Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The three men stood and smiled at halftime for fans, each likely thicker around the midsection than most of the Miami Dolphins' faithful remembered. Bob Griese grinned and pointed at the Hall of Fame ring that Don Shula was slipping onto his finger. Dan Marino steadied the iconic coach with an extended arm. The stands showered applause onto the trio that had created so many indelible Dolphins memories.
It was a touching moment, this halftime celebration with the cornerstones of one of the NFL's crown jewel franchises. But halftimes end, and what came after this one was Miami's disappointing 24-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Missed opportunities and a mediocre offense gave Dolphins fans their latest dose of the reality that has taken root in Miami. Much like wrinkles digging into the faces of the icons, the best days of this franchise are looking older and more weathered by the year.
He needs Sean Payton.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Wading through the South Florida heat on Sunday afternoon, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed at the beads of moisture dripping on his brow. He looked left and right. Every passerby got a 100-watt smile and a wet handshake, the clammy byproduct of whooping and cheering and slapping backs in high humidity. Jones earned this perspiration, and he was intent on sharing it. After all, this was far better than the anxiety-ridden sweat of the past two months.
Quarterback Tony Romo returned Sunday, and the Cowboys finally won. They gained ground in the terrible NFC East and pumped a little life back into their faint postseason hopes. But more than anything, they took some of the weight off of Jones, who at one point said, "You couldn't second-guess it enough to come up with the number of second-guesses I've had over these last six or seven weeks."
"This was a real hard week," Jones said. "The Tampa loss, all the losses, but the Tampa loss [that] really made it real, that we had laid an egg when we didn't have Romo."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago
At some point, the NFL must make us stop talking about the league's officiating problems. It's going to have to embrace that nothing gets missed anymore inside this massive dome of popularity, whether it's from the nitpicky eyes of fans, media, coaches, players or executives.
This is the new normal: When officials blow a significant call, someone is going to notice … and soon thereafter, it'll be a major talking point. This is the price of having the most popular sports product in America. It's always under the surgical knife of social media – in real time.
That's an atrocious flaw, largely because it's unnecessary. It's the NFL, a product that generates billions of dollars annually. The league is at the forefront of technology in how games are consumed. When Twitter is calling games better than the league, there is a problem. But therein lies the rub.
This can be fixed.
When that happens, in what world could Dean Blandino be sorry enough to make it acceptable?
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How bad is NFC East? Tony Romo's return gives Cowboys reason to believe they're still in playoff huntCharles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago
Tony Romo went up and down the sideline with that impossible-to-miss shirt on Sunday, the one emblazoned with the word "FIGHT", which seemed to symbolize little of what the Dallas Cowboys have done without their star quarterback. And when Dallas' seventh straight loss wrapped, a 10-6 clunker to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, conventional wisdom suggested 2015 was over.
But this is the NFC East, a division in which mediocrity has been a season-long gift to Jerry Jones and his franchise. And it gave just a little bit more on Sunday, with the division-leading New York Giants losing to the New England Patriots and fanning that dim flicker of life for Dallas.
That's all worthwhile. But start that process when the season has actually lost a pulse.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago
When Calvin Johnson finally spoke Wednesday, the first time since the wrecking ball smashed through the Detroit Lions' front office, he had a telling opportunity. With elements of the coaching staff already gone and the front office stripped bare, the franchise receiver was lobbed a question about whether he would be willing to suffer through another rebuild.
He could have grabbed his chance and made a strong commitment to the Lions' future. But in a moment that even Detroit fans likely understand, he alligator-armed it.
"We'll have to wait and see," Johnson said. "I don't think about what could happen."
He's alone in that prospect. A lot of people in the NFL are looking at Johnson and thinking about what could happen. Particularly some of those franchises that could use a 6-foot-5 nightmare matchup at wideout. That kind of player can be worth his (237 pound) weight in gold to a budding young quarterback. He can also be a vital piece to put a veteran quarterback back on the right track. And at 31 years old next season, Johnson has a few more prime years to do either.
