Posted on 24 April 2012 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 04 April 2012 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 30 March 2012 by Luke Jones
Members of the 2001 national championship team before moving on to successful NFL careers, Ravens safety Ed Reed and left tackle Bryant McKinnie were inducted into the University of Miami Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Reed was named a consensus first-team All-America in 2000 and 2001. The ball-hawking safety led the nation with nine interceptions for 209 return yards and three touchdowns in his senior season. The Big East named Reed as a co-winner of its Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2001, and the free safety was named National Defensive Player of the Year by Football News. Reed set multiple records at Miami, including interceptions (21), interception return yards (389), and interceptions returned for a touchdown (five). He also participated in track and field at Miami and was a Big East champion in the javelin.
McKinnie received first-team All-America honors in 2000 and was a consensus first-team All-America in 2001 in being recognized as the nation’s most dominant left tackle. The mammoth left tackle was the 2001 Outland Trophy winner, awarded to the nation’s best offensive lineman.
Both entering their 11th season in the NFL, Reed was selected by the Ravens with the 24th overall pick of the 2002 draft and is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection as well as the 2004 AP Defensive Player of the Year. The Vikings drafted McKinnie with the seventh overall pick in 2001, and the left tackle spent nine years in Minnesota before being cut last summer.
The Ravens signed McKinnie to a two-year contract last August to make him their left tackle, and he started 16 games for the 2011 AFC North champions.
The two Ravens join current teammate Ray Lewis as members of Miami’s Hall of Fame. The future Hall of Fame linebacker was inducted in 2006.
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Posted on 19 March 2012 by WNST Staff
Peyton Manning Odds
Peyton Manning – Total Passing Yards in the 2012 Regular Season?
Peyton Manning – Total TD Passes in the 2012 Regular Season?
Peyton Manning – Completion % in the 2012 Regular Season?
Peyton Manning – Total Interceptions in the 2012 Regular Season?
Peyton Manning – Will his first pass of the season be complete, incomplete, or an Interception?
Complete -180 (5/9)
Incomplete +150 (3/2)
Interception +1000 (10/1)
Peyton Manning – Will he win 2012 NFL MVP?
Peyton Manning – Will he win 2012 Comeback Player of the Year?
Tim Tebow Odds
Tim Tebow – Which team will he be on for Week 1 of the Regular Season?
Jacksonville Jaguars 3/2
Denver Broncos 7/4
Miami Dolphins 7/4
New England Patriots 7/1
Cleveland Browns 12/1
Tim Tebow – Will he start as a QB in the NFL Week 1 of the Regular Season?
Denver Broncos – Regular Season Wins
Will the Denver Broncos play against The New York Giants in the 2013 Super Bowl?
Will the Denver Broncos win the AFC?
Will the Denver Broncos win the AFC West?
2013 SUPER BOWL XLVII ODDS (odds current, 3/19/2012) (odds on 2/6/2012)
Green Bay Packers 13/2 6/1
New England Patriots 15/2 7/1
New Orleans Saints 10/1 8/1
Denver Broncos 12/1 50/1
Houston Texans 12/1 12/1
San Francisco 49ers 14/1 18/1
Baltimore Ravens 15/1 14/1
Philadelphia Eagles 15/1 12/1
New York Giants 16/1 15/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 18/1 12/1
Dallas Cowboys 20/1 18/1
San Diego Chargers 22/1 16/1
Chicago Bears 25/1 30/1
Detroit Lions 25/1 18/1
Atlanta Falcons 28/1 22/1
New York Jets 30/1 16/1
Carolina Panthers 40/1 50/1
Cincinnati Bengals 40/1 40/1
Miami Dolphins 40/1 35/1
Seattle Seahawks 40/1 60/1
Arizona Cardinals 50/1 30/1
Kansas City Chiefs 50/1 50/1
Oakland Raiders 50/1 50/1
Tennessee Titans 50/1 40/1
Washington Redskins 50/1 60/1
Buffalo Bills 75/1 60/1
St. Louis Rams 75/1 75/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 75/1 75/1
Indianapolis Colts 100/1 50/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 100/1 100/1
Minnesota Vikings 100/1 75/1
Cleveland Browns 150/1 100/1
Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).
