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Tag:Emmitt Smith
Posted on: October 24, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: October 24, 2011 2:31 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 7

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 7 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.


1. He's Just a Winner
For the second time in three weeks, we lead the Pile with a story about Tim Tebow, thanks to Denver's 18-15 win in Miami on Sunday. And for the second time in three weeks, we lead the Pile with a story that was going to involve the phrase "Tim Tebow is a bad quarterback." And for the second time in three weeks I fully expect to be thrashed in the comments for not giving Tebow enough credit because he's a "winner."

This is fair, because Tebow did win. But it's unfair because Tebow looked unlike anything resembling an NFL quarterback for the majority of the game. Ask anyone who watched the game and they'll agree with you. My colleagues Pete Prisco ("looked lost," "isn't close to being a good quarterback") and Josh Katzowitz ("a mirage," "terrible," "horrendous," "no idea what he was doing") threw down lines on Tebow that belong on the back of the straight-to-DVD cover for the latest Adam Sandler movie.

To sum up everything about this game, let's watch the two-point conversion when Denver tied the game at 15. Before you click play, though, I want you to imagine you're a Dolphins defender and you know the Broncos only need two yards.


OK, presuming you played along, that video got McFly'd, because it never happened. Since, you know, anyone with a modicum of football sense saw the quarterback draw from Tebow coming on the play and snuffed it out. Somehow, the Dolphins failed to do this.

There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. Everyone on Miami's defensive coaching staff should be embarrassed for not knowing that was coming. And everyone on the Dolphins defense should be embarrassed for not recognizing what was happening, regardless of the playcall. Tony Sparano should be embarrassed after he went for a two-point conversion at the beginning of the fourth quarter with the Dolphins up 12-0; an extra point would have rendered this entire discussion moot.

In case you don't believe me, just look at the rollercoaster that is the win probability for the Broncos over the course of Sunday's game, courtesy of AdvancedNFLStats.com:



I realize that knocking on Tebow after he led a comeback on the road (well, kind of) in the face of adversity makes me a jerk, especially when that adversity includes a) a coach who might not want him to succeed, b) no real help at the other offensive skill positions and c) lacking the appropriate skills to play quarterback in the NFL.

But you know what he does have? The best attitude in the NFL.

"It's a good stadium," a smiling Tebow said after the game. "I enjoy playing here. Sometimes you have to find a way and keep believing and keep fighting."

That's classic Tebow, even if he had no business winning the game. I like what I heard on Twitter Sunday -- that Tebow is everything his critics say he is and yet, at the same time, everything his fans say he is -- because it's true. Tebow's a mechanically flawed, imperfect quarterback for the NFL, but he's fantastic young man who works his ass off and has such an improbably high level of faith in a higher power that he's automatically a lightning rod for discussion and/or controversy.

Look, I like Tebow and I don't necessarily enjoy taking the side of the argument where I have to dog the guy. I don't, I swear. But so very much about the Broncos victory in Miami was about the Dolphins inability to operate as a successful football team, and so very much of the Broncos victory was not about Denver's ability to dominate offensively.

But pick a side -- you have to, of course! -- and call me a jerk in the comments either way. Just remember that if you're the one screaming about how he's a winner you're on the same side as Skip Bayless and and LeBron James.

2. A Hue, Tiny Mistake
On the bright side, Tebow only cost the Broncos one first-round draft pick. Carson Palmer might, depending on how Oakland finishes the season, cost the Raiders two of them. Although if Palmer plays like he did on Sunday afternoon, it's pretty unlikely, since throwing three picks in one half isn't a great formula for making it to the AFC Championship.

Palmer did just that on Sunday, helping Kansas City blowout the Raiders 28-0 in Oakland. Oh yeah, it's awkward, and we'll get to that. But real quick, let me say I'm sorry, personally, to my colleague Matt Moore (not the guy who stinks for the Dolphins; and no, that never gets old) for consistently ripping the Chiefs over the past few weeks. They've now won three-straight games and next week they're playing the Chargers to determine who'll be in first place in the AFC West. Yes, the NFL is as insane as you think.

Back to the Raiders: for the most part, Hue Jackson's done a nice job with this team so far in 2011 but he's shown an ability to botch a decision or two. And he botched a big one on Sunday, waiting until 10 minutes left in the third quarter to bring in Palmer for Kyle Boller, who was the first quarterback in Raiders history to throw three picks in the first half of a single outing.

It's not that Hue should have yanked Boller more quickly, or that Hue should have left Boller in. It's just that he went into the game with no idea of how to handle the Palmer situation and by bringing in Palmer -- who obviously wasn't ready, because otherwise he would have started, right? -- for part of the second half, he not only offered up a pile of doubt for Raiders fans to judge Palmer on, but he put his would-be franchise quarterback out there for injury.

"Uncertainty at quarterback is not what led to interceptions or anything like that," Jackson said on Sunday, instead chalking up the lack of a clear-cut decision and the uncertainty at quarterback to "some gamesmanship."

Jackson was in a bad situation, because Darren McFadden was injured and Boller looked miserable, but if you're coaching this team and you're the guy who pulled the trigger on the Palmer trade, you need to have a plan locked in and stick with it regardless of how poorly things are going.

3. Elsewhere in the AFC West ...
For such a seemingly shoddy division, the AFC West is slinging some Week 7 storylines -- we've got Tebow, the Raiders controversy and the Chiefs getting back into the race. Oh yes, and the Chargers losing a "shoulda won" game against the Jets on Sunday, falling 27-21 in New York on a day that, instead of establishing the Chargers as one of the elite teams in the AFC, exposed them as having the same flaws they've always had.

"We can sit here and think of a bunch of reasons why," Philip Rivers said after the game. "The bottom line is that we came out playing really well. We just didn't finish off the game."

The Bolts came out white-hot -- on the fourth play from scrimmage, Donald Butler stripped Dustin Keller and took a "fumble" to the house to give San Diego an early lead. The Chargers caught a break on a Nick Mangold holding call that led to a Mark Sanchez interception and turned it into an Antonio Gates touchdown.

Gates return was the early key for San Diego, who appeared to solve their red-zone woes with the future Hall of Famer in the starting lineup.

But Brian Schottenheimer and Sanchez figured out that the Chargers had a bigger problem -- they don't have anyone that can matchup man-to-man with Plaxico Burress who, just a few months removed from being in prison, caught three touchdowns in the Jets win.

There's another problem for Norv's team, too, and it's Rivers playing poorly. I'm not sure whether or not the two-minute drill they ran at the end of the game was Turner's doing or Rivers' work, but it was one of the most mangled series of plays I've seen in a long, long time.

After holding the Jets to a field goal and a six-point lead, the Chargers started their final drive with 1:29 on the clock. They then proceeded to run five plays, move the ball a whopping 25 yards and burn 1:18 off the clock, meaning that in the most dire of circumstances, one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL moved the ball a quarter of the field at a snail-like pace of 3.12 seconds per yard.

Can you imagine how hot Turner's seat would be if the Chargers had coughed up a couple of their September squeak-by victories?



4. Quite Unprobable
It's a shame that Emmitt Smith's no longer dropping knowledge bombs on television, because I'd love to hear what the Hall of Famer would say about rookie third-rounder DeMarco Murray breaking his single-game Cowboys record for rushing yards in a game after piling up 253 yards on 25 carries.

As I wrote in this space after Week 2, "the former Sooner is a highly-talented receiver out of the backfield, and has the potential to be a serious threat." That was based on what I'd seen from Murray in very limited action through the first two weeks and, clearly, it was an understatement.

The Cowboys still didn't fire on all cylinders, but it doesn't take a maximum effort to beat up on the Rams, even to the point of a 34-7 whipping. Murray won't run like that every week but, man, even if you take away his first-quarter, 91-yard touchdown run, Murray still averaged 6.75 yards per carry against St. Louis.

Having talent, though, is typical of the Cowboys. Using it to maximize their success on gameday's the bigger issue. But with Seattle, Buffalo, Washington, Miami and Arizona on the schedule over the next six weeks, it's hard not to want to double down on their chances of winning the NFC East.

5. Six Or One-Half Dozen
One of the reasons to love the Cowboys? The Redskins are in the middle of a freefall. And it's all on the Jekyll and Jekyll combo that Mike Shanahan is rolling out under center this year.

Honestly, what would it take for Shanahan to admit that he made a mistake coming into 2011 with Rex Grossman and John Beck as his starting quarterbacks? Because before the season started, it was an indefensibly ridiculous gamble, the kind that seemed just bat-poop crazy enough to work but obviously wouldn't anyway.

Yet after four weeks, the Redskins were 3-1, held sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Sure, the end of the world was nigh, but at least Shanny seemed smarter.

Now, after John Beck's performance -- 22/37 for 279 yards, a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a pick -- on Sunday in a 33-20 loss in Charlotte, it's really impossible to imagine that they'll be a mathematical contender for much longer.

