Monday, October 23, 2006

Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells - Has He Lost His Winning Style?

ESPN's in love with Dallas Cowboys' Head Coach Bill Parcells. Watching ESPN's Monday Night Football and listening to Tony Kornheiser in particular, you'd think Parcells was the Pope. Everything he says is wrtten on stone tablets for posterity. Every coach that wins coached with him. Every team he's coached he's won a Super Bowl with.

Ah. Hold on with that last sentence.

The last time Coach Parcells won a Super Bowl was in 1990. That was 16 years ago. And with the Dallas Cowboys now 3 and 3, and arguably not going to sniff the NFC East Division Championship this year, and having not reached the playoffs since Parcells first year in 2003, it's time to ask this question:

Are Coach Parcells best days behind him?

I ask this question after seeing Parcells' staff clearly outcoached by Tom Coughlin and the NY Giants and lose 36 - 22. On defense, the Giants just split Defensive End Michael Strahan out over the tight end. Instead of having the offensive tackle just wait for Strahan in the pocket, he goes off and helps on the defensive tackle. So the tight end releases for a pass, and Strahan is unblocked. The result? A sack.

The Giants tried a variation of this later. Only this time they blized Lavar Arrington in the tackle - guard gap, and the tackle went after the defensive end, but the guard didn't even touch Arrington. The result? Another sack. (What should have happened was to either call a play to leave a back in or go with five wide receivers and force coverage.)

What did Dallas do? Stay with the regular game plan in the first half. They can't seem to adjust to what the oppenent is doing fast enough.
Then I saw Parcells just throw his season away by bringing in preseason favorite forth-year QB Tony Romo to replace hapless Drew Bledsoe. The result? An interception -- three of them actually. It was a move borne of frustration and thus not a good one. And even then, in the second half, the Cowboys still didn't effectively deal with the problem of Strahan over the tight end, because they called plays rolling out Tony Roma in that direction -- that's how his first pass came to be tippeed and intercepted.

In my view, the Cowboys problem is squarely with the design of its passing game, not who's at QB. The Cowboys don't have a good timing offense as would be designed by Bill Walsh. It's sloppy. It's not crisp. It's terrible. They can't get the ball to Terell Owens, and let's face it, he's a playmaker. Give him his reps and he's happy. I could care less what funny quips he has with Owens, but that goes to show you how immature ESPN's coverage can be. Parcells is a coach, not a comedian.

All of this falls on Bill Parcells. I think the coach is a great leader and has a storied past. But it's not working with the needs of the Dallas Cowboys today. The Dallas Cowboys need to know how to adjust to what their opponents are doing, and fast -- don't wait until halftime. I like Coach Parcells, but they don't give Super Bowl trophies for great press conferences.

New York Jets Beat Detroit Lions To Go 4 and 3 -

Up big, Jets hold on for 31-24 victory wire reports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Oct. 22, 2006) -- The New York Jets are getting pretty good at these suspenseful endings, complete with lots of nail biting, sweating and nervous energy throughout the stadium.

"I didn't take a deep breath until we got that last first down," coach Eric Mangini said with a big smile.

Leon Washington rushed for 129 yards on 20 carries, scored the first two touchdowns of his career, and sealed the win by running for a first down with just over two minutes left as the Jets held on to beat the Detroit Lions 31-24.

The Lions put a scare into the Jets, who led the entire game, by getting within a touchdown with 2:22 left when an outstretched Mike Furrey caught the ball in the back right corner of the end zone. Mangini challenged the play, but it was upheld with officials saying Furrey got both feet in bounds and had control of the ball.

New York (4-3) got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and ran out the clock to escape with a victory, matching its total from last season.

"We weren't expected to win but four games this year if you let the so-called experts tell it," wide receiver Laveranues Coles said. "Again, we've got four wins, but we can't rest our hats upon that."

The Jets, whose previous three victories were all decided on the opponents' last possession, won consecutive home games for the first time since 2004. But again, it didn't come easily.

After the Lions (1-6) closed within a touchdown with just over nine minutes remaining, Chad Pennington completed a 16-yard pass to Chris Baker, and Brad Smith followed with a 2-yard run. Tyoka Jackson was called for defensive holding on the play, one of nine penalties called on the Lions, moving the Jets further into Detroit territory. Washington then took the ball, ran to the left and scooted 16 yards -- tiptoeing the sideline -- with 4:51 left.

