- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports20 hrs ago
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With a clear voice, a sharp gaze, and an ever-reddening face, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan indirectly described a trust that was broken in January and never repaired.
The subject at his media conference on Wednesday was his decision to bench franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III for the remainder of this season, but the underlying takeaway was far more significant: how Griffin's injury in a playoff game against Seattle changed his relationship with the quarterback and may have ruined his tenure in Washington.
Shanahan confessed his gut told him to pull the injured quarterback at halftime of the Redskins' home playoff loss, no matter what the doctors and Griffin told him. He said he wanted to "kick myself in the rear" when Griffin's knee buckled after the coach decided to keep him on the field. He admitted he regretted going against his instinct.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
That's a four-letter word in football, a slander that carries a lingering stain. You don't want your team labeled as soft during the preseason, let alone during the stretch drive of a playoff run.
Yet that's the word applied to the Detroit Lions on Sunday – by two of their own players.
A week before the biggest game of their season – a Monday night tilt against the Ravens – DeAndre Levy and Louis Delmas called the Lions' play last weekend against the Eagles "soft."
What's more troubling is how coach Jim Schwartz reacted to the term.
The Lions fell apart in the second half on Sunday in the snow, blowing a 14-0 lead late in the third quarter to lose in a 34-20 runaway. Levy was blunt afterward.
"It's not fun to lose and go out there and play soft," the linebacker said. "We just played like crap in the second half."
Levy said the Lions were "mentally and physically soft" Sunday, when several inches of snow piled on the field throughout the game and players huddled by heaters on the sideline.
Delmas, another team leader, seconded it:
- Yahoo Sports3 days ago
NEW ORLEANS – An 11-year-old boy named Oscar went to his first-ever NFL game Sunday night, making the 300-plus mile car trip here from Shreveport with his uncle to see the Saints beat Carolina 31-13. He had no idea he was watching history until it literally passed in front of his eyes: With a 22-yard fourth-quarter completion to Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees became the fifth (and fastest) quarterback to throw for more than 50,000 yards. That's 28.4 miles, more than a marathon.
When informed Brees had thrown for 50,000 yards, Oscar's eyebrows shot up under his toy Saints helmet.
"In this game?!" he exclaimed.
Well, no. But it sure felt that way. And it was fitting. Sunday was a charmed day in the NFL, from sea to freezing sea. There were 90 touchdowns scored on this Sunday – more than on any one day in league history, and that stat doesn't even begin to tell the full story. The NFL has had a lot of ugliness this year, from Aaron Hernandez to a MRSA outbreak to a Dolphins bullying scandal, but Sunday was some kind of beautiful.
- Yahoo Sports4 days ago
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Elsewhere, there was debate. Here, there was only domination.
Florida State blew by another mile marker in one of the most resounding seasons in recent college football history Saturday by demolishing Duke in the ACC title game, 45-7. How resounding was it? Kicker Roberto Aguayo outscored the Blue Devils by himself, 9-7, and he alone has outscored all of Florida State’s opponents this season.
“I’ve always thought we were the No. 1 team of all-time,” said Miami running back Clinton Portis, of the famed 2001 Miami Hurricanes, who placed 38 players in the NFL draft. “I would say this is No. 2.”
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
One year ago this weekend, the 11-1 Houston Texans donned custom-made letterman jackets for their trip to New England for "Monday Night Football." The attire was a show of solidarity and swagger – the Texans were bona fide Super Bowl contenders and they felt bonded and unbreakable. Even a cornerback picked up off the waiver wire that week got a jacket.
"Anything that represents the camaraderie of this team, guys are excited about," said linebacker Connor Barwin at the time, "and that's exactly what the jacket does."
Almost exactly a year later, the jackets represent something else entirely. Texans owner Bob McNair sat in front of the Texans' logo on Friday and announced the firing of head coach Gary Kubiak. McNair called the team's performance "unacceptable," and it's just as hard to argue that statement as it was to argue against the Texans' dominance a year ago. The team is 2-11 and has only four wins since the players boarded the plane for New England last December.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
Mike Tomlin's Thanksgiving night dance step on the sideline created the ideal NFL non-troversy. The near-interference from the Pittsburgh Steelers coach with oncoming Baltimore Ravens return man Jacoby Jones was tailor-made for highlights on TV and social media GIFs. We've all had a good laugh seeing Tomlin photoshopped into a duo on "Dancing With the Stars." His swift move created swifter fodder for debate: Was it intentional? What should the punishment be? Is this better or worse than what Jason Kidd did with his spilled soda? Discussion of Tomlin's move is entertaining; it's fun.
The discussion of Tomlin's intentions, his potential punishment, and his Tuesday apology are trampling the far more important conversation though.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Not even Tim Tebow could save the Gators on Saturday.
He sure did try. The Heisman winner spoke to the team before its game against No. 2 Florida State and delivered a message as only he can.
"It really penetrated my soul," said offensive lineman Max Garcia, his eyes watering slightly. "And it was real."
Tebow told the Gators that any man who gets knocked down has the ability to get back up, according to Garcia, but, "A man can get down and come back withered, can come back beaten. But a man that goes down and comes back and is changed and is different, that's who we are; that's who the Gators are."
The entire team was "locked in," and Florida came out of the locker room with an urgency that hasn't been seen much around this town for the majority of its first losing season since 1979. At the end of the first quarter Saturday, the Gators were down 3-0 to the heavy favorites but it felt in the stadium like they were winning by three touchdowns.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
DETROIT – After the end of Thursday afternoon's game, the real drama got going.
A yellow rope went up in the long alleyway leading to the locker rooms after time expired in the Detroit Lions' 40-10 blowoutof the Green Bay Packers. It was meant to separate the teams as they marched off the field, but it almost didn't. Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley walked up to the rope and stared across it as the Packers strode by. A teammate had to nudge him away. Moments later, players from the two teams started jawing, and expletives flew back and forth like footballs.
Some of the Lions were bent about some name-calling leading up to the game by Packers guard Josh Sitton. The offensive lineman had called Detroit's players "scumbags" and called coach Jim Schwartz something that shouldn't be printed on a family holiday. Fairley, standing at his locker after getting dressed, said, "I'm not talking" and left the room.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
Duke's rise from college football oblivion to the doorstep of the ACC championship game has perplexed fans and pundits who simply didn't think a basketball school could compete with the likes of Miami. If Duke beats North Carolina this Saturday, it will have its first-ever 10-win season in the same week as its first-ever BCS ranking. There are several on-field reasons for the Blue Devils' revival, but there are also some unexpected off-the-field reasons. Like a dress code.
This is not for the players, however. It's for the coaches. Head coach David Cutcliffe, who authored this comeback story, also authored rules for how assistants should dress on the recruiting trail.
"We ordered things to wear," Cutcliffe told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday. "Sport coat, open collar. Wear a tie when appropriate. I have a manual."
The manual includes dress pants and dress shoes in meetings with families and in principals' offices. "You know my age," says Cutcliffe, who is 59. "We're going to be appropriate to my age."
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports16 days ago
After the third win of their current four-game streak, the Arizona Cardinals came off the field in Jacksonville with a variety of expressions. A couple players snuck glances at cheerleaders. Two others joked about the fans who asked for their helmets. Quarterback Carson Palmer looked weary from a long game in humid conditions. Star receiver Larry Fitzgerald wore a huge, satisfied grin, and gave a bear hug to a team official waiting at the locker room door.
Then there was cornerback Patrick Peterson, coated in sweat, jogging briskly into the locker room, staring straight ahead. He looked like he was leaving the locker room before the game, rather than departing the field after a victory.
There has been a lot of discussion this season about the dark side of football culture, and how certain players can create an atmosphere of fear and negativity. But there is also the flip side: certain locker room leaders can cause a ripple effect of focus and professionalism. Patrick Peterson is one of those leaders.
"It's contagious, man," says linebacker Kevin Minter, who was Peterson's teammate at LSU. "You see him and you want to be just like that."