Tag Archives: Atlanta Falcons

HBO SPORTS AND NFL FILMS RETURN WITH HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES, CHRONICLING THE PRESEASON OF THE CHARGERS AND RAMS

HBO SPORTS® AND NFL FILMS RETURN WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED EDITION OF TELEVISION’S MOST ACCLAIMED SPORTS REALITY FRANCHISE

WHEN HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES,

CHRONICLING THE PRESEASON OF THE CHARGERS AND RAMS

DEBUTS AUGUST 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

——

HBO Sports, NFL Media And NFL Films 

Announce Multi-Year Renewal Of The Franchise

——

HBO Sports, NFL Films and the two Los Angeles-based NFL franchises are teaming up for an unprecedented and unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES kicks off its five-episode season this summer. One of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV, the 15th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale.

HARD KNOCKS will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available to stream on HBO via HBO Max and partners’ platforms.

In an unprecedented programming move, the 2020 edition of the venerable series will spotlight both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers of the AFC West and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC West. The two franchises are set to share the spectacular new 70,000-seat SoFi stadium that is nearing completion in Inglewood, California.​

The arrival of HARD KNOCKS each August is a unique NFL tradition and NFL FILMS and HBO Sports are making plans for an all-new season of the most acclaimed serialized sports series on television. 

One of sports television’s most successful and enduring partnerships, HBO Sports, NFL Media and NFL Films have reached agreement on a multi-year extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise. 

“The HARD KNOCKS franchise continues to excel as the preeminent sports reality series,” says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports.  “Our partnership with NFL Films, which dates back to 1977, consistently produces groundbreaking television programming. We are grateful to the Chargers and Rams organizations to be able to present the 2020 training camp experience.”

“NFL Films cherishes the relationship we’ve had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the HARD KNOCKS franchise since 2001,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football.”

Camera crews will head to southern California in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinéma vérité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches.

Under fourth-year head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are just a season removed from a Super Bowl appearance and have a roster featuring an intriguing mix of high-profile players, established veterans, and free-agent acquisitions. 

After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the Los Angeles Chargers are looking for a return to the winning formula that helped them finish tied for the AFC’s best record in 2018. Led by fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers overhauled roster features young, rising stars on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback behind center and an influx of veteran talent added this offseason.

Both franchises will also be debuting new logos and uniforms when they open their new, state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium home later this year. 

Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said, “Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There’s a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you’re going to do a show, do it right. You can’t fake it. We didn’t have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year’s show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn’t something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I’m glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer.”

“We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year,” said Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay.  “Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players’ hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too.  This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, Stan Kroenke’s vision for professional football in L.A.”

Dedicated NFL Films production crews will be in both southern California training camps, shooting more than 2,300 hours of footage over the course of the series, offering an inside look at the daily rigors of an NFL training camp. With access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields, HARD KNOCKS will document hours of conditioning practices and meetings, chronicling players as they compete for a roster spot and bond off the field.

HBO has aired 72 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 14 seasons.  No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS. Episodes have averaged four million viewers over the past four years. 

Winner of 18 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and Los Angeles Rams (2016). The 2017 edition chronicled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Serialized Documentary. The widely acclaimed 2018 series with the Cleveland Browns earned two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. HARD KNOCKS has won a Sports Emmy® every year it has aired since 2008.​

Eight of the last ten teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. The Cleveland Browns launched the transformation of their organization on HBO and went from a winless 2017 season to coming within half a game (7-8-1) of a .500 campaign.  The 2019 season saw the Raiders improve their record to 7-9 from the previous year’s 4-12 mark.  The series featuring the iconic Raider franchise averaged 4.3 million viewers per episode, generating the highest viewership for the show since 2015 and the second-best viewership numbers for HARD KNOCKS in the past ten years.

Washington Post wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s HARD KNOCKS series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.”  USA Todaysaid, “Players’ lives and their hopes and dreams play out each NFL preseason on HARD KNOCKS. It’s that month-long human drama that makes the show so profoundly compelling.”

Winner of 129 Sports Emmy® Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.

HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, marking his 14th season with the show.

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

Las Vegas Raiders Hire Austin King as Offensive Quality Control Coach

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Austin King has been named the offensive quality control coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, the club announced Wednesday. King brings eight years of collegiate coaching experience to the post including the last five years with the University of Dayton.

In 2019, King completed his fifth year with the Flyers’ and his third as the program’s offensive coordinator. Prior to joining the Flyers, King spent one season with Syracuse as an offensive quality control coach with a focus on the offensive line.

King began his coaching career at the University of Toledo in 2012, where he spent two seasons as the program’s offensive quality control coach. While tutoring the offensive line, King helped guide the team to an average of 240 rushing yards and 33 points per game. Additionally, the squad surrendered just six sacks in 361 pass attempts.

Before entering the coaching ranks, King was selected as an offensive lineman in the fourth round (133rd overall) by current Raiders and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden in the 2003 NFL Draft. King went on to play 34 games and make one start over his four-year career (2003-06) with the Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, King earned his B.A. in secondary education from Northwestern in 2004. He was a three-sport captain and first-team All-Ohio football player at Purcell Marian High School before graduating and playing four years for the Wildcats as a starter and earning an honorable mention All-Big 10 selection three times.

Austin King’s Coaching Background

Years                     College/Pro Team                           Position Coached

2012-13                University of Toledo                        Offensive Quality Control Coach

2014                       Syracuse                                              Offensive Quality Control Coach

2015-16                University of Dayton                       Assistant Coach

2017-19                University of Dayton                       Assistant Coach/Offensive Coordinator

Press Release Courtesy of the Las Vegas Raiders Media Relations

2019 NFL RECORDS AND MILESTONES​

New teams making the playoffs, terrific turnarounds, consistent teams excelling again, records falling and young players making their mark. The 2019 season had it all.

Youth and success at the quarterback position highlighted the 2019 regular season as 208 games featured at least one starting quarterback under the age of 27, the most in a single season in NFL history. In total, quarterbacks under the age of 27 started 287 games and recorded 144 wins in those starts this season, both the highest single-season totals since 1970. Three quarterbacks under the age of 25 – Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON (2018 NFL Draft), Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (2017 NFL Draft) and Houston’s DESHAUN WATSON (2017 NFL Draft) – have led their respective teams to division titles in each of the past two seasons.

Competitiveness was a constant theme throughout the regular season as 68 percent of games (174 of 256) were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter, tied for the fifth-most such games in a single season in NFL history, while 52.3 percent of games (134 of 256) were decided by eight-or-fewer points, also tied for the fifth-most such games in single season in league annals. Additionally, 57 games saw a team come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter.

Week 17 came down to the wire, as two playoff spots and two divisions titles – the NFC East and NFC West – were decided on the final day of the season. Sunday’s excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010.

Five of the 12 playoff teams are new to the postseason in 2019: BUFFALOGREEN BAYMINNESOTASAN FRANCISCO and TENNESSEE. Since 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Both the Green Bay Packers (NFC North) and San Francisco 49ers (NFC West) won their division after missing the postseason in 2018 and at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 years.

Teams to win their division a season after missing the postseason since 2003:

SEASONNEW DIVISION WINNERS AFTER MISSING POSTSEASON THE PREVIOUS SEASON
2019Green Bay, San Francisco
2018Baltimore, Chicago*, Dallas, Houston*
2017Jacksonville*, L.A. Rams, New Orleans, Minnesota, Philadelphia*
2016Atlanta, Dallas*
2015Houston, Minnesota, Washington*
2014Dallas, Pittsburgh
2013Carolina*, Philadelphia*
2012Washington*
2011Denver*, Houston*, New York Giants, San Francisco
2010Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City*, Pittsburgh, Seattle
2009Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, New Orleans*
2008Arizona, Carolina, Miami*, Minnesota
2007Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay*
2006Baltimore*, New Orleans*, Philadelphia*, San Diego
2005Chicago*, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Tampa Bay*
2004Atlanta*, Pittsburgh, San Diego*
2003Baltimore, Carolina*, Kansas City*, New England, St. Louis Rams
*Worst to first

OFFENSIVE TRENDS: The 2019 season will go down as one of the most prolific offensive seasons in league history.

Teams combined to score 1,332 total touchdowns, the third-most in a single season in NFL history, while the 11,680 total points were tied for the third-most in league annals.

MOST TOUCHDOWNS, NFL HISTORY MOST TOTAL POINTS, NFL HISTORY
SEASONTOUCHDOWNS SEASONTOTAL POINTS
20181,371 201311,985
20131,338 201811,952
20191,332 201911,680
20151,318 201511,680


With five teams – BALTIMORE (33.2 points per game), SAN FRANCISCO (29.9), NEW ORLEANS (28.6), TAMPA BAY (28.6) and KANSAS CITY (28.2) – averaging at least 28 points per game, the 2019 season joined 2014 (six teams) as the only seasons with at least five teams averaging at least 28 points per game since 1970.

The Ravens, who scored at least 40 points in five different games this season, led the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards and surpassed the 1978 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3,165) for the most rushing yards by a team in a single season in NFL history.

PROLIFIC PASSERS: In 2019, league-wide passing numbers continued to trend at a historic pace, as the marks for passer rating (90.4 – second), completion percentage (63.5 percent – second), total completions (11,331 – fourth) and touchdown passes (797 – fifth) were all ranked in the top five for highest in a single season in NFL history.

SEASONRATING SEASONCOMPLETION PCT. SEASONCOMPLETIONS SEASONTD PASSES
201892.9 201864.9 201511,527 2018847
201990.4 201963.5 201611,526 2015842
201590.2 201663.0 201811,462 2014807
201689.3 201563.0 201911,331 2013804
201488.9 201462.6 201411,200 2019797


Eleven quarterbacks passed for at least 4,000 yards in 2019, including four with at least 4,500 passing yards: Tampa Bay’s JAMEIS WINSTON (5,109), Dallas’ DAK PRESCOTT (4,902), the Los Angeles Rams’ JARED GOFF (4,638) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ PHILIP RIVERS (4,615).

Twelve quarterbacks threw at least 25 touchdown passes this season, including four with at least 30 touchdown passes: Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON (36), Winston (33), Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON (31) and Prescott (30).

Three rookie quarterbacks – New York Giants’ DANIEL JONES, Jacksonville’s GARDNER MINSHEW and Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY– each passed for at least 20 touchdowns this season, marking the second season in league annals in which at least three rookie quarterbacks each passed for at least 20 touchdowns (2012 – ROBERT GRIFFIN IIIANDREW LUCK and RUSSELL WILSON).

Nine quarterbacks had a passer rating of 100 or higher in 2019, including three with a passer rating of at least 110: Tennessee’s RYAN TANNEHILL (117.5), New Orleans’ DREW BREES (116.3) and Jackson (113.3). The nine quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher were tied with the 2018 season for the most in a single season in NFL history.

The seasons with the most quarterbacks having a passer rating of 100 or higher in NFL history:

SEASONQUARTERBACKS WITH 100+ PASSER RATING 
20199
20189
20137


ALL-PURPOSE BACKS
: Sixteen players rushed for at least 1,000 yards, including four players with at least 1,300 rushing yards, this season: Tennessee’s DERRICK HENRY (1,540), Cleveland’s NICK CHUBB (1,494), Carolina’s CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (1,387) and Dallas’ EZEKIEL ELLIOTT (1,357).

Seven players recorded at least 10 rushing touchdowns in 2019: Henry (16), Green Bay’s AARON JONES (16), McCaffrey (15), Minnesota’s DALVIN COOK (13), Elliott (12), the Los Angeles Rams’ TODD GURLEY (12) and Baltimore’s MARK INGRAM (10).

Twenty-six running backs totaled at least 1,000 scrimmage yards, including eight with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards, this season: McCaffrey (2,392), Elliott (1,777), Chubb (1,772), Henry (1,746), Jacksonville’s LEONARD FOURNETTE (1,674), Cook (1,654), Jones (1,558) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ AUSTIN EKELER (1,550).

Three running backs – Jones (19 scrimmage touchdowns), McCaffrey (19) and Henry (18) – each recorded at least 18 scrimmage touchdowns this season. 

2019 was the third season in NFL history with three players totaling at least 18 scrimmage touchdowns each, joining 2005 (SHAUN ALEXANDERLARRY JOHNSON and Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON) and 1962 (Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN and JIM TAYLOR, and ABNER HAYNES).

RIDICULOUS RECEIVERS: Twenty-nine players had at least 1,000 receiving yards, including five with at least 1,200 receiving yards this season: New Orleans’ MICHAEL THOMAS (1,725), Atlanta’s JULIO JONES (1,394), Tampa Bay’s CHRIS GODWIN (1,333), Kansas City’s TRAVIS KELCE (1,229) and Miami’s DEVANTE PARKER (1,202).

Five players had at least 100 receptions in 2019: Thomas (single-season NFL record 149), Carolina’s CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (116), the Los Angeles Chargers’ KEENAN ALLEN (104), Houston’s DEANDRE HOPKINS (104) and New England’s JULIAN EDELMAN(100).

Three players had at least 10 touchdown catches this season: Detroit’s KENNY GOLLADAY (11), Baltimore’s MARK ANDREWS (10) and the Los Angeles Rams’ COOPER KUPP (10).

Five rookies recorded at least seven touchdown receptions in 2019: Tennessee’s A.J. BROWN (eight), the New York Giants’ DARIUS SLAYTON (eight), Baltimore’s MARQUISE BROWN (seven), Washington’s TERRY MCLAURIN (seven) and Seattle’s DK METCALF(seven). In total, rookies combined for 110 touchdown receptions in 2019 and surpassed 2014 (109 touchdown catches) for the most combined touchdown receptions by rookies in a single season since 1970.

DOMINANT DEFENDERS: Eighteen players recorded at least 10 sacks, including five with at least 14 sacks, in 2019: Tampa Bay’s SHAQUIL BARRETT (19.5), Arizona’s CHANDLER JONES (19), New Orleans’ CAMERON JORDAN (15.5), Minnesota’s DANIELLE HUNTER (14.5) and Pittsburgh’s T.J. WATT (14.5).

Five players registered at least five forced fumbles this season: Jones (eight), Watt (eight), Barrett (six), Washington’s RYAN ANDERSON (five) and Chicago’s KHALIL MACK (five). 2019 was the first season since 2002 (DWIGHT FREENEY and LEONARD LITTLE) that two players had at least eight forced fumbles in the same season.Ten players recorded at least five interceptions, including three with six interceptions, this season: New England’s STEPHON GILMORE (six), Minnesota’s ANTHONY HARRIS (six) and Buffalo’s TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE (six).

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

Winner to be Announced at NFL Honors the Night Before Super Bowl LIV

The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each player was selected as his team’s Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award. Considered one of the league’s most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON.

“Every day, in cities and towns across America, NFL players give of themselves to make our communities better. This year, as we celebrate our 100th season and the 50th year of the Walter Payton NFL Man of Year Award, NFL players have continued to raise the bar on community engagement and impact,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “The 32 nominees for this year’s award are the best of the best and truly embody the spirit of Walter and his legacy of leaving the world better than he found it.”

For the second year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIV.

The 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV on FOX. NFL Honors will be at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide. 

“Nationwide congratulates this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees,” said Nationwide’s Chief Marketing Officer RAMON JONES. “Year after year, we’re amazed at the amount of time, talent and resources the NFL players give to their communities. This year’s best of the best from each team—these 32 men—recognized a need, took action and energized those around them to do more. It’s our privilege to help share their stories  about making positive differences for  others.” 

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 5th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee’s last name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 12 and Jan. 12 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.

Beginning in 2017, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette came to life in uniform elements to further recognize past award winners and current nominees. The six current players who have won the award—DREW BREES, THOMAS DAVIS, LARRY FITZGERALD, JASON WITTEN, ELI MANNING and J.J. WATT—continue to wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and to their communities. All 2019 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 15 and continuing through the end of the season in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field.

For more information on the nominees and the award, visit NFL.com/manoftheyear.

Below is a list of the 2019 nominees:

TEAMNOMINEE
Arizona CardinalsDavid Johnson
Atlanta FalconsRicardo Allen
Baltimore RavensBrandon Carr
Buffalo BillsLorenzo Alexander
Carolina PanthersCam Newton
Chicago BearsAllen Robinson II
Cincinnati BengalsGiovani Bernard
Cleveland BrownsJarvis Landry
Dallas CowboysTravis Frederick 
Denver BroncosJustin Simmons
Detroit LionsDevon Kennard
Green Bay PackersBlake Martinez
Houston TexansD.J. Reader
Indianapolis ColtsPierre Desir
Jacksonville JaguarsCalais Campbell
Kansas City ChiefsDustin Colquitt
Los Angeles ChargersUchenna Nwosu
Los Angeles RamsAndrew Whitworth
Miami DolphinsDavon Godchaux
Minnesota VikingsKyle Rudolph
New England PatriotsKyle Van Noy
New Orleans SaintsTerron Armstead
New York GiantsNate Solder
New York JetsJonotthan Harrison
Oakland RaidersTahir Whitehead
Philadelphia EaglesMalcolm Jenkins
Pittsburgh SteelersMaurkice Pouncey
San Francisco 49ersRichard Sherman
Seattle SeahawksBobby Wagner
Tampa Bay BuccaneersMike Evans
Tennessee TitansBen Jones
Washington RedskinsNick Sundberg

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS TO COMPETE FOR A SPOT IN THE NFL INTERNATIONAL PLAYER PATHWAY PROGRAM

Nine athletes from eight countries will compete for a spot in the 2020 International Player Pathway Program, the NFL announced today. 

Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

The league has identified top athletes from eight countries that will compete for a place in the program. Given the program’s success to date, the NFL widened its search for international talent, hosting a Combine in Germany this past October with players from 18 countries participating.  

Isaac Alarcon (Mexico), Otavio Amorim (Brazil), David Bada (Germany), Leo Krafft (Norway), Boqiao Li (China), Chris Mulumba (Finland), Sandro Platzgummer (Austria), Antoni Podgorski (Poland) and Bernhard Seikovits (Austria) will begin training in the United States next month and will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL club scouts in March in hopes of being signed as a free agent or being selected for a practice squad position for next season through the International Player Pathway Program.  

One of the NFL’s eight divisions, to be chosen at random, will receive the international players selected for the 2020 program should they not be signed to free agent contracts.  At the conclusion of training camp, each player will be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption with his assigned team.  This provides the assigned team an eleventh practice squad member who is ineligible to be activated during the season.   

Players will train alongside NFL veterans and draft hopefuls in Florida. 

“The International Player Pathway program is an important part of our ongoing efforts to grow the game globally and provide pathways for international players to make it to the NFL,” said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International.  “We are excited to have players from around the world competing for a spot in the 2020 program, including eight players who were selected after participating in the International Combine in Germany this past October.” 

Players taking part in the program:​

PlayerCountryCurrent Team
Isaac AlarconMexicoTec Monterrey Borregos
Otavio AmorimBrazilTimbo-Rex
David BadaGermanySchwabisch Hall Unicorns
Leo KrafftNorwayEidsvoll 1814s
Boqiao LiChinan/a
Chris MulumbaFinlandn/a
Sandro PlatzgummerAustriaSwarco Raiders Tirol
Antoni PodgorskiPolandWarsaw Mets
Bernhard SeikovitsAustriaDacia Vienna Vikings

Notable International Player Pathway Program Participants Currently on NFL Rosters:

Moritz Böhringer, Tight End (Germany), Cincinnati Bengals

Currently in his second season as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad.  In 2016, Böhringer was selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first player to be drafted directly from European football.  He spent the 2016 season on the Vikings practice squad.  

Jakob Johnson, Fullback (Germany), New England Patriots

Johnson began his football career during his youth in his hometown of Stuttgart, Germany. It was there where Johnson played for the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League before moving to Jacksonville, Florida.  He played one season of high school football in the United States and was recruited to continue his career at the University of Tennessee. Johnson returned to the Scorpions in 2018. He then assigned to the New England Patriots through the International Player Pathway Program. The Patriots signed Jakob Johnson to their active roster on September 21.  During the season, teams can carry an International Pathway Program player as an extra 11th member of the practice squad, but because of the roster exemption, clubs cannot promote the player to the active roster during the season. In the case of Johnson, the Patriots elected to forgo that option and make him a regular member of their 10-man practice squad, which gave them the option of promoting him.  Johnson’s NFL debut came in a Week 3 win against the New York Jets. His first NFL start came the following week in Buffalo where he contributed as a lead blocker. In Week 5 he made his first career reception for five yards against the Washington Redskins

Jordan Mailata, Tackle (Australia), Philadelphia Eagles

In 2017, Mailata participated in the International Player Pathway program and trained at IMG Academy.  The Samoan-born Australian former professional rugby league player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs was then drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles (thereby making him ineligible for the International Player Pathway Program).  Converted to football full-time early in 2018, he impressed NFL scouts at various workouts with his strength, footwork and athleticism, and continued his football journey with the Eagles during the 2018 season as the youngest player on their roster. He is currently on injured reserve. 

