Colts place kicker Adam Vinatieri joins Mike Florio to talk about his experience participating in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans as a member of the Patriots. Vinatieri also talks about the Colts’ dramatic turnaround in 2012 on the back of Andrew Luck, and the contest he is participating in that will reward one lucky fan with free Super Bowl tickets.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Vinatieri basks in Super Bowl experience
Little is clear about the 2016 NFL season, including the reason(s) for the dramatic drop in TV viewership.
Asked by Gary Myers on WFAN’s Chalk Talk if the league has reached any conclusions regarding the reduction in ratings, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “No, and I don’t think anybody can do that.”
Goodell added, after Myers rattled off various possible explanations for the decline (election year, quality of games, fans fed up with off-field misconduct, too many penalties, and the national anthem protests), “We don’t dismiss any theory, if you want to call it that.”
That’s a stake contrast from nine days ago, when Goodell insisted that the anthem protests are not impacting ratings.
The Commissioner then added another potential explanation for the phenomenon: “The media landscape is going through some very fundamental changes.”
Goodell generally attributed the drop to a “confluence of events,” and he reiterated that “we don’t dismiss any of them.”
He also focused on the positive; at a time when prime-time ratings have dropped by 36 percent over the last several years, the NFL’s ratings are up by 27 percent.
“It’s not always a straight line,” Goodell said. “You know there are bumps. . . . What we want to do is figure out how to engage our fans in the platforms they want to engage on and how do we engage them longer.”
Before doing that, it makes sense to come up with a reliable assessment of the factors. From polling to focus groups to surveys to any of the other ways of obtaining feedback as to why viewing habits have dramatically changed, the NFL has the resources and the incentives to get the answers.
The biggest problem for the league is that, if the anthem protests are a factor, there’s nothing the NFL can do about it — and any acknowledgement of the connection would underscore the power the players have. Which possibly would invite them to find more ways to wield their power.
There’s some good news and some bad news on the Redskins’ final injury report for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
Tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman both said, via John Keim of ESPN.com, that they expect to be in the lineup in London this weekend. Reed and Norman have both been in the concussion protocol this week, but got the green light to travel with the team and will go through a walkthrough practice Saturday to make sure all remains on track for Sunday.
Reed missed the last two games while Norman had to leave last Sunday’s loss to the Lions after getting hurt.
The bad news comes in the backfield as running back Matt Jones has been ruled out due to the knee injury that kept him from practicing all week. The Redskins have already promoted running back Mack Brown from the practice squad to join Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson on the depth chart against Cincinnati.
During the 2015 season, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer connected on just over 50 percent of his passes that traveled more than 15 yards through the air.
That number has dipped to 40.7 percent through his first six games of this season with just one of those passes going for a touchdown, leaving him well off the pace he set while throwing 13 touchdowns in such situations last year.
“I missed a couple,” Palmer said, via ESPN.com. “I had J.J. [Nelson] on a couple the other night. I’ve taken shots that I shouldn’t have in certain situations. I think one thing I need to do is be a little bit more picky: when to take them, when not to take them. That’s something I’ve been trying to work on.”
Being pickier doesn’t seem to be coach Bruce Arians’ approach to the issue. He said that the team should “keep throwing them and we’ll hit them,” something that could pay off for the Cardinals against a Panthers secondary that’s been susceptible to the pass all season.
Raiders safety Nate Allen has sued the city of Fort Myers, Fla., after he was unlawfully detained by police there in 2015.
According to NBC2, Allen is also suing former Fort Myers Police Chief Douglas Baker as well as a detective and a police officer involved in the case.
Allen, who was then playing for the Eagles, was detained by police as the investigated a report of indecent exposure. But he was later cleared by video evidence, phone records and social media postings which made it clear he wasn’t who the cops were looking for.
Allen told NBC2 after he was cleared of the charges that he “wanted to show people with hard evidence that this is literally impossible and it 300 percent did not happen. . . .
“There still needs to be a lot brought to the table. . . . Because of how my civil rights were violated.”
Police officers involved in the case have already been punished and the department has apologized, which seemingly strengthens Allen’s case.
Former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer, whose career reached nearly 350 games with four different teams, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for five years, according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.