"It was unbelievable for him to maintain his balance," Pennington said. "That was a big-time play."

Rookie Leon Washington is becoming the Jets' go-to guy with 20 carries, 129 yards and two TDs.
New York took advantage of Detroit being without their two starting defensive tackles, Shaun Rogers and Shaun Cody, finishing with 221 yards rushing.

"It's disappointing, in terms of our run defense," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. "If any one thing jumped out, we couldn't control the run game. In this league, if you can't stop the run, you're not going to win."

Washington had his second 100-yard rushing game, and Kevan Barlow added 49 yards and a TD on 12 carries.

"Whenever you run the ball, you're able to control the defense and you can do things in your favor that help you win the game," Washington said. "Today, we came out and obviously ran the ball early and were effective."

Kevin Jones scored on a 9-yard shovel pass from Jon Kitna to cut Detroit's deficit to 24-17 with 9:09 left. Kitna converted two third-down passes for first downs and a 17-yard pass to Furrey on fourth-and-11 to set up Jones' score.

"We're just not finishing games," said Kitna, who was 22 of 36 for 269 yards, three TDs and two interceptions. "We're not starting very good and we're not finishing good in the fourth quarter. That makes it hard. We've played good in spurts."

The Jets scored their first first-quarter offensive touchdown in 20 games on Washington's first career TD 2:45 in.

"We knew we needed to get off to a fast start as far as keeping their offense off the field," Pennington said.

Justin McCareins' 44-yard touchdown catch made it 14-0 with 4:02 left in the opening quarter. On third-and-1 from the Lions 44 following an offsides penalty on Kalimba Edwards, Pennington ran the play action to perfection, freezing the linebackers and freeing up McCareins down the right sideline for his first reception since Week 2.

Pennington finished 16 of 22 for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Roy Williams caught a 22-yard pass from Kitna to make it 14-7 with 7:54 left in the half. Williams, who came in leading the NFL in yards receiving, was held to two catches for 29 yards.

Justin Miller put the Jets in great position on the ensuing kickoff, returning the ball 56 yards to Detroit's 41. Six plays later, Barlow plowed up the middle for his fifth touchdown of the season, giving the Jets a 21-7 lead with 5:28 left in the half.

Jason Hanson kicked a 25-yard field goal to cap a 12-play, 83-yard drive by the Lions to make it 21-10 with 4:57 left in the third quarter.

Mike Nugent's 33-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Jets a 24-10 lead.

"That was a very winnable game," Williams said. "Once again, we were our own worst enemy today: penalties and turnovers."

Michael Vick Throws 4 TDs, Falcons Outlast Steelers 41-38 -

After a week of conrtroversy, the Falcons came together and Vick came of age as a passer.

Falcons pull out wild 41-38 OT victory wire reports

ATLANTA (Oct. 22, 2006) -- Ben Roethlisberger stood on the Pittsburgh sideline with a white towel hanging around his neck. All he could do was watch as Michael Vick and the Falcons finished off the Steelers in a game that was just too good to be settled in 60 minutes.

Remember this one. It could be a defining game for both teams this season.

Vick threw a career-high four touchdown passes and hit another long play in overtime, setting up Morten Andersen to kick a 32-yard field goal that gave Atlanta a thrilling 41-38 win that featured enough twists and turns to last an entire season.

Where to begin? Vick responded to his critics in what had been a dismal season throwing the ball. Roethlisberger was unstoppable until he got knocked out with a scary blow to the head. Hines Ward had a remarkable homecoming.

There's more. The Falcons (4-2) though they had won in regulation on a 56-yard field goal by their No. 2 kicker, but it didn't count. The Super Bowl champion Steelers squandered a 17-7 lead, fumbling three times and getting surprised by an onside kick in the first half.

The Falcons struck for touchdowns after every Pittsburgh miscue, hanging around in a game that could have been a blowout. Finally, after six lead changes and both teams missing chances to break a 38-38 tie in the final minute, the second-oldest player in NFL history won it for Atlanta.


"We learned something about ourselves today," Falcons coach Jim Mora said. "We can hang with the heavyweight champs."

The Steelers (2-4) tied it at 38 with 3:19 remaining when fill-in quarterback Charlie Batch threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ward, who grew up in the Atlanta area and longed to play for the Falcons.

