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As the Super Bowl returns to the technology-rich, football-crazed Bay Area for the first time since then to celebrate its 50th edition, Craig can't help but reflect on how different the NFL's biggest show has become.
It's big money, too. The NFL Ticket Exchange list price for the Feb. 7 game at Levi's Stadium was $4,388, with the average resale price per ticket a whopping $5,215.
Not much else seems the same. The 'Stick, where the Niners played from 1971-2013, with all its quirks and those unforgettable swirling winds, never hosted a Super Bowl, yet was such a part of all those dominant teams.
Craig is ready to see the "show."
"This is a Bay Area Super Bowl, not a city, the whole Bay Area," Craig said. "Probably from Pebble Beach to Sonoma."
So the veteran linebacker pulled the young running back aside in the Stanford Stadium locker room a couple of hours before Super Bowl kickoff 31 years ago.
"They worked very hard for it, pro and con â€” I've seen both on the stadium," former 49ers owner and Hall of Fame finalist Edward DeBartolo Jr. said. "For the Bay Area, it's just phenomenal. It's so deserving. I wish it didn't take so long to come back."
And how about the NFL Experience back in 1985?
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â€” Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds could read the nerves all over Roger Craig,cheap nfl jerseys china.
"We didn't have that. The only experience we had, we kicked Miami's butt really good," Craig recalled. "That was a good experience that we won and put on a great show."
It's a two-NFL team market again here, with the Oakland Raiders moving back in 1995. But they need a new stadium and could be leaving the area once more â€” and soon.
"We accomplished something special because it was in our backyard and we were able to win big in our backyard," Craig said. "Of course Dan Marino had a record-setting year that year, 48 touchdowns and 5,000 yards. They didn't give our defense a chance."
"Hacksaw just said, 'Hey, don't be afraid, play every play like it's going to be your last,'" Craig recalled. "He got in my ear. Coming from him, that was huge. Hacksaw saw something special in me."
The Niners finished an 18-1 season that year, with only a three-point loss to Pittsburgh. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are looking to become just the third team â€” the Chicago Bears did it in 1985 â€” to go 18-1 and win the Super Bowl.
The hype, the entertainment, parties galore.
"The landscape, Candlestick was not part of the Super Bowl, but that whole stadium no longer exists," McIntyre said. "It's been 31 years. A lot has changed in the Bay Area."
There will be more private jets flying in, technology companies pushing their products, and the festivities stretching north into wine country as big spenders fork out tens of thousands of dollars to attend the game in high style.
Now 55 and a running buff working for the software company Tibco, Craig naturally has fond memories of that championship run. He then caught a career-high 92 passes the following season as a third-year pro.
A few hours later, so did the world. Craig ran for a touchdown and caught two more from Joe Montana in a 38-16 thrashing of Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins.
Fans arriving at the San Francisco airport and heading into the city this coming week will no longer see iconic Candlestick Park perched on the point. It was torn down last year. Now, it's all about $1.3 billion, second-year Levi's Stadium, a humongous,NFL Jerseys China, impressive site as generic as they come.
"The NFL has done an outstanding job of creating this event that was worldwide,Cheap Jerseys Wholesale, which is pretty amazing," he said. "This is going to be a big deal."
Former 49ers offensive lineman Guy McIntyre figures there were a modest 150 media members for that 1985 Super Bowl week.
"It wasn't as hyped,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, the fanfare, the big buildup wasn't as great as it is now," said McIntyre,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, a three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowler still working for the 49ers. "Then, because we were here and we were living here, we went about our normal day-to-day routine to the best of our ability."
McIntyre finds it eerie that the weather 31 years ago was quite similar to the rainy El Nino pattern hitting the Bay Area this winter after recent years of drought.
Craig rented a limousine right after the Super Bowl to take his wife from Stanford to dinner in San Francisco, a mistake given the rush of fans and the fact he missed a postgame party with his teammates, who gave him some good-natured grief.
The 49ers' former home still brings back memories of the franchise's rich Super Bowl history under DeBartolo: San Francisco captured five Lombardi Trophies. The Niners missed a sixth title in a three-point loss to Baltimore in February 2013 in New Orleans.
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HOUSTON (AP) â€” Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien was asked about Jadeveon Clowney's play this week, and for the first time in years the coach raved about the top overall pick in the 2014 draft.
"He's a different guy," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "The guy is playing as good as anybody in the league right now up front. He's playing with a ton of confidence, a ton of physicality. We know the athleticism. We know the God-given dominant traits that he has as a football player, but his motor is running and it's running hot. It never stops."
Clowney had a career-high four tackles for losses on Sunday to give him eight for the season, which ties his career-best and leads the NFL. While he's now listed as a defensive end, the Texans line him up in various spots on the line as well as at linebacker to keep blockers off-balance.
"You want to get in there and make plays on him and get to him," he said. "We have to come with a good game plan this week,Cheap Jerseys From China, go out there and rush and try to get to him."
"You can define size in a lot of different ways. Does he play big? He plays with a lot of explosiveness," O'Brien said. "He's a very tough player. He plays with good leverage a lot of the time in certain situations. So look, does he weigh as much as some of the guys that he goes against in there? No. That could be said for a lot of different guys (but) I think he's playing at a high level."
Clowney has shaken off two years of injuries to become one of Houston's most consistent players this season, and his transition to defensive end has helped the Texans absorb the loss of star J.J. Watt to injury.
He has started every game this season, easily his longest streak in his NFL career. He didn't play more than four consecutive games in his first two seasons.
Though he's piling up tackles for losses,Cheap NFL jerseys China, sacks have evaded Clowney and he has just two this season. He's hoping to add to that total this week when he faces an Indianapolis line that has allowed Andrew Luck to be sacked an NFL-high 20 times this season.
Some had wondered if Clowney was ever going to make the kind of impact he did during a three-year career at South Carolina where he had he had 130 tackles, 24 sacks,NFL Jerseys China, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures after his first two years in the NFL. So far this season he's proven that he's capable of being a disruptive force when he's healthy, and people around the league are noticing.
"He's playing well. He played really well (Sunday)," O'Brien said. "He was one of our best players on our whole team."
"It's special, it's good," he said. "My teammates noticed. He noticed. I just have to keep playing well. They come out and say: 'We need you this week' every week. I have to keep playing for my teammates and keep trying to make plays for the team."
Though he didn't like to talk about it, fighting through the injuries and hearing all the negativity weighed on Clowney. He is much happier now. In his first two years he was almost never in the locker room when reporters were present. Now he spends much of each availability sitting at his locker chatting with people and joking with players and reporters.
But O'Brien said Clowney makes up for his lack of weight in other ways.
It's been a difficult change for Clowney because playing end in a 4-3 scheme in college is vastly different than playing on the line in the NFL in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense. At South Carolina,Cheap Hockey Jerseys, the 6-foot-5, 263-pound Clowney was bigger than almost anyone he had to block. But he's a bit undersized to play defensive end in the NFL, and when he lines up at tackle he faces offensive lineman that routinely weigh 60-70 pounds more than he does. This week he could have to block Colts right guard Denzelle Good, who at 355 pounds outweighs him by almost 100 pounds.
He beamed when told about the compliments his coach gave him this week,Cheap China Jerseys.
