Month: September 2019


  • Deflategate Doesnt Explain The Patriots Romping All Over The Colts

    Seven seasons after Spygate, when the New England Patriots got caught in a bit of rule-bending, the team finds itself embroiled in yet another controversy: Deflate-gate.According to ESPN’s sources, 11 of the 12 game balls allotted to New England for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts were underinflated by a couple pounds per square inch, failing to meet NFL regulations. This is potentially significant because a flatter football is easier to throw and catch, particularly in the rainy conditions of Sunday’s game.On its face, this would seem to be a story impenetrable to data analysis. We don’t yet know who or what was responsible for the deflation. It’s also impossible to quantify how much of a boost the Patriots’ passing game received from the flat balls, and although officials detected the underinflated balls at halftime, it’s not clear in which segments of the game the Patriots used the offending balls (for what it’s worth, New England’s highest-scoring quarter came immediately after halftime).But analytics can at least begin to assess how much of the Patriots’ 38-point victory can be attributed to their passing game.According to Pro-Football-Reference’s expected points metric, which tracks how many net points are added by each play after accounting for down, distance and field position, Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing offense added 14.1 points to the team’s margin. By contrast, Andrew Luck and the Colts contributed -10.5 expected points through the air, so the difference between the two teams’ passing production was worth about 24.6 points of scoring margin to the Patriots — still about two touchdowns shy of the Colts’ entire scoreboard deficit.Now, expected points don’t take into account the leverage of the game situation in which they were produced, so here’s what the game looks like if we break down Pro-Football-Reference’s Win Probability Added (WPA) numbers by play type and quarter:In terms of game-level WPA, the biggest differences between New England and Indianapolis were in the running game and on special teams, not passing. Also, the Colts’ passing attack piled up more WPA than the Pats did in the game’s first half, when the fullest effect of the deflated balls would presumably have been felt.Again, we don’t know exactly how much of a boost Brady and company received due to the deflated footballs, but it’s tough to make the statistical case that a moderately reduced Patriots passing game would be enough to close the gap between New England and Indianapolis in other areas of the game. Any deflation effect would have to be much larger to cause that kind of difference.All of this is probably beside the point, though. Statistically, the Patriots’ videotaping during the Spygate era probably didn’t make much difference either, but the scandal lent an air of illegitimacy to the NFL’s last dynasty. Depending on what the league’s investigation uncovers here, New England could find another unfortunate footnote attached to one of the most impressive 14-year runs in football history. read more

  • Should Your Team Buy Or Sell At The MLB Trade Deadline

    TEAMDOYLEEIGHTFIVETWOTWOFIVEEIGHT Cubs2.01593894.6 wins89.2% Reds0.00386065.40.0 Blue Jays0.9513.57.12.42.16.412.5 Twins0.00376175.80.0 Indians1.57564187.274.4 Giants1.54584086.077.8 Blue Jays0.95554486.036.0 Yankees0.15504879.49.7 Decisions, decisions… White Sox0.30485081.515.8 Marlins0.8215.98.32.81.95.711.1 Royals0.08484975.87.7 For teams like these, doing something — in either direction — is better than doing nothing. Standing pat means reaping neither the long-term benefit of selling nor the immediate dividends of buying. But knowing you have to make a move is the easy part; figuring out the best move, given both your own roster and the composition of the trade market, is a far more difficult task facing each team’s general manager this week.It’s no coincidence that many of these cases involve teams whose division-series odds are mismatched with the talent on their rosters. For instance, the Marlins are one of baseball’s biggest surprise playoff contenders, and although they merely rate as an average team by our Elo rankings — typically the profile of the deadline seller — they’ve mostly been linked to rumors as a buyer this month. By contrast, the Astros, Cardinals, Mets and Blue Jays rank among MLB’s most talented teams, but they’re all in wild-card dogfights right now. None is likely to sell, but Doyle thinks they could be wasting an opportunity to build for the future by chasing a title this season.At the very least, a method like Doyle can provide a framework for conceptualizing a team’s place on the buyer/seller spectrum. And it tells us that, with the playoffs quickly approaching, the top teams in baseball should spend the week trying to load up on talent for a World Series run. The MLB playoffs may be a crapshoot, but the trade deadline is a place where contenders can shift the odds a bit more in their favor — for a price. Mariners0.30504883.612.4 Orioles0.95574079.464.4 Athletics0.02455478.11.1 Pirates0.48514785.217.1 Rangers0.99574279.168.9 Rays0.00386080.00.0 Source: FanGraphs.com Astros1.18544487.841.0 TEAMDOYLEWINSLOSSESTALENT/162 GAMESDIVISION SERIES ODDS Angels0.01435577.30.4 Marlins0.82534585.133.1 Who should be buying and selling at the trade deadline? Diamondbacks0.00415777.80.1 It’s trade deadline week in Major League Baseball, and that means endless deliberation over which teams should buy talent to mount a postseason charge, and which should sell their stars with an eye to the future.To help with that calculus last year, my colleague Nate Silver and I developed what we called the “Doyle Number.” At the trade deadline, a team’s Doyle Number is simply the rate at which it should be willing to trade talent in the future for talent in the current season in order to maximize the franchise’s total World Series wins. (It’s named for the Detroit Tigers’ 1987 trade that sent pitching prospect — and future Hall of Famer — John Smoltz to the Atlanta Braves for veteran Doyle Alexander, one of the most infamous examples in trading history of giving up long-term value for a short-term gain.)A Doyle Number above 1.00 means the team is a buyer — it should be willing to give up more wins of talent in the future than it’s getting in the present, because a shot at the World Series this season is too good to pass up. (The Cubs, for example, have an MLB-leading Doyle of 2.01, meaning they should be willing to give up double the future wins for each win of talent they acquire in 2016.) Conversely, a Doyle Number under 1.00 means the team should probably be selling; current-season talent becomes less and less important the further a team is from the playoff picture. A Doyle of zero, reserved for hopeless playoff causes, essentially means there’s no amount of current-season talent that would make giving up a future win worth it. (You can read about how we calculate Doyle Numbers in more detail here.)It’s important to note that our model simplifies the way deadline trades work. For instance, on the short-term side of the talent trade-off, Doyle is looking at the current season only — think of “rental players” in a walk year, rather than those who might stick with the club long-term. Deadline deals usually center around free-agents-to-be, which is why players like Jonathan Lucroy and Josh Reddick will probably be on the move this week — but they don’t always, so it’s something to keep in mind if your team makes a move that runs counter to its Doyle Number.Here are the Doyle Numbers for all of this year’s teams, as of Monday morning:1All numbers were calculated before the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs Monday. Nationals2.00584194.876.0 For those curious, the average Doyle Number across MLB is currently 0.62, well below the buy/sell cutoff of 1.00. That’s because our method is focused on winning the championship, which relatively few teams are in the hunt to do; it’s also a particularly top-heavy year in baseball. The implication is that most teams should stand pat, but there are some interesting exceptions — more on them later.Also, it may seem counterintuitive for already great teams such as the Cubs and Nationals to rank so highly in Doyle, since the common archetype of a trade-deadline buyer is a team teetering on the edge of a playoff berth, desperately in need of an extra boost to join the postseason party. But as Nate and I found last year, that’s a bit of a misconception. If all we cared about was making the playoffs,2Which, for the purposes of this method, we’re considering to be a Division Series berth — i.e., the definition of a playoff appearance before the advent of the single-elimination Wild Card games in 2012. then the model would indeed emphasize teams on the brink of contention. But since we’re focused on the rings, it’s more important for a top team to load up on firepower in preparation for a near-certain playoff bid than for a middling team to sneak into the postseason. Baseball’s playoffs are incredibly random, but adding more and more talent can help overcome that — long past the point at which it reaches diminishing returns in helping lock down a playoff spot.Of course, that doesn’t mean we should focus exclusively on the World Series front-runners this week. In fact, some of Doyle’s most interesting deadline inflection points belong to teams on the edge of the playoffs.A team’s basic Doyle Number is just a starting point — the rate at which a club should be willing to accept or trade away talent can also change depending on how much talent is on the table. For teams caught between buying and selling at the deadline, this can create a U-shaped curve in their expected-championships function: they could ask for more future wins in exchange for giving away talent now, or they could just as easily be willing to give up more future talent in exchange for victories in the present.The following seven clubs have a pronounced U-shape to their expected championship curve, depending on whether they buy or sell in the next week-plus:3I based the increments (2, 5 or 8 WAR acquired or traded away) on the guidelines provided by Baseball-Reference.com: 8 wins roughly equates to an MVP-caliber player, 5 wins to an All-Star and 2 wins to a typical starter. Red Sox1.49554190.149.4 Braves0.00336664.60.0 Dodgers1.74564493.549.3 Division Series odds are measured using FanGraphs’ “coin-flip” method.Source: FanGraphs.com Cardinals0.8714.77.82.62.05.911.4 Brewers0.00415572.40.2 Phillies0.00455565.60.9 Astros1.1810.55.61.92.67.814.8 Mets0.89524587.528.5 Orioles0.9513.77.12.42.26.612.9 Rangers0.9913.06.82.32.26.813.3 Mets0.8914.47.62.52.06.011.7 Rockies0.04475175.53.8 Tigers0.35514881.218.8 Padres0.00435670.60.3 Cardinals0.87524688.923.7 FUTURE PAYMENT (IN WINS) FOR WINS SOLDFUTURE COST (IN WINS) FOR WINS BOUGHT read more

