<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:19:29 -0800 Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:19:29 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Carr Leads Winning Drive to Snap Losing Streak]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:01:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/murrayvschiefsnov.jpg

Finally. So that's what winning feel like.

After 368 days without a win, the Oakland Raiders can at long last put a “W” in the standings.

The Raiders, who started this season 0-10 and were 0-16 dating to last Nov. 17, pulled out a 24-20 victory over the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs on national television Thursday night at O.co Coliseum.

It was an improbable win over a team that had won five straight and came into the game a heavy favorite.

After taking a 14-3 halftime lead – their first halftime lead in almost a year – the Raiders stumbled, allowing Kansas City to go up 20-17 with 9:30 remaining.

But the Raiders came roaring back, with Derek Carr leading a clock-eating, 17-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with Carr’s 9-yard touchdown strike to James Jones with just 1:42 left in the game.

The Raiders then withstood one final possession by the Chiefs, who got great field position on a kickoff return to their own 39, then drove into Oakland territory, aided by a Raiders penalty on a Chiefs fourth-and-3 play to keep it alive.

Finally, after a Sio Moore sack of Chiefs QB Alex Smith on third down, a fourth-and-13 pass from Smith with 28 seconds remaining fell incomplete, and the Raiders could celebrate a victory.

From the start, it looked like it might finally be Oakland’s night.

The Raiders jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their second possession, driving 60 yards for a touchdown, with running back Latavius Murray going around left end for 11 yards.

It was a great-coming out party for Murray, who had a good game last week against the Chargers and was given an opportunity Thursday night to show what he could do.

He certainly proved himself, following up his first TD with a 90-yard burst for another score to put Oakland up 14-0.

But after gaining 112 yards on four carries and giving the Raiders the running game they’ve been searching for all season, Murray took a blow to the head and was knocked from the game.

The Raiders offense then proceeded to go flat, and Kansas City climbed back into the game.

The Chiefs caught the Raiders at 17-17 on a 30-yard pass from Alex Smith to Jamaal Charles with 12:29 left, then forced a three-and-out by Oakland. Kansas City then drove for a go-ahead 25-yard field goal by Cairo Santos with 9:30 remaining.

That’s when Carr and the Raiders offense came alive, engineering the 80-yard, game-winning drive.

Now 1-10, the Raiders return to action Sunday, Nov. 30, with a game in St. Louis against the Rams -- and a chance for a two-game winning streak.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Invite Switch Pitcher to Spring Training]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:52:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Pat-Venditte.jpg

Only the A's could sign a left- and right-handed pitcher with one contract.

True to form of squeezing as much value out of every player as possible, the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday signed "switch pitcher" Pat Venditte.

Newsday reports that Venditte, who's toiled in the minors since 2008, could be the first switch pitcher to make the Major Leagues.

Venditte, 29, throws either right or left-handed depending on the batter, according to the website. He pitched as high as AAA, one level below the majors, recording a 2.64 ERA primarily as a reliever.

Venditte says he thinks the A's are an attractive team to play for, given general manager Billy Beane's independent thinking, according to the website.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Defense Faces Up-and-Down RG III]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:03:24 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/RG3vsAldyn.jpg

In the one game Robert Griffin III has faced the 49ers, it wasn’t a pleasant outcome for the young Washington quarterback.

Last season RG III was sacked four times and completed just 16-of-26 throws for only 118 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He did scramble four times for 27 yards, but he was largely ineffective in a 26-6 49ers victory in Washington.

Now the 6-4 49ers get ready to face Griffin again this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, and Griffin again is the focal point of his team’s offense.

After a sensational rookie season in which he had a quarterback rating of 102.4 and led his team to the playoffs, RG III has struggled since a knee injury suffered late that season that limited his mobility. Last season his QB rating fell to 82.2 as he was sacked 38 times in 13 games while throwing 12 interceptions vs. 16 TD passes. This season he’s improved somewhat from 2013, with a rating of 88.0, but he’s missed time because of injuries while also losing his starting spot to Kirk Cousins and former 49ers backup Colt McCoy.

Griffin has thrown just two TD passes with three interceptions and has been sacked 15 times in four starts for the 3-7 Redskins.

Still, Griffin is a talent, and when he’s on his game he should be a challenge for the 49ers defense, which is still dealing with injuries in its secondary.

Against the Texans this season, RG III was 29-of-37 for 267 yards. Against the Vikings, he was 18-of-28 for 251 yards.

“Always had great admiration for Robert’s talent, his execution,” said 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh this week in a news conference. “He’s extremely gifted as a pocket passer. When he’s out of the pocket he’s very dangerous to run or throw on the run. … Gifted in terms of reads and keeps. He’s got arm strength and accuracy. He’s an outstanding player.”

Griffin has some dangerous receivers, too, in former Eagle DeSean Jackson (40 catches for 819 yards and four TDs) and Pierre Garcon (43 catches for 464 yards and three TDs).

Griffin is coming off a loss to Tampa Bay in which he wasn’t sharp, throwing two interceptions in a 27-7 loss.

After that loss, Griffin said he needed to continue to play better, but also said the whole team needs to be better – which some interpreted as a knock on his teammates. Griffin responded by writing on his Facebook page that “I would never throw my teammates under the bus!” and has discussed his comments with them.

“We are all focused on the same thing: winning, staying together and beating San Francisco,” Griffin told reporters.

On paper, however, it looks as if RG III and his offensive mates might be overmatched against a San Francisco defense that came up big in a victory over the Giants last week, with five interceptions of Eli Manning and a better pass rush with the return of Aldon Smith.

Griffin has watched the film and knows the 49ers will be difficult to beat at home.

“Very tough defense,” he said. “They make you earn every single thing you get. They don’t give up a lot of big plays and they play with passion. So we are going to have to match that going into their house and they are not going to make it easy for us.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Avaya Stadium: Naming Rights Sold to Earthquakes' New Home]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:48:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/EARTHQUAKES-STADIUM-FAN-SEATS-VO---00002217.jpg

What's in a name? How about $20 million over the next 10 years? That's how much a Santa Clara-based company is paying for the naming rights to the new San Jose Earthquakes stadium in San Jose.

The new venue will be called Avaya Stadium.

The venue will be the first "cloud-enabled stadium" in Major League Soccer, and the sky's the limit in terms of cost. The Quakes' new home-of-their-very-own near San Jose International Airport has all the latest bells and whistles, including some tech gadgetry befitting its location in Silicon Valley.

It's also costing almost twice as much as initially thought, with the bill – all to be paid from private funds – climbing up from $60 million to about $100 million, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The newspaper says that that's "the average" for a new MLS stadium, which in San Jose's case has room for 18,000 fans as well as the "largest outdoor bar in North America."

Avaya is a “global firm that provides tech service to other companies," the newspaper explained.

The new stadium is set to open in March 2015. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Red-Hot Chiefs Present Problems For Raiders]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:54:52 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/jamchuckvsoak.jpg

The schedule maker certainly wasn’t kind to the Raiders this week.

After falling to 0-10 this past Sunday in a loss to the Chargers, Oakland has had a short week to prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs, who visit O.co Coliseum Thursday for a 5:25 p.m. kickoff on national television.

And the Chiefs, at 7-3, are coming in hot. After starting the season 2-3, Kansas City has reeled off five straight victories, including a 24-20 decision over the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks last week.

In that game, the Chiefs played a physical game on offense and defense, stopping Seattle three times on fourth-down plays, sacking Russell Wilson twice and rushing for 190 yards, with Jamaal Charles churning for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

Raiders head coach Tony Sparano said this week that Kansas City presents significant challenges. He said the Raiders “will be taxed” to beat the Chiefs because in every area – offense, defense, special teams – Kansas City is formidable.

“They’re an explosive team and they play real good defense, obviously, with two good rushers out there – one guy that’s got a ton of sacks. They’ve got a great front – a big, physical bunch of guys. They get after you pretty good and I know their defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and he brings a lot of different exotic pressures. … They’ll come after us. They’ll challenge us a bunch there.”

Defensive end Justin Houston leads the NFL in sacks with 12, and tackle Dontari Poe – dominant vs. the run – also has five sacks. Linebacker Tamba Hali, meanwhile, is one of the most active in the NFL.

On paper, at least, it seems impossible that the Raiders will be able to run the ball. Oakland is last in the NFL in rushing. The only hope is that Latavius Murray, who looked good in a brief role vs. the Chargers last week, gets more opportunities Thursday night and makes the most of his chance.

On defense, the Raiders are 27th against the run, which also spells trouble. Charles, Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas give Kansas City a stable of good backs who can dominate a game.

Charles, in particular, has had success vs. the Raiders. He had 128 yards from scrimmage in a 24-7 victory over Oakland last October, then had 215 yards – including 195 and four TDs on receptions – in a 56-31 win in December.

Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr said the Chiefs defense gives the offense plenty to think about over just three days of preparation.

“There’s a lot for every quarterback to get ready for, especially with  talented defense like Kansas City has,” he told reporters this week. “It just puts more on your plate and you just knock it out in the time that we do have.”

NFL oddsmakers have made the Chiefs 7- to 8-point favorites over the Raiders, who have now lost 16 in a row dating to November of 2013.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Need to Fix Fourth-Quarter and Red Zone Offense]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:00:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/kolynvgiants.jpg

With the 49ers holding just a 16-10 lead entering the fourth quarter vs. the Giants this past Sunday, San Francisco needed a score to put the game out of the reach.

But in the final period, the 49ers' first possession stalled at the Giants 40, forcing a punt. Their second and third possessions also resulted in punts.

That lack of production from the 49ers offense put enormous pressure on the 49ers defense – which came through with a goal-line stand and two fourth-quarter interceptions.

But the game highlighted a huge weakness for the Niners this season: the offense has yet to score a touchdown in the final quarter. That lack of late scoring has resulted in the 49ers having to rely on their defense to hold late, slim leads, or contributed to at least two of the team’s four losses – a 28-20 decision to the Bears in September and a 13-10 defeat to the Rams on Nov. 2.

Plus, the 49ers are having trouble scoring touchdowns throughout games when in the red zone. Against the Giants Sunday, San Francisco was touchdown-less in four trips inside New York’s 20. The Niners are just 13-for-33 in red-zone efficiency this season, the second-worst mark in the NFL. Their 39 percent efficiency is way down from last season’s 53 percent.

As the 6-4 49ers prepare to host Washington this Sunday, it’s a fact the team is well aware of and working to fix. In a season where every victory is important for the 49ers as they chase a wild-card spot, there’s going to be times when San Francisco will need to punch in a touchdown late in the game to seal a victory or pull off a comeback. This Sunday’s game against a struggling 3-7 Washington team may not require it, but the Thanksgiving night game vs. Seattle at Levi’s Stadium could likely come down to just one, late score.

Fortunately, the 49ers at least have a reliable kicker in Phil Dawson, who kicked three field goals Sunday in the win over New York.

“Glad we made them, the field goals were important,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media. “They were the result of some very good drives. You’d like to get the touchdown, but you do come away with points on the board and those are critical. You do what you have to do to win the game.”

But there’s no doubt winning games down the stretch will come down to punching in a few more touchdowns -- especially late in the game -- instead of settling for Dawson field goals.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Are Winless, But They Struck Gold With Mack]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:33:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/197*120/themackmynLB.jpg

There was much discussion leading up to this year’s draft about which defensive player would be better in the NFL.

Was it Jadeveon Clowney, the defensive end from South Carolina? Or linebacker Khalil Mack of Buffalo?

The Texans believed in Clowney and made him the No. 1 overall pick in the May draft. Mack was taken No. 5 overall by Oakland.

Though Clowney won the draft battle, Mack is winning the in-season competition.

The Raiders are winless at 0-10 as they prepare to face the hot Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night in Oakland, but Mack has been outstanding.

He recorded the first sack of his NFL career on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers Sunday, drew two holding penalties and was again terrific against the run. Against the Chargers, Mack was in on five tackles and now has been in on 56, has two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Clowney, meanwhile, has played in just three games because of injury and illness, has four tackles and no sacks.

With Mack, the Raiders defense has been much better this season than in 2013. He’s been a force. At one point, Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 1 linebacker in the league against the run.

“Khalil, yes, he had a sack and he affected the quarterback and he drew a hold (actually two) and harassed the quarterback several times there,” head coach Tony Sparano told reporters Monday night after Raiders practice.

Sparano said it wasn’t just Mack, however, but the defensive line getting pressure across the front, which allowed Mack some freedom.

At the halfway point of the season, ESPN’s “NFL Live” analysts named Mack their defensive rookie of the year, ahead of Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and Ravens linebacker CJ Mosley.

Former NFL running back Meril Hoge – who believed Mack should have been the No. 1 overall pick in the draft – believes Mack can be something special.

“I think he is going to be one of the most complete, dominant linebackers we’ve ever seen,” said Hoge, who now works for ESPN. “He is just a phenomenal football player. I’ve never seen a linebacker make this type of easy transition to the NFL.”

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Canseco May Sell His Shot Finger, Gun on eBay]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 09:57:12 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jose-Canseco-1.jpg

Jose Canseco says he's parting with his finger forever — for a price.

The former major leaguer tweeted Monday that he'll sell his detached digit, along with the gun with which he accidentally shot it off. He tweeted last week that the operation to reattach the finger had failed, and it had fallen off during a poker game.

Canseco said he is also selling the chrome-plated .45-caliber handgun he was cleaning when he accidentally shot off the middle finger on his left hand.

In a series of tweets posted Friday afternoon, Canseco said his finger fell off during a poker game Thursday night, even after he had it surgically reattached. (Warning: The below tweets might seem disturbing to some.)

Canseco was apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber when he was cleaning the gun, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon told NBC News.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon said. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major-league career in the 1980s with the Oakland Athletics before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career. After retiring, he also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Rice Visits China to Promote NFL]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:33:27 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/rice-horz.jpg

San Francisco 49ers legendary wide receiver and NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice is in China trying to entice the world's most-populous country to tune into NFL football on every given Sunday, according to reports.

