Will Roger Goodell still get booed at NFL’s virtual draft?

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The open. When the draft telecast kicks off Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, you’ll hear from a familiar person: Peyton Manning. On both of the two telecasts, ABC and ESPN/NFL Network, Manning will voice a two-and-a-half-minute piece paying tribute to those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, and on football and its place in the country in these times. I’m told it’ll hit a range of emotions and end in hope.

The boos. “I guess you’re going to have to show up and watch,” Goodell said when I asked how he was going to replicate the cacophonous boos he gets at every draft venue. “But I will say this: It’s a big part of the draft. I personally love the engagement with our fans. That [booing] is included. For us, we had to think through, ‘How are we going to bring the fans into the event? How are we going to allow the boo to be a part of the event as it has been in the past?’ ” How indeed. Last week I reported there will be a screen of fans from each team behind Goodell when he announces the pick. Could they boo? Stay tuned.

The ratings. They could be through the roof, obviously. To give some perspective, last year, the average viewership per minute on the combined platforms of ESPN, NFL Network and ABC was 6.1 million, the highest ever. That’s half the average number of a “Monday Night Football” telecast in 2019. This year? No one knows. But I have a feeling—with no March Madness, no Final Four, no Masters, no early NBA and NHL playoffs, no five baseball games per night—the ratings for a unique draft could be insane.

“The norms are all out the window,” said Cary Meyers, ESPN’s VP for Research and Insights. “People have been forced to quit sports cold turkey. They’re jonesing for any sports content, and for the NFL.”

Meyers noted that the average American is watching one hour more of TV per day (surprised it’s not more) since most states have instituted stay-home orders. Not sure how many folks will stick with the draft when the lesser lights are coming off the board Friday night and Saturday, but the Thursday night round-one numbers, with zero sports competition, could be the numbers you’d normally see for a playoff game.

Don’t be surprised . . . if you see on day two or three (or both) some of the heroes of the coronavirus fight—a doctor, a nurse, an EMT, a nursing-home worker, a Food Bank volunteer—introducing a pick or three on national TV. I really don’t know if it’ll happen, but it makes too much sense for it not to. When I mentioned my gut to Goodell on Saturday, he said: “I would tell you that we’re going to use our platform to thank the heroes that have really given back to us. We’re going to be creative about we do that without interrupting the important work that they’re doing.”

The virtual remote sites. On Friday, Goodell and the NFL’s IT boss, Chief Information Officer Michelle McKenna, divided up the 58 draft prospects who were sent the gear that would put them all on TV during the draft into five or six smaller groups and got on videoconference sessions with them, one after the other. In groups of eight to 12, they went over the technology that would make remote sites out of 58 private homes—two light stands with strong illumination, two Verizon cell phones to act as cameras (one that would be on throughout the draft), a sensitive mic, and Bose QC-20 earphones.

“I was with the draft-eligible players,” Goodell told me. “I said, ‘Listen, we would all love to be in Las Vegas under normal circumstances. That’s not the case. But I don’t want you to think in your home with just a few family members, and not in Las Vegas, that the world’s not watching—and that you can’t have an impact on your community, because you will.’ “

McKenna said a big advantage in making 58 young people de facto camera/audio/lighting experts for a national TV telecast sent to millions is that, well, they’re young people. “I didn’t have to tell any of them how to turn on the camera or how to mute the sound,” McKenna said. “They’re used to using equipment like this.”

There will be a total of more than 130 of these portable studios (adding in the 32 GMs and 32 coaches) in living rooms and dining rooms and basements around the country; that content will stream into host AWS, which will manage those feeds in conjunction with ESPN, and filtered feeds will come into the ESPN control room (it would be impossible for ESPN to monitor 130 feeds in real time) in Bristol, Conn., beginning Thursday night. “Streaming’s been happening for years,” said McKenna, “but I’m pretty sure having 100-plus feeds being filtered in real time into one live TV show has never happened.”

The changing times. Funny how you can adapt to a new normal when your future’s on the line. A bunch of set-in-their-way NFL people, over the past month, have had a Who Moved My Cheese? experience, collectively. “It usually takes months or years for people to change their process,” McKenna said. “But in the course of one month, [the coaches and GMs] have basically gone from, ‘We’re not doing that,’ to ‘We’ll do this our own way if we have to’ to ‘There’s no way we could do in time for the draft,’ to ‘Okay, we’re on board.’ “

Five weeks ago, most football people hadn’t heard of Zoom, the exploding videoconference business, but by necessity—to easily run meetings, to get several team members in the same sphere with a prospect for an interview—now they’re all Zoom experts. They’ve also become conversant in Microsoft Teams, another video-conference service that will be a communications staple this weekend; not only is Microsoft a league partner, but many in the league are more comfortable with Microsoft’s encryption.

You’ll like this. So many people around the NFL are giving money to coronavirus causes. All deserve credit. I love this one: The general managers in the league agreed to give $1,000 per pick ($256,000, based on 255 picks plus one Supplemental Pick last summer) to the league’s Draft-A-Thon fundraiser, which is divvying up all donations during the draft to six worthy causes. To make it equitable, each GM is donating $8,000. I was told by a league official that Eagles GM Howie Roseman spearheaded the cause, and that it has extended to the head coaches too. By late Saturday, all 32 GMs and three-quarters coaches had agreed, and there was confidence the rest would this week. The GMs and coaches (if all are in) will give a combined $512,000 to Draft-A-Thon. That’s a good start for the pot.

Draft-A-Thon. We thought Rich Eisen would be doing some form of combo-hosting the draft on ESPN/NFL Network, but instead he’s going to be the host for the COVID-19 relief arm of draft weekend. The NFL will have Eisen doing the Draft-A-Thon in an exclusive stream on all the league social channels: Twitter, Instagram, NFL.com plus team sites, YouTube, Facebook and Twitch, interviewing show-biz and NFL names while pushing charity to the six beneficiaries of the weekend fundraising. Such a strange year, and a different gig Eisen never though he’d be honchoing a month ago. But he seemed happy about it Sunday. “It’s another in a long line of planting flags for the NFL,” Eisen said.

The future. One thing I like that the league is doing right now: Though there’s little question that people inside the league have begun to investigate what fan-less games would be like, you don’t hear leaks speculating on how that would work, or how there could be enough testing and caretaking of players if games were played before there was a vaccine for the virus—or even if it’s possible to play the games at all, fans or not. Though it’s very likely NFL schedulers are preparing contingent 12 or 14-game schedules (or both) per team, you don’t hear leaks about them. (You might have read me throwing darts about it, but that’s me throwing some educated darts, not reporting the league is absolutely doing it.)

Those who have described Goodell’s stance on preparing and planning in these odd times says his attitude in meetings and internal talks is twofold: Hope is not a strategy; plan for all alternatives and Don’t make decisions till you have to. Don’t set false deadlines. Let things play out. Of course, the NFL has the benefit of time. Opening day is in 20 weeks, and we can barely predict what the country will look like in 20 days. I do think if the league decides it can ensure the safety of players, all essential team staffers and in-stadium TV personnel (all of which is no lock), it would play games in empty stadiums. But it’s pretty hard to predict anything right now, which is why Goodell’s current approach seems like the right one. 

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

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Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have gone head-to-head six times and each matchup has been both high-stakes and high-scoring affairs between the two legendary quarterbacks who have an even 3-3 overall record against each other. See below for a breakdown of the Brady vs. Mahomes rivalry.

