Monday, November 12, 2007

COMMISSIONER GOODELL Q&A - NFL Fall Meeting - Philadelphia, PA, 2007

NFL Fall Meeting
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – October 23, 2007

Roger Goodell: We had a very productive day. We had a long day of meetings, but let me give you the highlights of some of the things we talked about and then I’ll take your questions and answer anything you have outside of this. We began the day with a report on the game. We always do that with a focus on the game and the key factors we look at with respect to the game; points scored, length of the game, pace of the game, and number of penalties. All of that was very positive.

We did a report, within the context of that, on the draft and the changes to the NFL Draft for next year, which I believe you have a release on. We also did a report on the Pro Bowl and some of the changes we’ve been contemplating to try to bring back some excitement to that game. Then we had a very long discussion on the NFL Network. We have the chairman of the NFL Network, Jerry Jones, here who will be happy to answer any questions also. The importance of this to us is as a strategic asset and our future plans with respect to media.

We also had some important votes on the business model. It is an important step for us to make our site and all 32 sites, the clubs and our league site, better for our fans and we made some very big steps in that regard today.

We had some discussion on the Buffalo-Toronto proposal. Ralph Wilson addressed the ownership. We had a report on it. We did not take a vote on that, but we will have further discussion.

Then we had a vote on lowering the debt ceiling. All of you are aware of the current market conditions and the credit markets. We as a league like to make sure we are making prudent decisions about our business structure and what we are doing to respond to those credit markets. We have agreed to reduce the debt ceiling by $30 million per club over the next three years. I think that hits the key points and I’ll be happy to take your questions.

Q: Length of Ralph Wilson’s proposal:

RG: It is a five-year proposal. One regular season game and I believe three preseason games.

Q: Any objections?

RG: No. There were a number of issues that we raised for the membership that we would like to address. This is still relatively fresh for all of us so we as a league have a responsibility to look into a number of issues. It was made clear by Mr. Wilson and by the Bills’ people that the county and the state had passed their agreement that they could go forward on this. We don’t have agreement that I know of with respect to the parties in Toronto so we want to see all that and look at all of those issues.

Q: Speaking with Mark Cohon, CFL Commissioner about the proposal…

RG: I did. I believe it was last Friday. I assured him that we continue to have a great interest in the CFL and their continued viability. That is one of the issues that was raised today with respect to this. We would certainly want to understand the impact and have greater discussions with the CFL and the promoters of the games in Toronto to make sure that we do it in a way that is responsive and continues to promote CFL football because we think that has a great heritage. We have been very active in continuing to support that.

Q: Belichick and spying incident…

RG: I do a normal report to the membership which takes 15 minutes or so and then we start focusing on the game with our Competition Committee, but in the context of that we spoke about the integrity of the game and how important it is that all of our fans understand that our game is being played by the same rules. We continue to make sure that all of our clubs and the league are doing everything possible to make sure that our games are played within the rules that we’ve established and that our fans have that confidence. I think that they do and I just reassured them that if they have issues with respect to things that are happening in our game that they contact us so that we can pursue them.

Q: Reaction to charges that this incident is being swept under the rug…

RG: First, we were the ones who brought it out so if we’re sweeping it under the rug…we’re the ones who raised it. I don’t agree with that assessment. I think we dealt with it forcefully, aggressively, and effectively. The thing that you want in discipline is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and the other clubs understand that there are very significant consequences if policies are violated. I think that message was sent. We also want to send that message to our fans so they understand that all teams are playing by the same rules. The inference that you make in regards to us destroying the tapes, that was our intention from the get-go. There was no purpose for those. We said that we wanted those materials destroyed because we didn’t want anyone to have that material or the notes that could’ve come out from that. We went ahead and did that as we expected to do. Everything that we found was consistent with what we thought.

Q: Shortening on the draft and discussions about moving it to Friday night…

RG: We’ve talked about that. We at this point don’t think that it’s the right move. We think that Saturday is still the better time for us. I don’t anticipate that in the short term but we have evaluated that.

Q: Situation with San Diego…

RG: When I get through here I am going to meet with Dean Spanos and the team people. I haven’t gotten an update because I’ve been in a meeting all day but I understand that there are thousands of people at Qualcomm Stadium and of course public safety is our number one concern. We certainly don’t want to interfere with anything in that area. Of course we also have to work with the local officials to tell us whether the facility is going to be available. In the meantime I think you’re aware that the team is on its way or about to go out to Arizona. They will be working out in that facility for the week. We’ll have to make a decision on the game as soon as we have more information.

Q: Pro Bowl…

RG: The big issue is how we can bring more focus to the Pro Bowl, to our star players, and to the event itself. We have discussed everything, including moving the time of the game to prior to the Super Bowl so that it is in advance and part of the buildup of the Super Bowl. We have also talked about whether we would alter the location on some kind of rotating basis to some site here in the United States, particularly around the Super Bowl or in the Super Bowl site. Hawaii would probably be part of that rotation in some fashion but I would expect some decisions would be made. This isn’t for this year’s Pro Bowl; this is for 14 or 15 months from now.

Q: Debt ceiling…

RG: It was very simple. One of the reasons that the NFL is one of the most admired businesses and sports leagues is because we manage our business properly. When you look at the amount of debt that is out there and where the markets are it is just a prudent business decision.

Any discussion today on the disability issue?

RG: No. We’re doing that first thing in the morning, Paul.

Q: Vote on funding…

RG: There very likely will. There is a resolution on the floor. I would expect a vote, yes.

Q: What the proposal calls for…

RG: The proposal is essentially a one-time funding to allow us to put some additional funds into the alliance that we’ve created so that there is sufficient funding and that we’d be able to handle issues in an ongoing manner. It is not pension related. It is for medical needs for people that have a specific need that we can take care of.

Q: Joint replacement?

RG: Joint replacement is one of those programs. Also cardiovascular screening and possibly assisted living.

Q: Future of games internationally…

RG: A year ago is when we passed the resolution allowing the regular season series. As you know we are playing in London this week and every indication is that we’re going to have a tremendously successful event. I think it is a logical step for us. Next year would be to add a second market. We’re going step-by-step but the reaction that we’re getting is extraordinary.

