NFL and USAA Announce Finalists for the Salute to Service Award

The NFL and USAA, an Official NFL Salute to Service Partner, announced Atlanta Falcons CEO STEVE CANNON, Detroit Lions Head Coach MATT PATRICIA, and Los Angeles Chargers Legend DONNIE EDWARDS as finalists for the ninth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.

Cannon, Patricia, and Edwards were selected for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community. The Salute to Service Award recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV, on FOX.

USAA will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA’s donation of $25,000, which will be donated to the award recipient’s military charity of choice. The award recipient will receive a specially designed military challenge coin, recognizing their commitment to the military. In what has become a long-standing tradition, challenge coins are presented to members of the military community to encourage excellence, boost morale or to recognize a fellow brother- or sister-in-arms.

“Each having different life experiences and connections to our military, all three finalists for the ‘Salute to Service Award presented by USAA’ are connected by a shared belief in honoring and showing appreciation to our nation’s service members and veterans,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) JOHN BIRD, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. “Steve, Coach Patricia, and Donnie are all worthy finalists and we salute them for their continued commitment to America’s military community.”

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Packers playoff victory over the Seahawks features defense

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Green Bay Packers 28 – 23 Seattle Seahawks

I’ll start off by saying that once the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, all I could think was “We might get to see Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch on the same field again!”  Yeah, I know, different teams, but still… those Seahawks teams were really fun to watch and even a bit of that nostalgia makes me happy.  But it was not to be.

These two teams know each other very well. Their playoff battles have been some of the best around the league. And this year was no exception. The Packers wound up victorious, however, and will move on to face the 49ers in Santa Clara for the NFC Championship while the Seahawks and their fans will have to just sit back and watch.

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Browns fans react to their new head coach

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

 

As I was driving to meet my daughter and a friend to see the movie “Cats” on Sunday, my phone started blowing up.

Now, as a safe driver, I waited until I got to the theater to see what all the hullabaloo was about…. (*wink*wink*) and of course it was about the Browns.

Sources: The #Browns are planning to hire #Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach. Runner-up last year, winner this year.

So naturally I fired off a few quick tweets, shook my head in dismay, and went to the movies.  (Great movie, by the way. I have no clue what all the hate is about!)

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Seattle at Green Bay: Divisional Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

This weekend, the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs will commence. The game on Sunday at 6:40 pm EST (tv: FOX) where the Green Bay Packers (13-3) will host the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) will feature two top-rated quarterbacks. A showdown between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson is always thrilling.

Odd-makers have the Packers giving up four points. Typically the home team gets a three-point advantage but since the Seahawks have been just stellar on the road this year, I’m surprised it’s not a closer margin.

And they have the over/under at 47. Hmmm. Do I think this will be a shootout so I bet the over? Or am I predicting some great defensive plays which keep it a low scoring game? Hmmm again.

Ultimately it comes down to one simple question: Are Rodgers and Wilson the two most important players in this game? The “Keys,” if you will. Or will the outcome hinge on someone else?

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Vikings top Saints in NFL Wild Card upset!

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

I’m not gonna lie – this game completely shocked me! This year’s NFL Wild Card Weekend had some major upsets as well as THREE road teams being victorious!

I’ve been a huge fan of the New Orleans Saints all season long and wondered why they weren’t getting any love in the media when it came to talking about the playoffs and Super Bowl contenders. After their 26-20 loss in overtime to the Minnesota Vikings, I guess I can see why no one believed in them.

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NFL Wildcard Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

This year’s NFC Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs will start on Sunday, January 5th.

The first matchup will feature the New Orleans Saints (13-3) hosting the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at 1:05pm EST.

Then, we’ll have the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) heading to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (9-7) at 4:40pm EST. Frankly, I’m still not sure how the Eagles get home-field for this game but that’s how it worked out.

 

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Blowing up the Browns – Again…

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South
By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

You’ve heard of the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” right? And the Amazon series “All or Nothing.” Well, welcome to the newest addition to the NFL Docu-drama scene: “Blowing up the Browns!”

Yep – it’s that time of year again…. time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, change the filters in your furnace, and change head coaches in Cleveland.

But wait, there’s more! This year, in a surprising plot twist, they’re also revamping the entire front office! Continue reading “Blowing up the Browns – Again…”

The AFC North needs a little Christmas!

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

When I looked at the AFC North before the season started, I only got one thing right – the Cincinnati Bengals would finish at the bottom.

Who knew Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would need season-ending surgery?

Who thought Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would not only stay healthy but be the top candidate for league MVP?

And my Cleveland Browns? Don’t get me started…

With this being the holiday season and all, I thought I’d make a few Christmas present wishes for each of these teams.

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The NFC South Walter Payton Man of the Year nominees

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

This week, the nominees from each NFL team were announced for one of my favorite professional sports awards, the Walter Payton Man of the Year. This award recognizes players for their volunteer and charity work, not just their play on the field. These are men of character who give back to the communities that support their NFL careers.

It was originally called the NFL Man of the Year, but in 1999, after the death of Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, who won the award in 1977, it was renamed to honor his legacy as a humanitarian. There are currently six active layers who have won the award — Drew BreesJason WittenThomas DavisLarry FitzgeraldEli Manning and J.J. Watt.

Let’s take a look at the men who will be representing the NFC South teams as this year’s finalists…

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Panthers fire Rivera – Who’s next?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

In news that shocked me this week, the Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Ron Rivera after nine seasons.If a guy can coach a team to 5-7 while their star quarterback (Cam Newton) has been out since week 2, is any coach safe in this league?

It seems as if once one team fires their head coach before the season ends, a couple of others decide to follow suit. Who else could be on the head coach chopping block before the end of the year?

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