May 2015


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Fans often compare Odell Beckham's one-handed grabs to plays only possible in video games. Now they're handing the Giants receiver the cover of football's biggest console franchise.
A year ago, Odell Beckham wasn't a household name. He was the 12th overall pick to the New York Giants in last year's draft, but that didn't make him instantly famous. He was basically what former Louisville receiver DeVante Parker (14th pick to the Miami Dolphins in this year's draft) is now. Known to football fans but not what you'd consider a celebrity.  [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football is back: Sign up for a league today! ] Beckham is clearly a celebrity now. One all-time catch and an amazing rookie season changed everything for him. He's one of the most famous athletes in sports. The latest sign of his fame is that he will be on the cover of EA Sports' "Madden NFL 16" video game, after he beat New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in a fan vote. He's the youngest athlete to be on the "Madden" cover, another sign of his instant popularity. The joke for years has been how the cover athlete is cursed, after a bad streak of luck for cover subjects like Peyton Hillis and Daunte Culpepper. Hopefully the same poor luck doesn't happen to Beckham, becuase he's one of the NFL's brightest stars after just one season. About the only question for Beckham is what he could possibly do for an encore after such a whirlwind first NFL season. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
The timing wasn't great for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's media tour for "Madden NFL 16." He and New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham are the two finalists to be on the cover of the video game. And what else could be going on with the NFL in mid-May that would cause some uncomfortable moments during interviews promoting the cover vote? Oh, right. So Gronkowski and Beckham got on the SportsCenter set and, go figure, the anchors wanted to ask about deflate-gate, Tom Brady and the punishments for Brady and the New England Patriots. Gronkowski isn't exactly an orator, and he couldn't flex away the questions live on set. That made for some awkward television with a guy who obviously didn't want to talk about it ( the video is from SportsGrid ):  Now that is some really uncomfortable television. You can see Gronk trying to get out of it, which doesn't work, even when his "it is what it is" attempts. Even more awkward might be when Beckham is asked, because what's he going to say? When a probing question about if he likes the balls more or less inflated ("Whoa these are a lot of questions! I thought we were here for the cover vote," Gronkowski said later in the interview after more questions) Gronk just tried the eject button again. "I have no clue what the difference is," Gronkowski said. Get ready for plenty of this kind of answer by any Patriots – non-answers that are at times cringe-worthy. But the Patriots players aren't going to get into any deep discussion about this. When was the last time any of them did about any sticky subject? That's not the Patriot Way. "Literally I have not a thing to do with what's going on and I just have full support in Tom," Gronkowski said, with a touch of desperation in his voice to change the subject. Gronkowski is incredible on the field and very entertaining off it, but don't expect him to be the team's spokesman in the future when it comes to deflate-gate. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
The numbers were flying after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were hit with a trio of penalties for tampering with the footballs in the AFC championship game. Here are some other figures to follow in the scandal that has been dubbed ''Deflategate'': $880,000 That's how much the Patriots will save - that's right, save - as a result of the punishment handed down by the NFL on Monday. Sure, owner Robert Kraft will have to pay a $1 million fine. Player fines go to charity, but the $1 million from the Patriots will go into the NFL coffers to be distributed on a case-by-case basis.
Overlooked as a college quarterback and a lowly sixth-round draft pick by the National Football League's New England Patriots in 2000, Tom Brady rose to become one of the game's greatest winners. The handsome signal-caller with steely nerves and an intense competitive streak steered the Pats to a record six Super Bowl appearances, winning four of them and taking home Most Valuable Player honors in the NFL's championship game on three occasions. Brady, married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen and nicknamed "Tom Terrific," seemed to live a charmed life before being branded a cheater in the NFL scandal dubbed Deflategate.
By Larry Fine May 11 (Reuters) - Overlooked as a college quarterback and a lowly sixth-round draft pick by the National Football League's New England Patriots in 2000, Tom Brady rose to become one of the game's greatest winners. The handsome signal-caller with steely nerves and an intense competitive streak steered the Pats to a record six Super Bowl appearances, winning four of them and taking home Most Valuable Player honors in the NFL's championship game on three occasions. Brady, married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen and nicknamed "Tom Terrific," seemed to live a charmed life before being branded a cheater in the NFL scandal dubbed Deflategate.
This probably should be filed under game recognizing game. Odell Beckham is from Louisiana, and applies his trade in New York/New Jersey as a popular receiver for the New York Giants. He has no connection to the Cleveland Cavaliers ... well, other than recently becoming friends with LeBron James. But the way Beckham went nuts for James' great buzzer-beating shot against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, you'd have thought he was a Cavs fan since the days of Bingo Smith.   That's fun. Really though, this was just a callback to James getting excited about Beckham's most famous moment: Man I just witnessed the greatest catch ever possibly by Odell Beckham Jr! WOW!!!! — LeBron James (@KingJames) November 24, 2014 Beckham said he was a huge fan of James, even before the two met. There aren't many people who can really understand James' athletic genius, but his wide receiver buddy in New York is one of them. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
Steve Spagnuolo didn't let the New York Giants' relative talent level impact his decision to accept an opportunity for a second go-around as coach Tom Coughlin's defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo, the architect of the 2007 Super Bowl-winning unit, didn't see a Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Antonio Pierce or Sam Madison on the current roster.
Devin Smith did it long before Odell Beckham Jr. And the New York Jets' rookie wide receiver thinks his catch was even better. ''At first, when the ball was in the air, I was like, 'Oh, man, it's about to go over my head,''' Smith recalled Saturday before rookie minicamp practice. Two years later, people were checking it out again after Beckham made his acrobatic one-handed TD catch for the Giants during a Sunday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys last November. ''Probably mine,'' a smiling Smith said.
Gary Nova had offers to attend the rookie minicamps of the Bears, Vikings, Colts, and Dolphins, and might have had a realistic chance of making one of the teams. Instead, the undrafted Rutgers quarterback was on the Giants' practice field Friday along with 65 other rookies and young veterans, a group that included all six draft picks. Aside from the 15-minute proximity to his house, the Scarlet Knights' all-time leader in touchdown passes (73) saw the Giants as his best shot to land a roster spot, an odd choice since Tom Coughlin has kept only two quarterbacks in recent years. It just seemed like a good opportunity.'' If Nova has any advantage over rookie competition that included fellow local talent Pete Thomas of Valhalla (Louisiana Monroe) and Hawaii's Taylor Graham, the son of former Giants quarterback Kent Graham, it's his experience in a pro-style offense each of his four years as a starter.

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