Roger Goodell reigns supreme over the most lucrative sports league in the world. So it goes without saying that Goodell would be making a ton of money himself.
According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Daily, Goodell took home a salary of $11.6 million in 2010. But in 2011, Goodell’s salary almost tripled to nearly $29.5 million in 2011 which made him the highest paid commissioner in professional sports.
So why the big jump in 2011? Kaplan cites the 10-year labor deal and lucrative new TV contracts that were signed after the lockout. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank defended Goodell’s lofty salary in a prepared statement.
“The NFL is the most successful and best-managed sports league in the world,” said Falcons Owner and Compensation Committee Chair Arthur Blank in a prepared statement. “This is in no small part due to Roger’s leadership and the value he brings to the table in every facet of the sport and business of the league. His compensation reflects that.”
Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards, who was released by the team in November, is one of a line of ex-NFL players to try his hand at boxing but none of them likely had a fight end like Edwards did in West Fargo, N.D. Saturday night.
The 28-year-old, 6-foot-5, 268-pound Edwards has compiled a 2-0 amateur record before facing Nick Capes in the co-main event of WinterFest Boxing this weekend.
No one on the field could tackle Julio Jones in the first half of the NFC championship. No one except a security guard who wasn’t even looking at the field.
An Atlanta Falcons fan was stabbed in the neck during an altercation outside the Georgia Dome following Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta reported.
The victim, a 35-year-old male, was stabbed after punching a San Francisco 49ers fan, witnesses told Channel 2 Action News. After being punched, the 49ers fan stabbed the Falcons fan in the throat area, according to the report. The Falcons fan was transported to nearby Grady Hospital.
Georgia Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey emailed a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday saying an altercation occurred in a parking lot outside the dome at 6:40 p.m. ET.
Rick and Teresa Kaepernick were are at the Georgia Dome watching their son play in Sunday’s NFC championship but on their way into the stadium, the Kaepernicks saw an oversized display of a muscle-bound Falcons player giving a representation of their son a wedgie. They proudly posed next to it and then their son sent them tickets to watch him play in the Super Bowl.
Atlanta Falcons Jacquizz Rodgers is a second-year running back out of Oregon State and while he may not be a household name just yet, he has a name that nevertheless is certainly unique, one that sticks in your head upon hearing it.
Upscale travel is one of the many luxuries that NFL players enjoy. But the New Orleans Saints received a rude welcome to Atlanta ahead of Thursday night’s game with the Falcons when their ride was egged Wednesday by airport workers.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel was the first Saints player to tweet about it:
“Wow, as we’re boarding buses on the Tarmac @ Atlanta airport, we start getting eggs thrown @ us by airport workers! Guess they do hate us!”
Tight end Jimmy Graham chimed in shortly after.
“Bus just got egged after landing in ATL by the ramp workers,” Graham wrote on Twitter. Classy! ‘RISE Up’ smh.”
After watching his team drop to 3-5 in last night’s 19-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was reportedly fuming. It didn’t get much better when he got down to the visiting locker room at the Georgia Dome and found himself forced to wait in the hallway.
“Jerry Jones just pounded locker room door because no one would let him in. It’s the angriest I’ve seen him all year. #Cowboys,” tweeted NBC5 sports anchor Matt Barrie.
Barrie’s tweet makes it hard to determine if Jones was locked out intentionally by coach Jason Garrett or members of the team’s staff or if it was a matter of security in a visiting stadium just not opening the doors quickly enough. But after losing a second straight game, especially on a day where they could have moved closer in the NFC East due to a Giants loss, Cowboys staffers should know better than to test the notoriously involved owner’s patience.
Apparently still smarting from the offseason decision by the Philadelphia Eagles to trade him to Atlanta for a seventh-round pick, Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel lobbed a veiled jab at Eagles head coach Andy Reid on Twitter Tuesday morning.
While Samuel didn’t mention Reid or the Eagles by name, the subject of his tweets, which posted right after news broke that Philadelphia had fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, was obvious.
“Sometimes you have to blame yourself. You can’t try and always point the figure at someone else”
“I’m just saying… Aint no decline over here#riseup”
Clearly the “ain’t no decline over here” line refers to comments Reid made justifying the trade over the summer, in which he said Samuel was “in steep decline.”
“We’ll see who’s in steep decline,” he said, noting the Falcons-Eagles matchup on October 28th before adding, “We’ll see who’s in steep decline then.”
Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker had to pay off a bet he lost recently to former wrestler, Bill Goldberg, and had to dress up like the former World Heavyweight Champion, speedo and all. The bet was that Carriker’s Redskins would beat Goldberg’s former team the Atlanta Falcons. That did not happen and now he’s forever linked.
Replacement referee Craig Ochoa in his second preseason game, he also did the Hall of Fame Game involving the Arizona Cardinals, accidentally called Atlanta Falcons “Arizona.”
“Arizona will be not charged a timeout. It will be 4th down and 8 from the 43,” he said during the first quarter of the Atlanta Falcons – Baltimore Ravens preseason game.
Fans in NFL stadiums next season will be able to follow along with the referee when he’s under the hood during a video review.
Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, the chairman of the league’s competition committee, said that teams will show on stadium display boards what officials are watching.
“(Fans will) see the exact same angles at the exact same time as he does,” McKay said.
The simulcast is among the tweaks to the replay system for 2012. Another is that all turnovers will now be reviewed by replay booth. All scoring plays were made subject to review last year.
McKay sounded dubious when discussing whether the NFL would eventually adopt the NCAA’s model of a replay official reviewing all plays and making decisions from the booth.
“College football feels very comfortable with their decision upstairs. But I don’t see that in our near future,” McKay said.
Many diehard Green Bay Packers fans, Brett Favre’s legacy as a team legend has been tarnished a bit by how he ended his NFL career. The man who engineered the trade to bring the quarterback to Green Bay, however, thinks Favre’s place remains at the top of franchise’s hallowed history.
Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, in a recent interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, expressed his belief that there has been no one better to don the Packers uniform.
“To me, Brett Favre and I are like connected at the hips,” Wolf told the newspaper. “I feel strong loyalty to Brett Favre. When I got here, Don Hutson was the greatest player ever to play for the Green Bay Packers. I think everybody will tell you now, the greatest player ever to play for the Packers is Brett Favre. That’s his legacy.”
After the 1991 season, Wolf made the bold move to acquire Favre from the Atlanta Falcons for a first-round draft pick, setting up the Packers to have 16 successful seasons with the quarterback— including a Super Bowl XXXI title.
As far as the circumstances that led to Favre’s moving on from Green Bay and finishing his playing days with the New York Jets and rival Minnesota Vikings, the longtime G.M. didn’t factor that into his opinion.
“I’m not familiar with any schism because I’m not around here,” Wolf said. “He retired, and I watched all of that from Florida. And then suddenly he came back, and I always felt that was a situation that no matter what happened, the Packers would never be right.”
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is the latest NFL figure to chime in on the player safety debate. Based on previous such comments, his sentiments lie somewhere between former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer and current Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. White took to Twitter to address the issue.
“It’s crazy how football players are killing our game you signed up to play a violent game and made a lot of money now you talk bad about #how,” White tweeted first.
When a follower asked White, “Would you ever trade your job for anything else?”, White responded with this: “No I love playing football if I cant walk when im 50 it was well worth it.”
Brian Xanders is out as general manager of the Denver Broncos after three years in that role. Boss John Elway said the decision to part ways with a year left on Xanders contract was made in a meeting between the two men Monday.
Xanders, 41, took the job hoping to have final say on personnel matters after nearly two decades in the NFL, but that wasn’t going to happen in Denver, where Elway is in his second season in charge.
