The Bears announced that Long is now signed through the 2021 season, which means the extension will kick in after the 2017 season. Long is playing his fourth year in 2016 and will play the 2017 season under the terms of the team option that the Bears exercised on his rookie contract.
BY HERMAN DAVIS
Although most fans know that the trophy awarded to the winning team of the Super Bowl – or the National Championship Game – is called the Vince Lombardi Trophy, they often don’t know the full history behind it. Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been a number of teams that have tried to capture this title, but few like the 2014 Seattle Seahawks have found success.
That’s because the Vince Lombardi trophy is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in the NFL, which means this award isn’t just a participation trophy players get for making it to the big game; it’s something they have to earn through dedication, hard work, and lots of training.
But before the award became known as the Vince Lombardi trophy, it was simply called the “World Championship Game Trophy,” and the game between the rival conferences was known as the AFL-NFL Championship game before adapting to the Super Bowl title. Not as exciting as its current name, right?
So when did the switch happen?
It occurred in 1970, when the league decided to change the name of the award from “World Championship Game Trophy” to the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” after his passing.
What many fans don’t know, however, is who Vince Lombardi is, and why he’s so important to the NFL. For starters, Vince Lombardi was a legendary head coach for the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins. He was born in 1913 and became the most successful head coach to ever coach the game of football. Lombardi was the leader of his team, and during his time coaching in Green Bay, he managed to capture five national championship titles within a nine-year span. In the preseason, Lombardi had a .840 winning percentage by winning 42 of his 50 games. But it was the postseason where he became known as a legend, with a winning percentage of .900 with a record of 9-1. The one loss being to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960.
Why is Vince Lombardi still a relevant legend throughout the NFL?
Other than having his name on the Super Bowl trophy awarded each year to the winning team, Lombardi set the standard of what it meant to be a great head coach in the NFL. In other words, coaching wasn’t about just about winning, it was about building a team and teaching them how to play the sport of football. In fact, one of his many great lessons was teaching his players about the sweep – a play designed to have runners go towards the strong side of the field and keep the defensive players off balance.
Ultimately, winning is what brought fame to Lombardi, but perhaps the greatest thing Vince taught the NFL involved the three themes he used to set his standards as a coach. Themes that included:
- Speaking during a time of war, conventionalism, and materialism – the sixties – could have easily brought unwanted attention to Lombardi and his team. That’s why he believed that in order to be a good role model and lead his players both on and off the field, they needed discipline, especially during a crucial time period like the sixties.
- After going to West Point and being mentored by General Douglas MacArthur, Lombardi understood that leaders were born, not made. He believed leaders were justified through their hard work, and the same can be said about football players.
- Characterization and Determination. A leader is made by their character and willpower, meaning that the two go together hand-in-hand in a virtuous cycle.
So whether you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan or a fan of another organization, you’re all connected in one way or another through Vince Lombardi – the greatest coach in NFL history. If questions arise whether or not he’s still relevant in our world today, the answer is: without a doubt. His character, along with his determined spirit, was key in his ability to teach and coach in the NFL.
There is a lot of angst over that ruling in the Pittsburgh-New England game Sunday -- the one that disallowed a touchdown catch by Jesse James of the Steelers.
And I may be the only person around who has no problem with the NFL rule that if you're going to the ground as you make a catch, you must hold onto the ball during your fall. Whether you're in the end zone or not. Most people think that when you're crossing the goal line with the ball in control, it should be a TD -- whether you're a receiver or a runner.
I disagree. I think there must be a standard for deciding whether a pass is caught or not. Touchdown or not. Just catch the ball and don't worry about trying to reach the ball over the goal line. Just catch it.
I had no dog in the hunt Sunday, didn't care which team won. But I will say I'm predisposed to accepting the NFL rule because it's so similar to the rules of baseball about catching a fly ball. If you catch a fly and fall down, run into a wall or bang into another player, you must hold onto the ball:
A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.