“He’s in the best of health, [but] sometimes he just doesn’t remember everything,” said Pat Schottenheimer, Marty’s wife of 48 years. “He functions extremely well, plays golf several times a week. He’s got that memory lag where he’ll ask you the same question three or four times. . . . He remembers people and faces, and he pulls out strange things that I’ve never heard, but he’s doing well. It’s going be a long road. We both know that.”
The 73-year-old Schottenheimer, who will be in Cleveland for the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Browns team that came within “The Drive” of getting to the Super Bowl, is upbeat about the situation.
“I’m sitting here looking at a lake and it’s a spectacular setting,” Schottenheimer told Grossi. “Pat and I, the Lord’s blessed us. I mean, there’s no other way I can identify it. We’re doing really good.”
Schottenheimer coached the Browns from 1984 through 1988. He then coached the Chiefs from 1989 through 1998, Washington for the 2001 season, and the Chargers from 2002 through 2006, with his NFL career ending after a 14-2 season and a divisional-round exit from the playoffs.
If you skipped last night’s game and just looked at the box score this morning, you might think Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles played well. You’d be wrong.
Yes, Bortles’ stat line looks good: He completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards, with three touchdowns. But Bortles padded those stats with a second-half performance against a Titans defense that was happy to let the Jaguars march down the field with time-consuming drives.
Take a look at the first half stats and you see the truth about Bortles’ game: In the first half, Bortles was 8-for-16 for 64 yards, and the Jaguars trailed 27-0 at halftime. Yes, in the second half, Bortles completed 25 of 38 passes for 273 yards, but so what? With a four-touchdown second-half lead, the Titans’ defense was happy to let Bortles complete lots of short passes, and that’s exactly what Bortles did.
And it wasn’t just last night. It’s been that way for Bortles throughout his career. Check out Bortles’ career stats by quarter:
First quarter: 1,598 yards, 4 touchdowns
Second quarter: 2,356 yards, 15 touchdowns
Third quarter: 1,912 yards, 13 touchdowns
Fourth quarter: 3,364 yards 26 touchdowns
Bortles puts up huge stats in the fourth quarters of games. Now, if Bortles were doing that while leading fourth-quarter comeback wins, it would be one thing. But the Jaguars are 10-26 in Bortles’ 36 career starts, and Bortles has engineered just five game-winning drives in his three NFL seasons.
Put it all together, and it’s clear that Bortles is not as good a quarterback as his statistics suggest. The Jaguars are going to have a big decision to make this offseason when they choose whether to pick up his fifth-year option and give him a vote of confidence as their franchise quarterback, or decline that option and make clear that they don’t think Bortles is the man to lead their team going forward.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis gets paid like a quarterback, so it only makes sense that he’s being micro-analyzed like one.
And after a slow start to the season, Revis said he thinks he’s “played better” over the last two weeks.
“I brought it upon myself by playing the game and the position at such a high level for so long,” Revis said, via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. “There’s nothing you can do. You take the good with the bad and you go with it.
“It’s almost like you’re getting critiqued like you’re a QB, and I’m a DB. But at the same time, it’s how it goes. Win or lose games, for the DB position, what I’ve done in this league, it’s how I get critiqued: as a quarterback. If we’re winning and losing games or if a pass is getting caught, it’s just like a quarterback throwing a game-winning touchdown or a game-losing interception.”
There was plenty of criticism of the veteran corner early this year, but after coming back from a hamstring injury, he did a solid job against Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald.
Coupled with an ankle injury sustained in practice and his offseason wrist surgery, the 31-year-old has had to overcome a number of physical challenges this year.
“Just one thing after another in my journey here — the hamstring, and even before that, coming off the wrist surgery, trying to get back in shape. So it’s a lot of things that was going on at the time,” Revis said. “At the end of the day, I’m a person who perseveres through things. I don’t make excuses for anything that’s going on with me.”
Whether he does or doesn’t, his every move is going to be watched closely, because that’s what happens with stars.
During the Vikings’ bye week, there were stuffed cats scattered around the team’s locker room including one festooned with a sign reading “Fat Cats Get Slaughtered” as a message to remind the team not to get complacent after a 5-0 start to the season.
