Should the XFL look at Hartford ?

The XFL will return in 2020 and here are a few reasons why the league may look to put a franchise in Hartford, CT.

After 19 years the XFL will be returning in 2020. World Wrestling Entertainment founder Vince McMahon announced earlier this week that the football league that only last one season in 2001, would be returning without the gimmicks that the league was originally known for. Some of the initiatives the league will be to speed up the pace of play and also barring any player with a criminal record.

The full announcement was made on ESPN and can be viewed below.

The debate about whether this league will work is a good topic for another day. Instead let’s focus on an intriguing question that hasn’t been asked. Where will the eight teams play?

The original XFL had an Eastern and Western division with four teams in each division. The East featured teams in Birmingham, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, and Chicago with the West having Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, and San Francisco. With the XFL looking for potential sites there could be a new market that could be a dark horse for a franchise. That city would be Hartford.

Hartford, Connecticut? Surely you must be joking? However, the more you think about it the more it makes sense. First, McMahon has announced that he will be the owner for all eight teams. Think about that. Not only will he be the league commissioner but he will also have to keep track of every team’s day-to-day operation.

WWE Headquarters Courtesy: Stamford Advocate

I can definitely  see a franchise in the New York and New Jersey area, given it’s the largest television market in the country, but Hartford would make it easier to handle a franchise that is right in the WWE’s backyard. The company’s headquarters, and likely the XFL’s headquarters initially will be based out of Stamford, Connecticut. Having a franchise in Hartford along with one in New York would put two of the eight franchises in near to the company’s headquarters thus making day-to-day operations easier.

Hartford hasn’t had a professional sports franchise since the Hartford Whalers left in 1997.

Now many of you will be saying that the market can’t support that. People forget that the New Haven and Hartford television market are one of the top thirty television markets in the country. In an area without a professional since 1997 when the Hartford Whalers moved out, this could be a market that would get behind a professional team.

Another encouraging statistic from Hartford Business was that the newly formed minor league ball club, the Hartford Yard Goats, set a minor league attendance record in their inaugural season drawing in over 395,000 fans.

Let’s also not forget that the original XFL played in smaller markets. Nielsen ratings in 2017 had the Hartford and New Haven as the 30th television market in the country. Of the original eight teams three of the teams were in smaller markets: Las Vegas (40), Birmingham, (45), and Memphis (51).

The next question I know you’re dying to ask but where will they play? It turns out that East Hartford has the perfect facility Pratt & Whitney Stadium, the home of the University of Connecticut football team. It’s a 40,000 seat stadium that was built-in 2001 specifically for football and hosted the UFL’s Hartford Colonials from 2009-2010.


For an expansion league, the XFL would be wise to avoid large NFL Stadiums for attendance reason. The first time the XFL averaged just over 20,000 fans a game. If they were able to get 30,000 fans for these games it would look better to have a smaller football or soccer stadium that they have the chance to fill as opposed to a massive 70,000 seat stadium.

While professional football in Connecticut can be viewed as a long shot, the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. The state has the television market, provides a location close to the WWE Headquarters, is a market without a professional team, and has a football stadium that’s a perfect fit for the league’s specifications.

Even if Hartford isn’t one of the eight cities selected for a franchise initially, their qualifications and infrastructure would make the city a leading candidate if the league can grow and eventually expand.

It’s still a long way until the XFL kicks off in 2020, but if the league is looking for a new market when they start this league, one option could be McMahon putting a franchise in the same state where his wrestling conglomerate calls home.


Time to go? Is RGIII wearing out his welcome?

RG3Robert Griffin the Third has gone from NFL poster boy, to the definition of NFL diva in one year. After a season riff with turmoil, RG III continues dumping kerosene on the fire that is the Washington Redskins. After a year of being called out by his teammates about his leadership and focus, RGIII has gone from savior to cancer. True this isn’t all his fault, his knee injury and Shannahan’s coaching issues were aspects that Griffin had no control over. However, RGIII became consumed in the brand that was RGIII. Sure he dominated the media market with countless commercials, but he forgot that with great athlete commercials, there must be great athletic performances.

