Eddie DeBartolo hopes to see George Young in Hall of Fame

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Since the Pro Football Hall of Fame added the contributor category, two owners and two general managers have earned election. The four likely otherwise wouldn’t have gotten in.

“Let’s face it: It’s almost impossible for anybody to compete against let’s say Brett Favre or Tom Brady or Joe Montana,” former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., a member of the Class of 2016, told Pro Football Talk. “How in the hell could anybody compete against them or athletes of their quality?”

General Managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf earned election in the Class of 2015, DeBartolo in ’16 and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will enter Canton next month in the Class of ’17. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliable was nominated in the Class of ’17 but did not receive the required 80 percent approval from selectors for induction.

The contributors committee meets next month to decide one nominee for the Class of 2018, with the full body of selectors voting on the candidate the day before the Super Bowl. As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio pointed out, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is a strong candidate for the spot. DeBartolo would like to see former Giants general manager George Young get consideration.

Young was the Giants General Manager for 19 seasons, with the team reaching the playoffs eight times, winning the division four times and producing two Super Bowl titles. Before Young was hired in 1979, the Giants had not reached the playoffs since 1963.

“There are so many [good candidates],” DeBartolo said. “I had sort of a kinship to George Young. I think he was a very, very talented man. I didn’t know him well. But the Giants were such a tough, good organization, so if I had to pick out one person in management, I probably would pick George Young.”

DeBartolo also mentioned Bowlen and former Cowboys player personnel director Gil Brandt.

“It’s a difficult decision, because there are so many good candidates who are so deserving,” DeBartolo said.

The Class of 2019 will feature two contributor nominees, but the Class of ’18 will have only one contributor nominee.

Kirk Cousins says it’s not about money (so it’s about money)

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With one week to go before the annual window on negotiating a long-term deal with Washington closes, quarterback Kirk Cousins has spoken again regarding his situation. In short, he says it’s not about the money. Which, of course, means that it’s about the money.

“I never want to play football thinking about money,” Cousins told WAVY.com at his annual football camp, via the Washington Post. “I think that you get in trouble doing that. I put my confidence in the Lord, in my faith. If I’m gonna build my life [based] on money shame on me. That’s not where I draw my security from, never should be. My parents didn’t raise me that way.”

Kirk’s parents apparently raised him to rely on doctors to handle medical issues, lawyers to handle legal issues, and agents to handle business issues. Which is a pretty good way to be raised.

“I hired my agent to do his job,” Cousins said. “I gotta go play football and throw touchdown passes and help our team win. I’ve got plenty to work on there so I’ll let my agent do his job. I’ll do mine and the good news is I’m under contract for this season and in a good place.”

These words conflict with Cousins’ past comments on the issue. In January, he defended seeking top dollar from Washington by arguing that “it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract” of their own.

“[I]f you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well,” Cousins said.

That sounds like an agent-driven explanation, and Cousins has now made it clear that this is an agent-driven process. Which is smart by Cousins, but which also confirms that a long-deal isn’t likely by next Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET, the deadline for doing a multi-year contract.

The agent, Mike McCartney, knows how to calculate a long-term deal based on the leverage of a $23.94 million franchise tender in 2017 and the promise of a 20-percent raise (under the transition tag) or a 44-percent raise (under the franchise tag) for 2018. At a minimum, it means that Cousins should get more than $52 million fully guaranteed at signing, to cover the first two years of the deal.

There’s no reason for McCartney to give Washington a discount on that amount, and by Cousins saying “I hired my agent to do his job,” this means Cousins won’t pull a Tom Brady and order the agent to take less than top dollar.

So why is Cousins mincing words and tiptoeing around the truth? Because Cousins knows that fans will blame him for being greedy and not the team for being cheap if/when a deal isn’t done.

These comments strongly suggest a deal won’t be done, unless Washington finally decides to forget about not one but two past opportunities to get him signed for a lot less than it would cost now, and to get something finalized before it costs even more in 2018.

