2018 NFL Week 4: More Crazy Action

2018 NFL Week 4: More Crazy Action

More unpredictability and zaniness as the NFL concludes its first quarter.

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Week 4 of the 2018 NFL season is in the past, and what a week it was. This season is hectic and unpredictable so far, and it may become even more so in the weeks to come. Although two teams (the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins) served their bye week, there was a plethora of noteworthy action from the 30 remaining teams who played this week. The NFL is shaping up to be different this year with new teams emerging at the forefront, even in the normally predictable AFC. Here are a few summaries of the most notable games from Week 4.

Houston Texans 37, Indianapolis Colts 34, OT

Quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck, both of whom returned from injuries last year, lit up the stat sheet with stellar passing performances in this divisional offensive spectacle. The game went to overtime, and Indianapolis head coach made a questionable decision to go for it on fourth down at their own 43 with 27 seconds left in the game, which they failed to convert. In the end, Houston prevailed after kicking a game-winning field goal. Both teams move to 1-3 on the season with the Texans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10, Chicago Bears 48

Whatever "FitzMagic" Ryan Fitzpatrick had diminished as Chicago steamrolled Tampa Bay en route to a blowout victory. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had a career day with 354 passing yards and six touchdowns as the Buccaneers had no answer for him and his bevy of offensive weapons. The Bucs put starting quarterback Jameis Winston in the game in the second half, but he could not get anything going and threw two interceptions. The Bucs drop to 2-2 while the Bears improve to 3-1.

Detroit Lions 24, Dallas Cowboys 26

After the two teams traded blows throughout the contest, the Lions were handed a heartbreaking loss in Dallas as Cowboys kicker Brett Maher kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired. Detroit looked solid offensively overall, but so did Dallas as their quarterback Dak Prescott picked up the slack and led his team to a victory with running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys move to 2-2, while the Lions regress to 1-3 as their margin of error grows thinner.

Cincinnati Bengals 37, Atlanta Falcons 36

Atlanta regained its peak offensive form from 2016, but the defense's weak spots shone through as injuries continue to ravage them. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green lifted Cincinnati to victory, scoring a game-winning touchdown at the last second. Another heartbreaking loss for the Falcons as they drop to 1-3, while the Bengals take the lead in the AFC North at 3-1 with a head-to-head tiebreaker over Baltimore.

Cleveland Browns 42, Oakland Raiders 45, OT

Perhaps the wildest game in a week full of wild games, the Raiders prevailed over the Browns after Cleveland squandered an eight-point lead to force overtime. Another offensive clash, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr played his best game in recent memory as the defense struggled. A field goal in overtime sealed the deal for Oakland as they improve to 1-3, while Cleveland regresses to 1-2-1.

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10 Reasons Cheerleading Is One Of The Hardest Sports In The U.S

The truth behind what actually goes into cheerleading and what us cheerleaders go through on a daily basis.
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"Cheerleading isn't a sport. No team that gets to prance around in a skirt all day could ever be considered a sport!"

"You cheerleaders do realize that you're not actually helping the football team win, right? Nobody needs you."

As someone who has consistently cheered for eight years, these are the comments that I hear from others when I openly talk about my sport and my life as an athlete. The lack of respect and recognition cheerleaders get on a daily basis is truly uncanny, and nothing breaks my heart more than meeting people who don't understand the amount of hard work, determination, commitment, money, blood, sweat, and tears that all comes along with being on a competitive cheer team.

For those of you who don't know very much about cheer and the nature of the sport, here are 10 reasons why it is considered to be one of the hardest sports in the U.S.

I believe that many will find these facts both shocking and interesting as they may want to reconsider the next time they think about ridiculing a cheerleader and planting the false ideas in their minds that what they do is in any way "not a sport."

1. You need extensive gymnastics and tumbling experience.

The majority of Cheer teams today require a certain level of tumbling ability.

Most High School Cheer teams require at least a back handspring to even be considered for a spot on the team. It is a very common thing for Gymnasts to go into Cheerleading since they can integrate lots of their Gymnastics experience into Cheer including their tumbling, jumps, and overall energy and precision.

