Tag Archives: nfl

SGPN Marks 10th Anniversary As Featured Podcast For NFL Draft ‘Pre-Game Show’

Sports Gambling Podcast Network (SGPN),  the only major independent sports wagering media network that places a premium on entertainment value and free user content, will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the NFL Draft next week, providing picks, props and prognostications for their audiences of millions as a featured podcast on the prominent BlueWire network during the NFL’s annual meeting to select newly eligible players in Las Vegas.

Sports Gambling Podcast co-hosts Sean Green and Ryan Kramer will live stream from the state-of-the-art BlueWire Studio at Wynn Las Vegas from 3-5 p.m. PT, just one mile from where the 32 teams will make their selections in front of a live audience.  The NFL Draft was ticketed for Las Vegas in 2020 but was reduced to a video conference because of COVID-19.  Will Blackmon, the former standout NFL kick return specialist and member of the New York Giants 2012 Super Bowl Championship Team, will be among the guests during the podcast, which will stream live on YouTube.


The coveted pre-draft BlueWire studio slot is one of four podcasts that SGPN will produce during NFL Draft week with an additional 10 mock drafts on SportsGamblingPodcastNetwork.com and scores of social media posts to inform and guide its audiences as America’s intense interest in the proceedings reaches a fever pitch.  Green estimates that SGPN’s NFL Draft coverage will encompass 12 podcasts, 25 articles and 12 hot takes via social media, arguably surpassing the volume of any other comparable media platform in the industry.

In 2012, Green and Kramer were still recording in Green’s one car garage amidst Christmas decorations and camping equipment.

“Pretty much unimaginable is the only way to describe our journey from that 2012 NFL Draft to today,” offered Green, who won $200,000 in a Draft Kings Fantasy Competition in 2017 to enable SGPN to turn the corner as a profitable, sustainable business. 

With the repeal of the Professional Sports and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that following year, SGPN was well positioned to seize the moment and grow the enterprise that now includes 50 contributors, 18 different podcasts and a new state-of-the-art studio plus offices in Los Angeles. One validation of their success came in February when the Los Angeles Business Journal featured SGPN’s path to profitability in a 20-paragraph article that appeared in both the online and print editions.

“We’ve been fortunate timing-wise with the PASPA repeal, for sure,” offered Kramer, a data and metrics specialist who spent 10 years in the tech industry for Hulu and other companies. “We’ve also complemented each other on the business side so that the steady growth has been efficient.  There’s plenty more to do but right now we’re focused on delivering some winning wager recommendations on all things NFL Draft because our loyal audiences deserve it.”

In 2012, the big stories were the amazing skills of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who went first and second, respectively, in that draft. “Like everyone else, we believed that both guys would be stars in the league ten years later, but that’s how unpredictable our world is,” recalled Green in reference to their shortened careers. 

  • The Sean Green/Ryan Kramer SGPN eye-opening prediction for next week:

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to go second to the Detroit Lions or another team via trade as the first QB selected. Consensus odds have Willis going around the ninth or tenth selection. “Great players at that position have immense value,” offered Kramer.“We believe the Lions – or multiple other teams via trade – will pull this trigger.”

SGPN clobbered industry growth projections with a 30 percent year-over-year increase in total downloads during the course of 2021 (over 3 million) and is continuing its record growth in 2022. SGPN launched eight new podcast feeds last year and has become a leading authority on the USFL, producing over 10 hours of original content around the draft and continuing that momentum as the season got underway, recording three podcasts per week on the sport.

RealResponse Announces Landmark Deals with Broncos, Chiefs for Real-Time and Confidential Reporting

RealResponse (@RealResponseHQ), the award-winning leading safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams and organizations, today announced a pair of landmark partnerships with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, becoming the first two NFL teams to offer the platform to its employees. Both will use the system to proactively stay in communication with employees regarding feedback on areas impacting their wellbeing – both positives that are benefiting experiences as well as to gain additional insight into the issues that may need to be addressed. The partnership will launch in the coming weeks.

“RealResponse is a critical tool that our organization will utilize at all levels to enhance our communication with employees,” said Nancy Svoboda, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for the Denver Broncos. “We are proud of our workplace culture and we want to continue to be proactive in supporting our staff by making sure that their voices continue to be heard. We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking platform.”

“We are excited to partner with RealResponse to design and implement a valuable tool to enhance internal and external communication at all levels of our organization,” said Kirsten Krug, Executive Vice President of Administration for the Kansas City Chiefs. “Creating an efficient, confidential and anonymous way to proactively identify and address issues and opportunities will make us better. We are proud to be a part of this emerging trend within professional sports.”

“We are very proud to have both the Broncos and the Chiefs join us in this expansion of our business into the NFL,” said David Chadwick, RealResponse founder and former NCAA Division I basketball player. “The platform we have built is all about empowering athletes and employees’ voices and keeping those in leadership informed not just on issues, but on opportunities to better communicate and work together. Whether it is a junior staff member receiving acknowledgement for going above and beyond the call or a senior administrator alerting leadership of potential issues regarding employee health and well-being. It is clear that the leadership in the NFL, with Denver and Kansas City being first in, are engaged and ready to listen to resolve issues before they become problems.”

The two teams will begin implementing and onboarding staff into the system in the coming weeks. RealResponse already works with the NFLPA for player-related reporting, but having teams engaged will make the system more holistic and impactful across all areas of the organizations.

Former NFL Star QB Alex Smith Joins UCAN Team

The UCAN Company is proud to announce that they are welcoming former NFL Star QB Alex Smith to the brand as an investor in the company. As a longtime fan of UCAN products, Alex incorporated them into his gameday performance and off-the-field training regimen during his career and continues to use the full assortment of products in his everyday life. He brings not only an enthusiasm for UCAN’s products but a wealth of knowledge and connections to help continue to grow the brand.

Alex is a former number one overall draft pick who enjoyed 16 seasons overall in the NFL. His return from a devastating injury ahead of the 2020 season is considered one of the greatest in NFL history and earned him the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Since retiring in 2021 Alex joined ESPN as an NFL analyst. In addition to his role as an investor, he will serve as a brand ambassador and a member of UCAN’s Fitness Advisory Board.

“As you get older, you learn how to optimize your nutrition to perform at the highest level and truly reach your potential. UCAN was a part of my routine in the NFL, during my recovery from injury, and I use it now more than ever. Any time I’m doing any type of physical activity, if I have a busy day, or I’m on the go, UCAN is a must for me,” said Alex Smith. “The opportunity to invest in a company that I truly believe in and incorporate their products into my everyday life was a no brainer – I’m a big believer and know that the sky is the limit for UCAN.”

