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Dolphins Fan

What Lamar Miller’s Injury means for the Dolphin run game posted by Dolphins Fan

If you thought the Miami Dolphins were in dire straits at the running back position when they lost Knowshon Moreno with a season ending injury, things got even worse when Lamar Miller left the San Diego game with an injury.

This is a make or break moment for the Dolphins as they will have to dig deep into their roster for production on the ground.

Miami has struggled this year but the one lone bright spot has been their run game, averaging almost 130 yards a game. It was a constant, and a point of stability for an otherwise struggling offense. Moreno and Miller work a great one, two duo.

Miller was having a breakout season, setting a career high in rushing touchdowns when he got his third in Week 6 against the Packers. He averaged more than five yards per carry in three of the first four games and ran for a career-best 108 yards on 15 carries in Week 3 against the Chiefs. 

The fourth round pick was on pace for 200 carries and more than 1,000 yards, both of which would be career highs. But now with both of these work horses out, the odds of maintaining that level of production is quite unlikely.

 So now the offense falls on the arm of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t been electric but now he will to step up. If there was ever a moment to solidify oneself as the framchise quarterback for this team, the quarterback to build a team around for years and years to come, this is that moment.

If Tannehill can navigate the rest of this season relatively unscathed, he will get amazing on the job training in shouldering an entire offense. He will build the confidence of his teammates that

Continue reading "What Lamar Miller’s Injury means ..."


Packers Fan

What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay posted by Packers Fan

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett should suit up and be full go for Sunday’s showdown with inter-division rivals, the Chicago Bears. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Packers’ secondary was very much exposed last week when the Saints racked up 44 points with 311 yards through the air. Drew Brees completed 84% of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s clear Burnett’s veteran experience on the back end of the defense with communication and getting these younger corners lined up accordingly, is essential to the Packers success defensively.

Through seven games, the fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech notched 59 tackles, 49 of them solo tackles; but more importantly was the elimination of coverage break downs that lead to big play passes that can be so devastating to a team’s morale. And Brees crushed the Packers morale as he had two deep balls, each over 40 yards, that led to touchdowns.

Even with Burnett back, the others in the secondary will need to play extra efficient as the Bears have 3 very tall, very athletic receivers in Marshall, Jeffrey, and the tight end Bennett. When these two teams faced off in week 4, the Packers were able to limit the 3 playmakers to under 200 yards receiving, combined.

The Packers Safety echoed that sentiment saying it takes a group effort to corral all three.

"Those guys are very athletic," he said. "They have big playmaking ability and they’re led by Jay Cutler so we have to be sound in our technique and be accountable to one another and trust the defense, and allow us to make plays.”

Continue reading "What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay"

Bears Fan

Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson to suit up against Green Bay posted by Bears Fan

For the first time in three months, Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson practiced as the Bears get ready to take on inter-divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Wilson fractured his clavicle at practice on Aug. 4 and has been on the injured reserve list ever since. Now that Wilson is back at practice, the Bears have 3 weeks to decide whether to activate him to their roster or keep him on the injured reserve.

The answer is clear cut as the Bears need all the help they can on offense. They rank 19th in scoring and their offense is limited to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears need that #3 receiver to add depth and complexity to their passing game, and allow another option for Cutler to go to.

The Packers, best believe, will be ready for the Bears as they get their seasoned safety, Morgan Burnett, back. They were exposed last week against the Saints but now with a veteran in the defensive secondary, the Packers coverage will be tightened up.

The only negative side to activating Wilson is the possibility of pushing him too hard, too fast, and risk causing a more serious injury that will keep him out indefinitely. While this is a valid concern, one could argue that is the case with every player in the NFL. The game has gotten so fast, the players so big and strong, that injuries, season ending injuries, are becoming more and more commonplace. So to err on the side of caution is valid but when a player feels good to go, they should be allowed to suit and help the team do what it needs to do, win games.

They need to make a decision quickly to keep Wilson on their roster if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Continue reading "Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson ..."


