Takuma Sato Immortalized

Takuma Sato out-raced Helio Castroneves to win his first Indianapolis 500.
He has he drove to victory lane, wore the wreath, drank the milk and even kissed the bricks.

However there is still one more task to achieve. After 5 months that last task is completed.

The task of course is being immortalized on the Borg-Warner Trophy. “Today, you look at the face…and it’s just a happy man. As I am,” Sato told a crowd gathered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. “I’m truly thrilled and very happy.”

Sato says that being an Indy 500 champion is something he never could have imagined:

Coaching Carousel Rumors That Won’t Happen/ Rick Riggin

Coaching Carousel Rumors That Won’t Happen
written by Rick Riggin The official Balance College Football Analyst

We hear the same thing every year. There’s always some big time program with a fan base ready to fire their Head Coach every week. Last year it was Texas and Notre Dame. Of course Texas actually did fire their guy and landed Tom Herman. Brian Kelly has gotten dangerously close, but looks to have turned the Irish around. But besides these two examples, there are big time programs that fall short of expectations, and the fan base starts screaming for 2 of the 3 guys on this list. So with that, we’ll start this list of coaches that you will NOT see coaching your team. Let’s start with #3…..

3. Bob Stoops – He literally just retired. And he left an elite program while he still has a lot of great coaching years left in the tank. Only he and his family know the true reason on why he decided on an early retirement, but I would think that reason means he’s not coming to your school and rebuild it’s program. I mean this guy left Baker Mayfield and a pretty good Sooners team that had a pretty good shot at returning to the Playoff.

2. Chip Kelly – He had a taste of the NFL, and I 100% believe that’s where he wants to be. Unlike Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, no school will make Chip Kelly such a ridiculous offer like that… And, he absolutely hates recruiting. He’s been perfectly content just being a “football consultant” for several teams. Less stressful that way. He’s not going to want to rebuild your program, and also don’t think that Oregon offense from several years ago will work today.

1. Chip Kelly – Ahhh, the White Whale, the Gray Ghost. The guy everybody wants. Just look at that picture. He’s perfectly happy by not coaching, right? He’s making college head coach money just by calling Monday Night Football games. Tennessee would have to pay him like 1 billion dollars and make him King of the Volunteer state. If he was going to come back to coaching, it would’ve happen a long time ago.
But it’s fun to fantasize about these guys taking over your program. But that’s all it will be, a fantasy.
Follow Rick Riggin on Twitter: @Riggin_Rick

Follow Flipping The Field: @Flipping_Field

Source Rick Rggin Flipping The Field

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Dearest Beth,
Our march to Tennessee was a triumphant one as we tasted victory against the invading gold miners in our last battle. Only if we would’ve known what these men they call Titans had planned for us. Our young officer, Capt. Brissett, lead our battalion with great leadership. But neither he nor I could have known that these men, these Titans, were nothing short of immortal. Like me, their General also has nagging battle wounds, but he led his Titans to victory. Their swords and shields are as much a part of them as their own beating hearts. I look forward to one day soon, rejoining my men in the trenches, and reclaiming our days of victory…
Love Always

General A. Luck

Source Rick Riggin Flipping The Field

So yeah about “Rodgers and the NFC” /Ed Kracz Balance NFL Contributor

So yeah about “Rodgers and the NFC” /Ed Kracz Balance NFL Contributor
By Ed Kracz
NFL Contributor

Too many of the stars in the NFL heavens have begun to flicker out.
Another weekend of games are complete, and on this one, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers couldn’t make it to the finish line, breaking a collarbone in his throwing shoulder on a clean hit from Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr during their game on Sunday. So Rodgers joins other stars such as the Giants’ Odell Beckham, the Texans’ J.J. Watt, the Cardinals’ David Johnson, the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, and the Patriots’ Julian Edelman on the shelf for the remainder of the year.
It’s not good for the league or its fans when these types of high-quality players go down before the season has even begun to get within ear shot of trick-or-treaters ringing doorbells on Halloween.
Strictly from an on-the-field perspective, the injury to Rodgers may have the greatest consequences not only on his team, but across the entire NFC landscape, from the east coast where Philly is making plenty of noise to the west coast where Seattle’s defense keeps thumping right along.
Rodgers was arguably the best player in the league. He gave the Pack a chance to win any game they played, even though Green Bay is a flawed team. So is just about every team in the league, though, which made Rodgers the great tiebreaker and his team a perennial Super Bowl contender.
Now, Green Bay will attempt to stay afloat with a former fifth-round draft pick in Brett Hundley and a backup who played his college football at the tiny Division III Wesley University in Dover, Del.
Meanwhile, the rest of the NFC salivates.
Suddenly, the Eagles are the favorite to earn a No. 1 seed. They have the best record in the NFC at 5-1. Seattle is in the hunt for the top spot with a defense that is still ferocious and a quarterback in Russell Wilson who has been to the mountaintop once already in his career. Don’t count out Carolina, yet, either despite a 28-23 loss to Philadelphia last Thursday.
None of these teams have anything locked up, by any means, though.
Not now, not after the momentum Rodgers’ injury gives teams like the Falcons, who were a 13-point favorite at home on Sunday, yet somehow found a way to the Jay Cutler-led Miami Dolphins. Or the Detroit Lions, who looked like a team to be reckoned with until losing their last two games, giving up a whopping 52 points to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Washington Redskins fought tooth-and-nail to get to 3-2 by surviving an upset bid from the winless 49ers on Sunday.
Go right down the list … Minnesota, especially quarterback Teddy Bridgewater given the green-light to practice this week, the Los Angeles Rams with a 31-year-old coach in Sean McVay doing wonders with former No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff, and on it goes.
Really, there are only two teams who don’t look like they can make it into the playoff field of six and they are the 1-5 Giants and 0-6 49ers. Maybe the Packers are the third now that Rodgers is done.
The rest?
Well, with Rodgers’ star now extinguished most of the NFC teams have an even greater chance to shine.

Follow Ed Kracz on Twitter: @kracze

‘NFL Films Presents Touchdown in Israel’ Follows Robert Kraft and Pro Football Hall of Famers’ Trip to the Holy Land

​​’NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel’ Airs Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network​

“Bringing the game to the rest of the world…There’s nothing better.” – Joe Montana

NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel airs on Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network. The one-hour show produced by NFL Films and hosted by Katie Nolan follows the unforgettable spiritual journey of New England Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft and 18 Pro Football Hall of Famers to Israel to relish in the faith-filled culture and spread the gospel of America’s Game.

Touchdown in Israel follows Kraft and the team of 18 Hall of Famers including Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Cris Carter, Aeneas Williams and Joe Greene as they visit historical and biblical landmarks including the Mount of Beatitudes, Jordan River, Masada, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall, City of David and the Dead Sea. Together, the football legends absorb the Holy Land’s offerings and form powerful bonds with one another.

Included in Touchdown in Israel are reflections from Hall of Fame cornerback and founding pastor of Spirit Church in St. Louis Aeneas Williams discussing how God helped Williams through his football career, and Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter sharing his story on Christ saving his football career and helping him overcome drug abuse, as well as baptisms in the sacred Jordan River for many of the Hall of Famers.

Kraft pioneers the integration of Israeli culture and American football, opening the Kraft Family Sports Campus to develop another cultural link between the United States and Israel. Alongside Kraft, NFL football greats help foster football’s growth in Israel by coaching and mentoring local Israeli football squads in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Touchdown in Israel features the following Pro Football Hall of Famers:

Joe Montana

Roger Staubach

Joe Greene

Cris Carter

Andre Reed

John Stallworth

Eric Dickerson

Marshall Faulk

Dave Casper

Jerome Bettis

Jim Brown

Ron Yary

Aeneas Williams

Lem Barney

Willie Lanier

Mike Singletary

Andre Tippett

Bruce Smith

Provided below are some select quotes from NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel:

– “You see us with the equipment on. You see us with the helmets on. But at the end of the day, we’re just human beings that are in need of Christ…Learning to worship God helped me learn to overcome fear. So many people never reach their destinies, never reach their potential because they never learn that they are created in God’s image. As they learn to worship the One that created them, the fear begins to dissipate because God becomes bigger then whatever that fear is.” – Aeneas Williams

– “I continue to thank God for allowing my family and me, Jonathan, Daniel and Joshua to help continue to build Jerusalem the Holy City all together, as one nation, one city, and with a prayer for peace, the nation of Israel lives.” – Robert Kraft

– “I came here as just a member of the Hall, but man I am leaving with some special relationships.” – Marshall Faulk

– “Bringing the game to the rest of the world…There’s nothing better. What you’re doing with bringing American football here, it is something that brings people together.” – Joe Montana

COLLEGE FOOTBALL FTF CFB TOP 5/Rick Riggin

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FTF CFB TOP 5
Rick Riggin Official College Analyst for The Balance

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When we have weeks where no ranked teams play each other, crazy things happen… Or maybe it was just because it was the Friday the 13th weekend??

This weekend we saw 4 of the Top 10 teams go down starting with Clemson and Washington State Friday night, followed by Auburn and Washington on Saturday. The fun didnt stop there though. It took OT for Michigan to finish off Indiana, and Texas had a late lead against Oklahoma, before Baker Mayfield put the Sooners on his shoulders to get the W in the final minutes.

So here is the ever evolving Flipping The Field Top 5 Rankings.

1. Alabama – No surprise. “To be the man, you have to beat the man, WOO!” – Ric Flair… And Arkansas really had no shot at doing that. Only A&M has been close so far.

2. Georgia – Just could be the man to beat the man but we won’t find out until the SEC Championship Game.

3. TCU – The Big 12’s only hope the way I see it right now. I know Oklahoma beat Ohio St at Ohio St, but man, the loss to Iowa St just looks really bad. As long as the Big 12 doesn’t cannibalize itself, TCU will be in the Playoff.

4. Penn State – I left them out last week, but not out of disrespect… I was just wrong. If they can avoid a disappointing loss, or a late loss, or just avoid losing is what I mean, the Big 10 Champ definitely gets in.

5. Ohio St – Yup, they’re on track to bust up the Playoff again with their proven formula of losing early. How bad does the loss to Oklahoma look now? They just need to keep doing what they’re doing like famously said by Charlie Murphy. That OSU-PSU game is growing large.

Oh by the way. There’s about a half a dozen 1 loss teams right now that can crash the party. Like I said, this ranking evolves weekly… Be sure to Subscribe, follow @Flipping_Field and @Riggin_Rick on Twitter.

Source FTF/Rick Riggin
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This Week in the NFL! Ed Kracz/NFL Contributor

nfl-week-6-opening-lines

By Ed Kracz ED

Official NFL Contributor to The Balance

The Dallas Cowboys have the weekend off thanks to their bye, but the drama that has surrounded star running back Ezekiel Elliott did not take a break.
Elliott’s on-again, off-again six-game suspension was reinstated earlier in the week. Elliott, the Cowboys and the NFL Players Association refuse to go quietly into the night, however.
The NFLPA has asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an immediate recall so they can pursue a full-panel hearing with the court. If the recall goes through, Elliott may very well be able to play in Dallas’ next game on Oct. 22 against the winless 49ers. If it does not, he will sit out games against San Francisco, the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angles Chargers. He would not be eligible to return until Nov. 30 against Washington.
By then, the Cowboys’ defense of the NFC East title they won last year, when they went 13-3, may be out the window, because the Eagles appear to be in good shape to unseat them.
The Eagles are sitting at 5-1, compared to Dallas’ 2-3, and Philly quarterback Carson Wentz has taken a huge leap forward from his rookie season. Wentz has thrown seven touchdowns in his last two games and has been over 300-yards passing in half the team’s games this year.
More importantly, the Eagles are playing team football and free of the drama that surrounds the Cowboys and also another NFC East team, the New York Giants, who are sitting at 0-5, have injuries galore at receiver and had to suspend cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie earlier in the week when he complained about being taken out of a recent game.
Elliott and the Cowboys seem to be affected by the suspension issue.
The offensive line, which is one of the league’s best, isn’t playing at the same level as it did last year when Elliott led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards.
Also, in his first five games last year, Elliott had 546 yards and five touchdowns. In his first five this season, he has 393 with one touchdown and was held to eight yards on the ground by the Denver Broncos in Week Two.
Should Elliott be lost for the next six games, the running game would be handled by Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. Not bad, but not Elliott, either.
That means quarterback Dak Prescott, who was last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, will likely have to shoulder a heavier load.
Prescott has the targets to be effective in future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten and receivers Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley, but the quarterback also has an 11-game streak where he has failed to throw for more than 300 yards.
That would have to end if Elliott’s suspension remains in place.

Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Reinstated

elliot_ezekiel-hs

Source NFL Network NFL

A federal appeals court overturned a district court’s decision in the Ezekiel Elliott case Thursday, meaning the Dallas Cowboys running back’s six-game suspension has been reinstated.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction in Elliott case after hearing oral arguments from the league and NFL Players Association lawyers earlier this month. The decision vacated the preliminary injunction and directed an order to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to dismiss the case.

“Earlier today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the preliminary injunction that prohibited the league from imposing the six-game suspension issued to Ezekiel Elliott for a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy,” the league wrote in a statement. “The Court also directed the district court to dismiss the union’s lawsuit which was filed on Elliott’s behalf. As a result, Elliott’s suspension will begin effective immediately. Elliott is eligible to return to the team on Friday, November 24 following the Cowboys’ Thursday, November 23 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.”

The NFLPA also issued a statement on the court’s decision: “The NFLPA is reviewing the decision and considering all options. The appellate court decision focuses on the jurisdictional issues. The failure of due process by the NFL articulated in the district court’s decision were not addressed.”

Elliott’s lawyer, Frank Salzano, released the following statement to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport regarding Thursday’s ruling:

“We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days. Until that time we have no further comment on the 5th circuit’s decision.”

The NFLPA is expected to re-file the case with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in order to keep Elliott playing, according to Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program. The Cowboys have a bye this week and there’s a chance Elliott might not miss a single game if the NFLPA refiles the case and is granted a TRO or preliminary injunction.

Elliott and the NFLPA have other legal options as well. They could seek an en banc hearing with the 5th Circuit or refile an amended lawsuit in Texas, according to Feldman.

“So the Players Association could ask the district court in New York or perhaps some other court to reinstate the preliminary injunction, which would put that suspension back on hold,” Feldman said on NFL Network’s TNF First Look. “So this is not over yet, particularly with the bye week, that Elliott will not serve the suspension.

“Again it’s an uphill battle but it’s possible to get that ruling in eight days,” Feldman said. “Just because they get a ruling though doesn’t mean it’s a favorable ruling, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibility.”

Unless lawyers for Elliott and NFLPA can get the suspension put on hold again, Elliott will miss games against the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers. The next game he’d be eligible to play in would be against the Redskins at home on Nov. 30.

In it’s majority decision, 5th Circuit judges Edward C. Prado and Jennifer Walker Elrod did not weigh in on the merits of the NFLPA’s case. Rather, it ruled the lower court lacked “subject matter jurisdiction” because the union filed a “premature” lawsuit before an arbitration decision was made on Elliott’s suspension.

“The procedures provided for in the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA were not exhausted. … At the time the NFLPA filed the complaint, it was possible the arbitrator could have issued a final decision that was favorable to Elliott. Elliott cannot show it was futile to wait for a final decision simply because he believed the arbitrator would issue an unfavorable ruling.”

The majority found Elliott was “required to exhaust his contractual remedies” before filing a lawsuit that accused the NFL of an unfair grievance process.

“The NFLPA takes issue with the outcome and fairness of the arbitration proceedings. However, for the repudiation exception to the exhaustion requirements to apply, the NFL would have had to completely refuse to engage in the process.”

In his dissenting decision, judge James E. Graves concluded the district court “properly executed subject matter jurisdiction” and the “NFL is unable to show a likelihood of success on the merits of any irreparable injury for purposes of a stay.”

The NFL’s appeal was part of an attempt to enforce Elliott’s suspension this season and confirm NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s authority to issue punishment based on “conduct detrimental” to the league as mandated in Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement.

U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant III issued the preliminary injunction last month after agreeing with the NFLPA that Elliott didn’t receive a fair suspension appeal hearing from Goodell-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson.

Goodell suspended Elliott after a year-long investigation into domestic violence accusations made by his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson. The league found he violated the league’s conduct policy, which mandates a six-game suspension for first-time domestic violence violations. In a letter sent to Elliott informing him of suspension in August, the NFL stated it believed he used physical force against Thompson three times over a span of five days in July 2016.

Elliott, 22, was never charged and has denied wrongdoing.

Elliott, who set a Cowboys rookie record with 1,631 rushing yards rushing last season, has 393 rushing yards and two touchdowns this season. He had a season-best 116 yards last week against the Green Bay Packers.