Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Packers vs. Bears: The NFL's Oldest Rivalry County by County

August 04, 2015

Office trash talk is starting to pick up. Your favorite team’s t-shirt has been dug out of the depths of your closet, and you’ve recently found yourself in a heated debate about whether this is the season Jay Cutler lives up to his full potential (probably not, but we can dream, right?). That can only mean one thing: it’s football time.

With NFL season nearly upon us (41 days until the first game at the time of publication, but who’s counting?), it’s time to see where everyone’s loyalties truly lie. Sure, we could run with the assumption that everyone from Cook County pledges allegiance to Da Bears, or that Milwaukeeans are all loyal to the Packers. But we know better than that.

Instead, Digital Third Coast has built a way to collect real-time data from user-generated submissions. Using a simple Google Form, they're asking users to choose their state, county, and their favorite team. That way, we can use real, recent data to generate an interactive showing where the football fans really are. The more people that answer our three simple questions, the more data we can generate. As the map updates every ten minutes, we'll see a more accurate picture of how fandom breaks down in the region’s counties.

With your help, we’ll answer some of the most pressing questions about being an NFL fan in the Midwest. For example, are Cook County residents really as loyal to the Bears as we think? Or does Chicago’s reputation as a popular city for other Midwesterners to move to dilute the fanbase? Will counties on the border of Wisconsin and Illinois choose to cheer on the Bears or the Packers? Is there a surprise contingent of Rams fans somewhere in southern Illinois? Does anyone ACTUALLY like the Colts? The world needs to know.

No matter which team’s jersey you don on Sundays, you deserve to know whether you’re surrounded by likeminded fans or whether it’s better to watch the game alone in your basement, safe from rival fans. Where does your county fall in the NFL border wars?

Digital Map provided by Digital Third Coast

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Splash for the Cash: Floyd Mayweather Wins $200K on Warriors

May 23, 2015

Ever hear the term, "the rich get richer?" Floyd "Money" Mayweather is a perfect example. As if Floyd didn't make enough money off his fight with Manny Pacquiao, the champ just cashed a $200,000 ticket on the Golden State Warriors this evening. Mayweather posted the winning ticket via his twitter account, boasting "$200,000 in 48 minutes."

The Warriors were +1 underdogs in Las Vegas tonight, but Floyd didn't bother with the lousy point, he took the Warriors at EVEN money for $200K. The Warriors dismantled the Rockets 115-80 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Final.

Mayweather will collect a total of $400,000 when he cashes his ticket. Which, sadly, is not a whole lot of money to Floyd. Still, $200,000 in 48 minutes is a pretty nice payoff. The rich get richer.

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Breaking: Tom Brady Suspended 4 Games, Patriots Lose Draft Picks

May 11, 2015
Brady's busted....

Breaking news out of the NFL and the never-ending "deflategate" controversy. Tom Brady has been busted. Adam Schefter is reporting that the NFL will suspend the Patriots QB for four games for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the league. The New England Patriots will be fined $1 million, and lose their 2016 1st-round draft pick, as well as a 4th-round selection in 2017. 

The NFL released the following statement and Troy Vincent also sent a letter to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady:

"The New England Patriots were notified today of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season:

For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited. The club may not trade or otherwise encumber these selections.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally have been indefinitely suspended without pay by the club, effective on May 6th. Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior approval of NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. If they are reinstated by the Patriots, Jastremski is prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season. McNally is barred from serving as a locker room attendant for the game officials, or having any involvement with the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs or any other equipment on game day.

Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.

Commissioner Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, pursuant to the commissioner’s disciplinary authority under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

“We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”

Following are excerpts from Troy Vincent’s letters to the Patriots and Tom Brady:

From Troy Vincent’s letter to the Patriots:

“On May 6th, independent investigator Ted Wells issued his report regarding the footballs used by the Patriots in this year’s AFC Championship Game. That report established that the footballs used by the Patriots were inflated at a level that did not satisfy the standard set forth in the NFL’s Official Playing Rules and that the condition of the footballs was the result of deliberate actions by employees of the Patriots. The activities of the Patriots’ employees were thoroughly documented in the report, including through a series of text messages and telephone communications, as well as evidence of a breach in pre-game protocol. In addition, the conclusions were supported by extensive scientific analysis, as detailed in the report.

