NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has lowered the boom on the New Orleans Saints as a result of the bounty system that was put in place by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for three seasons. Williams left the Saints earlier this offseason to take the same coaching position in St. Louis where longtime friend Jeff Fisher is now the head coach.
The Saints knew that discipline was going to come from Roger Goodell at some point but I don’t think they knew it was going to be this harsh.
Per a league source and PFT’s Mike Florio, Saints head coach Sean Peyton has been suspended for the full year. Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely and Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for eight games.
Obviously, I’ll have more on this as it becomes available.
Eli Manning is now a two time Super Bowl MVP (AP)
Super Bowl XLVI is in the books. We’ve seen this movie before from the Giants. The New England Patriots wee once again on the receiving end of a crushing defeat.
The New York Giants reign victorious over the New England Patriots once again. Four years ago in Glendale, Arizona the Giants shocked the world by defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and ruined the Patriots attempt at perfection. Fast forward to November 6, 2011 – week 9 of the season – the Giants defeated the Patriots one again. This time, it was in the Patriots back yard, Foxborough, Mass. Eli Manning engineered yet another fourth quarter comeback and led the Giants to a 24-20 victory. The loss to the Giants in week 9 was the last time the Patriots tasted defeat in the 2011-12 season prior to Super Bowl XLVI.
Last night in Indianapolis, Indiana in Lucas Oil Stadium – the “House that Peyton built”, Eli Manning and the Giants got the better of the Patriots for the third straight time and the second time in four years on the worlds biggest stage. The New York Giants finished the job and defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI and earned the right to be called champions.
From the moment the Giants traded up for Manning in the 2004 draft, rather than take Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger, there has been a constant argument among fans and pundits over whether that move was a smart one.
Manning has constantly had to deal with comparisons to his talented older brother Peyton, while many said he was not in the same class as Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, and even after winning his first Super Bowl four years ago, a typical NFL talking point has been whether Eli can be considered an ‘elite’ quarterback.
Tom Coughlin, Eli’s head coach of his entire career thus far, says it’s time for the talk to stop.
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin holds the the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants' 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. (Chris O'Meara / AP)
“I thought again about this business of elite quarterbacks. I think that question has come and gone. I don’t think we will hear much about that again.” - Tom Coughlin
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, normally keen to steer clear of such talk, chose the presentation of the MVP award to comment on Manning’s place in the rankings of top quarterbacks in the league.
“He’s only the fifth player to be named on a multiple basis as MVP of the Super Bowl, and he joins a pretty elite group of quarterbacks that achieved that.” - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
Manning though, preferred to talk about the contributions of his team-mates and their prospects for the future.
“I’m excited about a number of young guys who stepped up this season. There were some questions going into the beginning of the season on a few spots, but that quickly got answered. Victor Cruz has been a great story, Jake Ballard. Some of these guys have played great football, made great plays for us this year. We felt we had talent across the board on the team, that there were a few spots where we needed young guys to step up, as any team always does every year. You’re going to need young players to come in and play a role, and give you a chance to win a championship.” - Eli Manning
While the talk over Manning’s elite status may subside, the comparisons with his brother are unlikely to.
Peyton’s future, as he tries to return from a neck injury, is uncertain but it could well involve a move away from the Indianapolis Colts.
The two brothers spent some time in conversation after Sunday’s game but Eli said there was no issue of him now having ‘bragging rights’ over his brother who has a single Super Bowl ring.
“This isn’t about bragging rights. This is a lot bigger. This is about a team, an organization being named world champions, and that was the ultimate goal.That’s the only thing that’s important, is the team finding a way to get a victory. That’s the only thing I care about and Peyton and I both know that’s what the goal is every year. It’s not about anything else.” - Eli Manning
Eli is right, but he’s certainly got the right to brag and a heck of a lot to brag about. Eli Manning is no longer in anyone else’s shadow. He’s earned the right to stand alone. Today, he’s standing alone with the rest of his teammates on top of the NFL’s mountaintop as Super Bowl champions. The New England Patriots are standing with the other 31 teams in the NFL wondering what could have, should have, or might have been.
You can’t spell elite without the ELI.
Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is accused of trying to set up a drug distribution network in the Chicago area. (AP file photo)
Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges yesterday. That was only the tip of the iceberg. Hurd isn’t a brand name in the NFL but seems to having a growing reputation in the drug world. The arrest took place in Chicago but according to reports in the Dallas Morning News this relates to an attempt to purchase drugs from a supplier in North Texas, and that a Texas-based office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is handling the investigation.
When I first heard this story, I decided to hold off on writing about it because I knew that it was just the beginning and a lot more details would become available. Man oh man, I was right.
The crew over at Pro Football Talk did a nice job of outlining the details that have become public from the complaint against Hurd. They also post a direct link to the criminal complaint for our viewing pleasure. It’s pretty awesome stuff. I didn’t even know those types of things were available on the internet. I’m not shocked that they are, but I wouldn’t know where to find them. You can download the official document detailing Hurd’s case right here.
Yesterday, we learned that Hurd’s client list consisted of NFL players. A law enforcement source told 670 The Score in Chicago the number of NFL players on Hurd’s client list is believed to be in double digits.
The Chicago Tribune has reaction from Hurd’s teammates and coaches including longtime teammate and close friend Roy Williams who was teammates with Hurd for two seasons in Dallas. Williams and Hurd signed with the Bears as free agents on the same day. Williams says that he doesn’t have much to say to his friend. The news of Hurd’s arrest hurts and shocks the Bears organization.
If the NFL wasn’t feeling any heat from this before, I bet they are now. The reality of the situation is that commissioner Roger Goodell may have to ready his league for a major scandal.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books, and there’s plenty to talk about before round two starts up again tonight. Cam Newton was picked first overall and fellated unceasingly by pretty much everyone with a microphone for the rest of the night. The lockout scared a bunch of teams into taking quarterbacks who might not otherwise have.
Here is, in my humble estimation, the biggest winner and losers of round 1.
Cleveland Browns – There’s a reason you don’t often see a bunch of trades at the top of the draft. It just costs too much to move very far when you’re talking about those top picks. Nevertheless, the Atlanta Falcons made one of the boldest deals you’re ever going to see, trading all the way up to number six overall to take Julio Jones with the Browns’ pick.
The reason the Browns get the win here is because Atlanta literally traded the farm for the pick. The Browns moved from 6 down to 27, but in return for that move they received Atlanta’s second- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft, and the Falcons’ first- and fourth-round picks in next year’s draft.
You don’t often see a team acquire four extra draft picks all in one fell swoop, but that’s exactly what the Browns did, and very well could have moved their rebuilding schedule up a couple of years in the process.
Detroit Lions - Yesterday, the Detroit Lions used the 13th overall pick in the draft to gather their second consecutive Lombardi Award winner in two years. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley—the defensive star of the undefeated 2010 BCS National Champion Tigers —will now line up next to former Lombardi Award winner, AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and rookie Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
In addition to Suh and Fairley, the Lions’ defensive tackle rotation includes Corey Williams, Andre Fluellen, Sammie Hill and Robert Callaway. With Fairley, Kevin Siefert of ESPN.com described the Lions front four as “probably the best defensive line in football.”
Atlanta Falcons – I’m sure there are plenty of people who will laud the Falcons for their bold move in trading up 21 spots to nab Julio Jones, but I’m not one of them. It’s not that I don’t believe in Jones. I think he’s going to be a very good receiver, and the combo of Jones and Roddy White should make Atlanta more than a handful for any team to face. NFC South cornerbacks are going to be getting a whole lot less sleep this year.
Even so, history has shown time and time again that trading away huge loads of draft picks to get one particular player just doesn’t work. Ask Mike Ditka how Ricky Williams worked out for him. Draft picks are just too important to give up a whole heap of them to pin all your hopes on just one player.
The Falcons may look awfully good this coming season, but I think when you look at the load of players the Browns will get with all the picks Atlanta traded away we’ll all be wondering what in the world the Falcons were thinking.
Roger Goodell – To be quite honest, the best moment of the entire night may have been Goodell, in all his smug glory, taking the stage and being roundly booed by the gathered throng, then forced to endure the chants of, “WE WANT FOOTBALL,” as he tried to quiet the crowd by telling them he agreed with them. It was squirm-inducing television at its very finest, witnessing the fans have their say on the most public stage imaginable, while the man who represents the NFL stood helplessly by, looking for all the world like he would prefer to be literally anywhere else in the world at that moment.
Lockout. It’s the “L” word everyone’s talking about.
Next season for both football and basketball could be in jeopardy unfortunately. Distribution of wealth and the owners’ desire to implement an 18-game season threaten to disrupt the NFL season, which apparently runs from April to February. The NBA is seeking to reduce player costs by about 700 to 800 million dollars Contraction has been discussed, but what would the world do without the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Charlotte Bobcats, apparently extinct NBA species for the better part of a decade.
When the clock strikes midnight on March 4, the NFL’s labor agreement will have officially expired. If no new CBA is in place by then, there will be no spring B-Roll of 3rd string quarterbacks vying for the coveted job of holding a clipboard and getting free admission to NFL games during the fall. If players and owners continue to bicker, the entire offseason, training camp, and preseason could be lost. The draft will be allowed to continue, however, in lieu of a team hat and congratulatory hand shake from Roger Goodell, the draftee will get up, be handed a piece of paper that says “IOU one NFL contract.”
Using words like “collusion” and “supplemental revenue sharing” would make this missive sound like one of those local city hall meetings on public access that are so popular among the sleepless and inebriated. Let’s just say that the owners want the players to shrink their percentage of the revenue. It sounds like a pretty reasonable demand doesn’t it? “We want you guys to play two more meaningful games, absorb an extra 120 minutes worth of collisions, and take less money to do so. Sound good?”
Collective bargaining. It sounds so innocuous. Athletes today are still trading for fur, just now using a lot of cash to do so.
The NBA has seen revenues and salaries skyrocket The NBA owners are pushing for a salary cap to protect them from being Koncak-ed and Commissioner David Stern (whose Q-Rating needs to be viewed with a very high-powered microscope at the moment) has said some teams may need to be contracted to make ends meet. Where will all those empty seats at Sacramento Kings’ games go? Stern and the NBA owners say they have lost $400 million, which, if true, would make me more profitable than the league (I don’t believe it either).
The players union and the NFL have enjoyed 23 years of marital bliss and the NBA, 12. Of course, like every marriage, there is the usual name calling, monetary gripes, and chair throwing. A looming storm cloud threatens to wipe out the seasons of two of the biggest sports seasons in the US, potentially forcing people to search for some other amusement outside the 46 inches in their living room. Oh my.
The NFL and NBA are in danger of being taken away from us as fans all because these athletes and owners can’t get on the same page as to how to decide over millions of dollars. Oh, the pity. The hardcore sports nut like me will always watch and always go to games but what about casual fans? That’s where the lockouts would take the biggest hit. Where does it end? A good thing usually isn’t appreciated until its gone and if nothing gets done, that will be exactly what happens.
The NFL issued a statement, noting that Favre “was not candid in several respects during the investigation.”
The release stated Favre was fined for “his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner.”
The league wanted to make a ruling before the end of the season but did not want to do it on New Year’s Day.
“On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct. The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger,” the league’s statement said. “The review found no evidence to contradict the statements of both Favre and Sterger that they never met in person, nor was there anything to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.”
The NFL was still interviewing and gathering information on the case as recently as last week.
Sterger, a former New York Jets media personality, had claimed Favre sexually harassed her when both were with the New York franchise in 2008.
Favre allegedly sent Sterger inappropriate text and phone messages, as well as photos of his genitalia. The allegations were first reported by Deadspin.com.
Favre admitted to leaving Sterger voice messages but denied sending her lewd photographs.
Through her attorney, Joseph Conway, Sterger expressed disappointment at the NFL’s decision and called it “an affront to all females.”
“My client and I are extremely disappointed, but not surprised, at today’s NFL announcement that Brett Favre did not violate the NFL ‘workplace conduct’ policy. While I am not privy to how Mr. Goodell reached such a finding, we strongly disagree with his conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to support a violation of the policy,” Conway’s statement said.
“It clearly shows that an NFL star player was given preferential treatment and tells all other players that failure to cooperate may cost you some money but will not result in other punishment,” added Conway, who said there was “ample evidence” the photos were of Favre.
“Additionally, today’s decision is an affront to all females and shows once again that, despite tough talk, the NFL remains the good old boys’ league.”