Efe Obada, Defensive End (UK), Carolina Panthers

Obada was raised in London after arriving from the Netherlands at age 10.  He signed as a free agent for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 after playing only five games of amateur football with the London Warriors. He played in the preseason for the Cowboys and spent part of the 2015 season on the club’s practice squad. He has since had spells on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons before joining the Carolina Panthers practice squad as part of the 2017 International Player Pathway Program. In 2018, Obada become the first player from the NFL International Pathway program to make a 53-man roster.  In Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Obada played his first regular season game, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his one-sack, one-interception performance. Obada has continued to make an impact with the Panthers. After recording eight total tackles (solo + assisted) in 2018, he has surpassed the mark with a total of 16 tackles through Week 13 in 2019.

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

NFL ENTERS FINAL QUARTER WITH KEY GAMES ON TAP

Week 14 NFL Preview

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s CINCINNATI BENGALS-CLEVELAND BROWNS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest includes the teams closest to the birthplace of the NFL. In 1920, the NFL formed in Northeast Ohio, where CANTON BULLDOGS owner RALPH HAY organized the first meeting of fellow owners. Four years later, at nearby Massillon Washington High School, quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer PAUL BROWN discovered the sport that would shape his life. By 1946, as the first coach of the Cleveland franchise when it launched as part of the All-American Football Conference, Brown was so synonymous with success that by popular demand he became the team’s namesake, despite his humble objections. After entering the NFL in 1950, Brown’s team won three league championships (1950, 1954-55). When the AFL placed an expansion franchise in Cincinnati during the mid-1960s, Brown joined the team as general manager and head coach, then named his new team the Bengals in time for the club’s inaugural 1968 season. One of Brown’s first Cincinnati assistant coaches was Pro Football Hall of Famer BILL WALSH.  

BRADY, BREES IN RACE FOR HALLOWED MARK: As NFL teams jockey for position in the 2019 playoff race, New England quarterback TOM BRADY and New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES have one of the league’s most significant all-time records in their sights: Most career touchdown passes, currently held by PEYTON MANNING (539). Entering Week 14, Brady (535) and Brees (532) have Manning on their radar screens.

The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:​

PLAYER, TEAM(S)YEARSTD PASSES
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis-Denver1998-2015539
Tom Brady, New England2000-535
Drew Brees, S.D. Chargers-New Orleans2001-532
Brett FavreHOF, Atlanta-Green Bay-N.Y. Jets-Minnesota1991-2010508
Dan MarinoHOF, Miami1983-99420
Philip Rivers, S.D./L.A. Chargers2004-391
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh2004-363
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants2004-362
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay2005-360
Fran TarkentonHOF, Minnesota-N.Y. Giants1961-78342

Brady, whose Patriots host the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), is 47-12 (.797) during his career in starts following a regular-season loss. 

EASTERN ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS IN THE BIG EASY: When the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS travel to meet the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX) in a matchup of 10-win teams, one former Eastern Illinois quarterback, the 49ers’ JIMMY GAROPPOLO, will square off against another former Eastern Illinois field general, Saints head coach SEAN PAYTON. Also, the father of 49ers head coach KYLE SHANAHAN, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach MIKE SHANAHAN, also played at Eastern Illinois, where a serious injury ended his playing career but helped him discover his passion for coaching. The school also produced former Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO.

  • If San Francisco this week clinches a playoff berth, the 49ers would become the first NFL club that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season to earn a postseason invitation. In every season since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR’S NIGHTMARE: In one of Week 14’s premier games, the BALTIMORE RAVENS put the league’s longest winning streak, eight games, on the line when they face the BUFFALO BILLS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The contest not only matches two of the AFC’s best teams, it also matches two of the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterbacks. Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON, whose 977 net rushing yards are more than five NFL teams this year, also ranks fourth in the NFL with a 109.6 passer rating. Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN, who ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 430 rushing yards, has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 114.0.

  • Sunday’s game will have more combined rushing yards (1,407) by starting quarterbacks than any contest in NFL history.
  • Additionally, Jackson needs 23 rushing yards to become the second quarterback in NFL history with a 1,000-yard rushing season, and 63 to post the most rushing yards in a single season by an NFL quarterback, surpassing MICHAEL VICK, who had 1,039 in 2006. 

  • As a team, the Ravens are on pace for one of the most prolific rushing campaigns in the NFL’s 100 seasons. Since the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, Baltimore’s 207.8 net rushing yards per game are on pace to finish 10 yards better than any other team in that span.

