Tag:Ryan Wilson
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:39 am
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Jones: Romo competing, others need to play better

Jerry Jones has been impressed with Eli but is very happy with Romo. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Jerry Jones is in Mobile, Alabama this week for the Senior Bowl because, in addition to being the Cowboys' owner, he's also the general manager. The man who wears many hats in Dallas took time out from evaluating the next crop of draft-eligible players to talk about the Cowboys, whose Week 17 loss to the Giants kept them out of the playoffs.

“I thought (Tony) Romo was competing at a level that would’ve given us that opportunity but the rest of us need to play better and get better before we can really gel the way the Giants are,” Jones said via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman.

Hard to disagree with that. According to Football Outsiders, Romo was No. 4 in quarterback efficiency behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Eli ranked sixth (Matthew Stafford was fifth).

After ESPNDallas' Calvin Watkins tweeted Monday that "Jerry Jones said the biggest difference between the Cowboys and Giants is Eli Manning. He did praise Tony Romo," there was some confusion that Jones preferred Eli to Tony. Not at all. In fact, Jones was only implying that New York is in the Super Bowl because Manning is playing out of his mind.

“I don’t want to take anything away [from the Giants] but the big difference was Eli came up here and started what seemed like a pretty significant [stretch]," Jones said. "But the quarterback play with Eli was the huge difference. But I was pretty impressed with how they’ve defense played the last three or four ball games. …

"We had good quarterback play, but I'd say as a team, they just got better and better near the end," he added. "Their depth, that's how I view us. I had counted -- we had counted -- on getting better, and we didn't. We went the other way."

Of course, those personnel decisions rest at Jones' feet. Which, of course, is why he's in Mobile. As for 2012, Jones explains that the Cowboys' plan for success involves "new faces" in the secondary, getting "younger" on defense, but avoiding the trappings of youth on the offensive line.

Seems like Jones is making it more complicated than it needs to be. Either way, here's the bottom line:

"We just want to make sure we don't compromise things because I'm more into not squandering the prime years of Romo, so we want to make sure we're giving him every opportunity in protection," he said, "and we'll work hard on that in the off-season."

Duly noted.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:00 am
 

Peyton Manning has no intentions of retiring

No matter what Chris Traeger might tweet, Manning plans on playing football again. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

While one Manning prepares for a Super Bowl, another is just trying to get healthy. Eli is headed to Indianapolis for a Giants-Patriots rematch (even if in name only). Peyton, meanwhile, continues to recover from neck surgery that kept him sidelined for the 2011 season, played no small part in the Colts' 2-14 record, owner Jim Irsay's subsequent housecleaning, and the team's plans to take a quarterback with its well-earned first-overall pick.

Thanks to Rob Lowe, fictional Indiana native, Manning was supposedly retiring. This literally is not true.

Manning spoke Monday with the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz about what lies ahead and it most certainly involves playing football.

“I never thought `Sodapop Curtis’ would announce my retirement,’’ Manning said, referring to Lowe’s character in the 1983 movie “The Outsiders.’’ “I always thought I would be the one to announce it. I’m a huge fan of the movie, but that caught me way off guard. I can’t explain it. I know (Lowe) is a friend of Jim’s (Irsay), and Jim sounded surprised.’’

Manning said he finally met with new general manager Ryan Grigson, who hinted that his future in Indianapolis will be determined by the owner.

"One thing he (Grigson) kind-of, sort-of told me, without really wanting to tell me, was that Irsay will be the guy I'm going to sit down and talk with. That's going to happen at some point, but we haven't had that conversation yet because we really don't need to have that conversation yet."

Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus the first week of March and whether the Colts decide to give it to him will largely be determined by his health.

"You know I don't like to say something like, 'There’s no way I can play Sunday,' then come out and play Sunday and everybody in the media is writing 'I can’t believe he’s playing,'" Manning told Kravitz. "I'm not into the drama. And I'm not into saying, 'Well, this is it, I sure have enjoyed it.' I'm not into saying goodbye. All I know is I'm still under contract to the Colts. I'm still the quarterback of the Colts That's why I'm in the building every day trying to get healthy."