With a strong passion for health and fitness, Smith believes UCAN’s unique ability to deliver energy without sugar carries benefits far beyond elite sports.  “Sugar is in so many things and it’s all around us. To be able to cut it out is something that I would advocate for everybody, it doesn’t matter who you are. In my opinion, this is what sugary sports drinks have been advertising falsely for decades. Instead of drinking sugar water, you should be taking UCAN every day. The possibilities are endless. You name the sport, it has an application.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Alex to the UCAN family, where he will be involved in a multitude of roles,” added Shoba Murali, CEO & Founder of The UCAN Company. “He lends the brand cache from his achievements during his playing days and will expand the reach of the brand through his nutrition experience, connections on and off the field and passion for an active lifestyle.”

cover image: credit Mike Morbeck

SportsHandle: California, Ohio Wagering Could Have Reached $400M for Super Bowl

Bettors in California and Ohio potentially could have wagered as much as $400 million on Super Bowl LVI Sunday were sports betting live in either state, according to an in-depth report issued today by SportsHandle.com, a leading news source of information on sports betting legalization in the U.S.

If bettors had the opportunity to wager on this year’s Super Bowl, featuring the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Sports Handle projects that handle in California could have reached $300 million with gross gaming revenue reaching $21 million, and the state potentially taking in $2.1 million in tax revenue on a single event.

In Ohio, where fans will watch the Bengals make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1989, handle could have reached up to $100 million, with gross gaming revenue of up to $7 million, and tax revenue of up to $700,000. Both sets of gross gaming revenue projections come from using the industry-standard 7% win rate or “hold” that operators claim in wins against bettors from handle wagered.

The Sports Handle research and subsequent article were compiled by managing editor and sports betting legislation expert Jill R. Dorson and by legislative analyst and wagering revenue researcher Chris Altruda. The research and analysis assume that operators in both states were offering live, legal digital wagering with remote registration for at least one full NFL season ahead of the Super Bowl, that a minimum of 10 digital platforms would be live, that the game would be competitive into the fourth quarter, and that all wagering platforms and the live broadcast would not have any major technical glitches. The tax revenue projections are based on a 10% tax rate, which will go into effect in Ohio when wagering goes live, and is also the proposed tax rate put forth by a group of seven sports betting operators working to qualify an initiative for the November 2022 ballot in California.

The SportsHandle.com article entitled “What If California and Ohio Had Legal, Live Sports Wagering For Super Bowl LVI?” can be accessed here: https://sportshandle.com/california-ohio-super-bowl-projected-handle

In December, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine legalized sports betting when he signed HB 29 into law. State regulators are currently crafting rules, and the law calls for betting to go live no later than Jan. 1, 2023.

In California, a tribal retail-only sports betting initiative has already qualified for the November 2022 ballot. There could potentially be three others, but the most likely is a proposal from a group of seven operators, including BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, that would allow for statewide mobile wagering with a 10% tax rate. The projections are based on voters approving the operators’ proposal.

Currently, legal online wagering is live in 20 U.S. jurisdictions, with up to three more — Maryland, Ohio, and Puerto Rico — to come online before 2023. In seven other states, retail-only wagering is available.

Founded in May 2017, Sports Handle is an elite sports betting industry news site that covers legislative and regulatory developments through original reporting, features, and analysis.  Sports Handle is owned and operated by Better Collective, a leading sports betting media group that includes The Action Network, US Bets, and RotoGrinders.

Rams Defeat Bengals In Strat-O-Matic Super Bowl Sim

Matthew Stafford passed for 281 yards on 26-of-31 completions and two TDs and Cam Akers scored the go-ahead touchdown on a five-yard run with 8:26 left in the game as Los Angeles defeated Cincinnati, 27-20, in a simulation of this Sunday’s season-ending football contest by Strat-O-Matic (@StratOMatic), the market leader in sports simulation. Akers’ winning score capped an 11-play, 94-yard L.A. drive, and Cincinnati’s final possession ended with 0:22 left on a fourth-down sack by Aaron Donald.

With his team trailing, 17-13, early in the third quarter, Stafford engineered a 14-play, 75-yard drive that consumed almost six minutes, ending in a 3-yard scoring pass to Odell Beckham to give Los Angeles the lead. After a second Evan McPherson field goal tied the game with 0:16 left in the third, Cincinnati could not take advantage of a Jessie Bates interception on the next play, eventually punting to the Los Angeles 6 yard line, leading to the eventual winning drive.

The last two Cincinnati possessions ended on downs, including the Donald sack at the Cincinnati 15 closing the contest.

Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow completed 20-of-45 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, while teammate Joe Mixon rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries to lead all runners. Sony Michel (15 carries, 54 yards) and Akers (12 rushes, 52 yards) shared the load on the ground for Los Angeles. 

cover image: All-Pro Reels

SGPN’S Sean Green And Ryan Kramer Featured Blue Wire Show At NFL’s Radio Row

Sports Gambling Podcast Network (SPGN) hosts Sean Green and Ryan Kramer will make their debut on Super Bowl Radio Row next week, producing live, daily, mid-afternoon shows for the Blue Wire Podcast Network at the National Football League’s annual promotional extravaganza.

One of the fastest-growing sports wagering prognostication and analysis website/podcast platforms, SGPN hosted the first-ever show last year from the showpiece Blue Wire Studio at Wynn Las Vegas, where some of America’s most prominent podcasts are produced.  SGPN co-founders Green and Kramer will interview prominent guests each day on Radio Row as they provide their unique, entertainment-oriented analysis and predictions on the Feb. 14 confrontation between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.

They will also be doing guest appearances on other shows during the week-long mediafest, providing definitive calls on the side, over/under and on the hundreds of prop bets that populate the sportsbooks in this new-age world of legalized wagering.

  • A primary feature of the week’s content will be SGPN’s $100,000 Super Bowl Props Contest, in which entrants must

predict the outcome of 10 specific offerings with money to be awarded to those who go 10-for-10. 

Fans can enter the SGPN Super Bowl Props Contest on the SGPN App, which is available on all devices and is downloadable at Apple’s App Store,  the Google Play Store and from www.SportsGamblingPodcast.com. SGPN is the only independently-owned and operated sports gambling media network that places a premium on entertainment value.

The no-cost app includes content for sports wagerers on the move from over 50 SGPN writers and personalities plus exclusive access to multiple, free audience contests, now including the $100,000 Super Bowl Props Contest.

“We do expect some of our biggest audiences as we host from Radio Row during Super Bowl Week,” offered Green, whose company will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this spring.  “We’ll let people know who, what, why and how much on the Rams and Bengals, for sure.  We’ll also have the other major sports covered for those seeking input on betting options across the entire spectrum of sports.”

“We appreciate our friends at Blue Wire and look forward to being part of the action next week,” offered Kramer, who correctly picked Georgia plus the under January 10 in the College Football Playoff Championship Game.  “The NFL is surging to the end of a great season, there’s tremendous interest in these quarterbacks and the game will likely live up to the hype.”

