NFL Pick 'Em, Week 4: First-Place Jacksonville Edition: Week IV of the NFL season begins Thursday night with Baltimore looking for its first win at Pittsburgh against backup QB Michael Vick. Sunday games begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern as the New York Jets play Miami in London. Make your picks and select one stone cold lead pipe lock to win (or not).
NFL Source: 'No Doubt' Brady Will Sit 4 Games This Season: An NFL source told WFAN radio host Craig Carton "there’s no doubt in his mind" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve a four-game suspension this season over DeflateGate after the league's court appeal is heard. The source was not named, but it rhymes with Codger Whosmell.
Ole Miss Fan's Jaw Broken After Win at Alabama: A 22-year-old Ole Miss fan leaving the team's 43-37 victory over Alabama was walking in downtown Tuscaloosa when he was punched by a Bama fan who broke his jaw in two places. A commenter claiming to have witnessed the incident said the fan, Ryan Moore, was drunk and saying taunting remarks until a man "turned around and walked back and stood right in front of Ryan and said something like ... you need to shut your mouth and hit him. It made a horrible breaking noise." Police are looking for the assailant, a man in his 30s who was walking with a woman and two children.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 3: Indy's Bad Luck Edition: Week three of the NFL season begins Thursday night with Washington at New York Football Giants. Make your picks and select one stone cold lead pipe lock to win, if you dare. Results are being tabulated now.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 2: Teddy Bridgewater Fail Mary Edition: This week's games begin Thursday night with Denver at Kansas City, so it's time to make your picks for a chance to win an official NFL game football signed by Roger Goodell or his successor (fingers crossed). NoMich is in first with 22 points, scoring 6 on a stone cold lead pipe lock of Carolina over Jacksonville by 10 (1 off the actual margin). Holden had the game of the week by picking Miami over Washington by 7 as a stone cold lead pipe lock (worth 9 points!). New players are welcome to join.
Eli Manning Told Running Back Not to Score: When the New York Giants had a first-and-4 with under two minutes remaining and a three-point lead over Dallas, Eli Manning told running back Rashad Jennings on consecutive plays not to score. "I thought that they may let us score to get the ball back, so that’s why I informed Rashad if they let you score, just go down at the 1-inch line. Don’t score," Manning said. "I was wrong on that." New York kicked a field goal but lost 27-26 on a Dallas touchdown in the final seconds.
Kent State's April Goss becomes 2nd woman to score in college game: “April deserved it,” Haynes said. “She is the first player out there every day at practice and the last one to leave. She didn’t get this because she is a female. It’s because she has worked hard. Everyone on the sideline was excited for her.”
Super Bowl Ditches Roman Numerals: Suspending an XLV-year tradition that I've been mocking for years by numbering the game in hexadecimal, the NFL has dropped the use of Roman numerals on this season's Super Bowl. There will be no Super Bowl L. Instead, Super Bowl 50 will be held on Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. But next year will be Super Bowl LI, the league says. Reaching 50 also is being marked by the new gold 50-yard line numbers.
NFL Pick 'Em, Week 1: Win One for the Duke: The NFL season starts Thursday, so it's time to channel your inner Norman Chad and make picks each week. Choose the winners of each game, the margin of victory and up to one stone cold lead pipe lock. The winner will receive a prize (details inside).
Who Has College Football's Biggest Home-Field Advantage?: From the Wall Street Journal: "The best college football programs typically have the most intimidating home environments. Few teams enjoy the experience of visiting venues such as Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium or Oregon's Autzen Stadium. But, according to one study, the biggest home-field advantage in college football belongs to a much less-heralded program: North Texas."
2 High School Players Intentionally Hit Referee: Two high school players in San Antonio, Texas, intentionally slammed into a referee during a play as the clock was running down Friday night. After a controversial call that enabled Marble Falls to run out the clock on a 15-9 victory, two Jay defensive backs struck the official -- one from behind and the other while he was down on the ground. Both players were ejected.
Surprise military reunions at NFL games reach peak Bullsh*t: one might wonder why no headline writer went with “Husband Surprises Military Wife At Her Job”
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.