It's unlikely helicopters will be involved in the news coverage of where fourth-year Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn lands in free agency, but that doesn't mean the pursuit of the second most sought-after passer in this year's market will lack for significance or intrigue.
The Giants pounded the testosterone out of the Falcons Sunday, with a dominant 24-2 victory that left no doubt about who were the men and who were the boys in this NFC battle.
DENVER -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we digest a wild-card weekend in the NFL that obviously saved the best for last, Denver's stunning Tebow-led overtime upset of Pittsburgh at a delirious Sports Authority Field...
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- Described by teammates as an assassin in the run-up to Sunday's playoff game, Eli Manning delivered the kill shot early in the fourth quarter of the Giants' 24-2 drubbing of the Falcons at MetLife Stadium.
Grading out the performances from the New York Giants' dominant 24-2 win over Atlanta Sunday in NFC wild-card action.
1. Which team will find its playoff mojo?
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a Week 17 that gave us playoff-scenario drama, record-breaking performances and the close of another unpredictable regular season in the NFL...
NEW ORLEANS -- On a night when he stood taller than any other NFL quarterback ever, at least in one very historic sense, it's ironic that Drew Brees couldn't see much of the record-breaking feat he had just wrought.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith was transported to a North Carolina hospital on Sunday, hours after leading his team to a come-from-behind win, the team said.
Four weeks remain in the regular season, and this is the time of year when we begin to convince ourselves that we see the 12-team playoff field taking shape in great clarity. But there are almost always developments and postseason drives that we didn't anticipate, and assumptions that get proven false as the final weeks of results roll in and upsets play havoc with our preconceived notions.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight on a second consecutive NFL Sunday ruled by the road teams....
New Orleans Saints (6-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
Seven weeks into the NFL's regular season doesn't begin to tell the whole story, but it's plenty long enough to spot the trends of underachievement surfacing in 2011. This week's Indianapolis at Tennessee game throws a spotlight of sorts on the not-getting-it-done set, what with this year's poster child of underachievement -- Titans running back Chris Johnson -- being on one sideline, and Team Underachievement, aka the winless Colts, occupying the other.
Week 7 stories I love: Plaxico Burress, Matt Ryan, Tim Tebow and DeMarco Murray.
Green Bay Packers (4-0) at Atlanta Falcons (2-2)
Every once in a while, we're reminded that maybe the NFL schedule makers really do know what they're doing after all. Week 5 provides us with ample evidence.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The play is called "19 Weak." It's the signature of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running game and there's nothing complicated about it. Just weakside isolation and a beastly 250-pound tailback running downhill.
ATLANTA -- Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan greets visitors with a smile and a handshake. He looks them in their eyes, asks how they're doing and waits for the answer before speaking again. If there is an impolite bone in his body, it doesn't show up in X-rays, which is why everyone in the interview room after Sunday's roller-coaster 35-31 victory over Eagles knew there was no chance of him stirring the pot when asked about the team's play-calling.
There are times in a life, and in football, when a person is ready to do things differently. The Patriots got rebel-without-a-cause Albert Haynesworth at the right time this year; whether he ends up a great player, the one thing we do know is he's working at it, in part because he feels he's finally taking orders from a smart coach.
SI.com is previewing all eight divisions throughout the week in anticipation of the 2011 season kicking off. (Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Peter King had to say about Falcons camp in Flowery Branch, Ga., which he visited on July 30. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a quarterback-happy first round of the 2011 NFL Draft at a crowded and rowdy Radio City Music Hall ...
So dizzying was the trading action at last year's NFL Draft that the 24th overall pick went from Philadelphia to Denver to New England to Dallas in the span of about an hour. In the end, the Cowboys used it to take the most enigmatic player in that draft -- Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant.
The NFL rolled out the 2011 schedule with its usual amount of prime-time fanfare on Tuesday, and yet what do we make of a regular season that has the potential to be anything but regular?
Grading out the performances from the Packers' 48-21 victory over the Falcons in the NFC Divisional Playoffs ...
Things we learned from watching the Saints' riveting defeat of the Falcons in the Georgia Dome Monday night ...
I must be crazy to be part of 13 real fantasy leagues this fall. That's 13 leagues of last-minute lineup changes in September, 13 leagues of stressful wheeling-and-dealing before the November trade deadlines and 13 leagues of agonizing over RB/WR-flex options during the playoff weeks of December.
CHICAGO -- Musings, observations and the occasional Week 14 insight as we take in the wild winter carnival between the cold-weather Patriots and the cold-weather Bears at the big snow globe known as Solider Field ...
Quick-hitting insight from today's 1 p.m. games ...
The night games may grab the biggest headlines, but start-to-finish this could be the best weekend of intriguing matchups, bitter rivalries and fortune-changing games the NFL has yet seen.
Musings, observations and the occasional Week 12 insight as we thankfully get treated to another eventful Sunday of NFL action ...
Quick-hitting insights on today's 1 p.m. games ...
ATLANTA -- Here are five things we learned from the Falcons' pulsating 26-21 win over the Ravens at the Georgia Dome.
KANSAS CITY -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a Week 3 that was quite friendly to the road teams on this NFL Sunday ...
ColdHardFootballFacts.com breaks down Sunday's Atlanta at New Orleans game (1 p.m. ET, Fox).
ATLANTA -- There was a massacre here last December, on the carpet in the Georgia Dome. You could almost smell the burning feathers. Three of the best Falcons were injured, and they started a quarterback who hadn't started a game in two years. My brother John and I paid more than $100 per ticket for the privilege of sharing an upper-level section with loathsome buffoons in Eagles jerseys. No surprise there: Atlanta fans are often forced to cohabitate with carpetbaggers from the North. But today we felt a new kind of shame. A throng of fans in Falcons colors wore the name and number of the backup quarterback for the other team. His name, of course, was Michael Vick.
This week, SI.com is rolling out previews for all eight NFL divisions. Today, we tackle the NFC South and AFC South, following up Tuesday's breakdowns of the AFC East and NFC East. The AFC North and NFC North follow Thursday and the AFC West and NFC West conclude things Friday.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Andrew Lawrence had to say about Jaguars camp. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Peter King had to say about the Falcons camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
With Peter King on vacation until July 26, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan took time away from his off-season vacation to write today's Monday Morning Quarterback Column. Ryan, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008, has compiled a 20-10 record in two seasons as a starter, the second-best mark among NFC quarterbacks with at least 30 starts.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Falcons running back Michael Turner thinks back to last offseason and shakes his head. Then he laughs. It's not that kind of down-in-the-belly guffaw that comes from remembering something funny. It's the nervous, uncomfortable chuckle that rises when confronted with an embarrassing moment from your past.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons' slogan for the 2010 season is "RISE UP." You see the words on highway billboards and window placards, often superimposed over a game image of quarterback Matt Ryan. That's fitting because the team is asking its franchise player to raise his game this year by taking ownership of the offense.
Breaking down the best and worst of each team's selections from the 2010 NFL draft. ...
The Steelers without a suspended Ben Roethlisberger early in the 2010 season will be an obviously weakened team, but they are not the 2007 Falcons sent reeling by an incarcerated Michael Vick or even the equivalent of a Colts or Saints team if they were to face a daunting extended absence by star quarterbacks Peyton Manning or Drew Brees.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight in a rather lackluster Week 12 that clearly will save its best for last: Patriots at Saints, where I'll be Monday night in a jacked-to-the-gills Superdome in New Orleans ...
Things we learned from the Saints' 35-27 win over the Falcons Monday night at the Superdome ...
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
Things we learned from the Falcons' 21-14 conquest of the Bears Sunday night at the Georgia Dome ...
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
Things we know (or at least think we do) one month into the NFL's regular season....
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Andrew Lawrence had to say about the Falcons' camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. For an archive of all the camp postcards, click here.
The vast majority of team rosters are set barring an unforeseen injury early in camp. Though there are still some "name" free agents available, like one-time Colts teammates Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James, most of those players are past their prime and still on the market for a reason. Here's my look at the best and worst offseasons for NFL franchises:
Falcons rookie head coach Mike Smith collected the NFL's Coach of the Year award from the Associated Press this season for the remarkable turnaround that he helped author in Atlanta. The Falcons went 11-5 and made the playoffs as an NFC wild-card entry after enduring the misery of 2007's 4-12 finish.
While driving to work early Thursday morning, Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett felt tears welling in his eyes as he peered through the tinted windows of his Mercedes sedan.
Every Monday, SI.com's Ross Tucker will hand out letter grades to deserving NFL parties...
