Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, Greg Olsen finalists for NFL Man of the Year

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen were selected as the three finalists for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

The winner will be announced Feb. 4 at the NFL Honors awards show the night before Super Bowl LI.

Larry, Eli and Greg are not only top-tier athletes, but also men of great character, integrity and generosity of spirit. Their passion for community and helping others is having a positive impact on countless individuals and communities, and it’s something we should all celebrate NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. We commend these impressive men for setting the standard for NFL players and athletes nationwide.

Maybe it’s a coincidence that ever since Munn publicly praised Rodgers and their traditions shortly before the start of Week 12, the Packers have been riding high on an eight-game win streak. Maybe the love and support Munn provides to Rodgers has partially led to his success.

We, of course, wont ever know. Because football media culture precludes us from eulogizing the woman behind the signal caller.

And instead, if the Packers do fall before securing another Lombardi Trophy in the next few weeks, you can be sure the internet trolls will berate Munn.

Overall, Green Bays defense performed better than in a 30-16 home loss to Dallas in Week 6 despite the Cowboys actually netting five more yards (429 to 424). Running back Ezekiel Elliott was held to a more modest 125 yards on 22 carries after gouging the Packers for 157 on 28 carries in mid-October. Prescotts numbers also dipped in yards per attempt (9.1 to 7.9) and completion percentage (66.7 to 63.2) from that first meeting.steelers_012

Ref denies crew’s admitting to missed facemask call on Seahawks’ Paul Richardson

Referee Brad Allen disputes that he or anyone on his crew admitted they missed a facemask penalty on Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson during his spectacular touchdown catch in Saturday nights wild-card game in Seattle.

NBCs Michele Tafoya reported during the broadcast that Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said a member of the officiating crew told him they got it wrongby not throwing a flag on Richardson for grabbing safety Tavon Wilsons facemask as he made the catch. Wilson drew a flag for defensive pass interference on the play.

You look out there, theres two uprights youre looking at, Gano said, via the Charlotte Observer. I know the league talked to them about it before when we played here a couple years ago. So its a bit bush-league.

But once again, its not a reason why I performed poorly. It just adds another element.

Although the NFL wouldn’t officially comment on the incident, there is a league policy regarding video during kicks.

Use of video boards to distract the visiting team’s kicker during field goal attempts or extra point attempts is prohibited. Distracting video includes, but is not limited to, extreme close-ups of the face of the visiting team’s kicker and fast zooming in and out.
In cases like this, the league will check the video feed of the team to determine if a violation occurred. If they determine a team violated the policy, they will contact the club and issue a warning. If there have been previous warnings, which Gano claims there have been, the league will fine the team.rams_089

MLB Draft 2017: Why the Twins should skip the two-way star at No. 1

While holding the first pick in the MLB Draft is a somewhat “dubious honor,” to quote Crash Davis from “Bull Durham,” it does provide a team — the Twins this year — the opportunity to help turn around their organization’s fortunes.

So far this spring, three names have been linked with the Twins’ top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft: Hunter Greene, Kyle Wright, and Brendan McKay. The first two would be solid choices; the third would not. More on that in a bit.

Merchant hit .265 and stole 33 bases in 50 games that first season. The next year, while playing for the Pirates’ Class A affiliate in Augusta, Ga., he separated his throwing shoulder while diving for a ball. His season ended after 60 games.

The Pirates traded Merchant the next season, including him in a five-player deal that ironically landed him in the Mariners organization. While playing for Class AA Jacksonville in 1991, Merchant broke his right ankle.

“I knew that night I was in trouble,” he said. “I never got my speed back again.”

Merchant went on to also play in the Reds, White Sox and Royals organizations. His career also included two stints with independent league teams and time in the Mexican League. His best year came in 1993 while playing for the Reds’ AA affiliate in Chattanooga, Tenn. There, he hit .301 with 17 home runs in 109 games, earning him his first promotion to Triple-A.nike_cardinals_1608

It’s sort of a strange tribute because four of the six players spent their entire careers with the Dolphins.