Now after a terrible season, RGIII just continues to pile on the controversy. Even after getting Mike Shanahan fired, Griffin still continues to grab the limelight for the wrong reasons. He recently came out bragging to teammates about the influence he has on the team’s management. Owner Dan Schneider only confirms that notion by stating that Griffin will have input on who the next coach of the Redskins will be. I’m sorry, but it is clear that the inmate is running the asylum, and this never ends well. This is the NFL. This isn’t the NBA where one superstar is the difference, there are 52 other men that make a team. RGIII struts around as if he is the best quarterback in the league. But really what has he done? Sure he got the Redskins to the playoffs, but that’s it. He’s only had one winning season, been in the league two seasons, and hasn’t won a playoff game. Yet, he acts like he has done everything you can in the NFL. If anything, RGIII has a terrible legacy for now being a so-called “coach killer” and a diva. You can tell that his team doesn’t want to play for him anymore. They won’t help him up after plays and continue to talk about their quarterback’s poor leadership.

So what should the Redskins do? Some fans may not want to hear this, but the Redskins should try to get rid of RGIII. While this will probably never happen, because Daniel Snyder loves Griffin, it could be what’s best for this team. While they have given up three first round draft picks for Griffin, it would be addition by subtraction. Griffin has too much power in DC, power no player should have. His job is to play quarterback, not help pick the roster and coaching staff. When the inmates start to run the asylum, your organization is in trouble. Now the Redskins also have the issue of being an organization that is in chaos. What players would want to come play with a quarterback who is injury prone and is a diva? The Redskins also may be costing their organization a great coach. What coach really wants to come into a situation when their quarterback has so much power within the organization? RGIII could be costing the organization a great coach.

2014 will be a crucial year for RGIII. Not only does he have to get healthy and return to his rookie year form, but he also will be under a tremendous microscope. With all these offseason issues and drama in the nation’s capital, Robert Griffin must prove that he’s an elite quarterback. Not only on the field, but off the field. He has numerous bridges to repair in D.C. If RGIII can overcome this and become the quarterback he has the potential to be, it will be one of the greatest transformations in NFL history. If not, Griffin could be the next great bust in the NFL. What do you think? Will RGIII be a bust or will he regain his form? Is it in the best interest for the Redskins to get rid of him?

Broken: How sports knocked me down and got me back up

Ice Hockey was my passion. When it was taken from me I didn't know what to do

Ice Hockey was my passion. When it was taken from me I didn’t know what to do

One one thousand….. What happened? Two one thousand……. Where am I? What’s going on? Three one thousand…. Who am I? I’ve often been asked what’s it like to have a concussion. What goes through your head as your laying on the ice with your brain spinning inside your skull? I tell them  you don’t feel anything, not at first. It’s as if you’re in a dream, you see what’s happening and you try to tell your body to do one thing but it does the opposite. You’re a foreigner inside your own body.  Your numb and it feels like your senses are going haywire. Then when I finally get back to the bench and off the ice, my head is in a daze while my world is spinning like a top. I know what’s happened, I know the damage that’s been done, but I sit there, hands in my hands saying over and over again “this can’t be happening, not again”. For those of you who don’t know I am an addict. I’ve been addicted to sports as far back as I can remember. From football, baseball, to hockey I’m hooked. Hey you ever want to talk to me? Bring up sports I can talk your ear off for hours. For me hockey was more than a game, it was my soul mate. On that sheet of ice life made sense. Growing up I was a chubby kid who always finished last in the races on land was now a green and black streak flying down the ice. The boy whose massive frame awkwardly bumped into everything was now a wrecking ball on legs whose bone crushing hits would bring a roar from the home crowd.  Out on that ice I could vent the frustration of being picked on in school and prove to everyone that I could do something special.

There was really only one person who truly understood my love for the game and that was my father. I can still remember him taking me to practice at 4 o’clock in the morning so that I could work on my skating and slap shot. Most of my friends thought I was crazy, but when you love something that much you will do anything for it. When I wasn’t playing I was watching hockey, and when I wasn’t watching I was without question talking about it. When ever we got the chance, my father would take me to the Beast of New Haven games which still are some of my fondest memories. Heck every year for Halloween I was a hockey player, didn’t think outside of the box much did I? Then the game I had loved for my entire life, began to turn on me. It started with the first concussion, then the second, then the third. I kept going back, I couldn’t stop. It’s like being in a relationship with a difficult partner. You try to make it work and you really do love them. Yet no matter how many times they knock you down, you still go back. The illusion that it will be better if I give it one more chance that never turns in fruition. People ask why do you keep going back? You know there’s something better out there for you right? That was my relationship with hockey. I could feel us growing apart. My body was holding me back and despite my mind telling me to stop, my heart kept telling me to go. Was it stupid to go back and play? Of course, but when we look back on our past we give ourselves the illusion that we would have made the right choice. I can’t blame myself. I loved the game and being an adolescent at the time gave me this false sense of invincibility. I thought nothing could hurt me, nothing could stop me, they were wrong, I was right. When I look back on my life there are certain things that the concussions have cost me.  I can’t remember certain memories or my eighth grade year of school. Remembering people’s name has become a challenge that embarrasses me every time I get a name wrong. Concussions cost me the opportunity to play high school football, the dream of running out onto the field in front of the entire school on a saturday. The eruption of the crowd once I made a sack or a huge hit is a sound that never reached my ear drums. It was the same story different sport. Another attempt to push myself harder resulted in another shot to the head, another blow to get up from.

A few years ago I had to get up from the hardest knockdown of my life at the time. Halfway through my sophomore year I was cut from baseball. I was angry, not only because I felt I hadn’t gotten the rightful opportunity, but because it was another blow in my sports life. I still remember thinking what now? What now? Sports had defined my first twenty years of existence, and now they were gone. Through all the turmoil and bad breaks I had endured throughout my young life I knew that there had to be a greater purpose for me. I still remember a quote from Rocky Balboa. In the movie Rocky said “nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward”. I knew that I had been knocked down before, I had to get up once again.

After my baseball career ended here in college, the question that I had to answer was what now? After a few weeks of drifting through classes and college life, I happened to learn about the college radio station. After inquiring about a sports talk show, I was given the an assistant position with the stations sports talk show High and Tight Sports Talk. After learning the how to operate the equipment and set up a show, my mentor Jeremy Menard handed me the reigns at the beginning of my junior year. Now I have my own show, Rich Sports Talk, along with this blog and couldn’t be happier. Now instead of playing sports, I realize that I can talk about them with great insight and varying opinions. Reporting sports and entertaining people has become my mission in life. I realize that I have the gift to make people laugh and feel joy. If I can make someone feel just a little bit better about their life when they read my articles or listen to my on the air, that is the greatest reward. After years of being angry because I felt cheated and betrayed by my own body, I now feel blessed for the gifts I do have. Instead of feeling like a broken shell that was never whole, I finally feel at peace. If anything the concussions and being out of sports has given me one of life’s greatest gifts. That is with perseverance, and to just keep moving forward, you will accomplish your dreams, even if you don’t know what they are yet. For anybody out there who feels slighted or cheated, this maybe life’s way of testing your resolve. Trust me the road is hard, but for those who can take the lumps and get to the end of that road, I promise you that you will reach your goals.

Super Bowl XLVII

It's brother versus brother in the first ever sibling Super Bowl

It’s brother versus brother in the first ever sibling Super Bowl

It’s finally here!!!! After the long journey that began in August 32 teams began the season, but only 2 remain. However, football is like Highlander in that there can be only one! This Super Bowl has been anointed the Harbowl as we see the classic sibling rivalry of whose is better. I know one thing it’s sure going to be awkward at the dinner table in the Harbaugh house after this one. Maybe Mrs. Harbaugh should ask Archie Manning how he deals with his boys. Getting back on track the Ravens have ridden the inspirational words of Tim Tebow, whoops I meant Ray Lewis on a magical playoff run. Sorry Ravens fans I love Ray Lewis but I think he’s going a little overboard with the religious references since he decided this would be his last playoff ride. The question remains can Lewis inspire his team to overcome the 49ers in his last game? The 49ers, on the other hand, have ridden the tattooed cannon arm of Colin Kaepernick since he took over for Alex Smith midway through the season. Remember when there was a supposed quarterback controversy only a few weeks ago? He’s been an unstoppable ground and aerial assault throughout the postseason and is looking to cap off his amazing season with the 49ers sixth Super Bowl in franchise history. Both teams have taken very different paths to get top New Orleans, but surprisingly they are similarly constructed. Both have very good defenses, quarterbacks that can make the big play, and great running backs. Here’s my preview of why I believe both teams could win the Superbowl.

