While television ratings for the NFL have been promising to kick off the season, the league has been under fire for its leniency toward players who have committed acts of violence off the field. Jon Stewart blasted the league on Wednesday night’s The Daily Show.
Tag: NFL (1-10 of 14)
Jimmy Kimmel brought in a gaggle of current and retired football players (and one Erin Andrews) Thursday night for a special NFL edition of “Mean Tweets,” just in time for the regular season to commence. From Michael Strahan’s infamous tooth gap to DeSean Jackson’s penchant for affordable mall-style clothing, Twitter does not leave any possible insult hanging. Below, watch Terrell Owens get called a piece of donkey excrement (in slightly less euphemistic terms) and more. READ FULL STORY
Tonight marks the start of the NFL season, and if you’re a fan, it’s been a long wait. But what if football season never had to end?
Out Thursday for iOS and Android, NFL Showdown is a new mobile game from social gaming company Zynga—a name you might be familiar with if you’ve ever devoted a large chunk of Facebook time to playing Farmville. It’s the studio’s first step in a new sports gaming initiative called Zynga Sports 365, and it doubles as the start of a potential comeback for the beleaguered company.
According to Mike Taramykin, Vice President of Zynga Sports 365, and Jason Shenkman, General Manager of NFL Showdown, the reason professional sports don’t dominate mobile gaming the way they do other forms of media isn’t because people aren’t trying. It’s because for the most part, mobile sports games have functioned as pared-down versions of an experience that’s available elsewhere—on gaming consoles, for example. NFL Showdown, then, is an entirely different approach—one that’s not necessarily predicated on the desire to play a football video game, but rather a general interest in the sport.
“We try to really back up and build something that speaks to NFL fans,” Tarmykin says. “People who follow football and understand it, who would love to play football games but aren’t necessarily gamers. And a lot of that is really related to how well we tie to the teams, the players, the structure of the NFL.”
NFL Showdown doesn’t look much like most sports games, and that’s the point. You don’t control players, make passes, or kick field goals—it’s a management simulator that you play with friends. The game compresses a full NFL season into 21 days—one day for each regular and post season week—with one game each day. Much like in Fantasy Football, you and your friends form a league, draft real players, and manage a roster. The emphasis is on the management: While games will happen and players can jump in and see them unfold live, it’s a pretty simple affair. The actual games are a sort of rock-paper-scissors contest based on the stats and strategy employed in between games, with no real input on the player’s end.
Again, this is by design. Zynga made a very conscious decision to make a game that can be squeezed into a commute or the checkout line at a grocery store: Go in, adjust your lineups, train some players, maybe make a trade, and get out. Users don’t even have to open the app for a while—their teams will be on autopilot, and the season will continue on. Granted, it’s probably wise to check in every now and then, lest the football players get worn out or injured, but the game is designed with casual play in mind.
It’s a very Farmville approach to sports. (Like most social games, it’s free to play, but you can purchase things like energy to speed up the process.) But it’s one that’s likely to work, given that the framework within is informed by the very popular meta-game that is Fantasy Football (something that the game acknowledges, since players get stat bonuses if they score points in Fantasy Football). But unlike Fantasy Football, the season doesn’t ever have to end—once users reach the Super Bowl at the end of the month, they can start another season right away.
NFL Showdown is now available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play.
With a new season of football on the horizon, a new version of Madden NFL Football comes to video game consoles everywhere—just as it was in the beginning.
To celebrate this week’s release of the 2015 edition, Kevin Hart and Dave “I’m the Better” Franco star in what might possibly be the greatest or worst video game commercial ever made. You kind of have to judge for yourself.
Former social gaming giant Zynga is going for the ol’ Hail Mary: The company announced Thursday that they’ve struck deals with the NFL and pro golfer Tiger Woods to develop a series of sports games for mobile devices.
While new sports games for mobile phones aren’t much to get excited about, the fact that Zynga has locked down an NFL licensing deal is an interesting development in the company’s years-long struggle to pull itself from the brink of disaster.
USA Today reports that the deals came just as Zynga shares dropped 7 percent in after-hours trading when the company’s second-quarter earnings failed to meet expectations.
For a brief period of time, Zynga was inescapable. If you had a Facebook account and any number of friends, chances are that between posting photos and commenting on statuses, you had a farm to run. FarmVille was Zynga’s magnum opus, the amusement that perfected the company’s addictive Facebook-game formula of giving players Pavlovian diversions while encouraging them to spam friends and pay small amounts of money in order to advance more quickly. Within days of its 2009 launch, FarmVille had 32 million people playing every day. It would eventually spawn a sequel.
But in December 2011 Zynga went public, and its troubles began. Seven months later, the company’s stock crashed, serving as a reminder of the truth behind that old cliche about keeping all of your eggs in one basket. Ironically, the company had taken steps to distance itself from that basket—Facebook—just one month prior.
Although Zynga hired Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft’s entertainment division, to help turn the company around last year, Zynga still lacks another bona fide, Candy Crush-level hit.
The company’s Tiger Woods golf game will launch in 2015. The first football game, NFL Showdown, a management sim, is “coming soon.“
On Wednesday night, Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams—who made history earlier this year when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL—received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPYs. Sam delivered a heartfelt speech about having courage in yourself. READ FULL STORY
For several years now, some Native-American groups have protested the nickname of one of the NFL’s signature franchises: the Washington Redskins. The Kansas City Chiefs, apparently, are acceptable, but Redskins, to many Native-Americans, is a derogatory term. It’s also been the name of the Washington football franchise since 1937 and, thus, is a billion-dollar brand for the league.
Before the Super Bowl earlier this year, the National Congress of American Indians posted a video online, titled “Proud to Be,” urging the league to change Washington’s nickname. On Tuesday night, during halftime of ABC’s telecast of the NBA Finals, an abbreviated version of the two-minute clip aired in seven major markets. Watch it below. READ FULL STORY
Michael Sam’s reaction to being drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday has pretty much got to be the best reaction ever in the history of the NFL Draft.
For starters, the selection made history: Sam is the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team. And secondly, the video of Sam receiving the news is a multiple-tissues-worthy expression of happiness and love as he and his boyfriend weep, hold each other, and kiss. Take a look:
Sam was the 249th overall pick in the draft. He was named Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year in the final year of his career at University of Missouri.
President Obama extended his congratulations to Sam, sending this statement through the White House: “From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”
Twitter is also pretty excited to see Sam enter the NFL:
Radio City Music Hall chanting, “Michael Sam! Michael Sam! Michael Sam!”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 10, 2014
Congrats, Michael Sam. Congrats, Rams. And apologies to picks 250-256 but I miiiiiight call it a day. — Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) May 10, 2014
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) May 10, 2014
Congratulations to Michael Sam. It’s a victory for LOVE. — John Legend (@johnlegend) May 10, 2014
The NFL is television’s unchallenged goliath, setting new viewing records last season that helped the league generate approximately $10 billion. But one businessman sees trouble on the horizon. Outspoken billionaire NBA owner Mark Cuban (Shark Tank) predicted an NFL “implosion” in the next decade, pointing to overexposure, as well as the sport’s health and safety concerns, as a recipe for disaster. “They’re trying to take over every night of TV,” Cuban told ESPN, while discussing the league’s recent deal with CBS to air Thursday-night games on free TV. “Initially, it’ll be, ‘Yeah, they’re the biggest-rating thing that there is.’ Okay, Thursday, that’s great… Then if [the NFL] gets Saturday, now you’re impacting colleges. Now it’s on four days a week. It’s all football. At some point, the people get sick of it.”
In a followup Facebook post, Cuban played out the NFL’s hypothetical takeover of prime time and asked, “Will we see a Who Wants to be a Millionaire effect?” referring to that show’s law-of-diminishing-returns demise after it became a daily fixture.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Barack Obama will take his second oath of office. Find out what else is on our pop culture radar this week below!
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