Swet Tailor Partners with Reese’s Senior Bowl for 2nd Time as Official Off-The-Field Apparel Sponsor

Los Angeles-based fast-rising menswear brand Swet Tailor, the creators of EveryDay. EveryWear,™ has teamed up with the Reese’s Senior Bowl, the preeminent college football all-star game, for a second time to exclusively sponsor the off-the-field wardrobe for players, coaches and staff. In 2021, Swet Tailor was the first brand that the Senior Bowl brought on to handle all non-field related apparel in the history of the game. The category of off field apparel is expected to be a unique one for college athletes when Name, Image and Likeness comes into play in the coming years, and Swet Tailor has cemented its efforts in NIL as an ongoing business growth opportunity for the brand.

The Swet Tailor off-the-field wardrobe will include key styles such as the Swet Jogger, Swetshirt, Light Weight Swet Hoodie and Softest Tee for elite draft prospects and sport industry insiders to wear ahead of the NFL Draft in April. The brand has continued to grow its presence in recent years with evergreen styles and extended sizing, and its investor athletes include current and former NFL players, not limited to:

Aaron Rodgers, Mark Sanchez, Josh Norman. Josh Rosen, and Ryan Kerrigan. Longtime media personality Rich Eisen has also worn Swet Tailor during his annual 40 yard dash for charity at The Combine, and is a supporter of the brand as well.

“Everything we do here at the Senior Bowl is about creating a better experience for our players and that includes our partnerships,” says Jim Nagy, Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl. “Swet Tailor is an incredible emerging brand and our players absolutely loved their SWET gear last year.”

“We are honored to return as partners with Reese’s Senior Bowl because we know exactly how pivotal this game is for the student athletes,” shares Swet Tailor CEO Adam Bolden. “We are here to ensure each and every player looks and feels good as they step up to one of the biggest moments in their careers. Our wide range of styles––from our classic sizing to our High and Mighty line––is made to move with athletes, on and and off the field. We are looking forward to getting to know these talented individuals and helping them discover that style and comfort do not have to be mutually exclusive.”

Swet Tailor continues to grow its sporting event portfolio with this second official college football event sponsorship; past partnerships have included The NFL Combine, The EOD Warrior Foundation Golf Outing, and Merril Hoge Celebrity Golf Outing. The NY Jets and Detroit Lions will be the coaching staffs for the 74th annual Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will be played on Saturday February 5th 2022 at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama. The game will be aired live on the NFL Network at 1:30 CT. The rosters will be announced shortly. The Swet Tailor sponsorship will span the duration of the Reese’s Senior Bowl Week, which will officially kick off Saturday, January 29th and run through Saturday, February 5.

VKTRY Brings NFL Star Jonathan Taylor On Board As Latest Brand Ambassador

VKTRY GEAR, the fast growing, industry leader in Performance Insoles for heightened athletic performance and injury protection, continued to make 2021 a record year, announcing six months in a row of month over month sales increases while bringing fast-rising NFL running back Jonathan Taylor on as the latest brand ambassador. The Indianapolis Colts star has the second highest grade among all NFL running backs per Pro Football Focus and is second in the league in rushing heading into this weekend. Players on all 32 NFL clubs are now using VKTRY insoles for the first time in the history of the company.

“When I first put VKTRY Insoles into my cleats, it was an instant boost of explosion, power & speed. Being able to explode out of my cuts with more power helps me separate from a defender,” stated Jonathan Taylor. “Knowing that VKTRY Insoles are made with the latest and greatest technology makes you feel almost like you’re a superhero or something out of this world. Having this high-tech product inside your cleats makes you feel like no one can stop you on the field.”

“We are honored to have two of the best young running backs in the NFL as VKTRY’s spokespeople – first Nick Chubb – and now Jonathan Taylor,” said VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. “JT is one of the most explosive players in the league, highly respected by everyone who knows him. We are honored to have him representing VKTRY.”

During the 2021 NFL season, a record number of over 200 NFL players, from all 32 clubs, are now wearing VKTRY’S carbon fiber insoles, a 75% increase from 2020. The list includes some of the brightest young stars and respected veterans in the NFL: Nick Chubb, Saquan Barkley, Antonio Gibson, Bryan Bulaga, George Kittle, Josh Norman, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel and many more. VKTRY Insoles are used across multiple sports and the company’s endorsements include NBA legend Tracy McGrady, Captain of the Gold Medal-winning US Women’s Volleyball Team Jordan Larson, MLB slugger Vlad Guerrero, Jr., and 3X PGA major winner Padraig Harrington.

Made from aerospace-grade carbon fiber, VKTRY Insoles store and return energy to the athlete. They also provide a “spring-like” effect to improve shock absorption and reduce the load and stress on the athlete’s body. In independent performance testing, athletes wearing VKs increased their broad jump by an average of +4.0″, their vert by +1.6″ and improved their 40 times by 0.12 seconds. Because all athletes are not alike, VKs are customized based on the size of the athlete and the sport or activity. VKTRY’s Gold Insoles are available in five different levels of flexibility to optimize performance, protection and comfort.

“VKTRY’s Gold Insoles have been designed for serious athletes, while our recent launch of Silver Insoles appeals to more casual athletes or weekend warriors”, stated Wasik. “2021 has proven to be our best year ever as sales are trending at close to +40% higher than year ago. More and more athletes are discovering the performance and protection benefits of VKTRY Insoles.”

Taylor added: “If a teammate asked me about VKTRY Insoles, I would tell them that this is the one product that would help them take their game to the next level. Foam insoles don’t respond or give you anything back. Wearing VKTRY’s carbon fiber insoles, the one thing I notice instantly is that extra power & explosion that they give me.”

NFLPA, RealResponse Extend Agreement On Reporting Platform

RealResponse (@RealResponseHQ), the leading safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams, organizations, and over 50,000 athletes, today announced an expansion of their agreement with the NFL Players Association. Last season, players used RealResponse to communicate COVID-19 health and safety questions and violations to the NFLPA; now, all players and clubs will have the ability to anonymously and securely report any and all issues with regard to player health and safety to the NFLPA in real time for everything from training camp issues, drug policy infractions, social injustice concerns, medical issues, COVID-19 policy violations, misconduct, hazing, harassment, and more as well as using the system to highlight successes and best practices which might go otherwise unnoticed. The NFLPA is the first professional organization to fully implement the RealResponse system, which was significantly enhanced and upgraded in 2020. The NFLPA joins USA Gymnastics and over 100 colleges and Universities as RealResponse partners.

“Health and safety remain the priority for all organizations, and our system will now give thousands of NFL players a safe and secure opportunity to voice concerns beyond only COVID-19 for any issues on and off the field,” said 31 year old David Chadwick, former Division I basketball player at Rice University and Valparaiso University and the founder of RealResponse. “We were proud to support the NFLPA last season amidst COVID-19, and today’s announcement is ample proof of last season’s success and that our system, working with the first movers who lead the NFLPA, will be a model not just for football, but for all athletic organizations as we expand, enhance, refine and customize our offering to meet the needs of athletes, organizations and colleges around the world.”

“The NFLPA is committed to providing players a confidential way to bring forward any issues or concerns that may require the Unions assistance, therefore we are excited to announce that we are expanding our use of RealResponse,” said Don Davis, Senior Director Player Affairs & Senior Advisor to the Executive Director at NFL Players Association. “The successful utilization of this platform in 2020, allowed players to bring forward any COVID-19 questions or violations. We believe this system will go a long way in addressing problems and letting all focus on the task at hand, which is being successful athletes, teammates and family members for decades to come.”

The program will begin with the start of training camp and will continue throughout the season.

Last season, the NFLPA partnered with RealResponse to provide its members with a safe platform to anonymously text potential violations of NFL/NFLPA health and safety protocol related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hall Of Fantasy League Unveils Inaugural Front Office Staff Of Former NFL Standouts

Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company (“HOFV” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW), the only resort, entertainment and media company centered around the power of professional football, today announced the Front Office staffs for the 10 franchises competing in the inaugural season of the Hall Of Fantasy League (“HOFL”), the first national league that allows sports fans to experience a fantasy football team with a community of shared Stakeholders. As a result of HOFV’s partnership with StakeKings, fans who purchase a stake in any of the HOFL’s teams are eligible to receive their pro rata share of winnings based on the success of their respective franchise during the 2021-22 season. Fans can purchase stakes today by clicking here.

Each franchise will consist of a dedicated Front Office comprised of prominent fantasy experts and former NFL players, who will serve as General Managers and Team Captains. The Front Office staffs will be responsible for the configuration and daily management of rosters as well as regular engagement with their respective franchise’s Stakeholders. The Front Office personnel for the 2021-22 season include:

TeamTeam CaptainsGeneral Managers
AtlantaHot WingsHarry Douglas·      10-year NFL career·      7 seasons with Atlanta Falcons·      Career totals of 310 receptions, 3,759 receiving yards, 10 receiving TDs Joe Dolan·      Co-Owner and Managing Editor of Fantasy Points·      FantasyPros #1 Cumulative Ranker 2014-2018·      Co-Host of SiriusXM Fantasy Football Gameday & the Fantasy Feast Podcast Graham Barfield·      Co-Owner and Director of Analytics at Fantasy Points·      Formerly worked for Fantasy Guru and NFL Network·      Originator of charting process Yards Created
BostonBarfliesPatrick Chung·      11-year NFL career – 10 with New England Patriots·      3x Super Bowl Champion·      Career totals of 11 INTs and 778 combined tackles  John Paulsen·      Director of Forecasting at 4for4 Fantasy Football·      FantasyPros Most Accurate 2010 & 2014·      FantasyPros top 6 accuracy in 9 of last 11 years Jennifer Eakins·      Senior Editor and Writer at 4for4 Football·      Co-Host of The Most Accurate Podcast (TMAP)·      Contributor for Yahoo Fantasy Sports
ChicagoHogmolliesEddie Royal·      9-year NFL career – 2 with Chicago Bears·      Career totals of 408 receptions, 4,357 receiving yards, 28 receiving TDs·      4 600+ receiving yard seasonsJeff Ratcliffe·         Fantasy Sports Analyst at FTN Fantasy·         Host for SiriusXM Fantasy Radio·         CBS Sports Network TV Analyst 
Los AngelesSidekicksRicky Proehl·      17-year NFL career – 5 with St. Louis Rams·      2x Super Bowl Champion·      Career totals of 669 receptions, 8,878 receiving yards, 54 receiving TDsChristopher Harris·         Host of the Harris Football Podcast·         FSWA “Best Fantasy Podcast” winner·         Renowned for evaluating fantasy via game film on YouTube.com/harrisfootball  
New YorkBodega CatsRashad Jennings·      8-year NFL career – 3 with New York Giants·      Career totals of 3,772 rushing yards, 1,469 receiving yards, 23 rushing TDs·      Contestant on Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars  Scott Engel·         Writer at RotoBaller·         Host of RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         FSWA Hall of Famer known in the industry as “The King” Raphael Rabe·         Co-Founder of RotoBaller·         Host of RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         Outspoken fantasy sports talking head known as “Real Talk Raph”
OhioGOATSJoe Thomas·      11-year NFL career with Cleveland Browns·      10x Pro Bowler; 6x First Team All Pro Offensive Lineman·      NFL 2010s All-Decade TeamMichael Fabiano·         Senior Fantasy Analyst for Sports Illustrated·         FSWA Hall of Famer·         Formerly of NFL Network and “The NFL Today” on CBS Bob Harris·         Senior Editor for FootballDiehards.com·         FSWA Hall of Famer & first-ever Fantasy Football Writer of the Year 2005·         Host for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio
PhiladelphiaPowderkegsJason Avant·      10-year NFL career – 8 with Philadelphia Eagles·      Career totals of 346 receptions, 4,118 receiving yards, 13 receiving TDs·      14th on Eagles all-time receptions list (297)Adam Caplan·         NFL Reporter, now in his 20th season·         Host on SiriusXM NFL Radio & SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         Host of “Inside the Birds” Eagles podcast 
SeattleHazeJustin Forsett·      9-year NFL career – 4 with Seattle Seahawks·      1x Pro Bowler·      Career totals of 3,890 rushing yards, 210 receptions, 19 rushing TDs Melissa Jacobs·         Founder and Managing Editor of The Football Girl (TFG)·         NFL Columnist at The Guardian·         Former Fantasy Analyst at espnW and NFL Editor at Sports Illustrated Pat Fitzmaurice·         Winner of FantasyPros’ 2020 Ranking Accuracy Contest·         Contributor to The Football Girl and Footballguys.com·         Host of the Fitz on Fantasy Podcast
TexasY’allersDarren Woodson12-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys3x Super Bowl Champ; 5x Pro Bowler: 4x First Team All-Pro SafetyCareer totals of 23 INTs, 12 forced fumbles, 967 combined tacklesSigmund Bloom·         Co-Owner of Footballguys.com·         Current all-time #1 in the FFPC Pros vs. Joes Competition·         Co-Host of The Audible & On The Couch podcasts Joe Bryant·         CEO & Co-Founder of Footballguys.com·         FSWA Hall of Famer·         Mr. Rogers > Aaron Rodgers… and he likes Aaron Rodgers
VegasPocket KingsMarquette King7-year NFL career – 6 with Oakland Raiders1x Second Team All-Pro Punter46.7 yards per punt – tied for 4th all timeJeff Mans·         Part-Owner and President of Elite Sports Network·         Host for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio·         Has earned over one million dollars in fantasy sports winnings

Terrell Davis, Commissioner of the HOFL and Pro Football Hall of Famer, said, “The HOFL is rolling into its inaugural season with serious momentum as the pre-season ramps up and Stakeholders lay claim to their teams. There is a high level of anticipation for the League within the NFL, fantasy and sports fan communities. I am thrilled to be part of this transformational League season and look forward to the franchise battles and trash talking ahead!”

