Giants, Washington have COVID-19 positives
We continue to see a steady uptick in COVID-19 cases around the league, although fortunately they have been mostly isolated incidents with no full-blown outbreaks. Tuesday morning we got word of two more teams with players testing positive, both in the NFC East. The Giants and the Washington Football Team are the latest to be hit with the virus. © Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports The Giants are among the teams that have had this week disrupted by COVID-19. The Giants’ player is kicker Graham Gano, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets.
NFL history is littered with teams that dominated the regular season but couldn't close the deal. We rank each franchise's best team never to win the Big One. The Colts were a stacked team that was so good it reached the Super Bowl despite having Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas (above)
Only four of 32 NFL teams have not been to a Super Bowl , a club of woe that lost its fifth member The gluttonous New England Patriots stretched their record number of Super Bowl appearances to (The Kansas City Chiefs have been given the best odds of winning the next Super Bowl , incidentally
The hits just keep on coming for a banged-up 49ers team that will now be playing its home games in Arizona. Defensive ends Dee Ford and Ronald Blair, as well as center Weston Richburg, aren’t expected to play the rest of the season, head coach Kyle Shanahan said during his Tuesday press conference. © Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports 49ers defensive end Dee Ford is unlikely to return this season to the injury-ravaged team.
Back in late October, Shanahan said Ford wouldn’t return until Week 12 at the earliest, but now the team is shutting him down. Richburg was eligible to return from the PUP list after Week 6, and the last we heard about him was in October as well when it was reported he was likely a few weeks away. Blair also was on the PUP list to start the year, and the team had initially hoped to have him back for the start of the season. Shanahan said both Blair and Richburg suffered serious setbacks during their respective recoveries.
Broncos DC Ed Donatell back home recovering after COVID-related hospitalization
Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell required hospitalization after contracting the coronavirus, according to the team. The second-year Denver DC was hospitalized last week but discharged Sunday. Donatell, 63, has been battling COVID-19 symptoms since Oct. 31 and has missed the past three games. Donatell, who is in his third stint with the franchise, is one of a few Broncos staffers to have contracted the virus. Running backs coach Curtis Modkins did so in October, and offensive line coach Mike Munchak was in the team’s COVID protocol.
Which teams have never made a Super Bowl ? The Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars have never made it to a Super Bowl . Things are looking up for the Jaguars, who made it all the way to the AFC Championship this year and would have beaten the
Who is the best NFL team to not win the Super Bowl (except the 2007 Patriots)? Which would you say were the five biggest upsets in Super Bowl history? I was at a Bears game in 2001 — their season finale against Jacksonville — the Bears took it to them like nothing. And the Eagles kicked those
Richburg suffered a torn patellar tendon late last year, while Blair went down with an ACL tear in November, and both apparently experienced complications. Richburg was the team’s full-time starter at center in 2018 and 2019, and his absence has left a big hole along the offensive line. Blair has played a rotational role as a pass-rusher since the 49ers drafted him in 2016, and he certainly could’ve been used this season as San Francisco experienced a rash of injuries up front, including an ACL tear for Nick Bosa.
Ford has been a big disappointment and unable to stay on the field since the 49ers traded a second-round pick for him and signed him to a new five-year, $87.5M deal in March of 2019. He played in only 11 games last season and just one this time around after what has proved to be a disastrous trade.
NFL expecting huge COVID-19 spike after Thanksgiving?
The NFL is bracing for a significant post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases across the league. There is a fear that with the surge in the virus, it will have an impact on the remaining regular-season games. The NFL has every reason to be concerned. Cases of COVID-19 are spiking across the United States, with the country exceeding 100,000-plus new positive tests every day since November began. It’s also a trend that reflects in the NFL’s testing of players and personnel, with 47 percent of cases in the regular season coming in November.Oct. 4-10: Eight new cases among players, seven confirmed positives among personnelOct.
There are four teams that have never made it to the Super Bowl : Cleveland Browns (The original Browns won 4 of 6 NFL championship appearances and went to 3 AFC championships: 1986, 1987, and 1989. Then they became the Baltimore Ravens and won a Super Bowl . The new Browns team is
There are still 13 franchises that have never secured a Super Bowl championship, including four teams who have never even made it to the big The Atlanta Falcons would attain the franchise's first Super Bowl championship with a win on Sunday and effectively remove themselves from the list of
Ford is signed through the 2023 season at over $15M annually, but the 49ers can get out of his contract without taking too much of a hit this offseason. The team shopped him this past offseason, but it’s doubtful anyone is looking to take on that contract now. Ford had 13 sacks and led the league in forced fumbles as recently as 2018, but his stock has taken a big hit the past couple years. Hopefully he can get healthy and back to his old self soon. In the meantime, unless he’s willing to take a pay cut, he’s likely played his last down with the 49ers.
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Related slideshow: Which NFL teams have allowed the fewest points in the 16-game era? (Provided by Yardbarker)
Steelers Pro Bowl CB Joe Haden reveals he was in car accident
Haden tweeted a video clip on Friday that showed what was presumably his damaged Rolls-Royce after a collision with another car. He wrote, “I’m good!” along with the video. I’m good! Stay prayed up! pic.twitter.com/4mF35BMmhq — Joe Haden (@joehaden23) November 27, 2020 That was obviously far more serious than a fender-bender, so we hope everyone involved is doing well.Haden, a three-time Pro Bowler, is in his fourth season with the Steelers. He recently expressed how much he enjoys playing for Mike Tomlin.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports.
Then he made NFL defenses look silly for 10 years, earning a Pro Bowl nod in all 10 seasons. He averaged 99.8 rushing yards per game, 5.0 yards per carry, and is one of only Pretty much EVERY Hall of Famer on the Bills teams that lost four straight Super Bowls — but especially Bruce Smith.
In total, 12 teams have never won a Super Bowl (four have never even been there). While the Patriots are the model of success in the NFL , they don't own the most Super Bowls ever (yet). Years won: 1972, 1973. Now, check out how driven one of the best Super Bowl quarterbacks of all-time is
Which NFL teams have allowed the fewest points in the 16-game era?
Many Super Bowl celebrations have occurred after the assembly of a dominant defense. Even when elite defenses did not produce a title, they have often defined an era for a franchise. Here are the best scoring defenses of the past 42 years. For consistency purposes, we're limiting this to the 16-game season era (1978-present).
Bonus: 1977 Atlanta Falcons
But first, due respect for a 14-game superpower. Atlanta's "Grits Blitz" defense held opponents to 9.2 points per game in 1977. That tops any team's effort in the past 60 years. Operating before the 1978 offense-favoring rule changes aided Atlanta, but these Falcons are a forgotten force. They snared 26 interceptions and allowed just nine touchdown passes. Cornerback Rolland Lawrence picked off seven throws. The Falcons threw relentless pressure at opposing QBs, recovering 41 fumbles, providing a precursor to the Bears' 46 defense. They are forgotten because this offensively limited team only produced a 7-7 record. A fascinating NFL footnote nonetheless.
T-24. 1980 Philadelphia Eagles
The early-'80s Eagles possessed stellar defenses; this one elevated the franchise to its first Super Bowl. The Eagles relied on their top-ranked defense (13.9 points allowed per game) to reach Super Bowl XV. Pro Bowl linebacker Bill Bergey, in his final season, joined Hall of Fame defensive end Claude Humphrey -- a Falcons trade get who had 12.5 sacks in 1980 -- and All-Pro nose tackle Charlie Johnson in leading this 3-4 defense. (Herm Edwards was also a starting corner.) Philly (12-4) allowed seven or fewer points six times and beat both its NFC playoff opponents (Minnesota and Dallas) by at least two scores.
T-24. 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers
Featuring future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu and Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, these Steelers led the league in both yards and points (13.9 per game) allowed. This defense carried a 20th-ranked offense to Super Bowl XLIII, and Harrison's 100-yard INT return in the win over the Cardinals remains an all-time NFL sequence. Polamalu's signature play may have also occurred in 2008; the safety's cross-field pick-6 iced the Ravens in a physical AFC championship game. Outside linebackers Harrison and LaMarr Woodley combined for 27.5 sacks for likely the franchise's best post-Steel Curtain defense.
