Before we get into the real business of the column today, I figured I would make a few comments on the Super Bowl. I was working and had no real burning desire to watch the game. But since it was on in the office, I monitored it somewhat.First, I watched just about every commercial during the third quarter because some chump was supposedly going to propose to his wife during one of them. Never happened. Even more disappointing were the commercials themselves. From all accounts, they stunk this year. Companies ran spots that had been out for a couple months, and there were not any real innovative ones that really stood out.Second, Rex Grossman sucks. I tried to think of a gentler way to put it, but there really is none. Personally, I would have voted “Sexy Rexy” Super Bowl MVP for what he did to help the Colts win. But that is neither here nor there. On a scale of one to 10, how much do Bears fans wish they had a more accomplished quarterback like, say, Brett Favre starting for them? Probably about 3,837 or more, but while we’re here…There are three different types of good news. There is the type that elicits a smile when you hear it, like “Congratulations, you got an A on the paper.” Then there is the good news that deserves a high five with a friend: “We just won the basketball ticket lottery.” The third variety of good news prompts Tiger Woods-esque fist-pumping response, seemingly forgetting you are in public as you nearly skip all the way down Charter Street.Not surprisingly, this sort of good news is always unexpected and doesn’t come around too often.Last Friday, like many of you, I received some certifiable Stage-Three good news.Answering the phone having just left class, I heard my roommate John, “Coming back for his 17th season, Brett Favre.”There may very well never have been eight words that I have been happier to hear.Brett coming back instantly improved the Packers’ chances of being a playoff contending team next season, given they have any sort of productive offseason. General manager Ted Thompson has more salary cap space than most teams in the league and also the 16th overall pick in the draft. Rumors circulating that Randy Moss may be on the move to Green Bay — as good or bad as you believe such a move to be — are a sign this will not be a quiet offseason in Titletown.Aside from offseason acquisitions, the Packers are without a doubt a better team with him under center than if Aaron Rodgers was. The offensive line improved as last season went on, as did the defense.Undoubtedly there are some — my colleague Mr. McGrath, Bears and Vikings fans, and people who enjoy kicking kittens, to name a few — for whom the announcement was not welcome. Those types of people are cynical of his return, saying Brett’s just doing it for fame or fortune.While he will make a boatload of money (an estimated $11 million) and set many records (keep in mind not all of which will be positive, as Favre is only four interceptions away from setting that all-time mark), I firmly believe neither of those reasons are what convinced him to come back. Call me naive (as many people probably will), but I really believe all Brett cares about is going out there, playing football and having fun. Watch him play 230-some odd times and tell me otherwise.Which brings us to the consecutive games streak. For those sports fans who live under a rock, Brett has started 238 consecutive games dating back to 1992. That streak is at the core of the bond fans feel toward Favre. The bond that outside observers find difficult to understand. How fans’ feelings toward him ebb and flow with every throw, yet still always feel so attached to a football player who — at this point in his career — is not as good as he once was. After all, he is just a football player, right?Not as far as I am concerned.Maybe my cousin — who by her own admission follows football about as closely as I follow opera — explained it best.”It’s almost like he’s a part of the family,” she said. “He was that one family member who was never able to make it to the family functions, but he was always a part of them because everyone still talked about him.”As lame and ridiculous as that sounds, it is true. And I don’t think my family and I are the only ones with that sort of experience.Chew on this: Brett has started every game for the Packers since I was five. Out of all those games (237 in the regular season) I may have missed a handful or so. Packer fans of my age and I grew up with Brett as he grew off the field from a crazy young kid to a graying father. He still tends to play like a big kid, which is part of what endears him to fans. I have seen Brett play more often than I have my own brother, as sad as that may sound. In that sense he has been something of a long-lost relative.But it is not the streak alone that endears Brett to Packer fans. Moreover it is the fact that he is a real, genuine person. In an era of sports where athletes try to hide as much of their private lives as possible from the public, Brett’s has, for the most part, unfolded before the state of Wisconsin.Some critics bring up Favre’s previous addiction to painkillers as some sort of slam against him, as proof he is not a good person. In reality, almost everyone knows someone who has battled an addiction of some sort. But Brett stood up and admitted his fault like a man, admitted he had a problem before an entire state. He cleaned up his life for the betterment of his own family and his career.Then, in 2003, Brett played his signature game, the game by which I will forever remember him. Playing the day after his father died, Brett played a magical game, throwing for 300 yards and completing every pass he threw in the first half on Monday Night Football against Oakland. The nation saw a vulnerable iron man. And what I will always remember most about that game is that I watched it with my own dad.Over the next few years, Brett has suffered through a myriad of other personal hardships. His wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. His brother-in-law was killed in an ATV accident that same year. His Mississippi home was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.All those events with which people can identify, all those events make him human in ways most athletes aren’t. Over the years, Packers’ fans have seen enough of those moments to make Brett seem like part of the family.That’s why there will always be a seat for him at my family’s big kid table.Ben is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and Journalism. Share your thoughts about Brett with him at email@example.com
