- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
This offseason, Shutdown Corner will travel down memory lane with a series of stories presenting some interesting and sometimes forgotten stories from the NFL's past. Join us as we relive some of the greatest and craziest moments in the sport's history.
Watching a high school game almost 15 years ago, I remember some poor option-based offense facing a third-and-55 after a fumble and a slew of penalties. Naturally, they handed off before punting.
I also recall a few wild long-yardage situations I’d seen in a few college football games I’d watched — Georgia faced a fourth-and-57 at Tennessee in 2011, and Minnesota facing a third- (and fourth) and-49 against Texas Tech in a bowl game the next year. These things just look funny on a TV screen.
Heck, the wildest thing I ever remember was Michigan State punting on fourth-and-goal. Granted, it was from the 40-yard line after Kirk Cousins had to fall on a fumble that went more than 30 yards the wrong direction.
But it got me wondering: What was the longest down and distance to go in NFL history? I had no clue. Luckily, the internet had some fast answers — and they even appear to be correct.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
I'm not a fan of how every single thing the NFL does is compared to deflate-gate. We probably don't need, after every NFL discipline announcement, a million "But if it was Tom Brady ... " messages on social media.
However, it's really hard to grasp how the league could act so quickly, strongly and vigilantly toward the New England Patriots and Brady for maybe kinda sorta knowing about deflated footballs, and act at a "maybe everyone will just forget" pace when some high-profile players were accused of PED usage in an undercover Al Jazeera America report last year.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
Earlier this year, we told you Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel was beginning his pursuit of a Ph.D in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the foremost math and science schools in the country.
Well, Urschel didn't just attend classes, he crushed them.
My first semester in school in nearly three years. Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A's. The streak continues!!!
As an undergraduate and graduate student at Penn State, Urschel had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and so far his time at MIT is trending the same way.
During his time on campus, Urschel worked out with the MIT football team. The Division III program can't offer scholarships, and even if the coaches recruit a player, they have to hope he's good enough to get into the college. Yet the team posted a 10-1 mark in 2014.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
Say, did you remember that the NFL is moving kickoff touchbacks to the 25-yard-line this year?Devin Hester did, and he's none too pleased.
"It’s like taking away a job from people," the Falcons return man told ESPN, and by "people" he means himself. Hester is one of the most notable return men in NFL history, boasting five kickoff returns for touchdowns and a dramatic TD return to start Super Bowl XLI.
The kickoff is one of the most dangerous routine plays in the NFL, with two teams running full-tilt toward one another from a distance of many yards. The NFL has sought to cut down on the possibility of injury with a number of rules changes, including banning running starts by the kicking team and moving the kickoff line up to the 35 in 2011.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
The deflate-gate fight is barely about the facts of the actual case anymore. The never-ending appeals seem to be all about Roger Goodell's power and the NFLPA fighting back against it.
But there is a never-ending argument about the facts of the case among fans and observers, about what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might have known or not known. Since Ted Wells' report uncovered no facts that give us any idea what Brady did in the ordeal, we're left to guess.
But there is a group of more than 20 engineering and physics professors who think that the controversy can be explained entirely by the science of natural deflation in cold weather, and said so in an amicus brief filed by Washington, D.C. attorney Eric Delinsky this week, according to the Boston Herald. The professors come from a number of universities including MIT and Stanford, the Herald reported.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Several musical acts have refused to perform in North Carolina in recent weeks due to its much-debated bathroom bill, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will not hold the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte if the discriminitory bill is not repealed.
And this week, the San Francisco 49ers and CEO Jed York expressed support for the state's LGBTQ community while in Charlotte for the NFL spring owners meetings.
Passed on March 23, North Carolina House Bill 2 (or HB2) reversed a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgendered individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with; HB2 mandates that transgendered individuals must use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate and also prevents cities and towns in the state from passing laws that say otherswise.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
This offseason, Greg Cosell and Frank Schwab will explore key questions for each of the 32 NFL teams in "The Shutdown" podcast, going team-by-team for each division over eight episodes. Links to previous division preview podcasts are at the end of this post.
Last season there was an unexpected champion in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings' win at Lambeau Field in Week 17 over the Green Bay Packers secured the division crown.
The conversation for most of the second half of last season was about the struggles of the Packers offense, and the play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There are plenty of layers to those issues, as well as the Vikings' ability to repeat as division champs, and we dealt with many of them along with other questions on NFC North teams in this podcast:
- How much will the additions at linebacker help the defense?
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
Tuesday wasn't a good day for the Buffalo Bills on a few fronts.
First, the team issued a draconian and fairly ridiculous policy on what the media can report at its open practices, which was roundly panned as spin control from a paranoid organization. Then general manager Doug Whaley made some eye-opening comments on WGR 550 Radio on his views of the dangers of football.
Asked about whether Bills wideout Sammy Watkins is injury-prone, Whaley dismissed that notion for the most part but launched into a bigger discussion about the nature of the game as a whole.
"This is the game of football," Whaley said, via the Buffalo News. "Injuries are part of it. It's a violent game that I personally don't think humans are supposed to play."
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Despite Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft publicly supporting the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas, there will be obstacles. The main one has nothing to do with gambling.
There will be the gambling issue of course because the NFL's history against Las Vegas and gambling is very consistent. And there is the stadium issue. Just because Raiders owner Mark Davis pledged $500 million, that doesn't mean it'll get built. It wouldn't be something new in Las Vegas for a big project to be hyped, only to see it never get off the ground. There's also the issue of whether the NFL is using Las Vegas as its new Los Angeles, and scaring existing cities with the threat of moving to Vegas, like it did with L.A. for 21 years.
But there's a real concern, and it's simply whether Las Vegas can sustain an NFL team.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The NFL owners' meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday were brief, and the biggest news to come out of the event was the deciding of the host citiesfor Super Bowls LIII, LIV and LV plus some minor changes to instant replay.
And there were of course some smaller things as well. To wit: NFL Network's Judy Battista caught up with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for a brief interview; Battista asked Kraft about the prospect of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas, which Kraft expressed support for, and also about Tom Brady, who filed another appealin his federal case against the NFL in the deflate-gate case on Monday.