The teams with the most net rushing yards per game since 1978:

TEAMSEASONGMATTYARDSYDS/GM
Baltimore Ravens2019124452,494207.8
New England Patriots1978166713,165197.8
Kansas City Chiefs1978166632,986186.6
Chicago Bears1984166742,974185.9
Atlanta Falcons2006165372,939183.7

​​

THE FOURTH QUARTER: As the NFL makes its final turn toward the regular-season finish line, each club has just four games remaining, and 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Two of those teams, the TENNESSEE TITANS and OAKLAND RAIDERS, battle in a key AFC contest Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS).

  • The game features several of the NFL’s top rookies. Oakland’s JOSH JACOBS leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards (1,061), rushing touchdowns (seven) and scrimmage yards (1,207). Tennessee wide receiver A.J. BROWN leads AFC rookies with 626 receiving yards. On defense, Oakland’s MAXX CROSBY (7.5) and CLELIN FERRELL (3.5) are the NFL’s only pair of rookie teammates with three-or-more sacks each.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS CONTINUE TO WIN GAMES: Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, leads the ARIZONA CARDINALS at home against the PITTSBURGH STEELERS on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Murray and the Steelers’ DEVLIN HODGES, an undrafted rookie, are two of the six rookie quarterbacks to win a game this season. Last week, Denver’s DREW LOCKjoined a group that includes Washington’s DWAYNE HASKINS, the Giants’ DANIEL JONES and Jacksonville’s GARDNER MINSHEW. That group of six represents the second-highest number of rookie quarterbacks to win an NFL start in league history, trailing only the 1987 season (seven). Detroit’s DAVID BLOUGH, who plays at Minnesota Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), gives the 2019 rookies an opportunity to tie the single-season league record. ​

BATTLE OF OHIO: When the CINCINNATI BENGALS make the cross-state trip to play the CLEVELAND BROWNS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), the teams will meet for a 92nd time. Sunday marks the first Bengals-Browns game in 35 years in which each club has a first-year head coach. Cincinnati’s ZAC TAYLOR and Cleveland’s FREDDIE KITCHENS are the first rookie head-coaching pair in the series since December 2, 1984, when the Bengals’ SAM WYCHE beat the Browns’ MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER on an overtime field goal, 20-17.

NFL SCHEDULEDECEMBER 5, 8-9

(All times Eastern)​

ThursdaySunday (cont.)
Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears8:20 PMFOX/NFLNAMAZONMiami Dolphins at New York Jets1:00 PMCBS
Sunday  Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 PMCBS
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons1:00 PMFOXLos Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars4:05 PMFOX
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills1:00 PMCBSPittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals4:25 PMCBS
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns1:00 PMCBSKansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots4:25 PMCBS
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers1:00 PMFOXTennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders4:25 PMCBS
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans1:00 PMCBSSeattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams8:20 PMNBC
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings1:00 PMFOXMonday  
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints1:00 PMFOX New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles8:15 PMESPN

Press Release Courtesy of the NFL Communications Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Announce Transactions

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agents LB Will Compton, C Erik Magnusonand DT Terrell McClain, the club announced Wednesday.

Player                                                   Pos.                       Ht.          Wt.        College

Compton, Will                                   LB                           6-1          235         Nebraska

Magnuson, Erik                                 C                             6-6          300         Michigan

McClain, Terrell                                 DT                           6-2          302         South Florida

Compton: Has appeared in 68 games and made 35 starts over his seven years in the NFL, seeing game action with both the Washington Redskins (2014-17) and the Tennessee Titans (2018) and totaling 274 tackles (163 solo), one sack, three INTs, 12 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries…Posted career highs in 2016 with the Redskins in tackles (104 solo), passes defensed (five) and fumble recoveries (two), while also adding one forced fumble and one INT.

Magnuson: Has appeared in eight games and made three starts over his first two seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers after originally being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017…Spent the first eight weeks of 2019 on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad…Appeared in 46 games and made 37 starts along the offensive line during his five-year career at Michigan…Earned First Team All-Big 10 honors in 2016 after starting all 12 games as a senior. 