"It's a great feeling to be healthy and feeling good," Clowney said. "Just getting better and better each week and hope I can sustain it for 16 games and keep going forward and keep getting better."
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The Chiefs also can use Hill and fellow wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas out of the backfield.
"Young group as a whole," Smith said, "but I think their energy is the strength."
The prospect of opening up against the Super Bowl champions on the road makes it doubly nice that the Chiefs are stocked with veterans on both sides of the ball. They won't be intimidated by Tom Brady and Co. in a hostile environment, a game that could well set the tone for the entire season.
Alex Smith is back under center. The offensive line returns intact, and may be even better after acquiring 2016 first-round pick Cam Erving from Cleveland to serve as the swing tackle. And despite a season-ending knee injury to running back Spencer Ware, the Chiefs still have plenty of weapons in speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and rookie running back Kareem Hunt.
As the Chiefs prepare to open the season against the Patriots, here are a few key story lines:
Throw in one of the league's top cornerbacks in Marcus Peters, new defensive tackle Bennie Logan and depth across the board, and the Chiefs could have one of the NFL's top defenses.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Hill will continue to return punts, but the Chiefs want to keep him fresh by allowing others to return kickoffs. But that doesn't mean the Chiefs are any less dangerous with Dave Toub, one of the best coordinators in the business,NFL Jerseys Outlet, calling the shots.
Pass rusher Justin Houston is finally 100 percent after dealing with knee injuries the past two seasons. Veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson is back from a ruptured Achilles tendon. And while strong safety Eric Berry missed much of camp with a heel injury, he expects to be ready.
Then again, it's nice to have a young and capable backup standing on the sideline.
What better place to start than against the Patriots on Thursday night?
"We try to keep our eyes open," Reid said, "but I do like the guys we have and I do have some flexibility there with some of the wide receivers in an emergency situation."
KANSAS CITY,Cheap Jerseys Wholesale, Mo. (AP) â€” When the Kansas City Chiefs trimmed their roster to the 53-man limit less than a week before their opener in New England,NFL Jerseys China, all but 10 of the players they kept were on the roster last season.
There's a very good reason for that.
NO QB CONTROVERSY: First-round pick Patrick Mahomes II dazzled during the preseason, showing the kind of big arm and natural moxie that reminded Reid of Brett Favre. But the Chiefs believe Smith is capable of carrying them to a Super Bowl, so he can rest assured in his job.
One question mark is kicker Cairo Santos, who missed most of training camp with a groin injury. He returned to hit a field goal and miss an extra point in last week's preseason finale.
"I would surely tell you that we have an opportunity to do that," Reid admitted during training camp. "Now we have to do our work. We've had a good offseason, but it starts now."
"We had a couple of injuries last year, but there are no excuses," Johnson said. "We have to put the pressure on ourselves. Knowing that Andy is going to do his job with the offense and score a little bit,Cheap Jerseys From China, which is great, we just have to do our job."
RUNNING WILD: Ware and Hunt were expected to share carries this season, but that changed when the veteran went down in a preseason game in Seattle. Now, Hunt is the unquestioned No. 1 running back, with Charcandrick West expected to give the third-round draft pick a breather.
TIGHT END TROUPE: Kelce is one of the league's best tight ends, and will be counted to take some of the pressure off those young wide receivers. But the Chiefs thought so highly of Demetrious Harris and Ross Travis that they only kept three tight ends rather than four like they have in the past.
SHOW ME THE HANDS: The Chiefs released Jeremy Maclin to save cash in the offseason, leaving their wide receiver corps with precious little experience. Nobody has more than four years of experience, and the Chiefs could rely heavily on second-year pro Demarcus Robinson and rookie Jehu Chesson.
The Chiefs' strength should be defense, though, especially if they can stay healthy.
The Chiefs won 12 games and their first AFC West championship since 2010, earning a first-round bye in the playoffs. And while injuries hamstrung them late in the year, and a hopeless performance by their offense doomed them in a postseason loss to Pittsburgh â€” at home,Cheap Jerseys Store, no less â€” coach Andy Reid still felt his team was on the precipice of going much deeper.
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"Many players have been successful in football due to a linear focus on their athletic endeavors," says Leslie Satchell, NFLPA senior manager of player affairs and development, and NFLPA Externship supervisor. "But the NFLPA recognizes the importance of taking time out to build professional relationships and experiences outside of football. We know it can be overwhelming to prepare for life after football, so that's where we step in. We've recruited some of the best organizations to host our player externs, and they are fully committed to immersing participants in the business world."
"I'm not sure how much longer I'll play," says Allen, 33, who just finished his 12th NFL season and is spending the next three weeks working for Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), the ranking Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy and Power Subcommittee. "Doing an internship and building relationships and being educated about our nation's efficiency in energy is important.
The Redskins have four participants, the Lions three, and the Steelers, Jaguars and Saints each have two. In all 15 teams are represented, plus two free agents and one former player, running back Greg Jones.
Earlier this month, he was on the Levi's Stadium field with his teammates, holding up the Lombardi Trophy as a rookie. Now, he's working for a company that, in a way, he already has helped: Kilgo is a walking billboard for Under Armour.
As part of the NFL Players Association's "Externship Program," veterans such as Steelers safety Will Allen and guys coming off a first season in the league such as Broncos nose tackle Darius Kilgo â€” fresh with a Super Bowl ring, no less â€” have joined the workforce. Travel and housing are covered for the participants, but the temporary positions are unpaid.
"When I was playing at Maryland, they would bring guys in and give us new products to test out in camp or during the season, and ask us for (comments). And a year later,China Jerseys, or a couple months later,Wholesale NBA Jerseys, they improved it. From the first year I was at school, I wore their cleats and they have improved tremendously. I still wear them to this day.
Also taking advantage of the program a second time are Browns defensive end Cam Johnson, Texans guard Karim Barton, and free agent defensive lineman Lawrence Sidbury.
"So this was an opportunity for me to get inside a company that really interests me."
"This stems from my desire and interest. I want to see a culture change regarding energy and see our nation be more involved in how energy can be used alternatively and efficiently. I have had my mind set on it for a while ... having a world where we can get energy prices lower and make it affordable for everyone and still create jobs. I want to be part of that mix, be instrumental in that technology."
"Congressman Rush has been on the subcommittee for energy and power for a while and he knows his stuff,Cheap NFL jerseys China," says Allen,holesale Soccer Jerseys, who did an internship last year, but trails Chiefs receiver Frankie Hammond, who has worked for Comcast SportsNet and Under Armour the last two years under the program.
"My whole time at Maryland, that's all I bought and all I wore," Kilgo says. "So when the NFLPA sent out emails to let guys know they have these opportunities, I saw Under Armour on the list and took advantage of it.
Forget lounging on the beach or 36 holes of golf a day. For 26 NFL players, their time in the next month is being spent commuting to real jobs.
Why not just take a break during the small window that pro football players get before offseason workouts begin?
By working for the congressman, Allen is learning about U.S. energy policy and the politics around it. He's also learning how bills are written and what goes into getting them constructed, then passed by the legislature.
That is the idea, of course.
The 10 organizations for which they are working range from college athletic departments (Arizona State, Maryland) to a hotelier to a restaurant chain to Under Armour, which has eight interns.
Kilgo is one of them.
