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Doc's NFL Notebook

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We already knew which teams would matchup for the 256 games of the 2012 NFL season and where they would play, now we know when they'll happen. It all starts at MetLife Stadium with the New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 5. But plenty of fans are looking forward to Peyton Manning's debut with the Denver Broncos, who will take on the Steelers in the first Sunday Night game on Sept. 9.

Starting this season, there will be Thursday Night games from Week 2 through Week 15, including the Steelers heading to Tennessee for one such matchup in Week 6. Of note for Steelers fans lucky enough to have season tickets: two primetime games are scheduled at Heinz Field. They'll face the Chiefs on Monday Night in Week 10 (Nov. 12), followed by the Ravens on Sunday Night, Oct. 18.

Vikings Pillaging
How much longer will the Vikings last in Minnesota? Team and league officials are saying they'll leave sooner rather than later. A stadium subsidy plan was voted down 9-6 in the stage legislature on April 16. Lester Bagley, the Vikings V.P. of public affairs and stadium development told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "There is no next year" if a stadium bill is not passed in 2012. Commissioner Roger Goodell told Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton that not passing a subsidy this year will lead to "serious consequences." It wouldn't be the first time a league has handed down vague, empty threats if a team of theirs doesn't get a new stadium. But as Bagley noted, the Vikings have been "waiting 'til next year" on a replacement for the Metrodome since 2006.

Head Games
The New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal now has a literal voice behind it: that of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams made a speech to his players the day before the Saints' postseason game against the San Francisco 49ers in January. He told his unit regarding 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, "He becomes human when you [expletive] take out that outside ACL." About running back Frank Gore: "We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head… We want his head sideways," Williams said. One more? "We can [expletive] clip Vernon Davis' ankles over the pile." A recording of the speech was obtained by Yahoo! Sports from documentarian Sean Pamphilon. Williams is, naturally, suspended indefinitely by the league.

Quoth The Raven
If I know anything about Steelers fans, and I like to think I know a little, my guess is they'll enjoy this. Baltimore sports radio station WNST asked Ravens QB Joe Flacco about his negotiations for a new contract. Flacco and his agent are aiming for a contract that would put him among the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL, but does he think he deserves it? "Without a doubt. What do you expect me to say?" Flacco responded. "I assume everybody thinks they're a top-five quarterback. I mean, I think I'm the best. I don't think I'm top five, I think I'm the best." That's right, Steelers fans. Joe Flacco thinks he's the league's best quarterback. You all will undoubtedly agree, I'm certain of it.

Legal Tender
As long as we're turning this "NFL Notebook" into a "Steelers Notebook," let's take some time for Mike Wallace. The fourth-year receiver did not receive any offers in restricted free agency, which would have likely required a first-round pick and a long-term, front-loaded contract. Now Wallace is saying he will hold out from workouts and training camp "until he has to" sign his tender, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That could be costly for Wallace. That tender of $2.7 million has to be signed by June 15, or Steelers have the ability to lower their offer as low as $577,000 (less than his 2011 salary). In any event, restricted free agency is going the way of Kodachrome film: only undrafted players will be eligible starting next offseason.

Channel Surfing
Anyone who subscribes to DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket, or is considering signing up, can save a little bit this season. The satellite provider announced that the price of Sunday Ticket will drop from $325 to $200 for the 2012 regular season. DirecTV has exclusive rights to the out-of-market games package through 2014. Even if you don't have DirecTV, HBO-subscribing football fans are looking forward to another season of "Hard Knocks," which documents an NFL team's training camp behind the scenes. That team won't be the Atlanta Falcons, who turned down a chance to be featured by HBO. Some are speculating that the Tebow-charged New York Jets could return after they were on the show two seasons ago. Head coach Rex Ryan would have plenty of time to get his snacks ready.


 

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