Q: Advantages of Bills playing in Toronto…

RG: The key point that was made by Ralph Wilson, and I share this, is that this is to make the team viable in the Buffalo market. It is an extension of the regionalization that they started 10 years ago that I actually had some involvement with, so I understand what they are trying to accomplish. That is to reach out to the broadest audience by regionalizing and the southern Ontario, Toronto area is an important market to them. They are selling more and more tickets there and I think this is an important opportunity to bring more fans to Buffalo from the southern Ontario area.

Q: Just to confirm, is it one preseason and one regular season game every year for five years?

RG: No. It is one regular season game for the next five years and three preseason games starting next year and the third and fifth year.

Q: Regular season games would start next year also?

RG: I believe so, yes.

Q: Alternatives for Chargers game…

RG: I’d be able to give you better information on that in about a half-hour from now. Our staff is working on that. They go everywhere from San Diego to Los Angeles to Texas to Arizona, and in between.

Q: Is scheduling more attractive games one of the options for the NFL Network, i.e. Patriots vs. Colts, in order to have more leverage over cable companies…

RG: First, we believe as it relates to the cable operators that we have a very compelling product outside of our games. We think that the production quality and content that we have on the NFL Network on a year-round basis is in great demand and the consumers want it. That is the issue that we are having with our cable operators. They are trying to restrict the distribution of that to a point that we’re not comfortable. We think that it should be available to a broader audience and that is really the fundamental aspect of our broadcast policy. As it relates to the games, we have a very attractive series of games this year. We are fortunate to have the Cowboys on twice; we have Cowboys and Packers on the second game of the year. We think all of our games are attractive but we have some great matchups that fell in place for us when we set our schedule last April.

Q: How much leverage do these attractive matchups give you right now with the cable companies?

RG: The bottom line is that consumers are the ones who should win here. The consumers should get the product and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to make sure that our consumers understand that we have a great product, we have some great games that are going to be on, and some of them won’t get to see it because the cable operators are not distributing it. We have one cable operator that happens to be close to here which has taken us from nine million homes to one million homes. That is a significant difference. They have the right to put is in nine million homes. It is not a matter of negotiation. It is just a decision that they made.

Q: Ongoing talks…

RG: There are very little talks that are going on with Comcast right now. We’ve had some discussions with Time Warner recently but right now we don’t see that this is going to get resolved and that is a concern for us. Let me have Jerry speak now.

Q: Assuming the Dallas-Green Bay was on FOX, how much of the country would see that?

RG: There are really only two games that go on a national basis -- NBC’s game on Sunday night and ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Most of our games on Sunday afternoon are regionalized, so if it had been a Sunday afternoon game it would be regionalized like the rest of our Sunday afternoon package and go to a smaller percentage of the country.

We have some games that to go six or seven percent of the country, and that’s one of the reasons why we think the NFL Network is so valuable here. This gives us a chance to bring more football to more fans 365 days a year.

This takes a game that might have gone to 10 or 12 percent of the country to a broader audience now, if it’s fully distributed. That’s our issue.

Q: What is the current number of subscribers, and what could it be if you got the cable companies to go your route?

RG: It’s a tough question to answer. The first part of your question is 35 million. The tough part to answer is it would depend on what you negotiate in terms of distribution levels with those cable operators. They all have different amounts of homes. Comcast, for example, is nine million homes. They were at eight million last year, and their digital package penetration has gone up one million, so the network would have been available in nine million homes this year. People who got that last year don’t have that now. The only way to get that back is to spend $5 to $10 per month for a sports tier.

Q: Any ongoing conversations with Comcast?

RG: We discontinued discussions with them back in August because we weren’t getting anywhere. It was clear they were telling consumers that we were in negotiations, and we weren’t. We were disappointed in the fact that they tiered us, that they took this away from consumers, and now they’re charging consumers more money to get it back again. We thought that was inappropriate.

Q: Same with Time Warner and Cablevision?

RG: From time to time, there are discussions that go on, but I would say that right now we’re not optimistic a deal is going to get done.

Q: When NFLN was first created, did you have an estimate of how many homes you’d be in by this point?

RG: Yes, we’re slightly below that. We were hoping we’d be closer to 50 million homes right now.

Q: Aside from DirecTV, what are the other options you can suggest to fans in an area like Philadelphia, which is monopolized by Comcast?

RG: Telephone companies are now getting in the business of video distribution. Verizon, AT&T – they are now building up these services, which carry the NFL Network.

Last game of the season on NFLN, if the Patriots enter that game 15-0, who would fans be angriest at? The NFL or the cable companies?

RG: I think the reality is they’d probably be angry at all of us. Comcast is a perfect example of that. Last year, eight million people would have been able to see that game. They’re not going to get to see that game this year unless they pay Comcast $8 a month for the next 12 months. We think that’s wrong, and that’s why we’re taking the position we’re taking. We are not going to take our distribution down. We know our fans want to see us. The last time I looked, 95 of the top 100 cable shows in history are NFL games. We know we are the most popular programming on cable television. That’s been proven by the facts.

# # #

Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 28- Steelers Continue to Role Against Divisional Foe

The Browns lead for the majority of the game, but their inexperience glowed towards the end of the game.

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
November 11, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Cleveland Browns appear to be closing the gap between themselves and the rival Steelers.

They're not there yet, though, not with Ben Roethlisberger able to beat teams two different ways in the same week.

Roethlisberger scrambled 30 yards for a key touchdown during Pittsburgh's second-half comeback, then set up his own go-ahead 2-yard TD pass to Heath Miller with an important third-down run as the Steelers rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Cleveland 31-28 Sunday.

Roethlisberger's big second half, with two TD passes and some important scrambles, overcame Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson's huge first half and two long Joshua Cribbs kickoff returns.

Pittsburgh (7-2) beat Cleveland (5-4) for the ninth consecutive time. Barely. Phil Dawson could have tied it, but was short on a 52-yard field goal attempt with 6 seconds remaining.

elying on Roethlisberger's ability to shrug off blitzes and gain yards on plays that appeared to have broken down, plus his two TD passes, the Steelers took a big step toward making the playoffs after going 8-8 last season. Only six days before, Roethlisberger's five touchdown passes led the Steelers to a 38-7 Monday night rout of Baltimore.