Elway is a hands-on boss who has made several moves lately to streamline the personnel department and build a roster he envisions can compete for a championship like the ones he won during his Hall of Fame career as the Broncos quarterback.
“Brian and I had a very productive conversation earlier today. Although it was an extremely difficult decision, it became clear that it was best for both the Broncos and Brian to part ways,” Elway said in a statement. “I believe a change to the structure of our football operations will be mutually beneficial, allowing the department to improve its efficiency while affording Brian the opportunity to continue his promising career with another NFL team.”
Xanders joined the Broncos as assistant GM under coach Mike Shanahan in 2008 and was promoted to general manager following Josh McDaniels hiring as coach a year later.
While veteran coach John Fox was leading the Broncos turnaround on the field, it was Xanders who helped show Elway the ropes of an NFL front office job last year, guiding him through the administrative procedures and policies.
Elway began making major changes in his second season in charge, streamlining the football operations department by promoting Matt Russell from director of college scouting to director of player personnel and hiring former agent Mike Sullivan to handle contract negotiations and the salary cap.
Xanders spent his first 14 seasons in the NFL in various capacities with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Broncos as assistant GM under Shanahan.
NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp says he’s “heard” who the whistle-blower in the Saints bounty case is. When a Twitter follower of the former NFL player guessed Jeremy Shockey, Sapp responded, “BINGO!”
Shockey, a former tight end in New Orleans from 2008-2010, would have witnessed the first two years of the bounty program under def. coordinator Gregg Williams which paid defensive players for harming opponents.
Shockey responded incredulously to Sapp’s tweet: “really?? Wow did I also have something to do with the um scandal?”
Sapp was originally critical of the unidentified Saints’ “snitch” when the NFL released its findings in early March. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White expressed a similar sentiment in a tweet Wednesday: “By the way y’all got a lot of snitches in your locker room and organization no loyalty”
Shockey is now a free agent after spending a season in Carolina Panthers. Both players attended the University of Miami, and Sapp spent 13 years in the league before retiring in 2007
Jon Gruden is a blowhard who doesn’t understand the NFL rule book, according to the league’s former director of officiating Mike Pereira. The former NFL VP who now writes for Fox Sports blasts Gruden in a column regarding the ESPN commentator’s remarks on this week’s Monday night game.
“I am not a fan of Gruden’s. Not today, not yesterday, not when I worked for the NFL and not when I was working on the field as a side judge. He was a loudmouth as a coach who constantly disrespected officials and he is a blowhard in the broadcast booth who spouts off when he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
I respect his knowledge about the X’s and O’s when it comes to coaching and playing the game of football, but I have very little respect for him when it comes to officiating and his knowledge of the rules.”
Specifically, Pereira assailed Gruden for his criticisms on two catches. Gruden opined that if the officials flagged Atlanta Falcons Curtis Lofton for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the New Orleans Saints Marques Colston then they also should have penalized Malcolm Jenkins later when he took down the Falcons Reggie Kelly.
“I just don’t understand how games are being officiated,” Gruden said.
Pereira says Gruden totally misunderstood the NFL’s guidelines on when a receiver is considered a “defenseless receiver” and that the two collisions were very different.
Says Pereira: “Gruden said he doesn’t understand how games are being officiated? Correctly and consistently in this case. But that’s OK, Jon. Just throw the officials under the bus when you don’t know the rules.”
Coach Raheem Morris sees a bright future for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and believes he should be a part of it. Morris job could be in jeopardy as Tampa Bay (4-11), one year after going 10-6, will try and stop a nine-game skid in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Atlanta.
“I think I answered this question a couple weeks ago … I will never fire myself,” Morris said Monday, two days after the Bucs were beaten 48-16 at Carolina. “You don’t go from being a coach of a year candidate to being the worst coach in the league to get fired within a year. It’s about us. It’s a little bit of everything.”
Tampa Bay has turned over the ball 36 times and allowed 449 points this season. What has been the most frustrating part for Morris has been a recent stretch of one-sided losses.
“No question … bingo,” Morris said. “But it happens because people go outside of the box and try to make plays that are just not there in order to get that football team, or basketball team, or hockey team to win. You’ve got to go play within the system and make the plays that technique and opportunity allow you to make. Once you got those things, it’s just like the year before.”
This year’s struggles have not dampened Morris’ view on the Bucs’ youth movement.
“We’ve got a chance to work on some of the fine details, some of the stuff we may have missed from last year,” Morris said. “This year we’ll have an offseason. This year we’ll have a chance to be with them. This year we’ll have great examples on how to lose games, and we’ll have great examples on how to win games because we have the last two seasons to look at.”
“Last year, this same team won 10 games, now through a little bit of smoke and mirrors so to speak, but that’s not the point,” Morris added. “You’ve got a chance to get better this offseason. You’ve got a chance to come out here and get an offseason and get these guys together. We’re not a finished product, but you don’t have to be a finished product in order to win. We proved that last year.”
Ever since Monday Night Football ousted Hank Williams Jr. from the show’s opening segment following some inappropriate comments, producers have crafted unique introductions to each game. For the last Monday night game of the season, we were treated to a special holiday intro to the New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons game introductions done by Betty White.
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs doesn’t care if the NFL fines him for his choice in gloves or cleats this weekend as he plans on wearing a special edition of Reebok’s 9-11 gloves and cleats against the Atlanta Falcons. Reebok advised Briggs he could be fined for wearing the gear that is intended to pay tribute to the 10-year anniversary of 9-11 but says he’s prepared to pay it.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck also have plans on wearing the gear for their season openers on Sunday.
The seventh season of popular the popular NFL HBO show Hard Knocks has been canceled, according to Sports Illustrated. The HBO programming has proved immensely successful in its previous six seasons and won three Sports Emmys for last year’s series with the New York Jets.
Although the Jets made for interesting television, teams weren’t exactly lining up to appear on Hard Knocks this season, even before labor talks stalled. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions turned down HBO.
The show debuted in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens and has been aired every year since
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White says Atlanta’s offense will be a nightmare for opponents. With the Falcons possessing playmakers at numerous offensive positions like quarterback Matt Ryan, Michael Turner at running back, White, Tony Gonzalez at tight end, and recently drafted Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones at wide receiver has many NFL insiders think much of the same thing. White, who led the NFL with 115 receptions, is not hiding his confidence in the offense, or in Jones.
“We’re going to outscore everybody,” White told NFL Network. “Green Bay’s got what, four or five guys out there who can make plays? We’re going to be Green Bay South.”
However they are currently 0-2 in the playoffs in the Ryan era and recently was shredded by the Green Bay Packers for 48 points in the playoffs.
“It’s going to be special,” White said. “It’s going to remind you of the Greatest Show on Turf. We’ve got a lot of explosive players and I see more explosive plays coming out of our offense.”
It’s official the people have voted and named Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis to be the cover athlete on Madden 12. Hillis edged out Green Bay Packers Super Bowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the semifinals and then beat the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
Hillis got more than one million votes to be out Vick while the total for the whole bracket challenge saw more than 13 million votes. After he was named the winner, Hillis said he was “excited” and he didn’t think he had a shot against Vick, whom he has “always looked up to.”
Hillis upset higher seeds throughout the vote starting first with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice then moved on to beat Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles before knocking out Rodgers and Vick.
New Jersey rock star Jon Bon Jovi has been in negotiations with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank in which Bon Jovi would purchase 15 percent of the NFL franchise for $150 million. Blank is among a select group of owners who have been seeking more minority partners to gain an infusion of cash that in Blank’s case will also help him realize his plans to build a new outdoor stadium in the Atlanta area. Bon Jovi was owner of the Philadelphia Soul, an Arena League team for five years from 2004-2009.
The two sides have signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose details of negotiations but a league source pegged the financial talks based on a $1 billion valuation of the Atlanta franchise.