On this day, he burned the Falcons badly, catching eight passes for 171 yards and a career-best three TDs, including a 70-yarder in which he literally ran out of his right shoe.

Morten Andersen's game-winner made up for his miss as time was running out in the fourth.
Even that wasn't enough. Atlanta won the coin toss for overtime and never let the Steelers have the ball. Vick converted on third-and-9 by scrambling away from Troy Polamalu and flipping a 26-yard pass to Alge Crumpler. Five plays later, the 46-year-old Andersen came on to make the winning kick, atoning for a 52-yarder that fell just short in the final minute of regulation.

"Moments like this are the main reason I'm a Mike Vick fan," Mora said. "For all the talk about what Vick can't do, I like to talk about what he can do. And he does things that no other player in the history of the game at that position has the ability to do."

Coming off a near-perfect first half the previous week against Kansas City, Roethlisberger was brilliant again before halftime, going 15 of 20 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. But Big Ben was knocked unconscious early in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Chauncey Davis after letting go of a pass.

Roethlisberger remained on the turf for at least five minutes before finally wobbling to the sideline, then got wheeled to the locker room on the back of a cart. After changing out of his uniform, he could only watch from the sideline.

Coach Bill Cowher said he wouldn't know for a few days if Roethlisberger would be able to play in Week 8 at Oakland.

Week 7's top games

Watch some of the best games from Week 7 all over again with NFL Replay on NFL Network. Airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, the broadcasts will feature a 90-minute fast-paced format complete with original television announcers and cameras. There will be an extra replay this go around. Week 7's games to be replayed are:
· PHI at TB, Oct. 24, 8 ET
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· PIT at ATL, Oct. 25, 8 ET
· CAR at CIN, Oct. 25, 10:30 ET

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It was another blow to the Steelers quarterback, his year already marred by a serious motorcycle accident and an appendectomy, and a discouraging loss for a team that seemed to get its season back on track with a 45-7 rout of Kansas City the previous week.

"We left everything on the football field and I couldn't be more proud of the group of guys," Cowher said. "We've dug a hole for ourselves, no question. But I know the character of this football team and we'll be back."

Batch did a good job in relief, throwing for 195 yards and two TDs. But he never got a chance in overtime.

Atlanta thought it won in regulation when Michael Koenen, who lost the kicking job after two games but still handles the punting and long field goals, booted through a 56-yarder with 35 seconds remaining. Cowher managed to call timeout just before the snap, however, and the officials waved off the play.

Koenen tried again and missed, but Polamalu was called for running into the kicker. The Falcons then sent on Andersen, whose try was straight down the middle but fell on the end line.

There was still time for Pittsburgh to pull out a victory. Batch delivered a 25-yard pass to Ward and the Steelers raced up to the line to down the ball with eight seconds to go. However, receiver Nate Washington flinched ever so slightly before Batch took the snap and threw the ball into the ground, a false-start penalty that automatically led to the remaining seconds being run off the clock.

Ward slammed his helmet to the turf in disgust. The Steelers wouldn't get the ball again.

"This game was the one I wanted the most because Atlanta passed me up when I was coming out of college," Ward said. "This is one I really circled on my calendar."

Vick was 18 of 30 for 232 yards, hooking up with tight end Crumpler on touchdowns of 22, 3 and 31 yards. Crumpler tied a team record for TD catches in a game, while Vick broke his personal mark of three scoring passes in a game, also connecting with Michael Jenkins on a 17-yarder.

The wild game rekindled memories of the last Atlanta-Pittsburgh matchup, a 34-34 overtime tie in 2002.

This time, the Falcons got to celebrate.

Oakland Raiders Beat Matt Leinart And Arizona Cardinals For First Win, 22 - 9 -

Raiders defense gets the game ball, but the offensive line used better blocking techniques.

Raiders stomp Cardinals for first win wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. (Oct. 22, 2006) -- Art Shell gathered his team the night before the game and told his players they needed to find some swagger.

Nothing like a visit from the hapless Arizona Cardinals to do the trick.

Andrew Walter threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss, ReShard Lee ran for a 1-yard score in the first quarter and the Raiders overcame five turnovers to win their first game of the season, 22-9 over Arizona on Sunday.

"It's a weight off everybody's shoulders to get a first win," Shell said. "I'm most happy for the guys in the locker room. It's not about me. It's about those guys in the locker room. They've worked very hard to get some taste of success."

