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  • NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: JULY 4, 2012 - 8:44P.M.






    "When we last saw Greg Jones, he was on a knee, proposing
    to his girlfriend
    as the confetti was still falling on the field minutes
    after the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI victory. It was one of the great wedding
    proposals of all time.

    Since then, with regard to his football career, Jones has undergone a
    position change moving from his usual spot in the middle to an outside
    linebacker role. Jones, who was the Giants' starter in Week 1 last season after
    Jonathan Goff was lost for the season and remained in that role until a
    shaky outing against the San Francisco 49ers
    in November, is hoping the move
    will help him find a way back on the field.

    The 2011 sixth-round pick talks about adjusting to his new role and what
    others have said about his proposal in this installment of our Giants
    summer questionnaire

    How’s the wedding planning going?

    It’s going pretty good. I try to be as involved as I’m allowed to be. Other
    than that, it’s going good. It’s very exciting. I can’t wait.

    How many women came to you and told you how great the proposal

    Yeah, it was more so the guys saying, ‘Thanks. Thanks a lot.’ But the girls,
    yeah, they all liked the ring, all her friends and family, my mom and everybody
    loved the ring.

    Last year, you had no offseason and had to start Week 1. How do you
    compare your comfort level now to then?

    Oh wow, I feel a lot better. I’m playing a new position, but I’d rather be
    doing that with OTAs than with not having OTAs and coming in to learn something
    I really never had any time playing. So this gives me an opportunity to learn
    the defense from a new position and giving me a better perspective on what I
    need to do.

    I know Perry
    Fewell switches up his terminology
    . You’re playing the strong side but it’s
    really the weak side?

    Yeah, it’s crazy. But for right now, let’s call it the ‘Sam.’ I’m usually
    away from the tight end, though.

    So when you made the switch, Fewell said it could be beneficial for

    Yeah, he said, ‘We want to try it.’ Originally, I thought he said they might
    switch it back during camp. I didn’t know if they meant minicamp or training
    camp. Obviously, I guess it’ll be training camp when I might go back to ‘Mike.’
    But if not, I’m still fine at ‘Sam.’ I intend to build from there.

    Is it a matter of pride you have to swallow after playing the middle
    for so many years?

    Well, it’s not really pride. It’s definitely a comfort level. You get used to
    what you do. (Fewell) will say, ‘I’m talking to the Mikes,’ and I’m still
    thinking he’s talking to me. But you still listen and I’m getting used to it,
    and I’m getting more comfortable at the ‘Sam’ position.

    You think it could suit you and help you perform?

    I think so. If and when I get thrown in there, I feel ready to go and would
    be ready to produce and help the team win."




    "The first thing Ray Perkins did was apologize for not returning the call in a
    more timely fashion, blaming the delay on “still trying to figure out this new

    Yes, the clash of modern technology and the fingers of a septuagenarian
    rarely produce instant gratification but that hasn’t stopped Perkins, who
    thought he’d retired, from getting back in the game.

    A football coaching lifer who in the early ’80s helped guide the Giants out
    of the wilderness and into the playoffs, a task-master who ran the show at
    Alabama and also with the Buccaneers in Tampa is merely days away from opening
    up the summer program at Jones County Junior College, an outpost in Ellisville,
    Miss., only 20 minutes away from Perkins’ home in Hattiesburg and so very far
    from the big-time football environs he’d grown accustomed to

    Twenty years removed from his most recent head-coaching job (Arkansas State,
    1992) isn’t Perkins, age 70, a bit too old for this sort of thing, dealing with
    teenagers fresh out of high school enrolled in a two-year school?

    “Why would I be?’’ Perkins told The Post yesterday. “I’m healthy, I don’t
    take anything prescription-wise, feel great, feel in good shape, so why not? I
    think I would be wrong if I didn’t.’’

    Giants fans of a certain age recall Perkins’ arrival in 1979, with the
    franchise in the dark ages, a perennial non-contender. He went 6-10 and 4-12 in
    his first two seasons, but the Giants went 9-7 in 1981 to make the playoffs for
    the first time in 18 years. With players such as Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms
    and assistants such as Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel, the
    building blocks were in place for the winning and glory that followed under
    Parcells after Perkins left following the 1982 season to become the head coach
    at Alabama, his alma mater.

