NFL and NCAA Football News

Report: 49ers won’t let Raiders play in S.F.

Report: 49ers won't let Raiders play in S.F.

Report: 49ers won’t let Raiders play in S.F.

The San Francisco 49ers are not expected to waive their territorial rights to the city, NFL Network reported Tuesday evening, meaning the Oakland Raiders won’t be permitted to share Oracle Park with Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants in 2019.

Reports on Sunday said the Raiders had a deal with the Giants to play at their stadium, formerly known as AT&T Park before a recent name change, but the plan required approval by the 49ers and the NFL.

The news of the 49ers’ disapproval comes hours after San Francisco Mayor London Breed told KTVU, “As far as I’m concerned, the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland.”

Breed said the extra traffic around Oracle Park would exacerbate problems already caused by construction of the new Chase Center for the Golden State Warriors.

“We don’t need another layer to add to what we already have — and that’s an area that’s really congested, filled with construction and will host a number of basketball and baseball games over the coming months,” Breed told the TV station.

Breed said she has shared her concerns with the Giants organization.

The Raiders have been searching for a temporary home before their move to Las Vegas in 2020. Their lease at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum expired at the end of last season, and the city of Oakland brought a lawsuit against the Raiders in December.

Previous reports have said the 49ers are open to sharing Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, about 45 minutes south of the Raiders’ training facility in Alameda, with their Bay Area neighbors, but the Raiders have not been enthused about that option. But according to NFL Network, that is the team’s only option if it cannot resolve the dispute with Oakland and play at the Coliseum for one more season.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons release CB Alford

Falcons release CB Alford

The Atlanta Falcons released

Falcons release CB Alford

The Atlanta Falcons released Robert Alford on Tuesday, confirming the move hours after the cornerback announced the transaction on Twitter.

“We thank Robert for all that he brought to the team during his six seasons in Atlanta,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. “He was a significant contributor to our defense and we have a great deal of respect for him. We wish Robert all the best going forward.”

Earlier Tuesday, Alford tweeted, “Thank you Atlanta for 6 incredible seasons. Sucks that it ended on this note. I enjoyed playing in this incredible city. Ima miss my dawgs but I’m excited for the next chapter. #TAT”

Alford had 10 interceptions in 88 regular-season games (76 starts) over six seasons for the Falcons, who drafted him in the second round in 2013. He also had a more memorable interception in Super Bowl LI, when he picked off New England’s Tom Brady and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown to give Atlanta a 21-0 lead in a game the Falcons eventually lost 34-28 in overtime.

In 2018, Alford didn’t record an interception in 15 games while making 50 tackles. In addition, he was flagged for a team-high 12 penalties.

Alford, 30, had two seasons remaining on a four-year, $38 million contract, which will leave $1.2 million in dead money on the cap in 2019. He was scheduled to make $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons.

Overall, Alford made 303 tackles for the Falcons.

Atlanta figures to give cornerback Isaiah Oliver, a 2018 second-round pick, a larger role in 2019 after he started just two of 14 games as a rookie.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: McVay says Gurley won’t need surgery

NFL notebook: McVay says Gurley won't need surgery

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean

NFL notebook: McVay says Gurley won’t need surgery

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay continues to insist his game plan was the reason for Todd Gurley’s inactivity in Super Bowl LIII and not the running back’s ailing left knee.

Gurley underwent his season-ending physical exam on Tuesday but wasn’t interested in discussing any details. A team official shadowed Gurley and told reporters the running back was not available for comment as the Rams cleaned out their lockers in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Meanwhile, McVay told reporters there aren’t any medical procedures planned for Gurley’s knee.

–You can call Tom Brady a six-time Super Bowl champion. Just don’t call the New England Patriots quarterback the “G.O.A.T.” He doesn’t like it.

“It makes me cringe,” Brady said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” after show host and former NFL star Michael Strahan said he thought the Patriots star was the greatest of all time.

“I guess I take compliments worse than I … I wish you would say, ‘You’re trash, you’re too old, you’re too slow, you can’t get it done no more.'” he added. “And I’ll say, ‘Thank you very much, I’ll prove you wrong.'”

–The San Francisco 49ers are not expected to waive their territorial rights to the city, NFL Network reported, meaning the Oakland Raiders won’t be permitted to share Oracle Park with the San Francisco Giants in 2019.

Reports on Sunday said the Raiders had a deal with the Giants to play at their stadium, formerly known as AT&T Park before a recent name change, but the plan required approval by the 49ers and the NFL.

The news of the 49ers’ disapproval comes hours after San Francisco Mayor London Breed told KTVU, “As far as I’m concerned, the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland.”

–Hundreds of thousands of fans lined the streets of downtown Boston to celebrate the Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl championship.

Duck boats and flatbed trucks transported players, coaches, team staff and their family members the two miles from Hynes Convention Center to City Hall during the Patriots’ victory parade.

–Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen told reporters he intends to get his right foot healthy and continue playing in 2019.

Olsen, who turns 34 in March, also said he wouldn’t close the door on broadcasting opportunities, but his focus is on playing next season.

–Law enforcement officials in Florida told TMZ and ESPN that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was involved in a domestic incident last month but was not arrested.

TMZ reported that a woman filed a report with the Hollywood, Fla., police department in mid-January, alleging misconduct against Brown, prompting an investigation. Hollywood police department spokeswoman Miranda Grossman confirmed the incident to ESPN.

Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner, said in a statement to ESPN: “The allegations are baseless and false.”

–The Washington Redskins and running back Adrian Peterson have held preliminary talks about his return to the team next season, ESPN reported.

Peterson told TMZ Sports last week that he would be “playing next year for sure” and wanted to play two to three more seasons.

The 12-year veteran will turn 34 next month. He signed a one year-deal with Washington last August and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month. Peterson started all 16 games in the just-concluded season and ran for 1,042 yards.

–Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford announced on Twitter that he has been released by the club.

Alford, 30, had two seasons remaining on a four-year, $38 million contract, which will leave $1.2 million in dead money while saving the Falcons $7.9 million on the cap in 2019.

–The New York Jets released starting center Spencer Long, a day before he was due a $3 million roster bonus.

Per reports, the team could bring Long back at a lower price in the future. The 28-year-old’s release — less than a year after he signed a four-year, $27.4 million deal in free agency — saves the team $6.5 million against the cap in 2019.

— New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport announced on Twitter that he had surgery to repair an unspecified injury. He also posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed with a bandaged right foot.

Davenport, 22, missed three games in November with a right big toe injury, but he played the final six games of the season and both playoff games.

–The Miami Dolphins gave new coach Brian Flores a guaranteed five-year deal, the only one out of eight new NFL head coaches to get one, ESPN first reported.

Flores got the guaranteed five years despite being a first-time head coach, like his predecessor in Miami, Adam Gase. Miami fired Gase after just three years.

–Jack Del Rio will not be the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator after both sides decided it would not be a perfect fit, according to an NFL Network report.

–The Houston Texans have promoted tight ends coach Tim Kelly to offensive coordinator and hired Carl Smith as quarterbacks coach.

–The San Francisco 49ers are hiring former Texans assistant Wes Welker as their wide receivers coach, according to multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

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McVay: No medical procedures planned for Gurley’s knee

McVay: No medical procedures planned for Gurley's knee

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean

McVay: No medical procedures planned for Gurley’s knee

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay continues to insist his game plan was the reason for Todd Gurley’s inactivity in Super Bowl LIII and not the running back’s ailing left knee.

Gurley’s vocal cords are suddenly as silent as the team’s offense was during Sunday’s 13-3 loss to the Patriots.

Gurley underwent his season-ending physical exam on Tuesday but wasn’t interested in discussing any details. A team official shadowed Gurley and told reporters he was not available for comment as the Rams cleaned out their lockers in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Meanwhile, McVay said there aren’t any medical procedures planned for Gurley’s knee when quizzed by reporters.

“No,” McVay said. “We haven’t talked about any of those things right now. I’ll get a chance to sit down with Reggie (Scott, the Rams’ director of sports medicine) and we’ll discuss that, but as far as I’m concerned and as far as I know, that isn’t the case, where we’re planning to do anything like that.”

Gurley’s health has been a mystery in recent weeks and was magnified when he touched the ball only 11 times for 34 total yards in the Super Bowl loss.

Diminishing the usage of a weapon like Gurley (1,831 regular-season scrimmage yards) would be understandable if he was ailing.

But McVay said on Super Bowl LIII Opening Night leading up to the game that he needed to do a better job of getting Gurley carries. That didn’t happen against the Patriots, as journeyman C.J. Anderson (seven carries, two catches) received just two fewer touches than Gurley.

McVay said Tuesday that the game plan called for split duty between the two backs.

“When it doesn’t work out the way you want, there’s always that element of second-guessing,” McVay said.

Gurley headed into the offseason leaving his teammates to have to speak for him.

“He’s a player, just like every one of us,” quarterback Jared Goff told reporters. “For whatever reason, it wasn’t as good as I’m sure he wanted it to be. He’s hard on himself, but we love him, and in my opinion he’s the best running back in the league, and I’m excited to see him move forward and continue his career.”

–Field Level Media

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Falcons CB Alford announces his release

Falcons CB Alford announces his release

Atlanta Falcons

Falcons CB Alford announces his release

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford announced on Twitter that he has been released by the club.

“Thank you Atlanta for 6 incredible seasons,” Alford wrote on Tuesday. “Sucks that it ended on this note. I enjoyed playing in this incredible city. Ima miss my dawgs but I’m excited for the next chapter. #TAT”

Alford had 10 interceptions in 88 regular-season games (76 starts) over six seasons for the Falcons, who drafted him in the second round in 2013. He also had a more memorable interception in Super Bowl LI, when he intercepted New England’s Tom Brady and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown to give Atlanta a 21-0 lead in a game it eventually lost 34-28 in overtime.

In 2018, Alford didn’t record an interception in 15 games while making 50 tackles. In addition, he was flagged for a team-high 12 penalties.

Alford, 30, had two seasons remaining on a four-year, $38 million contract, which will leave $1.2 million in dead money on the cap in 2019. He was scheduled to make $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons.

Overall, Alford made 303 tackles for the Falcons.

Atlanta figures to give cornerback Isaiah Oliver, a 2018 second-round pick, a larger role in 2019 after he started just two of 14 games as a rookie.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers TE Olsen intends to play in 2019

Panthers TE Olsen intends to play in 2019

Panthers TE Olsen intends to play in 2019

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen told reporters on Tuesday that he intends to get his right foot healthy and continue playing in 2019.

“My plan right now, I’m in every day doing my foot rehab, trying to get this thing finally back to where I was used to,” Olsen said, per ESPN. “It seems like it’s been a long time since it was. Yeah, that’s what I’m preparing for, and that all starts with getting my foot right.”

According to The Athletic, Olsen also said he wouldn’t close the door on broadcasting opportunities, but his focus is on playing next season.

Olsen, who turns 34 on March 11, auditioned for ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst job last offseason and served as a guest broadcaster for Fox for a game while he was injured in 2017.

Olsen has missed 16 games over the last two seasons while battling a troublesome right foot, including a torn plantar fascia in December that required surgery and ended his season. That injury came after Olsen missed four games with a Jones fracture early in 2018 — opting not to have surgery — and nine games in 2017 for a Jones fracture, which was surgically repaired, in the same foot.

After three straight Pro Bowl seasons with 1,000-plus yards from 2014-16, Olsen totaled 44 catches for 482 yards and five scores over the last two years.

The Panthers signed Olsen to a two-year, $17.1 million extension last April, including an $11.1 million signing bonus. He will cost $7.1 million against the cap in 2019 and $11.8 million in 2020, though Carolina could trim the latter figure to a $3.7 million dead-money charge by releasing Olsen after next season.

