Sapp, Strahan among Hall of Fame finalists

Updated 12 January 2013
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Sapp, Strahan among Hall of Fame finalists

CANTON, Ohio: Defensive stars Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan are among the finalists announced on Friday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Sapp and Strahan are among four players eligible for the first time, along with Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden.
Eleven more candidates are eligible from the “modern era” along with two senior nominees.
All 17 will be considered for election when the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee meets on February 2 in New Orleans, on the eve of the Super Bowl.
Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle in a 13-year NFL career with Tampa Bay and Oakland from 1995-2007, helping the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl title in 2002.
Strahan played 15 seasons at defensive end with the New York Giants from 1993-2007 and went out as a Super Bowl champion, helping his team to a 17-14 win over previously undefeated New England in the title game.
The other modern-era finalists are wide receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed, running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end/linebackers Kevin Greene and Charles Haley, guard Will Shields, corner back Aeneas Williams, coach Bill Parcells and owners Art Modell and Eddie DeBartolo jnr. Defensive tackle Curley Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson are the senior nominees.

 


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 21 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #WengerOut believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.