Some of those plush cats wound up with their throats cut and red paint splattered on them, which may have foreshadowed the result when the Vikings took the field in Philadelphia. It’s not clear who decided to go to work on the toys, but coach Mike Zimmer wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t him when he met with the media on Thursday.
Zimmer read headlines from stories suggesting he was the culprit while defending himself against those accusations.
“I want to set the record straight on an erroneous report that I feel like attacked my character and reputation,” Zimmer said, via the Pioneer Press. “I had nothing to do with that. The stuffed animals I did have here were given to charity and Toys for Tots. I just want to make sure we get the record straight because my foundation website is getting things saying, ‘Your dad’s crazy, blah, blah, blah’; all this stuff. I do a lot of crazy stuff but I’ll admit to it.”
We still don’t know who ordered the code red, but it seems likely Zimmer and company will be looking in directions other than the stuffed animal aisle for motivational tools for Monday night’s game against the Bears.
Running back Matt Jones didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday because of a knee injury, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of playing when the Redskins meet the Bengals in London on Sunday.
Neither does the news that the Redskins have promoted a running back from their practice squad. The team announced on Friday morning that they have added Mack Brown to their 53-man roster.
Brown spent time on the team’s practice squad last year as well and has never played in the regular season. He did make a push for a roster spot with 149 rushing yards in the preseason finale and an NFL-high 227 rushing yards over the entire preseason, but got cut in favor of Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson.
Both of those backs remain on hand and are set to play this weekend. If Jones’ situation didn’t take a major turn for the better on the flight over to London, Brown will likely be joining them in the lineup.
NFL players almost always refer to every surgery as “a success.” Broncos running back C.J. Anderson has gone a bit further than that.
Anderson, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Thursday, wrote on Twitter this morning that his surgery was not just a success but “a super success.”
“Surgery was a super success been resting all day. FaceTime all my teammates got some good laughs #blessed love them boys,” Anderson wrote.
It remains to be seen whether that “super success” will be enough to get Anderson back on the field this season. Although Anderson initially disputed a report yesterday that he had already declared himself out until 2017, he later acknowledged that he might miss the rest of the year.
The Broncos’ starting running back, Anderson has 110 carries for 437 yards and four touchdowns this season. Rookie Devontae Booker, who has shown a lot of promise as Anderson’s backup, will now be Denver’s starting running back. Kapri Bibbs will move up to No. 2 on the depth chart, and Juwan Thompson could be called up from the practice squad.
I know, I know. Jaguars owner Shad Khan said after Thursday night’s more-hideous-than-their-jerseys loss to the Titans that he’s not making a coaching change.
But let’s think about this one for a second. What else under those circumstances could Khan have said?
“Yes, I am. Now please don’t tell Gus until I get a chance to”?
“Maybe. Maybe not”?
Even a “no comment” would have sparked widespread speculation that the bell is tolling for Gus Bradley, without Khan having the chance to give his head coach the courtesy of a meeting at which Bradley doesn’t already know what the message will be — or without Khan having the chance to make sure the preferred interim coach will take the job. Which means that “no” was the only possible answer, regardless of whether it’s the true answer.
Maybe the hint came via this succinct elaboration from Khan: “Actions speak louder than words. Very little for me to say.”
The words are what they are. The actions are what matters, and Khan in the immediate aftermath of one of the ugliest games of Bradley’s 55-game tenure really can’t say anything more on the topic of a possible coaching change than to deny it.
Change or not, wins will be hard to come by for the Jaguars over the final nine games of the season. At Kansas City is next, which means 2-5 becomes 2-6. A visit from the Texans means 2-7, probably. Then, back-to-back games at Detroit (2-8) and Buffalo (2-9) are on the docket.
Next up, visits from the Broncos (2-10) and the Vikings (2-11).
Tennessee comes to town on Christmas Eve, which could be the next game in which the Jags are possibly favored. A season-ending trip to Indy could be the difference between 2-14, 3-13, or 4-12.
Either way, the wheels have flown off the wagon, and it will take a major turnaround to get this one back on track — especially after the effort or lack thereof that anyone who had the misfortune of watching last night’s game witnessed.
The Bills could use better work from their offensive line.
Larry Csonka likes the direction the Dolphins running game has taken the last couple of weeks.