In 12 NFL seasons, including the last eight with the Panthers, Olsen has 666 receptions for 7,847 yards and 57 touchdowns in 174 games (148 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Dolphins give Flores guaranteed 5-year deal

Reports: Dolphins give Flores guaranteed 5-year deal

The Miami Dolphins gave new coach Brian Flores

Reports: Dolphins give Flores guaranteed 5-year deal

The Miami Dolphins gave new coach Brian Flores a guaranteed five-year deal, the only one out of eight new NFL head coaches to get one, ESPN first reported Tuesday.

Flores got the guaranteed five years despite being a first-time head coach, like his predecessor in Miami, Adam Gase. The Dolphins fired Gase after just three years.

The Dolphins introduced Flores as their new coach on Monday, having had to wait for the longtime assistant of the New England Patriots to be done with the Super Bowl.

“We want to build this to where this is long-term and you can win for many years instead of trying to go year to year to fill spots to save jobs,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said Monday.

Typical contracts for head coaches are four years guaranteed with a team option for a fifth.

Flores, 37, spent his entire coaching career with the Patriots, starting in 2004. He also served as a scout. Flores was the Pats’ linebackers coach until getting promoted to play-calling duties on defense in 2018 after Matt Patricia left to take the Detroit Lions’ head coaching job.

The Palm Beach Post also reported the five-year deal for Flores later Tuesday morning.

–Field Level Media

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Texans promote Kelly to OC

Texans promote Kelly to OC

The Houston Texans have promoted tight

Texans promote Kelly to OC

The Houston Texans have promoted tight ends coach Tim Kelly to offensive coordinator.

Houston unveiled its entire coaching staff on Tuesday and among the new hires was Carl Smith as quarterbacks coach. Smith spent the past eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and replaces recently departed Sean Ryan (Detroit Lions).

Kelly is the first Texans assistant to hold the offensive coordinator title since George Godsey in 2016. Head coach Bill O’Brien ran the offense the past two seasons.

Kelly is entering his sixth season as a Houston assistant.

Former linebacker Brian Cushing’s hiring as assistant strength and conditioning coach also was made official. Former Texans backup quarterback T.J. Yates also is on the staff as an offensive assistant.

Smith had a solid relationship with Russell Wilson during his Seattle tenure and will now work closely with Deshaun Watson.

Wes Welker, who had been an offensive and special teams assistant with the Texans the past two seasons, will not return in 2019. The former wide receiver reportedly will join the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff.

–Field Level Media

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Celebration! Patriots fans line Boston streets for parade

Celebration! Patriots fans line Boston streets for parade

Hundreds of

Celebration! Patriots fans line Boston streets for parade

Hundreds of thousands of fans lined the streets of downtown Boston on Tuesday to celebrate the New England Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl championship.

Duck boats and flatbed trucks transported players, coaches, team staff and their family members the two miles from Hynes Convention Center to City Hall during the Patriots’ victory parade. The team flashed the Lombardi Trophy and whooped it up along the way, with quarterback Tom Brady throwing a football back and forth with fans along the parade route and a shirtless Rob Gronkowski drinking an adult beverage or two.

The Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 on Sunday in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

Fans in their team apparel started lining up about 7 a.m. for the 11 a.m. parade and reveled in the celebration, chanting, “We want seven!” and “Next year, right here!”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke briefly with reporters gathered at the start of the parade route and credited the Atlanta atmosphere with an assist.

“(Being) in the stadium in Atlanta was like a home game,” he said. “It did so much for the team.”

Kraft’s garb drew more attention than his words, though. He was wearing a Patriots hooded sweatshirt, custom Nike shoes with “6X Champions” on the heel, and a chain with an enormous pendant that read “CHAMPIONSHIPS” on one side and “DREAM CHASERS” on the other.

The 77-year-old Kraft said rapper Meek Mill gave him the necklace.

The Patriots’ victory parade came just over three months after a parade to celebrate the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

–Field Level Media

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Brady says ‘G.O.A.T.’ talk makes him ‘cringe’

Brady says 'G.O.A.T.' talk makes him 'cringe'

Brady says ‘G.O.A.T.’ talk makes him ‘cringe’

You can call Tom Brady a six-time Super Bowl champion.

Just don’t call the New England Patriots quarterback the “G.O.A.T.” He doesn’t like it.

“It makes me cringe,” Brady said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” after show host and former NFL star Michael Strahan said he thought the Patriots star was the greatest of all time.

“I guess I take compliments worse than I … I wish you would say, ‘You’re trash, you’re too old, you’re too slow, you can’t get it done no more.'” he added. “And I’ll say, ‘Thank you very much, I’ll prove you wrong.'”

Like it or not, Brady proved he belongs in the G.O.A.T. discussion by leading the Patriots to a 13-3 win against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday. He is the only player in NFL history to collect six rings.

At 41, Brady isn’t finished building his legacy. He has said he wants to play until he is 45. Strahan said Brady was “cutting yourself short” and suggest playing until he was 50.

“Fifty is too long,” Brady said. “I think 45 is the goal.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Bengals pass on Del Rio as DC

Report: Bengals pass on Del Rio as DC

Report: Bengals pass on Del Rio as DC

Jack Del Rio will not be the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator after both sides decided it would not be a perfect fit, according to an NFL Network report Tuesday.

Per the report, the sides talked before having an official interview, and made the decision not to go further.

Del Rio was considered the leading candidate to run the Bengals’ defense under new head coach Zac Taylor, who reportedly would like to hire a veteran defensive coordinator, much like former boss Sean McVay did with the Los Angeles Rams and Wade Phillips.

John Fox and Mike Nolan — both former head coaches and defensive coordinators in the NFL — have been rumored as possible candidates, while former Green Bay Packers coordinator Dom Capers is also reportedly an option.

Taylor, 35, was officially introduced Tuesday and discussed the type of staff he hopes to put together.

“What we’re looking for are great teachers, concise communicators, outside-the-box thinkers and people who are not afraid to deviate from the norm,” he said. “We’re in the process of building a great coaching staff.

“…There’s a lot of really good coaches out there. We’re going to find the right people, we’re urgent in assembling the right people, but we’re going to take our time and make sure everyone is a perfect fit.”

The team has yet to officially announce any staff hirings, but former Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan will be the offensive coordinator, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons is expected to be retained.

Del Rio, 55, spent 2018 out of coaching after getting fired as the Raiders’ head coach, and he is still getting paid by the team under an extension he signed after the 2016 season. He last served as a defensive coordinator from 2012-14 with the Broncos, coincidentally working on the same staff as Callahan.

–Field Level Media

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SF mayor: Raiders ‘should play in Oakland’

SF mayor: Raiders 'should play in Oakland'

San

SF mayor: Raiders ‘should play in Oakland’

San Francisco’s mayor isn’t thrilled with reports that the Oakland Raiders are in talks to play next season’s home games at the Giants’ ballpark.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland,” Mayor London Breed told KTVU on Tuesday.

Breed said the extra traffic around Oracle Park — recently renames after long being known as AT&T Park — would exacerbate problems already caused by construction of the new Chase Center for the Golden State Warriors.

“We don’t need another layer to add to what we already have — and that’s an area that’s really congested, filled with construction and will host a number of basketball and baseball games over the coming months,” Breed told the TV station.

Breed said she has shared her concerns with the Giants’ organization.

The Raiders are searching for a temporary home before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. Their lease at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum expired at the end of last season.

Reports of negotiations with the Giants surfaced Sunday night. NFL Network said that both the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL would have to approve a decision to play at Oracle Park. Previous reporots have said the 49ers are open to sharing Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara with the Raiders for 2019, but the Raiders have not been enthused by that option.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: 49ers hire Welker as WRs coach

Reports: 49ers hire Welker as WRs coach

The San Francisco 49ers are

Reports: 49ers hire Welker as WRs coach

The San Francisco 49ers are hiring former Houston Texans assistant Wes Welker as their wide receivers coach, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

Welker, 37, reportedly interviewed with the 49ers and Green Bay Packers last week.

He spent the last two seasons as an offensive and special teams assistant in Houston under Bill O’Brien, who coached Welker while both were with the New England Patriots from 2007-2011. The Texans officially announced their offseason staff changes on Tuesday, with Welker not on the list.

Mike LaFleur served as wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator the last two years under Kyle Shanahan, and he is expected to remain on staff in 2019 after San Francisco denied the Green Bay Packers — led by new head coach Matt LaFleur, Mike’s brother — permission to interview him for their staff. Offensive assistant Katie Sowers has also worked with receivers the last two seasons.

Welker played 12 NFL seasons as a wide receiver, catching 903 passes for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns while earning five Pro Bowl appearances and two first-team All-Pro nods. He retired after the 2015 season before getting into coaching in 2017.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Peterson, Redskins talking contract

Report: Peterson, Redskins talking contract

The Washington Redskins and running

Report: Peterson, Redskins talking contract

The Washington Redskins and running back Adrian Peterson have held preliminary talks about his return to the team next season, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Peterson told TMZ Sports last week that he would be “playing next year for sure” and wanted to play two to three more seasons.

The 12-year veteran will turn 34 next month. He signed a one year-deal with Washington last August after rookie running back Derrius Guice tore an ACL and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month.

Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and scored seven touchdowns in 2018. It was his first 1,000-yard season since 2015 with the Minnesota Vikings.

He has 13,318 career yards, good for eighth on the career rushing list.

–Field Level Media

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Jets release starting C Long

Jets release starting C Long

The New York

Jets release starting C Long

The New York Jets released starting center Spencer Long on Tuesday, a day before he was due a $3 million roster bonus.

Per reports, the team could bring Long back at a lower price in the future.

The 28-year-old joined the team on a four-year, $27.4 million contract in free agency last March, but the deal included no guaranteed money beyond 2018 or a signing bonus. Without any bonus prorating over multiple years, the Jets don’t owe any dead money against the cap with his release, saving $6.5 million in 2019.

Long started 13 games in 2018 but struggled while battling finger and leg injuries, committing four penalties and allowing 3.5 sacks after committing just one penalty and allowing three sacks total over his first four NFL seasons with the Washington Redskins. The finger injury gave him trouble snapping the ball — most notably in a 13-6 loss at Miami in November — and he moved to left guard for three games late in the season.

A third-round pick by Washington in 2014, Long has started 44 of 53 games through five seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Police: Antonio Brown involved in domestic incident, not arrested

Police: Antonio Brown involved in domestic incident, not arrested

Law enforcement officials in

Police: Antonio Brown involved in domestic incident, not arrested

Law enforcement officials in Florida told TMZ and ESPN on Tuesday that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was involved in a domestic incident last month but was not arrested.

TMZ reported that a woman filed a report with the Hollywood, Fla., police department in mid-January, alleging misconduct against Brown, prompting an investigation.

“Mr. Brown was involved in a domestic dispute. No arrests were made,” an official with Hollywood police told TMZ. Hollywood police department spokeswoman Miranda Grossman confirmed the incident to ESPN and said that it would make no further comment until it had more information.

An attorney for Brown told ESPN he would not comment.

It’s not the first off-field allegation against Brown, who was hit with two lawsuits in October for allegedly throwing furniture over his high-rise balcony in South Florida last April.

Brown was accused of yelling at security and throwing items off his balcony, upset over $80,000 and a gun he reported missing. Brown accused building security of being behind the theft, according to police reports.

Brown was not charged in that incident either and claimed his innocence.

One lawsuit claims that Brown just missed hitting a 22-month-old boy with the furniture.

Brown is embroiled in a dispute with the Steelers, having reportedly asked to be traded.

Brown has three years remaining on a five-year, $72.7 million contract extension that he signed before the 2017 campaign. He has surpassed 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons, and this year he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Super Snoozer causes TV ratings to plummet

Super Snoozer causes TV ratings to plummet

Super Snoozer causes TV ratings to plummet

The Super Snoozer apparently put many television viewers to sleep, according to the data released by Nielsen on Monday night.

Nielsen said Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams averaged approximately 98.2 million viewers on CBS, the lowest since Super Bowl XLII between the New York Giants and Patriots averaged 97.4 million viewers on Feb. 3, 2008.

The Patriots won Sunday’s game 13-3 in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl. New England led 3-0 at halftime and the Rams didn’t score their only points until the game was nearly 43 minutes old.

Sunday’s viewership was down more than 5 million from the previous Super Bowl, when 103.4 million views tuned in to the Philadelphia Eagles’ high-scoring 41-33 win over the Patriots.

The city of New Orleans shunned the Super Bowl in a big way as fans protested the game after the Saints lost in controversial fashion to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. Only 26.1 percent of television sets in use were tuned into the game, according to Nielsen.

For comparison, New Orleans drew a 53.0 rating for last year’s Eagles-Patriots game.

–Field Level Media

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Pats’ McCourty twins unlikely to visit White House

Pats’ McCourty twins unlikely to visit White House

Pats’ McCourty twins unlikely to visit White House

Scratch at least one member of the New England Patriots roster from making a trip to the White House, providing an invitation from President Donald Trump comes this year.

Defensive back Devin McCourty said Monday he will not attend, while Jason McCourty, Devin’s 31-year-old twin brother and teammate in the secondary, offered that his chances of going are “highly” doubtful.

TMZ also reported that Patriots safety Duron Harmon would skip the White House visit.

During Super Bowl week, Devin McCourty hinted at retiring from football after Super Bowl LIII, which the Patriots won 13-3 in a defensive battle against the Los Angeles Rams.

One day after the victory, though, the sixth Super Bowl title for the Patriots, Devin McCourty said in an Associated Press story, “The only thing I thought about was that parade and that ring ceremony. Two more times with this team; that’s going to be a lot of fun. So I can’t wait for those two events.”

He also was on New England’s Super Bowl-winning team following the 2016 season in a nine-year NFL career, all with the Patriots, who made him a first-round pick in 2010. Jason, who played at Rutgers with his brother, then was drafted in the sixth round by the Tennessee Titans in 2009, joined the Patriots in 2018 after eight seasons with the Titans and one with the 0-16 Cleveland Browns in 2017. He has 17 career interceptions, while Devin has 21, including seven in his rookie season.

Playing on a Super Bowl-winning team with Jason “was 10 times better than both of the other Super Bowls,” said Devin McCourty, who celebrated with his teammates Monday when they returned from Atlanta and were greeted by hundreds of fans at Gillette Stadium. “Better than I thought it would be. It’s still a pretty good feeling.”

The world champion Boston Red Sox plan to visit the White House on May 9, after they end a series in Baltimore against the Orioles. But according to a report in January, American League MVP Mookie Betts will not attend. Manager Alex Cora has also said he’s unsure whether he’ll go there.

Last season’s Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the Patriots 41-33, didn’t go to the White House, and their invitation was rescinded after several players decided not to attend.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Dolphins, Bengals get their coaches

NFL notebook: Dolphins, Bengals get their coaches

New

NFL notebook: Dolphins, Bengals get their coaches

New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores was officially hired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins on Monday.

“Two things that stand out immediately when you meet Brian are his football intelligence and leadership skills,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “Brian is widely respected throughout the NFL. He paid his dues in New England working in personnel, on offense, defense and special teams, which helped him build a great understanding of what it takes to win.”

Flores, New England’s defensive play-caller, helped shut down the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday. Flores won four Super Bowl rings as a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff.

Flores, who turns 38 later this month, spent 11 seasons learning at the knee of Bill Belichick and was promoted in the 2018 offseason, when Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was hired as head coach of the Detroit Lions.

–The Bengals officially announced the hiring of Zac Taylor as their new head coach. He previously had been identified as Cincinnati’s choice, but the organization couldn’t move forward until after the Super Bowl, with Taylor being the quarterbacks coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

“This is a great organization with good people and a rich history, and I am excited to get started,” he said in a statement. “I am looking to add to that history by setting high standards, and holding everyone here accountable to those standards. There is a lot of work to do, and this is day one. We’re going to attack every day with enthusiasm to get this team ready to go.”

Taylor, 35, spent the past two seasons with the Rams, who lost 13-3 to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. He also had a four-year stint coaching quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins from 2012-15.

–The NFL is leaning toward a historic matchup to kick off its 100th season in 2019.

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are expected to play in the Thursday night opener, according to Westwood One’s Ed Werder.

In a nod to the historic rivalry to open a celebration-filled 100th season of the NFL, the longtime regional rivals would replace the reigning Super Bowl champions in the first game of the 2019 regular season.

–Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz admitted his shortcomings could have inspired anonymous criticism from teammates, who described the 26-year-old as selfish and egotistical.

Wentz said parts of the critical story published last month by PhillyVoice.com were wrong, and others prompted reflection. The story cited “more than a half dozen” players who requested anonymity “fearing repercussions.”

“It’s never fun to read, but to an extent, you look at it and be like, ‘Well, if someone did have this perception of me, why? What have I done wrong? What can I get better at?'” Wentz said, per ESPN. “I realize I have my shortcomings. Yes, I can be selfish. I think we all have selfishness inside of us. There’s human elements to that, that I really look at and say, ‘Well, I can get better.'”

–The Super Snoozer apparently put many television viewers to sleep, according to the data released by Nielsen.

Nielsen said Super Bowl LIII between the Patriots and the Rams averaged approximately 98.2 million viewers on CBS, the lowest since Super Bowl XLII between the New York Giants and Patriots averaged 97.4 million viewers on Feb. 3, 2008.

Sunday’s viewership was down more than 5 million from the previous Super Bowl, when 103.4 million viewers tuned in to the Eagles’ 41-33 win over the Patriots.

–Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl next season, according to one Las Vegas sportsbook.

The Chiefs are 6-1 at Westgate SuperBook, jumping ahead of the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots. Those three teams are 8-1.

Super Bowl LIV will be played on Feb. 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

–Scratch at least one member of the New England Patriots roster from making a trip to the White House, providing an invitation from President Donald Trump comes this year.

Defensive back Devin McCourty said he would not attend, while Jason McCourty, Devin’s 31-year-old twin brother and teammate in the secondary, offered that his chances of going are “highly” doubtful.

TMZ also reported that Patriots safety Duron Harmon would skip a White House visit.

–Field Level Media

Read More 671 Words

Report: Bears-Packers to kick off NFL’s 100th season

Report: Bears-Packers to kick off NFL's 100th season

Move over, New England Patriots. The

Report: Bears-Packers to kick off NFL’s 100th season

Move over, New England Patriots. The NFL is leaning toward a historic matchup to kick off its 100th season in 2019.

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are expected to play in the Thursday night opener, according to Westwood One’s Ed Werder.

In a nod to the historic rivalry to open a celebration-filled 100th season of the NFL, the longtime regional rivals would replace the reigning Super Bowl champions in the first game of the 2019 regular season.

New England typically would host the game to kick off the season by virtue of winning Super Bowl LIII.

A decision could come soon, but the official announcement likely is to be delayed until the official schedule release in primetime around mid-April.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins name Flores head coach

Dolphins name Flores head coach

New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores was named head coach of

Dolphins name Flores head coach

New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores was named head coach of the Miami Dolphins on Monday.

“Two things that stand out immediately when you meet Brian are his football intelligence and leadership skills,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “Brian is widely respected throughout the NFL. He paid his dues in New England working in personnel, on offense, defense and special teams, which helped him build a great understanding of what it takes to win. If you talk with anyone who has played for him or worked with him, you will hear about his ability to lead and get the most out of people.

“Brian sets a high standard for his players and coaches and we are completely aligned with our vision on how to build a successful organization.”

Flores, New England’s defensive play-caller, helped shut down the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday. Flores won four Super Bowl rings as a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff.

“The players did a great job of giving ’em different looks,” Flores said in the victorious New England locker room on Sunday night. “We talked about stopping the run, we talked about limiting big plays … defending the deep part of the field.”

Flores spent 11 seasons learning at the knee of Bill Belichick and was promoted in the 2018 offseason, when Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was named head coach of the Detroit Lions. He turns 38 later this month.

Flores becomes the fourth permanent head coach of the Dolphins since 2008. He follows Adam Gase, who was fired only to be hired by another AFC East division team, the New York Jets.

Per multiple reports, former New England assistant Patrick Graham (2009-15) and current receivers coach Chad O’Shea will join Flores with the Dolphins. Graham reportedly will become defensive coordinator and O’Shea will serve as offensive coordinator.

Graham was linebackers coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2018. O’Shea is finishing his 10th season with New England.

Flores played football at Boston College. He joined the Patriots in 2004 as a scouting assistant. He moved into coaching with the Patriots in 2008.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles QB Wentz: ‘I’m not perfect’

Eagles QB Wentz: 'I'm not perfect'

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz admitted his shortcomings could

Eagles QB Wentz: ‘I’m not perfect’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz admitted his shortcomings could have inspired anonymous criticism from teammates, who described the 26-year-old as selfish and egotistical.

Wentz said parts of the recent story that criticized him were wrong, and others prompted reflection.

A report critical of Wentz was published last month by PhillyVoice.com and cited “more than a half dozen” players who requested to remain anonymous, “fearing repercussions.” The unnamed teammates reportedly called the Eagles quarterback “selfish” and “egotistical.”

“It’s never fun to read, but to an extent, you look at it and be like, ‘Well, if someone did have this perception of me, why? What have I done wrong? What can I get better at?'” he told a group of reporters recently, according to an account published Monday by ESPN. “I realize I have my shortcomings. Yes, I can be selfish. I think we all have selfishness inside of us. There’s human elements to that, that I really look at and say, ‘Well, I can get better.'”

Among the claims in the report were that Wentz “bullied” offensive coordinator Mike Groh, played “favorites” by over-targeting Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, and generally acted “like he’s won 10 Super Bowls.”

Wentz said he wished teammates had aired their grievances directly with him.

“I know who I am, first of all. I know how I carry myself. I know I’m not perfect. I know I have flaws,” he said. “So I’m not going to sit here and say it was inaccurate and completely made up. I’m not going to do that. But at the end of the day, I will say our locker room is really close. If there were guys that had issues, in hindsight, I wish we could have just talked about them. But, again, I don’t know how that all happened and everything with that.”

Wentz said the report was a shock to him.

“It kind of came out of nowhere,” he said.

Wentz received immediate support on social media from All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, Pro Bowl offensive linemen Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks, and Ertz after the story was published.

“None of that is true,” Cox wrote on Twitter. “We are all behind him 100 percent.”

“Don’t believe everything you read!!!” Ertz tweeted. “Carson has been nothing but a GREAT person, GREAT teammate and GREAT leader since Day 1.”

Johnson tweeted that “whoever wrote that article needs to check their ‘sources.'”

Wentz vehemently denied the accusations that he mistreated Groh.

“Groh and I talked to each other that day when it came out, and I think we all know that never took place,” Wentz said.

The quarterback said that when the report was published, he wanted to find out the source but decided that wasn’t important.

“I’ll learn from it and we’ll all learn that A, things shouldn’t kind of come out the way it did, and B, the pieces that I can learn from it and be a better teammate and player and all that stuff I will grow from,” he said. “But other than that, just turn the page.”

The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2016, Wentz is 23-17 in three seasons as the starter in Philadelphia. His last two regular seasons have ended with injuries, but head coach Doug Pederson confirmed last month that Wentz is “our guy” heading into 2019.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals officially hire Taylor as coach

Bengals officially hire Taylor as coach

The Cincinnati Bengals officially announced the hiring of Zac

Bengals officially hire Taylor as coach

The Cincinnati Bengals officially announced the hiring of Zac Taylor as their new head coach on Monday.

Taylor previously had been identified as the Bengals’ choice but the organization couldn’t move forward until after the Super Bowl, with Taylor being the quarterbacks coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

“I am happy and fortunate to join the Cincinnati Bengals as head coach,” Taylor said in a statement. “This is a great organization with good people and a rich history, and I am excited to get started. I am looking to add to that history by setting high standards, and holding everyone here accountable to those standards. There is a lot of work to do, and this is day one. We’re going to attack every day with enthusiasm to get this team ready to go.”

Taylor, 35, spent the past two seasons with the Rams, who lost 13-3 to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. He also had a four-year stint coaching quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins from 2012-15.

“Zac is a bright coach with an offensive mind and background, which is important to have in today’s NFL,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement. “And he’s young. He embraces new ideas and new ways to do things, which will be a good thing for us. I believe our team will be exciting and fun to watch with him at the helm.”

As a player, Taylor was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 for Nebraska when he passed for 3,197 yards and 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He did not play in the NFL.

Taylor served as offensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati in 2016 before joining the Rams.

Taylor replaces Marvin Lewis (2003-18). He will be formally introduced at a press conference on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

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Film Study: How the Patriots finished the Rams

Film Study: How the Patriots finished the Rams

Film Study: How the Patriots finished the Rams

The New England Patriots cracked the Los Angeles Rams’ defense in Super Bowl LIII by running the exact same play three times in a row.

New England ran the play out of its heaviest, non-goal line package. Strange as it sounds, the simple formula proved to be the antidote against an otherwise ferocious defense.

Wade Phillips’ unit hounded Tom Brady and the passing game almost all night. The Rams pestered the 41-year-old with myriad looks, timely coverage rotations and sporadic spurts of pressure, forcing poor reads, bad decisions, errant throws and even an ugly sack-fumble.

Almost all of Brady’s success came through Julian Edelman, who was named MVP, and occasionally Rob Gronkowski. Elsewhere, the Rams rendered the Patriots’ auxiliary passing-game weapons nearly useless.

To all other targets, Brady went 5 of 16 for 34 yards and an interception. Chris Hogan failed to catch any of his six targets, with one intercepted and another nearly picked. Phillip Dorsett — who caught a 29-yard TD two weeks ago — played sparingly and wasn’t targeted. Even James White was shut down, catching just one of his four targets for 5 yards.

With no supplementary weapons helping in the passing game, the Patriots essentially took them off the field for the biggest drive of the game, instead favoring run-heavy personnel in order to throw the ball. That sounds counterintuitive, but it worked perfectly because it reduced Phillips’ defensive options and gave Brady the clearest possible picture of the defense.

In today’s pass-happy NFL, defenses use base personnel so little that most install only a few coverages out of it, sticking to basic man and zone calls with little disguise. This has been one of Phillips’ few problem areas in recent seasons — teams have forced his defenses into base personnel, spread it out and thrown the ball. The Falcons and Patriots both did this with great success against Phillips’ Broncos in 2016.

With the Lombardi Trophy on the line Sunday, New England did the same on the game-winning touchdown drive, picking the Rams apart for 67 yards on four straight passes.

The Patriots opened the series with a crafty design.

With 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end, one wideout) in an I-formation, Edelman motioned left to leave Gronkowski as the only receiver to the right side. Edelman’s motion confirmed man coverage, and L.A.’s alignment meant only safety John Johnson or edge rusher Samson Ebukam could cover Gronkowski. At the snap, Gronkowski blocked Ebukam, who naturally assumed — as did Johnson — it was a run. Johnson flew downhill and Ebukam fought upfield, only to find Gronkowski leaking out for an easy 18-yard catch.

Then New England went empty with 22 personnel (two backs, two tight ends, one wideout) and ran “Hoss Y Juke” back-to-back-to-back, flipping the formation on the second play and changing the motion on the third. The play calls for two curls on the outside (run by Rex Burkhead and James Develin), two seams up the slot — by Gronkowski (inside Burkhead) and Allen (inside Develin — and an option route by Edelman from the slot inside of Allen.

On the first, Burkhead’s motion from the backfield showed Brady the Rams were playing Cover-4 zone (also called quarters), with four deep and three underneath. The seams and curls completely cleared out the middle of the field and isolated Edelman on linebacker Cory Littleton, who had no chance amid so much space. Edelman picked up an easy 13 yards.

The Rams adapted on the next snap, playing a matchup Cover-3 zone but sending two underneath defenders to jam Edelman and having another jam Gronkowski as Mark Barron carried his seam vertically. His preferred options taken away, Brady still got 7 easy yards by checking down to Burkhead under Marcus Peters’ cushion.

Phillips ran matchup zone on the next snap, too, but motion — this time Edelman instead of Burkhead — created confusion, as Littleton and safety Lamarcus Joyner both moved to align over Edelman. Joyner quickly corrected Littleton, but the linebacker was late returning to where he should be — over Gronkowski — giving the tight end a headstart up the seam. Brady held the centerfield safety with his eyes, then dropped it over Littleton for 29 yards, setting up the game-winning 2-yard TD.

Perhaps most striking about this sequence was how easy it was. Gronkowski’s first catch was a one-read throw that was all but guaranteed to be open. All three plays out of empty defined Brady’s read either before the snap or immediately after it and produced wide-open targets.

And it was all facilitated by run-heavy personnel, even though no runs were called.

-McCourty’s miracle

Of course, the Rams’ defensive efforts still should have been enough for a victory, if the offense could have just found the end zone twice.

But L.A.’s best chance at paydirt was thwarted by the lesser heralded McCourty twin, cornerback Jason McCourty, who spent 2017 on the winless Browns and was playing in his first postseason.

With 3:42 left in the third quarter, the Patriots called Cover-4, against a Rams formation featuring three receivers bunched right of the line and Brandin Cooks alone on the left. Off play-action, Cooks’ seam route perfectly bisected the deep zones of cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (outside) and Jonathan Jones (inside), and Gilmore tried to pass Cooks off to Jones.

However, Jones was trained on a deep crosser from Robert Woods, who had come from the bunch formation. In Cover-4 against trips, the backside “safety” (played by a cornerback in Jones, in this case) is responsible for vertical routes from the trips side of the formation, which is why Woods drew his attention. As a result, Cooks came absolutely wide open in the end zone.

Then McCourty came to the rescue.

The other two Rams in the bunch formation stayed in to block, leaving McCourty no receiver near his deep zone (outside to the offense’s right). But rather than sitting around, he went looking for work, reading Jared Goff’s eyes and spying Cooks open in the end zone. As Goff released the ball, McCourty was still outside the numbers at the 7-yard line, with Cooks on the far hash at the 3. Somewhat miraculously, the cornerback closed the gap just in time, arriving to jar Cooks’ arms in the back of the end zone.

The late intervention wound up saving four points, as L.A. settled for a field goal and a tie instead of taking a 7-3 lead.

-Goff the goat

As great a play as it was though, McCourty never should have had the chance.

Goff had just two routes to read, and he was looking right at Cooks when the wideout — who put his arm up to call for the ball while crossing the 13-yard line — sprung completely free. Despite his target coming wide open and on-time by design, Goff inexplicably took three hitches from the top of his drop before throwing.

Even then, it still should have been a touchdown. The throw was wobbly and too high, hanging in the air, and thrown unnecessarily out in front of Cooks instead of right on him or to his back shoulder. McCourty needed every bit of Goff’s help to make the play.

Unfortunately for the Rams, it was far from the only play Goff would want back.

The third-year signal-caller struggled to see things clearly throughout the evening. He threw two would-be interceptions that were dropped — the first could have been picked by Devin McCourty OR Jonathan Jones if John Simon had not batted it at the line — then botched the aforementioned play to Cooks, and finally made three critical errors in the fourth quarter.

On second-and-22 with 10:36 remaining, Goff failed to spot a likely 40-plus-yard gain. The Rams ran a “dagger” concept with Woods’ vertical route clearing out space for Josh Reynolds’ dig (the primary option on the play), which came wide open against the Patriots’ Cover-3 zone, with nobody within 10 yards of Reynolds. For whatever reason — perhaps a predetermined decision — Goff instead opted for Cooks’ out-and-up on the far side, which was blanketed by Gilmore.

On the next series, Goff went for the tying touchdown on a fade to Cooks and actually threw a terrific pass, dropping it in the bucket. But he failed to hold the single-high safety (Duron Harmon) long enough with his eyes, and Harmon was able to break to Cooks’ route (which came from a tight split) and help dislodge the ball.

Cooks still could have caught the pass — and Gilmore sneakily hooked one of the wideout’s arms before it arrived — but he very well might have hung on if not for a crushing hit from Harmon, whom Goff could have removed from the play with his eyes.

One play later, Goff all but sealed the defeat with a poor decision against 0-blitz, the Patriots’ first time all game sending six or more rushers. After showing a few 0 looks on earlier third downs but having Harmon bail to play free safety, New England brought them all this time, and Harmon came unblocked up the middle. With no short hot route available, Goff looked to Cooks’ vertical pattern but threw early and without definition, well before the receiver had the chance to turn and find the ball. With eyes on Goff the whole way, the 6-foot Gilmore easily elevated over the 5-foot-10 Cooks for the pick.

It wasn’t all bad from Goff, who made a few outstanding throws in the game. None was better than the 18-yarder to Woods on third-and-6 — one play before McCourty’s miracle break-up — as Goff fired a bullet past Jones’ tight man coverage despite Trey Flowers barreling into his face.

But the missed opportunities were crushing, especially in a low-scoring game that was there for the taking.

-Brilliant Belichick does it again

Naturally, Belichick deserves plenty of credit for Goff’s struggles.

His game plan was geared toward exposing the quarterback’s weaknesses by shutting down the run game and taking away easy play-action completions.

Up front, the Patriots used primarily five- and six-man fronts — with only one linebacker off the ball — and played aggressively uphill against the run. Extra men on the line created more single blocks, and penetration forced cutbacks into the waiting arms of other defenders. Belichick also employed various run blitzes and gap exchanges to distort the Rams’ zone-blocking assignments. Neither Todd Gurley nor C.J. Anderson found much daylight, with 57 yards on 17 carries between them (16 of which came on one play).

As we suspected in our preview, Belichick followed the lead of Matt Patricia’s Lions (and other teams that gave the Rams fits late in the regular season) by playing plenty of Cover-4 on early downs. The deep zones combined to double-team many of the Rams’ deep route combinations off play-action, limiting explosive plays. Goff wound up holding the ball, checking down, throwing it away or forcing it into coverage, as he did on Dont’a Hightower’s dropped interception to open the second half.

A better showing from New England’s offense would have forced Los Angeles to throw even more, but the Rams still wound up in plenty of obvious passing situations, putting all of the burden on Goff.

That’s exactly what Belichick wanted, and he made the 24-year-old miserable with an endless array of stunts, twists and blitzes, exactly like he did against Patrick Mahomes in the AFC Championship Game. None used more than five rushers — until the 0-blitz call on Gilmore’s interception — and many required only four. Hightower and Kyle Van Noy alternated between leading stunts and looping around the slants of defensive linemen, leaving the Rams’ highly touted offensive line helpless as it tried to pick up the weaving rushers.