NEW YORK -- Take a bow, Howard Katz. This was your schedule. The other day, Roger Goodell told Katz, the NFL's schedule-meister, that if he had to take the public slings and arrows when the slate for the week was a clunker, "you should take a bow now.''
If the Falcons make the playoffs -- and they'll need help even if they win their final two games to finish 11-5 -- they'll be able to look back and thank Justin Blalock for making the biggest play in the biggest game of the season.
Five things we learned from the Falcons' 24-17 victory over the whoops-a-daisy Vikings ...
Every Monday, SI.com's Ross Tucker will hand out letter grades to deserving NFL parties...
Musings, observations and the occasional insight while watching the strange doings of a Week 15 that from start to finish I just didn't understand ...
You have bombarded me with questions about the seemingly unfair way (and I'm sure Mike Smith, Rich McKay and Arthur Blank would not include the words "seemingly'' there) the Atlanta-Philadelphia game ended, and so I've scrapped plans to write about the new Dallas stadium 'til next week. Instead, let's examine the play, and the game situation, that I can guarantee you will be reviewed after the season by the National Football League. I'll start with one of the most cogent letters, from John Hyman, of Chicago:
Who says that size matters? That phrase certainly doesn't apply to Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who has been one of the NFL's top tacklers throughout his 11-year career.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight while a Week 6 that was flush with fantastic finishes unfolds before our eyes ...
One of my favorite things to do is research old sports stories. This is because I'm crazy. In any case, Sunday before the farce that was the Chiefs-Falcons football game, I was sitting next to Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson and I asked him if he had ever played in Atlanta. He said: "Sure, I was there for the Dave Hampton game." I had only vaguely heard the story about the Dave Hampton game, so I went back to look it up. Turns out, the story was more amazing than Lenny made it sound ... more amazing, really, than I could have imagined.
ATLANTA -- What we learned from the Falcons' thrill-a-minute 34-21 victory over the Lions at the newly renovated Georgia Dome, aka The House That Hebert Built.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we were witnessing the winning, but at times sloppy beginning of the Jets' Brett Favre era.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we arrive at the midway point of the NFL's fake-game schedule, putting us (thankfully) just 17 days away from when they start keeping score for real. ...
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight gleaned from a day at the Atlanta Falcons training camp last week, where all things new -- be it a head coach, a general manager, a first-round quarterback, a lead running back or a kicker -- are positively the rage....
SI.com has dispatched 10 writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. For the complete schedule of postcards, click here.
Soon after the Atlanta Falcons informed Matt Ryan's agent, Tom Condon, that they were going to take him with their first pick on NFL draft weekend, Falcons president Rich McKay said to the veteran agent, "You know where we are. Can you do this early?"
The text message arrived on Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff's cellphone around noon last Saturday, three hours before the start of the 2008 NFL draft: trust your instincts. you have been training for this all your life. It came from Patriots vice president Scott Pioli, Dimitroff's close friend, former boss and mentor, and he took the encouraging words to heart. This was the first draft that Dimitroff, 42, would run, and the job ahead of him was monumental. Atlanta held six of the first 98 picks and had 10 holes in its starting lineup to fill, including quarterback. "This draft will be a milestone in the history of the Falcons," team owner Arthur Blank had said on Friday. "We're not starting a new chapter here. We're starting a new book."
One of my very good friends, Corey Bowdre, is also one of the biggest Falcons fans I know. He knew I was in Atlanta for the draft and sent me this text message Monday: "Not very impressed.''
Thanks to its wheeling and dealing ways, Cleveland essentially won't have a draft this year. San Diego's roster is so well stocked it doesn't really need one. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.
Just 17 days out from the 2008 NFL draft, we hold these "truths" to be self-evident:
In terms of getting better quickly, nobody in the NFL improved more dramatically in 2007 than Cleveland (six more wins than 2006), Green Bay and Tampa Bay (five each). With the league's offseason re-distribution of talent in full swing, and the draft still six weeks away, here are the five teams I think have done the most to better their lot in the NFL:
Strangely enough, the screaming headline news of Brett Favre's retirement led my thoughts in an unexpected direction: to the lowly Falcons, and some reflection on how different the fate of two franchises might have been had the Packers never wrested Favre away from Atlanta in their memorable February 1992 trade.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans agreed to a two-year contract with former Atlanta tight end Alge Crumpler, one of many veterans released last month by the Falcons.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Michael Turner says he was won over by the Atlanta Falcons' aggressive efforts when he agreed to a six-year deal Sunday.
Not much has gone to plan for the Atlanta Falcons since the final month of the 2006 season or so, but you can't fault their execution in the pursuit and acquisition of free-agent running back Michael Turner this weekend.
The Atlanta Falcons added one running back Sunday, but will lose another in the near future.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Finally, something went right for the Falcons. Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff, pitted against the Oakland Raiders for the third pick in the draft, called tails in a Westin Hotel conference room when a league official flipped a coin Friday morning, and it came up tails. That broke the logjam for the third pick in the draft between Atlanta, Oakland and Kansas City. The order at the top is now official:
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we count down to the start of the annual meat market that is the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis ...
Now that Washington's bizarrely conducted coaching search has concluded with perhaps the fastest promotion in the history of the NFL -- Jim Zorn went from newly hired Redskins offensive coordinator to head coach in a couple weeks -- the theme behind this year's crop of coaching hires is: The cleaner the better.
ATLANTA -- He'd seemingly become the billionaire owner who now couldn't even buy a break.
Preparing to play in the Super Bowl sounds stressful enough, but if you ask me, the players on the Giants and Patriots have it easy. Try being a member of, say, the Atlanta Falcons or Miami Dolphins, two teams that didn't come close to making the playoffs and surely will undergo wholesale roster changes as they welcome their third new coach in as many years.
They say that birds of a feather flock together, but I don't think this is the company that the Falcons and Ravens really want to be keeping these days. With the not-so-surprising news that Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has told both teams that he's no longer interested in becoming their next head coach, I'm guessing the reality is starting to set in in Atlanta and Baltimore:
His name is not on the lips of casual football fans, but Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell definitely is on the minds of officials looking to fill head-coaching vacancies.
If the Atlanta Falcons are interested in Marty Schottenheimer as their next head coach, it's news to Schottenheimer.
Thoughts on the upcoming Jets-Patriots game, a.k.a. The Payback Bowl, and other NFL Week 15 topics ...
The star-crossed season of the Atlanta Falcons continued, stunningly, Tuesday afternoon when coach Bobby Petrino told owner Arthur Blank he wanted out as head coach.
What we learned on a night when Monday Night Football came here to see the 3-10 Falcons for the third time (including one preseason game) this season, exactly three more than they've visited Lambeau Field to see the 11-2 Packers.
MORE GAME PLANS: Jets-Cowboys | Colts-Falcons
In August 2002, Andrew Young, a former ambassador to the United Nations and onetime aide to Martin Luther King Jr., met with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The meeting was not scheduled or scripted, and it lasted only a few minutes. Vick was coming off the field after a training-camp practice at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and Young pulled him aside.
More Game Plans: Cincinnati-Buffalo | Denver-Detroit | San Francisco-Atlanta | Green Bay-Kansas City | San Diego-Minnesota | Carolina-Tennessee | Arizona-Tampa Bay | Jacksonville-New Orleans | Washington-N.Y. Jets | Seattle-Cleveland | Houston-Oakland | Dallas-Philadelphia
MORE GAME PLANS: Atlanta-New Orleans | Tennessee-Houston | Arizona-Washington | New England-Miami | Baltimore-Buffalo | San Francisco-New York Giants | Kansas City-Oakland | New York Jets-Cincinnati | St. Louis-Seattle | Chicago-Philadelphia | Pittsburgh-Denver | Minnesota-Dallas
Want to know how un-obsessed Atlantans are with the Michael Vick story now? Witness the local ESPN radio affiliate in the hours leading up to Monday night's game between the Falcons and the Giants. The hosts spent a 10-minute segment making fun of the male producer, who had spent part of his weekend getting a manicure, pedicure and his eyebrows waxed. "Nothing wrong with taking care of yourself," the producer argued. "It's time we put the 'man' back in manicure."
Somewhat unexpectedly, Tuesday turned out to be a pretty good day for the Atlanta Falcons, who learned that an arbitrator had ruled in their favor regarding their quest to recoup almost $20 million in bonus money from disgraced quarterback Michael Vick. The grateful Falcons will take any victory they can get, even if it shows up only in a financial ledger. Because in almost every other quantifiable category, the losses keep piling up in the first year of the Bobby Petrino coaching era in Atlanta.
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