Packers Fan

How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers? posted by Packers Fan

The Green Bay Packers were 8-7-1 last year, figuring in the latest tied game and only the 19th  time since 1974. They won the NFC North despite their quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined in the first half of the year. This season, the Packers are expected to contend anew for the Super Bowl.

Rodgers had led the Packers to a good start last year with a 5-2 record. But he broke his collarbone in a game against the Bears. He was out for weeks and returned to beat Chicago in a rematch. Yet he was not a 100 percent and failed to help the Packers in preventing a loss to the 49ers.

This year, Packers fans hope that Rodgers would be back to 100%.  The front office surprisingly failed to re-sign Evan Dietrich-Smith even with Rodgers’ pleas. It remains to be seen whether  rookie Corey Linsley will be able to fill in Smith’s shoes, but all signs point he won’t be enough.

The offense will get a boost with the return of Bryan Bulaga who tore his ACL last year. He’ll be the right tackle across sophomore David Bakhtiari, who performed creditably in his rookie season. Bakhtiari surrendered eight sacks last year, but four came in the first month of the season.

The big news for the Packers in the off-season was the acquisition of Julius Peppers from Chicago. But there will be questions on how Peppers will perform this year, as he is now 34 and is slowing down.

The Packers also picked Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the number 21 pick. Dix =is expected to start next to talented safety Morgan Burnett.  They will also benefit from the return of Casey Hayward who missed all but three games last season.

Continue reading "How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers?"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

It was an eventful and unpredictable NFL Draft, even after the craziness that ensued in round one Thursday night. Friday night showcased rounds two and three, while Sunday wrapped up the draft with rounds four through seven. Let’s run through the major storylines that came out of the 2013 NFL Draft!

*Pardon for the delay. This is what happens when life throws the draft, C2E2, and the impetus to change jobs all in one weekend.

 

-After slipping through the first round despite several reported landing spots, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o became a San Diego Charger. The Chargers traded picks 45 and 110 to the Cardinals for pick number 38, allowing them to move up for Te’o. At that point in the draft, the drama-laden linebacker had great value. The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme, but he can still be a valuable inside presence for them.

 

-On the very next pick after Te’o was selected, the New York Jets saw a “franchise” quarterback fall right into their laps at number 39 overall with Geno Smith. Smith increases the QB count on the Jets roster all the way up to six, which includes Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard. Yeah… someone’s gonna get cut. The obvious cut is Tebow. But then who? Do you cut the veteran Garrard, whom you just brought in? Or do you take the massive cap hit and release Sanchez? Or are you giving up on the idea that McElroy can be anything? The drama is ratcheted up in New York, and I’m gonna love every minute of it.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

The 2013 Divisional Round is completed! The best weekend in football lived up to the hype, with crazy finishes (double overtimes) and historic performances. Let’s not put off this any longer. It’s time for The Final Drive!

(12-6) Baltimore Ravens 38

(13-4) Denver Broncos 35

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession, this game got crazy… fast. Trindon Holliday took that punt return back 90 yards for the first score. A 59-yard pass to a streaking Torrey Smith (who was torching Champ Bailey deep most of the day) from Joe Flacco tied the game up. On Denver’s ensuing drive, a pass from Peyton Manning tipped off the hands of Eric Decker into the arms of Corey Graham, who boomeranged it to make the score 14-7 Ravens. Manning took the ball right back and marched his team 74 yards in 11 plays, ending with a pinpoint pass to old friend Brandon Stokley on the side of the endzone. 14-14. Were you still breathing at this point? A score from both teams in the second quarter kept the game tied at 21 going into halftime. And the drama did not subside in the start of a crazy NFL weekend.

