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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Stoke City”

Waiting … and waiting … and waiting

We’re used to waiting here in Cleveland – we’ve been waiting our entire lives for a Cleveland team to win something.

But we have nothing on the fans of Stoke City.

The Premier League team earned a spot in the finals of the FA Cup over the weekend for the first time in franchise history – and that history dates to 1863.

The Potters are the oldest club in the Premier League and, despite periods of on-field success, have never lifted the FA Cup trophy.

“For 147 years, we have waited,” team chairman Peter Coates told the Stoke-on-Trent Sentinel.

“For me, this was without doubt the biggest win in the football club’s history because it puts us in the final of the biggest cup competition in the world,” Coates said on the team’s website. “To be honest, it really doesn’t get any better than this and going to the final is very exciting for us all.

Forget a lifetime of “waiting for next year,” how about generation after generation after generation after generation of waiting?

Kind of makes 1964 seem not that long ago.

The FA Cup was first held in 1871. The knockout tournament is open to all football clubs from the top flight all the way down to amateur teams – think if Major League Baseball held a tournament with every team down through the independent leagues – and drew more than 750 entrants this year.

The tournament is so much a part of English culture that it has been nominated as a cultural icon, along with Stonehenge, a cup of tea and the double-decker bus.

“The FA Cup has a unique place in English sporting culture and a magic all of its own,” said Brian Barwick, FA chief executive. “It has consistently generated some of the great stories and moments in sport and we are delighted that it has been recognised in this way.”

***

We know that Browns running back Peyton Hillis has made it to the finals of an online tournament to be the next cover athlete for the Madden NFL 12 video game.

We’ve also read and heard how EA Sports will never allow someone with a low profile like Hillis to be on the cover of the company’s flagship game.

But would Hillis really have a negative impact on game sales? Not according to this article from Sports Biz.

“What drives gamers to a particular title is that game’s review scores, gameplay and feedback from peers,” said David Riley of the NPD Group in the article. “While cover art can certainly enhance appeal and awareness, it’s hard to fathom that a gamer would drop $60 based solely on what appears on the cover.”

Riley said there is no hard research on an cover athlete’s ability to better sell a game.

“Great covers help practically sell everything, but can a cover alone sell a video game?” Riley asks. “Sure, some gaming consumers who stumble upon the latest title will be compelled to look the game over based on the cover, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to drive them to purchase it.”

The Madden cover spot this year is reportedly worth around $125,000, even though it does include some work—about a week full of commitments.

So while the Madden curse lurks for the winner of the tournament, it apparently doesn’t translate to game sales.

***

The NFL released the 2011 schedule and the Browns have an interesting year ahead of them.

Once again they will see familiar faces in news places as they take on Kamerion Wimbley (probably) and Oakland, Derek Anderson (maybe) and Arizona, former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Miami, former special teams coach Brad Seely and San Francisco, Mike Holmgren’s former team in Seattle and Pat Shurmur’s old team, St. Louis.

After opening the season at home against Cincinnati, the Browns won’t play another division game until Nov. 27, when they see the Bengals again. They face Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice each over the last five weeks of the season.

Should be interesting.

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