The companies' playbooks cover topics such as market data analysis,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, hospitality, communications, health and safety innovation, sales, legislative processes, and networking. Kilgo and Allen expect to do "a bit of everything" during their stints. Mostly, they plan to learn about a workplace entirely different from their day jobs.
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Heuerman remains anxious to do his part after more than a year away,Cheap Jerseys From China.
"It's going to be my first game action in a long time," said Heuerman,Discount Football Jerseys, whose last game appearance was for Ohio State in the College Football Playoff national championship, a 42-20 win over Oregon on Jan. 12, 2015.
During a red zone practice session earlier this week, the two gave a glimpse of their potential when they caught six touchdown passes between them (Green four, Heuerman two).
"It was just one of those things," Heuerman said. "But I had great people around me, great friends, coaches, teammates. That all helped me get through it. That's in the past and I try not to think about it a whole lot and just move forward."
The team's leading tight end from their Super Bowl season, Owen Daniels, who had three regular season scoring receptions, was not re-signed.
For their part, the Broncos hope to garner more offense from the position in general. Though the Broncos rode their dominating defense to a title last season, the passing game struggled at times and Broncos tight ends accounted for only four touchdowns during the regular season.
NOTES: Coach Gary Kubiak dodged questions on which quarterback would start the exhibition opener. "We'll have something for you next week," Kubiak said. Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian are vying for the job with rookie Paxton Lynch also under consideration. ... RT Donald Stephenson missed practice because of a left calf strain. Michael Schofield filled in for him at right tackle. ... The Broncos on Wednesday evening honored head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos for his 40 years of service to the organization by presenting him with a portrait painted by Gabe Richesson, brother of strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson. "We wanted to let him know how much we appreciate him," Kubiak said. "He's very special." ... The Broncos have a day off on Sunday.
"The body's feeling good. The mind is feeling good. I'm just happy to be back out there practicing instead of being in the training room," Heuerman said after Saturday's training camp practice.
Heuerman, the Broncos' third-round pick out of Ohio State in 2015,NFL Jerseys China Online, has been a full participant in training camp practices and is looking forward to making his NFL debut Thursday, when the defending Super Bowl champions play their exhibition opener at Chicago.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) â€” Back on the field after a knee injury wiped out his rookie season,Cheap Jerseys For Sale, Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman is working to make his presence felt this season.
And the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Heuerman has gained notice early in camp, both with his blocking and receiving. He has been paired frequently with starter Virgil Green at practice when Denver goes to two-tight end sets.
Heuerman, 23, has worked his way back from a torn ACL suffered in his second workout with the team during a non-contact rookie minicamp that followed the NFL draft. It was his first major injury at any level of play.
"He's been looking good,Cheap Jerseys China," said cornerback Bradley Roby, who played with Heuerman at Ohio State. "He's a big body. He goes in, does his job. He has great hands and blocks well. I think he'll be a big piece for our offense this year, for sure."
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Adams was taken off the field on a stretcher in the third quarter Thursday night after getting hit in the head during a tackle by Trevathan. The game was delayed for about 5 minutes while medical personnel tended to Adams,Cheap Jerseys. He tweeted Friday that he was at home and "feeling great,Cheap China Jerseys."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) â€” The NFL has reduced Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan's suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams from two games to one.
Trevathan was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty following Adams' 8-yard catch but was not ejected,Cheap NFL Jerseys. He is eligible to return following Chicago's game against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night,NFL Jerseys China Online.
The league announced the change on Tuesday,Wholesale NFL Jerseys China.
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"The schemes don't look so much different, but the production is just there," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "Their tempo is really good. It seems to have played into Jared's strengths. He had a great offseason. He had one of the great freshman-sophomore jumps that you can have."
Here are more things to watch when the Rams take the Coliseum field in their blue-and-yellow throwback uniforms:
When training camp opened, Rawls was expected to carry the load with Lacy as a complement,Stitched Jerseys, but Rawls was slowed by an ankle injury and Carson took advantage of the opportunity. Rawls was even a healthy scratch last week.
LOS ANGELES (AP) â€” The Los Angeles Rams are 3-1 for the second straight season. They even beat the Seattle Seahawks at the Coliseum during that start last year, but it quickly degenerated into a 4-12 fiasco of a homecoming.
The 31-year-old Carroll was the defensive coordinator at North Carolina State before moving to his alma mater, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
"I wasn't thinking about being a head coach until almost it happened," said Carroll, who became Jets head coach at 43. "That was not something I was thinking about. I just wasn't tuned into it. I was just rolling along. ... We had a couple young guys that jumped in this year and the guys are off to great starts and it's fantastic to see."
RUNNING RAWLS: With rookie Chris Carson on injured reserve due to ankle surgery, the Seahawks are back to the combination of Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy as their primary ball carriers.
NEW TARGETS: The Seahawks' secondary has plenty of work to do this week. The Rams' top three receivers â€” Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp â€” are all new, and second-year tight end Tyler Higbee has become a big target for Goff. Los Angeles' leading receiver is Gurley with 20 catches already.
While the Rams have new left tackle Andrew Whitworth and a revamped receiving corps, Seattle's veteran defense is even more impressed by Goff's improvements â€” and Todd Gurley's revitalization as one of the NFL's most productive running backs. The Seahawks didn't allow a touchdown by the Rams in their two meetings last season, but these Rams aren't the same pushovers,NCAA Football Jerseys, even if some things appear similar to cornerback Richard Sherman.
Both the Rams and their opponents seem to think their current 3-1 record is no mirage. The latest visit from Seattle should tell them a whole lot more.
"We have a whole lot of respect for the Dallas Cowboys, but it is still four games, and we've got 12 games left," McVay said. "While we certainly appreciate the nice words, we know it really doesn't mean anything if we don't follow it up with a good performance against an excellent Seattle team this week."
"It's very early in the season, four games in," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said. "We're happy with what we've done, but a lot of work to do and a long season ahead."
"Honestly, they look a lot the same,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys," the Compton, California native said. "They're just executing. The O-line is blocking better. Gurley has got a lot more room to run. They're using him more than they did in the past, and they're playing with purpose."
The Rams' start includes victories over rebuilding San Francisco and Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis, but last week's win at Dallas added an air of legitimacy to McVay's quick turnaround effort. Seattle presents the Rams' most daunting challenge yet, despite the Seahawks' early-season road losses to Green Bay and Tennessee.
The Seahawks (2-2) revive this burgeoning West Coast rivalry on Sunday against coach Sean McVay's Rams, who are leading the NFL in scoring . That's a stunning turnaround for a team that had the NFL's worst offense for the past two seasons, and the long-time NFC West powerhouse up north has noticed.
YOUNG AND OLD: The matchup will feature the youngest (31-year-old McVay) and the oldest (66-year-old Carroll) coaches in the league. When he was reminded of this, Carroll joked that being a head coach was never in his mind back then.
END GAME: Seattle will be without one of its top pass rushers with Cliff Avril out due to a neck injury. New starter Frank Clark has been excellent through four weeks, but Seattle's defensive line rotation needs production from Marcus Smith and rookie Nazair Jones to slow Goff and Gurley. Smith had 1 1/2 sacks last week against the Colts after Avril was injured.
Rawls will be returning to where last season went sideways. He broke his leg last year at the Coliseum and wasn't fully healthy until late in the season.
