Create marketing that is trusted, remarkable, unmistakable and essential

We’re months past the winter holidays and sellers have a great chance to think about what we’ve learned, now that the dust has settled. Each holiday shopping season is an intense, focused study in what motivates customers to buy and brings many opportunities for improvement. Looking back, it would be too easy to think that […]


The second-year player was one of two people killed in a car accident, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Indiana State Police tell the Star they suspect Jackson was hit by a drunk driver.

“Jackson and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe of Avon were standing near a stopped vehicle when a black Ford F-150 pickup truck drove onto the emergency shoulder and struck them both,” police said.

Jackson was signed to the Colts’ practice squad late in 2015 and played with the team in 2016, recording 66 tackles and playing in all 16 games. He was placed on injured reserve in 2017.

If the league is guilty of anything, it’s allowing Patriots paranoia to permeate each year. Last week, there was the accidental NFL Facebook post that showed the Patriots and Vikings in the Super Bowl. Concepts such as “rigged” and “WWE” have been attached to the Patriots; the NFL villain that just won’t die. Goodell hasn’t done anything to stop the controversy, and the more the NFL becomes like pro wrestling, the less popular it will be with its football-first fans.

I watched Sunday’s game looking for flags and came up with two conclusions. One, it’s no way to watch a football game. Two, other than a third-and-9 pass to Marcedes Lewis, on which the Pats might have gotten away with a defensive holding on a 50-50 call, there’s not enough to block out what really happened.

Butler was a fixture in the secondary of a Patriots defense that improved as the season progressed but still was vulnerable through the air. He didn’t play a defensive snap in New England’s 42-33 loss to the Eagles.

Pederson, the former longtime backup quarterback to Brett Favre in Green Bay, was the perfect mentor for Foles. The QB topped his 352-yard, three-TD performance against the Vikings with 373 yards and three touchdowns against the Pats, along with a TD catch on a daring fourth-and-2 call at the end of the first half. Pederson also showed his gutsy nature with the fourth-and-1 conversion on a Foles-to-Ertz pass from the Eagles’ 45 in the fourth quarter after the Patriots had pulled ahead 33-32.

Those fourth-down gambles are emblematic of Pederson’s fearlessness and creativity as a coach, qualities that make players want to play for him. Plus he’s a true players’ coach who is likable.bills_035

Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Doesn’t it seem like just five minutes ago that the analysts had considered the running back position all but dead in the NFL? Well, based on Week 1, not so fast. Big-play running backs who can control the games do not appear to be as extinct as previously thought.

Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook ran for 127 yards on 22 carries. Jaguars rookie Leonard Fournette rushed for 100 yards on 26 carries.

The Bears’ less-hyped Tarik Cohen got in on the action as well, with a combined 113 yards rushing and receiving, 66 coming on the ground.

18. Ezekiel Elliott, running back, Cowboys (NR): From his midriff-baring outfit at the draft to his ill-advised marijuana window-shopping in Seattle to his bulldozing of famed (and feared) NFL hitman Kam Chancellor, Elliott’s first few months in the league definitely have been eventful. There no doubt will be more where that came from, thankfully.

Why not sit them down, talk to them on camera. What do they remember about Wilson? That day? That night? The next day? The pregame locker room buzz? What was the fallout? How was the game plan, near zero-hour, altered? What was the measure of betrayal? Anger? Astonishment?

23. Mark Davis, owner, Raiders (NR): The son of Al Davis has a bowl haircut straight out of “The Three Stooges” — and that’s just the start of his odd quirks. Davis also is trying to move the Raiders to Las Vegas while landing the biggest taxpayer stadium handout ever ($750 million). Win or lose, Davis will step out of the shadows this year.

Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. Even though offensive guru Jon Gruden is in town, the Raiders should be targeting best defender available with this pick. The Raiders can save $14.5 million by cutting Sean Smith and David Amerson in the offseason, and if they can get T.J. Carrie re-signed after his standout year, having him, 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley and the speedy Ward at the cornerback position instantly makes the Raiders younger, cheaper and flat-out better at an area of need.

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson. Consider this more of a value play than filling an immediate need. Ferrell is coming off a great performance against Alabama that caps a season that included 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. With Cam Wake on the tail end of his career, Ferrell gives the Dolphins someone to pair with Charles Harris and provide pass rushing off the edge for the foreseeable future.

Given that the Winnipeg Jets don’t much come ’round here, MSG-Plus’ Jets-Islanders pregame Saturday focused on what the Jets try to do and whom they try to do it with. Smart with simple often makes good TV.

Reader Ken Meltsner suggests the Mets returning Omar Minaya at Christmas is a case of flagrant “re-gifting.”

Researchers at Boston University have been at the forefront of CTE research in recent years.

Still, for as many hurdles as Gruden will have to overcome to fully deliver on the Raiders’ hopes, this could still be the right move for Davis.

The Raiders are banking on two things from a coach with a career .540 winning percentage. One is that Gruden will maximize Derek Carr’s talent. Carr clearly regressed this season — his statistics in every category that matters were down from a sterling 2016 campaign — a decline hastened in part by injury and by Del Rio’s misguided decision to not bring back Bill Musgrave as the offensive coordinator. Carr was so good in 2016 that the Raiders entered this season as highly publicized Super Bowl contenders. Then they went 6-10. Getting Carr back to that level is right in Gruden’s wheelhouse and could make for a quick turnaround.

The study results released Thursday from Boston Unversity’s CTE Center also showed Hernandez suffered from early brain atrophy and had large perforations in his septum pellucidum, a major membrane in the brain associated with cognitive development.

According to a statement from the CTE Center, a second neuropathologist from VA Boston Healthcare System confirmed the diagnosis.

“Everyone, including and especially his family, is deeply troubled by this whole thing,” Baez told reporters at an afternoon news conference.

In a study published in July, researchers studied the brains of men who played football at all levels and found evidence of CTE in 177 of 202 — 87 percent — of them.

“It’s always been broader than that,” Bennett said. “It’s always been about justice and discrimination in America, police brutality, women’s rights, all these different issues — clean water; Flint, Michigan — issues that are pertaining to America that we all need to pay attention to because it’s not that it happens to one of us that [makes it] important. It’s important every single day regardless of what we’ve got going on.”

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders: Lynch owners have had to tangle with the enigma that he is all season: He’s produced double-digit scoring in just three games and has four games in which he finished with fewer than three points.

Since then, however, Martin’s numbers have been abysmal. He hasn’t reached double digits since Week 6 and seems to be regressing to the point that some pundits are recommending he isn’t worthy of a roster spot. If you are in the hunt for a playoff spot and find yourself relying on Martin, then don’t act surprised when he fails to deliver. The writing has been on the wall for weeks.cowboys_102

Lue was asked about how Isaiah Thomas called for players to be benched if they were not being effective.

Cleveland’s offense is a mess — it ranks second to last per Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent — but its defense has been solid. Overall, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has his unit ranked 16th in DVOA, with the league’s top run defense. His defensive line is stopping 29 percent of opposing rushers at or behind the line of scrimmage; only the Philadelphia Eagles have been better (33 percent).

“That didn’t come up at all,” Jed York, the chief executive officer of the 49ers, said at the October owners’ meeting. “There was nobody that disagreed with — obviously people have different opinions on what kneeling means.

New York also fired its offensive coordinator, John Morton, to get out of its Air Coryell scheme that didn’t quite mesh with Todd Bowles’ defense-first mentality. Todd Haley, recently fired from the Steelers, is the strongest candidate to replace him and install Erhardt-Perkins.

The Jets, like the Bills, might be tipping their hand by tailoring their offense to the ’18 draft class, which is full of big, strong-armed quarterbacks. The Jets just went through the retread route again with Josh McCown replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick and had limited results. They need to finally dive into a first-round QB and use their $74 million-plus cap space to upgrade at several other positions.

“We’ve just got to continue to play with pace, with pop, and play together,” McIntosh said, “and I think we can be a really good team.”

Nate Mason had 25 points and nine assists for the Gophers (14-9, 3-7), who lost for the sixth time in their last seven games. Amir Coffey scored 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting, but he had five fouls and five turnovers in another collapse down the stretch by the team’s half-court offense and collective belief.