“Our Super Bowl odds have been down for a couple weeks until we knew where Peyton would go since this signing would have such a huge impact on every team’s odds. Denver who we had at 50-1 before we closed the odds have dropped to 12-1 and as I expected the public is taking them regardless as soon as we opened this morning. We were a bit lucky that Denver came out of nowhere in the Manning Sweepstakes so not too many people bet them at 50-1.”
-Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager
Comments Off on Broncos SB Odds Improve, Ravens Drop After Start of Free Agency
Posted on 08 March 2012 by WNST Staff
EA SPORTS AND ESPN’S SPORTSNATION KICK OFF MADDEN NFL 13 COVER ATHLETE FAN VOTE
This Year’s Campaign Expands to 64 Players – With Play-In Round Featuring Two Athletes
From Each NFL Team Represented in Head-to-Head Matchups
March 7, 2012 – EA SPORTS™ and ESPN announced today the return of the award-winning Madden NFL Cover Vote campaign, where fans can cast their vote for the next athlete to grace the cover of one of the highest-selling videogame franchises in North America. Last year, nearly 13 million votes were cast through ESPNSportsNation.com and ESPN mobile in both companies’ most successful cross-platform activation. Tenth-seeded Cleveland Browns running back, Peyton Hillis, trucked through the six week competition all the way to the ultimate end zone – the Madden NFL 12 cover.
This year’s competition will incorporate more athletes and more chances to vote as the field has been expanded to 64 NFL players, putting even more control in the hands of the fans. Beginning today through March 21, fans can visit the SportsNation Facebook page to choose among the 64 candidates in a play-in round (each matchup features two players from the same NFL team) to advance to the official 32-player, seeded tournament. The winners of the play-in round will be unveiled with the official seeded, 32-player bracket on March 21 on ESPN’s “Madden Cover Vote Special” from 5-6p.m. EST. To ensure their favorite player advances to the next round, fans are encouraged to vote daily and tweet their picks using #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter. Every Wednesday between March 21 and April 25, fans can tune into SportsNation on ESPN2at 5p.m. EST to check out the latest Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote standings.
In addition to the SportsNation Facebook page, fans will be able to vote in the play-in round via the open Web through widgets embedded on blogs, websites and more. Each widget features an individual match-up for each of the 32 total teams in the league. For the cover vote from March 21-April 25, all voting must be cast at ESPN.com/MaddenVote.
The star-studded list of candidates participating in the play-in round features past Super Bowl winners, perennial Pro Bowlers and some of the most popular players in the NFL including Drew Brees, Arian Foster and Rob Gronkowski. The full list of matchups featured in the play-in round are:
|Ravens||Terrell Suggs vs. Ray Rice||Jets||Mark Sanchez vs. Darrelle Revis|
|Steelers||Troy Polamalu vs. Ben Roethlisberger||Bills||Stevie Johnson vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick|
|Browns||Joe Thomas vs. Joe Haden||Dolphins||Reggie Bush vs. Brandon Marshall|
|Bengals||Andy Dalton vs. AJ Green||Patriots||Wes Welker vs. Rob Gronkowski|
|Texans||Arian Foster vs. Andre Johnson||Chargers||Phillip Rivers vs. Antonio Gates|
|Colts||Dwight Freeney vs. Robert Mathis||Broncos||Tim Tebow vs. Von Miller|
|Jaguars||Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Blaine Gabbert||Chiefs||Dwayne Bowe vs. Derrick Johnson|
|Titans||Jake Locker vs. Chris Johnson||Raiders||Sebastian Janikowski vs. Shane Lechler|
|Bears||Jay Cutler vs. Matt Forte||Rams||Chris Long vs. Brandon Lloyd|
|Lions||Calvin Johnson vs. Matt Stafford||49ers||Vernon Davis vs. Patrick Willis|
|Vikings||Percy Harvin vs. Jared Allen||Seahawks||Marshawn Lynch vs. Earl Thomas|
|Packers||Aaron Rodgers vs. Clay Matthews||Cardinals||Larry Fitzgerald vs. Patrick Peterson|
|Falcons||Matt Ryan vs. Julio Jones||Eagles||Michael Vick vs. LeSean McCoy|
|Saints||Drew Brees vs. Jimmy Graham||Giants||Victor Cruz vs. Jason Pierre-Paul|
|Panthers||Cam Newton vs. Steve Smith||Cowboys||Jason Witten vs. DeMarcus Ware|
|Buccaneers||Josh Freeman vs. LeGarrette Blount||Redskins||Brian Orakpo vs. Ryan Kerrigan|
The Madden NFL 13 cover vote marks the third-consecutive year that EA SPORTS has asked fans to help shape the face of the Madden NFL franchise through a cover athlete voting campaign. It also marks the second year of its collaboration with ESPN’s SportsNation.
Madden NFL 13 is developed in Orlando, Florida by EA Tiburon. For more information about Madden NFL 13, please visit: http://www.ea.com/madden-nfl. To download assets pertaining to the Madden NFL 13 please visit http://maddennfl13.newslinevine.com.
All player participation has been facilitated by National Football League Players Incorporated, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association.
EA SPORTS™ is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers experiences that ignite the emotions of sport through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA basketball, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.
For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums and game apps, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.
In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.
EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Active, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. Battlefield is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB. John Madden, NFL, FIFA, NHL, NBA, NCAA, Tiger Woods, and PGA TOUR are trademarks of their respective owners and used with permission. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Officially Licensed Product of National Football League Players Incorporated.
SportsNation is a live sports television show born from the Internet, fueled by fan interaction and focused on fun. The show, which has the youngest and most male audience on the ESPN network, features discussions of the day’s hottest sports topics but also smaller stories that generate buzz on the Web but are overlooked by other shows. Feeding off the theory that if two heads are better than one, 200,000 heads are better than two, SportsNation engages hundreds of thousands of sports fans across the country via ESPN.com’s SportsNation page (http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/).
About ESPN Games and EA
ESPN’s long-standing relationship with EA produces deep brand integrations into console gaming titles such as EA SPORTS NCAA Football 12 and Fight Night Champion. Additionally, the relationship in 2011 produced the biggest ESPN poll vote ever for the Madden NFL 12 cover vote, logging nearly 13 million votes, the most ESPN votes ever for a joint collaboration. The Emmy award-winning EA Virtual Playbook also most recently extended to boxing and golf in 2011.
PLAY-IN ROUND VOTING THRU FACEBOOK & OPEN WEB
Thanks for your interest in SportsNation’s Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote.
EA Sports and ESPN’s SportsNation have chosen two players from each NFL team to be included in a social play-in round for the Madden NFL 13 cover.
Starting March 7th on SportsNation’s Facebook page and on voting matchups called ‘sapplets’ or ‘widgets’ embedded across open web (info below), fans will be able to vote on matchups from each NFL team to send one representative into the final bracket of 32 players at ESPN.com/MaddenVote on March 21st.
If you choose to embed one of the 32 individual voting ‘sapplets’, you can use the next page that includes all 32 embed codes for all 32 NFL teams. They post to your site much like a YouTube clip and can increase time spent on your site as well as traffic by generating debate about matchups.
The social Play-in vote launches on Wednesday, March 7th and closes two week later on Wednesday, March 21st. The Facebook tab and voting ‘sapplets’ will be live during those two weeks.
WAY TO EMBED:
NEW embed Code
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Comments Off on Rice, Suggs In Running For Madden 13 Cover
Posted on 05 March 2012 by Luke Jones
Though a long-term deal is not expected to be completed any time soon, the Ravens and Ray Rice are beginning to see parameters take shape that could lead to the ultimate goal of keeping the Pro Bowl running back in Baltimore in the years to come.
After the Ravens placed the franchise tag on Rice on Friday, which will pay the 25-year-old an estimated $7.7 million during the 2012 season if a long-term deal is not reached, a pair of deals have been struck elsewhere in the last 24 hours to better define the market for running backs.
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks signed Marshawn Lynch to a four-year, $31 million deal that includes $18 million guaranteed. While there is no doubt Rice will command more money than Lynch, who has revitalized his career under head coach Pete Carroll in Seattle over the last two season, the reasonable payday does not upset the market for running backs in the way the deal reached between the Carolina Panthers and the inconsistent DeAngelo Williams (five years, $43 million) did last year.
A better gauge for establishing Rice’s market came into focus Monday when the Houston Texans and 2010 NFL rushing champion Arian Foster agreed to a five-year, $43.5 million contract that includes $20.75 million guaranteed. ESPN reports Foster will receive $18 million in 2012 and $30 million over the first three years of the contract.
Strictly looking at Foster and Rice from a production standpoint in 2011, the two compared favorably as Foster collected 141.61 total yards per game in 13 contests while Rice averaged 129.25 yards from scrimmage in 16 games last season. Foster has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his three-year career (659 rushing attempts) while Rice holds a 4.6 yards-per-attempt average in 959 carries over four seasons.
While many will make the argument that Foster is the better player — and would presumably deserve to make more money — a deeper look at each situation suggests Rice and agent Todd France will likely command more in negotiations. While the Texans discussed using the franchise tag as the Ravens chose to do with Rice, Foster was only a restricted free agent and held less leverage as a result.
If a long-term agreement was not reached, Houston would have elected to place a first-round tender of an estimated $2.85 million on Foster, which would have forced potential suitors to not only sign the running back to an offer sheet but to forfeit a first-round pick to the Texans had they refused to match the offer. Given the affordability of a first-round draft choice under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement and the potential scenario of completing the heavy lifting of negotiating a deal only to have the controlling team decide to match the offer, many teams avoid dealing with restricted free agents.
In other words, if Foster’s side had balked at the long-term offer, he likely would have been playing for less than $3 million in 2012 before becoming an unrestricted free agent next year. The Ravens never held that luxury with the unrestricted Rice, leading to the franchise tag and the drawn-out negotiations that are sure to follow.
With Foster receiving just under $21 million in guaranteed cash, it will be interesting to see how serious France and Rice are about working out a fair deal. If Rice’s side is truly after Adrian Peterson money ($36 million guaranteed in a seven-year, $100 million contract) or even a deal comparable to Chris Johnson’s ($30 million guaranteed as part of a four-year, $53 million extension signed last September), general manager Ozzie Newsome will be more than willing to wait it out.
A contract slightly higher than Foster’s seems like a fair compromise for both sides. The Ravens will not overpay simply because the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans handed out questionable contracts, and Rice’s agent France will have a difficult time convincing anyone that his client deserves to be paid significantly more than Foster.
One thing is certain despite continued suggestions to the contrary: the Ravens have made it clear they fully intend to keep Rice’s services for the long haul.
“As we have in the past, placing the franchise designation on a player allows us to keep negotiating on a long-term contract,” Newsome said on Friday. “Our goal is to keep Ray Rice a Raven. We’ve done this with other outstanding players through our history, including Haloti Ngata a year ago.”
Though plenty of work still remains, the means for making that happen appear to be a little clearer with Foster’s contract now settled.
Comments Off on Guidelines beginning to fall into place for Ravens’ potential deal with Rice
Posted on 14 February 2012 by Luke Jones
When Randy Moss announced the news of his intention to return to the NFL in 2012, I tried to dismiss him as an option for the Ravens as quickly as I could.
I just didn’t want to consider him as a real possibility to come to Baltimore.
The poor attitude, playing for three teams in his final season, and his turning 35 on Monday are all strikes against him. Not being able to help himself, Moss took to his Twitter account on Tuesday to fire back at former Minnesota Vikings teammate Cris Carter, who called the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver’s “quit mechanism” unlike any other superstar he’s been around.
The character blemishes are there, and there’s no way to overlook them. The guy can be a clown, and that’s putting it kindly.
