- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Almost every fan has some sort of superstition on game day.
Where they sit for the game, what they eat before or during the game, in-depth things like which lights are turned on or something simple like wearing a lucky shirt (or a lucky hat as Wisconsin hoops gets a big road win against Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge), it's all part of being a fan.
It's fun to know that players are superstitious too. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a lot to deal with during games, but he still takes time to employ his system for changing out his gum, depending on if that piece of gum has been working.
“I just depend on Wrigley’s Winterfresh chewing gum to get me through the adverse times in the game,” he said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “.... And in a given game, the superstition comes. You made a big play? Even if the gum is rock solid, you can’t take it out. You got to keep fighting through it. You may put another piece of gum in, but that’s that playmaking gum. But if you’re sucking, of course, you’ve got to toss that gum.”
- Kristian Dyer at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The media has taken plenty of shots at New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan over the years but for a moment, it seemed literally like someone was taking a shot at him during a press conference.
Towards the end of Ryan's time at the podium, during which he defended quarterback Geno Smith and cornerback Dee Milliner, both high-profile rookies, Ryan began to answer a question about his team starting five players from this past April's NFL Draft. He started by saying that “I understand that we lost a lot of players or whatever,” but he couldn't finish as a hanging speaker used to amplify the microphone in the press conference room suddenly began to crackle. The loud noise sounded like machine gun fire for a brief moment (the video comes from SportsNet New York/SNY).
Ryan jokingly then ducked for cover and several members of the media in the front row also ducked down, uncertain what the sharp noise was or what exactly was happening.
From a ducked position, Ryan grinned then spoke about the machine-gun noises.
“We're on a three-game losing streak, so I understand,” Ryan said with a laugh.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett is not worried about the politically correct era threatening to take over the NFL after what occurred in Miami. That is good news for players who want to have locker room fun, and bad for rookies like Tyrann Mathieu, Dockett’s teammate.
Mathieu was taking a nap recently when Dockett decided to pull a prank on the rookie. He poured baby powder on Mathieu’s head and posted that picture on Twitter.
— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) December 4, 2013
Of course, is this worse than when Dockett forced Mathieu to get his jersey number etched on the side of the rookie's head during training camp?
Seahawks never lose at home, but there are three NFC teams that could pull off playoff upset at SeattleAnwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
There is not a single team that will admit it is afraid to play the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in the playoffs. But NFC teams should privately have plenty of anxiety.
Seattle dismantled the New Orleans Saints at home on Monday, 34-7, and the game was worse than the score indicates. Seattle is 14-0 at home over the past two seasons with Russell Wilson under center.
Seattle also reclaimed the Guinness World Recordfor the loudest recorded crowd at an outdoor sporting event on Monday. The crowd clearly affected New Orleans, and considering Seattle will likely secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, that's another benefit for this 11-1 team.
Is there any team capable of winning at Seattle in the playoffs?
Actually, there are three.
San Francisco 49ers
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
I don't get the London NFL regular-season games, and I don't like them either. They throw off the competitive balance of the season making teams give up home games, and no American fan gets any benefit out of it.
The NFL believes it will make more money by expanding abroad, but there's no reason for me to care about the league adding a couple million to the billions it already makes.
One of the reasons the London games are useless is they are like any other game. They come on at the same time as the 1 p.m. Eastern time games. The London game looks a little darker. There's nothing else special about them.
But one minor switch to the London schedule all of a sudden gives us a benefit here in the United States: A few more hours of football on a NFL Sunday.
The Oct. 26 game next year between Atlanta and Detroit will start at 1:30 p.m. in England, or 9:30 a.m. Eastern time in America. So that London game will be wrapping up about the same time as the usual early set of games is kicking off? OK, NFL, you have my attention.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
Here at Shutdown Corner, we want to help. So once a week, we'll go in and examine a team coming off a bad week, bad month, maybe a bad decade (you're in luck, Cleveland), and see what fixes can be made to turn around the season. So step aside, we've got this. Next under the microscope: the San Diego Chargers.
Where they stand: 5-7, third place in the AFC West, one game out of final wild card spot
What's gone right: This could've been a great season. Six of San Diego's seven losses are by eight points or fewer, and in many of those the Chargers have been victimized late. But this isn't college football; you don't get credit for pretty losses. This is the National Football League, son, and you don't whine. Unless you're Philip Rivers, who whines about everything. Fortunately, he's also quietly rediscovered his quarterback mojo; the Chargers rank fourth in passing yardage in the NFL. Unfortunately, this is a case where gaudy stats don't quite reach the scoreboard; the Chargers are dead-center 16th in total points scored.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow predicted the Denver Broncos would face New England in the AFC Championship Game during a recent conversation on Twitter.
Overall, Winslow did not go out on a limb. Denver and New England are clearly the AFC’s best teams, and barring an upset, one of those squads will likely appear in the Super Bowl. Winslow definitely made a safe pick.
There is only one problem.
The Jets are technically still alive in the playoff race.
New York (5-7) trails Baltimore (6-6) and Miami (6-6) by one game for the final playoff spot. Both teams currently own tiebreakers against the Jets, but Winslow’s team does have one more game remaining against the Dolphins. The Jets can technically sneak into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, for Winslow, he did not communicate that to free agent receiver Donte' Stallworth during a recent conversation on Twitter.
"I got the pats vs broncos in AFC championship game and Panthers vs Seahawks in NFC championship," Winslow said (via Kimberly Martin of Newsday.com).
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Every week, we try to project what the playoff bracket will look like in January. To sift through who is for real and will make a postseason push, and who will fade out of the playoff picture down the stretch. It's important to note this is our ever-changing prediction of how we think things will play out and not necessarily a current plugging-in of teams with the corresponding records.
Think of it as "bracketology" for the pigskin set.
After what Seattle did to New Orleans on Monday night, can anyone knock off the Seahawks? Who has the best chance to do it?
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is getting closer to giving up his aspirations to play professional football and starting his college broadcasting career, according to a report.
According to TheBigLead.com, ESPN, CBS Sports and Fox Sports have all expressed interest in Tebow joining their broadcast team. The website also reports that ESPN already has a show set in place for him on its new SEC Network.
The Big Lead said ESPN's SEC Network, which will debut next August, wants its own version of "College Gameday," with Rece Davis as host, radio personality Paul Finebaum in the Lee Corso role and Tebow as the show's Kirk Herbstreit.
Of course, there will be a bidding war by the networks for Tebow, who can't find a NFL team to offer him a minimum-salary contract.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The Carolina Panthers are the NFC South upstarts, the team that has come out of nowhere to challenge for the division crown.
That storyline is fine, but the Panthers' revival started last year after everyone stopped paying attention to them, and was punctuated by a road win at New Orleans.
Before assuming that a Panthers' win on Sunday would be a massive upset, consider that they won in New Orleans less than a year ago. Carolina won 44-38 at the Superdome in Week 17, the Panthers' fifth win in their final six games last season. If you want to believe that the Saints were mailing it in by that point in the season, it's worth noting that New Orleans won in Week 15 and 16.
The Panthers were laying the foundation for their breakout 2013 season, and that win in the final week gave them a lot of positive momentum into the offseason.
In the finale at New Orleans, DeAngelo Williams had 210 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Mike Tolbert had three rushing touchdowns. Carolina led 41-24 early in the fourth quarter and held off a late Saints rally. That gave the Panthers a season sweep of the Saints. They beat New Orleans in Week 2 as well.