Eric Adelson

  • Why it's a bad idea to further expand college football's playoff field

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 23 hrs ago

    For so long there's been steady clamor for a fairer way to crown a college football champion. The BCS arrived in 1998 and soon there was a movement for an expanded playoff. Now we are months into a four-team playoff system and it's already a source of aggravation. The weekly polls from the new selection committee have brought nebulous decisions based on "game control" and "eye tests." So of course it would seem the easy remedy is an eight-team playoff.

    ACC commissioner John Swofford said recently that moving to eight would be "ideal," and 44 percent of coaches polled by ESPN agree. Another 17 percent want a 16-team playoff, and there were even votes for a 32-team playoff and a 64-team playoff.

    This is all trending in an irresponsible direction. The desire to make things fairer has overlooked something quite unfair: adding games to an already burdensome and risky situation for players. Coaches, commissioners, pundits and fans all love the idea of more games, but those people don't have to go out there and get hit. The people with the most at stake have absolutely no voice in the matter. That's a problem.

  • As potential return of Cowboys' Josh Brent nears, mother of Jerry Brown pushes to bolster son's legacy

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    When Jerry Brown was little, and dreaming about the NFL, his mom teased him about what she'd do when he finally made it big.

    "I'm gonna come to your home," Stacey Jackson told her boy, "and I'm going to drink all your o.j. and eat all your food!"   

    She still thinks about opening up her son's refrigerator. 

    "Now I can't do that," she says.

    Next month will mark the two-year anniversary of the night Jerry Brown got into Josh Brent's Mercedes in Irving, Texas, and rode in the passenger seat as the car sped along Route 114 at speeds in excess of 110 mph. Brent was legally drunk. He hit a curb and crashed.

    Brent survived. Brown did not. He was 25 years old. 

    Stacey's son was on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, on the brink of making that childhood dream real again. Brent was already on the team, having played only a few days before the accident. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation. He is back on the Cowboys' roster and eligible to play again Sunday for the first time since the accident. 

    Jackson invited Brent to sit with her during her son's memorial service.


  • Brains and brawn: MIT football undefeated, still really smart

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Ask a quarterback about the perfect spiral and he'll likely speak of the feeling when the ball leaves his hand, or the pristine arc through the air, or how easy it is for a receiver to catch.

    Quarterback Peter Williams can describe the perfect spiral a little differently:

    "It ensures the stability of the ball," he said Tuesday. "A lot of factors that go into it. It helps reduce the overall drag."

    Williams is a quarterback who happens to be majoring in aero astroengineering. At MIT.

    "It's similar to mechanical engineering," Williams said, " but I like the subject a lot more. It's pretty difficult."

    This weekend, Williams will hand off to senior running back Justin Wallace, who is taking courses this semester including advanced algorithms, advanced computer architecture, and a project involving "thermo sensors and optical range finders."

    Their senior teammate, middle linebacker Cam Wagar, is developing an app that allows cyclists to create the feeling of inclines while riding on a level path.

    "We have a lab tomorrow morning to figure that out," he explained.

    Oh, there's also the education.

  • Browns WR Gordon impressive in car salesman gig, put in 'extra hours,' says co-worker

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Josh Gordon may have a career waiting for him after his time in the NFL. The Cleveland wide receiver is back with the Browns after his 10-game drug suspension, but he left behind some new fans at an Ohio auto dealership.

    Gordon spent several weeks selling cars at Sarchione Auto in Randolph, Ohio, showing up in a button-down shirt and Dockers, and talking up SUVs to customers.

    One of Gordon's co-workers, Mike Sabatine, was impressed.

    "He did really good," Sabatine said by phone on Tuesday afternoon. "A respectful young man. And he sold a lot of cars."

    Sabatine estimates Gordon sold "a dozen in the time he was with us." That's roughly one per week, including a Chevy Suburban lease to Mike Miller, newly of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not bad for a rookie.

    Gordon didn't just stroll in and flaunt his NFL credentials to get some sales. Yes, he talked about the Browns to anyone who asked, but Sabatine says Gordon worked as hard as any other employee, and had a passion for cars.

    "He was a great worker," Sabatine says. "He worked extra hours, too. He came in, checked the cars, followed up with sold and unsold customers."

  • From Jackson to Gruden, RG3 and his Elmer Fudd hat are taking fire

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    So much for backstabbing; people are now targeting Robert Griffin III from the front.

    A day after a brutal 27-7 home loss to the woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Redskins' franchise quarterback got a rough appraisal from the head coach who was supposed to relieve him from the overbearing Mike Shanahan.

    Jay Gruden told reporters on Monday that his starting quarterback has "fundamental flaws," which is quite a statement considering Griffin compared himself to Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers only a day before. The Bucs would likely agree, as Gerald McCoy said his team game planned around Griffin's slow release and cornerback Johnthan Banks described playing against the Redskins' offense as "easy." 

