- Kevin Kaduk at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman left ESPN's Bomani Jones and Dan LeBatard in the lurch on Tuesday when he stood up and abruptly left an interview during the network's "Highly Questionable" program.
As Jones and LeBatard's shocked faces might suggest, the impetus for Merriman's sudden departure is hard to pinpoint. Merriman was appearing on the program to promote his charity's 11th annual coat drive and the two hosts were interviewing Merriman about his childhood, which included battles with homelessness.
According to The Lights On Foundation's web page, Merriman was "the victim of two house fires (as a child), and he was left homeless as a result of these incidents." Jones and LeBatard were asking Merriman for more details about one of the fires when Merriman stood up from his chair, took out his earpiece and left the set after saying thank you.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson has a holiday tradition that beats going in debt, purchasing items for people who do not appreciate the gesture, or feeling guilty because you do not have enough money to purchase elaborate gifts.
For the seventh consecutive year, Johnson held his annual Toys “R” Us shopping spree for 12 at-risk children in Houston. They were given 80 seconds (Johnson wears No.80) to grab as many toys as possible.
Oh, but Johnson did not make the kids wait for a clerk to unlock that glass retail display case with those expensive gaming systems.
Instead, Johnson gave each child an Xbox 360 with two games.
What was the grand total for Johnson’s shopping spree?
Talk about cash back reward benefits.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) December 10, 2013
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
This is how big a business the NFL is and how seriously people are taking concussions.
Hollywood plans to turn "League of Denial," the book (and later a PBS documentary) that pulled back the curtain on the football and its concussion problem, into a major motion picture.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, which reports that two partners have won an auction for screen rights to the film and that they could have some high-profile acting and directing talent to help support them.
The book focused a lot of attention on former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, a Hall of Famer who was found to have suffered from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) following an autopsy of his brain after he commit suicide at age 50.
The Frontline documentary on PBS received a lot of critical acclaim and raised serious awareness on the subject. If done properly, a major motion picture could do even more with a wider-cast net.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner11 hrs ago
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
But Rodgers doesn't seem physically ready – and he knows it.
During his weekly radio show on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee, Rodgers, who is recovering from a broken collarbone, seemed less certain about how soon he will play again. Rodgers revealed he experienced pain after returning to practice last Wednesday and was limited for the rest of that week.
“I’m obviously trying to push it to come back before science tells you is even possible,” Rodgers said [via ESPN.com]. “I don’t think you’re seeing anybody out there coming back at four or five weeks from this type of injury to do some of the things I’d like to do back on the field. It’s tough to not be out there with the guys.”
Rodgers has missed Green Bay’s past five games since sustaining the injury. The Packers are 1-3-1 during his absence, but are still alive in the playoff race. Some NFL observers believe Rodgers will attempt to play against Dallas despite the injury, but Rodgers did not express that sentiment on Tuesday.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
In the wake of one of the more thrilling weekends of NFL football we've seen 'round these parts in some time, we have several matters for discussion. First, there's the Bears QB situation. Do you commit to Jay Cutler, or do you throw the dice short-term with Josh McCown? There are good arguments for both. Next, we look at the absolute dumpster fire that is the Washington Redskins. Is there hope? (No.) Is this the worst team in football? (Yes.)
From there, it's the usual lightning round with Frank, followed by some discussion of how there is no other MVP than Peyton Manning, and of course some discussion about the baseball Hall of Fame and steroid use. But it all makes sense if you listen.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Every move the Washington Redskins make, or are rumored to be making, is parsed like an episode of "Days of Our Lives."
Here's the latest: Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he's considering sitting quarterback Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season because, gee, the kid has taken a lot of hits and we don't want him all banged up for the rest of his career.
The development now, per the Washington Post, is that owner Daniel Snyder — with whom Shanahan is believed to be embroiled in a conflict with — will not stand in Shanahan's way if he makes a move for Kirk Cousins.
An anonymous source (who no doubts feared being chloroformed at some point) told the Post that Snyder is staying clear of telling the coach which quarterback to play.
“He won’t step in and interfere with that,” the source said. “He’s not going to step into a personnel decision that way.”
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
There are many ways to look at the NFL, but the easiest - and most tedious – method to figure out what is going on is by examining the numbers.
Here is a numerical look at the league heading into Week 15:
0 – Punts by the Chicago Bears during a 45-28 victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. The Bears scored on their first eight possessions. The only reason it was not nine is because they had the ball for just one play to end the game. Chicago amassed 490 offensive yards against Dallas’ putrid defense.
3 – Consecutive victories by the Jacksonville Jaguars after beginning this season 0-8. Jacksonville has won four of its past five games.
4 – Amount of touchdowns thrown by Denver’s Peyton Manning and New Orleans’ Drew Brees with zero interceptions in Week 14. It marked the 29th time Manning accomplished threw four or more touchdown passes in a game, extending his current league record, while Brees (24) surpassed Brett Favre for the second-most such games in NFL history.
5 – Touchdowns scored by San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis in the past six games. Davis has caught a touchdown pass in the 49ers’ past four games.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
Count NFL commissioner Roger Goodell among those who would embrace snow during the Super Bowl.
Roger Goodell in NYC at the NFF awards, on last Sunday: “We love playing in the elements. We saw that on Sunday. It was a throwback time.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 10, 2013
Week 14 will go down as one of the more exciting weeks in NFL history, and there's no doubt that the snow added a level of drama to it.
But will that make for a good Super Bowl? And will fans be happy traveling to the game — and not tailgating, by the way — in the mess of a snow storm? What will halftime performer Bruno Mars think?
All interesting questions. What's your take? Do you embrace the elements for the big game?
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- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
On the first day of the NFL season, Peyton Manning threw seven touchdowns against the Ravens.
He became the NFL MVP favorite that day, and there hasn't been a moment since when he hasn't led the field in that race.
But I get it. It's boring to repeat the same thing for four months. It doesn't draw any attention to yourself to state the obvious. So we have this ridiculous "debate" brewing that anyone but Manning could be the MVP this season. It's maddening to anyone who understands logic.
Manning has 45 touchdowns, already tied for fifth most in NFL history with three games to go. You know who has 44 touchdowns this season? Tom Brady and Russell Wilson combined. Manning also has 400 more passing yards than anyone in the NFL. Saying he shouldn't win the MVP is like predicting the sky will be pink tomorrow. Bet on the sky being blue – you'll probably be right.
Yet, there are those who want to stand out in the crowd. Those arguing for anyone but Manning for MVP generally fall under one of these categories:
1. The illogical homer
"@Pats4EVERANDEVER: When you look at how clutch he is, Tom Brady is the REAL ... "
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
Welcome to the Fifth Quarter, the only NFL recap column you’ll ever need. It’s the only one to provide a full day’s supply of Vitamin C, after all. Here’s what was going on around the rest of the league while you were selfishly focused on your home team and your fantasy players.
The NFL needs the Cowboys to be a relevant team. So do you. And the Cowboys are not holding up their end of the bargain.
Why, pray tell, would the rest of us need that team of long-gone glory hounds with their insufferable fans to be good again? Because Cowboys football, played right, is everything that is right and wrong with the NFL all at once. Ambition, acclaim, bravado, ego ... they're even more fun to hate than they are to love, and that's why we need Dallas to be ... something.
You've heard the stats about Dallas having an almost perfect .500 record since their Aikman-Emmitt-Irvin heyday. It encapsulates the entire mediocrity of this franchise under Jerry Jones, the way that Dallas is that worst of all sports phenomena: the afterthought.