The story behind the Tom Brady Stanley Cup photo

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A mild stir was created in Pittsburgh over the weekend when a photo emerged of locally-despised Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posing with his hand on the Stanley Cup, which the Penguins won for the second straight time (fifth overall) in June. Many wondered why and how the man most responsible for keeping the Steelers from getting their seventh Super Bowl trophy (and maybe their eighth or ninth) was in such close proximity to hockey’s biggest prize.

Via NHL.com, Brady was at the Southern California home of Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle. The billionaire, who bought an unknown share of the team in 1999 with Mario Lemieux, and Brady are close friends, we’re told. So the Stanley Cup was at Burkle’s house and Brady was at Burkle’s house and one thing led to another and the photo of Brady and the Stanley Cup emerged.

Although that helps explain why Brady was close enough to the Stanley Cup to touch it, chances are that Steelers and Penguins fans won’t be feeling any better about the fact that Brady was in such close proximity to Pittsburgh’s proudest temporary (for two straight years and maybe three) possession.

PFT preseason power rankings No. 32: New York Jets

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With training camps still a couple of weeks away and (fortunately) not many arrests or other misdeeds to fill the slow time, there’s a void that needs to be filled. So we’ll fill it with a look at each of the NFL’s franchises, ranked bottom to top based on where they’re currently perceived to be in relation to their 31 competitors at this stage of the season.

Feel free to complain in the comment about whether a team is ranked too high or too low. The first team could be ranked no lower; we start with the bottom of the barrel and dig upward.

Someone has to be last at the start of the season, and the Jets seem to be determined to be last at the end of the season. So we’ll go ahead and given them the distinction right now.

Biggest positive change: In an offseason without many of them for the Jets, the acquisition of cornerback Morris Claiborne stands out. Banged up and arguably misused in the Cowboys Cover-2 base defense that came after Claiborne was drafted, the former top-10 pick could become a difference maker in the Jets defense as a free-agent arrival. Or maybe not. Either way, there isn’t much to choose from by way of potentially positive changes.

Biggest negative change: Take your pick. The mass exodus of talented veteran players, from Nick Mangold to Ryan Clady to Darrelle Revis to Erin Henderson to Brandon Marshall to David Harris to Eric Decker, will make it much harder for the team to compete in 2017. Then again, chances are the Jets wouldn’t have been very competitive with them. So why not tear it down, earn the first pick in the draft, and take solace in the notion that 2018 will bring them one year closer to not having to deal with Tom Brady?

Coaching thermometer: It’s at least 200 degrees for Todd Bowles as he enters his third year. Although owner Woody Johnson (who’ll soon be handing the day-to-day reins to his brother but who surely will be involved in the big decisions) has said he’s looking only for improvement this season, improvement will be difficult with so many key players gone and so many unproven players in their place.

We’d like to crack a beer with . . . Matt Forte. It may take more than a few to get him going, but it would be great to hear what he really thinks about finishing his career with a franchise that clearly is in rebuilding mode, but that hasn’t cut him. Yet.

How they can prove us wrong: Most teams have at least semi-plausible hope this time of year. But not the Jets. It’s possible that they could avoid serious injuries throughout training camp and the preseason and slowly build confidence in September and then October, winning as many games as they lose. The guy who can help make that happen the most is veteran quarterback Josh McCown, who played very well with the Bears in 2013 but who has had tough situations in Tampa three years ago (no offensive coordinator) and in Cleveland for each of the past two seasons. If he can stay healthy and get help from Forte, a young receiving corps, and an offensive line firmly in flux, maybe the Jets can surprise us. Which, based on currently expectations, would mean winning more than four games.

Saturday one-liners

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Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are catching passes in Montana, presumably from Tom Brady.

Will Fowler, one of the original Buffalo Bills in 1960, has retired from his retirement job.

Jets rookie LB Dylan Donahue could push Lorenzo Mauldin for playing time.

Gil Brandt has placed former Dolphins WR Paul Warfield at No. 11 on the all-time list of wideouts.

Former Ravens S Ed Reed’s response to being ranked the fourth best safety of all time: “Lol.”

Here’s a look back at the forgettable tenure of Bengals coach David Shula.

Get to know Steelers RB Terrell Watson.

Browns TE David Njoku, the youngest player on the team, made an impression during offseason workouts.

Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney on how the team now uses him: “They move me all over.”

Jaguars seventh-round CB Jalen Myrick is writing a diary on his attempt to make the 53-man roster.

Here’s a photo of the cluster of seats that were blown out at the Titans stadium by a firework gone awry.

Colts DT Johnathan Hankins was mic’d up during a minicamp practice.

A San Diego columnist is coming to terms with the possibility that the Chargers will contend during their first year in L.A.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas thinks the Nuggets will make it to the NBA playoffs.

Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson had a memorable offseason.

Raiders G Gabe Jackson has plenty of reasons to sing.

The Cowboys are looking for more from DT Cedric Thornton in the free-agent acquisition’s second year with the team.

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. gave UCLA students a thrill with an on-campus summer workout.

If the Eagles miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, here are six reasons why it could happen.

The reluctance of Washington to pay QB Kirk Cousins raises this question: Does the franchise want stability?

Former Bears DT Anthony Adams entertained kids at a Play 60 event on Friday.

A fierce competition is expected at Packers training camp among the receivers.

Five reasons why the Vikings defense was effective in 2016.

Get to know Lions rookie TE Michael Roberts.

The new Falcons stadium adds some flavor to the Atlanta skyline, especially at night.

Can Panthers LB Luke Kuechly stay healthy?

Former Saints OL Tim Lelito is still making the adjustment to his new team in Tennessee.

Buccaneers undrafted rookie LB Paul Magliore disclosed Friday that he has had surgery to repair a double hernia and torn groin muscle; he already has been placed on IR by the team.

A look back at the 49ers’ decision to trade QB Alex Smith.

Rams coach Sean McVay was wired during an OTA session.

Cardinals sixth-round rookie CB Rudy Ford gets motivation from his mother, who was rendered brain dead three years ago after suffering a heart attack.

Could reducing time on the field during the offseason program mean shorter training-camp practices this year?

Tom Brady poses with the Stanley Cup, for some reason

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t play hockey. The hockey team in Boston didn’t win the Stanley Cup this year. But Brady has posed with the Stanley Cup, apparently recently.

Philip Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Keeper of the Cup, posted Friday on Twitter a photo of #Tommy next to #Stanley. And the responses to the tweet were pretty much what you’d expect them to be, both from Steelers/Penquins fans and from Patriots fans.

Some Pittsburgh loyalists have pointed out that the Steelers have won six Super Bowls, one more than the Patriots. But when considering the extent to which the Patriots have mashed on the gas in an effort to get a sixth Lombardi of their own, it’s hard not to make them the favorites to match the Steelers in 2017.

If the Patriots pull it off, they could be the favorites to become the first NFL franchise to seven Super Bowl wins in 2018. And then Sidney Crosby can pose with the Lombardi Trophy, or something.

[Photo credit: Twitter.com/keeperofthecup]

Peyton Manning, practical joker

The new Bruce Arians book contains dozens of amusing stories from a lifetime in football, including several about former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. I’ll defer most of them to the actual book itself (after all, he wrote it for you to buy, not for me to summarize it here), but here’s one I couldn’t resist passing along.

When it comes to quarterbacks who are practical jokers, most of the stories we’ve heard over the years relate to guys like Brett Favre and Tom Brady. Manning apparently was a master, too.

“When Steve Walsh was his backup in 1999,” Arians writes, “Steve brushed his teeth like ten times a day. So one day Peyton bought a toothbrush that looked just like Steve’s. He then took a dump in the toilet, threw the toothbrush in there, and snapped a Polaroid of it.

“At lunch that afternoon he asked Steve if he had brushed his teeth that day. Steve said he had. Peyton slid the photo over to him, and Steve almost started throwing up.”

