Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn Named 2016 Salute to Service Award Recipient

Feb 3, 2017

ATLANTA FALCONS HEAD COACH DAN QUINN

NAMED 2016 SALUTE TO SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENT

 

Quinn’s commitment to supporting the military and their families

 to be recognized at NFL Honors in Houston

 

The NFL and USAA awarded Atlanta Falcons head coach DAN QUINN with the 2016 “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA,” the league’s Official Military Appreciation Sponsor. The award was created to acknowledge the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support members of the military community.

Quinn, who will coach his Atlanta Falcons against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, will be recognized tomorrow night at NFL Honors in Houston. USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in Quinn’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches.

“Coach Quinn truly embodies the spirit of our Salute to Service Award. Though he has no direct ties to the military, he’s made it his personal charge to show appreciation for their service and sacrifice,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) JOHN BIRD, USAA’s senior vice president of military affairs. “Coach Quinn is a very deserving recipient of this year’s award, and we wish him luck in Super Bowl LI, knowing that he has already made the NFL and the military community very proud.”

Coach Quinn has always connected with the word “team” and acknowledges that the military serves as the word’s true definition. Since entering his second season with the Atlanta Falcons, Coach Quinn has wasted no time giving back to the military community in Georgia. During the spring of 2016, Coach Quinn hosted the 2nd Annual Rookie Club Olympics at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility, where he invited 100 military members from Fort Benning, Georgia to participate. He and his staff created the event as a way for NFL players and the military community to unite and work together as a team.

Coach Quinn hosts a “Military Day” at Training Camp and 20 military members at each Atlanta Falcons home game throughout the season. In addition, he provided a special opportunity for families of fallen soldiers with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) this season when he hosted 63 families at the Atlanta Falcons Salute to Service game in November. All of the families were invited to a VIP visit to practice, and each family was provided a one-night hotel stay in Atlanta – all courtesy of Coach Quinn. Each player wore the initials of a fallen hero on their helmet, during practice and on gameday, and provided the families with a replica helmet of their player with a personalized note in honor of their hero. Additionally, this past offseason Coach Quinn led four Atlanta Falcons players on a week-long USO Tour through the Pacific, including stops in Guam and Hawaii.

In November 2016, all 32 NFL clubs nominated coaches, active and retired players, and team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges, including last year’s award recipient, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver VINCENT JACKSON. Nominees’ credentials are evaluated based on the positive effect of the individual’s efforts on the military community, the type of service conducted, the thoroughness of the program and level of commitment.

The panel of judges, consisting of representatives from the U.S. military, the NFL and USAA, includes:

  • VICE ADMIRAL JOHN BIRD (Ret.), U.S. Navy veteran and USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs
  • ROCKY BLEIER, U.S. Army veteran and four-time Super Bowl champion
  • CHAD HENNINGS, Air Force Academy graduate and three-time Super Bowl champion
  • VINCENT JACKSON, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver and 2015 Salute to Service Award recipient
  • TOD LEIWEKE, NFL Chief Operating Officer
  • JIM MORA, SR., Marine Corps veteran and former NFL head coach
  • ROGER STAUBACH, Naval Academy graduate, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl MVP

 

Below is the list of previous Salute to Service Award recipients.

YEAR WINNER TEAM
2015 Vincent Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2014 Jared Allen Chicago Bears
2013 John Harbaugh (Head Coach) Baltimore Ravens
2012 Charles Tillman Chicago Bears
2011 K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr. (Late Owner) Tennessee Titans
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NFL DEBUTS SUPER BOWL LI COMMERCIAL

Feb 3, 2017

NFL DEBUTS SUPER BOWL LI COMMERCIAL

 

Super Bowl Babies Salute Super Bowl Legends

 

The National Football League today premiered a new TV commercial starring Super Bowl Babies saluting legends of the game. The :30 spot, viewable at YouTube.com/NFL, will appear prior to the start of the third quarter of Super Bowl LI on Sunday, February 5 on FOX.

 

The new commercial – “SUPER BOWL BABY LEGENDS” – expands upon last year’s “The Super Bowl Babies Choir” spot, which highlighted how every year since 1968 Super Bowl Babies have been born to fans of the winning team.

 

This time around, the Super Bowl Babies explain what the true inspiration is behind the making of that family and how the greatness of Super Bowl players, coaches, and legends on that night inspire their creation. Set to the world-renowned song “You’re the Inspiration” by Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling band Chicago, a cavalcade of star baby look-alikes appear on screen in quick succession.

 

“We are excited to build upon the success of last year’s Super Bowl Babies campaign,” said DAWN HUDSON, the NFL’s Chief Marking Officer. “Through our new spot, we wanted to celebrate the players, coaches, and legends who have helped make football America’s game while also engaging viewers of all ages in a fun fashion.”

 

The commercial, created by Grey New York, features unforgettable baby look-alikes of Pro Football Hall of Fame members Coach Mike Ditka, Michael Irvin, Coach Vince Lombardi, and Joe Namath, as well as Coach Bill Belichick, Marshawn Lynch, and Von Miller, who is portrayed by the daughter of former NFL star Ty Law, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy

 

The spot concludes with a final “Who’s Next?” with Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman eyeing Coach Belichick with the Super Bowl trophy between them.

 

Behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the spot will be released, along with :10 teasers introducing the Super Bowl Baby Legends, to support the commercial.

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NFL Returns to Mexico: Oakland to Host New England in Mexico City in 2017

Feb 3, 2017

NFL RETURNS TO MEXICO

OAKLAND TO HOST NEW ENGLAND IN MEXICO CITY IN 2017

Building off the tremendous success of the 2016 game in Mexico, the NFL will return to Mexico City in 2017 when the Oakland Raiders host the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL announced today at his press conference in Houston in advance of Super Bowl LI.

The date and time of the game will be determined in conjunction with the release of the NFL schedule this spring.  The game in Mexico is the fifth international game confirmed for 2017, adding to the four previously announced games in London, and a testament to the NFL’s increased commitment to growing the game beyond the borders of the United States.

“We have a tremendous fan base in Mexico,” Goodell said. “Their passion for football is inspiring, and we look forward to another memorable game in Mexico City between two great teams next season.”

The Raiders will play in Mexico for the second consecutive season after earning a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans on November 21 before a sellout crowd of 76,473 in the first-ever Monday Night Football game played outside of the United States.

“The Raiders are excited to return to Estadio Azteca and represent the National Football League once again on an international stage,” said Raiders Owner MARK DAVIS. “We enjoyed tremendous support from the Raider Nation in Mexico in 2016 and look forward to experiencing that great passion again this year.”

The Patriots will play their first-ever regular-season game in Mexico.

“The largest crowd the Patriots have played in front of was in Mexico City in 1998,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO ROBERT KRAFT.  “It was a great experience and I am looking forward to our return. I know that we have a lot of passionate Patriots fans in Mexico. We have had plenty of success in international games and I attribute that to our tremendous fan support in those venues. I look forward to meeting some of our fantastic fans and enjoying the food and culture there in the fall.”

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SUPER BOWL LI: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. ATLANTA FALCONS

Feb 3, 2017

SUPER BOWL LI: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. ATLANTA FALCONS
Dos equipos. Un partido. Todo queda reducido a este choque.

 

El domingo 5 de febrero, los New England Patriots y los Atlanta Falcons se encontrarán en el Super Bowl LI (6:30 PM, hora de New York, FOX) en el NRG Stadium de Houston, Texas.

 

“Es un honor tener que salir y jugar este partido”, dice el receptor de los Patriots JULIAN EDELMAN, líder de la franquicia en postemporada tanto en recepciones (84) como en yardas recibiendo (937). “Para esto es que peleas. Para esto es que entrenas. Es tener una oportunidad de jugar este partido.”

 

El Super Bowl LI tendrá al equipo más anotador de la NFL –Atlanta (540 puntos, 33.8 por juego)– contra el club que permitió la menor cantidad de puntos en la liga –New England (250 puntos, 15.6 por juego). Marca la sexta vez desde la fusión de 1970 que el Super Bowl es protagonizado por el equipo que lideró la NFL en puntos anotados contra el club que permitió la menor cantidad de puntos.

 

“Este es un equipo realmente especial”, dice el corredor de fuerza de los Falcons PATRICK DI MARCO. “Tenemos tantos jugadores que hacen jugadas en ofensiva, defensiva y cuadros especiales. Este es un momento especial para esta organización. Estoy muy orgulloso y emocionado por estar jugando en Houston. El objetivo principal es ganar el Super Bowl –no simplemente alcanzarlo– y aún tenemos un partido por delante de nosotros. Todavía tenemos un partido más que ganar.”

