The new rules require players to stay on their feet during celebrations — snow angels are out — and to not use any props. So the Bengals' Chad Johnson, who once celebrated a touchdown by dropping to one knee to propose to a cheerleader, would be hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for that action next season — but only if he dropped to his knee. If he is standing up, the act is legal. Many of Terrell Owens's stunts — from the situps to grabbing a pen to sign a football — are out. But Johnson's Riverdance celebration is acceptable.
If a celebration goes on too long, an official will warn the player to stop. If he does not, he will be penalized.
The limits were requested by player representatives during a meeting with members of the competition committee at the N.F.L. scouting combine. Three teams — Dallas, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay — voted against the limitations.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what Chad Johnson comes up with," Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy said.
One of the members of the competition committee is Marvin Lewis, Johnson's coach.
Almost all the rules changes favor the offense and scoring, including:
Defensive players must try to avoid a low hit on a quarterback who has his feet planted even if the player is being blocked into the quarterback. That change stemmed from the rash of injuries sustained by quarterbacks in that situation, the best known being Carson Palmer's knee injury during the Bengals' playoff game against the Steelers. Still, the Steelers' Kimo von Oelhoffen, who rolled into Palmer, would not have been penalized on the play because he could not have avoided the contact.
If a runner is ruled down by defensive contact while fumbling, the play is now reviewable. But the call can be changed only when there is indisputable visual evidence of which team recovered the fumble.
The horse-collar tackle rule was expanded to include grabbing the inside collar of the back of the jersey, as well as the shoulder pads.
Defenders may not line up head-on with the center on field-goal and point-after attempts. Defenders must now line up in the gap next to the center.
Among the proposed changes that were voted down:
There will be no communication system in helmets so coaches can relay calls to a designated defensive player; coaches and quarterbacks currently have such a system.
A flinch by an eligible receiver that does not draw an immediate reaction from a defensive player will still be ruled a false start and a stoppage of play will be called. The competition committee wanted the flinch to not be ruled a false start.
"The defense seems to be on the wrong side of many of these," Carolina Panthers Coach John Fox said.
Owners tabled a proposal by the Kansas City Chiefs to expand the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14.
Andy Reid talks T.O….Sort of ….
Asked how he thought Owens would do in Dallas, Reid was brief.
"He'll be all right," he said.
Asked if he was surprised Owens would sign with Dallas, Reid again was brief.
"I had a pretty good idea that they were interested," he said.
Asked if he regretted ever bringing Owens to Philadelphia, Reid again recited a quick answer.
"I don't look back," he said. "I did what I did."
Owens said at his Dallas press conference that he's not the person that he was portrayed in Philadelphia, that there was another side to the story. Reid was asked if he'd ever seen that "other" side of the story.
"I'm probably going to see it in July," said Reid in reference to the scheduled summer release of Owens' autobiography.
Only after the line of questioning moved on to Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Reggie Brown and the rest of the current Eagles did Reid warm up to the discussion.
Across the room, Brad Childress was a bit more expansive about the top off-season acquisition by the Cowboys. Childress was Owens' offensive coordinator at Philadelphia. He's now the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
"He's a phenomenal player between the white lines," Childress said. "He'll probably be much the same as when he came to us in Philadelphia. He'll probably be a good citizen and a very good player. He'll be a model ... this year."
Childress said he expects Cowboys coach Bill Parcells to sit down with Owens very soon.
"I know Bill will probably have a 'get right' meeting with him, tell him what his expectations are, what his rules are," Childress said. "And I think it will go from there."
I am becoming convinced of two things recently:
1) The Dallas Stars are very capable of a Stanley Cup. This is the first time I have felt this way since 2000, but there is no denying it any longer. I think they have all of the pieces in place, now that Willie Mitchell has sealed off the back end in a tense finish as well as anyone since another #2 skated back there. The Power Play is beginning to dominate, and despite the fact that Marty Turco will have to prove it, he has the look of a player ready to rise to the playoff occasion.
