football

Sport may be dismissed as inconsequential child's play, but there is, in counterpoint, the ideal that sport is our best model for human fairness and equality — a Garden of Eden with competition. But, of course, there are snakes in this athletic garden. Rules will be broken.

To my mind there are, in ascending order, three kinds of transgressions. The first is the most simple: transgressions committed in the heat of the action, instinctively, because of frustration, failure or anger. There are referees to tend to that misconduct.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his team will accept the punishment handed to it by the NFL in connection with the "Deflategate" scandal.

Days after a lengthy report found it was "more probable than not" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew of rule-breaking, the NFL has issued its punishment: a four-game suspension for Brady and a $1 million fine for the Patriots.

Brady will sit out the first four games of the 2015 regular season without pay, the NFL says, citing "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL."

Update, 8:17 p.m. ET

During a live interview at an Patriots-fan-filled event in Salem, Mass., New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady refused to comment on the NFL's report, saying he hadn't had time to digest it yet.

Brady did tell the audience that the controversy hadn't detracted from his enjoyment of the Patriots' Super Bowl win this past February, and that the team fairly earned "everything we got this year."

Original Post:

Two members of the New England Patriots' staff probably violated the NFL's playing rules by tampering with game balls, according to a lengthy review of the scandal that's come to be known as "Deflategate."

The report names two Patriots workers who had access to footballs before a pivotal game; it also states, "it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston as their first-round pick in the NFL draft on Thursday.

Winston was awarded the Heisman trophy in 2013 just nine days after a prosecutor declined charge him over allegations that he raped a female student at Florida State.

Here's a bit of Winston's bio from NFL.com:

Aaron Hernandez, whose rise to elite status in the NFL was ended by charges that he shot and killed a man, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. In 2013, Hernandez was accused of killing the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister.

The verdict comes on the seventh day of a jury's deliberations on counts that ranged from murder to gun and ammunition charges. As the findings were read in a Fall River, Mass., courtroom, Hernandez sat between his lawyers and occasionally shook his head.

Sarah Thomas has officiated football games in the NCAA and for the NFL's preseason and training camps. For the 2015 NFL season, she'll reportedly be a full-time official.

The news was broken this morning by Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson, who called it "a ground-breaking move." Thomas, 42, is a Mississippi native who has been widely regarded as a contender for a regular NFL contract.

Concerns about possibly incurring brain injuries have prompted Chris Borland to end his NFL career after just one season, during which he emerged as a star on the San Francisco 49ers' vaunted defense. Borland, 24, said, "I just honestly want to do what's best for my health."

Saying that he had consulted with other players, medical experts and his family, Borland stated, "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

Michael Marsland / Yale University

The head referee at Sunday night’s Super Bowl was on the field with the help of a Yale University surgeon. NFL referee Bill Vinovich suffered a life-threatening heart injury in 2006 which prevented him from doing his job. 

Four years later, he turned to Dr. John Elefteriades, who is the director of the Aortic Institute at Yale New Haven Hospital. In his book Extraordinary Hearts, Elefteriades wrote a chapter about the football referee. 

Vinovich explained that his family was his "first love," and beyond that was football and his job as a head referee. He also explained that his life had no meaning without that work, and he "would do anything to be able to return to that work." 

They promised that Super Bowl XLIX would be a close contest, and we got what was promised. The final score was 28-24.

At halftime, it was two touchdowns each. It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter that New England caught a decisive momentum that set the stage for the rest of the game.

In the end, it was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman late in the fourth — and Seattle's stumble, allowing an interception with seconds remaining — that pushed the game decisively New England's way.

Another day, another controversy.

It's been that kind of a year for the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about it all on Friday at his annual State-of-the-League address in downtown Phoenix.

Deb West / Flickr Creative Commons

On the Nose this hour: pre-watching Super Bowl ads.

Super Bowl advertisers have forced us (conned us?) to live in their world, not just for Sunday, but for days spreading in either direction. This piece explains how, in 2011, a VW ad was released on the YouTube's days in advance of the game and went viral, setting the stage for what we have now: a protracted debate about various ads. You probably have to, on YouTube, sometimes watch an ad so you can watch an ad.

Today, that 2011 ad has 61 million views on YT. Those are people volunteering to watch it, as opposed to people waiting for the game to resume.

New England Patriots' Head Coach Bill Belichick defended his team and quarterback Tom Brady against accusations of cheating amid the so-called "Deflategate" controversy that erupted last weekend when underinflated footballs were used in

When the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots meet in the 2015 Super Bowl on Feb. 1, the broadcast booth will be anchored by a man who has done the play-by-play for eight previous Super Bowls. Al Michaels, the announcer for NBC's Sunday Night Football, knows how to put emotion into his broadcasts.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says he had "no knowledge" about the controversy surrounding his team and deflated footballs.

