Manning adds to horrific playoff legacy


Manning adds to horrific playoff legacy

We were told last February you can't spell "Elite" without E-L-I?

Well, you still can't spell "Maddening Disappointment, yo..." without Peyton Manning.

He did it again.

Peyton Manning, quarterbacking a No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, took the horse behind the barn and gave it one behind the ear.

This time, it was a Bronco and not a Colt.

Ravens 38, Broncos 35. In two overtimes.

It was a fun and fascinating game in frigid cold that turned on a stupid decision by Manning. It's a choice that undid the good Manning did earlier in the game and cast a pall over his tremendous comeback season of 2012.

The smoking gun? Let the record show, this wasn't a singularly brilliant defensive play or a bad-luck tipped ball like the pick-six Manning had in the first quarter of the game.

On the play in question, the throw was delivered while Manning rolled right and threw softly across his body. It was second-and-6 and Manning was at his own 38. The only play at that point was to whip it into the shivering players on the bench. But no. Manning threw it toward Brandon Stokley and it was picked by Corey Graham at the Broncos 45. Six plays later, the Broncos were dead and so was Manning vs. Brady XIV and Broncos vs. Patriots with a Super Bowl berth on the line.

And New England's road to New Orleans got a lot less Rocky, if you know what I mean.

If the Patriots polish off Houston on Sunday, the Ravens will be in town for a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game,

And they'll be coming here after playing a 76-minute rock fight at altitude in sub-zero wind chill. Of course, after watching what happened to the Broncos Saturday night, Patriots fans may be staring at the sky and whistling aimlessly on Sunday rather than get too full of schadenfraude. Karma and all.

But back to Manning because, brilliant as he's been - and he is one of the top-five of all-time - his postseason resume is, well, pretty crappy.

He's been one-and-done eight times in 12 playoff seasons. He's won one Super Bowl (in a 2006 postseason in which he threw three TDs and seven INTs) and threw a game-sealing pick-six in crunch time in his other Super Bowl appearance back in 2009. He also rode the top-seeded 2005 Colts right out of the playoffs in similar one-and-done fashion.

The line of Manning-worshipping media eager to pin the blame on anyone other than Peyton is already a hundred miles long. It was the Denver secondary that allowed a game-tying moonball from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones. It was head coach John Fox for...I don't know, ask Woody Paige. Fingers will point in myriad directions instead of settling on Peyton. Which is ironic because the story from June through December was all about how the Broncos were Manning's team and John Fox was just their KC Jones...

(My early clubhouse leader for best Manning quote came from Troy Aikman who said after the clip of his pick was played during the NFC Divisional Playoff game, "You're not expecting Peyton Manning to make a throw like that." Yeah, Troy got chased from the game by concussions.)

Peyton Manning did what Peyton Manning does.

Jamba. Laya.

Rules changes are in: Field-goal leap, crackback blocks banned


Rules changes are in: Field-goal leap, crackback blocks banned

PHOENIX -- The NFL has announced which rules, bylaw and resolution proposals passed following Tuesday's vote at the Arizona Biltmore. The full list is below, but here are a couple of the noteworthy changes from a Patriots perspective . . . 

* That leap-the-line play that Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin have executed for the Patriots over the course of the last two seasons? That's been prohibited, as expected. The league did not want coaches to be responsible for putting a player in a position where he may suffer a head or neck injury. (Which is different from a player putting himself in that position with a split-second decision to leave his feet mid-play.)

* Receivers running pass routes can now be considered "defenseless." That means that even within the five-yard "chuck" area beyond the line of scrimmage, receivers will have some measure of protection. The Patriots, like many teams, have called for linebackers to disrupt the routes of shallow crossers, which can lead to monster hits on unexpecting players. Those types of collisions may now be fewer and farther between.

* Crackback blocks are now prohibited by a player who is in motion, even if the player is not more than two yards outside the tackle box at the snap. What's the Patriots connection here? It seems as though the overtime play that won Super Bowl LI -- during which Julian Edelman came in motion and "cracked" down on corner Brian Poole -- is now illegal. We'll look for clarification on this when the league holds its press conference describing the rules changes later on Tuesday.

Approved 2017 Playing Rules Proposals

2a. By Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays. (Final language will be available on  

8.   By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

9.   By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

11. By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. 

12. By Competition Committee; Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

13. By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

14. By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

15. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Approved 2017 Bylaw Proposals

4.     By Competition Committee; Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only. 

5.     By Competition Committee; Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.  

6.     By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

Approved 2017 Resolution Proposal

G-4.     By Competition Committee: Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.

Bowles on if Revis can still compete physically: 'I don't know for sure'

Bowles on if Revis can still compete physically: 'I don't know for sure'

PHOENIX -- Todd Bowles wasn't asked if he thinks Darrelle Revis can be a All-Pro level player. He wasn't asked if Revis has it in him to be a No. 1 corner again.

The bar was much lower. 

Can Revis, who will be 32 at the start of next season, still be a serviceable player? Does he have the physical ability to be competitive?

Bowles should know. He coached Revis with the Jets each of the last two years. But his answer was far from definitive.


"If he goes ahead and proves it, yeah he does," Bowles said during the AFC coaches breakfast on Tuesday. "But we'll see. I don't know for sure. I can't answer that. Only he can."

It's been a remarkable fall from grace for Revis, who re-signed with the Jets as a free agent after winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots. He was given $39 million fully guaranteed and went on to make the Pro Bowl in his first season back.

Last year, however, he had his worst season and was arguably among the worst full-time corners in the league. Quarterbacks completed almost two-thirds of their passes sent in his direction, and they had a rating of 104.2 when targeting the player formerly known as Revis Island.

"I love the guy. I love the player," Bowles said. "He didn't have a great year, but we didn't have a great season so he wasn't the only one. It's all about coming back and proving you can still do it every year. That can only be answered when you come back and do it."

The Jets released him earlier this offseason despite the fact that he's guaranteed $6 million by the team whether he plays in 2017 or not.

Now that Revis is looking for a job, New England has been cited by some as the most logical place for him to land. Asked about the potential of having Revis back, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the New York Daily News on Monday that he'd be all for it.

“I would love it," Kraft said. "Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”

At this point, however, a reunion seems unlikely. 

The Patriots are looking at the potential of having Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones all on the roster at corner next season -- though there is some question as to whether or not Butler will stick. 

And if Revis is hoping to make a move to safety, he'd probably have a hard time finding playing time as part of a group that will include Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung. 

Then there's the question as to his motivation. After winning a Super Bowl, and after making as much money as he's made, with an easy $6 million more staring him in the face, will Revis be ready to re-adapt to the demands of playing in New England?

Even if he is, there could very well be physical limitations impacting Revis' effectiveness moving forward. Bowles acknowledged that for some at Revis' age who play his position, the drop-off can come quickly.

"Sometimes it can. Sometimes it can't," Bowles said. "Every story is different. You have to write your own so he has to write his."