  • NFL Will Fine Teams If Players Kneel During Anthem

    David Tepper, left, speaks as NFL commissioner Roger Goodall looks on during a news conference where he was introduced as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers at the NFL owners spring meeting Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)ATLANTA (AP) — NFL owners approved a new policy Thursday aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but it was met with immediate skepticism by the players’ union.“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand,” Goodell said. “That’s all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something that we think we owe. We’ve been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on.”In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players.The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue — which has reached all the way to the White House.Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.Other players took up the cause, and the gesture carried on during the 2017 season even after Kaepernick left the 49ers and failed to land a job with another team.President Trump turned the anthem protests into a campaign issue , saying the NFL should fire any player who takes a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The NFL hasn’t gone that far, but Kaepernick has yet to land another job and one of his former teammates and fellow protesters, safety Eric Reid, is also out of work.Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.While the owners touted the change as a compromise and noted it was approved unanimously, the players’ union made it clear it was not part of the discussions.“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy,’” the NFLPA said in a statement. “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.”The statement added, “The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara (co-owner of the New York Giants) about the principles, values and patriotism of our League.” read more

  • Should The Devils OneMan Machine Be The NHL MVP

    Source: Hockey-Reference.com 41988PITM. Lemieux168D. Quinn79+89 No. 1 scorerNo. 2 scorer 281980EDMW. Gretzky137B. MacDonald94+43 171991QUEJ. Sakic109M. Sundin59+50 21983EDMW. Gretzky196M. Messier106+90 111996MDAP. Kariya108S. Rucchin44+64 211981CGYK. Nilsson131G. Chouinard83+48 61984EDMW. Gretzky205P. Coffey126+79 101991LAKW. Gretzky163L. Robitaille91+72 71986EDMW. Gretzky215P. Coffey138+77 121989DETS. Yzerman155G. Gallant93+62 Taylor Hall’s place among the NHL’s top one-man offensesBiggest difference between a team’s No. 1 and No. 2 scorers, 1951-2018 292008WSHA. Ovechkin112N. Backstrom69+43 191993PITM. Lemieux160K. Stevens111+49 91985EDMW. Gretzky208J. Kurri135+73 131986PITM. Lemieux141M. Bullard83+58 With days left in the NHL regular season, the race for the Hart Trophy — the league’s MVP award — is as wide-open as it’s been in years. The defending winner, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, once again leads the league in scoring … but his team will miss the playoffs. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov ranks second, but he cooled off after a red-hot start (and he has to share credit/votes with teammate Steven Stamkos anyway). The leading goal-scorer, three-time MVP Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals, doesn’t even crack the top 10 in total points. And while Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is the betting favorite for MVP, he’s hardly a lock at only fifth in points and 10th in goals.Right into the middle of this fracas has skated New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall, who has been scorching hot in the second half of the season and is seemingly willing New Jersey back into relevance. Hall, who earlier this year had a franchise-record 26-game point streak, now has seven goals and 15 points in his last seven games, including this short-handed game-winner Sunday against the Canadiens:The Hall-for-MVP case mainly rests in just how vital he’s been to the Devils’ offense this season. Hall has either scored or assisted on 39 percent of New Jersey’s goals, almost single-handedly dragging the team to its current 12th-place ranking in scoring. The Devils’ second-leading scorer, 19-year-old NHL rookie Nico Hischier, has notched 51 points on the season — 42 fewer than Hall’s team-leading tally.1For good measure, Hall has had a hand in nearly half of Hischier’s points this season. Not only is that easily the biggest gap in the NHL this year (No. 2 is the 35-point gulf between McDavid and Leon Draisaitl), it’s the biggest the league has seen in a decade and the 30th-biggest difference between a team’s leading scorer and runner-up in a season since 1950-51: 161979MTLG. Lafleur129S. Shutt77+52 142001FLAP. Bure92V. Kozlov37+55 151993TORD. Gilmour127N. Borschevsky74+53 181982WSHD. Maruk136R. Walter87+49 81987EDMW. Gretzky183J. Kurri108+75 202006WSHA. Ovechkin106D. Zubrus57+49 11982EDMW. Gretzky212G. Anderson105+107 241994LAKW. Gretzky130L. Robitaille86+44 231993NYIP. Turgeon132S. Thomas87+45 SeasonTeamPlayerPointsPlayerPointsGap 251999PITJ. Jagr127M. Straka83+44 262006NYRJ. Jagr123M. Nylander79+44 272006PITS. Crosby102S. Gonchar58+44 To find a bigger gap than Hall’s lead over Hischier, you’d have to go back to 2007-08, when Ovechkin topped fellow Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom by 43 points. It’s no coincidence that most of the biggest differences on that list came in the high-flying offensive era of the 1980s and early ’90s, or in the first few seasons after the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Today’s game isn’t really set up for a player to shoulder as much of his team’s offensive burden as Hall does for the Devils — but New Jersey has made it work anyway. According to Hockey-Reference.com, the Hall-centric Devils have a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs.And there’s no question the Devils would be in major trouble without their star scorer. In addition to Hall’s lack of offensive support, New Jersey ranks 17th in save percentage with Keith Kinkaid and Cory Schneider between the pipes and is only in the middle of the pack in terms of denying opponent shots. Hall’s evolution from a 53-point scorer last season (his first with New Jersey) to an MVP candidate2Granted, Hall also showed flashes of this potential in Edmonton, tallying 27 goals and 80 points during the 2013-14 season. Perhaps the Oilers shouldn’t have shipped him away in one of the worst NHL trades in recent memory… has been directly responsible for lifting the Devils from last in the Eastern Conference to a likely playoff berth, the team’s first since 2012.Now, Hall isn’t the only player running on that specific narrative. MacKinnon in particular has also built his Hart candidacy around elevating a formerly terrible team into postseason contention. Nor is Hall likely the best player in the league — that honor probably belongs to McDavid, if not an old standby like Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby. But in terms of pure value to a team, it’s difficult to find a player whose production is more indispensable than Hall’s has been to the Devils this season. 221990DETS. Yzerman127G. Gallant80+47 302018NJDT. Hall93N. Hischier51+42 51989PITM. Lemieux199R. Brown115+84 31981EDMW. Gretzky164J. Kurri75+89 read more