"I think overall John played very well first time out," Shanahan said Sunday.

Beck's numbers weren't that terrible, but he didn't look particularly adept at running Washington's offense and whether or not he's the answer for the Redskins shouldn't even be a question any more: he's not.

Adding to the problems for Washington is a report that running back Tim Hightower has a torn ACL (which would obviously put his season in jeopardy) and that receiver Santana Moss will miss 3-4 weeks with a broken hand. Oh yes, and Rex Grossman has pneumonia, so he's unlikely to be available any time soon.

Like I said on the podcast before Week 7, I'll pull a reverse Rex right now and guarantee that the Redskins finish in the basement of the NFC East. That's a better bet than them winning the division at this point.

6. Everyone Off This Bandwagon!
Those first five weeks were sweet for Lions fans, and as Mike Freeman wrote from Detroit on Sunday, it's not panic time yet, but it's getting close.

That's mainly because in Detroit's 23-16 loss to Atlanta on Sunday, their flaws as a team were really on display. With Jerome Harrison out for the season and Jahvid Best potentially sidelined for the year, this team has zero running game -- Maurice Morris led the way with nine carries for 50 yards.

They can't stop the run either; Detroit ranks 28th in the league in rushing yards allowed (129.4 yards per game) and Michael Turner carved them up on Sunday, ensuring that Matthew Stafford didn't get another shot at a comeback.

Getting a look Sunday might not be the biggest concern for Stafford either, because a bad result from the MRI he's reportedly undergoing Monday could spell for doom for what appeared to be a magical season. Stafford might be fine and then the passing game isn't a concern.

But if the Lions can't run the ball and they can't stop the run, they're going to struggle to win games against teams later in the year.

And all that swagger we've been talking about? Somehow it's backfiring. Last week it was Jim Schwartz' fiery tirade towards Jim Harbaugh; this week Lions defensive players were supposedly taunting Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan after he suffered an injury.

The Lions have enough talent to keep winning, and the future is bright in Detroit. And none of the things happening to them are, in an individual sense, devastating. But them all together and it's a quick recipe for the wheels coming off.

7. And Back on This One!
I was pretty sure the Texans would cover on Sunday. Win? Maybe. But it would be close. After all, Houston's been pretty putrid on offense since Andre Johnson injured his hamstring two weeks ago, managing just 39 points in losses to the Ravens and Raiders.

Needless to say, then, I wasn't prepared for the 41-7 smackdown that Arian Foster and company laid on the Titans. Foster piled up 234 total yards and three touchdowns, Matt Schaub missed on only five passes and the Texans defense stifled the Titans, holding them to 148 total yards on Sunday.

Chris Johnson, who said afterwards that his play is "not an issue," was, um, the biggest issue, rushing for just 18 yards on 10 carries.

"It's just a situation I got to continue to say I can't do nothing but keep working hard, running hard and doing what I can do for this team," Johnson said.

The problem is that Johnson's not running hard. Ask anyone who's watched him play this year and it's pretty apparent that he's not the same guy who deserved the big contract he held out for prior to this year. He's not showing any burst through the hole, he's got happy feet at the line and he looks like a running back who might be really fast but doesn't know how to run.

That's unfortunate for the Titans, obviously, but I'm not sure it would really matter in an AFC South race that's already wrapped up for all intents and purposes. The Texans showed on Sunday that despite their flaws, their still head and shoulders above the Jaguars, Titans and Colts. They might be second only to the 49ers when it comes to odds for making the playoffs, and with two matchups against the Jaguars, one against the Browns, one more against the Titans and a trip to Indy still on the docket, nine wins seems like a shoo-in.

Which means so is the division title; everyone else in the South is just that terrible this year.

8. Recent Super Bowl Rematches
I thought it was kind of interesting that we had a pair of matchups from the last three Super Bowls this year in Week 7, as the Colts and Saints squared off on Sunday night and the Steelers and Cardinals played during the day.

I also thought it was interesting that the teams who lost those Super Bowls are terrible -- the Colts remain winless and got absolutely whooped 62-7 by New Orleans Sunday night. I'm as guilty as anyone of discussing how important Peyton Manning is to Indy's chances, and I think they'd be a .500 team with him this year.

But they'd still be bad, because the dude doesn't play defense, and he certainly isn't responsible for Drew Brees throwing five touchdowns and only four incompletions in a single game.

As for Arizona/Pittsburgh, man does that Kevin Kolb trade look awesome or what? Kolb had a 73-yard touchdown, but it's poppycock to give him too much credit, since it was basically a five-yard drag route that LaRod Stephens-Howling turned into a long score.

