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Super Bowl LII Eagles fan reaction videos

Fans took to social media during and after Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Watch their fan reaction videos below:

NFL Route Tree

NFL Route Tree

Each movement by a wide receiver is carefully coordinated, and they all stem from one thing: the route tree.

The route tree is a simple way for an offense to teach, organize and quickly call plays. It was developed by Don Coryell while coaching at San Diego State in the 1960s. He brought it to the NFL in the 1970s as a head coach with the Cardinals and Chargers.

Odd-numbered routes break out to the sideline, even-numbered ones into the middle. An offense can use these numbers to quickly tell the receivers what routes to run on a play. For instance, a call that has the number “958” means that one receiver runs a “go” route (9), one runs an “out” route (5) and one runs a “post” route (8).

Click on each tab below to learn more about each route in the route tree, as well as the best players (active or retired) to run each pattern.

1 Flat

Flat Play

A flat is a short, quick-hitting route run close to the line of scrimmage. The receiver takes a step upfield, then quickly breaks out toward the sideline. It’s called a flat route because it’s run into the area between the sideline and the hash marks, known as the flat.

Usually, flat routes are run by running backs out of the backfield, tight ends and speedier, more elusive receivers, since the play’s result mostly will depend on what they can do after they make the catch.

Flat routes are effective when a defense commits to covering deep or as a checkdown option against heavy pressure. They’re also good when a team needs to quickly gain a few yards and stop the clock during a two-minute drill. In addition, flats often are paired with one or two other routes as part of a combo route — “stick,” “flood,” “spacing,” “curl-flat” and “slant-flat,” among others — designed to put stress on a specific defender and force him to choose who to cover.

Best to run the route: Roger Craig

2 Slant

Slant Play

A slant is the inside-breaking relative of the flat route (meaning, it’s a short, quick route close to the line). Here, a receiver takes three steps upfield, then cuts in at a 45-degree angle and runs toward the middle of the field.

Slant routes are good for speedier, shiftier receivers who can quickly shake defenders and do damage after the catch. Odell Beckham Jr. is a perfect example — he’s made a habit of turning 5-yard slants into 60-yard touchdowns.

Slants are good against a defense that is playing off coverage and giving the receiver a cushion, or against man coverage (since the receiver’s inside break should give him a step on his defender). An offense also can throw the slant route against a blitz-happy defense, since the quarterback doesn’t have to wait for his receiver to get far downfield and can get the ball out quickly.

Best to run the route: Beckham, Jerry Rice, Andre Reed, Art Monk

3 Comeback

Comeback Play

A comeback is an intermediate route that usually covers about 10-15 yards. As soon as the receiver reaches the top of the route , he plants, turns out and runs back toward the sideline to make the reception.

The key part of a comeback route is the timing between the quarterback and the receiver. In an ideal situation, the ball should be at the receiver as soon as he turns around at the top of the route, so the quarterback needs to anticipate the break. The receiver’s ability to sell a “go” route also helps — the receiver wants to make the cornerback think he has to cover deep before making his cut. That would make the defender off-balance and create natural separation as the defender tries to recover.

A well-run comeback route can help a team beat man coverage. Like the other outside-breaking routes, it’s good if a team needs to drive down the field in a two-minute drill since the receiver already is close to the sideline to stop the clock.

Best to run the route: Michael Irvin, Steve Largent, Terrell Owens, Jarvis Landry

4 Curl

Curl Play

The curl — also called a “hook” or a “button hook” — is largely the same as the comeback route, with one key difference: When the receiver reaches the top of the route, he plants and turns back in toward the middle of the field. When run closer to the line of scrimmage (about five to eight yards downfield), a curl becomes a “hitch” route.

The curl relies heavily on timing and the ability to sell the go route. As soon as the receiver plants and turns, he should expect the ball to be there. At the same time, if he can convince the cornerback that he’s going deep, the inside break will be that much more effective as the defender has to react and make up ground.

The curl route is good against man coverage, for the above reason. It’s also part of several combo route concepts, including “curl-flat,” “smash,” “spacing” and “spot,” among many others.

Best to run the route: Michael Irvin, DeAndre Hopkins, Hines Ward

5 Out

Out Play

The out can be run at pretty much any level of the field, though it’s usually run at about a 10-yard depth. The receiver runs straight ahead when the ball is snapped, then once he reaches the top of the route, he sharply cuts 90 degrees toward the sideline.

Here, the receiver needs to be aware of the distance between him and the sideline — and be prepared to toe-tap to stay inbounds if the pass is outside. The cut also is important — if it’s not crisp enough, the defensive back will know what’s coming and can jump the route.

Out routes are very common in two-minute drills and other time-saving situations since it’s a great way to get a decent amount of yards and stop the clock. They can beat both man and deep zone coverages — the outside break should fool the defender in man, while a shorter out route could allow an opportunity for some yards after the catch against a deep zone such as Cover 4.

Best to run the route: Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter

6 In

In Play

An in route (also called a “dig”) is the inside-breaking version of the out route.

An in route becomes a “drag” route when: (a) it’s run closer to the line of scrimmage with no stem, and (b) the receiver rounds off the route instead of sharply cutting inside.

The break on an in route needs to be crisp or else the receiver risks the defender diagnosing the play and putting himself in better position to jump the route. It also helps to have a receiver who can make catches in traffic since the middle of the field often is flooded with players.

Ins are very good against man coverage since the defender will have to recover against a strong-enough cut. Depending on the depth of the route, they can work against zone coverage — shorter routes can exploit deep coverage, while deeper ones can attack the area between the linebackers and the safeties. In routes also are used in several combo route concepts such as “levels” and “Mills”, while drag routes are popular in “mesh” combo routes or as checkdown options for a slot receiver or tight end.

