NFL Expands Instant Replay, Changes Overtime

NFL Expands Instant Replay, Changes Overtime

One thing about the National Football League is they are always tinkering with the rules, searching for ways to improve upon the game. The most noticeable change when play picks back up on September 5 will be an expansion of the instant replay rule. Much like all scoring plays became subject to a booth review a year ago, the same process now applies following all turnovers as well.

Before play can resume after a fumble or interception, an official upstairs will replay the call on the field, and determine whether or not it merits further review.

It's a welcome addition to the system, considering how much turnovers swing the momentum, not to mention the frequency with which the call on the field winds up being incorrect. How often has a runner's knee touched the ground before the ball popped out, or an errant throw actually skipped off the turf before the defensive back "intercepted" the pass?

The Eagles were on the wrong end of such a call last season in Week 2 at Atlanta. A Michael Vick interception in the third quarter had clearly touched the ground, but by the time the NBC telecast showed an angle revealing the mistake, the Falcons offense was on the field, and the opportunity to challenge was lost. The Birds went on to blow a 10-point lead, falling 35-31.

Unfortunately, what failed to pass was a measure that would have allowed the replay official in the booth to rule on reviews. Rather than have an on-field official watch the replay, the booth official upstairs would make the decision to uphold or overturn calls instead. The thought process was it would cut down on the length of reviews, but for now, it's not to be.

The other major rule change will be a change in the overtime format -- pay attention, Donovan. Basically, the league will adopt the current playoff procedure in the regular season as well.

The rule, originally passed in 2010, was implemented for the first time in January when the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in extra time. To summarize, the game cannot be won with a field goal on the period's opening possession. In any other situation, overtime is still sudden death.

No real game-changers other than that, though more potential changes could be coming before football returns. Current items for review are moving the trade deadline back, expanded rosters in training camp, allowing players to return from injured reserve, and another Eagles-fan favorite: preventing away teams from traveling more than one time zone for Thursday night games.

>> NFL Rule Changes for 2012 [PFT]

Nigel Bradham will report, practice; Doug Pederson doesn’t see him getting cut

Nigel Bradham will report, practice; Doug Pederson doesn’t see him getting cut

Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham will report to training camp on Wednesday and will be allowed to participate in the team’s first full practice on Thursday, head coach Doug Pederson said.

Bradham, 26, was reportedly arrested recently for his involvement in an assault of a hotel worker in Miami. An arrest report obtained by NBC6 in Miami alleges Bradham punched the worker in the face.

Pederson had a “great conversation” with Bradham on Tuesday night, laid out his expectations, and said until the team gets more information, the Eagles have decided to let Bradham participate in training camp.

“I’m not going to get into a bunch of detail on that,” Pederson said. “He’s obviously humbled by it and understands the situation and the magnitude, but until we get further details from the authorities, I can’t speculate any further.”

Is it possible Bradham gets released because of this incident?

“I don’t foresee anything like that, no,” Pederson said.

While Pederson spoke to Bradham soon after the incident in question, he didn’t do the same when Nelson Agholor was accused of sexual assault in June. On Wednesday, Pederson cited timing as the reason; Agholor’s incident happened after OTAs, while Bradham’s happened just before training camp.

Eventually, Philadelphia’s district attorney decided to not charge Agholor, citing insufficient evidence, but Bradham’s run-in with the law is the second in the last couple of months for the Eagles.

Pederson, when asked, said he talked about his expectations for players on and off the field during his first team meeting in April.

“You always lay out your expectations, what to expect on the football field and off the football field,” the head coach said. “You gotta make smart decisions. We’re in a high-profile business and being in the city of Philadelphia, things get magnified a little bit. And you just gotta be smart and careful and make good choices. Obviously, we all suffer from our bad choices, our bad decisions, the consequences of that. I address the team quite often, actually, on making those. I addressed the rookies just the other night. And then tonight’s meeting will have the same similar message.”

While Bradham is a veteran and Agholor a second-year player, the Eagles did draft and sign several rookies with checkered pasts, starting with running back Wendell Smallwood and corner Jalen Mills.

Pederson said the team handles each situation individually, but he expects the same thing from all his players.

“I just know this: When they come to the Philadelphia Eagles, there’s an expectation level that needs to be upheld and that starts with me,” Pederson said. “And I have to be very clear from where I stand with the players and the coaches, for that matter. And make sure they understand. Again, once they leave the facility, they’re citizens, but at the same time, understand that the players represent their families, the Philadelphia Eagles and the entire organization.”

Eagles rookie DB Blake Countess dishes on hidden talent

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Eagles rookie DB Blake Countess dishes on hidden talent

We're three days into training camp, so we can't pretend to be able to project how good of an NFL player rookie defensive back Blake Countess is going to be. We don't really know much about the 22-year-old at all. What we can report, however, is the sixth-round draft pick might be a half decent bowler.

Countess was asked about his previously hidden talent after Wednesday's practice, and it turns out bowling is not only a serious hobby for the Auburn product, but another outlet for his competitive streak.

"It actually started my last spring in Michigan (before transferring to Auburn)," Countess detailed. "Me and a bunch of the guys went one Thursday and it was two dollar games, and we had such a good time. We started going every Thursday during that spring, and it kind of just carried on."

"Everybody really got a lot better throughout that spring. We were going every week, we would get three or four games and it would be like eight dollars. That's a deal you can't beat, right after Thursday practice."

"It starts getting competitive, then we start doing teams, four-on-four, whoever has the highest total score wins. It got really competitive, and it's just fun."

"Now I've got my own ball, got shoes, everything."

Countess certainly talks a good game, adding that his personal high score is 249 — not bad at all, especially considering he only picked up the sport about a year ago. It sure sounds like he knows what he's doing anyway when explaining the finer points to a complete amateur such as myself.

"It's really your setup, because if the ball leaves your hand the same way every time, you kind of know where it's going to spin, you know where it's going to hit," lectured Countess. "But if you maybe take a step too far to the left or you let go a little too late, you might get a split, you might even get a gutter ball depending on how aggressive you're spinning it. It's really about your setup and where the ball is leaving."

Where Countess eventually falls on the spectrum of sports bowlers remains to be seen. There's long-time Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who is both in the Pro Football and Celebrities Bowling Hall of Fame. Then there's former Sixers center Andrew Bynum of the NBA, who notoriously aggravated an injury while bowling and never even played for the team after a blockbuster trade.

As of right now, Countess could share the same fate as either Bettis or Bynum, though a path in between is probably more likely. He's currently battling for a roster spot as a backup safety, and notes that he's lined up at nickel cornerback as well.

Watch: Jon Dorenbos performs glass-shattering magic trick on America's Got Talent

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Watch: Jon Dorenbos performs glass-shattering magic trick on America's Got Talent

Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos was back on America's Got Talent on Tuesday night to continue his magical run on the popular show judged by Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and their pals.

Dorenbos went with card tricks on his first two appearances on the show (trick 1, trick 2) but mixed things up last night with an interesting trick involving some homemade art.

Each of the judges were told to quickly draw something on a piece of paper and Dorenbos easily guessed who drew what. But that wasn't the crazy part. Dorenbos started the performance by walking out with a glass bottle with a prediction on it. At the end of the drawing exibit, Dorenbos broke the bottle and there was an envelope with the exact drawings labeled with each corresponding artists' name.

To move on, Dorenbos will need to earn the fans vote. The voting has closed but will be announced in the coming days. Watch the wild performance below.

He certainly has Doug Pederson's vote: