There’s lots of TikTok dances, puzzles, board games, daddy-do lists, video games and just spending time with family.
Life staying at home for the NFL world during the COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot like what the rest of the country is doing.
The NFL tweeted out a video showing current and former stars including Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Michael Strahan, Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Sean Payton talking about their experiences staying home during this unprecedented time.
— NFL (@NFL) March 26, 2020
Brady tweeted the video on Friday night with a message of gratitude for the medical community.
“To all the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other health care workers on the front lines, thank you. We can all make a big impact by taking care of ourselves and each other. #StayHomeStayStrong”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin likes incentivized Rooney Rule changes
Mike Tomlin likes the discussion around an incentivized minority hiring process in the NFL.
On “Coffee with Cal,” hosted by Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari, on Monday morning, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach said he likes the idea of a change to the Rooney Rule that rewards teams for hiring minority candidates.
“We’ve always taken it from the approach of, punitive if you don’t interview minority candidates or things of that nature,” said Tomlin, who is one of four minority head coaches in the NFL. “I just like the different approach in terms of spinning it 180 and talking about maybe incentivizing those that develop the talent and those that hire the talent.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean Tomlin is in favor of all the incentives recently discussed. NFL.com and ESPN reported earlier this month that owners were considering a proposal that would have improved teams’ third-round draft picks by 6 or 10 spots if they hired a minority candidate for vacant GM or head-coaching openings, along with other compensation for hiring minority candidates for roles like quarterbacks coach.
Those resolutions, though, were tabled during the a conference call last week that replaced the league’s annual May owners meetings.
“We’re making some adjustments because we’re acknowledging right now that the system is broken, that minorities are not getting enough opportunity,” Tomlin said. “And we’re trying to just figure out how to stimulate that. … I agree it’s debatable about the value placed on the incentivized plan, but I just generally like the discussion.”
The league did approve some new measures in that call with the goal of improving diversity in coaching and front-office hiring. Teams are now required to interview at least two candidates from outside their organization for any vacant head-coaching job and at least one minority candidate from outside their organization for any vacant offensive, defensive or special-teams coordinator job.
In the past, the Rooney Rule stipulated only one minority candidate be interviewed for head coach and none for a coordinator position.
The Rooney Rule was also expanded to some executive positions, requiring teams and the league office to interview “minorities and/or female applicants” for positions like team president and “senior executives in communications, finance, Human Resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology and security.” And, to help strengthen the pool of candidates for minority head-coaching positions, every team is also required to establish a minority coaching fellowship program to “provide NFL Legends, minority and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching.”
Tomlin told Calipari that he will be talking with NBA coaches Tuesday about minority hiring.
“We have a problem with minority hiring, specifically in football,” Tomlin said. “But I guess that it’s an issue of minority hiring across a lot of industries and lines. I’m on with the NBA coaches tomorrow, actually, talking about things that are going on in our game with the Rooney Rule.”
Information from ESPN’s Dan Graziano was used in this report.
How to watch Monday Night Football classics: Le’Veon Bell’s walk-off TD beats Chargers – Pittsburgh Steelers Blog
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn’t want to go for the tie.
So he went for the win, and with running back Le’Veon Bell lined up in the Wildcat, he got it.
With Bell’s outstretched arms, the Steelers beat the San Diego Chargers 24-20 on the final play of the 2015 Monday Night Football game.
The memorable game will be shown as part of the ongoing series of Monday Night Football classics. It kicks off at 8 p.m. ET Monday on ESPN.
ESPN continues its partnership with the NFL in presenting some of the greatest MNF games in history.
(All games begin at 8 p.m. ET)
May 25: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Diego Chargers (2015)
June 1: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (2019)
“It was time to go to the mattresses, if you will,” Tomlin said after the game. “We had to do what was required to win. Le’Veon gave us an opportunity to win, and we were trying to do everything we could to move the football.
“We have to run the football. We have Le’Veon Bell. We had an opportunity to win the game. We’re on the road in a hostile environment. We’ve got to play to win, and that’s what we did.”
With five seconds left, the Steelers lined up at the 1-inch line, thanks to a big play by quarterback Michael Vick and tight end Heath Miller and an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Chargers.
The Steelers had one timeout to set up for a tying field goal, but they went with a gutsy, winning playcall instead: Bell lined up 7 yards deep to take the direct snap.
He gathered the ball and sprinted to the goal line, muscling his way forward to fight for the final inch needed to score the touchdown. Diving, he broke the plane as his knee landed on a defender’s arm and time expired.
“I got to get it in,” Bell said in 2015. “We still had a timeout left. I was thinking we still have a timeout left, so I’m thinking, ‘OK, maybe if I get stopped, maybe run like 4 seconds off and get a timeout, and we could kick a field goal.’ I wanted to end the game right there.”
The touchdown gave the Steelers a win over the Chargers — and they did it with Ben Roethlisberger on the sideline.
While Roethlisberger worked through a left knee injury sustained in the third quarter of a Week 3 win against the Rams, Vick took over quarterback duties. His first three quarters were dismal, but a 24-yard scramble — his first rush of the night — on the final drive of the game helped set up Bell’s winning touchdown. Vick also had a 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton with 7:42 left in the quarter to tie it at 17.
“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” Vick said then. He completed just 13 of 26 attempts for 203 yards with one touchdown and one interception and was sacked three times.
The game also featured the return of Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, playing in his first game of the season following a four-week suspension for PEDs. He scored his 100th and 101st career touchdowns that night, with the second coming in the high-octane fourth quarter.
The Monday night game marked the Steelers’ first trip to San Diego since 2006 and their final game in Qualcomm Stadium before the Chargers’ relocation to Los Angeles.
With the win, the Steelers moved to 3-2 on the season, and the Chargers dropped to 2-3.
Tiger Woods’ game, Tom Brady’s wild ride, Phil Mickelson’s antics and Peyton Manning’s interest made for a fun day of golf
The weather did not cooperate, but that was about the only thing that went wrong Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity. As Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods held an oversized cardboard check with a total of $20 million written in, they were soaking wet but smiling.
It was a soaked, but successful day at The Medalist in Hobe Sound, Florida, where the legends of golf and football sped around in their own carts, raised considerable funds for coronavirus relief, filled the airwaves with banter and played some good golf, too.
Here are a few takeaways:
For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff.
When he then skipped the WGC-Mexico Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, there was cause for concern. And when he then skipped the Players Championship, it was easy to wonder if he would be ready for his Masters title defense.
All of it became moot when the Players was canceled after one round and the coronavirus pandemic shut down the PGA Tour. Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.
Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.
It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.
Phil being Phil
Mickelson did his best to hype the match and went out of his way to say he’d be taking down Tiger — again — in the second of their made-for-TV match encounters. While that didn’t happen, it wasn’t without Lefty doing all he could to make it happen.
Mickelson gave a vintage description of how he would play a pitch shot early in the match when on-course reporter Justin Thomas asked him about it; was clearly on-brand when he gave a shoutout to one of his sponsors on a long-drive hole, then promptly airmailed his tee shot left into the trees; seemed to take great joy in zipping around in his golf cart; then launched a tee shot onto the par-4 11th to set up an eagle putt by Brady; and generally seemed to enjoy himself.
Mickelson hasn’t made it official, but he is expected to play the first event back next month at the Charles Schwab Championship.
Brady’s bounce back
The new Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback started out as if he were playing golf in the old Bucs creamsicle jerseys, a comedy of errors at every turn. The weather didn’t help, and Brady got off to a shaky start.
Charles Barkley was giving him grief, and offered up a $50,000 donation to COVID-19 relief if Brady could hit a par-3 green. He missed badly. “I should have said if you could hit it on the planet,” Barkley bellowed.
But as Brady has been known to do, he gathered himself. Even after taking a penalty stroke on the par-5 seventh hole, he holed a 100-yard wedge shot — while his pants split and his microphone broke — to earn a $100,000 donation from Brooks Koepka, who wondered if Brady could even make a par.
I thought this was CHAMPIONS for charity Chuck…🤔 https://t.co/Vzu3xZQxOk
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 25, 2020
And on the back nine, as he and Mickelson attempted to rally, Brady was solid, helping keep his team in the match.
The retired NFL quarterback brought a lot to the second edition of The Match. He was fun and engaging and self-deprecating. He admitted how difficult it was afterward to step into that arena with Tiger and Phil and play a sport for which he is not known. And he hit some great shots, making an early birdie putt to put his team 2-up and hitting a great iron approach shot late to help keep the team 1-up. The Augusta National member acquitted himself quite nicely.
Justin Thomas, announcer
The fourth-ranked player in the world has a lot of golf ahead of him, but the friend of Tiger proved his worth in a cameo TV role. He had no problem dishing on Woods and Mickelson — and Barkley — and he brought some excellent insight as a Medalist member. He came across smooth but is no doubt looking forward to getting back to his day job.
Modified alternate shot
The back-nine format was fun, and it helped keep the Match moving on the back nine as weather and darkness threatened. It also brought strategy to the competition, and allowed for some good drama when Mickelson drove the green at the par-4 11th and Brady drained the putt for an eagle. One scary thought: Imagine if there had been true alternate shot, meaning they could not pick the best drive.
The Match III
It’s almost inevitable. The first match, won by Mickelson in Las Vegas in 2018, came with a $9 million payday. It also had numerous technical glitches, and with just Woods and Mickelson involved, lacked the banter we saw Sunday. The second iteration was a marked improvement, and it was probably livelier and more fun because the players were competing for bragging rights and charity.
Woods and Mickelson formed this partnership a few years ago with an eye on these type of matches.
Next time, put Tiger and Phil together. How about taking on Rory McIlroy and Thomas? The young guys might be favored, but with a big payout on the line, who is to say the veterans won’t prevail?
The real thing
Two weeks. Two made-for-TV, sports-starved-viewer-filling events. All for charity.
This time, Tiger, Phil, Manning and Brady doubled that amount in a similar event.
To criticize either would miss the point. Both served a great purpose, a welcome diversion while also offering a huge monetary boost to fight the pandemic.
But now the real thing beckons. Assuming all goes well, the PGA Tour returns in Texas in a little over two weeks. We expect Phil to be there. Tiger’s return is more of a mystery.
The golf will count, however, and a busy season beckons with plenty of obstacles in trying circumstances but plenty of cautious optimism.
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