 

New England clasificó a su noveno Super Bowl, una marca de la NFL, por haber derrotado a Pittsburgh 36-17. Atlanta venció a Green Bay 44-21 para conseguir el segundo viaje al Super Bowl de su historia.

 

El entrenador en jefe de los Patriots BILL BELICHICK y el mariscal de campo TOM BRADY estarán realizando su séptima aparición en el Super Bowl juntos, la mayor cantidad de partidos por el título de la NFL para cualquier pareja de entrenador en jefe y mariscal de campo titular en la historia de la liga. Belichick y Brady ganaron cuatro Super Bowls juntos, empatando con el entrenador en jefe de Pittsburgh CHUCK NOLL y el mariscal de campo TERRY BRADSHAW en la mayor cantidad por una comnbinación de entrenador en jefe y mariscal de campo titular.

 

“Estoy orgulloso de este equipo”, dice Belichick. “Todos se merecen esto. Es un grupo bueno y muy trabajador.”

 

Belichick está empatado con el miembro del Salón de la Fama Noll en la mayor cantidad de victorias en el Super Bowl conseguidas por un entrenador en jefe, con cuatro. Brady, que está realizando la séptima titularidad de su carrera en el Super Bowl, una marca de la NFL, está empatado con los miembros del Salón de la Fama Bradshaw y JOE MONTANA en la mayor cantidad de victorias en el Super Bowl por un mariscal de campo titular, con cuatro.

 

“Nunca sabes si tendrás estas oportunidades en la vida y afortunadamente este equipo la tuvo”, dice Brady acerca de clasificar al Super Bowl. “Ahora tenemos que hacer algo y tratar de tomar ventaja de ello.”

 

Brady y Montana son los únicos jugadores en la historia de la NFL en ser nombrados Jugador más valioso del Super Bowl (MVP, por sus siglas en inglés) tres veces. Brady, MVP de los Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII y XLIX, puede convertirse en el primer jugador en la historia en ganar el premio de Jugador más valioso del Super Bowl cuatro veces.

 

Brady ingresa al Super Bowl LI ya ostentando numerosas marcas de pase en el Super Bowl, incluyendo de intentos (247), pases completos (164), yardas (1,605) y pases anotadores (13).

 

“Es el mejor mariscal de campo en la historia del juego”, dice el corredor de los Patriots LE GARRETTE BLOUNT acerca de Brady. “Es, obviamente en mi opinión, el mejor en la historia.”

 

Los Patriots ganaron nueve partidos consecutivos y clasificaron al Super Bowl con una victoria 36-17 sobre Pittsburgh en el Juego de Campeonato de la AFC disputado en el en Gillette Stadium. En ese duelo, Brady lanzó 384 yardas y tres anotaciones, incluyendo dos al receptor CHRIS HOGAN. Hogan terminó el partido con nueve recepciones para 180 yardas, una marca de franquicia en postemporada, y dos anotaciones.

 

“Estoy simplemente feliz de aprovechar esta oportunidad y ser parte de este equipo”, dice Hogan. “Este equipo ha trabajado tan duro desde abril, en los primeros entrenamientos informales. Nos hemos esforzado a lo largo de todo el año. Para esto es que trabajamos y acá es dónde queríamos llegar.”

 

El corredor de los Patriots Blount, que lideró la NFL con 18 acarreos anotadores (una marca de club), agregó un acarreo anotador contra los Steelers en el Juego de Campeonato de la AFC. Incluyendo la postemporada, los 19 acarreos anotadores de Blount están empatados con el miembro del Salón de la Fama CURTIS MARTIN (1996) en la mayor cantidad por un jugador de los Patriots en una sola temporada.

 

Los Falcons llegaron hasta el Super Bowl por segunda ocasión en la historia de la franquicia (Super Bowl XXXIII, temporada 1998) con un triunfo 44-21 sobre Green Bay en el último partido disputado en el Georgia Dome, que será demolido.

 

Atlanta, que lideró la NFL con 540 puntos anotados, ganó seis partidos consecutivos y está promediando 39.0 puntos por juego sobre ese lapso. El de los Falcons es el primer equipo en la historia en clasificar al Super Bowl tras anotar al menos 30 puntos en cada uno de los últimos seis partidos del club.

 

“Estoy feliz por todos en nuestra organización”, dice el mariscal de campo de los Falcons MATT RYAN. “Hemos trabajado duro para llegar a este punto pero el desafío está aún frente a nosotros. El objetivo que nos planteamos todavía está delante de nosotros. Es realmente difícil llegar a este punto, y disfrutaremos del proceso que nos lleva a él, pero nuestro último objetivo está aún frente a nosotros.”

 

El entrenador en jefe de los Falcons DAN QUINN, que está en su segundo año con el equipo, estará realizando su tercera aparición en el Super Bowl en las últimas cuatro temporadas. Quinn fue el coordinador defensivo de Seattle en los Super Bowls XLVIII (temporada 2013) y XLIX (2014).

 

“Estoy emocionado por esta oportunidad, pero más importante es que estoy emocionado por estos jugadores”, dice Quinn. “Será un gran desafío.”

 

El mariscal de campo de Atlanta Ryan, que lideró la liga con índice de pasador de 117.1 (una marca de franquicia), continuó su juego estelar en la postemporada con un índice de pasador de 132.6. A lo largo de la racha ganadora del equipo, de seis juegos, Ryan lanzó 18 pases anotadores y ninguna intercepción, para un índice de pasador de 133.3.

 

“Jugador más valioso”, dice el receptor de los Falcons JULIO JONES cuando le preguntaron cómo describiría a Ryan. “Es un gran jugador. Es un gran líder de este equipo y es mi hermano.”

 

Ryan lanzó al menos tres pases anotadores en cuatro partidos de postemporada consecutivos, el primer jugador en la historia de la NFL en lograr tal hazaña. En la postemporada de este año, Ryan tiene siete pases anotadores y ninguna intercepción.

 

Los Falcons han distribuido bien el balón, ya que Ryan lanzó un pase de anotación a 13 jugadores diferentes en la temporada regular, la mayor cantidad en la historia en una temporada en la historia de la liga. Entre sus blanco favoritos estuvo Jones, que esta temporada lideró la NFL promediando 100.6 yardas recibiendo por juego (1,409 yardas en 14 partidos).

 

“Es una bestia”, dice Ryan acerca de Jones. “Es una fiera absoluta. He sido muy afortunado de jugar con él tanto tiempo como lo he hecho.”

 

Jones tuvo nueve recepciones para 180 yardas y dos anotaciones en el Juego de Campeonato de la NFC contra los Packers. Marcó el segundo partido de postemporada de su carrera con al menos 180 yardas recibiendo y dos anotaciones y es el único jugador en la historia de la liga en lograr tal hazaña en más de un partido de postemporada. En los cinco juegos de postemporada en su carrera, Jones tiene 552 yardas recibiendo y cinco recepciones anotadoras. Su promedio, de 110.4 yardas recibiendo por juego, es el más alto en la historia de la postemporada de la NFL (mínimo de cinco juegos).

 

Defensivamente, los Falcons están disfrutando de VIC BEASLEY JR., que lideró la NFL en capturas (15.5), y también por un cuarteto de novatos: el profundo KEANU NEAL, el esquinero BRIAN POOLE y los apoyadores DEION JONES y DE’VONDRE CAMPBELL. Los cuatro novatos titularizaron en el Juego de Campeonato de la NFC y Atlanta puede convertirse en el primer equipo en la historia en hacer titularizar a cuatro novatos en defensiva en el Super Bowl. Jones (106) y Neal (105) esta temporada lideraron a todos los novatos de la NFL en tacleadas.

 

“Cada día, estamos simplemente intentando ser un uno por ciento mejor para el compañero a nuestro lado”, dice Poole. “Cada jugada, vamos a dejar todo lo que tenemos y no dejaremos que nuestros compañeros de equipo decaigan. Estaremos allí tratando de jugar y hacerle saber a la gente que lo nuestro va en serio.”

 

Beasley, que está en su segundo año, tuvo un pico de carrera con las 15.5 capturas que registró y es el primer jugador de los Falcons en encabezar la liga en capturas. Durante la racha ganadora actual del equipo, de seis partidos, Atlanta permitió apenas 19.3 puntos por juego (27.6 puntos por partido en los primeros 12 del equipo).

 

“Sentimos que tenemos el potencial para ser una gran defensiva”, dice Beasley. “Más temprano en la temporada, no estábamos jugando bien pero hemos avanzado mucho y ahora vamos a ir al Super Bowl.”