The Quarterback Whisperer will be released officially on Tuesday. It doesn’t come with a free toothbrush, but maybe it should.

Aaron Rodgers will be first QB with 300 TDs before 100 interceptions


Ten players in NFL history have thrown 300 or more touchdown passes. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is poised to become the 11th — and the first to do so before throwing 100 interceptions.

As noted by Elisha Twerski, Rodgers needs three touchdown passes to become the 11th player in NFL history with 300. The other 10 quarterbacks averaged 171 interceptions before throwing their 300th touchdown. Rodgers has thrown 72 interceptions.

Here’s a look at how many interceptions each of the other 10 quarterbacks with 300 touchdown passes had thrown at the time they got No. 300:

Peyton Manning is the NFL’s all-time leader with 539 career touchdown passes. He had 152 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Brett Favre threw 508 career touchdown passes. He had 175 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Drew Brees has 465 career touchdown passes. He had 154 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Tom Brady has 456 career touchdown passes. He had 115 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Dan Marino threw 420 career touchdown passes. He had 169 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Fran Tarkenton threw 342 career touchdown passes. He had 219 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Eli Manning has 320 career touchdown passes. He had 205 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Philip Rivers has 314 career touchdown passes. He had 146 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

Ben Roethlisberger has 301 career touchdown passes. He had 160 interceptions when he threw his 300th touchdown.

John Elway retired with exactly 300 career touchdown passes and 226 career interceptions.

With just 115 interceptions at the time he threw touchdown No. 300, Brady had the fewest picks of anyone to reach the mark. Rodgers will throw No. 300 with about 40 fewer interceptions than Brady had.

Tom Brady to release book in September

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will begin his push for a sixth Super Bowl ring in September while he also tries to head to the top of the best seller list.

Simon & Schuster announced in a press release on Thursday that they have acquired the rights to The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, which will be released in hardcover, digital and audio formats in September.

The “oversized, heavily illustrated, revealing yet deeply practical” book will focus on the approaches to training, nutrition and overall well-being that Brady has developed over the years. It will also include “step-by-step action steps” designed for readers to use in order to increase their own productivity in a way similar to the Patriots quarterback.

“We expect this book to become an essential source for the way athletes of all ages live and train, whether they are in high school or in retirement,” said Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster. “The fact that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time gives him the authority to write this book — but the fact that the principles that he’s espousing go well beyond sports is one of the reasons readers are going to pay close attention to his message.”

Brady previously released a cookbook that sold well despite a $200 price tag. There’s no word on how much this tome will set readers back, but it’s a good bet that there will be plenty of them willing to plunk down what’s necessary for a glimpse into Brady’s life away from the field.

A theory on ESPN’s handling of Tom Brady’s response to his wife’s comments

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In the weeks since the wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady declared that Brady had a concussion in 2016 and has had others, Brady had not addressed the situation. Apart from his agent saying Brady was not diagnosed with a concussion last year (which was already obvious but nevertheless effective in duping some to believe this meant Brady didn’t have a concussion), Brady had said nothing.

In a recent interview with ESPN, he did. And when considering his words in the full context they were provided, it’s fair to conclude Brady acknowledged that, when his wife says he had a concussion, it’s because he had a concussion.

But here’s what’s odd. Kevin Negandhi of ESPN didn’t ask Brady whether he concealed a concussion from the league or his team. Instead, Negandhi asked this: “How much do you talk to her about those hits that you take?”

“She’s there every day,” Brady in response. “I mean, we go to bed, you know, in the same bed every night. So I think she’s, you know, she knows when I’m sore. She knows when I’m tired. She knows, you know, when I get hit. I mean, we drive home together. But she also knows how well, you know, I take care of myself. She’s a very concerned wife and very loving.”

