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Army Football Team To Wear World War II 82nd Airborne Division-Inspired Uniforms Against Navy

This Saturday in their game against Navy, the Army football team will wear uniforms paying tribute to the 82nd Airborne Division of World War II.

The team will wear uniforms inspired by the paratroopers jumpsuits, which will also include a 48-star American flag along the right shoulder, player name tapes, full-color historical unit patches, a division patch and an improvised camo base layer.

Nicknamed the “All Americans” because they drew members from every state in the country, Army will wear an All American Patch on the front of their jersey.

The 82nd Airborne Division during World War II lead the invasion of Italy, Normandy and Holland with little to no reinforcements.

Army will attempt to break their 14-time losing streak to Navy this Saturday at 3 pm ET.

American football could fall like the gladiators of ancient Rome

When I called my father back home in Oregon on a recent Sunday, he rattled off his thoughts about the election, the health of his two dogs and queries about holiday plans. But, as the child of a sports-loving house (Go, Ducks!), I was most surprised by what my dad wasn’t talking about on Sunday — football.

He’s not alone in his waning interest. This season, ratings for professional football are down 27 percent across all of the major networks: ESPN, Fox, NBC and CBS, according Forbes. The decline in the ratings underscores a bigger truth that no one wants to face: Nothing lasts forever. And that includes the popularity of professional football, which now may be experiencing the slow, inevitable crumble of a Roman-style empire.

This week, the NFL denied a rumor that the league was reconsidering the fate of “Thursday Night Football,” namely that it was looking to revamp or — gasp — cut back on the sacred media property.

The league said it was “fully committed” to Thursday games, in spite of complaints from players about having to shift too quickly into a midweek game after weekend play, and from fans that Thursday matches have been stale. It’s a slate spread too thin: too many slots, too few compelling matchups. Even so, with a far shorter schedule than professional basketball and baseball, the demand for football has, until recently, remained high.

NFL executives have placed some of the ratings blame on the election. Although NBC’s two games after the election did see a boost, the network’s Kansas City-Denver game had a double-digit drop compared to the same time last year. And, if anything, it seems as though the stress of two unpopular candidates slogging it out would only increase the appetite for diversion. If ever there was a time for gladiator heroes, now would appear to be it.

The fall of Rome seemed unthinkable to people at the time, but inevitable to historians reflecting upon it with the benefit of context. At their height, gladiator contests made war a diversion, thousands charged into majestic amphitheaters, including Rome’s Colosseum, to watch hundreds of gladiators slay wild beasts and each other.

Such was the case until at least the early 5th century AD, as the disapproval of Christians and philosophers grew. When the philosopher Seneca wrote of his impressions of the contest, he was sharp.

“Now finesse is set aside, and we have pure unadulterated murder,” Seneca wrote. “The combatants have no protective covering; their entire bodies are exposed to the blows. This is what lots of people prefer to the regular contests… And it is obvious why. There is no helmet, no shield to repel the blade. Why have armor? Why bother with skill? All that just delays death.”

The rise of Christianity also made the games “culturally unacceptable” because of the money, betting and partisanship involved, said Peter Heather, a professor of medieval history at King’s College in London. So the emperor began to limit the number and scale of gladiator contests until they were phased out.

While the US government is unlikely to ever limit the number of football games, plenty of parents are refusing to let their children play the sport due to the risk of head injuries. The more we learn about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative brain disease that has plagued scores of professional players, the harder it becomes for many of us to watch the gladiators out on the field. And the more we know about players committing violence off the field, especially against women and children, the more we — like Seneca — turn off altogether.

Other reasons for football’s demise have been well reported: Our technological advancements leading to the rise of cord-cutting, the mushrooming of electronic sports, and the lure of a second, or third screen (often tied to a fantasy game) are all putting chinks in the modern-day coliseum. A demographic shift, including an increase of soccer-loving fans to the US from around the world, may have broadened sports lovers’ passions beyond the gridiron, too. Increasingly, football fans are arguing that the game is bloated with too much down time. The officiating is clumsy.

For viewers at home, replays and commercials have overwhelmed what game play actually happens. 

The league lacks a powerful narrative right now, like the Chicago Cubs reversing their 108-year-long hex.

After Christianity killed off gladiatorial combat, Roman fans switched to chariot racing, “which flourished massively as a result,” Heather said. The ascent of the blood-soaked culture of the UFC demonstrates that Americans’ thirst for violence has far from disappeared, but rather migrated to a new Coliseum next door.

The UFC’s worth is estimated at $4 billion or more, with gyms and events popping up worldwide. After a long battle, New York state finally legalized the sport, opening up Madison Square Garden for professional cage fights.

For better or for worse, fans have a new place to celebrate muscles and gore, free from leaden rules and commercial breaks but filled with intense drama and action. Football, like boxing, will never go away, just occupy a different role in the American zeitgeist. The change will be glacial, not instant. 

And mixed martial arts may just be the chariot-racing alternative of our time.

