Federal Judge Tosses Brady's 4-Game NFL Suspension: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won a court victory over the NFL as U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman nullified the league's four-game suspension Thursday morning. Berman said in the decision that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell exceeded his authority in the punishment. Brady will be eligible to play next week, though the NFL may appeal.
If You See Bart Starr at Brett Favre's Number Retirement Ceremony ...: ... it will be a special moment over a year in the making. The 81-year-old Starr suffered two strokes and a heart attack last year and often suffers from confusion, but his family says it has been a priority for him to be there on Thanksgiving night to stand alongside Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Favre delayed it a year to make Starr's attendance possible. "Now, we can't sit back and say, 'Dad, we're going to try to get you there,'" his son Bart Jr. said. "Every comment from us has to be along the lines of, 'Dad, we know you will make it there on Thanksgiving. We are certain of it.'"
Only 1 Game Apart, But Brady/NFL Negotiations Fail: Tom Brady was willing to serve a one-game suspension and the NFL was willing to accept two, Ian Rapoport of NFL.Com reports citing unnamed sources. But negotiations have failed, federal Judge Richard M. Berman announced, so he'll rule this week.
UNT Has Put 32 Football Walk-Ons On Scholarship in 4 Seasons: Since Dan McCarney became the head coach of the North Texas Mean Green in 2011, my alma mater has done one thing more often than any other in the FBS: Give scholarships to walk-ons. USA Today reports, "Along a wall inside the football program's offices is a display of 32 faces and names, all former or current North Texas players of varying success, from backup defensive backs through starting offensive linemen, each with a shared starting point: As a former walk-on who 'through effort and dedication,' the display reads, was awarded a scholarship." Those players have contributed 146 starts, nearly 400 tackles, 4,500 yards of total offense and 32 touchdowns.
Peyton Manning Has No Feeling In His Fingertips: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told Peter King of Sports Illustrated that he's had no feeling in the fingertips of his right hand for years. "I've talked to a doctor recently who said, 'Don't count on the feeling coming back.' It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back," Manning said. "So you wake up every day thinking, Today's the day! Then it's not."
ESPN Accidentally Fires Adam Schefter: ESPN shut off the phones and laptop of NFL reporter Adam Schefter this week because he'd mistakenly been put on a list of employees fired by the company. "Been through this before," he tweeted. "Not any easier to take second time around."
NFL Player Sends Back Young Sons' Participation Trophies: Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison posted a photo on Facebook of trophies won by his sons and said he's sending them back. His explanation: "I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them 'til the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they earn a real trophy. I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise to boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best ... cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better ... not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut you up and keep you happy."
Michael Sam Stepping Away from Football: One week after making his debut for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, Michael Sam announced that he's leaving the team. Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL, writes on Twitter, "The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health. Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time."
Teammate Sucker Punches Geno Smith, Breaks His Jaw: New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith will miss 6-10 weeks after his jaw was broken this morning by a punch from reserve linebacker IK Enemkpali. Enemkpali, a sixth-round pick in 2014, was immediately released by the team. Coach Todd Bowles said the locker room altercation was "childish" and not football related. "You don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face," he said.
Texans RB, Arian Foster Publically Declares Himself an Atheist: “I get the devil-worship thing a lot. They’ll ask me, ‘You worship the devil?’ ” he told ESPN. “‘No, bro, I don’t believe there’s a God, why would I believe there’s a devil?’ ”
How close are we to a London Jaguars NFL franchise?: tl;dr: would the league be able to get existing UK NFL fans to switch allegiances to a relocated team and would the league be able to attract younger people who are not already fans of the game?
No Voter Approval Needed to Spend Public Money on New Rams Stadium: The St. Louis Rams can build a new football stadium with hundreds of millions in public funds without getting voter approval, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Frawley ruled. A 2002 city ordinance requires a public vote before the city spends tax money on a new stadium. A task force led by Gov. Jay Nixon wants to spend $998 million on new digs, including $201 million from state and city bonds. Frawley somehow concluded the 2002 law doesn't require a vote.
Russell Wilson Finally Cashes In with Seahawks: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and the team have agreed to a four-year, $87.6-million contract extension with $60 million guaranteed and a $31 million signing bonus. The $21.9 million average salary makes Wilson the second highest paid player in the NFL behind Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who makes $22 million. Before the deal, Wilson took Seattle to two Super Bowls, winning one, while on a rookie deal that was among the best bargains in the league at just $681,085 a year.
Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension on Appeal: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over the deflated-football scandal, the league announced Tuesday. In the decision, Goodell stated that part of his justification was Brady's destruction of his cell phone while league investigators were seeking information from it. "The most significant new information that emerged in connection with the appeal was evidence that on or about March 6, 2015 -- the very day he was interviewed by [Ted] Wells and his investigative team -- Brady instructed his assistant to destroy the cellphone that he had been using from early November 2014, a period that included the AFC Championship Game and the initial weeks of the subsequent investigation."
Arizona Cardinals hire NFL's first-ever female coaching intern: The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter, who is believed to be the first woman to hold an NFL coaching position of any kind, as a training camp/preseason intern working with the team's inside linebackers. "Coaching is nothing more than teaching," Arians said Monday. "One thing I have learned from players is, 'How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.'"
NFL limits Junior Seau's daughter to video voiceover at HoF induction: Wow. Because why would the league want to give a voice to the child of one of it's greatest players?
Dez Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas Sign $70-Million, 5-Year Deals: Star receives Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys and DeMaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos both have new deals for five years and $70 million from their respective teams. Bryant rakes in $45 million fully guaranteed, including a $20 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed salaries of $3 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016 and $13 million in 2017. Thomas hauls in $43.5 million guaranteed. The similarity of the deals has the NFL Players Association wondering whether there was collusion between the teams.
Oakland Raiders Great Kenny 'The Snake' Stabler Dies: Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny "the Snake" Stabler has died of complications from colon cancer, according to his family. He was 69. "He quietly battled Stage 4 colon cancer since being diagnosed in February 2015," his family said in a statement on Facebook. Drafted in the second round of the 1968 NFL Draft by Oakland from the University of Alabama, Stabler played 10 seasons, winning a Super Bowl in 1977 under head coach John Madden. Madden said, "If I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny. Snake was a lot cooler that I was. He was a perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider. When you think about the Raiders you think about Ken Stabler."
Federal Judge Orders Cancellation of Redskins Trademarks: A federal judge in Northern Virginia on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins' federal trademark registrations, which have been opposed for decades by many Native Americans who feel the moniker disparages their race. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee's decision affirmed an earlier ruling by the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which last year voted 2-to-1 that the team's moniker is offensive to Native Americans and therefore ineligible under the Lanham Act for registered trademark status.
Football Coach Creates Rivalry Game Without Rival's Knowledge: UConn head football coach Bob Diaco has done something that could explode spectacularly in his face. He's commissioned a trophy and declared a "rivalry game" with the University of Central Florida. The Civil Conflict -- named for the American Athletic Conference schools being from the north and south -- pits two schools that only have played twice. Last year's UConn victory was the only Division I win for Diaco's team and UCF's only conference loss. "They don't get to say whether they are our rival or not," he said. "We might not be their rival, but they don't get to say whether they are our rival -- that is for us to decide."
NFL Moves PAT Kicks Back to 15-Yard Line: The NFL changed a crucial rule for the 2015 season. Extra points are no longer going to be automatic: In 2015, instead of kicking an extra point from the two-yard line, teams will be forced to kick from the 15-yard line. And the defending team will be allowed to score two points if it grabs possession of the ball and takes it back the other way. According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, only two teams voted against the new rule, which is only in effect for the 2015 season.
Kraft Says Patriots Won't Appeal DeflateGate Punishment: New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft said today that he would "accept reluctantly" the NFL's decision to fine the team $1 million and revoke their 2016 first-round draft pick as a result of the investigation of the team's use of allegedly under inflated footballs. "Although I might disagree with what he decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he is doing what he believes is in the spirit of the best for the whole 32 [teams]," Kraft said
NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls: The NFL has issued its punishment for the DeflateGate scandal: Quarterback Tom Brady is suspended four four games, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will lose two draft picks (a 2016 first rounder and 2017 fourth rounder). Last year's second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo is expected get the starting nod against the Pittsburgh Steelers when the season gets underway September 10.
NFL Took Millions from U.S. Government to Salute the Troops: When the New York Jets paused to honor soldiers of the New Jersey Army National Guard at home games during the past four years, it was more than a heartfelt salute to the military -- it was also worth a good stack of taxpayer money, records show. The Department of Defense and the Jersey Guard paid the Jets a total of $377,000 from 2011 to 2014 for the salutes and other advertising, according to federal contracts. Overall, the Defense Department has paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million during that time, of which $5.3 million was paid by the National Guard to 11 teams under similar contracts.
Dallas Cowboys Sign Undrafted Top Draft Prospect La'el Collins: The Dallas Cowboys have signed undrafted free agent La'el Collins, an LSU offensive lineman expected to be a top-15 pick in this year's draft until a story broke that Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police wanted to question him about the April 24 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend and the baby she was carrying, who died on May 1. Police have not called Collins a person of interest or a suspect. The baby's paternity was tested and Collins was not the father. "His situation ended up being a lot clearer this week than it was last week," Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com told Gannett Louisiana.
