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NFL Looking to Eliminate The Extra Point


Belichick said earlier last month he thought extra points had become too automatic, and now it seems the league might be getting rid of them completely. (USA TODAY Images)

Last season Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm on an extra point against the Colts during their blowout win, and suffered another blow when broke it again in the postseason.  That led to infections that set his recovery back during this offseason and ultimately cost him most of the first half of 2013.

Now it appears this offseason the league is going to explore eliminating them from the game completely.

Just a few weeks after Bill Belichick said he thought they had become “virtually automatic”, Roger Goodell basically agreed after telling Rich Eisen of the NFL Network that the NFL is examining proposals for removing it, citing the very reason Belichick mentioned previously. ¬†However, he made an interesting suggestion of how to replace it.

‚ÄúThe extra point is almost automatic,‚ÄĚ Goodell said via ProFootballTalk.com. ‚ÄúI believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd (1,256-for-1,261, to be precise). So it‚Äôs a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.¬†There‚Äôs one proposal in particular that I‚Äôve heard about. It‚Äôs automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.‚ÄĚ

That would add some additional drama, although it remains to be seen with that potential penalty how many teams would attempt it.  Either way the discussions will likely continue and should add an interesting story line this offseason.

Former NFL Receiver Reche Caldwell Arrested For Illegal Gambling Operation

An interesting report this afternoon is coming from Channel 10 in Tampa Florida, with the station reporting that former Florida Gator and NFL receiver Reche Caldwell was one of several people arrested in an alleged gambling operation back on January 5th.

According to the report, Caldwell was busted along with two others who were charged with running an illegal gambling house and bookkeeping.

Fans may remember Caldwell, who was part of a depleted wide receiving corps here in New England that nearly went to the Super Bowl during the 2006/’07 postseason.

The former receiver played just one more season after that year, playing with the Redskins in 2007 while likely watching his former team reload with Randy Moss and Wes Welker only to go undefeated during the regular season.

He was originally drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers in 2002.

 

Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was fired after the hiring of Bill O’Brien last week, but apparently someone in the ticket office didn’t get the memo.

Phillips Tweeted that he was apparently solicited for a renewal of his suite at the stadium, which he politely declined:

O’Brien opted to bring in his own people and replaced Phillips by hiring former Patriots coordinator Romeo Crennel as his defensive coordinator to handle the defense. Not that you can blame him. After all, Phillips is the same guy who said former Patriots receiver Wes Welker wasn’t an athletic player before the two teams met in the Divisional Playoff round last year.

Phillips ate his words as the Patriots beat the Texans handily 41-28, with Welker catching 8 passes for 131-yards during the win.

Obviously changes are on the way in Houston and O’Brien has quite a job ahead of him as he looks to turn around a team that went from a potential Super Bowl contender just a year ago, to a 2-14 club that lost their final fourteen games this season. During that streak, three came while Phillips was interim head coach following the midseason firing of Gary Kubiak.

For the longest time, the Bears have been a team with a lot of pieces on both sides of the football but in need of a quarterback.  It seems that now that they have him, they plan on trying to keep him for the long-haul.

According to published reports the Bears have given Cutler a seven-year deal valued at $18-million per season, keeping him in Chicago and preventing him from hitting the free agent market.

Bears GM Phil Emery announced on Thursday that they’re glad to have him in the fold for the foreseeable future.

“We’re very excited to have Jay for the long term,” Emery said via the Chicago Tribune. “He battled through the tough times and kept fighting.”

It was an interesting journey that brought him to Chicago to begin with. ¬†The former Denver Broncos quarterback ended up a Bear thanks to a trade that stemmed from rumors that then head coach Josh McDaniels had explored the possibility of acquiring his former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassell in a trade, which obviously didn’t sit well with his current incumbent. ¬†From that point on Cutler stayed away from the team and refused to call them back, and as a result Denver sent him to Chicago in exchange for Kyle Orton when the two sides couldn’t reconcile their differences.

McDaniels ended up getting fired the next season, and now years later the deal ultimately worked out. ¬†The Broncos have Peyton Manning and are Super Bowl favorites, while had the deal not happened, it’s tough to say if Manning would even be there.

As for the Bears, they’ve been better since Cutler stepped in and replaced Orton. ¬†Now that the deal is done, the Bears seem happy to have him as their guy moving forward and believe he¬†can help them win a championship.

“We’re pleased, it works for both parties,” Emery added. “It rewards Jay and it enables us to continue to build a championship team.”


Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bengals QB Andy Dalton are both likely hoping their respective fans aren’t shut out on television this weekend when the playoffs begin.

For Green Bay Packers fans who live in their team’s market, it looks like they may have to go back to the good old days of potentially listening to it on the radio thanks to the NFL’s blackout rule.

