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Category: Sam Farmer

Sam Farmer discusses what city council vote means for the NFL in L.A. (video)



Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer discusses what Tuesday's City Council vote means for the future of the NFL in Los Angeles.


NFL stadium agreement approved by City Council

NFL players concerned about blood tests for human growth hormone

Sam Farmer at Pittsburgh Steelers' camp (video)


CineSport's Noah Coslov catches up with Times' NFL reporter Sam Farmer on his training camp tour as he stops to check out the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had to work hard to get under the new salary cap.



Video: Sam Farmer's Week 1 NFL picks

Times NFL writer Sam Farmer breaks down the Green Bay-Philadelphia, San Francisco-Seattle and Dallas-Washington matchups for this weekend:

The rest of Farmer's Week 1 picks:

Cleveland 17, Tampa Bay 14

Miami 24, Buffalo 20

Houston 28, Indianapolis 24

Jacksonville 21, Denver 17

Tennessee 24, Oakland 14

Cincinnati 24, New England 21

New York Giants 21, Carolina 13

Atlanta 20, Pittsburgh 17

Chicago 24, Detroit 17

Arizona 17, St. Louis 10

Baltimore 20, New York Jets 17

San Diego 28, Kansas City 13

VIDEO: Pete Carroll discusses leaving USC, the NFL in L.A., and more

Former USC coach Pete Carroll talked to Times NFL reporter Sam Farmer today in a wide-ranging interview covering everything from his decision to leave USC to whether he sees L.A. getting an NFL team in the future. You can watch the video interview below:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Dallas Cowboys likely returning to Oxnard for training camp

The Dallas Cowboys are putting the finishing touches on a deal to return to Oxnard for part of their training camp this summer, team executive Stephen Jones said.

"There's a good chance we're there," Jones told The Times at the NFL owners meetings Monday  in Orlando, Fla. "We're getting everything put to bed."

Jones, the team's chief operating officer and son of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Oxnard_400 said the team likely would spend 10 days to two weeks in Oxnard and the rest at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Because the Cowboys are playing in the Hall of Fame Game (against Cincinnati), their training camp has been extended a week and therefore it's more feasible to split camp between two locales.

The Cowboys trained in Oxnard from 2004 to 2006 before signing a five-year deal with the Alamodome. They returned to Oxnard in the summer of 2008, however, because of a scheduling conflict in San Antonio.

"The reason we left Oxnard in the first place was they were going to develop that property, and there wasn't going to be a spot anymore," Jones said. "But the economy went the other way and so now the property is still there, and we've always enjoyed our experience out there."

Jones said the length of the Oxnard stay could be increased to "as long as we've got availability out there."

"It's great for us," he said. "We get a lot out of it. We get great coverage. I think it gives the players a nice little getaway ... I think it will spice things up, getting outside in that cool, fresh air.

"Obviously we're not at a point to announce [the deal is done], but we're fired up about it."

-- Sam Farmer

Photo: Fans of the Dallas Cowboys look for autographs in Oxnard in 2005. Credit: Associated Press.

Steve Rushin pens the pint-essential Guinness book

Welcome back, Steve Rushin.

In the world of sports writing, there’s no better wordsmith than Rushin, the longtime Sports Illustrated columnist who stepped away from the magazine three years ago to write books and spend more time with his wife (former WNBA star and current ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo) and their kids.Pint-man_200

"The Pint Man" (Doubleday, $24.95) is Rushin’s just-released debut novel and tells of a love triangle among a boy, a Boyle’s – his favorite Irish pub – and the brown-eyed girl he’s courting. No surprise here: The book is engaging, clever and often wipe-your-eyes funny.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we caught up with Rushin on his tour to get the lowdown on his latest creation, a Guinness book in the truest sense:

What was the inspiration for "The Pint Man"?

I lived in New York for nine years and I met my wife in an Irish bar in Manhattan called Dublin House. Our first date was at another Irish pub called the Emerald Inn. And there is a third Irish bar in there that sort of formed a Bermuda triangle of bars -- I was always in danger of going in there and never coming out.

So I really wanted to be able to write about those nine years, be able to write them off on my taxes, and have gained something positive from them besides just a beer gut and liver damage. I just wanted to write a novel that conveyed the experience of those years spent frequenting  -- or more like constanting in my case -- those various Irish bars on the west side of Manhattan.

What sets Irish bars apart?

It's kind of like the Supreme Court definition of pornography: you can't define it but you know it when you see it. Every place calls itself an Irish bar now, but many of them opened yesterday and are sort of Disneyland theme park-type of Irish bars. The ones that I love all have been around forever, you have to pump the sunlight in there from somewhere far away. I was photographed at the Old Town bar in New York, which was opened in 1892. But the photographer couldn't get me to show up on film because it was so dark in there. So we eventually had to go outside. And that's what I loved about that place.

They had urinals that were installed in 1910. The owner called and said this summer they were celebrating the centennial of our urinals, and I want you to come back for the celebration. That's the closest I'll ever come to a Nobel dinner. That's my equivalent. It's the 250th anniversary of Guinness too, so there's some kind of synergy in these two great anniversaries.

In the Old Town they still have an old phone booth at the bar as well. If those walls could talk, the number of times that somebody called home from that phone booth to say they were working late and stuck at the office. It's just a classic old-school place.

So what’s special about urinals? You seem preoccupied with them.

I worked at Sports Illustrated for 19 years, and I feel like I've gone from journalism to urinalism. That's the arc, no pun intended, of my career. Whether they admit it or not, I suspect every man remembers the first time he stepped up to a urinal, and it was usually at a sporting event.

I remember being at a Giants-Dolphins game at the Meadowlands. It was a few minutes before kickoff and everybody was really anxious to get to their seats. This little 6-year-old was next in line at the urinal. Everybody was watching because they were waiting to see which was the next one to open up. He ended up on his toes because he was trying to reach this thing that was a little bit too high for him, and finally the crowd was going, "Come on you can do it! Come on kid!" And finally he was able to go, and the crowd started chanting, "Go! Go! Go!" When he finished it was like this great moment. It was kind of like the "Mean Joe" Greene Coke commercial or something. He was so proud, and people were high-fiving him as he went by.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he said his first time was at Yankee Stadium. When he stepped up to the plate, as it were, his uncle slapped them on the back and said, "Don't eat the mint, Jim.”

But I'm not alone in that fascination. Hemingway had a urinal taken out of his favorite bar, Sloppy Joe's in Key West {Fla.], and installed in his backyard in Key West, where it still is. You can see it when you take a tour of his house. It became like a drinking fountain for the cats. Unsuspecting cats, obviously.

Your book is clearly testosterone-infused. It’s there an appeal for women?

Well there is a love story that's part of it. It's kind of a normal love triangle between a guy, a girl and a bar. There's always an awkward moment when you have to introduce -- and I had to do this with my wife -- you have to introduce the girl to the family. In my case, living alone in New York, the family consisted of your knucklehead drinking buddies at the bar. If they don't approve, it can be a tough sell.

He's a guy who doesn't get drunk on beer so much as he gets drunk on words and books and wordplay and anagrams and ponds and spoonerisms and that sort of thing. So I think anybody who likes books and likes words and likes reading and is a word nerd will find a lot in it over and above the urinal writing.

So are there a lot of word nerds out there?

Yes. It's fun because as I go around now, people tell me their favorite anagrams and palindromes. A guy came up to me the other night in New York and said, "Satan oscillate my metallic sonatas." People said that kind of stuff to me in bars previously but the guy didn't know he was saying a palindrome. So that's been fun. Usually when you're in a bar in New York and a guy comes up to you and starts talking about Satan, I duck and cover. But in this case I'm loving the people who are coming up and telling me their favorite palindromes and spoonerisms.

What’s your target audience?

If you've ever had a favorite bar, or fell in love with a bar, or have been under a bar, I think it will resonate. From the letters I'm getting, it's already resonating with people like that.

Bars are both literally and metaphorically in my blood. My father's father opened a bar on Market Street in San Francisco called Jack's. When he ordered the neon sign it came back misspelled with an F, so he just called the place Fack’s. And that later became a nightclub where Lenny Bruce and Sinatra and Louis Armstrong and people like that played. He no longer owned it at that point but he opened it in 1947.

And then on my mother's side, they were all baseball players from Cincinnati. My grandfather played catcher for the New York Giants in 1926 -- Jimmy Boyle -- one game for John McGraw. His brother Buzz Boyle played for the Dodgers. And all these guys when they moved back to Cincinnati, when their careers were over, opened bars. So that's why I called the bar Boyle’s in the book.

It's a book that celebrates bar culture, celebrates literature, the connection between beer and drink and writing and Ireland and Irish writers and Irish pubs. I just wanted to mash that all up and tell a story and celebrate words and beer and urinals and bars and Ireland.

-- Sam Farmer

Readers weigh in on changing NFL overtime rules

Nfl What would you do to change overtime in the NFL? Or would you leave it as is?

Last week I wrote a column on an overtime rule that’s expected to be proposed later this month at league meetings in Orlando, Fla. The new proposal says the team that gets the ball to start overtime can win on the opening possession only with a touchdown. If that team kicks a field goal, the other team gets a possession with a chance to either win with a touchdown or tie with a field goal. If the game is tied after that, it would be sudden death from that point on. If neither team scores when it first gets the ball, the game would continue on a sudden-death basis.

A lot of readers weighed in with their own overtime suggestions, some of them pretty creative. Here's a look at some of those ideas:

Robert Gorges: One plan that I have not heard is an overtime with a time limit of, say, 12 minutes or even 15 minutes. I mean c'mon these teams have -- what? -- 60 guys on a team. It's a team game, right? This will make you play more players, and the best team with the best players will win (hopefully) this would be great for football and the fans.    

Ken Driscoll: Just add an extra period like basketball. Add another quarter, the team ahead at the end of the quarter wins. Both teams will get to use their offense, defense, and special teams. If the teams are still tied, you keep adding quarters until one team is ahead when time runs out. Teams will keep trying to score touchdowns instead of kicking field goals as soon as they are in range.

If the simple fix is too radical there is another way to keep sudden death and make it more fair. No field goals in overtime. Think of the excitement of a goal line stand to decide a championship game, that an offense or defense has to get the football across the goal line to win a game.

Jim Rice: Rather than a kickoff to start the sudden death overtime period, there should be an “auction” to see who starts with the ball, and where. A coin is tossed and the winner has the right to take the ball at their own 1-yard line. If they refuse, the other team has the option to take the ball at their 2-yard line. If they refuse, the first team can take the ball at their three yard line. This continues until one team chooses to take the ball.

With this method, instead of the luck of a coin toss, the outcome would be determined by strategy and football skills. That’s all you can ask.

Continue reading »

NFL Fantasy Files videos storm the Internet

Sam Farmer will have a story about the 18 NFL Fantasy Files videos that are sweeping the Internet. Some people can't believe the amazing displays of football prowess on display. Others are beginning to think that all these videos may not be legit.

We are presenting all 18 videos here for you to decide. Watch them, then leave a comment telling us what you think.

Joe Flacco can hit any moving target:

Darren Sproles has been working on his evasive moves:

Maurice Jones-Drew is explosive:

Santonio Holmes proves his footwork is no accident:

Kevin Boss shows how quick his hands are:

Continue reading »

Sam Farmer's Week 3 NFL picks

Our own Sam Farmer is back with his sure-fire guaranteed top four NFL picks. Last week he was 1-3, so you can see how good the guarantee is.

Sam is 5-3 on his video picks this season. 

Check back Friday on for his complete picks.

Sam Farmer's guaranteed Week 2 NFL picks

Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer is back with his sure-fire video picks of the top NFL games this weekend. Sam was a perfect 4-0 in his video picks last week. How long can he keep it up? 

NFL expert Sam Farmer gives you four sure-fire Week 1 picks

A new weekly feature debuts on Fab Forum, as Times' NFL columnist Sam Farmer gives you his four best picks for Week 1 of the NFL entry.

So, if we approved of such things, we would tell you to get out your pool entries and NFL pick 'em sheets and mark down what Sam says.

But we don't, so we won't tell you that.


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