Archive for June, 2012

NFL shifts CBS & FOX late doubleheader kickoff times to ensure more football for fans

4:25 PM ET Kickoff Time Reduces Overlap With 1:00 PM Games  

The kickoff time for Sunday late afternoon doubleheader games on CBS and FOX will be moved from 4:15 PM ET to 4:25 PM ET, the NFL announced today.  The 4:05 PM ET kickoff time for games not on the doubleheader network will remain unchanged.

The 4:25 PM ET kickoff time will reduce instances in which fans miss the end of a 1:00 PM ET game telecast because they must receive the opening kickoff of their home team’s late-afternoon game. In addition, fans not in the cities of the late doubleheader opponents will be less likely to miss the beginning of the late doubleheader game.

In researching the kickoff time shift, the NFL analyzed games from the 2009-11 seasons and found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With a 4:25 PM ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15 games.

Approximately 40 games over the full 2012 season will be impacted by the 10-minute kickoff time shift – with half of those moves coming in games played in Mountain or Pacific time zones with 1:25 PM or 2:25 PM local starts.

NFL Launches Inaugural NFL Fan Flag Challenge

32 Fans to Win Trips to New York to Participate in 2012 NFL Kickoff On Sept. 5 Fans May Enter Contest at NFL.com/fanflags through July 15

In anticipation of training camp, the NFL is asking fans to get Back to Football by showing their team spirit and creativity through the inaugural NFL Fan Flag Challenge. The NFL and all 32 clubs are asking fans to help inspire the design of the team flags that will help kick off the 93rd NFL season. 

Thirty-two fans, one per team, will participate in 2012 NFL Kickoff and will have their design concept incorporated into their team’s flag that will be on display as part of the Kickoff festivities in New York on Wednesday, September 5. 

The NFL Fan Flag Challenge asks fans to submit designs with elements representative of their team’s city, community, traditions, or its fans.  Grand prize winners will be chosen from all 32 NFL markets. Each grand prize will include the winner’s inspirational design concept being used as a guideline to create the team’s flag, and a trip for the winner and one guest to New York to participate in 2012 NFL Kickoff.

The Kickoff celebration will lead into the opening game between the Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ (Wednesday, September 5, 8:30 PM ET, NBC).


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Tomlinson/Toomer: NFL must send strong message on bounties

Following are comments made by former NFL players Amani Toomer and LaDainian Tomlinson last night on NBC Sports Talk with Eric Kuselias.

NBC SPORTS TALK

PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM – FEATURED VIDEO

AMANI TOOMER AND LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON

HOSTED BY ERIC KUSELIAS

JUNE 25, 2012

On how shocked they were to hear that a team was paying out money to injure opponents:

LaDainian Tomlinson: I’m kind of shocked. I’m not surprised. I’m shocked at the extent of it. Obviously, there’s going to be some things that go along, some bonuses that you’re going to add sometimes to guys who play special teams, guys that are probably not starters. The superstars of the team sometimes say, ‘Hey, listen man. If you make three tackles today, I’ll give you $300, $500.’ I’m not necessarily shocked.

Amani Toomer: I’m kind of shocked. You like to think that people go out and try to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, which is with class and dignity. The fact that these guys are going out there almost like thugs with bounties on people’s heads, I don’t really like that. It’s not good for the game and I think people really need to understand that this is not what this game is about.  

On if Roger Goodell is trying to set an example with the Saints to make sure it doesn’t happen again:

Toomer: I think he is, but I think he’s doing a good job of trying to get the game where he wants it, to be held accountable. I think there’s a problem. He hasn’t been a player and for him to go in and try to change the culture, it’s going to take a little while longer. He needs to keep doing it with an iron-fist. We’ll see how it comes out.

Tomlinson: Here’s the thing, Eric. The NFL sets the standard of football – from there, college, high school, Pop Warner – they’re all watching what the National Football League is doing. If you don’t set a strong, stern message here, it’s going to matriculate down to the lower levels and it won’t be a good situation.

On how they would have felt if they knew there was a bounty out on them during their careers:      

Tomlinson: Well, I played the running back position so I probably had bounties on me every play anyway [laughing]. I touched the ball 30 times a game, got hit every play so it’s no different for me.    

Toomer: I would say, ‘Bring it on. Do it.’ That’s going to make you focus on something else. You’re trying to hit me hard, I can get around you. I don’t think it really makes that big of a difference. I think it’s more of a motivational tool that the defensive coordinator used to try to get his guys going. I don’t think it was a very good one.

