|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos WR Wes Welker suffers second concussion in 4 weeks||12.09.13 at 8:01 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Cowboys at Bears, 8:40 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Nuggets at Wizards, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Bryant at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Manchester at Butler, 8 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Blue Jackets at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Hull City at Swansea City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Bernard Pollard curse has struck again, but this time it’s an ex-Patriot who suffered the injury.
Broncos receiver Wes Welker left Sunday’s victory over the Titans with a concussion for the second time in a month, after taking a hit to the head from Pollard late in the second quarter of Sunday’s game in Denver.
Welker, who earlier in the game caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season — giving the Broncos a record four players with 10 touchdown receptions this season — walked off the field under his own power but did not return in the second half.
The Broncos play again Thursday night against the Chargers, and there already is speculation that Welker, who also was concussed in a Week 11 win over the Chiefs but returned for the following week’s game against the Patriots, will skip that game. Per the league’s concussion protocol, Welker will have baseline testing Monday.
Pollard is well known to New England fans for causing injuries to Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley. He also was the defender when Welker suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the final regular-season game in 2009, although Welker suffered the injury trying to make a move, without any contact.
• Meanwhile, Welker’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, heard the criticism about his play in cold-weather games, and he had a message for his critics after rallying Denver from an 11-point deficit for a 51-28 rout of the Titans on a day when the temperature was 18 degrees at kickoff.
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning said.
Entering the game, Manning had a career record of 3-7 in games when the temperature was 32 or below at kickoff. He proceeded to set a team record with 39 completions (on a team-record-tying 59 attempts). Manning passed for 397 yards and four touchdowns, closing to within five of Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50.
Said Manning: “I wasn’t trying to answer [the criticism], because I didn’t give it any validation in the first place.”
Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said he doesn’t expect Manning’s critics to relent.
“They’ll find something [to talk about],” Knighton said. “They’ll probably say, well, he’s not good … below zero or something. They’ll find something, but I consider us a weatherproof team, and he’s a Super Bowl champ. We’re not really worried about that. We’ll play anywhere, any weather, any conditions.”
On a side note, Broncos kicker Matt Prater also didn’t let the frigid temperatures bother him, as he kicked an NFL-record 64-yard field goal just before halftime. Two of the four kickers who shared the old record of 63 yards also kicked theirs in Denver, where the altitude offers some assistance — although Prater noted that the benefit from the thin air was evened out by the temperature (14 degrees when he kicked).
“Yes, it kind of takes out the altitude factor,” he said.
• Adrian Peterson did not enjoy his trip to Baltimore on Sunday. Not only did the Vikings suffer a 29-26 on a touchdown in the final seconds, Peterson was carted off the field in the second quarter with a sprained foot and did not play another down — although he did watch from the sideline.
But Peterson’s main issue was with the officials. The Vikings were called for pass interference on Baltimore’s winning drive, nullifying an interception. That was just one of the calls that had Peterson upset.
“Some of the calls that were made, you just went, ‘Wow. I can’t believe that was called,’ ” Peterson said.
The running back also had an issue with the Baltimore fans, who braved a snowstorm but were not as well-behaved as Peterson would like.
“They’ve got the worst fans in the NFL,” Peterson said. “[They were] throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter, like kids.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 9, 1992, the Red Sox signed which free agent who eventually wound up in the Hall of Fame?
|NFL Roundup: Dwayne Bowe set to play Sunday despite arrest; Gary Kubiak to coach Texans Sunday||11.14.13 at 10:13 am ET|
Despite being arrested this past weekend on charges of speeding and possession of marijuana, Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe still intends to play this Sunday. Bowe likely does not want to miss what is shaping up to be Kansas City’s biggest game of the season, as the 9-0 Chiefs are set to travel to Denver to face off against the Broncos.
After being stopped for doing 48 in a 35 mph zone shortly before midnight on Sunday, Bowe’s car was searched by police officers, who reported they found about a third of an ounce of marijuana. Bowe was taken to jail and was subsequently released on a $750 bond. Bowe is due in court on Dec. 18.
While Bowe has avoided speaking to the media since his arrest, Chiefs coach Andy Reid deflected questions regarding Bowe’s arrest and defended his Pro Bowl player, stating that Bowe has been a model citizen so far this season.
“There are rules and regulations put in place and we’ll abide by the rules and regulations, and we’ll make sure we take all of the information that comes out as it goes through the process,” Reid said. “That’s where we’re going with it.
