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It’s June. The sports landscape is in flux. Baseball is in full flower, but both the NBA and NHL have just crowned their champions, bringing their respective seasons to a conclusion. And while the NFL is a year-round sport in many ways, we’re definitely in the league’s largest lull right now.

But all is not lost! There’s football being played! And not just World Cup football … although it is an international game.

The CFL’s season kicks off on June 14, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers playing host to the Edmonton Eskimos. All told, each team plays 18 games in 21 weeks (as of this season, each squad gets three byes backed into the schedule), all leading up to the 106th Grey Cup, to be played in November at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

The Canadian game has its quirks and differences from what we see on Sundays in this country, but it’s those quirks and differences that make it fun to watch. It’s a fast-paced, wide-open game that offers plenty of action and excitement.

Here’s a quick look ahead to the 2018 CFL season.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 15:14

Johnny (Canadian) Football

Johnny Football is getting back onto the football field. Well … a football field, anyway. Just not the one to which he’s grown accustomed.

It’s a bit bigger, for starters. And probably a bit colder.

Quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner and former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns whose off-the-field issues contributed to on-field struggles and ultimately led to him being out of the game entirely for two years, has signed a two-year contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:35

Your newest New England Patriots

This past weekend, the future of the NFL was unfolding in Dallas.

The NFL Draft took place over the course of three days as representatives from all 32 teams selected players from among the cream of the collegiate crop in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff and hopefully land the next NFL superstars.

The Patriots haven’t been major players early in the draft for some time, but this year saw New England pick in the first round for the first time since 2015 – and they did it TWICE.

Don’t worry: Bill Belichick and company did plenty of wheeling and dealing in the middle rounds, moving up and down, stockpiling future picks (and landing offensive lineman Trent Brown) along the way.

Still, there’s something exciting about New England actually adding first-rounders to a team that made it to the Super Bowl last season. And they actually used more draft picks than usual; their haul of nine picks more than doubles the total of four they selected in 2017. New doesn’t always equal better, but it’ll be exciting to see how this all plays out.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative the sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:44

An exodus from New England

Patriots say so long to some free agent talents

Published in Sports

The Oakland Raiders recently announced that their longtime placekicker Sebastian Janikowski would not be returning to the team for the 2018 season. This news comes after Janikowski spent the entirety of 2017 on injured reserve; while there’s certainly a possibility that he gets picked up for another team, this could well mark the end of the road for the veteran kicker.

So why am I writing about this particular kicker? Well – I have a long and complicated relationship with Sebastian Janikowski.

See, here’s the thing – I played fantasy football for the very first time in 2002. I have played in at least one league every year since. Sometimes more than one. I have had ups and downs, good teams and bad. I’ve won championships and finished dead last and been plain old mediocre. My teams have reflected every facet of the fantasy football experience. And all of those 20-plus teams had exactly one thing in common.

Sebastian Janikowski.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 15:08

Pro Football Hall of Fame announces 2018 class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio just got a little bigger.

Five players – linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens and defensive back Brian Dawkins – were tapped for induction by the modern-era committee. Joining them will be Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile via the senior committee and personnel executive Bobby Beathard as a contributor.

The list of finalists was trimmed from 15 to 10 and then to five, with those five being subject to a simple yea-or-nay vote – all five ultimately received the thumbs up.

The trio of first-time nominees that made the cut is an impressive bunch.

Published in Sports

Hm. So this is what hubris feels like.

My celebratory gloating following my triumph over Stella in the Wild Card round seems to have come back to give me a karmic bite on the behind. Our records for the Divisional Round were reversed – this time, it was Stella’s turn to go 3-1 and my turn to correctly pick just one single solitary game.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 13:30

UMaine alum Brian Gaine named Houston Texans GM

HOUSTON – The newest general manager of the NFL’s Houston Texans has ties to the University of Maine.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 14:40

Kibbles and Picks – Divisional Round 2018

Not going to lie – I feel a little better.

Sure, I suffered predictive indignity at the adorable little paws of my dog Stella yet again this NFL season. It’s not like I’m not used to it by now.

But things like this past Wild Card weekend certainly do buoy my spirits and let me feel – even if for a moment – that maybe my dog isn’t actually smarter than I am.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 14:05

Kibbles and Picks – Wild Card Round 2018

Longtime readers of The Maine Edge are likely aware of our ongoing web-based feature Kibbles and Picks, wherein I spend every NFL season attempting to pick more winners than my dog Stella. The 2017 season marked our fifth foray into these waters. Stella had emerged triumphant in three of the four previous years, including the last two.

And now it’s a three-peat.

Published in Sports
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