T-21. 1996 Carolina Panthers
The 1996 season brought two historic get-rich-quick stories. Second-year franchises Carolina and Jacksonville voyaged to the conference championship round. The Panthers rode their No. 2-ranked defense, which gave up 13.6 PPG. GM Bill Polian's free-agency blueprint brought 1996 All-Pros Sam Mills and Kevin Greene (14.5 sacks) to Carolina, with fellow veteran adds in linebacker Lamar Lathon (13.5 sacks) and cornerback Eric Davis going to the Pro Bowl. Dom Capers and Vic Fangio's defense keyed a 12-4 march. The Panthers swept the 49ers and beat the defending champion Cowboys in Round 2.
T-21. 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars
The best team in the Jaguars' 25-year history, the '99 squad went 14-2 and led the NFL in permitting just 13.6 PPG. Jacksonville won 11 straight games to secure home-field advantage in the AFC, doing so with key contributions from Pro Bowlers Kevin Hardy, Tony Brackens and Carnell Lake. A hybrid linebacker-pass rusher, Hardy managed 98 tackles and 10.5 sacks -- a combination only four players have hit in the past 20 years. The Jags forced four Dan Marino turnovers in a 62-7 divisional-round demolition, Marino's final game, but their 0-3 record against the Titans that year cost the team a Super Bowl berth.
20. 1988 Chicago Bears
Jim McMahon's injuries led to the Bears' offense going south by 1988, but Chicago still had elite defensive capabilities. Middle linebacker Mike Singletary claimed his second Defensive Player of the Year honor and had the Bears No. 1 in defense for a third time in four years. Chicago (12-4) allowed 13.4 PPG, dragging its No. 18 offense to the NFC's No. 1 seed. During a five-game early-season win streak, Chicago held each opponent to single-digit points. Steve McMichael and Hall of Famers Richard Dent and Dan Hampton combined for 31.5 sacks. The 49ers, however, routed the Bears 28-3 in the NFC title game.
19. 2001 Pittsburgh Steelers
Holding foes to 13.3 PPG, the No. 3 defense in 2001 checks in here. This is a forgotten Steeler defense, likely because it could not come out on top against Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe in that year's AFC championship game. But this unit housed two Pro Bowl linebackers -- All-Pro Jason Gildon and Defensive Rookie of the Year Kendrell Bell -- and saw five players post at least eight sacks, led by Gildon's 12. Bell made 23 tackles for loss -- the most by a 21st-century rookie -- and cornerback Chad Scott posted 204 interception return yards and two pick-6s. Just one of the Pats' three TDs in that title game came on offense.
T-17. 1991 New Orleans Saints
An all-time NFL position group, the Saints' Dome Patrol linebacking quartet spearheaded the franchise's first NFC West title. The second level of New Orleans' 3-4 look -- Rickey Jackson, Pat Swilling, Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson -- helped the team unseat the 49ers in the NFC West, doing so while allowing an NFL-least 13.2 PPG. The Vic Fangio-coached LBs had Swilling win Defensive Player of the Year with a 17-sack season, and Mills -- a 5-foot-9 inside 'backer -- joined him in Hawaii. Safety Gene Atkins, father of Bengals D-tackle Geno Atkins, also notched five INTs and 198 return yards. Jim Mora's team finished 11-5.
16. 1996 Green Bay Packers
Reggie White's fourth Green Bay season produced the first Packers championship in 29 years. Green Bay led the NFL in offense and defense (13.1 points allowed per game) in 1996 and cruised to the Super Bowl XXXI title, with its left defensive end sacking Drew Bledsoe three times in the second half. The Packers held nine regular-season opponents to 10 or fewer points. Although no Packer posted double-digit sacks, safeties Leroy Butler, Eugene Robinson and cornerback Doug Evans each picked off five-plus passes for DC Fritz Shurmur's unit.
T-14. 1978 Dallas Cowboys
One of the latter Doomsday editions, this Cowboys defense outproduced its 1977 Super Bowl consolidation -- despite the offense-favored rule changes of '78 -- by holding teams to 13.0 points per game. These Cowboys beat just one playoff team during the regular season, but the defending champions shut out the Rams 28-0 in the NFC title game. Safeties Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters, along with linebacker Hollywood Henderson and Super Bowl XII co-MVP Harvey Martin, a D-lineman, received Pro Bowl invitations. But the Steelers dropped 35 points on this defense in Super Bowl XIII.
T-14. 2001 Philadelphia Eagles
The first of the early-aughts Eagles' four consecutive NFC championship game cameos featured the league's No. 2 defense (13.0 PPG) backing Donovan McNabb and Co. Seven future head coaches worked on this Andy Reid staff, with defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's group including linebackers coach Ron Rivera and both Steve Spagnuolo and Leslie Frazier helming the DBs. Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins joined Pro Bowler Troy Vincent in the secondary, which intercepted Brad Johnson four times in the wild-card round and held the Bears to under 100 passing yards in a road Round 2 win a week later.
T-12. 1994 Cleveland Browns
Bill Belichick left the Giants for the Browns' head-coaching job in 1991. The coaching icon was 1-for-5 in postseason berths in Cleveland, but his '94 team went 11-5 and allowed a league-low 12.8 PPG. Ex-Belichick Giants linebackers Carl Banks and Pepper Johnson started, as did 2001 Patriot defensive end starter Anthony Pleasant. Not unlike recent Patriots defenses, this unit did not have a superstar -- though All-Pro safety Eric Turner (nine INTs, 105 tackles) was close at the time -- but it helped the Browns win their only playoff game in the past 29 years. The then-Ravens fired Belichick in 1996.
T-12. 1993 New York Giants
Lawrence Taylor's final season produced one of the more underappreciated defenses in modern NFL history. A Week 18 overtime loss to the Cowboys cost the Giants home-field advantage, but Mike Nolan's defense led the league in ceding 12.8 PPG. Using a mix of Super Bowl XXV holdovers and young players who'd become members of New York's Super Bowl XXXV squad (Michael Strahan, linebacker Jessie Armstead, defensive tackle Keith Hamilton), these Giants provided a last stand of sorts for a great era. But no Pro Bowlers resided on this defense. And the 49ers ended said era with a 44-3 Round 2 demolition.
T-8. 2006 Baltimore Ravens
In a stacked AFC season, the Ravens earned a higher seed than both the Patriots and Super Bowl champion Colts. Rex Ryan's defense allowed 12.6 PPG and held the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers to seven points in the rivals' two games. Six Raven defenders -- Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Bart Scott, Adalius Thomas and Chris McAllister -- made the Pro Bowl, and Trevor Pryce added a team-best 13 sacks. This group was nearly as talented as the famed 2000 unit, and it limited the Colts to five field goals in the teams' playoff meeting. But Indianapolis won 15-6.
T-8. 2005 Chicago Bears
A reloaded Bears team returned to the playoffs with an even less balanced roster. This marks one of the league's most impressive defensive efforts, with Lovie Smith's team going 11-5 despite fourth-round rookie Kyle Orton piloting the NFL's No. 26 offense. The Bears' 12.6 points allowed per game was nearly three better than second place that year; Chicago held nine nine teams to 10 or fewer points. An apex Urlacher season produced Defensive Player of the Year acclaim, and Mike Brown, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs and defensive tackle Tommie Harris were Pro Bowlers. Steve Smith torched the Bears in a Round 2 upset, however.
T-8. 1992 New Orleans Saints
Before the adjusted Pro Bowl schedule, alternates were not as frequently summoned. That makes the 1992 Saints' feat more impressive. All four of its Dome Patrol linebackers made that year's Pro Bowl, occupying four of the NFC's eight LB slots. D-coordinator Steve Sidwell's group held opponents to a league-low 12.6 PPG. In addition to the linebackers' excellence, defensive end Wayne Martin recorded 15.5 sacks, cornerback Toi Cook snared six INTs and D-tackle Robert Goff returned two fumbles for TDs. The Eagles scored 36 points in a wild-card comeback, however, effectively ending a promising Saints era.
T-6. 1985 Chicago Bears
Statistically, the most revered defense in NFL history checks in here. But the 12.4 points per game Buddy Ryan's 46 defense allowed pales in comparison to the panic its relentless pressure caused. The Bears recorded a league-leading 64 sacks, had six defensive Pro Bowlers -- with Steve McMichael, Richard Dent and Defensive Player of the Year Mike Singletary earning All-Pro acclaim -- and allowed just 10 playoff points in probably the best defensive run in modern postseason history. After shutting out the Giants and Rams, the Bears held the Patriots to seven rushing yards and led 44-3 at one point in Super Bowl XX.
