- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
It's common for this generation of sports fan, and especially those who follow the NFL closely, to pan the work of ESPN's Chris Berman and dismiss him as a has-been who is past his prime.
Those folks likely will celebrate the news that Berman, reported by The Big Lead, will retire after the 2016 NFL season. The rest of us will tip our caps at a true giant in the industry who changed the way the game was presented to fans everywhere.
Berman, 61, joined the network in 1979, shortly after it started, having gone to school nearby at Brown and broadcasted in nearby Hartford, Conn. previously. And he's been at ESPN ever since, the longest-tenured on-air talent there along with Bob Ley.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
The Baltimore Ravens supported Ray Rice after his domestic violence incident in Atlantic City two years ago, until the infamous video of Rice punching his then-fiancee (now his wife) was published. Then the team cut him.
It seemed like the team cut him somewhat reluctantly, however, because the pressure was too great to keep him. An ESPN report said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti texted Rice after he was cut, telling Rice he could have a job with the team "helping young guys getting acclimated to the league."
And even though the entire ordeal was a stain on Rice, the Ravens and the NFL, less than two years after the video surfaced and Rice was cut, the team brought Rice back to talk to its rookies.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
By now we all know that "voluntary" NFL offseason workouts are anything but, and a player skipping one is news.
Usually a player's absence is over a contract, which makes New York Jets receiver Eric Decker's silent protest normal. What's unusual about Decker is he's reportedly skipping practices over someone else's contract.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
The Baltimore Ravens' failure to study the rule book has cost them a week of offseason practices.
The Ravens held at least one drill earlier this month in which rookies were in pads. The team claimed it didn't know rookie minicamps were under the same "no pads" umbrella as normal OTA practice rules, but that never made much sense. They've paid the price for violating the rules. The Ravens will forfeit a week of OTA practices, which were scheduled from June 1-3, and the organization and coach John Harbaugh were fined. The Ravens were fined $343,057 and Harbaugh was fined $137,223 according to ESPN's Jim Trotter.
That's three of 10 OTA practice sessions they're giving up.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
This offseason, Shutdown Corner will travel down memory lane with a series of stories presenting some interesting and sometimes forgotten stories from the NFL's past. Join us as we relive some of the greatest and craziest moments in the sport's history.
Watching a high school game almost 15 years ago, I remember some poor option-based offense facing a third-and-55 after a fumble and a slew of penalties. Naturally, they handed off before punting.
I also recall a few wild long-yardage situations I’d seen in a few college football games — Georgia faced a fourth-and-57 at Tennessee in 2011, and Minnesota facing a third- (and fourth) and-49 against Texas Tech in a bowl game the next year.
These things look funny on a TV screen.
Heck, the wildest thing I ever remember was Michigan State punting on fourth-and-goal. Granted, it was from the 40-yard line after Kirk Cousins had to fall on a fumble that went more than 30 yards the wrong direction.
But it got me wondering: What was the longest down and distance to go in NFL history? I had no clue. Luckily, the Internet had some fast answers — and they even appear to be correct.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
I'm not a fan of how every single thing the NFL does is compared to deflate-gate. We probably don't need, after every NFL discipline announcement, a million "But if it was Tom Brady ... " messages on social media.
However, it's hard to grasp how the league could act so quickly, strongly and vigilantly toward the New England Patriots and Brady for maybe, kinda, sorta knowing about deflated footballs, and act at a "maybe everyone will just forget" pace when some high-profile players were accused of PED usage in an undercover Al Jazeera America report last year.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
Earlier this year, we told you Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel was beginning his pursuit of a Ph.D in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the foremost math and science schools in the country.
Well, Urschel didn't just attend classes, he crushed them, according to one of his recent tweets.
My first semester in school in nearly three years. Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A's. The streak continues!!!
As an undergraduate and graduate student at Penn State, Urschel had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and so far his time at MIT is trending the same way.
During his time on campus, Urschel worked out with the MIT football team. The Division III program can't offer scholarships, and even if the coaches recruit a player, they have to hope he's good enough to get into the college. Yet the team posted a 10-1 mark in 2014.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
Say, did you remember that the NFL is moving kickoff touchbacks to the 25-yard-line this year?Devin Hester did, and he's none too pleased.
"It’s like taking away a job from people," the Falcons return man told ESPN, and by "people" he means himself.
Hester is one of the most notable return men in NFL history, boasting five kickoff returns for touchdowns and a dramatic TD return to start Super Bowl XLI.
The kickoff is one of the most dangerous routine plays in the NFL, with two teams running full-tilt toward one another from a distance of many yards. The NFL has sought to cut down on the possibility of injury with a number of rules changes, including banning running starts by the kicking team and moving the kickoff line up to the 35 in 2011.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
The deflate-gate fight is barely about the facts of the actual case anymore. The never-ending appeals seem to be all about Roger Goodell's power and the NFLPA fighting back against it.
But there is a never-ending argument about the facts of the case among fans and observers, about what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might have known or not known. Since Ted Wells' report uncovered no facts that give us any idea what Brady did in the ordeal, we're left to guess.
But there is a group of more than 20 engineering and physics professors who think that the controversy can be explained entirely by the science of natural deflation in cold weather, and said so in an amicus brief filed by Washington, D.C. attorney Eric Delinsky this week, according to the Boston Herald. The professors come from a number of universities including MIT and Stanford, the Herald reported.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Several musical acts have refused to perform in North Carolina in recent weeks due to its much-debated bathroom bill, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will not hold the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte if the discriminitory bill is not repealed.
And this week, the San Francisco 49ers and CEO Jed York expressed support for the state's LGBTQ community while in Charlotte for the NFL spring owners meetings.
Passed on March 23, North Carolina House Bill 2 (or HB2) reversed a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgendered individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with; HB2 mandates that transgendered individuals must use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate and also prevents cities and towns in the state from passing laws that say otherswise.