DENVER (AP) — First Cullen Gillaspia Jersey , Emmanuel Sanders wagged his right index finger in the face of Rams cornerback Troy Hill . Now, he’s pointing it right at himself after Denver’s fourth consecutive loss.After his taunt came back to haunt the Broncos, Sanders accepted the blame for Denver’s latest loss in a monthlong tailspin that has fans in the Rocky Mountains bracing for back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72.“I guess this loss is on me,” Sanders said after the Rams escaped frigid Denver as the league’s lone unbeaten team following a 23-20 win Sunday over the Broncos (2-4), who became the first team in NFL history to allow a 200-yard rusher in back-to-back games.Sanders thought he had a 44-yard TD catch from Case Keenum as he tumbled into the end zone in the first quarter. He sprung to his feet and wagged a finger at Hill.Side judge Brad Freeman threw the flag, calling a personal foul on Sanders for taunting.Ordinarily, the flag wouldn’t have mattered much because the 15-yard penalty would have been enforced on the ensuing kickoff and Brandon McManus, after giving Denver a 7-6 lead with an extra point, undoubtedly would still have booted the ball out of the end zone for a touchback.Upon review, however, it turned out Hill had the last laugh, having touched Sanders before he crossed the goal line.That put the ball at the 1.The penalty pushed them back to the 16.After runs of 1 and 5 yards, Keenum’s throwaway on third-and-4 brought in McManus for a field goal instead of an extra point and his 28-yarder cut Denver’s deficit to 6-3.They never did get the lead and those four points would have made the difference in a three-point loss.“Me, honestly, I feel like the league is getting soft,” Sanders said. “I’m having fun. I didn’t do anything crazy to the guy besides say, ‘Hey, I got you on that play.’ I pointed my finger at him. And they threw the flag.”Sanders said he’s done that his whole career and has never been flagged for it.“It was a great throw by Case Rock Ya-Sin Jersey , I came down with it, big play, emotions are high. It’s not like I walked up to him and head-butted him or something,” Sanders said. “But it cost my team. We lost by three points. I feel like we could have easily punched that ball in and gotten four (more) points. I guess this loss is on me.”Vance Joseph, who fell to 7-15 as head coach, talked to Sanders on the sideline.“He can’t do that,” Joseph said. “He knows that.”Well, he does now.“I don’t think I did anything too crazy besides point a finger and tell the guy, ‘Hey I got you on that play.’ I don’t see the penalty in that,” Sanders said. “But I learned from it and like I said, it cost my team. I’ve just got to keep chugging along and don’t do it again.”The costly foul from a nine-year veteran came one week after Sanders’ fellow SMU alum, rookie receiver Courtland Sutton , chased down Marcus Maye at the 1 following a 104-yard interception return at game’s end, leaving the Jets safety with the longest such play without a score in NFL history.“We played two of the best teams in the league, the Chiefs and the Rams, and the games came down to crunch time. And that just shows you what kind of team that we are,” linebacker Shane Ray declared. “We’re a great football team.”Not at 2-4 they aren’t.Even Fox play-by-play man Dick Stockton dissed the Broncos by beginning the telecast saying, “the undefeated Rams take on the Denver Nuggets.”Other takeaways from Week 6 included:CUTTING OUT COLINThe 49ers posted dozens of photos on its website of past games against the Packers in advance of their Monday night game without at first including any of Colin Kaepernick http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/ben-banogu-jersey , who set an NFL record for QBs by rushing for 181 yards in a playoff win against Green Bay on Jan. 12, 2013, threw for 413 yards in a season-opening win against the Packers in 2013, and led a winning drive in a playoff game in Green Bay on Jan. 5, 2014.“We have fond memories of those games and that should have been displayed on our website,” the team said in a statement after adding images of Kaepernick. “This oversight does not properly reflect the appreciation our ownership and this team have for Colin.”GRONK HONKTom Brady made light of yelling at Rob Gronkowski in an Instagram post following the Patriots‘ 43-40 win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.In the second quarter, the sideline microphones picked up Brady yelling at Gronkowski to stand up out of his stance, and Brady ended up calling a timeout on the play.Gronk came up big in the fourth quarter with a stiff-arm that helped him gain 42 yards and set up a field goal that gave New England a 40-33 lead.“Gronk, you can line up however you want if you keep stiff-arming people like that,” Brady said.MISSED CALLSAl Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, acknowledged for a second straight week that officials goofed in not calling a running back for lowering his head and barreling into a defender.In his weekly video, Riveron said Patriots rookie Sony Michel should have been flagged for lowering his head to initiate contact with Colts safety Clayton Geathers in Week 5.A week earlier, Riveron noted that Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt should have been flagged for doing the same thing to Broncos safety Justin Simmons.Although Hunt got away without a penalty, his illegal hit did result in a $26,739 fine.NO EXCEPTIONSRiveron defended referee Clete Blakeman’s crew, which didn’t flag Steelers receiver Justin Hunter for blocking Bengals DB Tony McRae beyond 1 yard past the line of scrimmage on Antonio Brown’s 31-yard TD catch from Ben Roethlisberger with 10 seconds left that gave Pittsburgh a 28-21 win on Sunday.“The contact is initiated by the defender,” Riveron said on Twitter Parris Campbell Jersey , “and therefore the receiver is not responsible for this contact.”NFL rule 8, Section 5, Article 4 states: “Blocking more than 1 yard beyond the line of scrimmage by an offensive player prior to a pass being thrown is offensive pass interference.”The rule book, however, doesn’t specify an exception for defenders initiating contact.
Vince McMahon is resuscitating the XFL.
OK, let’s get the bad jokes out of the way: Are some teams going to be wearing masks and representing parts unknown? Will the hook-and-ladder play involve smashing someone with a real ladder?
The XFL was a ”colossal failure” the first time McMahon tried it – his words – and there’s every reason to believe XFL2 will meet a similar fate.
But a spring football league, done the right way, could work.
And, no, we’re not kidding around.
The United States Football League came up with the most feasible concept back in the 1980s, only to crumble after just three seasons because of out-of-control spending and a suicidal push by owners such as Donald Trump to compete directly against the NFL .
But the USFL might still be around today if it had stuck to its original concept, which was to serve as more of a complement to the NFL than a direct competitor.
The timing is ripe for another attempt.
While the economy is booming and football remains the nation’s most popular sport, the NFL is contending with shrinking TV ratings, empty seats and a lingering debate over players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice. For the first time in decades, there are actually some cracks in the league’s armor.
Clearly, those issues figured into McMahon’s planned re-launch of the XFL in 2020 .
”As far as this league is concerned, it will have nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with social issues Will Harris Jersey ,” he said. ”That’s what the fans want. When they tune in to a game, they don’t want to deal with political issues. They want to watch good football.”
Good football will likely be the fatal flaw in McMahon’s new venture, just as it was for the original XFL. While the risque cheerleaders and close ties to wrestling brought plenty of much-deserved ridicule, it was the amateurish quality of play that ultimately caused its downfall. As Bob Costas memorably observed, it was ”mediocre high school football” combined ”with a tawdry strip club.”
Since McMahon’s new XFL will follow the same single-entity plan – he’ll be the sole owner of the eight-team league – there’s unlikely to be nearly enough money to lure any recognizable names, unless Tim Tebow (yes, he came up during the announcement Thursday) decides to make a football comeback.
But an updated version of the USFL concept would have a real chance at succeeding during the spring and summer, football’s traditional offseason.
Here’s a few ideas:
– Start with 10 or 12 teams, split between major NFL cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; those that have lost teams (San Diego, St. Louis and soon-to-be Oakland); and untapped markets with big league stadiums (San Antonio comes to mind).
– Restrict ownership to those who not only have deep pockets, but are totally committed to the concept (i.e., not simply trying to turn their investment into a merger with the NFL). Point out the relative bargain of owning a team in the new league compared to, say, the Carolina Panthers, whose selling price will surely exceed $2 billion. Maybe Mark Cuban would be interested in a Dallas franchise. Reach out to Oprah Winfrey about a Chicago team.
– Don’t get into a bidding war with the NFL over players. Focus heavily on scouting and development, which means pursuing lower-level pros who might thrive in a bigger role and college stars projected to go in the later rounds of the NFL draft. Always be on the lookout for someone like 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the subject of wildly varying draft projections http://www.detroitlionsteamonline.com/austin-bryant-jersey , who might have a better chance at playing time in a new league. And let’s not forget: Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.
– Line up a traditional TV deal to provide financial stability, perhaps some combination of a major network and a newer, sports-themed cable outlet such as NBCSN or Fox Sports 1. But also be on the cutting edge of subscription services, mobile streaming and other innovative conduits that appeal to a younger audience.
In essence, follow the model laid out by the late David Dixon, the New Orleans businessman whose longtime push for an out-of-season league finally came to fruition with the launch of the USFL in 1983.
Looking back, that first season was a rousing success in many ways. The Denver Gold averaged more than 41,000 fans. Overall attendance was roughly in line with the hoped-for 25,000 per game. TV ratings on ABC and then-fledgling ESPN actually exceeded projections. The quality of play was solid.
But the seeds of the USFL’s downfall were already in motion. When the New Jersey Generals skirted the salary cap to lure Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker away from Georgia, it only led more teams to dole out big bucks in pursuit of stars. That, in turn, led to huge financial losses. Dixon wisely walked away after that inaugural season.
In the end, the USFL’s most enduring legacy was the $3 judgment it ”won” in an antitrust suit against the NFL, a ruling that finished off the league in 1986 before it carried out a Trump-backed move from spring to fall.
No one since has made a serious attempt at a spring football league.
A revived XFL certainly doesn’t qualify.
But someone out there should heed McMahon’s words.
”Football is America’s favorite sport,” he said. ”We’ve got seven months of no football on the gridiron and 70 million fans. Why not now? Now is the perfect opportunity.”
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