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Monday, December 25, 2006

"Vince The Great" - Vince Young Leads Titans To 30-29 Win v. Buffalo Bills - NFL.com

Young keeps Titans' streak, hopes alive

NFL.com wire reports

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Dec. 24, 2006) -- If Vince Young keeps this up, the Tennessee Titans just might do the unthinkable and make the playoffs.

The rookie first-round draft pick has the Titans (8-7), who started the season with five losses in a row, alive in the AFC playoff race entering the final weekend after rallying them to a 30-29 victory against the Buffalo Bills.

The doubters have motivated Young all season long.

"That's all you heard all season, that a rookie's not going to be able to do this and that," Young said. "And I took that as, 'Hey, let's show the world that you can do that.' "

Young threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another to engineer his fourth comeback in the fourth quarter or overtime. This time, he helped Tennessee overcome a 29-20 deficit in the final 12 minutes. After hitting Brandon Jones for a 29-yard touchdown pass, Young engineered a 14-play, 75-yard drive, which Rob Bironas capped with a 30-yard field goal with 2:10 left.

Young's most electrifying play came at the end of the first half, when he scored on a 36-yard keeper on a fourth-and-2.

The loss knocked the Bills, now 7-8, out of playoff contention.

"This loss really hurts," said linebacker London Fletcher, whose team entered the game having won five of seven. "We had everything fall into place the way you want it to fall. We played a home game in a situation where you have to beat a team. And we just didn't get the job done."

Young improved to 8-4 as a starter and has led the Titans to six consecutive victories as they attempt to become the first NFL team to qualify for the playoffs after starting the season 0-5.

Tennessee still needs help, and must win its season finale when it plays host to New England next weekend.

"Every week he does something to amaze me," Jones said. "I can't believe some of the things that he does."

It was a wild, back-and-forth contest, featuring seven lead changes.

Vince Young made more magic when he beat the clock with his 36-yard touchdown run before halftime.
The Bills had a chance to pull it out but failed in the final minute.

Facing fourth-and-5 at the Titans 28, J.P. Losman scrambled out of trouble and threw a desperation pass that was intercepted by Reynaldo Hill at the goal line. On the play, the Bills elected against a field goal. They were driving into a wind that was gusting up to 20 mph.

Losman finished 19-for-33 for 266 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice. Willis McGahee had 95 yards rushing and a touchdown.

"All we wanted was an opportunity," Bills receiver Lee Evans said. "It came down to the end of the game and, defensively, they made more plays than we did offensively."

The game turned after Rian Lindell, with a career-tying fifth field goal, put the Bills ahead 29-20 late in the third quarter.

Young took over and led the Titans on a nine-play, 62-yard march, which he capped by hitting a wide-open Jones over the middle at the 10. Jones eluded Terrence McGee, who slipped on the play, and ran it in for a 29-yard reception.

After the Bills went three-and-out, the Titans turned to running back Travis Henry in a drive that ate up 7:15 and, more significant, produced the winning points.

Henry had 41 yards on eight carries during the drive, and finished with 135 yards rushing while facing his former team for the first time since being traded to Tennessee in 2004.

More surprising is that Henry arrived in Buffalo late after he missed the Titans' flight the day before.

"I was home just chilling and I got a call from a teammate like they were going to leave," Henry said, noting he had misread the Titans' travel schedule. "I got on the first flight that was available and I had to connect through Charlotte. ... It was crazy."

Young laughed when asked about Henry's late arrival.

"He's got a lot of money to book him another flight," Young said. "He got here, no problems, and went out there and played the game."


With six victories in a row, Young moved into a tie for third with Pittsburgh's Mike Kruzcek for the longest streak among rookie NFL quarterbacks.
Losman has 12 touchdown passes in his past eight games, eight of them for 20 yards or longer after he hit Evans for a 37-yarder on Sunday.
Bironas hit all three field-goal attempts for Tennessee, including a tough 42-yarder into the wind.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

Baltimore Ravens Smell Miami; Rout Steelers 31-7

Ravens keep rolling, rout Steelers 31-7

NFL.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH (Dec. 24, 2006) -- Minutes after they ended the Pittsburgh Steelers' run as the Super Bowl champion, the Baltimore Ravens were ready to proclaim a new NFL title favorite -- themselves.

Steve McNair, masterfully running an offense that was productive and efficient, threw three touchdown passes and Baltimore took a big step toward securing a first-round AFC playoffs bye with a 31-7 victory over the Steelers.

The Ravens (12-3) matched a franchise record for victories in a season set by their Super Bowl championship team in 2000 and swept the series from the despised Steelers (7-8) for the first time since the former Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996. They also won in Heinz Field for the first time since their initial game there in 2001.

"The satisfaction is what we're trying to accomplish, it's not about ending the Steelers' season," cornerback Chris McAlister said.

The Ravens got some unexpected help from the Houston Texans, who upset the Indianapolis Colts 24-21 to move Baltimore ahead of the Colts (11-4) for the No. 2 seeding in the AFC playoffs. Baltimore, which still can surpass San Diego and be seeded No. 1, will finish at home next Sunday against Buffalo (8-7).

"We're in a prime position to get home-field advantage," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "With the way we're playing defense and the way our offense is clicking, we're going to be a hard team to beat in the playoffs."

If this was Bill Cowher's last home game as Steelers coach, and there is a possibility it was, his players didn't throw much of a going-away party.

With Ben Roethlisberger (156 yards passing, two interceptions) and Willie Parker (29 yards on 13 carries) again having rough afternoons against one of the NFL's top defenses, the Steelers (7-8) became the first defending Super Bowl champions since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 to miss the playoffs.

"We just didn't play the way we played last year," wide receiver Hines Ward said, pointing to a season-long problem with turnovers -- 35, including three more in Week 16. "You never give yourself a chance to win when you turn it over."

Mark Clayton continues to be a deep threat with a 35-yard TD and 108 total yards.
The Steelers tried to rally by winning five of six following a 2-6 start, but now can finish no better than 8-8 -- the same record they had in 1980, the year after they won the fourth and last of the Super Bowls under coach Chuck Noll.

"Nobody expected us to be in this position," linebacker James Farrior said. "Everybody is going to have to pick themselves up after this."

Parker, a Pro Bowl running back, had averaged 144 yards rushing in the previous four home games only to be held below 30 yards for the second time in a month by Baltimore. He had 22 yards on 10 carries in the Ravens' 27-0 rout on Nov. 26. The Steelers were out-gained 634-423 and outscored 58-7 in the two losses to the Ravens.

The Ravens defense wasn't quite as good as the first matchup, when it sacked Roethlisberger nine times and forced three turnovers, but it didn't have to be the way McNair (21 of 31, 256 yards, two interceptions) took advantage of repeatedly good field position.

"To me, he's the secret weapon this year," Steelers lineman Brett Keisel said of McNair, acquired from Tennessee in a trade earlier this year. "He's the reason they are where they are. He came into a new system and now he's taking them to the playoffs."

Who are the greatest Super Bowl champions of all time? America's Game on NFL Network answers that question every Friday night at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Jamal Lewis helped out with 77 yards, giving him 1,063 yards for the season, and a 1-yard touchdown run.

After Baltimore got the ball at the Steelers 43 late in the first quarter following a short punt by Chris Gardocki, McNair found Mark Clayton behind Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu on a 35-yard scoring play. The touchdown came one play after McNair kept the drive going by barely gaining enough ground on a fourth-and-1 sneak.

Another short punt by Gardocki on Pittsburgh's next possession led to McNair's 1-yard scoring pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox on fourth-and-goal.

The Steelers had gained only 34 yards in the first half until a McNair-thrown interception on a tipped pass led to Roethlisberger's 1-yard TD pass to Heath Miller seven seconds before halftime.

The Ravens regained control on their opening drive of the second half, with McNair finding Demetrius Williams open behind Polamalu down the Baltimore sideline for a 25-yard touchdown. That made it 21-7, and the Steelers were so desperate to score after that they went for it on a fourth-and-2 at their 37 midway through the quarter. They didn't get the first down -- a perfect summation of their failed season.

Polamalu, an All-Pro safety last season, returned after missing the Steelers' previous three games with a knee injury.

Notes: McNair is 10-4 against Pittsburgh. ... Baltimore has won eight of nine. ... The Steelers were 2 of 14 on third downs, with both conversions coming on penalties, and 3 of 26 against Baltimore this season. ... Six of the last eight Super Bowl winners held a first-round bye. ... McNair had thrown 163 passes without an interception. ... The Ravens have allowed 57 points in their last six games. ... Baltimore finished 5-1 in the division. The Steelers are 2-3.

Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart Sprained His Left Shoulder Against 49ers - NFL.com

Cards QB Leinart sprains throwing shoulder

NFL.com wire reports

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 24, 2006) -- Matt Leinart sprained his left shoulder late in the first half of the Arizona Cardinals ' game against San Francisco, ending the quarterback's strong rookie season one game early.

Leinart was hurt when Roderick Green sacked him on third down during a drive that ended in Neil Rackers' 39-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the second quarter. Leinart went to the locker room after the hit, and returned to the sideline in street clothes as Kurt Warner finished off the Cardinals' 26-20 victory.

Though the injury apparently isn't serious, Arizona coach Dennis Green said Leinart will be shelved for the season finale at San Diego on Dec. 31. Leinart won't need surgery, but is scheduled for an MRI exam Dec. 27.

"It hurts pretty good, but it's nothing serious, so that's a good thing," said Leinart, who was told such injuries require about four weeks to heal. "Nothing popped, nothing tore. There were no noises. I just fell on it hard."

Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner from USC, was outstanding against the 49ers, going 9-for-13 for 162 yards with a touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald as Arizona took a 20-3 lead.

Leinart has passed for 2,547 yards and 11 TDs this season despite sitting out most of the Cardinals' first four games. Arizona won four of its last six games under Leinart, but is out of playoff contention after an eight-game losing streak early in the season.

Warner, who lost his job to Leinart in October, passed for 105 conservative yards in the second half as Arizona barely held on.

"When you come in with a situation where somebody is doing well, you just don't want to mess up what's going on," Warner said. "It was really about managing the game at that point."


Offense ranking and stats by NFL:

Stat list order:Games Plays Yards Game Play Game Eff Eff Game of Poss
Yds/ Yds/ 1st Dn/ 3rd Dn 4th Dn Pts/Avg Time

1. New Orleans Saints 15 1024 5967 397.8 5.8 21.1 45.1 57.9 26.1 32:19
2. Indianapolis Colts 15 943 5671 378.1 6.0 23.5 56.1 0.0 26.7 29:27
3. San Diego Chargers 15 954 5453 363.5 5.7 19.9 43.3 54.5 31.0 31:31
4. St. Louis Rams 15 998 5351 356.7 5.4 20.6 37.1 64.7 21.7 31:04
5. Philadelphia Eagles 14 868 5284 377.4 6.1 19.4 41.2 40.0 25.1 28:19
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 15 967 5243 349.5 5.4 19.9 42.2 47.6 22.0 30:38
7. Dallas Cowboys 14 907 5206 371.9 5.7 21.5 48.4 53.3 27.6 31:51
8. Cincinnati Bengals 15 940 5167 344.5 5.5 19.9 35.6 66.7 23.7 29:07
9. Green Bay Packers 15 1007 5085 339.0 5.0 18.7 37.7 41.2 18.3 30:21
10. Jacksonville Jaguars 15 924 5026 335.1 5.4 17.9 38.9 50.0 22.7 32:22
11. New England Patriots 15 994 4955 330.3 5.0 20.7 42.9 78.9 23.0 31:43
12. Atlanta Falcons 15 926 4932 328.8 5.3 17.7 35.5 44.4 18.3 29:27
13. Chicago Bears 15 988 4883 325.5 4.9 19.1 38.1 66.7 28.0 31:04
14. New York Giants 15 942 4859 323.9 5.2 18.7 36.5 46.7 21.4 29:41
15. Washington Redskins 15 917 4850 323.3 5.3 18.3 37.0 45.5 18.6 29:51
16. Kansas City Chiefs 15 936 4748 316.5 5.1 19.1 40.4 57.1 19.7 30:04
17. Baltimore Ravens 15 951 4745 316.3 5.0 17.6 41.1 72.7 22.3 32:34
18. Minnesota Vikings 15 964 4650 310.0 4.8 17.0 32.4 71.4 17.4 31:51
19. Seattle Seahawks 15 973 4633 308.9 4.8 18.9 36.7 25.0 20.8 29:18
20. Denver Broncos 15 909 4626 308.4 5.1 17.7 37.9 53.8 19.7 29:59
21. Carolina Panthers 15 934 4610 307.3 4.9 17.2 31.0 25.0 15.9 29:55
22. Detroit Lions 15 891 4587 305.8 5.1 17.9 30.6 38.1 17.7 27:23
23. Arizona Cardinals 15 944 4556 303.7 4.8 18.6 38.8 66.7 19.6 30:13
24. San Francisco 49ers 15 842 4500 300.0 5.3 15.1 33.3 55.6 18.1 28:20
25. Tennessee Titans 15 879 4468 297.9 5.1 16.3 33.0 43.8 20.1 27:05
26. Miami Dolphins 14 912 4353 310.9 4.8 17.7 38.3 50.0 16.3 30:07
27. New York Jets 14 885 4301 307.2 4.9 18.4 42.9 33.3 20.0 30:40
28. Houston Texans 15 913 4286 285.7 4.7 18.1 39.5 69.2 16.9 29:44
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15 923 4034 268.9 4.4 14.8 37.1 26.7 13.6 28:27
30. Buffalo Bills 15 846 4018 267.9 4.7 14.9 31.2 40.0 19.5 28:22
31. Cleveland Browns 15 874 3927 261.8 4.5 15.4 33.0 42.9 15.5 28:46
32. Oakland Raiders 15 899 3730 248.7 4.1 15.4 36.8 33.3 11.0 28:34


From NFLMedia.com

(Before 12/25 Philadelphia-Dallas & N.Y, Jets-Miami Monday night games)
December 25, 2006 - Christmas Day

For Week 17
Clinched: San Diego - West Division and first-round bye
Indianapolis - South Division
Baltimore - North Division
New England - East Division
Eliminated: Oakland, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Buffalo, Pittsburgh.
San Diego clinches homefield advantage:
1) SD win or tie
2) BAL loss or tie
Baltimore clinches homefield advantage:
1) BAL win + SD loss
Baltimore clinches a first-round bye:
1) BAL win or tie
2) IND loss or tie
Indianapolis clinches a first-round bye:
1) IND win + BAL loss
Denver clinches a playoff berth:
1) DEN win or tie
2) KC loss or tie
Denver clinches a playoff berth:
1) DEN win or tie
2) KC loss or tie
3) NYJ loss or tie + CIN loss or tie + TEN loss or tie
NY Jets clinch a playoff berth:
1) NYJ win or tie
2) CIN loss or tie + JAC loss or tie
3) CIN loss or tie + TEN win
4) DEN loss + JAC loss
NY Jets clinch a playoff berth:
1) NYJ win + CIN loss or tie + JAC loss or tie
2) NYJ win + CIN loss or tie + TEN win
3) NYJ win + DEN loss + JAC loss
4) NYJ tie + CIN loss + KC/JAC tie + TEN tie
Cincinnati clinches a playoff berth:
1) CIN win + NYJ loss
2) CIN win + DEN loss + KC win
1) CIN win
2) CIN tie + KC/JAC tie + NYJ loss or tie + TEN loss or tie
Tennessee clinches a playoff berth:
1) TEN win + CIN loss or tie + DEN loss + KC win
Tennessee clinches a playoff berth:
1) TEN win + NYJ loss or tie + CIN loss or tie
2) TEN win + NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss + KC win
3) TEN win + CIN loss or tie + DEN loss + KC win
4) TEN tie + NYJ loss + CIN loss + JAC/KC tie
Jacksonville clinches a playoff berth:
1) JAC win + NYJ loss + CIN loss or tie + TEN loss or tie
Jacksonville clinches a playoff berth:
1) JAC win + CIN loss or tie + TEN loss or tie
2) JAC tie + CIN loss + TEN loss + NYJ loss or tie
Kansas City clinches a playoff berth:
1) KC win + CIN loss or tie + DEN loss + TEN loss or tie
Kansas City clinches a playoff berth:
1) KC win + NYJ loss or tie + CIN loss or tie + DEN loss
2) KC win + NYJ loss or tie + CIN loss or tie + TEN loss or tie
3) KC win + NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss + TEN loss or tie
4) KC win + CIN loss or tie + DEN loss + TEN loss or tie
Clinched: Chicago - North Division and homefield advantage
New Orleans - South Division
Seattle - West Division
Dallas - playoff berth
Eliminated: Detroit, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Washington, Minnesota,
San Francisco.
New Orleans clinches a first-round bye:
1) NO win
2) DAL loss
3) NO tie + DAL tie
Dallas clinches a first-round bye:
1) DAL win + NO loss or tie
2) DAL tie + NO loss
Dallas clinches East Division:
1) DAL win + PHI loss or tie
2) DAL tie + PHI loss
Philadelphia clinches playoff berth:
1) PHI win or tie
2) NYG loss or tie
3) GB loss or tie + CAR win
4) GB loss or tie + STL win
5) GB win + NYG win strength of victory tiebreaker over GB
Philadelphia clinches East Division:
1) PHI win
2) DAL loss
3) PHI tie + DAL tie
NY Giants clinch a playoff berth:
1) NYG win + NYG clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over GB
2) NYG win + PHI loss
3) NYG win + GB loss or tie
4) NYG tie + GB loss or tie + STL loss or tie + ATL loss or tie +
CAR loss or tie
5) GB loss + STL loss + ATL loss + CAR loss
NY Giants clinch a playoff berth:
1) NYG win + NYG clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over GB
2) NYG win + GB loss or tie
3) NYG tie + GB loss or tie + STL loss or tie + ATL loss or tie +
CAR loss or tie
4) GB loss + STL loss + ATL loss + CAR loss
Green Bay clinches a playoff berth:
1) GB win + NYG win + GB clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over NYG
2) GB win + NYG loss or tie + STL loss or tie
3) GB win + NYG loss or tie + CAR win
4) GB win + NYG loss or tie + ATL win
5) GB tie + NYG loss + STL loss + ATL loss or tie + CAR loss or tie
Carolina clinches a playoff berth:
1) CAR win + NYG loss or tie + GB loss or tie
2) CAR tie + NYG loss + GB loss + STL loss or tie + ATL loss or tie
Atlanta clinches a playoff berth:
1) ATL win + CAR loss or tie + GB loss or tie + STL loss or tie
2) ATL win + CAR loss or tie + GB loss or tie + NYG loss or tie
3) ATL tie + CAR loss + GB loss + NYG loss + STL loss
Atlanta clinches a playoff berth:
1) ATL win + CAR loss or tie + GB loss or tie + NYG loss or tie
2) ATL tie + CAR loss + GB loss + NYG loss + STL loss
St. Louis clinches a playoff berth:
1) STL win + NYG loss or tie + CAR loss or tie + ATL loss or tie
2) STL tie + NYG loss + CAR loss + ATL loss + GB loss

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Behind Art Shell Firing Rumor Than Meets The Eye

It's all over the news and the blogs that Adam Schefter of the NFL Network reported that Oakland Raiders Head Coach Art Shell will not be back to coach the Silver and Black next season. It's also now all over the same news and blogs that Schefter's report was rejected by the Raiders and in a tone that can only be described as "testy."

The Raiders reportedly issued a press release with a message that looked like this:



Ask Raiders fans if Shell should go or stay and you get a variety of answers and a mix of "yes" and "no" according to Raiderfans.net But all of the talk about this seems to mask one fact: the supposed source was a "High Placed" Raiders Official, so it's another case of "Here we go again" with the attacking news coming from inside the organization.

It reminds me of the movie "When A Stranger Calls" where the weird phone calls were coming from a weirdo who was inside the house the poor girl was at. That poor girl is Art Shell. But who the caller could be is anyone's guess: earlier in the season, some pointed to Raiders Senior Assistant Mike Lombardi. But regardless of the same, the Raiders organization once again takes a massive slap in the face for looking like a haven for backstabbers. It's a sad scene.

But with all of this, one area of the Raiders that is really good is in media relations, where Mike Taylor runs a tight ship. Yak it up, but remember, Mike's job is gate-keeper in the Raiders organization, and from that perspective, he's good at keeping the Raiders at Bay. Mike understands where the power is and leads from the position of being next to the ear of the leader, Al Davis. So, Mike's not the one to backstab. Forget it.

I think the backstabber person who is one to do so would be more able to work in stealth and without a normal job title.


From Newsday-A Farewell to Tiki Barber - By Bob Glauber

Farewell to Tiki
December 22, 2006

It dawned on Tiki Barber the morning after the Giants beat the Eagles with a dramatic comeback in Week 2. That's when he knew this would be his final season.

"I felt like I was 50 years old," Barber said Thursday. "I consciously told myself, 'I don't want to do this anymore. I want to move on with the rest of my life.' "

The Giants staged a remarkable fourth-quarter rally against the Eagles and beat their divisional rival in overtime. Barber was exhausted.

"Literally, the next morning, I couldn't pick my head up off my pillow because I had an injury to my neck and back," he said. "My kids wanted to play with me, but all I could do was lay in bed. Jeremiah Trotter hit me like 20 times. I was tired. I was beat up. I didn't recover from that game until probably the next Saturday."

He thought seriously about life after football, and about some of the great players who are living with the wounds of their NFL careers. He did not want to be one of them.

"I don't want to be like Earl Campbell when I'm 50, not being able to walk, especially with all the opportunities that I have, that I have a passion for," said Barber, who plans a career as a television broadcaster.

After that, it was over. .Barber knew he still had enough left to give his best for the rest of the season, but he knew he could go no further. On Sunday, he will walk out of the tunnel against the Saints knowing it will be his final game at Giants Stadium.

"This is a stadium I've been coming to for 10 years, and there are tons of memories for me," he said. "But I think the emotion won't come until later, because I'm so focused on my job and the things I need to do."

But Giants fans should be very emotional about the most productive running back in franchise history. They should chant his name over and over, knowing this will be the last time they see him at the stadium where he produced so many memorable moments.

"Very special, very emotional, to be honest with you," coach Tom Coughlin said after practice. "It will be a very special day for all Giants fans, the last day that Tiki plays in Giants Stadium."

Coughlin and Barber have had their differences over the years, especially with Barber's occasional public criticism of the coaching staff, particularly after last season's playoff loss to Carolina. But Barber insists their relationship is misunderstood, and he shared a story rarely told.

"People think we're combative and that because of my personality and his personality we don't get along," Barber said. "His first season, my son had problems with high fevers and ear infections, and he had a seizure when we played our first game in 2004. was great. He pulled me aside and said, 'Whatever you need to do, you go do it. If you have to leave, leave.'

"We formed a bond there that most people aren't aware of, and it opened a dialogue on a non-player/coach relationship, and it allows us to have a better .relationship as a player/coach."

Bottom line: Barber has .enjoyed his greatest years under Coughlin, to the point that his 10-season career is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. Even if he believes that he won't be the Barber to get into Canton.

"I see myself walking up to that podium and introducing my brother into the Hall of Fame," Barber said of his twin, Bucs cornerback Ronde.

"People say if I don't make it to the Hall of Fame that he was a pretty good player. That's all that matters. I never played this game to be a Hall of Famer. I played it to try to win championships. I went to one; we lost to the Ravens. I want to get back again. If that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. But I won't define my life whether or not I win a championship or get to the Hall of Fame."

So many great games. So many splendid memories. But there's one that stands out from all the rest.

"A lot of people will point to that beautiful game we played in the 2000 NFC Championship Game when we beat the Vikings, or the Kansas City game last year where I set the single-game rushing record," Barber said.

"But I think my greatest is when we played the Redskins that same year, after Wellington Mara passed away and I had an opportunity to do something a lot of guys don't get to do, which is thank the Mara family for what they've been to me and to my career the only way I can: by putting on a great performance [206 rushing yards], scoring a touchdown and giving the ball to his grandson, and saying, 'This is for you. I love you guys, and thank you.' You can't write it any better than that."

No, you cannot. Unless there is an unexpected run to the Super Bowl this season, especially when the Giants look like they just don't have it in them.

That's why Giants fans must appreciate Sunday all the more. It's their last time to pay homage to one of the greatest players in franchise history. One final time to chant his name and salute his legacy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pro Bowl Rosters

Position Player Team
WR Marvin Harrison Indianapolis Colts
WR Andre Johnson Houston Texans
WR Chad Johnson Cincinnati Bengals
WR Reggie Wayne Indianapolis Colts
OT Willie Anderson Cincinnati Bengals
OT Tarik Glenn Indianapolis Colts
OT Jonathan Ogden Baltimore Ravens
OG Alan Faneca Pittsburgh Steelers
OG Will Shields Kansas City Chiefs
OG Brian Waters Kansas City Chiefs
C Nick Hardwick San Diego Chargers
C Jeff Saturday Indianapolis Colts
TE Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers
TE Tony Gonzalez Kansas City Chiefs
QB Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts
QB Carson Palmer Cincinnati Bengals
QB Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers
RB Larry Johnson Kansas City Chiefs
RB Willie Parker Pittsburgh Steelers
RB LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers
FB Lorenzo Neal San Diego Chargers
Position Player Team
DE Derrick Burgess Oakland Raiders
DE Aaron Schobel Buffalo Bills
DE Jason Taylor Miami Dolphins
DL Casey Hampton Pittsburgh Steelers
DL Richard Seymour New England Patriots
DL Jamal Williams San Diego Chargers
OLB Shawne Merriman San Diego Chargers
OLB Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens
OLB Adalius Thomas Baltimore Ravens
ILB Zach Thomas Miami Dolphins
ILB Al Wilson Denver Broncos
CB Champ Bailey Denver Broncos
CB Rashean Mathis Jacksonville Jaguars
CB Chris McAlister Baltimore Ravens
SS Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers
FS John Lynch Denver Broncos
FS Ed Reed Baltimore Ravens
PK Nate Kaeding San Diego Chargers
KR Justin Miller New York Jets
Special teams Kassim Osgood San Diego Chargers

Position Player Team
WR Anquan Boldin Arizona Cardinals
WR Donald Driver Green Bay Packers
WR Torry Holt St. Louis Rams
WR Steve Smith Carolina Panthers
OT Jammal Brown New Orleans Saints
OT Walter Jones Seattle Seahawks
OT Chris Samuels Washington Redskins
OG Shawn Andrews Philadelphia Eagles
OG Steve Hutchinson Minnesota Vikings
C Matt Birk Minnesota Vikings
C Olin Kreutz Chicago Bears
TE Alge Crumpler Atlanta Falcons
TE Jeremy Shockey New York Giants
QB Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
QB Marc Bulger St. Louis Rams
QB Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys
RB Tiki Barber New York Giants
RB Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers
RB Steven Jackson St. Louis Rams
FB Mack Strong Seattle Seahawks
Position Player Team
DE Aaron Kampman Green Bay Packers
DE Julius Peppers Carolina Panthers
DE Will Smith New Orleans Saints
DL Tommie Harris Chicago Bears
DL Kris Jenkins Carolina Panthers
DL Kevin Williams Minnesota Vikings
OLB Lance Briggs Chicago Bears
OLB Julian Peterson Seattle Seahawks
OLB DeMarcus Ware Dallas Cowboys
ILB Lofa Tatupu Seattle Seahawks
ILB Brian Urlacher Chicago Bears
CB Ronde Barber Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB DeAngelo Hall Atlanta Falcons
CB Lito Sheppard Philadelphia Eagles
SS Roy Williams Dallas Cowboys
SS Adrian Wilson Arizona Cardinals
FS Brian Dawkins Philadelphia Eagles
PK Robbie Gould Chicago Bears
KR Devin Hester Chicago Bears
Special teams Brendon Ayanbadejo Chicago Bears

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pro Bowl Selections - What, No Chad Pennington??

Look for my comments at the end.....


December 19, 2006, 7:52 PM EST

The San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears lead the NFL in wins -- and Pro Bowlers.

The Chargers placed nine players on the AFC squad Tuesday and the Bears had seven on the NFC team, which also includes a quarterback -- Dallas' Tony Romo -- who wasn't a starter when the season began.

San Diego's contingent includes quarterback Philip Rivers, who sat on the bench for his first two seasons behind Drew Brees. The former Chargers quarterback signed as a free agent with New Orleans in the offseason and will start for the NFC.

Also among the players representing the Chargers is linebacker Shawne Merriman, last year's defensive rookie of the year, who made it despite missing four games for flunking a steroid test.

"I'm very proud of our team and players," said general manager A.J. Smith of the Chargers, who like the Bears are 12-2. "We have a special group of players. These individuals are being recognized, but this is also a positive reflection on their teammates and the overall strength and depth of the entire roster."

The game will be played in Honolulu on Feb. 10.

Chicago's representatives demonstrate how the Bears won: with defense and special teams.

Three of the seven Bears, led by linebacker Brian Urlacher, are on defense and three are on special teams -- kicker Robbie Gould, specialist Brendan Ayanbadejo and rookie return man Devin Hester, who has shattered records with six returns for touchdowns on three punts, two kickoffs and a missed field goal.

Center Olin Kreutz, a perennial at his position, is the only Bears Pro Bowler on offense.

The NFC team also includes the Barber twins -- running back Tiki of the New York Giants and Ronde of Tampa Bay. The first twins to make it together, they now become the second set of brothers to make the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons -- Shannon and Sterling Sharpe from 1993-95 are the others.

"With this being my final season in the NFL and the final time my brother Ronde and I will be teammates, the honor carries even more significance than in previous years," said Tiki Barber, who described himself as "emotional and ecstatic."

In a year of outstanding rookies, Hester is the only one to make it, although Tennessee quarterback Vince Young is an alternate.

And Romo is almost a rookie. Until this season, he hadn't thrown a pass in three seasons with Dallas, mostly as a third-stringer.

But he is 6-2 as a starter since taking over from Drew Bledsoe at halftime of a loss to the Giants, leading the team to a playoff berth and control of the NFC East. When his potential selection to the Pro Bowl came up after his fourth start, coach Bill Parcells called it "ludicrous."

Like Kreutz, Urlacher and the Barbers, many of the Pro Bowlers are perennials although Ray Lewis of the Ravens didn't make it -- beaten out at inside linebacker on the AFC roster by Al Wilson of Denver and Zach Thomas of Miami.

One non-perennial is Reggie Wayne of the Colts, one of the league's best receivers for the past few years but always in the shadow of Marvin Harrison and never before a Pro Bowler.

"I really didn't think he would make it, not that he didn't deserve it," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "But it's a tough perception to overcome -- that your No. 2 receiver is better than 28 other receivers in the league."

Harrison also made it, although he is a backup to the two Johnsons who will start at wide receiver -- Chad of Cincinnati and Andre of Houston.

Buffalo linebacker Aaron Schobel and Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker are two of the nine first-time selections on the AFC squad, including Rivers and Wayne.

"From this day on, I guess I'll always be remembered as a Pro Bowler," Schobel said. "That's something nobody can take away from me."

Arizona safety Adrian Wilson joined 12 others, including Romo, Hester, Gould, San Francisco running back Frank Gore and St. Louis running back Steven Jackson as first-timers on the NFC team.

Wilson said he got a phone call from Cardinals vice president Michael Bidwill on Tuesday afternoon.

"I had to go in the closet because I didn't want to scare my son," Wilson said. "I was pretty ecstatic."

The position with the most repeaters is traditionally the offensive line.

Guard Will Shields of Kansas City will go for the 12th time, tying a mark held by former Viking Randall McDaniel, also a guard. Another guard, Pittsburgh's Alan Faneca, will represent the AFC for the sixth straight time.

The AFC quarterbacks in addition to Rivers are the Colts' Peyton Manning, who'll start, and the Bengals' Carson Palmer.

The Rams' Marc Bulger joins Brees and Romo as the NFC's quarterbacks.

And My Spin: What, No Chad Pennington?? there are about 5 or 6 others that come to mind but The Chadster is the most glaring omission from the AFC squad. Also Jets Rookie Center Nick Mangold has Made people forget Kevin Mahwae ever played there. BC(draftnik)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Giants dive for Birds-Eagles win 36-22

Eagles give Giants taste of own medicine, 36-22
The visiting Eagles used two late fourth-quarter touchdowns to bump the Giants back down to .500 making the playoff question mark larger.

Newsday Staff Writer

December 17, 2006, 10:47 PM EST

The Giants still control their own playoff fate. Yet how can anyone expect them to maintain control after playing the way they did Sunday?

With a chance to solidify a playoff position in front of a home crowd and against a hated opponent, the Giants came up small. Their 36-22 loss wasn't decided until Eagles defensive end Trent Cole intercepted Eli Manning's pop-up pass and danced 19 yards into the end zone with 2:47 to play, but the Giants (7-7) already had killed themselves in a game the Eagles (8-6) were begging them to take.

Manning was intercepted twice and the Giants lost two fumbles. The defense, charged with holding a 22-21 lead with 6:59 to play, allowed an 80-yard drive in easy fashion to give the lead back. The Giants' offense failed twice on first-and-goal situations, as it did against the Cowboys in a similarly important home game two weeks ago. Again, getting field goals instead of touchdowns was costly.

Still, thanks to the weak NFC, the Giants still can make the postseason by winning their final two games, against the Saints at home Sunday and against the Redskins on the road. And even a split might be good enough, depending on what other contenders do.

"Right now, we're not playing like a playoff-caliber team, especially with the mistakes we're making," said Tiki Barber, who had an 11-yard TD run on the Giants' second play from scrimmage but only 64 yards on 18 carries after that. "The way we played, we're destined to be a .500 team. There's a lot of mediocrity in the NFC. And we're certainly in that class."

The Giants trailed 14-10 at the half and clawed into the lead with a pair of short Jay Feely field goals, the second a 24-yarder after the Giants got the ball at the Eagles' 7 after Will Demps' sack and forced fumble, which Antonio Pierce recovered.

On the ensuing kickoff, Reno Mahe went 64 yards untouched to the 36. Two plays later, on third-and-2 from the 28, the Eagles used a timeout and came back with a four-wide-receiver set. Tom Coughlin said his defense had the play called correctly, anticipating a run, but Brian Westbrook sped through a gap in the left side of the line and went 28 yards for a 21-16 .Eagles lead with 12:36 to play.

"There's no excuse for that," Coughlin said. "We've got a call to stop the run. We're thinking run."

The Giants were thinking it most of the day, but they did little to stop Westbrook (19 carries, 97 yards, two TDs) and Correll Buckhalter (eight carries, 48 yards, one TD). The Eagles were the ones who came into the game with a porous run defense, but they were far stingier.

Still, even after Visanthe Shiancoe fumbled the ball away after picking up a first down on a short pass, the Giants came back to take the lead. Demps picked off Jeff Garcia, who rolled away from trouble most of the game, and the Giants were in business at the Eagles' 35. A pass-interference call gave the Giants a third first-and-goal situation, and Brandon Jacobs, who hadn't played since fumbling after a 12-yard gain in the second quarter, bulled in on his second try from a yard out.

The two-point conversion failed, but that didn't matter. Trailing 22-21, the Eagles needed only 4:02 to go 80 yards and take the lead back. Already well in field-goal range, Garcia and the Eagles stayed aggressive, calling a play-action fade route on second down from the 19 that Reggie Brown hauled in behind R.W. McQuarters in the right side of the end zone.

Still, the Giants had the ball at their 20, 2:57 on the clock and two timeouts. But on the first play, Manning didn't see Sheldon Brown coming on a corner blitz, and Brown hit him as he threw. The floater fell into Cole's arms after Barber unsuccessfully tried to bat it down, and by the time he reached the end zone, the game was over.

"He should have seen it," Coughlin said of Manning, who completed 28 of 40 for 282 yards and two interceptions after going two games without a pick. "It's just one of those key plays that could have been key [for us] in the game."

Coughlin's postgame speech was positive, according to several players. The message was clear: No finger-pointing, no head-hanging, because there still are two games to play.

Those games will decide the fate of the team -- and the coaches.

"There's no feeling sorry for ourselves. Anything we did, we caused for ourselves," Coughlin said. "We're going to work and play as hard as we can and see if we can't win the next two games and see what happens."

It sounds like a plan. But the Giants haven't shown much reason to have faith.

"Considering what was at stake, how close we were to taking great steps toward the playoffs," Barber said, "we took an enormous step back."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dallas Cowboys Beat Atlanta Falcons, 38-28

Cowboys power past tricky Falcons, 38-28 as Terrell Owens Admits Spitting In Cornerback D-Hall's Face.

NFL.com wire reports

ATLANTA (Dec. 16, 2006) -- Michael Vick and Morten Andersen got their records. Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys got a crucial victory.

Owens hauled in a couple of touchdown passes, Marion Barber scored on two punishing runs and the Cowboys protected their NFC East lead with a 38-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Dallas (9-5) bounced back from a 42-17 home loss to New Orleans to bolster its playoff hopes. It was a devastating defeat for the Falcons (7-7), who had climbed back into the NFC wild-card race with two straight wins and overcame an early 14-0 deficit in this one.

Owens, who was kept out of the end zone by Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall when the two faced off in the 2005 opener, took care of that blemish. Owens made a 7-yard touchdown reception with a brilliant one-handed catch, then blew past Hall to haul in a 51-yarder.

T.O. toasted both scores with the same gesture. He faced the crowd with his arms outstretched -- that's the 'T' -- then clasped his hands in a circle above his head -- that's an 'O.'

Vick tied a career high with four touchdown passes and eclipsed Bobby Douglass' 34-year-old record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. He has 990 yards, breaking Douglass' mark of 968 with the 1972 Chicago Bears.

Andersen, meanwhile, became the leading scorer in NFL history. The 46-year-old kicker booted four extra points, giving him 2,437 points for his career and breaking Gary Anderson's mark of 2,434.

It wasn't enough to hold off the Cowboys. Barber put them ahead for good on a 9-yard run with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, leaving Chris Crocker sprawled on the turf.

Barber added a 3-yard TD run with 2:18 remaining to clinch the victory.

Tony Romo, coming off his worst game since taking over the starting job, completed 22 of 29 for 278 yards. He spread it around -- Terry Glenn had five receptions for 96 yards, Owens caught five for 69 yards and Jason Witten pulled in five passes for 56 yards.

Vick had one horrible pass, which was intercepted by DeMarcus Ware and returned 41 yards for a touchdown on the first play of a wild second quarter. Otherwise, the Atlanta quarterback played well, completing 16 of 24 for 237 yards and running eight times for 56 yards.

The four touchdown passes tied Vick's personal best from an overtime tie with Pittsburgh in 2002, his first year as a starter.

Still smarting from their blowout loss to New Orleans, the Cowboys started this one like they wanted to do the same thing to the Falcons.

Dallas jumped ahead on Romo's first TD pass to Owens, who pulled the ball in with his right arm before falling out of bounds with Hall all over him. Then it was Ware's turn for an even more spectacular play.

Vick, under pressure from Chris Canty as he dropped back to throw, managed to flip a pass over the defensive end -- and right into the arms of Ware, lurking behind his teammate. He took off the other way, breaking a feeble attempt at a tackle by Vick on the way to giving the Cowboys a 14-0 lead.

The Falcons didn't fold, however, getting back in the game after a big play by their defense.

Just three plays after an interception by Lawyer Milloy was wiped out by a penalty, Romo had a pass tipped at the line by Rod Coleman. The fluttering ball fell into the arms of Atlanta linebacker Michael Boley, who returned it 40 yards to the Dallas 12.

Vick ripped off an 11-yard run, then flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Griffith to pull the Falcons to 14-7.

The Atlanta offense did all the work on its next possession, driving 63 yards in five plays for the tying touchdown. Vick threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins, left all alone in the left side of the end zone.

After that touchdown, Andersen punched through the extra point that broke Anderson's career scoring record. The 46-year-old kicker threw up his arms and leaped into the arms of holder Matt Schaub before being mobbed by his teammates.

Romo went deep to Owens to put Dallas back ahead. The receiver cut to the inside and ran right past Hall, catching the ball in stride for a 51-yard touchdown.

Vick capped off the 35-point quarter with his third TD pass, this one with just 11 seconds remaining in the half.

After an illegal formation penalty negated a scoring pass to Griffith, Vick fired a blistering pass to Ashley Lelie for an 8-yard touchdown, the ball seeming to go right through the hands of defender Roy Williams.

Vick put the Falcons ahead for the first time on the first series of the second half. He hooked up for the second time with Griffith, who again managed to get all alone for a 5-yard TD catch.

It was all Dallas from there. Martin Gramatica connected on a 48-yard field goal, and Barber did the rest.

Terrell Owens Admits Spitting In Atlanta Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall's Face During Game

The Dallas Cowboys won a hard fought battle against their NFC foes the Atlanta Falcons 38 to 28 tonight. It was a game played with emotion -- perhaps too much so. After the game, Falcons Cornerback De Angelo Hall said Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrell Owens spit in his face during the contest.

De Angelo Hall said that in the middle of the first quarter after a third down play they wer walking back to the huddle and "He just hauled off and spit in my face."

Approached with this accusation during an after game interview with Rich Isen, Deion Sanders, and Steve Marriuci, Owens admitted that he did just that. When Deion Sanders asked him why he did it, Owens said "The kid was bothering me. He was annoying me. Getting into my face." Sanders then asked "You know what you did was wrong? Owens said that he appologized for it and it's time to "move on."

Wow. He admitted it. And as I write this, Isen, Sanders, Marriuci, and now Marshall Faulk are still talking about it.

The next question is what will the NFL do about it in the way of a fine? Another question is how will this alter Owens reputation around the league? If the reaction of the seasoned NFL alumns on the NFL Network is any indication, it's taken an immediate turn for the worst.

Stay tuned for more on this.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Indianapolis Colts v. Cinncinati Bengals Game Notes - From Indy Colts

From NFLMedia.com and Colts

Making a nationally-televised appearance for the fourth time this season, the Indianapolis Colts, 10-3, host the Cincinnati Bengals, 8-5, on Monday, December 18 in the RCA Dome. Kickoff for the contest, broadcast coast-to-coast by ESPN and Westwood One, is 8:30 p.m. (EST).

The Colts and Bengals are meeting for the second straight season in a high-profile regular-season contest. Indianapolis, sporting a 9-0 mark, visited the 7-2 Bengals last November 20, taking a 45-37 shootout. The win gave the Colts a 13-8 edge in the league series. Both clubs enter Monday battling for playoff positioning. Indianapolis is coming off a 44-
17 loss last Sunday at Jacksonville. Cincinnati posted its fourth consecutive win with a 27-10 home verdict last Sunday over Oakland.

Indianapolis is 3-0 in nationally-televised games this season, takingSunday Night verdicts at the New York Giants (26-21 on September 10), at New England (27-20 on November 5) and versus Philadelphia (45-21 on November 26).

The Colts own the NFL's best regular-season record (87-38) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn six playoff appearances in the last seven seasons. Indianapolis enters Monday's game as victors in 32 of its last 38 league games. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 23-6 record in AFC South play (including 12 wins in its last 14 divisional games), while the club has owned or shared the lead in 75 of 82 weeks of the division's existence.

Series Notes

The league series stands 13-8 in favor of the Colts, and 1-0 in favor of the Colts in post-season play. Indianapolis forged a 45-37 win at Cincinnati last November 20. Taking a 35-27 halftime lead with touchdowns on the first five possessions, the Colts earned an offensive shootout victory. QBPeyton Manning was 24-40-365, 3 TDs/1 int. passing to lead the Colts. WRReggie Wayne was 5-117, 1 TD, while TE/FB-Dallas Clark was 6-125, 1 TD and RB-Edgerrin James was 24-89, 2 TDs rushing. James tallied a rushing score in a 6th consecutive game as the Colts moved to 10-0. WR-Marvin Harrison was 5-42 to surpass 900 career receptions in his 149th game, the fastest pace in NFL history. Cincinnati produced 492 yards behind QBCarson Palmer (25-38-335, 2 TDs/1 int.).

Cincinnati rushed for 164 yards, while WR-Chad Johnson was 8-189, 1 TD receiving. The Colts posted a 28-21 victory over the Bengals on October 6, 2002 in the last regular-season series renewal in Indianapolis. In that contest, Indianapolis raced to a 21-0 first-half lead and never trailed. Manning was 21-34-224, 2 TDs/1 int. and tallied on an 11t rush to open scoring matters. Manning teamed with TEMarcus Pollard (3t) and Harrison (9-145, 1 TD, 3t) on first-half scoring plays, while James' (22-60, 1 TD) 3t fourth-quarter rush provided the winning points.

Cincinnati cut the deficit to 21-14 and 28-21, but DB-Idrees Bashir's last-minute interception of QB-Jon Kitna (31-43-244, 1 TD/3 ints.) sealed the outcome. DB-Walt Harris had two interceptions, while Cincinnati's RB-Corey Dillon (23-164, 2 TDs rushing) had a big day. The clubs met on October 24, 1999, with the Colts winning in the RCA Dome, 31-10. Cincinnati's last win in the league series came on November 9, 1997, 28-13 in Indianapolis. The Colts won the only playoff encounter between the clubs, 17-0 in Baltimore on December 26, 1970. The teams met annually in league play from 1992 through 1999.




Marino to Toss Coin and Shula to Participate
In Vince Lombardi Trophy Presentation

The NFL will salute two of the most revered names in South Florida sports history during Super Bowl XLI on
Feb. 4, 2007, it was announced today. The Super Bowl coin toss featuring DAN MARINO and the Vince
Lombardi Trophy presentation with DON SHULA will be televised live by CBS at Dolphin Stadium in South

Marino, the Dolphins’ Hall of Fame quarterback, will toss the coin moments before the start of the game.
Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history who led the Dolphins to five Super Bowls, will participate in the
Vince Lombardi Trophy ceremony following the game. Shula will carry the Vince Lombardi Trophy, given to
the Super Bowl champion, to the stage for its presentation to the winning team.

Watched by more than 141 million viewers in the U.S. last year, the Super Bowl is annually the nation’s
highest-rated TV program. The game will be broadcast to a potential worldwide audience of 1 billion people
in more than 230 countries and territories. Pregame activities begin at Dolphin Stadium at 5:40 p.m. ET.
Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, Marino ranks among the NFL’s all-time greatest
quarterbacks. Marino, who was the 1998 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, holds 17 NFL records and is
tied for six others. He played in 242 games, ranking first all-time in pass attempts (8,358), completions
(3,686), passing yards (61,361) and touchdowns (420).

Marino joins an esteemed list of Super Bowl coin toss participants, including former Presidents RONALD
REAGAN (from the Oval Office in 1985) and GEORGE H.W. BUSH; MARIE LOMBARDI, wife of Vince
Lombardi; and Pro Football Hall of Famers EARL CAMPBELL, FRANK GIFFORD, RED GRANGE,
and GENE UPSHAW. (see below for complete list of past coin toss participants)
The two-tone commemorative flip coin is silver with 24kt gold highlights and is minted by The Highland Mint
Company. The coin will feature the Super Bowl XLI logo on one side and the Vince Lombardi Trophy and
competing team logos on the other.

Shula has coached in the most Super Bowls ever (one with the Baltimore Colts, Super Bowl III and five with
the Dolphins, VI, VIII, VIII, XVII and XIX). Shula’s record as head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1963 to
1969 and the Miami Dolphins from 1970 to 1995 is unmatched in NFL history. In 1995, he concluded his
33rd season as the winningest NFL head coach ever with a career mark of 347-173-6 (.665). Of all NFL
coaches, only Shula and the immortal George Halas attained 300 victories. The Colts under Shula enjoyed
seven straight winning seasons and in 26 years at Miami, his Dolphins experienced only two seasons below
.500. Shula’s teams reached the playoffs 20 times in 33 years and won at least 10 games 21 times. In
Super Bowl VII, the 1972 Dolphins completed their historic 17-0-0 campaign – the only perfect season in
NFL history – with a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins. In 1973, Miami defeated the Minnesota
Vikings in Super Bowl VIII to culminate a two-season span in which the Dolphins won 32 of 34 games.
BART STARR, Super Bowl I MVP, participated in last year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy ceremony, which was
expanded to include a legend from a prior Super Bowl.

# # #

I-XI Game Official
XII Red Grange
XIII George Halas
XIV Art Rooney
XV Marie Lombardi
XVI Bobby Layne
XVII Elroy Hirsch
XVIII Bronko Nagurski
XIX Hugh McElhenny (with President Ronald Reagan on video)
XX Bart Starr (representing 17 MVP’s who were present)
XXI Willie Davis
XXII Don Hutson
XXIII Nick Buoniconti, Bob Griese* and Larry Little
XXIV Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Art Shell and Willie Wood*
XXV Pete Rozelle
XXVI Chuck Noll
XXVII O.J. Simpson
XXVIII Joe Namath
XXIX Otto Graham*, Joe Greene, Ray Nitschke and Gale Sayers
XXX Joe Montana, representing 25 MVPs present
XXXI Mike Ditka, Tom Flores, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, George Seifert and Hank
XXXII Joe Gibbs*, Eddie Robinson and Doug Williams
XXXIII Raymond Berry, Sam Huff, Roosevelt Brown, Art Donovan, Frank Gifford, Tom
Landry, Gino Marchetti*, Don Maynard, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker and Andy
XXXIV Bud Grant, Lamar Hunt*, Bobby Bell, Paul Krause, Willie Lanier, Alan Page and
Jan Stenerud
XXXV Marcus Allen, Ottis Anderson, Tom Flores* and Bill Parcells
XXXVI Former President George H.W. Bush* and Roger Staubach
XXXVII Miami Dolphins Hall of Famers from Undefeated ’72 Team: Don Shula*, Bob
Griese, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Jim Langer, Nick Buoniconti and Paul
XXXVIII Hall of Famers from Texas—Earl Campbell, Ollie Matson, Don Maynard, Y.A.
Tittle, Mike Singletary and Gene Upshaw
XXXIX Four young players, ages 7-10, from Jacksonville’s Pop Warner and Police
Athletic League teams and two coaches from New Orleans and Hyattsville,
Maryland (2004 NFL HS COY)
XL Super Bowl MVPs. Tom Brady performed toss.
XLI Dan Marino


From NFL Media.com

NFL-PER-15A 12/13/06


Atlanta Falcons kicker MORTEN ANDERSEN has 538 field goals and 2,433 points in his 24-year career.
Andersen needs one field goal and two points to pass GARY ANDERSON (538 field goals, 2,434 points) for
the most in NFL history.

Andersen and the Falcons host the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday night (8:00 PM ET, NFL Network).

Following is a list of quarterback injuries for Week 15 Games:
Minnesota Vikings Questionable Brooks Bollinger (Left Shoulder)
Carolina Panthers Questionable Jake Delhomme (Right Thumb)
Cleveland Browns Questionable Charlie Frye (Right Wrist)
Miami Dolphins Probable Joey Harrington (Ankle)
New England Patriots Probable Tom Brady (Right Shoulder)
New York Jets Probable Chad Pennington (Calf)
St. Louis Rams ms Probable Marc Bulger (Ribs )
Following is a list of injured players for Week 15 Games:
San Francisco 49ers
OUT TE Eric Johnson (Knee); LB Derek Smith (Hamstring); T Adam
Snyder (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE LB Jeff Ulbrich (Foot)
PROBABLE DT Anthony Adams (Knee); CB Shawntae Spencer (Ankle); T
Jonas Jennings (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Adam Snyder; Eric Johnson; Derek Smith; Jonas Jennings
WED Eric Johnson; Derek Smith; Adam Snyder
Seattle Seahawks
OUT C Robbie Tobeck (Hip); WR Darrell Jackson (Toe); TE Itula Mili
QUESTIONABLE DT Rocky Bernard (Foot); G Floyd Womack (Groin); WR Bobby
Engram (Illness)
PROBABLE DE Joe Tafoya (Calf)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Robbie Tobeck; Darrell Jackson; Itula Mili; Rocky Bernard; Floyd
WED Robbie Tobeck; Darrell Jackson; Itula Mili; Rocky Bernard; Floyd
Dallas Cowboys
QUESTIONABLE RB Oliver Hoyte (Knee)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Practice Not Complete
Atlanta Falcons
QUESTIONABLE RB Warrick Dunn (Calf); RB Jerious Norwood (Knee); CB Jason
Webster (Groin)
PROBABLE DT Grady Jackson (Knee); T Todd Weiner (Knee); C Todd
McClure (Back); WR Ashley Lelie (Thigh); CB DeAngelo Hall
(Knee); LB Keith Brooking (Knee); LB Edgerton Hartwell (Knee)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Warrick Dunn; Jerious Norwood; Grady Jackson; Todd Weiner;
Todd McClure; Ashley Lelie; DeAngelo Hall; Keith Brooking;
Edgerton Hartwell
Detroit Lions
DOUBTFUL DT Marcus Bell (Hand); CB Fernando Bryant (Concussion); G
Ross Verba (Groin); G Blaine Saipaia (Chest)
QUESTIONABLE LB Teddy Lehman (Hamstring)
PROBABLE T Jeff Backus (Foot); WR Eddie Drummond (Hip)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Marcus Bell; Fernando Bryant; Ross Verba; Blaine Saipaia;
Teddy Lehman; Jeff Backus; Eddie Drummond
Green Bay Packers
OUT DE Mike Montgomery (Knee)
DOUBTFUL T Mark Tauscher (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE WR Ruvell Martin (Chest); S Atari Bigby (Hamstring); WR
Donald Driver (Shoulder); LB Ben Taylor (Hamstring); TE David
Martin (Ribs)
PROBABLE RB Ahman Green (Knee); C Scott Wells (Illness); CB Charles
Woodson (Shoulder)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Mike Montgomery; Mark Tauscher; Ruvell Martin; Atari Bigby;
Donald Driver; Ahman Green; Scott Wells; Charles Woodson
Washington Redskins
QUESTIONABLE C Casey Rabach (Hand); T Jon Jansen (Calf)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Casey Rabach; Jon Jansen
New Orleans Saints
QUESTIONABLE S Omar Stoutmire (Knee); TE Mark Campbell (Knee); WR Joe
Horn (Groin); RB Aaron Stecker (Hamstring)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Omar Stoutmire; Mark Campbell; Joe Horn
Jacksonville Jaguars
OUT S Nick Sorensen (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE P Chris Hanson (Left Hamstring)
PROBABLE CB Ahmad Carroll (Groin); LB Jorge Cordova (Hamstring); CB
Terry Cousin (Groin); WR Cortez Hankton (Hamstring); LB Clint
Ingram (Shoulder); RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Calf); G Vincent
Manuwai (Calf); RB Montell Owens (Shoulder); LB Kenneth
Pettway (Knee); LB Daryl Smith (Shoulder); DT Marcus Stroud
(Ankle); RB Fred Taylor (Hamstring); CB Brian Williams
(Hamstring); RB Derrick Wimbush (Ankle); TE George Wrighster
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Nick Sorensen; Chris Hanson; Maurice Jones-Drew; Fred Taylor
Tennessee Titans
OUT DE Antwan Odom (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE WR Drew Bennett (Knee); RB Travis Henry (Ankle); G Benji
Olson (Back); TE Bo Scaife (Ankle); WR Brandon Jones (Chest);
RB LenDale White (Hip); DE Josh Savage (Hamstring); DE Kyle
Vanden Bosch (Illness)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Antwan Odom; Drew Bennett; Travis Henry; Benji Olson; Bo
Scaife; Kyle Vanden Bosch
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QUESTIONABLE LB Shelton Quarles (Knee); DT Ellis Wyms (Ankle); CB Juran
Bolden (Quadricep)
PROBABLE CB Phillip Buchanon (Groin)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Phillip Buchanon
Chicago Bears
OUT DT Tommie Harris (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE LB Leon Joe (Hamstring); RB Thomas Jones (Ankle); S Todd
Johnson (Ankle); T John Tait (Ankle); CB Nathan Vasher
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Practice Not Conducted
New York Jets
QUESTIONABLE RB B.J. Askew (Foot); CB David Barrett (Hip); LB Matt Chatham
(Foot); S Eric Smith (Foot); DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder)
PROBABLE RB Kevan Barlow (Calf); LB Brad Kassell (Shin); WR Justin
McCareins (Foot); DT Rashad Moore (Hand); QB Chad
Pennington (Calf); DT Dewayne Robertson (Shoulder); TE Sean
Ryan (Thigh); WR Brad Smith (Shoulder); S Jamie Thompson
(Ankle); DT Kimo Von Oelhoffen (Shoulder)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED B.J. Askew; David Barrett; Matt Chatham; Eric Smith; Bryan
Minnesota Vikings
QUESTIONABLE RB Chester Taylor (Ribs); QB Brooks Bollinger (Left Shoulder)
PROBABLE DT Pat Williams (Knee); CB Cedric Griffin (Neck); LB Napoleon
Harris (Wrist); WR Marcus Robinson (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Chester Taylor; Brooks Bollinger; Pat Williams; Cedric Griffin;
Napoleon Harris; Marcus Robinson
Cleveland Browns
DOUBTFUL LB D'Qwell Jackson (Toe); G Joe Andruzzi (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE LB Willie McGinest (Pectoral); WR Dennis Northcutt (Shoulder);
DE Nick Eason (Foot); LB Mason Unck (Groin); DT Ted
Washington (Knee); TE Kellen Winslow (Knee); CB Leigh
Bodden (Knee); QB Charlie Frye (Right Wrist)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED D'Qwell Jackson; Joe Andruzzi; Dennis Northcutt; Mason Unck;
Ted Washington; Charlie Frye
Baltimore Ravens
OUT RB Musa Smith (Neck)
QUESTIONABLE S Gerome Sapp (Thigh); WR Derrick Mason (Thigh); LB Dan
Cody (Knee)
PROBABLE T Adam Terry (Back)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Musa Smith; Gerome Sapp; Derrick Mason; Dan Cody; Adam
Miami Dolphins
OUT RB Ronnie Brown (Hand)
QUESTIONABLE WR Chris Chambers (Knee); G Jeno James (Knee)
PROBABLE C Rex Hadnot (Shoulder); QB Joey Harrington (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Ronnie Brown; Chris Chambers
Buffalo Bills
QUESTIONABLE LB John DiGiorgio (Ankle); CB Terrence McGee (Ankle); T
Jason Peters (Knee); LB Takeo Spikes (Ankle); S Donte Whitner
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED John DiGiorgio; Jason Peters; Takeo Spikes
Pittsburgh Steelers
DOUBTFUL S Mike Logan (Hamstring); S Troy Polamalu (Knee); WR
Cedrick Wilson (Ankle)
PROBABLE S Ryan Clark (Groin); C Jeff Hartings (Knee); WR Hines Ward
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Mike Logan; Troy Polamalu; Cedrick Wilson
Carolina Panthers
QUESTIONABLE WR Taye Biddle (Groin); QB Jake Delhomme (Right Thumb);
CB Chris Gamble (Thigh); RB Nick Goings (Shoulder); LB
Brandon Jamison (Thigh); CB Ken Lucas (Thigh); TE Kris
Mangum (Hip)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Taye Biddle; Jake Delhomme; Chris Gamble; Nick Goings; Ken
Lucas; Kris Mangum
Houston Texans
OUT RB Jameel Cook (Knee)
DOUBTFUL S C.C. Brown (Foot)
PROBABLE C Drew Hodgdon (Foot); WR Jerome Mathis (Groin); DE
Anthony Weaver (Knee); DE Mario Williams (Foot)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Jameel Cook; C.C. Brown; Jerome Mathis
New England Patriots
OUT LB Don Davis (Knee/IR); RB Patrick Pass (Hamstring/ R)
DOUBTFUL S Rodney Harrison (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE CB Ellis Hobbs (Wrist); TE Daniel Graham (Ankle); LB Eric
Alexander (Shoulder); S Rashad Baker (Thigh); WR Chad
Jackson (Groin); RB Laurence Maroney (Back); T Ryan
O'Callaghan (Neck); TE Benjamin Watson (Knee); DT Vince
Wilfork (Ankle); DE Mike Wright (Shoulder)
PROBABLE QB Tom Brady (Right Shoulder); LB Corey Mays (Hamstring);
DE Richard Seymour (Elbow)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Rodney Harrison; Ellis Hobbs; Daniel Graham; Eric Alexander;
Rashad Baker; Chad Jackson; Laurence Maroney; Ryan
O'Callaghan; Benjamin Watson; Vince Wilfork; Mike Wright
St. Louis Rams
OUT LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (Hand)
QUESTIONABLE DE Victor Adeyanju (Forearm); S Jerome Carter (Ankle); RB
Paul Smith (Neck)
PROBABLE DE Leonard Little (Neck); LB Isaiah Kacyvenski (Concussion);
QB Marc Bulger (Ribs)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Practice Not Complete
Oakland Raiders
OUT RB LaMont Jordan (Knee); DE Lance Johnstone (Knee)
DOUBTFUL WR Jerry Porter (Hip); G Corey Hulsey (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE T Robert Gallery (Elbow); WR Randy Moss (Ankle)
PROBABLE DT Tommy Kelly (Knee); G Barry Sims (Abdomen); CB Nnamdi
Asomugha (Quadricep)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Practice Not Complete
Denver Broncos
QUESTIONABLE TE Stephen Alexander (Ribs); T Adam Meadows (Hamstring)
PROBABLE S Hamza Abdullah (Hamstring); K Jason Elam (Left Hamstring);
S Quentin Harris (Finger); WR Brandon Marshall (Ankle); T Erik
Pears (Ankle); WR Rod Smith (Hip); CB Darrent Williams
(Shoulder); LB Al Wilson (Thumb)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Stephen Alexander; Adam Meadows; Darrent Williams
Arizona Cardinals
DOUBTFUL RB Marcel Shipp (Ribs)
PROBABLE CB Robert Tate (Illness); T Reggie Wells (Illness); DE Chike
Okeafor (Calf); S Hanik Milligan (Illness)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Marcel Shipp; Robert Tate; Reggie Wells; Chike Okeafor; Hanik
Philadelphia Eagles
QUESTIONABLE LB Matt McCoy (Shoulder); LB Shawn Barber (Neck); CB
Roderick Hood (Hamstring)
PROBABLE C Jamaal Jackson (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Shawn Barber
New York Giants
OUT T Luke Petitgout (Fibula)
DOUBTFUL DE Michael Strahan (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE C Shaun O'Hara (Ankle); CB Corey Webster (Toe)
PROBABLE K Jay Feely (Right Foot); T Kareem McKenzie (Neck)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Luke Petitgout; Michael Strahan; Shaun O'Hara
Kansas City Chiefs
QUESTIONABLE DE Jimmy Wilkerson (Hamstring); T Kyle Turley (Shoulder); LB
Rich Scanlon (Neck)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Jimmy Wilkerson; Kyle Turley; Rich Scanlon
San Diego Chargers
OUT WR Malcom Floyd (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL G Scott Mruczkowski (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE DE Luis Castillo (Ankle); LB Randall Godfrey (Calf); LB Marques
Harris (Hamstring); WR Keenan McCardell (Calf); LB Shaun
Phillips (Hamstring); DE Derreck Robinson (Foot)
PROBABLE C Nick Hardwick (Ankle); S Marlon McCree (Calf); S Bhawoh
Jue (Knee); DT Jamal Williams (Knee); RB Michael Turner
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Practice Not Complete
Cincinnati Bengals
OUT WR Kelley Washington (Hamstring)
DOUBTFUL C Rich Braham (Knee); T Levi Jones (Knee)
PROBABLE LB Caleb Miller (Ankle); TE Tony Stewart (Ankle); T Willie
Anderson (Foot)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Walk through Conducted
Indianapolis Colts
OUT TE Dallas Clark (Knee); WR Brandon Stokley (Achilles)
QUESTIONABLE S Bob Sanders (Knee); RB Dominic Rhodes (Wrist); WR Aaron
Moorehead (Back); CB Marlin Jackson (Shoulder); CB Nicholas
Harper (Ankle); T Ryan Diem (Groin); CB Antoine Bethea
(Shoulder); RB Joseph Addai (Foot)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Practice Not Conducted

Thursday, December 14, 2006

NY Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka Performing Well In 2006

Another Great Article By Giants Beatwriter & Blogger Arthur Staple of NEWSDAY-My comments at the end.

Kiwanuka doing more than expected
December 13, 2006

This final season for Ernie Accorsi hasn't exactly gone as he'd planned. He probably figured the Giants would improve on last season's 11-5 record and go deeper into the playoffs before he retired after 36 years in the NFL. Instead, his prized quarterback has been under fire, his Hall of Fame defensive end is injured and his potential Hall of Fame running back is retiring along with Accorsi.

But the season can still be redeemed. And a large part of how the Giants withstood the barrage of injuries and poor play over their four-game losing streak can be traced to a decision Accorsi and his staff made in April, one that was seemingly a head-scratcher at the time.

The Giants traded down in the first round of the draft and selected Mathias Kiwanuka, a long, lean defensive end. "You can never have too many pass rushers," Accorsi said at the time. It sounded like a hollow cliché then: With Pro Bowlers Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora and improving second-year DE Justin Tuck, where would Kiwanuka play?

Accorsi is hardly feeling vindicated now. Just relieved that Kiwanuka not only has played, but done a very solid job for a rookie. For three games, he was the only true pass rusher on the field for the Giants, with Strahan out for five games and counting, Umenyiora out for six and Tuck done for the year.

"He's saved us," Accorsi said yesterday. "It's like a rookie pitcher. You start him off in middle relief to work him in slowly, but he ends up in the rotation. Kiwanuka didn't just end up in the rotation, he was our No. 1 starter for a month."

True, the Giants didn't win in that month, and Kiwanuka figured prominently in two of the losses. His failure to put Vince Young on the ground was one of many costly mistakes in the loss to the Titans. His fumble after an interception gave the Cowboys life in the first quarter when a Giants score could have made things difficult for Dallas.

But Kiwanuka hasn't missed a beat, or a play. He's been on the field for every defensive snap since he took over for Umenyiora against the Bucs seven games ago, and he still has kickoff and punt coverage duties.

That he quickly recovered from both errors - and from having his Cadillac Escalade stolen out of the Giants Stadium parking lot, which would be enough to push you or me over the edge on its own - speaks to the other reason Accorsi drafted Kiwanuka.

"Even after those two unfortunate events, I didn't worry about him the way I would another rookie," Accorsi said. "He's such a serious, mentally strong kid. He's had to do a lot more than we'd have thought this year, and under fire, too. This stuff is only going to help him."

It's helping his wallet, too. According to a person familiar with Kiwanuka's contract, the rookie could earn an extra $150,000 on top of his $275,000 salary for 2006, $50,000 for playing 60 percent of the defensive snaps and having four sacks, which he reached in Charlotte on Sunday, and $100,000 for being named first-team All-Rookie. He and No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams of the Texans seem to be shoo-ins at end. Kiwanuka also can trigger escalators in his 2010 salary with the sack and playing-time numbers this season if he stays on course.

Strahan already is a near-certainty to miss Sunday's game and a real question mark to return before the playoffs. "If we didn't think he was coming back, we'd have put him on IR," Accorsi said. So Kiwanuka will be counted upon to provide Umenyiora with a capable complement the rest of the way.

It's a far cry from April, when Accorsi told his coaching staff that he "wasn't drafting a guy to stand next to me in the tunnel."

You really can't have enough pass rushers.

And my Take: No, you really can't have too many Studs on the D-line. I remember sitting at the draft With Zennie, and Next level Scouting's and now Yahoo Sports' John Murphy and being mildly surprised that The Giants would select another Defensive end except for depth. That was 7+ months ago. Guess Ernie Accorsi thought ahead, knowing that Strahan wouldn't play forever.

My Lamar Hunt Story

As you may know, Kansas City Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt passed away yesterday at the age of 74 and from complications developing from prostate cancer. What you may now know is that Lamar Hunt is truly a kind man.

Now I'm not passing myself off as his good friend or buddy. Not even close. I'm just an acquaintance. But Mr. Hunt did something I will always remember -- indeed, I have a reminder of it. It's a note from him.

I met Mr. Hunt at my first NFL Owners Meeting as I headed the effort to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland. This meeting was in the fall of 1999, specifically November 1-3rd, and at the Hyatt Regency O'hare. Because the league's business in naming the Houston Texans the 32nd NFL Franchise had been conducted at the previous NFL meeting, the schedule was shortened and the "Super Bowl Policy Committee Meeting" that was to be the destination for the Oakland and Alameda County elected officials involved was moved up one day. Now, only one Oakland representative was in Chicago to be at that meeting.


I presented the case for Oakland to a committee that consisted of then-NFL Chief Operating Officer Neil Austrian, NFL Senior Vice President of Special Events ("Mr. Super Bowl) Jim Steeg, the now late NY Giants Co-Owner Bob Tisch, Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay, and Mr. Hunt.

After a presentation that Mr. Irsay said was "outstanding" both he and Mr. Hunt were kind enough to just grab my bags and help me pack my equipment. All the while Mr. Hunt said "So where are we going this weekend, Jim?" And basically teasing Irsay about the upcomming game between the Colts and the Chiefs. So there I was being helped by these giants of the league and just plain having a great time talking. Mr. Hunt asked me what I thought about the talent of Peter Warrick (I told him I thought he had other-worldly speed and that he should be gotten if possible.) Then Mr. Hunt gave me his card and told me to keep in touch.

Much later -- in late 2000 after we lost to Jacksonville for the right to host the 2005 Super Bowl -- I got a small envelop in the mail and which contained one 3-by-5 inch note paper with a message scribbled on it. "From The Desk Of Lamar Hunt."

The hand writing was such that I had to read it and re-read it, but Mr. Hunt thanked me for leading Oakland's effort and encouraged me not to give up. Given all that I'd went through, it was more than welcome. But what got me then and now is that the note didn't come from the City of Oakland or the mayor, or any California official, or from anyone connected with the Oakland effort. It came from Lamar Hunt.

For that, Mr. Hunt always has a special place in my heart and memory.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs Owner Passes At 74

AFL founder, Chiefs owner Hunt dead at 74

NFL.com wire reports

DALLAS (Dec. 14, 2006) -- Lamar Hunt, the pro sports visionary who owned the Kansas City Chiefs and came up with the term "Super Bowl," died Dec. 13. He was 74.

Hunt, the son of a famous and wealthy Texas family, died at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas of complications from prostate cancer, Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said.

Lamar Hunt 1932-2006

Lamar Hunt founded the AFL and helped shape the modern NFL.

Hunt battled cancer for several years and was hospitalized the day before Thanksgiving with a partially collapsed lung. Doctors discovered that the cancer had spread, and Hunt had been under heavy sedation since last week.

"He was a founder. He was the energy, really, that put together half of the league, and then he was the key person in merging the two leagues together," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Hunt's neighbor. "You'd be hard-pressed to find anybody that's made a bigger contribution (to the NFL) than Lamar Hunt."

The son of Texas oilman H.L. Hunt, Lamar Hunt grew up in Dallas and attended a private boys' prep school in Pennsylvania, serving as captain of the football team in his senior year. His love of sports led to his nickname, "Games."

Hunt played football at SMU, but never rose above third string. His modest achievements on the field were dwarfed by his accomplishments as an owner and promoter of teams in professional football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and bowling.

Hunt's business dealings were also the stuff of headlines. Hunt didn't need to make money -- his father was an oil wildcatter who was often referred to as the richest man in the world. But he tried to build on his father's wealth.

Along with two brothers, Hunt tried to corner the silver market in 1979 and 1980. Their oil investments also soured in the 1980s. Some estimated the family's losses in the billions.

Hunt also suffered setbacks in the world of pro sports, but overcame them.

When NFL owners rebuffed Hunt's attempt to buy a franchise and move it to Dallas, Hunt -- ignoring his father's advice -- founded the AFL. He owned one of the AFL's eight original teams from the inaugural 1960 season, the Dallas Texans.

The Texans, however, struggled in head-to-head competition with the expansion Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Convinced that both franchises would suffer as long as Dallas remained a two-team city, Hunt moved the Texans to Kansas City in 1963.

"I looked around and figured Kansas City could be a success," he told The Associated Press. "By our fourth or fifth year, we started to succeed. The Cowboys, of course, did very well, too."

Hunt realized his dream of becoming an NFL owner after the two leagues reached a merger deal in 1966.

In 1967, the Chiefs lost the first AFL-NFL championship -- it was then called the World Championship Game. Three years later, the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings for the title.

By then, the championship game had been christened the Super Bowl. Hunt came up with the name while watching his children play with a SuperBall.

In 1972, Hunt became the first AFL figure to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and each year the Lamar Hunt Trophy goes to the winner of the NFL's American conference.

Hunt long campaigned to let teams other than Dallas and Detroit play at home on Thanksgiving Day. To honor his effort, the NFL scheduled a third game on the holiday this year -- in Kansas City. Hunt missed it, though, because he was in the hospital and couldn't get the game on TV.

For several years, Hunt also owned the minor-league baseball Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs, but his 1964 effort to bring major league baseball to the Dallas area failed. After the 1971 season, the Washington franchise moved to suburban Arlington and became the Texas Rangers.

In 1967, Hunt was one of 10 original founding partners in the Chicago Bulls basketball franchise. He was the last remaining original owner.

Also in 1967, Hunt started the first organized effort at a pro tennis tour with World Championship Tennis, and in 1968 he helped bring pro soccer to the United States with his Dallas Tornado of the old North American Soccer League.

More recently, Hunt and his sons owned Hunt Sports Group, which manages Major League Soccer franchises in Dallas, Kansas City and Columbus, Ohio.

In 1969, Hunt tried to buy Alcatraz, the island in San Francisco Bay that once housed a federal prison, and develop it with a tourist park and shopping destination. The idea died amid local protest.

Hunt created Worlds of Fun, a $50 million amusement park, and Oceans of Fun, a $7 million water recreation park, in Kansas City. He opened a pro bowling arena in Dallas -- actress Jayne Mansfield was the opening-night draw.

Hunt was part of H.L. Hunt's "first family" -- the wildcatter had 15 children by three women. Despite huge losses in the silver and oil markets, family members kept much of their wealth protected by elaborate trusts, and their names have long dotted lists of the wealthiest Americans.

Counting pro football, Hunt has been inducted into eight halls of fame, including ones for soccer and tennis as well as the Texas Business Hall of Fame and the Kansas City Business Hall of Fame.

Hunt is survived by wife Norma, children Lamar Jr., Sharron Munson, Clark and Daniel; and 13 grandchildren.

The Associated Press News Service


NFL-PER-15 12/12/06

San Francisco 49ers
OUT T Adam Snyder (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE TE Eric Johnson (Knee); LB Derek Smith (Hamstring); CB Shawntae Spencer
(Ankle); LB Jeff Ulbrich (Foot)
PROBABLE DT Anthony Adams (Knee); T Jonas Jennings (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Adam Snyder; Eric Johnson; Derek Smith; Jonas Jennings
Seattle Seahawks
OUT C Robbie Tobeck (Hip); WR Darrell Jackson (Toe); TE Itula Mili (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE DT Rocky Bernard (Foot); G Floyd Womack (Groin); WR Bobby Engram (Illness)
PROBABLE DE Joe Tafoya (Calf)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Robbie Tobeck; Darrell Jackson; Itula Mili; Rocky Bernard; Floyd Womack

NY area Fans STILL Getting Squeezed By NFL network

NY area Fans STILL Getting Squeezed By NFL network-from today's NY times sports section.

Published: December 13, 2006
The NFL Network has offered Time Warner and Cablevision an opportunity for their New York-New Jersey subscribers to see Rutgers play Kansas State in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 if they accept the network’s weeklong free preview.

Yesterday, Time Warner and Cablevision — with about 4.5 million customers in the local market — did not show enthusiasm for the offer. Cablevision’s response showed that it did not want to give the channel much exposure.

Cablevision said it expected to carry only the pregame programming before the Texas Bowl, the game and any postgame coverage, not the full week from Dec. 24 to Dec. 30. It would be available to Cablevision’s Family Cable customers on Channel 14.

In doing so, Cablevision would eliminate the NFL Network’s hope of showing the breadth of its programming to customers who had not seen it and might demand it from Time Warner and Cablevision.

Maureen Huff, a Time Warner spokeswoman, said, “We just received the proposal and are looking at it.” She declined to say whether Time Warner was considering the same limited response as Cablevision.

League spokesmen refused to comment on whether Cablevision’s response violated the terms of the weeklong offer. “We will review their full response,” said Joe Browne, a spokesman.

Time Warner and Cablevision have refused to carry the NFL Network, at a monthly subscriber fee of 70 cents, on a broadly available tier like expanded basic.

The free preview, a common marketing tool in cable, especially for movie channels, was offered by Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, during a telephone conversation yesterday with Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey. The league has received several hundred phone calls from fans who want to see the Rutgers-Kansas State bowl game.

Lautenberg has been lobbying the league to broaden the coverage of the Texas Bowl ever since it appeared possible that Rutgers would play in it. “The bottom line is that people in New Jersey need to be able to watch Rutgers play, and now we have a way to do that,” Lautenberg said in a statement.

The league chose to provide the free preview rather than license the game to local broadcast stations in the New York-New Jersey or Manhattan, Kan., areas, or stream it to broadband Internet users on NFL.com.

And my Take: This is just another slap in the face by The NFL network to it's NY area fans. People who don't want to pay for the Poor service of Dish Network or to Give Verizon anymore money. Some of us really want this Coverage, but we are happy That CABLEvision and Time Warner are standing up for us customers. It would be nice to have the free Preview though.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Indianapolis Coach Problem - Defensive Line Injuries Galore!


You know I'm really surprised at how the media misses the important details in football. Take the Colts Defense. Do you know that three of their defensive line people -- two of them starting tackles -- have been out for the year?

Look at this:

20 Doss, Mike Defensive Back IR Knee 12-11-06 - 04:40 PM
96 Goddard, Johnathan Defensive End IR Foot 12-11-06 - 04:40 PM
23 Mungro, James Running Back IR Knee 12-11-06 - 04:40 PM
90 Reagor, Montae Defensive Tackle Non-Football Illness/Injury 12-11-06 - 04:40 PM
97 Simon, Corey Defensive Tackle Non-Football Illness/Injury 12-11-06 - 04:40 PM

That list also includes Mike Doss and for some reason Bob Sanders is missing from this sheet, which comes from their website. That's six defensive players. It's not to so much the Colts personel as just plain injuries. But the Colts have to find a way, and there's an answer at least for the short term.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chicago Bears Clinch Division; Beat Rams 42-27

Bears profit on Hester's returns 42-27
NFL.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS (Dec. 11, 2006) -- Devin Hester expects teams to keep on kicking deep to him. And he expects to keep right on returning those kicks to the end zone.

The high-stepping rookie got the Rams' home dome rocking with chants of "Let's Go Bears!" as he set an NFL record with his fifth and sixth returns for touchdowns this season, a 94-yard kickoff runback in the second quarter and a 96-yarder in the final period. That sparked a 42-27 victory that gave the NFC North champions (11-2) a bye for the first week of the playoffs.

"It's the NFL, and a team is not going to bow down to one player," Hester said. "They'll continue to kick to me."

They're fools if they do.

"It's like the gates of Heaven opening up for me," he added.

A second-round draft pick, Hester also has three punt return touchdowns and ran back a missed field goal 108 yards against the Giants to tie the longest play in NFL history. But he had returned only six kickoffs all season before his historic romps that made the thousands of fans who trekked from Chicago rise from their seats.

"I almost thought we were back at Soldier Field," coach Lovie Smith said.

Hester struggled to find a position in college at Miami, but he has been a sensation with the ball in his hands on kick returns for the Bears.

"The story of the game is Devin Hester," Smith said. "It's time we start looking at him as an offensive player. There are a lot of good offensive rookies in the league making big plays, but who has had as much impact as Devin Hester has in the league as a rookie right now?"

He came through the middle on the first runback, then swiftly cut to his left untouched and sped down the sideline, high-stepping like a drum major the last few yards while holding up the football for the raucous Bears fans.

Hester outdid himself in the fourth quarter when it appeared the Rams might try an onside kick. The only Bear standing deep, he went straight up the center of the field, again untouched, and turned around at the Rams 20 looking for pursuers. No one was there.

He admitted it was a tribute to his friend Deion Sanders.

"That played a major role in us losing the game," Rams cornerback Ron Bartell said. "We lost by 15. You take away those two returns, we've got a pretty good game."

Beleaguered quarterback Rex Grossman had a pretty good game and the Chicago running attack dominated the last two quarters.

Carrying a 14-13 lead into the second half, the Bears outgained the Rams (5-8) 191 yards to 31 in the third quarter. They scored on Thomas Jones' 30-yard run and Muhsin Muhammad's superb fingertip catch of a 14-yard pass from Grossman, who probably quieted calls for his benching -- particularly from the thousands of fans who outshouted Rams rooters much of the evening.

Rex Grossman temporarily silenced his critics with a mistake-free two-touchdown performance.
"They were all over the place tonight," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "I could hear the crowd chanting 'Bears, Bears, Bears.' Man, that's a warm feeling being away from home."

Grossman was 6-for-19 for 34 yards in a victory against Minnesota last week and had registered six interceptions and no touchdowns in the past two games, but was 13-for-23 for 200 yards and two scores against St. Louis. Aside from the fade pass to Muhammad, he hit Bernard Berrian on a perfect slant pattern for a 34-yard score late in the second period.

"The best way of describing it is efficient and decisive and getting the ball to guys I needed to," Grossman said.

Chicago rushed for only 65 yards against the Rams' porous run defense in the first half, then Jones gained 58 yards on the Bears' first series of the second half. That included a 24-yarder featuring a flashy spin move.

The Rams did get a 6-yard TD pass to Torry Holt midway through the fourth quarter, and a 6-yarder to Steven Jackson with 4:41 left. But they barely stung thanks to Hester's heroics.

"To beat a team like that you almost have to play perfect, and we didn't," QB Marc Bulger said. Now the Rams have lost seven of eight and are all but eliminated from playoff consideration.

Chicago kicker Robbie Gould missed twice on field-goal attempts -- from 37 and 49 yards. They were only his second and third misses of the season.

When Chicago's special teams came through early -- on Brad Maynard's punt downed at the St. Louis 1 -- the defense couldn't. Holt caught back-to-back passes of 13 and 16 yards, then Marc Bulger's perfect throw on third-and-13 found Kevin Curtis for 39 yards. Looking like the vintage Rams of the early decade on the 99-yard drive, they also converted a fourth-and-1 on Stephen Davis' 16-yard run to the 1 before Holt's double move beat Hester for the score.

A bad snap botched the extra point.

To their credit, the Rams responded immediately to Hester's first TD return with a 72-yard drive featuring Jackson, who gained 35 yards and ran in from the 2.

It was then the Bears' turn for an impressive drive that covered 74 yards, capped by Berrian's 34-yard TD catch and run for a 14-13 halftime edge.

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