Michael Crawford, President and Chief Executive Officer of HOFV, stated, “It’s the beginning of fantasy football season and we could not be more excited to unveil the Front Offices for the 2021-22 season of the HOFL! The HOFL offers a unique value proposition for fantasy sports fans unlike any other national league. It is the only place where fans can be part of a fantasy franchise that is managed by some of the top fantasy experts and beloved former players, and be eligible for a pro rata share of season winnings. Let the games begin!”

Each franchises’ Front Office will take input from their Stakeholders and crowdsource decisions regarding their teams, but will ultimately have sole discretion on all decision-making. General Managers will interact directly with their respective Stakeholders on the HOFL app via their team’s feeds, and can take part in exclusive team chats and a direct message feature called “DM the GM.” General Managers will also contribute weekly content on the HOFL app by providing commentary and analysis regarding roster decisions, trades, waiver wire pickups and previewing and recapping key matchups, while Team Captains will provide distinct fantasy insights, analysis and perspective that reflects their experience in the League. Team Captains will also periodically engage with Stakeholders on the HOFL app. The HOFL app will be available on the App Store and Google Play in the coming weeks.

The HOFL will leverage its access to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, NFL alumni and fantasy football personalities to create original video, audio and written league-focused content that will be hosted on its platform, helping to entertain, educate and engage team Stakeholders throughout each week of the season. To keep up to date on the latest news surrounding the HOFL – including the date of the first draft in League history – fans can visit www.thehofl.com or listen to The HOFL Podcast on Apple PodcastsSoundcloud or Spotify. Fans of the HOFL can also purchase team apparel of their favorite franchises via the League website.

VKTRY Insoles Worn By Record 74 Selections In 2021 NFL Draft

VKTRY GEAR, the fast growing, industry leader in Performance Insoles, today announced that a record number of 74 NFL Draftees, 33 in the first three rounds, wore their carbon fiber insoles as a key part of their prep for the Draft. Included on that list are players from almost every position, including first rounders: Florida TE Kyle Pitts (fourth by the Atlanta Falcons), Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater (13th by the LA Chargers), Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins (16th by the Arizona Cardinals), Miami DE Jaelen Phillips (18th by the Miami Dolphins), and Alabama Running Back Najee Harris (24th by the Pittsburgh Steelers). Only Quinnen Williams of the New York Jets (third in 2019) was a higher draft pick to use VKTRY Gear in the history of the company.

“The world’s best athletes are discovering the increased performance benefits and the injury protection that our carbon fiber insoles provide, and that was very clear in this year’s NFL Draft,” said VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. “Every day we get more requests from athletes for our insoles, none more than in the NFL, be it in this next generation of stars or in the growing number of veterans who are making VKs ‘Must Haves’ when they take the field.”

“We’re always told by our coaches that you’re only as strong as your foundation… it all starts with your feet and VKs give me the ability to explode forward and absorb force,” said Rashawn Slater. ”The energy return is the biggest thing… you can feel it. VKs feel way different than a normal insole and they help me reduce the risk of injury and that means everything.”

“Once you become accustomed to the feeling of VKTRY Insoles, it helps to elevate your game. From a lower body standpoint, the explosiveness with VKs is crazy,” added Zaven Collins. “The only time I wasn’t wearing them was when I was sleeping. That subconscious thought helps you play at least 1% faster or 1% better, which is a giant gain in the league.”

“VKTRY Insoles made me a lot more explosive,” said running back Javonte Williams, who the Denver Broncos traded up to take with the 35th pick from the University of North Carolina. “In the past when I didn’t have them I would have to stop or slow down because my feet started hurting. With the VKTRY Insoles I can keep going all day.”

During the 2020 NFL season, a record number of over 200 NFL players, from 29 of 32 clubs, wore VKTRY’S carbon fiber insoles, a 300% increase from 2019. Some of the brightest young stars and respected veterans in the NFL, including Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb, LV Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Washington RB Antonio Gibson, Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary, SF 49ers WR “Deebo” Samuel, Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf, NY Jets Williams, Buffalo Bills CB Josh Norman, Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller, LA Chargers OT Brian Bulaga, Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant, New York Giants TE Evan Engram, Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson, Pittsburgh Steelers LB Devin Bush and many more are now part of the VKTRY using team. Players from every Power Five Conference used VKs for the first time during their Pro Days.

Made from aerospace-grade carbon fiber, VKTRY Insoles store and return energy to the athlete. They also provide a “spring-like” effect to improve shock absorption and reduce the load and stress on the athlete’s body. In independent performance testing, athletes wearing VKs increased their broad jump by an average of +4.0”, their vert by +1.6” and improved their 40 times by 0.12 seconds.

VKTRY Insoles are available in five different levels of flexibility to optimize performance, protection and comfort. Athletes at more than 300 professional and college teams wear VKTRY Insoles for training and competition. A recent study of 263 NCAA athletes showed 41% less foot injuries and 22% less lower leg injuries when athletes use VKs.

VKTRY Insoles were originally invented for the US Olympic Bobsled Team to improve athletic explosiveness. In 2010, these carbon fiber insoles helped Team USA win gold in the 4-man bobsled – first time in 62 years. Now, more and more people are discovering the benefits of energy return, improved stability and the shock absorption that VKs provide.

Topps, Lawrence Release NFTs Created By Brother, Sister-In-Law Today On Mintable

Following the overwhelming success of the recent sold-out issue of an exclusive box set of cards depicting this week’s likely No. 1 pro draft selection Trevor Lawrence, Topps has teamed with the winningest starting quarterback in Clemson history on the release of its first football-related NFTs (non-fungible tokens). The six-piece collection was created in collaboration with Trevor’s brother and sister-in-law, professional artist duo Chase and Brooke Lawrence. The NFTs, which include five open-edition cards, with the opportunity to receive an exclusive Chrome card, and a one 1/1 auction of a signed Superfractor card and signed Artist Proof card from Chase and Trevor. The store will launch on Tuesday, April 27, at 11 a.m. ET via Mintable and will be available for 24 hours only. The Lawrence NFTs are stored on the Mintable blockchain.

Each of the five open-edition Lawrence NFTs are priced at $200, with the goal of making these collectibles available to as wide an audience as possible. Any collector purchasing all five open-edition Lawrence NFTs will receive a special exclusive limited edition physical Chrome card. This will be Trevor’s first and only Chrome card and it is only available with the purchase of the Open Edition NFT’s.

“The amazing response to the Trevor Lawrence card set and his status as a transcendent figure in football makes the issue of these NFTs a natural for us,” said Jeff Heckman, Global Director, New Business Ventures. “As was the case with the sold-out cards, Chase and Brooke bring their unique talents and connection with Trevor to their creations, and we are pleased that the lower price point will make their work accessible to many more fans and all level of collectors.”