I used this analogy in the podcast, but it's like the Cardinals are Netflix and Kolb is Qwikster, only the parent company doesn't have the option of hitting the reset button.


9. No Offense But ...
No offense. Like scoring and points and stuff -- there wasn't much of it during the early portion of the day games. Dolphins-Broncos, Redskins-Panthers, Browns-Seahawks; all were field-goal contests for at least the first half and, in some cases, longer.

There were plenty of scores (49, according to NFL Network's Red Zone, during the "day" games) but clearly offensive output was down from previous weeks. Brees blew up and Aaron Rodgers blew up and Ben Roethlisberger blew up, but those guys were the only quarterbacks to go over 300 yards on Sunday.

By contrast, four guys went over 400 yards in Week 1 (and 14 went over 300). Nine went over 300 yards in Week 2. 11 over 300 in Week 3. 10 in Week 4. Six quarterbacks crossed 300 yards in Week 5, and just six again in Week 6.

To me, this represents the point in the year where the defense finally caught up with the high-octane offenses in the NFL.

That doesn't mean the NFL's not a passing league any more, because it certainly is. Instead, a combination of the lockout, the reduced offseason workouts, the reduced in-season contact and rules designed to protect wide receivers and quarterbacks really set defenses back for the first few weeks of the 2011 season.

Lots of dudes could still break Dan Marino's record -- Aaron Rodgers is on pace 5,421 yards, Tom Brady's on pace for 5,768 yards -- but we've said that before only to see cold weather, injuries and improved defenses slow down incredible passing numbers.

It might just be happening again right now.

10. On Another Planet
When we see great athletes succeed, sometimes it's difficult to see just how dominant they are, because the game moves so slowly and looks so easy for them. This is often called "the zone."

Aaron Rodgers isn't just hanging out in this space -- at the beginning of the 2010 playoffs, he paid cash for about 30 acres of land in the zone and he's been living there ever since.

His level of play in his first three years running the Packers offense was incredibly impressive, but what he's doing in 2011 is absolutely phenomenal and, without being crass, watching him carve up defenses with precision is like football porn.

Rodgers has a combination of skills -- a lightning quick release, rapid movement through his reads, the ability to look off defenders, quick feet, to name a few -- that make him as deadly and precise a quarterback as we've seen in the NFL in a long time.

That's not a knock on Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, because Rodgers is different. And right now he's better -- it seems like every single drive he makes a throw that knocks your socks off and seems virtually impossible.

If Rodgers keeps up his current pace, he'll become the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards, complete more than 70 percent of his passes and throw less than 10 interceptions. (Drew Brees accomplished the first two in 2009 but threw 11 picks.)

There are things that could go wrong, of course, but if you look back at 2010, Rodgers didn't even really get hot until November and holy hell did he get hot.

Just remember that when you're deciding what to watch over these next few weeks.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Olindo Mare made three-straight field goals, each five yards longer than the last (35, 40, 45) because of two-straight Panthers offensive
... Brian Robison apologized for kicking T.J Lang in the groin and said it was an accident. The GIF below disagrees. Thankfully, Lang says his groin is fine. In case you care.
... Will Indy remember Sean Payton eating a hot dog the next time they play the Saints?
... The Broncos first third-down conversion on Sunday came with 4:22 remaining. In the third quarter.
... Calvin Johnson became the first wide receiver in Lions history with 10 or more touchdowns in three seasons on Sunday. That still doesn't mean Matt Millen should have drafted all those guys.
... Big ups to Tony Gonzalez for becoming the NFL's second all-time leader in receptions.
... Mike Wallace now has six-straight games with a reception of 40 yards or longer.
... The Packers are just the fourth team in NFL history to start the season 7-0 after winning a Super Bowl.
... Cam Newton extended his own streak -- only player in NFL history with seven or more rushing and passing touchdowns through seven games.
... Newton also tied Vince Young's record for rookie rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with seven. Something tells me he breaks it.

Worth 1,000 Words



Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Insane of the Week
"There's a lot of things,that can kill a man..a lot of ways 2 die...and some already dead,that walk besides me"

Ray LaMontagne probably couldn't have imagined the grizzly death that went down on Sunday night.

GIF O' THE WEEK
That the referee -- who quite clearly saw Brian Robison kick T.J. Lang in the man-region -- didn't throw Robison out for this is absolutely impressive. Even Roman Harper thinks this is cheap.