'It's pretty much the same rule. You can catch a ball and have it securely in your glove, but if you run into a wall or are diving, you better hold onto the ball all the way through the process.This whole process is a product of instant replay, of course. Without it, you'd never be able to see the ball hit the ground.And when it comes to replay, you have to take the good with the bad. And live with it.I'
LA Rams 8-3
Remaining schedule: At Arizona, vs Philadelphia, at Seattle, at Tennessee, vs San Francisco
Projection: 12-4 record, NFC west champion, NFC #2
The Rams are guaranteed at least a .500 record, and could challenge for home field advantage if the Eagles give up a game or two down the stretch. What a turnaround this year has been for Sean McVay and Jared Goff, and we could be experiencing déjà vu from the 1999 season. The Jaguars were the Rams’ offensive equals that year (if there was such a thing), but this year it would have to be the Eagles, and we all get treated to a late season showdown before the playoffs with the hope that these two juggernauts face each other again in the conference championship. How great would it be to see the Rams or Eagles take on the Patriots or Steelers in the Super Bowl? You really couldn’t miss with any of those potential matchups. Games against the Eagles and Seahawks could be losses, but the Rams should coast to an 11 win season, and have the chance to do better than that if they can go 4-1 or better the rest of the way. Goff and RB Todd Gurley are looking like superstars, and while Robert Woods’ injury hurts, they can fill the gaps with Sammy Watkins the way they originally intended to use him. What they really need is for their defense to play at a 2015 Denver Broncos level, and they would be virtually unstoppable. If their defense continues to give up big plays, they could be forced to win shootouts, which they are definitely capable of in the SoCal sunshine. If they have to travel to the east coast with a Super Bowl on the line, the potentially bad weather, running game, and strong defense could play to their favor as well. Against so many odds, they are in the drivers’ seat and just need to stay healthy and continue to play smart and they should have a great shot at their first deep playoff run since 2001.
Seattle Seahawks 7-4
Remaining schedule: vs Philadelphia, at Jacksonville, vs LA Rams, at Dallas, vs Arizona
Projection: 11-5, NFC #6
Looking at their remaining five games, Seattle has a real shot to make the playoffs, but they will need some help even if they go 4-1 over a potentially brutal finish. It’s equally possible they could go 3-2 or 2-3 and not have a shot at all. Other than shooting themselves in the foot, the one team that could ruin the Seahawks’ chances at a playoff berth just by matching their record is the same team that knocked them out last year – Atlanta. With identical records and a head to head win, Atlanta could do something no one has done while Russell Wilson has been under center in Seattle – keep them out of the postseason. Wilson has led the Seahawks to a division crown or wild card berth in each of his five seasons, but this year could be the outlier if things don’t go their way down the stretch. Minus Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, a serviceable running game, and a banged up team pretty much across the board, it will be impressive to see them make the playoffs, but given the amount of times they have been bitten by the injury bug, I’m not sure how much damage they can do if they make it. They are good enough to knock around with the league’s elite, but they just haven’t been the same since 2014 and their track record going on the road in the postseason is ok but not strong (2-3). They almost need a losing season to reload in the draft with some high picks, but as it stands they may be doomed to NFL purgatory while their once proud running game and defense continues to age and fizzle to the point of being unrecognizable.
Arizona Cardinals 5-6
Remaining schedule: vs LA Rams, vs Tennessee, at Washington, vs NY Giants, at Seattle
To be blunt, Arizona has been a in a slow-motion season-long nose-dive since they lost David Johnson in week one. They tried to survive without DJ, and thought their season was looking up after trading for Adrian Peterson. One week later, Carson Palmer broke his arm and they are now starting Blaine Gabbert after Drew Stanton hurt his knee. Ouch town – population YOU, bro. Their remaining slate appears to have one winnable game on it (Giants), but the rest are most likely going to help them get a better draft pick next year. It might be in the best interest of the team to let Palmer and Peterson retire after yet another lost season. It’s never a good time to jump start a rebuild, but aging veterans who can’t stay healthy are not a long-term solution and AP was going to be expendable next year with DJ coming back. They might as well see Palmer, AP, and Larry Fitzgerald ride off in to the sunset, while the front office pulls the trigger on the era of players TBD.
San Francisco 49ers 1-10
Remaining schedule: at Chicago, at Houston, vs Tennessee, vs Jacksonville, at LA Rams
Projection: 1-15, potential top draft pick
Even if the 49ers wanted to win one of their remaining games, I’m not sure it’s in their best interest or that they are capable of beating any of their opponents. Their lone win is against a 2-9 team (Giants) who this week unceremoniously benched their long time QB in favor of Geno Smith (not a mis-print), and their end of the season slate has just one winnable game (Bears). With one win they could still be vying for the top pick with the Browns with a potential franchise QB (Jimmy Garoppolo) already in their pocket, which means they can be just as creative with their draft as they were in 2017, whereas the Browns are desperate for a QB. The 49ers don’t need wholesale changes, but they do need to improve at receiver, offensive line, tight end, linebacker, cornerback, and safety before they can even think about a winning season. It would benefit the team and the franchise if they just played their inexperienced players the rest of the way, but no one likes to see obvious tanking, so we will most likely see their first string players out on the field until games get out of hand, and then a lot of guys you’ve never heard of handling mop-up duty. This being year three of the post-Harbaugh rebuild, and just year one of the new Lynch-Shanahan regime, we’re likely to see at least one more year of bad football before they turn the corner.