“Based on the extensive record developed in the investigation and detailed in the Wells report, and after full consideration of this matter by the Commissioner and the Football Operations department, we have determined that the Patriots have violated the NFL's Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules, as well as the Official Playing Rules and the established guidelines for the preparation of game footballs set forth in the NFL’s Game Operations Policy Manual for Member Clubs. In making this determination, we have accepted the findings contained in the comprehensive report independently prepared by Mr. Wells and his colleagues.

“In determining that a violation occurred, we applied the standard of proof stated in the Integrity of the Game Policy: namely, preponderance of the evidence, meaning that ‘as a whole, the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not.’ This is a well-recognized legal standard, which is applied in courts and workplaces every day throughout the country. The evidence gathered during the investigation and reviewed in the report more than satisfy this standard and demonstrate an ongoing plan by at least certain Patriots’ employees to deflate footballs, to do so in a secretive manner after the game officials have certified the footballs as suitable for play, and to hide these activities even from their own supervisors.

“As you know, we regard violations of competitive rules as significant and deserving of a strong sanction, both to punish the actual violation and to deter misconduct in the future. In this case, the footballs were intentionally deflated in an effort to provide a competitive advantage to Tom Brady after having been certified by the game officials as being in compliance with the playing rules. While we cannot be certain when the activity began, the evidence suggests that January 18th was not the first and only occasion when this occurred, particularly in light of the evidence referring to deflation of footballs going back to before the beginning of the 2014 season.

“It is impossible to determine whether this activity had an effect on the outcome of games or what that effect was. There seems little question that the outcome of the AFC Championship Game was not affected. But this has never been a significant factor in assessing discipline. There are many factors which affect the outcome of a game. It is an inherently speculative exercise to try to assign specific weight to any one factor. The key consideration in any case like this is that the playing rules exist for a reason, and all clubs are entitled to expect that the playing rules will be followed by participating teams. Violations that diminish the league's reputation for integrity and fair play cannot be excused simply because the precise impact on the final score cannot be determined.

“Here, there are several factors that merit strong consideration in assessing discipline. The first is the club’s prior record. In 2007 the club and several individuals were sanctioned for videotaping signals of opposing defensive coaches in violation of the Constitution and Bylaws. Under the Integrity of the Game Policy, this prior violation of competitive rules was properly considered in determining the discipline in this case.

“Another important consideration identified in the Policy is ‘the extent to which the club and relevant individuals cooperated with the investigation.’ The Wells report identifies two significant failures in this respect. The first involves the refusal by the club’s attorneys to make Mr. McNally available for an additional interview, despite numerous requests by Mr. Wells and a cautionary note in writing of the club’s obligation to cooperate in the investigation. The second was the failure of Tom Brady to produce any electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information. Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady’s refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

“Finally, it is significant that key witnesses – Mr. Brady, Mr. Jastremski, and Mr. McNally - were not fully candid during the investigation.

“In accepting the findings of the report, we note that the report identified no evidence of wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of any member of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Bill Belichick, or by any Patriots’ staff member other than Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally, including head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld. Similarly, the Wells report is clear that Patriots ownership and executives did not participate in any way in the misconduct, or have knowledge of the misconduct.

“Nonetheless, it remains a fundamental principle that the club is responsible for the actions of club employees. This principle has been applied to many prior cases. Thus, while no discipline should or will be imposed personally on any owner or executive at the Patriots, discipline is appropriately imposed on the club.”

From Troy Vincent’s letter to Tom Brady:

“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.

“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.” 

I know things like this take time, but it still worked out in the Patriots favor...they should have lost a draft pick in this year's draft as well. What do you guys think? Punishment too harsh? Will Brady appeal? 