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Arrivaron los Halcones de Atlanta campeones de la NFC

Jan 31, 2017

Arrivaron los Halcones de Atlanta  campeones de la NFC

A las 3:15pm el dia Domingo 29 de Enero arrivaron los Halcones de Atlanta  campeones de la NFC en el aeropuerto interconental Bush en la ciudad de Houston, Texas y participaran en el Superbowl el dia Domingo Feb 5 contra los Patriotas de Nuevo Inglaterra en el estadio NRG.

Reportero Joel Briseno
Camarografo Abel Garcia
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SUPER BOWL LI: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. ATLANTA FALCONS

Jan 31, 2017

SUPER BOWL LI: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. ATLANTA FALCONS

Two teams. One game. It all comes down to this.

On Sunday, February 5, the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will meet in Super Bowl LI (6:30 PM ET, FOX) at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

“It’s an honor to get to go and play in this game,” says Patriots wide receiver JULIAN EDELMAN, who is the franchise postseason leader in both catches (84) and receiving yards (937). “This is what you fight for. This is what you train for. It’s to get an opportunity to play in this game.”

Super Bowl LI will feature the NFL’s top-scoring team – Atlanta (540 points, 33.8 points per game) – against the club which allowed the fewest points in the league – New England (250 points, 15.6 points per game). It marks the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the Super Bowl showcases the team that led the NFL in scoring against the club that allowed the fewest points.

“This is a really special team,” says Falcons fullback PATRICK DI MARCO. “We have so many playmakers on offense, defense and special teams. This is a special time for this organization. I am super proud and super excited we are going to be playing in Houston. The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl – not just get there – and we still have a game ahead of us. We still have one more game to win.”

New England advanced to its NFL-record ninth Super Bowl by defeating Pittsburgh 36-17. Atlanta defeated Green Bay 44-21 to earn its second ever trip to the Super Bowl.

Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK and quarterback TOM BRADY will be making their seventh Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won four Super Bowls together, tied with Pittsburgh head coach CHUCK NOLL and quarterback TERRY BRADSHAW for the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

“I’m proud of this team,” says Belichick. “They all deserve this. It’s a good, hard-working group.”

Belichick is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Noll for the most Super Bowl victories by a head coach with four. Brady, who is making his NFL-record seventh career Super Bowl start, is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers Bradshaw and JOE MONTANA for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback with four.

“You never know if you’ll get these opportunities in life and fortunately this team has got the opportunity,” says Brady about advancing to the Super Bowl. “Now we’ve got to do something and go try and take advantage of it.”

Brady and Montana are the only players in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP three times. Brady, who was the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX, can become the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors four times.

Brady enters Super Bowl LI already holding numerous Super Bowl passing records, including attempts (247), completions (164), yards (1,605) and touchdown passes (13).

“He’s the best quarterback to ever play the game,” says Patriots running back LE GARRETTE BLOUNT about Brady. “He’s obviously, in my opinion, the best ever.”

The Patriots have won nine consecutive games and advanced to the Super Bowl with a 36-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. In that contest, Brady passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring strikes to wide receiver CHRIS HOGAN. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for a franchise postseason-record 180 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just happy to take advantage of this opportunity and be a part of this team,” says Hogan. “This whole team has worked so hard starting in April in OTAs. We’ve grinded through this entire year. This is what we worked for and this is what we wanted to get to.”

Patriots running back Blount, who led the NFL with a club-record 18 rushing touchdowns, added a rushing TD against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Including the postseason, Blount’s 19 rushing touchdowns are tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer CURTIS MARTIN (1996) for the most by a Patriots player in a single season.

The Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history (Super Bowl XXXIII, 1998 season) with a 44-21 win over Green Bay in the final game at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, which led the NFL with 540 points scored, has won six consecutive games and is averaging 39.0 points per game over that span. The Falcons are the first team ever to advance to the Super Bowl by scoring at least 30 points in each of the club’s previous six games.

“I’m happy for everybody in our organization,” says Falcons quarterback MATT RYAN. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point but the challenge is still in front of us. What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us. It’s really difficult to get to this point, and we will enjoy the process leading into it, but our ultimate goal is still in front of us.”

Falcons head coach DAN QUINN, who is in his second year with the team, will be making his third Super Bowl appearance in the past four seasons. Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in Super Bowls XLVIII (2013 season) and XLIX (2014).

“I am excited for the opportunity, but more importantly, I’m excited for these players,” says Quinn. “It’ll be a great challenge.”

Atlanta quarterback Ryan, who led the league with a franchise-record 117.1 passer rating, has continued his stellar play in the postseason with a 132.6 passer rating. Over the team’s six-game winning streak, Ryan has thrown 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 133.3 passer rating.

“MVP,” says Falcons wide receiver JULIO JONES when asked how to describe Ryan. “He’s a great player. He’s a great leader on this team and he’s my brother.”

Ryan has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive postseason games, the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. In this year’s playoffs, Ryan has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The Falcons have spread the ball out as Ryan threw a touchdown pass to 13 different players in the regular season, the most ever in a season in league history. Among his favorite targets is Jones, who led the NFL averaging 100.6 receiving yards per game this season (1,409 yards in 14 games).

“He’s a beast,” says Ryan about Jones. “He’s an absolute stud. I’ve been so lucky to play with him as long as I have.”

Jones had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. It marked his second career postseason game with at least 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns and he is the only player in league history to accomplish that feat in multiple playoff games. In five career postseason games, Jones has 552 receiving yards and five touchdown catches. His average of 110.4 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL postseason history (minimum five games).

Defensively, the Falcons are powered by VIC BEASLEY JR., who led the NFL in sacks (15.5), and a quartet of rookies – safety KEANU NEAL, cornerback BRIAN POOLE and linebackers DEION JONES and DE’VONDRE CAMPBELL. All four rookies started in the NFC Championship Game and Atlanta can become the first team ever to start four rookies on defense in the Super Bowl. Jones (106) and Neal (105) led all NFL rookies in tackles this season.

“Every day, we are just trying to get one percent better for the guy next to us,” says Poole. “Every play, we are going to give it all we’ve got and not let our teammates down. We’re going out there trying to play ball and let people know that what we’ve got is serious.”

Beasley, who is in his second year, had a career-high 15.5 sacks and is the first Falcons player to lead the league in sacks. During the team’s current six-game winning streak, Atlanta has allowed just 19.3 points per game (27.6 points per game in the team’s first 12 games).

“We feel like we have the potential to be a great defense,” says Beasley. “Early in the season, we weren’t playing as well but we have come a long way and now we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

Cortesia: NFL

 

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NFL NAMES RANDY ALLEN OF HIGHLAND PARK HIGH SCHOOL DON SHULA NFL HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR

Jan 31, 2017

NFL NAMES RANDY ALLEN OF HIGHLAND PARK HIGH SCHOOL 

DON SHULA NFL HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR

The NFL and the Dallas Cowboys announced today, Head Football Coach RANDY ALLEN of Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas is theDon Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. The award was created to honor exemplary high school football coaches who demonstrate a commitment to player health and safety, and the integrity, achievement and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.

The announcement was made during the 2017 Pro Bowl on ESPN. For the first time ever, all 32 Don Shula Award nominees were invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.

Nominated by the Dallas Cowboys, Coach Allen was one of two high school football coaches selected as finalists from a group of coaches nominated by NFL teams. As the national Shula Award Winner, Allen will receive $25,000 from the NFL Foundation, $15,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program. He will be a guest of the NFL during Super Bowl LI and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime special airing nationally on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.

“Randy is someone that I respect and admire greatly. He is a man who understands the fundamental responsibility of being a high school football coach—and that is to build character and shape young lives,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager JERRY JONES. “He teaches integrity and life lessons as well as he does the X’s and O’s, and he is very successful builder of character.”

Allen has coached the Highland Park High School football team for 18 years and recently led the Scots to a 5A Division 1 Texas State Championship with a 16-7 victory over Temple High School. As one of the most recognized and winningest programs in the history of Texas high school football, this marks the Scots’ second state championship under Allen’s tenure. Allen previously coached current Detroit Lions quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD to a state championship in 2005 and currently coaches the grandchildren of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

His success on the field is rivaled by his dedication to building high-character student-athletes, with a focus on leadership and strong moral values. Allen is a teacher who uses his role as a coach to build boys into men and emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and integrity to his team.

The runner-up was Green Bay Packers nominee and Kimberly High School Head Football Coach STEVE JONES of Kimberly, Wisc. Jones will receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school football program.

All Shula Award nominees are active or retired high school football coaches nominated by NFL teams for their character and integrity, leadership and dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.

Coach Allen was selected by a panel of distinguished individuals. New to the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel this year are two-time Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50) and five-time NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor MICHAEL STRAHAN and Pro Football Hall of Fame President DAVID BAKER.

The selection panel also includes:

  • Coach DON SHULA – the winningest coach in NFL history
  • Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor GIL BRANDT
  • 2015 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner MICHAEL BURNETT
  • Former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY
  • Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
  • Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal and son of the school’s late football coach, Ed Thomas, AARON THOMAS

 

Below is a full list of the 2016 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit nflfoundation.org or follow @NFLFoundation on Twitter.

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Transcript of 2016 Injury Data Results Media Conference Call

Jan 27, 2017

With Jeff Miller, Dr. John York, Dr. Christina Mack, Dr. Robert Heyer and Dr. Mitchell Berger.

January 26, 2017

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll begin today with the NFL’s executive vice president of health and safety policy, Jeff Miller.

JEFF MILLER:  Good morning, everyone.  Appreciate everyone joining us early on this Thursday morning to talk about updates in the NFL’s health and safety initiatives including our injury surveillance.  We have done a call like this or meeting like this regularly or annually where we’ve discussed the injury data as compiled in the NFLPA’s epidemiology firm, QuintilesIMS.  So we’ll get to that data in a minute.

I’m going to introduce today’s speakers and make a few brief opening comments.  With us today on the phone, Dr. John York.  He is the Co‑Chairman of the San Francisco 49ers, the Chairman of the NFL Owners’ Health and Safety Advisory Committee.  Dr. Christina Mack, she is the Director of Epidemiology and Outcomes Research Real World Insights at QuintilesIMS.

QuintilesIMS is a Fortune 500 company and a leading global health care provider of integration technology enabled services.  QuintilesIMS has led the NFL’s surveillance and analytics program since 2011.  Following Dr. Mack, is Dr. Robert Heyer.  He is the President of the NFL’s Physicians Society, Team Internist for the Carolina Panthers.  Lastly, but not least, Dr. Mitch Berger, Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery at UCSF, and a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.  Each one of those folks will have an opportunity to provide opening comments after I’m done and answer your questions.

So let me start with a little bit of background.  It’s been an active year on health and safety initiatives of the NFL.  We continue a very strong partnership with the NFL Players Association on a number of different fronts.

We, as background in terms of issues that we have looked at on the field, again, reminders that we have unaffiliated doctors on the sidelines, unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants which are assisting team doctors in identifying and evaluating players for concussion.

This year we saw even greater integration with the team medical staffs than we have before, and added responsibilities for the UNC this year to include evaluating players for potential stingers.  I’m sure Dr. Heyer can go into that as well.  This year, we added to the athletic trainers in the media box.  Those who are there to help identify injuries, call down the team medical staff and send video to help them identify injuries and diagnose injuries, all injuries.

We added a second athletic trainer to the media box this year, to assist their work and help them identify potentially more injuries.  And as you know, last year for the first time, we allowed and empowered that athletic trainer to call, what we termed a medical timeout.  The first of its kind, we believe, in international sports where an independent medical observer could stop the game for the benefit of player health.

Last year, in the first year, we saw five of those calls.  This year we saw eight.  And those athletic trainers continue to advance players’ health and safety.

We also added this year, this was a change from previous years, an enforcement mechanism for the concussion protocol.  Again, we’ve worked on this closely with the Players Association, ways to emphasize the need for the concussion protocol to be followed in a detailed manner, along the lines that the medical observers, the Players Association medical director, and others have advised us it needs to be followed.

Finally, in addition this year on the field and in an educational way, the Players Association with our collaboration put out a very good video for players on how the concussion protocol works on signs and symptoms of concussion.  If you haven’t seen it, I would commend it to you.  It was very well done, and advances player education even beyond the work that the team doctors and the NFL have done with their individual teams to try to elevate the education level of players as it relates to concussions.

Off the field, it’s also been a very busy year in terms of research.  The NFL announced the Play Smart. Play Safe. campaign just a few months ago, which was Dr. York and his fellow owners’ commitment of $100 million of additional research beyond an additional $100 million research portfolio with partners that we had.

This hundred million of research is going to two primary areas, the first is what we call the Engineering Roadmap, which is a focused effort on advancing protective equipment through biomechanical engineering analysis and analytics.  We are a few months into that program, and we are working closely with the Players Association, biomechanical engineers as well who are consulting on this project.  We have high hopes that this will lead to the advance in protective equipment over the next five years.  The additional $40 million will be spent on more scientific research advised by a Scientific Advisory Board working with our medical committees to identify priority areas for medical research.  And we should be in a place over the next several months to announce some of those areas that we’re going to be looking to provide grants and mechanisms by which people can apply for the money.

Much of this, as many of you know, is conducted at the Combine coming up in a few weeks, where our team physicians, team athletic trainers, medical advisors, Players Association representatives, and others get together to talk about how the protocols work.  How the communication systems are working.  Whether we can do more to educate, work with the Competition Committee on potential rules changes, and analyze a lot of the statistical data that Dr. Mack and QuintilesIMS compiles for us.  So we are looking forward to that and looking for ways to get better at what we do.

So let me give you a quick top line on injury data and I’ll turn this over to Dr. York.  We saw concussions this year in the NFL in regular season games decrease from 183 in‑games to 167.  That is a decrease of 8.7%.  Overall concussions, if you combine preseason practices and games and regular season practices and games, we saw that number decrease from 275 in 2015 to 244 in 2016, which is approximately 11.3%.  That number 244 is aligned with about a five‑year average, so those numbers are relatively consistent in that regard.

Dr. Mack will go into more detail on that as well as some of the major other injury areas like ACL injuries, MCL injuries, injuries on Thursday night games and on the kickoff, which has been discussed since the kickoff rule was changed this year with the kickoff, the return line being moved ahead to the 25‑yard line.  We saw a decrease ‑‑ I’m sorry, an increase in touchbacks of about 2%, a decrease in returns by about 2%, and Dr. Mack will talk about the injury statistics related to that.

Importantly, that’s just one year’s worth of data.  We’ll look at this over time, and that will be shared with the Competition Committee at the Combine, and we’ll have further discussion about that rule and the injury implications for it.

Likewise, our injury data, as Dr. Mack will mention, has been looked at in any number of areas.  This is preliminary, top‑line data, we’ll have much more sophisticated information in the next few weeks as QuintilesIMS continues to look at it, and we look further to that.  That’s a top‑line overview, and I’ll turn this over to Dr. York if he has any opening remarks.

  1. JOHN YORK: I will add that the 32 clubs, their owners and the commissioner maintain that player health and safety is a number one priority for the National Football League, and the Owners’ Health and Safety Advisory Committee is set up purely for that reason.  That committee works with the Players Association, with QuintilesIMS in terms of injury surveillance data, the club physicians and athletic trainers and the Competition Committee in order to look at data and propose rule changes that will be for the betterment of the players in terms of health and safety.

I will bring your attention again to the area of preseason practices, which we looked at last year.  We were concerned about the number of preseason practice concussions compared to the regular season.  The regular season has almost no concussions during practice, less than ten.  And there were almost, over 40 in preseason practices up until last year.

We went and discussed with the individual clubs the number of preseason concussions, and those discussions led to a significant decrease, over 30%, between 2014 and 2015, and that number has stabilized in 2016, actually, with the decrease of three.  So we’re happy those results shows that the clubs do listen and are very interested in the number of concussions in their players, and that we can have an effect on the culture of the National Football League.

We’ve also seen an increased number of self‑reported concussions this year over last year, with last year being the first year that we really saw a significant number of self‑reported concussions.  So those are all good changes with regards to the concussion protocol, and I would also say that they have an effect that may cause an increase in the number of concussions that we identify.  Probably those that are in less‑severe type of concussion, but we want to know every one of the concussions and identify those and take care of the players properly.

JEFF MILLER:  We’ll turn it over to QuintilesIMS Director Epidemiology and Outcomes Research Real World Insights.

  1. CHRISTINA MACK:  Thank you, as Jeff said, I’m an epidemiologist, I lead the QuintilesIMS injury surveillance and analytics program along with Dr. Nancy Dreyer.  Overall this year we observed an 11% decrease in concussions compared to 2015.  Though we’re still seeing numbers higher than 2013 and 2014, and it’s still a point of emphasis.  It’s important to look at the concussion numbers by pre‑ and regular season to understand the trends, because as Dr. York described, they are different.