T-6. 1978 Denver Broncos
Factoring in the 1978 rule changes, this defense probably outworked the renowned 1977 Orange Crush group that led Denver to its first Super Bowl. The '78 team allowed 12.4 PPG (behind the '77 team's 10.6) but was freakishly consistent. Only three teams scored 20 points on Joe Collier's 3-4 defense. Tom Jackson and Hall of Fame candidate Randy Gradishar represented the linebacking corps in the Pro Bowl, with shutdown corner Louis Wright and polarizing D-lineman Lyle Alzado joining them. The Steelers, though, avenged their 1977 Denver elimination in the playoffs with a 33-10 win.
5. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stacked on all three levels, the Bucs' Super Bowl champion defense helped the team overcome recent playoff shortcomings. Monte Kiffin's group allowed just 12.3 PPG. The Derrick Brooks- and Warren Sapp-led defense limited Michael Vick's Falcons to 16 combined points and held NFC playoff opposition to 16 -- including a 27-10 win over the Eagles, who eliminated the previous two Buccaneer editions. Standout D-end Simeon Rice (15.5 sacks) joined Brooks and Sapp as an All-Pro. The Bucs intercepted five Rich Gannon passes in Super Bowl XXXVII. Corner Dwight Smith somehow missed MVP acclaim after a two-pick-6 night.
4. 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers
This Mt. Rushmore NFL squad did not even have the best Steel Curtain version; that'd be 1976's. But this Steelers defense still led the league, and Pittsburgh's offense caught up. Despite the illegal-contact provision Mel Blount Rule designed to restrict defenses, Pittsburgh allowed three touchdowns in a game only twice in 1978. Defensive coordinator Bud Carson left after 1977, but George Perles' unit allowed 12.2 PPG and sent six players to the Pro Bowl. En route to a Super Bowl XIII shootout win over the Cowboys, the Steelers outscored the Broncos and Oilers 67-15 in the AFC playoffs.
3. 2000 Tennessee Titans
The AFC Central clash in the 2000 divisional round does not receive sufficient attention; it pitted two of the best three scoring defenses of the past 40 years against each other. The Titans earned the AFC's top seed behind 2000's second-ranked defense (11.9 PPG). Gregg Williams' group bettered the Ravens against the pass. Cornerback Samari Rolle snared seven INTs in an All-Pro slate; Houston Oiler holdover Blaine Bishop was a Pro Bowler. Jevon Kearse again recorded double-digit sacks. This defense only allowed 10 points against the Ravens, but Baltimore's two non-offensive TDs in a 24-10 Round 2 clash were the difference.
2. 1986 Chicago Bears
Were it not for a preposterously dirty hit in a Packers-Bears 1986 game, this Chicago team may be remembered much differently. The Bears followed up their 15-1 season with a 14-2 record, and its defense -- without departed coordinator Buddy Ryan -- outproduced its legendary predecessor. The Vince Tobin-coordinated corps allowed 11.7 PPG, recording 62 sacks and 31 INTs. DBs Mike Richardson and Dave Duerson, and then-all-world outside linebacker Wilbur Marshall, combined for 18. The same defensive cast, however, couldn't overcome Jim McMahon's season-ending injury, losing to Washington in its playoff opener.
1. 2000 Baltimore Ravens
These Ravens won a Super Bowl despite going five straight games without scoring an offensive touchdown. They allowed one offensive TD in 16 playoff quarters; the Giants did not score an offensive point in Super Bowl XXXV. Overseen by DC Marvin Lewis, Baltimore's defense may be the best ever. The Ravens (12-4) ceded 10.3 points per game and in 20 games allowed only five teams to surpass 10 points. Ray Lewis earned Defensive Player of the Year acclaim and Super Bowl MVP honors, and his Peter Boulware-Jamie Sharper linebacker mates joined Rod Woodson and a host of locked-in role players to produce all-time defensive dominance.
Steelers place LB Robert Spillane on IR with knee injury .
It is not certain if Spillane is out for the season. The young defender will be out until at least Week 17, however. Altogether, the Steelers are down Spillane, Bush and Vince Williams. The latter is on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. This will increase the importance of the team’s October trade for Avery Williamson. The veteran stands to be a first-stringer against the Bills; his most recent start came in Week 8 when still a member of the Jets.Spillane stepped in for Bush after he went down earlier in the season.