McVay has expressed his admiration of Carroll's infectious enthusiasm on the sideline. Carroll spent two years in the 1990s as the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers while John McVay â€” the coach's grandfather â€” was wrapping up his long career as a 49ers executive,Cheap Basketball Jerseys.
BIG HIT: Goff got a souvenir of his first pro trip to Seattle last December from Sherman, who clobbered the scrambling rookie quarterback near the sideline. Goff was shaken up on the play,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, and he still remembers it.
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But this late in the regular season, it's hard not to take a least a peek at what might lie ahead for playoff contenders.
PEYTON'S PLACES: When Peyton Manning played for the Indianapolis Colts, he picked apart the Broncos â€” his future team â€” in a 49-24 win in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. Manning had 458 yards passing and four scores, including two to Reggie Wayne.
â€”1943: Year of first such a meeting,Cheap Jerseys Supply. The Giants beat the Redskins 31-7 before Washington beat New York 28-0 in the playoff rematch.
RUNNING FOR THE RECORD: The list has to start with the Packers and Vikings, of course, given their memorable two-game set in 2012-13. It was the last time teams met in consecutive weeks.
The Broncos were eliminated a week later by their future quarterback.
But the Cardinals won it on defense when Karlos Dansby returned a fumble 17 yards for a score after Rodgers lost the ball on Michael Adams' sack.
There's a scenario that wouldn't line up the two rivals on the opening weekend of the playoffs: The Vikings win their last two games to take the NFC North title, putting the Packers in a wild-card spot. With their tiebreaker edge over the Seahawks, who the Packers beat, they would then get the No. 5 seed by either beating the Cardinals on Sunday or having the Seahawks lose one of their last two games.
Then there was the matter of the NFL's single-season rushing record, with Adrian Peterson in hot pursuit. Peterson ran for 199 yards that afternoon at the Metrodome, finishing 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's record.
"It was more difficult because it was a division opponent, so they know you a little bit better," recalled Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji. "It was definitely a grind-it-out game."
FUMBLE IN OT: The Packers have had to hit replay twice in the last seven seasons. They wrapped up 2009 with back-to-back road games against Arizona, winning 33-7 to finish the regular season before losing 51-45 in overtime in the wild-card round â€” the highest-scoring postseason game.
Some other notes and notable back-to-back games by teams in the last week of the season and the first round of the playoffs:
â€”3: Number of back-to-back meetings in the 2009 season. While Arizona split with Green Bay, the Dallas Cowboys won both matchups with the Philadelphia Eagles,Cheap NFL Football Jerseys, and the New York Jets won both games against Cincinnati.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder hurt his elbow in that finale, so backup Joe Webb was thrust onto the stage at Lambeau Field six days later.
The Vikings won four straight games to finish that season, including a 37-34 thriller over the Packers on Dec. 30 to take their spot in the playoffs at 10-6. The Packers went 11-5, so they had the NFC North wrapped up entering the final weekend. But they were still playing for a first-round bye.
NFL players wear week-to-week blinders. They like to say they're strictly focused on the next game.
With the NFC East winner guaranteed the No,Cheap NFL Jerseys China. 4 seed and a first-round home game against the best wild-card team â€” currently Seattle (9-5) based on a tiebreaker over Minnesota â€” the Vikings and Packers are on a collision course for the weekend of Jan. 9-10.
Aaron Rodgers threw for four touchdowns, while Arizona's Kurt Warner had five.
BY THE NUMBERS:
â€”18: Number of times teams met in the last game of the regular season and first game of postseason,Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys, according to STATS.
"We're in the playoffs now, everybody understands what we need to do to first is win the division, and then hopefully get the highest seed," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
In the case of the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, it's quite possible they will meet in a wild-card game just a week after facing off in the season finale. For a lot more than border-state bragging rights.
That forced the rematch in Green Bay.
A week earlier, Manning played just one series against the Broncos in Week 17 with the Colts having wrapped up the third seed in the playoffs. The win gave Denver the AFC's final wild-card spot.
Peterson rushed for a relatively quiet 99 yards, Webb went a woeful 11 for 30 in the air, and the Packers cruised to a 24-10 victory.
So get ready for a Vikings-Packers rematch, the game so nice they just might play it twice. Or,Wholesale Jerseys, in the case of these division rivals, three times; Green Bay won at Minnesota 30-13 in November.
The Vikings (9-5) are set to visit the Packers (10-4) on Jan. 3 to decide the NFC North, unless the Vikings lose to the Giants and the Packers win at Arizona on Sunday. Even if the Packers clinch the division this weekend, the Vikings are still in good shape for a wild-card spot.
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The Browns said the team is looking into the situation and "will handle it appropriately,Cheap NFL Jerseys."
Griffin hasn't played since breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the season opener,NFL Jerseys China. He returned to practice last week and could play in one of Cleveland's last four games.
The Browns are 0-12 and trying to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only NFL teams to go 0-16 in a season.
CLEVELAND (AP) â€” While the Cleveland Browns were losing another game,NFL Jerseys Cheap, quarterback Robert Griffin III was losing money.
Griffin and his girlfriend had cash stolen from the car they took to Sunday's game. The car was valet parked in the players' lot at FirstEnergy Stadium while the winless Browns were hosting the New York Giants.
Girlfriend Grete Sadeiko posted on Twitter about the theft,Wholesale Jerseys. She didn't say how much was taken. Sadeiko is a heptathlete from Estonia and a member of Florida State's track team,China NFL Jerseys."
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"The team is really competitive on both sides of the ball,Jerseys NFL China," he said as his second training camp wrapped up. "It is a group that will get after you. We are physically better than where we were a year ago. We are more mentally tougher. We are stronger."
While the losses mounted, Jackson fought back surfacing emotions that threatened to overwhelm him.
Hopefully, he'll avoid a bone-chilling dip in the lake.
NO. 7 is NO. 27: When he takes the field in the opener on Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh, Kizer will be the 27th different starting quarterback for Cleveland since 1999. Let that numbing number sink in for a minute, and it's easy to understand the Browns' current state.
PLAYMAKERS NEEDED: The Browns lost Terrelle Pryor (free agency) and Gary Barnidge (cut), their two leading receivers from last season, leaving the team devoid of experienced playmakers. Wide receiver Kenny Britt posted career highs with 68 catches and 1,Cheap Jerseys From China,002 yards last season for the Rams, but he'll need some help. Cleveland is counting on second-year receiver Corey Coleman to make a big jump.
JOE-LINE: Poor Joe Thomas. Well, maybe not poor Joe because he'll make $11.5 million this season. But the 10-time Pro Bowler, who has played 9,934 consecutive snaps without missing a play in his career, remains only a spectator at playoff time. With the Browns not expected to compete for a postseason spot again, it's possible the team could trade him at some point to add to its bounty of future draft picks.
"We don't talk about that 'here we go again' feeling," he said. "We don't have that in this building. We are moving on."
Jackson, too, isn't worried about the injury affecting Garrett's teammates.
Jackson knows what's ahead for a rookie QB and he's planning to stick with Kizer through thick and thin.
Following an offseason devoted to rebuilding the offensive line, making the most of high draft picks, cleaning up mistakes by previous regimes and maybe, just maybe,Cheap Soccer Jerseys, finding a franchise quarterback, Jackson is filled with optimism.
Here are some things to keep an eye on as the Browns, who haven't been to the playoffs since 2002, embark on what promises to be another season of ups and downs.
Thomas wants to be part of Cleveland's turnaround,Stitched Jerseys, but he's running out of time.
And when Cleveland's nightmarish march â€” the worst season in franchise history â€” ended, teasingly shy of 0-16 infamy, Jackson joked that if his team ever went 1-15 again he would jump in Lake Erie.
The Browns had only 26 sacks last season.
Kizer will be the second rookie to start the opener, joining Brandon Weeden, whose career began with him getting trapped under a giant U.S. flag during opening-game warmups.
HOT PEPPERS: A jack-of-all trades at Michigan, rookie safety Jabrill Peppers will likely wear several hats for the Browns.
The Browns should be better, too, now that they're further removed from a horrid season bad even by Cleveland's low standards.
Tight ends Seth DeValve and rookie David Njoku could play prominent roles.
The first-round pick is expected to start at safety and Peppers will be used to return both punts and kickoffs. An elusive runner, Peppers will also likely line up in the offensive backfield and run some read-option.
CLEVELAND (AP) â€” Hue Jackson wore his aching heart on his sleeve during his first season as Browns coach.
Garrett, who said during camp that he wanted to win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and maybe make the Pro Bowl in his first season,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, sustained a high ankle sprain just days before the opener and could be sidelined for several weeks. Garrett was slowed by an ankle injury during his junior year at Texas A&M, but Jackson isn't concerned about him being injury prone.
MYLES AHEAD: Once he's on the field, Garrett fills one of the team's biggest needs, an off-the-edge rusher who can affect the game. New coordinator Gregg Williams likes to call an aggressive game and he'll turn Garrett loose to wreak havoc.
Cleveland will hand its offense over to another rookie, quarterback DeShone Kizer, a second-round pick from Notre Dame. He's got the smarts and the arm. All that's missing is experience, and the Browns, who currently have two first-round picks next year, are going to quickly find out if he can handle the gig.
"I am going to ride this out with DeShone â€” the good, the bad, the whatever comes," he said.
The 21-year-old Kizer has shown polish on and off the field. He'll need to be more accurate than he was in college, resist the urge to run every time he's in trouble or hold onto the ball too long trying to make a play.
Jackson's odds of staying dry look more promising.
Passing on a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick, the Browns selected defensive end Myles Garrett, who has been better than advertised during practices and the exhibition season. Soft-spoken, hard-hitting and with a frightening blend of speed and strength, Garrett gives Cleveland a bona fide threat to pressure the quarterback on every snap.
On the bottom in 2016, the Browns are poised to make a move this year.
Unfortunately, he's hurt already.
Coleman showed flashes of being a breakaway threat as a rookie, and he needs to stay productive and healthy for the Browns to challenge defenses vertically.
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The Redskins placed the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins last week. If plays next season on it, he'll make about $24 million.
Cousins, 28,Cheap NFL Football Jerseys, made just under $20 million on the franchise tag last season. He broke his own franchise record for passing yards with 4,917 and threw for 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Cousins and his wife announced that they're expecting a baby this September. Julie Cousins posted about the news on Instagram Saturday with a picture of their dog,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, Bentley,Cheap NFL jerseys China, holding up a sign reading,Cheap Jerseys Outlet, "Mom & Dad are getting me a human."
The quarterback responded to a congratulatory tweet from the Washington Redskins with, "Thanks! We're thrilled!"
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” Kirk Cousins will soon be spending his contract money on diapers,NCAA Hockey Jerseys.
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Blandino was an instant replay official from 1999-2003 and worked two Super Bowls and two conference championship games. He managed the NFL's instant replay program from 2003-2009, and from 2007-2009 he was director of officiating, supervising day-to-day operations and the game officials' schedule under Mike Pereira.
This season, the use of Surface tablets by referees for video replay will be instituted. Under Blandino, the NFL's central office in New York has conferred with referees on replay decisions since 2014. Now, that office, albeit without Blandino, will make the final call.
"Dean has done an outstanding job leading our officiating department," Troy Vincent, the league's executive vice president of football operations, said Friday after informing the 32 teams of Blandino's decision. "He has been a trusted colleague and a friend to so many of us around the league.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap,Cheap NFL jerseys China.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Vincent immediately began a search for Blandino's successor.
NEW YORK (AP) â€” Dean Blandino, the NFL officiating director who has overseen rule changes that emphasized player safety, is leaving the league.
He left the NFL in 2009 to form his own company, returned in 2012 and succeeded Carl Johnson as chief of officiating the next year.
Blandino also been open with the teams, media and public when officiating errors have been made, while also staunchly defending his officials when their calls have been correct.
The 45-year-old Blandino wants to spend more time with his family and explore other opportunities. He has young children and the job demands limited his time with them and his wife.
Blandino has been a strong voice on the powerful competition committee that suggests rules changes. Those changes have included eliminating chop blocks; decreasing the number of kickoff returns â€” football's most dangerous play statistically â€” by moving up the kickoff,Wholesale NFL Jerseys; and expansion of defenseless player parameters to include snappers and other players.
Among the other noteworthy moves by his officiating department was the hiring of line judge Sarah Thomas as the first full-time official in 2015.
He has been the league's vice president of officiating since 2013. Blandino joined the NFL in 1994 as an intern and moved through the ranks.
"Dean's knowledge of the playing rules, his tireless commitment to improving the quality of NFL officiating, and his unquestioned dedication to his job has earned him the respect of the entire football community."
That is a possible avenue if he returns to the game, or he could follow Pereira into broadcasting. Pereira is a Fox analyst and essentially created a platform for former officiating executives.
During his three years away from the NFL, Blandino launched "Under the Hood," which provided training and evaluation for replay officials. His clients included the NFL and college conferences such as the Big Ten,Cheap NFL Jerseys, Mid-American,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, Pac-12,Cheap Jerseys Outlet, Big 12, and Mountain West. He directed instant replay clinics for the NFL and NCAA and served as a liaison to the NFL's competition committee.
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Denver has trailed 48 percent of the time this season and held the lead just 32 percent of the time. In all but one of their losses the Broncos never led for a single second.
That tormenting epitaph leaves general manager John Elway facing many of the same questions he thought he'd answered in the glow of Denver's Super Bowl win over Carolina:
DRAFT CLASS: All seven draft picks made the roster, but the best of the bunch was Riley Dixon â€” because he got so much practice with 84 punts. QB Paxton Lynch was awful in two starts; Gotsis has 12 tackles; Booker gets 3.5 yards a carry; G Connor McGovern hasn't played; Janovich got hurt. Safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks showed promise.
â€”Who is the quarterback?
BIG DROPS: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders had big drops down the stretch. Bennie Fowler had the costliest drops of the season, however. One could have reversed their first loss to Kansas City but bounced off his hands, and the other that could have turned a loss at Tennessee into a win but ricocheted off his face mask.
Doomed by poor play in the trenches, a battered backfield and a bruised quarterback, the Broncos (8-7) never solved their tendency to start slow â€” which slowed down Miller , whose quiet final month could cost him the Defensive Player of the Year award that looked like a lock at midseason.
Last year, they played from behind just 27 percent of the time and held the lead more than 50 percent,Wholesale Jerseys China, a figure that jumped to 67 percent in the playoffs.
TIGHT ENDS: For the second straight season Elway had to swing a deal just before the trade deadline to bring in a tight end. This time, it was A.J. Derby from the Patriots, and he quickly surpassed veteran Virgil Green and 2015 third-round draft pick Jeff Heuerman.
BATTERED BACKFIELD: The Broncos were feeling good about their surging ground game when C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker combined for 190 yards in a rout of Houston on Oct. 24. Anderson showed up the next day with a sore right knee and needed season-ending surgery. FB Andy Janovich (ankle) and RB Kapri Bibbs (hamstring) also ended up on IR. Without Janovich, the Broncos have averaged just 60 yards a game.
The Broncos' 33 first-quarter points are lowest in the league and include just one sustained TD drive. That ineptitude defanged their 143 fourth-quarter points and 110 points off turnovers â€” both NFL highs.
DENVER (AP) â€” The one team that best found a way to neutralize Von Miller,Cheap China NFL Jerseys, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware and Chris Harris Jr. in 2016 was the Denver Broncos themselves.
The Super Bowl 50 champs won't get to defend their title despite a powerful pass rush and stellar secondary that were even better than the ones that carried Peyton Manning across the finish line in February.
TERRIBLE TACKLES: Free agent tackles Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson flopped. Okung played so poorly that when he tried to speak up after Denver's 16-3 loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots, he was shouted down by Talib. Donaldson was whistled for five fouls in his return to Kansas City on Christmas Day.
"It's just been a struggle since then,Cheap NFL Jerseys, especially offensively," coach Gary Kubiak said.
"The thing we did last year,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, we were able to get leads in games," Kubiak noted. "People had to play differently against us. They had to throw the ball. You go back to the playoffs,Cheap NFL Jerseys, we scored first in all three of those playoff games, on the first possession."
Denver's five-year playoff run that featured two Super Bowl trips came crashing to a halt with a late-season slide that revealed both flaws in the foundation and fissures in the locker room .
MIDDLING MIDDLE: Brandon Marshall wasn't as effective without Danny Trevathan (Bears) alongside him at inside linebacker. Opponents avoided Denver's Pro Bowl pair of cornerbacks by working the middle with tight ends and backs. When safety T.J. Ward missed Sunday's game in Kansas City with a concussion, Travis Kelce went off for 160 yards on 11 receptions.
So, the Broncos will be skipping the postseason party for the first time since 2010.
RUN DEFENSE: No. 1 in run defense last year, the Broncos slid to 29th after losing Malik Jackson to free agency and Vance Walker to a knee injury in camp. Derek Wolfe had a stellar season but was hurt too often, and free agent Jared Crick, raw rookie Adam Gotsis and journeyman Billy Winn weren't stout enough.
â€”Can they finally fix the O-line?
â€”Can they find an elite tight end?
The Broncos were 7-3 when the team returned from its bye to find the franchise's three silver trophies glistening under glass in the middle of their refurbished locker room. Then came a crushing loss to Kansas City when they blew an eight-point lead with three minutes left in regulation and lost 30-27 in overtime. Moreover, quarterback Trevor Siemian sprained his left foot on a late sack, an injury that would impair his mobility and effectiveness the rest of the way.
"Even though we've been in some close games, we haven't been able to get somebody to play from behind and let our guys rush the passer, which is what we do best," Kubiak lamented. "It's been tough."
Other obstacles that destroyed Denver's playoff plans:
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The Cardinals trailed 24-7 when Agholor sped past Budda Baker to make an over-the-shoulder catch on third-and-19. He spun away from Baker and shoved him away to reach the end zone.
"We got ourselves into some winnable downs, but we weren't able to convert and get off the field," Peterson said.
"He did a good job of checking the play into something that was good for them," Peterson said. "He's soon to be a top-tier quarterback."
"I was upset," Peterson said. "I'm a passionate guy. I'm a leader on this defense, a captain on this team,Cheap NFL Football Jerseys, and I just want to show my players how upset I was and hopefully it got through to them. It was a number of things that went on on that play that caused me to get upset, but we'll keep that on the field."
PHILADELPHIA (AP) â€” Carson Wentz turned third downs into a passing clinic against the Arizona Cardinals.
"Carson Wentz did a heck of a job finding guys for touchdowns,NCAA Hockey Jerseys," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "We blitzed but couldn't get home. When you leave defensive backs out there in that situation, you've got to get home."
Wentz was only sacked once and the Cardinals couldn't generate much pressure in their first game without linebacker Markus Golden. They sent extra rushers after Wentz, but he took advantage of mismatches.
"They play a lot of man coverage,Jerseys NFL China, they like to press and we have playmakers on the edge who can get off man coverage and make plays," Wentz said.
Wentz finished 21 of 30 for 304 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-7 win on Sunday. Wentz completed 11 of 12 passes on third down for 225 yards and three TDs, including a 59-yard toss to Torrey Smith and a 72-yard connection to Nelson Agholor that left Peterson livid.
The Eagles converted four times on third down on the first two TD drives and finished 9 of 14 in those situations.
Peterson helped limit Alshon Jeffery to three receptions for 31 yards,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys, but Wentz picked apart the defense. He spread the ball around and tossed TD passes to four receivers.
Six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, 2015 Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu and the rest of Arizona's secondary had a tough time against Philadelphia's second-year quarterback.
Peterson flipped. He was shouting on the sideline and had to be calmed down by an assistant coach,Cheap NFL Jerseys.
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LAST-PLACE WOES: Tampa Bay is in danger of becoming the first NFC team since the 1970 merger to finish last in its division five consecutive seasons. That will happen if New Orleans beats Atlanta and the Bucs lose to Carolina next week.
DISAPPOINTED: Tampa Bay's Lovie Smith is the third-winningest coach in Bears history, but fell to 0-2 against his former team. He led Chicago to three division titles and appearances in two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl in nine seasons from 2004-2012.
"We had a lot of reasons to play well. We practiced well. I thought we were prepared," said Bucs coach Lovie Smith,NFL Jerseys From China, who feels his team is better than it has performed during its late-season skid.
The Bucs, who travel to Carolina next Sunday, are assured of finishing with a losing record for the fifth straight season.
The victory was only the second in the past six games for Chicago,Cheap Soccer Jerseys For Sale, which closes the season at home next week against Detroit. Tampa Bay (6-9) has lost four of five, including three straight after rebounding from a slow start to climb into contention for a wild-card playoff berth.
STEADY AND EFFICIENT: Jay Cutler improved to 4-0 in his career vs. Tampa Bay. He was 20-of-27 passing for 156 yards, one TD and no interceptions. He said the running game, with Langford gaining 83 yards, Forte 54 and Carey 16, was the key. "We didn't do a lot of play action because we didn't have a lot of opportunities with the coverage they were playing," the quarterback said. "We knew it was going to be a run the ball, hopefully get 5 yards a carry, maybe bust a few and maybe dink and dunk and make some plays on third down. That's what the guys did."
"That's what we need," linebacker Pernell McPhee said of the contribution from young players.
"We're disappointed. What it says about our team is if you turn the ball over and you make a couple critical mistakes on the other end, you have an outcome like that,Cheap Wholesale Jerseys," Smith added. "This is a better football team. Today we didn't play our best ball."
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay's Doug Martin was limited to 49 yards rushing and fumbled twice, the second setting up Chicago's go-ahead touchdown.
"Right now it feels like a bad dream,Wholesale NFL Jerseys," Martin said. "That's out of character for me to fumble the ball twice in one game. I'm embarrassed. ... I let the team down."
Second-year running back Ka'Deem Carey ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another for the Bears, who rushed for 174 yards to dominate time of possession and keep Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston off the field for long stretches. Rookies Harold Jones-Quartey and John Timu had big games on defense.
"It was awesome," McPhee added. "We have a lot of young guys that have talent, and it showed today."
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) â€” The Chicago Bears feel they're better than the losing record that will keep them out of the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
"Those guys feel it. We're getting there," coach John Fox said Sunday after a 26-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stopped a three-game losing streak and gave the Bears (6-9) one more victory than they had last season under Marc Trestman.
PERFECT: Bears kicker Robbie Gould hasn't been as reliable as usual this season, but he was 4 for 4 on field goals Sunday, converting attempts of 26, 27, 49 and 50 yards. The two long kicks helped Chicago build on its fourth-quarter lead.
Winston completed 15 of 29 passes for 295 yards with one costly interception â€” Jones-Quartey's goal-line pick that prevented the Bucs from building on a one-point, third-quarter lead. The No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft threw for two TDs, including a 43-yard Hail Mary toss to Austin Seferian-Jenkins with 1 second remaining.
"We need to improve. They know it," Fox added. "But they're still trying to finish this year well. We've got one more game to try to avoid a double-digit losing season."
Some things to know about Bears-Bucs:
STRUGGLING: Tampa Bay's defense did not force any turnovers. The Bucs have one takeaway in their past five games. The Bears, meanwhile,2018 NFL Draft Jersey, forced three turnovers, including a pair of fumbles by Doug Martin. Jones-Quartey forced one of the fumbles, and Tumi recovered both of the mistakes by the Tampa Bay running back.
Carey caught a 1-yard TD pass from Jay Cutler on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the third-string running back also scored on a 1-yard run while teaming with Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford to spearhead a rushing attack that kept Tampa Bay's defense on its heels.
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But Allen, who has been active in helping victims of domestic violence and won the Colts' man of the year award last season,Cheap Adidas NHL Jerseys, also defended their right to speak out and acknowledged he would like to help them spread the message about inequality in America.
"I've wanted to shed the light on that issue and hopefully we as a great nation we can come to a place where we all say enough and we gather together and we say we do have the ability to show what true patriotism is and that's what we're going to do instead of sharing hate," Allen said.
The action that was misinterpreted as part of a protest movement started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick created such a firestorm on social media that Allen and the Indianapolis Colts released a video Tuesday explaining what had happened,Cheap Jerseys Outlet.
"I was not protesting,NBA Jerseys China, I was praying," Allen said. "Whether I was protesting or not,Cheap Jerseys China, it doesn't give the right for others to use those words of hate. If you want to show patriotism, show patriotism,NFL Jerseys From China, have pride about this great nation, show your love and devotion about this great nation. Don't use words of hate to try to show harm to someone else."
In the video, some of the hateful comments Allen received on social media were superimposed on the screen as Allen explained that he loves America and only wants this world to be a better place before vowing to continue praying on the sideline.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) â€” Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen has dropped to his knee at the end of the national anthem since his rookie season in 2012. So when he offered his customary pregame prayer Sunday night, he never imagined the furor it would cause.
On Wednesday, Allen hobbled into the locker room on crutches and then went even further by explaining he doesn't know Kaepernick or some of the other players who have been protesting police treatment of minorities. He criticized those who use vitriol, hyperbole and racial comments cloaked in the name of patriotism.
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Romo sat out for two months, and now he'll play twice in five days, with Carolina visiting Dallas on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys are still in the mix in the NFC East, where no team is above .500. But they need to beat the Panthers, who improved to 10-0 by beating Washington 44-16.
"It gave me a shiver," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, "and I know it inspired the team."
"We know how good they are," Romo said. "They're going to provide a great challenge."
They looked like a different team Sunday thanks to a Romo revival,Wholesale MLB Jerseys. He returned from a broken collarbone to throw two touchdown passes and help beat the Miami Dolphins 24-14.
"I want to keep Dan around," Tannehill said. "He does a great job. He's exciting. Everyone in our locker room believes in him. But as players we've got to go out and do a better job."
The Dallas Cowboys might be ready, too.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) â€” Now that Tony Romo has shaken off the rust, he's ready to take on unbeaten Carolina.
"We shot ourselves in the foot all day," Tannehill said.
Bryant defended the celebration.
BROKEN STREAK: The Cowboys (3-7) won for the first time since Romo was hurt and snapped a seven-game losing streak, their longest in a single season since 1989.
AMBIDEXTROUS: Romo scrambled in the back of the end zone before improvising to throw his first pass in two months â€” left-handed. It went for a short gain.
The penalty came during a touchdown celebration and forced the Cowboys to kick off from their 20 late in the half. Miami went on to score with 16 seconds left.
"We need a win badly. Badly," Campbell said. "As far as I'm concerned we still hold the cards. It's all about winning. Let's just go win. Let's get back on track."
"I didn't envision after my two-month layoff coming back with a left-hander," he said. "I did practice that about seven or eight years ago,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, so I was ready for it."
"We don't want a flag," he said, "but that strikes confidence. Everybody on the sideline sees it,Cheap NFL Jerseys, and the guys on the field. It just gives you an extra boost."
The Dolphins had the ball for only 21 minutes and went 1 for 10 on third-down conversions.
The Dolphins (4-6) are likely to miss the playoffs for the seventh year in a row,Cheap NFL Jerseys. They're 3-3 since coach Joe Philbin was fired and replaced by Campbell.
"That was bad by us," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "Celebration penalties ... we can't allow that to happen."
Here are things to know about Romo's latest comeback:
FADING FAST: Tannehill said if the Dolphins want interim coach Dan Campbell back next year, they need to play better.
The Dolphins might need to sweep their final six games to make the playoffs. They play at the Jets on Sunday.
"We looked like our old selves in a lot of ways," Dallas tight end Jason Witten said.
"Winning," Romo said, "is going to put a little more pep in everyone's step."
DEZ DANCE: Dallas receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing the dab, a dance becoming trendy in the NFL.
CLAMPDOWN: Dallas' defense dominated, beginning when linebacker Rolando McClain scored the game's first points and his first career touchdown on a 12-yard interception return. He stepped in front of a pass by Ryan Tannehill intended for Greg Jennings.
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"This team showed a lot of mental toughness over the year,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale," said Brady, who showed some himself by coming off a four-game suspension to have a spectacular season. "It would be great to finish it off."
The brotherhood awaits,Wholesale China NFL Jerseys, but it's nothing he hasn't seen before.
Goodell will be there, because this is the Super Bowl and he doesn't have much choice. Still, it was more than just interesting to fans at Gillette Stadium that Goodell attended games in Atlanta the last two weekends instead of visiting Foxborough.
The machine that is the Patriots kept humming along in picking apart the Pittsburgh Steelers to put Brady and Belichick in a record seventh Super Bowl.
With the Patriots in command in the second half, they began a "Where is Roger?" chant that surely was heard all the way to the league offices.
"I say rise up, rise up brotherhood, rise up sisterhood. One more game to go," Blank said. "See you in Houston."
Brady, of course, said he didn't hear them, and maybe that's true. He's heading to his seventh Super Bowl, so by now he's entitled to the benefit of doubt.
This isn't the Super Bowl the NFL wanted, not by any stretch of the imagination. The Falcons aren't a marquee team, and there's a sense that most fans outside of New England are by now more than weary of the Brady and Bill Belichick act.
The bookies in Las Vegas think it will be a close affair, with lots of scoring. The Patriots are 3-point favorites and the over/under is a record 59 points at some sports books.
Easy to see the Patriots doing just that the way Brady is throwing the ball and his receivers are finding ways to get wide open. The Steelers had been roused in the middle of the night when someone pulled the fire alarm in their hotel, and it looked like they were sleepwalking against the precise New England passing game.
Hard not to get a little giddy about it all.
Worse yet, the biggest storyline of Super Bowl week will be how commissioner Roger Goodell stuck it to the team in Deflategate.
The brotherhood did its job methodically, pleasing Atlanta owner Arthur Blank so much that he was last seen dancing into the night on the victory podium.
They've got a coach who may go down as the greatest ever. Same with a quarterback who has four Super Bowl rings and knows a little something about being methodical himself.
"We'll see if we can write the perfect ending in a couple weeks," Tom Brady said.
Brotherhood can only get you so far.
The problem for Blank and the Falcons is that the New England Patriots are who they will see in Houston. Yes,Wholesale Jerseys, the Patriots once again, for the seventh time in the last 16 years,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys, because it really doesn't seem like a Super Bowl without them.
They know the Super Bowl routine better than anyone, having won four of the six they've been in. For the Falcons, whose only appearance was a losing effort in 1999,Cheap NFL Jerseys, it will be a trip into largely uncharted waters.
But this is the Super Bowl the NFL has, and the league now must hope that it gives us a game far more interesting than Sunday's conference title games. Both were decided early, and both were lopsided wins that thrilled the home crowds but probably had a lot of people around the country turning off their televisions.
"For a number of reasons all of you in this stadium understand how big this win was," Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the crowd afterward, doing everything but giving them a knowing wink.
Oh, and you might have heard about their vendetta. They don't like to talk about it, but it's got something to do with deflated footballs, suspensions and a commissioner who wouldn't let them defend themselves.
The reality is that nobody knows how to prepare for a game like the dour Belichick, who seemed to be grimacing for some reason when handed the AFC championship trophy. And nobody knows more about stepping up in big games than Brady, who would become the only quarterback to win five Super Bowls if he can keep it going.
Blank could be excused for his exuberance. The Falcons have only been this far one time before, long before their second-year coach won his players over with a message of unity, love and toughness that landed them in the Super Bowl.
The brotherhood that is the Falcons scored early and often in dominating a Packer team that had won eight in a row.
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During Luck's first three NFL seasons, he was the model of consistency â€” starting 57 consecutive games including the playoffs, posting three straight 11-win seasons and reaching the postseason all three times.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) â€” Andrew Luck is paying a hefty price for taking so many hits.
The latest injury comes as the reeling Colts are trying to pull things together after a loss prompted Luck's favorite option,Cheap Jerseys, T.Y. Hilton, and the franchise's career sacks leader, Robert Mathis, to offer their critiques.
"We can play with any team, when we are on our 'A' game. It's (just) a lot of mental. We are not the strongest mentally, as a team. The physical ability, the coaching, the players â€” it's all there. Mentally, we need to get stronger."
Mathis used his weekly radio show Tuesday on local station WNDE to call on teammates to get stronger mentally.
NOTES: Good and defensive tackle Zach Kerr were both limited participants at practice as they work through the concussion protocol. ... Mathis (biceps), tight end Dwayne Allen (hip), receiver Donte Moncrief (hamstring) and offensive lineman Joe Reitz (back) did not work out. Safety Mike Adams, cornerback Vontae Davis and running back Frank Gore all were given the day off. ... Starting cornerback Patrick Robinson (groin) will miss the rest of the season after being placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
"I will wait for the doctors and trainers to go through the rehab process and go through the rest of the day (Thursday) and we will see tomorrow," Pagano said, referring to Luck's practice status.
Instead, the hits mounted and the injuries didn't go away.
After getting knocked around more than a dozen times in last weekend's loss to Houston,Cheap NFL Jerseys, the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback missed practice Wednesday with shoulder and elbow injuries to his throwing arm though he expects to play Sunday at Minnesota.
He's been listed on the team's injury report every week this season and has missed five full practices. When he sat the first time, in September, Pagano said it was because of a sore throwing shoulder and as part of a predetermined maintenance plan to keep the Colts' biggest star healthy for the rest of the season.
Indy has given up 40 sacks this season and will be without left guard Jack Mewhort and possibly right guard Denzelle Good (concussion).
Pagano said he would monitor Luck's status with the medical staff this week before deciding whether to use his quarterback against a Vikings defense that is No. 2 in the league and has 35 sacks.
"I'm a big believer in practice and it hurts your soul not to be out there practicing," he said. "Obviously some things are done for the better for this team,China Jerseys Cheap, for yourself. Not practicing today was the right decision."
After returning, Luck spent the next month trying to fight through other injuries before missing the final seven games with a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle.
But after enduring more than 450 hits since 2012, the most of any quarterback in the league, it's taken a toll.
"One time is too much,Cheap NFL Jerseys China," left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. "So any time he gets hit is too many."
Hilton told reporters Sunday evening that the Colts "laid down" against Houston.
"I'm not bashing â€” I'm just telling the truth. I'm the leader and that falls on me. I'm the first one the fans should be angry at," Mathis said.
The problem in Indy is that talk about Luck's health has become a recurring theme in an already underwhelming season.
The Colts (6-7) desperately need him because they have to win their last three games and get help just to stay in contention for the playoffs.
Luck missed the Thanksgiving night loss to Pittsburgh with a concussion. On Wednesday,wholesale nfl jerseys, he compared the current soreness in his right arm to the injury he had after a Week 2 loss.
Even when he did play last season, Luck wasn't the same. He went 2-5 with 15 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in seven starts.
And though the stat line has improved this season, the hits keep coming.
"Absolutely, very confident," Luck said when asked if he'd be available this weekend.
"It didn't feel as good after that game as you would like," Luck said. "But again, it's football. It's December football. Nobody feels like they want to at this point of the year."
And if they have any chance of getting back in the playoff hunt , they need Luck on the field for the final month of the season.
Luck missed his first two games early last season because of an injured right shoulder.
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Chancellor was one of three starters on defense that did not participate due to injuries. Cornerback DeShawn Shead (ankle) and defensive end Michael Bennett (toe) also sat out Wednesday.
Tight end Luke Willson was a limited participant with a rib injury,Cheap NHL Jerseys. Willson was initially diagnosed with bruised ribs and had an MRI Monday that revealed more but Carroll would not elaborate,NFL Jerseys China.
RENTON,China Jerseys For Sale, Wash. (AP) â€” Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor sat out practice Wednesday with a tailbone injury suffered in last Sunday's win over Baltimore.
Coach Pete Carroll said he expects Shead and Bennett to be able to play this week against Cleveland but Chancellor would be watched as the week goes on. If Chancellor can't play,Wholesale Jerseys, Kelcie McCray would likely start in his place.