As fans of the New Orleans Saints know all too well, one flag – or a flag not thrown – can completely alter the course of a season.
By now everyone has seen or heard about the blown call during the NFC championship game between those Saints and the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams. The NFL has admitted that the refs made a mistake and subsequently fined Rams defender Nickell Robey-Coleman for targeting on the play.
However, no amount of apologizing can halt what has already begun – a demand for the NFL to change the rules surrounding pass interference. And unfortunately for the league, that wasn’t the only questionable rule or play that the masses took notice of during championship weekend.
During the AFC championship game, Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones was penalized for roughing the passer after grazing the face mask of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots were able to continue the drive and score a touchdown.
The call looked all too familiar to Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers.
Clay Matthews now wears a helmet for a living, but when he was a young boy, not wearing a helmet nearly cost him his life.
When the Green Bay Packers linebacker was a child, an accident while riding his scooter left him unconscious, bloodied and at risk for serious brain swelling.
“I went down a driveway and I must’ve hit a rock,” Matthews told AOL.com. “I went right over the handlebars and unfortunately hit my face and head directly on the asphalt.”
Matthews’ mother had her hands full with him and his four siblings while their father was out of town during his own NFL career. She had told Matthews to wear a helmet, but he didn’t listen. When she rushed to her son’s aid, she found him so severely scraped up that his face looked “like it had gone through a meat grinder.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to address the pass interference no-call seen around the world – and players, both active and retired, are taking notice.
Late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the helmet without looking for the ball and prior to the ball reaching Lewis. It was a blatant rule violation, but no flag was ever thrown.
Had the penalty been called, the Saints could have continued the drive and scored a touchdown, or let the clock run down further. Instead, they were forced to settle for a fast field goal. The Rams tied the game and went on to win in overtime, which many around New Orleans don’t believe would have happenedhad a flag been thrown against Robey-Coleman.
Multiple members of the Saints, including tight end Ben Watson, team owner Gayle Benson and wide receiver Michael Thomas have commented on the fiasco, with Thomas even calling for a do-over of the game.
NFL legend Terrell Owens was similarly bothered by the blatant missed penalty.
On September 20, 2015, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were listed as underdogs going into their game against the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots won that matchup 40-32.
That victory over Buffalo marks the last time Brady and his Patriots were declared as underdogs by Las Vegas, but heading into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, they are underdogs once again. That ends a streak of 67 starts, 174 weeks and 1,278 days as the betting favorite for Brady.
Well, it took until the last game of the season, but the NFL playoff picture is finally set.
Several familiar faces, including last year’s Super Bowl champion and runner-up in the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, have once again reached the postseason. However, there are also some surprise teams making playoff appearances, hoping to knock off the powerhouse rosters they’ve been staring up at all season long.
According to Vegas Insider, it’s crowded at the top of the playoff picture. The Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs may be the most heavily favored, but the Chicago Bears and ever-present Patriots aren’t too far behind.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took the blame for his team’s crushing last-second loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Many were quick to point fingers at Belichick’s decision-making after Miami was able to score a 69-yard touchdown featuring two lateral passes as time expired, ultimately getting by the Patriots’ questionable last line of defense: Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end who has missed three games this season due to injuries, was on the field for the final play in anticipation of a possible Hail Mary pass attempt. However, the Dolphins went with a different strategy, and it had New England completely fooled.
During Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reached a milestone he’s been working towards for nearly two decades — 1,000 total rushing yards.
As is tradition with Brady, he took to Instagram after the victory to celebrate.
“The only reason I’ve been playing 19 years is to get to that 1,000 yards,” he said in a clip posted to his account Monday afternoon.
And then, as he climbed into his car, Brady uttered the words that will send chills down the spines of Patriots fans everywhere: “That’s it. I’m out. Time to ride off into the sunset.”
New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett was the subject of severe backlash this weekend as questions continue to swirl around his reported shoulder injury.
Bennett, who played with the Patriots last season and was a part of their historic Super Bowl LI win, signed with the Green Bay Packers over the offseason. He started in seven games through the first nine weeks for Green Bay, but the team ultimately cut him on November 8, citing a failure to disclose a medical condition.
The tight end had previously revealed that he was considering retirement and surgery on his injured shoulder. However, those options seemed to be swept off the table when Bill Belichick and the Patriots came calling late last week.
The Minnesota Vikings are currently the team to watch — if what you want to watch is grown men playing children’s games on a football field.
The Vikings are capitalizing on the NFL’s relaxed touchdown celebration rules this season. Earlier this year, tight end Kyle Rudolph and his teammates staged a game of ‘duck, duck, goose‘ after a score against the Bears, but they may have outdone themselves on Sunday.
Every athlete puts his or her body on the line each time they step on the field — but some superstars have put their lives on the line, too.
During several wars throughout the history of the United States, notable athletes put their sporting careers on hold to serve their country. Some, including Jackie Robinson, put in their service before making the big leagues. Others, like Ted Williams, took time away in the middle of their playing days.