- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner17 mins 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 Corner1 hr 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 Corner2 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.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
This weekend marked the beginning of a funny ritual in the NFL.
When the calendar gets to December, players will go out in short sleeves in below-zero temperatures and tell everyone who will listen they're not cold and they're not intimidated by the weather, like everyone will be fooled into thinking that minus-12 wind chill isn't cold.
It's cold. We all know. And it makes playing football very difficult.
At kickoff of Monday night's game in Chicago, the temperature was 9 degrees with a wind chill of minus-8. It got so cold that ESPN found equipment managers holding water bottles up to the sideline heaters because the water inside was freezing up. During one timeout, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo didn't stop to talk to the coaches, he went right to the heater, pushing teammates out of the way like George Costanza fleeing a fire.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is the guy who files his taxes early and reports his own mistakes to the IRS, isn’t he?
Amid a sea of hatred for the Shanahans and everything Redskins, Cousins is a beacon of light — he says, golly gee willikers, he absolutely loves Mike and his son, Kyle.
“I think that a fan has the right to have their opinion,” Cousins told The Washington Post following Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “They pay hard-earned money to watch us play and to support our team and they have a right to their opinion. My own personal perspective [is] I absolutely love the Shanahans and believe they’re doing a great job coaching us. I would like to see them still be here. But that’s not my decision to make.”
Cousins also likes kittens, long walks on the beach, watching The Notebook while cuddled up under a blanket, and spending time with a good book.
Sure, Cousins probably does not want any part of the mess between Robert Griffin III and the Shanahans, but he is definitely a company man.
All jokes aside, Cousins is actually a good young man. If you never saw his speech at the 2011 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, check it out. Cousins is truly a good person.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
Have you been checking the casting rumors about the new "Entourage" movie? Supposedly Kate Upton could play Vincent Chase's love interest.
We'll we've got another casting idea for you, producers: Give Denver Broncos head coach John Fox a role. Vinny's Dad maybe? Something. Anything.
Fox, who recently underwent aortic valve replacement heart surgery last month, checked into a North Carolina hospital under the name “Johnny Drama” — the nickname on the show for Vinny Chase's brother, Johnny Chase — according to the Denver Post. Fox is reportedly a big fan of the show, and the nickname would seem to prove it.
Even with the report, Entourage cast member Jerry Ferrara (who played Turtle on the show) wasn't sure to believe it or not. In a since deleted tweet to the writer, the Post's Ryan Parker, Ferrara asked of his Fox report: "can u confirm this?"
Yes, we can.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
Minnesota Viking’s running back Adrian Peterson was seemingly blowing off steam when he criticized NFL officials on Twitter after a 29-26 loss against Baltimore on Sunday.
Upon further review, even the NFL thought Peterson had a point.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the NFL contacted him on Monday to discuss the officiating that occurred against Baltimore. It is common for coaches to contact the league each week about questionable calls, but rare when they receive an unsolicited call.
"It was a good conversation," Frazier said, via 1500ESPN.com. "The fact that they called should give you an indication of how they felt about things on that day. That was encouraging that they wanted to talk about that game from yesterday."
"It's happened twice this season."
What is all the fuss about?
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
CHICAGO — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after his team's 45-28 loss to the Chicago Bears, in which the Cowboys allowed 490 yards and eight scores on their first eight possessions, that his defense needs to take more risks.
“We’ll have to make some adjustments with what we’re doing defensively,” Jones said in the Cowboys' locker room. “What that usually means is taking more risks on defense. If you’re going to have the type of nights we had like [Monday], and certainly down in New Orleans, then you got to take some risks.
"We’ve just got to double-up, and I’m sure that will be a part of the plan on defense is more risks. We’ve got to play the balls. We got to go after the ball more.”
Asked if that includes suggesting schematic changes to what defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is calling, Jones said no, but then offered a rambling, confusing assessment of what it takes to be a more successful defense.
“We can do some things different out there," Jones said. "It’s not as safe, but it could be more effective; it could maybe get us a turnover when it might have made a difference and changed the tide out there.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
CHICAGO — Should the Chicago Bears ditch Jay Cutler this offseason and just start Josh McCown?
It’s not an entirely stunning concept at this point if you look purely at how the Bears have played on offense with McCown starting and Cutler in the lineup.
But, oh, lo, it’s not that easy.
Still, having now seen McCown for seven games this season — five strong starts and two good relief appearances — including Monday’s 45-28 thumping of the Dallas Cowboys, it’s tempting to think about the possibility.
McCown completed 27 of 36 passes for 348 yards (his third straight over 300) with four passing touchdowns and one rushing, the first Bear to achieve that since Jack Concannon in 1970. For the season, McCown now has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 1,809 yards, with 13 touchdowns and only one interception. Compare that to Cutler's 63 percent completions, 1,908 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight INTs — on 40 more pass attempts.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
The New England Patriots were, mostly, an elite team with a healthy Rob Gronkowski.
The offense was tremendous. The Patriots looked as good as they have the past few years. A collision with the Denver Broncos in the AFC playoffs seemed inevitable.
Gronkowski is done for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Aside from Aaron Rodgers' collarbone, Gronkowski's knee might be the injury that impacts the NFL playoffs the most. He changes the game. He's impossible to guard, an enormous movable piece that occupies two defenders on most plays. In many ways he's unlike any other tight end we've seen. The Patriots weren't the same without him early in the season. They won't be the same without him the rest of this season.
[Photos: Best of NFL Week 14]
There's reason to believe the Patriots can survive. New England was 5-1 when Gronkowski made his season debut. There's also reason for concern. Tom Brady was having one of his worst seasons, statistically, until Gronkowski hit his stride. The Patriots are a hard team to project for the rest of the year without Gronkowski.