The win snapped an 11-game losing streak and ended the growing talk of a possible winless season for the Raiders (1-5), who found all sorts of ways to lose in previous weeks.

"By no means does this set our season on a pedestal," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "We've still got to go out and get some more wins."

And now there's a new contender for worst team in the NFL in the Cardinals, who have lost six straight.

Arizona blew 14-point leads after the first quarter the previous two weeks, including a 20-point second-half lead a week ago to Chicago when the Bears won 24-23 despite committing six turnovers.

"I can't believe that we're sitting at 1-6. But we are," coach Dennis Green said. "Absolutely this is my fault. It's my job to make sure the ship is being ruddered the right way."

Last week's collapse led Green to throw a podium-pounding tantrum and fire offensive coordinator Keith Rowen. But Arizona fared little better under new coordinator Mike Kruczek.

Rookie Matt Leinart was 13-for-32 for 203 yards and two interceptions to lose his third career start, Edgerrin James ran for 34 yards on 13 carries and Arizona could only manage three field goals from Neil Rackers.

After years of success in Indianapolis, James is struggling in his first season with the Cardinals. He has 89 yards on 49 carries the past two weeks and has yet to top 100 yards in a single game and is now questioning his decision to leave the Colts.

"I wasn't prepared for this, man, I really wasn't," he said. "I don't know what we're doing now."

Moss had his biggest game of the year despite a few drops, catching seven balls for 129 yards to help Oakland end an 11-game losing streak dating to last season.

But the biggest key was the defense, which put constant pressure on Leinart and shut down James.

Warren Sapp and the Raiders finally have something to smile about.
Michael Huff, the player the Raiders took instead of Leinart in April's draft, tackled Marcel Shipp in the end zone for a safety. Derrick Burgess added two sacks and deflected a pass that was intercepted by defensive lineman Terdell Sands.

"We're going to enjoy it," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "We got our win. ... You have to enjoy it because in this league wins are tough to come by so enjoy it while you have a chance."

Walter earned his first career win by outplaying Leinart, the player the Raiders passed on in the draft because they believed Walter was their quarterback of the future. Walter, who left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter, finished 17-for-30 for 263 yards.

Leinart looked nothing like the player who became the first NFL quarterback to throw two first-quarter touchdowns in his first two starts.

"He was flustered," safety Stuart Schweigert said. "His eyes were wide open. He was throwing the ball away real quick."

With starting running back LaMont Jordan out with a back injury, the Raiders rode Walter's arm to take the early lead.

They moved the ball with ease in the opening quarter. After a fumble by Zack Crockett ended the opening drive, Oakland drove for the first score following a missed 49-yard field goal by Rackers.

Walter avoided the pressure to complete a 32-yard pass to Moss on third-and-21 and converted a third-and-13 later in the drive on a 16-yard pass to Ronald Curry. Those passes -- two of Oakland's five conversions on third and more than 10 yards -- led to Lee's 1-yard leap into the end zone.

After Sands' interception gave the Raiders the ball at the Arizona 32, Walter went deep on the next play, connecting with Moss on the score that made it 14-0.

The Raiders tacked on a pair of field goals by Sebastian Janikowski and the safety to become the NFL's last team to win a game.

Matt Hasselbeck Out For Up To Four Weeks -

Seattle's Hasselbeck out up to four weeks wire reports

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Oct. 23, 2006) -- Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will miss two to four weeks with a strained ligament in his right knee, coach Mike Holmgren confirmed.

An MRI showed the Pro Bowl quarterback strained the medial collateral ligament while getting rolled into by a Minnesota pass rusher during a Week 7 loss to the Vikings.

"There are three levels (of seriousness)," Holmgren said. "So he's right in the middle.

"He's on crutches for a few days ... I guess it's kind of good news for me. It could have been worse."

Seneca Wallace, a fourth-year veteran, will make his first NFL start in Week 8 at Kansas City (3-3). The Seahawks (4-2) are already without league MVP Shaun Alexander, who remains out indefinitely with a broken foot.

On the opening drive of the second half, Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson got past a block from fullback Mack Strong. Henderson then swung the left side of his torso into the lower half of Hasselbeck's right leg, which was planted after Hasselbeck had just thrown an incomplete pass.

