NFL Playoffs Trivia: Test your Knowledge of NFL History

NFL Playoffs Trivia: Test your Knowledge of NFL History

As January rolls around once again, we’re reminded that this is hands down the best month for football. The stakes are higher, competition is tougher, and it’s finally time to crown another Super Bowl Champion. With all the excitement building for this year’s playoffs, let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history in quiz form. It’s time to test your knowledge about playoffs past and see if you’re truly an NFL superfan.

Best Football Cleats

Best Football Cleats

Buying a new pair of football cleats is an investment. You need a dependable pair that can weather the wear and tear of a long, grueling season. But you also want to pick out a cleat that fits your style of play and looks good while you’re out there on the field. Finding all these qualifications in one pair of cleats can be tricky, so let us guide you through some of our top-selling football cleats and make your job a little bit easier.

adidas Adizero 8.0White/White

White on white on white. This Adizero’s classic and clean colorway meshes perfectly with the aerodynamic and textured look adidas created for this cleat model. A stable and strong cleat plate combined with the lightweight, EVA midsole gives you the perfect feeling of fast underneath your feet. With the minimalist design and clear white look, this cleats pairs well with almost any team color scheme so you can play well and look even better doing it.

Nike Vapor Untouchable 3Game Royal/Game Royal/White

The Nike Football design lab has been consistently churning out good looking cleats for years now, but there’s something about the Vapor Untouchable that goes above and beyond the brand’s norm. This Game Royal colorway instantly captures your attention with the speckled, optical illusion-like pattern plastered across the front of the cleat. The cleat also boasts silver accents around the midfoot and on the Nike ‘Swoosh’ while the one-piece bootie construction gives off a modern and practical look. Built for dynamic players, this cleat ensures that you will stand out from the rest on game day.

adidas Adizero 8.0 Burner White/Gold/White

A cleat as flashy as it is fast. This golden Adizero Burner gives off big trophy vibes and is specially designed to allow for superior traction without overly weighing you down with cleat pressure. The reflective heel offers premier support and is sure to turn heads as you streak down the field. This cleat also utilizes a snug lace closure system to provide an excellent fit and has an ironskin toe cap that’s abrasion-resistant for long-lasting use.

Jordan Retro 10 Mid White/Game Royal/Light Steel Grey

The Jordan brand needs no introduction. The sneaker giant has dominated the basketball and casual shoe world for decades, but only recently transitioned over to the gridiron, creating classic Jordan Retro looks in cleat form. This Game Royal/Steel Grey colorway of the famous Retro 10 instantly gathered praise from casual culture observers to avid readers of hypebeast.com. This cleat not only looks fresh, it’s also super practical on the field. The mid-high fit sleeve contained in durable, synthetic leather makes it one of the most comfortable cleats in the game.

Under Armour Spotlight Select MidBlack/Black/White

For fans of the all black everything look, you have to check out this Under Armour Spotlight Select cleat. Haptic Printing overlays combined with mid-cut construction mesh give this model the prototypical Under Armour design, accompanied by the advanced tech that the brand always provides. This cleat also features strategically placed bladed and conical studs for improved braking along with quick, multidirectional movements so you’ll never get caught slipping on grass or turf.

Coach Lo’s Offseason Football Workouts

Coach Lo’s Offseason Football Workouts

“Champions are made in the offseason.” A quote that’s as timeless as it is true. The best athletes, teams, and coaches know that to stay at the top of their game, they need to continuously put in the work. One of the coaches who’s always preached this mantra is Coach Steven Lo. Coach Lo is the Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach, and Director of Strength and Conditioning for the 2019 National Championship football team at St. John Bosco High School. To help you prepare for your next season, Coach Lo has shared a weekly plan for your entire offseason that can help you enhance your skills and excel at your specific position.

Outlined below are two workouts that can help you increase your speed or up your power and strength. It’s recommended that if you’re a wide receiver, running back, defensive back, linebacker, or tight end, you focus on the speed workout, and, if you’re a lineman on either side of the ball, the power workout is geared towards you. Depending on your position, you may need to adjust the amount of weight or reps, but Coach Lo’s guidelines well help you establish a good starting point.