The Patriots ultimately racked up four sacks and 12 QB hits, giving them eight and 21, respectively in the the final two playoff games. This from a defense that had only 30 sacks (tied second fewest in the NFL) and 100 QB hits in the entire regular season.

The suddenly terrifying pass rush was just another example of Belichick’s uncanny chameleon-like qualities, shaping his defenses to fit the opponent and deliver in critical moments.

–David DeChant, Field Level Media

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Belichick: MVP Edelman hardest worker I’ve coached

Belichick: MVP Edelman hardest worker I've coached

ATLANTA - Julian Edelman is

Belichick: MVP Edelman hardest worker I’ve coached

ATLANTA – Julian Edelman is going to Disney World.

A flier draft pick – No. 232 in 2009 – from the Mid-American Conference, Edelman earned MVP honors Sunday for his latest standout performance in a Super Bowl. Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards and gained eight yards on one rushing attempt.

Introduced Monday morning as MVP of Super Bowl LIII by commissioner Roger Goodell, who noted his “off the charts” playoff performances, Edelman will extend his latest ride with a parade this afternoon at Disney World. By Tuesday at noon, Edelman should be near the end of his third victory parade in Boston.

“To see how this team grinded and worked each week, when things weren’t at its best, we constantly tried to improve,” Edelman said. “A resilient group. One you’ll never forget.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday morning Edelman is one of the players he never could forget, putting him in a class with wide receiver Troy Brown and Mike Vrabel.

“No one has worked harder in my career to develop his skills and his craft at a position he’d never played,” Belichick said.

Edelman caught 26 passes in the three playoff wins this postseason, going for 151 yards against the Chargers, 96 yards at Kansas City and polishing it off with his MVP performance Sunday. Edelman caught passes on all three scoring drives for New England.

“I’m just so proud and happy to be a part of the team,” Edelman said. “Guys that just battled, brought their lunchpail, hard hat to work. A lot of noises out there – we just continued to try to get better.”

New England converted only three third downs Sunday night – all Edelman receptions. But when asked what his favorite play in the victory was, Edelman went off script.

“The knee at the end,” he said with a smile barely visible through a thicket-level beard.

A close friend and confidant of quarterback Tom Brady, Edelman found Brady immediately after the game for a celebratory embrace.

“He just said, ‘I’m proud of you.’ That was big,” Edelman said. “It’s pretty flattering. He’s a fighter. It’s a flattering comment to hear that from a guy you look up to.”

Edelman credited Brady for coming through in the clutch.

“He’s just an awesome player, great teammate, friend, and I’m so proud of everything he’s done for our team,” Brady said.

Belichick recalled Monday, a few hours after the party in celebration of Super Bowl LIII ended in downtown Atlanta, unearthing Edelman as a seventh-round pick from Kent State playing like he belonged on the same field with Ohio State.

“It’s an incredible story. He played the game with an intensity that was hard for them to handle,” Belichick said. “I go back to his first playoff game against the Ravens, he was probably our best player on the field. He played that game the way he played the Ohio State game against Kent State. We didn’t play very well that day. But I know he did. He caught a slip screen, broke about five tackles for a first down.”

“He’s there every day competing against himself trying to get better,” Belichick said.

Following Sunday’s effort, Edelman, 32, now ranks second all-time in playoff receiving yards with 1,412. Edelman has at least five receptions in 13 consecutive postseason games, the longest streak in playoff history. His 115 career postseason receptions rank second in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice holds the record with 151 career catches in the playoffs.

Not all celebrated Edelman’s honor.

USA Today published an editorial Monday arguing Edelman shouldn’t even have been on the field due to the performance-enhancing drug violation, revealed when the 198-pound receiver was suspended four games to start the 2018 season.

Edelman, who missed the 2017 season with a torn ACL, said he was driven by watching New England lose in the Super Bowl last season to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“My head was down, just trying to go out and try to win ball games and help the team,” he said.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins to introduce Flores as head coach

Report: Dolphins to introduce Flores as head coach

New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected

Report: Dolphins to introduce Flores as head coach

New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected to be introduced as head coach of the Miami Dolphins at a 4 p.m. ET press conference on Monday in Davie, Fla., according to multiple reports.

Flores, New England’s defensive play-caller, helped shut down the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday. Flores won four Super Bowl rings as a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff.

“The players did a great job of giving ’em different looks,” Flores said in the victorious New England locker room on Sunday night. “We talked about stopping the run, we talked about limiting big plays … defending the deep part of the field.”

Flores spent 11 seasons learning at the knee of Bill Belichick and was promoted in the 2018 offseason, when Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was named head coach of the Detroit Lions. He turns 38 later this month.

Flores becomes the fourth permanent head coach of the Dolphins since 2008. He follows Adam Gase, who was fired only to be hired by another AFC East division team, the New York Jets.

Per multiple reports, former New England assistant Patrick Graham (2009-15) and current receivers coach Chad O’Shea will join Flores with the Dolphins. Graham reportedly will become defensive coordinator and O’Shea will serve as offensive coordinator.

Graham was linebackers coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2018. O’Shea is finishing his 10th season with New England.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs, Patriots early Super Bowl LIV betting favorites

Chiefs, Patriots early Super Bowl LIV betting favorites

Reigning

Chiefs, Patriots early Super Bowl LIV betting favorites

Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl next season, according to one Las Vegas sportsbook.

The Chiefs are 6-1 at Westgate SuperBook, jumping ahead of the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots. Those three teams are 8-1.

At 14-1 are the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

DraftKings, however, made the Patriots, Chiefs and Rams the favorite to win the next Super Bowl. And New England was the favorite in the opening line set by BetOnline and William Hill.

Super Bowl LIV will be played on Feb. 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

–Field Level Media

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Fowler jumps to No. 8 in world rankings

Fowler jumps to No. 8 in world rankings

Fowler jumps to No. 8 in world rankings

Rickie Fowler vaulted six spots to No. 8 in the official world golf rankings on Monday following his fifth career PGA Tour victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

There were no changes among the top seven, with England’s Justin Rose remaining No. 1 despite a missed cut at the Saudi International. Brooks Koepka is still No. 2 following a tie for 57th, but Dustin Johnson closed the gap considerably with his victory in the inaugural event on the European Tour.

Justin Thomas is No. 4, followed by Bryson DeChambeau, Spain’s Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Fowler. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Italy’s Francesco Molinari each dropped one spot to close out the top 10.

Fowler fell to No. 14 following a tie for 66th at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, but he earned 56 points for Sunday’s victory. He reached as high as sixth in the rankings last year.

Despite a difficult closing stretch on Sunday, Matt Kuchar continued his rise up the rankings. He is now No. 20 following a tie for fourth in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is also second in the FedEx Cup standings behind Schauffele.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots topple Rams in SB LIII for sixth title in 18 years

Patriots topple Rams in SB LIII for sixth title in 18 years

Patriots topple Rams in SB LIII for sixth title in 18 years

The New England Patriots claimed the Lombardi Trophy for a record-tying sixth time, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in a Super Bowl LIII slugfest Sunday in Atlanta.

A clash of generations at quarterback and head coach, this was billed as a battle between 41-year-old Tom Brady and 66-year-old Bill Belichick of New England and 24-year-old Jared Goff and 33-year-old Sean McVay of Los Angeles.

Instead it was the placekickers, punters and the defensive play-callers, Wade Phillips of the Rams and Brian Flores of the Patriots, who controlled much of the action — or lack thereof. It was the first Super Bowl without a touchdown by either team through three quarters, and the lowest-scoring Super Bowl (3-3) entering the fourth. It finished as the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all-time, fewer than Super Bowl VII (21 points).

“It’s sweet,” Belichick said while accepting the Lombardi Trophy. “Everybody counted us out, from the beginning of the season to midseason, but we’re still here.”

Brady being Brady, he came through when it mattered and helped the Patriots match the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl rings.

Taking over at their own 31 after the Rams’ ninth punt, the Patriots marched 69 yards in five plays to score the game’s only touchdown and take a 10-3 lead with 7:00 to play. Brady was 4-for-4 for 67 yards on the drive, including a 29-yarder to Rob Gronkowski to set up Sony Michel’s 2-yard touchdown run. It was the rookie’s sixth TD of the postseason.

The Rams roared right back, driving to the New England 27 in five plays. On the sixth play, Stephon Gilmore and Duron Harmon broke up a potential touchdown catch by Brandin Cooks. On the seventh play, Gilmore picked off an errant throw to Cooks with 4:17 left as Goff tried to avoid a Patriots blitz.

“To be honest, I couldn’t believe he threw it,” Gilmore told reporters afterward of the play.

Capping a nine-play, 72-yard drive, Stephen Gostkowski then iced the game for the Patriots with his second field goal. His 41-yarder stretched the lead to 10 with 1:12 remaining.

Brady completed 21 of 35 passes for 262 yards and one interception. Julian Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards to claim Super Bowl MVP honors, and Michel rushed 18 times for 94 yards.

“It was an unbelievable year,” Brady told CBS on the field after the game. “We just fought through it more so than anything. It’s unbelievable to win this game. … We’ve been this far and lost, which is really tough. I wish we had played a little better on offense, but we won and it’s unbelievable.

“… I’m so happy for my teammates. This is a dream come true for all of us.”

Goff finished 19 of 38 for 229 yards and the one pick. Cooks had eight grabs for 120 yards.

“It kills,” Goff said of the loss, calling it the toughest of his life. “It hurts. … It hurts me knowing how well our defense played, against that team, against Tom, and us not holding up our end of the bargain. It’s our job to score points and we didn’t do that tonight.”

McVay put plenty of blame on himself.

“I’m pretty numb right now,” he told reporters. “Definitely I got out-coached, and I didn’t do nearly enough for our football team.”

After eight straight Johnny Hekker punts to begin the game, the Rams made it 3-3 on Greg Zuerlein’s 53-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the third quarter. Los Angeles left some points on the field, however, as three plays earlier, Goff was late throwing to a wide-open Cooks in the back of the end zone, with the throw broken up by Jason McCourty.

“I just took off,” McCourty said of the play, in which he came from across the field for the breakup. “I saw Cooks wide open and really wasn’t sure if I was gonna get there in time, but I was able to get the ball out and we were able to live to see another play.”

After two weeks of buildup, the showdown started slowly with the ninth scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history. The Patriots have been involved in five of those — and won all five. New England took a 3-0 lead into halftime on Gostkowski’s 42-yard field goal in the second quarter.

The Rams had more punts (six) in the first half than first downs (two) or completions (five). The NFL’s No. 2 offense in both scoring and yards during the regular season, L.A. reached intermission with 57 total yards.

“We weren’t great on third downs today,” C.J. Anderson told NFL Network. “Couldn’t extend drives.”

The Patriots tallied 12 first downs and gained 195 yards in the half but mustered only three points, despite four trips inside the Rams’ 35. Gostkowski missed his first field-goal attempt (46 yards), and Brady had the half’s only turnover, a deflected interception on his first pass attempt. New England also failed on fourth-and-1 late in the half.

Neither team reached the red zone before the break. It was the second-lowest-scoring first half in Super Bowl history. The Pittsburgh Steelers led the Minnesota Vikings 2-0 at halftime in Super Bowl IX.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots’ Brady says he plans to return

Patriots' Brady says he plans to return

Patriots’ Brady says he plans to return

Tom Brady made history by winning his sixth Super Bowl ring Sunday night.

Now, Brady is determined to win No. 7. He shook his head when asked whether he might step away after his record-setting victory.

“It doesn’t change anything,” Brady said in a postgame interview with CBS. “I can’t wait to spend some time with my family and my kids and my wife. I couldn’t do it without their support. It’s just been a great year. I’m so happy for my teammates. This is a dream come true for all of us.”

