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NFL to Change Overtime?

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The worst rule in football may be finally be getting a much-needed makeover.

An NFL spokesman said that the league will discuss changing the league’s overtime format at a competition committee meeting next month.

The new format would call for both teams to get the ball at least once unless the first team scores a touchdown.

The proposal will be discussed and then a vote would take place, with two-thirds of teams needing to approve of the changes for them to be implemented.

The overtime discussion has been one of much debate among fans, but has never been given serious consideration from the league.  According to the AP report, the debate steamed form this year’s NFC championship game, where the Vikings lost to the Saints 31-28 in overtime while the Vikings never touched the ball in overtime.

It’s good the league is discussing changes now before we see a coin toss in overtime decide a Super Bowl.  We were close the past two years, but Santonio Holmes and Tracy Porter ended any possibility of that.

In current system, 158 games have gone into overtime since the NFL changed the kickoff line from the 35 to the 30 yard line in 1994.  In those 158 games the winner of the coin toss has won 96 of those games, or 61%, giving them an alarming advantage over the loser of the coin toss.

While it’s clear that this proposal is better than the current one, it still isn’t perfect. Continue reading

LaDainian Tomlinson: Time to Retire?

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Yesterday marked the end of an era in San Diego, when the Chargers released LaDainian Tomlinson.  The move was expected and frankly a year overdue.

The L.T. that we saw last year was a shadow of his former self.  He failed to reach the century mark in any game and finished the season with a paltry 3.3 yards per carry average.

The culmination was a 12 carry, 24-yard effort in the Chargers loss to the Jets in Divisional Round in yet another playoff disappointment for the Bolts.  He was outgained by Darren Sproles, who had only three carries the entire game.

Now L.T. is will be 31 before the starts of the 2010 season, but claims he still has something left in the tank and wants to continuing playing.

If I were consulting L.T. I’d tell him to just hang them up. Continue reading

Return of the Poison Pill?

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The free agency class this year will be rather bare compared to that of season’s past.

This is because of 2010 being an uncapped year, which requires that players need six years of service instead of four to qualify for unrestricted free agency.

This has prevented players such as Brandon Marshall, DeMeco Ryans, Braylon Edwards, Elvis Dumervil, Shawne Merriman, and a host of other players from being unrestricted free agents.

With few big name free agents on the market teams will have to get creative to fill their needs.

This brings up the possibility of the poison pill being brought back.

Back in 2006 the Minnesota Vikings signed Steve Hutchinson to a seven year $49 contract with $16 guaranteed.  While that seems fair, they also included a clause that would have guaranteed his entire contract if he was the highest paid lineman on his team.  At that time, the Seahawks had Walter Jones, whose salary was higher and thus could not sign Hutchinson without guaranteeing his entire contract.

The Seahawks file a grievance, but the arbitrator ruled in favor of the Vikings.

The Seahawks got back at the Vikings by signing Nate Burelson to an offer sheet including a stipulation that would have guaranteed his entire contract if he played five or more games in the state of Minnesota in one season.

Now, since that off season no team has attempted to sign someone with a poison pill included, but that may change very soon.

If some team tries to get cute and offers a low tender to one of their restricted free agents don’t be surprised if a team employs the poison pill to ensure they sign him.

Even if they are tendered with a first and third rounder, some team may be willing to pay the price.  It wouldn’t be out of the question to see a team like Miami, Baltimore, or any receiver needy team go after a wide receiver like Marshall, Vincent Jackson, or Miles Austin.

Remember it was not even two years ago when the Cowboys traded a first, third, and sixth round pick for Roy Williams and these receivers are actually established number one targets.

NFL Offseason Storylines

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There may not be any meaningful football until September, but the NFL never takes a break.

The combine is just a week away and free agency starts soon after that.

Let’s take a look at the five key storylines that we’ll be focused on this offseason.

5. Tim Tebow

The most decorated collegiate athlete of recent memory is already the most heavily debated and scrutinized prospect of all time.  Will the home town Jaguars take a chance on him early or will he slip into the later rounds?  Get ready for a heavy dose of Tebow coverage next week at the combine where his throwing motion will be torn apart like  and the scouts will doubt his ability to play quarterback at the next level.  However, it only takes one team to take a chance on him, so I don’t think he makes it out of round two.

4. Brett Favre

The old gunslinger may be 40, but he can still play.  Coming off his best statistical season in years, it would be hard to see Favre walk away especially when the Vikings were so close to the Super Bowl.  He’ll likely stretch the process out as long as possible so get ready to see Rachel Nicholls camped out on Favre’s ranch in Mississippi all summer long.  In the end, I think we’ll be seeing number four come September.

3. Eagles QB Situation

Many teams struggle to find one decent quarterback.  The Eagles have three and now they have some tough decisions upcoming.  Do they trade Michael Vick?  Extend Kevin Kolb? Trade Kevin Kolb?  Do they trade McNabb?  With a bevy of options at hand, it will be intriguing to see how the Eagles handle this.  I don’t think Kolb is going anywhere so that leaves McNabb and Vick.  Vick is more likely to get traded with a $5.25 million bonus upcoming, but if a team, possibly the Cardinals or Vikings (if Favre’s gone), offers a first round pick it may be tough to turn down with Kolb waiting in the wings.  Continue reading

Key Moments of Super Bowl XLIV

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It has been a few days since the New Orleans Saints became Super Bowl Champions. The confetti has come down. Drew Brees and Mickey Mouse have paraded through Disney World together. And the eyes of all NFL fans turn grudgingly yet optimistically to the NFL Draft in early April.

Before doing that, it’s worth taking one last look at the biggest moment in this past season’s Super Bowl. Any game can be defined by one play where the entire momentum and tone of the game shifts in favor of one side. It can be anything from a deflection off a defender’s fingertips, to the aftermath of a bone-rattling hit, or even the effect of a drive-killing penalty.

In this Super Bowl, there was undoubtedly one play when the game shifted. Where what had felt like an inevitable and eventual victory for the Colts suddenly became a match controlled by New Orleans. Where even the casual football fan sat up in their seat and said “Well wait a sec… the Saints are actually going to win this game.”

Terry Porter’s interception for a touchdown was undoubtedly the biggest play of the game. On top of producing the games only turnover, as well as leading to its eventual final score, Porter’s pick-6 off of Peyton Manning unquestionably sealed the deal for the Saints, virtually guaranteeing them of victory.

But while Porter’s interception and subsequent touchdown was indisputably the most memorable play of the game, it didn’t represent the actual shift. Continue reading

Saints Win Super Bowl XLIV

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Congradulations to the New Orleans Saints on winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.

Tracy Porter sealed the win after intercepting Peyton Manning and returning it 74 yards for a touchdown with 3:14 left in the game.

The Saints, led by who else but Drew Brees, overcome an early ten point deficit.  After a slow start, Brees was flawless in the last three-quarters shredding the Colts secondary en route to winning Super Bowl MVP honors.

With the loss Peyton Manning now has a 9-9 career playoff record.

The party is on New Orleans and its’ not stopping any time soon.

The streets will ring all night long with the chant of “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gunna beat them Saints?”

Well, after tonight’s game we can say that no one is gunna beat the Saints, at least this year.

Plenty of Super Bowl images after the jump.

Continue reading

Super Bowl XLIV Prediction

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Peyton Manning has reached the status that not many athletes haven ever accomplished.

Peyton is on the same level only M.J. and Montana were in their primes.

You just don’t bet against them in a big game.

Early in his career Peyton mad a reputation for choking in the playoffs and never coming up big when it mattered most.

Since that 2006 Super Bowl run, Peyton has been a different quarterback.

One who is playing his best football this year at age 33 and one I want no part in betting against this week.

Sure the Saints are playing for the city of New Orleans and that all sounds great, but in reality that means nothing once the whistle blows.

The Saints are a good team.  They’re just not in the same class as the Colts.  Continue reading