    “He was George Young’s first hire and was very much an unknown at the time,’’
    Giants co-owner John Mara told The Post. “Dan Reeves was the hot assistant back
    then and most — including me — thought he should get the job. But George had a
    conviction about Ray. He said Perkins will make it ‘uncomfortable in the locker
    room for the players to lose.’

    “He certainly made us a better team. Perkins was instrumental in our decision
    to draft Phil Simms — ‘He has a rare talent’ — and should get credit for
    bringing a number of good coaches into the league — Parcells, Belichick,
    Crennel, among others.’’

    Upon hearing Perkins was back in coaching, Mara said, “I am not surprised
    because I can’t really see him being a retiree. He has too much energy. Maybe a
    little surprised that he is at a small junior college. I just think that
    coaching is in his blood.’’

    Perkins admits he thought he indeed was retired and spent his time golfing,
    engaging in some commercial real-estate ventures, fund-raisers and not much
    football. “Fiddling around with a little junior high here, junior high there,
    just volunteering a little bit,’’ Perkins said.

    Working on a one-year contract that pays him about $100,000, Perkins knows
    coaching at a small junior college isn’t the same as operating out of Giants
    Stadium or Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, but the game, he figures, is not
    much different no matter where you are.

    “These two years are probably the most important two years of a young man’s
    life after high school,’’ Perkins said. “I get to be a part of that. Hopefully
    it’s a positive part. I’ve never lost my enthusiasm or passion for the game of
    football. I’m excited to have another opportunity to do that, coach

    Perkins is spending this week on the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., vacationing
    with his wife and two daughters, ages 14 and 8. On Monday, the vacation is over,
    as players report for a month-long summer program. Inheriting a team coming off
    a 6-3 season, Perkins believes his Bobcats can be big winners for as long as
    he’s on the scene.

    “Somebody asked me the other day ‘How much longer?’ ’’ Perkins said. “I said,
    ‘I got another 20 years in me — as long as somebody will have me.’ I’m having
    real fun with this thing. We’ve got a great group of kids. I think we got a
    chance to do something special.’’


    "Tom Coughlin turns 66 years old on Aug. 31, a day after Ray Perkins, for the
    first time in two decades, will walk the sideline as the head coach of a
    football team.

    Perkins, 70, is about to enter his first season running the show for tiny
    Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss.

    Perkins, the former coach of the Giants and Buccaneers in the NFL and Alabama
    in the Southeast Conference, doesn’t think for a second he’s too old to get back
    into the game. He’s a great admirer of Coughlin’s and doesn’t see the two-time
    Super Bowl winner going anywhere any time soon, either.

    “Tom Coughlin’s got another 15, 20 years in him,’’ Perkins told The Post.

    When that remark was met with laughter, Perkins quickly added, “He does. He
    works out, he takes care of himself, he feels good. He’s a great coach, and I
    mean it. He’s got 15 or 20 more years in him. And he is totally wrong if he
    starts thinking of retirement, in my opinion.’’

    Coughlin recently signed a new contract through the 2014 season."





    "Good morning fellow Giants fans and Happy 4th to you all. It's also Hump Day,
    and time to look at our Hump Day calendar--there are just nine weeks until the
    Giants and Cowboys kick off the
    2012 NFL season. Really, it's just a little over two months, and on Thursday it
    will have been five months since the Giants won the Super Bowl. We're just
    putting things in perspective. Meanwhile, here are a few reading
    items--otherwise enjoy your holiday and drink responsibly!

    Ward calls it a career - Football Wires -

    New York Giants, Tampa Bay
    and Houston Texans
    running back Derrick Ward
    announced his retirement on Tuesday. "To all my fans just wanted to let u know
    its been a great ride the last 9yrs but I'm calling it a career. I thank u all
    for believing in me,!" Ward said on his Twitter account. The former
    seventh-round pick rushed for a career-high 1,025 yards with the Giants in

    back on the sidelines at Mississippi JUCO - SFGate

    Ray Perkins
    leans back in his chair, enthusiastically talking football in his Mississippi
    office at tiny Jones County Junior College. A pair of palm trees stands in the
    heat outside — a dead giveaway that this is a long way from Giants Stadium and
    the bright lights of the NFL. But for the 70-year-old Perkins, it's football
    paradise. "It fits like a glove," Perkins said. "This is what I'm supposed to be
    doing." That may surprise some people.

    East's 'dynamic duos' - NFC East Blog - ESPN

    Our man Gary Horton
    listed his top 10 "dynamic duos" Insider in the NFC last week. It's an Insider
    piece, so all I can really tell you is that Philadelphia
    defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin, who
    combined for 29 sacks last year, ranked second on the list and New York Giants
    defensive ends Justin Tuck and
    ranked ninth. My innate knowledge of the inner workings of the
    minds of my readers tells me that a percentage of you are already furious about
    this disparity and are suggesting that Horton be institutionalized. Me? I think
    I'd rank the Giants' ends ahead of the Eagles' ends, but it's extremely close,
    and the key thing to remember is that these are four elite pass-rushers and the
    only four represented at all on Gary's list. If you had the second pick in a
    pass-rushing-duo draft, you'd be pretty fired up to know you were getting one of
    these two.

    It is close, but it won't be after this year! JPP for NFL MVP?

    game repeat? Odds stacked against XLVI champion Giants -

    Participating in back-to-back Super Bowls is an impressive
    achievement. The New England
    were the last team to accomplish that feat when they won Super
    Bowls after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. As you can see by the accompanying chart
    (right), participating in consecutive conference championship games is also very
    difficult. While the New York Jets
    recently managed back-to-back appearances in the AFC title game, the NFC title
    game hasn't had a repeat participant since the Philadelphia Eagles made four
    straight in the early aughts.....The New York Giants, San Francisco
    , Baltimore Ravens
    and Patriots will each field very talented teams in 2012, but the odds are
    against most of them returning to their respective conference title

    HAVEN 200: North Haven's Kevin Gilbride started at SCSU, but cemented legacy
    with New York Giants - Sports - Post-Chronicle

    Kevin Gilbride had
    dreams of becoming a major league pitcher while growing up in North Haven, where
    he starred at every level right through his time with high school coach Bob
    DeMayo. Arm injuries derailed his baseball dreams. They also limited him as a
    quarterback at Southern Connecticut State, where he finished his career as a
    tight end.

    York Giants to host non-contact youth camps in New Canaan - New Canaan

    This summer, the New York Giants will offer 27 non-contact
    football camps in 26 communities. The Giants will host their second New Canaan
    camp at St. Luke's High School from July 23-27. The five-day camp runs Monday
    through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Camps are available to kids ages 6-14 years

    4 has lots of happy memories | The Post-Searchlight

    While looking
    forward to enjoying our July 4 Independence Day holiday today in Bainbridge, my
    mind flashed back to a special Independence Day I had with my New Jersey
    relatives back in 2008. My cousins, Bill and Maurine Collins, and their son,
    Michael, took me to Long Branch Beach on the New Jersey shore for the day. It
    was just about five months after the New York Giants beat the
    previously-undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. As we sat
    around the beach enjoying our Independence Day hot dogs, hamburgers and all the
    trimmings, I proudly told my cousins about a Decatur County native, Giants
    starting safety James Butler,
    who was a major contributor to the Giants’ Super Bowl victory.

    I only posted this last one because it mentioned the Giants winning a Super
    Bowl, and the 4th of July. Sounds good to me! Now, let me see how many hot dogs
    I can eat...."



    "Giants’ punter Steve Weatherford has quickly endeared
    himself to the Giants, faithful with his down-to-earth mannerisms, his zest for
    life, and, of course, his spectacular punting. But there’s a lot more to this
    fun-loving workout warrior who enjoys all kinds of music from heavy metal to
    j***, and who—despite his celebrity status—is as humble as one will find in a
    sport that is sometimes a breeding ground for “divas.”

    In the first of this two-part article, meet Weatherford, the athlete and

    Steve Weatherford isn’t an average NFL punter.

    Forget about the chiseled physique that has landed the 29-year-old in several
    health and fitness magazines, and gotten him noticed by the President of the
    United States, who was said to have recognized the effervescent Weatherford as
    “that ripped punter” during the team’s June 8 visit to the White House.

    Forget about the guy who, just moments after teammate Lawrence
    kicked the Giants into the Super Bowl, was seen running across
    the field doing his best impersonation of an airplane, the cameras catching him
    showing his human side as the realization of what had transpired sunk in.

    Forget about the outfit he donned during the team’s ring ceremony
    presentation, the blue blazer and red pants (the Giants’ colors), which was such
    a hit, he was asked to wear the same outfit again during a local television

    There’s a lot more to know about the man whose legion of Twitter followers
    revel in “Weatherford Wednesdays,” a day to ‘kick something’ in celebration of
    the mid-part of the workweek, or are often surprised when Weatherford himself
    responds to a “tweet.”

