Eric Adelson

  • Why Jeremy Mincey is a perfect fit for the Cowboys' cast of hidden gems, gambles

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 hrs ago

    Here's the story of Jeremy Mincey's athletic career, in one short scene:

    It's 2001. He's a high school junior in Statesboro, Ga., and he says he can play point guard for his school basketball team. The head coach, Lee Hill, does not think Mincey, a bulky forward, can play the position, and he's tired of hearing about it.

    "He wasn't quick or agile enough to be no point guard," Hill says now.

    The coach tells Mincey, "You want to play point guard? You play against this boy right here."

    Hill points to the starting point guard, a kid named Ryan.

    "You beat this boy one-on-one, then you can play point guard."

    Hill stands back and watches Mincey, too slow and too big, beat the starting point guard at one-on-one.

    So did the coach let Mincey play point guard?

    "No. I didn't," Hill says. "No way."

    "The fire was lit," Mincey says. "I heard people say, 'They're gonna be 3-13.' I took it personal."

    "Mincey," Hardy has already asked, "how'd you get to 10 years in the league?"

    Same way he beat the point guard in high school.

    He was supposed to be a reserve.

  • Girls tackle football? Yeah, it's happening

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 22 hrs ago

    On Saturday, 50 fifth- and sixth-graders came to an elementary school field in West Jordan, Utah, to play some football. Parents and coaches marked off a 60-yard-by-35-yard grid for them, and threw out some smaller footballs for them to throw around. It was hardly an abnormal scene, except for the fact that the players were all girls, and when the scrimmage started, they began tackling.

    It was the launch of the first known girls tackle football league in America, it had the blessing of USA Football and the NFL, and there are even bigger possibilities in the distant future.

    "The ultimate goal is for women to get paid to play," said Sam Rapoport, the director of development for USA Football. "We'd love to see women's tackle football played at the pro level."

    To the dozens of Utah families that showed immediate interest in the league, it has already been a great idea. But in an age of heightened concussion awareness and fear of allowing children to play football, is it a good idea?


    Last March, Sam, now 12, was speaking at a school near her Utah home and asked for a show of hands: How many girls out there would want to play tackle football?

  • Tampa Bay takes Game 3 in OT: Lightning attack overwhelms Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist again

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    TAMPA — Henrik Lundqvist was alone in the dressing room, his goalie pads still on and his face in his hand. His New York Rangers cap was pulled low, and his back was up against the back of his stall. He stared straight ahead.

    After a few moments, he picked up a water bottle and drank it empty, then threw it onto the ground. He reached over to unstrap the Velcro on his left pad – thwatch, thwatch, thwatch – and then he sat back again. He put his hand to his brow and left it there, covering his face again.

    This is one of the greatest talents in his sport and he is in crisis. Lundqvist has given up six goals in consecutive playoff games, ceding what was a 1-0 series lead and is now a 2-1 deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has allowed more goals in these three games than he did in all seven games against the Capitals in the last round. Including the regular season, Lundqvist has allowed five or more goals only six times, yet four times against these Bolts. On Wednesday, the final goal – the winning goal – was a shot he said he didn’t even pick up.

    “We know what we’re gonna do,” Johnson said, “even before we get the puck.”


  • As Patriots-NFL tensions de-escalate, deflate-gate focus returns to its proper place: On Tom Brady's role in scandal

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    Our long national nightmare could be ending. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has laid down his arms by publicly agreeing not to appeal the NFL's deflate-gate decision. Commissioner Roger Goodell has accepted his old friend's bro-hug and, we can surmise, will show leniency in future decisions.

    There's just one problem, and it's the original problem: Tom Brady's role.

    What can Brady say, either in a news conference or in an appeal, that helps him emerge unscathed?

    There are two exculpatory possibilities: first, that the footballs were never deflated to an illegal extent, and second, that the footballs were deflated without Brady's knowledge. The second possibility has to be dropped. Brady is one of the most respected figures in the sport; two equipment guys aren't going to go rogue and then send "jocular" texts like those listed in Wells' report.

    But a plea deal still implies guilt, and that's a stain Brady would have to get rid of.

    Basically, it was an "Ask Tom" response.

  • Sizing up Tom Brady's sub Jimmy Garoppolo: 'Don't let the Superman look fool you'

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    Naturally, the backup to Tom Terrific looks like he's straight out of quarterback common casting.

    "He's a good-looking Italian cat," says Jimmy Garoppolo's college coach, Dino Babers.

    But as with Tom Brady, there's an underdog mentality to the second-year passer out of Eastern Illinois.

    "He's not a wimp," says Babers, who is now at Bowling Green. "Don't let the Superman look fool you. He's not Clark Kent."

    Garoppolo will have to step into a phone booth over the summer, as his job is to keep the New England Patriots afloat until Brady returns from his suspension after Week 4 (assuming No. 12's appeal for his role in deflate-gate falters). The good news is that if he struggles, Patriots fans will blame NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for it. The bad news is that he's playing for the same head coach who benched Jonas Gray after a four-touchdown game, so Garoppolo had better impress some people.

    He has already impressed the people who have seen him play in meaningful games.

    He'll get his wish.

  • Tom Brady allowed the new NFL Way to smack Patriot Way in stunning fashion

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    This wasn't punishment for illegal footballs. It was a condemnation of the Patriot Way.

    Somewhere along the line, the debate over what happened in the hours and minutes leading up to the AFC championship game in January went beyond air pressure and weather conditions, and became a referendum on the character of Tom Brady and his franchise. That much is clear in the letter that Troy Vincent, the NFL's vice president of operations, sent to Brady on Monday, which assails him for undermining the "integrity" and "public confidence" in the sport. Nobody would jump all the way to that level of criticism for similar crimes, like warming up a few footballs on a cold sideline.

    No, legal precedent is not what this is about. It's about character precedent.

    Do the Patriots abide by the spirit of the rules? Did Brady abide by the spirit of this investigation? The league's decision flashes a strong answer: no.

    And whether Pats fans like it or not, it was Brady who helped the league make that choice.

  • Roughest year begins for NFL rookies; 'Everyone tells you but you never believe it'

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    TAMPA, Fla. – Donovan Smith came to rookie camp with a sheet of names.

    Listed for the rookie offensive lineman were several former Penn State players who had advanced into the NFL. It was a crib sheet made by the school for those embarking on their first year in the league. Got a question or a problem? Call a fellow Nittany Lion.

    Smith, the Bucs' second-round pick, has already dialed a lot of people on that list.

    "You don't realize how long [the year] is," says one of Smith's phone friends, John Urschel, who just got through his rookie year with the Baltimore Ravens. "Everyone tells you but you never believe it."

    It's fairly impossible for rookies to fully understand how difficult the year ahead will be. They have worked their entire lives to get to this exact moment, where they put on an NFL uniform for the first time. It feels like it should be the mountaintop, but it's also the bottom.

    These are the days when the "made it" mirage often turns into reality. Rookies have to take someone else's job. They have to manage their own money. They have to forage their way through a new city. And they have to be largely alone.

  • Jameis Winston's infectious positive vibe meets the Bucs' losing ways

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    This is the Winston Way, the infectious and not-quite-corny enthusiasm that navigated scandal and silliness over two conference championship seasons at Florida State. He has lost only one game since leaving high school, and he carries himself like more titles await him. In Winston's world, winning is always imminent.

    Here, though, the memory of winning is faint. The last playoff victory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came in the 2002 Super Bowl, and there have only been two playoff games since. While Winston's football history is only victorious, his new team can be summed up in what head coach Lovie Smith said Friday: "If you look at our record, we're still 2-14."

    So this is it, the merging of leaps-and-bounds Jameis and the baby-steps Bucs. The question for this season is whether Winston will be dragged down or whether he'll drag his teammates to higher ground.

    "Jameis is Jameis," said rookie offensive lineman Donovan Smith, as if he'd known Winston for 20 years. "He makes light of every situation. He makes you feel comfortable with everything."

  • Canadiens keep believing, begin unlikely comeback with convincing Game 4 victory over Lightning

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    TAMPA — Well, if P.K. Subban is going down, he’s going down swinging.

    The Montreal defenseman stood at his stall after a 6-2 Game 4 romp here with his arms folded, his red Habs ski hat on, and his skates planted under his sturdy frame. He looked and spoke like someone who is on the brink of the conference final, not the brink of elimination.

    “I don’t listen to the media a lot,” he said. “But I don’t like being called out for how I play in the playoffs. Personally … I take it personally. I don’t want to hear that. I think it’s [expletive].”

    He went on, saying “a lot of us are sick and tired” of being called out and criticized. Yes, it’s the old chip-on-the-shoulder, us-against-the-world grist that every athlete in the world uses. And yes, the Canadiens probably deserve some skepticism after going down 3-0 to a Lightning team they swept last year. But the energy among the Habs is real, and palpable, and this group wants to be the first in the franchise’s long, storied history to win a series after going down by three games.

    “We owe it to our fans, to ourselves, to go back to Montreal,” Subban said. “It’s gonna be a tough game for them to win, that’s for sure.”

  • Deflate-gate report re-energizes stat geek's controversial fumbling analysis of Patriots

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    It began as an intriguing statistical correlation. It blew up into a national debate. Now it's a civil engineer's redemption song.

    And it might also be evidence that make Tom Brady and the New England Patriots look even worse.

    Back in January, after the deflate-gate story broke, a civil engineer named Warren Sharp put together some numbers that led him to a surprising finding: the Patriots are very, very good at holding onto the ball; and their ability to do so improved significantly after Brady and other quarterbacks pushed for a rule change allowing teams to provide their own footballs for games.

    "Based upon the data we've collected and the probabilities, it definitely is extremely unlikely that their ability to hold onto the football would change so much and be as far away from the rest of the NFL," Sharp said back then. "It's extremely unlikely."

    Sharp didn't expect to be vindicated.

    That re-opened the door to the possibility that Sharp was onto something.

    Morris took it a step further: