NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES FROM CBS SPORTS’ “THE NFL TODAY” WITH JAMES BROWN, DAN MARINO, SHANNON SHARPE, BILL COWHER AND BOOMER ESIASON FOR WEEK 16 ON DECEMBER 24
(On Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers)
BOOMER ESIASON: If Aaron Rodgers stays up right, they're going to be in the Super Bowl. I'm not worried about that…As long as he stays healthy, they will be in Indianapolis. That I can guarantee you.
(On possible playoff teams)
BILL COWHER: Everyone talks about the top seeds. I was fortunate to win a championship from a six seed. Last year the Green Bay Packers did it from a six seed. So look at the teams that are not at the top that are hot going in. I look at the AFC right now. To me, obviously, San Diego. They're hot. But I don't think it's too little too late. I think the New York Jets, if they get in the playoffs, they've won four playoff games, are a team to be scared of. And then in the NFC – the Atlanta Falcons. They were on top a year ago, now they've got a little edge, and they're getting hot at the right time. Philadelphia Eagles – too little, too late.
SHANNON SHARPE: I believe the 7‑7 New York Giants will win out and win the NFC East. So you'll have a 9‑7 team winning out, and you'll have the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions will be wildcards.
► CHALK TALK
BOOMER: I think the Giants are actually playing for Tom Coughlin's job here. If Rex Ryan were my coach, I'd probably love playing for him. But if I were playing against him, I'd hate them and it would give me added incentive to beat them.
(On what NFC Coach is most likely to be fired?)
BOOMER: Andy Reid and Mike Shanahan aren't going anywhere. I do believe, however, if either one of the Cowboys or Giants don't make it to the playoffs, the loser of that game will be fired.
SHARPE: I'm saying zero for the simple fact that I pick the Giants to win out and win the division. And Jerry Jones has always supported Jason Garrett. He paid him as a head coach when he was a coordinator. And he hand‑picked him for the job.
BOOMER: As much respect as I have for Tom Coughlin. This will be three years in a row he has not made the playoffs. Three late season collapses, and PSL’s for $20 thousand in Met Life Stadium. The Giants fans are going to want blood come Monday morning.
(On possible MVPs)
MARINO: Aaron Rodgers
COWHER: Drew Brees
SHARPE: Aaron Rodgers
►“INSIDE THE NFL” WITH CHARLEY CASSERLY
ON DREW BREES’ CONTRACT
Click to view: http://bit.ly/tPYnc5
CASSERLY: He's a free agent at the end of this year. Both sides would like to get a long‑term deal done. If it's not done, the Saints will franchise him. I estimate the number will be between $14-15 million dollars. The target for Brees, the Peyton Manning contract – $18 million a year, but, more importantly, $23.4 million over the first three years. Now if a long‑term deal is not done, I would not be surprised if Brees does not show up for off‑season activities and even training Camp.
ON NEW NFL CONCUSSION POLICY
Click to view: http://bit.ly/sAr6MA
CASSERLY: The policy went into effect last Thursday night in Indianapolis. I talked to the NFL on Friday, and they told me only one call was made from the press box down to the sideline and was not any issue. This week, there was a conference call; 17 club physicians on the conference call. I was told none of them objected to this new policy. Now, furthermore in looking at this thing going forward, one of the things that the NFL wanted, or the NFL doctors wanted to do, is put a monitor on the sidelines so they can actually view the hit during the course of the game. I talked to teams about the general policy. Most teams were not in favor of it, didn't think it was necessary. And one club was adamant. They said this undermines the credibility of our medical team to our players. They did not like it at all.
ON NFLPA’S PROPOSAL FOR HGH TESTING
Click to view: http://bit.ly/s29ism
CASSERLY: On November 29th, the NFLPA, led by DeMaurice Smith, met with members of Congress to outline their proposal. Now here's what I've learned is in their proposal. First of all, no in‑season testing. Number two, only 10% of players tested in the off‑season. Three, players can decline to be tested; four a 24‑hour notification before testing, and five, you would have to fail three tests before there would be any discipline. Congress, my sources there told me, they were not impressed with this. Didn't find it acceptable, and frankly, didn't think the NFLPA was serious about implementing HGH testing.