"In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player or staff member about football air pressure," he said in an opening statement at a news conference today.

Belichick added that he had "no knowledge of this situation until Monday morning."

Did the New England Patriots tamper with the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game? The NFL is asking that question, after the host Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in rainy conditions Sunday.

As a cold rain poured down, the New England Patriots crushed the Super Bowl dreams of the Indianapolis Colts with a 45-7 victory.

The Patriots established their lead early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Colts scored one touchdown in the second quarter, but after a Patriots field goal, New England still entered halftime 10 points in the lead.

Updated at 6:33p.m. ET:

The Seattle Seahawks have defeated the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC title and earn their ticket to Super Bowl XLIX.

Seattle won 28-22 in a game that saw the Packers pull out to a commanding early lead — going into the half 16-0. Seattle gained traction, however, scoring touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to close the gap.

A simple summary of the mood swings for Patriots fans on Saturday would be high–low–high–low–high.

It wasn’t easy, but the New England Patriots earned a spot in the AFC Championship Game with a wild 35-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

This was the fourth playoff meeting between the Patriots and Ravens at Gillette Stadium since January 2010. In the parking lot before the game, Patriots fan and South Boston resident Stefan Laurides said the fact that Baltimore won two of the first three didn’t make him nervous.

This weekend's NFL playoffs include a faceoff between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. That game is being billed as the second "Ice Bowl."

These teams have played each other often since that cold game on Dec. 31, 1967, but this is the first time since then they'll meet for a playoff at Lambeau Field.

The temperature that day was minus 15. But while it will be cold in Green Bay this Sunday, it won't be that cold.

Military Rehab Program Welcomes NFL Retirees

Jan 5, 2015

Since 1993, the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been working to rehabilitate veterans of the military who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat. Recently, the center’s program called After the Impact has also begun serving football players experiencing impairment as a result of concussions or sub-concussive hits.

Today, like every Sunday in the fall, millions of Americans are tuning in to watch some of the country's most popular sport: football.

And for several million of them, your regular ol' football game isn't fast-paced enough: They're tuning in to NFL RedZone.

NFL RedZone is the frenetic channel run by the NFL Network that, for seven hours straight, switches between football games in an endeavor to show every single score of as many as 12 simultaneous games.

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats are heading into a do-or-die quarterfinal football game this week against the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

And whether they win or not, there's one thing you can say about the Wildcats: They are likely the only football team in America trying to reduce concussions by practicing without helmets.

Football has a concussion problem, from the National Football League down to Pee-Wee teams. And there are lots of efforts out there to fix it.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered two fractured in his back Tuesday but escaped without other injury, after a vehicle he was driving crashed around 12:30 p.m. ET. The truck reportedly flipped several times on a bridge in central Charlotte, where Church Street passes over Interstate 277.

"The severity of Newton's injuries was not immediately available but witnesses told Channel 9 that Newton's truck flipped four times," WSOC Channel 9 TV reports.

Jamelle Bouie / Creative Commons

First and foremost, we're really sorry about the Wally Lamb cell phone connection. Do not adjust your radio (or streaming device).

It's the usual three-ring circus on the Scramble today starting with the five players for the St. Louis Rams who put their hands up in a "Don't Shoot" gesture during their introductions for Sunday's game. That gesture, of course, has become part of the iconography of the Ferguson Missouri story, and we talk to ESPN the Magazine's Howard Bryant about the role athletes play in raising consciousness and defying conventional news narratives.

Thanks to a massive snowstorm in western New York state, the National Football League has moved the Buffalo Bills' home game against the New York Jets this weekend to Detroit.

More than 5 feet of snow have fallen in some areas and even more had been expected by Friday.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted surprise inspections of the staff of at least three National Football League teams on Sunday.

CNN reports:

"The DEA questioned the medical and training staffs of the San Francisco 49ers following the team's 16-10 victory at the New York Giants, agency spokesman Rusty Payne told CNN.

With the fall season come littered leaves, new television lineups and the sport that can't stop stirring up controversy: football.

Rough tackles and concussions worry many parents. And no wonder. Research cited by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons suggests that more than a third of college football players have had one concussion and 20 percent have had more than one.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Here on The Nose today, we're at least potentially talking about high-tech employers who offer egg freezing as a benefit for female employees, a proposal to get rid of high school football, the sinking sensation that it's time - or too late - to fight back against Amazon, and the Florida debate that almost broke down because of a candidate's use of a fan at the podium.

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