“Dwayne’s been a team player since I’ve been here,” Reid said. “He doesn’t want to bring any problems to the table. That’s not what he wants to do.”
Bowe, who signed a five-year, $56 million extension with Kansas City this past offseason, has not had a season to remember, as the 29-year-old has only hauled in 33 receptions for 369 yards and two touchdowns.
Since being selected 23rd overall in the 2007 draft by Kansas City, Bowe has been one of the most effective offensive weapons in franchise history, as he is second all-time with 448 receptions and is fifth all-time in touchdowns (41).
• After suffering a “mini-stroke” less than two weeks ago, Texans coach Gary Kubiak is set to return to the sideline Sunday for Houston’s game against the Raiders.
Kubiak last coached the Texans on Nov. 3 against the Colts, when the 52-year-old coach collapsed on field at halftime and was transported to a hospital. After testing, it was revealed that Kubiak had suffered a transient ischemic attack, typically referred to as a “mini-stroke” for its similarity in side effects and causes.
While doctors have limited the amount of work that he can do during the week, Kubiak was happy to finally be back with the team on Wednesday.
“It just feels great to be back,” Kubiak said. ”I’m on kind of a different schedule — kind of hard to adjust to, but I’m adjusting to it. I’m listening to [my doctors.]
“I wasn’t doing anything different than I’ve always done. I guess it just makes you stop and think a little bit. I’ve been through a lot of good times in this league, I’m going through a hard time right now, but it’s nice to go through any time and to be doing what you love to do.”
Kubiak will have to deal with a lot of pressure in his first game back, as the Texans will look to break a seven-game losing streak against Oakland.
• While Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said that quarterback Peyton Manning would “definitely” play this Sunday against the Chiefs, his status is a bit more unclear now.
Manning, who is dealing with injuries to his ankles, sat out Denver’s practice Wednesday. The four-time MVP took part in the team’s walk-through before heading into the trainer’s room for work on his nagging injuries.
“It’s my preference to be out there, but at the same time, I kind of do what’s best for the team in order for me to get healthy,” Manning said.
Manning has posted some of the best stats of his Hall of Fame career in 2013, as the 37-year-old has thrown for 3,249 yards and 33 touchdowns.
• Former Bears receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for his role in a drug-distribution scheme.
Hurd pleaded guilty in April to one count of attempting to buy and distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana. In court on Wednesday, Hurd pleaded for mercy and admitted to being a drug addict.
“I have regrets, your honor,” he said. “I have a lot of regrets.”
• Former Raiders tight end Todd Christensen died Wednesday in a Salt Lake City hospital from complications from liver transplant surgery.
Christensen, 57, had been waiting 10 months for a donor liver, his son, Toby, told the press.
Christensen played 10 seasons for the Raiders, earning five Pro Bowl selections and winning Super Bowls in 1981 and ’84. His 92 catches in 1983 were an NFL record for tight ends, and he broke that mark three years later with 95 receptions.
|Despite aggravating ankle injury, Peyton Manning will ‘definitely play’ Sunday||11.12.13 at 10:16 am ET|
Broncos fans can take a deep breath, as an MRI revealed no new damage to quarterback Peyton Manning‘s right ankle.
Manning, who hurt his ankle during games against the Jaguars and Colts last month, went down in the closing minutes of the Broncos’ 28-20 win over the Chargers on Sunday after being sacked by defensive end Corey Liuget, who appeared to target Manning’s ankles on the play.
Manning, 37, stayed down on the ground after the hit and moved with a noticeable limp both on the field and in the locker room after the game.
With the news that his ankle is still structurally sound, Manning is expected to play on Sunday in Denver’s biggest game of the season so far, a Sunday night matchup against the 9-0 Chiefs.
“He’ll definitely play this week,” said interim coach Jack Del Rio. “He’s ready to roll and that’s good news.”
The Broncos will have their hands full with protecting their All-Pro quarterback, as the Chiefs are first in the NFL with 36 sacks.
“We’re definitely on high alert, wanting to protect our quarterback,” Del Rio said. “We didn’t do as well as we can and we needed to yesterday and we’ve got a big challenge going against a team that’s sacked quarterbacks more than any team in the league.”
In the days following his injury scare, both Manning and the Broncos have raised questions whether Liuget’s below-the-knee hit was legal.
“In the rules, there are certain areas you can hit and certain areas that are supposed to be protected,” Del Rio said. “And we thought that got into an area that was supposed to be protected.”
In response, Denver has sent replays of the hit to the NFL to see if Liuget deserves any disciplinary actions for his play against Manning.
Now in his second year with the Broncos, Manning has put together one of the best seasons of his storied career. The four-time MVP has thrown 33 touchdowns in nine games this year, matching Tom Brady‘s 2007 total for most touchdowns through the first nine contests of a season.
|NFL roundup: QBs Jay Cutler, Jake Locker, Seneca Wallace hurt; 49ers DE Aldon Smith returns||11.11.13 at 1:41 pm ET|
Sunday was a bad day to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Jay Cutler, Jake Locker and Seneca Wallace all were forced out of their games early, while Peyton Manning also re-aggravated his ankle injury.
Cutler left with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s 21-19 loss to the Lions. His status for the game was in question to begin with as he missed the Bears’ 27-20 win over the Packers the previous week. Josh McCown replaced Cutler and led Chicago on a touchdown-scoring drive. However, the two-point conversion failed and the Bears came up just short.
Locker, who was enjoying a breakout season for the Titans, might be lost for the season with a Lisfranc injury suffered in Tennessee’s 29-27 loss to the Jaguars. NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported that the Titans believe the third-year pro’s season could be over. Locker already missed two games this season with a hip injury.
Wallace, filling in for the injured Aaron Rodgers, played only one series of Green Bay’s 27-13 loss to Philadelphia, as a groin injury forced him out. Wallace replaced Rodgers last week when the Packers’ franchise quarterback went down with a fractured collarbone at the start of the team’s 27-20 loss to Chicago. Scott Tolzien replaced Wallace at quarterback, and will start next week vs. the Giants, according to Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
• The 49ers showed Aldon Smith tough love by suspending him for over a month due to his substance abuse problems.
When Smith finally made it back on the field Sunday, after missing the past five games, San Francisco continued that tough love in the team’s 10-9 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.
Smith sat out the entire first quarter and totaled just 12 snaps in the entire game, despite being healthy. Smith voiced his displeasure with the decision to limit his snaps, saying he was “not really” OK with his role, but also added: “The season is long, so we’ll see how it goes. I don’t really call those shots. I just put my clothes on, put my cleats on and play.”
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos QB Peyton Manning scheduled for MRI on ankle following win over Chargers||at 7:53 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Dolphins at Buccaneers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nuggets at Jazz, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Lightning at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Kent State at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UMKC at Creighton, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Colorado State at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: BYU at Stanford, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Western Kentucky at Wichita State, 1 a.m. Tuesday (ESPN2)
College basketball: Akron at Saint Mary’s, 3 a.m. Tuesday (ESPN2)
College basketball: New Mexico State at Hawaii, 5 a.m. Tuesday (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Broncos won their first game without coach John Fox, who is recovering from heart surgery, but it ended with a scare.
Peyton Manning re-injured his right ankle while being hit by Corey Liuget in the closing minutes of Sunday’s 28-20 victory over the Chargers in San Diego. Although he remained in the game, Manning limped out of the stadium and said he would have tests to determine the extent of the injury.
“Pretty sore,” Manning said of the ankle, which has been a source of trouble for him for a month. “They kind of got me twice in that lower area. I felt better coming into the game after the bye week, but pretty sore. I’ll get an MRI [Monday], so I’ll know a little more then.”
Manning, who threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, originally injured the ankle last month and aggravated it the following week. He said he’s likely to suit up for Sunday night’s matchup with the undefeated Chiefs.
“I certainly plan on it, yeah,” he said. “I had [an MRI] a couple of weeks ago. I took a couple of hits today, so just kind of an update to see what it says. I’m hoping for no change.”
• A Chargers tailgater received a ticket for throwing a football in the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium before a game last month.
Jesse Unger, 27, was approached by police and handed a citation, and while he says the officers told him it was for $60, he discovered online that it actually was $280.
Unger took the matter to court last week, and the judge agreed with Unger that it was ridiculous. He suspended the fine after Unger pleaded guilty to “throwing the football.”
“I couldn’t believe that I was going to admit to something that has no business being considered a crime,” he said.
Then, according to Unger, the judge complained about the Chargers’ lack of production in the running game.