We saw a decrease in preseason concussions overall this year in both practices and in games.  And, again, it’s important to distinguish between the two, because we focused heavily on training camp and preseason practices, and we’ve continued to make progress in that area.  The decrease that we saw in 2015, based on the discussions that the League and the Health and Safety Committees had with the individual clubs was sustained this year, and preseason practice concussion reached a five‑year low at 26 concussions over the preseason practices.

So that amounts to concussions in preseason practices being down 32% from the four‑year average of 38.  In preseason games, concussions decreased 17% this year compared to 2015, with numbers looking closer to prior years.

Switching to regular season, we again saw a decrease of 8.7% going from 167 this season compared to 183 last year.  Although, again, higher than the experience in 2013 and 2014.

We also understand that the medical staff are even more observant than they previously were.  When we looked at data on the activity of the ATC spotters and the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants, we saw a conservative approach to evaluating players.  For example, the ATC spotters are calling down to the medical staff on the field more frequently, and they’re calling down conservatively.  Almost 70% of the players called down by an ATC are cleared to return‑to‑play after examination, and a similarly high percent of players evaluated by the UNCs are not ultimately diagnosed with a concussion, but they’re evaluated through the concussion protocol.

So in fact over two‑thirds of the players put through the concussion protocol aren’t ultimately found to have a concussion.

Jeff Miller discussed that the league and the advisors are continuously improving on these programs, so they added a second ATC, they expanded the scope of the UNC program to evaluate stingers, so that is what we’re seeing in the data with this conservative approach.

Switching to knee injuries.  ACL tears were stable this year at 56 over the entire season.  There were slightly fewer than in 2015, and overall these have been stable over the past five years with some variation between seasons as expected.

There were fewer MCL tears this year than last year, but more than what we with saw in 2012 and 2013.  These injuries have more variability in reporting because of the range of severity of the injuries, higher than ACLs and concussions.  We have not seen any increase at all in full MCL tears, which is the most severe.

We continue to monitor Thursday night games and duration of play, and once again, we found there is no evidence of an increase in injuries when teams participate in a Thursday night game or examined another way—injury rates do not increase when teams have shorter intervals between games.

The change in the rules did reduce kickoff returns this year by about 4%.  And the data on kickoff returns show a two‑year decrease in hamstring strains, and general stability on the number of concussions on this play, although there was a low in 2014.

JEFF MILLER:  Thank you, Christina.  We’ll now go to Dr. Rob Heyer, the head of the NFL Physicians Society. Dr. Heyer?

  1. JEFF HEYER: Thank you, Jeff.  I’ve been a team physician for 23 years, and during the past three years I think I’ve seen a cultural change concerning concussions.  At the beginning of the last two seasons, as Dr. York mentioned, the head athletic trainer and team physicians of each team formally address their players, coaches and general  managers in a one of had hour meeting regarding concussions.  The signs, symptoms and taking them seriously.

As mentioned, the players are now more aware of the symptoms of concussions and are concerned for their health.  They understand the need for an evaluation by the team physician and the UNC if a possible concussion has occurred.

As a result of this ongoing education, players are more likely to speak up if they believe they have a concussion.  And this awareness has led to more self‑reporting of symptoms by players and then an appropriate medical evaluation by the team physician and UNC.

Our work with the league regarding concussions and education is not done, but I know what we are doing is currently making a difference, and we will and must continue to do more.

JEFF MILLER:  Thank you, there Heyer.  Rob, I appreciate it.  Now we’ll go to Dr. Mitch Berger, member of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee.  Mitch, if you have any opening comments?

  1. MITCH BERGER: Yeah, Jeff, thanks very much. Just a few comments, so by way of background, I’m a neurosurgeon, I’ve been practicing for over 30 years.  I’ve seen lots of folks routinely with concussions.  I’ve also been a member of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee since 2009.  And over the past three years I’ve served as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, so I’m down on the sidelines and have a very good understanding of how the protocol works and how it’s activated, et cetera.

And I must say, when I saw these numbers I was really relieved.  I was encouraged that the numbers are down, but I’m still far from satisfied.  As a health care provider, I think one of our absolute highest priorities is to get these numbers further down.  We’re going to have to really think about the ways in which we can do this.  I think as Jeff just said, that’s what the combine is about.  We’ve got to drill down into the Quintiles numbers and work with the medical community to find out how we can decrease the numbers.  So I am encouraged, but still far from satisfied, and we certainly have a lot more work to do as part of our committee.  So I’ll end it there, Jeff.

JEFF MILLER:  Great, Mitch, appreciate it.

 

QUESTIONS BEGIN

REPORTER’S QUESTION: I have two questions about concussions.  The first question is obviously like was mentioned, the concussions are down in all three categories, preseason and regular season together from 2015.  And I’m wondering if the sample of the one year, is that something that you consider statistically significant at this point?

JEFF MILLER:  I’ll take the first answer at it, and if Dr. Mack wants to weigh in.  It’s certainly positive that concussions were down this year across categories.  But I think putting too much focus on any one year would be mistaken.  The goal here is to drive those numbers down through rules changes, culture changes, protocol changes, through greater observation and treatment over a longer term period of time.

So I think Dr. Berger said it well, we’re heartened by a decrease, but that doesn’t change anybody’s efforts over the long‑term here in terms of making this game safer for those who play it.  Dr. Mack, from a statistical perspective, do you want to weigh in on that?

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: Sure, so to your point, one year is not or never statistically significant, so we look at these trends holistically.  It’s certainly in a positive direction, but that said, there is still a lot of emphasis, concussions remain a serious concern.  What we do when we see the numbers looking like this, as epidemiologists, we drill much farther into the data to try to understand what the drivers might be, where we might be able to make more impact in reducing these numbers.  The example that Dr. York gave with the preseason concussions being one of those.

So the goal for us is to try to slice them enough to understand how we can continue to bring those numbers down.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: Then in a very sort of related question, when you look at like the largest samples, so you look at all five years, preseason, regular season, 2016 was still exactly basically average in terms of the total number of concussions.  So I guess what I’m wondering is do you feel there is progress in terms of overall concussion prevention over the five years if we’re still at basically the same total level?

JEFF MILLER:  Yeah, again, maybe I’ll take the first shot at this, and then if Dr. Mack wants to weigh in or others, I’ll open it up to you as well.  I think the numbers are the numbers.  But I think what we have to account for too are the additional protocols and people involved in identifying the injuries, which are all significant net positives, whether it be multiple athletic trainers in the media box with the ability to call down to the team doctors and athletic trainers on the sideline, or in a more extreme case, call a timeout themselves or the addition of unaffiliated doctors on the sideline to identify the concussions and treat them.  Or the raised awareness and education levels of everybody participating from the team officials, to the coaches, to the team doctors, to the players themselves, to either identify the signs and symptoms of an injury, point to a teammate who they think needs to be evaluated and such.

We’ve seen a significant culture change, I would argue, on those points.  So while the numbers are what the numbers are, the ability to identify more of the injuries and treat players appropriately are all very positive trends in the right direction.

I don’t know if Dr. Mack wants to take an opportunity after that or if others want to.  Dr. Heyer, you may have a perspective here.

  1. ROBERT HEYER: I agree with what you said, Jeff.  I think I would make two points.  Number one, the self‑reporting of concussions by players is important in terms of their ultimate recovery.  If a player spends an extra quarter or even a game on the field with a concussion, it lengthens the amount of time required for them to return to their normal baseline state.  So that’s an important fact.

The other issue is the players trusting that they’re being cared for.  We still have a few players that will not report.  But I think we are identifying injuries that may not have been identified in previous years because of the self‑reporting by the players.

JEFF MILLER:  Dr. Mack, how does the changes and the way we observe concussions and identify them factor into your analysis?

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: Sure, when you look over the past five years, the total number this year is almost equal to the total number in five years.  But we do take into attention as Dr. Heyer described vastly higher attention to detection.  And since 2012, the QuintilesIMS team has also changed the reporting program, and there is also vastly high era tension to reporting, and that’s through consistent and constant interactions with the athletic trainers on the team.  Making sure we see all of these, combing through the media on our end.  Making sure if there is something in the media, we have it in our database.  If not, we follow up to understand what that might be.

So the attention that we’re paying to making sure that we get all the concussions in the database has increased drastically over these five years.

JEFF MILLER:  I was just going to say, one sort of overlying theme here is the point of all of this, and the reason we work so closely and the Players Association works so closely with QuintilesIMS and the team physicians and others, is the efforts to identify the concussions where they happen so the players can get the treatment that they need as quickly as possible and as comprehensively as possible.  That’s why we spend so much time on these protocols, on the enforcement of the protocols, on the epidemiology, and working with all these many experts like Dr. Berger and others who advise us about the way we can improve.