His eye-popping numbers worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame include 153 touchdowns and 14,858 yards in 13 seasons, but you’re not getting the Moss of 1998 or even 2007 when he made a league-record 23 touchdown catches in his first season with the New England Patriots. His 2010 season split between New England, Minnesota, and Tennessee resulted in just 28 catches, 393 yards, and five touchdowns while wearing out his welcome in two places and making little impact at his final destination before announcing his retirement last summer.
But the past images of watching him sprint by a helpless cornerback or leap over a defender to haul in another touchdown are still too bright in my mind to ignore. Call me a sucker, but people said Moss was finished before he escaped football purgatory in Oakland and went on to have the best season of his career.
The possibility of the 6-foot-4 veteran still having something left in the tank cannot be overlooked by a team that was only a few tenths of a second away — in holding onto a catch in the end zone — from a trip to the Super Bowl three weeks ago. Eliminating all other variables, the mere subtraction of the disappointing Lee Evans and his near-$6 million cap number and the addition of Moss at a cheaper rate is enough to make you salivate at the possibilities.
Moss certainly can’t do any worse than four receptions in an injury-plagued season and failing to secure a championship-clinching catch in the final seconds in Foxborough, right?
The first order of business before coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens should even consider welcoming Moss to Baltimore is determining where he stands physically. Can Moss still run with the speed to blow the top off a defense and force safeties to play deeper than they normally would? Would opposing defenses still have to account for him on every play?
If not, you run the risk of dealing with a broken-down former star with an ego still in its prime. In other words, the reward wouldn’t be worth the potential headaches.
But unlike the other volatile veteran receiver who will be on the open market, Terrell Owens, Moss isn’t returning from a serious knee injury. Other than the potentially cruel reality of being 35 years old and the question of how well he kept himself in shape over the last calendar year, there’s no reason to believe Moss isn’t up to the physical task of once again donning the cleats and striking fear in the hearts of opposing secondaries.
If the 40-time is right, you now move to the more complicated piece of the equation. You sit down with the combative receiver, reminding him he’s no longer in a position of power after a year away from the game. You press him to see how serious he is about not just playing again but also being part of a winning organization like he was in New England for three years — quite harmoniously — before an expiring contract flushed the relationship down the drain in year four. And reminding him of that heartbreaking defeat in Super Bowl XLII and how he’s never won a championship probably wouldn’t hurt, either.
You allow Moss to explain exactly what happened in his disastrous 2010 season.
And you listen.
“A team like the Ravens would be perfect,” Steve Wyche of the NFL Network told WNST.net on Tuesday. “I work with [former Patriots fullback] Heath Evans, who played with Randy in New England, and Heath said, ‘If Randy’s in a situation where he’s winning, where everybody on the team has bought in, he’s fantastic.’
“I talked to people at the Patriots when he was there. He was the leader. He was the guy who organized a lot of meetings. He was the guy who broke down the huddle.”
Comments Off on Time is right for Ravens to consider risk (and reward) of adding Moss
Posted on 06 February 2012 by WNST Staff
Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV). Included below are 2013 Super Bowl odds, updated odds on where Peyton Manning ends up, and a quote from Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager, Kevin Bradley on why next season’s SB odds where so tough to make.
2013 SUPER BOWL XLVII ODDS
Green Bay Packers 6/1
New England Patriots 7/1
New Orleans Saints 8/1
Philadelphia Eagles 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 12/1
Houston Texans 12/1
Baltimore Ravens 14/1
New York Giants 15/1
San Diego Chargers 16/1
New York Jets 16/1
San Francisco 49ers 18/1
Dallas Cowboys 18/1
Detroit Lions 18/1
Atlanta Falcons 22/1
Chicago Bears 30/1
Arizona Cardinals 30/1
Miami Dolphins 35/1
Cincinnati Bengals 40/1
Indianapolis Colts 50/1
Tennessee Titans 40/1
Oakland Raiders 50/1
Carolina Panthers 50/1
Denver Broncos 50/1
Kansas City Chiefs 50/1
Seattle Seahawks 60/1
Buffalo Bills 60/1
Washington Redskins 60/1
Minnesota Vikings 75/1
St. Louis Rams 75/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 75/1
Cleveland Browns 100/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 100/1
What team will Peyton Manning be a member of for game 1 of the 2013 Regular Season?
Arizona Cardinals 2/1
Washington Redskins 5/2
Miami Dolphins 3/1
New York Jets 7/2
Indianapolis Colts 7/1
“With Peyton Manning’s situation it has made setting next year’s Super Bowl Odds very difficult and a reason you will see teams like Arizona and Miami at lower odds than what they would be in case Manning signs there. As for the Colts, even though there is a slim chance he stays they are at 50-1 but if he does leave will shoot up to around 100-1 and if stays would drop down to around 15-1, just goes to show the importance of a guy like Peyton.”
-Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager
Comments Off on Ravens Among Super Bowl XLVII Favorites
Posted on 04 February 2012 by WNST Staff
BALTIMORE RAVENS CENTER MATT BIRK NAMED WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR
MATT BIRK of the Baltimore Ravens was named the 2011 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR, it was announced today. The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
The announcement was made during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on NBC Saturday night.
NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and JARRETT AND BRITTNEY PAYTON, the late Walter Payton’s children, will honor Birk on-field tomorrow before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVI.
“I am honored and truly humbled to be named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year,” said Birk. “This award is not about the recipient, but rather a celebration of the decades-long tradition of NFL players using their unique platform to touch lives and make a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which they work and live. Walter Payton left a legacy that went beyond the playing field. He continues to be an inspiration and example of what a complete NFL player should aspire to become. I am grateful to have played for two organizations, the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, which encourage and support their players’ community efforts. I have always considered it a privilege to play in the NFL and serve the communities that support our game.”
Birk, who just completed his in 14th NFL season, is the anchor of the Ravens offensive line and an undisputed leader on and off the field. The perennial Pro Bowl center has started 96 consecutive games, the NFL’s second-longest active streak among centers. In 2011, Birk helped pave the way for Ravens running back Ray Rice to score a franchise-record 15 total touchdowns and rush for a career-high 1,364 yards, also leading the league with 2,068 yards from scrimmage.
A family man and father of six with a passion for emphasizing the importance of education, Birk has focused a great deal of his energy on promoting literacy among the youth around him. The Harvard graduate’s “Ready, Set, Read!” program, an initiative of his H.I.K.E. Foundation (hope, inspiration, knowledge and education), reaches close to 100,000 children in the Baltimore area and motivates students to read at home through an incentive-based system. Birk’s work carries well past the many initiatives and successes of his own foundation. He is committed to bettering himself, his team, his community and the world. Birk has agreed to donate his brain and spinal cord tissue to the Center for Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine to help assist in researching the effects of repeated head traumas. Birk is an eight-time Man of the Year (seven with the Vikings, one with the Ravens), and was a finalist for the national award in 2008.
Birk joins an esteemed list of winners of the annual award, including 17 Pro Football Hall of Famers. Recent winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award include MADIEU WILLIAMS, then of the Minnesota Vikings (2010), BRIAN WATERS, then of the Kansas City Chiefs (2009), and former Arizona Cardinals quarterback KURT WARNER (2008).
All 32 team nominees for the award receive a $1,000 donation from NFL Charities to the charity of their choice. The three Man of the Year finalists received an additional $5,000 donation in their name. The selection panel is comprised of NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL, former NFL Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE, CONNIE PAYTON, Pro Football Hall of Fame members FRANK GIFFORD and ANTHONY MUÑOZ, Giants great and Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Association GEORGE MARTIN, 2010 winner MADIEU WILLIAMS, and Sports Illustrated football writer PETER KING.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will receive the Gladiator statue, an original art creation by the noted sculptor, DANIEL SCHWARTZ. In addition, the player’s favorite charity will receive a $20,000 donation in his name.
Posted on 30 January 2012 by WNST Staff
NEW YORK – With Super Bowl XLVI around the corner and the spotlight on the field, the NFL is recognizing excellence off the field by announcing today the two finalists for the League’s inaugural Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.
USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to members of the U.S. military and their families, is the NFL’s first Official Military Appreciation Sponsor.
Tennessee Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr. and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh were selected for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community. The first Salute to Service Award will be presented to one of the finalists at the inaugural NFL Honors event that will air on NBC Saturday, February 4 at 9 PM ET. In addition, a $25,000 contribution will be made by USAA in the winner’s honor to the aid societies representing all five military branches.
“We should never take for granted the tremendous sacrifices made daily by our nation’s military,” said Steve Speakes, executive vice president of USAA’s external affairs and a retired Army lieutenant general. “Together with the NFL, we are launching the Salute to Service Award as a way to recognize those in the NFL community who appreciate and honor that sacrifice, enrich the lives of military members and encourage others to do the same.”
An ardent backer of the military in his 52 years as owner, Bud Adams’ enthusiasm for the military began with his service in the U.S. Navy from 1942-46. His commitment to supporting the military followed him and the franchise to Tennessee where he focused his efforts on recognizing the service men and women of nearby Fort Campbell, home to the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, as well as the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Night Stalkers) and the 5th Special Forces Group (Green Berets).
Since 1999, more than 11,000 Fort Campbell soldiers have been guests of Adams at Titans home games, and it’s very common for Adams to host military members in his suite and award game balls as a tribute to their service. Adams’ support at Fort Campbell includes directing the team to make several visits during the year where Titans players, cheerleaders, and staff can participate in autograph sessions at the PX, greet patients at the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, provide programs to the on-base middle school and visit with the on-base high school football team.
Similarly, John Harbaugh’s dedication includes frequent base visits, and he relishes interaction with the military community. His passion for supporting the troops was felt immediately by the Ravens’ organization after being named head coach in 2008. Harbaugh was the main driver in the team’s decision to institute a Military Appreciation Day, an annual event which was established during his first training camp with the team. Since then, an estimated 2,000 service members have enjoyed preferred seating and opportunities to meet with players and coaches during Ravens’ camp.
Away from the field, Harbaugh often recruits Ravens players and coaches to join him during base visits, and even took members of his team to the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif., last December in the middle of the Ravens’ playoff run. He has also spent significant time and funds putting together care packages for soldiers overseas, and caches of school supplies for military families.
In December, 22 NFL clubs nominated for this award coaches, active and retired players, and team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges based on the positive effect of the individual’s efforts on the military community, the type of service conducted, the thoroughness of the program and level of commitment.
The panel of judges, consisting of representatives from the U.S. military, the NFL and USAA, includes:
* Roger Staubach, Naval Academy graduate, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl MVP
* Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate, three-time Super Bowl champion
* Rocky Bleier, U.S. Army veteran, four-time Super Bowl champion
* Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran, former NFL head coach
* General Stephen Speakes, U.S. Army veteran, USAA executive vice president
* Eric Grubman, Naval Academy graduate, executive vice president-NFL Ventures and Business Operations
“Bud and John’s efforts demonstrate how members of the NFL family can inspire us both on and off the field,” said Roger Staubach. “Their service to the military community is a reminder that we can never do enough to show our appreciation for all the men and women in uniform who defend and protect us.”
All Salute to Service nominees are listed below:
KS Bud Adams Jr. Tennessee Titans Founder, Owner, Chairman of the Board
Jared Allen Minnesota Vikings Defensive End
Jason Baker Carolina Panthers Punter
Tom Coughlin New York Giants Head Coach
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
Kris Dielman San Diego Chargers Left Guard
Mark Dominik Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager
Anthony Fasano Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver
Mike Flood Seattle Seahawks Vice President, Community Relations & Special Projects
Drayton Florence Buffalo Bills Defensive Back
John Harbaugh Baltimore Ravens Head Coach
Robert Wood Johnson IV New York Jets Chairman & CEO
Gary Kubiak Houston Texans Head Coach
Lonie Paxton Denver Broncos Long Snapper
Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers Strong Safety
Marco Rivera Green Bay Packers Guard (Retired)
Joe Thomas Cleveland Browns Offensive Lineman
Charles Tillman Chicago Bears Cornerback
Chad Walker Detroit Lions Community Affairs Coordinator
Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Roddy White Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver
Kurt Wisenbaugh Jacksonville Jaguars Manager, Events and Game Operations
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