The pressure intensified on Roberto Mancini as Manchester City drew 2-2 with Ajax to face almost certain elimination from the Champions League.Mancini’s side can still mathematically qualify for the knock-out stages but it is a long shot after they failed to beat the Group D underdogs at home.Ajax captain Siem de Jong took advantage of City’s shocking defending at corners to put the visitors 2-0 up after 17 minutes.Yaya Toure reduced the deficit soon afterwards with an acrobatic volley to give his team hope they could still be in the competition by the time they host Real Madrid in three weeks’ time.And Sergio Aguero scored the equaliser with 16 minutes left, but Ajax defended stoutly to keep out a late City charge.The draw leaves City rooted to the bottom of the toughest of the eight Champions League groups, with just two points, five adrift of second-placed Borussia Dortmund. Mancini’s team teeter on the precipice, requiring victories from the final two matches – home to Real and away to Dortmund – and other results to go their way to be involved in the competition in February.For this must-win fixture, Man City made three changes from the team that drew 0-0 at West Ham last Saturday, with Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and the fit-again Javi Garcia replacing Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and the injured Kolo Toure.With City experiencing a glut of defensive injuries, there was one unfamiliar face on the substitute’s bench in the form of 18-year-old centre-back Courtney Meppen-Walter, a member of City’s development squad.The rookie could hardly have defended worse than his more senior colleagues early on as Ajax seized upon some dreadful marking to score twice from corners.After nine minutes, Matija Nastasic demonstrated how raw he is at this level by, first, making a horrible hash of his clearance to concede a corner from a low cross and, then, failing to deal with the resulting set piece, prodding the ball back across goal to allow De Jong to loft in the opener. Eight minutes later, alarmingly lax marking from City allowed De Jong to steal in to meet a near-post inswinger and guide his free header past Joe Hart.Ajax may not have sold out the away end but the visiting fans were by now bouncing up and down in co-ordinated jollity as the Group D underdogs scented a famous win and an improbable passage into the Champions League knock-out stages.Toure pulled one back for City after 22 minutes with a fabulous piece of skill, chesting down a cross at the back post and then volleying past Kenneth Vermeer in one swift movement.The home side looked dangerous every time they attacked but a brilliant clearance from Ricardo van Rhijn and Zabaleta’s failure to take advantage of a fine headed opportunity meant that Ajax ended an even half with a 2-1 advantage.Mancini went all-out attack after the break, replacing Garcia with Balotelli and it was a move that paid dividends as the Italian’s flick-on set up Aguero for the equaliser. Oddly, the Argentine’s footing had let him down on a number of occasions in good positions during the game but he managed to stay on his feet after 74 minutes when Balotelli headed on Hart’s goal-kick to slickly level the scores.
An average employee in Mumbai works 3,315 hours a year against an average of 1,987 hours in the world, according to findings of the Swiss investment services firm, UBS, BloombergQuint reported. Mumbai residents work for the longest hours among 77 major cities in the world, the report says.The number of working hours in Mumbai is twice that in cities like Rome (1,581 hours) or Paris (1,662 hours). New Delhi is fourth on the list, with an average employee putting in 2,511.4 hours a year.In its Price and Earnings 2018 report, UBS assessed 77 cities on a number of parameters, such as average annual working hours, price levels, earning levels and purchasing power in these cities. It discovered that employees in Mumbai, Hanoi, Mexico City, New Delhi and Bogota worked the most number of hours in a year. Employees in Helsinki, Moscow, Copenhagen, Paris, Rome and Lagos worked the fewest hours.From January to April of this year, UBS collected over 75,000 data points from these 77 cities.Employees at Mumbai also took the least amount of vacation days, numbering at 10 days. Joining the club of least amount of vacation days are Los Angeles, Beijing, Hanoi and Lagos. The maximum amount of vacation days were taken by employees in Moscow, St Petersburg, Barcelona, Doha and Riyadh, where more than 30 vacation days were taken every year.In terms of purchasing power, an employee in Mumbai would have to work 900 hours to be able to afford an iPhone X, while in Delhi the corresponding number of hours stood at 800. Employees in Cairo have to work longer — 1,000 hours — while those in Zurich only need to work 38 hours to be able to afford an iPhone X. Workers in Geneva, Los Angeles, Miami and Nicosia needed to put in less than 100 hours of work for the latest Apple product. The report compared the hours it would take to afford an iPhone or an iPad as these devices featured top on the list of products that millennials wanted to buy.When it comes to hourly earnings, Geneva, Zurich and Luxemborg top the list. Mumbai does poorly, coming in second last at number 76. The city is ahead of Cairo but behind Nairobi and Laos, which rank higher on the average earnings table.According to the report, Zurich is still the most expensive city (including and excluding rent), along with Geneva, Oslo, Copenhagen and New York. Luxembourg takes the top honors for purchasing power (gross hourly pay). Hong Kong, one of the world’s most expensive cities, is also at the bottom when it comes to cost of goods that millennial aspire to buy. Related ItemsMumbaiUBSZurich