Korver, a 15-year veteran, is not overreacting to the Cavs’ current circumstances. When he was traded to Cleveland last January, for instance, the Cavs went 3-6 in his first nine games with the franchise.

“This is kind of just my experience with this team, to be honest,” Korver said. “The year that I’ve been here, we’ve been really good and we’ve been really bad. It seems to come in waves, so hopefully there’s a good wave coming soon.”

A trace of eye-roll could be detected in Pederson’s words, which would not place him in the minority among NFL coaches.

Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks (33.8 percent): An inefficient scoring pattern — Matthews has hit just 39.4 percent of his shots over the past three seasons — limits this gifted defender from being a consistent fantasy commodity. That all said, Matthews is hot from the field of late and merits immediate consideration; he’s tallied 2.8 3PG and 16.3 PPG in 36.1 MPG over the past eight games.

Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat (13.1 percent): A mid-career reinvention is always a fun story. In Ellington’s case, he’s become a sharpshooter of the highest degree, as he’s second behind only Williams in added value in 3-point shooting among shooting guards during the past 15 days.

They are obsessed with preparation and detail, and the post-touchdown displays provide proof their players are spending at least a few minutes planning how to celebrate a score.

Papa John’s president and chief operating officer Steve Ritchie added at the time that his company has been the most recognized NFL sponsor for the past two years, suggesting that its success is more linked to that of the league than is the case for other pizza chains. He said that he expected the earnings decline for Papa John’s “to persist” until “a solution is put in place” by the NFL for its player protests.

“The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive,” Papa John’s said Tuesday. “That definitely was not our intention.

“I thought we could have got a better shot then,” Green said in reference to that offensive sequence. “… It is what it is.”

When I was a kid, I had a Lynn Swann jersey. Like I said, I rooted for the Steelers. And honestly, now I enjoy watching them play. Mike Tomlin’s from my home town. And aside from the games that are always on Sundays — the Redskins and the Ravens — there are a lot of Steelers games on. So I figure, well, let’s watch some Steelers games and see how that goes. I’ve always kind of felt myself wanting them to win anyway, except when they play the Redskins. I’ve been an NFL fan for long enough that I still find the games interesting. I’m still an NFL fan. I’ll still watch [the playoffs], and I’m sure I’ll root for the Steelers, and we’ll see what happens.cowboys_032

The top teams in the AFC should be thrilled with how Sunday’s action played out.

The Ravens and Chargers, two teams with the weaponry to surprise in a one-game season if everything broke right, were both knocked out of the tournament before it started. The Titans and Bills are in, giving two starving fanbases a taste of the playoffs that seems destined to be short-lived. Both nine-win teams have not shown anything in their season-long makeup to believe they could win three straight playoff games on the road to make the Super Bowl.

At the end of the day you’ve just got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better?’ You can’t point the finger, you can’t get mad at a guy for not doing what you thought he should’ve done. You can’t, just can’t point fingers. You’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Wow can I help the team?’ It’s really simple but it really is true. … I think this is just what grownups do. We’re all — this is a veteran team — we’re all grownups. When you’re a mature grown up you just look yourself in the mirror.

With Favors healthy this season, there was some thought that Gobert (average draft position of 13.8 overall ) and Favors (ADP 112.5) could thrive together as a dominant, twin-towers unit — much weaker offensively but certainly stronger defensively (and possibly on the glass) than Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in New Orleans.

Working the waiver wire is key to fleshing out a winning roster. Here are all of the top free agents you should consider picking up for the week ahead.

However, this hasn’t happened to date. Instead, Gobert has been surprisingly ineffective all season, even when healthy, with a 6.98 score on the Player Rater by average this season, 14th among centers for a player drafted on average 14th overall. Favors has had his best season in years during the times when Gobert has missed time due to injury (14.9 PPG, 58.2 FG%, 8.6 RPG, 1.3 BPG during 23 games during Gobert’s two big injury absences).

The Trail Blazers’ identity has fluctuated to the defensive end with a superior 104.2 defensive rating that’s good for seventh in the league.cowboys_008

Mohamed Sanu’s critical first down overturned thanks to the NFL’s catch rule

The catch rule strikes again!