Manning also lamented that the upheaval in the front office and on the coaching staff has "Everybody walking around on eggshells. I don't recognize our building right now. There's such complete and total change. … I mean, it's 20 degrees, it's snowing, the building is absolutely empty except when you see coaches cleaning out their offices," he said.

"I guess it's the reality of the football world, just not something I've had to deal with very often. But I'm in there every day, so I have to sit there and see it. Everybody's being evaluated and I'm no different. It's not the best environment."

Whatever happens in coming weeks, this much is certain: if the Colts are ready to move on from Manning, there will be plenty of teams interested in his services.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:00 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 11:51 am
 

Giants-Patriots is a SB XLII rematch in name only

The uniforms are the same but these two teams most definitely are not. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The more things change, the more things … change. The uniforms may be the same but four years later, the Giants and Patriots are different teams who, after 20 weeks, find themselves in a familiar position: about to face off in a Super Bowl. Four years ago, in the fortnight leading up to their first encounter in February 2008, the storylines were some variation of: "New England will absolutely obliterate New York."

Predictable, sure. But in much the same way gravity is predictable. Except that night the Giants had no use for immutable laws of nature. (Evidenced nicely by David Tyree's physics-defying grab that set up the winning touchdown.)


The Patriots' offensive firepower led by Brady and Randy Moss didn't matter. And neither did did the Spygate soap opera which served to galvanize the team earlier in the year and perpetuate the "us vs. them" mentality that gave guys like Rodney Harrison Tony Robbins-like purpose. (Harrison was known almost as much for his reliance on the "no respect for motivational purposes" shtick as he was for his tenacious, sometimes dirty style.)

This time will be different. Or least that's the thinking going in. The head coaches and quarterbacks are the same, but Eli Manning has matured and the Patriots' defense has regressed. The difference in talent between these two clubs that was once measured in miles is now better gauged in yards.

Put differently: it only seems like we've already seen this movie.

So before we take a look ahead, we thought it made sense to first take a look back.

The Rosters

The Giants head to Indianapolis with 16 players (nine starters) from the Super Bowl XLII-winning squad. The Patriots, meanwhile, have just seven players (five starters) remaining. You can view the 2007 rosters for both teams below; the players in red are still with their respective teams.



The takeaway from the list above: only one defensive player from Super Bowl XLII remains on the Patriots' roster. Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel -- all either retired or playing elsewhere -- and just Vince Wilfork, the team's 2004 first-round pick, is left. (Granted, Wilfork saved the best game of his career for last Sunday's AFC Championship matchup against the Ravens, which is timely.)

During the '07 regular season, the Patriots defense ranked 12th in league (fifth against the pass, 21st against the run), according to Football Outsiders. Four years later, and their travails have been well documented (30th overall, 28th pass, 28th run).

The one name that has remained constant: Tom Brady. He doesn't have Randy Moss but he doesn't need him. The offensive may not be as explosive without Moss but it's much more dynamic with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

On the surface, the 2011 Giants don't seem much different from the 2007 version. They won nine games this season (with 30 percent of the personnel from the Super Bowl XL roster), nine in '07; ranked 12th in team efficiency this time around versus 16th four years ago. But the similarities end there because like Brady in New England, Eli Manning has everything to do with the Giants' recent success.

For almost the entire '07 season, Manning was one of the league's most inconsistent quarterbacks. He ranked 38th in total value among NFL QBs, sandwiched between the likes of Brian Griese and Chet Lemon. Now Manning's fifth behind Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Romo and Stafford. That, more than anything else New York has done this season, is the reason they're playing one more game.

In Super Bowl XLII, the Giants had no expectations. In Super Bowl XLVI there will be plenty. And the question goes from "Can this team avoid embarrassing itself in front of a worldwide audience?" to "Can they play up to their potential and win this thing?"

Pregame Hype: A Look Back

Given these two offenses -- one record-breaking, the other aimless for much of the season -- it wasn't surprising that the Giants were getting Washington Generals-type odds to win this game.

Then:
the Patriots opened as 13.5-point favorites, according to Las Vegas. Five weeks before, in Week 17, New England was favored by 13 to beat the Giants in New York. Instead, the Pats needed a fourth-quarter comeback to eke out the 38-35 victory. (Now: the line opened Sunday with New England favored by a more modest 3.5 points.)

Then: AccuScore ran 10,000 simulations of the Giants-Patriots matchup and gave New York a 25 percent chance of winning. Sounds high -- Manning could throw that middle-of-the-field-Hail Mary to Tyree 100 times and Tyree comes down with it once. Tyree, it turns out, has impeccable timing.

Then: Cold Hard Football Facts called it the "mismatch of the century," complete with subheadings breaking down each individual mismatch ("on offense," "at quarterback," etc…).

Football Outsiders was less definitive, writing that "Most likely, the Giants won't pull a shocking upset like the 2001 Patriots, and they won't get blown off the field like the 1985 Patriots. Instead, they'll end up like a third team from New England's Super Bowl past: the 1996 Patriots, a good team outclassed by a great team. … (The 2007) Patriots will probably dispatch the Giants in a similar fashion, completing their historic 19-0 season. Not definitely. Just probably."

Then: CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco was one of the few national voices to pick the Giants. You don't even have to look it up because we've done it for you:


"I like the +11.5," Prisco said. "I think the Giants -- not only will they cover the number, they may win the game. … I think the Giants could definitely win the football game."

Then: Princess the camel (yep, you read that right -- the terrestrial counterpart to Paul the Octopus) also picked the Giants to win.

"I can't explain it, but her predictions, more often than not, are right on the money," said John Bergmann, general manager of Popcorn Park Zoo where Princess has lived since 2004. "I'm hoping she's right this time because I'm a Giants fan."

Turned out, Princess had a thing for the Mannings more so than the Giants; she picked Peyton and the Colts to win the year before. (Then again, maybe she'd seen then-Bears quarterback Rex Grossman play.)

From the ridiculous to the sublime…

Then: Another national columnist driving the Giants' bandwagon: Dr. Z. He admitted that picking New York was an opportunity to right a past wrong, when he picked the Colts to beat the Jets in Super Bowl III even though he had a feeling New York, 19-point underdogs by kickoff, had a chance to pull the upset. Forty years later, Dr. Z wasn't going to make the same mistake. Here's what he wrote on January 22, 2008:

"And gradually it dawned on me, as I toured the (Giants) locker room (after their NFC Championship game win over the Packers), picking up a quote here and there -- there isn't a way to stop Brady and Welker and Moss and Faulk and Maroney ... the whole riotous bunch. A team just has to be tougher, more resilient, more able to sustain high-level pressure on both sides of the ball for a longer period. And I honestly feel that the Giants can do it. Just look at what this improbable team has done so far."

And that's exactly how it played out.

Now: We mentioned above that the Patriots' defense has just one player from the last Super Bowl team. But much like the Giants' offense during the 2007 season, New England's D has come on of late. But will it be enough?

From CBSSports.com's Clark Judge: No team went to a Super Bowl with a defense ranked lower than 25th. Now you have the league's 27th-ranked unit (the Giants) and its 31st-ranked defense (New England), but, just a hunch, defense makes the difference in Indianapolis. It did when these two met in Super Bowl XLII, with the Giants sacking Tom Brady five times and holding the league's highest-scoring offense to 14 points.


The NY Giants and Patriots will face off in the Super Bowl once again. NFL on CBS analyst Solomon Wilcots joins the Tim Brando Show to discuss how the rematch will play out.

Now:
There used to be a time when you were never certain if Good Eli or Bad Eli would show up from one week to the next, one quarter to the next, and sometimes, one play to the next. Manning has transformed into one of the league's most consistent quarterbacks and now he has a chance to double up his older brother on total Super Bowl rings.