Back handsprings, back tucks, and fulls can take years to master; sometimes even longer depending on when the athlete began.

2. Cheerleading has more reported injuries than any other sport.

You heard that right!

Not only is Cheerleading considered to be one of the hardest sports, but a recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that Cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for females due to the high risk of severe injuries including concussions, broken bones, permanent disabilities and paralyzation, and risk of injuries causing a shorter lifespan.

Believe me when I tell you that Cheerleading is most definitely not for the faint-hearted. Speaking from experience, nearly every practice consists of at least one person getting hurt in some shape or form. From a bloody nose, a sprained ankle, countless bruises, and black eyes, you can pretty much count on witnessing one of these injuries happening to you or one of your team-mates at some point or another.

These injuries generally happen while stunting. Bases more often than even the flyers are constantly experiencing injuries that simply don't happen nearly as often as any other sport.

Flyers, on the other hand, must deal with the risk of getting dropped on the ground (in which case most teams will make the entire team run countless miles if a flyer EVER touches the ground), getting caught and landing in extremely uncomfortable positions, or even head-butting their bases and or back spot.

Those who can recover from a fatal injury and return to Cheer with grace and integrity are the ones who sincerely deserve utmost admiration and respect among their peers. Many quit after getting hurt and realizing how dangerous of a sport cheer really is.

3. The time commitment is no joke.

Cheerleaders are supposedly considered to be what our day and age deem "popular," however, the fact of the matter is that if you are on a highly prestigious and competitive cheer team for all-star or even some High-school teams, you can practically say goodbye to any chance of a social life.

Most teams have practices at least five days a week and then have games and/or competitions on weekends. Practices generally last about two to as long as four hours, not to mention the countless hours spent at cheer camp in the summer.

4. It's a serious investment.


The cost of being on a competitive Cheer team averages out to be an outstanding balance of about $1,000 - $3,000.

This includes but is not limited to the cost of the season, the cost of competition, the cost of cheer uniforms, warm-up outfits, bows, jackets, Poms, and Cheer shoes.

Not to mention the cost of the trips to the different competitions and conferences in prestigious locations that include Disney World, Los Angeles, California, etc.

5. Competitions are simply indescribable.

You heard it here folks! Believe it or not, most Cheerleaders don't just cheer for basketball and football games as their only source of performance.

We live and breathe for our competitions and spend countless hours practicing for them to ensure a flawless routine. These events are judged extensively and even the smallest mistake made by one team-mate can bring the score of the entire team down.

These events are also very competitive in the sense that hundreds and sometimes thousands of teams nationwide come together with only one goal on their mind: take first place.

6. Strength, cardio, and conditioning are paramount.

Again you must believe me when I say that Cheer is not for the faint-hearted. I have been on about seven different competitive teams and not one of them failed to exclude the long and extraneous hours of conditioning.

This includes push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, running countless miles, etc. This prepares us for the incredible amount of endurance and cardio required for competition where we are expected to hit our jumps, dance motions, cheer, tumbling, and stunts full out and all in the three-to-seven-minute time limit.

All of this is done with immaculate facials, energy, and voice projection. imagine you are expected to run an eight-minute mile and as soon as you cross the finish line, you are then expected to yell a long cheer as loud as you can for an audience of hundreds to hear.

This is a similar feeling to those of us who are expected to run across the entire mat while avoiding hitting anyone in just a few seconds, throw perfectly timed tumbling passes, jumps, stunts, and all in such a short amount of time. There are no breaks while you are competing. One missed tumbling pass or failed stunt can result in the difference between first and last place during a competition.

It is essential to ensure that all team-mates are in tip-top shape physically before they even begin to create a routine for competition, this is also to prevent injuries.

7. Advanced stunts require insane amounts of skill to perform without serious injury.

Need I even say more? Cheerleaders perform stunts that require an extensive amount of time, patience, and overall teamwork. Although these stunts may LOOK easy, people have no idea the amount of strength and endurance these stunts actually take to make them appear this way.

Men are strongly encouraged to join cheer for this exact reason.

Often girls are not strong enough for certain stunts such as partner stunting. A flyer must learn to be perfectly balanced and tighten every muscle of their body for these types of stunts especially. A man must spend hours a day in the gym working on his upper body strength in order to be capable of tossing their flyer into their hands as high as they do.

One loose muscle or bend of the knee could leave that flyer flat on the ground.

Something that I found interesting in my experience in cheer was that a male cheerleader from CU Boulder stated:

"I initially joined cheer as a joke. I had wrestled all my life and I can honestly say that Cheerleading is by far the hardest sport that I have ever done. It is incredible how much upper body strength some of the stunts really do need. I now have cheered for over 7 years and I will never go back to anything else."

8. Dance experience overlaps all the time and is necessary at the elite level.

Although cheer dance isn't as rigorous and flexibility centered as your typical style of dance (hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, etc.) it does still require a natural dancing ability. Not everyone has the natural capability of maintaining both tight and solid motions while also integrating jumps and facials.

Cheerleaders often have full-length practices in which they critique every motion to ensure that everyone does every motion exactly the same. The team must be 100 percent uniform and synchronized to each count, and people are unaware nowadays just how long even this takes to perfect.

9. Out-of-this-world flexibility is common in a competitive cheerleader.

It's not enough to just have your splits anymore. Flyers must maintain a heel stretch, a scorpion, and immaculate balance on both right and left legs in order to perform one-legged stunts. This amount of flexibility simply doesn't happen overnight.

10. Dealing with the lack of respect is tough on anyone.

I think that all Cheerleaders can relate to this one. Although not all cheer teams are run exactly the same, one thing is still for certain. We all go through the countless hours of extraneous workouts and effort that goes into perfecting our routines and at the end of the day, we have nothing to show for it.

People in today's society don't even give us enough respect to even see us a sport, yet alone consider us as one of the hardest sports in the U.S. We have to deal with the stereotypes, the gossip, and the social standards that society puts on us and for some of us this is in addition to the drama and pressure that High School already inflicts upon us.

This is a lot of stress to put on young individuals who are still trying to find their identity and it just gets buried and spit on by those who don't even know the HALF of what we really do.

NFL Cheerleaders and the Cheerleaders you see on television don't help this image either. They are highly sexualized and give society a completely false image of what we actually stand for. This, my friends, ends today! Cheerleaders and others who do understand the vigor of the sport please share this article with your friends and help us let it be known how much time and effort really goes into everything that we do!

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Possible Landing Spots For Antonio Brown In 2019

The seven-time Pro Bowl wideout looks to be on his way out of Pittsburgh.

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According to several reports, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown requested a trade from his team of nine years after their 2018 season ended without a postseason berth. Brown thanked the Steelers fan base for their support and said it was "time to move on and forward" in a tweet in February. Ever since the reports came out, speculation has run rampant about his next possible landing spot. Brown has developed into one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, posting the most receptions and receiving yards of any player since he entered the league. There are several potential suitors for the veteran wideout.

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco has a wealth of cap space in the near future. Their tight end George Kittle seems to have reached out to Brown and has received an eye-raising response from him. In addition, Brown liked a Photoshop image of himself in a 49ers uniform and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice has stated that Brown wants to play for the team. San Francisco could use another dynamic offensive threat to complement Kittle and Brown certainly fits that bill.

Oakland Raiders

Another team with a significant amount of cap space, Oakland is in desperate need of playmakers after trading Amari Cooper. They are staring a steep rebuild directly in the face and could look to start it up by trading for Brown. The Raiders also have five first-round draft picks in the next two years, so they possess the capital necessary to execute such a trade.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers offense struggled last season without many viable receiving options besides Davante Adams. They could use a second weapon and possess two first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Playing with two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be tempting to Brown, and the Packers could be serious Super Bowl contenders if they acquire him.

Pittsburgh could keep Brown for the 2019 season and beyond, as he is signed through 2021, but it is clear that he wants out of the Steel City. He could end up on one of these teams sooner rather than later.

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