Saturday, February 11, 2017

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER THE SUPER BOWL

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

The football season ended with a riveting Super Bowl.


Like me, many of you were probably sorely disappointed in the outcome.

In addition to Super Bowl recaps and gambling results, I've also included a few interesting tidbits including HOF voting results, two new developmental leagues that may materialize, one quiz question, and a change in the Raiders master plan to move out of Oakland.

I will be reporting to you again in late April prior to the 2017 NFL Draft to be held on April 27th through April 29th.*

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL  (Our last regularly scheduled Sports column of the season)



SUPER BOWL LI

PREGAME 

The NE Patriots have the #1-ranked scoring defense -- 15.7 points per game (PPG), and 17.3 PPG in their last six playoff games.
However, New England had not faced even one “Top 10” ranked quarterback (QBR) in its 18 games this season. In the Super Bowl they will have to face 2016 NFL MVP, Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan.
Atlanta’s scoring defense ranked only #23 (24.8PPG); but the Falcons did improve during the year and gave up an average of only 18.9 PPG in the second half of the season.

The ATL Falcons have the #1-ranked scoring offense – an average of 34.4 PPG.
However, New England was ranked #3 with an average of 28.4 PPG for the full season (30.7 PPG with Brady at QB and an average of 35 PPG in their last three games).

THE POINT SPREAD
New England -3 (favorite)
Atlanta +3 (underdog)

The betting line didn’t move off the opening line of NE favored by 3. There were slight changes to the amount required to bet on the Patriots to win $10 during the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl (ranging from -125 to -105).

THE “TOTAL”
Over/under: 57½ points (a Super Bowl record high)
The “total” opened at 57½ and moved quickly up to 59 before dropping to the 58½ number on Saturday before the game. And then several hours before game time it had dropped back down to 57½, right where it started two weeks before the game.

In NFL history, only 12 games (regular season and playoffs) had a “total” over/under of 58 or more points. Only two of those games were playoff games, and both went “OVER” the total, including this year’s 44-21 Atlanta win over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game (the GB Packers scored a “meaningless” TD late in the game to secure a win for the “over” bettors).

In 2016 NFL playoff games (ten of them), the “over” had been 7-3 ATS, with an average total of 49 points scored per game.
In their 18 games this season, the ATL Falcons had posted a 15-2-1 record ATS on the “over” bets.

THE “MONEY LINE” (bet on outright winner of game; no point spread)
Current odds close to game time:
NE to win: -155 to -145, depending on the sports book
ATL to win: +135 to +125
These lines moved only slightly from last week.

Last Week:
NE Patriots -165 to -150
ATL Falcons +145 to +130

THE GAME

1ST HALF
Defying the odds, there was no scoring in the first quarter. Early in the 2nd quarter New England RB LeGarrette Blount fumbled and thereafter Atlanta proceeded to score three unanswered TD’s in 10 minutes to take a commanding 21-0 lead. The third TD was a “Pick 6” interception of NE QB Tom Brady with 2:21 remaining in the first half. The NE Patriots finally scored by kicking a FG with 5 seconds to go before intermission.


HALFTIME: ATL 21, NE 3
The Patriots had committed two turnovers; Atlanta had none. However, NE ran 40-something plays from scrimmage and Atlanta ran only 19.

2ND HALF
Atlanta won the pre-game coin toss and opted to “defer” in order to receive the opening kickoff for the second half. The ATL Falcons scored their fourth TD of the game in mid-3rd quarter to take an even more commanding 28-3 lead. On the ensuing possession, New England matriculated 75 yards down the field on 13 plays in 6½ minutes for their first TD of the game; it was a drive that included “going for it” on 4th-and-3 from their own 46-yard line. The NE Patriots’ extra point kick was “no good” (boinked off the upright). Score: 28-9. Atlanta’s defense looked somewhat vulnerable at this point; there was still 2:06 on the clock in the 3rd quarter. The ATL Falcons’ next possession was a “three and out”, resulting in a punt. New England’s defense was getting it together with the help of good field position. On the next possession, New England marched again but had to settle for a FG and still trailed by 16 points (but only behind by two scores with two 2-point conversions). Score: 28-12, with 9:44 remaining in regulation play. On the ensuing drive, the Falcons fumbled in their own territory and the ball went back to the Patriots’ offense; clearly the momentum accelerated in the Patriots’ favor. NE scored a TD and got the two-point PAT with six minutes to go in the 4th quarter, now trailing by only one score, 28-20. Atlanta responded and drove down to the New England 22-yard line: 1st-and-10 with 4:40 on the clock. Would the Falcons run the ball three times and chew up some clock and then kick a FG to take an 11-point lead? NO.


The Falcons were aggressive, but it backfired when a sack by NE on a 1st-down pass play lost 12 yards and then a holding penalty resulted in another 10-yard loss and the Falcons were out of FG range; they had to punt. With 3½ minutes to go, New England started at its own 9-yard line and marched 91 yards in 10 plays for another TD, and with another successful 2-point conversion they had miraculously tied the game, 28-28, erasing a 25-point deficit with only 57 seconds remaining in regulation time; the game was headed to an overtime period.


OVERTIME
New England won the coin flip and the Atlanta offense didn’t have the opportunity to step onto the field, as the NE Patriots ran 8 plays to drive 75 yards for the winning TD.

FINAL SCORE: NE 34, ATL 28 (OT)

POSTGAME STATS and COMMENTS
Atlanta’s defense did not have the same energy in the last 1½ quarters as it had shown in the first 2½ quarters. They appeared exhausted.
Why?

New England ran 94 plays from scrimmage in the game, whereas Atlanta ran only 47 plays (twice as many plays for the Patriots). The NE possession time was 40½ minutes as opposed to Atlanta’s 23½ minutes.
The breakdown of plays:
              ATL   NE
Passes     23     63 (WR Edelman threw one pass)
Runs        18     25
Punts         6       4
FG            0       2

New England generated 546 yards from scrimmage as opposed to 344 yards for Atlanta.
New England had 37 first downs; Atlanta had only 17.
New England converted on 7 of 14 third-down attempts; Atlanta was only 1 for 8.
Atlanta won the turnover battle, 2-1.

Patriots’ QB Tom Brady ended up breaking the Super Bowl record with 466 passing yards (42 of 62, 2TD, 1INT), even though the Pats’ receivers were dropping a lot of his passes early in the game.

But the biggest Super Bowl record could be seen from watching the scoreboard. New England had come back from the largest deficit in Super Bowl history. The Patriots had trailed by 25 points in mid-3rd quarter (28-3), yet still won the game. The largest previous deficit that had been erased for a Super Bowl victory was 10 points (it happened three times, including New England’s victory over Seattle two years ago).

BETTING RESULTS
ATS: New England -3 was the winner; the Pats covered by 3 with a TD in overtime – wow!
TOTAL (O/U): OVER 57.5; the game needed to go into overtime for bettors to win the “over”
MONEY LINE: New England (-155) won the game; the ATL +130 bet looked like a winner until the fourth quarter collapse by the Falcons’ defense (and offense).

SPORTS BOOK PROFITS
More money was bet on Super Bowl LI at Nevada sportsbooks than any other Super Bowl in history.
State of Nevada sports books won $10.93 million off of a record $138.48 million wagered on Super Bowl LI, the state's gaming control board announced Monday.
The $138.48 million wagered beats last year's record mark of $132.54 million. The sports books held 7.9% of the amount wagered and recorded their 7th-most lucrative Super Bowl ever, when the New England Patriots erased a 25-point deficit and beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.
Since the Nevada Gaming Control Board began tracking wagering on the Super Bowl back in 1991, the state's regulated sportsbooks have come out ahead in 25 of 27 games. The books are up a net $173.6 million on the Super Bowl during that span, capped by this year's big win.

The Westgate SuperBook saw a 20% increase in handle over last year's Super Bowl. The South Point casino also reported record handle at its shop. Sportsbook operator CG Technology, Station Casinos, Caesars, South Point and the Wynn also reported coming out ahead on the game.

But the books did have a late sweat.
With the point spread never moving off New England -3 and the over/under total sitting at 59 for the majority of the days leading up to the Super Bowl, a 31-28 Patriots win would have resulted in a push ATS and on the total (over/under). The game went into overtime tied 28-28. New England running back James White's winning touchdown in overtime helped the books avoid what would have been a lengthy process of refunding millions of dollars in bets.