Any collector or fan can acquire, trade, and resell NFTs through the platform using a debit or credit card. NFTs are a type of digital asset in which ownership is recorded on a digital ledger blockchain, in this case Mintable. Each NFT is unique and can be viewed as a collectible that cannot be duplicated, making them singular and potentially valuable. NFTs can represent a variety of digital files, such as art, videos, music and other forms of creative work, several of which are incorporated into the Lawrence pieces.

“I couldn’t be happier with how the card set came out, and I am even more excited to get into the world of NFTs with this series,” said Trevor Lawrence. “Everyone saw how amazing Chase and Brooke’s designs turned out, and I think they’ll love the pieces we worked on together for the NFTs.”

Chase and Brooke Lawrence (https://bclawrence.art), whose 50-card set issued via Topps this month was a huge hit with collectors, took inspiration from psychedelic period pieces from the 1960’s-70’s as well as classic comic book and graphic novel illustrations for both the physical cards and the NFTs.

“We are honored by the response to the physical cards we created and are excited to collaborate with Trevor and Topps on our first NFT collection,” said Chase and Brooke. “This collection is meant to showcase Trevor’s natural energy and charisma paired with colorful nostalgia, and retro-psychedelic works of art.” 

Lawrence, the 2018 national champion and first quarterback ever to win three ACC Championship Games, finished second in the 2020 Heisman Trophy balloting as he led Clemson to the national championship game. In his storied three-year career, he completed 758-of-1138 career passes (66.6 %) for 10,098 yards with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for a pass efficiency rating for 164.26 in 2,237 snaps over 40 career games (36 starts).

NFL Announces Official Sports Betting Partners

The National Football League (NFL) today announced their first-ever U.S. sportsbook partnerships naming three exclusive partners. As part of the multi-year agreement, FanDuel becomes an Official Sports Betting Partner of the NFL and will have the ability to leverage NFL marks within the sports betting category and activate around retail and online sports betting. The company will also engage with fans through NFL-themed free-to-play games.

FanDuel, becomes the NFL’s newest partner and will have a series of content integrations including both in-game and post-game highlights directly available within its sportsbook and fantasy sports platforms this coming season. The company will have access to footage rights that bring the NFL’s excitement to FanDuel’s owned and produced content across its various platforms and will work with the League on pre-game integration opportunities on the NFL Network for the seven regular season games the network will air in 2021.

“On Superbowl Sunday we got a glimpse at how powerful the combination of the NFL’s excitement and our platform can be in delivering an enhanced fan experience. We are delighted to make that combination official by pairing America’s #1 sportsbook with America’s #1 sports league,” said Matt King, Chief Executive Officer at FanDuel. “This partnership provides our shared customers with a new level of innovation and unmatched premium content directly within our platform ultimately enhancing every gameday.”

Additionally, FanDuel will have the right to integrate relevant sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties including NFL.com and the NFL App. FanDuel will enhance fan experiences with NFL highlights, footage and Next Gen Stats content.

“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” said Renie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of NFL Partnerships.

VKTRY Insoles To Be Worn By Over 100 NFL Prospects For Upcoming Pro Days

VKTRY GEAR today announced that a record number of NFL top prospects will be wearing their carbon fiber insoles as they go through their on campus Pro Days in the coming weeks. The NFL Combine has moved from Indianapolis to local workouts due to COVID 19 restrictions. Over 100 prospects from more than 60 schools will be wearing VKTRY Insoles in this critical stage of career preparation.

“Many of our relationships with NFL stars began at the Combine where athletes experience +9.3% added explosiveness from their VKs,” said VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. “Most athletes see significant improvements in the broad jump, the vertical jump and their time in the 40. They really feel the difference and understand how VKTRY Insoles can help them get an edge both at the Combine and on the playing field. Athletes also appreciate the improved injury protection with VKs, recently proven by one of the top athletic research facilities in the world, the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.”

Amongst those athletes using VKTRY Insoles for their Pro days are projected first round picks: Alabama Running Back Najee Harris, Florida TE Kyle Pitts, Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, Miami DL Gregory Rosseau, Miami DE Jaelen Phillips, and LSU WR Terrace Marshall. Players from every Power Five Conference will be using VKTRY Gear for the first time during their Pro Days.

Made from aerospace-grade carbon fiber, VKTRY Insoles store and return energy to the athlete. They also provide a “spring-like” effect to improve shock absorption and reduce the load and stress on the athlete’s body. In independent performance testing, athletes wearing VKs increased their broad jump by an average of +4.0”, their vert by +1.6” and improved their 40 times by 0.12 seconds.

The large number of prospects continue unprecedented growth in football for the company. During the 2020 NFL season, a record number of over 200 NFL players, from 29 of 32 clubs, wore their carbon fiber insoles, a 300% increase from 2019 and included a list of some of the brightest young stars and respected veterans in the NFL, including Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb, LV Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Washington RB Antonio Gibson, Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary, SF 49ers WR “Deebo” Samuel, Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf, NY Jets DE Quinnen Williams, Buffalo Bills CB Josh Norman, Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller, LA Chargers OT Brian Bulaga, Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant, New York Giants TE Evan Engram, Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson, Pittsburgh Steelers LB Devin Bush and many more.

“I have worn VKs since I was a rookie and I love the added burst and explosiveness they give me on the field. I seriously feel 10X faster with VKs,” said Chubb, a two time All Pro selection and the Browns leading rusher each of the past two seasons, helping lead them to their first road playoff win since 1969, over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game in January. “Most insoles are made from foam and plastic, but VKTRY is full length carbon fiber and that makes a difference – that gives me a competitive edge.”

VKTRY Insoles are available in five different levels of flexibility to optimize performance, protection and comfort. Athletes at more than 300 professional and college teams wear VKTRY Insoles for training and competition. Some of those athletes include Fernando Tatis Jr of the San Diego Padres, Vlad Guerrero Jr. the Toronto Blue Jays, WNBA All-Star Angel McCoughtry of the Las Vegas Aces, Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington and US Olympic Volleyball Team Captain Jordan Larson.

VKTRY Insoles were originally invented for the US Olympic Bobsled Team to improve athletic explosiveness. In 2010, VKTRY helped Team USA win gold in the 4-man bobsled – first time in 62 years. Now, more and more people are discovering the benefits of energy return, improved stability and shock absorption that “VKs” provide.

NFL Enters Week 16 on Historic Scoring Pace, According to TheLines

Davante Adams (credit: Kyle Engmann)

The NFL will offer plenty of offense this Christmas, with two of the top offenses in the league set to square off and four games with an over/under set at 51.5 points or more in Week 16. So many high point totals shouldn’t be a surprise, according to analysts from TheLines, which tracks odds in U.S. regulated sports betting markets. In fact, the NFL is on a historic scoring pace.

Sunday night’s game between the Tennessee Titans, which leads the NFL with 31.1 points per game, and Green Bay Packers, which is third at 31 points per game, promises two of the most prolific scoring teams in the NFL. Total points for the game as of Monday morning is 56, according to a consensus of the nation’s largest legal online sportsbooks — including DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, PlaySugarHouse, BetMGM, Unibet, and William Hill. No game has offered more points this season.