  • The Browns Suckiness Defies Math And Reason

    32New Orleans136032Cleveland-307.6 30Arizona Cardinals1,676Kurt Warner3,069 32Cleveland Browns-2,805Derek Anderson353 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com Cleveland is leading the league in instabilitySince 2000, the NFL teams with the most (and least) total CHAOS* points 29Green Bay132355 3Cincinnati18063Seattle+210.9 1New England Patriots21,050Tom Brady19,743 2Miami16711179 29Indianapolis147229Oakland-205.2 The Cleveland Browns will soon embark on their 20th season since the city got a second chance at an NFL franchise. And in one very specific, very depressing way, the team is right back where it started. When we fire up our NFL Elo ratings for the new season in a couple of weeks — Elo being FiveThirtyEight’s preferred method of tracking a team’s performance over time — the Browns will begin the year with a rating of 1302. (Average is about 1500.) Roll the clock back to Sept. 12, 1999, and Cleveland’s Elo going into the rebooted franchise’s very first game1A note for all the sticklers out there: Yes, the NFL technically considers the “New Browns” to be a continuation of the franchise that left Cleveland to become the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. We don’t, at least not for the purposes of Elo. Since they directly carried over the Old Browns’ roster, the 1996 Ravens were given the initial Elo implied from Cleveland’s performance in 1995, and the 1999 Browns started out with the Elo of an expansion club. was 1300, the same as any expansion franchise. In other words, two decades later, the Browns are essentially starting from scratch — again. ⋮ Most Valuable PicksBest Drafting Teams ⋮ 4San Francisco18064Carolina+166.2 ⋮ 30N.Y. Giants123249 28N.Y. Giants148328Tampa Bay-170.9 YABQ compares a quarterback’s passing and rushing performance (in terms of adjusted net yards) to that of a hypothetical backup-level NFL QB.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com At QB, the Browns are the bizarro PatriotsMost, and least, total yards above backup quarterback (YABQ) for NFL teams since 1999 ⋮ 2Indianapolis Colts19,266Peyton Manning16,559 1Cleveland18841Green Bay+296.3 26Miami Dolphins2,569Jay Fiedler998 31New England011340 25Jacksonville Jaguars3,551David Garrard2,117 5Pittsburgh Steelers12,954Ben Roethlisberger10,945 6Los Angeles Chargers11,999Philip Rivers10,634 * Cumulative High-Activity Organizational Strife points are a weighted sum of a team’s total year-over-year changes at owner (2 points), general manager (3), coach (7) and quarterback (10). Those weights are based on the effect of each type of change on a team’s performance, after controlling for a team’s baseline level of play.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com Altogether since 1999, the Browns have sunk the league’s highest percentage of pick capital in the most volatile positions in the draft — receivers, quarterbacks and running backs — and the seventh-lowest percentage of capital in the most reliable positions — offensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs. It’s indicative of the team’s get-rich-quick mindset: Cleveland keeps buying scratch-off lottery tickets, trying to end the franchise’s problems overnight, but instead it just keeps coming up empty. Super Bowl winners aren’t built in a day — but if you operate as though they are, there’s a good chance that your team won’t get to the Super Bowl anytime soon.As all the losses and the failed picks have piled up, Cleveland has also gone through countless leadership changes up and down the organization. Since the Browns were reborn, no team has made more season-to-season switches at general manager or quarterback, and only one (the Raiders) has changed coaches more often.11We aren’t including in-season switches in our count if the new quarterback or coach weren’t the primary person in that role the following season. Our research shows that these moves come with a heavy price: Even after controlling for a team’s Simple Rating System (SRS) score the previous season,12Since bad teams tend to shake things up far more frequently than good ones. teams that change primary quarterback tend to decline by 1.31 points per game of SRS the following season, while that number is 0.91 SRS points for teams changing coaches, 0.36 SRS points for teams changing GMs and 0.26 SRS points for teams with new ownership.We can roll those relative values up into an overall turmoil tally I’m calling the CHAOS (Cumulative High-Activity Organizational Strife) Score. Between any pair of seasons, you get 2 points for changing owners, 3 for changing GMs, 7 for changing coaches and 10 for changing your primary QB. And since 2000,13The 1999 Browns aren’t included here because brand-new expansion teams aren’t eligible for a CHAOS score — it’s taken for granted that they have all-new personnel, so the metric wouldn’t mean much for them. the Browns are the undisputed kings of CHAOS: 9Dallas Cowboys9,478Tony Romo8,138 Top Passer If only the past 20 years of misfortune could be erased that easily. After the team lost its final game of the 2017 season to give the 2008 Detroit Lions some company in the 0-16 club, Cleveland fans held an ironic parade to “celebrate” the team’s anti-accomplishment. But it is perversely impressive to craft a pro football team so dreadful. No other team in the entire history of the NFL has ever suffered through a stretch of 31 losses in 32 tries like the Browns just did. (The next-worst 32-game period belonged again to those Lions, who won two contests total during the 2008 and 2009 seasons; even the infamous expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 4-28 in their first 32 outings.) On paper, the chance of a totally replacement-level team winning just once in two seasons against a typical schedule is about 0.1 percent.Cleveland’s futility, then, borders on impossibility. It’s almost like you have to be trying to be terrible in order to reach the depths the Browns have encountered these past few seasons. And even if you were trying, you probably couldn’t pull it off. So how could such a hopeless situation emerge organically? And as we sit on the cusp of Year 20, is there any hope for the franchise to reverse its own brief, unpleasant history, restoring the tradition of the original version that won four NFL titles right before the Super Bowl era began?For one thing, this team was not well-positioned to succeed in its second NFL go-round. When the original Browns packed up and left for Baltimore in 1996, they took with them the core of a team that had been built by future coaching GOAT Bill Belichick2Whose Browns tenure was admittedly rocky but who also brought to Cleveland elements of the system that would later help turn the New England Patriots into a dynasty. and would be improved upon greatly by standout Ravens general manager (and former Browns tight end) Ozzie Newsome. That team — the old Browns/new Ravens — won the Super Bowl within a half-decade of leaving Cleveland. The team that took its place was an expansion squad built from other teams’ leftovers. Although some new clubs (such as the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers) have had early success, it usually takes five to 10 years before an expansion team can reach respectability.And as longtime Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Terry Pluto notes in “False Start,” his book about the New Browns,3The book was written in 2004 but feels as applicable today as it did then — which speaks volumes about the Browns’ lack of progress during the intervening years. those teams had a significant advantage over Cleveland from day one. According to Pluto, the amount of time between owner Al Lerner being granted the new franchise and the team’s inaugural game (369 days) was the shortest for any expansion club since the New Orleans Saints in 1967 — and the third-shortest of any new team since 1960. By comparison, the Houston Texans (who joined the NFL just three seasons after the Browns were reborn) had a full 1,068 days to fill out their front-office and coaching staffs, and the Jaguars and Panthers each had in excess of 640 days.By Pluto’s estimation, the NFL spent two-and-a-half times as long (911 days) stalling to drive up the bidding on the Browns’ new ownership as the team had to actually build infrastructure and scout players for its new roster once an owner was finally in place. Is it any wonder, then, that the overmatched Browns went 5-27 over their first two seasons of existence?That, of course, doesn’t excuse the 17 seasons that followed. Even given the disadvantaged start, the Browns simply haven’t progressed like other expansion teams of the modern era.4Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. As noted above, in terms of Elo, Cleveland is the first modern expansion team to tumble back to square one after its first two decades in the league.A central paradox rests at the core of the Browns’ struggles. Since returning to existence in 1999, Cleveland has enjoyed the most valuable collection of draft picks in the NFL, according to the Approximate Value5Pro-Football-Reference.com’s method of approximating a player’s value in any given season. It’s far from perfect, but it’s one of the only methods available for comparing performance across positions and ascertaining where on the roster teams are getting their production from. we’d expect players selected in those slots to generate early in their careers.6Specifically, their first five NFL seasons. Yet the Browns have also been — by far — the worst drafting team in the league, in terms of the AV its picks have actually produced relative to those expectations. 31Chicago Bears-949Jay Cutler1,504 5Tennessee17475Atlanta+164.4 5San Francisco2479155 24Tampa Bay Buccaneers3,664Jameis Winston1,414 Times team changed… 28Baltimore Ravens2,059Joe Flacco2,490 10Atlanta Falcons9,100Matt Ryan8,251 3New Orleans Saints17,900Drew Brees15,628 23Carolina Panthers3,827Cam Newton2,831 Cleveland’s curse: Draft highly, pick poorlySince 1999, NFL teams with the most valuable draft picks (in terms of expected future Approximate Value by slot) and the best record of draftees exceeding the expected value of those picks 4Green Bay Packers16,894Aaron Rodgers10,992 3Buffalo16710169 RKTeamExpected AVRKTeamAV vs. Expected 29New York Jets1,886Chad Pennington2,588 RkTeamOwnerGMCoachQB⚡CHAOS Points⚡ 30Houston143430L.A. Rams-241.6 It’s a vicious cycle: If you pick highly and the draftees actually work out, then your future picks become less valuable because (duh!) you’re picking lower in the draft. By continually missing on high picks, though, the Browns keep spinning their tires in a constant loop of promising drafts gone to waste.Previous research suggests that much of draft success — after controlling for the typical value of a pick, as we did above — is just luck. But after getting negative pick-adjusted value 15 times in 19 drafts — and only one positive draft since 20077That was in 2011, when the Browns didn’t have an especially high pick and simply snagged a few useful players down the board, such as pass-rusher Jabaal Sheard and defensive back Buster Skrine. That’s the best draft they’ve had in more than a decade. — “bad luck” is no longer a satisfactory answer. Since its reboot, Cleveland has gone through three owners,8The second, Randy Lerner, was the son of original owner Al Lerner. nine general managers and nine head coaches. Somehow, all of them have contributed to the Browns’ poor decision-making in one way or another.Their unifying crime might be a penchant for all-or-nothing, quick-fix gambles. For instance, the Browns are infamous for their quixotic pursuit of the NFL draft’s biggest prize — the Franchise Quarterback™ — and they’ve burned through 29 different primary passers9Defined as a QB who led the team in passing attempts for at least one game. (including seven taken with first-round picks)10By either the Browns or another team. since 1999 trying to find one. (Numbers that don’t even include their No. 1 pick from this past spring, former Oklahoma signal-caller Baker Mayfield.) At the same time, they’ve also gotten easily the worst production from their QBs (in terms of yards above backup QB) of any team in the league: 27Buffalo Bills2,457Tyrod Taylor1,130 It’s this kind of constant upheaval that probably helps explain Cleveland’s deficiencies in so many of the proverbial “little things” that add up to improve a team’s talent base. They botch easy trades for credible QBs and cut solid defensive backs just before opening day. They waste the prime of a Hall of Fame left tackle and watch him retire from football at age 33. They draft a first-round receiver (after trading down from potentially taking a franchise QB), only to pawn him off for a seventh-round pick within 28 months. The basic operations of running a football team can’t be taken for granted in Cleveland.And just like the franchise’s abhorrent draft record, there are plenty of other factors plaguing the Browns that we’d normally chalk up to bad luck, but in Cleveland’s case we probably have to blame on something bigger. The team went 0-6 in one-score games last season, for instance, and had one of the worst turnover margins in NFL history. They had the third-worst red zone Total Quarterback Rating (2.7) of any team since ESPN began tracking the stat in 2006. As statheads, we know these things tend to regress to the mean over time. But for the Browns, who never stick with any strategy — whether concocted by old-school scouting types or newfangled math nerds14The latter of whom (including chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta) have since been banished from the draft process. Because the team’s pre-analytics approach was working so well before the number crunchers came along. — long enough to give it a chance, it’s fair to wonder whether this endless string of calamities was always more likely to happen in Cleveland, thanks to the scattershot way the team operates in the big picture.As always, there are new reasons that the Browns might begin to break their cycle of despair in 2018. Between underrated ex-Bills starter Tyrod Taylor and the analytics darling Mayfield — plus incoming receiver Jarvis Landry and more games (maybe) from former All-Pro Josh Gordon — Cleveland’s passing game should be substantially improved this season. (It’s not like it could get much worse.) The rest of the roster is littered with new faces as well, presumably the sort of “real players” new GM John Dorsey lamented the team’s lack of at the end of last season. And among the holdovers, second-year defensive end Myles Garrett has the potential to break out as a star. One would even think at least some of the luck-based failures detailed above will reverse themselves eventually.But for now, the Browns are a case study in how bad things can get when a franchise starts on the wrong path and keeps trying shortcuts to get back to the right one. The NFL is a league designed for parity, so it seems like any ordinary bad team would have stumbled across a winning formula by now, even if just by chance. But by the same token, some team eventually had to be as bad as the Browns are now. Although Cleveland may not be cursed, it does play host to the perfect storm of hasty expansion plans, terrible drafting, constant on-field miscues, perpetually bad roster risks, no clear long-term vision and a historic level of instability.Against such forces, did the Browns ever really have a choice but to start from scratch again sooner or later? 28New Orleans124366 1Cleveland28716237 31Washington138931Detroit-246.9 4Oakland12109168 8Philadelphia Eagles10,171Donovan McNabb6,713 7Denver Broncos11,795Peyton Manning4,659 32Pittsburgh111232 2L.A. Rams18602Indianapolis+258.2 RKTeamTotal YABQNameYABQ read more

