THE BATTLE FOR LA

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BY STEVE BRENNER

An NFL battle is raging off the pitch which could trump anything unleashed on it.

Ever since Los Angeles – the second biggest media market in the United States behind New York – lost the Rams and the Raiders to St Louis and Oakland respectively in 1995, there has been endless , and fruitless , chat about both returning.

Crumbling stadiums and dwindling support sent the franchises packing in the first place.

Yet, 20 years on and with the debate refusing to wilt, finally, there are tangible , realistic options which have enough weight to convince commissioner Roger Goodell , who wants League revenue up from $12 billion to $20 billion , now is the time.

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WELTER THROWS WEIGHT BEHIND GENDER BATTLE

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BY STEVE BRENNER

The NFL continues to inhabit a parallel universe which never fails to surprise.

While the news of Tom Brady and the incredible coincidence that his phone , the one with all those text messages on about deflating balls, was somehow destroyed, a development was underway in Arizona which could alter sport forever.

In a rare good news story for an organization which becomes more embattled by the week, Jen Welter, a former tennis prodigy with a PhD in psychology, became the first female to be appointed by an NFL team.

Forward thinking Cardinals coach Bruce Arians  had no hesitation about installing her as an assistant linebackers coach. After all, he has three assistant coaches who are 70 years-old. The pass rush specialist, Tom Pratt, turned 80 this summer. His mantra is simple : If a person, no matter of age or gender, can make one of his players better, they will get a chance.

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A DEBUT BUT NOTHING MORE

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FROM STEVE BRENNER AT YANKEE STADIUM

 

It will go down as the most drawn out debut in history.

Frank Lampard , a player so good he needed two introductory press conferences, finally made his MLS bow for New York City last night , over 12 months since the former England midfielder was unveiled as the club’s poster boy.

He was thrown into the fray on 70 minutes with his new side 2-1 down yet invigorated after fellow star arrival David Villa provided a lifeline for NYCFC from the penalty spot.

The defensive deficiencies  however of his new team-mates ensured Lampard’s delayed playing bow here resulted in the kind of high octane, head scratching defeat which characterizes soccer on this side of the pond.

Oh well, at least he was finally on the pitch in New York at the end of a year long wait to see him perform.

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