One of the many moments from the 2013 NFL draft to go viral comes from a home video of Justin Pugh, a Syracuse lineman drafted by the Giants. The video, which captures the phone call, shows an excited Pugh nodding and saying a lot of "Yes, sirs" and expressing his excitement about being a Giant. (Scroll down to watch it.)

The phone calls that alert players which team has drafted them used to be a behind-the-scenes moment that they'll always remember. Now it's one of many parts of the draft that is national TV-worthy for football fans. Which begs the question: What's being said during the calls?

One former league executive told ThePostGame that it varies from team to team, but there is actually another call before the official call that everyone sees on TV: "They usually call the player and get a feel for if any other teams have spoken to them. They then say that the team is interested in picking him and asks if he would like to be a member of their team. The player obviously says yes."

Full Story >>

During the NFL draft, fans will be scratching their heads in befuddlement as their favorite team picks a player they have never heard of or who makes absolutely no sense. How do teams ever make these selections?

The NFL draft, along with free agency, is the primary method of roster composition for America's most popular sport. The right selection, in whatever round, can turn out to be the cornerstone of a franchise's success for years, the wrong selection, just a wasted opportunity.

Teams put much thought and millions of dollars into the creation of a scouting system for college talent. Each team has a Director of Player Personnel in charge of College Scouting. There are also a variety of team scouts who are responsible for a geographical region or specific position. They put together a checklist of attributes: Size, speed, strength, athletic ability, agility, character and then head off to spring ball, summer training, and regular season games to judge every potentially draftable player.

They use a numerical system 4-1 with one being highest, or one through ten with ten being highest, to rate players and assign them a numerical grade. They also watch game film and talk with the player's coaches. The second source of input for a team is the scouting reports they use from a pooled scouting company called a combine, which service many teams. Teams can subscribe to "BLESTO" or "The National" and receive the same scouting ratings.

A team will then establish its own draft board, rating players by overall highest grades, then breaking it down by position. These boards are modified by the ever important second season of scouting. Seniors have the opportunity to play in All-Star Games, scouts can interact with players between practices and judge the practices and the game performance.

The major scouting event of the second season is the Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis in February. Players are given strenuous physicals, drug tests and IQ tests. They compete in five drills: A 40-yard dash, 225-pound bench press, vertical leap, broad jump and lateral drills. Teams have the opportunity to evaluate their personality in twenty-minute interviews. Teams have done extensive character and criminal background checks. Players can work out at their position. Ratings on a player will continue to change.

Campus visits in March to Pro Scouting Days allow scouts another opportunity to interact with players and see them do the same combine drills for the first time or another time. The largest single variable in elevating or plummeting a draft pick is speed in the 40. The NFL is speed crazy. And then teams compile their final draft boards with the input of position coaches, head coaches and team executives.

Full Story >>

Who owns a sports ticket? A California Assembly Committee met this week to debate a bill that could determine the fate of ticket "ownership" in a high-profile battle between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, primary ticket provider Ticketmaster, and secondary marketplace StubHub. The issue in question: Who has the right to re-sell a ticket after it has been purchased?

The bill, which was brought by Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), would make it illegal for companies like Ticketmaster to prohibit the re-sale of tickets by fans, among other marketplace regulations.

StubHub, which supports the bill, argues that once a fan buys a ticket from a team and its primary seller, it is their possession to do as they choose. That typically includes using the ticket to go to the game, giving it as a gift to a loved one, or reselling it if they choose not to attend.

Full Story >>

The most anxiety-fueled, suspenseful, nerve-wracking, emotional and ultimately explosively joyful day of the year for anyone who represents prospects for this year's NFL Draft is coming this week: Draft Day. The long "second season" of All-Star Games, the Scouting Combine, Pro Scouting Days on campus, and individualized interactions which constitute post-season scouting are done. NFL teams have compiled a draft board, which lists their assessment of every potentially draftable player by an overall rating number and then by position. They have run through computer simulations showing them every possible permutation of what players will be available round by round when it is their turn to draft. The teams' internal debates over who to pick largely occur prior to draft day, because on draft day, teams will have only ten minutes in the first round and five minutes in every other to announce their selections.