An NBC News crew captured Rice in the moment in Beijing, where NFL officials are "demystifying the game" by "putting footballs in [Chinese peoples'] hands."

On Sunday, Rice put on a clinic, which one young fan described as "the greatest football experience of my life."

There is also already a flag football league in Beijing, but NBC noted the country is "with little history of contact sports like American football."



Photo Credit: Mathew Luschek]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Tony Hawk Rides Hoverboard]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:28:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-17+at+3.26.35+PM.png

The hoverboard is reality, and Tony Hawk has taken a spin on it.

The pro skateboarder tested the $10,000 prototype Hendo Hoverboard after husband and wife Greg and Jill Henderson launched a Kickstarter to fund it. 

In the video, Hawk performs a few tricks on the board, which hovers an inch off the ground and uses magnets, though he also ends up falling several times.

Hawk had caught attention for another hoverboard video earlier this year — a fake video made by Funny or Die that featured the skateboarder, musician Moby and others riding boards high into the sky, in a prank for which Hawk eventually apologized.  


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<![CDATA[USC's Josh Shaw Won't Be Charged]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 21:04:31 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

The Los Angeles District Attorney will not file domestic violence charges against USC football player Josh Shaw, the office confirmed Monday, citing "insufficient evidence."

Shaw, a USC Trojans co-captain, had been the subject of a domestic violence investigation by Los Angeles police after admitting to lying about how he hurt both of his ankles

Shaw initially told a university blog that he sprained his ankles after he jumped from a second-floor balcony of his cousin’s Palmdale apartment on Aug. 23 to pull his struggling 7-year-old nephew from a pool. He admitted the story was "a complete fabrication" days later and was suspended "from all team activities" indefinitely.

Police then said they took a burglary report that same night, in which the victim named Shaw as her boyfriend, and began looking into emerging domestic violence allegations.

The night of the report about 10:30, Shaw and his girlfriend were "involved in a heated argument inside the apartment" when his girlfriend threw a lamp to the floor, according to a DA charge evaluation document dated Nov. 13 obtained by NBC4 on Monday.

Shaw then walked out to the balcony to "calm himself," the document stated. Neighbors heard screams from inside the apartment during the argument and called 911.

When police arrived, Shaw saw officers from the balcony and "panicked," so he "climbed over the railing, hung by his hands and fell approximately 20 feet," hurting his ankles, the document stated.

After responding to the 911 call of neighbors hearing screaming, police forced their way inside the apartment to find a lamp on the floor and an open sliding glass door. No one was inside.

When Shaw's girlfriend returned that night, she told police she was at the apartment complex gym when the call was placed, but in a later interview admitted she lied about going to the gym. She later said she was, in fact, at the apartment during the incident with Shaw, but denied that Shaw physically or sexually assaulted her.

Shaw told police that the pair did argue, but "adamantly denied" any assault. The victim has "remained steadfast that nothing happened" and has refused further interviews with police.

"There is insufficient evidence to prove that Mr. Shaw assaulted the victim in any manner," the document stated. "Accordingly, this case is declined."

It was not immediately clear if or when Shaw would be reinstated to rejoin team activities.

USC spokesman Tim Tessalone told The Associated Press that as planned, the school will conduct its own investigation now that local authorities have concluded theirs. He did not indicate how long the probe will take.



Photo Credit: USC Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[Future of Candlestick Park: "Urban Outlet" Shopping Center]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 19:19:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/candlestick-edt-454299290_10.jpg

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Monday unveiled the future of the now-defunct Candlestick Park, in what developers hope will be an "urban outlet" mall, featuring an African diaspora-themed market, movie theaters and 6,000 homes - despite some objections from lower income residents who fear the gentrification of their neighborhood.

"I am overjoyed," Lee said at a news conference. "As painstaking as it was to have the Niners leave us on this stadium...We are now ready."

Candlestick Park, built in the 1950s, was decommissioned after the 49ers football team left the San Francisco stadium, nicknamed the 'Stick, for a new $1.2 billion stadium nearly 40 miles south in Santa Clara earlier this year.

Demolition of the storied venue is expected to begin this winter.

The new Candlestick development project, which is expected to largely be completed by 2017, is a partnership between Miami-based real estate developer Lennar Corp. and shopping mall operator, Macerich.

The hope for the former 49ers football stadium is to create a 500,000-square-foot “urban outlet” shopping center, which may resemble a shopping center much like Santana Row in San Jose. In a statement, Lennar and Macerich said the project is expected to create more than 3,000 permanent jobs and build 6,000 homes.  The Wall Street Journal estimated the cost would be more than $200 million.

“Rebuilding and redeveloping Candlestick and The Shipyard is helping us deliver on our promise to make sure San Francisco remains a city where families at all levels of the economic spectrum can succeed,” Lee said. “This is an important milestone in our revitalization efforts in this important community and we are bringing housing, jobs, parks, open space and economic growth through this public-private partnership and laying the groundwork for more housing for our low and middle income families.”

But Hunters' Point resident Espanola Jackson is worried that Gucci- and Armani-type stores will make her low-income neighborhood unaffordable. "This is not being built for the people here," she said. "It's being built for those people coming here."

Construction has already been underway in parts of the San Francisco's Hunters Point Naval shipyard.

Candlestick Point developers promised that 50 percent of the jobs will go to those living in Hunters Point, and they expect to demolish the park in about four months.

In a joint statement, the developers said that Candlestick Point will be one of the largest urban mixed-use projects in the United States, the companies said in a joint statement.  In addition to the "urban outlet" component, it will feature a diversity of commercial offerings, including neighborhood retailers, a restaurant village, an African diaspora-themed marketplace, movie theaters, a performance venue and hotel.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Culliver Shows Support for Harbaugh]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:42:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/cullyinnewyork.jpg

Shortly before his 49ers took the field against the New York Giants Sunday, a report by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport indicated that this will be Harbaugh’s last season with the team.

Rapoport said “it would be a surprise” if Harbaugh returned as head coach for the final season of his five-year contract in San Francisco.

Previously, Rapoport and others have reported that Harbaugh had worn out his welcome with the front office and many of his players. However, after those reports surfaced, many of his players stood up for Harbaugh.

And on Sunday, cornerback Chris Culliver made a strong statement of support for his head coach.

After the cornerback picked off an Eli Manning pass – one of five 49ers interceptions of Manning in a 16-10 victory over the Giants – he ran over to Harbaugh and handed him the ball.

Culliver said he gave Harbaugh the ball because of the friendship they have and the fact they share an inside joke.

But Culliver also said it was a show of support for Harbaugh.

“He’s our coach,” Culliver told the team’s website. “Whatever he say, we rock out with it and we go to war with him leading.”

Harbaugh said he “was touched” by Culliver’s gesture – but said he would give the ball back to the cornerback.

Sunday’s report by Rapoport indicated not only that this would be Harbaugh’s last season with the Niners, but that his wife doesn’t want to leave the Bay Area – meaning that he might be a candidate for the Raiders’ job next season if Oakland decides not to bring back interim head coach Tony Sparano.

Former 49ers great Jerry Rice also recently said he believes this will be Harbaugh’s last season with the team.

However in October, 49ers CEO Jed York tweeted his support for his head coach.

“Jim is my coach,” he tweeted. “We’re trying to win a SB, not a personality or popularity contest. Any more questions?”

In addition, team leaders such as tackle Joe Staley and quarterback Colin Kaepernick have said there’s no truth to reports Harbaugh has lost the support of the team.

“I love coach Harbaugh,” Kaepernick said last month. “I’d go to war with him any day of the week. I mean, he’s a competitor, he wants to win and he’s going to do anything to put this team in a position to win.”

The 49ers have now won two straight to improve to 6-4, and play host to 3-7 Washington this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. With six games to go, San Francisco is tied with Seattle for second in the NFC West and has the third-best record in the wild-card race.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Murray Has Earned Opportunity]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:41:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/latmurrvssd.jpg

Latavius Murray was the Raiders’ best running back in training camp and the exhibition season.

In the final preseason game, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Murray carried eight times for 41 yards and a touchdown, much of it against the Seahawks’ No. 1 defense. And over four summer games, he averaged 4.1 yards per carry, churning out 94 yards on 23 attempts.

Though Murray began the season No. 3 on the depth chart at his position, behind Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden, it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the big (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), bruising running back in his second year from Central Florida would get his chance in 2014.

Yet through the Raiders’ first nine games, Murray was almost invisible. He had just six carries for just 11 yards and went five consecutive games without a rushing attempt.

In Sunday’s 13-6 loss to the Chargers in San Diego, however, Murray put some late life in Oakland’s dormant running attack.

He had just four carries, but broke of 23- and 14-yard runs as part of his 43 yards rushing – a 10.8-yard average. He also had three receptions for 16 yards, including a 10-yarder.

With six games remaining in the season, the Raiders may have finally found the guy to run the football. McFadden is averaging just 3.5 yards per rush (393 yards on 113 attempts) and Jones-Drew is getting only 2.1 yards per attempt (70 on 33 tries).

“It felt good to get in there and run the ball,” Murray told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “It always does, so I was definitely pleased. I left some plays out there also. I dropped a pass on a slant. But I was able to get better and I’m ready for work next week.”

The 0-10 Raiders’ next opportunity comes quickly, a Thursday night matchup with the Chiefs at O.co Coliseum. Kansas City has a rugged defense, so if Oakland hopes to run the ball and take the pressure off rookie quartrerback Derek Carr, it seems as if the Raiders coaching staff will need to give the ball to Murray more often.

What Murray did against the Chargers caught the attention of head coach Tony Sparano.

“I thought he ran the bll well,” Sparano told the media after Sunday’s loss. “There were some things for him that maybe weren’t there early in the game for Darren. Latavius is a big, strong kid. We’re trying to get him more involved.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiderettes Take On Team, NFL Over Wages, Conditions]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:35:42 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Raiderette6.JPG Raiderettes Caitlin Y. and Jenny C. have taken on the Oakland Raiders and the NFL, claiming they are not paid fairly. They were inspired by a suit filed by a fellow cheerleader, Lacy T.

Photo Credit: Michael Koo]]>
<![CDATA[Raiderette Opts Out of Class Action Wage Labor Settlement With Raiders]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:42:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/caitliny5.JPG

A Raiderette who sued the Oakland Raiders over the wages she was paid is rejecting a settlement in another cheerleader's lawsuit, saying it doesn't do enough to fix what she calls the misogynistic culture of the NFL.

Caitlin Y. had danced in the front of the Raiderettes’ cheerleading line for three years. Now, ever since she sued the Raiders and the NFL in June, she says she has been relegated to the second row.

“I’m not in the front anymore,” the 27-year-old ballet dancer told NBC Bay Area in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been put in the back. But that’s OK. It’s all about being part of the team.”

Caitlin, who has accused the team and the league of wage theft and "deplorable" working conditions, formally opted out of a $1.25 million class-action settlement Monday in a fellow cheerleader's suit, saying it doesn't go far enough.

"It doesn’t include the entire NFL," Caitlin, who works as the PR director for a family-run Mountain View skin care company, explained. "It’s a league-wide issue that affects cheerleaders on all teams, not just ours. By accepting this, the NFL gets off the hook."

Caitlin — who like many other NFL cheerleaders prefers not to use her last name, for fear of stalking — wants to push harder for the Raiders and the NFL to pay more, and pay it evenly among cheerleaders across the league.

Her decision to opt out means she will not take the roughly $20,000 owed to her as part of the class action settlement tentatively reached in September, her lawyer Drexel Bradshaw explained. In the formal “objection” filed in Alameda County Superior Court, her attorneys argue that the Raiderettes as a whole are “owed millions and millions.”

Specifically, the legal filing says the class action underpays the Raiderettes somewhere between $1.5 million and $2.7 million – or at least $17,000 per Raiderette per year. The lawyers plan to argue this in court on Feb. 26 during a class action hearing.

"This is far, far from over," he said.

The Raiders have repeatedly declined comment, as has the NFL, whose spokesman and attorneys have not returned calls and emails. The NFL has argued in court, however, that the labor dispute was solely between the cheerleaders and the Raiders, and that the league does not belong in the suit.

Caitlin will not pinpoint a dollar amount that she thinks she should be paid. But she says the class action amount — roughly $5,000 a year for each year worked for each of the 90 cheerleaders — is not enough and doesn’t address the root of the problem.

But she and her lawyer both say that the Raiderettes should be paid more than minimum wage, which was $9 in Oakland at the time.

“These women should be paid more than the Raiders’ mascot, who makes $45,000 a season, plus a pension,” Bradshaw said. “They are obviously athletes and classical dancers, and to pay them $9 an hour is laughable. The guy pouring beer at the concession stands makes more than that.”

Bradshaw said Caitlin is rejecting the payout because the settlement doesn’t address the "misogynous" nature of the NFL, which has come under fire for how it responds to domestic violence accusations against players.

The settlement, if approved by the court, would resolve a similar wage suit brought by another Raiderette, Lacy T., in January and would include 90 other cheerleaders. That suit, the first of its kind in the country, was the force behind a new contract that ensures the Raiderettes make $9 an hour for all hours they work — not just for games.

Even as Caitlin opts out of the class-action settlement in that suit, she and her co-plaintiff — Jenny C., a former Raiderette who now lives in Las Vegas — plan to keep pursuing their joint suit against the NFL. Their suit accuses the league of violating antitrust laws by "acting in concert with teams to depress the wages of all NFL cheerleaders."

Lacy’s lawyer, Sharon Vinick of Oakland, isn’t quite sure why Caitlin wouldn’t buy in to the class action. “We obviously believe it’s an outstanding settlement,” she said. Vinick added while she agrees that the Raiderettes are still “woefully underpaid,” she does not think the Raiders have a legal mandate to pay them more, and that there is no legal basis for suing the NFL, because “the women don’t work for the NFL.”

But a labor expert sees it differently.

"It's understandable that some cheerleaders might find the settlement inadequate," said San Francisco State University Professor and Director of Labor and Employment Students John Logan. "The settlement... puts the cheerleaders, who have a high-profile job in a multi-billion dollar industry, on the same level of poverty-wages as WalMart or McDonald's workers. WalMart and McDonald's workers deserve more, and it's not hard to understand why some NFL cheerleaders believe they deserve more."

While she does want more. Caitlin will not discuss the details of how she's being treated on the team as she pursues her legal claims. She would not disparage the Raiders or her fellow cheerleaders. She insisted she doesn't mind that she doesn't dance in the front anymore; she just wants to dance and get paid fairly for it.

"I know that I’m lucky to have this job," she said. "I love this job. I love being a cheerleader, and I love the Raiders. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be treated with respect or paid adequately for the skills that I've trained for my whole life and I use on game day."



Photo Credit: Michael Koo
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<![CDATA[Niners Pick Off Giants for Second Straight Win]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 18:17:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/krabbtouch.jpg

It was supposed to be easy.

The Giants were 3-6, struggling to stop the run on defense and inconsistent on offense. The 49ers, meanwhile, had everything to play for to stay in the playoff hunt and also had a punishing ground attack that seemed built to beat New York.

Instead, the 49ers needed five interceptions – including one by rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland on a Giants fourth-and-goal play late in the fourth quarter – to beat the Giants 16-10 Sunday at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

The victory pushes the 49ers’ record up to 6-4 and keeps them in the hunt in NFC playoff hunt.

The 49ers’ victory was preserved thanks to a goal-line stand with just under five minutes remaining in the game.

Eli Manning, who had connected with Odell Beckham for a 37-yard gain to the 49ers’ 4, missed on four consecutive passes. Fine defensive plays by Chris Culliver, Eric Reid and Dontae Johnson thwarted the first three, and then Borland gathered in a tipped ball on the fourth attempt to kill the threat and preserve the win.

But from the outset, the Giants made it tough on San Francisco.

The 49ers took the opening kickoff and drove to the New York 16, but then fumbled the ball away. The Giants then marched the opposite way to take a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass from Manning to tight end Larry Donnell.

The 49ers took over the next two quarters, putting up three field goals by Phil Dawson and a touchdown on a 48-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree in the third quarter that gave the Niners a 16-10 lead. Still, the 49ers were frustrated offensively. They moved the ball well, but had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. The offense has yet yet to score a TD in the fourth quarter this season.

Fortunately, the San Francisco defense came through in a big way, picking off Manning five times, including two by the rookie Borland, who again had an outstanding day playing in place of the injured Patrick Willis. Also with interceptions were Michael Wilhoite, Reid and Culliver.

The 49ers defense also allowed just 65 rushing yards.

On offense, the 49ers running attack was clicking. Frank Gore ran for 95 yards, with Carlos Hyde (25) and Kaepernick (24) also chipping in.  The ground game and turnovers added up to the Niners winning the time-of-possession battle, almost 35 minutes to 25 minutes.

Kaepernick was 15-of-29 for 193 yards and one TD with no picks.

The 49ers, now on a two-game winning streak, will host Washington this coming Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Find New Way to Lose]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 17:39:04 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/161*120/Qahrfumble.jpg

Winless teams always seem to find new, creative ways to lose.

On Sunday, that was certainly true of the Oakland Raiders, who fell to 0-10 Sunday with a 13-6 loss to the Chargers in San Diego.

On their first offensive play of the day, from their own 22-yard line, a shotgun snap to quarterback Derek Carr turned into a fumble that was recovered by San Diego. Immediately, the Chargers turned it into a touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd.

It would be the only touchdown of the day for either team in a game that would have been 6-6 otherwise.

The game turned into a defensive struggle and puntfest after that first possession, with both offenses incapable of sustaining drives. Punters Marquette King and Mike Scifres each had nine punts.

The Raiders – as has often been the case this season – made things interesting late. They drove to the San Diego 7 for a field with 4:06 remaining to cut the deficit to seven points. Then, after getting the ball back with 1:05 remaining, were able to get out to their own 41 with just seconds remaining on a a 28-yard pass from Carr to James Jones. But Carr’s final Hail Mary pass toward the end zone fell incomplete.

The Raiders are not only winless in 2014 but have a losing streak now up to 16 games. The one-year anniversary of their last victory is Monday.

The Raiders played much better defensively against the Chargers in their second meeting of the season, holding them to just 300 total yards. In their first matchup, Rivers alone threw for 313 yards and three TDs. This time, the Raiders sacked him twice, put pressure on him constantly and allowed him to complete just 22 or 34 throws for 193 yards.

Carr was 16-of-34 for 172 yards, with no interceptions, though also often under pressure.

One bright spot for Oakland was running back Latavius Murray, who finally got a chance to run the football and gained 43 yards on just four attempts.

The Raiders now have a difficult task, having to regroup in time to host the Chiefs on Thursday night football at O.co Coliseum. Kansas City looked very strong Sunday in defeating the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks 24-20.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 11]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 20:04:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/458986756.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the eleventh week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reggie Wayne Talks Special Bond With T. Y. Hilton]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 12:30:53 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-16+at+2.09.54+PM.jpg Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, now in his 14th season, has mentored third year wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who's an emerging star in the league. The players discuss their special bond ahead of the Colts- New England Patriots showdown Sunday night. ]]> <![CDATA[Canseco Says Shot Finger Fell Off]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 21:47:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jose-canseco-getty.jpg

Jose Canseco’s struggle with his shot finger continues.

The former baseball star accidentally shot himself in the finger while cleaning what authorities say was a large-caliber handgun last month, but in a recent series of tweets, Canseco says the procedure to save his finger apparently didn’t work.

In the tweets, he details how his finger fell off Thursday night during a poker game.

(Warning: The below tweets might seem disturbing to some)

Canseco shot a finger on his left hand, apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon said.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon told NBC News. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major league career in the 1980s playing for the Oakland Athletics, before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career and after retiring also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49er Ray McDonald's Parents Criticize Police in Son's Arrest]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:25:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/familyMcDonald.jpg

The parents of 49ers football player Ray McDonald spoke publicly for the first time since prosecutors decided not to charge the defensive end with felony domestic violence, criticizing the police for the information they released, saying it caused their 30-year-old son to get "slaughtered by the lynch mob."

Speaking to NBC Bay Area by phone on Friday, LaBrina McDonald said she and her husband, Ray McDonald Sr., were tired of keeping quiet. McDonald Sr. said the police released information in "bits and pieces" to make everyone think that his son "attacked" his pregnant girlfriend when "that was totally wrong." He chastised the police, saying they didn't have the "full facts."

"We are a very close family and we come from a close knit community," added LaBrina McDonald. "And we know our son. To hear and read all those things that folks are saying and prejudging — it's heart-breaking. We had to grit our teeth and bite our tongues until this was all done and over."

The San Jose police responded to media requests for a response to the criticism Friday by issuing a three-paragraph statement citing the mandatory disclosure of the California Public Records Act, which include police reports.

"Based on the overwhelming request by various media outlets for police records regarding the Ray McDonald case, the San Jose Police Department complied with state law," police said.

The statement also added that police are "very cautious and sensitive about the information we provide to the media and the public because we do not want to interfere with an active and ongoing investigation. Many times we are precluded from sharing very intimate details about an investigation because we must allow the investigators to conduct their followup investigations."

The McDonalds decided to speak out after the Santa Clara County district attorney's office announced Monday that it wouldn't prosecute the 49er, who was arrested Aug. 31 after a birthday party he threw himself at his San Jose home.

The police news release at the time cited "visible injuries" to a woman officers accused McDonald of harming, but an internal DA memo released this week showed there was "insufficient evidence" and conflicting testimony to charge him with any crime.

There was indeed a fight, the prosecutors noted, where McDonald told his then 10-weeks-pregnant girlfriend she was an "unfit mother." But when the punch flew, both McDonald and the woman said she threw it, according to the document.

McDonald "grabbed her neck" to remove her from the house, which "resulted in a visible injury," the memo says. The action was used to restrain her, according to the documents. She told police that she was "fighting back." The prosecutor's memo describes the injuries as "seemingly minor" and characterizes the fight as a scuffle, "rather than an attack."

"He only restrained her," Ray McDonald Sr. said. "That was it."

Neither parent would not comment on their son's relationship with the woman at the center of the fight. They would not identify her, and would not answer whether she and their son still intended to get married. "You'll have to ask Ray," LaBrina McDonald said.

Ray McDonald told CSNBayArea that he was "doing stuff to try to better our relationship... because we do care about each other, love each other."

It was the "visible injuries" line that irks the McDonald parents, who own an insurance company in Florida and have one other child, a 32-year-old daughter.

"This basically led the public to believe that he hit or attacked her," the family said in a statement first issued to the Mercury News. "The fact that no additional information was given in this press release, in our opinion was very irresponsible and leads us to question the integrity of the ranking individuals that approved this press release."

READ: Ray McDonald Parents Statement on San Jose Police

NBC Bay Area was the second news outlet to obtain that statement and also an exclusive video interview with both parents from the airport on Friday as the couple was heading to Jamaica to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary.

LaBrina McDonald said that it was hard as a mother to watch her son's name be tarnished — a son she described as laidback, a "big teddy bear," a "Mama's boy," and a talented piano player. 

Since she's a "big talker," LaBrina McDonald said it was especially hard for her not to tell her friends what happened from her son's point of view that night. Ray McDonald Sr. said it was his son who counseled them "to be patient," saying that soon, "the truth will come out."

For the McDonald parents, they are only too happy that there were no charges filed against their son.

"He's a loving person," LaBrina McDonald said. "Just because he makes a lot of money and is a defensive lineman doesn't mean he's a bad person." 



Photo Credit: Courtesy of LaBrina McDonald
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<![CDATA[Niners Will Try to Gather Momentum]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:41:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/hydegiantsss.jpg

The 49ers have had their troubles this season, but it’s nothing like the Giants have experienced.

They’ve lost four straight games and are coming off a 38-17 loss to the Seahawks last week in which the Giants defense gave up 350 yards rushing.

At 3-6, the Giants rank dead last in the NFL in total defense, allowing 404.9 yards per game. Also, the Giants have allowed 27.4 points per game, eighth worst in the league.

On offense, the Giants are a middle-of-the-pack team, still dangerous with quarterback Eli Manning and exciting young receiver Odell Beckham, but not the once-dominating running team. Former Raider Rashad Jennings and Peyton Hillis have been the team’s best backs, each averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Oddsmakers have made the 49ers four-point favorites to win Sunday and get to 6-4 on the season.

Sunday will mark the return of 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith – who’s been suspended for the first nine games – but the first game since inside linebacker Patrick Willis was declared lost for the season.

Somehow, despite key injuries on defense this season, the unit has continued to play hard and have young players such as linebackers Aaron Lynch and Chris Borland step up and play very well.

On offense, it figures that the 49ers will run the ball vs. the Giants, just as they did last week in a win over the Saints. When the 49ers stick with a run-first philosophy, that usually leads to good things.

But the Giants know the Niners have seen the film of them getting shredded by the Seahawks on the ground last week, and have vowed to be much better vs. San Francisco.

Seattle especially exploited the Giants weakness around both ends, so this week defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said that’s been a focus in practice.

“It helps to have another opportunity to line up,” he told the New York Daily News. “It gives us another opportunity to go back and look at where we made mistakes, and correct it.”

Kiwanuka cited missed tackles and blown assignments, but said, “Everything is correctable.”

Even if they do fix what went wrong last week, the Giants defense is giving up 5.0 yards per carry over the entire season. This doesn’t seem to be a one-game blip, but a pattern.

Given that the 49ers need every game from here on out, expect them to hammer at the defense with running backs Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde from the outset.

The Niners have been inconsistent this season, but they pencil out to be better than the Giants on Sunday. 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers to Eliminate Paper Tickets Beginning Next Season]]> Sat, 15 Nov 2014 10:02:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/49ers-tickets.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers will stop printing paper tickets starting next season.

In 2015, the only ways to get into Levi's Stadium will be via mobile devices that show tickets on an app or e-tickets printed out beforehand, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Team officials say the move is part of a "long-term strategy to move to a mobile and digital ticketing experience," according to the newspaper.

Along with their new $1.3 billion stadium, the 49ers also unveiled a ticketing app this year.

Almost two-thirds of current season ticket holders already use the team's "Levi's Stadium app," the newspaper reported.

Only 13 percent of fans still use the "commemorative ticket" that used to be part of every gameday experience, according to the newspaper.

]]>
<![CDATA[Beating Chargers Will Require More Than Effort]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:41:02 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/KoachToneee.jpg

It’s hard to believe that Tony Sparano will be anything more than an interim head coach.

Since taking over the 0-4 Raiders, they’ve become the 0-9 Raiders. And, oddsmakers make them a 9-point underdog for Sunday’s game at the 5-4 San Diego Chargers.

The Raiders no doubt will want to bring in a big name or whoever the hottest assistant of the moment might be when this season concludes.

Yet Sparano does seem to have infused this team with more spirit since he took over the team. They’ve played hard and come close to upsets in games against the Chargers and Seahawks.

Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr, in fact, told reporters that going to work every day doesn’t feel like going to work for a losing team.

“The energy level is, honestly, like we’re 9-0,” he said. “Guys run around and are still striving to do whatever they can to make things right. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. It’s going to happen one of these days, and I’ll be excited to be a part of it.”

Whether it happens Sunday against the Chargers is up for debate, however.

The Chargers have lost three straight, but San Diego is expected to get back top running back Ryan Mathews – who’s missed six games with a knee injury. Plus, linebackers Manti Te’o and Melvin Ingram also are expcted to be available Sunday. So the Chargers should be at better strength than they were when they held on to beat Oakland 31-28 on Oct. 12.

Plus, the Chargers offense should overmatch the Raiders defense. Quarterback Philip Rivers leads the 11th-best passing offense in the NFL, and he can put up big numbers fast.

He’s coming off his worst game of the season in a 37-0 loss to the Dolphins and will want to get back on track against an Oakland secondary that can’t keep its top players healthy. In the first meeting between the teams, Rivers had a quarterback rating of 123.8, throwing for 313 yards and three TDs without an interception.

Cornebacks Carlos Rogers, TJ Carrie,  D.J. Hayden and Chimdi Chekwa all are dealing with injuries.

Still, Sparano is proud that the Raiders continue to play hard for him – even as the only winless team in the league.

“I really love that group of guys in the locker room,” Sparano said this week. “They do a heck of a job.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots' N-Word Thank You Tweet ]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:00:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/New+England+Patriots+Twitter+N+Word.jpg

The New England Patriots is apologizing after its Twitter account publicly thanked a user whose handle contained a racial slur. 

As the team was thanking its one million Twitter followers with automated digital custom jerseys, a Twitter account containing the N-word also received a jersey.

The Patriots have since deleted the tweet, and the account with the N-word has since been deleted.

The team also apologized to fans shortly after as the tweet went viral.

 

 

NECN reached out to the New England Patriots for comment and have not yet heard back. 



Photo Credit: twitter.com/patriots]]>
<![CDATA[Tom Brady: "I Wish I Could" Be Andrew Luck]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:54:55 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bradyderby.jpg

Tom Brady loves himself some Andrew Luck.

The best NFL quarterback the Bay Area has produced in recent memory praised the best quarterback Stanford has produced in the past seveal decades or longer – since John Elway, debatably – in a recent interview, according to reports.

The Palo Alto Daily News picked up on a press conference outside of Boston, where Brady's Patriots are preparing to meet Luck's Colts – a game of interest for Bay Area football fans, given the two quarterbacks' pedigrees.

Luck "does a lot of things I wish I could do," said Brady, the former NFL MVP and nine-time All-Pro said. "He's big, fast, shrugs off blockers. He makes a lot of extended plays. He's a great passer."

"He's a great player."

Brady, 37, was also a sixth-round NFL draft pick as opposed to Luck, who was one of the top choices in the draft.

Luck, for his part, says he's focused only on the Patriots defense and how to beat it – not on who the quarterback is.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mystifying 49ers Have Chance to Build Momentum]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:51:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/dagohrghuy.jpg

The 49ers this season are baffling.

When they play the Giants at the Meadowlands Sunday, will they be the team that went into New Orleans last week and won an overtime thriller? Or will they be the team that fell on its face the two previous games against the Rams and Broncos?

At 5-4, San Francisco has a three-game winning streak sandwiched between a pair of two-game losing streaks.

This week, former Ravens head coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick included the Niners in his list of most enigmatic teams of 2014, along with the 6-4 Steelers, 5-3-1 Bengals and 5-4 Chargers.

“It was hard to find a more reliable contender than the 49ers,” Billick wrote about the team as it headed into 2014. But this season, it’s been a mystery every game as to which team will show up.

The 3-6 Giants, however, watched the film of the 49ers beating the Saints and see a very strong opponent for Sunday’s matchup (10 a.m. PST). Head coach Tom Coughlin sees a defense that is playing well even without standout inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and an offense that can both run and throw.

“I see a team that starts out and declares they’re going to run it,” Coughlin told reporters on a conference call this week. “They’ve done an outstanding job doing that. They’re 10th in the league in run. They have all the play-action passes and empty sets. You can’t be lured to sleep, because they’ve got speed on the outside, they can go up and get the ball. They play various combinations of athletes for specific purposes.

“They have a good, solid, tough two-prong running attack. (Frank) Gore is an outstanding player and has been for many years. (Carlos) Hyde comes in and gives them another change of pace.”

After their early success vs. the Saints last week, when the 49ers leaned on their running game to take a 14-0 lead, it seems likely that San Francisco will again stay with that philosophy vs. the Giants.

Last week, New York’s rush defense gave up 350 yards on the ground to the Seahawks, the most in the NFL in one game since 2012.

A steady dose of Gore and Hyde would seem to be the road for the 49ers to climb up to 6-4. In the victory over the Saints, the 49ers ran for 144 yards, a season high on the road for them in 2014.

Said Gore, to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com: “The way we played, with me running the ball a lot, showed that’s the way we can rush the ball.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Need to be More Aggressive in Passing Game]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:51:21 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/kahrderekvboltz.jpg

If the Raiders hope to win in San Diego Sunday, they’re going to need to do what they did in their first meeting this season, a 31-28 Chargers victory:

Throw the ball downfield.

In that first meeting on Oct. 12, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr completed 18 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns. That’s an average of 15.6 yards per completion.

Among those plays were a 77-yard strike to Andre Holmes and a 47-yarder to Brice Butler.

But since that Oakland game, the Raiders offense has been committed more to dinks and dunks than bombs. In last week’s loss to the Broncos, for instance, Carr threw 31 passes that went just 5 yards or less, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Carr also had some success two weeks after the Chargers game against the Browns, throwing for a career-high 328 yards, but on almost twice as many completions (34). Over the past two games, losses to Seattle and Denver, Carr has 54 completions in 88 attempts – a respectable 61 percent – but that figures to just 7.1 yards per catch.

As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com noted this week, it’s a must for the Oakland offense to open things up.

“Unless the Raiders show they can succeed with the long ball – they need to try it early in the game to establish a presence – San Diego will control this game on defense,” he wrote.

Though the Raiders are 0-9, this week Carr was upbeat in talking about the rematch with San Diego. He said he couldn’t recall ever playing the same team twice in one season, so this will be a first for him and he sees a positive to it.

“One thing you know is their personnel,” he told reporters Wednesday. “You’ve played against them, you’ve seen them.”

For the Raiders, too, this might be the best shot to come up with a victory this season. The Chargers have been banged up and have lost three straight to fall to 5-4. San Diego is coming off a bye week after being hammered in Miami by the Dolphins 37-0 on Nov. 2.

The Raiders’ losing streak is up to 15 games, dating to November of last year. Oakland would like to avoid becoming just the second team to go 0-16. They still are four consecutive losses away from the franchise record of 19 consecutive losses by the Raiders of 1961-62.

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Chief Under Fire For Taking Gifts From 49ers]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 18:31:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SJPD-Seal.jpg

Already under scrutiny for the free tickets some top brass got from the San Francisco 49ers, the San Jose Police Department could be facing a new investigation

Two of the department's top commanders are the focus of an internal investigation. Now it appears the police chief may face the same accusations as his commanders.

With all the attention on this issue, Police Chief Larry Esquivel has never been accused of accepting free tickets from the 49ers, and he has never publicly acknowledged that he did.

Until now.

The 49ers conduct so-called “Law Enforcement Appreciation Days.” But San Jose’s Gift Ordinance prohibits most city officials from accepting gifts, such as tickets, worth more than $50 and expressly prohibits professional sporting events.

The assistant chief and a deputy chief are being investigated by internal affairs for accepting 49ers tickets. NBC Bay Area has learned Chief Esquivel accepted the same gifts when he attended the “Appreciation Day” game at Candlestick Park on Aug. 8, 2013, with Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia.

Esquivel filled out the proper gift disclosure paperwork and reimbursed the 49ers but not until this year.

"This was something that he realized, ‘Hey, I made a mistake here, and I'm going to go ahead and make it right,’” SJPD Spokesman Albert Morales said. "He realized that was in violation of the city policy."

Esquivel's actions may also violate police department policy, which prohibits seeking or accepting gratuities not accorded private citizens.

"The duty manual says that in our official capacity, our position, we will not 'seek ' tickets,” Morales said. “Now, again, this law enforcement appreciation was an invitation by the 49ers.”

LaDoris Cordell, the San Jose independent police auditor, says the duty manual is clear.

"Officers cannot accept things as gifts or discounts or gratuities unless everybody gets them,” Cordell said.

And it appears an investigation is looming.

"Our office has received a complaint from a member of the public pertaining to Chief Esquivel and 49er tickets,” Cordell said.

At this point, it is not clear if the department’s Internal Affairs unit will deal with the chief's situation, and the gift ordinance is also being reviewed by city officials.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hulk Hogan Rings in Wrestlemania 31 Pre-Sale]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:09:02 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_hulkhoganajpg_bim.jpg

Will Levi's Stadium survive to host Super Bowl 50 in 2016? Not if Hulk Hogan and the WWE have anything to do about it.

Hogan, 61, one of the legends of American professional wrestling, was in the Bay Area this week to pump up possible attendees of WrestleMania 31, which is slated to grace Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara this March.

But, as the San Jose Mercury News reports, this might be the curtain call for the new stadium.

Hogan pledged in an interview with the newspaper to "tear that Levi's Stadium down." He added: "This whole thing is a monster, brother... you cannot even imagine the amount of energy that's going to be blowing out of this Levi's Stadium."

Can the stadium hope to survive? It's unclear if the $1.3 billion stadium's architects planned for such a righteous onslaught, brother.

Tickets to WrestleMania in Silicon Valley run from $35 for cheap seats to $2,000 for a ringside spot that also includes a take-home, commemorative folding chair, the newspaper reported.

In other words, sounds about as peaceful as a typical 49ers-Raiders game.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, or Thursday for 49ers season-ticket holders, or Friday for Bay Area residents.

In the words of Hunter Pence, who borrowed these words – as well as a WWE championship belt – from underdog hero Daniel Bryan: "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

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<![CDATA[Hernandez Trial Move Denied]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:57:39 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/b5be81e2cbc24dfe9245749f34341294.jpg

A judge has denied a motion by defense lawyers for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez seeking to change the location of his trial, saying there is no reason to believe he won't be able to get a fair trial in the Boston area.

Hernandez's attorneys had argued that pre-trial publicity would make it hard for the former football star to get a fair trial in Bristol County. They said the jury pool had been "poisoned" by prejudicial pretrial publicity and suggested moving the trial "outside the Boston media market" to  Hampden County or Worcester County.

However, Judge E. Susan Garsh disagreed with the arguments made by Hernandez's attorneys.

"Hernandez has not demonstrated by a solid foundation of fact that there exists in Bristol County so great a prejudice against him that he cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial there," Garsh said in her ruling. "Nothing about the polling proffered by the defendant provides any reason to believe that impaneling a jury in Worcester or Hampden County would be any more or less difficult.

"The reality is that the extensive media coverage of this case is not driven by local media or by any particular local interest," the judge added. "Because the defendant is an athlete from a nationally prominent professional football team, the case is of interest to people across the state, New England, ann the country."

Garsh said the court will reconsider its ruling if, during jury selection, it becomes apparent that it will not be possible to pick "a fair and impartial jury" in Bristol County.

Hernandez is set to go on trial in January for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

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<![CDATA[NFL Execs in Bay Area For Levi’s Stadium Status Update]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 07:09:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LEVIS-STADIUM-SUPER-BOWL-VO-okay---00002827.jpg

Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara is 15 months away, but some NFL executives paid a visit to Levi’s Stadium on Tuesday for a status update. They want to make sure the Bay Area is ready.

Feb. 7, 2016, the Bay Area will be in the international spotlight. Not only is it the Super Bowl, it's the 50th anniversary of the big game.

NBC Bay Area was on hand Tuesday as several NFL executives met with the Bay Area Super Bowl Host Committee.

The big issues: security, business impact and, of course, traffic – for the entire Super Bowl week.

“It’s the Super Bowl, so we are going to have traffic, we are going to have activity, we’re gonna have congestion, like you do at any major event in any part of the world,” Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce said. “What we do … is to mitigate potential issues and problems.”

“I love the energy out here,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL senior vice president of special events. “I think everybody loves the energy out here. It’s great. It’s a beautiful part of the country with people who are passionate about lots of different things, and I think the beauty of the NFL is that it brings lots of different people together.”

While the game will be played in Santa Clara, San Francisco will host many of the fan and media villages. Oakland and San Jose will also play a major role.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jake Peavy Wants to Turn Cable Car Into Bar]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:29:33 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/458010398_8.jpg

Jake Peavy is just a country boy.

With, very soon, his very own San Francisco cable car to ply him with alcohol.

The San Francisco Giants pitcher is in the process of purchasing an "authentic S.F. cable car" with the intention of turning the historic train into a "mobile bar" on his 5,000-acre ranch in Alabama, according to reports.

TMZ reports that Peavy's brother, Luke, confirmed the plan for the cable bar.

There's no timeline as to when the bar will be en route to Alabama, but TMZ says the Peavys are "super-charging the process to get it done ASAP."

Which may be the fastest a cable car has ever traveled.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Laker Ellington's Dad Shot Dead]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 03:56:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Wayne-Ellington-Newest.jpg

The father of Los Angeles Lakers guard Wayne Ellington Jr. was shot and killed in the Germantown section of Philadelphia Sunday night.

Police responding to a car crash on the 5200 block of Marion Street just after 8 p.m. found a 57-year-old man in the driver’s seat of a 2001 Oldsmobile. The vehicle had struck two parked cars on the street, according to investigators.

The man was bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound to the left side of his head. Police rushed the victim to the Einstein Medical Center,where he died early Monday.

NBC10 confirmed Tuesday that the victim was Wayne Ellington Sr., the father of NBA player and Los Angeles Laker Wayne Ellington Jr.

“My family and I are devastated by the news of my father’s murder on Sunday night in Philadelphia,” Ellington Jr. said in a statement. “We appreciate everyone’s support and ask that you respect the privacy of our family during this very difficult time.”

No arrests have been made in his father's murder. Police continue to investigate.

The Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak also released a statement on the shooting.

“Our players are upset for their friend and teammate," Kupchak wrote. "Additionally, ownership and all Lakers employees are also saddened by this tragedy. Those of us who work with and have gotten to know Wayne have come to know what a wonderful and caring person he is. Our hearts go out to Wayne and his family, as do our thoughts and prayers.”

Ellington Jr., 26, was granted an indefinite leave of absence. It's unknown when he will rejoin the team.

Ellington Jr. was born in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and attended Daniel Boone High School in Birdsboro as well as Episcopal Academy in Merion.

He played college basketball for North Carolina and led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Championship in 2009 during his junior year. He was also named the tournament's most outstanding player.

He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009. He has also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and most recently, the Los Angeles Lakers. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>