From Prisco's most recent column on Eli's evolution: "it all starts with Manning. He's no longer another star's little brother hoping to become special. He's arrived, which is what's so different from 2007. 'You're right there,' head coach Tom Coughlin said in the locker room late Sunday night (after the win over the 49ers). 'It is Eli. He is special now. He's the biggest difference between the two teams.'

Now: And that leads us to this, from colleague Will Brinson who wrote Sunday about two ancillary storylines could morph into something much larger should the Giants win: Is Eli 1) better than his brother and 2) now in the same class as Brady? 

The Game: What Happened

Obviously, you know exactly what happened. And depending on your perspective, you'll either take great joy in reliving the Super Bowl XLII memories or, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Monday, choosing instead to forget it ever happened.

"I’ve never been able to watch it," he said (via ESPN.com), echoing remarks made by quarterback Tom Brady earlier in the day. "I do remember the end of the game, a ball going through our cornerback’s hands [Asante Samuel] that if he had caught that ball and it hadn’t gone through his hands, we would have been able to take a knee and we would have won the game.

"And, you know, that Eli [Manning] doing a great job escaping from that pile of guys that we had on him, and whether the whistle blows and the great catch and all these things. In the end, there are a lot of little things. That was a great game, that was a great team, and we’re looking forward to having the privilege of going to Indianapolis."


Michael Strahan: excited about Super Bowl XLII's outcome.

As for what will happen … well, we'll find out shortly. And if you can't wait, we know a camel...

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 11:18 pm
 

Report: David Garrard will be 100% by April

There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL and Garrard could help one of them. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Much has changed in Jacksonville since David Garrard was released days before the start of the 2011 regular season. First-round pick Blaine Gabbert eventually assumed the starting jobs (and struggled mightily in the process), head coach Jack Del Rio was fired midway through the season, owner Wayne Weaver sold the team to Shahid Khan, and Mike Mularkey was hired as in earlier this month to replace Del Rio.

But the Jaguars are no longer Garrard's problem. There was speculation that he might join the Dolphins after Chad Henne suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in October. It didn't happen, but not because Garrard "didn't feel like playing," but due to the fact that he needed surgery for a herniated disk in his back.

According to ESPNChicago's Michael Wright, Garrard should be healed up and ready to go in a few months.

mikecwright
David Garrard will be 100 percent healthy by end of March I'm told. Could be pretty good backup somewhere.
1/23/12 9:04 PM


It appears we have one more name to add to the list of available free-agent quarterbacks. The front-runners (in random order): Matt Flynn, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Drew Brees, Vince Young, Chad Henne, Byron Leftwich and Garrard.

We first brought up these names shortly after the Broncos' season ended in New England. Given how inconsistent Tim Tebow had been in 2011, we wondered if John Elway and John Fox would honor their word on Tebow's prospects as Denver's starter in 2012 (Turns out, they will -- we're still skeptical).

So where might Garrard end up next season? This is a quarterback-driven league and because there's a shortage of really good ones, they come at a premium. Which means that Garrard probably won't have trouble finding work although it may have have to be as a backup.

The Dolphins, under new head coach Joe Philbin, might prefer Flynn (Philbin was previously the Packers' offensive coordinator). And presumably, the Redskins and the Browns want to get younger at the position. Same with the Cardinals (obvious exception). Which brings us back to our previous point: there may not be a starting job waiting for Garrard when he returns but as Caleb Hanie, Tyler Palko and T.J. Yates quickly discovered, you're never far from taking the field.

For now, though, Garrard has to get healthy. Best-case scenario: he'll work out for teams after the draft and help somebody fill out their roster heading into training camp. After that, it'll be up to him.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 9:18 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 9:20 pm
 

Scoreboard mistake caused Cundiff to rush kick?

Cundiff isn't making excuses but admits there was confusion on the sidelines Sunday. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Not long after kicker Billy Cundiff pull-hooked a 32-yard field-goal attempt that would've likely sent the Ravens and Patriots to overtime, we wondered why Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh didn't use the team's last timeout. He said it never occurred to him, even though Cundiff was clearly rushed as he set up for a pretty important kick. By the time the ball was finally snapped, there was just one second remaining on the play clock.