The goal at the end of the day is to improve player health.  So if we can identify more of these injuries, those players are going to be better off.

  1. MITCH BERGER: I just want to comment on what Rob said.  It’s very interesting to me as a physician on the sidelines in an independent way.  When we started the UNC program, there was just a significant amount of resistance from the players in terms of just being evaluated.  A lot of times we would say we thought we saw a pretty big hit, and we looked at it on the injury surveillance video system and agreed and we wanted to evaluate the players.  A number of them were resistant in the beginning.  But now I would say uniformly this past season, none of the players ever resisted.  Whether I was on the home side or the visiting side, they are much, much more aware of the whole concussion situation, and want to actively be engaged in the interview process on the sidelines as well as in the locker room.

So I agree with Rob that there has to be a huge change in culture that’s occurred in the past three years.  They really are much more aware of and interested in their safety than they ever were.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: This is for anybody, I guess, Jeff.  I’m most intrigued by the self‑reporting data.  Can you release the data of how players have indeed self‑reported concussions and what percentage of those ended up being concussions, whether it was almost 100%?  Because I think that maybe is responsible for maybe the rise last year in concussions if it’s true that so many more players are self‑reporting.  It would be nice to see those numbers alone.  And the second question, do you keep track of the ligament tears on the various types of turf, whether it’s grass or what type of artificial turf to see if there’s any change in that direction.

JEFF MILLER:  Thank you for the question.  And I’m going to send this over to Dr. Mack who can give you the details, but let me give a quick statement on this.

Hopefully, I mentioned at the outset of the call, this is top‑line data that we’re comfortable sharing because we’re comfortable that it’s accurate.  There is a lot more investigation and analytics that need to go into the depth of what these numbers mean and answering some of the questions that you posed.

Knee ligaments on turf are things we take a look at, but we don’t have that information in front of us today.  This is a busy time for QuintilesIMS and Doctors Mack and Dreyer as they go through this data as we run up to our combine, when the many medical committees and Physicians’ Society meet at the end of February and beginning of March.  So we will have that sort of data.

We will be able to take a closer look at self‑reporting, which is the other one that you mentioned, and try to quantify it.  We are working hard at those things right now, but we don’t have numbers, I don’t think.  Christina, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think we have numbers in either of those categories right now that are sufficiently well‑analyzed and scrubbed.  But we will.  It’s just going to take a little longer in regards to those details than others.

Dr. Mack, is that a correct statement?

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: Sure, I would add the progression of a player from the hit through the evaluation, diagnosis, and the concussion protocol is very complex, there are a lot of points of contact.  So that is extra hard to quantify over some of the injury data, so we don’t have that at hand at this point so close to the end of the season.

QUESTION: From previous seasons?

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: We don’t have that from previous seasons, and the reason is, again, the complexity of quantifying that as the player goes from hits through the game, through their evaluation of multiple medical staff and into the next week, whether or not they have self‑reported can happen at any of those points.

So the reporting, where we’d be able to generate quality data and understand the numbers around that has changed a lot.  And this is one of the strongest years of that reporting, so we need to take some time to look at that.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: What are the working theories that explain why the numbers for ’13 and ’14 were so different than especially last year, but then the past couple years?  And I’ll ask my follow‑up after.

JEFF MILLER:  I think we discussed last year to some degree, and I think to the extent we had data on this point that was supported, at least based on the reactions of the team physicians, so Rob is probably a good person to speak to this.

We saw in 2015 significant more numbers of players self‑reporting, and we saw the athletic trainers in the media box, and we saw the medical timeout being used for the first time, and we saw a greater integration of the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant with the team physician.  And on that last point, we saw nearly, I think, it was double the number of screenings by unaffiliated doctors on the sideline of players.

So if they were acting more conservatively around screening players, that would be a good thing, and as a result of screen screening more players they identified things from our perspective.  Similarly, if players are self‑reporting more.  And it’s harder to get the arms around the numbers, we’ll do a better job this year than we have in the past.  But those would also lead to that increase.

I think the numbers support that to the extent those numbers are analyzable, and I think that the experiences of people like Dr. Berger as an unaffiliated doctor, and Dr. Heyer as a team physician would support those notions.

Rob, do you have anything to add to that?

  1. ROBERT HEYER: Yes, I think the term self‑reporting needs to be clarified a little bit.  It’s a broad term, and it occurs in many different manners.  Number one, another player may notice that a teammate not acting right or took a significant hit to the head, and has been a little slow in the huddle or maybe making mistakes.  We would consider that self‑reporting.  Someone other than the team physician or the athletic trainers or the spotters are reporting a potential injury.

The other area that I’ve seen is players coming in after the game, either the day of the game or even the next day saying, “I don’t feel well.  I’m not sure what’s going on.  I was hit in the head in the fourth quarter.  I didn’t think anything about it.”  And that’s the type of self‑reporting that we used to rarely see in players during previous years.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: Thank you.  My second question maybe doesn’t speak directly to the report, but we saw the release yesterday about Matt Moore.  For Jeff or Dr. York, are we satisfied that in most of these cases that protocol is being followed?

JEFF MILLER:  I can’t put a specific number on it, Christina can probably do a little better or Dr. Mack can probably do better than I can in that regard.  But there are hundreds of unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant reports identifying players that they’ve evaluated during the course of the game.  I’m not comfortable knowing exactly what that number is, so I won’t try to guess at it.  But in the hundreds, I think, is accurate.  And the UNCs and the team doctors do a terrific job in working together in analyzing these issues.

It’s important we get it right a hundred percent of the time, so that’s why you see enforcement mechanisms like this where we work jointly with the Players Association to identify those issues.

It’s important to us that everybody understands and follows the protocol, and we continue to enforce its importance and I don’t think that will ever change.  Dr. Berger and his colleagues at the Head, Neck and Spine Committee spend endless hours working on the protocol with the Physicians Society and the Players Association to improve it on an annual basis to get it right.  And we’ll spend more time educating team doctors, unaffiliated doctors, athletic trainers and others on whatever changes are made and improvements to make sure that they are working as well together for the betterment of the players.

But it’s important to say, too, that we are quite pleased with how these programs are working, and this enforcement protocol is important to make sure that everybody stays aligned with the work that’s being done, and the education level remains high around these issues.  But overall, this is a terrific program and one that we’re very pleased with.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: I wondered on the kickoff returns, the numbers for concussion did not really change a lot.  Does that indicate that this will change or hasn’t had a big difference or is it just too early to judge?

JEFF MILLER:  I’ll toss that over to Christina because I think she’d be better to answer it.  My initial reaction to it is that we’ll share this information with the competition committee and analyze this closely.  It is, as you mentioned, one year of data.  We saw the number of kickoff returns decrease, and we saw the number of concussions decrease.  But how much emphasis you put on one year versus a number of years is something that we would defer to the experts on.

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: We have seen the concussion numbers on kickoff returns stay within some kind of stable range.  They’ve jumped around.  That’s an expected amount of variability over four years.  So certainly this is something that we’ll talk about and we’ll look a lot more closely at these data, what’s happening on these plays at the Combine.  But for now, the top line numbers, they fluctuate what we would call a natural fluctuation.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: My paper this year tried to track and set up a database to track concussions, and we saw a fairly wide variance in kind of team by team reporting of concussions.  The team I cover, the Panthers, and the one Dr. Heyer’s involved with was among the most reported.  But I’m wondering, is that something that’s being tracked by you guys, and what steps are in place and are there any concerns about kind of underreporting of these by certain teams?

JEFF MILLER:  I don’t know if Dr. York is still on the line.  I know he had other obligations.  But he mentioned the preseason concussion numbers as an example, where we had identified that in practices as an issue where there were a disproportionate number of concussions compared to the regular season, and spent time with each individual club to talk about what their particular practices were and what their concussion numbers were, and we saw an improvement.  Probably based largely on the fact that we raised it to their attention.

So we take a look at that for purposes of being able to change the culture.  As far as what’s done on a team‑by‑team basis or how this is tracked, I’m sure Dr. Mack can offer a little insight as far as that goes.

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: Sure, thank you.  The most critical answer to this is around the culture on the teams and how they play, as Jeff described.  From a reporting perspective, particularly within games, we feel confident we are getting all of the concussions.  And overall, because QuintilesIMS works very closely with each of the teams throughout the full season to make sure that all of the concussions are reported and they’re reported accurately.  We feel confident that we’re getting the concussions in equal number from the teams.