"All I ever hear is about (Tom) Brady and Peyton (Manning), but this guy we have here is very special," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He makes plays those guys don't make and that's what makes him so special. He can get out of the pocket, he can create, he's a beast and we're glad he wears black and gold."

Cleveland led 21-6 in the first half as Cribbs' 90-yard kickoff return led to one of Anderson's three touchdown passes. But with the Browns offense managing only a single first down and no points in the second half, Roethlisberger's TD scramble put the Steelers up for the first time at 24-21 early in the fourth quarter.

"I was ready to slide ... but Hines (Ward) was downfield blocking and when I get that close to the end zone, I'm trying to get it," Roethlisberger said.

Still, the Browns were in position to beat Pittsburgh for only the second time in their last 16 games after Cribbs' improbable 100-yard kickoff return touchdown with about 11 minutes remaining. Cribbs fumbled the ball near the goal line and was forced to take off down the Steelers sideline out of desperation.

"We had him stacked up -- it was a fluke and it just happened," the Steelers' Larry Foote said. "It definitely tested our character."

A fluke? Cribbs finished with more yards on kickoff returns (204) than the Browns offense had total yards (163).

"It was a couple of inches from going into the end zone and I had to make a decision and live with it," Cribbs said of his 100-yarder.

With the Steelers down 28-24, Roethlisberger (23-of-34, 278 yards) calmly led the decisive 78-yard scoring drive that lasted 8 minutes and featured All-Pro guard Alan Faneca challenging his teammates in the huddle to win it.

Roethlisberger kept the drive going with a 20-yard completion to Miller on third-and-18 and his own 10-yard run to the 2 on third-and-9 before Miller made a one-handed catch for the go-ahead score.

"Their whole philosophy was don't give up the big play, see if Ben could read defenses and take what the defense gave them," said Ward, who had a 12-yard TD catch. "Ben did a tremendous job of it."

The Steelers, playing six days after their 38-7 Monday night rout of Baltimore, quickly fell into a bad habit: trading field goals for touchdowns.

They settled for three Jeff Reed field goals in the first half and fell behind 21-9 as Anderson threw TD passes of 4 yards to Kellen Winslow, 2 to Lawrence Vickers after Cribbs' 90-yard kickoff return and 16 yards to Braylon Edwards.


LB James Harrison, who had two forced fumbles on defense and another on special teams Monday, had two more forced fumbles. ... The Steelers are 4-0 in the division and 5-0 at home. ... Willie Parker, who ran for a club record 223 yards against Cleveland last season, had 105 yards on 25 carries, the seventh running back to gain more than 100 against the Browns. ... Roethlisberger has 22 touchdown passes, four more than his previous career high, with seven games to play.

MIT Sues Frank Gehry Over Ugly Buildings

Wow. Frank Gehry did this to MIT? Well, they did approve it. Now they're stuck with it. But not without slapping Frank a good one in court. Take a look at this garbage -- later, when the photo upload's working!

Rob Capriccioso Smears Sam Donaldson WIth Wrong News

Yep. This blogger got it wrong , reporting that ABC News Legend Sam Donaldson was a client of the DC Madam Deborah Jean Palfrey. What's worse is he will not write a blog correcting the error!

Poor Sam. Something's got to give here. Wrong is wrong.

Dr Donda West, Kanye West's Mom, Passes After Surgery

Kanye's mother dies after surgery

Kanye West often spoke about his close relationship with his mother

The mother of rap star Kanye West has died at the age of 58 after cosmetic surgery developed complications.
Dr Donda West, who managed the star's businesses and educational foundation and was the subject of his song Hey Mama, died in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Her publicist Patricia Green said she passed away "as the result of complications from a cosmetic surgical procedure", but gave no more details.

West's spokesman said the family "asks for privacy during this time of grief".

The 30-year-old often spoke publicly of his close relationship with his mother. She raised him alone after her husband left when West was three.


In Hey Mama, on West's 2005 album Late Registration, he sang: "Hey Mama, I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I'm so proud of you. I appreciate what you allowed for me, I just want you to be proud of me."

In May, she published the book Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star, in which she paid homage to her famous son.

She was chairwoman of the Kanye West Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to improve literacy and stop people dropping out of school.

Ms Green said: "May Donda's work and deeds be an inspiration to each of us, may we start each day knowing that support of family and community are central to purpose."

Green Bay Packers Beat Minnesota Vikings - Surprising Performance

I must admit how surprised I am that the Mike McCarthy-led Green Bay Packers are doing so well. I'll have to review the growth of the Packers coach.

Running the show

Balance roughs up, blanks border foe


Posted: Nov. 11, 2007

Green Bay - Eleven years ago, when the Green Bay Packers were kicking butt and taking names en route to Super Bowl glory, they spanked the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, 38-10, in a display of dominating football at Lambeau Field that still can be remembered vividly for its utter ferocity.

Ever since then, the Vikings always showed up at Lambeau in a foul mood, often played over their heads and generally raised holy hell against anyone wearing dark green and gold.

On Sunday, another Green Bay-Minnesota game was played in the National Football League's smallest city, where the home team once again has realistic Super Bowl aspirations. And this time, with eerie parallels to the game in 1996, the Packers buried the Vikings, 34-0.

As NFC contenders Detroit, the New York Giants and Washington were falling, the Packers responded with easily their finest performance of the season. For the first time, there's breathing space between Green Bay and Dallas, both 8-1, and the rest of the NFC, where just six teams have winning records.

One of the vanquished Vikings, safety Darren Sharper, wasn't around for the championship in 1996 but was the dime back on the Packers' runner-up team in '97. The Packers and Cowboys meet Nov. 29 in Dallas, and Sharper is picking Green Bay.

"Dallas is a beatable team," said Sharper, a Packer until 2004. "We showed that. If they can slow down Marion Barber . . . man, that guy can play.

"If they (the Packers) get home field, I could see it happening. It all comes down to home field. They're going to be tough to stop. When it gets cold, you've got to give them games here as a lock. I could definitely see them 14-2."

His fellow safety, Dwight Smith, started for Tampa Bay in its Super Bowl title drive five years ago.

"The Packers looked like one (Super Bowl team) today because they were able to run the football," Smith said. "That was their Achilles' heel. That's the thing I thought was hindering them from being one of the best teams."

Smith also gives Green Bay the edge over Dallas, which was at home Oct. 21 in a 24-14 victory over Minnesota.

"I don't like Dallas' corners," Smith said. "Their D-line is good but I don't know if it's better than Green Bay's. Green Bay has rush ends, cover corners and linebackers who can run. That's all we had in Tampa."

Masterful coaching. Razor-sharp execution. Superior athleticism. Keener emotion.

The Packers had it all Sunday, extending their winning streak in the series to four games for the first time since 1987 and '88. Unlike predecessors Dennis Green and Mike Tice, Vikings coach Brad Childress can't even get his players up for this bitter border rivalry.

"It was Football 101," Childress said. "The tempo was set in the first half. We were not ready to play, and that is my fault."

What probably hurt the Vikings (3-6) more than anything was the shattering of their supposedly impregnable run defense. Operating behind an offensive line that had been upbraided all last week by Mike McCarthy and his staff, Ryan Grant pounded for 119 yards in 25 carries that drained the life from Minnesota defenders.

"I thought the guard play was very good today," McCarthy said. "The core of our running game is a stretch-and-cut mentality. Offensively, we wanted to establish our run game."

Yet, unlike San Diego a week ago - which tried in vain running LaDainian Tomlinson into the A gaps and awaiting behemoths Pat Williams and Kevin Williams - McCarthy actually came out throwing. Then, when the Vikings were sufficiently softened, he unleashed Grant on wide stretch plays, tosses and draws away from the big boys.

Over the last season and a half, the Vikings had allowed 64.5 yards per game and 2.83 yards per rush. In five games against Minnesota since the arrival of the immovable Pat Williams, the Packers had rushed for infinitesimal averages of 41.0 and 1.92.

Green Bay's rushing output of 120 yards failed to compare to the 233 that Edgar Bennett and Dorsey Levens ripped the Vikings for in the '96 regular-season finale. But it still was the third-highest rushing total against Minnesota in the last 25 games; Dallas had 128 last month, including 96 by Barber.

"Generally, when one team runs that well on another, they are inflicting their will on the other team," Childress said. "I am not used to seeing the ball being run on our defense like that."

The beneficiary of rare offensive balance, Brett Favre annihilated a similar type of Cover-2 scheme that had unsettled him early in the season.

Favre smartly directed scoring drives of 82, 69, 75, 72, 69 and 96 yards, part of a 488-yard onslaught that took up 40 minutes 40 seconds.

Operating almost equally from underneath center and shotgun, Favre overcame some poor throws early and four dropped passes to forge a passer rating of 115.4. The Vikings sorely missed the injured Antoine Winfield, their best cover man.

"He's kind of been MVP," Sharper said, referring to Favre. "He's being more patient, playing a lot smarter, than he was before. He's just being methodical down the field.

"If they don't hurt themselves, they have a good enough defense where they'll be in every game. And they'll make a play eventually because (Greg) Jennings and (Donald) Driver are playmakers. He doesn't have to (force) because he's got playmakers on offense."

On defense, the Packers didn't have to deal with the full force of rookie sensation Adrian Peterson because the Vikings fell behind early and then Peterson went out with a sprained knee late in the third quarter. He finished with 45 yards in 11 carries.

Coordinator Bob Sanders brought safety Atari Bigby into the box on the first five plays before backing off and playing normal defense. His front four proved stout enough so that Sanders never had to compromise the integrity of his scheme by adding a fifth lineman or a ninth player to the box.

"We talked as a team," McCarthy said. "It was time to shut somebody out. Just an excellent effort by our whole defense."

Not only were the Vikings down to their third quarterback in Brooks Bollinger but their most dangerous receiver, Sidney Rice, had to sit out with a hamstring pull. By the time Bollinger was able to complete his first pass to a wide receiver, 2 minutes remained in the third quarter and it was 27-0.

The Vikings were so inept that two fourth-down completions by Bollinger to Robert Ferguson in the final 4 minutes came up short of the marker.

"They're playing with confidence," said Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, a Packer from 1997-2005. "The guys I still talk to, they love McCarthy. They really buy into his program.

"From the first time we played them (Sept. 30) until today, they definitely believe now that they should be 8-1. They're playing with confidence. They're playing really, really well."

San Francisco 49ers Takes On Seattle Seahawks Tonight - Without Nolan

The San Francisco 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks supposedly without Head Coach Mike Nolan, who lost his father, Dick Nolan, Sunday.

Wait. This just in - Nolan will coach this evening.

Dallas 31, NY Giants 20 - Tony Romo and T.O. - Terrell Owens Lead Win

T.O. Finally hits stride with Dallas Cowboys. Makes mark as elite receiver.

Dallas 31, NY Giants 20

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Once they stopped beating themselves with penalties, the Dallas Cowboys took command of the NFC East by riding their biggest stars: Tony Romo and Terrell Owens.

Romo hit Owens on two of his four touchdown passes and Dallas opened a big lead in the division by ending the Giants' six-game winning streak with a 31-20 victory on Sunday.

"If you want to call it swagger, yes we have the confidence that we know we can go out and beat teams," said Owens, who broke the game open with second-half TD catches of 25 and 50 yards. Owens finished with six catches for 125 yards, his third straight 100-yard game.

T.O. As Giant Killer

Terrell Owens continued his dominance Sunday of the New York Giants, picking up his 11th TD catch in nine career games and pushing his yards-per-game average to 97.9 against the team.

"Obviously today, we had more penalties than we would like and we have to eliminate those," T.O. added. "That was everybody's emotions running high. There was a little trash-talking by them. We came here. The game was played and I feel like we made a statement."

With the win, the Cowboys (8-1) opened a two-game lead over the Giants (6-3), a three-game edge on Washington (5-4) and a four-game margin on Philadelphia (4-5). Dallas also swept the season series with New York, so it has the tiebreaker should they finished tied.

"It's another step along the journey that we're trying to go through to get where we want to go," said Romo, who completed 20-of-28 for 247 yards. "A win like tonight just adds to your confidence. When you do something like this, you have a chance to do something special."

The last time the Cowboys started a season at 8-1 was 1995, the last time they won the Super Bowl.

With seven games left, the Cowboys also are tied with Green Bay for the best record in the conference. The two will play in Dallas on Nov. 29.

For the Giants, their best hopes for a playoff berth seemingly are a wild-card spot.

"It does put us behind the 8-ball," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "If you ever play pool, I've seen people make shots from behind that 8-ball. That's what we are looking at."

Romo also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tony Curtis in the first quarter and a 20-yarder to Patrick Crayton just before halftime, starting a string of three straight touchdown drives.

Nick Folk added a 44-yard field goal.

Eli Manning threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey, who tied his career high with 12 catches for 129 yards. Reuben Droughns scored on a 1-yard run and Lawrence Tynes kicked field goals of 40 and 26 yards.

The second field goal came after New York had Brandon Jacobs' potential tying touchdown run early in the fourth quarter nullified by a questionable holding penalty on guard Chris Snee against Roy Williams.

"I didn't think I held him, but you have to go with the call," said Snee, who originally thought Dallas was being called for a penalty.

Until that point, the Cowboys were the ones hurting themselves with undisciplined errors. Four penalties in the first half gave New York 10 points and had Dallas heading to the locker room tied at 17.

The Cowboys were called for three penalties on the Giants' opening TD drive. The one everyone will remember was a taunting call against linebacker Kevin Burnett with the Cowboys ahead 17-14 in the waning seconds.

Jacobs had just been stuffed on a run from his 35 and Burnett yapped at him. The 15-yard walkoff moved the ball to the 50 with 12 seconds to go. Manning found Shockey for 29 yards to set up a 40-yard field goal by Tynes that tied the game.

"Once it's over, you have to learn from your mistakes," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "We couldn't harp on that. We just told them it was nothing-nothing. We've done it all year. The second half is ours."

The Cowboys' defense, which sacked Manning five times and intercepted him twice, stopped the Giants on the opening possession of the half and then Romo and company took over.

The go-ahead 25-yard touchdown pass came on a play where T.O. ran past cornerback Sam Madison and was wide open. It capped a 12-play, 86-yard drive on which the Cowboys converted three 10-plus-yard situations, the last a 13-yard pass to Crayton on third-and-11 from the New York 38. Owens scored on the next play.

Owens ran by safety Gibril Wilson on the long pass.

"If he gets moving, he's tough to catch up to," Romo said. "I just tried to give him some air and let him go get it."

Romo's other touchdown passes were just as easy against an improved defense that gave up 45 points in Dallas in the opener.

His 15-yard pass to Curtis on the opening series came after he broke containment on a pass rush. Just before reaching the line of scrimmage, he saw a wide-open Curtis in the corner of the end zone.

Manning, who was 23-of-34 for 236 yards on a day he threw mostly short passes, tied the game with his TD pass to Shockey.

Folk's field goal gave Dallas a 10-7 lead before Wilson's interception set up a 60-yard drive Droughns capped with his run.

Crayton gave the Cowboys a 17-14 lead with 20 seconds to go with a 20-yard catch and run after breaking a tackle by cornerback Aaron Ross.

Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid Get Much-Needed Win v. Redskins

McNabb, Westbrook lead Eagles over Redskins - ESPN and AP

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid soothed the feelings of a season of turmoil with an extra-long embrace after the Philadelphia defense stopped the Washington Redskins for the last time.

"There was a lot of love there," McNabb said. "A lot of love."

McNabb had faced questions all week about his future in Philadelphia. Reid is dealing with personal problems and a possible second losing season in three years. The Eagles would have essentially been buried for the season had they lost Sunday, but a 20-point fourth quarter led by McNabb and Brian Westbrook produced a cloud-lifting 33-25 victory.

Divisional Doldrums

After going 5-1 in the NFC East in 2006, it took until Week 10 for the Eagles to earn their first divisional win this season.
Week 2 20-12 loss vs. Redskins
Week 4 16-3 loss at Giants
Week 9 38-17 loss vs. Cowboys
Week 10 33-25 win at Redskins

"Controversy just hasn't hit us in one week. It's been all through the year," McNabb said. "In situations like this, it's important to have that confidence in the next guy and trust in him, whatever the situation may be. ... It was a must-win situation."

The Eagles (4-5) have been alternating wins and losses since Week 2 and remained in last place in the NFC East, but they successfully recovered from last week's 21-point loss to Dallas and can pull into the wild-card race if they get on a roll.

"We're in the position now that we need to win every game," Westbrook said.

The Redskins (5-4) looked far from playoff-worthy as they committed 11 penalties, including crucial third-down miscues, and again suffered from questionable clock management and play-calling. Coach Joe Gibbs had no timeouts left in the final crucial minutes, and a conservative call on a late third-and-goal virtually guaranteed the Eagles would have a chance to win.

"I always take that to heart myself as a coach," Gibbs said. "Why that jumped out as us today, I don't know. I'll have to take a long, hard look at it."

McNabb battled a sore shoulder throughout the second half and had to keep throwing while on the sideline to keep it warm. Still, he completed 20 of 28 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns. Westbrook caught two touchdown passes and ran for another score, finishing with 20 carries for 100 yards and five receptions for 83 yards.

By far the highlight was Westbrook's go-ahead touchdown with 3:16 remaining. With the Eagles trailing by five and three rushers closing in, McNabb threw a screen pass to Westbrook over the middle. Lineman Shawn Andrews instantly leveled linebacker Rocky McIntosh, one of at least four huge blocks that allowed Westbrook to scamper for a 57-yard touchdown.

"I just tried to buy time," said McNabb, who broke Ron Jaworski's franchise record for career completions. "Once he caught it, I saw a lot of green. Hats off to our offensive linemen, getting down there, our receivers blocking, our tight ends blocking."