A day later, there were reports that Cundiff "wasn't paying attention" which, frankly, seemed ludicrous.

Stefan Fatsis, who wrote a book on his summer as a training-camp kicker for the Broncos, spoke Monday with Cundiff who explained exactly what happened on that final, fateful play.


Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that would have sent the game into overtime, and instead sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl. 

Like most kickers, Cundiff has a routine on every drive that starts on first down and ends on fourth down, either with him on the field attempting a field goal or with the Ravens' punting. As he explained to Fatsis, because NFL sidelines are a crowded place, it's easiest to follow the action by watching it live on the stadium scoreboard. Except on the Ravens' final drive Sunday, the scoreboard read third down when, in reality, it was fourth down. Fatsis explains:

"Then, suddenly, chaos on the sidelines. Coaches were screaming — from the opposite end of the field to where Cundiff was thinking his third-down pre-kick kicker thoughts — for the field-goal unit. The play clock was ticking and Cundiff, as per normal, was back from the sideline and farther from the line of scrimmage than his teammates. As he was not expecting to go in yet, he had to run to get into position for a game-tying kick."

The confusion stemmed from an Anquan Boldin catch-and-fumble that was mistaken for a first down. (Boldin had fumbled the ball forward past the first-down marker. The rules state the ball must be returned to the spot of the fumble, which is what happened.)

According to the Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel, "[Terrell] Suggs said there was a discrepancy between the scoreboard at Gillette Stadium and what the officials were saying about what the down and distance was after Boldin’s fumble. The Ravens took shots at the end zone on 2nd-and-1 and 3rd-and-1 before bringing out Cundiff for a 32-yard field goal attempt."

The problem: what was actually second and third down on the field was shown on the scoreboard as first and second down, respectively. Hence Cundiff's confusion and the subsequent scrambling to get the kick off.

Which again raises the question: why didn't Harbaugh call timeout.

It doesn't matter now, of course. Cundiff, to his credit, isn't looking to shirk the blame. And his teammates, to a man, have his back.

"Every single guy who said something to me after the game, in the locker room, or on the plane" was supportive, Cundiff told Fatsis, including Harbaugh.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 7:05 pm
 

Much has to happen for Manning to land with Cards

Could Whisenhunt and Manning share the same sideline in 2012? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Kevin Kolb was traded to the Cardinals almost six months ago. The team was in desperate need of something resembling a quarterback after Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season, and Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton took turns looking completely lost in that capacity in 2010. At the time, we thought that Arizona gave up too much for Kolb. (They sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick to Philly, then signed Kolb to a five-year, $63 million -- $20 million guaranteed -- contract extension.) As the regular-season progressed and Kolb struggled with consistency and injuries, Arizona came to the same conclusion.

Neither coaches nor front-office types came out and admitted it, but they didn't need to. Kolb played in nine games, missed seven more with injuries, and finished the season throwing for 1,955 yards (57.7 completion percentage), 9 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and taking 30 sacks.

By comparison, Skelton, the second-year backup made seven starts, threw for 1,913 yards (54.9 completion percentage), 11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and took 24 sacks.

Statistically, not much difference between the starter and the guy behind him on the depth chart -- until you compare their salaries. According to Sportrac.com, Kolb counted $4,000,000 against the Cardinals' 2011 cap (it increases to $10 million in '12 and $13 million in '13); Skelton came in slightly less than that at $450,500.

It's understandable that the Cardinals might a) have reservations about Kolb's future and b) consider other options starting, well, now.

Arizona Republic beat reporter Kent Somers wrote Monday about the recent speculation that the Cardinals would have great interest in Peyton Manning should the Colts decide to move forward without him. CBS Sports' Charley Casserly mentioned this two weeks ago.

"One team to watch (should Manning become available)? The Arizona Cardinals," Casserly said at the time. "They can get out of the Kevin Kolb contract and also Ken Whisenhunt's been down this road before. A veteran quarterback coming in at the end of his career? Kurt Warner."