Between frigid temperatures and an expensive outing in a still recovering economy, Packers fans haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity to spend their hard earned money to freeze their butts off (the forecast is calling for -3 degrees and -19 with the wind chill) to sell out Lambeau Field for this weekend’s battle between their team and the San Francisco 49ers. ¬†As a result, the league is on the verge of blacking out what could be one of their biggest games of the season.

Imagine the Packers fighting to advance to the Divisional round and fans not being to watch it.  That would be an absolute travesty.

According to USA Today their were 3,000 seats remaining as of 4pm Thursday, which will hopefully see the team or sponsors purchase the remaining seats. ¬†However, the fact the league still has this rule in place is pretty ridiculous. ¬†The FCC announced last month that they’re contesting the rule, voting in favor of a proposal to eliminate it.

The NFL said in a statement that it will “strongly oppose any change in the rule. We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago. While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds.”

Unfortunately the league doesn’t seem to understand that the rising cost of tickets, parking, concessions, and merchandise are what ultimately keeps fans who want to go, but simply can’t, from going. ¬†Take away the chance to at least watch it on television, and that doesn’t exactly seem to be the best way to get them to flock to the stadium. ¬†

In recent years it seems the bigger market teams have thrived but the smaller market clubs are the ones who suffer, and the Packers don’t seem to be alone with this problem. ¬†Another team whose fans may also miss this weekend’s game is the Cincinnati Bengals, who are set to battle the Chargers but also haven’t sold enough tickets. ¬†For a team that is on the rise and could use a boost in interest, it seems foolish that the league would allow potential fans to miss out on the chance to see it.

But for now until the FCC is able to overturn this rule by the giant that is the NFL, the Bengals will have to hope that local businesses or the team will purchase the tickets to make sure the game ends up on television. ¬†Otherwise they’ll be in the dark, wondering if Cincinnati can win their first playoff game since 1990.

So basically if both were blacked out, Packers’ fans will be able to watch the Bengals’ game, while fans in Cincinnati will be able to watch Green Bay play. ¬†Yeah…that makes sense.

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien took a program that was in tough shape at Penn State and turned it around, and now he’s getting his shot to do the same thing at the professional level.

According to published reports O’Brien is headed to Houston to take over as their head coach, and has one of the better opportunities to have immediate success when he makes his coaching debut in 2014.

He’s inheriting a defense lead by J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing, and offensively has one of the best receivers in the game in Andre Johnson. ¬†Should running back Arian Foster get healthy, O’Brien will have enough bullets in his gun to be dangerous offensively, and if Houston selects an upper-tier quarterback that he can develop, it’s quite a foundation to be off and running with.

Like Penn State he’s heading into a program that is in massive disarray, having lost 14-straight games. ¬†It’s hard to argue that the Texans have far too much talent to have been unable to muster one win over that span, and if O’Brien can stabilize things and get that group playing as well as they did in 2012, it’s not hard to believe that things will be different for his football team next season.

It will be fun to watch, and it should be interesting to see if another Bill Belichick coaching disciple can achieve immediate success. ¬†Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, and Josh McDaniels each didn’t have much success after leaving New England, so O’Brien’s future will be something to keep an eye on.

He’s a guy who has done a good job developing quarterbacks, which will be a focus when he gets started in Houston. ¬†He developed former Penn State QB Matt McGloin, turning him from what many felt was a mediocre player into a guy who finished his collegiate career ready enough to start seven games in Oakland this season. ¬†He’s got Case Keenum, who is a fearless gunslinger but a little reckless. ¬†One key sign of what he feels he has on that side of the ball will be decided by what he decides to do in May. ¬†He could elect to draft someone with the first overall selection, but there’s no question that whatever they decide to do, he’ll have to achieve success relatively quickly. ¬† Ownership already admitted frustration that there’s too much talent to have been unable to win more than two games, and it’s hard looking at the roster not to agree.

Losing fourteen straight leads you to believe there’s either too little talent or the coaching was terrible. ¬†Knowing who Houston has on their roster, the latter appears to be more realistic. ¬†Now it’s up to O’Brien to get to work, and that’s a program that could be a force in the years to come if he can build on what’s definitely a terrific nucleus.

It’s a better group than the one that hasn’t had a victory since all the way back in September. ¬†Hopefully for the fans in Houston, that streak will end when their team gets back on the field in 2014.

Rex Ryan Says ‘There’s No Doubt’ He’s Still The Right Guy For the Jets

Years ago he came into the Jets organization with a Super Bowl guarantee.  Now Rex Ryan is finding himself fighting for his life as New York winds down their season.

The Jets, who are currently 6-8 on the year, are seemingly out of the playoff hunt at this point and have won just 12 of their last 33 games. ¬† Last season New York finished 6-10, and first-year general manger John Idzik reportedly had no say in Ryan’s status before this year.

However, it’s going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds should Idzik elect to remove the boisterous and outspoken coach from his position. ¬†But either way, Ryan still believes he’s the guy who can turn this team around.

“Look, I’m a competent coach even though I know that will be questioned a zillion times forward and backward,” he said via Rich Cimini of ESPN New York. “That’s fine, but I know I’m a good football coach. I believe in this team, I believe in this organization.”

“I’m determined to bring a winner to this team, there’s no question about it,” Ryan added. “I believe I’m the right guy for it. But I’m not the guy making that decision. If I was, it would be easy.”

At this point, it would take a miracle for the Jets to reach the postseason. ¬†However, Ryan remains determined and claims he’s going for it.

“I don’t know what the percentage is, maybe a one percent chance of getting in,” said Ryan. ¬†”But, by gosh, we’re going for it.”

It would certainly help if his players rallied around him and finished their final two games in convincing fashion. ¬†If they don’t, Ryan could find himself looking for work after the season.

For now things aren’t looking good for the beleaguered¬†coach. ¬†With a tough Browns club up next, the Jets have a big challenge ahead of them as Ryan continues to try and make sure he’s back in 2014.

Ryan, who told ESPN New York he hasn’t heard anything from ownership on his future, remains adamant there’s no coaching change needed and that he can turn things around.

“Of course, I believe it,” he said. “No question, I believe it. There’s no doubt about it.”

It looks like time will tell if Jets ownership and Idzik feel the same way.

Seahawks Shutout Costs Local Car Dealer $420,000

Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s miscues have been costing his team victories, and on Sunday his inability to get his team in the end zone also cost a local business in Seattle nearly half-a-million dollars.

According to ESPN, Jet Chevrolet, a car dealership in Federal Way, Wash., located 25 miles south of Seattle, had a promotion that if the Seahawks shut out the Giants, 12 people would split $420,000 equally.

Well, five interceptions later, Manning and company found themselves on the wrong end of a 23-0 beating by Seattle, and made those 12 people $35,000 richer.

Interestingly enough Jim Johnson, one of the owners of the dealership, told ESPN that he was stunned by the outcome.

“This is crazy,” said Johnson. “We never expected that we’d actually be giving away the money.”

Fortunately ESPN reports that his company did take out a $7,000 insurance policy before the promotion, limiting the damage from the promotion.

The best part is this promotion was supposed to have run when the Seahawks battled Division Rival San Francisco, who beat Seattle 19-17 last week.  However, the promotion reportedly hit a snag as they worked out some additional details regarding the legalities of the deal, which delayed it a week.

So for 12 lucky people, the Giants were kind enough to lay an egg in what has just been a more than forgettable season for a team that’s won two championships over the past six years.

It was a rough day for New York, who weren’t even able to muster a field goal attempt, let alone a touchdown. ¬†In fact, they only crossed midfield once, with just one red zone trip. ¬†The bad news for the Giants was Manning squandered it, getting picked off in the end zone with just over 4-minutes to go in the contest.

That was his fifth and final pick, and apparently at that point head coach Tom Coughlin had seen enough and pulled him, inserting back-up Curtis Painter. ¬†But by then, it didn’t matter. ¬†Painter took the field with 1:45 to go in the game and moved the Giants from their own 18 out to their 33-yard line before time finally expired.

The odds were in the business’ favor, as the Giants hadn’t been shut out at home since week one of the 1995 season. ¬†Unfortunately, history didn’t help them Sunday.

Seahawks Fans Cause ‘Earthquake’ Monday Night, Retake Noise Record

Interesting story out of the Seattle Times this morning on the fact Seahawks fans caused their own natural disaster on Monday night.

According to the newspaper the amount of jumping up and down inside CentruyLink Field following a 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Michael Bennett registered a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake.

The University of Washington reportedly has a seismometer in a warehouse about a block south of CenturyLink Field, which is where the measurement was picked up.

Coincidentally enough their fans regained the Guiness Book record after registering a 137.6 decibel reading during the second quarter in a game against the New Orleans Saints thanks to the CenturyLink Field-record crowd of 68,387 who contributed to the effort.

That mark tops the previous record of 137.5 decibels set by Kansas City Chiefs fans back in October against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

For those of us who have ever been stranded somewhere due to mechanical issues with airplane, it appears that even billion dollar NFL clubs aren’t immune to this type of inconvenience.

According to ESPN the New Orleans Saints got stuck in Seattle overnight after losing 34-7 on Monday night football, and now won’t be back home until sometime on Tuesday, making things difficult on an already hampered Saints team that has to get ready to battle a tough Carolina Panthers team this weekend.

There’s certainly nothing worse than being stranded in the city where you just lost on national television. ¬†It also reportedly left them in tough shape trying to find a hotel considering they have 53 players plus team personnel who were all there without a reservation.

Needless to say there was certainly some insult added to injury for Drew Brees and Company.