In the fourth quarter down 15-10, the Falcons were faced with a third-and-6 at their own 42. Matt Ryan threw a pass to Mohamed Sanu, gaining a first down:

The parents stressed that you earn your future in this world. Minkah Sr. took his son to the shop where he works 70-hour weeks as a diesel mechanic and volunteered him for the dirtiest, heaviest jobs. “If you don’t want to be here forever,” he would remind the boy, “you better keep those grades up.” Minkah was accepted to St. Peter’s Prep, an all?boys school an hour away. The fall of 2011, his freshman year, was about to begin when Hurricane Irene crashed into New Jersey.

After all that up top, did you expect anything elseThe Red Raiders opened a lot of eyes with a road win last week and they’ll get the chance to repeat the feat in Norman on Wednesday and try to follow West Virginia’s lead in (relatively) slowing down Trae Young. One imagines that after the frustration of going up against the Mountaineers, the Sooners will be raring to go on their home floor, especially with the opportunity to pick up such a high-quality win while avoiding a two-game skid. While all eyes will understandably be on Young, don’t miss a chance to take in the talents of Texas Tech’s Keenan Evans, who’s having his own stellar season.

Four days later, after Colorado upset Arizona, which was also implicated in the scandal, Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle was asked whether Arizona’s connection to the FBI probe added extra satisfaction to the win, Boyle responded, “Hell yes.”

With the way tensions ratchet up in the sport this time of year, it’s hard to imagine this is the last time the subject is broached publicly as fodder for competitive banter. As if weathering the calamity of the probe wasn’t difficult enough, it’s now clear the teams involved will have to deal with some extra motivated opponents as well.

“I want to thank Ted for his tireless efforts as the general manager of the Green Bay Packers for these past 13 seasons,” team president Mark Murphy said via the Packers’ announcement. “Under his guidance, the Packers enjoyed a remarkable run of success, one that included our 13th world championship, four NFC Championship appearances and eight consecutive postseason berths.”patriots_302_79af8fd2821400f3-180x180

Bengals fans donate to Blake Bortles’ charity for beating Steelers

Bills fans flooded the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation with donations after Andy Dalton’s last-minute touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd not only secured a Bengals win at Baltimore, but also sent the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season.

The Eagles and Jaguars both completed worst-to-first turnarounds this season in their respective divisions. Five of the eight division winners (Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Saints and Jaguars) finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year.

Swipe for Sporting News’ picks and predictions for all four wild-card playoff games this weekend.

By stepping on the pedal with Brees early, New Orleans took Carolina out of its running game, with Newton or backs Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. Except for a late lapse in which McCaffrey sped through the defense for a 56-yard catch-and-run TD that made the game a lot closer than it needed to be in the fourth quarter, the Saints forced the Panthers to sustain long, pass-heavy drives to score. That plan worked, too, with multiple red-zone stops throughout the game.

And it’s all a bit absurd, because while surely no one is thrilled about ownership in Cleveland (and that’s not changing,) the Browns are teeming with selling points. Perhaps most importantly: They have an offensive line. A good offensive line that, if Joe Thomas is 100% healthy and Shon Coleman continues to develop, could be very good by next fall.

You’re not going to get your pretty face smashed in playing behind this line. They have the running game to carry the load early for a young QB. They also have a ton of draft picks and a ton of cap space, and they no longer have Sashi Brown trying to live out his childhood fantasy of owning every pick of a particular NFL draft (I could keep letting the clock expire and then pass myself, I’d rule the world!).

What Mariota did here is impressive, and not just because it’s fun to see a quarterback get his hands dirty and make a block. The Titans ran a zone-read option play, a common call in the college game that’s become more and more common in the NFL.patriots_050_432816d500d73104-180x180

Why the Packers promoted Brian Gutekunst to GM, in a 90-second read

The Green Bay Packers named Brian Gutekunst as the new general manager, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Packers made it official on Monday.

The Titans’ comeback win means that the Chiefs now haven’t won a playoff game at home since Joe Montana was their quarterback. Andy Reid is now 1-4 with the Chiefs in the postseason, with Saturday’s loss just being another in a long line of disappointing playoff moments for Kansas City.

