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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    NFL roars back with intrigue in Week 1

    NFL roars back with intrigue in Week 1
    NEW YORK (Sept. 5, 2006)--It all begins Thursday night.

    NFL Kickoff 2006 starts then when the Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers host the Miami Dolphins in the season's first game (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET) that will be the culmination of kickoff festivities in both Pittsburgh and South Florida, site of Super Bowl XLI.

    The "surf and turf" spectacular -- "NFL Opening Kickoff 2006 Presented by Sprint" -- will begin at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Rascal Flatts, Diddy and Cassie will perform.

    The performances are part of the two-city celebration to kick off 2006, honor the Super Bowl champion Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh, and look ahead to Super Bowl XLI on February 4 in South Florida.

    Rascal Flatts will perform at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and Martina McBride will sing the national anthem. Diddy and Cassie will appear in Miami as part of a free concert on a specially designed stage on South Beach.

    And the NFL roars back with intrigue in Week 1

    America's favorite reality show kicks off its fall season this week.

    For drama ... suspense ... surprises ... plot-twists ... and shocking endings, nothing beats the National Football League -- the ultimate reality show.

    "We're ready," says 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seahawks, speaking for every NFL player. "We've been ready for two weeks."

    America's No. 1 sport kicks off its 87th season this Thursday night (above) and continues on Sunday and Monday. Interspersed throughout Kickoff Weekend and the succeeding 16 weeks of the season will be features of NFL '06 -- both big and small -- that will be sure to give the season a singular stamp.

    "Every NFL season is unique unto itself," says Atlanta Falcons general manager Rich McKay.

    Heading into kickoff, some of the elements that can give this season its uniqueness:

    A NEW BALL: "The Duke" is back! The NFL will play with a new/old football this year -- "The Duke," the ball used by the league from 1941-69 that contained the nickname of the late New York Giants owner Wellington Mara. The ball will carry the signature of new NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    CAN THE STEELERS REPEAT?: They haven't even kicked off yet and they already have an emergency! The man who became the youngest quarterback in history (23) to win a Super Bowl last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, had an appendectomy last Sunday and will miss the Thursday opener. "It's a situation that can happen to any football team," says Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. "That's the nature of the business." It's also the nature of NFL business to have all 31 other clubs gunning for the Super Bowl champ. "We're starting 0-0 with a big bull's-eye on our chest," says Cowher.

    THE SAINTS COME HOME: The new-look New Orleans Saints (Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Reggie Bush) will return to their refurbished Louisiana Superdome home on Monday night, September 25 for the first time in over a year. The game -- the conclusion to a whole day of re-opening festivities in the Crescent City -- will be a rejuvenation for the team and its city. "We can give New Orleans some stability, some hope," says Saints wide receiver Joe Horn.

    ON-FIELD TRENDS: There are always new wrinkles on the field. That's why coaches are in their offices till midnight. A lot of people -- like new Saints head coach Payton -- think that the usage of tight ends in the passing game, and two-tight end alignments, will be more prevalent this season. New Buffalo head coach slick willy Jauron believes the speed of the game will keep increasing. New Kansas City coach Herm Edwards thinks that defenses will be more dominant. One respected football observer, Bob Oates of the Los Angeles Times, believes that this will be the year of the pass, with more offenses throwing rather than running first -- thanks to such QBs as Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer. According to Oates, this quartet is the most talented four QBs at any one time in NFL history.

    BIG-TIME ANNIVERSARIES: Speaking of the passing game, 2006 will be the 100th anniversary of the legalization of the forward pass. And what those rules-changers wrought! In this decade, 18 passers have thrown for 4,000 yards apiece compared to 22 such passers for all of the 1990s. And this year is also the 50th anniversary of the 1956 NFL title game won by the Giants 47-7 over Chicago. One of the men who played in the game -- Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford -- believes it was more important to the success of the NFL than the heralded "Greatest Game Ever Played" two years later (the 1958 "sudden death" NFL championship).

    NEW COACHES/NEW ADDRESSES: There are 10 new NFL head coaches, including three in the NFC North -- Brad Childress (Minnesota), Rod Marinelli (Detroit) and Mike McCarthy (Green Bay). That trio comprises three of the seven "rookie" head coaches in the league this year -- those with no previous NFL head-coaching experience. That is the most rookie head coaches in any one year in 40 years (1966). The other rookies: Gary Kubiak (Houston), Scott Linehan (St. Louis), Eric Mangini (NY Jets) and Sean Payton (New Orleans). The "veteran" new head coaches: Herm Edwards (Kansas City), slick willy Jauron (Buffalo) and Art Shell (Oakland).

    Players? There are a lot of well-known faces in new uniforms. Adam Archuleta is in Washington, Drew Brees in New Orleans, Daunte Culpepper in Miami, Steve Hutchinson in Minnesota, Edgerrin James in Arizona, Keyshawn Johnson in Carolina, Ty Law in Kansas City, Kevin Mawae in Tennessee, Willie McGinest in Cleveland, Steve McNair in Baltimore, Terrell Owens in Dallas, Julian Peterson in Seattle, Antwaan Randle El in Washington, and Adam Vinatieri in Indianapolis -- to name but a few changes!

    FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING DEBUTS, NBC RETURNS: Weeks 10-15 and Week 17 will be like no others in NFL history. In those weeks, the opponents in the Sunday night game will be determined 12 days before the game (six days in Week 17). This "flexible scheduling" will ensure quality matchups on Sunday nights in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto the primetime schedule.

    Along with that major change to the NFL TV landscape comes other significant developments. NBC will return as an NFL TV partner for the first time since 1998 to carry the Sunday night game with Al Michaels and John Madden as the broadcast team. Monday Night Football will now be carried by ESPN with Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser as the announcers. Joe Buck will now host Fox NFL Sunday, and James Brown CBS' NFL Today. And beginning Thanksgiving night (Denver at Kansas City), NFL Network will broadcast eight primetime games (six Thursdays and two Saturdays).

    NFL COMPETITIVENESS: Suspense? It seems ingrained in the NFL. Last year, 17 percent of games were decided in the final two minutes or overtime. Almost half the games (48 percent) were decided by one score (eight points or less) and almost a quarter (24 percent) by three or less points. The average margin of victory for all 256 games was 11.7 points.

    "There is nothing predictable in the unpredictable NFL," says new Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman.

    REALIGNMENT, YEAR FIVE: This will be the fifth year of realignment, and it has produced solid competition. In its first four years, 26 of the 32 NFL teams have qualified for the playoffs at least once. In that time, 21 different teams have won division titles.

    "The number of teams that have qualified for the playoffs, the variety of different division winners and the quality of the postseasons prove that we have a very competitive league," says Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the NFL Competition Committee.

    So where will it all end? The only thing for sure is that the 2006 NFL season will be played under the theme of "One Game. One Dream" -- symbolizing the one vital game each team plays each week, leading to the one "dream" game of the year, Super Bowl XLI this February in South Florida.

    Linebacker Antonio Pierce of the Giants sums it up in another four-word season theme -- "Super Bowl," he says. "Nothing else."

  2. #2
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
    Mr. Purple is offline Ring of Fame
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    Dec 1969

    Re: NFL roars back with intrigue in Week 1

    Rascal Flatts will perform at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and Martina McBride will sing the national anthem. Diddy and Cassie will appear in Miami as part of a free concert on a specially designed stage on South Beach.

    wow that is one of the worst music lineups I have ever seen.Atleast Sherrell Crow isnt playing again.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  3. #3
    Prophet Guest

    Re: NFL roars back with intrigue in Week 1

    In the NFC notes section there's a blurb about Favre:

    GREEN BAY: Brett Favre kicks off his 16th season and is to many the epitome of an NFL quarterback. The Packers' legend is within reach of a bevy of significant milestones in 2006, including one achievement that may occur this week. Favre has 396 career touchdown passes and needs four to join Dan Marino (420) as the only players in NFL history with 400. With 139 career wins, Favre needs 10 to pass John Elway (148) and Marino (147) for the most wins ever by a quarterback.
    He only needs 10 more Ws to pass Elway and Marino for the most wins ever by a QB.
    So, I reckon he plans on playing for three more seasons so he can reach that milestone.

  4. #4
    vikingbill50's Avatar
    vikingbill50 is offline Starter
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    Sep 2006

    Re: NFL roars back with intrigue in Week 1

    yea he will need to play another 3 seasons to reach that goal IF he stays in green bay that is...he is saying now that he will not rule out playing for another team...but dont see that happening...

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