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Nine weeks into a season hardly is a time to select winners for the prestigious awards The Associated Press will hand out on the NFL Honors show the night before the Super Bowl. So much can (and will) change over the next two months.
Some have dubbed it the point-spread game, given that Denver is favored by more than four touchdowns against Jacksonville today.
There's a roster of new coaches across the nation, from Mike McCoy in San Diego to Doug Marrone in Buffalo. It spans the top of the standings with Andy Reid and 5-0 Kansas City to the bottom with Gus Bradley in 0-5 Jacksonville.
Safety is in the pocket.
The NFL never really shuts down.
CANTON, OHIO | As relaxed as if he had no one to block, Jonathan Ogden became the first Baltimore Raven enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
CANTON, Ohio | While his six other classmates for this weekend's enshrinement sported blue golf shirts given them by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cris Carter was dressed in suit and tie.
Korey Stringer died of heat stroke during the Minnesota Vikings' training camp 12 years ago. Since then, the NFL's summer conditioning ritual has changed a lot, and for the better.
Joe Namath knows something about making history.
NEW YORK | The patriarchs of the NFL's first families of quarterbacks and coaches are anything but interfering dads. In fact, Archie Manning and Jack Harbaugh are just as influenced by their successful sons as their boys are by them.
NEW YORK | NFL teams bought in bulk early in Thursday night's draft.
NEW YORK | The NFL is increasing security for this week's draft at Radio City Music Hall, with everyone subject to screenings, including use of metal detectors and pat-downs, and searches of personal property.
PHOENIX | NFL owners approved two rule changes Tuesday to enhance player safety. They might not vote on a proposal to ban offensive players from using the crown of their helmets against defenders.
The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with T Jermon Bushrod on a five-year contract today. Also today, tight end Martellus Bennett agreed to a four-year contract with the Bears, leaving the Giants after one season, and defensive tackle Henry Melton signed his franchise tag tender at $8.45 million.
NEW ORLEANS | From blowout to blackout to shootout, Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens had just enough power to survive one of the most electric Super Bowls ever.
Projected starters and key players for the Super Bowl:
NEW ORLEANS | The San Francisco 49ers never have tasted defeat in a Super Bowl, going 5-0. It's the most impressive mark for any franchise in the big game.
NEW ORLEANS | Unlike several players at the Super Bowl, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed agrees with President Obama that football needs to be made safer. Reed wants to be part of the solution, too.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | Joe Flacco outdueled Tom Brady, throwing three touchdown passes in the second half and leading the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years with a 28-13 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday for the AFC championship.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | You again!
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | Home sweet home. Sure works for the Patriots in the AFC title game.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | Tom Brady idolized Joe Montana as a kid in the Bay Area. Now, he's surpassed his hero for postseason wins.
BALTIMORE | The Baltimore Ravens wanted one long final ride for Ray Lewis.
The MVP, Coach of the Year and Comeback Player awards will be handed out by The Associated Press the night before the Super Bowl. On national television. Hosted by Alec Baldwin.
NEW YORK | Sensational comebacks have Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson headed for the Pro Bowl.
It's been a terrific half-season for Matt Ryan, Marshawn Lynch, J.J. Watt and Charles Tillman.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. | The NFL players' union might challenge former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue replacing Roger Goodell as the appeals officer in the Saints' bounties case.
NEW YORK | A high-profile rookie quarterback gets slammed in the side of the head and his Super Bowl-winning coach describes him as "shaken up."
CHICAGO | Mike Holmgren won't be finishing the job he went to do in Cleveland.
There is something wrong with this picture: Patriots, Saints, Packers and Peyton Manning all at the bottom of their divisions. And things won't get better for either New Orleans or Green Bay, who meet Sunday at Lambeau Field.
NEW YORK | The numbers say there isn't much difference in the NFL with replacement officials. Comments from players and coaches say otherwise.
NEW YORK | Laser technology to help officials. Computer chips in the football.
One thing the NFL hopes everyone notices is the youth wave, particularly behind center where 10 starting quarterbacks are in either their first of second pro seasons.
NEW YORK | Officially — at least in their comments — NFL players and coaches aren't concerning themselves with refereering.
NEW YORK | The NFL will open the regular season next week with replacement officials and said it was prepared to use them "as much ... as necessary" afterward.
NEW YORK | Bounties and bans. Replacement refs and rules changes. Tebow and Manning.
Blistering heat, drenching humidity and ultraphysical work. Hardly ideal conditions.
NEW YORK | The NFL's on-field officials say the league is paying lip service to player safety by contacting replacement officials.
NEW YORK | Fleener's name on the second day of the NFL draft, Oregon running back LaMichael James picked up the phone with a call from San Francisco, Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson was selected by Seattle and Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw was picked by Baltimore.
NEW YORK | The haul in free agency and through trades has strengthened the Broncos, Bills and Bears. Now comes the lifeblood of any NFL team: the draft.
NEW YORK | Megatron and Mario, the richest players in the NFL.
Marques Colston is staying put in New Orleans. Brandon Marshall is headed to the Bears, who also found a backup for Jay Cutler.
INDIANAPOLIS | Curtis Martin has gone from the mean streets of Pittsburgh to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
INDIANAPOLIS | For every Drew Brees and Ray Lewis, there is a David Tyree or Larry Brown. Not only do superstars win Super Bowls, super nobodies are heroes, too.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | Tom Brady waited out the final tense minutes on the sideline and somehow his fourth-quarter leap into the end zone held up, sending the New England Patriots back to the Super Bowl.
Protect the ball or go home.
The playoffs have a way of bringing out the pedigree in NFL quarterbacks. Simply take a look at the fingers of Tom Brady and Eli Manning to recognize it.
The helmet-to-helmet hit by San Francisco safety Donte Whitner that sent Saints running back Pierre Thomas to the locker room early in Saturday's NFC playoff game was legal.
Now that the San Francisco 49ers have established their dominance over most of the rest of the league, it's time to put away their division.
A month ago, everything favored the Patriots in their divisional brawl with the Jets. New England won, handing New York its third straight loss.
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