Archive for March, 2012

All Clubs Directed to Ensure No Bounty Programs Exist

In addition to announcing discipline on the New Orleans Saints and individual employees for the operation of an illegal bounty program, Commissioner Roger Goodell also instructed all clubs today to certify that no such program exists at any NFL team.

In a memo to NFL clubs, Commissioner Goodell directed the principal owner of every NFL team to meet with the head coach and confirm that the club does not operate a similar pay-for-performance or bounty program and to instruct his coach that no such program is permissible and that if such a program exists, it must be terminated immediately.

Each principal owner and head coach must certify this in writing to the commissioner by March 30.

“Bounty programs have no place in our game,” Commissioner Goodell stated. “They are incompatible with our efforts to promote sportsmanship, fair play, and player safety.”

Going forward, Commissioner Goodell said, the annual certifications required of each club under the league’s “Integrity of the Game Policy” will be modified to include specific references to bounties and pay-for-performance programs. The prohibition on pay-for-performance programs includes not just “bounties” but any form of non-contract bonus payment. Owners and head coaches share the responsibility for ensuring adherence to these rules and for promoting player safety and the integrity of the game.

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NFL Announces Management Discipline in New Orleans Saints ‘Bounty’ Matter

Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the New Orleans Saints today of the discipline that will be imposed on team management for violations of the NFL’s long-standing “bounty” rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.

Discipline for individual players involved in the Saints’ prohibited program continues to be under review with the NFL Players Association and will be addressed by Commissioner Goodell at a later date. The program included “bounty” payments for “knock-outs” and “cart-offs,” plays on which an opposing player was forced to leave the game. At times, the bounties even targeted specific players by name.

The NFL’s extensive investigation established the existence of an active bounty program on the Saints during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons in violation of league rules, a deliberate effort to conceal the program’s existence from league investigators, and a clear determination to maintain the program despite express direction from Saints ownership that it stop as well as ongoing inquiries from the league office.

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised.”

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” Commissioner Goodell continued. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”

For the complete release, click here

Back-To-Back Quarterbacks: Robert Griffin III & Andrew Luck Featured on NFL Network’s Live Pro Day Coverage Wed. & Thurs.

NFL Network LIVE from Baylor Wed., March 21 at 1:00 PM ET & LIVE from Stanford Thurs., March 22 at 3:00 PM ET 

Draft expert Mike Mayock live on location for both workouts

With the NFL Draft approaching, NFL Network this week will televise live the pro days of highly-rated quarterbacks Robert Griffin III from Baylor and Andrew Luck from Stanford, who will throw for NFL clubs for the first time this offseason.

NFL Network will televise special editions of Path to the Draft on Wednesday at 1:00 PM ET for the workouts at Baylor University and on Thursday at 3:00 PM ET for Stanford University’s pro day.  NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock will be on-location for both workouts. Paul Burmeister and Charley Casserly will be in the Path to the Draft studio for the Baylor Pro Day. Burmeister will join Mayock on-location at Stanford with Fran Charles and Casserly in the studio. 

On both days, NFL Network will feature additional post-workout coverage on the 6:00 PM ET edition of Path to the Draft and the 7:00 PM ET NFL Total Access.

“I know we are going to watch these two kids throw the ball,” Mayock said. “But what’s more intriguing to me is how the rest of these kids respond.”

Mayock on Baylor Pro Day: “This is a big day for Kendall Wright, a potential first-round wide receiver who ran poorly at the Combine. He needs to run a better 40 and needs to catch the ball from Robert Griffin, run routes, run verticals, and get in and out of breaks. It’s also a big day for offensive lineman Philip Blake and tailback Terrance Ganaway.”

Mayock on Stanford Pro Day: “There are a group of guys who will be picked in the first two rounds. Coby Fleener is my highest-rated tight end right now, but I don’t have a first-round tight end anywhere. Fleener has been hurt and couldn’t work out at the Combine. This is a huge day for him – how well does he run, how well does he catch, does he get in and out of breaks? They have two offensive linemen who could go in the first round. Let’s see their position drills. What’s going to happen with Jonathan Martin at left tackle? Is he a first-round left tackle? Certainly we know that David DeCastro is a first-round offensive guard.”

NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis and is the only television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log on to www.nfl.com/nflnetwork.

NFL Media Scores 14 Sports Emmy Nominations

TWO NOMINATIONS FOR “A FOOTBALL LIFE”  

TWO NFL FILMS’ PRODUCED SHOWS NOMINATED FOR OUTSTANDING SPORTS SERIES

ANALYST MIKE MAYOCK NOMINATED FOR FIRST SEASON ON “THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” 

NFL Media, comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films and NFL.com, recorded 14 Sports Emmy Award nominations, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced today.

