Dan Wetzel

  • Sepp Blatter wins FIFA re-election the old fashioned way

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 hr ago

    Immovable. Untouchable. Oddly impressive, even.

    Sepp Blatter was elected to his fifth term as president of FIFA on Friday. It came just days after 14 former or current executives and associates were indicted by the U.S. Justice Department in sweeping charges of racketeering stemming from an alleged widespread culture of bribery and kickbacks.

    In the end though, it hardly mattered. After blocking Blatter from getting a two-thirds majority on the first vote, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan – needing to switch some 31 votes his way – withdrew from the race before the conclussion of the second majority vote. And with that, Blatter is back for four more years.

    If the images of FIFA execs getting hauled out of swanky Zurich hotels weren't going to do it, almost nothing short of Blatter himself getting legally rolled up on will.

    This was a testament to the power the 79-year-old Blatter has amassed over four decades with FIFA, including the last 17 as president, mainly in gaining unshakable support in many small, often poor nations.

    ____________________

  • What the FIFA indictments could mean for the U.S.'s 2026 World Cup bid

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Prior to Wednesday, when the Justice Department decided to rattle FIFA’s cage, causing soccer officials to be hauled out of their swanky Zurich hotel beds to face indictments and extraditions, the United States was a favorite to host the 2026 World Cup.

    Even without bribing anyone. Seriously.

    The expected U.S. bid remained preposterously strong – an endless parade of massive, modern and available NFL stadiums, airports, hotels and infrastructure, plus corporate power, a huge population and a fast-growing passion for the game. And North America is overdue to host the World Cup (U.S., 1994).

    U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati likes to say we could host the World Cup “tomorrow.” He’s only slightly kidding. Even FIFA strongman Sepp Blatter acknowledged the seeming inevitability, calling it a “big commercial opportunity.”

    Oh, and it’s 130 degrees there in the summer, which means the Cup was rescheduled for November and December, screwing up major professional league seasons.

    The vote went Qatar 12, U.S. 8 anyway.

    So did Wednesday’s legal actions doom the expected American bid?

    Or did it assure its success?

  • Only surprise of corrupt, exploitative FIFA is that more weren’t indicted

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    No one was surprised a bit by any of it. No one.

    Not by the United States Department of Justice on Wednesday indicting 14 officials associated with FIFA, soccer’s corrupt-to-the-core governing body. Not by the already six guilty pleas and the mountain of evidence they’ll almost assuredly provide.

    Not by Swiss authorities raiding a FIFA meeting at a swanky hotel in Zurich (where else would FIFA hold a meeting?), hauling guys right out of their rooms.

    [FC Yahoo: Will FIFA corruption probe bring any change to Sepp Blatter's reign?]

    Not by the opening of two criminal investigations into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, to Russia and Qatar respectively, which literally everyone knows was the work of bribes and favored government contracts.

    (Proof? Who the hell would put the World Cup in Qatar in the middle of the summer without being bribed? Note: It’s since been moved to winter, screwing up all sorts of things.)

    It’s FIFA.

  • Next in deflate-gate circus: Goodell's kangaroo court about to get exposed

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    Perhaps you have something better to do than follow the hourly machinations of the deflate-gate saga – at this point that would include elective root canal.

    This is actually where it may begin to have significant ramifications for the NFL and, most notably, commissioner Roger Goodell, who may be doubling down at a time when the best option could be to lay low. Here are some of the, um, highlights:

    The New England Patriots issued a lengthy rebuttal to Ted Wells' report on deflate-gate, findings that Goodell used to conclude that the team and quarterback Tom Brady broke rules involving the inflation levels of footballs in January's AFC title game. This led to sanctions and a suspension.

    The Patriots offered some compelling counterarguments and context, and presented some new information. They don't really prove anything though.

    Hey, anything is possible, but the Pats might have wanted to quit while they were behind on that item.

    No word on who plays George Costanza.

  • This is how the NFL let deflate-gate get out of control and ridiculous

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    With anger still simmering, an appeal coming and Ted Wells holding a fiery teleconference Tuesday to attack Tom Brady's agent (professionalism straight out of the WWE), it's fair to say we are far from the end of deflate-gate.

    A first-year attorney could lampoon Wells' report, and Brady has hired the prominent Jeffrey Kessler, so expect the four-game suspension to be halved on appeal. We'll see about the New England Patriots' lost draft picks and $1 million fine.

    Still, at this point it's worth contemplating the totality of evidence, as Wells likes to write. And what's apparent is deflate-gate was more misdemeanor than felony, a molehill that commissioner Roger Goodell's office turned into a mountain via incompetence, vengeance or both.

    "It's not ISIS," Tom Brady said back in January.