The 41-year-old quarterback completed 21 of 35 passes for 262 yards in the New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. He was picked off once.

Questions about Brady’s future have persisted for several seasons, but he shows no signs of slowing down. He passed for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns during the regular season and has thrown for 517 touchdowns in his career.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots WR Edelman snags Super Bowl MVP

Patriots WR Edelman snags Super Bowl MVP

Patriots WR Edelman snags Super Bowl MVP

ATLANTA — Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was named MVP of Super Bowl LIII.

Edelman caught 10 passes for 141 yards to help New England claim a second Super Bowl in three seasons. He caught one of the most memorable passes in Super Bowl history to help New England rally over the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.

Edelman, who began the season serving a four-game suspension, is the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP in 10 years. He is the seventh wide receiver in Super Bowl history to be named MVP.

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” Edelman said. “We knew, it’s just about taking one play at a time. It’s about being resilient.”

The high-scoring Rams were held to three points in Super Bowl LIII, prompting Edelman to say he didn’t deserve the MVP award.

“They should be the MVP — the whole D,” Edelman said.

Edelman, 32, now ranks second all-time in playoff receiving yards with 1,412. Edelman has at least five receptions in 13 consecutive postseason games, the longest streak in playoff history. His 115 career postseason receptions rank second in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice holds the record with 151 career catches in the playoffs.

“We just kept grinding it out, grinding it out,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said.

Rookie running back Sony Michel scored the only touchdown in the game.

“We’ve got a saying, ‘Do your job,'” Michel said. “That’s what we all did.”

Quarterback Tom Brady was MVP of four of the Patriots’ six Super Bowl wins. Edelman joins Brady and wide receiver Deion Branch, who was MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, as players to earn the award in Patriots’ Super Bowl wins.

Edelman also had one rushing attempt for eight yards.

Brady did not throw a touchdown pass, but Edelman had receptions on each of the Patriots’ scoring drives.

“It wasn’t pretty. I’ll take any ugly win over a pretty loss,” Edelman said.

–Field Level Media

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Rams RB Gurley insists knee is ‘fine’

Rams RB Gurley insists knee is 'fine'

Rams RB Gurley insists knee is ‘fine’

Despite another game with less than his typical workload, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley insisted his left knee is healthy following Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII loss to the New England Patriots.

“I know there’s been a lot of concern about my knee but I really am fine,” Gurley told reporters after the game, in which he had 10 carries for 35 yards and one catch for minus-1 yard. He also had a 13-yard carry wiped out by a holding penalty.

Gurley said he had an MRI on the knee after the Rams’ Week 15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, but asked if he was limited at all on Sunday, he replied, “Nah, I was fine, man. I felt good.”

He also told reporters the knee doesn’t need more time to heal or any surgical procedure.

Gurley sat out the team’s final two regular-season games but racked up 115 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries in the divisional playoffs against the Cowboys. In the conference championship against the Saints, he finished with just five touches and played fewer snaps than C.J. Anderson after a pair of early drops.

On Sunday, Gurley got the slightly heavier workload (11 touches to nine), but neither back was effective, as Anderson finished with seven carries for 22 yards.

“I’m just — whenever my name is called in the game, I’m ready,” Gurley said. “But like I said, we’ve got a good running back in C.J., so obviously he’s going to come in as well, and I’ve got to take advantage of my opportunities when I get the chance as well.”

Through 14 games this season, Gurley averaged 18.3 carries for 89.4 yards and 4.2 receptions for 41.4 yards per game, scoring 21 total touchdowns. He signed a contract extension before the season that made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history at $14.375 million annually.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots TE Gronkowski non-committal on future

Patriots TE Gronkowski non-committal on future

Patriots TE Gronkowski non-committal on future

Fresh off his third Super Bowl championship, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did not want to comment about his NFL future Sunday night.

Instead, the 29-year-old said he wanted to enjoy the moment and be with his teammates. Questions have persisted about whether Gronkowski might call it quits on a grueling career that has included significant injuries and multiple surgeries.

“It’s really not about that tonight, it’s about celebrating with my team tonight,” Gronkowski said in a postgame interview with NFL Network. “I’m going to take a few weeks, a week or two, see where I’m at, make a decision from there. But tonight it’s about celebrating with the team, celebrating with everyone. We were grinding, what, seven months since training camp, putting the work on. It paid off, and now it’s time to celebrate.”

Gronkowski hauled in six catches for 87 yards in the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. His 29-yard catch in the fourth quarter helped to set up Sony Michel’s 2-yard rushing touchdown, which put New England ahead for good.

The nine-year veteran tight end credited Tom Brady with putting the ball in a perfect spot.

“On that play, we saw that there was a matchup right there,” Gronkowski said. “There was a linebacker on me, and that’s when I knew the ball was going to come to me. I knew Tom was going to throw it up there and (I could) just run up and make the play. It was a crucial play, and Sony just did the job finishing it off with a touchdown, which was awesome.”

Gronkowski was willing to clarify one question about his future: Yes, he planned to party Sunday night and beyond.

“Bill (Belichick) said he’s partying tonight, and I ain’t going to let him out-party me,” Gronkowski said with a grin.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Raiders eye S.F. Giants’ stadium in 2019

Report: Raiders eye S.F. Giants' stadium in 2019

Still a year away from moving

Report: Raiders eye S.F. Giants’ stadium in 2019

Still a year away from moving to Las Vegas, the Oakland Raiders have reportedly reached a deal with the San Francisco Giants to play in their baseball stadium in 2019.

The Raiders’ preference to spend next season in San Francisco was reported first by NBC Bay Area KNTV. NFL Network reports both the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL must approve the decision for it to become final.

Oracle Park, a stadium along the waterfront in San Francisco, was known as AT&T Park before its recent name change.

Las Vegas is set to welcome the Raiders for the 2020 season. The Raiders are searching for a one-year home after their lease expired at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum at the end of last season.

The team was expected to stay in the Bay Area one way or another, whether through a resolution at the Coliseum, or by sharing with the 49ers or MLB’s Giants.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked last week whether the Raiders might spend one season in San Diego.

“I think the hope of (Raiders owner Mark Davis) is to continue to be in the Bay Area with Raider fans,” he said.

–Field Level Media

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Rams QB coach Taylor sidesteps questions about Bengals

Rams QB coach Taylor sidesteps questions about Bengals

Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor

Rams QB coach Taylor sidesteps questions about Bengals

Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor is expected to be named the Cincinnati Bengals’ head coach on Monday, but he was not in the mood to talk about his next career move after Sunday’s Super Bowl loss against the New England Patriots.

The Rams mustered only three points in the defeat, and Jared Goff threw a costly interception late in the fourth quarter.

“Going to finish everything up with these guys in this locker room that have given us their heart and soul and this coaching staff I’ve grown to be so close with,” Taylor said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Tonight we focus on us, this team and relationships we built, and we will approach tomorrow when it comes.”

The disappointing ending followed a dazzling season for the Rams, who finished 13-3 to capture the NFC West crown. Taylor drew praise for his work with Goff, a third-year standout who passed for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 games.

The Bengals reportedly opted to go young with Taylor, 35, who is set to replace longtime coach Marvin Lewis. Cincinnati has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, and Lewis finished 0-7 in the postseason in 16 years with the franchise.

–Field Level Media

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Saints fire back at Rams via social media

Saints fire back at Rams via social media

Saints fire back at Rams via social media

The New Orleans Saints’ players and fans did not hold back as they watched the Los Angeles Rams struggle in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday.

Two weeks earlier, the Saints watched in disbelief as a controversial non-call contributed to their overtime loss to the Rams in the NFC title game. The league later admitted that its officials blew the call, but that provided little solace to New Orleans’ players and fans.

The Rams’ 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots on sports’ biggest stage seemed to help. A little.

“Y’all better score more than 3 points in that new stadium,” Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas tweeted.

“Don’t cry now LA,” added Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune spoke volumes with a Monday front page that was almost entirely blank, but for five words.

“Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?” a headline asked.

New Orleans was not the only city to give the cold shoulder to the Rams. In St. Louis, which the Rams called home from 1995 until leaving in 2016, radio station KMOX-AM replayed Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the Cardinals and Texas Rangers — a comeback win thanks to David Freese’s heroics — as the Super Bowl took place.

–Field Level Media

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Fowler survives triple bogey to win Phoenix Open

Fowler survives triple bogey to win Phoenix Open

Fowler survives triple bogey to win Phoenix Open

Rickie Fowler recovered from a back-side triple-bogey to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Fowler’s final-round 3-over-par 74 came with birdies on two of the final four holes after his lead disappeared at TPC Scottsdale.

Fowler finished at 17-under 267 to win by two shots over South Africa’s Branden Grace, whose final-round 69 wasn’t enough.

A year ago, Fowler couldn’t hold a lead in this tournament entering the final round. This time, he had a four-shot cushion, and he saw that vanish.

Fowler pulled even with Grace thanks to a birdie on the par-5 No. 15. Another birdie at the par-4 No. 17 after Grace took a bogey on the 17th gave Fowler a two-shot edge. Then Grace hit into the water on No. 17, proving costly.

Fowler had been pumped up by then as he drove the green on the par-4 17th with a chance at an eagle putt.

But it wasn’t easy from there. Fowler’s tee shot on the 18th ended up buried in the tall grass strips located in a fairway sand trap. Two shots later, he had a short putt for par to clinch the title.

Fowler, 30, secured his fifth victory on the PGA Tour. It came despite the highest final-round score in the tournament’s history.

Fowler made triple at the par-4 11th when his approach rolled past the pin, over the green and into the water behind the green, which was deemed a penalty area. The ball rolled back into the water, costing him another stroke, before Fowler finally got up and down for a 7. He followed up with a bogey 4 on the par-3 No. 12.

Justin Thomas, who contended all week, had three birdies during his final-round 72 and ended up third at 14 under.

Matt Kuchar, who joined Thomas and Fowler in the final group, shot 75 and faded to a tie for fourth at 12 under. He shared that with Bubba Watson (71) and Chez Reavie (68)

Fowler’s double bogey on No. 5 created the first notable movement on the leaderboard, softened some because Kuchar and Thomas both took bogeys on the hole.

Defending champion Gary Woodland closed with 72 for his worst round of the tournament and finished tied for seventh at 11-under.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Saints give DC Allen new deal

Reports: Saints give DC Allen new deal

Reports: Saints give DC Allen new deal

The New Orleans Saints signed defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to a new contract, according to multiple reports on Sunday.

According to Sports Illustrated, Allen received a three-year deal.

Allen, 46, joined the Saints in 2015 as a defensive assistant in 2015 and was promoted to coordinator midway through the year after the firing of Rob Ryan. The Saints were historically bad on defense in 2015 and not much better in 2016, but the group has finished 10th (2017) and 14th (2018) in points allowed over the last two seasons. They also finished 17th in yards in 2017 before improving to 14th this season.

Allen is in his second stint with the Saints after holding two different positions from 2006-10. He also has been the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos (2011) and head coach of the Oakland Raiders (2012-14).

–Field Level Media

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Patriots lead Rams, 3-0, at halftime in SB LIII slugfest

Patriots lead Rams, 3-0, at halftime in SB LIII slugfest

Patriots lead Rams, 3-0, at halftime in SB LIII slugfest

After a scoreless first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski’s 42-yard field goal with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter gave the New England Patriots a 3-0 lead against the listless Los Angeles Rams at halftime of Super Bowl LIII on Sunday in Atlanta.

The Rams punted on all six of their first-half possessions, picking up just two first downs. The NFL’s No. 2 offense in both scoring and yards during the regular season, Los Angeles reached intermission with 57 total yards.