The right answer: the Oakland Raiders.
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Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago
With legal drama engulfing New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and the NFL keeping close tabs on a potential ownership change, there is a "steadily increasing possibility" that head coach Sean Payton and some front-office executives will depart the franchise in the offseason, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
One of the primary issues is whether Benson's estranged daughter, Renee Benson, and her two children – Rita Benson LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc – can gain a stronger grip on the Saints somewhere inside a tangle of ongoing litigation, the source said.
If Renee Benson gets a court to overturn the decision that her father is competent to run his affairs, it would put her in position to gain control of both pro sports teams in the future, a second source familiar with the legal case told Yahoo Sports. And if the forced asset swap fails, Tom Benson's estranged family would still retain the majority of stock in the Saints (albeit non-voting shares). That potential mess has created a cloud that could impact the future moves of Payton and others.
One of those people, the league source said, is Payton, who is loyal to Tom Benson.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Anger. Frustration. Slippage. For the second straight week, the telltale signs of weakness appeared in the Green Bay Packers.
There was linebacker Julius Peppers, who argued with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix after a Carolina Panthers fourth-quarter touchdown. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji walked over and ended the dispute by shoving Clinton-Dix backward and telling him to go to another bench. These were mistakes manifesting in anger. The frustration of missed opportunity? That telling snapshot belonged to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who stared at a digital tablet late in Sunday's 37-29 loss to the Panthers. Scanning the images, he was disgusted to see receiver Randall Cobb standing wide open in the end zone on a failed fourth-and-goal.
Until viewing the tablet, Rodgers never saw him. When he finally did, he shouted a four-letter word that summed up much of Green Bay's day, and hurled the device to the ground.
When you realize you have to reply to an older pic or gif you posted to try for attention one more time pic.twitter.com/AsFkNl3T5Y
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago
HOUSTON – A day after voters struck down an anti-discrimination ordinance that created protections for gay and transgendered people in Houston, the NFL issued a statement saying the league will not alter plans to have the city host Super Bowl LI in 2017. The NCAA, however, said that while the repeal won't impact the 2016 Final Four, it could deter future events in the city.
The repeal struck a chord with the NCAA, which said it was too late to withdraw the 2016 Final Four, but that future events could be impacted.
The NFL's stance was softer, as it made clear the repeal will not impact Houston as a Super Bowl city.
"This will not affect our plans for Super Bowl LI in 2017," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. "We will work closely with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee to make sure all fans feel welcomed at our events. Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 24 days ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – There are times when it's hard to fathom that Russell Wilson believes the words that are coming out of his mouth. He'll stack clichés like pancakes and drown them in syrupy optimism. It's saccharine to the point of leaving an audience with a mouthful of cavities.
But this is the perfect Wilson for this moment in the season. It's the guy coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks need now. The one who drove his team 79 yards for a field goal and 13-12 victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, then expounded on a sugary subplot behind the moment. It included Wilson hyping up his teammates before the final march, then showing a little swagger to Carroll before conducting some business.
"I just kind of smiled at [Carroll] and said, 'This is what we're here for,'" Russell said of the last exchange with his coach. "You enjoy those moments. I don't fear them. I look forward to them."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – In the final moments of Sunday's game, with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Matt Cassell driving another loss into the AT&T Stadium turf, team owner Jerry Jones sat alone near the front of his skybox balcony. The look on his face was vacant, a 1,000-yard stare into the wreckage of the past month.
He looked numb, in the worst kind of way.
"This was an important game for us," Jones said after the Cowboys' 13-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, dropping Dallas to 2-5 and last place in the NFC East. "The third win is critical. I never thought I would be standing here saying it in this way."
That seemed so far away Sunday night, as Bryant profanely snapped on a group of reporters gathering near his locker.
"Stay the [expletive] away," Bryant yelled, in a moment described by USA Today. "Why don't you all get the [expletive] out of here? This is our [expletive] locker room. You [expletive] dirty [expletive]."
And the future?