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

You Can Gamble on Will Ferrell's Cactus League Stunt...No Seriously

March 11, 2015

Well, this should be interesting if you're a baseball fan. If you haven't heard by now, actor and comedian Will Ferrell is going to attempt to play professional baseball. Yes, it's only spring training, and it is being sponsored by the MLB and HBO to raise awareness about cancer, but the long time comedian is going to attempt to play all nine positions! 

Playing all nine positions seems hard enough, but Ferrell will attempt to do it at various Cactus League games throughout the day. Shockingly enough, you can actually gamble on Will Ferrell's stunt thanks to the sick maniacs over at Sportsbook

You have to be a real degenerate to bet on Cactus League games, but an even bigger degenerate if you put some beer money down on Ferrell's performance. On that note, whatcha got?

Here's a peek at what odds are being offered for Ferrell's major league stunt (via Sportsbook):

Surrenders a Home Run 2-5

Gets a Base Hit 3-1

Gets Hit by Pitch 5-2

Strikes Out a Batter 10-1

Gets a Homerun (excludes in the park HR) 100-1

Gets a Stolen Base 50-1

Will Ferrell Total Errors

0 Errors Committed 20-1

1 Errors Committed 5-1

2 Errors Committed 7-2

3 Errors Committed 9-2

4 Errors Committed 6-1

5 Errors Committed 8-1

6 Errors Committed 12-1

7 Errors Committed 15-1

8 Errors Committed 20-1

9+ Errors Committed 10-1

No matter what happens, I'm sure there will be some shenanigans from Will...let us not forget his appearance with the Round Rock Express Baseball Club.

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Rapid Reaction: Derrick Rose Suffers Torn Meniscus, Season in Doubt

February 24, 2015
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

In what seems like a reoccurring nightmare, Derrick Rose is more than likely out for the season after suffering a medial meniscus tear in his right knee....AGAIN. Rose has now torn his right knee twice, not to mention a torn ACL on his left. Three season-ending injuries in three consecutive seasons for the former MVP. 

There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding this injury, as the Bulls nor Derrick seem to know when it happened. Also, Bulls beat writer K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune says that the severity of the injury is unknown, stating that the injury "could be like Westbrook's." 

For those that don't know, Thunder star Russell Westbrook suffered the same injury and underwent 3 surgical procedures before returning to the court in about 2 months. Westbrook didn't tear his ACL and meniscus prior to that injury like Derrick did, so don't hold out hope that Derrick is returning anytime soon, I'm more than positive his season is now OVER.

As a lifelong Bulls fan, this is probably the most disheartening injury of all-time. When Derrick went down with that torn ACL the first time, Chicago was devastated. But the future was still bright and Derrick was still a young kid. "The Return" is what they dubbed it, and Bulls fans just figured it was just another bump in the road in the post-Jordan era.

A full season went by without Derrick on the court, but the resilient Bulls advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals without him. 

Rose returned the following year, boasting that he was going to be more explosive than he ever was. He also bragged that he actually increased his vertical by 5 inches. 

Then Derrick went down on a cold November night in Portland early in the 2013-14 season, crushing the hopes and dreams of Bulls fans nationwide...I shouldn't say he went down, because it was an odd-looking injury the second time around. Same terrible news, just a different type of injury. Once again, Chicago's star player was out for the season. Doubt started to settle in and fans and experts alike started to wonder if Derrick's body could handle his quickness. 

So, the city of Chicago patiently waited for their hometown hero to "return" a second time while the internet had their laughs and memes at the expense of Derrick and Chicago's misery. 

The 2014-15 season started with Derrick missing eight of the team's first 13 games. He dealt with some early season soreness and had some quiet games, not to mention some questionable comments, but each and every night he seemed to get a little bit of his old self back. Derrick was averaging 32.9 minutes per game in the month of February and played more than 40 minutes in three of the last eleven games. Derrick was averaging 18.2 points per game and 5 assists.

Those stats aren't eye-popping by any means, but for a guy who missed basically two full seasons, you can say those are respectable numbers, and the minutes played shows he was just starting to feel comfortable. But now the Bulls have to prepare for another playoff push without their star, and I'm worried this situation is starting to take a mental toll on some of the other players, specifically Joakim Noah.

Like I mentioned earlier, Derrick and the Bulls say they don't know when the injury happened, but I suspect it was the other night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Rose shot 1-13 in 33 minutes of action and had no lift on his shot. Take a look at the vine below. Doesn't look right to me.

There was a huge reaction to the news as plenty of NBA stars took to their twitter to voice their concerns and prayers. 

Side note: LeBron said he felt bad for D-Rose...then waited approximately 14 minutes to twist the knife even further in Bulls fans hearts with this tweet with an instagram picture attached. Really LeBron? This couldn't have waited until tomorrow? 14 minutes after "feeling bad" he boasts about surpassing one of the Bulls' all-time greats? Congrats on the milestone sir, but my god....this could have waited a couple of hours.

Ok, back to Derrick. The Chicago Bulls have not given a timetable for his return, and have not announced when he will have surgery although I'm sure the procedure will happen within the next week. 

Although there is no timetable given, I'm going to assume Derrick is DONE for the remainder of the season. I'd be shocked if he was back on the court this season, no matter how far the Bulls go.

We can also start questioning Derrick's career as a basketball player. Three season-ending injuries in such a short period of time would be devastating on anybody, I don't care who you are. To be optimistic, Derrick is only 26, and will turn 27 right before the start of next season, so there is still hope, but we are nearing Brandon Roy status now. It's just so tragic and aggravating. 

And now Bulls fans will have to suffer through the D-Rose internet jokes and memes for another season....

Prayers and thoughts to Derrick Rose during this tough time. I can only imagine the emotions running through his blood right now. See Red.

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Not Again! Josh Gordon Fails Drug Test; Suspension Looming

January 25, 2015

Here we go again, Browns star receiver Josh Gordon has failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year suspension. Adam Schefter broke the news via his twitter, and said he will elaborate on the story on ESPN at 6pm.

Now, I know most are probably like "c'mon Josh, just put the weed down!" But it wasn't marijuana that showed up in his test, Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol. A source close to PFT's Mike Florio says that the suspension looks to be a "done deal."

I know Josh has been given multiple chances, but isn't a 1-year ban for alcohol (which is legal), a little harsh? I understand he has been suspended multiple times and this was probably a stipulation of his reinstatement, but a whole season wasted because of booze? Really?

If Ray Rice can pummel his wife on video and only be suspended for a few games, Josh drinking alcohol shouldn't result in a season-long ban. It's just too harsh in my opinion. I get it, Gordon should just keep clean, stay home, and avoid trouble. But come on. He's 23 years old, he's still a kid who is going to make mistakes. Drinking alcohol shouldn't be this serious. Neither should marijuana in my opinion but that's for another day.

Let's hope Josh can straighten his life out and just stay sober so he can grace us with his talent on Sunday's. Gordon is a superb athlete, and he's proven he can be a top wide out in the NFL when he suits up every week. I'm not sure the Browns will continue to give him a pass, they will most likely part ways with him. But some team out there will be willing to wait a year for his services. Like I said, he's only 23 years old. Let's hope he stays cleans and can resume his career soon. 

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Iggy's NFL Conference Championship Betting Selections

January 18, 2015

It's that time again. The NFL is down to four teams, the Packers and Seahawks representing the NFC, and the Colts and Patriots representing the AFC. Let's take a look at the odds on these games, pubic opinion, the bookmakers opinion, and then my own.

With so much on the line, you would think these games will come down to the wire, and they just might, but Vegas has pegged both home teams as touchdown favorites. The Seahawks are actually a tad higher, currently 7.5-point favorites, with some books as high as -8 now. On the AFC side, bookies are to no surprise giving Brady and the home team the edge, Pats opened as 7-point favorites, but most shops are now dealing with the Patriots -6.5.