    At that very moment, the NFL had to know the story wasn't true. Yet it did nothing.

  • Tom Brady in position to put NFL on defensive over deflate-gate probe

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    Tom Brady, in a long scheduled appearance at Salem State (Mass.) University on Thursday evening, said virtually nothing about deflate-gate, which means he said plenty about how he will likely move forward.

    Brady's lawyers are expected to handle most of his response to the Wells Report, which focused on the inflation levels of the New England Patriots' footballs in January's AFC championship game. You can expect a detailed and ferocious response to the credibility of the 243-page report.

    Brady isn't looking for a public relations tour. If he was, Thursday would've served as a perfect opportunity, with a controlled setting of a "speaker's series," a sympathetic interviewer in Jim Gray and a cheering gymnasium of fans, many wearing his jersey, as the audience.

    "This is like a Patriot pep rally," Brady noted.

    And yet, he deferred, refusing to throw out even a single campaign slogan.

    "It's only been 30 hours so I haven't had much time to digest it," Brady claimed.

  • Tom Brady probably isn't innocent in deflate-gate, but Wells Report fails to prove he's guilty

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 22 days ago

    The conclusion in the NFL's "Investigative Report Concerning Footballs Used During the AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015" is damning for Tom Brady, very damning.

    "Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of [two New England employees] involving the release of air from Patriots game balls," the Ted Wells Report reads.

    In other words: we're positive he cheated but we can't quite prove it.

    For Brady, as much as he will be raked over the coals following the release of this report and be doubted by many forever, it actually could've been worse. The Wells Report is an opinion. While it's an opinion based on some strong evidence, some of the other evidence is a reach, more than enough for Brady to argue his innocence if/when he addresses it.

    It was, however, the most plausible thing.

    This wasn't the only theory advanced of course.

    He then left the bathroom and headed out to field.

  • Ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer commanded Seahawks' attention without a workout

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago

    Late Saturday afternoon, just minutes after the 2015 NFL draft concluded, Nate Boyer's cell phone lit up with a number that made no sense … except it fit perfectly into the story of the NFL's most improbable rookie prospect.

    Boyer, a former Green Beret who less than a year ago was involved in combat in the mountains of Afghanistan. It was part of his summer job, if you will, in the Army Reserves. The rest of the year he was the starting long snapper for the University of Texas.

    He is also 34 years old – self described as "too old and too slow." And oh, he never played high school football. He walked on at UT only five years ago on sort of a lark after he was enrolled following repeated frontline tours in the Iraq War. 

    So after Texas' 2014 season ended, he decided to try out for the NFL, no matter how unlikely it seemed.

    And now the phone was buzzing with a strange number.

    Seattle. The Seattle Seahawks. How many workouts or conversations had Nate Boyer had with them?

    "None," he said before laughing.

    Seattle did.

  • Boring? Floyd Mayweather's clinical win over Manny Pacquiao shows brilliance

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Across nearly two decades, 46 different men have stepped into the ring with Floyd Mayweather, a couple of them twice.

    No one ever really hit him. No one ever cornered him into a brawl. No one was able to match his boxing talent and turn him into a desperate brawler in a desperate brawl … the kind fans understandably want to watch.

    Saturday was no different. Ultimately, Manny Pacquiao was no different, left chasing and swinging and getting popped in the face and in the end ... failing. Maybe it would’ve been different five years go, or even three, but who knows. Mayweather may have figured it out then too.

    Floyd Mayweather once again won handily here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, taking the megafight with a unanimous decision, 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112.

    For the 16,507 who paid big bucks to be here in person and the even bigger audience that tuned in on pay-per-view, the ones that pay attention to boxing only so often, this may have been a boring fight.

    There is a wizard-like quality to what the man has accomplished in the ring.

    He may be too boring.

  • Credential issue casts Mayweather, promotion in poor light, but that’s boxing

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Whether Floyd Mayweather or his promotion company is/was/isn't/wasn't banning journalists from covering Saturday's fightagainst Manny Pacquiao remains to be sorted out.

    CNN's Rachel Nichols and ESPN's Michelle Beadle both said as much on Twitter on Saturday morning, only to have a Mayweather spokesperson dispute that and say both are credentialed and blaming the issue mostly to confusion. Beadle, for instance, never applied under ESPN and was part of a block from HBO, which is a business partner of Pacquiao’s.

    As with everything in boxing, things are tribal and confusing. We'll see what's the truth eventually. Personally, I'm taking whatever Rachel Nichols, in particular, says to the bank.

    Also uncertain is the fate of USA Today writer Martin Rogers, whose credential situation has likewise been up in the air this week, although there were procedural and deadline issues with his request.

    Absent a government actor, this isn't a First Amendment issue.