Denver Head Coach John Fox will (and should) catch a lot of flak for not even attempting to try to get in field goal range with two timeouts and 20-plus seconds left on the clock. (As we would see later in the weekend, that’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.) Fox got extremely conservative in the offensive play-calling, leaning on the run too often when he had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time on the field. (Though doesn’t Peyton have full authority to change those calls at the line? Hm.) Not going for a third down conversion late in the fourth allowed the Ravens to get the ball back with just enough time to make something happen. And they certainly did.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

Alright everyone, it’s my favorite football weekend of the entire season! At this point we have the eight best teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, including the two greatest QB’s of our era in the AFC and a crazy Saturday night rematch in the NFC. I have stumbled out of the gates with my picks, currently standing at 1-3 after the wild card round. I owe that to every favorite covering last week and my apparently desperate need to pick against almost all of them. This week shall be different! I hope. Let’s get to The Opening Drive of the Divisional Round! (As always, point spreads are obtained from VegasInsider.com.)

 

(11-6) Baltimore Ravens at

(13-3) Denver Broncos

4:30 PM ET, CBS

This is the first of two AFC rematches that were completely one-sided in the first go-rounds. The Broncos slapped around the Ravens 34-17 in week 15, part of their 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and claim the one seed. In that game, Peyton Manning had very pedestrian numbers, but was bolstered by ground game that featured 45 carries, the most of any Manning team in his career. Their 163 yards pounded a then-short-staffed Raven defense. This game will be different, in that Baltimore is much healthier now. Ray Lewis is back, as is linebacker Danel Ellerbee. Still, the Raven corners are average at best, so they’re not going to be able to contain Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

Wild Card weekend in the NFL is a wrap! Note that this late posting is a testament to the dangers of kitties. (When you’re allergic to them.) There were bad offenses, great defenses, and ugly injuries to be found in the four match-ups, so let’s get through all the stories in The Final Drive!

(13-4) Houston Texans 19

(10-7) Cincinnati Bengals 13

The first half was a show of ugly offense, with three field goals by the Texans and only a pick-six by the Bengals to account for all the points on the board. Houston suffered because of failed third down conversions and a drop from Andre Johnson at the goal line, forcing them to settle for kicks. Andy Dalton threw a costly interception, but it was essentially wiped away as Leon Hall picked a Schaub pass and ran it back 21 yards to take a momentary lead. But the Bengal offense didn’t score at all in the first half. They barely improved.

In a trending theme of Saturday passing statistics, Cincinnati had -6 net yards passing at halftime. That prompted a “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” from Mike Mayock at halftime. (You have no idea how much Microsoft Word just hated that sentence.) When the Texans came out in the third quarter and mounted a touchdown drive, it practically was an insurmountable lead. The Bengals had no chance.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, (while they were only down six), the Bengals were closing in on the redzone when they had to burn a timeout (play-calling disaster). On the ensuing play, they lost five yards due to a false start penalty. Then they went for it on fourth down (and failed), meaning the six point lead held.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

It’s that time of year. The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and with it come the unmitigated disasters that are my picks against the spread. (Which means I’m not picking winners or losers, but I’m predicting if a team will win by or keep it closer than the designated spread. Odds are grabbed from VegasInsider.com.) We’ve got some stellar match-ups as well, so without any further BS, it’s time to start the playoffs with this Wild Card edition of The Opening Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals at

(12-4) Houston Texans

4:30 PM ET, NBC

In typical playoff fashion, the Wild Card round starts with what is most likely to be the most lackluster match-up of the weekend. This solid Bengals team (that apparently no one outside of Cincinnati believes in) heads to Houston to face a Texan squad that was in near free-fall the last month of the season. It’s not exactly thrilling drama (even though it is a rematch of last year’s playoff game), but this I think game is going to very tight. The Bengals can’t explode offensively and the Texans haven’t been lighting up the scoreboards lately. They’d prefer to get Arian Foster going anyway, which means a slower paced game, full of that exciting clock management stuff. Cincy has a shot at getting passes completed on the outside if A.J. Green can handle the one-on-one match-up with corner Jonathan Joseph. I believe he can, so Andy Dalton has to be able to find him consistently in order to free up the running game and the underneath passes to tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

You know the rivalry. It’s the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears in a December game. It’s been 13 weeks since these teams met on the first Thursday nighter of the season, and each have had ups and downs in that time, especially the Bears, who now are fighting for their playoff lives.