The money is split right down the middle in regards to the Packers, Seahawks game. Bettors are torn, and books will be happy to collect the juice. Packers moneyline is a popular bet, some bettors obviously like the value with Aaron Rodgers, and the over of 46 is also a heavy public bet. 

At 7.5, I believe the books are enticing Packers action. The Seahawks are just that damn good at home, and the books are giving the Packers little to no chance of winning this game. And I think they're right. This Seahawks defense has been truly amazing as of late, and if Rodgers' calf acts up at all in this game, consider the Packers dust in the brisk Seattle breeze.

Rodgers is not the same quarterback when facing elite defenses, in fact, Rodgers faced the top five scoring defenses on the road three times this year (Week 1 vs Seattle, Week 3 at Detroit and Week 15 at Buffalo) and averaged just 179 yards, combining for his three worst quarterback ratings of the season. I expect the same type of result here. What will change? Nothing, because nothing is stopping the Seahawks from reaching the Super Bowl. Seahawks 28 Packers 17.


Seahawks -7.5 (-110)

Packers-Seahawks Under 47 (-120)

6-point Teaser: Seahawks -1.5/Under 53 (-120)

In the other conference championship, almost everyone has given Tom Brady and the Patriots their ticket to the big game in advance. Bill Belichick and the Patriots OWN Andrew Luck. In three career meetings, Luck is 0-3, and the Patriots have outscored the Colts 144-66, winning each contest by 21+ points. The Colts haven't beaten the Patriots since Nov. 15th, 2009.

The line on this game opened at Patriots -7, and Patriots money has seem to come in at a steady pace. Despite public opinion, the bookies have decided to move this line off the key number of 7, and we are now dealing with Patriots -6.5. This has caught my attention, I find it peculiar that the books would move off 7 here knowing Patriots money will continue to flow in. 

I'm not saying the Patriots don't win this game, but it's hard to embarrass the same quarterback four times. Luck and the Colts deserve to be where they are, and they looked damn impressive against Peyton and the Broncos last week. The Patriots run game has been non-existent, so I envision a back-and-forth type of game, both QB's slinging it, with the Patriots pulling out a late victory. Give me the Colts and the points, as well as the over. Patriots 31 Colts 27.


Colts +7 (-115)

Over 53.5 (-110)

7-point Teaser: Colts +14/Over 46.5 (-130)

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Video: 49ers New Head Coach Jim Tomsula Bombs Interview

January 16, 2015

New 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula had a one-on-one interview with CSN Bay Area earlier today to discuss the direction of the team, his schemes, and plans for the upcoming season. If I'm a 49ers fan, I'd probably be a little weary at this point. Tomsula just doesn't sound like a professional head coach, he sounds like a mumbling fool. Honestly, this could have been like a Will Ferrell skit.

Maybe Tomsula just doesn't do well in front of the camera, or maybe he didn't prepare for the interview, but holy hell this is by far one of the strangest interviews I've seen. It was awkward. He mumbled a lot. There was silence. This interview had it all. Props to the CSN host for trying to keep the conversation moving, but Tomsula just couldn't grasp the interview.

The host asked if Tomsula is excited to get a top-flight defensive coordinator and a chance to win with him. 

Tomsula replies, "I mean that'd be fair to say."

Host: "Ok, so you will probably look more in that direction then?"

Tomsula: "I wouldn't say that."

Host: "Alrighty, you wouldn't say that?"

Tomsula: "I would not say that, I wouldn't say it either."

Wait, what?!?!?

CSN then asked Tomsula if he was campaigning for the head coaching job before it was available. Tomsula goes, "That's absolutely ludicroust." (This is not a typo. He clearly said "ludicroust.)

Tomsula was also asked as new head coach what his first order of business. Tomsula asks the host, "yesterday, today, or...?" Hahahaha, I was in tears. This guy is a riot, I can only imagine how the head coaching interview went. Don't quit your day job, Jim. Good luck in 2015, Niners fans. 

[Video courtesy of CSN Bay Area]

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Written by: WindyCity iGGY

Let the Bidding Begin: The Brooklyn Nets are for Sale

January 13, 2015

Well, that didn't last long. After purchasing the Nets just a few years ago, building a new arena, and relocating them from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has decided to cut his losses and sell the Brooklyn Nets. 

Per a Bloomberg News report, Prokhorov has retained Evercore Partners to sell the team he bought back in 2010. The Russian mogul, who once ran against Vladimir Putin for President, owns 80% of the team, and 45% of the Barclays Center. Prokhorov paid roughly $220 million for his majority stake in the team, and ESPN is reporting that the franchise lost $144 million last season.

Some financial experts say the Barclays Center is worth more than the actual team, and the arena is set to house the New York Islanders starting next season. So don't expect Prokhorov to give up his 45% stake in that investment, he should see a return at some point. However, the first foreign owner of an NBA team, will go down in history as a big disappointment and a huge failure in terms of success on the court.

Last year, Forbes reported the Nets were wroth around $780 million, fifth-highest in the NBA. Financial experts are now predicting the sale will fetch much more than $780 million, possibly eclipsing the $2 billion that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Nets become the second NBA franchise in the past month to be put on the market. Brooklyn joins the Atlanta Hawks, whose owners put the team and the operating rights to Philips Arena up for sale on January 8th.

This is probably a good move for the actual basketball team moving forward. Whatever Prokhorov's vision was, it has failed miserably. The Nets own the highest payroll in the NBA at $91 million, and they are a lousy 16-22 with a couple aging stars and no improvement in sight. 

Some change is definitely needed in Brooklyn. Money certainly can buy you lots of nice things, but money doesn't guarantee you an NBA championship without leadership and a team willing to sacrifice what it takes to be successful. Good luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Prokhorov.

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2014 Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: Football and Bitcoins Collide!

December 26, 2014

Tonight, history will be made in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Central Florida Knights square off against the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the first ever Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. With all due respect to these two teams, It won't be historic because of the matchup, but because of the new bowl sponsor...Bitcoin!

I won't be shocked if some don't know what exactly Bitcoin is, which is basically digital money, called cryptocurrency, but before I explain that, let's look at the history of this bowl game. 

This bowl dates back to 2008, and is played in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The inaugural game featured the South Florida Bulls and Memphis Tigers, with the Bulls being victorious 41-14. It was played on December 20th, 2008, and it was known as the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl. Yea....magicJack, remember that thing? 

Then the sponsor changed in 2009, and it was called the St. Petersburg Bowl Presented by Beef 'O' Brady's after the restaurant chain obtained a title sponsorship. I'll be honest...never heard of Beef 'O' Brady's, nor have I ever eaten at a Beef 'O' Brady's in my life, have you? This bowl game featured yet another Florida school in Central Florida who faced Rutgers. Rutgers rolled 45-24.

In 2010, the Louisville Cardinals defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 31-28 after falling behind 21-7. In 2011, Florida International lost to Marshall in a boring 20-10 game. 2012 brought the Central Florida Knights back to St. Petersburg a second time, where they steamrolled Ball State 38-17. East Carolina defeated Ohio 37-20 in the last ever Beef 'O' Brady's bowl.

Thankfully, both those sponsors have now been replaced by something innovative and certainly much more intriguing than magicJack or Beef 'O' Brady's. Bitcoin! On June 18th, 2014, it was announced that Bitcoin payment service provider BitPay would become the new sponsor of the bowl game. 

BitPay co-founder, Tony Gallippi, wants to spread his message that digital currency is as easy to use as cash and safer than a credit card. So he put his bitcoin where his mouth is this summer when he paid ESPN for a college football bowl game sponsorship in bitcoin.

"Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and sponsoring the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity," said Gallippi, "College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic - tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40."

For those still living in a world of only government-issued paper money, Bitcoin is cryptocurrency and it's been around for roughly half a decade now. Bitcoin will be accepted for ticket and concession sales at the game as part of the sponsorship. Word is, Tropicana Field will continue to accept Bitcoin as payment for it's ticket sales and concessions beyond the bowl game, opening up the door for more sports teams to implement Bitcoin in their financial strategy. 

Back in January, I wrote a piece about the Sacramento Kings becoming the first ever pro team to embrace and start accepting Bitcoin for ticket sales and merchandise sales via their website. Funny enough, BitPay had their hands in that deal as well, so it looks like Bitcoin is sort of taking the sports world by storm, as teams and corporations realize it's potential.

For those who are curious, cryptocurrency is 100% legal in all countries except for Iceland. Bitcoin is actually considered property by the IRS, so feel free to get involved, there is nothing illegal or criminal about it! Bitcoin and all digital currencies are decentralized, the total opposite of what most of the world uses, which is based on a centralized system.

All transactions via Bitcoin are publicly recorded on a ledger, which is called the block chain. You can view the funds you sent to someone, or vice versa, and so could anyone else in the world. It's not secretive or shady, it's actually quite transparent without personal details having to be involved.

Some might be wondering, well how do I obtain Bitcoin, or where do I store them? You can obtain Bitcoin in all types of different ways, but the most common and safe way, is to buy them from a seller via an exchange or face-to-face transactions which can be done on sites like LocalBitcoins. There's even some Bitcoin ATM's out there believe it or not. And you store your bitcoins in your digital wallet, which is encrypted by a password and shows your recent transactions and current balance, just like you do with your online banking. 

Oh, there's a bowl game to talk about, sorry sometimes I get carried away when talking about Bitcoin, it excites me! I hope that helps explain it in a nutshell for the rookies out there, please do some further research, I felt overwhelmed when I first ventured into cryptocurrency, but now I'm hooked. You will be too.

Central Florida finished the regular season with 9 wins and a share of the American Athletic Conference title, thanks to a last minute hail mary against East Carolina. Central Florida is seeking it's fourth consecutive bowl win, and this is their third time taking the trip to St. Petersburg.

North Carolina State returns to bowl season after a forgettable 3-9 season in 2013. They finished 2014 with a much more respectable 7-5 record, and gave Florida State a real scare back in September. The Wolfpack's success in this game will be decided by their quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who owns a 22-to-5 touchdown-to-interception and has ran for 498 yards and three scores. Their ground game can be deadly as well, but they will certainly be tested against this stout Central Florida defense.

Central Florida's defense is quietly one of the best in the nation, as they boast the fifth-best rushing defense, and are allowing a respectable 17.9 points per game. However, it won't be an easy task against a Wolfpack squad that has torched their last two opponents, by a total of 77-20. Central Florida's defense must hold up in this game, or NC State's offense will take a lead, and force Knights QB Justin Holman out of his element.

The Knights rely on their defense and their ground game to be successful. Justin Homan isn't a terrible QB by any means, it's just this isn't 2013, he's no Blake Bortles. He can and will be inconsistent in this game if he's forced to play catch up. And I think that may happen in this game. I could be dead wrong, and the Knights defense punishes the Wolfpack with no mercy while coasting to an easy Bitcoin Bowl win, but I just don't see it panning out that way.

So my selection for the very first Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will be on the Wolfpack plus the points.

North Carolina State +2.5 (-110)

And in honor of it being the Bitcoin Bowl, I will be placing the wager in Bitcoins! Yes, you can wager on sports with Bitcoin as well. The current price for 1 Bitcoin is $321. So I'm wagering 1.0 BTC on NC State +2.5. 

It's just an awesome concept, and I truly hope this football game will shed some more light on Bitcoin, and broaden the scope outside of the demographic of "18-40 tech-savvy males." Although that stereotype is probably spot on at the moment, Bitcoin is and will be bigger than that in my opinion. And hopefully tonight's game will prove that.

For those interested, you can open up a Bitcoin wallet here, that link will offer you every known Bitcoin wallet out there, but I personally use MultiBit. Feel free to use the one you feel most comfortable with!

Follow me on twitter @windycityiggy. I will be live tweeting the Bitcoin Bowl, and discussing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies!

For those kind enough and/or just simply in the holiday spirit, you can send me Bitcoin to the following address: 


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