The San Diego Union-Tribune investigated and determined that three other NFL venues have a similar police: Tennessee’s LP Field, Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
• The Knicks were routed by the Spurs on Sunday, 120-89, but owner James Dolan remains confident in his team. Either that, or he’s setting up coach Mike Woodson to take the fall.
While performing with his band, JD & The Straight Shot, at the Cutting Room in Manhattan, Dolan reportedly said of Wednesdays game against the Hawks: “We’re going to win the next game. That’s a guarantee.”
This came after fans started a brief “Fire Woodson” chant during Sunday’s game.
Said Woodson when asked about the fans’ reaction: “I don’t worry about that stuff. I’ve got to coach them.”
Woodson did acknowledge that his team played like one with no pride.
“No, not at all,” he said. “It’s something we’ll address [Monday] at the practice facility. It’s my job to push them through it and get them over the hump.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Nov. 11, 1999, which Red Sox skipper was named American League Manager of the Year?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos coach John Fox calls out Colts owner Jim Irsay for ‘cheap shot’ about Peyton Manning’s lack of titles||10.16.13 at 7:44 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Red Sox at Tigers, 8:07 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Dodgers, 4 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Magic at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Rangers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• When Colts owner Jim Irsay parted ways with quarterback Peyton Manning after the 2011 season, the pair had an emotional press conference in which they lamented the move.
Apparently, there was more to the decision than was being let on. With Manning set to make his return to Indianapolis on Sunday night with the Broncos, Irsay said in an interview with USA Today on Tuesday that the Colts drafted Andrew Luck No. 1 overall and passed on re-signing Manning because they wanted more playoff success.
“[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these [rings],” Irsay said. “Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.
“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the ‘Star Wars’ numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love this [ring].”
That didn’t sit well with Manning’s current coach, Broncos boss John Fox.
“I saw the comments. And to be honest with you, I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot,” Fox said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “To me, in my opinion, they were disappointing and inappropriate.
“Peyton would never say anything. He’s too classy to do that. They sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me. For a guy who has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won four MVP awards … be thankful of that one Super Bowl ring, because a lot of people don’t have one.”
Irsay took to Twitter later in the day and insisted he was talking about building “well-rounded teams around great QBs,” and accused his critics of having “negative agendas.”
• Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who last week lost his appeal of a $100,000 fine for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1, could be in trouble again.
Suh led with his helmet when he hit Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden in the chest following a pass in Sunday’s game. The hit wasn’t penalized, but in a video posted on NFL.com Tuesday, vice president of officiating Dean Blandino indicated it should be reviewed.
“No. 90 hit the quarterback, lowered his head, that was not called,” Blandino said in the video. “Potential helmet to the body.”
Suh has been fined $177,500 in his 3½ NFL seasons and was suspended two games in 2011 that cost him an additional $165,294 in salary.
• A man who put on a bear costume with a Dodgers jersey and climbed atop the Cardinals dugout to entertain the fans at Dodger Stadium during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night has become a bit of a media sensation.
Mark Monninger, a 50-year-old furniture store owner, said he pitched the idea to the team of having a mascot but was told no. He showed up at a regular-season game and attempted to perform but was ejected. He knew the same fate awaited him Monday when he made his move in the eighth inning.
“The time came, and I headed off,” Monninger told LA’s NBC4 News. “I knew it was only going to be a few seconds before they asked me to leave, and that’s what happened.
“If I was going to try out for a character like this, I’d just have to jump in and do it.”
Monninger’s ejection — and subsequent banishment from Dodgers property for six months — was followed by a Dodgers rally in a 3-0 victory, leading some to credit the “Rally Bear” for providing a spark.
“I wanted to try to get them going,” Monninger said. “They really needed a win [Monday] night to keep the series going.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 16, 2004, the Red Sox lost Game 3 of the ALCS to the Yankees, 19-8, before embarking on their historic comeback. Bronson Arroyo started for the Red Sox and managed to avoid being saddled with the loss despite allowing six earned runs in two-plus innings, as the Sox tied the score after three innings. Which former Yankee relieved Arroyo and took the loss despite allowing the fewest runs of any of the six Sox pitchers that night (one run in one-plus inning)?
|NFL roundup: Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor suffers concussion; Bengals’ Pacman Jones in trouble again; Lions’ Nate Burleson injured in car accident||09.24.13 at 12:03 pm ET|
Despite the Raiders’ 37-21 loss to the Broncos on Monday night, Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor was impressive, as he completed 19-of-28 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown while running for 36 yards on four rushes.
However, Pryor was unable to finish the game, as he was sandwiched by two Denver defenders in the fourth quarter and left the game with a head injury. After the game, it was announced that testing revealed that Pryor had indeed suffered a concussion.
It’s uncertain if Pryor will be ready for the Raiders’ next game on Sunday afternoon against Washington.
If Pryor is unable to play, Matt Flynn is expected to step in at quarterback.
Also in Monday’s game, Peyton Manning turned in another dominant performance, as the 37-year-old quarterback completed 32-of-37 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns.
It’s been a historic start to the season for Manning, as his 12 touchdowns in the Broncos’ first three games has set an NFL record. Tom Brady, who set the NFL record with 50 touchdowns during the 2007 season, held the previous record with 11 touchdowns in the Patriots’ first three games that year.
• Despite losing a part of his middle finger in Sunday’s game against the Saints, Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson said that he may suit up for his team’s next game Sunday against Tampa Bay.
“I’m just going to take it day to day, see how everything heals up and how it feels,” Johnson said. “I’m going to approach [this week] just like any other game week. I’m going to go in, watch my film, make sure I know everything that’s in the game plan, and when the time comes around and the decision needs to be made, it’ll be in coach [Bruce] Arians‘ hands.”
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yasiel Puig benched by Dodgers, admits ‘I wasn’t prepared’ to play||08.29.13 at 7:47 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Angels at Rays, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Indians at Braves, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Giants at Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV, NFL Network)
NFL preseason: 49ers at Chargers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: North Carolina at South Carolina, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Tulsa at Bowling Green, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Utah State at Utah, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Rutgers at Fresno State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: USC at Hawaii, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
• Standout rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig was pulled from the Dodgers’ 4-0 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday and then had a closed-door meeting with manager Don Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti to address his behavior.
Puig failed to slide into second base on a double play in the first inning and slammed his bat after striking out in the third.
“I wasn’t prepared well for each pitch. It was a good decision,” Puig said through a translator after the game. “[Mattingly] mentioned Skip [Schumaker] could come in and do a better job.”
Added Puig: “I wanted to finish the game, but I agreed with the explanation. The meeting went well. We talked about what every player needs to do to prepare for every pitch.”
Puig also told a Spanish reporter: “I always give my best but, honestly, today there was some fatigue and I wasn’t prepared. … We have to give 100 percent on the field, even if we’re tired.”
Mattingly was evasive about the specifics of Puig’s offense (“I felt I was going to get a better effort out of Skip,” he said) or if there would be further punishment, although he did indicate Puig would play in the team’s next game, Friday against the Padres.
Puig, who is hitting .346/.406/.557 with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs in 76 games, has been criticized for his misdeeds before, and teammates reportedly are getting tired of the 22-year-old’s fundamental mistakes and bad judgment.
“What he did today wasn’t acceptable,” Dodgers pitcher Ricky Nolasco said. “He’s young, he’s going to have to learn. It’s not going to be a distraction. He’s going to help this team way more than what he did.”
• Johnny Manziel will sit out the first half of Texas A&M’s opener Saturday against Rice for what the school referred to as an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules related to his signing of autographs.
The school announced that the NCAA agreed to reinstate Manziel after the brief suspension, and the NCAA “confirmed there is no evidence Manziel received money in exchange for autographs based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.”
Multiple memorabilia dealers have claimed that Manziel was paid to sign autographs after he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy last year. Manziel also has had run-ins with the law but appears to have escaped harsh punishment once again.
“I am proud of the way both Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation, with integrity and honesty,” Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said in a statement. “We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”
• As part of the NFL’s promotion of next Thursday’s season-opening game between the Ravens and Broncos, the league has installed large banners in Denver promoting the contest, which is a rematch of last season’s AFC semifinal. Some of the banners — including one at Sports Authority Field — picture Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, and that’s not sitting well with the locals.
“It doesn’t seem to make much sense that the Denver Broncos have to have an opposing player on their stadium,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said.
The NFL defended the move as a promotion of the entire league and noted that the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens should have opened the season at home, but a scheduling conflict with the neighboring Orioles prevented that.
“We respect the fans’ passion and enthusiasm for the game,” said Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of corporate communications. “This will be in many ways a Super Bowl-like atmosphere with a national audience to kick off the season. It’s a tremendous matchup, but built around it is some of our activities that you would see at a Super Bowl or you’d see at an international game where you promote both teams.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 29, 2000, Pedro Martinez had a perfect game for eight innings in a game in Tampa that featured multiple hit batsmen, brawls and ejections. Which Devil Rays hitter — a former Red Sox player — ended the no-hit bid with a single to open the ninth inning?
|Top Stories of 2012, No. 3: Tom Brady puts together MVP-caliber season||12.31.12 at 7:44 am ET|
Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 3: Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
No. 5: Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals loss to Heat
No. 4: Red Sox’ megatrade with Dodgers
Only four players in NFL history have won at least three MVP awards. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who on Sunday wrapped up a terrific regular season, has a chance to join that group.
Brady threw for 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns this season while only being intercepted eight times. He led the Patriots to a 12-4 record and the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.
In a 42-14 victory over the Texans on Dec. 10, Brady was hearing “MVP” chants from the Gillette Stadium crowd, and in his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan the next day he acknowledged it.
“I heard it. I’m very flattered to even be considered for something like that,” Brady said. “Honestly, the most important thing for me is winning games and enjoying it with my teammates. Everything that I do is dependent on them, on the group of guys that I play with, and the successful years we’ve had with our team has been all about team football. That’s what our team has been built on, and that’s what our team is about.”
Other top candidates for MVP include Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Peterson led the NFL in rushing yards (2,096 — just nine short of the NFL single-season record) and led the Vikings to a 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 2009. Manning, who already has four MVPs, returned from a year off to pass for 37 touchdowns and lead the Broncos to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Yankee claims home fans’ booing ‘spooked’ team||10.19.12 at 7:57 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Giants at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-AM)
College football: UConn at Syracuse, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: 76ers at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Warriors at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA finals: Lynx at Fever, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Yankees were swept out of the postseason Thursday night in Detroit, but the beginning of the end came days earlier in the Bronx. An unidentified Yankees player told the New York Daily News that the team was stunned by the way New York fans turned on the offensively inept team last weekend, and the players were unable to regain their composure.
“I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys,” the player said. “A lot of guys hadn’t been booed before, and they couldn’t believe how nasty it got in the stands.
Outfielder Nick Swisher referenced the behavior after Game 2, but now we’ve learned that other players shared his view.
“A lot of guys were talking about it in the clubhouse,” the player said. “I was surprised by how much it bothered them. I really don’t think they ever recovered.”
Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez, who went 0-for-2 in Game 4 to finish his postseason at 3-for-25 (.120) with 12 strikeouts and no RBIs, continues to insist publicly that he wants to remain with the Yanks.
“I’ve never thought about going to another team,” he said. “My focus is to stay here. Let’s make that very, very clear. No. 2, I don’t expect to be mediocre. I expect to do what I’ve done for a long time.”
♦ An eighth-grader in Littleton, Colo., is finding his life is a little different since Peyton Manning joined the Broncos. That’s because the kid’s name also is Peyton Manning.
“People don’t believe me sometimes. They think I’m trying to impersonate,” said the 14-year-old, who was born three days before the quarterback made his NFL debut with the Colts in 1998. “Facebook won’t let me do Manning at all, no matter how many times I try.”
The young Manning does not play football, but he is the captain for his youth hockey team.
♦ The county coroner in Easton, Pa., determined that Eagles coach Andy Reid‘s son, Garrett, died of an accidental heroin overdose. Garrett Reid was found dead in his Lehigh University dorm room at Eagles preseason camp on Aug. 5. Investigators revealed that they found a used syringe and spoon in the room along with a gym bag filled with dozens of syringes and needles, many unopened. The 29-year-old, a recovering drug addict, apparently had a relapse.
“These results sadly confirmed what we had expected all along,” the Reid family said in a statement. “We understood that Garrett’s long-standing battle with addiction was going to be difficult. He will, however, always have our family’s love and respect for the courage he showed in trying to overcome it. In the end, we take comfort in our faith and know that he’s in a better place.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 19, 2004, in Game 6 of the ALCS, Curt Schilling and the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 4-2, in the “bloody sock” game at Yankee Stadium. The game also featured Alex Rodriguez slapping the ball out of the glove of which Sox pitcher who went to tag him out, causing panic in Sox Nation until the umpires conferred and ruled A-Rod out for interference?
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