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Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:37

NFL Playoff Preview: Wild Card

After a grueling four months, the 2012 NFL regular season has come to a close. Of the league's 30 teams, 18 have already packed up and gone home to an offseason likely to be rife with pointed fingers and fired coaches.

But 12 remain. A dozen teams that fought hard all year long just to get to this point, each of whom now has a new goal to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champions. But it's not going to be easy. It never is.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:26

Patriots Progress Report Fourth Quarter

After 17 weeks, the 2012 NFL regular season has finally come to an end. The New England Patriots have once more made their way into the postseason, riding a 12-4 record to the 2-seed in the AFC and a first round bye.

The Patriots finished out the year by winning three of their last four, their only loss coming at the hands of the playoff-bound 49ers. While their win over the Jaguars was lackluster, they looked great in demolishing the Texans and shutting out Miami in the season's last game. The team looks to be in solid shape heading toward the Super Bowl.

Published in Report Card
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 13:58

Patriots Progress Report Third Quarter

What a difference a month makes.

Over the past four games, the New England Patriots have played at an incredibly high level. An argument could be made, in fact, that they have been the best team in football over the past four games. The offense has been as high-octane as ever, while the defense has made a significant turnaround. Add to that some high-quality special teams play and it's no wonder that the Pats have won their last four.

Published in Report Card
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:52

Patriots Progress Report First quarter

There is no denying that the New England Patriots haven't started the season the way they would have liked. The Pats sit at 2-2 after the first four games of 2012; still, while Coach Bill Belichick and company would probably prefer to be sitting north of .500, there are reasons for optimism.

For instance, while New England is indeed 2-2, those two losses were by a grand total of three points. Losing to Arizona was unexpected, but it was only a two point loss a loss to a team that appears to have a defense far more ferocious than anyone thought possible. And losing by a single point to Baltimore a probable playoff team is certainly understandable, if not exactly welcome.

Published in Report Card
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:18

An open letter to Roger Goodell

Dear Commissioner Goodell,

Enough is enough.

I don't pretend to understand all of the particulars in your beef with the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA). I'm sure that there are a lot of details beneath the surface that make your differences a lot more complex than they might seem from the outside. How much of this mess is directly attributable to you is unclear, but you're the one who needs to clean it up. You need to talk to your bosses and change their tunes. You need to tuck your tail between your legs and do whatever it takes to get those guys back on the field.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:29

Line judge Shannon Eastin makes NFL history

DETROIT - Shannon Eastin used her left hand to tuck her pony tail under her cap after the national anthem and got ready for work.

She seemed to do her job, which ended by helping to separate St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions players after some shoving, pushing and shouting broke out following the final play.

Eastin became the first woman to be an official in an NFL regular-season game, working as the line judge in the Rams-Lions matchup Sunday.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 13:21

Fantasy in the basement

It's probably the best day of the year. Better than Christmas, New Year's Eve and even your birthday. It's the live and in-person fantasy football draft. This year we expand from 10 players to 12. The stakes are a little higher, but that's how we like it! Here's how it all went down

The draft was set to start at 10 a.m. Sunday morning; a little early for my taste, but what can you do I'm not the commissioner. We picked the draft order out of a hat, and I had the fifth overall selection in a snaking draft. Number one overall selection: Ray Rice. With number five I was at a loss as to what to do. I went Megatron: Calvin Johnson - can't go wrong, right? If you don't get Rice, Arian Foster or LeSean McCoy then it's kind of up in the air.

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 11:55

Try, try again: 2012 NFL season predictions

It's time once again for a feeble attempt at predicting the 2012 NFL season. My less-than-stellar track record with sports prognostication has become a bit of a running joke in these parts, but I refuse to be beaten. I am knowledgeable enough about the NFL that one of these years, I'm bound to nail it.

Will it be this year? Probably not.

Come then! Poor pigskin prognostication awaits!

*Denotes playoff pick

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:38

Martin brings tears to Hall of Fame

CANTON, Ohio - The linemen led the way as they always do, accepting their inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with an abundance of humility. Curtis Martin finished the evening by supplying plenty of tears.

The last of the six players to have their bronze busts unveiled Saturday night, Martin used the big stage to recall his rough life, his mother's pain and his life-long indifference to the game that allowed him to become famous.

'I don't necessarily have notes, so I'm going to just bare my soul,' Martin cautioned. 'So bear with me.'

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 15:42

Suspending Pro Bowl an option for NFL

NEW YORK - Have NFL fans seen the last of the Pro Bowl?

The game could be suspended next year, two people familiar with discussions said Thursday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, among others, expressed concerns about the quality of play after January's game, and the league has been holding talks with the players' union about the future of the all-star game. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were not being publicized.

Responding to an ESPN report that Goodell is 'strongly considering' suspending the game in 2013, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: 'No determination has been made yet.'

Published in Sports
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