  • Lavender Prahalis combo leads Bucks to blistering start

    Following the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament Championship last weekend, Ohio State’s women’s basketball team is looking ahead to another full slate of games in the upcoming week. The Buckeyes play at home tonight against UNC Greensboro before playing in the Buckeye Classic this weekend at St. John Arena. As part of a two-game tournament, OSU will play IUPUI followed by either California or Southern. The Buckeyes have dominated their opponents early in the season, winning by an average of nearly 24 points a game. UNC Greensboro, IUPUI, California and Southern have combined for a rather pedestrian 9-7 record so far this year.If any of them expect to compete with the Buckeyes, they will have to figure out a way to slow down OSU’s offense — a daunting task considering the Buckeyes have been scoring at will early in the season.Through five games, they average 91 points a game, up from 69 per contest last season, and their 367 total points in the WNIT were the most in tournament history.Junior center Jantel Lavender, who was named WNIT co-MVP with teammate Samantha Prahalis, said that it is her team’s depth that is responsible for the scoring outburst.“[Our team] has a ton of weapons,” Lavender said. “The freshmen bring a lot of different things to the table both defensively and offensively. I love playing with a team that is so deep.”It was depth that was on display in Sunday’s tournament finale against Oklahoma State. Including Lavender’s team-high 26 points, four of the Buckeye starters scored in double figures. Oklahoma State head coach Kurt Budke expects the Buckeyes to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament come season’s end. “They can hit you from many ways,” Budke said. “That is a very good team and they could definitely be in the Final Four.”If Budke is right, OSU would make just its second Final Four appearance in the program’s 43-year history.The Buckeyes take on UNC Greensboro tonight at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

  • Seniors walk away as top OSU class

    On the Tuesday before the Rose Bowl Game, senior strong safety Kurt Coleman told the media that all his goals and dreams were in place to be accomplished for his college football career.“It’s been a great four years and it’s sad that it’s coming to an end,” Coleman said. “But I came into this year saying I wanted to leave as a Big Ten champion and I wanted to leave with a bowl win.”When he said that, Coleman was just one step away from accomplishing everything. He had led his defense to a strong conference finish as Big Ten champions and was ready to face Oregon in the Rose Bowl.When Ohio State sealed the deal with a 26-17 win over the Ducks, Coleman got his wish. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to go out like this,” Coleman said. “To have people around us that really support us and everyone putting it all in for the seniors the way they played their hearts out, it’s a great feeling.”Though the NFL-bound captain credits the win as a team effort, he had a large part in leading the team to victory.“Our seniors, who took over a young team in August, had high expectations and had some tough moments but they never wavered,” coach Jim Tressel said. “They never questioned the direction that they were going to end up.”Heading into the Rose Bowl, the name of the game was strength and conditioning for the OSU defense as the team faced a dynamic and high-powered Oregon offense. OSU’s three captains were all defensive seniors, making that challenge much more important to them.Tressel said before the game that he was very proud of the way his defense had prepared for the Rose Bowl and that they were not going to disappoint.“Chasing Oregon around is going to make [the Ducks] tired too,” he said.And they held up that promise, holding Oregon to only 12 first downs and shutting down quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and his corps of running backs. The Buckeyes held Masoli to just 9 yards rushing on six carries, his lowest total all season. They also forced LaMichael James and LeGarrette Blount to subpar games.“Everything has been perfect,” Coleman said. “We came out with a ‘W’ and I am so elated, I still have to soak this in.”The senior class has been on the field for the last three bowl game defeats: a loss to Florida in the National Championship Game at the end of the 2006 season, a loss to Louisiana State in the National Championship Game at the end of the 2007 season and a loss to Texas last year in the Fiesta Bowl. With that in their minds, the seniors were unanimous in not wanting to be known as the class that lost four bowl games, said senior captain Doug Worthington.Coleman echoed Worthington’s sentiment, saying that the past losses fueled the team to its Rose Bowl victory.“After every loss that we’ve had in the bowl games, this win has been great. Last year we were so close to winning and I think for all of us that was our biggest motivation,” Coleman said.With the win on Friday, the 2010 seniors became the class with the most wins in OSU history, with a record of 44-8. After three straight bowl-game losses, coming out with a win and breaking the win record was a sweet taste of victory for the group.“It’s a tremendous honor,” Coleman said. “So many people have come through [OSU] and to come out of here as the winningest class, it’s a tremendous honor to the teammates and the people we’ve had around us.” read more