Hasselbeck crumpled to the ground immediately, rolled over and then tried to get up. When he could not put weight on the leg to stand, he fell again and angrily pounded the turf while trainers rushed to his side.

Hasselbeck was taken the sideline with his weight on the shoulders of two trainers.

"I was falling to the ground and Mack Strong kind of pushed. I definitely didn't mean to do it," Henderson said. "It was definitely an accident, I hope he gets back soon."

When asked if he thought it was a clean hit on Hasselbeck, Holmgren said Oct. 23, "I'm going to stay away from that ... I'm going to let someone else make that call."

Wallace was 14-for-25 for 134 yards passing and two interceptions playing almost the entire second half against Minnesota, after spending last week's practices running the scout team. He also lost a fumble in his own end zone while Ben Leber sacked him. Kevin Williams covered the ball for Minnesota's final score.

"For the circumstances, I think I did all right," Wallace said after the game.

Ben Roethlisberger Concussion? Injury Report Due From Steelers -

Steelers mum on Roethlisberger's injury wire reports

PITTSBURGH (Oct. 23, 2006) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't saying if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sustained his second concussion in slightly more than four months.

Roethlisberger was fit enough to fly home with the Steelers following their 41-38 overtime loss Sunday in Atlanta, and to drive his SUV to a team meeting Monday, despite being briefly knocked unconscious during a helmet-to-helmet hit with the Falcons' Chauncey Davis.

By definition, a concussion is a disruption of the brain's activities caused by a sudden blow to the head - much like the hit Roethlisberger absorbed while being sacked by multiple defenders. Doctors who have studied concussion patients have said some act and look fine within hours or even minutes of being injured, while others take longer to look normal.

The Steelers' biggest concern is if this is Roethlisberger's second concussion in slightly more than four months. He sustained a concussion, and needed seven hours of surgery mostly to repair facial injuries, when his motorcycle collided with a car June 12 in Pittsburgh.

A football player receiving a second concussion in a relatively brief time can be susceptible to succeeding concussions, according to various concussion-related studies by doctors who have studied the issue for the NFL. Also, a player receiving multiple concussions in a brief time span may need a longer recovery time before playing again than one coming off his initial concussion.

This time, Roethlisberger lay on the turf for about five minutes, then was unsteady while being led off the field. He also looked dazed while riding to the locker room on a motorized cart. But he was back on the sideline later in the game and looked normal afterward.

"I was just hoping and praying they didn't have to bring out the stretcher," said backup Charlie Batch, who had flashbacks to Chiefs quarterback Trent Green's head injury earlier this season when he saw Roethlisberger go down. "You never want to see anybody hit like that."

The Steelers did not provide an update Monday on Roethlisberger. Unlike most NFL coaches, Bill Cowher doesn't hold a news conference on Mondays or allow anyone else in the organization to speak about injuries. He will talk to reporters on Tuesday.

The Steelers have been among the NFL teams most proactive in concussion-related studies, research and testing. Several doctors who undertake such work for the NFL and NHL are associated with the Steelers or have offices in the complex where the Steelers' practice facility is located.

Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet during the motorcycle crash and also decided against wearing the recently designed football helmet that affords more protection against head injuries.

Cowher may say Tuesday if Roethlisberger has any chance to play Sunday for the Steelers (2-4), losers of four of five, against the Oakland Raiders (1-5). The Steelers are 0-3 on the road. If not Batch would replace him, as he did Sunday and in the Sept. 7 season opener against Miami when Roethlisberger was out with appendicitis.

Batch might be the NFL's most dependable backup, going 3-0 as a starter the last two seasons. He is 24-of-39 for 410 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions this season and threw for two touchdowns and 195 yards after replacing Roethlisberger on Sunday.

"I started to get in a groove and I got more comfortable out there," Batch said.

Roethlisberger's injury came during his second strong performance in as many weeks. After throwing seven interceptions and no touchdown passes in his first three post-crash starts, all losses, he was 32-of-41 for 476 yards, five TDs and no interceptions against the Chiefs and Falcons.

A week after seemingly righting their season by beating Kansas City 45-7, the Super Bowl champion Steelers again trail Baltimore (4-2) and Cincinnati (4-2) by two games in the AFC North.

"I still think we're a great football team," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I still think we have the players in here to do exactly what we did last year. But it's going to be tough with (Sunday's) loss."