 

(9-4) Green Bay Packers at

(8-5) Chicago Bears 

The Offense

The Bear offensive line doesn’t need this news, but Clay Matthews will be back on the field. The man who terrorized J’Marcus Webb in the first match-up will be on the outside again, giving the Packers their pass rush back. Like always, Webb will need help if they’re going to keep Matthews off the stat sheet. But Mike Tice should know how to offset this disadvantage: run the ball. Give Matt Forte and Michael Bush (who will be limited if he plays with a rib injury) about 30-35 carries and get the front seven off Jay Cutler’s case. This way Cutler can get freed up for play-action throws to Marshall, which are less likely to be into triple-coverage or be sat on by an opportunistic defense (that is missing defensive back Charles Woodson).   

Brandon Marshall made news this week by daring the Packers to give him single coverage. Let me tell you something Brandon: it won’t happen. Once. You’re the best/only consistent passing option on this offense, so you’re getting bracket coverage on every play. What would be nice is if the other Bear receivers could beat single coverage on the outside. Alshon Jeffery is the most likely option, but he’s still reaching for his potential. And is anyone really going to count on Devin Hester? I’m not.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green ..."

Green Bay Packers News

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Belichick sees 'relentless' Seattle as model for others (Reuters)

By Simon Evans PHOENIX (Reuters) - New England head coach Bill Belichick is not known for heaping compliments on his own team, but when it comes to Sunday's Super Bowl opponents the Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots coach has not been shy in expressing his admiration. A joint news conference with his opposite number Pete Carroll by its nature encouraged polite words, but Belichick was unusually fullsome in his praise. "They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’ve ever observed," said Belichick. The Seahawks illustrated that point perfectly in their remarkable comeback win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game, which they won in overtime after trailing 16-0 at the half. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Special teams could determine Super Bowl champion (The Associated Press)

While Russell Wilson was throwing interceptions in the NFC championship game, punter Jon Ryan kick-started Seattle's rally with his arm. ''This overall arching thought that once a trick play has happened that you can't do another one, I don't think that's the way it is,'' Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ''We try to pull it off at the time when it works out right for us and we can take the most advantage of it and we always have to be on the lookout, we always have to be attentive to it.'' The Seahawks were trailing the Green Bay Packers 16-0 in the conference title game when Ryan set up to hold for Steven Hauschka's field goal attempt. As it turns out, we kind of turned it around from there.'' The Seahawks got another big play on special teams when they recovered an onside kick with just over 2 minutes left in regulation to set up a go-ahead TD. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Super Bowl facts and figures (Reuters)

(Reuters) - Facts and figures about Sunday's 49th Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona: Date: February 1, 2015 Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET (2330 GMT) Teams: New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks Site: 72,000 seat University of Phoenix Stadium At stake: The winning team receives the National Football League's (NFL) Vince Lombardi Trophy, named in memory of the former Green Bay Packers coach, winning coach of the first two Super Bowls. The trophy is made by high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co and stands almost 22 inches tall and weighs 107 ounces (3 kilograms). It is worth more than $25,000. ... [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


A New Englander's guide to labeling every other NFL team a cheat (Shutdown Corner)