Mary Pilon is the author of “The Monopolists” and the forthcoming “The Kevin Show.” She worked as a TV producer for NBC Sports at the Rio Olympics

Top-secret Amazon drone filmed above Cambridgeshire testing facility

Incredible video is first footage of craft the retail giant will use to deliver packages in just 30 minutes
AMAZON’S top secret experimental delivery drone has been filmed in action for the first time.
The Sun Online’s exclusive footage shows the flying machine zooming through the skies over Amazon’s testing facility in rural Cambridgeshire.

The internet giant plans to use drones to deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes of purchase.

Last year, it unveiled a flying robot that can travel at 50mph for ten miles and carry parcels of around 3kg.

At the time, Amazon released official footage of its drones, but the craft seen in our video appears to look significantly different from the model which has been shown off before.

Cameramen filmed the drone from nearby public land, showing it zooming through the sky and performing a smooth landing.

The Civil Aviation Authority lifted strict regulations on drones in July that would allow Amazon to begin testing the project.

And the latest pictures reveal it is already well on its way to making the groundbreaking idea a reality.

Amazon officially began testing the craft in the summer of 2016, but leaked emails recently suggested it may have been flying drones in British airspace since 2015.

The facility is closely guarded to stop anyone sneaking a peek at the experimental craft.

Photographer Dean Cranston said locals had become increasingly intrigued by what was happening on the field, which sits about 10 miles south of Cambridge.

He and two other photographers decided to check out the site after locals became worried and curious about what was happening – but they were confronted by unhappy security.

He said residents had been baffled by the “cloak and dagger” activities.

Speaking to the Sun Online, he said: “Amazon is obviously ploughing tens of millions of dollars into the future of how to deliver parcels.

“They have basically hired a farmer’s field in Cambridge, taking it over and doing something there on the land.”

He said security armed with ear pieces, binoculars and radios monitored the site constantly, ensuring anyone from the public did not venture off a nature path onto the field.

He said: “They won’t identify themselves, they won’t confirm or deny anything.

“It’s very peculiar.”

He said some locals had even speculated that there were “UFOs” at the site so he decided to video their discussions with security.

But while visiting the field on Thursday, he said the group had been confronted by men, including one with a scarf over his face, who insisted they leave.

Refusing to confirm if they were security, the men were recorded by the savvy photographers who demanded to know why they were being made to move on.

It was only once another security guard appeared – having been radioed in – and ashowed his identification that the photographers agreed to leave.

Mr Cranston said: “It felt really hostile, like some kind of cult.

“You wouldn’t believe what’s going on there… we were told by locals that there was a lot of strange behaviour going on.”

Booyah Hike Across America

ESPN Loses Over a Half Million Subscribers

by Dylan Gwinn

The Nielsen estimates revealed that ESPN lost 555,000 subscribers during the last month.

In other words, ESPN essentially lost the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This, coming on the heels of last month, the worst month in ESPN history, where the network lost 621,000 subscribers.

In the last two months, ESPN has lost 1,176,000 subscribers, a subscriber loss nearly the size of the city of Dallas, Texas. ESPN currently has just over 88 million domestic subscribers. In 2013, a mere three years ago, ESPN had 99 million subscribers. That’s right, in the last three years, ESPN lost somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million subscribers, the rough equivalent of the combined populations of New York City and Phoenix.

Now, in fairness, ESPN has contested the subscriber estimates that Nielsen put forth, citing the omission of multiple factors, including streaming services and digital device numbers. However, if the Nielsen numbers even remotely approximate the true subscriber loss, it means ESPN has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the last three years alone and if the trend continues, is well on its way to collapse.

Certainly, the chord cutting phenomenon that has hit networks across cable television has a definite impact on ESPN. Though, that’s not the entire explanation for the network’s cratering subscriber base. ESPN Ombudsman Jim Brady, admitted that the network lurched way too far to the left in recent years, alienating many viewers.

There’s also evidence of that in these numbers. According to Deadline Hollywood, “Disney’s other sports channels fared better. ESPNU had 71 million subs, down 1.4%. ESPNEWS and SEC Network — not measured by Nielsen — were flat based on December data from SNL Kagan. The former had 70 million subs and the latter had 62 million.”

What do ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and the SEC Network all have in common? They are, by far, the least opinion-driven and ideological of all the ESPN channels. ESPN’s slate of uber-opinionated, radically leftist programs such as Around the Horn, First Take, Pardon the Interruption, His & Hers, and others all appear on ESPN or ESPN2, the channels which have seen the greatest decline.

ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and the SEC Network primarily feature sporting events, simulcast radio shows, or straight news reporting with very little opinion, or, at least very little political opinion. Those channels have either marginally declined or stayed flat.

Something tells me there’s a message there.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn

South Florida family's missing dog found three years later -- in New Jersey

Bill Gerstein couldn't believe it. Words he never thought he'd read were right there on his phone: Bella has been found.