LeSean McCoy: Chip Kelly Got Rid of 'All the Good Black Players': LeSean McCoy on his former coach Chip Kelly: "You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That's the truth. There's a reason. ... It's hard to explain with him. But there's a reason he got rid of all the black players -- the good ones -- like that."
NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose: An NFL investigator's report has concluded that it is probable New England Patriots personnel intentionally deflated footballs after they were inspected for the AFC Championship Game and quarterback Tom Brady was generally aware it was happening. "we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules," reads the report by league-appointed attorney Ted Wells. The report implicates locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski and states "it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware" of what they were doing. Here's the full report.
Jameis Winston explains crab legs issue to Jim Harbaugh (Video): We now have an explanation from former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston about the crab leg incident from a Tallahassee, Fla., area Publix last spring.
Ex-NFL Running Back Suspected of Killing Cellmate: Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Central California prison, officials said. Damion Soward, Phillips' cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison, was found lifeless early Saturday and later pronounced dead. A former Nebraska standout drafted sixth overall in 1996 by the St. Louis Rams, Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years after being convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and later that year of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game in Los Angeles. Soward, 37, was serving 82 years to life for first-degree murder.
Bill Belichick Offseason Simulator: Jon Bois' latest work of gaming genius.
Tim Tebow Working Year-Round on Throwing Mechanics: Former Major League pitcher Tom House runs a performance center for pitchers and quarterbacks whose past clients include Tom Brady and Drew Brees. This interview with House describes in detail how much Tim Tebow has been doing to develop his quarterback skills in the hopes of returning to the NFL at age 27. "We've been seeing him about three days every week, year-round," House said. "Now, he works besides his time with us, but the time he spends working with us on skills, routes and all of those things works out to about two or two-and-a-half hours per day."
SF 49er rookie Chris Borland retires at age 24 due to worries about his future health from concussions.:
"I feel largely the same, as sharp as I've ever been, for me it's wanting to be proactive," said Borland. "I'm concerned that if you wait till you have symptoms, it's too late. ... There are a lot of unknowns. I can't claim that X will happen. I just want to live a long healthy life, and I don't want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise."
The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves: Including the New Orleans Saints trading TE Jimmy Graham to Seattle, the Eagles and Rams swapping quarterbacks and...
Bears Receiver Brandon Marshall Traded to Jets: Following the swap to send running back LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia to Buffalo in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso, another NFC offensive star is switching jerseys: Chicago is trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets for not-yet-specified players or picks. Trades can't become finalized until free agency begins Tuesday.
Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles: The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders say they'll share a new $1.7 billion stadium in Los Angeles if they don't get a stadium deal in their current cities. The teams issued this statement: "We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises." Another move-to-LA bid is being explored by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who has a joint venture to build a stadium in Inglewood.
Last Man (or Woman): A game for those not interested in NFL. Or at least the Superbowl result.
NFL Pick 'Em Contest, Final Scoreboard: The results have been tabulated and NerfballPro completes a wire-to-wire victory, winning by one point over Hincandenza and two over NoMich. Picking the 52 points scored in the game exactly earned a one-point bonus for the champ. Tommytrump takes home the coveted Costanza for last place, sunk by a conference championship round in which everything that could go wrong did.
Jerry Rice Should Catch Some Hell for This: Jerry Rice on deflating footballs: "I'm going to be point blank, I feel like it's cheating. Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. ... I've played in cold weather, I know how hard the football is and you can grip the leather [if deflated] just a little bit better." Jerry Rice on putting Stickum on gloves: "I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but you put a little spray, a little Stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky." Stickum was outlawed by the NFL in 1981.
DeflateGate Accusations Mean It's Time For Coach and Owner To Be Banned From NFL: In this case, Irsay and Pagano.
Hey, NFL, Let Anyone Commentate the Next Super Bowl: Robert McMillan wants more choices for Super Bowl commentary than the same-old network announcers calling games the same-old way. "What the Super Bowl needs is a YouTube of color commentary," he writes. "We need to trash the boring veneer of impartiality that dulls down today’s NFL broadcasts. Tune into the Seahawks Fan broadcast and hear some real tears at the end of the game. Want to listen to a woman call the game? This is the way that could finally happen. Gamblers’ Super Bowl? No problem. You enjoyed Drunk History? Wait till you try Drunk Super Bowl. Personally, I’d go for a data heavy, FiveThirtyEight-style broadcast: the Databack. Let a thousand flowers bloom in color commentary land. Many will be terrible. But some will be brilliant."