It's tough being a New England Patriots fan. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and all that. Sure, (arguably) the greatest coach in NFL history sports a Patriots logo on his sleeveless sweatshirt, and (arguably) the best quarterback of all-time dons a Flying Elvis on his helmet, but every other God-fearing football fan across this great nation has yet to bow at the altar of Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Discussions about football would be a whole lot simpler if everyone could get it through their thick skulls that the game we all knew in a bygone era has since been reinvented by that holy trinity. Instead, you can't log onto Facebook or travel south of Hartford every February without somebody pointing out the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since the Spygate scandal revealed them to be cheaters. Never mind the 16-0 regular season that ensued once they stopped videotaping sideline signals. The Patriots couldn't beat Eli Manning of all QBs without having studied film of the backside of a laminated white sheet of paper covering his offensive coordinator's mouth. Heck, even God himself got involved by gluing a football to David Tyree's helmet just to spite them for their sins, proving once and for all Brady — despitehis three championship rings and supermodel wife — is in fact not the second coming. Now, deflate-gate has only reinforced the rest of the country's resolve to hate the Patriots. Sure, a New Englander can explain away deflated footballs and videotaped signals — as Belichick did — with science and the idea that cameras only caught on film what 80,000 people could see in plain sight, but all every other un-Patriotic football fan hears is Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" drowning out your excuses. So, if you're from the Northeast corner like I am, know that the best way to crawl under every other football fan's skin is to offer up the only excuse that should be universally accepted in NFL circles by now: Everybody cheats.  As famed 21st-century philosopher Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. has hypothesized, the best defense is a good offense, so here's the New Englander's guide to labeling every other NFL team a cheat. Even if it's baseless. Because if we've learned anything in the past 10 days, you're guilty before proven innocent. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS : They had two Pro Bowl defenders — LaRon Landry and Robert Mathis —  suspended for PED use  and still couldn't stop Jonas Gray or LeGarrette Blount. Not to mention they allegedly  pumped crowd noise into the RCA Dome  to beat the Pats in the 2006 AFC Championship. BALTIMORE RAVENS : Ah, the easiest fans of all to take up residence within their bird brains. Three simple words: Deer-antler spray . And if those don't work, remember five-time All-Pro defensive lineman Haloti Ngata got busted for performance-enhancing drugs just last month. Or mention that — while the Ravens rightfully cut Ray Rice — somehow their other All-Pro defensive stud, Terrell Suggs, remains on the roster despite a pair of equally disturbing domestic violence allegations against him. See, you don't even need to bring up the double-murder indictment of Ray Lewis to incite a Baltimore riot. Oh, wait. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS : The Seahawks  lead the league  in performance-enhancing drug use since Pete Carroll's arrival in 2010, and that doesn't even include  the overturning of Richard Sherman's positive test  before the first of three straight playoff appearances. Talk about deflated balls in the Super Bowl. NEW YORK GIANTS : Former coach Jim Fassel may have  explained away radio signal stealing allegations  in 2001 by feigning ignorance, calling such high-tech cheating "impossible to even try," but the Giants already admitted to intercepting radio waves —  in 1956 . It's not like technology has progressed in the past half-century or anything. No wonder they beat the Pats in 2007 and 2011. ATLANTA FALCONS : Speaking of listening in on conversations, assistant general manager Scott Pioli is a notorious offender, having allegedly  bugged former Chiefs coach Todd Haley's phones  during his GM tenure in Kansas City. (Please pay no attention Pioli's presence in New England during Spygate.) NEW YORK JETS : The only reason New York ratted on the Patriots for videotaping signals in 2007 is because New England  threw a Jets employee out of Gillette Stadium  for doing the same a year earlier. Of course, then-Jets coach Eric Mangini dubbed their misdeeds as "standard operating procedure." Not to be outdone, former New York strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi resorted to  tripping a dude . PITTSBURGH STEELERS : Current coach Mike Tomlin warranted a $100,000 fine when he  interfered with a Jacoby Jones kickoff return  in 2013, but it's best to hit Pittsburgh where it hurts most — puncturing a hole through the heart of the Steel Curtain. In making his own steroid admission