Speed Workout (WR|RB|DB|LB|TE)

Outlined below is Coach Lo’s seven-week speed program – designed to boost your straight-line and lateral speed, and improve your quickness on cuts and change of direction. As mentioned before, these workouts provide the basic guidelines, and depending on your offseason goals of adding mass and strength along with speed, you can adjust the amount of weight or reps. For example, linebackers, tight ends, and power backs should focus on gradually adding more weight during lifts than other positions in order to maintain a strong base. During the first week, it’s also recommended that you run through the workout with little or no weight in order to gauge how your body responds.

Recommended Speed Workout Gear for Lifting: Nike Romaleos 4, Harbinger Big Grip Pro Lifting Straps, Harbinger Cotton Lifting Straps, adidas Powerlift 4.

Recommended Speed Workout Gear for Running: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37, Nike Dri-FIT Featherlight Cap, Nike Spark Cushioned Crew Run Socks, Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit.

Monday (Lower Body Lift + Linear Acceleration)

  1. Activation
    1. Glute Bridges (3 x 10)
  2. Lift
    1. Weeks 1-4
      1. Work to build strength
      2. Start with 5 reps each set
      3. Each week add weight and take away 1 rep each set
      4. Back Squats (4 x 1-5)
      5. Glute Ham Raises (4 x 5)
      6. Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats (4 x 5 each leg)
    2. Weeks 5-7
      1. Keep weights lighter and move as explosively as possible
      2. Depth Jumps (4 x 5)
      3. Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats (4 x 4 each leg)
      4. Glute Ham Raises (4 x 5)
  3. Core
    1. Planks (3 x 1 min)
  4. Run – Linear Acceleration
    1. Get Up Starts (10 reps @ 10 yards)
    2. Low Hurdle Wickets (5 reps @ 20 yards w/ 10 yard build up)

Tuesday (Upper Body Lift + Change of Direction)

  1. Activation
    1. Wall Slides (3 x 10)
  2. Lift
    1. Start with 5 reps each set
    2. Each week add weight and take away 1 rep each set
    3. Repeat the cycle after you finish
    4. Bench Press (4 x 1-5)
    5. Pull Ups (4 x 5-8)
    6. DB Row (4 x 5-8 each arm)
    7. DB Incline Bench (4 x 5)
  3. Core
    1. Side Planks (1 x 1 min each side)
  4. Run – Change of Direction
    1. Cone Drills – Star Drill
      1. Instructions
        1. 10 yard x 10 yard box with cones every 5 yards
        2. Start in the middle at the bottom of the box
        3. Sprint into the middle of the box and transition to finish at each cone
          1. Sprint – Finish straight ahead
          2. Sprint – 45 degree break to left front corner cone
          3. Sprint – 90 degree break to left middle cone
          4. Sprint – 45 degree break to the left back cone
          5. Sprint – 180 degree to the start cone
          6. Repeat all reps to the right side
      2. Sets and Reps
        1. 1st round start first 5 yards into the box with a sprint
        2. 2nd round start first 5 yards into the box with a back pedal
Star Drill

Wednesday (Lower Body Lift + Skill Day)

  1. Activation
    1. Band Walks (3 x 10 forward, backward, left, right)
  2. Lift
    1. Weeks 1-4
      1. Work to build strength
      2. Power Clean (4 x 5) Weights at a level to focus on fast bar speed
      3. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (4 x 5 each)
      4. Box Step-Ups (4 x 5 each)
    2. Weeks 5-7
      1. Work to build power and explosive speed
      2. Lateral Bounds (4 x 5 each leg)
      3. Lunge Jumps (4 x 5 each leg)
      4. Power Clean (4 x 3)
      5. Kettlebell Swings (4 x 10)
  3. Core
    1. Lying Leg Lifts (3 x 15 each)
  4. Skill Day – Route Running or DB Work

Thursday (Skill Day)

  1. QB|WR Timing, drills, 1 on 1, 7 on 7

Friday (Upper Body Lift)

  1. Lift
    1. Incline Bench (4 x 5)
    2. Bent Over Row (4 x 5)
    3. Curls (3 x 10)
    4. Tricep Extension (3 x 10)
    5. Shoulder Raises (3 x 10)