Dallas Cowboys Outcoached By New York Giants, Lose 36 - 22 -

Giants swarm Cowboys, take NFC East lead wire reports

IRVING, Texas (Oct. 23, 2006) -- The New York Giants had their way with Drew Bledsoe so much that he got benched at halftime. Tony Romo's on-field promotion thrilled Dallas Cowboys fans - until he threw an interception on his first snap.

That's how it went Monday night: The Giants made all the big plays, the Cowboys made the big mistakes.

Eli Manning threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress on the fifth play, LaVar Arrington sacked Bledsoe for a safety soon after and the Giants fended off several potential momentum-changers, beating the Cowboys 36-22 to stake a big head start in defense of their NFC East title.

A week after sacking Michael Vick seven times, New York got four against Bledsoe - two by Michael Strahan, tying Lawrence Taylor's club record - and two against the more-mobile Romo. More important for the Giants (4-2) was their four interceptions.

Sam Madison picked off Bledsoe on a potential go-ahead pass into the end zone, costing the statuesque quarterback his job, at least for the rest of the night.

Romo was intercepted three times, with Kevin Dockery taking the last one 96 yards with 2:33 left for the game-sealing touchdown, leaving coach Bill Parcells staring down with his arms folded, seemingly out of answers for Dallas (3-3).

While Romo sparked the offense at times, his miscues were too much to overcome. He got little comfort from Bledsoe, who stood alone on the sideline wearing a visor pulled down over his eyes, mostly keeping his fingers curled inside his collar.

Romo, who hung his head after the last interception, perked up spirits moments later with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton soon after. But it was too little, too late.

The Giants clearly enjoyed themselves in this one, from their defense's trademark jump-shot celebrations to running back Brandon Jacobs celebrating a touchdown T.O.-style - on the Cowboys' star logo in the end zone.

New York should be happy now that it has beaten each division foe - Dallas (3-3), Washington and Philadelphia - and gets to play its next three game at home. However, the Giants also come away facing two serious injuries.

Arrington tore his left Achilles tendon and is likely for the season, and defensive end Osi Umenyiora missed most of the second half with a strained hip.


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Winning Pitch To Be Produced Into NFL’s Ad To Run During Super Bowl XLI Broadcast Events To Be Held For Fan Pitches in New York, Dallas and Denver, November 17-December 9

For the first time ever, the NFL is enabling fans to present their ideas for the Super Bowl commercial that best expresses the NFL experience. The winning pitch from the campaign, entitled “Pitch us your idea for the best NFL Super Bowl commercial ever. Seriously,” will be produced into the NFL’s Super Bowl commercial. The promotion officially begins on Tuesday, October 31, the NFL announced today.

Fans can now log onto, which provides a one-page overview of the contest. Complete details of the promotion will be posted on October 31.

Beginning on Friday, November 17, the NFL will host contest events in three NFL markets to gather pitches from fans. On November 17-18, fans will have their first opportunity to pitch the NFL at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Then, on December 1-2, Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas will host the second event. Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado will host the third event the following week on December 8-9.

By December 15, all submissions from the three markets will be scaled down to a total of 12 finalists with their taped pitches posted on The final winning pitch will be determined through a vote by a panel of yet-to-be-announced judges, consisting of various members of the extended NFL family in areas such as marketing, advertising and media, and through an online fan vote at The online voting period will run from 12/15/06 to 1/7/07. The winner will be announced on 1/8/07.

Joe Pytka, filmmaker and award-winning director of numerous acclaimed television commercials, will be directing the commercial pitched by the contest winner. In addition, Pytka will sit on the final judging panel and will review pitches throughout the promotion, offering his critiques on

The contest winner will be eligible to have his or her pitch produced into a commercial that will run during Super Bowl XLI on Sunday, February 4 on CBS. The winner will be invited to the production set to view the filming of the commercial. In addition, the winner will receive a prize package that includes round trip airfare to South Florida for the winner and a guest and two tickets to Super Bowl XLI as special guests of the NFL.

An online promotion on will run in tandem with the contest for people that log on to vote for finalists. Voters will be eligible for prizes that include a trip to Super Bowl XLI.

Beginning on Tuesday, October 31, will provide fans with all of the details they need to know about the contest, as well as interviews, commentary and pitches for NFL commercials from NFL stars and personalities such as New York Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma and NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. In addition, once the pitch events begin, will include online elements like a video montage of highlights from auditions.