William Hill's sportsbook was the only Las Vegas shop that reported coming out on the short end. A flurry of in-game (aka “in-play”) bets on the NE Patriots at odds of 10-1 or greater perpetrated a six-figure loss for William Hill. In the fourth quarter, New England was listed as high as a 16-1 to win the game. William Hill took only a couple of small bets at that price.
There were some disappointed Falcons bettors, who were willing to lay a heavy price on what seemed like a guaranteed Atlanta win. One bettor at William Hill risked $3,000 on the Falcons at -2000 (20-to-1 odds). The bet would have won only $150.

While betting interest surged, television viewership declined. According to ESPN senior writer Darren Rovell, 111.3 million viewers tuned in Sunday night, the lowest since 2014.
"Usually, television ratings equate to betting handle," said Station Casinos vice president of race and sports Art Manteris. "But that wasn't the case this year, as betting handle in Nevada continues to soar to all-time heights. The live, in-game betting, I think, played a role in that. In-game betting really came of age yesterday during the Super Bowl."

AFTERMATH OF THE GAME
MVP AWARD


New England QB Tom Brady became the first player ever to win four Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards. He set a Super Bowl record with 466 passing yards. Brady also set a Super Bowl record for completions (42 of 62; 2TD, 1INT) and extended his career Super Bowl records in every major statistical category including touchdowns, completions, attempts and passing yards, as well as for number of Super Bowl games played. And just for full disclosure, Brady threw a “Pick 6” in the 2nd quarter -- his 31st career postseason interception, which is the most in NFL postseason history, surpassing the old record of 30 INT’s set by Brett Favre.
Brady is the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls as a starter, and joins Charles Haley as the only players at any position with five Super Bowl rings.

Overshadowed by Brady’s performance was that NE Patriots RB James White delivered a great performance in Super Bowl LI. White set two new all-time Super Bowl records, scoring a total of 20 points and catching 14 passes. The 20 points came on three TD’s and a 2-point conversion; the 14 receptions yielded a game-high 110 receiving yards (next best were ATL WR Julio Jones and NE WR Julian Edelman with 87 receiving yards).


SUPER BOWL PROPOSITION BETS

Following are the results of the sample I selected in last week’s letter for the SUPER BOWL PROPOSITION BETS.

TEAM TO SCORE FIRST:
PATRIOTS - 130
FALCONS +110
RESULTS: Atlanta scored first on a TD in the 2nd quarter.

FIRST SCORE OF THE GAME WILL BE:
TOUCHDOWN - 190
Any other SCORE +170
RESULTS: Atlanta scored first on a TD in the 2nd quarter.

PLAYER TO SCORE THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN FOR NE PATRIOTS
Dion LEWIS* (NE)                     11/2 (+550)
Legarrette BLOUNT* (NE)           9/2 (+450)
Julian EDELMAN* (NE)              9/2
Martellus BENNETT* (NE)         7/1 (+700)
Chris HOGAN* (NE)                    9/2
Malcolm MITCHELL* (NE)         8/1
James WHITE* (NE)                    8/1
Danny AMENDOLA* (NE)        15/1
Tom BRADY* (NE)                   12/1
FIELD – All other players not listed   11/2 (+550)
NO TOUCHDOWN SCORED          100/1 (+10000)
RESULTS: RB James White scored the Patriots’ first TD in the 3rd quarter.

PLAYER TO SCORE THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN FOR ATL FALCONS
Devonta FREEMAN* (ATL)       5/1 (+500)
Julio JONES* (ATL)                   7/2 (+350)
Tevin COLEMAN* (ATL)           6/1
Taylor GABRIEL* (ATL)            6/1
Mohamed SANU* (ATL)             6/1
Aldrick ROBINSON* (ATL)     15/1
Levine TOILOLO* (ATL)          10/1
Austin HOOPER* (ATL)           10/1
Matt RYAN* (ATL)                   10/1
FIELD - All other players not listed     9/2 (+450)
NO TOUCHDOWN SCORED           60/1 (+6000)
RESULTS: RB Devonta Freeman scored Atlanta’s first TD early in the 2nd quarter.

WILL EITHER TEAM SCORE IN THE FIRST 6½ MINUTES OF THE GAME?
YES - 140
NO +120
RESULTS: NO; there was no scoring in the whole first quarter.

WILL THE TEAM THAT SCORES FIRST WIN THE GAME?
YES - 175
NO +155
RESULTS: NO; Atlanta scored first but lost the game.

