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Chuck Pagano: ‘Did Not Notice’ Deflated Footballs

Chuck Pagano: ‘Did Not Notice’ Deflated Footballs

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday that he "did not notice" any deflated footballs that were being played with in their 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

The NFL has opened up an investigation into whether the Patriots used deflated game balls in their win.

"That's something for the league to handle," Pagano said.  "It's not my place to comment on it."

The league's rulebook says game balls must be inflated with between 12.5-13.5 pounds of air. 

"If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000," the rule states.

New England will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 in Arizona on Feb. 1.

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Source: Broncos to Hire Gary Kubiak as Head Coach

Source: Broncos to Hire Gary Kubiak as Head Coach

Bob Levey/Getty Images(DENVER, Co.) -- The Denver Broncos have found their replacement for John Fox.

Gary Kubiak, former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator and Houston Texans head coach, has agreed to a four-year deal with the Denver Broncos, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rappaport.

The team is expected to announce the hiring at a press conference Tuesday. The Denver Post first reported the story.

Kubiak, 53, was the backup quarterback to team president John Elway from 1983 to 1991 with the Broncos. The two have a close relationship, and Elway expects Kubiak to implement a similar offensive style that relies on a strong zone running game, which helped the Broncos win their two Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999. 

While head coach of the Houston Texans, Kubiak amassed a record of 61-64, but led the team to their first two playoff victories and two seasons of 10-plus wins. 

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Report: Patriots File Tampering Charges Against Jets

Report: Patriots File Tampering Charges Against Jets

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The New England Patriots have filed tampering charges against the New York Jets over comments made by team owner Woody Johnson during an end-of-season press conference.

The NFL office is looking into whether Johnson committed a violation for comments he made regarding cornerback Darrelle Revis.

During a December 29th press conference, when Johnson announced the firing of Rex Ryan and John Idzik, a reporter responding to Johnson's acknowledgement that the team should have spent more money last season asked, "how much of it was your decision [to not re-sign Revis], when he made it clear he wanted to come back?"

"Darrelle is a great player and if I thought I could have gotten him for that, I probably would have taken him," Johnson responded. "It was our best judgment to do what we did, but I'd love for Darrelle to come back."

Johnson realizing he made a mistake in his comments issued a statement the next day saying he, "misspoke" and called Patriots owner Robert Kraft to "emphasize those points."

If found in violation of the league's anti-tampering rules, Johnson could face a fine or the team could forfeit a draft pick.

Revis is due $20 million next year as a contract option with the Patriots.  If they decline the option, he will become a free agent. 

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Aaron Rodgers on Stunning Loss to Seattle: ‘Will Hurt for a While’

Aaron Rodgers on Stunning Loss to Seattle: ‘Will Hurt for a While’

Tom Lynn /Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- The Green Bay Packers let one get away on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.

Green Bay had a 19-7 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game before Russell Wilson, a huge onside kick, and Marshawn Lynch erased that deficit.

Rodgers was seeking his second Super Bowl appearance of his career, the last came in 2012 against the Steelers.

"This one's going to hurt for a while because of the close proximity to feeling that feeling when the clock hits zero when you're ahead," Rodgers said of the stunning loss.  "We gave it away."

Following Wilson's one-yard touchdown run, the Seahawks went with an onside kick that Brandon Bostwick let go through his hands to give them the ball back with 2:13 left in the game, which set up the Lynch 24-yard rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion.

"Just have to move on I guess," Bostwick said of not recovering the onside kick.  "I don't really know what to say."

"I just reacted and thought I'd make a play on it, but obviously I didn't," Bostwick continued.

Had it not been for Mason Crosby's fifth field goal of the game with 14 seconds left to tie things up, the Packers' season would have ended sooner.

Seattle won the coin toss in overtime and Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse with a 35-yard touchdown to end the game.

"If I played a really bad game, yeah, it'd eat at me all offseason," Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said, who was covering Kearse.  "I don't feel that I played bad at all.  I feel that I played that I played a good game."

"The guy at the end of the game made a play," Williams continued.  "You've got to give him his credibility."

Green Bay is now 3-3 in NFC Championship games.  They have five Super Bowl titles in franchise history.

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Seahawks Stun Packers in OT, 28-22, Will Defend Super Bowl Title

Seahawks Stun Packers in OT, 28-22, Will Defend Super Bowl Title

Kevin Casey/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- The Seattle Seahawks are headed back to defend their Super Bowl title on Feb. 1 after they came back from 19-7 down to beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a career-high four interceptions, but pulled them within five on a rushing touchdown with 2:09 left in the game.

Following the score, Seattle went with an onside kick that Chris Matthews recovered, which set up Marshawn Lynch's 24-yard rushing touchdown with 1:25 left in the game.  Wilson would hit Luke Wilson in the end zone for the two-point conversion to take a three point lead.

Mason Crosby's 48-yard field goal with 14 seconds left tied the game up before Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse with a 35-yard touchdown pass in overtime to end the game.

Lynch rushed for 157 yards in the victory to go along with the touchdown.  Wilson finished the game with 209 yards, the rushing touchdown, and game winning pass to Kearse.

The Packers offense failed to convert on offense early in the first quarter and settled for two field goals.

Aaron Rodgers finished with two picks, a touchdown, and threw for 178 yards in the loss.

Seattle has now won nine in a row at Century Link in the postseason and are the first team to repeat as conference champions since the New England Patriots ten years ago.

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Colt’s Richardson Does Not Travel With Team

Colt’s Richardson Does Not Travel With Team

Al Bello/Getty Images(FOXBORO, Ma.) -- The end of the line is nearing for Trent Richardson with the Indianapolis Colts.

One week after being a healthy inactive for the Colts divisional win over the Denver Broncos, Richardson did not travel to New England, for "personal reasons," the team announced Saturday.

"[Being inactive] will never happen to me again," Richardson said Thursday. "Anybody can quote me, today, because it's never going to happen again."

Richardson was the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.  The Cleveland Browns changed their front office a year later and shipped him to the Colts.

"It was such a bold and aggressive move and so forth, but really from a football standpoint, we needed a starting running back," General manager Ryan Grigson said one year ago. "Trent was made available. ...I'm glad we have him for the long haul. It was very economically wise as a franchise to make the move given where we're going with the run game."

Indianapolis traded a 2013 first round pick for Richardson to the Cleveland Browns. In 29 games with the Colts, he has amassed just 977 rushing yards.

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Shane Vereen: Can’t ‘Lay an Egg’ Against Colts

Shane Vereen: Can’t ‘Lay an Egg’ Against Colts

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) -- The New England Patriots are making their third straight AFC Championship game appearance on Sunday when they host the Colts.

Patriots running back Shane Vereen stressed the importance of getting off to a fast start and making sure they do everything they can to punch their ticket to Super Bowl 49.

"If we go out there and lay an egg then it really doesn't matter if we've been here before or not," Vereen said on Friday.  "Each year is something different, each team each year is a different animal, and we have our hands full this Sunday."

New England joined the San Francisco 49ers to become the first teams since the Eagles (2001-04) to go to at least three straight Conference championships after they beat Baltimore on Saturday.

"Unfortunately since I've been here we kind of got stopped a little quicker then we wanted to," linebacker Dont'a Hightower said on Friday.  "You kind of want to leave those things in the past.  I definitely feel throughout this week, we've all been kind of approaching it as doing as much as you can each day."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has won five AFC title games out of eight appearances, which puts him in a tie with Hall of Famer John Elway for the most conference titles in NFL history during the Super Bowl era.

"As you get older experience is definitely good as long as you play well," said Brady, who has three Super Bowl rings.  "It's a game like all the other games.  We're very fortunate to be in this position."

The Patriots last Super Bowl appearance was in 2012 when they fell to the Giants, 21-17.  Their last Super Bowl title came against the Eagles in 2005.

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Bears Hire John Fox as Head Coach

Bears Hire John Fox as Head Coach

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- John Fox was out of a job for less than a week before finding his new gig. ESPN is reporting that Fox has agreed on a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears to become the team's new head coach.

Fox had spent the previous four seasons with the Denver Broncos where he went 46-18, including three-straight AFC West division titles.

Despite the success, Fox and the Broncos parted ways following the team's loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Fox will replace the recently departed Marc Trestman, who was fired after a 13-19 record over two seasons on the job. The franchise has missed the playoffs for four-consecutive seasons.

The Bears do have a talented, yet under achieving teams despite their recent futility. They have wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall along with running back Matt Forte. The teams defense has struggled in recent seasons, but Fox has a reputation for turning a team's defense around.

In 13 years as a head coach with the Carolina Panthers and Broncos, Fox has gone 119-89 and took both teams to the Super Bowl.

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49ers Introduce Jim Tomsula

49ers Introduce Jim Tomsula

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- The San Francisco 49ers introduced their 19th head coach in team history on Thursday, Jim Tomsula.

"I believe it takes a village," Tomsula said of his new role. "No one man does anything by himself."

Tomsula said he understands that expectations are high after San Francisco failed to make the playoffs following three straight NFC Championship game appearances.

"I clearly understand the expectation of the ownership, on and off the field," Tomsula continued.

The 46-year-old Tomsula spent the last nine seasons as the 49ers defensive line coach. He also was the team's interim coach for one game in 2010 after Mike Singletary was fired. Before that, he was the head coach of Rhein Fire in NFL Europe in 2006.

"I understand my journey is an unusual one," Tomsula said. "I've taken my family on three continents. Nothing has been the norm. I'm used to not normal."

Tomsula's next task will be finding an offensive coordinator that can work with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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Cowboys Reward Jason Garrett with Five-Year Contract

Cowboys Reward Jason Garrett with Five-Year Contract

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- The Dallas Cowboys rewarded head coach Jason Garrett with a five-year contract extension worth $30-million on Thursday, according to sources.

Garrett and the Cowboys were knocked out of the playoffs by the Packers last weekend, but he is still happy about what they accomplished this season.

"We started something four years ago when I became the head coach," Garrett said. "It's a word I think about really each and every day when I wake up and throughout the day, it's 'build.' We want to build a football team that everyone who is associated with our football team is proud of. I feel like we've done that.

"The work is not done," Garrett continued.  "We're excited about the opportunities in 2015 to build on some of the things we did this past season."

Garrett said his team is getting closer to the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl.

"I think we're getting closer, I do," Garrett said. "I think we play the right way and have the right kind of guys. I do think we have some cornerstone pieces in place that have helped our football team get to this point. Now the challenge is, OK, now we have to build on it. We have to take the next step. We have to keep bringing these players in and keep playing that way."

Garrett is 42-32 and took his team to the playoffs for the first time in his tenure.

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Bill Belichick: Andrew Luck Has ‘No Weakness’ in His Game

Bill Belichick: Andrew Luck Has ‘No Weakness’ in His Game

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass) -- New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows it won't be easy on Sunday against the Colts in the AFC Championship game.

Belichick is getting his defense ready for one of the best quarterbacks in the league -- Andrew Luck, who has tossed three touchdowns and thrown for 641 yards in the postseason so far.

"He's got a lot of strengths, no weaknesses," Belichick said Wednesday.

"He's got a great future in front of him," Belichick continued. "He's already done a lot in the time that he's been in the league, and I'm sure by the time he gets done he can pass a lot of guys by."

"Luck's hard to bring down," Belichick added. "He runs very well. He's athletic. He can get outside and make yards with his legs. They also use him on some keep-type plays, you know, the one he scored on for example in the Denver game last week."

Luck and the Colts are coming off beating the Broncos in Denver last weekend.

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Promoted: Jim Tomsula Named 49ers Head Coach

Promoted: Jim Tomsula Named 49ers Head Coach

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The San Francisco 49ers named Jim Tomsula as their new head coach on Wednesday.The 46-year-old Tomsula spent the last nine seasons as the 49ers defensive line coach. He also was the team's interim coach for one game in 2010, after Mike Singletary was fired.