as a player, former Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett called all four of their Super Bowls in the 1970s  into question . MIAMI DOLPHINS :  A pair   of Fins  got caught violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, but that perfect 1972 season is the only thing the Miami faithful can hold over New Englanders' heads (well, that and the fact Floridians aren't covered intwo feet of snow right now), so let's point out the Dolphins  committed three counts of tampering  in order to hire Don Shula as their coach. BUFFALO BILLS : The Bills have been all about those banned substances for the past five decades, beginning with  Haslett's admission  to steroid use during his Buffalo career from 1979-85. When the NFL  cracked down on steroids  in the late 1980s, the Bills had more players suspended than any other team. Soon afterwards, Don Smith  allegedly tested positive  for steroid use before Super Bowl XXV, and then proceeded to score a touchdown in the first of four straight title losses. Before making a Pro Bowl, running back Travis Henry violated the league's substance policy, citing ephedra, as was the custom at the time. And more recently tight end Shawn Nelson earned his own four-game suspension. Whatever's in the sauce on those wings up there in Buffalo, maybe the Bills should be using more of it, because they haven't made the playoffs since New Englanders threw them a bone with Doug Flutie in 1999. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS : Bountygate .  DETROIT LIONS : Center Dominic Raiola and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have both been fined multiple times for attempting to intentionally injure their opponents after the whistle, which is kinda like Bountygate, only without the monetary incentive — which kinda makes it even worse. DALLAS COWBOYS : Take your pick between the Cowboys'  salary cap violations ,  Orlando Scandrick's PED suspension  or  Jerry Jones partying with NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino  and a bunch of coeds in a bus outside Bootsy Bellows nightclub in Los Angeles. The third option seems the most fun. WASHINGTON REDSKINS : Likewise, it's a toss-up between  salary cap violations ,  widespread PED use , signing Andre' Woodson off the scrap heap to  recreate the Giants' playbook  and illegally  calling out the Cowboys' snap count . It's really not that hard to rile up a fan base whose team's owner  sued season-ticket holders  during a recession and vehemently defends the use of a racially insensitive nickname. CHICAGO BEARS : Forget former linebacker Brian Urlacher's concession that the Bears assigned " a designated dive guy " to fake injuries when opposing offenses got hot, current wideout Brandon Marshall suggested players use Viagra to gain an edge, which creates all sorts of problems in those pig piles. CLEVELAND BROWNS : The Browns are currently being investigated for texting during games — a violation of NFL policy — suggesting these weren't just messages from Johnny Football's ladyfriends. DENVER BRONCOS : Where do we begin? ESPN's Mark Schlereth and a couple Bronco buddies got popped for oiling themselves up in Vaseline before a playoff game, which seems minor in comparison to the team's pair of  violations of the league's salary cap restrictions , including $29 million in deferred payments to John Elway and Terrell Davis — the two cogs in Denver's Super Bowl victories. (It's probably best not to mention Josh McDaniels earned a $50,000 fine for videotaping a 49ers practice.) HOUSTON TEXANS : Three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Duane Brown got busted for PEDs before this season, but teammate Brian Cushing takes the cake. Following a season in which he won Defensive Rookie of the Year from the Associated Press in 2010, Cushing tested positive for a fertility drug (perhaps to counteract his opponents' Viagra consumption?). So, the AP took a revote, and he still won the award. It's always nice to see the media taking the moral high ground when it comes to football scandals. TENNESSEE TITANS : The last time the Titans were any good, they had fullback Ahmard Hall paving the way for 1,000-yard rushers Travis Henry (yes, that Travis Henry), LenDale White and Chris Johnson from 2006-11. And Hall earned a performance-enhancing drug suspension at the end of that run. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS : Linebacker LaRoy Reynolds sat out four games for a PED suspension in 2013, but there's no use trying to incite a fan base that requires swimming pools, go-go dancers and two-for-one drink specials just to get enough fans in the front door to avoid television blackouts. ARIZONA CARDINALS : GM Steve Keim can call  Daryl Washington's indiscretions  "unacceptable" all he wants, but when a team continues to employ an admitted domestic abuser and two-time violator of the league's substance abuse policy — including one positive PED test — simply because he has an All-Pro bid on his resume, it kind of gives off the impression that those actions are in fact acceptable. CINCINNATI BENGALS : It's kind of boring when all the Bengals have done to cheat is use a few performance-enhancing drugs, as cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris was busted for earlier this season. Apparently, they prefer to do their misdeeds off the field,  leading the league in legal battles  last decade. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS : Ho hum. Just a run-of-the-mill PED ban for offensive tackle Donald Stephenson. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES :  Two more PED suspensions this season . Boring. OAKLAND RAIDERS : After Al Davis spent years suggesting Mike Shanahan's Broncos should have an asterisk next to their Super Bowl victories for violating the salary cap, his own organization was among four teams punished by the league for similar infractions a few years ago. Also, they're the Raiders. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS : The Bucs aren't opposed to PED use, either, having received  a pair   of suspensions  this past season, but don't forget  Brad Johnson paid an NFL representative $75,000 to rub down his footballs  prior to their Super Bowl XXXVII victory — the lone title in the team's 40-year existence. GREEN BAY PACKERS : The Packers cheated so bad they had to buy their way back into the league, per Albert J. Figone's 2012 book, " Cheating the Spread ": "The American Professional Football Association, organized in 1919, soon became embroiled in recruiting collegiate players. The Green Bay Packers had their franchise revoked in 1921 because they recruited three Notre Dame Players — Hunk Anderson, Ojay Larson, and Hee Garvey — for their final game of the season at Milwaukee. The story was broken by the Chicago Tribune, home of the Packers' archrival Staleys (later the Bears), coached by George Halas. The Green Bay franchise was reinstated in 1922 after Curly Lambeau paid a fee." Nowadays, Aaron Rodgers'  over-inflation of balls  keeps the proud cheating tradition established by Hunk, Ojay and Hee alive. MINNESOTA VIKINGS : As long as we're still on the subject of footballs, the Vikings like theirs warm , which also violates league policy. Oh, and Hall of Famer Cris Carter spearheaded his own Bountygate scandal . CAROLINA PANTHERS : They heated their balls on the sidelines, too, but that's not quite as egregious as a trio of Carolina players filling prescriptions for steroids  shortly before losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII — making former Panthers GM  Marty Hurney's recent sour grapes all the more hilarious. ST. LOUIS RAMS : Former running back turned NFL Network pundit Marshall Faulk can  cry foul  about the Patriots cheating him out of a second Super Bowl ring all he wants. He probably just  accused New England of cheating again  in the time I wrote that last sentence. But the Rams aren't innocent, either, fielding  performance - enhancing   drug   abusers  every season since  the NFL ramped up its testing policy  in 2011. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS : LaDainian Tomlinson once said, "I think the Patriots actually live by the saying 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying,'" so it stands to reason his team didn't trying until he retired in 2012, since that's when the Chargers received a $20,000 fine for using  a "Stickum"-like substance . SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS : In the late 1990s, the Niners were finally busted for a practice they had been accused of and denied during their dynastic run from 1981-94 — skirting the salary cap, including a violation involving Super Bowl XXIX MVP Steve Young. If that doesn't get a San Fran fan going, just let  Bill Parcells do the finger-pointing  for you, since he claims the 49ers twice disabled the Giants' phone communications in the mid-'80s. And Bill Belichick's defense still managed to win both games. Now, cue all the angry emails from non-Patriots fans, who might finally understand how it feels to root for New England — only without all the Super Bowl appearances to make the cheating rumors worthwhile. - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach [read full article]

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Super Bowl: from humble origin to king of U.S. sports events (Reuters)

From modest beginnings of cheap tickets and empty seats to $4.5 million for a 30-second TV ad, the Super Bowl approaches its golden anniversary entrenched as the undisputed king of U.S. sporting events. Super Bowl 49 will pit the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday and figures to join 21 previous Super Bowls atop the list of most watched U.S. TV broadcasts. A far cry from the first Super Bowl clash between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in 1967, according to Jerry Izenberg of the (New Jersey) Star-Ledger, one of only two reporters to have covered ever Super Bowl. [read full article]

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