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NFL and NFLPA Commend Pop Warner, USA Football’s Efforts to Protect Player Health and Safety

Organizations jointly encourage all youth, high school and college programs to evaluate existing protocols

The NFL and the NFL Players Association jointly salute Pop Warner and USA Football today for reaffirming their commitment to player health and safety.

Recently, Pop Warner announced it will make important changes to limit contact in practice. The changes will be in place for the 2012 season and limit contact drills to one-third of practice time and ban full-speed, head-on blocking and tackling in which players line up more than three yards apart.

In May, USA Football – in partnership with the NFL, NFLPA and other organizations – announced an initiative to remove helmets that are 10 years old or older and replace them with new helmets at no cost to the beneficiary leagues. The program will also provide coaches with the latest educational information to help keep their young athletes safer and healthier.

In February, USA Football announced that it had commissioned the first full-season youth football study, which will be conducted in 2012.The independent scientific study will document player health and any sustained injuries during the course of the upcoming season in 10 youth football leagues of varying size and demographics.

The NFL and the NFLPA jointly encourage football governing bodies at all levels to join in these efforts by doing a thorough evaluation of their current health and safety procedures and enacting necessary changes.

“We are pleased that USA Football and Pop Warner have taken these steps,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson. “Our hope is that other football leagues and organizations will take the same initiative to review current medical recommendations on player safety and the updated rules and procedures adopted by many football leagues, including the NFL.”

“Player health and safety is important at all levels of the game,” said Jason Belser, NFLPA Senior Director of Player Services and Development. “We commend the commitment of USA Football and Pop Warner to their athletes by taking the initiative at the introductory level. This should serve as an example for all youth, high school and college programs.”


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Vick Tells Rookies to be Honest with Goodell and He’ll “Love You to Death”

Addressing rookies at the NFL Rookie Symposium on Monday, Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick spoke of his past troubles and urged the players not to count on second chances.

“I got that chance to do it again, thanks to Roger Goodell,” Vick said. “Fellas, don’t get it twisted. This man is the real deal. He don’t play. If he asks you a question, answer with honesty. Tell him the truth. If you get into some trouble, be honest, truthful, forthright. Don’t play with this man. He’ll love you to death, but the minute you cross him, he’ll be all the way turned up.”

“Be accountable for everything you do. You can’t blame anybody else for your actions. The choices that you make each and every day are what shape your life.”

Also speaking to the rookie class was Cincinnati Bengals CB Adam Jones. Jones credits a meeting with Commissioner Goodell in 2007 as an important moment in his career.

The night before he met with Goodell, a meeting that led to a one-year suspension for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, Jones went to a strip club.

“That was probably the stupidest (expletive) decision I ever made in my life,” Jones told NFL.com. “It was just stupid. I went up to meet the commissioner after some more stuff. The night before I met him, I went out. I didn’t do anything — just went to get something to eat. But I was at a strip club. I stayed there for 10 minutes, and he knew.”

Jones served his suspension and currently plays for the Bengals.

“I wouldn’t want any of those guys to go through what I’ve gone through,” Jones said. “It’s not fun being on the news every day for this mistake or that mistake because your boy did this or you did that. At the end of the day, my oldest girl is six right now, and she can read. She can type my name into a computer. You don’t want her to see all of those negative things.”

“I brought myself back to Earth. I shed everything, and I got back to the people who have gotten me this far. That’s not the way I want to live. I wouldn’t put my reason for changing on anyone except myself.”

New weekday morning show kicks off July 30 on NFL Network

“NFL AM” Starts Your Weekdays at 6:00 AM ET with Namath author Mark Kriegel, former Super Bowl-winning 49ers CB Eric Davis, Brian Webber, Nicole Zaloumis & Steve Wyche  

4-Hour Live Morning Show

Fans can now start their day with the NFL like never before – with a new, live weekday morning show on NFL Network.

Debuting Monday, July 30 just as training camps open, the new four-hour “NFL AM” kicks off at 6:00 AM ET each Monday through FridayNFL AM will blanket the world of the NFL with seasoned and opinionated talent who will report and debate news and examine the personalities that play the game. The show’s discussion will cover a wide-range of NFL-related topics including the cultural convergence of sports, entertainment and music. Each morning, NFL AM will collaborate with NFL.com to take a look at the latest in fantasy football news and information.