We comb the media as well, and when we see something in the media if it’s not in the database, we call the club and ask about that, and find out if the media ‑‑ if it hadn’t been reported, or in a lot of cases it’s reported through the media, but was, in fact, not actually diagnosed as a concussion.

We also work with the clubs monthly, sending them reports with all of their injuries with focus on concussion, but with focus on all of the injuries, to emphasize complete reporting, quality reporting, and make sure all the records are in there in the way we can include them in the analyses.

The athletic trainer community, within the NFL, is very engaged in the reporting of the injuries, so we do feel confident that we’re getting the concussions reported.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: Dr. Heyer referenced the players who self‑report later, either day of game or the following day.  This is just a procedural thing perhaps for Dr. Mack.  Where do the players who report symptoms later fall as far as classification?  Does that come under game ultimately or where do those go?

  1. CHRISTINA MACK: Yeah, that’s a good question. If a player is injured in a game, that falls under a game concussion.  So if the symptoms start the day after the game and that’s when the diagnosis happens, that’s still categorized as an in‑game concussion if the impact was from a game.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: Have there been documented cases, and if so, I’m curious as to the number of players who go through the protocol, are cleared appropriately to return‑to‑play, but later report symptoms and are subsequently diagnosed with a concussion?

JEFF MILLER:  So a player who has been identified as potentially having a concussion going through the protocol on the sideline?

REPORTER’S QUESTION: Right, even the locker room evaluation.  We know that there have been players who have gone to the locker room, been evaluated, cleared to return‑to‑play, have returned to play.  Are there any instances of those players later developing symptoms that were subsequently led to a concussion diagnosis?

JEFF MILLER:  In the days following the game or later in the game?

REPORTER: Correct, after the game or in the days following.

JEFF MILLER:  I don’t know the answer to that question.  Dr. Heyer, have you had any experiences with that?

  1. ROBERT HEYER: I think there have been a few.  I speak without exact knowledge, but that’s an excellent question.  Looking at the UNC data and the concussion data should be able to find out that number.  It would not surprise me if there was a case here and there, because concussions sometimes, their symptoms do develop over a period of time sometimes.

JEFF MILLER:  I think we’d have to do a little further digging to answer your question.  So let me do that and get back to you.

REPORTER’S QUESTION: You mentioned the athletic trainers in the booth who stop the clock for player evaluation when there is suspected injury.  Do you have a report on the times the referees may have stopped to the clock to have a player evaluated?

JEFF MILLER:  Where an official escorted a player off the field?  You can think of the Tyrod Taylor hit in the Buffalo game where I think Ed Hochuli took him off the field.

QUESTION: Right.

JEFF MILLER:  That was a point of emphasis with the officials as well and has been for a couple of years around identifying players they perceive need some assistance.  Again, that’s not asking the official to diagnose anything, that’s not his or her job.  But to identify a player that they think needs some medical attention.

So through the Competition Committee specifically, we’ll go back and look at those instances.  We would deem officials looking at players and identify them as needing medical attention as a positive thing.  But I don’t have any numbers to offer you at this point.

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NFL ALL-STARS TAKE CENTER STAGE IN 2017 PRO BOWL

Jan 26, 2017

NFL ALL-STARS TAKE CENTER STAGE IN 2017 PRO BOWL

Pro Bowl Kicks Off Super Bowl Week in Primetime on ESPN on Sunday, January 29 —

— All-Stars Face Off in Skills Showdown Airing Thursday, January 26 at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN —

 

The 2017 Pro Bowl, presented by Aquafina, will be played on Sunday, January 29, 2017 and televised live on ESPN and simulcast on ESPN Deportes at 8:00 PM ET from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

This year’s edition of the Pro Bowl returns to the traditional AFC vs. NFC format following three years of a revised,
“unconferenced” structure.

Pro Football Hall of Fame running back JEROME BETTIS, All-Pro tight end TONY GONZALEZ, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl XXXV MVP RAY LEWIS, and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pro defensive back CHARLES WOODSON will serve as 2017 Pro Bowl Legends Captains.

Bettis (offense) and Lewis (defense) will lead the AFC, while Gonzalez (offense) and Woodson (defense) will guide the NFC. During Pro Bowl Week, the four Legends Captains will serve as mentors for the Pro Bowl players, coach practices, and be present on the sidelines on gameday. The NFL Legends on both teams will also be assisted by two active player captains.

The 2017 Pro Bowl is the first to be played in Orlando, and will feature the league’s all-stars and Legends Captains taking part in an unprecedented number of youth activities and community events during a week-long celebration of the football community.

Also new this year, the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, pitting AFC and NFC All-Stars against each other in unique competitions, will air on Thursday, January 26 at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN. Each team in the Skills Showdown will feature a mix of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.

The 44-man Pro Bowl teams are comprised of 21 offensive and 18 defensive players plus five specialists, including a long snapper. ANDY REID and the coaches from the Kansas City Chiefs will lead the AFC Pro Bowl team and JASON GARRETT and the coaches from the Dallas Cowboys will head the NFC squad.

Ten players from the two teams participating in Super Bowl LI, the ATLANTA FALCONS and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, were selected to the original Pro Bowl roster this season: Linebacker VIC BEASLEY JR., kicker MATT BRYANT, running back DEVONTA FREEMAN, wide receiver JULIO JONES, center ALEX MACK and quarterback MATT RYAN of the Falcons, and quarterback TOM BRADY, linebacker DONT’A HIGHTOWER, safety DEVIN

MC COURTY and special teamer MATTHEW SLATER of the Patriots.

The Pro Bowl players were determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counted one-third toward determining the 86 Pro Bowl selections. A long snapper was chosen by each head coach as a “need” player. The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams. In 1995, the NFL became the first professional sports league to offer online all-star voting.

Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $61,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $30,000.

Tickets to the 2017 Pro Bowl are on sale through NFL.com/ProBowlOnSale.

2017 PRO BOWL PLAYERS BY POSITION

(*First-time Pro Bowl selection)

AFC

OFFENSE (21)

  QUARTERBACKS (3)     TIGHT ENDS (2)
  Andy Dalton, Cincinnati     Travis Kelce, Kansas City
  Alex Smith, Kansas City     Delanie Walker, Tennessee
  Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers      
        TACKLES (3)
  WIDE RECEIVERS (4)   * Taylor Lewan, Tennessee
  T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis     Joe Thomas, Cleveland
  Jarvis Landry, Miami     Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati
  Emmanuel Sanders, Denver      
  Demaryius Thomas, Denver     GUARDS (3)
        David DeCastro, Pittsburgh
  RUNNING BACKS (3)     Richie Incognito, Buffalo
* Jay Ajayi, Miami   * Kelechi Osemele, Oakland
* Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers      
  DeMarco Murray, Tennessee     CENTERS (2)
      * Rodney Hudson, Oakland
  FULLBACK (1)   * Jeremy Zuttah, Baltimore
* Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore      

DEFENSE (18)

  DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)     INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)
  Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati   * Zach Brown, Buffalo
  Cameron Wake, Miami   * Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh
* Leonard Williams, New York Jets      
        CORNERBACKS (4)
  INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)   * Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo
  Geno Atkins, Cincinnati     Chris Harris, Jr., Denver
  Jurrell Casey, Tennessee   * Casey Hayward, Los Angeles Chargers
  Kyle Williams, Buffalo     Aqib Talib, Denver
         
  OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)     FREE SAFETIES (2)
  Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo     Reggie Nelson, Oakland
  Von Miller, Denver     Eric Weddle, Baltimore
  Brian Orakpo, Tennessee      
        STRONG SAFETY (1)
      * Darian Stewart, Denver

SPECIALISTS (5)

  PUNTER (1)     RETURN SPECIALIST (1)
  Dustin Colquitt, Kansas City   * Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
         
  PLACEKICKERS (1)     SPECIAL TEAMER (1)
  Justin Tucker, Baltimore   * D.J. Alexander, Kansas City
         
  LONG SNAPPER (1)      
  Morgan Cox, Baltimore      


NFC

OFFENSE (21)

  QUARTERBACKS (3)   TIGHT ENDS (2)
  Drew Brees, New Orleans   Jimmy Graham, Seattle
* Kirk Cousins, Washington   Greg Olsen, Carolina
* Dak Prescott, Dallas    
      TACKLES (3)
  WIDE RECEIVERS (4) * David Bakhtiari, Green Bay
* Doug Baldwin, Seattle   Tyron Smith, Dallas
  Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants   Trent Williams, Washington
  Dez Bryant, Dallas  
* Mike Evans, Tampa Bay   GUARDS (3)
      Zack Martin, Dallas
  RUNNING BACKS (3)   Josh Sitton, Chicago
* Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas   Trai Turner, Carolina
* Jordan Howard, Chicago    
  Darren Sproles, Philadelphia   CENTERS (2)
      Travis Frederick, Dallas
  FULLBACK (1)   Jason Kelce, Philadelphia
  Mike Tolbert, Carolina    

 

DEFENSE (18)

  DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)   INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)
* Cliff Avril, Seattle   Sean Lee, Dallas
  Michael Bennett, Seattle   Bobby Wagner, Seattle
  Everson Griffen, Minnesota    
      CORNERBACKS (4)
  INTERIOR LINEMEN (3) * Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants
  Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia   Patrick Peterson, Arizona
* Linval Joseph, Minnesota * Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota
  Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay   Richard Sherman, Seattle
         
  OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)     FREE SAFETIES (2)
  Anthony Barr, Minnesota   * Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay
  Thomas Davis, Carolina     Harrison Smith, Minnesota
* K.J. Wright, Seattle      
        STRONG SAFETY (1)
      * Landon Collins, New York Giants

SPECIALISTS (5)

  PUNTER (1)     RETURN SPECIALIST (1)
  Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles Rams     Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota
         
  PLACEKICKERS (1)     SPECIAL TEAMER (1)
  MattPrater, Detroit   * Dwayne Harris, New York Giants
         
  LONG SNAPPER (1)      
* Jacob McQuaide, Los Angeles Rams      


2017 PRO BOWL PLAYERS BY CLUB

 

PLAYER POSITION PRO BOWLS  
       
ARIZONA (1)      
Patrick Peterson Cornerback 6  
 
BALTIMORE (5)  
Morgan Cox Long Snapper 2  
Kyle Juszczyk Fullback 1  
Justin Tucker Placekicker 2  
Eric Weddle Free Safety 4  
Jeremy Zuttah Center 1  
   
BUFFALO (5)    
Lorenzo Alexander Outside Linebacker 2  
Zach Brown Inside/Middle Linebacker 1  
Stephon Gilmore Cornerback 1  
Richie Incognito Guard 3  
Kyle Williams Interior Lineman 5  
   
CAROLINA (4)      
Thomas Davis Outside Linebacker 2  
Greg Olsen Tight End 3  
Mike Tolbert Fullback 3  
Trai Turner Guard 2  
     
CHICAGO (2)      
Jordan Howard Running Back 1  
Josh Sitton Guard 4  
       
CINCINNATI (4)    
Geno Atkins Interior Lineman 5  
Andy Dalton Quarterback 3  
Carlos Dunlap Defensive End 2  
Andrew Whitworth

 

Tackle 3  
CLEVELAND (1)    
Joe Thomas Tackle 10  
   
DALLAS (7)    
Dez Bryant Wide Receiver 3  
Ezekiel Elliott Running Back 1  
Travis Frederick Center 3  
Sean Lee Linebacker 2  
Zack Martin Guard 3  
Dak Prescott Quarterback 1  
Tyron Smith Tackle 4  
     
DENVER (6)  
Chris Harris Jr. Cornerback 3  
Von Miller Outside Linebacker 5  
Emmanuel Sanders Wide Receiver 2  
Darian Stewart Strong Safety 1  
Aqib Talib Cornerback 4  
Demaryius Thomas Wide Receiver 5  
       
DETROIT (1)    
Matt Prater Placekicker 2  
       
GREEN BAY (2)      
David Bakhtiari Tackle 1  
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Free Safety 1  
       
INDIANAPOLIS (1)      
T.Y. Hilton Wide Receiver 3  
   
KANSAS CITY (5)  
D.J. Alexander Special Teamer 1  
Dustin Colquitt Punter 2  
Tyreek Hill Return Specialist 1  
Travis Kelce Tight End 2  
Alex Smith Quarterback 2  
     
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3)      
Melvin Gordon Running Back 1  
Casey Hayward Cornerback 1  
Philip Rivers Quarterback 6  
   
LOS ANGELES RAMS (2)    
Johnny Hekker Punter 3  
Jacob McQuaide Long Snapper 1  
       
MIAMI (3)      
Jay Ajayi Running Back 1  
Jarvis Landry Wide Receiver 2  
Cameron Wake Defensive End 5  
       
MINNESOTA (6)      
Anthony Barr Outside Linebacker 2  
Everson Griffen Defensive End 2  
Linval Joseph Interior Lineman 1  
Cordarrelle Patterson Return Specialist 2  
Xavier Rhodes Cornerback 1  
Harrison Smith Free Safety 2  
     
NEW ORLEANS (1)    
Drew Brees Quarterback 10  
   
NEW YORK GIANTS (4)    
Odell Beckham Jr. Wide Receiver 3  
Landon Collins Strong Safety 1  
Dwayne Harris Special Teamer 1  
Janoris Jenkins Cornerback 1  
       
NEW YORK JETS (1)    
Leonard Williams Defensive End 1  
       
OAKLAND (3)      
Rodney Hudson Center 1  
Reggie Nelson Free Safety 2  
Kelechi Osemele Guard 1  
     
PHILADELPHIA (3)    
Fletcher Cox Interior Lineman 2  
Jason Kelce Center 2  
Darren Sproles Running Back 3  
       
PITTSBURGH (2)      
David DeCastro Guard 2  
Ryan Shazier Inside/Middle Linebacker 1  
       
SEATTLE (7)    
Cliff Avril Defensive End 1  
Doug Baldwin Wide Receiver 1  
Michael Bennett Defensive End 2  
Jimmy Graham Tight End 4  
Richard Sherman Cornerback 4  
Bobby Wagner Inside/Middle Linebacker 3  
K.J. Wright Outside Linebacker 1  
       
TAMPA BAY (2)      
Mike Evans Wide Receiver 1  
Gerald McCoy Interior Lineman 5  
   
TENNESSEE (5)  
Jurrell Casey Interior Lineman 2  
Taylor Lewan Tackle 1  
DeMarco Murray Running Back 3  
Brian Orakpo Outside Linebacker 4  
Delanie Walker Tight End 2  
     
WASHINGTON (2)      
Kirk Cousins Quarterback 1  
Trent Williams

 

CORTESIA:NFL

Tackle

 

5

 

 

 

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NFL and Special Olympics Announce Partnership to Expand Unified Flag Football in the United States

Jan 26, 2017

NFL AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO EXPAND

UNIFIED FLAG FOOTBALL IN THE UNITED STATES

 

NFL to Host Exhibition Game During Pro Bowl Week in Orlando

 

The NFL and Special Olympics are teaming up to provide opportunities for athletes of all abilities to ‘PLAY 60’ through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Flag Football, it was announced today. PLAY 60 is the league’s youth health and wellness platform to get kids across the country active for 60 minutes a day. To kick off their new partnership, the NFL and Special Olympics will host a unified flag football game on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 2 P.M. at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Twenty-four local Special Olympics Florida athletes and Unified partners (people without disabilities) will compete against each other, breaking down stereotypes and forging friendships on the field.

NFL Foundation grants will fund Special Olympics Unified Sports®, which builds inclusive communities by enabling people with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team. Flag football, which is one of the fastest growing sports in Special Olympics across the country, will be the focus of the new NFL-Special Olympics partnership. Funding will support eleven local Special Olympics Programs in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Colorado, Northern California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Texas, Washington and Virginia. The grants will enhance Unified Sports programming, increase participation of athletes, partners and coaches and support Special Olympics Unified Sports’ online education and training course.

“PLAY 60 is for everyone. Football brings people together and can help develop friendships regardless of differences,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility ANNA ISAACSON. “We are excited to work with Special Olympics and make flag football more accessible for athletes of all abilities.”

The partnership between the NFL and Special Olympics leverages the football community to promote awareness, respect and inclusion of Special Olympics athletes amongst NFL players, clubs, supporters and partners. These efforts will create new participants, coaches and fans to grow the sport of flag football within Special Olympics North America programs.

“We are thrilled to partner with the NFL in expanding flag football and unified sports programming to increase opportunities for our athletes across the United States and break down barriers on and off the field,” Chief Development Officer, Special Olympics, KELLI SEELY.  “There are nearly 5,000 athletes, Unified partners and coaches currently participating in flag football today and we stand ready to grow this exciting sport through our partnership with the NFL. Sport is transformational and seeing so many communities across our country experience true inclusion through this partnership is game changing.”

The partnership builds on a longstanding relationship between the NFL and Special Olympics. NFL teams have supported Special Olympics in a variety of ways, including hosting youth football clinics and competitions.

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