Best to run the route: Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter

7 Corner

Corner Play

A corner route, also known as a flag route, attacks the deep portion of the field. The receiver runs straight ahead for 10-15 yards, then cuts 45 degrees and runs diagonally toward the sideline. It’s called a corner or a flag route because it often is run to the pylons (which were flags in the old days) in the corners of the end zone.

The receiver should be able to create separation with his cut. He can sell an inside-breaking route against the cornerback by turning his head inside toward the quarterback right before he plants his foot and cuts outside. The quarterback often will wait for the receiver to make the cut before throwing and should place the throw to the receiver’s outside shoulder to help avoid defenders.

Corner routes are great against Cover 2, since there are coverage holes along the sidelines between the corner (who is covering the flat) and the safety help over the top. They’re also useful whenever the offense needs to get out of bounds on a chunk play, and are common in the “smash” combo route — the inside receiver runs a corner route, while the outside receiver runs a hitch — and other concepts where the defender has to choose whether to cover deep or shallow.

Best to run the route: Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Odell Beckham Jr., Jordy Nelson, DeAndre Hopkins

8 Post

Post Play

The post is the inside-breaking variation of the corner route. The receiver runs 10-15 yards downfield, then cuts 45 degrees inside and runs across the middle of the field. It’s called a post route because the receiver is running toward the goalposts.

A common variation of the post route is the “skinny post” or “bang 8,” in which the receiver runs a less severe angle than usual — in essence, narrowing the route.

The receiver should be able to handle catches in traffic, since he’ll likely have a safety bearing down on him. And like the corner route, the receiver should be able to create separation from his initial defender on the cut.

Posts are good against defenses with a single-high safety, such as Cover 1 or Cover 3, since the inside break allows the offense to attack the defender over the top. They can work against man, but the receiver needs to get good inside positioning on the defender and the quarterback needs to loft the pass over any underneath defenders. Skinny posts are good against Cover 3, since the narrower route can attack the small seam between the outside cornerback and the safety responsible for the deep middle third of the field.

Best to run the route: Torry Holt, Terrell Owens, Jerry Rice, Al Toon

9 Go

Comeback Play

This route has many names — you’ll also hear it go by “fly,” “streak” and “clearout” — but it’s the simplest of them all: a straight line downfield.

There are three ways a go route can play out: a pure over-the-shoulder throw-and-catch, a jump ball or a back-shoulder catch. The first is a result of pure speed — the receiver speeds by the defensive back, and the quarterback hits the receiver in stride. The second usually happens on underthrown passes, traditional over-the-top fades in the end zone, or instances where the receiver has a clear size advantage and can outmuscle his defender. The third is all about ball placement — the quarterback throws it behind the receiver, who adjusts based on where both he and the ball are in relation to the defender.

Of course, faster receivers such as DeSean Jackson are better at burning defensive backs, but bigger receivers also can have success on go routes. Jordy Nelson has mastered the back-shoulder fade concept with Aaron Rodgers, while Mike Evans uses his size and 37-inch vertical leap to make deep contested catches over defenders.

Go routes can beat both Cover 2 and 3, since the defense has only two (Cover 2) or three (Cover 3) defenders dropping back deep. So, if an offense sends enough players downfield, they should outnumber the defense. Go routes also can serve as decoys to take defensive backs out of the play and free up space for shorter underneath routes.

Best to run the route: Randy Moss, Tim Brown, Isaac Bruce, Tyreek Hill, Jackson, Evans, Nelson

Production: Nick Klopsis (with Bob Glauber) Design: James Stewart

Nick Fanti: Life in the minors

'I knew he was special'

Chapter 1

'I knew he was special'

When Nick Fanti began playing baseball as a child, he didn't want to go anyway near the pitcher's mound. By his senior year at Hauppauge High School, the lefthander was attracting scouts for his pitching ability. Now he'll try to use that to get to the majors.

Lakewood BlueClaws/Mike Dill

The Fanti famiglia

Chapter 2

The Fanti famiglia

As the youngest of five and the only boy in the Fanti family, Nick Fanti said it was like he had five moms growing up. The tight-knit group made an effort to travel the 120 miles from Hauppauge to Lakewood, New Jersey, to see Fanti pitch as often as possible. Fanti also had support from his host family, the Hoffmans, who are BlueClaws season-ticket holders.

Lakewood BlueClaws/Mike Dill

'Can you do it in three months?'

Chapter 3

'Can you do it in three months?'

Lakewood pitching coach Brian Sweeney, who's also the coach for Team Italy, asked Nick Fanti, 20, if he would be able to pitch in the World Baseball Classic in three or four years. Then in December 2016, Sweeney asked Fanti if he could pitch in the 2017 WBC in March. Fanti threw a scoreless inning and struck out Mets utility man T.J. Rivera in his lone relief appearance against Puerto Rico.

WBC Inc.

The no-hitter

Chapter 4

The no-hitter

Fanti made a name for himself on Long Island when he threw back-to-back no-hitters in high school. On May 6, he added his first professional combined no-hitter when he went 8 2/3 innings without giving up a hit against the Columbia Fireflies. His roommate, Trevor Bettencourt, closed out the game with a strikeout to preserve the no-no. Two months later, Fanti tossed a no-hitter of his own against the Charleston RiverDogs.

Lakewood BlueClaws/Mike Dill

The last game

Chapter 5

The last game

After the BlueClaws beat the Kannapolis Intimidators in the final game of the season, Fanti said goodbye to his teammates, fans and host family and headed back to Long Island for the offseason -- one step closer toward achieving his dream.

Lakewood BlueClaws / Mike Dill

Tale of the tape: Aaron Judge vs. Jose Altuve

Yankees rightfielder Aaron Judge and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve are two of the leading candidates to win the American League MVP award, announced after the World Series.

But for the next week or so, they will be opponents in the ALCS. Here is the long and short of it when comparing Judge and Altuve.


Jose Altuve is 5-foot-6

Aaron Judge is 6-foot-7

Jose Altuve stats

  • Regular season
  • .346 average
  • 24 home runs
  • 81 RBI
  • 112 runs
  • 204 hits
  • 32 steals
  • .410 OBP
  • .547 slugging

  • Postseason (through ALDS)
  • .533, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 walks

Longest home run:

435 feet

May 15 at Marlins Park off Miami’s Dustin McGowan.

Average distance of home runs:

378.29 feet

Aaron Judge stats

  • Regular season
  • .284 average
  • 52 home runs
  • 114 RBI
  • 128 runs
  • 157 hits
  • 9 steals
  • .422 OBP
  • .627 slugging

  • Postseason (through ALDS)
  • .125, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 walks, 16 strikeouts

Longest home run:

496 feet

June 11 at Yankee Stadium off Baltimore’s Logan Verrett.

Average distance of home runs:

415.48 feet

How the Yankees, the World Series and the presidency are connected

The Yankees are the most storied franchise in sports, having won 27 World Series. The next winningest team in baseball is the St. Louis Cardinals with 11 titles.

Despite having won a title an average of every four years during their history, a strange trend has emerged in the last 59 years. Since 1958, the Yankees have not won a World Series with a Republican president in the White House.

During that stretch, they have won at least one championship almost every time a Democrat was president (the lone exception being Lyndon Johnson).

Here’s a look at the strangely coincidental run the Yankees and the White House have had over the past six decades:

Republican Donald Trump (2017-present)

This is the first MLB postseason with Trump in office and the Yankees trail the Indians in the ALDS, 2-1.

Democrat Barack Obama (2009-2017)

1 championship.

The Yankees won the World Series in 2009. It was the only World Series the Yankees played in during Obama’s presidency.

Republican George W. Bush (2001-09)

0 championships.

The Yankees lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series and to the Florida Marlins in 2003.

Democrat Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

4 championships.

The Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series, then the San Diego Padres in 1998, the Braves again in 1999 and the Mets in 2000.

Republican George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)

0 championships.

The Yankees did not reach the playoffs in any of these seasons.

Republican Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

0 championships.

The Yankees lost the 1981 World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Democrat Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

2 championships.

The Yankees won back-to-back World Series, beating the Dodgers in both 1977 and 1978.

Republican Gerald Ford (1974-1977)

0 championships.

The Yankees lost the 1976 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

Republican Richard Nixon (1969-1974)

0 championships.

The Yankees did not reach the World Series in any of these seasons.

Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

0 championships.

The Yankees lost the World Series in 1963 to the Dodgers and in 1964 to the Cardinals.

Democrat John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)

2 championships.

The Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1961 World Series and the San Francisco Giants in the 1962 World Series.

Republican Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961)

3 championships.

The Yanks won the World Series in 1953 to cap off a run of five straight titles. They won again in 1956 and 1958. The Yankees also lost three World Series in this span, 1955, 1957 and 1960.

How athletes and the sports world are reacting to President Donald Trump

Last Friday night, during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, President Donald Trump said: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that [expletive] off the field right now, out, he’s fired, he’s fired.”

That set into motion a series of actions at Sunday’s NFL games across the country, with some players kneeling or locking arms in a sign of solidarity.

On Monday, Trump’s feud with the NFL shows no signs of abating, with the president tweeting early Monday morning: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”

Athletes and analysts continued to share the opinions on the situation. Below is a collection of comments from stars such as Tom Brady, LeBron James and Drew Brees.

LeBron James

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Magic Johnson

NFL analysts

NBA MVP Russell Westbrook

Wizards guard Bradley Beal

Warriors coach Steve Kerr

Bob Costas

Aaron Rodgers, others after Sunday’s games

Saints QB Drew Brees

Warriors guard Stephen Curry

Patriots QB Tom Brady

Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson

NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Bills center Eric Wood

Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman

Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals

The Yankees, the Mets and 3 MLB games in NYC today

The Yankees host the Royals at Yankee Stadium at 1:05 p.m., followed by the Mets with a doubleheader against the Braves at Citi Field starting at 4:10 p.m.

Game 1: Yankees vs. Royals — Game story | Boxscore

Game 2: Braves at Mets, Game 1, 4:10 p.m. | Boxscore

Tonight: Braves (Fried) at Mets (Lugo), Game 2, Shortly after Game 1 ends

NFL preview 2017


The New York football dichotomy for 2017

It’s a case of Giants up, Jets down, but the disparity has never been this great, the gulf never as wide between the two teams. Never. The Giants are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Jets are a stripped-down version of an NFL team. Read Bob Glauber’s season-opening overview of the state of football in New York.

Commissioner Glauber?

What would Newsday football columnist Bob Glauber change about the NFL if he were in charge? Have a look at his five ideas to improve the NFL.

Best of the NFL

Who are the five best players in the NFL? The five best quarterbacks? Defensive backs? Punters? Newsday football columnist Bob Glauber picks the five best in just about every category you can think of as the 2017 season kicks off.