As an agent, to ensure that my agency's players have the best chance at their brightest NFL future, considerable information exchange has been going on between office, our key front office personnel and myself in the last few weeks. We are attempting to assuage any last-minute concerns a team may have about a player’s desire to come and fit in with their organization. Because the quality of that information has improved over the years, I can reliably prepare a player for which teams are most likely to take him. We run through every possible scenario and try to anticipate every outcome.

Proper preparation of a player and his family can prevent anger, humiliation or embarrassment from erupting on the day itself. In my experience, watching quarterbacks like Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart agonize on live television when they were drafted far below where they were projected was painful. Whether in preparation or by phone immediately after, my job is to insure that our client can talk about the owner, coach, incumbent at his position, and a little about the fans and the city he’s going to play in, so he can praise them in the first press interaction.

On draft day, most players watch the event at home surrounded by their families and friends. It is important for an agent to try and share that experience with as many clients as possible, and certainly to stay in constant phone contact with those in another location.

One solution I found was to assemble multiple clients and their families on a floor of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel. We had ample refreshments to last for as many coaches, friends and family members as our clients wanted to invite. An added bonus: Many of the players either grew up in Southern California or played at USC, UCLA or local schools and it allowed local press to be there to cover them.

Previous Column: How To Be A Great Sports Agent

This has led to some incredibly memorable draft years. For example, in 1991 Miami defensive tackle Russell Maryland was picked first in the first round by Dallas, UCLA safety Eric Turner went No. 2 to Cleveland, and San Diego State quarterback Dan McGwire was taken by Seattle. Because we were at the Marriott, they were all together so we could share the experience and we could communicate instantaneously with each other.

For years the first pick in the draft would be the only player in attendance, I had been there with Troy Aikman, Jeff George and Drew Bledsoe. The NFL brilliantly decided to turn the draft into more of a marketing bonanza and extend the off-season focus on the NFL and invited a much larger group to New York. So in 1995, I was in New York with running back Ki-Jana Carter, whom Cincinnati took with the first pick in the first round and quarterback Kerry Collins who was taken four picks later by the Carolina Panthers. That year, we were lucky enough to have our own room below the main stage.

In 2004, I sat backstage with Ben Roethlisberger and his family as draft countdown began in what turned out to be one of the more anxiety-producing years. I had carefully prepared Ben for the certainty that Giants GM Ernie Accorsi felt so strongly about Eli Manning and the Chargers had fallen so much in love with Philip Rivers (they coached him in the Senior Bowl) that they would swap picks. But when draft day arrived, they hadn't. Giants coach Tom Coughlin called Roethlisberger's coach, Terry Hoeppner, the night before and said if San Diego took Manning, Oakland took Robert Gallery, and Arizona took Larry Fitzgerald, Roethlisberger should be ready to come to New York.

All of my preparations couldn't counteract that. The first three picks went in the exact way Coughlin said. When the Giants were on the clock, 14 minutes passed as if they were 14 days. With seconds to spare before their turn ran out, the Giants selected Philip Rivers and traded him to San Diego for Manning. The next possible team I saw for Roethlisberger was Pittsburgh at No. 11, and that would be two more agonizing hours.

We all know how that turned out. At the end it was a marriage made in heaven and ended as most draft days do -- with validation and joy.

-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @SteinbergSports.

Full Story >>

By Marilen Cawad
The Street

New York Knicks legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier likes to use big words such as "tantalizing" and "percolating" when broadcasting Knicks games. Tantalizing -- or teasingly out of reach -- seems like the perfect word to describe Knicks tickets today.

According to ticket search engine TiqIQ, the average ticket price for the first round of the playoffs between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden is $645. Last year, when the Knicks went up against the Miami Heat in the opening round series, the average ticket price was $378.