Each week, we’ll get to know a standout player a little better by asking them about some of the best things in the world. This week we welcome Marquette guard Markus Howard, who is averaging 23.5 points while shooting 40.1% from three. So, Markus, tell us about the best …

…meal that you can make. “My pasta. My mom’s a great cook and she taught me how to cook a lot of different things, but my pasta’s really good. I like doing a penne with cream sauce and I put different herbs in it. It’s hard to cook here because we don’t have a stove, but when I’m back home I like to cook a lot. I make a lot of breakfast food. Me and my brother [Jordan, a guard at Central Arkansas] will switch off and take turns cooking. My go-to is either pancakes and bacon or eggs and waffles.”

This isn’t the game a lot of people expected 12 weeks into the regular season. The Falcons weren’t playing great while the Eagles were riding high with MVP candidate Carson Wentz.

But thanks to an upset in the first round for the Falcons over the Rams and an injury to Wentz late in the season, fans get a Nick Foles-Matt Ryan matchup which could go either way.

Along with winning and great success comes a lot of things, Brady said. I think for a long time we’ve done a great job of winning games and it forces people to be creative with what they talk about and the things they write and the things they may speculate on. Diagnosing football plays doesn’t get the attention that some of these other things might. So speculating on relationships, or what my feelings are towards my team or my organization, or players or coaches, I can only speak for myself. And really, my relationships with everybody that I deal with, I feel are so positive. To think any differently of that is complete nonsense.patriots_025_ada3e7ae71ca947a-180x180

Mike Mularkey’s job is in jeopardy if Titans lose to Chiefs, report says

The Titans made the playoffs this season, but coach Mike Mularkey’s job is reportedly in danger.

The Titans are preparing for their AFC Wild Card Game on Saturday against the Chiefs, but according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mularkey could be fired if the team does not win.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be out to prove that 30-9 loss to the Jaguars in Week 5 was a fluke. Roethlisberger was intercepted five times in that game and the Steelers will look to establish running back Le’Veon Bell early.

The Steelers defense will key on Jaguars back Leonard Fournette after he ran for 181 yards in the regular-season matchup. If the Steelers can contain Fournette, it’s unlikely struggling Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will be able to outduel Roethlisberger, who will have All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown back from injury.

NFL TV talent is paid for the gift of talking skills. But the best of the best were left almost speechless by Sunday’s Minnesota Miracle in which the Vikings pulled off a 29-24, come-from-behind victory over the Saints in the Divisional playoffs.

Once they recovered their wits, sports TV announcers and analysts said Stefon Diggs’ 61-yard catch and run touchdown off a pass by Case Keenum will go down as one of the greatest plays in NFL history, along with stunners such as Terry Bradshaw’s Immaculate Reception to Franco Harris in 1972 and Roger Staubach’s original Hail Mary to Drew Pearson to beat the Vikings in 1975.

Atlanta, with no chance to play a home playoff game this time, began with a tough test in the wild-card round, traveling cross-country to Los Angeles to take on the Rams, winning 26-13. But from the Falcons at 10-6 to the Eagles and Vikings at 13-3, little separates the six teams in the strong NFC playoff field.

Looking at the Falcons’ profile as a No. 6 seed with long, 12-1 odds (per Bovada) to win the conference again, there a lot of things to like.

The Falcons, in beating four other 2016 playoff teams (Packers, Lions, Cowboys, Seahawks), ensured their return even with one less victory. They also split against the new NFC South-champion Saints and runner-up Panthers. That built up a 9-3 conference record, third best and only one game off the Eagles and Vikings.

The Falcons had a little more momentum last season, winning the final four games and 5 of 7 after a Week 11 bye. This year, they still finished 3-1 to take 6 of 8. They have been in a lot of one-possession games, winning 6 of 10.

Should the Vikings get there, ticket prices could skyrocket by as much as four, five or six times their printed price. Or more, according to the report.

Let’s just say that if the Vikings win, there will be a lot of bass fishing boats for sale next week in Minnesota, joked one broker.patriots_093_d3ab648e5c36960a-180x180