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Peterson Comes Up Just Short, Cowboys Miss Playoffs: Week 17 Storylines 0

Posted on January 01, 2013 by Andy Larmand

The final week of the 2012 NFL season was just as good as the first 16 were. With 16 division matchups on the schedule, it had it all: shutouts, blowouts, third-string quarterbacks, elimination games, records being chased and of course another opportunity for Tony Romo to choke. (He did). For the last time in 2012, your storylines from the week that was in pro football.

Eight would have been great: Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson came up eight yards shy of tying the single-season rushing record, but his Vikings are heading to the playoffs.

Eight would have been great: Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson came up eight yards shy of tying the single-season rushing record, but his Vikings are heading to the playoffs.

Adrian Peterson came within eight yards of tying and nine of breaking the NFL single-season rushing record, but with time running out in the game, Blair Walsh kicked a 29-yard field goal to break the tie  and send the Vikings to the playoffs, ending Peterson’s regular season. Minnesota defeated the Packers, 37-34, for their first win against their division rivals since 2009. The loss also ended Green Bay’s 12-game division winning streak. Peterson did become just the seventh running back to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a season as he concluded the regular season with 2,097 yards on the ground. The Packers had won nine straight regular season finales before the loss. Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns in a game for the fourth time this year, including two to Greg Jennings. Walsh added to his NFL record with his 10th field goal of 50-plus yards on the season. Peterson finished the season with seven 150-plus rushing games, tying the NFL record. Minnesota has made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Packers, who finished the regular season at 11-5 and the Vikings, who finished 10-6, will play each other on Saturday in the Wild Card round.

The good news: the Colts won their regular season finale. The great news: Chuck Pagano was back on the sidelines to coach it. J.J. Watt failed to get any sacks and finished two shy of the NFL single-season record as the Texans lost to the Colts to fall all the way to the third seed in the AFC, missing the bye they had been in position for all season long. Watt finished with 20.5 sacks on the year. Houston has never won at Indianapolis – now 0-11 all-time with the 28-16 loss on Sunday. A career-long 70-yard TD pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton on 3rd & 23 all but sealed the win for the Colts. Deji Karim returned a second-half kickoff 101 yards for Indy, their longest return since 1973. Andre Johnson tied the career record of 10-reception games set by Wes Welker last week with the 18th of his career. Reggie Wayne now has at least three catches in 64 straight games, extending his NFL record. The Colts became the seventh team to improve by nine wins in just one year, going from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 in 2012. Houston finished 12-4 after losing three of its last four games and will host the Bengals in the Wild Card round, while the Colts will travel to Baltimore.

The Chicago Bears have made a little history of their own as they became just the second team since 1990 to miss the playoffs after starting the season with a 7-1 record despite beating the Lions, 26-24, in Detroit and finishing with a 10-6 record. They have now missed the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. Matt Forte did rush for 1,000 yards for the third time in his career. The Lions finished a disappointing 4-12, but Matthew Stafford shattered the previous record of 691 pass attempts in a season and finished with 727. Calvin Johnson caught five balls for 72 yards and came up 36 yards short of the first ever 2,000-yard receiving season. It broke his streak of eight straight 100-yard receiving games and four straight 10-catch games, which were both NFL records. He finished the season with an NFL record 1,964 receiving yards. Chicago fired head coach Lovie Smith on Monday after a 3-5 end to the year and that has apparently prompted kick returner Devin Hester to consider retirement.

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Peterson Keeps Running, Seattle Keeps Scoring: Week 15 NFL Storylines 0

Posted on December 20, 2012 by Andy Larmand

This week of NFL football was one of the best ever according to pregame statistics. Six out of the 16 games featured teams with .500 records or better facing off in the third week of December. It really was fun to watch.

Philadelphia couldn't get out of its own way Thursday night as punter Mat McBriar (1) kicked the ball into the back of his own teammate.

Flight risk: The Eagles couldn’t get out of their own way Thursday night as punter Mat McBriar (1) kicked the ball into the back of his own teammate.

Week 14 kicked off with the Eagles losing for the ninth time in 10 games and falling to 4-10 in an embarrassing 34-13 defeat at the hands of the Bengals in which they turned the ball over five times for the second time this year. BenJarvus Green-Ellis became a 1,000-yard rusher for the second time in his career as he opened the game with a 29-yard run for Cincinnati, who improved to 8-6 and is in position to grab the final wild card spot. The carry led to a touchdown – the Bengals’ seventh opening drive TD of the year – which is most in the NFL. They also haven’t allowed a 1st quarter touchdown in 11 games. Cincy improved to 8-3-1 all time against the Eagles – the highest win percentage of any team against Philly. The last time the Eagles lost 10 games in a season was 2005. This year, they have led just once following the 1st quarter and have been outscored 82-24 in the opening frame. Cincinnati improved to 13-1 in the regular season since 2001 when leading by 10-plus points after the 1st quarter. With his 11th touchdown, A.J. Green became just the third Bengal to ever catch that many in a season. Jeremy Maclin is now the all-time leader in receptions in a player’s first four years in Eagles’ history with 246. The Eagles turned the ball over three times on four offensive plays in the 3rd quarter at a time when they were very much in the game. They also forced their first turnover in five weeks.

Clay Matthews returned for the NFC North-leading Packers in their crucial tilt against the Bears and contributed six tackles, including four for a loss, as well as two sacks as Green Bay improved to 10-5 and clinched the division for the second straight year. Aaron Rodgers reached 30 TD passes for the third time in his career and became just the third QB to ever record three such seasons before the age of 30. James Jones caught all three of the touchdowns for his fourth multiple-TD game this year – the most of any player in the league. Green Bay has won 12 straight division games and also won eight of nine, while Chicago has now lost five of six. They are in danger of becoming just the second team since 1990 to miss the playoffs following a 7-1 start as they now have a record of 8-6.

Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins led the Redskins against the Browns as they looked to jump into a first place tie in the NFC East with the Giants in the absence of Robert Griffin III. A 54-yard pass from Cousins to Leonard Hankerson gave Washington seven touchdown passes this season longer than 50 yards – they had six from 2007-2011 combined. Trent Richardson rushed for two more touchdowns and now is the Browns all-time leader in rushing touchdowns by a rookie with nine. He has six TD’s in his last four games. Washington has won five straight and sit at 8-6 as they ended Cleveland’s three-game winning streak and dropped them to 5-9. Rookie Alfred Morris tied the Redskins rookie record for rushing touchdowns with his eighth of the season. Cousins’ 329 yards are six more than Griffin has thrown for in any game this season. Washington now controls its own destiny in the three-way tie atop the NFC East.

Matt Ryan began the game 8-8, hitting six different receivers and throwing a touchdown as his Falcons got out to a 14-0 1st quarter lead over the defending champion Giants. They would go on to win 34-0 and improve to 12-2 in the worst shutout loss by a defending Super Bowl champion ever. It was the third time that New York, who fell to 8-6, has trailed 14-0 in the 1st quarter this year. With a 12-yard touchdown catch in the 1st, Tony Gonzalez recorded at least one reception in 193 straight games, the second-longest streak ever. Julio Jones went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career and also caught his first TD at home this season, finishing with six catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Though they out-gained the Falcons by 64 yards in the 1st half, the Giants trailed 17-0 at the break due to a missed field goal and two failed 4th down attempts. Atlanta hasn’t lost back-to-back games since 2009. Ryan beat a defending Super Bowl champion at home for the first time in his career. The last time the Giants had been shut out was Dec. 1, 1996 – 257 games ago. The 34-point defeat was the largest for New York since a 37-point loss to the Vikings in 2009. The Falcons beat the Giants at home for the first time since 1978.

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Do That Many People Really Care About the University of Texas? 4

Posted on January 20, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The Texas Longhorns will get even more exposure in the future following their deal with ESPN.

I don’t mean to sound flip or disrespectful, but I was shocked and bewildered when I heard the news that the University of Texas is partnering with ESPN to create a specific television network that will be “All Longhorns, All the Time.”

While it left some of us scratching our heads, obviously more than one person at ESPN thinks this opportunity is as primed for success as a Texas oil mine because they are going to pay the University $300 million over the next 20 year for the right to help develop, launch and operate the network.

The network will include one exclusive UT football game each year (pretty good bet it won’t be UT-Oklahoma) as well as eight men’s basketball games and women’s basketball games that are not televised elsewhere. The rest of the programming will be a combination of Olympic sports, coaches’ shows for every UT program and other campus programming including visiting speakers, lectures and commencement.

I understand that UT is the largest university in the second most populated state in our wonderful country.  However, I can’t believe there are that many people outside of Texas that are really going to be interested in watching the UT men’s tennis coaches’ show or who will be waiting with baited breath to watch a women’s soccer game on a Thursday evening.

It sounds wonderful if you are one of the 48,000 students at the school, approximately 450,000 alumni, or even the 25 million residents of Texas, but what about the other 283 million people who live in the United States and don’t bleed UT orange?

Because it isn’t even like the athletic programs at Texas are all national powers with high-profile superstars and national championships coming out of their ears.

The national championship won by UT in men’s swimming and diving in 2009-2010 was the first by the university since they claimed the football and women’s indoor track & field during the 2005-2006 school year. Read the rest of this entry →

Grading the LeBron James Experience 5

Posted on July 14, 2010 by Dean Hybl

LeBron James is starting to get used to his new uniform and surroundings.

Now that the dust has settled on the LeBron James sweepstakes, let’s take a look at some of the key participants in his announcement and how they fared during a strange week that seemed to captivate the interest of the sports media as much as any game or event in recent memory.

LeBron James the Basketball Player:  A

You could say that the decision to take his talents from a Cleveland squad where he was the primary factor in whether they won or lost to a Miami squad where he will share the load with Dwyane Wade was a great move for LeBron James the player. I believe that had he stayed in Cleveland, James would have eventually led the Cavaliers to an NBA Championship. However, it would have been excruciatingly difficult and it is unlikely that he would have been able to lead them to multiple titles. He now joins a team that has a championship pedigree and three very talented players capable of building a dynasty. I’m not necessarily saying that the Miami Heat will create a monopoly on championships, but once Pat Riley has time to surround his three stars with some solid complimentary players they will certainly be in the mix every season. James knows that he must win at least one NBA title to be considered an all-time great and with at least 10 years left in his career, this should guarantee that he will get at least one ring.

LeBron James the Global Brand: D

Team LeBron has been force-feeding LeBron James commercials and his greatness to the American public since before he even graduated from high school. He has definitely become a powerful marketing machine – big enough to commandeer the largest sports television network for more than an hour in prime time. However, part of what has helped make James a national icon is the assumption that he is the heir to the throne as basketball’s next great superstar.

By leaving Cleveland, where he was undisputedly “The King”, for South Beach, James has in some respects abdicated his throne of greatness. His decision to go to a team with another nearly equal superstar has signaled that he doesn’t want/need to be “the man” on his team. That may help him win championships, but it is not going to help him build his global brand.

I predict that with the exception of fans in Cleveland, James will eventually overcome much of the negative hits he has received for leaving his hometown city at the altar. However, unless he does something quickly to distinguish himself from Wade and Chris Bosh, I also predict that many fans will lose interest in LeBron the individual talent. He will now become part of the “The Trio” and his individual prominence will diminish accordingly. Read the rest of this entry →

ESPN Sportsnation’s Site We Like For 1/28/10 71

Posted on January 28, 2010 by Joe Gill

ESPN's Sportsnation chooses ST&N as the "Site We Like."

Sports Then And Now, was chosen as the “Site We Like” by ESPN’s Sportsnation today. Hosts, Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle, showcased the site especially the post, Ranking The Super Bowls.

This is an incredible honor and deserved recognition for all the folks who put in the effort and long nights to make the Sports Then and Now family successful. Thanks to you and all of our readers!

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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