With the new year comes a flurry of off-season coaching moves. Seven coaches have already lost their jobs, and Mike Florio believes this is only the beginning. Now that Andy Reid is out in Philadelphia, Florio discusses his new suitors and where Reid might fit best. Florio also breaks down what makes a NFL head coaching gig desirable, and the latest drama coming out of New York.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Coaching carousel continues to spin
Sunday afternoon’s Packers-Cowboys game has done blockbuster TV ratings for the NFL on FOX.
Packers-Cowboys drew a 28.2 overnight rating, which is the highest rating for a divisional playoff game in 20 years.
The combination of two popular teams and a great game that was decided as time expired gave the NFL an absolutely phenomenal rating — the kind of rating that can be topped only by the conference championship games and the Super Bowls. Other sports simply can’t draw those kinds of ratings, even for the biggest and best games. For context, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series drew a 25.2 overnight rating, while Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals drew an 18.9 overnight rating.
That’s very good news from the NFL, which spent much of the 2016 season mired in low television ratings. Those ratings began to rebound after the election, and the playoffs have been particularly strong.
From a ratings standpoint, the Cowboys losing is not great news for the NFL and FOX, as the Cowboys are the league’s biggest television draw. But Packers-Falcons and Steelers-Patriots are both attractive matchups as well, and the league should expect strong ratings for the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
One of the more intriguing questions of the offseason for the Vikings will be the future of running back Adrian Peterson.
Well, at least we know who his coach is going to be, if he’s back with the team.
According to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News, the Vikings are hiring Kennedy Polamalu as their new running backs coach.
Kevin Stafanski coached that position the last two years, moving over from tight ends. Polamalu was offensive coordinator at UCLA last year, and has worked two stints in the NFL with the Browns and Jaguars.
What he has to work with is unclear. The Vikings may not want to keep the 31-year-old running back with the $18 million cap hit next year, and if they move on from Peterson, they need a fresh start and an infusion of talent at the position after finishing last in the league in rushing.
The Cowboys thought they had a first down in the red zone early in Sunday’s game against the Packers after a 22-yard gain by wide receiver Terrence Williams, but the play was called back and then some thanks to a penalty that comes up rarely.
Wide receiver Brice Butler was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he came into the huddle and then left the field without participating in a play. NFL rules say that if a player “approaches the huddle and communicates with a teammate,” he has to remain in the game to bar teams from creating confusion about which players are in the game. The 15-yard penalty put the Cowboys back into their own territory.
“Never heard of it in my life,” Butler said, via the Dallas Morning News. “[We] couldn’t beat the stripes. You can quote me on that.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he’s never seen that call before. Referee Tony Corrente told a pool reporter after the game that it isn’t “an obscure rule” and that Butler “has to stay either in the game or they can call a timeout and get out of it.”
The Cowboys tried passes to Butler on the next two plays, but both fell incomplete. Butler finished the day without a catch and said he “played like trash” in what will be his final game for quite a while.
Court proceedings related to Bengals cornerback Adam Jones‘ arrest earlier this month following an incident at a Cincinnati hotel have been continued until February 10.
A judge made that decision last Friday after Jones’ attorneys agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial on charges of assault, disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and harassment with a bodily substance. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said late last week that his office “will pursue something” against Jones for behaving “boorishly and foolishly,” but that he wants and idea of what the NFL will do on the discipline front before deciding how to proceed.
“One of the factors that goes into my decision is what the NFL’s going to do to him,” Deters said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If he gets suspended for four games, he loses $2 million. We have drunken idiots every night over at the [jail] that don’t get fined $2 million.”
Jones has been suspended twice in the past for all of the 2007 season and part of the 2008 campaign, which left his career prospects looking bleak. That outlook cleared after the Bengals signed him in 2010 as Jones has remained productive while staying on the field.
The league is reviewing Jones’ case to see if that streak will end, but there’s no set timeline for them to make a ruling about disciplinary action for the cornerback.
It wasn’t just that Mason Crosby’s never done anything quite like it — no one has.
When the Packers kicker hit a pair of 50-plus-yard field goals in the final two minutes of last night’s win over the Cowboys, he became the first kicker to do that in postseason history, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
“It’s kind of a blur right now,” Crosby said. “But it was unreal.”
The Packers kicker hadn’t made a potential game-tying or go-ahead kick of 50 yards or longer in the fourth quarter or overtime, 0-of-4 on such attempts. He had only made one this season from 50 or beyond, and for his career, he’s 28-of-54 on such long attempts.
But his 56-yarder with 1:33 left was the third-longest kick in postseason history, and his 51-yard game-winner had to be hit twice, after the Cowboys used their final timeout to ice him. He hadn’t made two 50-plusses in a single game in his career, so hitting what amounted to three in such a short span was impressive.