"Our organization is excited to have Jim Tomsula leading this football team," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "We have had the privilege of working alongside Jim for the past eight seasons. He is a proven leader, teacher and mentor, and we look forward to seeing him apply his craft and vision to our team."The 49ers had interviewed their defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Mike Shanahan, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, now-Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan, Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Jets' brand-new head coach Todd Bowles.Next up for the Niners is finding an offensive coordinator to replace Greg Roman, who left for the same job with Buffalo.

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Bills Welcome Rex Ryan to Buffalo

Bills Welcome Rex Ryan to Buffalo

dehooks/iStock/Thinkstock(ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.) -- The Buffalo Bills introduced Rex Ryan as their new head coach on Wednesday. He's replacing Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract on New Year’s Eve.

“We are going to be tough,” Ryan said at a news conference. “We are going to be loyal to our fans as they are to us. We are going to earn that loyalty and that trust. One thing you are going to see come September, this team will be ready, period."

Ryan signed a five-year deal with an average salary of $5.5 million per year on Monday. He spent the last six seasons roaming the sidelines of the New York Jets. During his tenure, he compiled a record of 46-50, leading Gang Green to two appearances in the AFC Championship Game.

The Jets fired Ryan and general manager John Idzik on Dec. 29 after they finished the 2014 campaign with a 4-12 record.  It was fourth straight year New York has failed to make the postseason.

Ryan will take over a Bills defense that led the NFL with 54 sacks this past season.

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Report: Raiders Close to Hiring Jack Del Rio

Report: Raiders Close to Hiring Jack Del Rio

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Oakland Raiders are closing in on Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as their next head coach, reports ESPN.

Del Rio interviewed for the job on Tuesday night with owner Mark Davis, general manager Reggie McKenzie, and former Raiders coach John Madden, ESPN also reports.

Del Rio was the head coach at Jacksonville from 2003 to 2011 and guided the Jaguars to two postseason appearances during that time.

Tony Sparano, their current interim head coach, is also a finalist for the job.  Sparano took over the team after they fired Dennis Allen earlier this year.

The Raiders have failed to make the playoffs since their Super Bowl appearance in the 2002 season.

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Jets Tap MacCagnan as General Manager

Jets Tap MacCagnan as General Manager

New York Jets(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) -- The New York Jets have found a "football guy" to lead their team. Gang Green tapped Mike Maccagnan, former Houston Texans director of college scouting, to be their new general manager, the team announced Tuesday.

Owner Woody Johnson relied on the help of former NFL executives Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf to aid in his search for new leadership of the franchise.  

“I want to thank Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf for their contributions during this search. Their experience, guidance and expertise have been invaluable. We are proud to welcome Mike to the organization and I am confident that he will help us build a winning team,” Johnson said.

While general manager of the Redskins, Casserly discovered MacCagnan and gave him his first chance in the NFL with Washington in 1999. When Casserly moved on as general manager of the Houston Texans in 2000, he brought MacCagnan along as a pro scout. 

MacCagnan replaces former general manager John Idzik, who was fired along with head coach Rex Ryan on December 29.

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Report: Jets Will Name Todd Bowles Head Coach

Report: Jets Will Name Todd Bowles Head Coach

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) -- The Jets have found their replacement for Rex Ryan: Todd Bowles. 

ESPN's Josina Anderson was informed by Bowles via text message that he will take the head coaching position with New York. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the deal is for four years.

Bowles comes over from the Arizona Cardinals where he served as defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. Previously, he served in the same position with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 and was the assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-2011. Bowles was also the interim head coach of the Dolphins for the final three games of the 2011 season.

This season, the Cardinals finished 11-5, carried largely by their defense, especially after starting quarterback Carson Palmer was injured in week 10.  Arizona finished 5th in points allowed (18.7 ppg).

Bowles, 51, is New Jersey native who grew up in Elizabeth and attended Temple University. He played 8 seasons in the NFL: seven with the Washington Redskins (1986-1990, 1992-93) and one with the San Francisco 49ers (1991).

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Elway Explains Why Fox Is Out as Broncos Head Coach

Elway Explains Why Fox Is Out as Broncos Head Coach

Football Texture/iStockphoto(DENVER) -- Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations and general manager John Elway said on Tuesday that the decision to mutually part ways with head coach John Fox was the result of the team not ending the season “kicking and screaming.”

Fox left the organization on Monday, a day after the Broncos were eliminated from the postseason by the Indianapolis Colts, 24-13.

“The main thing between John and I is we disagreed how to get to the next level,” Elway said. “Because we accomplished so much, four AFC West championships, but I think the biggest miss between us was how we are going to take that next step and what it was going to take to get to that next step.”

In four seasons roaming the sidelines for the Broncos, Fox went 46-18 (.719) in the regular season and 3-4 (.429) in the postseason. He led Denver to four consecutive AFC West division titles and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

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Report: Garrett & Cowboys Agree to New Contract

Report: Garrett & Cowboys Agree to New Contract

dehooks/iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- The Dallas Cowboys and head coach Jason Garrett have agreed to a new five-year contract, according to ESPN.

Garrett, in the final year of his contract, led the Cowboys to the NFC East division title this season with a 12-4 record. They defeated the Detroit Lions, 24-20, in the NFC Wild Card round, but fell to the Green Bay Packers, 26-21, in the NFC Divisional round on Sunday.

Garrett took over for Wade Phillips in Week 10 of the 2010 season. During his tenure in Dallas, he has gone 41-31.

The Cowboys also agreed to a three-year contract with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, according to ESPN.

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Brady Defends Deception Against Ravens

Brady Defends Deception Against Ravens

Jim Rogash/Getty Images(BOSTON, Ma.) -- Tom Brady respects Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, but believes the Patriots did nothing wrong in their win over the Ravens in Saturday's AFC Divisional match.

Brady, on his weekly radio appearance on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show, explained that trick plays, deception and misdirection are all part of football.

"Let me say first, I have a lot of respect for him as a coach, and obviously that team is one of the toughest teams we face. It's always a tough match-up," Brady said.

"It was a play that we liked and we thought would work. We had a couple versions of it. It's kind of an alert play for our team, and we made them figure out what to do," Brady continued. "I think that's what it looked like to me. We had to execute it, we had to make the appropriate calls and block it and make the plays, and I was proud of us. That was a good weapon for us. That's part of football. You have to prepare for everything."

The issue lies in the Patriots lining up four offensive linemen and one wide receiver that declares as ineligible. A player that is ineligible cannot cross the line of scrimmage until a pass is thrown or on a running play.  The Patriots did this on three plays.

The Ravens took exception to this because of the difficulty in figuring out whom to cover.  Harbaugh was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the game when he ran onto the field to alert an official of the issue. 

The NFL ruled that what the Patriots was legal as defined by the rule book.

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Broncos & Head Coach John Fox Mutually Agree to Part Ways

Broncos & Head Coach John Fox Mutually Agree to Part Ways

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- The Denver Broncos and head coach John Fox have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced on Monday.

“John Fox and I met for more than an hour on Monday afternoon to discuss the 2014 season and our goals for the future,” said Broncos president of football operations and general manager John Elway. “During our open and candid conversation, it became clear that it was best for both the Denver Broncos and coach Fox to move on and make this change.”

In four seasons roaming the sidelines for the Broncos, Fox went 46-18 (.719) in the regular season and 3-4 (.429) in the postseason. He led Denver to four consecutive AFC West division titles and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“It was an honor to coach the Denver Broncos, a first-class franchise with great fans and a winning tradition,” Fox said in a statement. “I am thankful to John, Mr. Bowlen and Joe Ellis for allowing me and my family to be part of this team and community.”

Fox departs a day after the Broncos were eliminated from the postseason by the Indianapolis Colts, 24-13.

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