Hot Seat Tracker
It's totally worth noting that Todd Haley isn't on this list. Impressive move by him.
  • Jack Del Rio -- Some kid asked Rashean Mathis when JDR was getting fired. I texted my aunt in Jacksonville asking if it was one of her sons. She said it wasn't but that she was wondering the same thing.
  • Jim Caldwell -- Just because Indy's going to ride him out doesn't mean his job is safe.
  • Tony Sparano -- Adios, amigo.
  • Steve Spagnuolo -- The Rams are crushed by injuries but the bad losses are piling up. They need a good close to the season.
  • Ken Wisenhunt -- He's got the Cards practicing on their off day during their bye week. Might be feeling some pressure.
  • Norv Turner -- That two-minute drill against the Jets was a borderline fireable offense on its own.
  • Mike Shanahan -- What happens if the Redskins finish 4-12?
Chasing Andrew Luck
This is a heated race, folks. Certainly more interesting than the AFC South.

Colts (-500): Is point differential a tiebreaker? Because that would be good -- er, bad for the Colts.
Dolphins (-450): Their schedule is also quite bleak. At least their fans are happy?
Rams (-350): The NFC West schedule should keep them from landing the top pick, but it's not a guarantee.
Cardinals (-225): Wouldn't this be something after they traded for Kevin Kolb?
Jaguars/Vikings (-200): There sure are a lot of teams on this list who already invested heavily in quarterbacks.

MVP Watch
As I noted above, Rodgers is doing unholy things right now. There might be some sort of interesting, half-hearted argument at the end of the year, but if Rodgers keeps doing what he's done through seven weeks, he'll win in a landslide.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 5:21 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.12.11: Is July 17 date for new CBA?



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL)
  • Hines Ward denied allegations that he was driving drunk but he reportedly blew a 0.128 on something called an Alco-Sensor FST test, which is above the Georgia legal limit of 0.08.
  • Browns first-round pick Phil Taylor paid his own way to take part in the team's informal minicamp that began Monday.
  • Barry Sanders admits that it would have been nice to win a Super Bowl but adds, "I don't know what else I could have done." He also says that "I would never say that (I was better than Emmitt Smith). He was too great of a player, and I loved competing against him.”
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 12:19 am
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Not yet HOFers

Fireworks fly during the 2010 Pro Football HOF induction ceremony (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Pro Football Hall of Fame this past Sunday released the names of the 26 semifinalists that could be inducted into the HOF for 2011. Most of the names you know. You’ve watched them play. You’ve watched them win. You’ve watched them etch out fantastic careers.

Last year, you knew guys like Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith were going to make their way into the HOF in their first years of eligibility. These players were some of the best of all time. It was no contest.

But each year, there are certain players or coaches or executives that are left out who deserve to enter the hallowed halls of the … well … Hall. This Top Ten With a Twist isn’t about the players you know who full well will be inducted into next year’s induction class, minus Prime Time. These are the guys who might not, but who probably should be.

10. George Young, executive: I wonder if Young’s enshrinement has been held off because his skills had declined noticeably late in his career (ie. when free agency was introduced to the game in the early 1990s). But there’s no denying that Young was the NFL executive of the year five times and the teams he worked for won three conference titles and one Super Bowl title. For an executive, he was pretty damn important.

9. Jerry Kramer, OG, Packers (1958-68): While he was a very good player in his day – as the three Pro Bowls, five All-Pro selections and the oodles of championships attest – he did the world a favor when he wrote Instant Replay in 1967, giving fans an inside look at what occurs during an NFL season and at coach Vince Lombardi. No, it’s no Ball Four by Jim Bouton (that guy never could get in baseball’s HOF, by the way), but Kramer’s impact on how the fans view the game is an important piece of the NFL’s history.

8. Steve Tasker, WR/ST, Oilers (1985-86), Bills (1986-97): During his 14-year career, Tasker started a total of 15 games. He never had more than 21 catches in a season, and he caught nine touchdown passes. But the fact he’s perhaps the best special teams player ever to compete in the NFL should give him a path to the HOF. He was a 5-foot-9, 180-pound gunner, and he was fast and lethal. He went to the Pro Bowl seven times, and he was named the MVP of the Pro Bowl in 1993. He didn’t make it to the semifinals this year, but that’s not surprising. Special teamers are not given their just due (see No. 1).

7. Andre Reed, WR, Bills (1985-99), Redskins (2000): Reed has gotten caught up in the WR numbers game. He’s been eligible at the same time as Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Art Monk and Cris Carter, and I can see why it’d be tough to select Reed instead of those kinds of receivers. But you have to remember that Reed ranks ninth in career receptions all time and 11th in receiving yards. At some point, he deserves to be enshrined in Canton. Don’t expect it to happen this year, though.

6. Dermontti Dawson, C, Steelers (1988-2000): Simply put, he’s one of the greatest centers of all time. He made the Pro Bowl seven-straight seasons, and with his athletic ability and his knack for getting out in open space and making key blocks for his running backs, he changed the perception of what a center should be. He’ll probably become a finalist for the second time in as many years. One of these days, he should get the welcoming phone call.

5. Cris Carter, WR, Eagles (1987-89), Vikings (1990-2001), Dolphins (2002): Much like Reed, Carter is overshadowed by other receivers. He finished his career as the No. 2 WR (behind Jerry Rice) in receptions and touchdowns. He’s been passed by Marvin Harrison on the receptions list and by Randy Moss and Terrell Owens on the touchdowns list since he retired, but at some point, Carter should be in. It’s actually a little surprising that he’s not in already.

4. Don Coryell, coach: Yes, he wasn’t the originator of today’s modern offense – that’d be a combination of Sid Gillman, Paul Brown and various others – but his Air Coryell teams in the late 1970s to mid 1980s with the Chargers helped innovate the passing game we still see today. He’s already a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Now, it’s time for him to join Gillman as the only two coaches to be enshrined in the college and the pro Halls of Fame.

3. Deion Sanders, CB/PR, Falcons (1989-93), 49ers (1994), Cowboys (1995-99), Redskins (2000), Ravens (2004-05) : The reasons why are obvious. Just look at the video below. This is his first year eligible, and there’s little chance he won’t make it in immediately.



2. Ed Sabol, contributor: Enjoy watching NFL Films productions? You like watching the behind-the-scenes spots of the players woofing at each other on the sidelines and your favorite coach’s pregame and postgame speeches? If yes, you can thank Sabol, who helped found NFL Films in the mid-1960s. How differently would we view – and think about – the NFL if Sabol hadn’t been such a visionay? That’s unanswerable of course, but the fact NFL Films plays a big role in an NFL’s viewing experience makes Sabol HOF worthy.

1. Ray Guy, P, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (1973-86): Simply put, Guy is the greatest punter in the history of the game. But there are no kickers enshrined in the HOF. That must mean they’re less important than anybody else, right? Well, we all know that’s not true. It’s time to get Guy into the Hall. He deserves it.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: October 24, 2010 3:16 pm
 

Terrell Owens reaches the 150-TD mark

Posted by Andy Benoit

Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens became just the fifth player in NFL history to score 150 touchdowns Sunday when, with Cincinnati using a no-huddle offense, he caught a 19-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer.

We’ll assume this means Owens holds the unofficial all-time record with 150 touchdown celebrations, as it's unlikely that the four players ahead of him – Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson and Randy Moss – turned each of their scores into theatrical performance.

When all is said and done, Owens will be either the second or third most prolific wide receiver in NFL history. He is fifth all-time in receptions and needs less than 100 more to pass Marvin Harrison for second all-time. He’s already third in yards and should catch Isaac Bruce for second place sometime around Thanksgiving.

For the record, he's caught 147 career TDs and rushed for three scores.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: August 8, 2010 7:52 pm
 

Emmitt apologizes for forgetting UF in speech

Posted by Will Brinson

Emmitt Smith gave a profoundly impressive speech when he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

One little problem: he forgot to mention the University of Florida in his speech. Conspiracy theories started cropping up as to why the Gator would have insulted his alma mater by not mentioning them in his lengthy address to football fans everywhere.

Smith, to his credit, attempted to clear up the issue on Twitter Sunday evening.
I sincerely sincerely apologize for not mentioning u last night in my hof speech Gator Nation

I jus got caught up in everything plz charge it to my mind not my heart!!

once a GATOR always a GATOR I loved everything the U of florida gave me
Emmitt's willingness to apologize makes it seem a lot less awkward that he forgot to mention his college.

There was a lot of talk, though, about Smith memorizing his speech. And if that's the case, and he did so properly, it's kind of hard to accidentally leave out something as important as the college he attended.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: August 8, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2010 6:52 pm
 

2010 Hall of Fame Game Preview: 10 to watch

Posted by Will Brinson


All due respect to Christmas, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Because, well, football's here people. Hope springs eternal right now for nearly every team in the league, and for everyone who loves Sundays the way they should be enjoyed.