Saturday – 7 on 7 Tourney or practice

Sunday – Active Recovery | Rest Day

  1. Dynamic Warm Up (5-10 min)
  2. Yoga (15 min)
    1. Pigeon Stretch
    2. Downward Dog
    3. Cobra Stretch
    4. Sumo Squat
    5. Kneeling Lunge
    6. Trunk Twists
    7. Lying Hamstring Stretch

Power Workout (OL|DT|DE)

If you’re looking to build up your power and strength in the trenches, Coach Lo has also outlined a workout focused on increasing your muscle mass and explosiveness off the line. Below you’ll find another seven-week program designed for linemen on both sides of the ball.

Recommended Power Workout Gear for Lifting: Nike Romaleos 4, Harbinger Pro Training Gloves, Harbinger 5” Foam Core Belt, Nike Metcon 5.

Recommended Power Workout Gear for Running: adidas Ultraboost 20, Gatorade 32 oz. Contour Squeeze Bottle, Nike Dri-FIT Head Tie 3.0, Under Armour Hovr Sonic 3.

Monday (Lower Body Lift + Linear Acceleration)

  1. Activation
    1. Glute Bridges (3 x 10)
  2. Lift
    1. Weeks 1-4
      1. Work to build strength
      2. Start with 5 reps each set
      3. Each week add weight and take away a rep each set
      4. Back Squats (4 x 1-5)
      5. Glute Ham Raises (4 x 5)
      6. Bulgarian Split Squats (4 x 5 each leg)
    2. Weeks 5-7
      1. Back Squat (4 x 1-5 reps)
        1. Complex with Depth Jump (4 x 5)
      2. Glute Ham Raises (4 x 5)
      3. Walking Lunges (4 x 5 each leg)
  3. Core
    1. Planks (3 x 1 min)
  4. Run – Linear Acceleration
    1. Get Up Starts (10 reps @ 10 yards)
    2. Position Stance and Starts (10 reps @ 10 yards)

Tuesday (Upper Body Lift + Change of Direction)

  1. Activation
    1. Wall Slides (3 x 10)
  2. Lift
    1. Start with 5 reps each set
    2. Each week add weight and take away a rep each set
    3. Repeat the cycle after you finish
    4. Bench Press (4 x 1-5)
    5. Pull Ups (4 x 5-8)
    6. DB Row (4 x 5-8 each arm)
    7. DB Incline Bench (4 x 5)
  3. Core
    1. Side Planks (1 x 1 min each side)
  4. Run – Change of Direction
    1. Cone Drills – Star Drill
      1. Instructions
        1. 10 yard x 10 yard box with cones every 5 yards
        2. Start at the middle at the bottom of the box
        3. Sprint into the middle of the box and transition to finish at each cone
          1. Sprint – Finish straight ahead
          2. Sprint – 45 degree break to left front corner cone
          3. Sprint – 90 degree break to left middle cone
          4. Sprint – 45 degree break to the left back cone
          5. Sprint – 180 degree to the start cone
          6. Repeat all reps to the right side
      2. Sets and Reps
        1. 1st round start first 5 yards into the box with a sprint
        2. 2nd round start first 5 yards into the box with a shuffle
Star Drill

Wednesday (Skill Day)

  1. OL | DL Drill work

Thursday (Lower Body Lift + Agility Day)

  1. Activation
    1. Band Walks (3 x 10 forward, backward, left, right)
  2. Lift
    1. Weeks 1-4
      1. Work to build strength
      2. Power Clean (4 x 5) Weights at a level to focus on fast bar speed
      3. Romanian Deadlift (4 x 5)
      4. Box Step Ups (4 x 5 each)
    2. Weeks 5-7
      1. Work to build power and explosive speed
      2. Lateral Bounds (4 x 5 each leg)
      3. Lunge Jumps (4 x 5 each leg)
      4. Power Clean (4 x 3)
      5. Kettlebell Swings (4 x 10)
      6. Box Step Ups (4 x 5 each)
  3. Core
    1. Lying Leg Lifts (3 x 15 each)
  4. Agility
    1. 4 Corners
      1. 5 yard x 5 yard box with 4 tall cones at the corners
      2. Stand in the middle of the box
      3. Partner points to 1 of the 4 cones
      4. Touch the corresponding cone and return to the middle for the next direction
      5. 3-5 commands per set
      6. 10 reps

