NEW ORLEANS (AP) Sean Payton arrived at the Superdome to see his first Saints game since being suspended the entire season in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation. It allowed him the chance to see Drew Brees' attempt to break Johnny Unitas' half-century old record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
At Brees' request, the NFL has allowed Payton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis to attend the game as long as they did not have contact with the team. Arrangements were made to place Payton in a suite and he was told not to speak with media.
Payton briefly stopped by a suite owned by Brees and chatted with the quarterback's wife, Brittany. Vitt was suspended six games and Loomis was docked eight.
NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.
This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem.
Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though.
The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.
TAMPA—Head Coach Barry Trotz skated the hot lap prior to Wednesday’s Game 7 at Amalie Arena, taking over the superstitious tradition from captain Alex Ovechkin.
Why the change?
The Caps lost Game 5 here on Saturday. And when the Caps lose on the road—the only place where the morning-skate-starting hot lap takes place—a new skater is selected.
The weird tradition began in the first round at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when Jay Beagle grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze over following a fresh Zamboni cut. Beagle's teammates implored him to wait a little longer for the ice to cure, but he grew impatient and took it upon himself to kick off the skate by racing around the rink, a la the fastest skater competition at the All Star Skills competition.
Ovechkin took it over prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh because the Caps had lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.
Ovechkin proudly carried on the tradition as Washington won three in a row—Game 6 in Pittsburgh and Games 1 and 2 of this series vs. Tampa Bay.
Following the Caps’ 3-2 defeat in Game 5 here, though, it was expected that a change would be made.
And on Wednesday morning the baton changed hands, with the least obvious of all the Caps busting his 55-year-old hump around the rink much to the delight of his players and assistants.
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