Falcons’ Ridley suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley will be suspended for at least the 2022 NFL season for betting on NFL games, the league announced Monday.

According to the NFL, the activity took place during a five-day period in late November 2021 while the fourth-year veteran was not with the team and was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list.

A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.  Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates, or other players of his betting activity.

In a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension, Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote:

“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game. This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.

“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.” 

Ridley responded via Twitter:

The 27-year-old Ridley may petition for reinstatement on or after February 15, 2023. 

Jags’ Lawrence: ‘Our defense two times has put us in a situation to go win the game and haven’t been able to do it’

Down 21-3 in the third quarter, it appeared the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the verge of getting routed on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons(5-6) at TIAA Bank Field.

However, they battled and fought and cut the lead to 21-14 in the fourth. Jacksonville had one final chance to tie the game late, but after getting a first down from their own 29, Trevor Lawrence would throw four straight incompletions, and ultimately, Jacksonville would fall to the Falcons 21-14.

With the loss, Jacksonville(2-9) has lost three straight and four out of their last five.

In two of the last three games, the Jaguars had their offense on the field with an opportunity to win or tie the game, and both times, the offense failed to get the job done, which Lawrence discussed post-game.

“Our defense two times has put us in a situation to go win the game and haven’t been able to do it,” Lawrence said. “So we’ve just got to get better and go make those plays in the biggest moments. I know we can do it, but we’ve got to go do it, and that starts with me and staying on schedule even in the two-minute. It’s tough when you get in 3rd and 4th and 10. We’ve got to get better at that, but we’re going to get some more opportunities and just keep working for when you do get it to go and execute and win the game.”

Despite the loss, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer was happy with the team’s efforts.

“Yeah, they fought their tails off, and 84 [Cordarrelle Patterson] is a really good player for them, and he hurt us early, and then on offense, we moved the ball a little bit, just no big plays. Just none,” Meyer said. “And then, all of a sudden, we started getting some. Offensive football is a big-play — not many teams can drive the length of a field without a hit here and there, and we had some hits and scored a couple times.”

Against Atlanta, Lawrence completed 23-of-42 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown, interception, and after 11 games, Lawrence is 231-of-398 passing for 2,369 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 

The first overall pick has been up and down this season, but according to Meyer, Lawrence remains confident.

“Yeah, I’ve had many, many daily conversations with him, and he’s a fighter,” Meyer said. “He doesn’t look at it that way. He looks, he came here to help lift an organization, and that’s the way he looks at it. He’s very hard on himself, as most great players are, and the whole question even I ask the team, ask myself, ask ourselves, what can we do better to go win that game, and the answer is a multitude of things. That’s never really come up. That’s not a woe-is-me, and feel sorry for yourself. What can we do to get better is how he approaches everything. Like I said, he’s very — that cat now works — is very hard on himself; what can he do better, and not just on the field but lead guys. That’s why he’s going to be a great player here.”

Jacksonville heads on the road next week to battle the Rams.

Eagles DC Gannon explains how the defense turned things around against Atlanta

After two series, it appeared that the Atlanta Falcons offense was poised to score a lot of points against the Eagles on Sunday. 

Atlanta had drives of 72 and 74 yards, but Philadelphia kept them from scoring touchdowns. The Falcons would not score again after their second scoring drive, and Philadelphia would defeat Atlanta on the road 32-6.

The Eagles allowed 260 yards of total offense(102 total yards in the second half) and sacked Matt Ryan three times. Philadelphia allowed only 114 yards after the Falcons’ first two offensive drives.

On Tuesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon discussed the team’s adjustments on defense after the first two drives.

“I think the main two things that changed were we cleaned some technique issues up after the first couple series there,” Gannon said. “I think guys settled in a little bit better and started trusting their keys. We talk about alignment, assignment, key, technique. If you don’t have those, if one of those four things is wrong, it’s hard to play good team defense.

“I think really it’s a credit to our players; they settled down and just started getting back to the basics of that. That’s really pre-snap that we can control everything. The technique part is post-snap. But alignment, assignment, where they put their eyes, that’s all pre-snap. I think we kind of settled down and did a better job of that.

“We got to some different things we had in our back pocket that we knew we were going to run and got to some of those calls. They executed well.”

Give Philly’s defense a lot of credit. They played very well on Sunday and deserve just as much recognition as the offense for the Eagles defeating the Falcons on Sunday.

Let’s see if the defense can keep it going against the 49ers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Falcons-Jets, Jaguars-Dolphins to battle in London

The National Football League today announced that it will return to playing International Series Games in 2021, with two games to be held at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Atlanta Falcons will host the New York Jets on Sunday, October 10 and the Jacksonville Jaguars will be at home against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, October 17, with both games kicking off at 2.30 p.m. UK time (9.30 a.m. ET)

The NFL’s London Games series has comprised 28 games over 13 consecutive seasons from 2007-2019.  This season’s games will represent the continuation of this important international initiative after the coronavirus pandemic forced all games in 2020 to be played in the United States.

“The Jaguars are honored to return to London, our home away from home, and continue in our mission to grow the NFL and promote Jacksonville in the UK and beyond,” said Jaguars team owner Shad Khan. “With Urban Meyer as our head coach, we’ll be arriving with an entirely new look and attitude that I’m confident will meet the approval of our Union Jax supporters. I’m also hoping that many of our loyal fans in Jacksonville can join us in London for a great experience and to ratchet up the homefield advantage. Go Jags!”

The Jaguars will be playing their eighth home game in London, while the Dolphins will play in the UK for the fifth time, and second time as the road team. The Falcons and Jets will both take the field in London for the second time.

The full 2021 NFL regular-season schedule will be announced later today, at 8:00 p.m. ET (1:00 a.m. UK time).

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan discusses his regrets from Super Bowl LI

For 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Super Bowl 54 provides an opportunity for redemption. The last time Shanahan coached in a Super Bowl was when he was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

In that game, the Falcons were dominating the Patriots and were up 28-3 in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Falcons and Shanahan, the Patriots would score the final 31 points and would defeat the Falcons 34-28 in overtime. This was the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Losing in the Super Bowl was very difficult for Shanahan, and on Monday, he discussed how he felt after the loss to the Patriots.

“The days after were real tough,” Shanahan said. “Losing a Super Bowl is extremely tough for everybody, especially when you lose one when you have a 28-3 lead going into the fourth. The way it came down on me personally, I didn’t react to that, I think, the way people would expect because there were definitely parts in that Super Bowl that I would love to have back and stuff I was very hard on myself, but the whole narrative of if I would’ve just ran it, we would’ve won. I know that wasn’t the case. 

“I know what went into that game and all the stuff that happened, so that stuff didn’t bother me. You’ve got to deal with that and listen to other people, but it was nice to be able to move on and move out here and just keep working. I’m glad I’m going to get the chance to go back.”

With the Falcons leading 28-20 late in the fourth quarter, the Falcons moved the ball all the way down to the Patriots’ 22-yard line. However, Falcons QB Matt Ryan was sacked, and then, the Falcons were called for a holding the penalty, which pushed the Falcons out of field goal range.

Shanahan discussed what he did wrong.

“Yeah, the play I regretted the most was when we got down there,” Shanahan said. “We haven’t converted a third down, really the entire second half, I think we were averaging one yard a carry rushing. So, when you do that, the formula to keep giving the ball back to someone is to go run-run-pass. You’re going to make a third-and-seven at best every single time. If you’re not converting third downs, that makes it tough. We did mix it up a little bit. I think we actually ran it more in the second half than we did in the first half.

“The other team was I think 34 of 38, converted all their third downs, couldn’t get the ball. Finally they got it within a score, we got it back and got pretty aggressive to get it down there. It was a second-and-10, called a pass on the last time down there. On second-and-10 I called a run. We got a two-yard loss and a holding call that put us out of field goal range. This time I went the opposite. Tried to get a play to [Atlanta Falcons WR] Julio [Jones]. They played a different coverage, didn’t get the call I wanted, so I didn’t like the call. I was hoping we could just get rid of it, but they had a pretty good rush and got a sack. Once that happened, I knew we had to throw because now we were out of field goal range. Threw it the next down to [Atlanta Falcons WR Mohamed] Sanu, ran a choice-route breaking out and moved the chains, but they called a holding call on our left tackle so that put us way back and we had to throw again to get back into it and we missed it. I wish I didn’t call that play on second-and-11 that led to that sack.”

Obviously, the Falcons should have won that football game, but Bill Belichick and Tom Brady made magic happen, and the rest is history.

Hopefully, for Shanahan, he can get vindication in Super Bowl 54. 

Tony Gonzalez: The 2012 Falcons gave me my best chance to win a Super Bowl(VIDEO)

Heartbreak and the Atlanta Falcons have been synonymous over the years, and nothing epitomizes that more than 28-3 in Super Bowl 51. The Falcons were cruising to a victory in that Super Bowl before Tom Brady, and the Patriots pulled off an improbable comeback to beat Atlanta in OT. Those are the types of losses that you never get over.

Four years before the heartbreak in Super 51, Falcons fans dealt with another crushing defeat. This time in the NFC title game, at home, against the 49ers in 2013(2012 season). In that game, the Falcons, who had the best record(13-3) in the NFC, jumped out to a 17-0 lead and led 24-14 at halftime. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they would not score another point and would lose 28-24 to Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers.

Hall of Famer and former Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez remembers that game all so well and believes the 2012 Falcons gave him his best chance to win a Super Bowl.

“We were balanced,” Gonzalez recently said about the 2012 Falcons. “We had John Abraham on defense. Obviously, the offense was off the charts with me, Roddy(White), Julio(Jones), Matt(Ryan), Michael Turner in the backfield, and a really good offensive live. So, yeah, it was the best opportunity. We just came up a little short. ”

The 12-time Pro Bowler discussed some of the things that went wrong in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers.

“It was one of those things where that game could have went both ways,” Gonzalez said. “We were up 24-10(24-14) at halftime or something like that. I don’t think we scored after halftime and it isn’t because we weren’t moving the ball. We were moving the ball, but just bad luck. It’s really weird.

“I looked at the game one time, and one of the snaps went right through Matt’s(Ryan) hand. I remember Harry Douglas, we had this great call where he’s wide open, and he trips out of nowhere on his own feet, which he never does that. Roddy(White) is running a route one time, and he rounds it at the top, and he never rounds it. He always comes back. He’s an All-Pro receiver, and the ball gets intercepted. Harry(Douglas) catches the ball but falls down, and it would have been a touchdown right there, and all this kind of stuff happened in the second half. It was just a fluke.”

According to Gonzalez, who spent 17 years in the NFL, things were just not meant to be for the 2012 Falcons:

“The 49ers were supposed to be there,” he said. “That’s where we got Colin Kaepernick. Maybe it was all meant to be. That’s the way you gotta look at it and say, ‘hey, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and I’m happy.'”

Before that 2012 season, Gonzalez had not won a playoff game, but 2012 marked the first time Gonzalez would win a game in the postseason, and while he did not win a Super Bowl, Gonzalez did get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last weekend, so fortunately for him, he will be immortalized forever.

However, for Falcons fans, the heartache continues.

Listen below as Gonzalez talks the 2012 Falcons:


Falcons-Broncos to play in 2019 Hall of Fame Game

The Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos will kick off the National Football League’s 100th season in the city where the league was born. The Falcons and Broncos are scheduled to face each other in the 2019 Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. ET in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ​

The game marks the fourth appearance by each club in the annual preseason classic. Both teams own 1-2 records in the Hall of Fame Game series.

Broncos owner PAT BOWLEN and cornerback CHAMP BAILEY, and former Falcons tight end TONY GONZALEZ will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame two days later. The other members of the Class of 2019 include GIL BRANDT, TY LAW, KEVIN MAWAE, ED REED and JOHNNY ROBINSON. The Class of 2019 Enshrinement Ceremony is set for Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Tickets for the 2019 Hall of Fame Game and the Enshrinement Ceremony go on sale Friday, March 15 at 10 a.m. ET at: www.profootballhof.com/tickets

“We are fired up to kick off the NFL’s 100th season in the Hall of Fame Game,” Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn said. “We are honored to play in Canton and be a part of the celebration for all of the inductees. This is also an opportunity for us to strengthen our connection and our brotherhood with additional time on the field.”

Broncos coach Vic Fangio commented, “With Mr. Bowlen and Champ Bailey part of this year’s induction class, it’s an honor for the Broncos to play in the Hall of Fame Game. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of Broncos fans in Canton, and it’s also special for us to help kick off the NFL’s 100th season. Football-wise, it gives our team an extra week of training camp and additional practices that we’ll use to our advantage.”

The 2019 Hall of Fame Game will be televised nationally by NBC and called by the Sunday Night Football team, and broadcast nationally on radio by Westwood One.

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, a key component of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village that is underway around the Hall’s campus, was labeled as among “13 Game-Changing NFL Stadiums” by Forbes.

Asante Samuel believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame

Throughout his 11-year NFL career, CB Asante Samuel was a playmaker. In his five seasons with the Patriots, Samuel amassed 22 interceptions, three that went for touchdowns. In 2007, Samuel was named to the Pro Bowl and was First Team All-Pro. Also, Samuel was apart of two Super Bowl winning teams with the Patriots.

In 2008, Samuel would sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he would continue his playmaking ways. In four seasons with the Eagles, Samuel had 23 picks, two that went for touchdowns, and three Pro Bowl appearances.

Samuel would retire in 2013 after spending two seasons with the Falcons. He ended his career with 51 interceptions(32nd in NFL history), six that were returned for touchdowns. He also had seven picks in the playoffs, which is tied for six in NFL history, and of those seven picks, he returned 4 for touchdowns, which is an NFL record.

Does Samuel belong in the Hall of Fame? He thinks so.

“If I’m not mistaken, it’s three people(seven players) in the Hall of Fame already with 50 interceptions in 10 years,” Samuel told TMZ Sports. “I mean I broke the playoff record, which Willie Brown had (most interceptions returns for touchdowns). He’s a Hall of Famer. I was a two-time interception leader in the NFL (2006, 2009), which is more than others.

“The facts are the facts, so if you are going by the facts, Pro Bowls and All-Pros, yeah, I was overlooked. I had 10 interceptions one year(2006) and didn’t make it to the Pro Bowl, so we’ll see how that go. The facts are the facts.”

Samuel, along with notable players such as Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey, and Ed Reed will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.

I think Samuel has a great case for the Hall. Based on the numbers, he was a playmaker not only in the regular season, but in the playoffs, too.

If we look at Samuel’s complete body of work, you have to say that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Only thing you could point to is that missed interception opportunity in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants, but that does not overshadow the many plays he made in his career.


Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie celebrating with a dance!

The Philadelphia Eagles move on. Philly beat the Falcons 15-10 in the divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday night. The Eagles will now host the NFC title game against either Minnesota or New Orleans next Sunday.

After the game, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie got his dance on!

Check it out:

Complete Wild Card weekend schedule

The NFL announced the scheduled for Wild Card weekend tonight.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, January 6

AFC   4:35 PM (ET)

 Tennessee at Kansas City (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC)

NFC:    8:15 PM (ET)

 Atlanta at Los Angeles Rams (NBC)

Sunday, January 7

AFC:    1:05 PM (ET)

 Buffalo at Jacksonville (CBS)

NFC:    4:40 PM (ET)

 Carolina at New Orleans (FOX)

The Divisional Playoffs will be played on Saturday and Sunday, January 13 and 14.

The AFC (CBS, 3:05 PM ET) and NFC (FOX, 6:40 PM ET) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 21.

The 2018 Pro Bowl (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC, 3:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 28 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida and Super Bowl LII will take place on Sunday, February 4 (NBC, 6:30 PM ET) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

American Football Conference

National Football Conference

  1. New England (13-3), AFC East champion

  1. Philadelphia (13-3), NFC East champion

  1. Pittsburgh (13-3), AFC North champion

  1. Minnesota (13-3), NFC North champion

  1. Jacksonville (10-6), AFC South champion

  1. Los Angeles Rams (11-5), NFC West champion

  1. Kansas City (10-6), AFC West champion

  1. New Orleans (11-5), NFC South champion

  1. Tennessee (9-7)

  1. Carolina (11-5)

  1. Buffalo (9-7)

  1. Atlanta (10-6)