Friday (Upper Body Lift + Skill Day)

  1. Lift
    1. Incline Bench (4 x 5)
    2. DB Bench Press (4 x 5)
    3. Bent Over Row (4 x 5)
    4. Curls (3 x 10)
    5. Tricep Extension (3 x 10)
    6. Shoulder Raises (3 x 10)
  2. Skill Work – OL | DL drill work

Saturday – 7 on 7 Tourney or practice

Sunday – Active Recovery | Rest Day

  1. Dynamic Warm Up (5-10 min)
  2. Yoga (15 min)
    1. Pigeon Stretch
    2. Downward Dog
    3. Cobra Stretch
    4. Sumo Squat
    5. Kneeling Lunge
    6. Trunk Twists
    7. Lying Hamstring Stretch

Looking for more from Coach Lo? Check out his tips for a successful recovery after a tough workout here!

Offseason Training with Softball Superstar A.J. Andrews

Offseason Training with Softball Superstar A.J. Andrews

If you know softball, you know who A.J. Andrews is. The sport’s inaugural Gold Glove winner, and first woman to ever win the award, has dazzled spectators with acrobatic catches and her smooth, effortless style of play for years. But behind her spectacular playmaking is a fierce combination of preparation and determination that took Andrews to the level she’s at today. For Andrews, staying in shape in the offseason is one of the most important parts of her training. We got to talk to the star outfielder about how she approaches her offseason training and get a couple tips and drills she does to improve her agility. Check it all out below!

Q: Training and fitness are a huge part of being a professional athlete in any sport, but what’s something that’s unique about softball training compared to training for other sports?

A: Softball is a very explosive sport that requires a lot of mobility to be successful. You have to have explosive first steps when running the bases, or fielding a ball, and explosive hips when swinging. Every movement in softball requires being very explosive and intentional. It’s important to train your full body with powerful and quick movements every time. Mobility also comes into play because if you are not mobile as an athlete, your body physically cannot be as explosive as possible to match how precise each movement has to be in softball. Most people realize softball players need to do a lot of arm and shoulder strengthening work, but few realize the importance of being explosive in the hips and full body to help take pressure off of the arm when throwing. Softball is a sport where the entire body has to sync at the right times in order to function properly on the field. Full body, explosive movements help the body learn how to do that, while mobility exercises ensure that it is done properly.

Q: When it comes to training for softball in the offseason, what do you think is one of the most underrated or overlooked aspects that you would advise young athletes not to ignore.

A: Cross training or playing other sports. It is so important to not limit yourself especially when you are younger. Playing other sports will help prevent injuries as you are constantly working different muscle groups and not overworking the same ones each time from being sport specific. Also playing other sports will make athletes more athletic, agile, and better mental players. Don’t ignore just going outside and playing tag or invitations to go play a pick up game, it will only help you get better in your specific sport.

Q: Speaking to younger athletes, can you explain why it is so important to train throughout the offseason and not just start a couple weeks or months before the season begins?

A: Training throughout the offseason is important in order to reinvent yourself for the next season. Each season requires a new, more focused, and more developed athlete. The offseason is the time to upgrade and elevate your skills to reintroduce yourself to those players/teams that thought they knew what you were capable of! Next season begins the moment the current season ends. If you are not getting better you are getting worse, and if you wait a couple weeks before the season you will be left in the dust of those who put in miles of work ahead of you during the offseason.

Read more about A.J. and her drive to empower and inspire young women through athletics here

Demanding a Change – A.J. Andrews’ quest for female recognition in sports

Demanding a Change – A.J. Andrews’ quest for female recognition in sports

ConqHER is about female athletes who are pushing boundaries every single day. These women and their stories inspire athletes and demonstrate that sports cannot be defined by gender – only heart.

 

A.J. Andrews doesn’t mince words. She speaks the way she plays – fierce but elegant. The softball star, who became the first woman to win a Gold Glove in the award’s history, acknowledges the advancement of recognition for gender equality in sports. But she also stresses that there’s still a ton of work to be done to break through that glass ceiling. Here’s Andrews in her own words on the obstacles she’s faced, advice for younger female athletes, and what still needs to be done to obtain gender equality in athletics.

Q: As a professional female athlete, what are some of the obstacles you face and how do you overcome them?

A: As a professional female athlete, some of the obstacles that I’ve faced just come down to lack of recognition and respect for the hard work that I put into being successful in my sport simply because I am a woman. As a professional softball player, that lack of respect and attention is a direct blow because our professional games are not on TV, so many people are not afforded the opportunity to love and see how competitive professional softball is. As a professional female athlete, the opportunities outside of college are scarce and the money is even scarcer. Many professional softball players have to have second jobs in order to sustain themselves and to eat because the average salary for a pro softball player is around $6,000. Many players have to retire early because the job that pays their bills will no longer allow them to take a few months off for the season. With adequate media coverage, respect, and attention, those unfortunate factors would change as professional women in sports could focus on being the best athlete on the field rather than how they will pay their rent this month. Another issue is trying to conform to societal standards of beauty in order to get the attention of different brands and media outlets. To conquer these obstacles, I continue to challenge them and to push the needle. Not everything that is addressed will be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is addressed. And I make a point to address these issues when I speak to make sure that I am drawing attention to them. My voice is powerful and I am conquering these challenges by challenging and forcing people to pay attention with the words that I say. I am only getting louder and will continue to raise my voice until this issue that plagues so many women in sports in conquered.

Q: When it comes to softball, a huge misconception is that it’s “baseball for girls” and that it’s “easier than baseball.” What is your response to that and what would you say to young softball players who face the same criticism?

A: I would say that us softball players put in the same hours of work to be successful. We train just as hard, prepare just as hard, lace our cleats the exact same. The only difference is we look better while doing it. Those that have this misconception that softball is baseball for girls or is in some way easier than baseball are simply people that have never played or watched the sport. Softball is a faster game with different technicalities. A rise ball is physically the hardest pitch to hit and softball players have to face elite pitchers with that pitch every day. Baseball and softball, while similar in concept, are two completely different games and I challenge anyone that has doubts about that to just meet me on the field. I would also tell young softball players to work hard in silence and let their success be their noise. People will always doubt your capabilities or have something to say about what you can or cannot do because you’re a girl. Always remember that being a a strong, hardworking and powerful girl in sports is your superpower, use it to change the world. Don’t set out to prove them wrong, set out to prove yourself right!

Q: On your website, it says, “I’ll level the playing field and the paying field.” What’s your personal experience with the wage gap and how do you hope to level both the playing and paying fields?

A: In order to obtain equality for women in sports and in corporate settings, we must band together and demand it. Women must never be afraid to use their voices while simultaneously amplifying other women’s voices. Women empowerment isn’t about making women stronger, its about changing the way the world perceives that strength. I’m strong, I’m hardworking and I’m fabulous. And in order to level the playing field I’ve decided that I will not pretend that I am less than I am to protect someone else’s ego. I am unabashedly aware of my fly and refuse to water down my capabilities or to wait for someone else’s permission to be great. In my experience, I was not given the same coverage that MLB players received for winning the Gold Glove even though I was the first woman and the only one chosen out of the nine positions. Instead of accepting the lack of coverage, I went and created my own. I invented my own hype around the award and demanded the world pay attention so that young girls knew it was possible and so the women after me who won the award had an opportunity to be recognized as well. Women should not have to water down their success to make mainstream America feel comfortable. We should be loud about our successes always! We are just as talented and successful as men and should be talked about that way. If the media won’t then I am dedicated to creating my own narrative and forcing the media to take notice. Making the world recognize that we can be confident, we can be strong, we can be unstoppable all with our mascara on. Time is up for not giving women what we deserve, and we will no longer succumb to the “it is what it is” mentality.

Q: With this platform, what do you hope to leave behind as a legacy to the next generation of athletes? What do you hope they learn from you?

