- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Nelson Mandela, the great former South African president and anti-apartheid leader who died at age 95, was a sports fan.
He loved boxing. His support of the Springboks national rugby team in the 1995 Rugby World Cup was immortalized in the movie "Invictus." He was instrumental in getting soccer's 2010 World Cup to come to South Africa.
Mandela even took in an American football game, attending a Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game in 1999. He sat with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in Jones' suite at old Texas Stadium.
Jones recalled to the Dallas Morning News that on the morning of Oct. 24, 1999 he got a call from his friend Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, who told him he wanted to bring a friend to the game.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Adrian Peterson is an institution for the Minnesota Vikings, quickly becoming arguably the most recognizable figure in the history of the franchise.
Yet, in a moment of honesty, Peterson said he has thought about the possibility of finishing his career in his home state of Texas, with the Dallas Cowboys.
"You know, I'd be a liar if I said it's something that hasn't crossed my mind before," Peterson said on ESPN Radio, via Fox Sports Southwest. "But I've also said to myself it would be so amazing to be one of those players who stays with one team his entire career, it would be good if I could do that. But being from Texas, I've always wondered, wow, it would be cool to play in Dallas, to play back home. Or to play in Houston."
Minnesota fans probably don't love hearing that one.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
Houston Texans fans are having a tough year.
The Texans' season began with high hopes but that washed away in a 10-game losing streak. They let their displeasure known a few weeks ago when they booed the home team so loudly that the offense had to go to a silent count.
The 2-10 Texans play an unpalatable game on Thursday night against the 3-9 Jaguars. It will be broadcast on KTRK-TV in Houston on Thursday night, pushing the popular ABC show "Scandal" back to 12:45 a.m. That's a problem to a few folks in Houston who would much rather watch the TV drama than see the Texans try for their 11th straight loss, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"Scandal" stars Kerry Washington as the head of a crisis management firm in Washington, D.C. The Texans and KTRK might need their own crisis management specialists.
scandal > houston texans. good thing i’m not in htown
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner11 hrs ago
Almost every fan has some sort of superstition on game day.
Where they sit for the game, what they eat before or during the game, in-depth things like which lights are turned on or something simple like wearing a lucky shirt (or a lucky hat as Wisconsin hoops gets a big road win against Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge), it's all part of being a fan.
It's fun to know that players are superstitious too. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a lot to deal with during games, but he still takes time to employ his system for changing out his gum, depending on if that piece of gum has been working.
“I just depend on Wrigley’s Winterfresh chewing gum to get me through the adverse times in the game,” he said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “.... And in a given game, the superstition comes. You made a big play? Even if the gum is rock solid, you can’t take it out. You got to keep fighting through it. You may put another piece of gum in, but that’s that playmaking gum. But if you’re sucking, of course, you’ve got to toss that gum.”
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
I don't get the London NFL regular-season games, and I don't like them either. They throw off the competitive balance of the season making teams give up home games, and no American fan gets any benefit out of it.
The NFL believes it will make more money by expanding abroad, but there's no reason for me to care about the league adding a couple million to the billions it already makes.
One of the reasons the London games are useless is they are like any other game. They come on at the same time as the 1 p.m. Eastern time games. The London game looks a little darker. There's nothing else special about them.
But one minor switch to the London schedule all of a sudden gives us a benefit here in the United States: A few more hours of football on a NFL Sunday.
The Oct. 26 game next year between Atlanta and Detroit will start at 1:30 p.m. in England, or 9:30 a.m. Eastern time in America. So that London game will be wrapping up about the same time as the usual early set of games is kicking off? OK, NFL, you have my attention.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The Carolina Panthers are the NFC South upstarts, the team that has come out of nowhere to challenge for the division crown.
That storyline is fine, but the Panthers' revival started last year after everyone stopped paying attention to them, and was punctuated by a road win at New Orleans.
Before assuming that a Panthers' win on Sunday would be a massive upset, consider that they won in New Orleans less than a year ago. Carolina won 44-38 at the Superdome in Week 17, the Panthers' fifth win in their final six games last season. If you want to believe that the Saints were mailing it in by that point in the season, it's worth noting that New Orleans won in Week 15 and 16.
The Panthers were laying the foundation for their breakout 2013 season, and that win in the final week gave them a lot of positive momentum into the offseason.
In the finale at New Orleans, DeAngelo Williams had 210 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Mike Tolbert had three rushing touchdowns. Carolina led 41-24 early in the fourth quarter and held off a late Saints rally. That gave the Panthers a season sweep of the Saints. They beat New Orleans in Week 2 as well.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The NFL came down hard on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Wednesday, fining him $100,000, and the worst could still be on the way.
The NFL announced the fine and added that "a modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined." The NFL said that it is still considering that step involving either taking away a draft pick or moving the Steelers down in the draft order because Tomlin's actions affected a play on the field. On Thanksgiving, Tomlin strayed near the field and forced Ravens returner Jacoby Jones to alter his route on a long kickoff return.
Tomlin apologized during his press conference on Tuesday but said he didn't impede Jones' progress on purpose. The NFL didn't fully buy his apology, judging by the harsh penalty.
The NFL said in its announcement that Tomlin should have been given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. He was not penalized on the play.
SEATTLE – The New Orleans Saints are stuck now. And that's not a reference to their broken-down plane in Seattle.
New Orleans is a very good football team. But Monday night proved they're not better than the Seahawks. That's a problem, considering the road to the Super Bowl will go through Seattle.
You won't often see one team completely dominate another good team like the Seahawks did to the Saints on Monday night. It's hard to imagine the Saints changing so much before the playoffs that they could flip it around and win at Seattle in January.
"Everything went wrong," Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said.
SEATTLE – Just what the New Orleans Saints wanted – to be forced to extend their stay in Seattle.
After a 34-7 loss to Seattle, at least the Saints could go home and forget about it ... until their plane broke down. The Baton Rouge Advocate said that the Saints had to spend another night in Seattle as a result of the plane's issues.
This night couldn't get any worse
— rafael bush (@rbush36) December 3, 2013
Although the Saints probably have some serious concerns about the unexpected delay home, such as not packing enough underwear for another night on the road, what's most troubling is that they were already facing a short week of preparation before a huge NFC South showdown against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night. Now their prep time for that game has been cut into even further.
[Photos: Best of NFL Week 13]
SEATTLE – Seahawks safety Earl Thomas leaned in and looked up, because he had to share a secret he had been holding onto.
That shocking 34-7 beat down of the Saints? That wasn't a surprise at all, at least to anyone in the Seahawks locker room.
"I'm telling you, and I'm not just saying this because it happened," Thomas said, "but this is what we envisioned happening."
The matter-of-fact tone the Seahawks had after Monday's win was startling. This was supposed to be a showdown, the battle of the two best teams in the NFC. Seattle respected New Orleans, but they didn't consider it the big game everyone else did. It was obvious that there was never much doubt from their side about what was going to happen.
"We just did what we've been doing," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "We don't think we made any statement. We won a game we were supposed to win."
Hopefully the AFC playoffs will be interesting. Because the NFC side is a formality. Nobody is beating the Seahawks here in January, and after Monday's win the Seahawks are 11-1 and a No. 1 seed is all but locked up.