What’s Trending: Sarkisian hire; skipping the White House; overtime failure

Miles Dittberner
Cover32
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) scores the game winning touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in overtime during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) scores the game winning touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in overtime during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Social media is everywhere in today’s world. It constantly surrounds us, whether it be from the notifications on smartphones or on cereal boxes in grocery store aisles, there is no escaping it. Social media has become unavoidable. It used to be that people relied on the newspaper and the radio to get their latest news and updates, but all that has changed in our 24/7 world with everyone being plugged-in all-day, everyday.

It has become increasingly more common for people to learn about the daily news cycle from their Twitter Feeds and Facebook Wall. The NFL is no different and is always a-buzz with ever-changing trends, headlines, updates and rumors. In less than the blink of the eye, notifications can pile up and topics that were once current and trending can be outdated only seconds later.

We have taken on the impossible task of attempting to deliver the NFL’s most talked about stories from around social media and the web to keep you up to date with What’s Trending.

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Sarkisian named Falcons’ next offensive coordinator


Just one day after it was announced that Kyle Shanahan was leaving Atlanta to fill the San Francisco 49ers’ head coaching vacancy, the Falcons agreed to terms with Steve Sarkisian to hire him as their next offensive coordinator. Atlanta confirmed the hire of the former Alabama coach on Tuesday.

Sarkisian’s role as Alabama’s play-caller was short lived. He was only promoted to the role shortly before the NCAA’s BCS championship game last month, after former offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, took the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic University. Sarkisian previously served as an analyst for Alabama after he was let go from his head coaching gig at USC in 2015 for allegedly showing up late and intoxicated for team meetings.

One of the biggest challenges Sarkisian will face in his new role as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, will be in continuing to keep the Falcons’ elite offense operating at a high-level of production. Under Shanahan, the offense led the league in scoring and created fits for opposing defenses. It is an ideal landing spot for Sarkisian, but he has the tough task of attempting to duplicate last year’s prolific success and will be under pressure to succeed in Shanahan’s vacated role.

Bennett and McCourty among players to skip White House visit


Two members of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl LI championship team have already declared that they will not be among those making the trip to the White House, because of President, Donald Trump.

Before the Super Bowl, Martellus Bennett was on record as saying that likely he would not visit the White House if the Patriots won as he does not support President Trump. He confirmed this after the game and will not be traveling with the team to the White House, regardless of Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft’s, friendship with the 45th President; as are Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

New England safety, Devin McCourty, also declined the White House’s invitation after the Patriots’ Super Bowl win. He told Time that he does not feel accepted at the White House with Trump’s many strong opinions and what McCourty views as perceived prejudices.

Bennett and McCourty are not the first to blow-off a trip to the White House. In fact, Brady skipped the Patriots’ April 23, 2015, visit and instead opting to get a workout in at Gillette Stadium. Bennett and McCourty are just the latest in a long list of athletes that includes such greats as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Tim Thomas, to skip out on a visit to the White House.

NFL overtime rules a let down in Super Bowl LI


After the outcome of Super Bowl LI, it is time the NFL takes a hard long look at its implementation of overtime rules. Many fans have been critical of the NFL’s overtime rules and were even more so after Sunday’s Super Bowl ended in disappointing fashion.

The game ended without Atlanta getting an opportunity to touch the ball in overtime as the Patriots scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the extra period. For the Falcons to not get a chance to score, feels rather unfair and only cheapened the game. Even after an opening-drive touchdown, both teams deserve at least one overtime possession, especially in the NFL’s biggest game.

The current overtime rules have now affected the outcome of two postseason games in consecutive years. Last year it was the Packers who were shortchanged, when the Cardinals scored first in overtime and ended Green Bay’s postseason hopes. Now, after outcome of Super Bowl LI, it is time again for the NFL to reevaluate and address the arbitrary nature of its overtime rules.

It was in 2012 that the NFL changed its overtime rules from a sudden death format to allowing both teams to possess the ball unless a touchdown is scored. The big challenge will be in finding a way to make the overtime period as fair as possible for both teams. Many have called for the NFL to adopt a similar system to that of the college football overtime format.

One thing is clear, something must be done or the NFL will continue to run the risk of further alienating its fans.

– Miles Dittberner, is the National Editor of cover32 and also covers the Minnesota Vikings. Like and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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