I tuned away from a National Football League game last night because I was tired of seeing football players kneeling.
No, NOT during the National Anthem.
I'm talking about the all-too-frequent kind of kneeling that should be causing alarm bells throughout football at all levels. It isn't that pregame stuff. It's the kneeling during games -- meaning players gathered in a circle around a fallen teammate who has just taken a vicious hit on the field and is motionless on the ground.
I'm disgusted by it. I've had enough of it. Somebody is going to get killed someday -- and I mean killed. Dead.
So while people will spend the day arguing over whether the hit by Chicago's Danny Trevathan on Green Bay's Davante Adams was intentional, let me suggest that the intent part of this issue shouldn't matter any longer.
If you stick a guy like that -- helmet to helmet at high speed -- you should be in your locker room two minutes later, booted out of the game. Suspended and fined, too. Take the intent out of it -- you just can't tolerate dangerous situations like that. The players are too big and too fast, leading to a new level of violence that's better left to video games.
Football has lost its way, distracted by a love for "hitting" rather than "tackling." Nobody really tackles these days. Not if they can crush someone with a collision along the lines of a train wreck. The old days of wrapping people up with arm tackles is long gone. It's all about the sound and fury of a big knock now and what's needed isn't just a rule change, but a culture change.
And for me, this is getting hard to watch. There is no reason for the pros, the colleges or the high schools to put up with ANY hits directly to the head -- premeditated or not. Hit people on the shoulder pads or lower -- or find yourself looking for another sport. And that goes for offensive players, too. Ball carriers leading with the crown of their helmet should be penalized, too, if they cause similar collisions.
End the hits to the head and neck before it's too late. Don't make a tragic death the reason for a culture change.
By HERMAN DAVIS
This is going to be a fantastic year. Right? You read countless articles. You bought different strategy guides to help you get the right pick, and you watched the NFL network for two hours each night before bed. What did all that get you in the end? A humiliating 1-4 record.
That being said, welcome to the world of NFL Fantasy football.
Maybe it’s not your fault (since all the experts said draft Jimmy Graham). Or maybe it is. After all, no one forced you to pick that player.
Regardless of how you got here, let’s face it – if you’ve only got one or two wins this season, it’s pretty much over for you.
Accepting defeat in any form is never an easy pill to swallow, but losing at fantasy football can put you on a whole different level. In some cases, you lose lots of money, get endlessly tormented by friends and/or co-workers for months, and, perhaps worst of all, dread turning on the TV every Sunday.
Sports participation – like the NFL Fantasy – can place a lot of psychological demands on anyone. From youth league to the professional level, athletes like Eddie Lacy are forced to cope with the stress that arises from competing head-on with others in activities that are not only important to the athletes, but to the fans as well.
Before discussing ways of reducing stress when it comes to football fantasy, we need to explore what it means to be stressed. Normally, the term is used in two different, but related ways. First, we use the term to refer to a situation in our lives that places some sort of physical or mental demand on us. Family conflict, work pressure, and sporting events (fantasy football included) are all examples of events to make us say “there’s a lot of stress in my life right now.”
The second way in which we use this term is to refer to our mental, emotional, and behavioral responses to these demanding situations. Tension, or depression are examples of such reactions, as well as upset stomachs and sleepless nights, two of eight signs that stress is affecting your health. This is the type of stress that can cause you to say, “I’m feeling a lot of stress right now.” Who would have thought fantasy football could be so time consuming and stressful?
Although drafting a solid team is a vital part of championship success, you simply cannot stop there. Remember: this isn’t a Daily Fantasy Sport; this league is a season-long commitment. Moving forward, there are three important moves to make once the season begins in order to improve your rankings and lower your stress level.
Monitoring athletes on the waiver wire and completing beneficial trades are, of course, the most notable ways to capitalize at the expense of your opponents. Lastly, arranging your starting lineup is very important but not as easy as it seems.
- Waiver Wire
If one of your players sustains a season-ending injury, drop him immediately in favor of a healthy player with some potential. Don’t be that person who refuses to drop their star player just because you like seeing their name on your roster.