But games offered at 50 total points or more have not been uncommon this year. In fact, there were five such games in Week 15 alone. Points have been up significantly all year. Through the first 15 weeks, NFL teams are averaging 24.8 points per game, up dramatically from 22.8 points per game in 2019. Barring a points outage over the season’s final games, it should break the scoring average record of 23.6 points per team per game, set in 1948.

“In a season of anomalies, we may never see so many high point totals again,” said Brett Collson, lead analyst for TheLines.com. “There are so many reasons why scoring is up, and many of them are related to the pandemic, from fewer distractions with teams being in relative isolation to quiet stadiums helping road teams stay in sync. Regardless, oddsmakers continue to do well in making adjustments.”

The consensus point spreads for Week 16 and remaining Week 15 games, as of Monday, Dec. 21:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5) at Cincinnati Bengals; over/under 40.5
  • Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-7); over/under 51.5
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9) at Detroit Lions; over/under 53.5
  • San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5); over/under 49.5
  • Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at Las Vegas Raiders; over/under 47.5
  • Carolina Panthers at Washington Football Team (-1.5); over/under 44.5
  • Chicago Bears (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars; over/under 47
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-8.5); over/under 45
  • Cleveland Browns (-10) at New York Jets; over/under 44.5
  • Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3); over/under N/A
  • New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens (-10); over/under N/A
  • Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-3); over/under 48.5
  • Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5); over/under 53
  • Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5); over/under 46.5
  • Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys; over/under 49.5
  • Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (-4); over/under 56
  • Buffalo Bills (-6.5) at New England Patriots; over/under 45

To access the updated futures lines for every NFL team, and for more analysis, visit TheLines.com/odds/super-bowl. To access Week 16 odds, visit www.thelines.com/nfl-week-16-lines-2020.

Weekend Sports Appreciation Post

credit: Mike Morbeck

by Alex Perel, Special to The Daily Payoff

Nothing major to report in the sports and entertainment today, but we wanted to draw attention to the major upswing in games coming to the forefront. Going into the weekend, the first this year to feature Saturday NFL games, and the 2020-21 NBA season starting on Tuesday, we suddenly have a lot to look forward to in the sports world.

This weekend marks the final Thursday night game of the season as the NFL shifts into its weekend heavy schedule. The Los Angeles Chargers (+ 3 1/2) took down the Las Vegas Raiders in that matchup last night on Fox and NFL Network. The Thursday game will shift to a Friday matinee for Week 16. Both Week 15 and Week 16 will feature multiple Saturday games as well, with both having day and night matchups. Monday Night Football, however, remains on ESPN over the next two weeks. Finally, Week 17 hosts its full schedule on Sunday, as the league traditionally closes the season the same day for all teams.

Of course, Wild Card Weekend and the Divisional Round subsequently follow, both having Saturday and Sunday games. Point being, the NFL is mixing up its schedule to spread games across the next few weeks, so chances are when you flip on the TV any given weekend, you will have an NFL game to watch.

College Football sees a transition from conference championship games to bowl match ups next week, so NCAAF is there as well. The Power Five championships are as follows:

Pac-12: Oregon vs. 13-USC – 12/17 at 8PM EST

Big Ten: 14-Northwestern vs. 4-Ohio State – 12/19 at 12PM EST

Big 12: 10-Oklahoma vs. 6-Iowa State – 12/19 at 12PM EST

ACC 3-Clemson vs. 2-Notre Dame – 4:00PM EST

SEC 7-Florida vs. 1-Alabama – 8:00PM EST

All the great football leads into our biggest development: the NBA regular season’s return this coming Tuesday, December 22. Opening night features a Warriors vs. Nets early contest, followed by the Lakers and Clippers. With the league trying to cram a 72-game schedule into the coming months, we will see more back-to-back sets of games as well as “baseball series.”

In the latter format, teams will play each other multiple nights in a row. This style is uncommon in a normal NBA season, but the new schedule promises an abundance of NBA games throughout the week while you wait for football. Wednesdays and Fridays will be particularly packed with the requisite ESPN/ABC nationally televised packages.

And similar to football, the NBA is piggybacked by the college schedule, which is now entering its full swing of conference play. Check for those games to be typically packed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on ESPN, FS1, and regional conference networks.

TL;DR: We shoot into the new year with a very healthy dose of live sporting events. Before you look up, we will have hockey and later baseball back, returning to a full slate of the four major American team sports. Get excited for the action packed weeks to come.

Going Beyond a Comeback with Alex Smith

Credit: Keith Allison

by Alex Perel, special to The Daily Payoff

As the second half of the NFL season progresses, many pundits will be releasing their predictions for the end-of-season awards. But one award race sticks out of particular interest this year: the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Conventional wisdom may point to a candidate such as the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger or the Texans’ JJ Watt. Both are perennial stars returning to form after injuries last year. However, Alex Smith of the Washington Football Team has redefined what it is to be a “comeback player.”

A catastrophic injury in Week 10 of the 2018 season left Smith with spiral and compound fractures to both his fibula and tibia, ultimately resulting in infections and sepsis that became life threatening. Doctors sought amputation as an option to ensure the virus did not infect his whole body, before several surgeries and skin graft procedures could be used to save the leg. Smith is now not only starting at quarterback in the NFL, a ridiculous thought considering where he was a year ago, but has the Redskins in first place in the NFC East.

On Monday night, he faced Roethlisberger’s undefeated Steelers and dealt them their first loss of the season. The game was expected to be a Steelers route and appeared so with the Washington Football Team losing 14-3 at the half. Smith extended the game play by play, drive by drive, until eventually taking a three point lead as the two minute warning approached. Smith’s simple resilience is ultimate inspiration. Winning and losing do not matter any more in Smith’s story, not as much his pure fight to keep going. And yet, Smith unwilling to settle, is in fact winning. He has now won four in a row.

Smith’s journey over the last 24 months was captured in the E60 documentary Project 11 which aired on ESPN in May. The documentary opens its story February 11, 2019, less than three months after the injury. Smith had incredible persistence that we was going to pursue an immediate comeback attempt, allowing ESPN to document this effort as a show of his confidence in himself.

Project 11, like the CC Sabathia Documentary we highlighted last weekhttp://www.thedailypayoff.com/sabathia-documentary-to-debut-december-22/, is an example of the transcendent power of athlete media. Much of athlete media is filled with podcasts and short form content concerning players’ opinions on everyday news in the sports world and beyond. This content is incredibly insightful, and a component of athlete media involves getting an insight into the minds of our heroes.

But heroes also go beyond to show us how to overcome battles in our daily lives. Both Sabathia, with his fight against alcoholism, and Smith overcoming devastating injuries are inspirations to people every day. Athlete media is meant to do exactly that: inspire people to be the best versions of themselves, to do what they think they cannot.

Watch Project 11 now on the ESPN app or ESPN+.

Athletes First and EVERFI Unite to Launch Nationwide Interactive African American History Education Program

credit: Eric Haynes

Athletes First (“A1”), the world’s largest and most powerful NFL agency, announced a strategic partnership with EVERFI Inc., the leading social impact education provider, to deliver one of the most comprehensive African American History learning opportunities to thousands of students across America. The program will launch in 30 schools across the greater Los Angeles and New York City areas in the coming weeks, with Athletes First Partners (A1’s sister agency), rolling out the New York initiative. The goal is to present the program to thousands of young students, many mentored by Athletes First athletes and coaches, in the next year.

EVERFI’s interactive 306 – African American History™ course will introduce students to important historical events and leaders and will be inspired by the leadership, strength, intellect, and creativity of the women and men that shaped African American History. The goal of the initiative is for students to use these learnings and inspirations in striving to discover their own personal motivations and work toward their own individual successes.

“Discrimination and systemic racism have for far too long sown division in our communities and created social and economic inequities that are unjust and simply unacceptable,” said Brian Murphy, Athletes First CEO. “Our Athletes First family – including our players and coaches – cannot simply stand on the sidelines, but instead must act now. To do so, we decided to start with our country’s younger generation who have little to no bias as they begin their education process. 306 – African American History will enhance and augment the student’s current curriculum, and members of the A1 family will also interact with the students to bring this education to life.”

306 – African American History offers five interactive lessons framed to teach the importance of civic engagement so that students may develop into future community leaders. This digital course is designed to address the skills and proficiencies outlined in the Common Core State Standards for writing and literacy in History and Social Studies, as well as individual states’ standards for US History.

“African American influence can be found at the core of American life and communicating these stories is foundational to building shared values and inspiring today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders,” said EVERFI Co-Founder and President, Jon Chapman. “Together with Athletes First, we have the opportunity to advance and expand upon African American history education across the country and provide students with more accurate, balanced, and comprehensive accounts of Black experiences.”

At launch, players involved in the program will include: David Long (L.A. Rams), Anthony Barr (Minnesota Vikings), Matthias Farley (N.Y. Jets), Derwin James (L.A. Chargers), and Casey Hayward (L.A. Chargers), with the plan to expand names and engagement into 2021 and beyond. They will be able to include commentary in the digital course, and also through virtual and in-person student engagement events.

“I am excited to support this project and am hopeful that it will create positive changes in the education system of our youth,” said Derwin James, All Pro safety who was a Chargers first round pick from Florida State University in 2018. “I’m proud to be a part of Athletes First, an agency that sees the value and importance of educating our next generation in this way.”

FanDuel Expands Free to Play Contests for Fantasy and Sportsbook Products

credit: MIke Morbeck

FanDuel on Thursday announced the expansion of its industry-leading free to play contests for the start of the upcoming football season. For the first time, FanDuel will be launching free to play Pick’em games with three NFL teams, including the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and Washington Football Team.

FanDuel’s expanded free to play lineup will include the following, with more games coming throughout the NFL season:

In partnership with The Ringer, FanDuel is offering The Ringer Mega Contest, a free Survivor-style contest where participants pick games against the spread each week with the goal of making it to the last 100 participants standing going into the playoffs. Players pick five teams each week to beat the spread, including one “Double Down” pick worth double the points. Players will score one point for each correct pick or two points if their “Double Down” pick is correct. Whoever finishes the regular season in the top 100 on the leaderboard makes the playoffs. Then, the top 100 will pick their way through the playoffs to claim a share of $25,000 – including $10,000 to first place.
FanDuel Gridiron Pick’em is a free NFL pick’em style contest, available today on FanDuel. Players try to pick the most correct winners of all of each Sunday’s matchups and split the weekly prize pool of $5,000.
Coming later this week, in addition to the FanDuel Gridiron Pick’em, FanDuel will offer three white label Pick’em games in partnership with three of its team partners, the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and Washington Football Team. Each week participants will answer a series of questions about the specific team’s matchups. The participants who get the most correct answers will split the $1,000 weekly payout. Plus, there will be an additional $10K prize awarded at the end of the season to the participant who gets the most correct answers during the regular season. To qualify for the promotion, eligible individuals must have an active FanDuel Sportsbook or DFS member account or sign up for one at https://sportsbook.fanduel.com or https://www.fanduel.com/join.

“Over the past several months, we’ve prioritized giving sports fans innovative games to play and new forms of entertainment,” said John Griffin, GM of Fantasy Sports, FanDuel. “With the upcoming football season right about to start, we have the most expansive selection of free to play games, giving fans more ways to win than ever before.”

FanDuel also recently announced the launch of Best Ball contests, available to enter now, and Daily Snake Drafts for NFL coming ahead of the football season.

Broncos, BetMGM Agree To Multi-Year Sports Betting Partnership

image: .sanden.

The Denver Broncos and BetMGM, a market-leading sports betting and gaming platform from ROAR Digital, LLC – the joint venture between MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and GVC Holdings (LSE: GVC), announced today that they have entered into a multi-year agreement.

As an official sports betting partner of the Broncos, BetMGM and MGM Resorts will provide premium fan experiences, including a new BetMGM Lounge at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, VIP travel packages, and benefits through MGM Resorts’ loyalty program, M life Rewards. The strategic partnership also includes a free-to-play mobile game, digital marketing assets, and in-stadium promotions and signage.

“This partnership with the Broncos allows us to showcase not only a premier BetMGM sports betting and gaming platform, but also the world-class entertainment experiences delivered by MGM Resorts,” said BetMGM’s Chief Marketing Officer Matt Prevost. “We’re excited to bring both of these to Broncos fans at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium and across the country, while offering BetMGM users new ways to engage with their favorite football team.”

The BetMGM Lounge, located on the Level 1 concourse adjacent to Gate 4 and outside Section 111/112, will allow fans 21 years of age and older access to a full-service premium bar, a luxury lounge, live odds and assistance with BetMGM’s mobile app. Additional in-stadium promotions, highlighted by BetMGM’s season-long First Possession Payoff, will be announced at a later date.

The free-to-play game will be available to Broncos fans directly on The Bronco’s official mobile app. The game will offer eligible fans the opportunity to test their sports prediction skills and win MGM Resorts prizes, including trips to MGM Resorts properties nationwide.

Denver Broncos Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman said, “When we began the process of identifying potential partners in this category, our goal was to provide Broncos fans with unique ways to engage with sports betting. Together with BetMGM, we can now offer our fans and M life Rewards members in Colorado new opportunities such as in-stadium gaming lounge, VIP travel packages to MGM Resorts around the country and a free-to-play game through our mobile app.”

BetMGM recently launched in Colorado in partnership with the Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino. The BetMGM mobile app is available for download in Colorado on both iOS and Android. New customers to the BetMGM Colorado app will receive $100 in free bonus credit when placing a first bet of $10 or more on any Denver Broncos Game or Broncos future wager using bonus code BRONCOS at registration. For more information, follow @BetMGM on Twitter.