    If you have an appreciation for Weatherford’s zest for life, wait until you
    see just how serious he really is about his craft, his teammates, and his

    The Athlete
    There’s a piece of paper that stands out on
    the corkboard inside of Weatherford’s Timex Performance Center locker that
    reminds him every day what his goal is.

    On that paper are the following words: “Westhoff says Giants’ punter ‘wasn’t
    good enough’ to play for Jets.”‘

    Those words are a headline from the 2011 season, referring. of course, to
    Jets’ special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff’s opinion that Weatherford, during
    his time with the Jets, didn’t perform at a good-enough level to warrant another
    year in 2011.

    Those words are there to remind Weatherford that there are no days off. They
    remind him that, if he’s not prepared to put in a hard day’s worth of work, he
    will confirm what those who doubt him believe to be true—that he is not “good

    “Obviously, that’s somebody telling me I am not good enough, and that’s
    something that has always motivated me,” Weatherford said by phone from his San
    Diego home, where he was preparing for another of his grueling legendary

    “I’ve had people like Mike Westhoff throughout my journey as an athlete and
    as a man tell me I wasn’t good enough. You can handle it one of two ways. You
    can agree with them, or you can buck the system and prove them wrong.”

    Weatherford paused and continued, “I’ve always been a renegade, a guy who
    bucks the system. So in that particular case, I used his negativity to achieve
    something positive in my life.”

    Weatherford, who considers himself to be a “glass half-full” type, noted that
    by finding something positive when it was initially “tough to find anything
    positive about what he said about me,” he had his best season as a pro,
    finishing with career-bests in gross average (45.7) and net average (39.2).

    Those numbers, combined with his spectacular directional kicking and his
    lightning-fast hands on place kicks, earned him the Giants’ franchise tag this
    past off-season, meaning that he was their top free-agent priority.

    Weatherford has since signed a five-year contract worth a reported $12.75M.
    Unlike some of his punting peers who bounce around from team to team every
    season—sometimes more than once a season—Weatherford has a place to call home
    for a few years.

    For that, he said, he can thank his doubters like Westhoff.

    “I used that as fuel for my fire, and obviously, I think I’m very happy with
    the way that turned out, and I think everyone associated with the Giants is
    happy with the way that turned out because now we’re world champions,” he

    While his detractors play a large part in his desire to be the best he can
    be, Weatherford admits to having shortcomings as an athlete, which is another
    reason he pushes himself the way he does.

    “I’ve never been a guy ’who’s been incredibly talented,” he said. “There are
    guys in the NFL who hardly train in the off-season and they’re still
    unbelievably good. I’m not that type of guy, and I know that the only reason why
    I am in the NFL is the work ethic I have and the time that I am willing to
    sacrifice and to put into training and kicking. That’s the only reason why I
    made it in the NFL and have survived as long as I have.”

    In coming in to work every day, Weatherford always has a smile on his face
    and an infectious eagerness and energy about him’.

    “I think the reason I enjoy (working out) is the results I get from it. I
    love being a Giant and coming to work every day because I love my coaches, and
    the reason my coaches treat me well is because I play good, and the reason I
    play good is because I train harder than anyone.”

    The Teammate
    When he’s not pinning opponents deep in
    their own territory, Weatherford enjoys hanging out with his teammates, some
    with whom he might socialize after hours, showing up at local eateries or
    sporting events.

    One teammate who has benefitted from Weatherford’s company of late is rookie
    Markus Kuhn, the Giants’ German-born, seventh-round draft pick
    who, like Weatherford, is a gym rat.

    “He told me that every year he’s been in the league, there’s a rookie he
    usually takes under his wing and takes care of,” he said. “So I guess this year,
    I am that rookie, and I’m glad he reached out to me.”

    The reason Weatherford isn’t shy about reaching out to younger teammates is
    because he remembers what it was like to go through those first years of NFL
    life, not knowing what to do or who to turn to. So, he’s taken it upon himself
    to be a “big brother” to his younger teammates.

    “I didn’t enjoy my rookie season as much as I would have liked, because
    you’re always on edge a little bit, you’re kind of looking over your shoulder,
    and checking your locker,” Weatherford recalled. “It’s such a huge transition to
    go from being a college pro athlete and then on top of that, having to become
    familiar with a new environment and going from having no money to all of a
    sudden making $20,000 a week.

    “It’s a great adjustment when you make it, and so to have an older guy to
    help you kind of deal with it makes it a little easier, because you can help a
    guy figure out where’s the best place to rent, or what’s a good car to buy,” he

    Weatherford said he’s also offered his younger teammates advice about money,
    specifically allocating a certain amount per month to cover basic living
    expenses such as roam and board, and meals.

    “If you don’t have a veteran to help you out, it could become a distraction
    during the season. If it becomes a distraction during the season, it affects
    your play, and if it affects your play, then it affects the team,” he added.

    That’s why, shortly after Kuhn reported to the Giants, Weatherford invited
    the 26-year-old to attend the Devils-Rangers playoff hockey game, along with a
    few other veteran teammates, a gesture that Kuhn said made him feel like a part
    of the team.

    “I had a lot of fun,” Kuhn said. “It made me forget the anxiety I felt with
    trying to fit in and learn the new culture of my new team.”

    In addition to being a one-man welcome wagon, Kuhn praised Weatherford for
    the example he sets in the weight room, in the locker room, and on the

    “He’s a great player and a hard worker, and I think that’s one of the reasons
    why we get along,” he said. “He’s already shown me how to have a professional
    mindset about everything and to realize when it’s time to have fun and when it’s
    time to be serious.”

    Kuhn noted that while Weatherford is fun to be around, his work ethic is
    second to none. “When it comes time to work, he is as serious of a person as
    anyone I’ve ever met. It’s tough here in the NFL; you have to come here every
    day and work hard at your craft, and one thing he told me right away is that if
    you’re coming to the facility, you better be ready to put in a hard day of

    That’s not the only piece of advice Kuhn received from Weatherford.
    Frustrated by not being able to practice because of his visa issues, Weatherford
    immediately got into the rookie’s ear and offered him a very valuable piece of

    “Steve took me aside and told me that a problem is only as big as you want to
    make it and that there is very little you can’t overcome if you set your mind to
    it,” Kuhn said. “So I decided, right then and there, to not let my visa issue be
    a problem and to do what I was able to do in order to improve and get ready for
    training camp.”







    "Is it hard to quantify a 27 year old as a
    possible breakout candidate? Maybe. In the case of Domenik Hixon though, its not so far-fetched. Hixon has
    only played in two games the past two seasons due to torn ACL’s and will be 28
    years old this season. He has been prominently used as a kick returner since the
    New York Giants
    claimed him on waivers back in 2007, however this season may be the
    time to prove himself as a receiving option.

    We all know that the Giants are looking
    for more options behind the big two at wide receiver. Hixon actually started
    seven games back in 2008 catching 43 balls for 596 yards and a couple of
    touchdowns. Out of all the other options, Eli Manning
    probably has the best rapport with Hixon, mainly because he’s been there the
    longest. In a lot of ways, that really does count for something. Hixon isn’t
    going to make a pro bowl as a receiver, but he’s a good depth player.

    If he’s gonna make a pro bowl anywhere, it
    may be as a returner. In 2009, he had over 1200 yards on kick returns. The
    Giants are looking for a returner, especially on punts where it seems like it’s
    been a revolving door of people for the past few years. Aaron Ross had been the guy on punt returns, but he
    signed with the Jacksonville

    Hixon should be a guy on every Giants
    fan’s radar. He may be a pivotal cog in the 2012 team, doing a lot of different



    The American flag is unfolded
    during pregame ceremonies prior to the New York Giants playoff game against the
    Atlanta Falcons on January 8, 2012. Photo courtesy of Al Bello/Getty

    The staff of Big Giants Boom would like
    to wish all of our readers and fellow fans a happy and safe Fourth of July. May
    the fireworks you witness in the sky only pale in comparison to those we will
    see when the confetti rains down on our New York Giants as they celebrate
    another championship after this coming season.

    Let us also remember on
    this holiday the sacrifice and service of all of those veterans that serve and
    have served to keep us free to cheer for our Giants. It is not a coincidence
    that our colors are the same as the flag of this great country. The Giants and
    their fans, like this very country, are tenacious and persistent.

    As we
    celebrate the birthday of America, let's celebrate the great courage our
    forefathers showed in the face of adversity. Celebrate that spirit as we
    celebrate our country and our freedom. Enjoy your day!!"


    "With the Fourth of July comes the inevitable fireworks sessions we all will
    enjoy. However, New York Giants fans have had their share of fireworks they
    enjoyed last season. With that theme in mind, here is a list of the top five
    moments that made last season so memorably explosive.