The critically acclaimed NFL Network/NFL Films A Football Life series was recognized in its debut season with two nominations — in the Outstanding Sports Anthology Series category as well as for the “Meet Bill Belichick” promotional announcement/commercial.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was nominated as Outstanding Event Analyst for his first season in the Thursday Night Football booth.

For the second time in the show’s two seasons, the NFL Network/NFL.com production The NFL Season: A Biography received a nomination in the Outstanding New Approaches Sports Programming category. NFL Network/NFL.com received a second nomination in the category for the new Football Freakonomics series.

NFL Network earned recognition in the writing category for the “Lombardi Returns” feature on NFL GameDay Morning and for Outstanding Edited Sports Special for “Sharpe Focus: Journey to Canton.” In addition, the NFL GameDay Morning “Carpool” commercial was nominated.

NFL Films, which has won 105 Sports Emmy awards, is the only company to produce two shows nominated in the Outstanding Sports Anthology Series category and is the only with nominated programs produced for three TV networks. In addition to A Football Life, NFL Films earned a nomination in the anthology series category for the new NFL Turning Point show, which it produces with VERSUS, which was rebranded NBC Sports Network earlier this year. NFL Films also was nominated in the Outstanding Studio Show/Weekly category for Inside the NFL, which it produces along with Showtime and CBS.

NFL Network and NFL Films also gained recognition for NFL Films Presents: Shots of the Season (Outstanding Camera Work), Men of Mettle – Ed Sabol’s Last Football Movie (Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics), and NFL Films Presents: Super Bowl XLV and Sound FX: All Access in the Outstanding Post Produced Audio category.

The 33nd Annual Sports Emmys Awards will be presented on Monday, April 30 in New York City at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

For the complete release, click here

Record numbers for NFL Network & NFL Digital for “Free Agency Frenzy”

Fans once again were ready for some football, tuning into NFL Network and visiting NFL Digital Media properties in record-breaking numbers as free agency kicked off Tuesday, March 13 at 4:00 PM ET.

NFL Network’s coverage of free agency’s first day posted a five percent increase in primetime viewership over free agency’s first day last year (July 29, 2011) with an average of 337,000 fans tuning in (compared to 320,000 in 2011). The average viewership is the network’s highest ever for the first day of free agency.

In addition, anticipation of the free agency kickoff resulted in an average of 288,000 viewers tuning in to Monday night’s special two-hour NFL Total Access free agency preview – ranking with last night’s special two-hour NFL Total Access (394,000 average viewers) as the two most-watched NFLTA shows in the month of March in the network’s eight-year history.

The NFL’s digital media platforms — including NFL.com, NFL Mobile Only From Verizon and other NFL mobile products — posted a 40 percent increase in page views compared to the first day of free agency last season.

In addition, Tuesday ranked as NFL Digital Media’s highest single-day traffic ever in March in total page views and unique users.

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NFL Player Engagement partners with USA Football

USA Football and NFL Player Engagement are partnering to provide a premier athlete character development curriculum for U.S. National Teams in football.

USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States which assembles and manages U.S. National Teams in the sport. The Indianapolis-based organization also is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and each of its 32 teams.

Led by NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT, a former NFL all-pro defensive back, NFL Player Engagement assists players in reaching their highest potential on and off the field with guidance, support, and resources provided before, during and after their NFL experiences. Through the NFL PREP leadership series, Vincent and his department address high school and youth student-athletes about the importance of academic excellence, character development, and conflict resolution.

NFL PREP curriculums will be presented at all five U.S. National Team Trials this year for U.S. Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 teams. U.S. National Team Trials provide players an opportunity to compete for a roster spot on a national team while strengthening their football skills and character development. Trials include individual position drills, one-on-one and seven-on-seven situations. Each player receives a written evaluation by USA Football’s National Team scouts, all of whom have playing or scouting experience on the NFL or college level. 
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Free Agency Signing Period Begins; 532 Players Become Free Agents

The National Football League today announced that 532 players are free agents who now can negotiate with all 32 clubs. 

Players are either “restricted” or “unrestricted” free agents.  Within the categories are also “franchise” and “transition” players.

The time period for free agency signings in 2012:

  • Restricted Free Agents – March 13 to April 20.
  • Unrestricted Free Agents (who have received June 1 tender from prior club) – March 13 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).
  • Franchise Players – March 13 to November 13, the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season.
  • Transition Players – There are no transition player designations this year.

For the complete release, click here

For a Free Agency Q&A, click here

NFL players enroll in programs at Harvard and Kellogg business schools

66 Players to Take Part in

NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program

Workshops Run March 19-23 and April 1–5

Current and former starting quarterbacks BYRON LEFTWICH, JOHN BECK, CHARLIE BATCH, BRUCE GRADKOWSKI and BRADY QUINN are among the 66 players who have enrolled in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at Harvard Business School and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

The program is one of NFL Player Engagement’s initiatives to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers.  Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 700 players have participated.