Nearly three years after disappearing outside Gerstein's law office in Fort Lauderdale, the family's Maltese-Pomeranian mix was in an animal shelter in Paterson, New Jersey — about 1,200 miles from home. The shelter, which had checked Bella's microchip, sent him pictures. She looked ratty, her coat was in rough shape, but it was her. Gerstein got on a plane that day.

"It was jubilant for us to finally get her back," Gerstein, 45, said Tuesday, as Bella scampered about the living room, still getting acquainted with the family's other two inseparable dogs, Maya and Lily, two Cavapoos who became new additions while Bella was still missing. Bella occasionally growls and bares her teeth at Maya, who tends to avoid eye contact with Bella.

"I didn't have any realistic hope of seeing her again," Gerstein said. "The possibilities were endless: She could've been killed, she could've wandered into a swamp near our office."

Fortunately, Bella didn't wander into a swamp, but how she got to New Jersey is a mystery. Gerstein, whose immigration law office is near Commercial Boulevard and NW 31st Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, regularly brought Bella to work, and that's where she was last seen.

"She was the office dog," said Gerstein's wife Dori, 46, also a lawyer.

On the day Bella went missing, Dec. 13, 2013, Gerstein was on a work call on his cellphone as the dog conducted her own business outside the law office. Gerstein said he was distracted and went back inside to do some more work. About an hour later, he wondered where Bella was and couldn't find her. An extensive search was mounted. Posters were put up, police were called, and a Facebook page was created. All to no avail.

Gerstein also watched surveillance video of the parking lot outside his office. There was a car parked across several spaces, and as it drove away, Gerstein noticed something white moving in the vehicle. 

He talked to police, who looked into it and determined the owner of the car didn't have the dog and that the white movement might have just been sunlight hitting the car's windows.

The Gersteins' four children, Michael, now 17, Sarah, 15, Sean, 13, and Emma, 6, took the news hard. 

Particularly Emma, who was 3 at the time. She would often talk about Bella, and would sometimes cry and say she missed Bella well after the dog was gone.

Gerstein missed Bella too. So when he got the email just after 10 a.m. on Nov. 22 from Petkey, the pet recovery service for the microchip implanted under Bella's skin, saying the dog was at Paterson Animal Control in Paterson, N.J., he was stunned.

Gerstein said Bella was shaking and wagging her tail when he first picked her up. "She definitely remembered me," Gerstein said.

The next day, they flew home for a happy reunion with the rest of the family, including Dori's sister Heather Bosch and her children Cole, 14, and Jenna, 9, who also live with the Gersteins at their home in West Delray Beach near U.S. 441 and West Atlantic Avenue.

"She wouldn't stop kissing me, and she's not a big kisser," Dori Gerstein said. They also took Bella to the veterinarian, who determined she was in good health.

Angel Rivera, an animal control officer at Paterson Animal Control, said a young woman had found Bella wandering on a busy thoroughfare in Paterson early last week and brought her to the shelter. 

Rivera checked the microchip and found it was registered through Petkey. He called Petkey, who sent the email to Gerstein, instructing him to call the animal shelter.

By sending a picture and confirming the microchip's ID number, Gerstein and Rivera were able to confirm that the dog was indeed Bella.

"I was shocked, he was shocked," said Rivera, 37.

Rivera said that had the shelter not found the owner within seven days, Bella would've been adopted out. He recommended that pet owners not only invest in a microchip but also register the microchip.

"In my 12 years here, I've never seen anything like this," Rivera said, barely able to believe that a dog missing for three years and from 1,200 miles away had been reunited with its owner.

Gerstein also said he's been in touch with another woman in Paterson who contacted him after Bella was found. She told him she discovered the Facebook page about Bella and told him that Bella — her family had named the dog Linda, coincidentally, the Spanish equivalent of Bella, meaning pretty or beautiful — had been living with her in Paterson.

She sent Gerstein pictures of the dog while it had been living with them. She explained that somebody had given her the dog in January, and that she and her family had grown to love her. But then Bella escaped under a fence and the woman never saw her again.

Bill Gerstein asked the woman who had given her the dog and tried to find out more in hopes of learning more about where Bella had been since December 2013, but he got murky answers and decided to let it go. After all, it didn't matter anymore. Bella was home. Dori Gerstein said they were grateful that the woman took care of her.

Both Bill and Dori accept that they'll probably never know how Bella got to New Jersey.

"If only she could talk," Bill Gerstein said.

brettclarkson@sun-sentinel.com or Twitter @BrettClarkson_
Copyright © 2016, Sun Sentinel

Disney announces new Christmas drone show to light up the skies this winter

DISNEY will send 300 drones into the air every night over Orlando this winter to create a spectacular Christmas-themed light show in the night skies.

The entertainment giant is using 300 Shooting Star drones, specially designed to fly in unison with others, for its new attraction.

The drones –  which will replace part of the traditional fireworks show – will all be controlled by a single operator.

Tech giant Intel unveiled the tiny drone earlier this month after a flying 500 simultaneously in Germany breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for most drones operated one person.

And now that the Federal Aviation Administration has given Disney the green light to fly the machines at night – normally illegal in the US.