The Worst Time to Lose a Scholarship Offer: High school linebacker prospect Ryan Dickens committed to UConn in June 2016 after receiving a scholarship offer from coach Bob Diaco. After Diaco was fired, his successor Randy Edsall called Dickens on New Year's Day to affirm the offer. Sixteen days later, Edsall called Dickens to tell him the scholarship is being offered to someone else. NJ.Com reports, "Seemingly every winter players such as Dickens are on the wrong end of a college's decision, left empty-handed and uncertain in the eleventh hour as National Signing Day bears down." With just two weeks to that day and most scholarships gone, Dickens and his parents have been scrambling. The best offer so far is from FCS school Rhode Island.
Steelers Kick 6 Field Goals, Advance to AFC Championship: The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked six field goals and withstood a late rally, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 to reach the AFC Championship game. Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell ran for 170 yards, keeping the Chiefs offense on the sideline for long stretches of the game. The Steelers will face the New England Patriots.
Packers Hold Off Cowboys in Thriller, Advance to NFC Championship: After taking a 21-3 lead in the first half, the Green Bay Packers held off a Dallas Cowboys comeback and won 34-31 on a 51-yard Mason Crosby field goal as time expired in a divisional round playoff game. Green Bay advances to the NFC Championship game where they will play the Atlanta Falcons on the road. Dallas nearly forced overtime after a 52-yard Dan Bailey kick, but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a 36-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook on third and 20.
Patriots Set Record with 6th Straight AFC Championship Trip: The New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans 34-16 to advance to the AFC Championship for six consecutive years, breaking an NFL record held by John Madden's Oakland Raiders teams of the 1970s. The Texans exploited some turnovers to make the score 17-13 at the half, but Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler threw three interceptions and New England running back Dion Lewis scored touchdowns on a run, a catch and a 98-yard kickoff return. New England will play the winner of Sunday's divisional round playoff game between Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
Falcons Advance to NFC Championship: The Atlanta Falcons offense was too much for the Seattle Seahawks in a 36-20 victory that sends Atlanta to the NFC championship game. In what could be the final game at the Georgia Dome, a crowd of 71,155 saw Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan complete 26 of 37 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Atlanta will play the winner of Sunday's NFC divisional round playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.
NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition: The NFL playoffs continue with Seahawks/Falcons and Texans/Patriots on Saturday and Steelers/Chiefs and Cowboys/Packers on Sunday. For our pick 'em contest, pick the weekend's playoff winners, the spread and some bonus categories.
Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.: There's yet to be a final announcement, but the Chargers are pretty much set to return to Los Angeles (they played their first season there before moving to San Diego) for the 2017 season, where they will join the Rams in their new stadium as lease-paying tenants in Inglewood, expected to be completed for the 2019 season. In the meantime, the Chargers are expected to play at either the Coliseum or a 27,000 seat facility in Carson, somewhat limiting their immediate ability to cash in.
NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned: The SportsFilter NFL Pick 'Em champion for the 2016 season is Ufez Jones with 1,189 points. Tron7 finished second with 1,148 and MeatSaber was third with 1,113. Rumple deserves a mention for winning the week with 146 points after locking every game.
Jaguars Promote Doug Marrone, Make Tom Coughlin a VP: The Jacksonville Jaguars promoted interim coach Doug Marrone to the job, hired former coach Tom Coughlin as executive vice president of football operations and extended general manager Dave Caldwell's contract by two more years. Here's a confidence builder from the local Florida Times-Union: "Who has control over the 90- and 53-man rosters is unclear."
Packers, Steelers, Seahawks, Texans Advance: In an NFL wild card weekend with nothing resembling a close game, the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks advanced in the NFC and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans in the AFC. Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, including a first-half Hail Mary, to lead the Packers over the New York Giants. Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown combined for four touchdowns for the Steelers against the Miami Dolphins. Next week Seattle visits the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay visits the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC, while Pittsburgh visits the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston visits the New England Patriots.
NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Wild-Card Edition: SportsFilter is holding a prediction contest for the NFL postseason. Pick each week's playoff winners, the spread and some bonus categories.
Haslams apologize for 'disappointing year': Cleveland Browns' owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam apologized in a letter sent to season ticket holders after the club's 1-15 season. The letter also was posted on the team's website.
San Francisco 49ers Fire Chip Kelly After 1 Season: Following a loss to the Seattle Seahawks that ended their season at 2-14, the San Francisco 49ers have fired Chip Kelly one year after he got the job. GM Trent Baalke has also been fired. Kelly, once the hottest coaching prospect in the NFL because of his collegiate offensive wizardry at Oregon, has now been fired twice in 370 days -- two NFL teams are still paying off his contracts. This is only the second time since 1970 an NFL team has fired two coaches in a row after only one season. The first was San Francisco in 1976 (Monte Clark) and 1977 (Ken Meyer).