Mahomes is currently in his fifth season as the Chiefs starting quarterback. The 2019 Super Bowl MVP signed a 10-year, $450 million extension in July 2020, which was the richest contract in American sports history by total value. Over the last four seasons (2018-2021), Mahomes has led the league in both passing yards (18,707) and touchdown passes (151). The 27-year-old looks to lead the Chiefs to their seventh straight AFC West Title. Kansas City is the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

At 45 years old Tom Brady, who already holds 7 Super Bowl titles–the most in NFL history, is currently playing in his 23rd NFL season–one that many thought he wouldn’t see after an unpredictable offseason filled with rumorsretirement, and unretirement. But the greatest of all time is back–this time without the comfort of his longtime trusted TE Rob Gronkowski–and is not only facing the challenge of playing with a banged-up offensive line but is also adjusting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

Every past matchup between Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes (3-3 overall record):

  1. Oct. 14, 2018 (Week 6) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40. Brady threw for 340 yards and 1 TD. Mahomes threw for 352 yards, 4 TD, and 2 INT.
  2. Jan. 20, 2019 (AFC Championship Game) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31, in overtime. Brady threw 348 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. Mahomes finished with 295 YDS, and 3 TD
  3. Dec. 8, 2019 (Week 14) – Chiefs defeated the Patriots 23-16. Mahomes totaled 283 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Brady had 169 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
  4. Nov. 29, 2020 (Week 12) – Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24. Mahomes threw for 462 yards with 3 TD. Brady finished with 345 yards, 3 TD, and 2 INT.
  5. Feb. 7, 2021 (Super Bowl 55) – Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium. Brady threw for 201 yards and 3 TD and was named Super Bowl MVP for a record 5th time.
  6. Oct. 2, 2022 (Week 4) – Chiefs defeated the Buccaneers 41-31 at Raymond James Stadium. Mahomes went 23-of-37 for 249 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

In an interview with NBC’s Maria Taylor for Football Night in America, Mahomes discusses the trademarks of a Brady-led team.

“First off, they take advantage of mistakes,” Mahomes said. “If you make a mistake on the field, if I throw an interception or if you fumble, or if something like that happens, he’s going to make you pay and get points on the board and then he’s going to manage the game.”

Mahomes also knows that while Brady has a knack for capitalizing on mistakes, he does not often make many of his own.

“He’s going to make some plays when he needs to make plays, but at the same time he’s not going to make that big mistake. So you have to go out there and play a near perfect football game to win. Another thing, he’s never out of it and I think that’s something I try to pride myself on as well is never being out of the game. So whenever you play against a Tom Brady-led team, you make sure you keep that foot down on the pedal and try to do whatever you can to finish the game off.”

Patrick Mahomes absorbs Tom Brady’s lessons

Despite the difference in age and experience, Brady and Mahomes are alike in their impact on the game.

“You want to not like Tom but he’s just like the best guy,” Mahomes said. “So it’s hard to not like him, but to be able to play in golf tournaments, and him give me kind of advice and stuff like that. I mean, he’s the GOAT. You want to learn from the best and it’s really cool to have that relationship with him.”

Even when Brady and Mahomes have faced off in high-stakes postseason games, the advice continues. The two met in the 2019 AFC Championship game, when Brady was still playing for the New England Patriots. Both quarterbacks delivered stellar performances, but Brady managed to lead the Patriots to an overtime victory.

Following this loss, Mahomes tells Taylor that he is upset and spends a lot of time after the game sitting in the locker room. But when Mahomes finally walks out, Brady is waiting for him.

“He could be celebrating” Mahomes said. “He’s going to the Super Bowl and everything like that, and all he said to me, ‘Hey, just keep doing it how you’re doing it. You’re doing it the right way.’ And as a young quarterback, you just go out there and play and try to have fun and do whatever you can to put your team in the best position to win.

But when the GOAT’s saying that, he’s saying you’re doing it the right way, it shows you that you are doing it the right way. And so that was big for me”

While Brady has not revealed all his football wisdom to Mahomes, the Chiefs’ signal-caller looks forward to learning more.

“He won’t give me all the secrets yet,” Mahomes said. “But hopefully one day I’ll get the secrets and can put those into my game.”

Patrick Mahomes embraces the Tom Brady mindset

While Brady and Mahomes are competitors, their respect from one another extends beyond the football field into their personal lives. Mahomes and his wife Brittany, have a young girl, Sterling, and are expecting a baby boy.

“You want to be able to be a family man and be with your family and you want to be able to do these different things, where you’re going into businesses and then helping out and shooting commercials and, at the same time, keeping football first.”

One of the biggest lessons Mahomes has taken from Brady is the importance of prioritizing football in addition to consistently improving at the game.

“That’s the greatness in Tom Brady is no matter how much off the field stuff he does, football is always the main priority and he makes sure to keep it that way,” Mahomes said. “And so you watch that and then at the same time you go back to him on the field and he’s always getting better. I feel like every single year he finds something he can get better at. And that’s what I want to do, is I want to keep getting better as my career goes on so that I can play hopefully, maybe not as long as him, but pretty long as well.”

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

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What are the longest field goals in NFL history and when were they kicked?

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The 2022 NFL season is upon us, and at a time when every point matters, field goals take on an added significance. Last season, Baltimore Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker converted the longest field goal in NFL history at 66 yards. Trailing 17-16 to the Detroit Lions in Week 3, Tucker successfully kicked a field goal that bounced off the cross bar and through the uprights to give the Ravens the victory as time expired.

Tucker’s kick broke the previous record that was set back in 2013. Cardinals kicker Matt Prater was the previous record holder with a kick of 64 yards against the Tennessee Titans. Prater, who played for the Denver Broncos at the time, converted the kick at the end of the first half to pull the Broncos within one point heading into the locker room.

RELATED: How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

The next field goal record is 63 yards and it has been achieved six different times in NFL history, most recently by Brett Maher in 2019 when the Cowboys were hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. In his three NFL seasons, Maher has kicked one 63-yard field goal and two 62-yarders. The first kick in NFL history of 63 yards happened in 1970 when Tom Dempsey of New Orleans sent a 63-yard kick through the uprights.

There are another five kickers throughout NFL history who have converted a kick of 62 yards. Earlier this season, Prater kicked a 62-yard kick against the Minnesota Vikings that had room to spare. The field goal was kicked from the center of the Cardinals’ mid-field logo and put Arizona up, 24-23, at halftime. With two of the kicking records in NFL history, Prater has established himself as a kicking legend in the NFL.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

What are the longest field goals in regular season history?

66 yards – Justin Tucker, Detroit vs. Baltimore, Sept. 26, 2021

64 yards – Matt Prater, Denver vs. Tennessee, Dec. 8, 2013

63 yards – Tom Dempsey, New Orleans vs. Detroit, Nov. 8, 1970

Jason Elam, Denver vs. Jacksonville, Oct. 25, 1998
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland vs. Denver, Sept. 12, 2011
David Akers, San Francisco vs. Green Bay, Sept. 9, 2012
Graham Gano, Carolina vs. N.Y. Giants, Oct. 7, 2018
Brett Maher, Dallas vs. Philadelphia, Oct. 20, 2019

62 yards – Matt Prater, Arizona vs. Minnesota, Sept. 19, 2021

Matt Bryant, Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia, Oct. 22, 2006
Stephen Gostkowski, New England vs. Oakland, Nov. 19, 2017
Brett Maher, Dallas vs. Philadelphia, Dec. 9, 2018 (OT)
Brett Maher, Dallas vs. N.Y. Jets, Oct. 13, 2019

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

The longest field goals in playoff history do not quite match those of the regular season, but they are not far off. The longest kick in the postseason is 58 yards and two kickers have achieved the feat: Pete Stoyanovich of the Chiefs in the team’s 1990 Wild Card game against the Dolphins and Graham Gano of the Panthers before halftime of the team’s Wild Card game vs. the Saints.

What are the longest field goals in playoff history?

58 yardsPete Stoyanovich, AFC-FR: Miami vs. Kansas City, 1990
Graham Gano, NFC-FR: Carolina vs. New Orleans, 2017

57 yards –  Mike Nugent, AFC-FR: Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis, 2014
Wil Lutz, NFC-FR: New Orleans vs. Carolina, 2017
Greg Zuerlein, NFC: L.A. Rams vs. New Orleans, 2018

56 yards – Mason Crosby, NFC-D: Green Bay vs. Dallas, 2016


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube