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  1. Whenever angry Yelp reviewers last sat down to share their opinions of NFL stadiums, perhaps they didn’t realize just how hard historic events (COVID-19) would be hitting these same venues. Especially now that football season is here and stadiums attempt to construct various social distancing guidelines, it’s interesting to look back and see some of the reviews mentioning things like the fans or cleanliness on-site. After venues fill back up, will these Yelp reviews look the same? Maybe stadiums will be entirely different this year, but we have a pretty good idea of what reputations they need to overcome. We recently scraped over 9,600 Yelp reviews of each NFL stadium. We categorized these nearly ten thousand by reviews that mentioned the cleanliness, the prices, the traffic, and of course, the fans. What we ultimately found was a list of the best and worst stadiums (based on Yelp reviews) for each of these categories. If you’re curious to see how your hometown or favorite team stadium stacks up, keep scrolling. What's in a Game? The study began with a look at all the 1-star reviews of stadiums. Poor reviews were then flagged each time they mentioned price, traffic, uncleanliness, or the fans. We also considered a simple overall ranking of stadiums by their average star ratings. Stadiums with fewer than 20 1-star reviews were excluded to avoid one person’s opinion overly influencing the data. The overall worst three stadiums, according to their average star reviews on Yelp, were: Washington Football Team’s FedExField - 2.35 stars San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium - 2.67 stars LA Chargers’ Dignity Health Sports Park - 3.12 stars We initially considered that the Washington Football Team’s stadium may have ranked most poorly because of the controversy surrounding the team’s former name, the Washington Redskins. Though the replacement name has not yet been chosen, it may not fix their poor stadium experience. Poor reviews from FedExField attendees were mostly concerned with price (45.5%) and traffic (48.8%). Price also bothered many 1-star reviewers after visiting the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T stadium (40%) and the LA Rams Memorial Stadium (39.4%). Ultimately, price and traffic seemed to be the top two factors that weighed into most 1-star reviews. Things like uncleanliness and fans were mentioned, but not nearly as often in the bad reviews. Fans of the Raiders, however, were one exception to this rule and were mentioned more than a third of the time in all negative reviews about their stadium. According to Rolling Stone Magazine (and apparently Yelp reviewers), Raiders fans are the number one most disrespected in the league. Those who visit the stadium mention the fans quite frequently (35% of the time) in their 1-star reviews. In comparison, the overall top three stadiums rated positively, according to their average star reviews, were: Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field - 4.76 stars Pittsburgh Steelers’ Heinz Field - 4.36 stars Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium - 4.35 stars Sparing Every Expense Since price factored so heavily into 1-star reviews, our study next sorts stadiums by those who had the most mentions of price, whether positive or negative. We then compared the average star ratings of just those reviews that mentioned price and again ranked each stadium by the top and bottom five. FedExField, as you will see, continued to be a troublemaker of sorts in the world of positive stadium experiences. But price was its first major complaint. Reviews of this stadium more often mentioned price than any other venue analyzed, and not in a good way. Though ticket sales themselves average roughly $125 per game, a previous study also showed that their prices for two tickets, two hot dogs, two beers, two soft drinks, and parking was an additional $272.17, more expensive than any other NFL stadium. In this study, reviews sorted by price for FedExField also had the lowest average star rank of any of the 31. And speaking of two hots dogs, food was a category that often went hand in hand with mentions of price. Many of the reviews we sorted through mentioned the food (hotdogs or otherwise) as being too costly. The top stadiums mentioning both food and price were the Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field, and the Bills’ New Era Field. The Falcons have announced a limited capacity seating plan for 2020, which may require those food prices to go up even further. Time and Yelp reviews will tell. The Green Bay Packers, who also plan to play in front of fans at Lambeau Stadium this year, must be doing something right with their stadium experience, as they ranked first for star ratings here as well. This stadium does offer some affordable and delicious crowd favorites, like bacon-wrapped hot dogs and cheese curds on brats. Traffic Troubles Even with a great game lined up, logistics can get in the way. You have to get everyone together, drive, and find parking. If things go smoothly, you’re lucky. The next part of our study filters reviews by their mentions of parking, traffic, and transportation. We also compared average star ratings for each mention of vehicle-related reviews. FedExField also had a major problem with transportation. More than half of all 1-star reviews of the stadium mentioned parking or traffic, and the reviews about it were lower than any other stadium. Reddit threads even offer advice in navigating this notoriously tricky (and expensive) parking space. Evidently, tailgating is also a logistical problem there. One reviewer explained it as follows: That said, there was one stadium for which reviewers mentioned parking even more often (but slightly more positively): Levi’s Stadium. Home to the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium had 57.2% of its reviews mention either parking, transportation, or the traffic. This may have to do more with San Francisco, however, than the stadium itself. San Francisco is ranked fifth worst city in the entire world — world, not country — when it comes to traffic, so Levi’s certainly has its work cut out for it in providing a smooth traffic experience. The Green Bay Packers once again provided a comparatively wonderful experience when it came to parking and transportation. In reviews that mentioned these things, Lambeau Field received an average of 4.7 stars, compared to Levi’s (2.6 stars) and FedExField (2.4 stars). Not-So-Clean Stadiums The cleanliness conversation has taken on new importance in 2020. Hygiene has become a major safety issue. FedExField has a lot of work to do in Yelper’s eyes. Not only did it rank worst for price and parking, but once fans spent all that money and finally found a parking spot, FedExField added insult to injury and didn’t provide fans with a clean stadium. That, or fans took out their dissatisfaction on the stadium itself. Either way, FedExField had a higher percentage of its reviews mentioning uncleanliness (13.5%) than any other. That’s not to say that other venues received a free pass: Though FedEx may have ranked low in this area and others, it wasn’t dead last for cleanliness. Instead, the home of the LA Chargers was the lowest rated stadium when filtered by mentions of cleanliness. LA actually had cleanliness problems in their Rams stadium as well, which had the second highest number of uncleanliness mentions. Previous sanitary studies seem to back up what the fans are noticing in these 1-star reviews: The surfaces are actually quite dirty. This may all well change, however, with newfound emphasis on hygiene following the coronavirus. We’ll keep our pulse on the Yelp reviews once their doors reopen. Fan Feedback What is a stadium, after all, without its fans? The spirit and experience of a stadium is often due to the tailgating, the cheering, and the energy of the fans. The last portion of our study ranks stadiums by the number of Yelp reviews they have mentioning the fans. The fans were mentioned most often at the Buffalo Bills New Era Field. Buffalo Bills fans have ranked as some of the league’s best, according to previous studies. Onlookers appreciate the fans’ passion and dedication, even in the dead of winter. But certainly not all reviews were positive (or without bias). A visiting fan had this to say about New Era Field: FedExField and Lambeau Field fell into their usual two spots once again: FedEx as the worst fan-related field and Lambeau as the best. While the Washington Football Team tries to figure out a new name and new COVID-19 regulations, they may need to add in a third major bullet on their to-do list: fixing up the stadium. Reviews to Look Forward to The pre COVID-19 stadium experience wasn’t necessarily always a positive one. In the spirit of focusing on the positive, we can suggest that COVID-19 be a time when stadiums take time to restock and recommit to the fans. Perhaps with new hygienic practices and an ache for the glory days, stadiums will refresh and be able to turn some of their harshest Yelp reviews into positive ones. At a minimum, we hope to see mentions of “uncleanliness” take a sharp decline. If you are going to a game, make sure to take proper safety precautions and follow the specific stadium’s guidelines. If you’re staying in, however, and wanted to get into the gaming spirit, try heading to GamblersPick.com where you can get started gaming straight away from the comfort of your own home. Methodology and Limitations We collected data from Yelp of NFL stadiums. A total of 9,685 reviews were analyzed. Data was requested on August 26, 2020. The reviews were then categorized by the presence of specific keywords. The category “price” included any reviews that mentioned the words price, cost, expensive, cheap, and money. The category “Uncleanliness” included any reviews that mentioned the words unclean, dirty, gross, nasty, disgusting, filth, smelly, stink, and mess. The category “traffic” included any reviews that mentioned the words traffic, parking, and transport. The category “fans” included any reviews that mentioned the words fans or crowd. No statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on means alone. As such, this content is exploratory and is presented for informational purposes only. Fair Use Statement It helps to know what you’re getting yourself into if you’re heading to limited or full capacity stadium operations this year. If you know someone who could benefit from the findings of this study, you are welcome to share the information with them. Just be sure your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page.
  2. When it comes to gridiron performance, it’s easy to overlook the importance of location. No matter where a football game takes place, the dimensions of the field remain the same. But NFL venues vary significantly, in ways both obvious and intangible. Whether it’s weather, raucous crowds, or the spirit of the stadium, certain players thrive in particular environments. We set out to study which players have the most impressive records in specific stadiums, either as home team heroes or visiting rivals. Similarly, we analyzed which squads tend to succeed on the road or fail to defend their home turf. Our findings provide a unique perspective on NFL contests, raising questions about how much a venue can mean to victory To see which players and teams dominate in certain stadiums, keep reading. Top Performances by Location We analyzed single-game performances in each NFL stadium since 1960, identifying the most productive passer, receiver, and rusher in each venue. Explore the table below. You'll find many NFL all-time greats represented – and a few surprises as well. In the passing category, several of the game’s most celebrated quarterbacks laid claim to their home stadiums. Who but Tom Brady could hold the passing record for Gillette Stadium? Or Philip Rivers for the StubHub Center? On the other hand, certain icons were surpassed by more recent players: Peyton Manning, for example, was outdone by Andrew Luck at the Colt’s Lucas Oil Stadium. The passing records in each stadium were a mix of legends and players struck by temporary greatness. Chicago’s Soldier Field rushing record, for example, was held by Walter Payton, widely considered one of the best to ever grace an NFL field. The rushing record for Detroit’s Ford Field, by contrast, is held by Kevin Jones, whose five-year career began with a bang and settled quickly into mediocrity. Among receivers, plenty of household names and current stars owned records for stadiums. But in terms of single-game performance, Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson have nothing on Flipper Anderson, the journeyman wideout who turned in a record-setting 336-yard receiving performance on one November day in 1989. Domination Across Locations Some players don’t need a home crowd to provide superlative performances. In fact, when we studied the top 10 passing, receiving, and rushing records for each stadium, certain names kept showing up. Leading the passing category is Drew Brees with 16 top 10 performances amassed over the course of his long and storied career. Brady follows closely behind with 15 top 10 performances. Peyton Manning tied with Ben Roethlisberger with 13 top 10 performances apiece. Kirk Cousins and Carson Palmer claimed spots five and six among passers. Among receivers, Julio Jones had the most top 10 performances, followed by the inimitable Terrel Owens. Jones shares the honor of having two stadium receiving records with Jacksonville Jaguars great Jimmy Smith and lesser-known receiver Kevin Curtis, who enjoyed an explosive 2007 season with the Eagles. Jamal Lewis led all rushers with nine different top 10 stadium rushing performances: In the 2003 season, he earned a staggering 2,066 yards and had several other seasons with 1,000 yards or more. He shared the honor for most stadium rushing records with Doug Martin, who has overcome his short stature to make two Pro Bowls. Humiliated at Home Let’s face it: Some NFL franchises have forced their fans to witness plenty of dominant play by other teams. For some franchises, that meant that a majority of the top performances in their home stadiums were actually achieved by opposing players. Oh, woeful Cleveland: The long-suffering franchise has defied mathematical probability with its consistently poor play. During their seemingly endless stretch of losing, the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium has seen 60% of its records for passing, rushing, and receiving set by opposing players. Detroit and Tennessee had similar embarrassing records of rival players excelling on their home turf. Conversely, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field had just 38% of its records set by non-Steelers, the lowest percentage in the league. This enviable history is partially attributable to the Steelers’ legacy of strong defensive squads, which kept even the most prolific offenses in check during the 2000s. In some cases, certain opposing teams treated specific stadiums like their own stomping grounds. To some extent, this is expected: When divisional rivals meet multiple times each year, someone on the other side will occasionally turn in a massive performance. But certain statistics tell a depressing tale of domination: The Patriots consistently put up massive numbers on Buffalo, owning over 20% of records at New Era Field. Similarly, the Bengals seemed to thrive in Baltimore, while the Falcons were excellent New Orleans. Successful Stadiums Do certain venues lend themselves to offensive fireworks? Or does the quality of the home team dictate the offensive stats recorded in each stadium? We averaged the totals of 100-yard passing, receiving, and rushing performances in each stadium. Our findings raise interesting questions about the influence a venue may have on players’ performances at each position. The iconic New Orleans Superdome, for example, saw the highest average passing and receiving performances. This might be attributable to the closed roof on the dome, which free QBs and receivers from dealing with wind and inclement weather. But an even more likely factor is that the Superdome is home to the New Orleans Saints, whose offensive prowess is sure to skew averages higher. The same can not be said of Lambeau Field, where the Packers play exposed to the elements of Wisconsin’s winter. The stadium’s stats probably have more to do with the Packers’ excellent tradition of quarterback play than favorable conditions. The Raiders’ former home, the Oakland Coliseum, also ranked fourth for passing and receiving averages, though that might reflect the success of other teams on their turf in recent years. As far as rushing performances, Buffalo’s New Era Field had a higher average than any other NFL venue. This might reflect the team’s recent run of inconsistency at quarterback rather than running skill: When you can’t find a franchise QB to lead the passing game, handing the ball off is often the only option. Heroes at home Clearly, some players have left indelible marks on the places in which they play. We analyzed which athletes held the greatest percentage of the top 100 passing, receiving, and rushing yards at each stadium, determining the most dominant players in particular venues. In a remarkable feat, Tom Brady and Drew Brees held more than half of the top 100 passing performances at their respective home stadiums. Ben Roethlisberger was close behind, owning 49% of the top 100 passing games at Heinz Field. You’ll notice that the top five players in this category all come from the modern NFL era, as opposed to decades past. These statistics lend weight to the theory that the NFL is more offensively oriented than ever before, making it easier for passers to put up big numbers. Of the top 100 receiving performances achieved at Houston’s NRG Stadium, seven-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson accounted for 28 of them. While no other receiver could near that mark, Larry Fitzgerald and T.Y. Hilton had dominant runs with the Cardinals and Colts, respectively, as did Jimmy Smith in Jacksonville. Among running backs, Fred Taylor owned a quarter of the 100 best rushing performances accomplished at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field. Beloved Seattle Seahawk Shaun Alexander, had a similar number at CenturyLink Field, as did Ezekiel Elliot at AT&T Stadium. The great Walter Payton was the only player from an earlier NFL era to make the top five. Though his playing days ended in 1987, he still owns 22% of Soldier Field’s top rushing performances. Witnessing Winning Our finding demonstrates that unique relationship between players and the places they compete, either as at-home favorites or rivals on the road. Some venues are inseparable from the athletes who find glory on their fields, while others have witnessed embarrassing defeats at the hands of visitors. In an era where fandom is more digital and distant than ever before, perhaps we can pause to savor the majesty of football stadiums. As the site of tremendous play and passion, these buildings have hosted football’s finest moments through the years. For players and fans alike, they’re full of memories both precious and painful. No matter who conquers the gridiron on any given Sunday, there’s no structure quite like an NFL stadium. Methodology and Limitations We collected data from pro-football-reference.com of the top 100 passing, receiving, and rushing record performances for each NFL stadium from 1960 to 2019. Data was limited to stadiums that were active during the 2019 season. Data were collected on May 11, 2020. Top record performances were defined by total yards of offense by a single player in a single game. Players, conferences, and teams were defined according to their current listing from pro-football-reference.com. Stadium names reflect the most recently used name during which an NFL team was an active tenant. Fair Use Statement Want to share our findings with a friend? We hope you can stir up some good stadium memories – or maybe a little smack talk about dominating their squad. If you do decide to share our work, please do so purely for noncommerical purposes and provide a link back to this page so that others can find and explore the full project.
  3. The growing popularity of daily fantasy and sports betting has created a community of its own. Thousands of players worldwide are drafting fantasy teams to compete against each other and reach peak performance. Sports betting is now legal in 17 states and hundreds of countries from around the world. From finding the best daily fantasy sports sites to building a winning team, there's a lot that goes into this hobby. If you're into sports and have strong analytical skills, DSF is definitely worth a shot. But what is DFS in the first place? How does differ from traditional fantasy sports? Let's find out! What Are Daily Fantasy Sports? Traditional fantasy sports games require players to build teams of professional athletes and compete against others across an entire season. Players earn points based on the actual performance of the athletes in real-world competitions. Daily fantasy sports, on the other hand, are conducted over a single day or week of competition. Some events take just a few hours. Think of DFS as an accelerated version of fantasy sports. As with traditional fantasy sports, DFS players choose from a pool of elite athletes and build their own teams. Before a competition starts, they analyze their odds against other teams and place bets. Depending on the platform, there might be beginner-level contests, tiered entry fees, and other special features. If you're a newbie, look for daily fantasy sports sites that allow you to start small and work your way up. With DFS, players can build their teams in the morning or a few hours before a contest. The results are posted at the end of the day. Another difference between traditional fantasy sports and DFS lies in the type of players you'll compete against. Traditional fantasy sports games take place over several seasons, allowing you to compete against the same players over and over again. If you sign up for DFS, you'll most likely compete against random users you're matched against. DFS vs. Sports Betting: What's the Difference? Contrary to popular belief, daily fantasy sports games are not the same as sports betting. While it's true that DFS players place bets, they win or lose based largely on their skills. The highest-earning DFS players use predictive analytics to assess their odds of success. They look at key factors like team level versus individual matchups, for instance. Sports bettors use analytics too, but they take other factors into consideration. When you join daily fantasy tournaments, you compete against other players. These are real people with varying degrees of knowledge in sports. Daily fantasy sports sites act as the middleman, charging a commission on tournament fee payments. Sportbooks, on the other hand, collect commissions on bettors' losing bets. Compared to DFS, sports betting offers a wider range of options. There are more sports to bet on and a larger variety of wager types available. On top of that, there are more sites to choose from. Daily fantasy sports have their perks, though. The competition is easier as you'll be playing against people with different skills, abilities, and income levels. Additionally, drafting a winning DFS roaster requires a narrow statistical view, so you'll spend less time doing research. Another major advantage of DFS over traditional betting is that it requires a small investment. If you just want to test the waters, you can start for as little as $5. Some tournaments charge a $0.25 entry fee and could earn you over $100. All in all, daily fantasy sports are more accessible than sportsbooks to the average person. With this option, you compete against fellow players. Sports betting, by contrast, pits you against professional oddsmakers. There are also differences from a legal standpoint. Daily fantasy sports sites are treated more favorably than sportsbooks. What to Look for in Daily Fantasy Sports Sites The small number of daily fantasy sports sites makes it easy to choose the best fit for you. What matters most is to learn everything you can about the website you're playing. Consider the following aspects before making a choice: Player flexibility Roaster construction Scoring system Types of games Minimum deposit requirements Welcome bonuses (if any) Payout options Generally, DFS sites offer two basic types of games. The first category is cash games, which may also include head-to-head (H2H) contests for beginners. Next, there are guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), or tournaments. These offer bigger prizes and higher payouts than cash games, allowing multiple entries. As you would expect, the competition is tight. Look for a DFS site that allows both types of games and provide multiple options. The best websites features satellites, qualifiers, steps, and other tournament types. If you're new to daily fantasy sports, choose a website featuring both free and paid games. This will allow you to practice and hone your skills. When you're feeling ready to compete for real money, sign up for cash games. Later, you can enroll in tournaments where the big money is. Get the Most Out of Your DFS Experience Daily fantasy sports sites are so popular for a reason. They're skill-based, offer plenty of opportunities to win, and have less to do with luck than traditional gambling. As a player, you build your team members based on their skills, not whole team efforts. Both the ESPN and Yahoo have fantasy baseball leagues, but you can also join dedicated DFS sites. Either way, it's fun, exciting, and legal. Plus, the time commitment is minimal and anyone can have a change of winning. Looking for other opportunities to win real money and prizes online? Browse our casino games! Remember to join our community to connect with other fellow players and stay up-to-date with the latest games.
  4. Horse racing is one of the oldest and most widespread sports in the world. During a horse race, two or more horses ridden by jockeys compete by traveling a set distance as quickly as possible. For many spectators, the appeal of the sport is betting on the winner. Racing is one of the only forms of gambling that is legal in most of the world, and the sport's global market worth is around $115 billion. Origins of Thoroughbred Racing The practice of racing horses dates back as far as 4500 BC. Nomadic tribes in Central Asia were the first to domesticate horses, and it is likely that they also established the sport. Racing was an organized sport for all major civilizations in ancient history. For example, in ancient Greece, there were Olympic events for chariot and mounted racing horses. The specifics of racing in other ancient civilizations is not well established, but historians believe that it was a widespread practice. Modern racing dates back to the 12th century in England. Professionals rode horses that were up for sale during competitions to display their speed to potential buyers. English knights also returned with Arab horses after the Crusades, and over the next several hundred years, many Arab stallions were imported. Then, these horses were bred with English mares to produces horses with great speed and endurance. In the 1500s, Henry VIII imported horses from Spain and Italy as well. In the early 18th century, racing horses became a professional sport in England. Courses emerged across the country, and purses got larger and larger, which made owning and breeding racehorses more profitable. With so much money at stake, the sport also needed skilled horse jockeys, which provided prestigious career opportunities for working-class men. In 1750, the Jockey Club was formed to create rules around racing, establish sanctioned courses, and regulate breeding. The organization still regulates racing in England today. Racing in America British settlers brought thoroughbred racing to America in the 17th century. The first racetrack in America was built in 1665 in Long Island. Racing remained a well-liked sport, but it didn't achieve widespread popularity until after the Civil War. Perspectives on racing also changed during this time. Before the Civil War, stamina was the most important quality in a racehorse. After the war, speed was the goal. During industrial expansion in the late 1800s, racing and gambling became massively popular in the U.S. By 1890, there were 314 tracks in America. Racing grew quickly without any regulatory organization or governing body, which meant that many tracks became enmeshed in criminal activity. However, in 1894, the biggest track and stable owners formed the American Jockey Club and successfully eliminated most of the corruption. In the early 20th century, an antigambling sentiment was passed that almost completely destroyed the horse racing industry. By 1908, only 25 tracks remained. Then, when pari-mutuel wagering was introduced to the Kentucky Derby, many state governments legalized this form of gambling in exchange for a portion of the money wagered. This allowed more tracks to open, and by the time World War I ended, racing was once again popular in America. In 1951, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame opened in Saratoga Springs, New York. The museum honors the most successful horses, horse jockeys, trainers, and owners throughout history. The sport lost popularity again in the 1950s and 60s. In the 70s, it experienced another resurgence because of horses like Secretariat and Affirmed. These horses won the American Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Breeding and Studbooks Private studbooks had existed since early 1600s, but they were not all reliable. In the late 1700s, James Weatherby, the Jockey Club's secretary, was tasked with tracing the pedigree of every racehorse in England. In 1791, he published An Introduction to a General Stud Book. Subsequent volumes continue to be published in order to record the pedigree of the descendants of these horses. Today, all modern thoroughbreds in England can be traced back to one of three stallions: Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, or Godolphin Arabian. These three horses are known as the foundation sires. The American Stud Book was first published in 1868 and included foals from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Many other countries have their own studbooks to trace the lineage of their thoroughbreds. The English and American studbooks had reciprocity until 1913, which was when the English Jockey Club passed the Jersey Act, disqualifying many thoroughbreds that were bred outside of England and Ireland. This was done to protect the British thoroughbred horses from American horses' sprinting blood. However, when several French horses with American ancestry had victories in English races, the English Jockey Club rescinded the Jersey Act. Famous Horses There have been numerous famous race horses throughout history. Here are just a few of history's most notable horses: Kincsem: The mare Kincsem was foaled in 1874 in Hungary. She had an undefeated career for four seasons and won races in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, and the U.K. Several famous racehorses are descendants of Kincsem. Man O' War: Man O' War was foaled in 1917 in Kentucky. Also known as Big Red, he won 20 out of the 21 races he ran. His only defeat happened during a restart where he was not given enough time to re-position before the race began. Seabiscuit: Seabiscuit was foaled in 1933 in Kentucky. He lost his first 17 races but experienced a major improvement under a new trainer. After sustaining an injury, he made a miraculous comeback and won in 1939, which made him a symbol of hope for Americans during the Great Depression. Arkle: Foaled in 1957 in Ireland, Arkle is considered by most to be the greatest steeplechase horse in history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1964, 1965, and 1966, and he won the Irish Grand National in 1964. Secretariat: Secretariat is widely regarded as the greatest race horse of all time. He was foaled in 1970 in Virginia and was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years. In 1973, he won the Belmont Stakes in what is considered one of the best rides ever completed. Racing and Betting Today From the 1980s to today, racing has gradually declined in popularity in the United States, most likely because there has not been another Triple Crown winner. About half of states in the U.S. have thoroughbred tracks today. State racing commissions now have the sole authority to grant racing dates and to license the participants. They share the power to appoint officials and regulate racing rules with the American Jockey Club. However, the horses, jockeys, and trainers are all independent contractors. Wagering is one of the biggest appeals of racing and is likely the reason the sport has lasted for so long. American tracks all use a pari-mutuel wagering system, which was created during the late 1800s. Under this system, a fixed percentage of the total wager, typically between 14 and 25 percent, is removed for taxes, track costs, and racing purses. The remainder is divided by the number of correct wagers to calculate the payoff. The odds are regularly calculated and posted on the toteboard during the wagering period before the race. For example, if the odds are three to one, the bettor receives $3 for every $1 wagered if their bet was correct. The three typical pools are win, place, and show. A win occurs when the horse finishes first, a place occurs when the horse finishes first or second, and a show occurs when the horse finishes first, second, or third. Bettors can also wager on a daily double, which involves selecting the winners of two consecutive races. Another popular wager is the exacta, which is a bet on the first and second place winners of one race in the correct order. The quiniela is also a bet on the first and second place winners, but they do not have to be in the right order. Although racing is not as popular today in America as it used to be, it is still a well-known spectator sport and form of gambling. With such a long, rich history, thoroughbred racing will likely continue to be a massive industry for the foreseeable future.
  5. Did you know that more than half of the people in the world consider themselves soccer followers? Do you enjoy watching sports and also following who is cheating? This article will explore some of the top athletes cheating in sports. Read on to discover some of the most shocking and famous scandals in sports history. 1. Tonya Harding Orders Knee Wack In the 90s, Tonya Harding and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly worked with Shane Stant and Shawn Eckhardt to attack Nancy Kerrigan at a practice session since she was Tonya Harding's competitor. She was one of the cheaters caught on tape and the video still circulates the internet. 2. Clint Bowyer's Illegal Car Clint Bowyer and his team lost 150 points when his car failed inspection after a New Hampshire win. He and his team tried to appeal the sanctions but lost trying. Denny Hamlin instead won the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. 3. Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong was one of the most famous cheaters. He won 7 Tour de France Titles and overcame cancer so was an inspiration to many. It was later found out that he had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career. He lost all of his wins from the Tour de France and received a lifetime ban. He, later on, confessed to using performance drugs. 4. Ben Johnson When you're looking for examples of cheating, check out Canada's Ben Johnson. He impressed the world when he won the Olympics in the 80s for a 100m title. It was later revealed that he was using stanozolol. This drug is a banned anabolic steroid. After this, he received a 2-year ban, and the medal went to Carl Lewis instead. He later on returned in the 90s but received a lifetime ban after he tested positive again. 5. Tom Brady One of the most known football cheaters is Tom Brady. There was a scandal during the 2014-15 AFC Championship between the Indianapolis Colts and the Patriots. The scandal was about the balls being used and how Brady wanted them slightly deflated to have an advantage. After this, he was banned for multiple games and was fined $1 million. 6. Jim Thorpe Jim Thorpe was known for his ability in all sports. He initially won both the decathlon and pentathlon in the Olympic Games in the early 1900s. One year later, they found out that he had played semi-professional baseball which should have disqualified him from the Olympics. He then lost all his medals. Several years later after his death, his medals were restored. 7. Danny Almonte Danny Almonte's parents forged his birth certificate to claim he was 2 years older than he really was. He had accomplishments including throwing a no-hitter in the Little League World Series. After the forgery was discovered, his wins and records were erased. 8. Marion Jones Marion Jones won many medals in the Sydney Olympics for track. For many years, she denied using performance-enhancing drugs. A few years after the Olympic Games, the truth came out when her drug supplier came forward. The drug supplier admitted they gave her 5 illegal PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). She used them before, during, and after the Olympics. She denied this, even under oath. She eventually tested positive and then admitted to taking them. After this, she was banned from Track and Field competitions for 2 years and had to return the medals. She also spent time in prison. 9. Alex Rodriguez Throughout his career, Alex Rodriguez denied using performance-enhancing drugs or steroids. Eventually, he admitted to using them for a 3-year window. The baseball league is starting to crack down on players using these drugs. Others have been accused of using them including Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire. 10. Dong Fangxiao During the Sydney Olympics, China had used an underage gymnast in the games. She had used a fake certificate to qualify. She and her teammates then lost the bronze medal after this was discovered. China is suspected of repeating this again in later events. If you're a fan of sports, you should check out these sports slots. 11. Mike Tyson In the late 90s, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson met for a boxing tournament. It was for the heavyweight championship. In a previous fight, Holyfield had beat Tyson. This match, Tyson bit Holyfield twice. The second time he bit him, he bit off part of Holyfield's ear. Afterward, Tyson was disqualified when he charged Holyfield's corner during a break. 12. Fred Lorz Fred Lorz was a marathon runner in the St. Louis Olympics in the early 1900s. He completed the marathon quicker than any of his competitors. Turns out he had received a car ride for part of the race. When this was discovered, he received a lifetime ban. A year later the ban was lifted, and the next year he won a marathon without cheating. 13. David Robertson In the 80s, David Robertson was found to place his ball closer to the cup than where it should have been. He would place the marker on his putter and pick up his ball at the same time. He was moving the marker closer to the cup. Robertson was fined and banned for several years. 14. Diego Maradona Although there was proof Diego Maradona broke the rules, he received no punishment. During the game, Maradona had the ball go into the net using his hand and the referee didn't initially find it. England supporters were unhappy with his cheating event. 15. Barry Bonds Barry Bonds broke the record for the most home runs by any player. He still holds this record. Turns out he was using steroids. While some still say he's one of the greatest players ever, some don't think that's the case since he used steroids. 16. Steve Bartman Steve Bartman was part of the Chicago Cubs and held a great lead over outfielder Moises Alou when it came to the great sport of baseball. When Alou went to catch a ball in the game, Bartman deflected the ball away from him. The Florida Marlins were the opposing team in this game, and won multiple runs in the same inning and defeated the Cubs. Many were angry at Bartman after this for costing the Cubs a win and a spot in the World Series. He eventually moved away and changed his name. 17. Hansie Cronje Hansie Cronje was a big name in cricket in South Africa. He was the captain of the national team and considered one of the best batsmen. There was a recording of him offering to fix matches to receive money in return. The recording also implicated 3 other players. He was then banned for life from playing cricket. 18. Shawn Merriman Shawn Merriman had won Defensive Rookie of the Year and was in the lead of the sacks. In the early 2000s, he was given a suspension after he tested positive for steroids. After he stopped steroids he hasn't played as effectively. Shocking Scandals Some of the most shocking scandals aren't just athletes on their own, but different events or teams cheating together. From the Black Sox Scandal to the Mitchell Report there are plenty of sports scandals out there. The Mitchell Report This report to the Commissioner of Baseball into the illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances was known as the Mitchell Report. It was about uncovering performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. It later identified multiple MLB players who were believed to use performance-enhancing drugs or steroids. The list included names such as Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Roger Clemens, and Jason Giambi. The Black Sox Scandal The Black Sox Scandal wasn't the name of a team, but instead, it was an event this team threw the outcome of the World Series. In the early 1900s, the Chicago White Sox were found to have purposely lost the series against the Cincinnati Reds. In doing so, they'd receive incentives from New York City mobster Arnold Rothstein. They were then banned from baseball and disqualified from being in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The 2011 New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal This New Orleans scandal was known for the ongoing problem of bounties being paid by members of the New Orleans defensive staff. In exchange, Saints players would injure opponents. The defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, was found to be incentivizing a player who injured the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Brett Favre. Williams was then suspended before returning back to the NFL. The head coach, Sean Payton, was suspended for 2012. Spygate In the early 2000s, the New England Patriots were found to be videotaping coaches from the Jets. The NFL then fined coach Bill Bellichick. The Patriots were also fined, and lost a first-round draft pick. Houston Astros Sign Stealing The Houston Astros had a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park. The camera was to decode signs from the catcher to the pitcher and let the batter know what pitch was coming. The former bench coach, Cora, told the replay room to tell the decoded information to a player who would then share it with teammates. It was shared using the cellphone of a staff member on the bench, or another cellphone. The Astros then had a video monitor displayed that had the same footage outside the dugout so players could watch it. Players would hit a trash can with a bat to let the hitter at the plate know what pitch was coming. They also used a computer software program that showed the opposing battery's signals. A staffer would place the stolen signs into a spreadsheet and then run an algorithm. The algorithm would show the opponent's sequencing and what the signs meant. They were eventually caught when the former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal about it. After they were caught, Luhnow and Hinch were suspended for 2020. Rob Manfred also banned Brandon Taubman who was the former assistant general manager. The Astros also lost their 1st and 2nd round selections in the 2020 and 2021 draft and received a fine. Luhnow and Hinch were both fired after being suspended. Michael Vick Authorities had found out Michael Vick was having dog fights taking place on his property. Many of the dogs were pit bulls and were found with intense mistreatment and injuries from the dogfighting. Vick and 3 coconspirators were charged with federal conspiracy charges. Vick went to jail and eventually had to file for bankruptcy. Pete Rose Pete Rose was once the leading hitter for Cincinnati Reds. After he retired, he became a manager for the Reds. Later, they found out that he was betting on the Reds' games while being their manager. He denied he was doing it, and received a lifetime ban from baseball. He later acknowledged that he bet on almost every game he managed. While there have been attempts to have him reinstated, they've been denied. East German Women’s Swim Team In the 60s-70s, the Eastern German Swim Team were not considered strong in the Olympics. To break this, the government decided to give performance-enhancing drugs to the swimmers without their knowledge. The steroids and hormones looked like vitamins. After taking the drugs their wins dramatically increased. After Germany was reunified, the doping scandal was discovered. They found out that East Germany was drugging its players from the 60s-90s to increase swimming performance. 1985 NBA Draft Lottery Many to this day still believe there was a scandal during the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery. Some believe that David Stern, the Commissioner, improved the standing of the New York Knicks franchise. They believe he had the Knicks win the Draft Lottery that year. Currently, it's just speculation and hasn't been proven.
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