removed from when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem, creating widespread controversy.

The movement Kaepernick sparked was very divisive, as he hoped to bring light to racial inequality and police brutality in this country. While Kaepernick was lauded as a hero by some, he was also antagonized by others and ultimately became a martyr for his cause as he lost his job because of his protest.

No team in the NFL has been willing to sign Kaepernick since he became a free agent in 2017, but maybe tides are turning as the NFL has set up a workout for Kaepernick to meet with all teams interested in his services.

It is worth noting that Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, claiming that team owners were colluding to keep him out of the league. The trial never went to court, with the two sides agreeing to a confidential settlement in February.

While the NFL is giving Kaepernick another opportunity to return to the field, it is fair to question if this is a disingenuous ploy.

Reports indicate that Kaepernick’s representation was told of his workout on short notice and only had a few hours to accept the invitation. It is also being held on a Saturday, which is atypical for this type of a workout.

The odds are still stacked against Kaepernick, with a return to the NFL not being guaranteed just because some teams are going to watch him workout.

One team would still have to be brave enough to bring on all of the publicity that would come with signing Kaepernick, which teams have been hesitant to do in the past.

Still, the bottom line is that Kaepernick is far more talented than some of the quarterback’s we have been watching play over the last couple of years and should still be playing in the NFL.

In Kaepernick’s last season, he had a great 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions thrown.

While he may not be a top starting quarterback in the NFL anymore, it is hard to believe he couldn’t outperform someone like Bryan Hoyer, who just lost a game for the Indianapolis Cots on Sunday.

There are plenty of teams that could use Kaepernick’s services this season and beyond. The question is if any team will actually jump at the same opportunity they have shied away from for three years now.

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Football

Seahawks Give the San Francisco 49ers Their First Loss in NFC West Showdown

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The San Francisco 49ers cruised through the first half of their schedule, winning eight-straight games to start the season.

Featuring a great defense and a dynamic running game, the 49ers looked like the best team in the NFC before facing their toughest test of the season on Monday night against their division rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle has a solid defense in their own right, but the distinguishing factor proved to be the quarterback position, as Russell Wilson is having an MVP-caliber season.

Wilson ended up getting the job done, handing San Francisco their first loss in an overtime affair.

If you want any indication of how back-and-forth this game was, take a look at the win probability chart as momentum shifted countless times throughout the game.

San Francisco jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter and really dominated the entire half in general.

One big turning point came in the second quarter, as Jadeveon Clowney scored the first touchdown of the game for Seattle on a fumble recovery.

Clowney had to be the Seahawks MVP in this game, as he was constantly blowing up plays at the line of scrimmage.

The stats don’t even tell the full story of how incredible Clowney played, putting Jimmy Garoppolo in terrible positions all night long.

Seattle began to run away with the game in the second half, scoring 14 unanswered points to a take a 21-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Then it was Wilson’s turn to have a costly fumble, as DeForest Buckner made an incredible play for San Francisco to score a momentum-shifting touchdown on a strip-sack.

The Niners converted the two-point attempt to cut Seattle’s lead to a field goal, once again making it anyone’s game. Ultimately each team traded field goals, with San Francisco sending the game into overtime at the end of the fourth quarter.

Seattle won the coin toss to receive the ball first in overtime and Wilson promptly marched his team down the field in search of the game-winning touchdown.

Wilson then made the most shocking mistake of the day, throwing just his second interception of the season.

Garoppolo was able to get his team into field goal range, but unfortunately for San Francisco, starting kicker Robbie Gould was injured and unable to play this week.

That put rookie Chase McLaughlin on the field in the most pressure-packed moment of the season and the young kicker folded under that pressure.

To get a better understanding of how wide left the kick was, here is the view from the tunnel.

The missed field goal opened the door for Wilson and the Seahawks, as they ultimately got the job done to win their second-straight overtime game.

The win opens up the NFC West division race, as the Niners now have just a half game lead on the Seahawks for first place.

Seattle now has their bye week, so they could be in first before they take the field again on November 24th.

The best part of this season’s rivalry between the Seahawks and the 49ers is that the two teams will meet again for the last week of the season, with the division and a first-round playoff bye likely hanging in the balance.

After watching this Monday night game play out, this matchup has proven to be must-watch television moving forward.

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College Football

Former Michigan State Star Receiver Charles Rogers Dead at 38

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Former Michigan State Spartans and Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers has reportedly passed away at 38 years old.

Rogers’ former teammate Chris Baker confirmed the news on social media, after speaking with the family.

Rogers was a superstar at Michigan State, putting together an incredible two-year run with the Spartans. He still holds school record for his 27 touchdowns, as well as owning the record for most receiving yards in a game with 270.

Randy Moss held an NCAA record for 13 consecutive games with a touchdown catch, until Rogers broke the record during his career.

Across two seasons, Rogers caught 135 passes for 2,821 yards and 27 touchdowns.

In 2002, Rogers won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for being the top receiver in the nation and was a unanimous All-American.

Rogers made one of the great catches in history of college football in a game against Notre Dame, beating double-coverage to make a remarkable catch at the back of the end zone.

Following his collegiate career, Rogers was selected with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

Due to a combination of injury and substance-abuse related issues, Rogers’ NFL career never quite panned out, as he played 15 games across three seasons before being forced into early retirement.

Rogers is survived by his eight children and mother Cathy.

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