Michael Silver

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Michael Silver covers the NFL for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch stunned at replay of controversial final play Monday night

    SEATTLE – Several hours after the completion of one of the more memorable games in Monday Night Football history, Marshawn Lynch was sitting in a private room in the back of the Metropolitan Grill, celebrating a thrilling, last-second victory with friends and family members over big steaks and fat lobsters.

    Then, with the flick of a remote control, Big Brother appeared and left a rancid taste in the Seattle Seahawks halfback's mouth.

    Packers Tramon Williams (38), Charles Woodson (21) and safety M.D. Jennings (43) fight for possession. (AP) A waitress pointed the remote at the large mirror on the wall behind Lynch, and it suddenly morphed into an enormous, high-definition television screen. Within seconds, Lynch craned his neck and joined his dining companions in viewing a replay of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson's 24-yard touchdown pass to wideout Golden Tate, giving the Seahawks a 14-12 triumph as time expired and sending 68,218 fans at CenturyLink Field into hysterics.

    As Lynch watched Packers safety M.D. Jennings snatch the pass out of the sky and pull it to his chest

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  • NFL must put end to farce with replacement refs

    The NFL's officiating lockout is now entering its fourth regular-season week, and like most high-stakes disputes about money, the argument comes down to simple math.

    On paper, the owners are winning, and that's a major leverage point. Though the outcry and indignation over the substandard performance of the replacement officials has intensified, the games are still being played, and fans are still buying tickets and jerseys and watching on television.

    Jim Harbaugh works his magic on official Ken Roan (No. 86) on Sunday. (US Presswire)If you subscribe to the theory that the only bad publicity is an obituary – and that the bottom line is some sort of holy covenant – you undoubtedly believe the owners should tune out the noise and press their advantage until the locked-out officials cave and accept a contract to the NFL's liking.

    This may, in fact, be the league's strategy, and it is well within the owners' rights to pursue it. Yet given that I believe in neither of the aforementioned theories as absolute principles, and because part of my role as a

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  • Morning Rush: Cardinals the NFL's biggest September Surprise, prove they're for real

    GLENDALE, Ariz. – As a receiver who ranks among the most prolific open-field runners of his era, Larry Fitzgerald is accustomed to seeing nothing but green as he races toward the goal line.

    Larry Fitzgerald goes up high for his first-half TD grab against the Eagles. (AP)What Fitzgerald witnessed Sunday afternoon during an unscheduled end-zone dash, midway through a game that legitimized the Arizona Cardinals as the NFL's September Surprise, was even more striking: a convoy of black jerseys pulling away – from him, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cards' recent reputation as irrelevant lightweights.

    Believe it or not, all early indications are that the Cardinals are for real. And the signature play of their third consecutive victory to start the 2012 season – a 27-6 triumph over the Eagles at University of the Phoenix Stadium that featured relentless defensive pressure on Michael Vick and the improbable revival of his onetime teammate and competitor, embattled Cards quarterback Kevin Kolb – was positively surreal.

    Five seconds before halftime,

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  • Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano regarded as bully around NFL well before kneel-down incident

    When New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin angrily upbraided his Tampa Bay Buccaneers counterpart, Greg Schiano, after a controversial skirmish during a game-ending kneel-down play last Sunday, the two-time Super Bowl winner wasn't merely lecturing an NFL newcomer about an unwritten rule or fiercely protecting the health and safety of his seemingly defenseless players.

    Whether Coughlin knew it – and I suspect he did – the Giants' coach was also standing up to a perceived bully who developed a dubious reputation in NFL circles during his 11 years as Rutgers' domineering head coach.

    Greg Schiano (L) and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin following last Sunday's game. (AP)If you took a poll of league talent evaluators, no one would have a higher approval rating than Coughlin right now, because he essentially informed Schiano that the rookie's devil-may-care attitude won't cut it at football's highest level. This is a sensitive subject in scouting circles, because Schiano was almost universally viewed as unaccommodating, intimidating and downright disrespectful by NFL

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  • NFL power rankings: Life without Hue Jackson not going so well for Raider Nation

    When Mark Davis made his first major move as the Raiders' owner last January, hiring Reggie McKenzie as the team's general manager and firing coach Hue Jackson after a solitary, 8-8 season, some of us blasted the decision like Jack Tatum lighting up a defenseless receiver back in the day.

    It's been a rotten start to Dennis Allen's tenure with the Raiders. (AP)In my column likening the late Al Davis' son to "Tommy Boy", I called Jackson's firing an astonishingly dumb move. Then-Raiders wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh was among those who shared that opinion, telling me, "I'll bet you San Diego, Kansas City and Denver like this move, because we would have been good next year with Hue."