  • Clippers close opening homestand with loss

    Toledo Mud Hens pitcher Armando Galarraga silenced the bats of the Columbus Clippers in a 6-3 victory Thursday at Huntington Park.In the final game of the season-opening home stand, the Clippers fell to a division-leading 5-3 record.Galarraga came into the game with a 1.80 ERA. He pitched 6 1/3 innings for the Mud Hens on Thursday, allowing five hits and three runs while striking out six hitters. Galarraga started off the season with the Mud Hens after spending the majority of the last two seasons pitching for the Detroit Tigers. He had a promising year for the Tigers in 2008 with a 13-7 record and a 3.73 ERA, but his production slipped in 2009 with a 6-10 record and a 5.64 ERA.The Clippers came into the game with a league-leading .326 batting average, and 53 runs in just seven games.However, the Clippers didn’t have a hit until the fifth inning against Galarraga. “He had command of the outside corner with his fastball, and his slider was pretty good. He made very few mistakes with it over the plate,” Clippers designated hitter Shelley Duncan said.Jeanmar Gomez, last year’s Most Valuable Pitcher in the Eastern League for Class AA Akron, was the starting pitcher for the Clippers. In Gomez’s first start of the season, he pitched five innings in a loss against the Indianapolis Indians allowing three runs on four hits, but didn’t record a loss. Gomez looked strong early, allowing one hit through the first three innings. Gomez had to work his way out of trouble in the fourth inning. Brent Dlugach hit an infield single, and Brennan Boesch reached base on an error by Clippers first baseman Wes Hodges to lead off the inning for the Mud Hens. An RBI single by Ryan Strieby scored the first run of the game for the Mud Hens. A single by Jeff Larish loaded up the bases with no outs. Gomez forced Jeff Frazier into a double play, and then struck out Casper Wells to limit the Mud Hens to one run in the inning. In the top of the fifth inning, Gomez let up four consecutive hits including a home run off the scoreboard in right field by Boesch, giving the Mud Hens a 5-0 lead. The Clippers weren’t ready to give up, as they have come from behind in four of their five victories this year. Jose Constanza started off the sixth inning with a double in the gap between left and center field. Shelley Duncan had an RBI single to score Constanza, and continued his 20-game on-base streak. The Clippers rallied in the seventh inning to score two more runs on a Chris Gimenez home run, cutting the Mud Hens lead to 5-3. Gimenez was the last batter that Galarraga faced. Josh Rainwater pitched the rest of the seventh inning and the eighth inning, allowing two hits but no runs. The Mud Hens scored another run in the ninth off Clippers pitcher Steven Wright to give them a 6-3 lead. Jay Sborz came in to close the game for the Mud Hens. The Clippers made it interesting, putting two runners on base in the ninth inning with the tying run at the plate, but a groundout by Jason Donald sealed the deal for the Mud Hens. “I think that the first couple games when we did come back, it gave us confidence and let the guys know that we can come back, even if we’re down we just keep chipping away,” Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “I had that feeling today even though we weren’t able to win the ball game. All you can ask of the guys is to play hard and play nine full innings, and in the end we’ll see what the outcome is.” Carlos Santana, Clippers catcher and International League Player of the Week, and Trevor Crowe, Clippers outfielder, were given a day of rest and did not play against the Mud Hens. read more

  • Mens Hockey Topseeded Ohio State falls handedly in Big Ten tournament semifinal

    Junior goalkeeper Tommy Nappier (37) looks down the ice in the second period of game one during Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Michigan State on March 1. Ohio State won 5-1. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternOhio State knew it was Penn State’s offense that it had to worry about coming in.The Nittany Lions averaged an NCAA-leading 4.59 goals per game, while their 3.65 goals against per game was fourth-worst in the country.But on Sunday, it was both the defense and the offense that gave the Buckeyes troubles, falling to Penn State 5-1, eliminating Ohio State from the Big Ten tournament.The loss is Ohio State’s fifth in its past seven games.“I’m nothing but disappointed right now,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “We got a good hockey team in that locker room, we’ve played some really good hockey this year, we certainly weren’t at our best tonight.”The Nittany Lions outshot the Buckeyes 36-32, putting four past sophomore goalie Tommy Nappier, who came in with the No. 2 save percentage in the country.The second period was where the game was ultimately decided.With 2:24 to go in the period, junior forward Tanner Laczynski put the Buckeyes back within one with 2:24 remaining. But the goal was reviewed and overturned due to an offsides call, keeping Penn State up three heading into the third period.“It was a big time goal at the end of the period,” senior forward Mason Jobst said. “We would’ve had a little bit of energy going into the third, but it’s part of the game, and that’s just the way it goes.”The three-goal lead ended up being more than enough for the Nittany Lions to move forward to face Notre Dame in the Big Ten championship game.Already down two from the opening period, Ohio State senior defenseman Sasha Larocque was given a major penalty and game misconduct for a hit to the head of sophomore Adam Pilewicz.On the ensuing Penn State power play, which ranked No. 3 in the NCAA coming in, junior defenseman Kris Myllari found junior forward Brandon Biro on the back post of the Ohio State goal for an easy tap in with 10 seconds remaining on the man advantage, giving the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead.“That was a big blow to lose our captain,” Jobst said. “If we could have just got that last little bit killed off, it would have gave us a little boost of energy when you kill a five-[minute penalty] like that, and that was pretty disappointing.”The third period started with more of the same for Penn State. Junior forward Nate Sucese slipped a puck passed Nappier’s five-hole to extend the lead to 4-0. Senior forward John Wiitala scored with less than five minutes remaining in the final period to cut the lead back to within three, but it was not enough to mount the comeback.Sucese also scored an empty-net goal with 46.8 seconds remaining to make the score 5-1.Nappier finished the game with 31 saves, allowing the tied-most goals against this season, most recently allowing four, again, to Penn State on Jan. 19. Junior goalie Peyton Jones made 31 saves in the game for the Nittany Lions.The scoring was opened up by Penn State junior forward Liam Folkes, who was the hero for the Nittany Lions in their previous series against Wisconsin. After scoring nine points and earning NCAA Second Star of the Week against the Badgers, Folkes scored the opener on a wide-open move in the middle, giving Nappier no chance to make a play.It appeared that Penn State would hold a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission, but with less than a second to go in the period, sophomore forward Alex Limoges narrowly beat Nappier to the left side, with the puck trickling past the sophomore goalie to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead early.“I think we had a good start, and I think once they scored the first goal, I think we had a disappointing end of the first period,” Rohlik said. “That’s a good hockey team there that’s gonna capitalize, and they did.”Ohio State will now wait to see if it will earn an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. read more

  • Mary Berry eat your heart out says Prince William after having a

    first_imgPrince William takes instructions during a dance class at Caius House Youth Centre Prince William cake He copied his teacher, 15-year-old Candice Blake, and raised his arms up so his body formed a T, then slowly tried to make a wave ripple from his fingertips along his arm and to his other hand.The Duke laughed at his own efforts and said about their performance: “It’s very cool, if you need an extra back-room dancer give me a shout.” The Duke of Cambridge concentrates as he takes part in a baking class  Prince William learns a move with Scariofunk dance collective The Duke of Cambridge concentrates as he takes part in a baking class Credit:Justin Tallis/PA Prince William shows off his handiwork to young people at Caius House Youth CentreCredit:JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Caius House’s origins began in 1887 when undergraduates and fellows from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, rented a house in Battersea and started a college “settlement” where they lived and ran a range of clubs for local residents.A former graduate of the college, Edward Wilson – the doctor on Captain Scott’s ill-fated South Pole expedition – worked at the institution when he moved to London in 1896 as a medical student.The club flourished over the decades and has been serving the local community for almost 130 years. It moved into new premises, constructed on its original site, in September 2014.It now welcomes on average of 500 young people between the ages of eight and 21 each week, who use the centre’s facilities. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Speaking about who is the best chef in his home, he added: “Catherine is a very good cook.”I did a lot of cooking when I was younger, but you have to reach a certain level when you can throw stuff in, but I stick rigidly to the recipe.”William spent more than an hour touring Caius House in Wandsworth, which offers a range of training and support opportunities in disciplines ranging from music and dance to sport and fitness.After watching a dance display by a group of teenagers, William was persuaded to try one other move called The Wave. The Duke of Cambridge has tried his hand at cake decorating as he sympathised with “distraught” fans of The Great British Bake Off.Prince William had a go at piping vanilla buttercream onto cupcakes while joining a class at a south London youth club, where he told youngsters he had watched the BBC show featuring Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.After spending a few moments decorating the cake, the future king looked up and said: “Mary Berry, eat your heart out – look at that.” Fans have been left on tenterhooks as Berry and Hollywood have yet to confirm they will be joining the show when it moves.William said to the young bakers around him: “You must be distraught it’s moving, but I’m sure it will be just as good.”After decorating his cake, William turned to Patricia Nunoo, a 17-year-old volunteer at the Caius House youth club in Wandsworth – and said: “Not quite as elegant as yours, but it’s a start.” William spoke about the news that the popular programme is leaving the BBC, but said he is “sure it will be just as good” at its new Channel 4 home.The future of Bake Off has been thrown into turmoil following the shock announcement it will move to Channel 4 and the revelation hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will not return to the show next year. Prince William takes instructions during a dance class at Caius House Youth Centre Credit:Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Prince William learns a move with Scariofunk dance collectiveCredit:JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Gettylast_img read more

  • Pregnant woman hit by fleeing car as she tries to stop attempted

    first_imgShe was said to have been on her own in the off-licence, in London Road, when the incident happened.An Essex Police spokesman said: “It is not believed the baby was harmed.”A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, assault, fraud by false representation and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.He was detained at an address in London on Tuesday and taken to Southend police station, where he remains in custody. A car has also been recovered.A friend, who did not want to be named, said: “She was on her own at the time and she is four or five months pregnant. It’s really sad, she only came over from Sri Lanka a year ago”Locals reacted in shock to the news that the family-run business was targeted.Tom Triggs, 54, said: “She has a little boy about two and they are a lovely family. My grandchildren go in there all the time – they are really nice people.” John Lloyd, a barber who works opposite the shop, said: “It’s scary, round here you wouldn’t expect it. I can’t get my head around it.”Detective Inspector Stuart Truss said: “The shop was very busy at that time of day and there were also a lot of people in the area who may have seen what happened.”I would urge anyone who witnessed the incident or has any other information about it to come forward and contact us.” It’s scary, round here you wouldn’t expect it. I can’t get my head around itJohn Lloyd, a barber who works nearby A pregnant woman who tried to stop a crime at a shop suffered life-threatening injuries when she was hit by a vehicle fleeing the scene.The woman, in her 30s and who is believed to be Sri Lankan, had tried to stop an attempted fraud at the shop where she works in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.Police said she was struck by a grey Volkswagen Golf and suffered injuries to her head and face and internal injuries.The victim, who is understood to be four or five months pregnant, was taken to hospital in a stable but life-threatening condition after the incident at around 5pm on Monday. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

  • Two week holiday could be the death of you study shows lazy

    first_imgLead researcher Dr Dan Cuthbertson said: “In a group of physically active, healthy young individuals that met the recommended physical activity guidelines, just 14 days of increased sedentary behaviour resulted in small but significant reductions in fitness that were accompanied by reductions in muscle mass and increases in body fat. He said people who do not exercise risk obesity and illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes.”The take-home message is two-fold,” he said. “If you do formal exercise, it may not be enough and keeping active as part of your daily life is important.”And for those who don’t exercise, avoiding prolonged sitting and increasing your daily step counts has clear health benefits.”It does appear that there is something in this idea of 10,000 steps a day being good for you.”People have become obsessed with 10,000 steps a day and this research shows it’s a good thing.”NHS guidance states adults should do 150 minutes of activity a week.But the vast majority of adults fail to meet this target.And more than a quarter of Britons fail to do even 30 minutes of activity a week, according to Sport England.Dr Cuthbertson added: “Our day to day physical activity is key to abstaining from disease and health complications. People must avoid sitting for long periods of time.”Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said millions of Britons needed to overhaul their lifestyle habits.”Yet again the science is telling us that physical activity should not, and must not, be missed,” he said, warning that ill-health in later life would be a “certainty” for those with couch potato habits.Exercising should be a regular part of the day “like brushing your teeth,” he said.“Those who fail to exercise ignore activity at their peril: sarcopenia, serious muscle wasting, and obesity may combine to catch up with them “. Steven Ward, chief executive of fitness organisation ukactive said: “Physical inactivity is society’s silent killer and even short bouts of being sedentary can lead to deadly diseases. “That’s why it’s so important for us to build movement into all aspects of our lives – commuting, working and at play – to reap the myriad benefits of an active lifestyle. “We know from our own ukactive research that lazy summer holidays wreak havoc on our children’s health, so it’s vital that families stay active together at this time of year to ward off unhealthy habits.”Dr Emily Burns, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, which part-funded the study, said: “We know that being physically inactive can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and while we need to wait for the full results, this research suggests that changes inside the body could start after only two weeks of inactivity.”We can all find ways to include physical activity in our daily life – even walking to work or using stairs.”Sarah James, Sports Nutritionist and Health Information Manager at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Fitting more exercise into each day, whether that be cycling to work or taking the stairs, can make a huge impact on your risk of several serious diseases, including some of the most common cancers.“Being physically active can directly help prevent several cancers, including breast and bowel cancers. Having an active lifestyle is also vital for maintaining a healthy weight, which can in turn reduce your risk of 11 common cancers.” A fortnight lying on a beach may seem like the perfect boost – but new research suggests two weeks of couch potato living  is enough to cause muscles to waste away and fitness levels to plunge, new research shows.The British study on healthy young adults found startling changes to muscle mass and metabolism could occur during a couple of weeks on holiday, or simply lazing around.Scientists have warned that the changes could trigger an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and potentially premature death. Researchers from Liverpool University examined 28 fit, young adults, with an average age of 25. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. They asked them to cut activity levels by 80 per cent, from 10,000 daily steps to just 1,500.By the end of 14 days, they had lost almost a third of a kilo of lean muscle (0.8 pounds)– and saw their waistline expand by almost half an inch (1cm). There was also an increase in liver fat and an increase in bad cholesterol markers while overall, cardio-respiratory fitness levels also declined.And when the group returned to their previous fitness habits, they were unable to return to shape within two weeks.The findings are being presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto.  For those who don’t exercise, avoiding prolonged sitting and increasing your daily step counts has clear health benefitsDr Dan Cuthbertsonlast_img read more

