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."
Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception: The Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from taking the lead with under 30 seconds left, but New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler jumped a route and intercepted a pass, closing out an epic 28-24 comeback win in Super Bowl 0x31. The Patriots trailed by 10 points in the second half -- the biggest deficit quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belicheck have faced in the Super Bowls they've played -- but they came back to win their fourth Super Bowl in 13 years.
NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Super Bowl 0x31 Round: The final round of SportsFilter's annual NFL playoffs prediction contest is here. Pick the winner of the game, the spread and 10 bonus categories. Nerfballpro leads by two points and is making a bid to go wire to wire.
Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict: Josh Gordon has written an essay on Medium about his suspension. The gist is that he's made mistakes but he's not the substance abuse addict that sports pundits who don't know him have claimed. "I am not someone who deserves to be dissected and analyzed like some tragic example of everything that can possibly go wrong for a professional athlete," he writes. "I am not going to die on account of the troubled state you wrongly believe my life to be in. I am a human being, with feelings and emotions and scars and flaws, just like anyone else. I make mistakes -- I have made a lot of mistakes -- but I am a good person, and I will persevere."
College Football Playoff Pressured to Change Dates: The College Football Playoff is under pressure on two fronts to adjust dates for its semifinals and championship games. ESPN execs are lobbying CFP officials to move next season's semis off New Year's Eve where it competes with countdown shows. The NFL is considering expanded playoffs with one new game on Monday night competing with the CFP championship. CFP executive director Bill Hancock says the games won't move: “We picked Monday night because it was open and it was the best night for our game. We announced that in June 2012. We established that our game was going to be on Monday night for 12 years."
"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!": Back before Super Bowl media week was a circus, Dick Schaap conspired with Fred Dryer and Lance Rentzel to turn it into a circus. "We came into the shop as guys from Southern Cal and left as 1920s reporters. Scoops was the ace reporter. Cubby was the cub. I was the mentor; he was the protégé."
Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year: The fantastically talented Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has failed a substance test -- this time for alcohol -- and faces a one-year suspension. Gordon failed a marijuana test in college at Baylor, began his NFL career with a two-game substance abuse suspension and was suspended again after driving while impaired during the off season. He led the NFL in receiving yards his rookie season with 1,646, but this new incident puts his entire pro career in jeopardy. Another talented wideout with substance abuse problems, Justin Blackmon, has missed the last 24 games in Jacksonville due to suspension.
Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team: Sports quantitative analyst Warren Sharp has found an interesting statistical anomaly involving the New England Patriots: The team has fumbled dramatically fewer times than any other NFL team the past five years, measured in term of fumbles lost per offensive play run: "There is no other team even close to being near to their rate of 187 offensive plays (passes+rushes+sacks) per fumble. The league average is 105 plays/fumble. Most teams are within 21 plays of that number." The Patriots five-year run of non-fumbling is the best five-year run of any NFL team in the last 25 years, raising the question of how the team is able to hold on to the ball so much better than anybody else.
11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports: The NFL inspected the balls used by the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship Game and found that 11 out of 12 were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below NFL rules, NFL sources told ESPN. The balls had been inspected under three hours prior to game time by the referees and were properly inflated, the sources said. No word yet on any potential punishment. One source described the league as "disappointed ... angry ... distraught." Jackie McMullen of ESPN writes that if Belichick was involved, he should be suspended for the Super Bowl.
Patriots crush Colts in the rain: Foul weather didn't slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots as they beat Andrew Luck and the Colts 45-7 (the second worst drubbing in AFC Championship history). This will be the Pats' 8th Super Bowl trip, tying them for the record with the Steelers and the Cowboys; and Brady's and Bill Belichick's 6th, tying them with Mike Lodish (player) and Don Shula (coach).
Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback: Down 16-0 at the half and 19-7 with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 on the first overtime possession with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse. Wilson was terrible until he wasn't, throwing four interceptions before leading one of the greatest comebacks in an NFL playoff game. The Seahawks become the first Super Bowl champ to reach the game the next season since New England in 2005.
NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Conference Championship Round: Pick the winners and the spread of the NFC Championship and AFC Championship Sunday, along with the top passer, rusher and receiver. The first game is Green Bay at Seattle at 3:05 p.m. Eastern Sunday, followed by Indianapolis at New England at 6:40 p.m.