After missing from 46 yards in the opening quarter, Gostkowski converted his second attempt to cap a seven-play, 39-yard drive. The Patriots tallied 12 first downs and gained 195 yards in the half, as 41-year-old Tom Brady completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards with one interception. Julian Edelman had seven catches for 93 yards.

The Rams crossed midfield three times — but only barely. They were stopped at the New England 49 once and the 47 twice, the second time with about four minutes left in the half. Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy sacked Jared Goff for a 14-yard loss on third-and-2 to force another Rams three-and-out.

Los Angeles star Todd Gurley started and rushed for 2 yards on the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, but had only two more touches in the half. Dealing with knee inflammation, Gurley missed the last two regular-season games and had only five touches in the NFC Championship at New Orleans.

After the Rams won the coin toss and deferred, the Patriots opened the action with a 38-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. Following four straight running plays, Brady was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman deflected a throw intended for Chris Hogan, and linebacker Cory Littleton cradled it before it hit the ground at the 27-yard line.

Los Angeles couldn’t take advantage of the takeaway and gave it right back with a three-and-out.

Starting from its own 12, New England drove 60 yards in 11 plays but came up empty when Gostkowski’s 46-yard attempt missed wide left. Patriots coach Bill Belichick used two timeouts on the drive, the second with 6:17 remaining in the first quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his first catch on the drive, a 19-yard gain that took the Pats into Rams territory.

The Rams crossed midfield on their second possession before Johnny Hekker came on to punt for the second time. L.A. tried to draw New England offsides on fourth-and-3 at the Patriots’ 42-yard line with no luck, taking a delay of game penalty.

Despite getting inside the Rams’ 35-yard line on each of their first two possessions, the Patriots failed to score a first-quarter touchdown for the ninth time in nine Brady-Belichick Super Bowl appearances. After a failure on fourth-and-1 late in the half, New England had just three points to show on four trips inside the Los Angeles 35.

New England’s third possession stalled after John Franklin-Myers sacked and stripped Brady near midfield, with center David Andrews recovering the loose ball. It was the first sack allowed by the Patriots this postseason.

It was the ninth scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history, with the Patriots now involved in five of them (they won the previous four).

–Field Level Media

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Patriots lead Rams, 3-0, halfway through slugfest

Patriots lead Rams, 3-0, halfway through slugfest

Patriots lead Rams, 3-0, halfway through slugfest

After a scoreless first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski’s 42-yard field goal with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter gave the New England Patriots a 3-0 lead against the listless Los Angeles Rams at halftime of Super Bowl LIII on Sunday in Atlanta.

The Rams punted on all six of their first-half possessions, picking up just two first downs. The NFL’s No. 2 offense in both scoring and yards during the regular season, Los Angeles reached intermission with 57 total yards.

After missing from 46 yards in the opening quarter, Gostkowski converted his second attempt to cap a seven-play, 39-yard drive. The Patriots tallied 12 first downs and gained 195 yards in the half, as 41-year-old Tom Brady completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards with one interception. Julian Edelman had seven catches for 93 yards.

The Rams crossed midfield three times — but only barely. They were stopped at the New England 49 once and the 47 twice, the second time with about four minutes left in the half. Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy sacked Jared Goff for a 14-yard loss on third-and-2 to force another Rams three-and-out.

Los Angeles star Todd Gurley started and rushed for 2 yards on the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, but had only two more touches in the half. Dealing with knee inflammation, Gurley missed the last two regular-season games and had only five touches in the NFC Championship at New Orleans.

After the Rams won the coin toss and deferred, the Patriots opened the action with a 38-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. Following four straight running plays, Brady was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman deflected a throw intended for Chris Hogan, and linebacker Cory Littleton cradled it before it hit the ground at the 27-yard line.

Los Angeles couldn’t take advantage of the takeaway and gave it right back with a three-and-out.

Starting from its own 12, New England drove 60 yards in 11 plays but came up empty when Gostkowski’s 46-yard attempt missed wide left. Patriots coach Bill Belichick used two timeouts on the drive, the second with 6:17 remaining in the first quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his first catch on the drive, a 19-yard gain that took the Pats into Rams territory.

The Rams crossed midfield on their second possession before Johnny Hekker came on to punt for the second time. L.A. tried to draw New England offsides on fourth-and-3 at the Patriots’ 42-yard line with no luck, taking a delay of game penalty.

Despite getting inside the Rams’ 35-yard line on each of their first two possessions, the Patriots failed to score a first-quarter touchdown for the ninth time in nine Brady-Belichick Super Bowl appearances. After a failure on fourth-and-1 late in the half, New England had just three points to show on four trips inside the Los Angeles 35.

New England’s third possession stalled after John Franklin-Myers sacked and stripped Brady near midfield, with center David Andrews recovering the loose ball. It was the first sack allowed by the Patriots this postseason.

It was the ninth scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history, with the Patriots now involved in five of them (they won the previous four).

–Field Level Media

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Patriots’ Chung ruled out with arm injury

Patriots' Chung ruled out with arm injury

Patriots’ Chung ruled out with arm injury

New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung left the field with his right arm in an air cast during the third quarter of Super Bowl LIII.

Chung, 31, was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game by the Patriots, and CBS reported on the broadcast he headed straight to the X-ray room.

Chung was injured while attempting a tackle against Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley. He reached in with his right arm, which was crunched between Gurley and Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones.

Trainers attended to Chung as he slumped on the ground. A cart came on to the field, but Chung walked off under his own power as the cart followed slowly behind him and several trainers.

Chung finished the regular season with 84 tackles and an interception. The 10-year pro has 727 career tackles and 11 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers QB Newton may recover by training camp

Panthers QB Newton may recover by training camp

Carolina Panthers quarterback

Panthers QB Newton may recover by training camp

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton might be ready for training camp after his recent shoulder surgery, ESPN reported on Sunday.

At minimum, Newton is expected to be ready well in time for the start of the 2019 regular season, per the report.

Newton underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after battling discomfort over the second half of the 2018 season before eventually being shut down with two games remaining.

The team hasn’t yet announced a timetable for Newton’s return.

This marks the second time in three offseasons that Newton has undergone surgery on his passing shoulder.

The former NFL MVP was optimistic about the shoulder in a radio appearance on Wednesday.

“It’s good. It’s good,” Newton told radio station 680 The Fan in Atlanta, adding, “It’s better than I thought it would be. With so much going on throughout this season, I was in fear to see what actually was wrong.”

Newton passed for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns against 13 interceptions last season. Carolina started strong at 6-2 but collapsed with seven straight losses and ended up at 7-9.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Seahawks, Wilson yet to talk extension

Report: Seahawks, Wilson yet to talk extension

Report: Seahawks, Wilson yet to talk extension

The Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson have yet to have any contract discussions as he approaches the final year of his contract, ESPN reported Sunday.

Per the report, the sides have not mentioned interest to each other in extending the deal, or talked about what an extension might look like.

Head coach Pete Carroll told reporters at his end-of-season press conference that signing Wilson to an extension was “very much in our plans” for the offseason, but this deal is expected to take some time. According to ESPN, it will likely exceed Aaron Rodgers’ $33.5 million annual average for the largest in NFL history, and could be complicated by the possibility of a work stoppage in 2021 when the CBA expires.

Wilson’s last extension — as he was entering the final year of his rookie contract — came on the first day of Seahawks training camp in 2015, at the end of July.

The 30-year-old will make $17 million in 2019, the final year of a four-year, $87.6 million contract that ranked narrowly behind Rodgers for the largest annual average in NFL history at the time it was signed.

Wilson is coming off of a terrific season, setting a career high in touchdown passes (35) despite his fewest attempts (427) in a season since 2013. He also set a personal best in passer rating (110.9) and equaled a career low in interceptions (seven), while earning his fifth Pro Bowl nod in seven NFL seasons.

Wilson hasn’t missed a start since the team drafted him 75th overall in 2012, and he’s gone 75-36-1 in the regular season as a starter. He has gone 8-5 in the postseason, although the Seahawks haven’t won a playoff game since 2016 after winning at least one in each of his first five seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Trump says he wouldn’t ‘steer’ son toward football

Trump says he wouldn't 'steer' son toward football

Trump says he wouldn’t ‘steer’ son toward football

President Donald Trump said that he wouldn’t encourage his youngest son to play football, citing the dangers of the sport.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Trump was asked in a wide-ranging interview about his son, Barron, and football.

“It’s a very good question,” Trump said when asked if he would allow Barron to play. “If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn’t.”

Barron, who turns 13 next month, plays soccer.

“He’s liking soccer. And a lot of people, including me, thought soccer would probably never make it in this country, but it really is moving forward rapidly,” Trump said. “I just don’t like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football. I mean, it’s a dangerous sport and I think it’s really tough. I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better but it hasn’t solved the problem.

“So, you know, I hate to say it because I love to watch football. I think the NFL is a great product, but I really think that as far as my son? Well I’ve heard NFL players saying they wouldn’t let their sons play football. So. It’s not totally unique, but I would have a hard time with it.”

Former President Barack Obama, the father of two daughters, said in a 2014 interview that he would not allow his son, if he had one, to play pro football.

Also Sunday, Trump addressed his relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Trump has been extremely critical of players who chose to kneel or sit during the pregame national anthem. He said believes he and Goodell have put aside their differences.

“I think so. I mean I was just one that felt very important, you can’t be kneeling for the national anthem. You have to respect our flag and our country,” he said. “I want that as president and I’d want that as a citizen. … But they haven’t been kneeling and they have been respecting the flag and their ratings have been terrific ever since. And a lot of good things happened.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Chiefs ban fan they say aimed laser at Brady

Report: Chiefs ban fan they say aimed laser at Brady

Report: Chiefs ban fan they say aimed laser at Brady

A Kansas City Chiefs fan who allegedly aimed a laser pointer at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the AFC championship game soon will face legal charges, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Chiefs, Schefter said, were able to identify the fan through eyewitness accounts and videotapes. They are not waiting for a verdict in court, however. The team already has issued a lifetime ban at Arrowhead Stadium for the fan, and the Chiefs reportedly are pushing for “the harshest penalty possible” to deter similar incidents in the future.

Local police reportedly initially wanted to charge the fan with disorderly conduct.

The NFL had said it would investigate a report by a Kansas City television station that showed the incident. KMBC shot video that showed a green dot flickering around Brady’s shoulder and face before he threw an interception in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots declined to comment on the report, and the Chiefs said they were not aware of the incident during the game, which New England won 37-31 in overtime.

The Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Super Bowl LIII at 6:30 p.m. ET.

–Field Level Media

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Super Bowl 53 Betting Preview – Best Props Picks, Trends

It’s time for Super Bowl 53 betting and you haven’t done a bit of handicapping or studied a single prop and you just want to best bets to make on Super Bowl 53.

We have condensed 100,000 articles on Super Bowl betting and 75,000 more on Super Bowl props betting into one article. Your welcome.

It’s time for Super Bowl 53 betting and you haven’t done a bit of handicapping or studied a single prop and you just want to best bets to make on Super Bowl 53.

We have condensed 100,000 articles on Super Bowl betting and 75,000 more on Super Bowl props betting into one article. Your welcome.

What is the current Super Bowl 53 point spread?

Most Vegas and offshore sportsbooks have the New England Patriots favored by either 2.5 points or 3 points. Obviously, if you have the choice as a Patriots bettor, you want to find a -2.5 and if you are a Los Angeles Rams bettor, you should try to find the +3. A comparison of NFL odds providers will tell the story quickly today.

Where can I try Super Bowl 53 betting?

This depends on where you live, where you happen to be watching the game and what kind of NFL bettor you are. If you happen to be in Vegas today, good for you, it will be a blast! And there are plenty of casinos to place a side bet on the Patriots or Rams as well as action on thousands of fun prop bets.

Some US states are now regulated with online wagering and have offered up sports betting at racetracks, such as New Jersey. The rest of the wagering public will probably have their action at Super Bowl sportsbooks that offer services around the world. Most of the names will be familiar to you and most of them enjoy plenty of mainstream media attention.

What are the most popular Super Bowl props this year?

Every year, two pre-game props steal the show. The first is the National Anthem prop, where you can bet whether Gladys Knight’s version of the Star Spangled Banner will run over or under 1 minute and 50 seconds. Believe it or not, there is lots of handicapping and speculation (and betting) on this and some sites with too much time on their hands actually timed every national anthem from every Super Bowl and found some trends.

The second is the Super Bowl coin toss which for some reason more people bet on heads than tails every year. It’s one of those fun 50-50 props. An interesting trend here – when the Patriots lose the coin toss, they are 5-0 in Super Bowls. When the Pats win the coin toss, they are 0-3.

Who is the Super Bowl MVP betting favorite?

Surprise, surprise, Tom Brady is the big favorite here at about +125, meaning a $100 bet turns into a $125 profit if he wins. Rams QB Jared Goff is next in the +225 range. Winning QBs usually win the Super Bowl MVP (9 of the past 12 times).

There is also money on Patriots rookie RB Sony Michel and Rams RB Todd Gurley. As well, some people like the longshots and the only defensive player with any real betting value, which is Aaron Donald of the Rams.

What is the Super Bowl 53 betting over-under?

The total or over-under number was set around 57.5, one of the highest of all time. But bettors have been backing the UNDER so the number has crept down. The theory is that both teams like to run the ball, which chews up the clock and limits the number of possessions for each team.

What are some of the other cool prop bets?

Since the first Super Bowl prop 25 years ago, prop betting has grown like crazy. Now there are literally thousands of outcomes you can bet on for Super Bowl 53. Some of the fun ones:

Will any player kneel during the National Anthem?

How many times will Donald Trump tweet on Super Sunday?

Will Sony Michel score 2 or more TDS?

Will the stock market rise or fall on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl?

Many sites carry lists of literally hundreds of Super Bowl 53 props (along with their best bets) and list the places where you can wager on them and the current odds.

So we have saved you from 175,000 articles today. Instead, use this to find the best places to find odds and information to enjoy Super Bowl 53.

Your welcome.

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NFL notebook: Mahomes takes home MVP

NFL notebook: Mahomes takes home MVP

Kansas City Chiefs

NFL notebook: Mahomes takes home MVP

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the overwhelming pick for NFL MVP while also winning Offensive Player of the Year in the end-of-year Associated Press awards, handed out Saturday night in Atlanta at the NFL Honors ceremony.

Los Angeles Rams standout Aaron Donald repeated as AP Defensive Player of the Year.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, and AP Defensive Rookie of the Year went to Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard.

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy won AP Coach of the Year, and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck received the AP Comeback Player of the Year honor.

–Tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed highlight the eight-man class that earned induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Reed was one of four defensive backs who will be inducted on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio. The others were cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Ty Law and safety Johnny Robinson.

Also selected for enshrinement were center Kevin Mawae, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and personnel executive Gil Brandt during a process held in Atlanta one day prior to the Super Bowl.

–The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly will pick up quarterback Nick Foles’ $20 million contract option for 2019.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported there is no guarantee, however, that Foles remains with the team and laid out the possible options. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the franchise tag is expected for Foles and that other teams have contacted the Eagles about his potential availability.

Foles, 30, led the Eagles to the playoffs two consecutive seasons after injuries to starter Carson Wentz. Philadelphia won its first-ever Super Bowl following the 2017 season and lost this year to New Orleans in the NFL divisional round.

–NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is happy to see a drop in the number of diagnosed concussions this season and said he thinks the new rule against lowering the helmet to initiate contact was a big part of that.

There was a 24 percent decline in concussions in the preseason and regular season, from 281 in 2017 to 214 this season. For the regular season only, there was a 29 percent decrease from 190 in 2017 to 135.

Speaking at Georgia Tech ahead of the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Goodell credited the league’s approach for the reduction. “I think we’ve been effective. I give credit to the players and coaches for the way they’ve played the game,” he said, per ProFootballTalk.

–Future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald said he doesn’t believe challenges and replays should apply to potential pass interference calls.

“I personally don’t believe there should be review of plays like that. It’s a bang-bang play,” Fitzgerald told the audience at Georgia Tech, per ProFootballTalk. “It’s very subjective, it’s happening so fast. These officials are put in really tough positions. I just don’t think we should do that.”

The NFL’s competition committee is expected to discuss the possibility of a rule change to allow coaches to challenge pass interference calls. The NFL has admitted missing the call in the NFC Championship Game, potentially costing the New Orleans Saints a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

–Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor is expected to be in Cincinnati on Monday to complete the process of becoming the head coach of the Bengals, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The expectation the Bengals would hire Taylor, 35, has been known for weeks, but nothing could be made official until after the Super Bowl because of the Rams’ participation.

This will be the first head coaching job for Taylor and also the first change at the Bengals’ helm since before the 2003 season, when Marvin Lewis took over. The Bengals fired Lewis in December following the team’s third straight sub-.500 season.

–The morning after the Super Bowl, Brian Flores will fly to Miami and finalize terms to become the Dolphins’ new head coach, according to multiple reports.

Flores, 37, currently coaches linebackers for the New England Patriots, but that gig will end Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

There also are multiple reports that former New England assistant Patrick Graham (2009-15) and current receivers coach Chad O’Shea will join Flores with the Dolphins. Graham reportedly will become defensive coordinator, and O’Shea will serve as offensive coordinator.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Eagles likely to pick up Foles’ option

Report: Eagles likely to pick up Foles' option

Report: Eagles likely to pick up Foles’ option

The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly will pick up quarterback Nick Foles’ $20 million contract option for 2019.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that there is no guarantee, however, that Foles remains with the team and laid out the possible options.

Once the option is exercised, Foles could pay the Eagles $2 million to buy his way out of the contract to become a free agent. But, Rapoport said, Philadelphia at that point could put the franchise tag on Foles and search for a trade partner.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that the franchise tag is expected for Foles and that other teams have contacted the Eagles about his potential availability.

If the Eagles, however, allow him to become a free agent, they would receive a compensatory draft pick, Rapoport said.

“Either way, it’s a little bit of a game of chicken right now,” he said. “We do not know how the Eagles are going to proceed after Foles gives them $2 million back for his freedom.”

Foles, 30, led the Eagles to the playoffs two consecutive seasons after injuries to starter Carson Wentz. Philadelphia won its first-ever Super Bowl following the 2017 season and lost this year to New Orleans in the NFL divisional round.

After the 2018 season, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wentz would be the starting quarterback in 2019.

Over the past two seasons, Foles has appeared in 12 games for the Eagles, starting eight, and has a 6-2 record. He has thrown for 1,950 yards, with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in that span.

He led the Eagles to a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII and was named MVP after completing 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also caught a touchdown pass on a trick play.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots pool report: Belichick not a fan of Super Bowl pace

Patriots pool report: Belichick not a fan of Super Bowl pace

Patriots pool report: Belichick not a fan of Super Bowl pace

ATLANTA – For a few minutes Saturday morning, Bill Belichick’s top concern was opening a bag of macadamia nuts for his 2-year-old granddaughter, Blakely. The Patriots coach has spent the past two weeks preparing for Super Bowl LIII, which included stashing some snack packs in his pants pocket in case of a hungry toddler.

Blakely, the daughter of Belichick’s son, Steve, was born in October 2016, so this will be her third Super Bowl before she turns 3.

“She’s starting off fast,” Belichick said.

Blakely was one of more than 800 friends and family who joined the Patriots players, coaches, front office and staff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday morning. After finishing a week of practice at Georgia Tech, the Patriots did not hold a walk-through or practice on Saturday, but instead came to the site of the game for team photos and a gathering with their guests. This is the same routine they have followed in previous Super Bowls.

“This breaks up the day and lets them participate in it with their families,” Belichick said. “This is a dream for every player to play in this game, so to be able to share it with loved ones and family is special. We have tried to embrace it.”

The entire 53-person active roster and 10-person practice squad were present, along with players on injured reserve, including running back Jeremy Hill and defensive back Eric Rowe. The Patriots have no players with an injury designation for the final game of the season.

“Everybody is good,” Belichick said.

The Patriots buses, escorted by police, pulled up to Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 10:40 a.m. ET and filed inside. Quarterback Tom Brady was in the middle of the pack, holding the hand of his 6-year-old daughter, Vivian, with his wife and two sons walking close by. Brady spotted former teammate and Hall of Fame nominee Richard Seymour, who rode in with the team, and wrapped him in a warm embrace.

The players changed into the white jerseys and navy pants they’ll wear in the game and walked out onto the field for photos. Brady kneeled for the quarterbacks’ picture, prompting a few staff members to playfully call out to him that he looked like he was posing for a Pop Warner photo. Belichick stood next to the team photographer, smiling as he watched each position group line up with their arms around each other.

“It’s fun to see them having fun,” Belichick said. “They’ve earned it. You’ve gotta earn your way here; there is no other way to get here. So it’s very satisfying to see them having fun and enjoying each other and having the camaraderie that comes with getting to the game.”

Brady and Belichick posed for a photo with team owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, the team president. Then, the entire team climbed onto a stack of risers for the customary team photo. As the

Patriots families and friends came down onto the field, they took a final team picture with several players and coaches holding their young children, who were carefully passed up the rows. For the next 40 minutes, they all mingled on the field. Brady met up with his parents and sisters, while Vivian did cartwheels nearby. The traveling party of Devin and Jason McCourty, the first twins to play together in the Super Bowl, sported shirts that read, “All we do is twin,” with “win” printed in contrasting red letters.

During their visit, Belichick was taking mental notes about the stadium, which opened in 2017. The Patriots have not played here before.

Belichick added that he did not think noise would be as big of a factor this week as in the conference championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. “The stadium is so big,” he said. “It’s going to be loud, but I don’t think it is going to be deafening loud, just because of the size of it and because the crowd is half and half, not all 80,000 against us.”

Belichick said it usually takes him three days to get through all the reminders he gives his team before the game, covering topics such as the pacing of the game, which will have 11 commercials in each half and a 29-minute halftime. “There’s no momentum to it,” he said. “It’s like going to a traffic light, stop, traffic light, stop — that kind of thing. But that’s the game, so you’ve gotta play it that way.”

He will gather the team for a team meeting Saturday night and another one Sunday morning, before heading to the stadium. Belichick said there will be no special guests at the meeting the night before the game.

“Just us circling the wagons and playing for each other,” he said. “We are playing a good team, and we are going to have to play our best game of the year.”

–By Jenny Vrentas, Pro Football Writers of America

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Gonzalez, Reed head 8-person Hall of Fame class

Gonzalez, Reed head 8-person Hall of Fame class

Gonzalez, Reed head 8-person Hall of Fame class

Tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed highlight the eight-man class that earned induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Gonzalez is the all-time leader in receptions and yardage among tight ends with 1,325 catches and 15,127 yards. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs (1997-2008) and Atlanta Falcons (2009-13) during a 17-year playing career.

Reed led the NFL in interceptions three times and had 64 career interceptions, while playing 11 of his 12 NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens from 2002-12.

Reed was one of four defensive backs who will be inducted on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio. The others were cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Ty Law, and safety Johnny Robinson.

Robinson was the seniors finalist.

Also selected for enshrinement were center Kevin Mawae, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and personnel executive Gil Brandt.

–Field Level Media

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