Why the Ravens will win

The Ravens will need to ride their emotional leader

The Ravens will need to ride their emotional leader

The Ravens success this postseason is because of the strong quarterback play out of Joe Flacco and their resurgent defense with the return of Lewis. Baltimore has been flying high since Lewis announced that this will be his last season with the team. The win one for the gipper attitude has spread throughout the Ravens locker room as they try to give number 52 one more ring as he walks into the sunset. One of the biggest reasons that the Ravens are in this position is because of their leader under center. Joe Flacco has thrown 8 touchdowns with no interceptions this postseason and while the offense is usually the achilles hill for the Ravens, it has been their strength this postseason. Don’t forget these Ravens have beaten both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in their respective buildings. Last time I checked they were two of the best quarterbacks in the game. While the defense has been good it hasn’t been anywhere near the dominant defense we’ve come to expect from the purple and black. This two-week layoff benefits this banged up unit and will allow them to get some much-needed rest. The keys to for the Ravens to win is they must have a big game on the ground with Ray Rice. This is a battle of defenses and the best way to beat a great defense is to keep them on the field. If the Ravens can wear down the formidable 49ers defense it will not only wear them down but give them more favorable deep ball match ups. This is where the Ravens need to make play is down the field and use Flaccos big arm. They need Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin to stretch the field. I believe that the Ravens have the better special teams entering this game while also having the major x factor of Ray Lewis’ retirement for added motivation. You can’t tell me they’re not going to give everything they have for their leader so he can go out a champion. On the defensive side of the ball the Ravens need to figure out how to slow the read option. This will be a test, but the Ravens have one of the most seasoned defenses in the NFL and aren’t fooled easily or for long. They need to play Raven defense which is to play physical and break the will of the 49ers. If the Ravens continue to play at the level they’ve been playing, especially Joe Flacco, it could be an easy win in the Big Easy.

Why the 49ers will win

My the difference a year can make. A year ago the 49ers were kicking themselves because of the butter fingers their special teams had. This team feels that they should have been in the Super Bowl over the Giants and that this should be a repeat year. However, this season they have made it but not in the way that most 49ers fans, and football fans in general, expected.

Running and passing Kaepernick leads the multi-dimensional 49ers attack

The multi-dimensional Kaepernick leads the 49ers offensive attack

Ever since the glory days of Montana and Young the quarterback position for the 49ers has been a question mark. It still is but today it’s a riddle that gives defensive coordinators headaches. Coming into this season the 49ers were highly favored to be in this Super Bowl and that Alex Smith would finally get the monkey off his back, much like Steve Young, and get ride of his “Bust” tag that has haunted him since being the number one draft choice. However, Alex Smith is riding the pine pony as his replacement Colin Kaerpernick looks to win the 49ers sixth Super Bowl in franchise history. Even coming into this postseason there was a “quarterback controversy” about who would lead this team. However, Kaerpernick has run away with this job much like he had all season. The read option has added a new dimension to the dominant running game that the 49ers have built since Jim Harbaugh took over. Run the ball and play great defense a memo that both the Ravens and 49ers have flourished with. However, the Ravens do not have a dominating offensive line or a stable of running backs that have the first ranked rushing attack in the postseason. They also don’t have the dynamic quarterback that can shred defense with both his legs and his arm. Add in the top overall ranked defense and you have the recipe for the 49ers success. San Francisco can win this game if they just continue to do what they do best. Play fast and physical defense and force the opponent to make mistakes. On offense run the ball!!!!!! Use the dynamic rushing attack to wear the Ravens older defense down and keep their offense off the field. By running the ball you give Kaepernick more big plays by opening the field with both rushing and passing lanes. If Vernon Davis can match the performance he gave against the Falcons that will really open up the middle of the field and give Kapernick a great target in the seam. While they might not have the same explosiveness on the outside like the Ravens, they do have the advantage in the TE position and can control the middle of the field.  Don’t forget the Raven defense is old, wearing them down and keeping them on the field is crucial for the 49ers to be successful. If the 49ers play like they have all postseason they could bring back the sixth Lombardi trophy back to San Francisco.

And the Winner is ……………..

49ers 27 Ravens 24

This is why I’m picking the 49ers. I think that while Joe Flacco has played great this postseason he is a quarterback known for mistakes and I think he is well overdue. The Ravens defense this postseason has played great this postseason they have played against passing offenses. They’re great against stopping the past and have been mediocre at stopping the run. They haven’t played a physical team like the 49ers and while I think the Ravens can stop the run early as the game wears on they will wear down. I understand that the field goal kicking unit has been shaky for the 49ers but I think overall they have a better defense then the Ravens. While the Ravens have the better passing game the 49ers have a slight edge in the ground game with their dynamic offense and these new looks will catch the Ravens off guard. Overall I do think this will be a close Super Bowl and has the potential to be one of the best ones ever. Do you agree or disagree? Take the poll at the the bottom and vote for who you think the Super Bowl champion will be.

49ers and Ravens who will be the last one standing??

49ers and Ravens who will be the last one standing??