NFL AM’s talent roster features Mark Kriegel from FOXSports.com, former San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl-winning cornerback Eric Davis, Brian Webber from FOX Sports Digital, Nicole Zaloumis from Comcast Sports Net-New England, and Steve Wyche from NFL Media.  The show will be based at NFL Network’s Culver City, CA studios.  No other sport is the sole focus of a show of this length each and every weekday morning.

NFL AM will give fans a great reason to look forward to the morning,” said Mark Quenzel, NFL Network senior vice president of programming and production. “We know that our fans are looking for more football and we are excited to provide a personality-driven show which focuses on football and everything around it. There will be no better way to start their day.”

Mark Kriegel (@MarkKriegel), the author of two New York Times best-sellers (Namath: A Biography and Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich), joins NFL Network from FOXSports.com where he spent five years as a national columnist and host of the bi-weekly “Bar Fly on FOX” chat with athletes, celebrities and media. Previously, he was a distinguished media voice on the New York sports scene for 10 years as a columnist for the New York Daily News and the New York Post. He also served as a contributing editor for Esquire magazine. Kriegel’s upcoming book on boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, titled The Good Son, will be released in September.

Eric Davis (@_ericdavis_), who played 13 NFL seasons at cornerback, comes to NFL Network after spending last year as co-host of “Tierney and Davis” weekdays on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. In addition, Davis will begin his second season as the radio analyst for 49ers games this fall.  Previously, he served as an NFL analyst for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and for KPIX-TV telecasts of 49ers preseason games. A two-time Pro Bowler, Davis played six seasons (1990-95) in San Francisco, helping the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXIX. A second-round draft choice from Jacksonville State, Davis also played for Carolina (1996-2000), Denver (2001) and Detroit (2002).

Brian Webber (@bwwebber), a former anchor and reporter for Fox Sports Net and a sideline reporter for NFL games on FOX, joins NFL Network after six years as lead host of Fox Sports’ digital media programming. With Fox Sports Digital, he anchored studio coverage of the NFL, MLB and NASCAR, as well as on-location coverage of the Super Bowl, Final Four and Stanley Cup Final. For the past nine years, Webber has also served as studio host and play-by-play announcer for the Tennis Channel. A graduate of Stanford University, Webber began his broadcasting career began at Fox Sports Net-Bay Area 19 years ago and later included stints as a play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports Net, ESPNU, CBS Sports Network and NCAA Productions.

Nicole Zaloumis (@nicolezaloumis) comes to NFL Network with more than a decade of sports broadcasting experience, most recently as an anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet New England since January 2011. Previously, Zaloumis worked for the Big Ten Network, where she co-hosted “The Friday Night Football Report” and “The Women’s Show,” and was a sideline reporter for football games. Earlier in her career, Zaloumis worked for Fox Sports Northwest, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix and the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC.

Steve Wyche (@wyche89) begins his fifth season with NFL Network and NFL.com, providing reports from team facilities and games on a variety of programs including NFL GameDay Morning and NFL Total Access. Additionally, Wyche is a regular columnist on NFL.com and is the co-host of the site’s ‘Cover Two’ podcast. Previously, he covered the Falcons for four seasons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wyche has more than two decades of sports journalism experience including posts with the Washington Post covering the Wizards and the NBA, and the Miami Herald on the Dolphins, Heat and University of Florida beats.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 3, NFL AM will encore each weekday at 7:00 AM PT for West Coast fans.

NFL AM will be streamed live on NFL Mobile only from Verizon and will feature companion programming including fantasy info and lifestyle content on NFL.com and NFL digital platforms.

Fans continue to tune to NFL Network in growing numbers. NFLN has posted increases in year-over-year viewership in 12 of the 13 quarters since January 2009 (all quarters other than second quarter of 2011 during the work stoppage).

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.com is the exclusive internet home of NFL Network.

– NFL MEDIA –

Transcript: NFL EVP Jeff Pash on Bounty Matter

NFL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF LABOR AND GENERAL COUNSEL JEFF PASH
PRO FOOTBALL TALK LIVE with MIKE FLORIO  –   PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM

June 22, 2012

On working as hard as he did during the lockout but receiving more than a $1 salary:

There is always a bright spot, even on a rainy day.  The other good news is I get to talk to you again.