Limited playoff tickets were sold through Ticketmaster, beginning April 11, but most tickets for Knicks home games are now available only through resellers. Game one of the Knicks' playoff series with the Celtics will start at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, with the cheapest ticket being sold at $187.

"With the Knicks doing so well this season, getting tickets at face value is not an option for most," says Jesse Lawrence, founder and CEO of TiqIQ. Resellers include both fans looking to make extra money as well as brokers.

More from TheStreet: Don't Toss Those Stadium Giveaways

Lawrence says renovations at Madison Square Garden have contributed to the increase in primary playoff ticket prices. Still, the most important factor in Knicks ticket pricing today is the team's overall performance.

For the first time since 1994, the Knicks are Atlantic Division champions and they have locked in the No. 2 playoff seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Carmelo Anthony is the top scorer in the league, and he's also having his best season as a Knick.

Leading up to the playoffs, Knicks tickets have been steadily increasing in the secondary market. The average ticket price rose about 30 percent from $330 in December to $428 in April. In the 2011-12 season, the average ticket price for a Knicks game was $282. Based on TiqIQ's most recent data, the New York Knicks now sell the most expensive tickets in the NBA.

Full Story >>

The business practices of the Miami Marlins have inspired words such as con and swindler and toxic.

But the ownership of Jeff Loria continues, despite these revelations and a huge disapproval rating. Want some context? In November, the Miami Herald conducted a survey of local residents. It found that Fidel Castro had a 1 percent favorability rating. Loria checked in at 6 percent.

HBO's "Real Sports" revisits the controversy of how the Marlins financed their stadium and the fan backlash to the trading of the team's biggest stars in its latest edition that premieres 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday. Here is a snippet:

Full Story >>

Reason #1: The Los Angeles Laker franchise owes it to Kobe Bryant to set him free.

Even before Kobe's Achilles injury, the Lakers were no longer contenders for the foreseeable future. Whether Dwight Howard signs a long-term deal to stay or not, the Lakers don't have a first round draft pick this year, and Kobe wants title #6 more than anything. Letting him go allows Kobe to rehab and return sometime early in 2014 if all goes well. While the 29 other teams could make a "partial claim" this summer on Kobe's amnesty status (nobody would be able to make the full claim- absorbing his full contract), Kobe could avoid being claimed by a bad team by making it clear that he would just sit out the entire year, continue to "rehab" and collect the $30 million from the Lakers.

Then a team, say Orlando, would be stuck paying, for example, $7 million for a guy who doesn't play all year. In essence, Kobe could "sign" with a serious contender of his choosing this summer by having his agent control the bidding. He could end up with the Knicks, Spurs, Thunder, or whomever else is well-positioned to win it all. Then he would be a free agent in the summer of 2014, and if he wanted to keep playing and return to the Lakers, he could, albeit for an incredibly smaller salary. The amnesty rules allow a player to return to his original team after the current contract expires. Kobe's contract terminates at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Reason #2: The Lakers will save at least $30 million in luxury tax payments, and almost incredibly, up to over $100 million. I'm no cap expert, but according to cbafaq.com the Lakers could be paying as much as $5 for every dollar over the cap in 2013-2014. If they remain near $40 million over the cap (they won't), it's cap suicide. As part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement of December, 2011, teams have the one-time right to amnesty a player and, while they still have to pay out his contract, the amount will not count against the salary cap. The Lakers are about $42 million over the cap this season, and are committed to at least that much next season if they're lucky enough to keep Howard with a fat new deal.

Reason #3: As if saving at least $30 million in luxury tax isn't enough, it's possible, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com, that insurance will pay up to 80 percent of Kobe's $30 million salary if he misses all of next season. That would mean if the Lakers amnesty Kobe, they'd save approximately $54 million in tax plus salary covered by insurance. Huge number.

Reason #4: The Lakers still have their first-round pick in the 2014 draft, and landing in the lottery would help rebuild around Howard should he stay. The Lakers would also have cap space to sign a big free agent in the summer of 2014 when a guy named LeBron James becomes a free agent. Even though he'll most likely return to Cleveland or stay in Miami, you never know.

Reason #5: Sadly, no matter how much motivation he has and how he has surprised all of us to compete at this level for so long, Kobe has played the equivalent of about 20 regular seasons when you include playoff games. You can cheat Father Time for a while, but not forever. Michael Jordan had to stop. We've seen what the Achilles injury did to Chauncey Billups. You have to believe Kobe will never be the same. His game depends on his ability to free himself.

If only Jeanie Buss could have amnestied her brother Jim before he hired coach Mike D'Antoni. The story is well known -- he could have had Phil Jackson. Jackson never would have driven Kobe into the ground. And thus with the death of owner Dr. Jerry Buss, Shaq's jersey retirement, Jim Buss passing on Phil's return, and Kobe's devastating injury, the Lakers move into a brave new world, hopefully on the shoulders of Dwight Howard.

It's the only way to move forward. Hopefully Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak aren't afraid to face reality.

-- Follow Rick Schwartz on Twitter @Rick_Schwartz.

Full Story >>

The head coach and his assistants in collegiate sports may have the most powerful opportunity to shape the values and behavior of athletes at any level. Against the pressure of alumni and fan expectations, they recruit and coach young athletes who are still impressionable and maturing. The coaches have near absolute power, except in the case of "one and done" NBA-bound college basketball players, to influence the arc and future of player's careers. They represent a university that has an educational responsibility.

When coaches behave very badly and abuse rules or the players themselves, the experience becomes dysfunctional and rotten to its core. It then becomes the responsibility of an athletic department and university administration to dramatically intervene to set things right. Lack of oversight leads to situations like Penn State and Jerry Sandusky.

Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice and his assistant Jimmy Martelli ran a rogue, abusive program for years. A videotape revealed practice sessions in which Rice threw basketballs at players and hit them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders. He was also shown pushing players in the chest and grabbing them by their jerseys and pulling them around the court.

Rice is heard yelling obscenities at the players and using gay slurs. Coach Martelli engaged in the physically abusing players regularly during practice and was even more verbally belittling, as observed on tapes shown on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" last week.

When athletic director Tim Pernetti was informed verbally of this behavior, he claims to have launched "hundreds of hours of investigation." Really Mr. Pernetti? Then upon seeing the DVD, he suspended the coach in November for three games. Then, life went on at Rutgers -- until ESPN aired its report and Coach Rice was finally fired. Had ESPN not aired its report would Rice and Martelli still be abusing players at Rutgers?

The questions are evocative of Senator Howard Baker's perpetual query during the 1974 Watergate Investigation. As regards Tim Penetti and Rutgers president Robert Barichi, “what did they know and when did they know it." Pernetti claims the two "worked closely together when the issue came up" but Rutgers issued a statement saying that "Barichi only saw the tape for the first time Tuesday."

Keep in mind this is a school proud of its "Ivy League" approach for keeping sports in proper balance. It is also a school with three previous basketball coaches who had off-the-court issues that affected or ended their tenure.

According to a report by former New York Times reporter Selena Roberts on her Roopstigo.com website, Auburn University's football program changed players' grades to secure eligibility, offered money to potential NFL draft picks so they would return for their senior seasons, and violated NCAA rules under former coach Gene Chizik.

The report alleges that nine players had their grades changed before Auburn's win in the 2011 BCS national championship game so they could remain eligible and play in the game. Players deciding whether to declare early for the NFL draft were given "thousands of dollars" to stay in school. And with a NCAA limit of expenses for recruiting players of $50 per day, one player claims he was given $500. Quite an entertainment allotment for a night in Alabama.

Auburn is not a marginal program. The Tigers were national BCS champions in 2010. If this report is true, they cheated their way to the championship. Once again, where is the oversight? Where was a member of the coaching staff putting a stop to this? Where was the athletic director and University administration? What did they know and when did they know it?

College athletics is supposed to be a learning and personal growth experience for young men. It is supposed to teach values like teamwork, self-discipline, honesty and courage. When the authority figures the athletes are told to respect instead abuse them, encourage anti-gay attitudes, or bribe them it puts the young athletes in harms way. What does the university experience stand for then? Who's in charge?

-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @SteinbergSports.

Full Story >>




Editor's Note: ESPN announced in March, 2013, that the Moto X and Snowmobile Best Trick events would be discontinued.

Practice is over, and my run is set, now time to put it down smooth," tweeted extreme snowmobile rider Caleb Moore at the Winter X Games in Aspen last January 24. Later that day, as he attempted a routine backflip, the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught on the landing area; Moore flew over the handlebars and hit the snow, his vehicle plowing over him. He walked away from the crash, but later developed bleeding around his heart. A week later, the 25-year-old died.

Action sports -- only outsiders call them "extreme" -- have grown dramatically since their indie beginnings. ESPN created the X Games 18 years ago; Mountain Dew's "Dew Tour" followed a decade later; and Red Bull sponsors a wide range of increasingly crazy events, like "Crashed Ice," a downhill speedskating race held in cities. Slopestyle skiing, with its huge jumps and acrobatic stunts, will join snowboarding as a sanctioned event at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Today's action athletes are pushing themselves harder than ever, bringing the thin line between daredevilry and death to the forefront. In 2009, freestyle motocross (FMX) rider Jeremy Lusk became the first action-sports star to die in competition when he hit the ground headfirst while attempting a backflip. Since then, at least two others have died at events or in practice: Jim McNeil, another FMX rider, died after a crash in practice in 2011; and last year, champion freestyle skier Sarah Burke suffered fatal brain damage after crashing in a half-pipe training run.

More from Men's Journal: How to Act Like You Know Sports

Snowmobile racer "Monster Mike" Schultz watched Moore from the sidelines that day. "I was cringing," Schultz says. "They're doing some amazingly ridiculous things with these snowmobiles, and I know the consequences when it doesn't go right." In 2008, Schultz shredded his left knee so badly in a snowmobile crash that his leg had to be amputated. He still races, using a custom foot stirrup to keep his prosthetic on the pedal. So many amputees now populate action sports that in 2008, the X Games began staging races for them, called Adaptive events.

More from Men's Journal: 11 Best Cult Sports Books

After Lusk's death, the Dew Tour decided to downgrade FMX, widely viewed as the riskiest event, from a contest to an exhibition. Participants now perform a set list of tricks rather than trying to outdo one another with more difficult moves. "That's Evel Knievel shit," says an executive involved in the discussions. "We want sports, not spectacle."

Former BMX pro Aaron Cooke, founder of the Athlete Recovery Fund -- which helps cover athletes' insurance and medical expenses -- is pushing riders to use helmets certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This year, BMX riders at the X Games and on the Dew Tour will be required to use helmets made of harder foam than the noncertified ones most wear. (Others, like Schultz, wonder if the sports should mandate helmets like those used in motorcycle supercross, which pump air between the helmet and the head in case of collision.)

More from Men's Journal: The World's Best Apres-Ski Bars

The day of Moore's death, ESPN, which televised his crash, said that it would "conduct a thorough review of this discipline.... Still, when the world's best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain." Twelve days later, the network decided to suspend freestyle snowmobiling at future X Games indefinitely.

But the perils of action sports are unlikely to go away. The X Games go international this year, with major contests in Spain, Germany, and Brazil, and prize money as high as $50,000 -- more than most athletes make in a year.

"They need to put some limits on what they're doing," says Schultz. "But I wouldn't even dream of knowing how to go about that. You still want to make it interesting and extreme. Put limits on it, and then it's...limited. It's a real catch-22."

More from Men's Journal:
-- Skis to Match Your DNA
-- Parkour: The Spiderman Sport

Full Story >>