Archive for January 16th, 2009


The Best Cheerleaders in the NFL

I simply can’t compete with the already wonderful gallery that the folks at Fan IQ have already assembled of the Pro Bowl’s most interesting participants, the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders, so I’ll just link to it and show a couple photos here to whet your appetite, or whatever else you want moistened. But definitely make your way over there if you’re so inclined, you’ll be glad you did.

For example, meet the lovely Alyssa, from my own New England Patriots cheerleader squad:

Go Pats!

Or the equally lovely Ashley from the Texans:

I could go on and on and on, but they’ve already done the hard work and assembled a multitude of images for each fine cheerleader, so check them out and then book your ticket for the Pro Bowl, because now it matters!

[Fan IQ]


Larry Fitzgerald Is Really Good at Football

Larry Fitzgerald is an awesome receiver for the Arizona Cardinals who is able to make circus catches look routine and who I always expect to come down with the ball when it is thrown his direction. It turns out, according to a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, that Fitzgerald had a couple of unique things as a kid that very likely directly lead to his success today.

As a boy growing up, Fitzgerald’s grandfather (left) owned and operated an optometry shop, and Larry used to spend summers there with his grandfather. Larry’s grandfather, Dr. Robert Johnson made sure that as a child Larry had “visual dominance” in order to help Larry initially at school. From first grade on, whenever he’d visit his grandfather in Chicago during the summers Johnson would have him stand on balance beams and wobbly boards while doing complicated hand-eye drills. Later the exercises were more tailored to athletics, for example, Johnson would hang a painted ball from the ceiling and have Fitzgerald hit the ball with a rolling pin that had corresponding colors.

This is only part of the reason why Fitzgerald, who isn’t the fastest or the strongest receiver on the field is usually the best one. One other major factor, according to Dr. Joan Vickers of the University of Calgary who studies the eye movements of elite hockey goaltenders, baseball hitters, and tennis and volleyball players by making them wear special goggles and having them perform their sports. It is her assumption that part of Fitzgerald’s success comes from what she terms “predictive control,” or the brain’s ability to gather information from the eyes and use it to predict what will happen next.

Elite athletes, such as Fitzgerald are able to make a snapshot of the moment the ball or puck is released, enabling them to gauge where and when the ball will be near them, often from just the moment the ball leaves the QB’s hands. Taking that conception of where the ball is supposed to travel, the elite athlete then matches it in his brain with the thousands of memories of other, similar moments and how the ball traveled and then are able to place themselves in position to properly catch the ball. According to her research, the best athletes are able to move to the position, even with their eyes closed. “It’s a very, very amazing cognitive skill,” she says. This helps explain why often, photographs of Fitzgerald grabbing a ball out of the air feature him with his eyes shut.

One other factor that has most likely indirectly led to Fitzgerald’s success is his time as a ball boy on the sidelines for the Minnesota Vikings. For 6 years as a teenager, Fitzgerald was able to see the NFL game up close and see star receivers like Cris Carter and Randy Moss react to passes which likely has filtered into his unconscious memory bank that helps him figure out where a pass will go.

“I don’t know how he makes those catches,” says Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, “but there’s no doubt Larry has an ability to catch a ball that is special.”



Vince Carter Sees Some Action

You may have heard something about a plane falling out of the sky yesterday and landing itself in the Hudson River, I overheard something about it somewhere I think. Who cares about what the news has to say about it though, I want to know what the New Jersey Nets’ Vince Carter thought about the whole situation, especially since he apparently saw the whole thing from his home overlooking the Hudson in scenic Weehauken, New Jersey.

“I was just sitting there, looking out the window,” Carter said. “I was just sitting in the bedroom. I thought it was watching TV. It landed like it was a movie. It hit like nose first, and you could (hear) the impact. I couldn’t believe it.”

So there you have it. That’s what happened.

[CBS Sports]

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January 2009