Gary Kubiak Stepping Down as Broncos Coach: Gary Kubiak is stepping down as head coach of the Denver Broncos after two seasons, he informed players after Sunday's 24-6 season-ending victory over Oakland. An ESPN report said the decision is health-related, but another source said it's a desire to be done with the grind of coaching. Kubiak, 55, was hospitalized this season after suffering a complex migraine. Three years earlier as Houston Texans coach, he collapsed at halftime of a game from a transient ischemic attack.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 17: One-Legged Quarterback Edition: All games on the final week of the NFL regular season are played on Sunday. With one week left in the SportsFilter NFL Pick 'Em, Ufez Jones has a 54-point lead at 1100, tron7 is in second at 1046 and MeatSaber third at 1031. Howard_T wins the week with 79. Make your picks and hope that Ufez has Internet connectivity problems.
Buffalo Bills Fire Rex Ryan After Almost 2 Seasons: Two years ago, Rex Ryan proclaimed that he'd give the Buffalo Bills a league-leading defense and end their playoff drought of 15 years. He also got a sweet truck. Today he was fired two years into a five-year deal after going 15-16. The team also fired his brother Rob Ryan, who coached the defense. The drought is 17 years.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 16: Farewell Gus Bradley Edition: The NFL week begins tonight when the New York Giants visit Philadelphia. There are then 11 games on Saturday, two on Sunday and one on Monday. With just two weeks left in the NFL season, Tron7 and Ufez Jones are tied for first place in the SportsFilter NFL Pick 'Em at 1014. Three other players are within 50 points of the leaders: jagsnumberone at 988, ic23b at 984 and MeatSaber at 970. Ic23b wins the week with 120 as seven locks all hit paydirt. Make your picks and hope they fare better than the last three head coaches who sought their fortune in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Jaguars Fire Gus Bradley: The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired Gus Bradley, the coach with the worst winning percentage in NFL history who was not also his team's owner (50 games minimum). Go to Pro Football Reference and sort on W-L%. Scroll to the bottom, and right above 10-46-2 Bert Bell is 14-48 Bradley. An extremely popular figure in Jacksonville except for the four hours each week his team was on the field, Bradley never won more than five games in a season. Owner Shad Khan and the fan base expected a winning record this woe-begotten year. Instead the mullet-helmeted Jags have dropped nine in a row to fall to 2-12.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 15: Farewell Jeff Fisher Edition: The NFL's third-to-last week begins tonight as the Jeff Fisher-less Los Angeles Rams get crushed on the road by the Seattle Seahawks. In the SportsFilter Pick 'Em, Tron7 holds on to the lead, but UfezJones scores a massive 118 and jumps into second place 11 back. Jagsnumberone and MeatSaber tie for third at 887. Make your picks.
There's a scandal named Wakeyleaks. True story.: Wake Forest fires radio analyst for attempting to leak football game plans to Louisville and probably all of the other ACC schools. Yes, Wakeyleaks. /sigh...Wakeyleaks.
Los Angeles Rams Fire Jeff Fisher: One week ago, the Los Angeles Rams extended the contract of head coach Jeff Fisher. Today, the Rams fired him. The Rams' 45-14 demolition by the Atlanta Falcons Sunday was Fisher's 165th loss, tying him for the most regular season losses by a coach in NFL history. He was 31-45-1 leading the Rams in St. Louis and L.A. after 17 seasons with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise.
NFL Adds Another Game in London: The NFL has added a fourth game in London next season, a sign of increasing interest in putting a team there permanently. Teams rotate with the exception of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who appear committed to playing a yearly game there as long as the NFL will allow. NFL ratings in the U.K. are up 80 percent since last season.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 14: Just Endure The Suffering Edition: This week's NFL games begin with an uncharacteristically good Thursday night game: Oakland at Kansas City. Tron7 keeps the lead at 853 but MeatSaber cuts 7 points off the lead and holds onto second at 830. Jagsnumberone stays in third at 809. Cixelsyd wins the week with 92 points on five correct locks. Make your picks and be glad you're not Todd Bowles.
Three conference champions and Ohio State walk into a stadium...: The college football playoff is set, with the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 represented by the winners of their championship games; the Big 12 not represented at all because they don't have a championship game; and the B1G represented by a team that wasn't in its championship game. Alabama will face Washington in the Peach Bowl, while Clemson and Ohio State will face off in the Fiesta Bowl for the right to get ritually murdered by Nick Saban.
Friday Night Lights Out: Russell Davis has been called a "dork," a "pussy," a "gay," and a "nanny state liberal" who's "almost as krazy as Hillary" .... the reason Davis has attracted attention and ire is simple: he wants to eliminate public high school football.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 13: No Tie for Gary Kubiak Edition: The NFL week begins Thursday night with Dallas vs. Minnesota. In our NFL Pick 'Em, Tron7 keeps the lead with 771 points and MeatSaber second at 741. Ufez Jones and Jagsnumberone tie for third at 733. Grum@work goes wild on locks and wins the week with 128 points. Make your picks.
The Hot Seat is just lukewarm now: The annual firing of college football coaches got off to an early start this year with LSU's Les Miles not surviving September, but the ascension of Interim Coach Ed Orgeron tamped down a lot of the possible juggling of lower-tier coaching jobs. Ditto the rapid fire-and-hire of Charlie Strong and Tom Herman at Texas. Oregon let go of Mark Helfrich (the first time the Ducks have fired a coach since 1976), and the Notre Dame-Brian Kelly relationship is said to be strained, but it looks like there won't be a high-profile Harbaugh-to-Michigan type story to keep football writers working through December this year. (Incidentally, CoachesHotSeat.com is for sale.)
How the Chicago Bears became NFL's most untroubled losers: This season will be the ninth of the last 10 in which the Bears have missed the playoffs. And yet there seems little urgency to correct matters.
Rudy, Interrupted: South Carolina State's 55 Year-Old Back: "He's the only player without even a single accessory: no leggings, no wristbands, no gloves, just team-issued blue-and-white striped shorts, his No. 47 jersey and an unadorned helmet. With the pads bulking his chest and the helmet guarding the wisp of grey at the peak of his hairline, he hardly seems 55 years old."
Strong Out, Herman In (probably): Charlie Strong was officially fired today as head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns, and sources immediately started saying that the contract is all but signed for Texas to hire Tom Herman, currently head coach of the University of Houston Cougars. Herman started his coaching career at UT and has been the UH coach for just two years, going 13-1 in his first season with a bowl win over Florida State.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 12: Friggin' Lasers Edition: The NFL week begins with the three-game Thanksgiving schedule: Minnesota at Detroit, Washington at Dallas and Pittsburgh at Indianapolis. In SportsFilter's contest, Tron7 wins the week with 116 points and holds on to first at 678. MeatSaber rises to second at 648 and Rumple third at 632. Make your picks and remember to talk to your relatives, even when a game is on.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 11: Blocked PAT for 2 Points Edition: The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers begin week 11 tonight in an NFC divisional battle. In the NFL Pick 'Em, Tron7 takes the lead with 562 on a 58-point week, Ufez Jones holds second at 556 and Jagsnumberone climbs to third at 555. May your luck be better than the Saints last weekend.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 10: I Blame Bill Belichick Edition: The Cleveland Browns visit the former Cleveland Browns Thursday night to start the 10th week of the NFL season. In our Pick 'Em, jagsnumberone climbs into first at 542 with a 98-point week, with Ufez Jones in second at 538 and MeatSaber third at 525 with a 95-point week. The Costanza lead is held by bender at 354. Good luck, pilgrims.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 9: Concussion Protocol Edition: The NFL kicks off Thursday with Atlanta at Tampa Bay in an NFC South clash. In our Pick 'Em contest, Ufez Jones climbs into first place with 462, followed by tron7 at 456 and jagsnumberone at 444. One point separates two players for the coveted Costanza, bender at 288 and holden at 289. Your picks make.
Last Chance U: the college that gives young players a final route to the NFL: "The tiny town of Scooba sits in Kemper County in the vast state of Mississippi. Its quiet streets are home to under a thousand permanent residents and there is little excitement to be found. An isolated Subway sandwich shop is the social hub. East Mississippi Community College stands incongruously in Scooba’s streets. The college houses some of the country’s finest student American football players who dream of making the NFL. They find themselves in sleepy Scooba for two reasons: their grades aren’t up to scratch or they need more playing time to prove themselves to larger colleges. For almost all of the players on the Lions’ playing roster, this is their last chance at football redemption." Their story is also a Netflix documentary.
Patriots Trade Jamie Collins to Browns for 3rd Round Pick: On Sunday, Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins played for the 6-1 New England Patriots and wanted "Von Miller money" when his contract expired at the end of the season. Now he's playing for the 0-8 Cleveland Browns after being traded for a compensatory third round draft pick and is much more likely to have a franchise tag slapped on him. The Hoodie can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop ... ever, until you are dealt!
Wisconsin football fan dresses as Donald Trump, holds caricatured dummy of a lynched Barack Obama: The fan is not removed and the University defends his right to free speech.
NFL Pick 'Em Week 8: Farewell Arian Edition: The NFL returns Thursday night with the race to glory that is the AFC South. Robby Blake Bortles (QBR 50.2) and the 2-4 Jacksonville Jaguars face Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota (QBR 55.0) and the 3-4 Tennessee Titans. Our NFL Pick 'Em contest is led by tron7 with 410 points, followed by Ufez Jones at 404 and rumple at 389. Make your picks.
Arian Foster retires: "There comes a time in every athlete's career when their ambition and their body are no longer on the same page." With a tweet on #UNINTERRUPTED, Arian Foster has retired from football, effective immediately. Ian Rapoport reports that "it's because his heart couldn't take another rehab, even for a minor injury."
Saint Will and the Man Who Shot Him: This spring, a former Saint and Super Bowl champion, Will Smith, was shot and killed by another player, named Cardell Hayes. Their fatal collision highlights the fine line between triumph and tragedy in football and life in the Crescent City.