- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Super Bowl 50, billed as a celebration of a half-century of what has become the pinnacle sporting event in the Western Hemisphere, was marred — before the game ever started — on an obscure automatic coin toss loss by the Carolina Panthers for sending too many captains (teams are allowed six) out to midfield against the New England Patriots, leading the Patriots to score on their deferred first possession of the second half in what would end up a 27-24 victory.
Oh, phew, what a nightmare we just had!
It’s understandable during this poor-call-plagued season to fear the worst: that a playoff game — or worse, the Super Bowl — could be decided on a blown call by the referees. Human error aside, the repeated issues have drawn all kinds of negative attention to the league, the quality of the games and the possibility of serious controversy for a league cloaked in it already.Mon, Nov 23Buffalo13 - 20New EnglandGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
It was a more eventful postgame for Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott than it was a game last Saturday.
After being held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in 16 games, Elliott fired a few salvos in the direction of the Buckeyes' coaching staff and then announced his plans to turn pro right after that. Quite the turn of events in the loss to Michigan State, putting a serious dent in the Buckeyes' chances of winning back-to-back titles.
“We weren’t put in position to win this game,” Elliott said after his 12-carry, 33-yard game. “I deserve more than  carries, I really do. I can’t speak for the play-caller. I don’t know what was going on.”
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
The Cleveland Browns have benched second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel after TMZ posted video of Manziel partying in Austin, Texas on the team's bye week.
In a statement posted to the team website, head coach Mike Pettine said the Browns will once again go with veteran Josh McCown as the starter, with Austin Davis as his backup. Manziel will be the team's third quarterback.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
As we all know, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick can be as prickly as a cactus - and as huggable as one as well.
But if you can set aside your feelings for Belichick the person, there's no denying that Belichick the coach is one of the best to ever pace an NFL sideline. As head coach of the Patriots, he's won four Super Bowls and gone to two others. He keeps his players on their toes through detailed quizzes and is not above releasing a bottom-of-the-roster player to remind the others not to get so comfortable that they don't handle their job.
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan, as a person, is the type of guy almost anyone would want to have a beer with: he's quick with a joke and not afraid to don a wig to get a laugh. He's known as a players' coach, making bold proclamations of success, though none of them have come true yet. As head coach of the Jets, he did lead his team to two AFC title game appearances.
Their resumes as head coaches would appear to speak for themselves, but for one former player, the resume doesn't matter.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
Carson Palmer is quite the businessman, it seems.
This is a quarterback who has earned a rare quartet — four banner huge contracts since coming into the NFL, and he's still going strong, very much steeped in the league's MVP race at age 35.
Total estimated career earnings, per Spotrac: more than $138 million.
God bless the NFL. And America.
And god bless real estate, which apparently could net Palmer another windfall. Check out this listing of Palmer's house in Del Mar, Calif., per the Los Angeles Times, which he's listing for a breathtaking $24.995 million.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Monday night's game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots was a poorly officiated mess. If we can call out coaches, players and even TV analysts, then why should referees be above reproach?
They shouldn't. And when they offer less-than-satisfactory and, lo, incorrect reasoning for their mistakes then it's fair game to go to town.
The center of many folks' ire in the game was the inadvertant whistle that essentially blew dead a would-be huge play from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola, and the clean-up act — awarding the Patriots the ball at the spot Amendola caught the ball — felt an odd concession.
But the final play of the game, with Sammy Watkins rolling out of bounds untouched but the referees letting the clock run out, was just as bad. The explanation was worse.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant has his share of head-shaking moments, but the receiver can also surprise you in a good way.
Receivers and cornerbacks are frequently called the divas of the sport (a well-earned reputation), but on Sunday, after the Cowboys ended its seven-game losing streak with a win against the Miami Dolphins, Bryant had nothing but good things to say about Brent Grimes, the cornerback who spent the afternoon shadowing him all over the wet Sun Life Stadium turf.
"Oh, man, I love Grimes," Bryant said, saying the three-time Pro Bowler is arguably the best corner in the league. "It's like even when you make a move on him, he's still there. You get him picked around, he's still there. And I think that's what I respect most about his game.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
If you thought the Kansas City Chiefs' season was over at 1-5, history was on your side.
Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the only 1-5 team to make the playoffs was the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals. They were actually 1-6, in a 14-game season, and won out to make the playoffs. That's amazing (also, as a side note, that was the team for which Bill Walsh is credited for devising what would eventually become the "West Coast Offense").
What the Chiefs are doing is remarkable, as well.
Kansas City has won four in a row and is in a four-way tie for the last wild-card spot in the AFC. And they have to be considered a favorite to get a wild-card spot based on this remaining schedule:
Week 12: vs. Buffalo Week 13: at Oakland Week 14: vs. San Diego Week 15: at Baltimore Week 16: vs. Cleveland Week 17: vs. OaklandSun, Nov 22Kansas City33 - 3San DiegoGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
What would a Monday night NFL game, or a New England Patriots game for that matter, be without a little officiating controversy?
There were plenty of head-scratching moments on Monday night from the officials, which seems to be the norm this season. The Patriots got a potential touchdown taken away in the third quarter on a weird call, and then the Buffalo Bills had a chance for a last-second throw to the end zone taken away on another controversial call.
The game might not have been in doubt at the end if not for an inadvertent whistle that took a potential Danny Amendola touchdown off the board. Brady rolled right, a whistle blew even though Brady was a few feet from the sideline, and the confusion began.
Brady's pass was caught by Amendola, and Amendola had a chance to get by one Buffalo Bills defender and take it the rest of the way for a long touchdown. But the whistle had blown so play stopped. Referee Gene Steratore explained that a whistle had inadvertently blown when Amendola caught the ball, so the ball was dead at the spot Amendola made the catch, and Rex Ryan was given a penalty for interfering with the line judge on the sideline who apparently blew the whistle.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
You don’t get to 10-0 by being one-dimensional, and the New England Patriots are far from that.
The Patriots’ offense gets a lot of attention, which happens when you have the MVP favorite at quarterback. The defense, however, played really well on Monday night in a workmanlike 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler mostly took Bills receiver Sammy Watkins out of the game, tight end Charles Clay had a quiet night and for the most part the Pats kept running back LeSean McCoy in front of them. Late in the game, when the Patriots had a seven-point lead, they ran into the line three straight times and punted, trusting the defense wouldn’t give up the lead at the end. And New England's defense came through, never letting the Bills cross midfield before time ran out.
The final result was just one touchdown for the Bills and a fairly mundane victory for New England.