    No. 5) Tynes
    is clutch again:
    On January 22, 2012, the Giants faced the San Francisco
    49ers in an overtime thriller for the chance to go to the Super Bowl. It was a
    tense NFC Championship showdown. 49ers kick returner Kyle Williams fumbles twice
    in the game. The second time set up a chance for Lawrence Tynes to kick a
    game-winning field goal to advance the Giants to the Super Bowl. Tynes didn't
    miss. The Giants won the game 20-17 as a direct result of that sequence of

    Watch the
    moment here

    No. 4) J.P.P. blocks a field goal: It
    was December 11, 2011 and the Dallas Cowboys were attempting a game-tying field
    goal as time expired. The Giants called a time out in an attempt to ice the
    Cowboys kicker. The next play, the Giants special teams drove through, crashing
    the line and allowing Jason Pierre-Paul to get just enough of an angle to block
    the attempt and secure the victory for the Giants. That moment, along with the
    win, allowed the Giants to gain the momentum that catapulted them into a playoff

    Watch the
    moment here

    No. 3) Cruz goes 99 yards vs Jets: It
    was Christmas Eve 2011 and the Giants faced the cross-town rival Jets for city
    supremacy. They were down early and needed a spark as the first half was coming
    to a close. Victor Cruz provided just the spark they required. On a simple out
    route to the sideline, Cruz made multiple Jets defenders miss and exploded his
    way down the field for a shocking Giants TD. That change of momentum helped the
    Giants win the game and solidify their run toward the playoffs. It also sealed
    the fate of the Jets, all but eliminating them from playoff

    Watch the moment

    No. 2) Mario's Super moment: It was Super
    Bowl 46. The Giants faced the Patriots for the second time in four years. Also,
    for the second time in four years, they were underdogs. Trailing 17-15 with just
    3:45 to go in the game, Eli Manning lobbed a perfectly thrown pass down the
    sideline. The pass was placed in a spot where only his receiver, Mario
    Manningham, could bring it down, and that's exactly what he did. The catch led
    to a TD drive and an eventual coronation of the Champion New York

    the moment here

    No. 1) Eli's Hail Mary gets
    The Giants needed a big play to exercise the ghosts of Lambeau
    Field four years ago. They needed it again this past season. That's what they
    got. On January 15, 2012, they faced the Green Bay Packers in a Divisional
    Playoff showdown for the chance to go to the NFC Championship. They were
    underdogs to the Packers having lost to them at home just a few weeks

    At the end of the first half, the Giants held a slim 13-10 lead
    over the Packers and they had possession one last time before the end of the
    half. Eli Manning heaved a pass into the end zone for one lats chance at points.
    When doing so, he kept Lawrence Tynes and a field goal attempt on the side
    line. Through multiple defenders Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks used his strong
    hands and great size to come down with the score and a lead the Giants would

    Watch the
    moment here

    In the end, it was the swing of momentum the
    team needed and would use to go on to another improbable playoff run. One that
    was as explosive as it was memorable. All of these moments were exceptional by
    themselves, but combined, they add to the tapestry of legend that is New York
    Giants football."



    Travel. It's easier on a chartered jet and with a
    five-star hotel waiting for you upon arrival, but we all know that it still
    manages to affect NFL teams. Part of the value package we summate as "home-field
    advantage" is that time the home team actually spends on the ground and not in
    the air. It's practicing, sleeping, and eventually playing in your own familiar
    time zone, especially if you're traveling west to east. We know that it
    matters. But who does it routinely affect the most? And will that be any
    different in 2012?

    To answer that question, I built a model to estimate how many miles each team
    has traveled to and from its regular-season games over the past 10 seasons,
    including both standard-issue road games as well as the neutral-site games in
    London and Mexico City. An online distance calculator measured the distance between each
    pair of NFL cities using the great-circle distance (or "as the crow flies")
    The method doesn't account for refueling layovers or different possible flight
    paths, nor does it adjust for the occasional situation in which a team with
    consecutive road games in a faraway part of the country decides to stay in that
    area as opposed to returning home. Instead, it assumes that every team flies
    home after each road game. There's a notable recent exception to that rule that
    will come up shortly.