On uncertainty that Hargrove stated, ‘Bobby, give me my money,’ if you watch the video clip multiple times:

I suppose you could watch anything enough times and come up with different conclusions, but we didn’t discipline Anthony Hargrove for taking any money in the context of this program.  What that video tape rather clearly demonstrates is two things: one, there was a program and it corroborates rather clearly that there was a program where a player could be rewarded for making a play that resulted in an injury to an opponent – you were basically making that point during the break; second, it demonstrates Mr. Hargrove’s awareness of the program and his understanding that it existed, and it demonstrates that his statements to our investigators in early 2010 denying the program and saying there was nothing like that  in existence were false.  That is the basis on which the commissioner imposed discipline on Mr. Hargrove.

On evidence showing the Saints intended to injure opponents:

Intent is never a part of our disciplinary process.  A lot of times when players are disciplined for actions on the field – a helmet-to-helmet hit, a hit on a defenseless player or a late hit on a quarterback – the player will say, ‘Hey, I didn’t intend to hit him.  I didn’t intend to hit him with the helmet.’  We have always consistently, going back for decades, going back to when Pete Rozelle was commissioner, not made intent a part of the disciplinary decision because you can’t read someone’s mind.  You can only look at the objective evidence, and the objective evidence establishes the existence of a program; it establishes the presence of financial incentives for things like cart offs, which everyone agrees was a play on which an injury occurred to an opposing player; and that there was funding provided for cart offs, knockouts and things like that by members of the Saints. 


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Lions WR Nate Burleson, Broncos TE Joel Dreessen, former players Troy Brown & Mark Tauscher selected for post-Broadcast Boot Camp positions


Detroit Lions WR NATE BURLESON and Denver Broncos TE JOEL DREESSEN from the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp Class of 2012 have earned a guest co-hosting spot on SiriusXM NFL Radio this season while former players TROY BROWN (New England) and MARK TAUSCHER (Green Bay) will each spend one regular-season Sunday working on-air for one of the league’s United Kingdom television partners.

The announcement was made today at the conclusion of the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp in Mt. Laurel, NJ, where the four players spent the past four days learning the business from talent, producers and executives from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners. The dates of the all the assignments will be determined closer to the kickoff of the 2012 NFL season.

This marks the first time in the six years of the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp that players were given the opportunity to earn a SiriusXM NFL Radio guest hosting position.  Last season former NFL players ROCKY BOIMAN and NICK FERGUSON were selected to serve as studio analysts for an NFL regular-season Sunday on Sky Sports in the U.K. Later in the season, Boiman earned additional game assignments including the Playoffs and Super Bowl for Sky TV and BBC Radio.

The Broadcast Boot Camp is directed by the NFL Player Engagement and NFL Broadcasting departments and covers a wide range of topics with instructors from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners – CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, SiriusXM, Dial Global Radio, plus local radio and TV. 

Of the 105 players who took part in the Broadcast Boot Camp from 2007-2011, 44 have earned broadcasting jobs as a result of their participation in the program.

Senator Durbin praises NFL for taking action against bounties

In a press conference following his meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday in Washington about bounties and player safety, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois made the following comments:

“Unlike many issues that come before us, this issue was discovered by the NFL. The investigation was initiated by the NFL. And the actions that were taken against coaches and players was taken by the NFL. There was no denial here…What I hear from them is a good-faith effort to acknowledge what happened and deal with it. The NFL has taken the issue of bounties in professional football seriously and has been open and willing to take additional steps to protect player safety and football’s integrity. They aggressively pursued the information they were given.”

Goodell and Durbin Discuss Bounty Program and Player Safety Issues

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met today with Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin to discuss the Saints bounty program and steps to further protect player safety and football’s integrity.  The Senator’s office distributed the below press release. 

DURBIN ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL NFL REFORMS RELATED TO BOUNTIES AND PLAYER SAFETY 

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced that he would withhold a hearing into bounty programs in the NFL and other sports leagues after meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and discussing steps the League will take, at Durbin’s request, to protect player safety and football’s integrity.

“The NFL has taken the issueof bounties in professional football seriously and has been open and willing to take additional steps to protect player safety and football’s integrity,” Durbin said. “Because of that willingness to address the issue, and due to the reforms the league is announcing after meeting with me today, I will withhold congressional hearings on this matter and continue to work with the League and its players to ensure the League’s rules are sufficient and that nothing like these bounty programs ever happens again.”

To read the complete release, click here