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Turn off lights, turn on water, NFL games go on

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Turn off lights, turn on water, NFL games go on

NEW YORK (AP) You can turn off the lights, turn on the water, or fire up the snow plow. No matter what, the NFL show goes on.

Of course, disruptions may be cause for concern (blackouts). Or comic relief (sprinklers). Or confusion (bad calls). Right or wrong it all gets sorted out and the games proceed to a conclusion.

So, after a computer glitch in Miami on Sunday caused stadium sprinklers to douse Seahawks and Dolphins players and delay the game for a minute or two, we feel compelled to put forth a Pick 6 on inadvertent delays of game.

One game, however, merits special attention because it did not hold up the game, just the outcome: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 on Sept. 24.

It took replacement officials approximately 3 minutes, 15 seconds (by our stopwatch) to rule that Russell Wilson's 24-yard last-play heave into the end zone was a winning TD pass to Golden Tate, not an interception by M.D. Jennings. But even after so much confusion and controversy, the officials missed another call on the same play - offensive pass interference against Tate that would have negated the TD and given the Packers the win.

And now, without further delay, our Pick 6:

All Washed Up (Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21, Nov. 25)

With the sprinkler system erroneously working on a Saturday schedule, water came spraying out between plays during the third quarter. The crowd cheered, the game was held up briefly, the players smiled and toweled off, and Miami went on for a 24-21 win.

Dolphins running back Reggie Bush said it reminded him of the ``old 18th hole trick where you send a rookie out there at 9 p.m. and the sprinklers come on.''

Turn out the lights (49ers 20, Steelers 3, Dec. 19, 2011)

A much-anticipated game at Candlestick Park took a little longer to get going when the stadium went dark twice - just before kickoff and early in the second quarter.

With the 49ers hosting the Steelers in a game of playoff-bound teams, the lights went out about 25 minutes before the start of the Monday night game, delaying the opening kickoff by 20 minutes.

Thousands of flashbulbs went off as a sellout crowd of 69,732 sat in darkness (waiting for backup generators to kick in). The second delay came early in the second quarter and held up play about 15 minutes. No hitches followed and the 49ers went on to win.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who didn't travel with the team because he was serving a suspension for an illegal hit, wrote on his Twitter account: ``If I cant play then can't nobody play... Lights out!''

Run away squirrel, run away! (Ravens 24, Browns 10, Dec. 4, 2011)

With the Browns getting hammered and the fans in a foul mood, a squirrel had people cheering wildly for a few minutes during the third quarter. Somehow, the squirrel got into the stadium, started out in one end zone and went on a 100-yard scamper into the other end zone. The jolly jaunt started up the sideline, and stopped as the squirrel paused a few seconds after 30 yards. The critter continued on its merry way, broke into the open field, weaved back near the sideline and finally crossed the goal line. All the while, Ravens and Browns players were on the field preparing for a Baltimore kickoff. What's a few minutes of delay when you get a chance to watch a squirrel take it to the house?

Bottlegate (Jaguars 15, Browns 10, Dec. 16, 2001)

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue needed to intervene in this ugly affair that caused a 30-minute delay because of bottle-throwing fans. The Browns were driving for the potential winning TD late in the game, moving toward the notorious Dawg Pound section of the Browns' stadium. Receiver Quincy Morgan caught a fourth-and-1 pass for a first down. Quarterback Tim Couch then spiked the ball on the next play to stop the clock. But referee Terry McAulay announced well after the spike that Morgan's catch was going to be reviewed. (NFL rules state that after another play is run the previous play is not reviewable, but the explanation was the referee did not react quickly enough.) Upon review, it was determined a noncatch and the Jaguars were awarded the ball. That's when plastic beer bottles and other objects came flying out of the stands, striking players and officials. McAulay declared the game over and sent the teams to their locker rooms. But Tagliabue called the game supervisor and ordered him to override the decision, sending the players back on the field. The Jags ran out the last seconds with debris still flying from the stands.

The Fog Bowl (Bears 20, Eagles 12, Dec. 31, 1988)

A heavy, dense fog rolled over Chicago's Soldier Field during the second quarter of this NFC divisional playoff game, cutting visibility to about 15-20 yards for the rest of the game. The Bears led 17-9 as the fog became so thick that players complained they couldn't see the sideline and yard markers, and fans, TV and radio announcers had trouble seeing what was happening. Referee Jim Tunney wound up announcing the down and distance on his wireless microphone.

Snow plow to the rescue (Patriots 3, Dolphins 0, Dec. 12, 1982)

One of the classic moments in NFL history occurred when a snow plow came onto the field at Schaefer Stadium, cleared out an area that allowed John Smith to kick a 33-yard field with 4:45 left to give the Patriots the win. Because of the heavy snowfall, officials were allowed to call timeouts to allow a crew to use the plow and clear the yard markers. Turns out that Patriots coach Ron Meyer had ordered the driver, Mark Henderson (a convict on work release), to veer off course to clear a spot for the kick. A few extra seconds were all that was needed to determine the outcome in this one. After the incident, the use of snow plows during games was banned.

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Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

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USA Today Sports

Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

Mark your calendars now because the Ravens are already gearing up for their 2018 season.

From the Pro-Bowl all the way to the start of the regular season, here are the key dates.

January 28th: Pro Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 

Safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will all be in attendance. In addition, Suggs and Weddle were named starters. The game will take place at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN.

February 3rd: Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 Class announced

This will be a very important day for Ray Lewis and the Ravens organization as Lewis waits to here if he will be sealed into football history, one day prior to Super Bowl LII. 

February 5th: Waiver system takes effect

The waiver system allows players' contracts or a club's NFL rights to a player available to other clubs in the league. Upon doing this, the other 31 teams can place a claim to obtain him or waive their chance. During this 24- hour period, once a club waives a player it can not take the player back or change his status. Assignments are based upon draft order until the third week of the regular season. If a player does not get claimed, he becomes a free agent. 

February 20th:  First day to franchise or transition tag a player

February 27th- March 5th: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, IN

This seven day period will be crucial for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to get a good look at potential Ravens.

March 6th: Deadline to franchise or transition tag a player

March 12-14th: Teams are allowed to contact and negotiate with agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents

March 14th: Start of new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET

At this time, all 2017 player contracts expire meaning teams can begin seeking and signing free agents. Ravens free agents include Mike Wallace, Benjamin Watson, Ryan Jensen, Terrance West, James Hurst, Michael Campanaro, Steven Johnson, Ryan Mallet, Brandon Boykin, Crockett Gillmore, Brent Urban and Luke Bowanko.

March 25-28th: Owners Meeting, Orlando, FL

April 16th: Voluntary OTA's can begin

April 20th: Deadline for restricted FA's to sign offer sheets

April 26th-28th: 2018 NFL Draft, Arlington, TX

The Ravens will be heading down to Arlington, Texas in hopes of picking up their next franchise player. Positions needed include wide receiver, tight end, quarterback and outside linebacker.

May 4-7th or 11-14th: Potential three-day rookie minicamp

May 31-June 2nd: Ravens Beach Bash, Ocean City, MD

July 16th: Deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player 

Mid-Late July: Training camp begins

August 2nd: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH

August 4th: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Canton, OH

Again, keep this date marked as it could be the day Ray Lewis is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

September 6th: Start of regular season 

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Don Martindale promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator

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USA Today Sports

Don Martindale promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has promoted linebackers coach Don Martindale to defensive coordinator, assuring a seamless transition in the wake of Dean Pees' retirement.

Martindale has been coaching Baltimore linebackers since 2012. The 54-year-old was the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in 2010.

After Pees ended his six-year run as the Ravens' defensive coordinator on Jan. 1, Harbaugh said he wanted to maintain continuity with his new hire.

RELATED: RAVENS' 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP

"I'm a believer in this system," Harbaugh said last week. "This system has been something that's been developed for a long period of time, and we have worked really hard every single year to make it better."

Martindale has been part of that process. He coached the Ravens inside linebackers from 2012-15 and spent the past two seasons as the team's linebackers coach.

In announcing the move Tuesday, Harbaugh said Martindale's "aggressive mentality will serve to take our defense to new levels."

Harbaugh said Martindale "knows the ins and outs of what we have been about on defense and has been an important contributor to our success on that side of the ball."

Also on Tuesday, Harbaugh promoted Mike Macdonald to linebackers coach and Sterling Lucas to quality control defense.

The 30-year-old Macdonald joined the Ravens in 2014 as a coaching intern on defense. He served as a defensive assistant in 2015 and 2016, and this season was the defensive backs coach. Baltimore led the NFL this season with 22 interceptions and forced a league-best 34 turnovers.

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