Giants’ goal: Fifth Super Bowl trophy

Ben McAdoo made that the unabashed goal when he became head coach last season. The Giants went 11-5 and made the playoffs, all positive steps for a franchise that hadn’t been to the playoffs in four years.

Q&A with Eli Manning

Giants QB Eli Manning sat down with Newsday’s Tom Rock to talk about this year’s team, the 10-year anniversary of his first Super Bowl win, how he might want his career to eventually end and the biggest changes he’s seen in 14 seasons.

Giants’ ends are near

During one of the preseason practices this summer it looked like Jason Pierre-Paul gave up halfway through a pass rush. Established veteran, sweltering grind of camp, little to prove. Who could blame him for coasting for a rep? But that’s not what happened. Read Tom Rock’s story.

The Marshall-Manning connection

Brandon Marshall joked this week that Eli Manning has a lot of work to do if he wants to dethrone Ryan Fitzpatrick as the best quarterback he’s ever played with. Read Tom Rock’s story.

How the NFC East stacks up for the Giants

NEW YORK GIANTS: Last year, GM Jerry Reese addressed the defense, adding free agent difference-makers Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins. This year, he added to the offense with free agents Brandon Marshall and Rhett Ellison and first-round tight end Evan Engram in hopes of helping Eli Manning. The one big if: the offensive line. If that group improves, then this could be a special season. Maybe a Super one.

DALLAS COWBOYS: It was an extraordinary bounce-back season for the Cowboys in 2016 as they went from last to first thanks to the brilliant play of rookie QB Dak Prescott and rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott. But teams that experience a tremendous leap forward one season often regress the next. The Cowboys will be an important test case, especially considering Elliott’s looming suspension for domestic violence. Prescott has shown veteran resourcefulness The defense overachieved last year, and it will have to be more of the same.

DALLAS COWBOYS: It was an extraordinary bounce-back season for the Cowboys in 2016 as they went from last to first thanks to the brilliant play of rookie QB Dak Prescott and rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott. But history shows teams that experience a tremendous leap forward one season often regress the next. The Cowboys will be an important test case for that, especially considering Elliott’s looming suspension for domestic violence. Prescott has shown veteran resourcefulness, so his performance will be the major key. The defense overachieved last year, and it will have to be more of the same for Dallas to make it back to the playoffs.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Carson Wentz was so good as a rookie, the Eagles wasted no time anointing him the starter and trading Sam Bradford. Wentz showed plenty of potential, but he also made his share of mistakes. Wentz should flourish now, especially with WRs Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. On defense, the front seven is among the best, and includes Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham. Cornerback depth is a problem. With a couple of breaks, the Eagles could earn a wild card.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Carson Wentz was so good as a rookie that the Eagles wasted no time anointing him the starter and trading Sam Bradford to Minnesota. Wentz showed plenty of potential in 2016, although he also made his share of mistakes. Now that he’s used to the NFL game, Wentz should flourish, especially with new receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. On defense, the front seven is among the best, and includes Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham. Cornerback depth is a problem. Look for the Eagles to show significant improvement, and with a couple of breaks get in position for a wild card playoff berth.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: It’s a transition year of sorts in Washington, which is one reason Kirk Cousins wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term contract. He lost receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency, although the Redskins hope 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson and Browns free agent Terrelle Pryor can pick up the slack. Jordan Reed is a big-time tight end. Josh Norman is the most recognizable player on a defense that is mostly non-descript. But the Redskins hope new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky can help.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: It’s a transition year of sorts in Washington, which is one reason Kirk Cousins wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term contract. He lost receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency, although the Redskins hope 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson and Browns free agent Terrelle Pryor can pick up the slack. Jordan Reed is a big-time tight end. Josh Norman is the most recognizable player on a defense that is mostly non-descript. But the Redskins hope new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky can help.

Elsewhere in the NFC

Giants 2017 schedule

Week 1Sept. 10at Cowboys8:30 p.m.NBC
Week 2Sept. 18Lions8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 3Sept. 24at Eagles1 p.m.Fox
Week 4Oct. 1at Buccaneers4:05 p.m.Fox
Week 5Oct. 8Chargers1 p.m.CBS
Week 6Oct. 15at Broncos8:30 p.m.NBC
Week 7Oct. 22Seahawks4:25 p.m.CBS
Week 8Bye   
Week 9Nov. 5Rams1 p.m.Fox
Week 10Nov. 12at 49ers4:25 p.m.Fox
Week 11Nov. 19Chiefs1 p.m.CBS
Week 12Nov. 23at Redskins8:30 p.m.NBC
Week 13Dec. 3at Raiders4:25 p.m.Fox
Week 14Dec. 10Cowboys4:25 p.m.Fox
Week 15Dec. 17Eagles1 p.m.Fox
Week 16Dec. 24at Cardinals4:25 p.m.Fox
Week 17Dec. 31Redskins1 p.m.Fox


The right direction?

It’s true that the 2017 season likely promises more grief than anything for the Jets, but if we are to look at the bright side — and after all, isn’t that what preseason is about? — it’s that there might be an endgame to all this misery.

Q&A with Jamal Adams

The Jets took Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft in April, and even though he was slowed by an ankle sprain in camp, coaches are eagerly awaiting the impact the 21-year-old safety will make this season. Adams discussed his first few months as a Jet in a Q&A with Newsday.

Robby Anderson on fast track

Following the release of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and Quincy Enunwa’s season-ending neck injury suffered in early August, second-year wide receiver Robby Anderson moved to the forefront of a young Jets pass-catching corps.