  • Forest Gate clashes Six police officers injured in London protest over mans

    first_imgPolice face off with protesters overnight One protester rode his motorbike up to the police line Credit:Lauren Hurley /PA  Borough Commander Superintendent Ian Larnder stood in the middle of a group of protesters trying to answer their questions and calm tensions.Campaigners claim that Mr Da Costa’s neck was broken and he suffered head and other injuries after he was stopped in a car, containing three people, by Met officers.The IPCC said a preliminary post-mortem, carried out on Thursday, indicated there were no spinal injuries caused by police. Police in riot gear in Forest Gate as fires burn amid a protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da CostaCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA Police officers help a person on Romford Road in Forest Gate, east London A woman stands at the police line in east LondonCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA Police officers help a person on Romford Road in Forest GateCredit:PA Riot police hold a person in Romford Road amid early-hours clashesCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA A flurry of angry comments such as “you are protecting them” and “you have told us what you can’t do, now tell us what you can do” were hurled at Mr Larnder as members of the crowd pressed him about alleged police brutality.More questions and disbelieving comments drowned him out as he told the largely black crowd: “I am here because l care deeply about what is going on.”He also said: “Police officers are all accountable to the law, they are being investigated.”I genuinely feel for you. I will ring the IPCC and ask them what are you doing.”When one of the campaigners asked if the officers involved in the incident were still working, he said: “I am pretty sure they have not been suspended but removed from operational duties.” Campaigners face off with police near in Forest Gate, north east London, as they protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa They allege that Da Costa, known by friends as Edson, was “brutally beaten”. Police officers on Romford Road in Forest Gate, east London, as people protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa The protest took place in east London Credit:Lauren Hurley /PA The crowd arrived at the station at around 8.15pm and a cordon of uniformed officers stood outside the building. At least a dozen officers wearing helmets stood shoulder-to-shoulder and two-person deep at the station entrance as tempers flared, with swearing and chanting from the campaigners.They held a calm minute’s silence at 8.40pm with each person holding a clenched fist in the air. It was broken with applause, revving of motorbikes and then booming music. Dozens of police wearing helmets and carrying shields pressed forward in a line from the police station at around 9.35pm. A person is carried away from the scene of the clashes with police in east London Forest Gate bin blaze Police face off with protesters overnightCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA A person is carried away from the scene of the clashes with police in east LondonCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA Family campaigners were insisting that the violence was not coming from them and it had been set up as a peaceful march.Protesters, some carrying Black Lives Matter posters and others with homemade placards which read “Justice for Edson + How Many More???”, stood in front of a line of uniformed officers at Stratford bus station, east London. Police officers on Romford Road in Forest Gate Protesters goad police in east LondonCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA The IPCC is investigating the 25-year-old’s deathCredit:Lauren Hurley /PA Edir Frederico Da Costa died six days after being stopped by policeCredit:Go Fund Me A woman stands at the police line in east London The protest began outside Forest Gate police station on Sunday before demonstrators moved on to the Stratford area, police said.The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the treatment of the 25-year-old, who died on June 21, six days after he was stopped in a car by Metropolitan Police officers in Woodcocks, Beckton, in Newham, east London. Police officers in Forest Gate, north east London, as people protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa Forest Gate Transport for London said that from just before 6pm there had been “a number of bus diversions at police request” due to the demonstration at Stratford.One protester rode his motorbike up to the police line and deliberately revved his engine in front of the officers. Another motorcyclist turned his bike towards the officers and span his wheels so that smoke blew towards them. Six police officers have been injured, with four taken to hospital, following a protest in London over the death of a man after a traffic stop.One male police sergeant suffered facial injuries and a female constable sustained head injuries as demonstrators threw “a number of objects” toward officers at the scene in Stratford, east London, Scotland Yard said.Four people have been arrested for offences including disorder, arson and criminal damage in connection with the demonstration.Bricks were ripped from a wall and thrown at police and a fire was set in a bin as campaigners took to the streets to demand “justice” for Edir Frederico Da Costa. Campaigners face off with police as they protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa, One protester rode his motorbike up to the police line  The crowd later began marching to Forest Gate police station shouting “we want justice” and “justice for Edson” to the beat of a drum.  A bin on fire in Forest Gate, east LondonCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA Members of the crowd had been screaming “no justice, no peace, no racist police”. Police were still at the scene outside the station in large numbers at 10.50pm. Officers with dogs arrived at the scene at about 10.55pm. Bins were set alight near a McDonald’s in Romford Road, and a cordon of police, some with dogs, pressed demonstrators further down the street. Edir Frederico Da Costa Family members said they did not condone violenceCredit:Lauren Hurley /PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

  • St Georges flag to fly over 10 Downing St for England World

    The Cross of St George will fly over 10 Downing Street for England’s remaining World Cup matches and a Scottish politician has vowed to put the two nations’ bitter footballing rivalry to one side and follow suit.Theresa May told MPs she will be encouraging other departments across Whitehall to adopt the practice for the team’s remaining clashes in Russia.And Scotland Secretary David Mundell answered her call, seemingly throwing his support behind Gareth Southgate’s men. Mr Mundell, the Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, said he was “happy” to fly the England flag from the Scotland Office – and expected other departments to reciprocate if Scotland reach the next World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022.Asked on Twitter whether he would be following the PM’s call for Whitehall departments to display the Cross of St George, Mr Mundell replied: “Happy to do so as I am confident No 10 and other UK departments will be flying the saltire in 2022.”Speaking in the Commons, Mrs May congratulated England on making it through to the next round and told MPs: “No 10 will be flying the England flag on the day of each of England’s matches from now on.”We will be encouraging other government departments to do the same. “I’m going to go further than my predecessors. Next year we will do the same for the women’s World Cup.” On Thursday, England face Belgium in their final group fixture of the World Cup to decide who will finish top of the pool. Next week, the last-16 round will see Harry Kane and his team bid to win the Three Lions’ first knockout game in major tournaments for 12 years. The flag will soar above Downing Street for the fixture, but England’s opponents have yet to be decided.  Tourists and England fans will be treated to at least two sights of the flag flying above Downing Street, with Gareth Southgate’s team already through to the knockout stages.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mrs May made the pledge during Prime Minister’s Questions after Tory MP Nick Boles called for a show of patriotism across public buildings.The former minister had launched a petition to campaign for the move.He said: “Across the country people are taking great pride in the disciplined performance of Gareth Southgate’s young and diverse team.”Strict protocols govern which flags can be flown from government buildings and when.No 10 is currently flying the Armed Forces Day flag to mark a week of celebrations in honour of Britain’s military.A Labour source said that Jeremy Corbyn currently has a Cross of St George in his office, but declined to say whether the leader would fly the flag outside the party HQ or his own home.”Jeremy is a strong football supporter and he is supporting the England team and I’m sure he will find his own way of expressing that,” said the source. read more

  • People urged to blow whistle on England player caught snorting cocaine at

    Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Footballers can be banned for two years if they test positive for Class A drugs.UK Anti-Doping collected almost 2,000 samples from Premier League players during the 2017-18 season.Six players failed tests for recreational drugs last season but their identities have not been revealed. The Football Association has appealed for people to come forward with information after a England footballer was allegedly caught taking cocaine in a nightclub.The unnamed sportsman, who plays for a premier league side, was reportedly spotted by a teammate snorting the Class A drug in the loo at a pre-Christmas party.A club source told The Sun newspaper that the footballer had emerged looking worse for wear and had been sent home in a taxi by the team manager who thought he was drunk.Professional footballers can be subjected to random drug testing at any time during the season, but it was claimed the player had given clean samples the day before the incident.A FA spokesman said it operated one of the most comprehensive anti-doping programmes in the world that was also aimed at preventing the use of recreational drugs.The spokesman also asked anyone with any information about the case to come forward.”Although incidents of doping in English football are very rare, it remains a priority for The FA to find and sanction anyone found taking performance-enhancing or recreational drugs.”We encourage anyone with information about any anti-doping violation in football to report it to The FA,” the spokesman said. read more

  • Sniffer dog Scamp has £25k bounty placed on his head by criminals

    A sniffer dog has had a £25,000 bounty placed on its head by criminals because it is so good at its job, its owner has claimed.Springer spaniel Scamp managed to detect £6m worth of illegal tobacco in a year, causing headaches for smugglers and black market dealers.His powerful sense of smell led to a string of court cases in Birmingham, Sussex, Newcastle, Northampton and Great Yarmouth, causing criminals to target the animal.Owner Stuart Phillips, 40, said: “We had to stop working in one part of the country last year, because there was a £25,000 bounty put on his head.”It was believed to be linked to an organised crime group and the relevant authorities were informed.”Mr Phillips has become unpopular among black market criminals, he said, and has faced retribution because of his dog’s work.He explained: “I’ve also had death threats, my windscreen has been smashed and my tyres slashed.”It’s understandable really, when you’re upsetting some really nasty people.”The dog trainer, who runs B.W.Y Canine Ltd, trains dogs to find tobacco, firearms, drugs, explosives, meat and even human remains.He works with over 100 local authorities but lives in Llandissilio, Pembrokeshire.Mr Phillips said tobacco smuggling, which Scamp helps to stop, causes problems for authorities in Wales. He explained: “It is a massive problem in terms of the volume available and the fact that it’s so readily available in shops.”It’s available on social media, through Facebook, and in Wales we have what are generally called fag houses, people selling from their houses.”He added that the cigarettes are sold at “pocket money prices” making them available to children. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

  • Short shrift for Napoleon complex as it turns out he was quite

    An Irish nobleman wrote of meeting Napoleon at the Tuileries Palace on January 8 1803. Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry – who, as a soldier in the British army, was to fight in the Napoleonic Wars – painted a portrait of a friendly, charismatic Frenchman who was then Consul, and soon to become Emperor. Psychoanalyst Alfred Adler was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte when he diagnosed a syndrome in the last century in which men overcompensate for their short stature through aggressive behaviour. He would never have applied the Napoleon Complex to the man portrayed in a previously-unpublished letter, which describes the future Emperor of France as charm personified. In an 11-page letter to…