“For Mason to hit those two kicks, he’s the best kicker in the league — and he’s got to do it outdoors for much of the season on a tough field at times, and he’s so reliable for us,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I know he’s made a bunch in a row for us in the playoffs. It’s just incredible that he makes it twice. A lot goes into that operation. Brett [Goode], obviously, with a great snap, Jake [Schum] with the hold, and Mason banged it through twice. That was pretty amazing.”
Crosby has hit 23 straight field goals in the postseason now, and he gets to try to extend that streak in the perfect indoor conditions of the Georgia Dome next week.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was the subject of a tweet from Seahawks safety Earl Thomas on Saturday that had Thomas complaining that Brady “has the easiest route” to the playoffs thanks to the Patriots’ spot in the AFC East.
Thomas’ tweet was one of the topics of conversation for Brady during a Monday visit to “Kirk and Callahan” on WEEI in Boston. Brady opted not to return fire or make the case for his football life being more difficult than Thomas imagines it to be.
“I love Earl,” Brady said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I think he’s a helluva player. I really wish him the best in his recovery.”
Brady was also asked about the video from inside the locker room that Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown shared on social media. In a response you could have almost certainly scripted yourself, Brady said he didn’t think it “would go over well” with coach Bill Belichick. Brady added that the team’s policy is to not share anything from inside the locker room.
A warning to keep cool on social media can be heard during Brown’s video, which suggests that the policy may not be followed quite as closely in Pittsburgh.
Working for the Bills brings defensive line coach Mike Waufle back to his home state.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti would like to see fewer commercials during NFL games.
The Bengals have the No. 9 overall draft pick for the second time in franchise history.
A look at the Colts’ reported pursuit of Peyton Manning to run the team.
Tom Coughlin’s arrival has led to talk of culture changes with the Jaguars.
Depth at linebacker could be on the Broncos shopping list.
Chargers fans in San Diego have some kindred spirits in St. Louis.
Checking out the cap situation for the Redskins.
The Bears need to boost the talent level in the secondary.
Looking forward to seeing the Falcons take on the Packers.
A key play for the Chiefs bore some similarity to one the Saints ran to good effect earlier in the season.
Some offensive draft prospects for the Buccaneers to consider.
The Rams hope they made the right call by hiring Sean McVay.
Checking in on the 49ers’ search for a coach and General Manager.
Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times thinks the Seahawks became an unlikable team this year.
If there’s anything Jerry Jones loves more than talking, it might be Tony Romo.
So the Cowboys owner looked up during his postgame press conference as his soon-to-be former quarterback walked out of the locker room, knowing it was probably the last time he’d do so.
“We just won’t address any of that until later on,” Jones said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “And I’m not going to quantify it in terms of days or weeks or whatever, but that will be in the future. . . .
“That’s not for here. We’ll be talking and addressing those kinds of things as we move ahead here over the next weeks and months.”
Once the Cowboys cast their lot with rookie Dak Prescott this season and kept him in place when Romo’s back fracture healed, it set the stage for an inevitable trade or release.
And even falling behind 21-3 against the Packers never made it cross Jones’ mind to go to the 36-year-old on the bench.
“No, I didn’t think about that,” Jones said.
But the moment wasn’t lost on others, who said Romo’s willingness to handle things like an adult this season was critical to their 13-3 record and top seed in the NFC playoffs.
“I haven’t had a chance to reflect on that,” tight end and Romo’s close friend Jason Witten said. “I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll have time to talk. I Really haven’t had a time to talk about that with him. But I’m proud of him and how he handled that. Going back to when he had his press conference, and the way he was able to kind of take the lead and eliminate the distraction for our football team, that wasn’t easy to do. I think we’re all better because of that.”
And as they go into the offseason, the passing of the torch will become official, even if they don’t want to discuss it today.
After they beat the Texans on Saturday night, the word from the Patriots was that they needed to play better if they are going to advance to the seventh Super Bowl of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era.
The message in the Steelers locker room after Sunday night’s 18-16 win over the Chiefs sounded pretty similar. The Steelers moved the ball for much of the game, but settled for six Chris Boswell field goals because they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that was “enough” to get the job done on Sunday, but the consensus was that enough won’t be enough in New England.
“There are a lot of things to do to be successful against them,” Roethlisberger said, via ESPN.com. “They are the best in the world for a reason. We’ve got to score points, can’t turn the ball over.”
The Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16 in the regular season, but Roethlisberger missed the game with an injury. He’ll be back this time for what the Steelers hope will be a better effort all around.
Among the plays that helped set the stage for the Packers to beat the Cowboys with a last-second field goal was a spike by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on the team’s final drive.
A pass to Jason Witten gave the Cowboys a first down in Green Bay territory with 1:07 left to play and Prescott spiked the ball to stop the clock at that point. The Cowboys, trailing by three at the time, would move seven yards closer before a third down incompletion set up Dan Bailey’s field goal with 35 seconds left to play.
After the game, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked about the decision to spike the ball there rather than continue running plays and time off of the clock.
“Just felt like that was the right thing to do at the time,” Garrett said. “Keeping the timeout to be able to kick a field goal is really important if you can do it. So in those situations when you make a first down, we believe you clock it there so you keep the timeout in your back pocket. Obviously in that situation we’re trying to go down and score a touchdown so you want to keep as much time on the clock as you can. If the clock is going and you need a timeout to get yourself in field goal range you have that one still available to you.”
Garrett never needed that timeout, which obviously would have been in his pocket with or without a spike on the first down play, and he wasted a down that could have been used to try to score a touchdown. The Packers could have stopped the clock, but that would have left them without timeouts to use on their own final drive and increased the likelihood that Bailey’s kick sends the game to overtime.
The dramatic pass to Packers tight end Jared Cook had a certain drawn-in-the-dirt feel, but they actually saw the same play in practice last week.
And fortunately for Cook, he was able to make the most of his second chance, since he was out of bounds the first time they ran it.
Via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when Cook made the play in practice last week, it looked good at first, but a look at the video afterward showed he didn’t get both feet in. Last night, of course, he was a ballerina, keeping his toes down while completing the catch that set up the game-winning field goal for the Packers.
“It looked like it was good on the field,” receiver Davante Adams said of practice. “Then we watched the film and saw it was a little bit out when we watched it together. But he did it right this time.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers did his part, throwing the ball to the one place it couldn’t possible be intercepted, and where Cook’s momentum would carry him out of bounds to stop the clock.
“I was just trying to secure the catch, just making sure that I did what I could to stay in bounds and secure it because anything could have happened if I bobbled it,” Cook said. “They probably would have called it back.
“So, securing it was the most important thing.”
Then it was a matter of getting his big feet down, knowing the scrutiny Sunday would be much greater than last week’s practice film.
“He learned from it,” Adams said. “He converted that size 16 to a 10½.”
And with that, the Packers are taking another big step toward the Super Bowl.
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten wasn’t necessarily talking about being at the end of the line.
But he’s also wise enough to know he might have just lost his last best shot at a Super Bowl ring.
When a reporter mentioned to the 34-year-old tight end last night that he had never been to the conference title game, Witten turned philosophical for a moment.
“Yeah, I’m well aware of that,” Witten said, via Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously that’s something I realize, regardless of how many catches you have or any of that stuff, your legacy will be remembered as how you play in these certain situations in the playoffs, and that’s tough. It’s tough for me to swallow that. It’s not about any one individual. I’m proud of this team. I really have my whole career I’ve tried to work really hard to not make it about me, and that’s why there’s emotion that goes along with this.
“I’m in my 14th year, and you know there’s a shelf life for everybody. You put everything you have into it, and when you come up short it’s tough. It’s not about a paycheck. It’s about an opportunity to compete and lead and win and play in these types of games. This team had a special feel all the way through, and to come up short like that for me is hard.”
Witten has one more year on his contract, and 14 glorious years behind him, so he’s clearly getting closer to the end than the beginning. But he’s also still contributing at a high level, with six catches for 59 yards in yesterday’s loss to the Packers, including his first playoff touchdown.
So there’s no reason to think he’s ready to walk away.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “Every year when I’m empty at this point, it’s just you gave everything you got, and I’ll take time to reflect on it. I love this team and this group of guys and so, yeah, that will be the plan for sure.”
But with changes coming to Dallas this offseason — likely including his longtime friend Tony Romo — things will doubtless be different for them next year. And that’s hard to swallow for one of the organization’s true constants.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown made an odd decision to stream a Facebook live video of the team’s locker room after Sunday night’s win in Kansas City, a decision that gave fans access to to coach Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech — in which he referred to the Patriots as “a–holes.”
The video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times, also includes postgame thoughts from Steelers players. Tomlin was not directly criticizing the Patriots so much as firing his team up to have a big week against an opponent that will have more rest.
“We spotted those a–holes a day and a half,” Tomlin said of the Patriots. “They played yesterday, our game got moved to tonight. We’re going to touch down at 4 o’clock in the f–king morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for their ass.”
The video also includes the voice of one player or coach telling the Steelers to “keep it cool on social media.” Posting a video from inside the locker room is probably not what that person had in mind.
Monday’s PFT Live will spend plenty of time looking back on the divisional-round weekend. So the question of the day, not surprisingly, will do the same thing.
And here it is: Who had the best individual performance of the weekend?
The choices are below. Pick one, make your case in the comments, call us out for omitting other potential options.
And then tune in for the show, which starts at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio and then slides over to NBCSN for a two-hour simulcast.
Guests include NBC’s Mike Tirico and Bob Kravitz of WTHR in Indianapolis.
Now that the Rams have a new head coach, other changes could be coming to the organization.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Rams will now look at ways to improve their front office. While searching for their latest coach, the Rams obtained feedback from various persons. They will study how to implement the changes.
Don’t be surprised if they add to the front office, supplementing G.M. Les Snead, possibly with someone who would occupy a higher position on the organizational chart.
Making an addition to the front office more likely is that COO Kevin Demoff will now be focusing more on getting the stadium built on time and within budget, and less time working on football matters.