WILL EITHER TEAM SCORE 3 STRAIGHT TIMES?
YES - 190
NO +170
RESULTS: YES; Atlanta scored three unanswered TD’s in the first half to take a 21-0 lead.

WILL EITHER TEAM SCORE 4 STRAIGHT TIMES?
SCORES
YES +210
NO - 250
RESULTS: YES; after trailing 28-3 in the 3rd quarter, New England scored FIVE straight times with a TD, FG, TD, TD, and another TD in overtime.

TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS - BOTH TEAMS
OVER 6½ - 130
UNDER 6½ +110
RESULTS: OVER; eight TD’s were scored, 4 by NE and 4 by ATL.

WHICH TEAM WILL HAVE THE MOST PENALTY YARDS?
PATRIOTS +105
FALCONS - 125
RESULTS: FALCONS; Atlanta had 9 penalties for 65 yards; NE had 4 penalties for 23 yards

LARGEST LEAD OF THE GAME BY EITHER TEAM
OVER 16½ - 120
UNDER 16½ EVEN (+100)
RESULTS: OVER; Atlanta held a 25-point lead in the 3rd quarter.

WILL THE FIRST KICKOFF BY Stephen GOSTKOWSKI* (NE) RESULT IN A TOUCHBACK?
YES - 190
NO +170
RESULTS: NO; New England’s first kickoff was with 2 seconds remaining in the first half after getting on the scoreboard with a FG. Gostkowski “squib kicked” the ball and the ball didn’t even come close to reaching the goal line.

The NFL changed the rule on touchbacks last year in hopes of reducing injuries on kickoff plays [bringing the ball out to the 25-yard line instead of the previous rule of the 20-yard line]. The new rule didn’t change the statistics much. Concussions on kickoffs declined slightly from 20 in 2015 to 17 this year; hamstring injuries increased slightly from 11 to 13. ACL tears increased from 1 to 4, and MCL tears increased from 3 to 5. These appear to be just normal fluctuations from year to year; plus, some injuries occur even on touchbacks since there is still blocking down field while the ball is in the air.
Statistically, touchbacks increased by about 2% this year as compared to 2015, not much of a difference.

WILL THE FIRST KICKOFF BY Matt BRYANT* (ATL) RESULT IN A TOUCHBACK?
YES - 170
NO +150
RESULTS: YES; the kickoff by Atlanta to start the game was a touchback.

LONGEST MADE FIELD GOAL OF GAME:
IF NO FIELD GOAL MADE - ALL BETS REFUNDED
OVER 45½ - 130
UNDER 45½ +110
RESULTS: UNDER; New England kicked two FG’s in the game without a miss. The longer one was only 41 yards.

TOTAL FIELD GOALS MADE BY BOTH TEAMS:
OVER 3½ EVEN (+100)
UNDER 3½ - 120
RESULTS: UNDER; NE made two field goals, but ATL didn’t even attempt one.

Will Stephen GOSTKOWSKI* (NE) MISS AT LEAST ONE FIELD GOAL?
YES +300
NO - 360
RESULTS: NO; he was 2 for 2.

Will Matt BRYANT* (ATL) MISS AT LEAST ONE FIELD GOAL?
YES +320
NO - 380
RESULTS: NO; he didn’t even attempt one.

WILL THERE BE A MISSED EXTRA POINT KICK?
IF NO TD IS SCORE - ALL BETS ARE REFUNDED
YES +270
NO - 330
RESULTS: YES; New England’s Gostkowski boinked a PAT kick off the right upright-no good, after the Patriots scored their first TD of the game in the 3rd quarter.

WILL THERE BE A 2 POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT?
YES +140
NO - 160
RESULTS: YES; behind by 16 points, New England attempted two 2-point PAT’s and tied the score by converting on both attempts.

WILL THERE BE A SUCCESSFUL 2 POINT CONVERSION?
YES +250
NO - 300
RESULTS: YES; New England was successful on both of its attempts.

WILL THERE BE A SAFETY?
YES +600
NO - 900
RESULTS: NO

WILL THERE BE OVERTIME?
YES +700
NO - 1100
RESULTS: YES

WILL THE GAME BE DECIDED BY EXACTLY 3 POINTS?
YES +425
NO - 550
RESULTS: NO; but it could have happened quite easily, since the game went into overtime.

WILL AT LEAST ONE QUARTER BE SCORELESS?
(INCLUDES OVERTIME QUARTERS)
YES +500
NO - 700
RESULTS: YES!! The first quarter was scoreless.

Will Tom BRADY* (NE) THROW AN INTERCEPTION?
YES +130
NO - 150
RESULTS: YES; Brady threw a “Pick 6” in the 2nd quarter.

WILL Matt RYAN* (ATL) THROW AN INTERCEPTION?
YES - 120
NO EVEN
RESULTS: NO; but Ryan did have one critical lost fumble.

TOTAL NUMBER OF DIFFERENT NE PATRIOTS TO HAVE A RUSHING ATTEMPT
(2PT CONVERSIONS EXCLUDED)
OVER 4½ +140
UNDER 4½ - 160
RESULTS: OVER; five Patriots rushed at least once, including QB Brady and WR Edelman.

TOTAL NUMBER OF DIFFERENT NE PATRIOTS TO HAVE A PASS RECEPTION
(2PT CONVERSIONS EXCLUDED)
OVER 7½ EVEN
UNDER 7½ - 120
RESULTS: UNDER; only seven Pats caught at least one pass.

TOTAL NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ATL FALCONS TO HAVE RUSHING ATTEMPT
(2PT CONVERSIONS EXCLUDED)
OVER 3½ - 110
UNDER 3½ - 110
RESULTS: UNDER; only the two main RB’s for Atlanta carried the ball.


TOTAL NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ATL FALCONS TO HAVE A PASS RECEPTION
(2PT CONVERSIONS EXCLUDED)
OVER 8 - 160
UNDER 8 +140
RESULTS: UNDER; only seven Falcons had at least one reception.

TOTAL POINTS SCORED IN SUPER BOWL LI
WITHIN SPECIFIC RANGE
0-7           1000/1
8-14           500/1
15-20         100/1
21-25           50/1
26-30           30/1
31-35           20/1
36-40           10/1
41-45             8/1 means +800
46-50             6/1            +600
51-55             6/1            +600
56-60           11/2            +550, most likely
61-65           11/2            +550, most likely
66-70             6/1            +600
71-75             8/1            +800
76-80           10/1
81-85           18/1
86-90           18/1
91 or more   10/1
RESULTS: “61-65” was the winner, since there was a total of 62 points scored in the game.

HIGHEST SCORING QUARTER IN SUPER BOWL LI

1ST QUARTER  7/2     (+350)
2ND QUARTER 9/5     (+180)
3RD QUARTER 18/5   (+360)
4TH QUARTER (excluding OT) 21/10 (+210)

RESULTS: 2ND QUARTER, 24 points scored; 4th Qtr: 19 points, 3rd Qtr: 13 points, 1st Qtr: none

CROSS-SPORTS PROP BETS (just a couple of examples here, but there are lots of them available at the sportsbooks)

WHO WILL HAVE MORE?
RE: NEBRASKA/IOWA Basketball Game on 2/5/17

IOWA 1ST HALF POINTS SCORED                      - 110
Chris HOGAN* (NE) - 22½ receiving yards           - 110

RESULTS: IOWA, with 38 points to take a 38-36 lead at halftime vs. Nebraska. The Hawks won the game 81-70.
WR Hogan had 57 receiving yards, minus the line of 22.5 netted only 34.5.

WHO WILL HAVE MORE?
RE: THE WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN on 2/5/17

Phil MICKELSON 4TH ROUND SCORE              - 110
PATRIOTS RUSHING YARDS - 44½ yards           - 110

RESULTS: MICHELSON, who shot a 71. New England rushed for a total of 104 yards, minus the line of 44.5 netted only 59.5.

PLAYER STATS’ PROP BETS (following are just a couple of examples)

TOTAL RUSHING YARDS BY Devonta FREEMAN (ATL)
OVER    50½ yards                                                 - 110
UNDER 50½ yards                                                 - 110
RESULTS: OVER; Freeman rushed for 75 yards.

TOTAL SOLO plus ASSISTED TACKLES BY Deion JONES (ATL)
TACKLES INCLUDE DEFENSIVE+SPECIAL TEAMS SOLO+ASSISTED TACKLES (NFL.com is used for the results)
OVER    6½ tackles                                                - 125
UNDER 6½ tackles                                                +105
RESULTS: OVER; Jones had 7 solo tackles plus 2 assists for a total of 9.


TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS BY Chris HOGAN (NE)
OVER    59½ yards                                                - 110
UNDER 59½ yards                                                - 110
RESULTS: UNDER; Hogan had only 57 receiving yards.

TOTAL RECEPTIONS BY Julian EDELMAN (NE)
OVER 7½                                                               - 110
UNDER 7 ½                                                           - 110
RESULTS: UNDER; Edelman had only five receptions.

NOVELTY PROPS
How Long Will it Take Luke Bryan to Sing the US National Anthem? 
Over  127.5 Seconds                                               -120
Under 127.5 Seconds                                              -120
RESULTS: I did not bother to figure this one out. Sorry.

Will Lady Gaga Have a Wardrobe Malfunction? (Expose Intimate Part of Body)
Yes                                                                         +650
No                                                                         -1600
RESULTS: NO (Rats! Was looking forward to a “Yes”)[You old horndog -PT, ed]

Is this an homage to that famous scene in There's Something About Mary?

Will Lady Gaga Have All Blonde Hair For Her 1st Song At Halftime Show? 
Yes                                                                        -500
No                                                                        +300
RESULTS: YES (although the lighting made it look like she had pink tinting in her hair)

Will Any Player Leave The Super Bowl With a Concussion or Concussion-Like Symptoms? 
Yes                                                                       +100
No                                                                         -140
RESULTS: NO, to the best of my knowledge.

Lady Gaga's 1st Song at Halftime Show
Bad Romance                                                4/5 (-125)
Field (Any Other Song)                                 2/1 (+200)
The Edge of Glory                                         3/1 (+300)
Born This Way                                               7/1
Just Dance                                                      8/1
Applause                                                      10/1
Poker Face                                                   12/1
Paparazzi                                                      20/1
RESULTS: I was told it was the favorite: Bad Romance.

What Color will the Liquid be that is dumped on the Head Coach of the Winning Team? 
Clear                                                           12/5 (+240)
Orange                                                        14/5 (+280)
Yellow                                                          3/1 (+300)
Blue                                                              4/1
Red                                                               4/1
Purple                                                           8/1
RESULTS: I missed this one. Did the players even douse HC Belichick? I was already a crumpled up mess in the corner of Filter King’s man cave when this occurred.

Who will the Super Bowl MVP Thank First? 
Teammates                                                                7/5 (+140)
Does Not Thank Anyone or Mention Any on List      2/1 (+200)
God                                                                           2/1
Fans/City                                                                   4/1
Coaches/Owner                                                         6/1
Family                                                                        7/1 (+700)
RESULTS: I missed this one also. I was in depression mode at this point. [It would appear that Tom Brady was thanking God, as he dropped to his knees immediately following the game's conclusion. Later reports indicate that Brady was thanking his natural father, Brady, Sr. - ed.]


LOOKING AHEAD

2018 SUPER BOWL LII
Just to make you NE Cheaters’ haters cringe even more, the New England Patriots are the favorite to win next year’s Super Bowl, opening at 5-to-1 odds. The DAL Cowboys, at 8-to-1, are the only other team with single-digit odds at the Westgate SuperBook. The PIT Steelers, ATL Falcons and SEA Seahawks are next at 12-to-1 odds, followed by the DEN Broncos (16-1) and KC Chiefs (18-1). The CLE Browns and SF 49ers, at 300-to-1, are the two largest longshots on the board at the Westgate. The CHI Bears, LA Rams and NY Jets are the only other teams with triple-digit longshot odds.
Super Bowl LII will be held Feb. 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

TWO NEW FOOTBALL LEAGUES

PACIFIC PRO FOOTBALL (“Pac Pro”)

The Pac Pro is a developmental league based in Los Angeles. Eligible players will be limited to players 4 or fewer years removed from high school, giving former high schoolers a “for-pay”
alternative to college football [Note: currently, the NFL doesn’t allow players to enter until they have been out of high school for at least three years].

Players will receive, on average, around $50,000 per year. As such, it is a potential threat to the college football model; however, these developmental leagues have had problems surviving for even a few years. And, the NFL supports college football because it is a no-cost source of available players. If this league survives, college football may have to work out a system to pay its players (other than tuition).