A: I hope to leave a legacy of an example of limitless opportunities. I strive to show young women all over the world that the world impossible is nothing more than a dare. Every great feat in this world was once considered impossible until it was done! I want young women to know that before 2016, a woman winning a Gold Glove was “impossible” and now I have opened one door leading to many other glass ceilings waiting to be broken by strong, powerful women. If there is something that you want in this world, go after it with everything you have as the only limitations there are in this world are the ones that we place on ourselves. I hope they learn their power and that no one can make them feel inferior without their consent. And to always remain too determined to be defeated and too focused to be doubtful. Leave the doubt to those that have no idea what you’re capable of as you go out and make history the same way that I did. 

Q: You’ve mentioned that your idol growing up was Natasha Watley, and you said that seeing her – a black woman playing professional softball – really gave your dreams wings, so to speak, and allowed you to realize that you could do that too.

How does it feel to have that dream fully realized and now be in that position yourself of having young kids look up to you and know that their dreams are possible?

A: Natasha Watley was my idol because she was someone that looked like me excelling in the sport I played. And I remember the joy that I felt believing that I could really go far in my sport because Natasha did. It has truly come full circle for me. People don’t always remember what you did or what you said but they always remember the way you made them feel. Playing at LSU to now playing pro, I’m the favorite player of so many young girls for reasons unrelated to my performance on the field. I was their favorite simply because I wore the same number as them, had on the same bow, I spent 5 minutes after a game talking to them, or because I look like them. What mattered to them is that I showed up and I proved it can be done and they found something in me that they connected to that made them believe they too could be successful. I now have an opportunity to instill that same joy I had watching Natasha play into the young athletes that watch me. I feel empowered to have the opportunity to empower others and inspire confidence that they can truly become whatever it is they want to become in this world.  To all young girls striving to reach their goals I want you to dare to dream big – big dreams break barriers and big dreams can one day make history!

Get tips from A.J. on how she trains during the offseason here.

Five Things You Should Know About the Return of Baseball

Five Things You Should Know About the Return of Baseball

The very first thing you need to know about America’s Pastime is – it’s back. Professional baseball is set to return on July 23, with no fans, when New York plays Washington in what the league is calling an “Opening Night” ceremony. But, with the obvious obstacles of playing games amid a global pandemic, this season will look much different. Beyond the regulations put in place to keep players healthy and safe, baseball has changed its game fundamentally to adhere to this unusual, shortened season.

60-game schedule: With almost two-thirds of the baseball season cut, each game will matter so much more. The most talented pitchers will be called upon more frequently, and teams will be more aggressive with their strategies as the margin for error minimizes during this condensed schedule. Every team will play 10 games against each of the other four teams within their division. The remaining 20 games will be played against teams in their corresponding interleague division (East vs. East, West vs. West, etc.) in hopes to make travel safer and more manageable.

Universal DH: For the first time in league history, no pitcher will step up to the batter’s box during the 2020 season. Every team will use a Designated Hitter, and it’s believed that this rule could carry over into the 2021 season and beyond. A change that some fans have pushing for years.

Extra inning = Extra runner: In hopes to speed up the game and lessen the time players spend in the ballpark, all extra innings will now start with a runner on second until one team wins. This rule was adopted in the minor leagues two years ago and has been successful in shortening extra inning games.

Bring your own everything: In addition to the banning of traditional high-fives, fist bumps, and other miscellaneous team-oriented celebrations, players will be responsible for taking care of their own personal equipment. That means batters will have to bring their own pine-tar rags and bat donuts to and from the on-deck circle, and pitchers will now have to bring their own rosin bag to the mound and only use their own baseballs when throwing a bullpen session. Baseballs used in batting practice will be washed, sanitized, and stored for at least five days before they can be used again.

Suspended games: Remember the good old days when games could get rained out for the fifth inning and they would be replayed? Those days are long gone, well for this season at least. Any game that’s started and subsequently stopped because of weather will be picked back up right where they left off on a different day, no matter what inning the game was originally called in. The reasoning behind this new rule is to avoid long weather delays and get players out of the ballpark as quickly as possible.

Illustrations by @floppyaction on Instagram