Westbrook's touchdown followed a play-it-safe move by Gibbs. With the Redskins facing a third-and-goal at the 7 and leading 22-20, the coach essentially decided to play for the field goal with a running play to Portis rather than try for the touchdown that likely would have sealed the win. Portis was stopped well short, and Shaun Suisham's 21-yard field increased the lead to five -- keeping the Eagles in the game.

"We felt like they might be playing soft there," Gibbs said. "Felt like we could take a shot at a draw."

The screen play gave the Eagles a 26-25 lead. Westbrook added one more score with 2:18 to play, a 10-yard run the Redskins admitted they purposely allowed so they could get the ball back with a chance to tie.

"That's exactly what they did. They allowed us to score," Westbrook said. "I wish I would have known that. I would have stopped at the 1. As an offensive player, any time you have an opportunity to get into the end zone, you get into the end zone."

Jason Campbell completed 23 of 34 passes for 215 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, including the first touchdown pass to a wide receiver for the Redskins all season. Clinton Portis, who last week ended a 12-game drought without a 100-yard game, made it two in a row with 137 yards on 30 carries.

"We've got to finish games," Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. "We're not playing well in the second half. We've got to get it corrected if we want to win."

Denver Beats Kansas City At K.C. For First Time Since 2002

It seems the K.C. Chiefs are always in the game, but can't seem to be the team that wins when it's close. They had the Broncos, but failed to adjust and lost 27-11.

Broncos knock around Huard; Holmes rushes for 65 yards in 1st start

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Nobody is happier than Denver to see Kansas City's vaunted Arrowhead Stadium advantage melting away.

With backup Selvin Young rushing for 109 yards and Denver scoring two touchdowns 9 seconds apart, the injury-weakened Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-11 Sunday for their first win in Kansas City since 2002. It's the third home loss this year for the Chiefs, who came into the season with an NFL-best 104-36 home record since 1990.

"The Chiefs have been so good over the years taking advantage of their home field, with their crowd, and finding a way to win," said Denver coach Mike Shanahan. "They have the best home record in the National Football League over the last five or six years and it's nice to come out with a win."

The Broncos (4-5) might also have helped a new quarterback era get started for Kansas City (4-5).

Whip-armed Brodie Croyle replaced shaken-up, turnover-prone Damon Huard in the third quarter and the second-year pro could start next week in Indianapolis. Croyle was expected to be the starter this year, but coach Herm Edwards turned to Huard when Croyle played inconsistently in the preseason.

"I haven't decided anything," Edwards said. "I'll think about it Monday and then we'll talk about what we're going to do at quarterback on Tuesday."

In the decisive series in the third quarter, Dre' Bly intercepted Huard and set up a 20-yard touchdown run by Young, who was subbing for the injured Travis Henry.

On Kansas City's next play from scrimmage, defensive end Elvis Dumervil crashed into Huard and knocked the ball loose. Linebacker Nate Webster, in the right place at the right time, scooped it up and dashed 17 yards for another touchdown. The Broncos led 20-8 en route to just their sixth win in their last 21 games overall.

Huard was slow getting up and stayed on the bench with an ice pack on his neck while Croyle finished the game, going 17-for-30 for 162 yards, with one interception.

"I did some good things," said Croyle. "We moved the ball for the most part."

He declined to speculate whether he now owns the job.

"I try not to read into anything," he said. "I just go out there and do what I do."

Dwayne Bowe had nine catches for 105 yards for the Chiefs, who lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2004 and were without Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson. Priest Holmes, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 65 yards on 20 carries in his first start in more than two years.

"I feel great," he said. "I look forward to running that hill tomorrow and doing the things you have to do to build that base and make yourself better."

Holmes also lost 14 yards on a third-and-2 run from the 5. Clearly, the more effective backup running back in this game was Young, who had his first 100-yard effort and first NFL touchdown.

"I want to be a puzzle piece and try to fit with no space in between," Young said. "I want to step up and not be a dropoff at all, no falloff in one of the most important positions on the team. I felt I've put myself in a position to be able to handle it."

The home team had won the last nine games between these old rivals, and it seemed that would continue as the Broncos stumbled around in the first quarter, dropping two interceptions and getting six penalties.

Jason Elam, whose game-ending field goals produced Denver's first three wins, made it 3-0 in the first period with a 44-yarder. Then Dave Rayner, following Derrick Johnson's interception of Jay Cutler's pass, kicked a 38-yard field goal for KC.

Pollard blocked Todd Sauerbrun's punt through the end zone for a safety just a few seconds into the second quarter. Then Elam kicked his 37th career field goal of 50 yards or more when the ball hit the crossbar and tumbled over from exactly 50 yards.

Cutler, whose availability was in question earlier in the week because of a deep bruise on his left leg, was 17-of-29 for 192 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Graham with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter.

"I felt good the whole game," Cutler said. "The offense put up points when we had to. We've got to keep this level of play up. That's the biggest thing."

Rams Get First Win - St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29

St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29

1:00 PM ET, November 11, 2007
New Orleans, LA - ESPN

Bulger, Holt lead surprising Rams past streaking Saints

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jim Haslett wasn't ready to return to the place where his first head coaching job began with accolades and literally ended in disaster after Hurricane Katrina.

It took about three quarters of, in Haslett's words, "freakin' awesome" football to make the St. Louis defensive coordinator feel a little better about being back in New Orleans.

Five times since 1978, two teams in the same season have started 0-8. Half of those 10 won their ninth game, including the previously 0-8 Rams on Sunday.

His aggressive defense stuffed Drew Brees and the Saints' high-flying offense long enough to get the Rams their first win Sunday, 37-29.

"It really felt strange, being in the dome, period, after everything the dome went through and after everything the city went through," Haslett said.

"To be honest with you, I didn't think I'd ever come back here. I've kind of avoided the city, not the people, but the city," Haslett continued, noting that his wife, Beth, couldn't bring herself to come to the Louisiana Superdome for the game. "I was hoping we wouldn't play the Saints, so I wouldn't have to come back."

It was a surprising performance from the Rams (1-8), who dominated the Saints (4-5), a team that had climbed back into the playoff picture with a four-game winning streak after an 0-4 start.

Marc Bulger finished with 302 yards and short touchdown passes to Isaac Bruce and Drew Bennett. Running back Steven Jackson, recovering from a back injury, rushed for a short touchdown and even threw a 2-yard halfback pass to Randy McMichael for a score.

Torry Holt, meanwhile, had eight catches for 124 yards, torturing the New Orleans secondary with several clutch catches on third-and-long plays.

Of course, Bulger, Holt, Bruce and Jackson all have had big games before. It was probably a matter of time before they'd start clicking again.

The difference was the Rams' blitz-happy, play-making defense, which intercepted Brees twice, thwarted a scoring threat with a third-down sack, forced an intentional grounding penalty and piled on Brees for another drive-ending loss after the quarterback bobbled a high snap.

"To me, the guy that makes the whole thing go is the quarterback," Haslett explained. "We figured we're not going to let the quarterback sit back there and pick us apart. We were going to take some chances, come after him and try to disrupt him."

Haslett guessed that he called blitzes on about 16 of the first 18 plays the Saints ran.

"Defensively, I think they had a plan for us. They executed that plan very well," Brees said. "They did a great job of getting pressure and their offense really helped the defense out by staying on the field."

Brees finished with 272 yards and two touchdowns, but most of it came while New Orleans ran a hurry-up offense in a belated comeback attempt that finally ended when the Saints failed to recover an onside kick with a half-minute remaining.

As a rookie head coach in 2000, Haslett led the Saints to the playoffs and was named coach of the year. He never got back there, though, as the Saints hovered around .500 for the next four seasons. They went 3-13 in 2005, when Katrina forced the team to relocate to a makeshift headquarters in San Antonio and play all home games outside New Orleans.

Sean Payton took over the next season, and like Haslett, took New Orleans to the playoffs and won coach of the year as a rookie coach.

Payton was worried about this game, however. Coaches placed rat traps around the Saints' training headquarters during the past week, a ploy to prevent their players from overlooking what they saw as a "trap game" against a winless but hungry and talented team.

It seemed to work early on, as the Saints scored on their opening possession, capped by Bush's 7-yard touchdown run. But the Rams would score the next 34 points from midway through the first quarter to early in the fourth.

Boos rained down from the Superdome crowd, this time validating the play of Haslett's unit.

"I've seen that before," said Haslett, who used to complain publicly about New Orleans fans booing at the first sign of things going wrong.

"I read in the paper last week they booed the kicker before he kicked a field goal. I remember when they booed our quarterback [Aaron Brooks] before the game started," Haslett continued. "That's how they are ... but they are good fans. They know their football, they live and die with it, so you've got to appreciate that."

Colts Hit A Wall With Injuries - Lose To Chargers 23-21 - ESPN

It hurts to see the Cols drop two games like this. One they should have won -- New England; the other they could have won even though they played terribly and lost -- San Diego.

A tough loss -- but a justified one for the Colts

By John Clayton
Updated: November 12, 2007
SAN DIEGO -- On a night filled with head-scratching frustration and dagger-through-the heart disappointment, Tony Dungy ultimately came to one conclusion: Justice was served. The 23-21 loss his Colts suffered to the Chargers didn't feel good, not good at all. But it felt right -- in some sick, twisted way.

"It's a game we probably didn't deserve to win," Dungy said, "and we didn't."

That's because the Colts who showed up to play Sunday night at Qualcomm Stadium did not -- other than a hard, tenacious effort by the defense -- resemble the defending Super Bowl champions. These were not your Dungy Colts. These were not your Peyton Manning Colts. Instead, these were your Rod Dowhower Colts, circa 1986, a throwback to the days when mistakes were the norm and the team seemed more interested in acquiring the top pick in the draft.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images
It was a bad night for Peyton Manning, but he still had the Colts in position to win.
Consider on this night:

• Manning throwing a career-high six interceptions (three to Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie), setting a franchise record in the process.

• Adam Vinatieri, one of the best clutch kickers in NFL history, missing two field goals, including the 29-yard chip shot that would've given Indianapolis a one-point lead with 1:31 left.

• The special teams allowing two touchdowns by San Diego return specialist Darren Sproles -- a kickoff return and a punt return, both in the first quarter.

• Dungy calling a dumb final timeout with 1:34 left before Vinatieri's last field goal attempt. That final timeout handcuffed Manning when he got the ball back with 22 seconds left because he had no way to stop the clock.

Yet despite all that, the turnovers and errant kicks and special-teams breakdowns and all the rest, the Colts still -- remarkably, incredibly -- had a chance to win after rallying from a 23-0 deficit.

The win even seemed to be a foregone conclusion when Colts running back Joseph Addai appeared to have picked up a first down on a 3-yard run to the Chargers' 6 with 1:36 remaining. Officials on the field signaled a first down … but officials in the replay booth challenged the spot. That caused an uproar on the Indianapolis sideline. Dungy had never seen that happen before, a replay challenging a spot in the final minutes.

Referee Gene Steratore reversed the call on the field and set up a fourth-and-1. The next play was, amazingly, even more bizarre and frustrating for the Colts.

Manning was on the field to run off clock time and try to draw the Chargers offside. As tight end Ben Utecht arose from a three-point stance, two other Colts started to motion to a new formation. Indy runs this play all the time, and according to Dungy, the league office said just last week that the Utecht type of shift was legal.

But it wasn't legal Sunday night, at least not to Steratore's officiating crew. Out came the false start flag, the call being that Utecht's move was too abrupt. Dungy complained in vain to officials. Still, he had Mr. Clutch -- Vinatieri -- waiting to give the Colts the lead.

Instead, the kick went wide right … barely. A few minutes later, the loss was official, and all of a sudden Indianapolis finds itself in a mini-crisis mode, with a two-game losing streak and just a one-game division lead over Jacksonville and Tennessee.

Yes, we know what you're thinking, that the Colts had a hangover from last week's tough loss to the Patriots, that they simply couldn't rebound quick enough from that emotionally draining game. To make matters worse, the physical shortcomings were even tougher to overcome.

On the pregame injury report, Indy looked like a team that had traveled to San Diego in an ambulance. The offense was missing three starters -- wide receiver Marvin Harrison, tight end Dallas Clark and left tackle Tony Ugoh. Out on defense were defensive tackle Raheem Brock and linebackers Freddie Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler.

AP Photo/Denis Poroy
Adam Vinatieri isn't used to blowing a chance to nail the game-winning field goal.
Although Dungy preaches to his team not to use injuries as an excuse, Manning's offense was clearly undermanned. The Colts had just 17 active players on offense, and during the game, tackles Charlie Johnson and Ryan Diem were injured. That left Manning with three wide receivers, two tight ends, five offensive linemen and three running backs.

"We don't use injuries as an excuse, but we still had a chance to win the game," Manning said. "We have no choice but to refocus. … To lose two in a row is disappointing. Getting a win is the best remedy for a two-game losing streak."

Manning and Dungy had pained looks on their faces after the game, but few players were seen in the locker room. That's because they were in the training room. Defensive end Dwight Freeney left in the fourth quarter with a lower left leg injury. He left the stadium wearing a boot. Defensive end Keyunta Dawson followed him with what appeared to be a broken or badly bruised hand.

Indianapolis was down to third-stringers along the defensive and offensive line, at linebacker and at wide receiver.

"We certainly have not had a lot of breaks go our way as far as injuries," Manning said. "A lot of those things are out of your control. Hopefully, we can get some guys back. We've got to find a way to get a win, and certainly that starts with me playing better."

Manning blamed his interceptions and misfires on bad throws and bad decisions, but it was clear early in the game that the offense was struggling with Aaron Moorehead and Craphonso Thorpe trying to play the roles of Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez in the three-receiver sets. Thorpe has been around the NFL for four years with four teams but hadn't caught a pass in a game until Sunday night. Utecht and Bryan Fletcher won't be confused with Clark at tight end.

It didn't help that the Colts trailed 16-0 just 10 minutes into the game. Manning, trying to make something happen, was intercepted three times in the opening quarter as he threw to spots in which the pass-catchers weren't present. Thorpe and Moorehead lack the speed and experience to replace the injured Indy starters. In each half, Manning dialed up potential touchdown passes that Reggie Wayne or Harrison would have caught. Thorpe and Moorehead missed getting to them by a step or two.

Then, when LaDainian Tomlinson gave San Diego a 23-0 lead with a 4-yard run midway through the second quarter, Manning was robbed of another offensive weapon. Now, he couldn't balance the offense with runs by Addai.

So Manning (34-for-58, 328 yards) hoped to just chip away at the Chargers defense. He found Wayne for an 8-yard touchdown pass for the Colts' first score. Then he directed a lengthy drive that resulted in Vinatieri's having to rush onto the field in the final 10 seconds of the half. But he could not connect on the rushed 42-yard attempt.

"You're running out there as fast as you can to get things going, and I was just trying to get it off before the clock ran out," Vinatieri said. "It was perfect operation. It was just on me. If I make either one of those two, the game is different, and I let the team down."

The Chargers gave the Colts every chance to come back. Philip Rivers struggled and made turnovers. Norv Turner kept calling Tomlinson running plays and was booed by the San Diego crowd. Manning kept firing passes and was in position to win.

But the Colts, taking their cue from Dungy, knew they didn't deserve a victory.

"Usually when you have that many turnovers and you make that many interceptions, you usually don't have a chance," Manning said. "We kept fighting. We had a chance there at the end."

The Colts had the chance, and the way they lost was even more painful -- even if the outcome was justified.

John Clayton, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame writers' wing, is a senior writer for

Adrian Peterson Has Torn Ligament After Packers Game - ESPN

Record-setting Vikings back has ligament injury in knee news services

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will miss Sunday's game against Oakland Raiders with a torn ligament in his right knee, coach Brad Childress said Monday.

Childress said Peterson tore his lateral collateral ligament in the Vikings' 34-0 loss to Green Bay. Peterson will not require surgery, Childress said.

"The good news is that the knee is otherwise stable and the injury is isolated to that ligament," Childress said. "I'm told that's a good healing ligament."

Childress said this is not a season-ending injury, but he did not talk about when Peterson might be back.

Peterson was hurt just a week after he set an NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards in a victory over San Diego.

Peterson wasn't even sure who tackled him late in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-0 loss to Green Bay. After an 11-yard catch on a screen, he was hit by Packers cornerback Al Harris and went tumbling, his feet high in the air.

Peterson said he believed Harris' low hit was clean. The rookie writhed in pain on the field afterward, fearing he might have torn a ligament, and players immediately called over trainers.

His fears were justified Monday following results of an MRI.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

YouTube Community Council - My View On The Group

This video's a response to BravesGirl's presentation of the YouTube Community Council of which she's a part. I'm happy to see she's on it, but I have one major criticism which I present in this video.

"Meet The Press'" Tim Russert Misquotes Senator Barack Obama

Recently, NBC and MSNBC have been agressively working to change the terms of debate in the 2008 Presidential Race. This video's a great example. According to MediaMatters..

-- During his November 11 Meet the Press interview with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (IL) on NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asserted that "critics will say you've not been a leader against the war," and then read a quote he attributed to Obama: "In July of 2004, Barack Obama: 'I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. ... What would I have done? I don't know,' in terms of how you would have voted on the war." After quoting two other Obama statements on the war, Russert concluded: "It doesn't seem that you were firmly wedded against the war and that you left some wiggle room that, if you were in the Senate, you may have voted for it." However, in citing Obama's comment "What would I have done? I don't know," Russert did not quote the very next sentence of Obama's statement, which was, "What I know is that from my vantage point the case [for authorizing the war] was not made." --

In other words, Tim Russert Misquoted Barack Obama, and perhaps deliberately. I think NBC's new approach is based on the idea that all politicians tell "less" than the truth about their beliefs. But it's easier to approach a line of questioning following that idea with Senator Clinton than it is with Senator Obama, who's quite authentic in his views -- that is, he's not always changing his stance, if he ever has, or has had to. This consistency of message damages NBC's approach, and results in this situation where Russert should appologize to Senator Obama.