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Archive for September 10th, 2017

NFL Kickoff Weekend is upon us! What to look for



SUPER STARTERS: History indicates that the best way for a team to start its drive toward a Super Bowl championship is to win in Week 1.

The 51 Super Bowl winners have a 41-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LI champion NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who host Kansas City in the season opener on Thursday night (8:30 PM ET, NBC), have won their past eight home openers played on Kickoff Weekend and 12 of their past 13 overall in Week 1.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that are

victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:

  • Of the 570 teams which won openers…297 went to the playoffs (179 won division titles).
  • Of the 571 teams which lost openers…137 went to the playoffs (79 won division titles).

    Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.

    In 2016, nine of the 12 playoff teams – Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Kansas City, New England, the New York Giants, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend.

    – NFL –

    STRONG OUT OF THE GATE: Over the past 10 years, six teams – New England (.758), Denver (.706), Dallas (.676), Green Bay (.676), Baltimore (.647) and Arizona (.618) – have a winning percentage of at least .600 through the season’s first month. Those six clubs have combined for 37 playoff berths and nine Super Bowl appearances – including five Super Bowl championships – during the span.

    On Thursday night, the Patriots, who have an NFL-best 25-8 record in the month of September since 2007, host the Kansas City Chiefs (8:30 PM ET, NBC). The Broncos (24-10, .706), who own the second-highest opening-month winning percentage in the NFL over the past 10 seasons, host the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC West showdown in the second game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader (10:20 PM ET, ESPN).

    The teams with the best opening month records over the past 10 seasons (2007-16):

New England 25 8 .758 9 4 2
Denver 24 10 .706 5 2 1
Dallas 23 11 .676 4 0 0
Green Bay 23 11 .676 9 1 1
Baltimore 22 12 .647 6 1 1
Arizona 21 13 .618 4 1 0

– NFL –

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: The DALLAS COWBOYS host the NEW YORK GIANTS on Sunday Night Football (8:30 PM ET, NBC), as the two NFC East rivals meet on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the past five seasons. The contest will feature two of the NFL’s most successful teams in season openers. The Cowboys’ .661 winning percentage (37-19-1) is tied with Denver for the highest of any team in NFL history, while the Giants have the third-most wins on Kickoff Weekend (50).

The teams with the best winning percentage on Kickoff Weekend:


Dallas Cowboys 37-19-1 .661
Denver Broncos 37-19-1 .661
Houston Texans 9-6-0 .600
Chicago Bears 54-38-5 .587
Green Bay Packers 54-39-3 .581
New York Giants 50-37-5 .575
Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.


The teams with the most wins on Kickoff Weekend:


Chicago Bears 54
Green Bay Packers 54
New York Giants 50
Detroit Lions 47
Pittsburgh Steelers 42

– NFL –

STARTING STREAKS: Some clubs have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff milestones and streaks:

  • The CHICAGO BEARS, who host Atlanta to open their 2017 campaign, have the most wins (65) all-time in home openers.
  • The DALLAS COWBOYS, who welcome the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, have 32 wins in home openers since 1970, the most in the NFC.
  • The DENVER BRONCOS, who host the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football, have posted a 43-13-1 (.768) record in home openers, the top mark in the NFL. Denver has won 23 of its past 26 home openers.
  • The GREEN BAY PACKERS, who welcome Seattle on Kickoff Weekend, have won their past four home openers. The Packers are tied with the Bears for the most wins (54) on Kickoff Weekend.
  • The HOUSTON TEXANS, who host Jacksonville on Kickoff Weekend, have won six of their past seven home openers.
  • The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, who host Carolina on Kickoff Weekend, have the NFL’s longest active winning streak (six) on Kickoff Weekend.

– NFL –

START ME UP: Some players have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable individual performances on NFL Kickoff Weekend:

  • New England quarterback TOM BRADY has 3,808 passing yards in 14 career Week 1 games and needs 192 yards to join PEYTON MANNING(4,736) and DREW BREES (4,306) as the third QB with at least 4,000 career passing yards in season-opening games. Brees (33 touchdown passes) and Brady (31) can surpass Manning (34) for the most career touchdown passes in season openers.
  • New Orleans running back ADRIAN PETERSON has 885 rushing yards in 10 career season-opening games and needs 115 yards to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in season-opening games. The four players to accomplish the feat are EMMITT SMITH (1,247), WALTER PAYTON (1,067), EDGERRIN JAMES (1,062) and JIM BROWN (1,043). Smith, Payton and Brown are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD has 918 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions in 13 career season-opening games and needs 82 yards to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 career receiving yards and eight touchdown catches in season-opening games, joining JERRY RICE (1,385 yards, nine TDs), ANDRE REED (1,225, 10), RANDY MOSS (1,194, 10) and DON MAYNARD (1,025, nine). Rice, Reed and Maynard are all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

– NFL –

MR. 300: Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS has 297 touchdown passes with 72 interceptions in 12 career seasons. With three touchdown passes against Seattle on Sunday, Rodgers would become the 11th quarterback in NFL history with 300 career touchdowns passes and the first quarterback in league history to reach 300 career passing touchdowns with fewer than 100 interceptions.

The quarterbacks who reached 300 career touchdown passes with the fewest interceptions:


Tom Brady New England Patriots 115
Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers 142
Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts 152
Drew Brees San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints 153
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers 160
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers 72*
*Has 297 career touchdowns passes entering Week 1

– NFL –

START ’EM EARLY: Cleveland rookie quarterback DE SHONE KIZER, a second-round pick (No. 52 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start against Pittsburgh on Sunday. With a start by Kizer on Sunday, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 10 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:


2008 Joe Flacco Baltimore Ravens 11-5
2008 Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons 11-5
2009 Mark Sanchez New York Jets 8-7
2009 Matthew Stafford* Detroit Lions 2-8
2010 Sam Bradford* St. Louis Rams 7-9
2011 Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals 9-7
2011 Cam Newton* Carolina Panthers 6-10
2012 Robert Griffin III Washington Redskins 9-6
2012 Andrew Luck* Indianapolis Colts 11-5
2012 Ryan Tannehill Miami Dolphins 7-9
2012 Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns 5-10
2012 Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks 11-5
2013 EJ Manuel Buffalo Bills 4-6
2013 Geno Smith New York Jets 8-8
2014 Derek Carr Oakland Raiders 3-13
2015 Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans 3-13
2015 Jameis Winston* Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10
2016 Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys 13-3
2016 Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles 7-9
2017 DeShone Kizer^ Cleveland Browns 0-0
^Expected to start in Week 1
*No. 1 Overall Pick      




NFL hires 21 Full-Time Game Officials


The NFL has hired 21 full-time game officials from among the current 124-person roster of officials, the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) jointly announced today.


The 21 full-time officials come from all seven on-field officiating positions and represent a collaborative initiative intended to promote the common goal of improving every aspect of NFL officiating.


In an effort to improve consistency, efficiency and accuracy, the full-time game officials will work throughout the calendar year on game preparation and game administration, analyzing current game trends, communicating with the officiating roster, and assisting to ensure that there is a qualified pipeline of future officials through scouting efforts.


“We believe that we will learn a great deal over the course of this initial year working with the full-time game officials,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating ALBERTO RIVERON.  “Our collective goal is to make a positive impact on NFL officiating overall.”


“We are supportive of providing our members the opportunity to voluntarily commit additional time to NFL officiating, especially in the offseason,” said NFLRA Executive Director SCOTT GREEN. “This initiative is the result of extensive discussion and planning, and the NFLRA looks forward to working with the NFL to test and evaluate this new approach over the next year.”


The NFL and NFLRA agreed to experiment with full-time officials as part of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement before last month announcing the intention to hire full-time game officials for the 2017 season.​


A look at the 21 full-time officials by position:


No. Name Pos. College NFL Experience

(including 2017)

122 Brad Allen Referee Pembroke State 4
66 Walt Anderson Referee Texas 22
23 Jerome Boger Referee Morehouse 14
135 Pete Morelli Referee St. Mary’s 21
20 Barry Anderson Umpire North Carolina State 11
64 Dan Ferrell Umpire Cal State-Fullerton 15
129 Bill Schuster Umpire Alfred 18
74 Derick Bowers Down Judge East Central 15
134 Ed Camp Down Judge William Paterson 18
59 Rusty Baynes Line Judge Auburn-Montgomery 8
10 Julian Mapp Line Judge Grambling State 9
9 Mark Perlman Line Judge Salem 17
84 Mark Steinkerchner Line Judge Akron 24
97 Tom Hill Field Judge Carson Newman 19
33 Steve Zimmer Field Judge Hofstra 21
41 Boris Cheek Side Judge Morgan State 22
120 Jonah Monroe Side Judge Arkansas 3
133 Steve Freeman Back Judge Mississippi State 17
93 Scott Helverson Back Judge Iowa 15
111 Terrence Miles Back Judge Arizona State 10
12 Greg Steed Back Judge Howard 15​



Sooners Postgame Notes: Oklahoma 31 Ohio State 16





Crew SC plays national television game hosting Sporting KC today at 1 pm


Black & Gold wrap-up three-match homestand at MAPFRE Stadium against Sporting Kansas City in first of three home matches in month of September

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2017


COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC (13-12-3, 42 points) hosts Sporting Kansas City (10-5-10, 40 points) at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday, September 10. The match kicks-off at 1:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised nationally on ESPN with Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman on the call. Sunday’s match also airs locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English, featuring commentary by Neil Sika and Dwight Burgess. La Mega 103.1 FM has the match airing in Spanish, with Juan Valladares behind the microphone. The Spanish radio calls are also set to be streamed in Spanish on the LaMega1 App and via Tunein Radio as WVKO-FM. The club’s official website,, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online.


This September, MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, will be conducting its fourth annual Kick Childhood Cancer campaign to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Oncology Group (COG). Children’s Oncology Group is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research, uniting more than 9,000 experts in childhood cancer at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals around the world. As part of the month-long campaign, MLS will “go gold”, with players and PRO referees wearing special edition Kick Childhood Cancer t-shirts during pre-game activities, players wearing a commemorative gold ribbon jersey patch and club captains using Kick Childhood Cancer gold armbands. All matches in the month of September are also set to feature a commemorative gold adidas Nativo 2017 Official Match Ball, as well as gold corner flags and goal nets.

This is the Black & Gold’s lone regular-season match against Sporting Kansas City in 2017 and the 54th all-time regular-season meeting between the two clubs, dating back to 1996. After facing Sporting KC, Crew SC travels to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on September 16 before returning to MAPFRE Stadium for a two-match homestand against the New York Red Bulls on September 23 and against D.C. United on September 30 in what will be the Black & Gold’s final home matches of the 2017 regular season.

Crew SC is coming off a 2-1 home victory against FC Dallas on August 26. In that match, Ola Kamara scored his 30th goal for the club in regular-season action, while defender Jonathan Mensah scored his first MLS career goal and the game-winner. Federico Higuain assisted both goals, reaching fourth place in Crew SC’s all-time list for regular-season assists with 42 helpers. The victory over Dallas also marked Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s 50th career victory in MLS regular-season action. Berhalter first took over the helm of the Black & Gold ahead of the 2014 MLS regular season and has compiled a regular-season record of 50-47-33 over that span. Columbus currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.

Heading into the match against Sporting KC, forward Ola Kamara leads Crew SC in goals scored with 14 goals in 28 regular-season appearances (27 starts), just two strikes behind his 2016 regular-season goal output of 16 goals. Midfielders Federico Higuain and Justin Meram lead the club in assists, with seven helpers each. In addition to helping set up nearly a third of the Black & Gold’s 42 goals this season, both Higuain and Meram have also contributed by scoring a large portion of Crew SC’s goals, with Higuain recording nine goals while Meram has tallied 11 strikes.



Columbus Crew SC vs. Sporting Kansas City

Sunday, September 10 – 1:00 p.m. ET – MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, OH)

National Television: ESPN

Regional Television Channel Guide:

International Television: Abu Dhabi Sports (Middle East and North Africa), DSports/ATR (India), BeIN Sports (Australia, Asia)

Crew SC Radio: CD102.5 FM (English); La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish), Spanish radio broadcast also simulcast on LaMega1 App and via TuneIn Radio as WVKO-FM, English radio broadcast also simulcast on