- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner16 mins ago
After the San Francisco 49ers held off the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, former 49er and current Member of the Media Deion Sanders took to the NFL Network to opine that very little is well in the Land of Jim Harbaugh.
“They want him out," Sanderssaid Sunday of 49ers players' opinion of Jim Harbaugh. "They’re not on the same page."
Harbaugh disputed the report on Monday, saying he hadn't seen Deion or similarly critical colleague Trent Dilfer around the San Francisco locker room very much.Several 49er teammates chimed in on Wednesday, coming to Harbaugh's defense.
“I heard rumors going on around here, but I don’t see it," tight end Vernon Davis said. "He’s a great guy with tons of energy. I don’t think there’s a better guy than him that’s made for this job.”
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson has been on the bench for the last three games, deemed inactive by New England. The reason? According to the Boston Globe, he's been sent to his metaphorical room for backtalk.
The Globe reports that Dobson and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have had "at least one loud disagreement."
"There are concerns that Dobson, a second-round pick out of Marshall last year, is immature, though he isn’t the first NFL player with maturity issues,"the Globe writes, in what might qualify as the understatement of the decade.
Dobson had 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns in his first season, but offseason surgery limited both his preparation and his camp time.
- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
Michael Phelps, the winningest Olympian of all time, has been arrested for DUI in Baltimore, police are reporting. Maryland Transit Authority police arrested Phelps about 1:40 a.m. in the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95.
“A Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police Officer was operating stationary radar on southbound I-395 leaving Baltimore City when a White 2014 Land Rover entered the radar’s area of influence at excessive speed (84 mph in a 45 mph zone)," the MDTA said in a statement. "The officer followed the vehicle onto northbound I-95, through the tunnel and initiated an enforcement stop just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza. Mr. Phelps was identified as the driver by his driver’s license and appeared to be under the influence. He was unable to perform satisfactorily a series of standard field sobriety tests. Mr. Phelps was cooperative throughout the process.”
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The FCC has voted unanimously to end its support of a decades-old rule allowing the NFL to black out games in markets where tickets remain unsold.
The NFL blocks all local broadcasts of games if a team does not sell out before 72 hours of kickoff. The league did so with the FCC's blessing and backing, but Tuesday's 5-0 vote ends that support.
"The sports blackout rules are a bad hangover from the days when barely 40 percent of games sold out and gate receipts were the league's principal source of revenue," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently wrote. "The NFL no longer needs the government's help to remain viable."
Only two games were blacked out by the NFL last season, and none have been this year. The NFL has warned that if the blackout rule is ended, more games could move from broadcast to cable television, an argument that sounds more like a threat than a defense.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner2 days ago
Oh, this is gonna be good. If there's anything Northeast fans and media love more than winning, it's griping about losing. And the New England Patriots are giving us an early preview of just how nasty it's going to get up Boston way over the next few seasons.
Look, at some point Tom Brady will hang up his cleats and NFL-strength hair-care products once and for all. That could be 2015, or it could be 2022, but it's going to happen. Question is, how will he and those around him deal with it?
Monday night gave us a hint of a possible future. The Chiefs de-pantsed the Patriots in front of a national television audience, in large part because Brady could get nothing going. (Yes yes offensive line sucks receivers can't catch refs are biased blah blah.) Brady finished 14-for-23 with one touchdown against two picks, and after that second pick, he took a seat on the sideline. And nooooobody got near him:
We call this game "football," but in truth, foot rarely meets ball, and in most cases, it's when the hands and legs have failed in their duties. Sunday's 38-17 Packers victory over Chicago featured exactly zero punts, only the second time in NFL history that's happened. (The first: Buffalo-San Francisco in September 1992, but you knew that.) The game featured more than 850 yards of total offense and nine scores of various types, mostly by Green Bay. Next up: we want to see an NFL game with nothing but punts .
The no-punt tale leads off this week's NFL in :90, where we take you through the biggest stories of Sunday. Check it out for details on Steve Smith's triumphant Carolina battle, the miserable Miami-Oakland game in London, and San Francisco's performance in its first statement game.
Here's more of the best of Sunday in Shutdown Corner:
• Did a 49ers fan prank the Eagles with a fire alarm at the team hotel?
The culture of New Orleans is sublime, a melange of music and food and drink and soul unlike anywhere else in the world. The New Orleans Saints of the mid-2000s were the physical embodiment of that culture, relentless and fascinating, (allegedly) a bit sinister but always a must-watch.
These Saints? These Saints are the Bourbon Chicken at your mall food court, a sickly imitation fit only for those who've never experienced the original.
These Saints suffered their third loss of the year, their first that can't be explained away with a bad-breaks excuse. And they didn't just lose 38-17 to Dallas; no, they got hammered , and whatever meager hope New Orleans might have had, they gave away with ill-advised playcalling. New Orleans is now 1-3, buried deep in the pack and already in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
You'd figure that with the NFL's emphasis on safety, any time you see a helmet on the field a flag is sure to follow. But there's a bit of personal responsibility involved, too.
Late in the first half of the San Francisco 49ers' victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, receiver Michael Crabtree made a move on Cary Williams, and suddenly found himself without his helmet. But there was no penalty, because as it turns out, pulling off a guy's helmet without facemasking him isn't technically illegal.
Crabtree bears responsibility too here for not buckling his chin strap tight enough. Fortunately, he didn't take any hits to the unprotected skull, as the play was immediately blown dead.
Remember, players: dress for the tackle you expect to get, not the one you wish you'd dodge.
- Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf3 days ago
The Ryder Cup is over and done with, pencils down. Some players (and captains) performed well under pressure, and some, well, didn't. Let's take a look at each team and size up their performance at this year's Ryder Cup.
Paul McGinley (captain): He won the Ryder Cup, so that's an A right there. But the way he structured this team over the last two years, outlining expectations and containing dissent, he set a model for European captains for years to come. His captain's picks didn't work out, but they didn't need to. GRADE: A.
Thomas Bjorn (0-2-1): He didn't play particularly well in either the fourball or singles matches. But when you've got such an arsenal around you, you can afford to have a letdown. GRADE: D+.
Jamie Donaldson (3-1-0): Great success story, playing his way onto the European team despite setbacks in both personal and professional life. His reward? Striking the winning stroke for Europe. GRADE: A.
Victor Dubuisson (2-0-1): Quality performance out of the French rookie, who's just 24 and likely to be around for many more of these. This is exactly the way to build a strong Ryder resume. GRADE: A-.
- Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf3 days ago
Phil Mickelson will be a Ryder Cup captain one day, perhaps one day very soon, and he'll take plenty of lessons from this year's tournament.
Mickelson certainly wasn't pleased to be sitting all day Saturday, but he rallied and managed a 3&1 win over rookie Stephen Gallacher, who hadn't played since Friday.
Gallacher got out to a slight lead, but Mickelson kept pace, reversing a 1-up deficit into a 1-up USA lead in the space of three holes from 4 to 6. Mickelson couldn't post a lead that held up until the 15th, and from there, it was an avalanche. By 17, Mickelson was up 3&1, and that was enough.
Mickelson ended the weekend 2-1-0, a respectable record for the USA side. Gallacher, meanwhile, was 0-2-0, and never really had the opportunity to get started for Europe. Not that it mattered very much.