And though tonight's game between Cincinnati and Dallas isn't a regular season game, it's still the metaphorical starter waving his proverbial flag for us to get pumped for football. As such, let's run through 10 things to watch for tonight.

First things first, though: make sure to follow us on Twitter , so you can discuss all things NFL as the football season kicks off.

1. Terrell Owens' interaction with the Bengals
Obviously, Bengals fans are going to be interested to see how he fits in with the team. Certainly, timing between Carson Palmer and Owens will be of tantamount importance, but there's no reason to discount watching the defense as well; the Cowboys have a good idea of the damage that TO can do, and seeing the initial schemes that they throw at Chad Ochocinco -- based on Owens' presence on the other side -- will probably give a reasonable indication as to what he should see all season long (provided Owens doesn't prove to be a total non-factor throughout the year).

"I'm a playmaker," Owens said. "I know Michael Irvin has adopted that title, but that's what I do and have done throughout my career is make plays. The coaches know what I'm capable of once the ball is in my hands. They're going to get all of Terrell on the field."

Andy also makes an excellent point about Owens -- how will his demeanor be towards Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys throughout the game? More on this in just a second.

2. Who's carrying the Cowboys' weight?

As we detailed previously, Jones bulked up in the offseason, while Marion Barber lost a few pounds. There's a certain school of thought, expressed quite nicely by Will Carroll at SI.com , that adding pounds to certain body frames can actually be a bad thing.

"Health is a skill, one that linebackers try to take away with every hit. Jones' problem hasn't really been those kind of hits, but in holding together his own body. Bulk often is accompanied by a reduction in flexibility and any additional tightness is going to be even more risky for the tightly-wound Jones. It also isn't going to keep him on the field for his pass blocking either. (It's still bad.)"

Personally, I'm still high on Jones, but concern over someone who traditionally hasn't been able to stay healthy changing his body style (potentially for the worse in terms of health) is certainly understandable. Also understandable: wanting Tashard Choice to look good on Sunday night. He's definitely the third option for the Cowboys, but because of, well, Jones' health he's seen plenty of playing time in the past few years.

3. Cincy's other new weapons
Lost -- somewhat -- in the hype that is Batman and Robin are the signings of Antonio Bryant and Jermaine Gresham since the Bengals last took the field for meaningful football. Bryant won't likely be playing for the Bengals, but Gresham should. And considering that he's supposed to provide the high-end receiving option from the tight end position, well, Bengals fans should be curious to see how he performs, especially with a recent report that he "looked lost" not offering immediate enthusiasm.

Also of interest is the possibility of seeing double tight end sets out of Cincy -- 2009 third-rounder Chase Coffman (who won the John Mackey Award for the best tight end in college his senior year) will likely get some action tonight -- which, given the receiving talent at the position, could provide for some very interesting formations during the season.

4. Trickeration time?
It's fairly obvious that Owens and Ochocinco like attention. So do the Dallas Cowboys, duh. And since this is the first game of the 2010 season, it seems like a reasonably awesome moment to bust out some first quarter fanciness. If I had to put money on one thing, it would involve Ochocinco throwing a pass to Owens on some sort of end-around. If you've got better ideas, leave them in the comments.

5. Terrell Owens' interaction with the Cowboys
Yeah, I know. Giving the VH1 star TWO of 10 bullet points is kind of feeding the monster. So we'll add Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson too. Since, you know, all three are former Cowboys. That's not to say that we should expect TO to try and extract revenge on his former team. Or do we ?

"Do I think I probably should still be there?" Owens said about his time in Dallas. "Yeah. But that's not the case. You deal with that situation as it comes. I think a lot of people know there are some unfortunate things that happened there ... Again, I still stand by the things I said and what was done and I know it wasn't my fault.''

You may recall that Owens shamed the entire state of Texas by mocking the glory of the Cowboys' star. They temporarily forgave him when he joined the 'Boys for his run there, but considering how many Cowboys fans were in attendance to see Emmitt Smith's spectacular speech last night, would it be surprising to hear some boos for Owens? Of course not.

The only thing less surprising would be Owens abstaining from some action designed to rib Dallas' fans and players a little bit.

6. What do you know about pressure ?
Kickers are considered an afterthought for many people (and "idiots" by folks like Peyton Manning), but the reality of the NFL is that they matter. A lot.

Mike Nugent and Dave Rayner are battling it out in Cincinnati, while the unproven -- but quite brash -- David Buehler should be the guy to take the Cowboys through the season. However, kicking in practice and kicking in an actual game situation are two completely different things. And while preseason games might not matter much for first-stringers or guaranteed starters, for someone looking to lock down a job with an NFL team for pushing an oblong ball between two poles, performing well before the regular season starts is an absolute  must. (Quick update: Looks like THE NUGE isn't bringing his leg to the field today, so it's up to Rayner to try and not look stupid in kicking action for the Bengals tonight.)

7. Will Doug B. Free?
To not worry about his job stability, that is. Doug Free takes over for Flozell Adams on the left side of the line in Dallas, and the reason Adams is gone is that Wade Phillips (and presumably Jerry Jones as well) was confident enough in Free's ability as a blind-side protector to make the move.

Whether Free wants it or not, that's an ample amount of pressure on him. And while Alex Barron wasn't signed in the offseason to compete with Free, he's still there, which only adds to the pressure. Free's been very good in camp thus far (his first two snaps excepted), but that performance would be worthless if Tony Romo got decapitated on the first play from scrimmage.

8. The Big Backup D
Wade Phillips has already said that Jason Hatcher "needs to play anyway" while calling Marcus Spears' 4-6 week injury a "good opportunity" for Hatcher. That's true, and with 8.5 of the Cowboys' 42 sacks from 2009 on the mend, it'll be interesting to see how Hatcher can step in and play. Optimistically, the Cowboys won't need him immediately, but optimism isn't always warranted.

Additionally, Sean Lee won't see time tonight, which means that Jason Williams and Victor Butler should get plenty of backup-LB action behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Again, you don't WANT to use them, but finding out that your team is deep at an already strong position isn't exactly a bad thing. If they actually are.

9. Sack lunch
The Bengals defense was superb last year, with one exception: putting the quarterback on the ground before he throws the ball. They ranked 16th in the NFL with 34 sacks, but this year should be different. As Pete Prisco noted in his love/hate for the Bengals camp tour , the line has a lot of depth heading into 2010. The return of Antwan Odom, who was leading the NFL in sacks before he tore his Achilles' last season, is particularly beneficial. If they can generate more pressure on the quarterback than they did last year, it won't be hard to duplicate it. We just need to see that the depth is there.

10. Emmitt Smith's Interview
Another excellent suggestion from Andy -- who tweeted about it earlier -- because, if you recall Emmitt's speech from last night, he was wonderful. Shockingly wonderful, in fact, having memorized the entire lengthy speech, which he delivered without any of his trademark bumbling.

If you're Norby Williamson or George Bodenheimer, are you wondering "Where was that guy when he worked for us?" Because you should be. Smith's time as a commentator was a bit rough and he was an absolute gem as a speaker last night ... with a little preparation. It's worth seeing how he does when he steps back into the booth.

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Posted on: August 7, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 11:37 pm
 

Emmitt Smith cries while thanking Daryl Johnston

Posted by Will Brinson

Whether or not you think Emmitt Smith is the greatest running back of all-time (I don't; I'm not alone) , he was one of the all-time greatest backs to ever grace the gridiron, and he's a lock-job Hall of Famer. That probably explains why they saved his speech for last (well, that and the distinct possibility that he could offer up an amazing gaffe).

Emmitt moved through a list of people he wanted to thank -- Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Jimmy Johnson, Norv Turner, Jerry Jones and many more from earlier in his career -- and finally called out "Daryl Johnston, where are you?"

At this point, the crowd (which featured a LOT of Dallas Cowboy fans) went bonkers, screaming "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!!" as Johnston stood up from his seat in the crowd.

"Darryl, you mean the world to me," Emmitt began, before thanking him first for his blocking and then, as the all-time leading rusher began to become clearly emotional, for treating Smith "like a brother."

"Without you," Emmitt said, wiping away tears from his face. "I know today would not have been possible. I love you, Daryl, from the bottom of my heart."

It was a pretty touching moment in what was an exceptional speech, even for the most cynical of Emmitt haters.

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Posted on: August 3, 2010 3:41 pm
 

Hey Kurt Warner, show us your moves

I hate to tread on Andy’s celebrity-gossip role here on the Facts & Rumors blog, but the Washington Post is reporting that Kurt Warner will be included on the next season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

He joins Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, Warren Sapp, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Irvin and Chad Ochocinco as the only NFL alumni – or current players – to compete on the show. Of all those contestants, only Smith has won.

Though he’s the first quarterback ever to participate, I doubt Warner will be the next NFL star to win the title. But that’s OK. It might not compare to the Dancing with the Stars trophy, but Warner does have a Super Bowl ring.

--Josh Katzowitz

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