“We are excited to continue this program which has been beneficial to so many of our players,” said NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT, who has attended each of the business management programs.  “Over the years, the Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program has assisted players — myself included — and their families in making smarter business decisions while inspiring others to go back to school for an MBA.”

The schools will offer executive education activities in their respective areas of expertise. Taught by full-time Harvard Business School faculty members, the customized five-day program at HBS (March 19-23) aims to help participants learn to develop a business idea or plan in such areas as investments, real estate, and retailing. 

The Kellogg School program (April 1-5) will focus on entrepreneurship, underscoring the fundamentals of investing and how to create and finance new ventures. Kellogg faculty members will teach classes on topics such as entrepreneurial finance, angel investing, equity versus debt capital, effective negotiating, and marketing in the nanosecond world. 

Players complete an application process in order to attend the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program. Enrollment criteria includes level of education; professional business experience; interest in starting, owning, or managing a business; and leadership and community involvement.

For the complete list of current and former players participating, click here.

2012 NFL Free Agency Questions & Answers

SALARY CAP SET AT $120,600,000

Q.  When does the 2012 free agency signing period begin?

A.  At 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, March 13.         

Q.  What are the categories of free agency?

A.  Players are either “restricted” or “unrestricted” free agents.  Within the categories are also “franchise” and “transition” players.

Q.  What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

A.  For restricted free agents, from March 13 to April 20.  For unrestricted free agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior Club, from March 13 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  For franchise players, from March 13 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 13.  If a franchise player does not sign by November 13, he must sit out the season.  There are no transition player designations this year.

For the complete release, click here

‘Free Agency Frenzy 2012′ — NFL Network & NFL.com Provide Complete Around-the-Clock Free Agency Coverage

Two-Hour ‘NFL Total Access – Free Agency 2012 Preview’ Kicks Off Coverage Monday, March 12 at 7:00 PM ET

‘Free Agency Frenzy’ Tuesday, March 13 & Wednesday, March 14 Provides Breaking News & Analysis

NFL.com’s ‘Free Agency Tracker’ Provides Up-to-the-Minute Reports on the Latest News

Where will quarterback Peyton Manning land in free agency? Which free agents will remain with their current teams, and which ones will have new homes next season? Find out the answers to these questions and more as NFL Network and NFL.com serve as the definitive home for the start of the 2012 free agency period.

Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi and former NFL general manager Charley Casserly provide the front office view, bringing more than 40 years of combined front office experience to NFL Network’s unmatched roster of analysts and reporters. Former NFL head coaches Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick offer their insight into the free agency process, while former NFL players Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Mike Mayock, Sterling Sharpe and Heath Evans analyze the impact each signing will make and discuss their own experiences as free agents.

NFL Network Insider Jason La Canfora provides the latest breaking news and developments across the league.

Reporters are scheduled to be stationed at the following team facilities to provide up-to-the-minute reports:

Jeff Darlington – Miami Dolphins

Albert Breer – Washington Redskins

Steve Cyphers – Denver Broncos

Alex Flanagan – Arizona Cardinals

Michelle Beisner – San Francisco 49ers

Solomon Wilcots – Cincinnati Bengals

Stacey Dales – Chicago Bears

Additionally, NFL beat reporters offer insight into team needs and how they may be addressed in free agency.

NFL Network and NFL.com provide complete, around-the-clock coverage of the upcoming free agency period with a two-hour NFL Total Access – Free Agency Frenzy 2012 Preview Monday, March 12 at 7:00 PM ET. Hosts Scott Hanson and Lindsay Rhodes, analyst Brian Baldinger and reporter Steve Wyche preview all of the latest news leading up to the opening of free agency.

NFL Network’s live free agency coverage continues Tuesday, March 13 at 12 Noon ET, with Free Agency Frenzy Preview hosted by Fran Charles, taking viewers up to the start of the free agency period at 4:00 PM ET with analysis and reports on where players might land.

At 4:00 PM ET, Rich Eisen joins Lombardi, Evans, La Canfora and Wyche as the free agency period begins.

A special-two hour edition of NFL Total Access airs at 7:00 PM ET, breaking down the first day of free agency and analyzing the impact the moves will have.

NFL Network’s live free agency coverage continues on Wednesday, March 14 at 12 Noon ET with a six-hour edition of Free Agency Frenzy.

Fans can track all of the player movement in real time and read the latest reports on where players might land on NFL.com’s Free Agency Tracker. With lists sorted by recent signings, player name, position and favorite team, NFL.com is the ultimate destination for information regarding free agents throughout the league. To view NFL.com’s Free Agency Tracker, visit http://www.nfl.com/freeagency.

Additionally, NFL Network/NFL.com reporter Jason La Canfora provides the latest news and reports surrounding free agency in his blog, http://blogs.nfl.com/category/jason-la-canfora/.

NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis and is the only television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log on to www.nfl.com/nflnetwork.