2) Dallas does not seem to care. This city seems largely indifferent to the Dallas Stars, despite the fact that no team in the sport has more wins, and they broke the 100 point barrier before we turn to April. I feel it is my duty to bring you up to speed on this, so I will. The Stars are a great story that you should check out before you miss it. I think we may have a World Championship in this town in the next few months, and the smart money right now says it is the hockey team that will win it. But, will anyone notice?
Stars 2, Ducks 1 …and bad blood was spilled. Rematch on Friday night in SoCal…
Stars get a little love in Sports Illustrated …
Does continuity breed success, or success continuity?
The Stars this week re-upped head coach Dave Tippett and assistants Rick Wilson, Mark Lamb and Andy Moog through the 2007-08 season to ensure they have their bases covered, whichever the case.
That group has been together for four seasons to date, and Tippett has a record of
135-68-30 over that time -- the best mark among active coaches.
The willingness to reward hard work and on-ice results with security is the backbone of one of the league's best-run franchises.
It's also why teams with their sights set on impending UFAs Jason Arnott and Willie Mitchell would do well not to get their hopes up. Free agents don't leave Dallas unless there's no place for them on the team (as was the case with Ed Belfour and Derian Hatcher). Given that the Stars should have enough financial wiggle room to accommodate both players -- and that the team should be able to compete for the Cup for the next several years -- there's no reason to think Arnott and Mitchell will break that trend.
Adam Eaton down for a while! …
This is almost the same injury that tormented Eaton last summer, forcing him to miss more than two months with two different trips to the disabled list.
"Pretty much one pitch, the last pitch I threw," Eaton said. "Similar injury, different tendon. It feels the same, just a different part."
Last year's injury was to a tendon in the middle of the finger. This pain is more toward the base but Eaton didn't like his chances of avoiding an extended stay on the disabled list.
"I can feel the finger, and slim [chance] it is on it's way out," Eaton said.
Eaton, acquired from San Diego in the offseason, faced just nine batters before feeling the tendon bite him on one curveball to Padres outfielder Dave Roberts.
Trainer Jamie Reed and Showalter went to the mound and Eaton immediately left the game.
Asked what his first thoughts were, Eaton said, "Three weeks ... no throwing."
Eaton was supposed to start on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers but said, "Judging by last year, I'm going to miss more than one start. It hurts just to squeeze the ball. I knew I couldn't put any pressure on it to throw a breaking ball."
Revo says to get Danks up to the bigs now …Wow, dude, I think that is crazy…
Mavs get spanked in Cleveland …nice 3rd Quarter…
James followed Kobe Bryant, Jason Richardson and – oh, yeah – Kobe again as players who have topped 40 points against the Mavericks, dumping 46 on them as the Cleveland Cavaliers danced to a 107-94 victory Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
For the second consecutive night, an MVP candidate overshadowed Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 29 points but could not will his team to victory. Just as Detroit's Chauncey Billups had one-upped Nowitzki on Tuesday night, James did it 24 hours later.
And so, the Mavericks (54-18) have a two-game losing streak. They also lost consecutive games against Milwaukee and San Antonio before Christmas.
"We don't like losing one in a row," coach Avery Johnson said. "You can only imagine how two in a row feels."
Fun with Steroid Investigations …
ESPN's confirmation of Mitchell as the head of the investigation comes after Wednesday's New York Times reported that Selig was on the verge of announcing an investigation into steroid use by Bonds and other players as detailed in the book "Game of Shadows" and that Mitchell's name was being floating around baseball circles as the outside person to head such an investigation.
ESPN has learned that Bonds and any other current player who may be part of this investigation will be allowed to play while the investigation is ongoing.
Selig has been under pressure for weeks to form an investigation. Two books being released this spring accuse Bonds of using steroids, human growth hormone and insulin for at least five seasons beginning in 1998 -- "Game of Shadows," written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, and "Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero" by Jeff Pearlman. Baseball did not test for performance-enhancing substances until after the 2002 season, and Bonds has denied ever knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs
I believe we have an April Fool’s joke on our hands: The Dallas Observer claims Dirk has a CD coming out …
Die Hard – The Silent Movie …
Good times. Finally, I have been asked for the audio of Alec Baldwin vs. Sean Hannity; Here you go ...