The league will start out consisting of four teams in Southern California with 50 players per team. There would be a total of eight games played using NFL rules. Each team will have an academic counselor, and the team will pay for local community college tuition and books for all players interested.

SPRING LEAGUE

The spring developmental league is scheduled to be set up in April. Eligible players will be NFL veterans who do not have NFL contracts. The idea is to attract players around age 25. Following are a few players who have been invited: Johnny Manziel, Ray Rice, and Vince Young.
More info later if things materialize.

OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS

PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME (HOF)

The maximum of five modern era players were elected into the 2017 HOF, and two of the three senior candidates were also elected.

FIRST-TIME ELIGIBLES ELECTED:
RB Ladainian Tomlinson
DE Jason Taylor

THE OTHER THREE MODERN ERA ELECTEES:
RB Terrell Davis
QB Kurt Warner
K Morten Andersen

“SENIOR” ELECTEE:
SS Kenny Easley

“CONTRIBUTOR” ELECTEE:
Owner Jerry Jones
The other “contributor” candidate did not get the required 80% vote:
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018

Following is a partial list of first-time eligible players for HOF voting next year:
LB Ray Lewis, WR Randy Moss, LB Brian Urlacher, CB Ronde Barber, OC Jeff Saturday, WR Donald Driver, OC Matt Birk, and OG Steve Hutchinson.

NFL 2016 AWARD WINNERS

League MVP                                     QB Matt Ryan (ATL)
Coach of the Year                             HC Jason Garrett (DAL)
Assistant Coach of the Year              OC Kyle Shanahan (ATL)
Comeback Player of the Year            WR Jordy Nelson (GB)
Offensive Player of the Year             QB Matt Ryan (ATL)
Defensive Player of the Year            DE/OLB Khalil Mack (OAK)
Offensive Rookie of the Year            QB Dak Prescott (DAL)
Defensive Rookie of the Year           DE Joey Bosa (SD Chargers)

NFL STADIUM UPDATE

The Oakland Raiders’ plan for a new stadium in Las Vegas with the financial support of Sands casino owner Sheldon Adelson is no longer a viable option. Adelson’s family and/or the casino “will no longer be involved in any facet” of the plan. He has pulled his $650 million portion of the funding for the proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000 seat stadium. The State of Nevada has committed $750 million to the project, and now it appears the Raiders would be responsible for the extra $1.15 billion and would have to accept the operating responsibilities for the stadium.

Where will the Raiders end up? They will be in Oakland for the next two years. After that, is it even possible they would end up in San Diego???? (highly doubtful). London?? (let’s hope not). San Antonio?? (again, doubtful). A different Las Vegas deal? (that’s my bet). Stay tuned.

NFL NEW HIRES

Former Atlanta OC Kyle Shanahan has officially become the new HC for the SF 49’ers.

To fill the void left by Shanahan, the ATL Falcons hired Steve Sarkisian to be its next offensive coordinator. “Sark” was previously the HC at USC and most recently was the OC for Alabama for one game (the title game) after serving as a consultant for the Crimson Tide during the 2016 regular season.

PLAYER TIDBITS

Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald is not retiring. He did not want to end his career with the Cardinals on a lousy 7-8-1 season.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS VIOLATION (?) UPDATE 

Based on not reporting a Richard Sherman injury during the 2016 season, the NFL investigated the Seattle Seahawks for a potential violation of league rules. There had been a report that the team could lose a second-round draft pick. Now it appears that the team is not expected to be penalized heavily, “if at all”, because a review of materials related to CB Sherman’s injury found that the team “did not commit an egregious rules violation.” Sherman never missed any game time and took part in the Pro Bowl, which presumably was a factor in the NFL’s decision. Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said recently that the team didn’t do anything “out of the norm” and it sounds like the league may have reached a similar conclusion.

Previously, the Seahawks had been stripped of a 5th-round draft pick for violating the league’s rules on offseason workouts.

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1: Placekicker Morten Andersen was only the 2nd full-time field goal kicker to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Who is the only other Hall of Fame placekicker inducted in a prior year?


ANSWER #1:
Jan Stenerud of the KC Chiefs (1967-1979), Green Bay Packers (1980-1983), and Minnesota Vikings (1984-85).
Hall of Famers Lou Groza and George Blanda were part-time kickers during their careers.

(*- This report could be posted here.)

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