Somers is quite certain the Cards would be interested in Manning because "The entire NFL, minus the obvious few, will go after Peyton if the Colts dump him."

Fair point. Somers then went through the logistical gymnastics that would be required before an Arizona-Manning marriage could take place:
No. 1. Manning has to be healthy enough to play after missing 2011 with a neck problem. That's no small hurdle.

No. 2. The Colts must decide to release Manning. As Darren Urban of azcardinals.com wrote, Manning is due a roster bonus of $28 million on March 8. Kevin Kolb is due a $7 million roster bonus on March 17. For obvious reasons, releasing Manning would not be an easy decision for Colts owner Jim Irsay.

No. 3. If Manning is released, numerous teams will express interest. But how many of those places will be attractive to Manning. This is, I think, where the Cardinals could have an advantage. Throwing to Larry Fitzgerald has to be an attractive prospect. With Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, the Cardinals have two talented young running backs. There are questions on the offensive line, however. The Cardinals' defense was stout over the last half of the season. Under Whisenhunt, the Cardinals have proven they are willing to throw the ball and to mold their offense around the strengths of an older quarterback.
In general, investing heavily in guys on the downside of great careers isn't the most efficient way to sustain organizational success from one year to the next. But Whisenhunt had Warner fall into his lap and they were one play away from a Lombardi Trophy. If Arizona has the chance to land Manning, they have to dump Kolb and do it, right? Because based on what we saw in 2011, the alternative, in all likelihood, is neither efficient nor successful.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 5:25 pm
 

Eye on Photos, Week 20: And then there were two



By Ryan Wilson


Eye on photos looks back at the wild-card weekend that was… (click photos to enlarge)

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, left, chats with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady following the AFC Championship NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, is congratulated by former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe following their AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) dives over the middle to score on a one yard run against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of the AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) dives into the end zone for a touchdown as New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty (32) hangs on during the second half of the AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Jan 22, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) celebrates at they defeat the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter in the 2011 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20. (Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE) New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft looks up after their AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
San Francisco 49ers fans sits in the stands after their team lost to the New York Giants in overtime of the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 20-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVI. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes (9) celebrates with holder Steve Weatherford (5) after kicking the game-winning field goal during overtime of the NFC Championship NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. The Giants won 20-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVI. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is sacked by San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: Henry Hynoski #45 of the New York Giants is tackled in the first half by Tarell Brown #25 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jan 22, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) hurdles a row of photographers after scoring a touchdown during the 2011 NFC championship game against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park. (Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE ) Jan 22, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) holds up a newspaper after the 2011 NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. The Giants won 20-17. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

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Category: NFL
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:07 pm
 

NFL postseason overtime rules explained

We have OT for the second time this postseason (AP)
By Ryan Wilson

The NFL changed the posteason overtime rules prior to the 2010 season but the league didn't have its first overtime playoff game until two weeks ago when the Broncos beat the Steelers on the first play from scrimmage in extra time.

Prior to the rules change, overtime was simply sudden death: first team to score wins. This still holds for all regular-season games, but "modified sudden death" is now the postseason format.

The particulars, via the NFL.

* At the end of regulation time, the referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

* Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three time-outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

* Instant Replay: No challenges. Reviews to be initiated by the replay assistant.

The rules change came about after statistics examined by the competition committee showed that, going back to 1994, teams that win the coin toss also win in overtime 60 percent of the time. Even more compelling: the same data showed that since 1994, the team that won the overtime coin toss won the game 34 percent of the time on the first possession.

"We've had this discussion for a number of years," competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay said back in March 2010. "We feel this year's proposal gave us the opportunity to [install] a pretty good rule. Statistically, we felt it needed to be changed. It wasn't creating the fairest result as far as field goal accuracy, field goal distance and drive starts."

"Plenty of people on the committee, myself included, are so-called traditionalists," former Colts president Bill Polian said. "I am proud to be one. But once you saw the statistics, it became obvious we had to do something."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com