- Streaming Defense and Kickers
This is a common one in fantasy football. Depending on which defense and kicker you draft, it might be worth replacing them on a week-to-week basis. If you have a decent defense but there is another one on the waiver wire with a matchup against the worst offense in the league, it can be beneficial to make the switch. If you, however, draft the NFL’s projected number one defense, this strategy does not apply.
Assess your roster. At what positions are you lacking depth? Look at your strongest positions. Then look at your weakest positions. These are important things to keep in mind when moving forward with trade proposals. Be patient with your star players. Don’t try to trade one of your first two draft picks early in the season, especially when you are offering them a discount price. Normally, top players will return to form if they struggle through the first few games. Lastly, don’t be that person who proposes a bunch of unfair trades. You simply cannot get a superstar for nothing.
In the end, although fantasy football can be extremely tiresome and stressful, it’s meant to be a fun activity for family, friends, and co-workers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed from the heat others are giving you, step away from the competition. No activity that’s meant to be fun should be that traumatic.
The National Football League opens Thursday night and you know what that means, right?
It means that pundits all over the country need to get their Super Bowl picks in sometime before the first game. And of course, I'm all in on that -- even though I don't consider myself much of an NFL expert. You see, I don't play fantasy football. I don't bet on NFL games and I find the Red Zone channel unfulfilling. I'd even rather play golf than watch the NFL on TV on a sunny Sunday, too. So there is that.
But I'm still as capable as any other writer in the country at picking teams out of the air. Especially because I have a system -- a tried-and-true system that I've been using for years now when it comes to picking winners in any sport.
Now keep in mind I didn't invent this system. It's been in operation for decades, I'm sure -- and was probably invented by one of the legendary greats in my business.
So let's get to it and this season, for the first time, I'm going to pull back the curtain and reveal how I arrive at my genius picks -- which very often prove to be correct. I am going to give it all up this year, my gift to the sporting public.
First off, you need to decide which team irritates you the most. Which team are you most tired of hearing about? Reading about? And which one are you most tired of watching win? It shouldn't take you long to make this decision. Just as most everybody has a favorite team, most people have a least-favorite team.
Now here comes the tricky part.
Once you discern that most disliked team or franchise (or most despised coach or player, if you prefer), go ahead and pick that team to make it to the Super Bowl. Why? Because you will be hedging your bet, in a way. Let's say, for instance, you are sick and tired of reading about, hearing about or just talking about ... the New England Patriots.
Pick the Patriots.
And that way, no matter what happens, you can't lose. If the Patriots win, you're a genius. After all, you picked them. But if they lose, you were wrong about them. WHICH SHOULD MAKE YOU HAPPY! You don't like them and they lost! Certainly it's worth being wrong on a silly Super Bowl pick that nobody will remember unless you pop up months from now reminding them who you picked, right?
I love this method and offer it up to the world. I've even known people who use it in real-life. A friend of mine made it a practice to make bets -- real money -- against his own family member with his friends, thinking then he'd be less disappointed either way with the outcome.
Yes, the world can be a harsh place.
So now you know the method behind my madness all these years. And oh yes, I almost forgot.
My Super Bowl picks this season? The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Bet on it... if you want.
When the Seattle Seahawks drafted Kam Chancellor in 2010, not even the most optimistic of fans could have envisioned the impact the safety out of Virginia Tech would have.
The organization made sure they'll have plenty of opportunities going forward.
On Tuesday, the Seahawks and Chancellor agreed to a multi-year contract extension, reportedly a 3-year, $36 million deal, which head coach Pete Carroll said is "a wonderful day for the Seahawks organization." Chancellor, 29, who along with Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman formed the famed "Legion of Boom" defense, is entering his eighth season in Seattle.
“I love this team,” he said Tuesday. “They gave me the first opportunity—the only opportunity—and I would love to retire here.”
Chancellor took over as a starter in 2011 and has averaged 57 tackles per year, despite only playing a full season three times. Chancellor also has 12 career interceptions. However, it's his presence as a ball-hawking, missile-seeking safety valve that has defined his career. When he missed four games last season, the intimidation factor in the Seahawks secondary was gone.
“He kind of brings a swagger to the defense, and to the whole team really," Doug Baldwin said last season. "There aren’t many people who can go up against Kam and win that battle, so he kind of brings the hammer for the whole team. Then obviously his leadership in the locker room, he’s just one of those guys who is down to earth. He can talk to anybody, have a conversation with anybody, cares genuinely about everybody, and he brings everybody together.”
That leadership will be around for a lot longer now.
You've heard about this study by now. If you ever played NFL football, there's a real good chance you're suffering or WILL suffer, the effects of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). They studied the brains of 111 former NFL players and 110 of them showed signs of it. And that study included a punter and a placekicker.
Everyone is talking about whether they'd allow their children to play football, in light of this very chilling data. I must say, I wouldn't. For me, it isn't even worth a second thought. No way. Stick to baseball or basketball. Broken bones heal but broken brains don't.
In fact, I must say that even watching the sport bothers me a lot. Are we watching brains being sliced and diced for our personal entertainment?
And what I'm wondering today is how many former football players -- the ones who didn't make it to the NFL and played only in high school or college -- are worried about brain damage? And oh, by the way, it's a condition that can't be diagnosed until death. You probably wouldn't know you had it until the scary symptoms start to appear.
It's very clear that anybody who ever played the game at any level has a real chance of having the condition.
This study showed that 21 percent of those who played high school football had evidence of CTE and a whopping 91 percent of college players did. Now the flaw in those statistics is the brains that were studied could be much more likely to show evidence of CTE because they likely belonged to people who showed symptoms -- and that's why they were contributed to the study.
But still... This is some very depressing data and I can't even imagine what former college football players might be thinking right now:
Do I have CTE? Will I have CTE? Will I be rational enough even to recognize I have it?
By Herman Davis
Every year, NFL owners like Paul Allen meet to discuss different ways to improve to the league and different marketing techniques that will continue to grow the brand.
This year, owners gathered and made some major decisions, most notably being the approval of the Raiders relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas. Those weren’t all the changes made this year, however. Team owners recently decided to vote on some rule changes that they believe would not only speed the game up, but improve player safety by trying to solve the NFL’s concussion problem as well.
Let’s take a look at the approved changes that will be in effect for the upcoming 2017 football season.
The NFL is trying hard to bring back a little fun to sport. As a matter of fact, the league announced on Tuesday, May 23, that it was loosening its strict rules about on-field celebrations. This means that celebrations that include “using the football as a prop” after a touchdown are now permitted. Other celebrations that include ground demonstrations, or dancing with cheerleaders and teammates are also permitted to a certain extent, of course.
Offensive celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game for any reason will result in a player being penalized and face a possible fine along with a 1-2 week suspension. For the most part, however, it’s open season for celebration.
Stronger Enforcement on Illegal Hits
At the annual league meeting back in March, NFL clubs voted on making additional rule changes to the way football games are officiated in order to help improve the health and safety of players.
These changes were proposed by the NFL club members and the NFL competition committee, a group that has met over several times since the conclusion of the 2016 season to discuss player safety with physicians, safety experts, and other experts. By enforcing these rules, committees are hoping they can minimize injuries like concussions, knee injuries, and temporomandibular joint pain; a joint that’s located on the side of the skill and if not treated, could cause locking of the jaw.
Here are some of the approved health and safety related 2017 playing rules proposals:
- Giving a receiver that’s running a pass route defenseless player protection.
- Prohibiting crack back blocks by a backfield player who’s in motion.
- Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt during field goals and extra point plays.
These rules aren’t designed to penalize players. Instead, they were created with the intent of making the game of football safer by encouraging healthy behavior traits both on and off the field.
Technology: Centralized Replay Review
Each week, millions of people watch NFL games on their television screens or in person. Increasingly, they also follow the action on a second and, in some cases, third screen. Smartphones, computers, and tablets make it all possible for fans to witness the action live. That being said, instant replay is being used now more than ever in the NFL. As a matter of fact, only 17 percent of games were played without a replay in 2013.
How does it work?
Well, state-of-the-art technology powers the command center that the league uses to help monitor games and evaluate the officials who operate the instant replay system. As of this year, referees will no longer be expected to go hide under the “hood” to review plays. Instead, the final say on replay reviews and challenges will come from Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino and his crew, who will work from the league’s command office stationed in New York.
Don’t worry; referees will still be able to communicate their opinions on the decisions through a wireless headset and video tablet. The committee believes that with quicker review time, the game will go by faster by at least 1.5 minutes per game.
Technology instant replay also helps team physicians increase their knowledge of a patient’s condition after an injury. In other words, during a play, it’s hard to determine how a player got injured with 21 other men running around the field colliding into one another. With instant replay, however, officials can zone in on the injured player before the ball was snapped to see what happened. This helps doctors determine how players got injured and what part of the body suffered the biggest impact.
So, who’s ready for football season to start?