  • Jo Brand felt she couldnt make a fuss after sexual assault at

     Jo Brand at the Hay Festival  When Hislop said the allegations were no “high-level crime” Brand interjected that “it doesn’t have to be high-level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons.“Actually, for women if you’re constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down.”The episode received 234 complaints to Ofcom, the media regulator.  Jo Brand at the Hay Festival  Brand expressed her anger at the situation and said she was still unsure whether she should have said something, adding the man had “exploited” the fact everyone was “having a laugh, doing charity and having fun.” Jo Brand, the comedian and presenter, had said that she didn’t feel she could “make a fuss” over a businessman who sexually assaulted her at a Canary Wharf charity event because they were “raising loads of money”.Brand told an audience at the Hay Festival that she failed to report a man who “stuck his tongue in my mouth” because she didn’t want to ruin the “jolly” atmosphere at a charity fundraiser.The BAFTA winning comedy actress described the moment at a corporate charity event which took place at Canary Wharf that an intoxicated businessman who was trying to “put her back in her box” offered the comedian £200 for a kiss.The 61-year old said: “They were all pissed, it was about nine o’clock in the morning and they were all sort of 35 year olds thrusting. So this thrusty guy comes up to me and he says I’ll give you £200 for your charity if you give me a kiss. I went oh god, alright then.”Brand then offered her cheek in the spirit of charity when the man in question instead “stuck his tongue in my mouth. It was disgusting”.”The thing was I thought to myself, this is a charity day everyone’s all jolly and we’re raising loads of money. Can I make a really massive fuss about that? To my shame, I didn’t. I just pretended it hadn’t happened and moved on.”   She went on to attack the business world for sidelining women, saying they attempt “to put you down” if women are “being gobby” or “appearing to be confident.”When asked by host Stephanie Merritt if women have more permission to be angry, Brand responded “yes but not very and not for very long”.Brand was at the event to promote her memoir Born Lippy: How to Do Female, a tongue-in-cheek advice book for teenagers based on all the things she wishes she’d known aged sixteen. She has two teenage daughters Maisie, 18, and Elisa, 16, with her husband Bernie Bourke.The book includes advice such as what women can say if they encounter a man masturbating on public transport and how to address young people watching porn. Brand wittily retorts that you should “just say to them: we’re all going to sit down and watch it as a family”.Brand has been vocal about her support of women who have encountered sexual assault in the past after she shut down an all-male panel on Have I Got News For You in 2017. The panel, which Brand hosted, included journalist Quentin Letts, comedian Miles Jupp, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, who were discussing the Westminster harassment scandal. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

  • The art of cricket scoring is at risk of dying out within

    Picture the clubhouse of a village cricket team and there will no doubt be a couple of devotees sat down flicking through old scorebooks, deciphering the codes and symbols to paint a picture of the ebb and flow of games from years gone by.But the art of pen-and-paper cricket scoring is at risk of dying out “within five to 10 years”, as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is encouraging club teams to move towards keeping digital records.Scoring matches on tablets and laptops is commonplace in national and county cricket, and when used at club level it allows live-tracking of matches, including statistics on where the ball was hit, the amount of time a batsman was on the crease and how many balls they faced.But Brian Smith, league administrator for the Kent Cricket League, says he thinks the move will lead to  traditional scoring methods becoming extinct “within five to ten years”.He said the complex tallying systems being preserved in scorebooks around the country will probably die out, as organisers are struggling to keep young people interested in the tradition. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The lines, dots and codes of a traditional scorebook take a lot of effort to master, but have become a loved pasttime of cricket afficionadoesCredit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph  He told The Daily Telegraph: “Over the next few years we are in danger of losing some well-established scorers because effectively their position is under threat.“Try to explain scorebook to a youngster with a pen and paper, it just does not work. If you give them a screen with buttons to press they’re all over it.“There’s a divided opinion between your old-school scorer who has been doing it for 20 to 30 years or so, you wont get them away from using a scorebook. But going forward, the youth are all into using technology and they will happily use that if it’s available.“All clubs are encouraged to run both simultaneously, they should have a manual scorebook being run along with any laptop or scoring app. Because I have been aware of at least two instances of games where there has been a power cut or something that has created a problem with the digital score.”A spokesman for the ECB said they were encouraging teams to use the digital systems which are “designed for every user, from professional scorers down to people playing grassroots”.They added: “People can do it easily and go online to keep up with live scores via the app. So if you’re a club player who’s not able to play at the weekend, or a parent and your child is playing, you can keep up to date with what they are doing even if you’re not at the ground. It is designed to make the game as open and accessible as possible.”Richard V Isaacs, a club scorer and cricket statistician, said traditional scorebooks are becoming redundant and that it will be a sad day when they are no longer used.He told The Telegraph: “The pen-and-paper scoring days are still sacrosanct in my eyes but more clubs and leagues are pushing further into the digital age with records being held completely online, where you risk losing them.“There are many scoring programmes these days and all have their merits, but it does need to be a seriously robust system if it is to work week in week out.“I am a club statistician and the scorebook is vital to me. I have all of the books from yesteryear in my backroom but I can see, in years to come, this not being the case.” A cricket scorebook from Keeling vs Sedlescombe read more

  • HMS Queen Elizabeth put three crew members at risk of drowning after

    No decision has yet been made as to whether the additional purchase will be of the ‘B’ model variant, 17 of which are currently in service, or the ‘A’ model, which requires a normal runway for take off and landing, but which has a commensurate larger payload and range.British industry giant BAE Systems is the only principal partner outside the US in the F-35 programme. The company produces 15 per cent of every F-35 and employs 2,250 people on the project, mainly in its Warton and Salmesbury plants in Lancashire.With a global order book of over 3,000 aircraft the final cost per airframe is expected to drop from around $100 million each currently, to about $80 million.An MoD spokesman said an investigation into the cause of the leak is underway and that at no point had the lives of any crew members been at risk. The 280m long, £3 billion aircraft carrier has been on sea trials off the South West coast of the UK testing  her newly fitted Phalanx Close In Weapon System rapid-fire guns and the Army’s Apache helicopter. July 9, 2019. Credit:Malcolm Wells/pictureexclusive.com Although a body of water on this scale is not, of itself, enough to endanger the ship, depending on where the water was it could cause problems with the trim of the vessel. Were it to be far from the centre of gravity it could cause the ship to pitch up or down or even list to one side, which could cause wider problems. One indicator of quite how serious the problem is will be if the warship does not participate in the HMS Queen Elizabeth families day, planned for later this month. Commissioned by The Queen into the Royal Navy fleet in December 2017, Britain’s newest aircraft carrier is due to be joined by her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales next year.With a four-acre flight deck, the ship is designed to carry up to 40 aircraft, principally the F35B stealth fighter which can launch and land vertically or use a short run up to the ‘ski jump’ ramp. The design of the vessel, owned by manufacturer BAE Systems and Thales, has been offered to India in a deal which would see a commercial levy paid to the MoD.  With sea trials planned for this summer, the aircraft carrier programme is still on schedule to see HMS Queen Elizabeth deployed on global operations from 2021. The MoD has committed £9.1 billion to buy 48 F-35B stealth jets and has promised the money for a further 90. Initially the Ministry of Defence said she was returning earlier as a “precautionary measure”, with some reports suggesting the leak had been known about for some days and that it became significantly worse earlier this week.A spokesperson said there was a “minor issue with an internal system on HMS Queen Elizabeth [and] the ship’s company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship”. Britain’s new aircraft carrier has suffered a leak that has forced the ship to return to port early. A high-pressure seawater pipe burst in the forward area of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s new 65,000 ton warship.  Around 250 tons of water (66,000 gallons) are understood to have flooded two compartments and a stairwell.The incident, the third leak on board HMS Queen Elizabeth since she was launched, is understood to have buckled a stairwell, bent some bulkheads and split some deck-plates on the carrier.Some reports on social media suggested three crew members had been at risk of drowning, but The Telegraph understands there have been no injuries and the hull is secure. All water from the leak was pumped out of the 900-foot long ship.   The £3.1 billion aircraft carrier left Portsmouth Naval Base last month to embark on five weeks of sea trials and was due to return for planned maintenance later this week.  The 280m long, £3 billion aircraft carrier has been on sea trials off the South West coast of the UK testing  her newly fitted Phalanx Close In Weapon System rapid-fire guns and the Army's Apache helicopter. July 9, 2019.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more