Regardless of what he said (and didn’t say), it was a significant response, and it came on one of the slowest NFL news weekends of the year. But ESPN didn’t promote or hype in any way the notion that Brady would be addressing for the first time his wife’s comments — and there’s still no evidence of the exchange anywhere on ESPN.com, ESPNBoston.com, or the various relevant Twitter accounts owned and operated by ESPN.

So here’s my theory, in three parts.

1. To get the interview, ESPN agreed not to ask Brady whether he concealed a concussion in 2016, or at any other time.

2. Negandhi’s question got Brady to provide an answer that strayed too close to the territory into which ESPN agreed to not venture.

3. ESPN agreed to play the interview including the answer but not to bring any attention to it, in any way.

That’s the only way to explains the failure to ask whether he had a concussion and the failure to do anything to promote the answer he provided.

Again, it’s just a theory. But it’s based on the fact that, over the years, I’ve picked up some insight into the sausage-making process. And this specific batch of ground up pig parts has left a strange aftertaste.

Monday’s PFT Live podcast takes a close look at the ESPN Tom Brady interview

Last night, I posted a little something about Tom Brady’s intriguing ESPN interview, during which he addressed for the first time his wife’s claim that he has played with multiple concussions. On Monday morning, I spent some time peeling the onion during a PFT Live podcast.

The issue has plenty of layers and levels and it invites speculation as to a variety of questions, including ESPN’s inexplicable failure to hype the comments before they aired or to showcase them after the fact.

The Monday PFT Live podcast also includes some talk about the excellent (but not as excellent as it could have been) All or Nothing season focusing on the Rams.

The podcast is available at Apple Podcasts, audioBoom, and/or wherever else you can get the PFT Live podcast. Please subscribe at  Apple Podcasts, audioBoom, and/or wherever else you can get the PFT Live podcast.

Ndamukong Suh: Patriots are definitely beatable

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Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier said the league has a “Patriots problem,” a tip of the hat to the New England dynasty. Not surprisingly, Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has to face New England twice a season, disagrees.

“No, I do not agree,” Suh said, chuckling, during an appearance on ESPN on Monday. “I think the Patriots are definitely beatable. It’s just a matter of playing a good game, almost a perfect game in a lot of ways because they’ve got great coaching and obviously great players and talent on their side of the ball. So you’ve got to be going on all cylinders. Without question, I have a ton of respect for them, but without question, they’re definitely beatable as everybody is in the league.”

It’s a popular refrain for Suh this offseason as just two weeks ago he said the Dolphins have “never been scared” of the Patriots.

The up-and-coming Dolphins are trying hard to convince themselves they can win the AFC East, a division the Patriots have owned in the Tom Brady era. The Patriots have won the past eight division titles and 13 of the past 14. The Dolphins won it in 2008 when Brady tore his ACL in New England’s season opener.

The Patriots swept the season series against the Dolphins last season and have won four of five and 11 of the last 14. They again are heavy favorites to win the AFC East.

So if the Dolphins are going to unseat the Patriots, they know what they have to do. The Dolphins get the Patriots in two of their last six games, coming off a bye when they travel to New England on Nov. 26 and in a Monday night home game on Dec. 11 following a home game the previous week.

“[Making the Patriots the division favorite] is an easy thing to do, and it’s a great opportunity to create conversation,” Suh said. “What we do as the Dolphins, we put our downs head and we go to work. We’ve beaten them before. We’ve had success against them and really look forward to repeating that as we go out there in this upcoming 2017 season.”

Tom Brady doesn’t dispute Gisele’s concussion claim

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It came nearly two months after the fact, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has finally addressed the contention from his wife, Gisele Bundchen, that Brady suffered a concussion in 2016, and others before that.

Most significantly, Mr. Brady did not say that Mrs. Brady was misinformed.

“She’s there every day,” Brady said in an interview on ESPN’s E:60. “I mean, we go to bed, you know, in the same bed every night. So I think she’s, you know, she knows when I’m sore. She knows when I’m tired. She knows, you know, when I get hit. I mean, we drive home together. But she also knows how well, you know, I take care of myself. She’s a very concerned wife and very loving.”

In other words, if she says Brady had a concussion, he had a concussion.

Curiously, Brady wasn’t asked that specific question: Have you had concussions that weren’t disclosed to the team? Instead, the question seemed to regard concussions as a given.

And if the question and answer fairly imply that, yes, he has had concussions, this raises plenty of questions about how he got those concussions and when he got those concussions and when he realized he had those concussions and who he told about those concussions.

Previously, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, had said only that Brady wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion in 2016. Which was stupidly obvious, but nevertheless effective; plenty of obviously stupid media members twisted the quote into a contention that Brady did not have a concussion.

Even without the direct “did you conceal one or more concussions” question, the comments from Brady are significant. Amazingly, however, the snippet from Brady’s interview hasn’t become a headline on ESPN.com’s primary page or at its NFL page. There’s also no hint of it on the page at ESPN.com devoted to the Patriots or at ESPNBoston.com.

So how is that not being treated as a much bigger deal by the network that finally got him to address such a sticky topic on the record? I’m tempted to accuse ESPN of deliberately burying it, but the easiest way to bury it would have been to drop it from the interview. (Then again, maybe using it but not drawing attention to it was the final compromise.)

Regardless of whether ESPN chooses to showcase the words, Brady said them. And the words became public at a time — the Sunday of a July 4 weekend that for many has become a four-day weekend — when few are consuming sports content and even fewer are producing it.

So where does it go from here? No one really knows. The issue of players potentially concealing a concussion seems to be far too significant to ignore, but the fact that Brady has played through multiple concussions during his career apparently will continue to be ignored, by the league, his team, and pretty much everyone — except by his spouse.

Jarvis Landry plans to unseat Tom Brady in Florida

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Jarvis Landry was surprised to hear Tom Brady has the best-selling jersey in the state of Florida, but the Dolphins receiver vows to pass the Patriots quarterback soon.

You know what?” Landry said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “That’s only for another year or two. We’re emerging as an organization; we’re going to put that to rest.”

Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. share an NFL record, catching 288 passes in their first three seasons. That already ranks Landry ninth on the Dolphins’ all-time receptions list. He has two Pro Bowls, 3,051 yards and 13 touchdowns, too.

But Landry wants more. He wants to be No. 1 not just in jersey sales but in everything.

Landry was not satisfied with his ranking of 42nd on the NFL Network’s top 100 list.

“Not enough,” said Landry, while promoting a new designer backpack set for release July 10. “Not enough. Honestly, me personally, I play this game to be recognized as one of the best. For me, and I’m sure every player, they want to be No. 1. I’ve always approached this game that way and how I’ve worked that way. I wouldn’t settle for 42.”

Report: League pushes back game in China until 2019

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The NFL has pushed back plans to play a game in China. According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the league has postponed staging a game there in 2018, targeting 2019 instead.

Per Kaplan, the league could open the 2019 season, its 100th anniversary, in China.

It may make better sense to look at that game as an opportunity to celebrate our hundred years, in the event we can pull it off and as a way to look forward to the future,” NFL Executive Vice President/International Mark Waller said, via Kaplan.

The Rams, as the host team of the game, postponed the opening of their new stadium in Los Angeles from 2019 to 2020, allowing the league to move back the China game. The Rams now will give up a home game in 2019 to host the game in China.

The league will play four games in London and one in Mexico this season, with a Tottenham partnership beginning next season with two games. Thus, the China effort will wait, which is nothing new.

The league first had plans to play in China in 2007 in advance of the Beijing Olympics. The Patriots and Seahawks were scheduled to play a preseason game billed as the China Bowl. The NFL rescheduled that preseason game for 2009 and eventually scrapped the idea.

But China makes sense as the next market for the NFL to expand its brand.

During a promotional trip to China earlier this month, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady expressed a desire to play a game there before he retires. If Brady wants to play there, it’s probably a good thing he has plans to play a few more years. It appears that’s at least how long it’s going to be before the NFL takes its show there.