How the AFC East stacks up for the Jets

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: As if winning a fifth Super Bowl wasn’t enough, the Patriots loaded up even more in the offseason by acquiring WR Brandin Cooks, RB Rex Burkhead and LB David Harris. The loss of WR Julian Edelman to a knee injury was a big blow. But the Patriots have won without key players before. With Tom Brady at age 40, they begin as the clear favorites to win it all again.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: As if winning a fifth Super Bowl title wasn’t enough, the Patriots loaded up even more in the offseason by acquiring WR Brandin Cooks, RB Rex Burkhead and LB David Harris. Yes, the loss of WR Julian Edelman to a season-ending knee injury was a big blow. But the Patriots have won without key players before. With Tom Brady playing as well as ever at age 40, they begin as the clear – and justifiable – favorites to win it all again.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending knee injury in the preseason seemed to doom the Dolphins’ chances, but coach Adam Gase convinced QB Jay Cutler to put off his broadcasting plans. Cutler was at his best when Gase was the Bears’ offensive coordinator. This is a team with talent at the skill positions – WRs Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, and RB Jay Ajayi. The defense is solid with ageless Cameron Wake. Miami can contend for a wild card spot.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending knee injury in the preseason seemed to doom the Dolphins’ chances, but head coach Adam Gase convinced QB Jay Cutler to put off his broadcasting plans and play in 2017. Cutler was at his best when Gase was the Bears’ offensive coordinator. This is a team with talent at the skill positions – particularly WRs Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, and RB Jay Ajayi. The defense is solid, with ageless Cameron Wake the team’s best pass rusher. There’s no reason Miami can’t contend for a wild card spot.

BUFFALO BILLS: Rex Ryan’s two-year run ended with a whimper, and the Bills cleaned house further by firing GM Doug Whaley. In come coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and a significant roster transformation. The Bills traded WR Sammy Watkins and CB Ronald Darby, and there will be more moves. QB Tyrod Taylor remains – for now. High-priced DT Marcell Dareus has already run afoul of the new coaching staff, having been sent home before a preseason game. This rebuild is going to take some time.

BUFFALO BILLS: Rex Ryan’s two-year run ended with a whimper, and the Bills cleaned house further by firing GM Doug Whaley. In come coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and a significant roster transformation. The Bills traded WR Sammy Watkins and CB Ronald Darby, and there will be more moves. QB Tyrod Taylor remains – for now. High-priced DT Marcell Dareus has already run afoul of the new coaching staff, having been sent home before a preseason game. This rebuild is going to take some time.

NEW YORK JETS: Woody Johnson will be spending the next few years as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, but before he left, the Jets’ owner ordered a house-cleaning the likes of which we haven’t seen. Ever. The Jets dumped nearly every high-priced, under-performing veteran — Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini and David Harris, among others — and traded Sheldon Richardson to Seattle, leaving a bunch of unproven younger players in their places. With one notable exception: 38-year-old QB Josh McCown starts the season as neither Christian Hackenberg nor Bryce Petty convinced Bowles they were ready.

Elsewhere in the AFC

Jets 2017 schedule

Week 1Sept. 10at Bills1 p.m.CBS
Week 2Sept. 17at Raiders4:05 p.m.CBS
Week 3Sept. 24Dolphins1 p.m.CBS
Week 4Oct. 1Jaguars1 p.m.CBS
Week 5Oct. 8at Browns1 p.m.Fox
Week 6Oct. 15Patriots1 p.m.CBS
Week 7Oct. 22at Dolphins1 p.m.Fox
Week 8Oct. 29Falcons1 p.m.Fox
Week 9Nov. 2 Bills8:25 p.m.NFL Network
Week 10Nov. 12at Buccaneers1 p.m.CBS
Week 11Bye   
Week 12Nov. 26Panthers1 p.m.Fox
Week 13Dec. 3Chiefs1 p.m.CBS
Week 14Dec. 10at Broncos4:05 p.m.CBS
Week 15Dec. 17at Saints1 p.m.CBS
Week 16Dec. 24Chargers1 p.m.CBS
Week 17Dec. 31at Patriots1 p.m.CBS


…the Giants were the All-Collegians …

On Sept. 9, 1925, New York All-Collegians team secretary Harry March told the lunch crowd of reporters he was “confident that after this season professional football will be a permanent institution in this city.” History has proven March right, even though it took a shaky inaugural season and more lean years in the 1930s and ’40s before the Giants and the NFL took hold of the nation’s sporting culture starting in the mid-1950s. Read Neil Best’s story about the Giants’ first season.

…and the Jets were the Titans

The New York Titans were born in 1959, a charter member of the AFL, fronted by Harry Wismer, an oil executive who in 1953 had been the play-by-play announcer for the first prime-time, national NFL package, Saturday nights on the DuMont Network. They debuted in 1960 and became known as the Jets three seasons later. Read Neil Best’s story about the Jets’ first season.


Tony Romo gearing up for new career

Newly retired Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo chose the less-comfortable path, because after eight practice games — five in a studio, three in person, none on the air — he is leaping into the deep end of the sports television business.

Here comes Rex!

Rex Ryan, the former Jets and Bills head coach, says about his new ESPN analyst role: “They’re going to have to cut me off. Hey, that’s OK. They told me to be myself, so that’s what I’m going to show up and be. If they cut me off, they cut me off.”

Beth Mowins blazing new trail

Even in 2017, with female announcers increasingly commonplace, Beth Mowins’ assignment for Chargers vs. Broncos on Sept. 11 on ESPN is a significant milestone — the first nationally televised NFL game called by a woman.

Waggles, options and zone reads

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NYSAC and MMA: First-year issues and improvements

Gian Villante discussed two very different sets of hiccups ahead of his fight at the UFC’s Long Island debut on Saturday.

First up, those irritating ones he was unable to shake in the days leading into his last two fights.

The second set, however, belonged to the New York State Athletic Commission, which is in its first year regulating mixed martial arts.

“It’s difficult, they do some things differently, but they’re new at this, so you can’t blame them for having their hiccups in the beginning,” Villante said. “They’re going to have their hiccups in the beginning and stuff like that but they’re still early on.”

NYSAC has made its share of mistakes in these initial months, most notably Daniel Cormier’s towel on the scale trick and the confusion over replay, referees and what’s a legal strike in the Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi fight. But, with each event, things seem to be improving.

New York became the final place in North America to remove its ban on MMA when the State Assembly passed the bill in March 2016. A month later, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the bill at a Madison Square Garden ceremony. In November, the UFC hosted its first New York show at MSG, setting attendance and live gate records for the venue and promotion.

NYSAC has overseen no less than seven major professional MMA events in total, and UFC on Fox 25 last Saturday at Nassau Coliseum went off without incident. It was the fifth trip to New York for the UFC, and regardless of previous missteps, the promotion has no qualms about continuing to bring events here.

“Yeah, there’s little things with the commission, whether we just need to coordinate it all, but each show has gotten easier and easier and they’re running fine,” said Marc Ratner, UFC vice president of regulatory affairs. “I’m very, very pleased with it.”

In the beginning

As weigh-ins and medical checks for the UFC’s first show on Long Island wrapped up Friday morning, Ratner sounded comfortable with how the state has embraced the sport in the first year.

“There was a pent-up awareness and people wanted to see it,” said Ratner, who led the charge for MMA legalization. “It took us eight years to get OKd here. We can tell from the television ratings, the number of pay-per-view buys, this is a great area for us to promote in. When we finally got here, we had the biggest show we’ve ever had here.”

In an email ahead of Saturday’s event, NYSAC spokesman Laz Benitez said the response to legal MMA in the state has been positive.

“Fighters want to fight in New York, the world’s biggest stage,” Benitez wrote. “As for promoters and fans, the State has already hosted six at-or-near capacity cards, so the demand is there and the reaction has been tremendous.”

As positive as the numbers and responses have been, all sides acknowledge the unique challenge of building a new operation.

“The biggest inherent challenge was indeed just that, starting a new product from scratch, although our experience with boxing was helpful,” Benitez said. “The Commission began from the ground floor to develop a game plan that would be fully executable once the sport was legalized.” Ratner believes any issues are part of a learning curve and that even the little things take time to pick up.

“First of all, we’re doing an early morning weigh-in, this is different,” Ratner said. “We’ve got to see if they’re going to use a digital scale, if they’re going to use what we call a meat scale. Doctors, how long’s it going to take to do every medical. Little small things, nothing extraordinary.”

UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden broke promotional and arena gate records as Conor McGregor won his second UFC title against Eddie Alvarez in the main event. That card on Nov. 12, 2016, was monumental for many reasons. But it also highlighted issues a new set of regulators can face.

“Fighter safety and the integrity of combative sports in New York State are our top priorities,” Benitez said. “And after exhaustive work, preparation and consultation with a multitude of industry experts, the commission put together a framework in time for the sport’s debut last November at Madison Square Garden that achieved those goals.”

The commission’s work resulted in a set of regulations unique to the state, causing some confusion at the start. Under New York’s rules, fighters who don’t make weight still must be within a certain range for the fight to be held. This rule was partially responsible for the cancellation of a bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Donald Cerrone last November. It also forced Jim Miller to come in above 156 pounds for his lightweight bout after opponent Thiago Alves missed the limit by more than six pounds.

When the UFC visited Albany last December, Ratner said a miscommunication left the fighters without a doctor on site who could perform stitches, a typical fixture at UFC events.

“We pride ourselves in having one of the doctors stitch and in Albany, we couldn’t get a doctor to stitch there, we had to have [fighters] wait in the hospital,” Ratner said. “It’s a big convenience for the fighters to not have to wait in the hospital. We always ask for one New York licensed doctor who can stitch. We pay for all that stuff, there was just a miscommunication and we couldn’t get the person there on time.”

Following February’s UFC 208 at Barclays Center, Holly Holm filed and lost an appeal after referee Todd Anderson did not penalize Germaine de Randamie for strikes Holm deemed to be thrown after the round ended. There also was scrutiny of the judging in de Randamie’s win, as well as Anderson Silva’s win over Derek Brunson.

But at UFC 210 in Buffalo last April, the miscues reached their pinnacle. The event nearly lost a fighter over the state’s rule banning female boxers with breast implants from competing. NYSAC reviewed Pearl Gonzalez’s medical records and cleared her to fight that afternoon.

More notably, it was the site of Cormier’s infamous towel grab. After first weighing in at 206.2 pounds — over the 205-pound limit for a light heavyweight championship fight — Cormier weighed in again a couple minutes later. That is allowed under NYSAC guidelines for a championship fight, but not a non-title fight, a fact expressly stated in a boxing guidelines memorandum but not spelled out in the state’s MMA guidelines posted on their website.

A couple minutes later, Cormier put his hands on the towel covering his naked body from view while weighing in for the second time. He was 205 pounds.

“We learned that if you’re going to have a towel around a fighter to make sure that he doesn’t have his hands on it,” Ratner said. “That may have happened before, but this was pretty crazy that it did happen. And sadly, it was tough on the commission.”

In a meeting five days after UFC 210, NYSAC amended language in its guidelines to state a fighter “shall not make physical contact with any person or object other than the scale.”

UFC 210 also put Long Island’s Weidman at the center of controversy. Weidman’s fight was paused after he took two knees to the head from Mousasi originally deemed illegal by referee Dan Miragliotta. But after the use of video review, the strikes were deemed legal and Weidman was ruled unable to continue by doctors. Weidman was handed a TKO loss.

Weidman and others were under the impression replay wasn’t allowed in New York, but it wasn’t strictly banned. NYSAC officials later said the use of replay was justified.

“There was a question of did they have replay or don’t they have replay in the Weidman fight,” Ratner said. “The commission told me they didn’t, then they said they did afterwards.”

Weidman appealed the decision, which was denied in the weeks ahead of UFC Long Island.

Benitez did not comment on specific incidents, but said the NYSAC is learning from each event it oversees.

“As with every new venture and opportunity, there have certainly been instances that the commission has learned and grown from,” Benitez said. “The commission also tapped into an existing pool of established referees, judges and inspectors with MMA experience, making the transition more seamless.”

Improving with time

NYSAC took a publicity hit for these incidents, but there have been some notable improvements, especially at weigh-ins. At Bellator NYC’s weigh-ins in June, Sergio Da Silva repeatedly tried to shift his balance and fool the scale to come in on weight. Three different NYSAC officials told Da Silva to stop the antics, step off the scale and start again.

The commission also was quick to stop Eryk Anders from touching the towel during his weigh-in for UFC Long Island last week.

For the most part, fighters appear understanding of the learning curve.

Villante, who fought in Albany last December, thinks the commission would be smart to seek guidance from New Jersey, the first state to adopt unified rules for the sport back in 2001.

“If they can learn a little bit from (New Jersey State Athletic and Control Board counsel) Nick Lembo over in Jersey, I think that’s one of the finest-run commissions. If they can learn a little bit from those guys, maybe, the next state over, I think that’d be a great thing,” Villante said. “But they’re learning on the fly, which is tough to do, but they’re getting it and I think, in time, it’ll get better and better.”

Benitez said NYSAC consulted numerous commissions in drafting their plan and remains in contact with other states as well as the Association of Boxing Commissions.

Patrick Cummins fought in New York for the second time on Saturday, defeating Villante by split decision. The Pennsylvania native was on the Buffalo card but had no issues getting ready to fight.

“I felt good with the commission. I know there were a lot of problems, especially during that Buffalo card,” Cummins said. “But, me? It didn’t affect me much, so, I don’t know. I don’t know whether to be thankful or to say that, yeah New York’s doing a great job.”

Darren Elkins, who defeated Dennis Bermudez in Saturday’s co-main event, said he understands what New York is going through after fighting in the early days of legal MMA near his hometown.

“I’m back in the day when there was no commission where I came from in Indiana, Chicago and that area. When we first got the commission, they had a lot of snags and they had a lot of things going on, too,” Elkins said. “It’s just working out the kinks, that’s what they’ve gotta do. When they figure that out, it’ll go all smooth. We’re so used to these commissions that have been around for a long time that we’re just not used to seeing something this new.”

The insurance issue

Still, the newness of it all has caused some fighters to pause. New Jersey’s Jim Miller fought in New York twice. Those will be his last fights here, he said.

“I think they’re just trying to reinvent the wheel,” Miller told Radio in April. “It’s not that they’re doing things that are unsafe or anything like that. They’re trying to take really good care of the fighters. But they’re kind of being really overbearing with it, and a lot of these rules you don’t hear about.”

NYSAC requires additional neurological and blood examinations ahead of fights compared with other commissions such as New Jersey.

Ratner doesn’t see anything wrong with adding new protections, but he does hope to see commissions come up with a universal rule set to help ease confusion here and elsewhere.

“One of the problems, whether it be boxing or MMA, and I’ve been advocating this for 25 years or more, we don’t have standardized medical testing or standardized rules in every state,” Ratner said. “Now we don’t even have unified fight rules, but standardized medicals are extremely important. And I’m a states-rights guy, but we should be able to have the same blood tests, licensure, same hepatitis, HIV, same kind of stuff about MRIs, license calendar year. And every state is a little bit different, and there’s no reason for that.”

Ratner also noted that each show NYSAC oversees is high-visibility due to a $1 million life-threatening traumatic brain injury insurance requirement set by the state legislature, leaving few learning opportunities on smaller stages.

“They don’t have small fights. Every fight is a big fight, whether it’s us or it’s boxing,” Ratner said. “I know that the commission is working on the rules now to make it better insurance-wise. Whether they can do that or not, I don’t know. But what you want is small fights, too, to work on things.”

Benitez said the commission is continually assessing all policies and procedures, but any change to the insurance requirement would need to be approved and passed by the state legislature.

“This is unique coverage in the combative sports world,” Benitez said.

Fight on

New York may be among the strictest states, but Ratner has not yet heard of fighters turning down fights here.

“I’ve had fighters tell me they don’t want to fight in certain places like in Mexico because of the altitude or something like that, but no, it’s fine here,” Ratner said.

Benitez said the state also is not aware of any licensees shying from New York because of medical guidelines.

For some fighters, thinking about where they compete goes against their fighting mentality.

“I never think twice about taking a fight. As soon as something’s offered, I take it, that’s my style,” Cummins said. “I feel like just because it’s so new to New York, it’s going to be tough, but I’m hoping they have things figured out now. No towel blunders this time around.” Elkins said he leaves it to the people who sign his check to make those decisions.

“Honestly, I’ve seen some of the things that are going on there, but all you can do is move forward,” Elkins said. “When they ask you to fight somewhere, it’s work, man. It’s either that you work or you don’t work, and I like to work and I like to compete. So, I took it. Is there concern? A little bit, but hopefully I keep things in my own hands and I don’t have to worry about anything.”

Bermudez believes fighters who do things the right way should have nothing to worry about.

“Everything I do, I just show up and do me,” Bermudez said. “I’m not a panicky, worrying kind of guy,” Bermudez said. “I don’t cheat the system in any way, shape or form so I have nothing to be concerned with.”

Gastelum was back in New York for a main event after his weight issues and NYSAC rules forced him off UFC 205 at the Garden.

“There was a little bit of hesitation, but at the same time, this was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” Gastelum said.

Even Weidman, Long Island’s biggest star who defeated Gastelum in Saturday’s main event, had people close to him telling him to avoid fighting in his home state. But, fighting at Nassau Coliseum was too much to pass up.

“Definitely a little hesitation, more hesitation with, like, my team, the people around me who care about me, they don’t like the way the New York commission dealt with a lot of stuff,” Weidman said. “Behind the scenes, with me, with the way the fight went down, with that and other things. There were some people that were like, ‘You’re not fighting, I don’t care, you’re not fighting in New York.’

“And I just did it.”

Luke Cummo

New Hyde Park | 7 UFC fights

The PinPoint Muay Thai gym in Lynbrook was long and narrow. The overhead lights were turned off. The only illumination came from the sun’s rays shining through the windows in both the front and back of the gym.

Two students were learning various striking techniques. While putting together an eight-punch combination, one student confused the order and paused out of frustration.

An instructor, in glasses and a black bandanna with orange flames printed on it, offered insight to his discouraged student.

“Life lesson for martial arts: Don’t give up,” Luke Cummo told the student. “If you mess up, don’t show it. Just keep at it.”

This is just one metaphor Cummo, a former UFC fighter, tries to instill in the young martial artists he instructs.

“You don’t want to teach people that they’re going to tap out in life,” Cummo, 37, said. “To me, martial arts teaches determination, endurance, perseverance.”

Cummo never was submitted or knocked out by an opponent in his six-year professional MMA career (2002-08). He was the last fighter picked on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” then surprised everyone by reaching the final. There, he lost to Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision.

Cummo was 6-6 overall, and 3-4 in the UFC. He lost his last fight at UFC 87 to Tamdan McCrory on Aug. 9, 2008.

Cummo, who grew up in New Hyde Park and now lives in Lynbrook, is developing what he calls Master Lukey’s League of Champions, a form of mixed martial arts that he believes will lessen the chance of injury.

League of Champions does not allow any head strikes. Competitors are fully padded. There are no finishes allowed. Submission moves are called “power holds” where a person can hold a position for a period of time without trying to injure the person.

“Some people have told me, ‘Oh, people like violence.’ I think people like action,” Cummo said. “The best fights are when two guys or two girls are going at it. I think that’s why my system is going to be a success. It is action-packed. When you have two people who are going to battle and they’re not worried about getting injured, they actually let loose a little more.”

Scoring is done on a points earned system based on moves executed, as opposed to the standard 10-9 scoring in boxing and MMA. Think more video game, less typical combat sports judging.

“To me, you put the time in, you’re automatically a champion, that’s why it’s the League of Champions,” Cummo said. “But we have to have somebody with a high score to make it interesting.”

Cummo said he’s planning his next League of Champions event for September. He is aiming to have 20 competitors, ranging from children to adults, each in their own division.

Cummo’s interest in finding a safer way to compete in mixed martial arts stems from his own experiences. He said he was treated for a brain injury in California for four months a few years ago and that he is now fully recovered.

He recalled his mindset from his fight against Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006. It was a series of three strikes to his head while he was on the ground.

“At that very moment, I said I don’t want to do this anymore, I just want to get out alive,” Cummo said. “I was crying in the cab on the way to the hospital.”

But as the weeks would pass and things settled down, Cummo would think about the money he could earn from another fight, and sure enough, he’d find himself back inside the octagon four more times before retiring in 2008.

Cummo was arrested for driving under the influence in October 2008, paid a $500 fine and performed 75 hours of community service. He and his wife divorced in 2009. They have two children, ages 8 and 10. He also faces a July 26 court date on two vehicle violation arrests from September 2015, according to Nassau County records.

Cummo remains focused on making his League of Champions a success. He spoke of touring all the gyms in the area to drum up interest in “the safest way to do MMA” as well as taking it national and setting up satellite schools, training manuals, moves lists, etc.

“I thought about getting another job,” Cummo said. “I’ve been doing martial arts so long, I don’t know anything else.”

Date Event Opponent Result
Nov. 5, 2005 Ultimate Fighter Finale 2 Joe Stevenson Lost by unanimous decision
April 6, 2006 UFC Fight Night 4 Jason Von Flue Won by unanimous decision
June 28, 2006 UFC Fight Night 5 Jonathan Goulet Lost by unanimous decision
April 7, 2007 UFC 69 Josh Haynes Won by KO, Round 2, 2:45
Sept. 19, 2007 UFC Fight Night 11 Edilberto de Oliveira Won by TKO, Round 1, 1:45
March 1, 2008 UFC 82 Luigi Fioravanti Lost by unanimous decision
Aug. 9, 2008 UFC 87 Tamdan McCrory Lost by unanimous decision


dennis bermudez gregor gillespie al iaquinta brian kelleher ryan laflare aljamain sterling chris wade chris weidman gian villante


luke cummo eddie gordon jay hieron alptekin ozkilic pete sell matt serra