Terence Newman's performance as the second-oldest active player in the NFL has turned a number of heads across the league. Most recently, Newman drew the attention of New York Times reporter Ben Shpigel, who on Wednesday posted a longform story on the 38-year-old cornerback.
Newman is the oldest cornerback in the league by nearly five years, and by at least some measures, he is also one of the best. According to the analytics website Pro Football Focus, which rates him sixth overall, he has allowed the fewest yards (0.64) per coverage snap.
He keeps himself in such good shape that Minnesota's strength and conditioning coach, Brent Salazar, said Newman would be ready to play a game in June. It also helps — and Newman shuddered, fearful of being jinxed, when this was mentioned — that through nearly 14 seasons he has managed to avoid the sort of devastating injury that has ended or curtailed the careers of many of his peers.
Shpigel said that Newman remains an incredible athlete but has also relied on his cognitive abilities as he's aged.
His capacity for decoding opponents' tendencies through film study has mitigated his physiological decline. His aptitude for processing those tidbits and applying them on the field has preserved his livelihood.
Shpigel delved deeply into Newman's regimen and "secret" to a longevity very few NFL players, let alone defensive backs, experience. He pointed out that Newman is disciplined with what he puts into his body and how he stays in shape. Shpigel emphasized the care Newman takes for his mental and emotional health, as well. He wrote:
He devotes part of his afternoon a few days a week to napping, this on top of the eight hours of sleep — up at 7:20 a.m., in bed by 11 p.m. — he makes sure he gets. Instead of braving rush-hour traffic, he remains at the complex an extra 30 to 45 minutes, sitting in the massage chair or donning compression boots to facilitate leg circulation.
When he returns the next day, he invariably hears some younger teammates talking about their aches. And this is what he tells them: "You're walking around like I'm supposed to be walking around. You feel like I'm supposed to feel."
To read Shpigel's piece in its entirety, click here.
Rosenthal: 'Officials clearly missed call'
Following last night's 17-15 loss to the Cowboys, NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal took a look at the tape and said the officials failed the Vikings. Rosenthal wrote:
Needing a two-point conversion to tie the game with 25 seconds left, Sam Bradford was clearly hit in the helmet by Cowboys defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. The right hand of Thornton clearly raked Bradford's helmet and facemask while Thornton's left arm hit Bradford's throwing arm, causing the pass to sail far out of the end zone.
Rosenthal pointed out that official Tony Corrente gestured to Bradford that the contact only occurred on the quarterback's shoulder pad and went on to say that "replays showed that the officials clearly missed the call."
Rosenthal said the call wasn't the only thing that contributed to Minnesota's loss, but it had implications nonetheless.
Vikings would have been given another opportunity to convert the two-point conversion, and it's far from guaranteed they would have converted, much less won in a potential overtime. But Minnesota fans have every right to be upset that their team didn't get their opportunity on a night the Vikings defense stood tall.
According to Rosenthal, the NFL's Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent told the Associated Press on Thursday that the league plans to hire up to 17 full-time officials down the road.
NFL Network's Rich Eisen suggested after the game that plays like this should be reviewable in the final two minutes, something the NFL's Competition Committee could eventually consider. The league wants to get the call right and protect the quarterback, and neither happened on Bradford's final throw.
Pelissero: Should penalties be reviewable?
Following the Thursday Night Football contest in which Dallas came out on top with a two-point win to move to 11-1, Tom Pelissero of USA Today posed a question:
How much longer can the NFL push back at the idea of allowing plays like this – specifically, called or uncalled penalties at critical junctures of the game – to be subject to replay review, allowing officials and the league office to get it right based on the same video 66,860 fans in the stadium and millions more at home get to see almost instantly?
Pelissero referred to the Vikings final offensive play of the game, in which no penalty was called against Thornton.
Pelissero said he doesn't question that the number of reviews needs to be limited, for risk of games stretching out much longer than usual. He added that there's "built in subjectivity to many penalties" that is difficult to avoid.
But in a high-leverage situation, in a game with playoff implications, on national TV no less, wouldn't it make sense to have some mechanism to correct a seemingly obvious error?
The matter was a point of discussion after the 2015 season, and he proposes it may be necessary to revisit.
There's no easy answer here. Nobody wants the game stopped after every snap to search for fouls. But it's unfortunate the conversation about an excellent game once again will include a flag that wasn't thrown and an official's explanation that flatly contradicts what everyone with two eyes and a TV saw.