Who is the MVP of the Ravens season thus far?
The Broncos are dealing with a long injury report this week.
The Raiders defense could get a pair of reinforcements in the coming weeks.
Said Cowboys G Ron Leary, “We pride ourselves in the front five and Philly prides themselves in the front seven. We’ve got a lot of respect for them and it’s going to be a good game.”
The Redskins say there’s no rift on their defense.
Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin explained why his unit has struggled on third downs.
Punt returns haven’t been a strength for the Packers.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera reminisced about a dinner with late Cubs announcer Harry Carey.
The Buccaneers need to cut down on explosive plays allowed.
Are the Cardinals overworking RB David Johnson?
Mike Martz has fond memories of his days coaching the Rams.
The 49ers are on a bad trajectory this season.
Considering how inexperienced in the secondary they were to start the year, and then how thin they became after injuries, it doesn’t take much for the Panthers to see tangible improvement there.
So getting a key cornerback back had coach Ron Rivera feeling good about things.
“He’s progressed very well,” Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “We’re pretty excited about him right now.”
Of course, the “him” in question is veteran nickel Leonard Johnson, who has made it through four straight practices in his comeback from Achilles surgery, and could be activated from the non-football injury list today or tomorrow.
Johnson, who spent three years in Tampa Bay and played four games for the Patriots last year, isn’t the kind of name that normally makes a coach light up. But considering the mess the Panthers secondary became when they replaced Josh Norman with three rookies and then injuries began to mount there, getting Johnson back is a relative boost.
They’re still unsure whether the best of the rookies (second-round pick James Bradberry) will be ready to come back from his turf toe injury, which has cost him the last two games. If he can’t go, the Panthers will be trying to stop their slide against the Cardinals with some combination of third-rounder Daryl Worley, Robert McClain and perhaps Johnson.
UPDATE 9:38 a.m. ET: The Panthers activated Johnson from the NFI list Friday, and placed special-teamer Teddy Williams (knee) on injured reserve to create the roster spot.
It’s still very unclear when or if Tony Romo will be back on the field.
But just having him back on the practice field was a welcome sight for the Cowboys yesterday, as he took part on a limited basis in his first day of work since breaking bones in his back on Aug. 25. Thursday was the nine-week mark of a recovery pegged between six to 10 weeks. He’s not going to play this week against the Eagles, and the Cowboys didn’t want to get too far down that road considering how well rookie replacement Dak Prescott’s playing.
“I don’t think we knew exactly how long or still know how long it will be,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said, via Todd ARcher of ESPN.com. “I’m sure he’s been chomping at the bit to get back out there, but he’s got to listen to the doctors, trainers and his body and just don’t be impatient. Just get better on a daily basis.”
Linehan stuck closely to “We’re just getting ready to play this game this week,” in terms of Romo’s future, but it was hard for those who have known Romo the longest to not be a little excited.
“He looks good. Young 9 out there throwing it,” veteran tight end Jason Witten said. “He looks rejuvenated. As I say, he brought a lot of energy. It’s always good to have him back out there. I know he’s worked hard to come back and excited to see him take that next step of going on the field.”
When he takes the next step as a starter again is anyone’s guess.
After opening the year only playing free safety for the Cardinals, Tyrann Mathieu back into his role as a slot corner a few weeks ago in hopes of starting to have the same kind of impact on games that he had before tearing his ACL last season.
When Mathieu was playing safety, he wasn’t in the thick of things the way he is when he’s playing corner and that means he wasn’t being tested by opposing offenses anywhere near as often as he had been in the past. That’s changed with the move back to the slot and Mathieu says the tests he’s facing have shown him that he’s still not 100 percent back to form.
“It will probably be that way until I start making plays,” Mathieu said, via the Arizona Republic. “Drag routes, pick routes, drive routes, they just want to see if I can explode and be able to get from Point A to Point B. A lot of teams are going to attack me like that. … What hurts the most is when you know what teams are going to do and you can’t stop them. I know it’s coming and I’m still a step behind.”
Mathieu feels like the brace he’s wearing on his right knee is part of the problem, saying it “restricts me a lot” but that he doesn’t want to take it off too soon and leave himself vulnerable to another injury.