    What really stood out after crunching the numbers, more than anything, is how
    dramatic the difference in travel can be between sets of teams. Take 2008, for
    example, when the Seahawks had to traverse more than five times as much
    ground on their road trips as the Steelers did:

    The Steelers played 15 of their 16 games in the Eastern time zone, with a
    lone trip to the Central time zone waiting for them against the Titans in Week
    16. Part of that is a lucky out-of-division schedule, but the Steelers also
    benefit by playing in a division with three opponents who each reside within 260
    miles or so of Pittsburgh. Seattle, meanwhile, plays in a "West" division that
    places its teams in three different time zones. Pittsburgh accrues about 1,122
    miles in traveling to and from its divisional rivals, while Seattle's
    round-trips to their NFC West brethren clock in at a whopping 7,024 miles.

    As you might suspect, the NFC West gets royally jobbed by their travel
    requirements every year. Of the 10 longest distances traveled by teams in a
    given season over the past 10 years, seven belong to either the Seahawks or the
    49ers. Last year, our model suggests, the Niners paced the league with 29,212
    round-trip miles, but it doesn't know that San Francisco stayed in Ohio between road games against the Bengals and
    as opposed to flying back to San Francisco. Once you account for
    that, the Seahawks led the league by accruing just under 27,000 miles. The
    Chargers were a nose behind them, which is also no surprise; the three remaining
    slots in our top 10 belong to seasons from the Chargers and Raiders.

    Likewise, the AFC North is the division for those who don't enjoy traveling.
    Nine of the 10 regular-season travel schedules since 2002 with the fewest miles
    belong to AFC North teams, with the 2008 Bears sneaking in at the bottom of the

    The disparity between teams was even bigger before the league realigned its
    divisions in 2002. In 1998, the Niners played nine road games (including the
    playoffs) without managing to get even one in their own Pacific time zone. They
    traveled to the Eastern Time Zone five times and played four more in the Central
    time zone, averaging over 4,332 miles per round-trip. And they still went

    With this year's schedule already released, we know that the Niners won't be
    the league's most-traveled team during the regular season, even if they don't
    decide to stick it out in Ohio during another road trip. Instead, by about 100
    miles, the Raiders will likely lead the league in miles flown throughout the
    2012 regular season. The model estimates that they'll have to travel 28,700
    miles to get to their eight road games, thanks to a schedule that gives them
    out-of-division matchups versus the AFC North, NFC South, and the Dolphins.

    The league's friendliest travel schedule will also be a team out of the
    ordinary. In fact, the league's two freshest faces at quarterback will also
    enjoy the league's two quickest sets of trips this season, as the Colts (8,494
    miles) and Redskins (8,982 miles) get the league's shortest travel dockets in
    2012. The Bengals and Packers are the only other teams who clock in under 10,000
    miles this upcoming season, with the average team spending just over 16,000
    miles in flight.

    Does the spread in travel distances actually matter? It's hard to say. On one
    hand, it's easy to point to the successful teams in the AFC North and the mostly
    poor teams of the NFC West and suggest that friendly travel schedules have kept
    each of them in their respective corners, but there's just not overwhelming
    evidence in that direction. The correlation coefficient2 between miles traveled and wins
    is essentially zero, suggesting that one has nothing to do with producing the

    On the other hand, though, an interesting trend splits itself out if we
    separate the travel distances for each game into three distinct groups. Based
    upon games played over the past 15 seasons, teams seem to play better on the
    road and win more frequently against nearby opponents than they do against
    faraway ones:

    There's still more research to be done. If you're a fan of the Seahawks or
    49ers, though, you have every right to make your complaints regarding the travel
    schedule known. Just don't expect the old-timers in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and
    Pittsburgh to harbor much sympathy.















    "ESPN’s Ron Jaworski spent a big chunk of the offseason watching every minute
    of game tape for each NFL starting quarterback, and has spent the past month
    ranking them and then breaking them down for “SportsCenter.”

    On Monday, Jaworski revealed his ninth-ranked quarterback entering the 2012
    season: Baltimore’s Joe Flacco. And while praising the fifth-year Ravens QB, he
    said that Flacco has the strongest arm in the league, Matt Vensel of the Baltimore

    "That's Flacco's No. 1 attribute," said Jaworski, who made 143 career NFL
    starts. "I get so tired of hearing how arm strength is overrated. It's far more
    important than people think. He has the strongest arm in the NFL."

    "The element always overlooked by those who minimize arm strength is the
    willingness of quarterbacks like Flacco to pull the trigger,” said Jaworski, who
    played for four teams, most notably the Eagles. “Few recognize that because
    there is no quantifiable means by which to evaluate throws that are not made by
    quarterbacks with lesser arm strength. It's all about dimensions.”

    Jaworski said “there are very few quarterbacks in the NFL with the pure
    throwing ability of Joe Flacco.” So why isn’t Joe higher on the list? He feels
    “his production does not always match his skill set.”



    "NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected the appeals of four players
    suspended in connection with the league’s bounty investigation of the New
    Orleans Saints.

    In a ruling handed down on Tuesday, Goodell told Jonathan Vilma, Anthony
    Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita that he retains “the inherent authority to
    reduce a suspension should facts be brought to my attention warranting the
    exercise of that discretion.

    “The record confirms that each of you was given multiple chances to meet with
    me to present your side of the story,” Goodell said. “You are each still welcome
    to do so.”

    Vilma is suspended for the entire 2012 season, while Smith will miss four
    games. Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended eight games, while Fujita,
    now with Cleveland, was suspended three games.

    The NFL Players Association issued a statement saying it will continue to
    pursue all options.
    “The players are disappointed with the League’s conduct
    during this process,” the statement said. “We reiterate our concerns about the
    lack of fair due process, lack of integrity of the investigation and lack of the
    jurisdictional authority to impose discipline under the collective bargaining

    “Moreover, the Commissioner took actions during this process that rendered it
    impossible for him to be an impartial arbitrator.”

    Goodell said he did not take his initial decision lightly and also points out
    that players did not help their cause by refusing to participate fully in the
    appeal process.

    Vilma and his attorney, Peter Ginsberg, walked out of the hearing early after
    Ginsberg raised his objections to the NFL’s handling of the entire
    investigation. The other three players, who were represented by NFL Players
    Association attorneys, sat through the hearing to observe the NFL’s presentation
    of evidence, but in protest refused to present any evidence or witnesses of
    their own, and did not question the NFL investigators who were present at the

    “Although you claimed to have been ‘wrongfully accused with insufficient
    evidence,’ your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal
    investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing,” Goodell wrote in his
    appeal ruling.

    “You elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or
    oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to
    support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit
    addressing the merits of your appeal. Instead, your lawyers raised a series of
    jurisdictional and procedural objections that generally ignore” the collective
    bargaining agreement.

    The NFL issued a report in March saying that league investigators determined
    the Saints ran a bounty program from 2009 to 2011 that offered improper cash
    payments for hits that injured targeted opponents.

    The league has said former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran
    the program, and that general manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton
    failed to put a stop to it despite warnings from the NFL at the end of the 2009

    The NFL has suspended Williams indefinitely and Payton for the whole season.
    Loomis is suspended the first half of next season, while Saints assistant head
    coach Joe Vitt was suspended for the first six games. Goodell also docked the
    Saints second-round draft picks this year and next and fined the club $500,000."


    "Under intense pressure from fans, the NFL has decided to ease their TV blackout rules for the
    2012-2013 season. Now, instead of a team requiring a sellout to be shown in
    local markets, they will have the option to televise their games once 85% of their
    tickets have been sold.

    "It's optional if clubs want to do this and would only affect a few teams,"
    NFL spokesman
    Brian McCarthy told in an
    email. "Last year only 6 percent of games were blacked out in a local market.
    This figure is down significantly from 15 to 20 years ago when 25 to 30 percent
    of games were routinely blacked out."

    Under this rule alteration, teams will provide more revenue to their
    opponents if the additional 15% of tickets are sold.

    It's important to note that this may not eliminate or even decrease blackouts
    across the league as it's completely optional. However, in the event that a team
    decides to blackout a local market after failing to sell out their stadium, it
    will no longer fall on the shoulders of the NFL – any and all blame will fall at the feet of the

    In addition to easing TV blackout rules, the NFL will offer enhanced replay within the stadiums,
    allowing all fans in attendance to view the same replays that officials are
    viewing during challenges."
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: JULY 4, 2012 - 8:44P.M.

    Thanks RF !
    " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: JULY 4, 2012 - 8:44P.M.

      Thanks Roanoke!

      You got to love that Weatherford story...He's a keeper!!!!


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: JULY 4, 2012 - 8:44P.M.

        [quote user="Captain Chaos"]Thanks Roanoke!

        You got to love that Weatherford story...He's a keeper!!!![/quote]

        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: JULY 4, 2012 - 8:44P.M.

          [quote user="G-Men Surg."]Thanks RF ![/quote]

          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1