  • Police ties to 49ers in McDonald case prove problematic for NFL

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

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    To protect and serve. That's the classic mission of the police officer. And it is a noble goal. But it gets complicated, and perhaps compromised, when the mission of a police officer is also to protect and serve a football team.

    San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald will not be charged after his late-summer arrest for domestic violence. Prosecutors did not find sufficient evidence to pursue the case further. McDonald did not miss a game and he will continue to take the field now that due process has played out.

    But what happened on the night of the incident reveals another layer in the NFL's ongoing crisis – one that a domestic violence attorney based in San Francisco says will cause a "chilling effect" on future victims.

    That's because after the incident in question on Aug. 31, at a party at McDonald's home, police were called by his fiancée and they reported to the scene, only to find a colleague had already been at the residence: Sgt. Sean Pritchard.

    McDonald called Pritchard and said, "I need to get this female out of my house."

  • Colin Kaepernick's improvisation and a soccer-style flop save 49ers from crushing loss to Saints

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    NEW ORLEANS – The team that brought you The Catch has been revived by The Heave and The Flop.

    The San Francisco 49ers scratched out of their own private hell and landed squarely in a midseason purgatory Sunday, relying on Colin Kaepernick's freelancing and Perrish Cox's freefalling to save a game and a season they all but threw away.

    Jim Harbaugh, who was so exasperated at an apparent Hail Mary touchdown to the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham at the end of regulation that he tossed his papers in disgust, was suddenly leaping on top of special teams coach Brad Seely in the dark passageway to the locker room. "Great job!" he screamed before wiping away a grin. "Great job."

    Great job? Yes, but that's the funny thing about Sunday's victory. The Niners still have the same problems they had before: Kaepernick locks in on his targets and doesn't make the best reads, and the secondary is vulnerable to big plays. Those two things nearly doomed San Francisco when it mattered most, and yet those two things bailed Harbaugh's team out.

    Kaepernick was just as relieved.

  • Alabama shows it simply 'knows how to win' with resilient comeback at LSU

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    BATON ROUGE, La. – Nick Saban had a message for his players, for the press, and for the rest of the college football world.

    He delivered those messages quite clearly, on a night when Alabama's place in the College Football Playoff looked quite murky.

    The Tide basically fumbled away its season late in the fourth quarter here on Saturday, when T.J. Yeldon put the ball on the ground inside his own 10-yard-line in a tie game to give LSU at least three points if not seven.

    Saban turned to anyone who would listen and said, "This is where you show you know how to win."

    Then came a red-zone stand – holding LSU to three points – a breathless last-minute drive, a field goal, and overtime.

    Saban repeated it: "This is where you show you know how to win."

    Then came a brilliant Lane Kiffin play call, a go-ahead touchdown, and a game-ending defensive stop that had LSU coach Les Miles so incensed at the referees that he had to be held back by his school's sports information director.

    Saban was unmoved through it all, of course. He strode into the cramped press room and called the game "Ol' fashioned ball."

    He added a zinger:

    "Nothing spread about that."

  • It's desperate times for 49ers as RB Frank Gore guarantees playoffs

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    Playoff guarantees usually come from the flamboyant types: the quarterbacks and receivers, or Rex Ryan.

    This one has a little extra gravitas because it comes from a quieter star.

    "We're going to the playoffs," Frank Gore told CSN Bay Area. "We're going to do it."

    If the San Francisco 49ers' starting running back is right, the Niners better win Sunday. San Francisco is 4-4 and three games behind NFC West leader Arizona. A loss to the New Orleans Saints could land Jim Harbaugh's team four games back with two games remaining against the Seattle Seahawks and another battle with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. Do the math: It's doom's doorstep.

    San Francisco needed a statement like this, and now. A lot of the talk out of Niners camp has been whispers and grumbling about whether Harbaugh has lost the team. Even Niners legend Jerry Rice has predicted the head coach won't be around past February.

    Steve Young said the team seems "broken," and general manager Trent Baalke agreed somewhat. "Some things are broken," he told a local radio station.

  • Harvesting hope: How a farm community came together to help one of its own

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    The boy would have loved it out there last Saturday.

    He would have been up before dawn, feeding the cattle, feeling the brisk wind as it reddened his cheeks. He would have relished walking across the soft Illinois dirt in his work boots as the sky turned yellowish pink. The other boys, his football teammates, would all be sleeping. Not Hayden Schaumburg. He didn't live for Friday nights the way he lived for Saturday mornings.

    But Hayden wasn't out there last Saturday.

    So the people came instead.


    Two weeks ago, Schaumburg charged down the field to block for his Watseka High teammates on a kick return. There was a fierce collision, and the 16-year-old junior collapsed onto the field.

    "Went down in a heap and never moved again," says his head coach, Steve Lucas. "I've been around this game for 40 years. I knew it wasn't good."

    Lucas ran onto the field and looked into his player's eyes. They were searching.

    "Hey, Dad, are you there?" Hayden asked.

    Clint Schaumburg arrived and bent over his son. "I'm here," he said.

    "Dad," Hayden said, "I'm scared."