- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner29 mins ago
CHICAGO — Before Mike Ditka was DITKA , he was one of the NFL's best tight ends. Although he played in an era when the position was a glorified grunt, blocking alongside the offensive linemen, Ditka helped revolutionize the position into more of how we know it today.
For his contributions as a player, the Chicago Bears — with whom Ditka played for six seasons, under famed head coach George Halas — retired Ditka's No. 89 at halftime of Monday's game between the Bears and the Dallas Cowboys, the other team Ditka most prominently played for.
The team honored Ditka at halftime with a video montage that included well wishes and memories from his former teammates, many from the 1963 Bears NFL championship team, and the 1985 Bears, the Super Bowl champions. Ditka thanked the people of Chicago for being such a big part of his life and his dreams.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, and go Bears!" Ditka told the crowd.
In 12 seasons with the Bears, Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, Ditka caught 427 passes for 5,812 yards and 43 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
Brett Favre seems to be enjoying his life out of the spotlight.
That seems odd, right? The last few years of his career were marked by his level of waffling about retirement and the attention that came along with that. It might be years before the jokes about Brett Favre and coming out of retirement die down.
But the former NFL great hasn't done much to put himself in the public light since retiring for good. He hasn't sought a regular national TV gig, or been around the NFL much at all. He's quite happy coaching high school ball.
Favre, who has volunteered as Oak Grove High School's offensive coordinator for three seasons, was thrilled when the Warriors won the Class 6A state championship in Mississippi last week. It was the first state title in school history. And Favre was excited for the kids he coaches.
"I can't say it's a Super Bowl, but it's pretty close," Favre told the Hattiesburg American. "It really is. It's a different kind of feeling, but I'm awfully proud of these kids."
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
If you're going to this season's Super Bowl in New Jersey, don't bring your grill. And you should feel lucky if you get in the parking lot at all.
During a Super Bowl committee press conference, news came out that tailgating will not be allowed at MetLife Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, according to ESPN. Fans in Kansas City and Green Bay just got a lot less excited about the possibility of their teams going to the Super Bowl.
Like other Super Bowls, parking will be at a premium. Other Super Bowls haven't had tailgating because of that reason.
ESPN said there will be fewer than 13,000 parking spots available at MetLife Stadium. To get to the stadium fans can ride on a charter bus for $51, take N.J. Transit to the game, or be dropped off in cars with parking passes. Limos, black cars and taxis won't be allowed near the stadium without a parking pass.
And if you do have a coveted parking pass and want to barbecue some bratwurst, don't bother.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
If Mike Shanahan is around to coach the Washington Redskins over the last three weeks of the season, he's not sure Robert Griffin III will be his quarterback.
Shanahan, whose job security has been a constant discussion in Washington since the Redskins' 45-10 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, said he hasn't decided on a starting quarterback for this week's game against Atlanta. He cited the Falcons' pass rush and the fact that the Redskins have given up 24 sacks in five games as a factor in his decision process. He wants to make sure Griffin gets through his second season in one piece.
He said if he decides to sit Griffin this week, he would shut last year's offensive rookie of the year down for the rest of the season. He said if he goes with Kirk Cousins, it would strictly be related to keeping Griffin healthy and not because of Griffin's struggles this season.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson knows what it is like to be the butt of jokes.
Burleson is the guy who attempted to save a falling pizza while driving in September. As a result of that irrational move, Burleson crashed his car and broke an arm. He even received a year supply of free pizza from DiGiorno to avoid another accident.
Nevertheless, this might be a new low for Burleson and his team.
Detroit’s inconsistent season continued yesterday with a 34-20 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead of pulling away in the NFC North race, Detroit (7-6) was defeated in another key game and is fighting to make the playoffs. The Lions seemingly cannot win big games, which left the majority of their fan base disappointed after Sunday's lackluster performance.
One person informed Burleson of Detroit’s woes on Monday, and the receiver shared his experience on Detroit Sports 105.1.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland seemingly had one foot out the door earlier this season.
The Dolphins have advanced to the playoffs once in Ireland’s tenure (2008 season). Jonathan Martin’s harassment allegations against Richie Incognito occurred under Ireland’s watch. Miami hit another low during a loss against Tampa Bay, which was one of the league’s worst team, earlier this season.
Since that loss, Miami has won three of its last four, and Ireland’s biggest victory might be retaining his job.
According to Miami Herald reporter Armando Salguero, Ireland was recently informed by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross that his job was safe.
Here is a portion of Salguero’s story:
But I'm told Ross and Ireland have discussed the GM's status and the speculation is not accurate -- at least not right now. Obviously, there are three games remaining in the regular season and the Dolphins are neither in the playoffs nor out of the playoff hunt so no final declarations or assertions of fact can be made on the matter.
But for now, that which is being widely assumed -- that Ireland is a goner after the season -- is not correct.
Redskins looking into whether they could fire Mike Shanahan for cause and not pay him remaining $7 millionFrank Schwab at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
The Washington Redskins' relationship with Mike Shanahan seemed to officially sour on Sunday, and well before the opening kickoff of a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
ESPN.com had a curiously timed story on Sunday morning that Shanahan was ready to quit last season because of how owner Daniel Snyder gave preferential treatment to quarterback Robert Griffin III, but stuck around for another season after Griffin got hurt. Whether that story is accurate doesn't really matter. The important takeaway is someone leaked it to ESPN.
The Redskins believe that someone is Shanahan, and they aren't too pleased about it.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner11 hrs ago
If the worst-case scenario is true for Rob Gronkowski, he's not just going to miss the New England Patriots' playoff push this year, he won't be back until the stretch run next year either.
The Boston Herald reported that further tests showed Gronkowski has a torn MCL to go with the presumed torn ACL, suffered on a low hit by Browns safety T.J. Ward in Sunday's game.
ESPN speculated that injury could knock Gronkowski out as long as a full year.
ESPN doctor Michael Kaplan believes Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will be out eight to nine months, possibly even a year.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2013
The Herald pointed out that Wes Welker suffered the same ACL/MCL combination in the final week of the 2009 season and returned for the opener the next year, so it might not take Gronkowski a full year to return. However, Gronkowski has dealt with plenty of injuries through his career, and was slow to return this season from back and forearm issues.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Holy smokes, San Francisco. Batkid saved the day again.
You may know him as Miles Scott, a dynamic 5-year-old boy who recently darted around San Francisco to save Gotham through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is a leukemia patient who played hero for a day and rescued damsel in distress, freed the Giants’ mascot from the Penguin and led a rally of nearly 20,000 citizens who cheered him on at City Hall.
Batkid also has the ability to save the 49ers from a loss.
San Francisco faced the Seattle Seahawks at home on Sunday. This was a Seahawks team that recently dismantled the New Orleans Saints, 34-7, on Monday Night Football. Sure, San Francisco could have relied upon quarterback Colin Kaepernick to pull off a win.
But this was a job for the Batkid.
Scott watched Sunday's game on San Francisco's sidelines, and he saw the 49ers pull off a 19-17 victory. It was an important win to keep San Francisco in the NFC playoff race. The victory also kept the 49ers in contention for the NFC West title.
- Kevin Kaduk at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
Sunday's snow was a fun setting for football, but it didn't exactly ground NFL offenses. A total of 88 touchdowns were scored for a new single-day league record.
One area where it did have an impact, however, was the legs of Philadelphia Eagles kicker Alex Henery and Detroit Lions kicker David Akers. Neither kicked a single point as the two teams opted instead to try for seven two-point conversions (succeeding on three). Akers did attempt an extra point after one Lions score, but it was blocked by the Eagles in their 34-20 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
According to Chase Stuart of Football Perspective, the scoring kick-free game marked the first time in 56 years that a NFL game was played without an extra point or field goal sailing through the uprights. It's only happened four other times since 1940, but all four of those games were shutouts.
We cover that statistical oddity and more in this week's NFL in 90 — the recap reel that brings you all of the action you might have missed on Sunday.
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