The immortal moments of Sunday’s game put it on that pedestal, too. Julian Edelman’s ricochet catch late in the fourth, on the game-tying drive, is arguably the greatest in Super Bowl history.

The fact that the Patriots pulled off two touchdowns and a couple two-point conversions to tie it — brutally hard to do under any circumstances — qualifies it, as well.

Brady had no choice but to keep throwing it after falling so far behind, and after throwing his first postseason pick-six ever … and he set Super Bowl records for passes thrown and yardage.

There were unsung heroes like James White and Marcus Mitchell, MVPs humbled like Matt Ryan, stars who shined in defeat like Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, strategic blunders, dramatic turning points, unforgivable gaffes even by the winning team (the clanked extra-point kick).

It’s sort of a strange tribute because four of the six players spent their entire careers with the Dolphins. Only Little, whose first two seasons were spent with the Chargers, and Madison, who played the final three seasons of a 12-year career with the Giants, were with other teams.

“In this day and age, we try to get players to retire as Dolphins,” executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said during the signing ceremony. “This means a lot to us, our legacy. We’re all so proud of it and all the contributions you guys have made, it means a lot to all of us. We thank you guys and we’re proud that you’re Dolphins.”

The six players combined for two NFL MVP awards — Griese in 1971 and Marino in 1984 — 14 first-team All-Pros selections and 25 Pro Bowl invitations.

Griese helped lead the Dolphins to their only two Super Bowl championships during their undefeated 1972 season and again in 1973.

Marino retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, completions, attempts and touchdowns — and remains among the top five all time in each of those categories.seahawks_011

Ironic twist to Cam Newton’s Super Bowl 51 commercial for Buick

Mahomes, a gunslinger, reminds of a less refined version of Matthew Stafford. He has similar arm talent and reckless behaviors that will give his future offensive coordinator headaches early in his NFL career. But in a quarterback class that, as of now, doesn’t have a sure bet as a top prospect, I can live with taking the passer who has the most upside as a quarterback.

Mahomes is still skittish in the pocket (because of a lack of development, not out of fear of contact) and makes throws and decisions much harder than they should be. But once he can be reigned in as a progression passer, Mahomes could be similar, if not a better version of Matt Stafford or, at worst, Jay Cutler. He’s worth a top 20 pick and could emerge as a top 10 candidate by the time the process is through.

Cam Newton is set to star in a Super Bowl commercial for Buick, the same brand of car that crashed into his truck on December 9, 2014.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback suffered two back fractures when his Dodge truck collided with a Buick sedan and flipped multiple times.

Fast forward two years later — and the 27-year-old will promote the car brand on the sports world’s biggest marketing stage, alongside supermodel Miranda Kerr.
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Brock Osweiler says ‘film for the past 2 years’ proves he’s a starting QB and, uh, OK Brock

Brock Osweiler’s 2016 was so bad the Houston Texans gave up a second-round draft pick just to get out from under his contract. They were eager to jettison the young passer despite having only Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden at quarterback behind him.

Yet even with a dire history as an NFL passer, Osweiler still believes he’s in line to start for the Cleveland Browns this fall.

The Browns’ offseason salary dump acquisition told reporters he’s “absolutely” a starting-caliber quarterback Wednesday, just months after his 72.2 passer rating ranked him second-to-last among NFL QBs. When WKRK The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter pressed him on the issue, he pointed to his underwhelming resume as proof.

Ruiter: “Are you good enough to be a starting quarterback in this league?”

“Von be everywhere, man, but I’m going to try and get somewhere with him this summer, for sure,” said Beasley. “I’ll probably go to him, to be honest.

“Oh, it will help me out a lot. The attention that Von gets year in and year out is unbelievable. They respect him as a pass-rusher, and I’m headed in that direction. So I can learn a lot from him in that case.”

It’s not just a personality fit for Kaepernick in Bennett’s eyes. He also feels that the skills Kaepernick brings on the field are a good match for the Seahawks, who have an offense that favors the run.yankees_1179_40942faa042d5251-180x180