    Well, next year is here, and it's indeed a horror show: Two weeks into the 2012 season, the Raiders are the worst team in football – and the obvious occupant of the lowest rung on our 32 Questions status-interpretation ladder. They have taken the term ugly early to a new level, having been blown out last Sunday by the Dolphins, for whom the ignominious 32nd

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  • NFL power rankings: Niners' Jim Harbaugh fond of shooting down media's questions

    Before we get to the scintillating, stratifying inquiries that you've been missing all these months, I'd like to begin with a question for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh:

    Would you like to be a "32Q" guest columnist one of these weeks?

    Jim Harbaugh argues a call during Sunday's win over the Pack. (AP)Harbaugh, you see, likes to question questions like few others in NFL circles. Lately, he has been offering heartfelt critiques of the queries he receives from people in my business, which makes me believe he fashions himself an expert on the subject.

    Last Friday, before the Niners headed off to Wisconsin for their season-opening showdown with the Packers at Lambeau Field, Harbaugh took issue with CSN Bay Area reporter John Henry Smith's question about Kyle Williams, whose overtime fumble set up the Giants' game-winning field goal in last January's NFC championship game. "Why do you continue to bring that up?" Harbaugh demanded. " "What is the reason?"

    Back in August, Harbaugh became agitated during a media session, chiding reporters for

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  • QBs Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III give their bosses big sigh of relief

    DENVER – The old gunslinger strolled through the locker room with a subdued smile, looking less like a man that had just won the lottery than one who'd been told his five-year IRS audit had just come back squeaky clean.

    Peyton Manning shows a bit of emotion in his debut with the Broncos. (AP)If John Elway were a different kind of cocksure – and not so blessedly forthright, nor so accomplished – the Denver Broncos' executive vice president of football operations might have copped some I Told You So attitude after watching Peyton Manning look like, well, Peyton Manning in a 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday night.

    Instead, Elway expressed quiet satisfaction, if not relief, following Manning's masterful performance in the 36-year-old quarterback's first regular-season game in a Broncos uniform. And with good reason: No NFL executive stood to suffer a more severe blowback had things blown up on the first Sunday of the 2012 season than Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback who'd gambled $18

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  • NFL 2012 predictions: Peyton Manning's impact, DeSean Jackson's revival and Brett Favre?

    Midway through the 2011 season, in the midst of a cross-country flight to the next outpost on a football writer's not-so-tragic adventure, I sought diversionary solace in the movie "Hot Tub Time Machine".

    The plot sent a group of friends inadvertently back to the 1980s and in my favorite scene, two of them end up at a bar watching the classic AFC championship game between the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. Lou, played by Rob Corddry, keeps cashing in bets by predicting the sequence of events burned into his memory, and as John Elway is preparing to lead the visitors on "The Drive," his agitated adversary demands to know the secret of his success.

    An indignant Corddry replies – and I paraphrase – "I know the gosh-darn future, dufus."

    It's a line I knew I would steal immediately, and as we close in on the first Sunday of another NFL campaign, this seems like an ideal time to trot it out.

    As many of you know, I am asked to know the future on a weekly basis, an endeavor

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  • No fear in turning over offense to rookie QBs like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III

    For anyone seeking confirmation that Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts' designated heir to the Peyton Manning legacy, was ready to tackle that ambitious assignment from the get-go, the rookie quarterback's first NFL pass was steeped in significance.

    Andrew Luck celebrates after throwing a TD pass in his preseason debut against the Rams. (AP Photo)After flipping a short shovel screen to Donald Brown, the first overall pick of the 2012 draft watched the halfback race untouched through the St. Louis Rams for a 63-yard touchdown in the Colts' preseason opener last month. Be it a sign from the football gods or simply a stroke of Luck, this was a watershed moment in Indy, especially given that 14 years earlier Manning, too, had produced points on his first NFL throw.

    Down in the Carolinas, another of Luck's distinguished predecessors was fired up when he heard the news: Cam Newton, the first overall pick of the 2011 draft, fully supports the recent trend toward handing rookies the car keys and letting them gun it in the fast lane.

    "Scoring on his first pass, that's

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  • All pouting aside, Panthers phenom Cam Newton refuses to accept losing

    SPARTANBURG, S.C. – When Cam Newton threw for 422 yards in his first NFL regular-season game last Sept. 11, displaying the nonchalant mastery of Kelly Slater shooting through an expansive tube at Pipeline, it was hard to find anyone associated with pro football who wasn't stunned.

    Given the challenges Newton faced upon entering the league as the first overall draft pick during a disruptive labor war, no one had expected him to be so good, so soon. He'd had only one year of major college football experience, in a relatively unsophisticated offense. The lockout had wiped out the entire 2011 offseason, keeping him away from the Carolina Panthers' practice field until the first day of training camp. And he was fast-tracked into the lineup as the face of a franchise that was beaten down and demoralized.

    Cam Newton in preseason action against the Jets last month. (AP)And yet Newton, against all logic, looked completely comfortable in his stellar debut against the Arizona Cardinals. Even his coaches and teammates were shocked.

    "Trust me,"

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