McClain: Originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round (65th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft and also made stints with New England Patriots (2012), Houston Texans (2012-13), Dallas Cowboys (2014-16), Washington Redskins (2017, Atlanta Falcons (2018), while most recently playing in two contests for the Kansas City Chiefs this year…Over his nine-year career, has appeared in 89 contests and made 34 starts, totaling 129 tackles (85 solo), 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

In corresponding moves, the Raiders have waived LB Dakota Allen and released DE Kasim Edebali andDT Corey Liuget.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Announce Practice Squad

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed the following 10 players to their practice squad, the club announced Monday. RB Damarea CrockettLB Justin Phillips and TE Eric Saubert are the only practice squad signees that were not with the team during training camp this year.

Player                                   Pos.       Ht.          Wt.        Exp.       College

Ateman, Marcell               WR         6-4          216         2              Oklahoma State

Bell, Quinton                      DE           6-4          253         R             Prairie View A&M

Cotton Sr., Lester             G             6-4          335         R             Alabama

Crockett, Damarea          RB           5-11       225         R             Missouri

Gafford, Rico                      WR         5-10       185         1              Wyoming

Mabin, Dylan                      CB           6-1          195         R             Fordham

Nelson, Nick                       CB           5-11       205         2              Wisconsin

Phillips, Justin                    LB           6-0          235         R             Oklahoma State

Rush, Anthony                  DT           6-5          350         R             UAB

Saubert, Eric                       TE           6-5          253         3              Drake

Crockett: Originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent this past May…Played three seasons (2016-18) at Missouri, appearing in 29 games over his career…Recorded 2,252 rushing yards and 19 TDs on 380 rushing attempts, adding 137 receiving yards and two additional scores…Posted 709 rushing yards and seven TDs on 147 carries as a senior, adding 12 receptions for 88 yards and a receiving TD.

Phillips: Originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent this past offseason…Spent five years (2014-18) at Oklahoma State, playing four seasons and appearing in 42 contests, compiling 221 tackles (146 solo), including 23 for loss, 6.5 sacks, three INTs including two returned for TDs, six passes defensed, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries…Was a team captain and team MVP as a senior, earning All-Big 12 recognition after posting 98 tackles as a senior.

Saubert: Originally selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round (174th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft…Spent his first two seasons with the Falcons, appearing in 30 contests and making one start, compiling five receptions for 48 yards…Appeared in all 16 contests in 2018 for the first time in his career.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Claim CB Hamp Cheevers

NAPA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have claimed CB Hamp Cheevers via waivers from the Atlanta Falcons, the club announced Sunday.

Cheevers, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound cornerback out of Boston College, joins the Raiders after originally being signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent this past May. Cheevers most recently spent a week in training camp with Falcons and appeared in the team’s preseason Week 1 contest.

A native of Trenton, Fla., Cheevers played three seasons (2016-18) at Boston College, appearing in 30 games and tallying 56 tackles (36 solo), including 2.5 for loss, nine interceptions including one returned for a touchdown, 20 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. As a junior in 2018, he posted career highs in nearly every major defensive category, notching 39 stops (27), seven interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery en route to All-ACC First Team honors.

In a corresponding move, the Raiders have placed CB D.J. Killings on the Reserve/Injured List.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign S Jordan Richards

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent S Jordan Richards, the club announced Friday.

Richards, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound safety, enters his fifth year in the NFL after spending the 2018 season with the Atlanta Falcons. Before being traded ahead of the 2018 campaign, Richards spent his first three seasons (2015-17) with the New England Patriots after being selected in the second round (64th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over his first four seasons, Richards has appeared in 59 contests and made 19 starts, compiling 77 tackles (60 solo), six passes defensed and two forced fumbles. In five postseason appearances, he has recorded five stops (three) as a rotational player on defense.

In his lone season with the Falcons, Richards appeared in 15 contests and made a career-high 12 starts. Richards also set career highs in tackles and passes defensed, tallying 37 and three, respectively.

From 2015-17, Richards played in 41 contests for the Patriots and made seven starts. In 2017, he recorded 22 stops during the regular season and appeared in all three postseason contests, while tallying four stops in the club’s Super Bowl LII appearance.

A native of Sacramento, Calif., Richards played in 54 games and made 44 starts over his four years (2011-14) at Stanford, compiling 247 tackles, one sack, nine interceptions including one returned for a score, 24 passes defensed and five forced fumbles. As a senior in 2014, Richards was named a team captain and earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors after posting 79 stops, three interceptions and five passes defensed.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations