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DENVER (AP) — In no sport but the NFL do players Marcus Davenport Jersey Stitched , fans, coaches and general managers annually debate the rules of the game, advocating ways to make pro football better, safer, fairer.Officiating is especially a hot topic around the league after a blown call late in the NFC championship game pretty much cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.That capped a season which began with the long-awaited clarification of what constitutes a catch and then was marred by widespread confusion over what exactly is a legal takedown of the quarterback. While defenders learned new ways to tackle to avoid flags for even glancing blows to the helmet, they complained about O-linemen illegally blocking too far downfield in the run-pass option craze that has successfully seeped in from the college game.Giants owner John Mara hears the cries to change the NFL’s replay review system after officials failed to flag the blatant pass interference penalty and a helmet-first hit by the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman deep in Los Angeles territory in the NFC championship match. The non-calls helped Los Angeles force overtime and eventually win the game to reach the Super Bowl, leading to widespread displeasure with the current system regarding coaches’ challenges.Mara said last month at the NFL combine that the powerful competition committee isn’t in a rush to change the replay system.“I just don’t sense a lot of support to use replay to call penalties. I don’t sense a lot of support for the expansion of it, either,” Mara said. “We’re early on, so that might change, but that’s my sense of where we are right now. I’m not saying it won’t change.”The Canadian Football League has allowed pass interference, either called or uncalled, to be reviewed for the last five years. But the NFL has long been reluctant to expand replays for officiating because it would slow games even further.Other major moves will be considered by the 32 owners at the league meetings in Phoenix beginning Sunday.Several teams are proposing big changes to replay and overtime after a season of consistent criticism of officiating and which plays can be challenged or automatically reviewed. Any change requires a 24-vote threshold to pass.Just like the USFL did with the 2-point conversion and other innovations back in the 1980s, the Alliance of American Football’s debut this spring has brought novel ideas, some of which could find their way into the NFL rule book. Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, a staunch advocate for adding more replay reviews to the NFL, is a big fan of the AAF’s “sky judge,” an official watching from the press box level who can help call penalties from a bird’s-eye view.“Look how tough it is for these officials, all right. I know as a coach, what’s the worst spot to watch the game from? Sideline. You see the least amount form the sideline. That’s why you put coaches in the box,” Harbaugh said. “OK. So we’ve got all this technology and the fans actually have a better view of the game from an officiating standpoint than the officials do.“So these clear and obvious mistakes that are inevitably going to get made Youth Tre'Quan Smith Jersey , it’s not just one play in a championship game; it happens every single week, because the job is so tough and moves so fast and the angles aren’t great,” Harbaugh added. “If we can put somebody up there in the box that has a better angle that can help officiate the game from up there, do that. If we can add more replay, let’s do that.”Harbaugh said the league would save face by fixing a system everyone knows is flawed.“Because at the end of the day it’s about the credibility of the sport, and we can’t have the other leagues outpacing us in terms of use of technology to make sure games are fair and well-officiated,” Harbaugh said. “We have great officials. These guys are incredible with what they do. We’ve also put a lot of rules in place that’ve made it really tough on them. They’ve got a lot on their plate.“So let’s add an official, let’s add two officials, let’s put one up in the box, let’s expand replay if we want. Let’s make sure that at the end of the day the fans walk out of the stadium and walk away from their TV sets knowing that was a good, hard-fought, well-officiated game and the outcome is as it should be and it was correct. The right team won the game.”Players have their own ideas about ways to make the game better.Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said the rules already in place need to be enforced, like flagging O-linemen who block too far downfield on the run-pass option plays that have become all the rage, leading to wide-open tight ends as linebackers come up to play the run.“You can’t have guys 4 or 5 yards downfield and (the quarterback is) still throwing the ball,” Harris said.“They’ve got to figure out the RPO stuff, but let me suggest a better rule,” teammate Von Miller said. “You know how you can’t hit a defenseless receiver coming across the field? I feel like edge rushers should have the same protection from chippers. I feel like it’s not fair.“I’m looking right and I’ve got a receiver that shuffles in and blindsides me while I’m focusing on this play. I actually tore my ACL in a play like that in 2013,” Miller said. “I feel like the chips should be gone. I’m dead serious about that. You see guys get blindsided all the time.”Miller said owners are eager to protect QBs and nowadays great edge rushers are getting paid just like franchise quarterbacks.“We’ve got a lot of star pass rushers. All it takes is one of those plays and boom, that could be it for one of those guys,” Miller said. “This league is all about protecting the quarterbacks. How come they get protection and we don’t?” October 23, 1994 – As the New Orleans Saints get set to take on the Los Angeles Rams in the Superdome Tre'Quan Smith Jersey Stitched , a camera pans through a sea of Saints scoured across the field during pregame warm-ups. The camera stops on phenom kick returner Tyrone Hughes as he sits on the turf, stretching his hamstrings. “I think I’m good for two today”, Hughes stated, predicting two returns for touchdowns in that game. Hughes set the stage for what would become one of the most remembered games in Saints history.But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.Life of a Saint: Tyrone HughesTo know Tyrone Hughes’ roots, you don’t have to travel far from the aforementioned Superdome. In fact, you’d have to head a few miles east to the Lower Ninth Ward. Prior to high school, Hughes would move a few minutes closer to the Dome into the Seventh Ward, eventually attending one of the highest NFL player producing high schools in the country in “St Aug”. Fate would eventually land the local product inside walls of the Superdome, playing as a Saint.The Early YearsIt didn’t take long for Tyrone Hughes to realize he stood out from his peers. “I wouldn’t say I was better, but as a young kid playing playground ball, I was always faster”, Hughes mentioned. His speed was not only known by the kids up the street at Hardin Park, but also the coaches of multiple sports. Hughes played on park ball teams, excelling in football, basketball, track and baseball. As ironic as it may be, Hughes started playing football in junior high school as a punter. Hughes stated, “That was really my first experience with older players.” While Hughes stated he did well, he noted that as he headed to St. Augustine High School, he was known more as a baseball prodigy than a football phenom. While the focus was on baseball, Hughes did find himself on the football roster as a junior in high school Youth Rick Leonard Jersey , still as a punter. About three games before the end of the season, the coaching staff decided to mix things up. “The defensive backs coach was also the baseball coach. He knew I was fast from stealing bases in baseball. He and the linebackers coach said, ‘Let’s put Tyrone back there to return a punt.’. They punted the ball to me and I returned it for a touchdown, but there was a flag. They had to re-punt. They punted to me again. I returned it for a touchdown.” A star was born. By the end of the season, Hughes would land himself on the “Top five players to watch” list for Sports Illustrated leading into his senior year.National AttentionFollowing the eye-opening success of his junior year, the St. Augustine coaching staff redesigned the offense to a “Delaware Wing-T” playbook, specifically designed for Hughes. Hughes remembered, “What really got me noticed was my third game of the year. I would say it was my ‘Al Bundy” game. I had four touchdowns in the first half. I had a kickoff return, a punt return, a run and a pass.” At that point, local buzz had turned into national buzz. Hughes earned the Gatorade Player of the Week award. The mailbox was immediately and regularly filling with colleges attempting to attract Hughes. In one year, Hughes went from punter to Offensive Player of the Year for the state of Louisiana, averaging a whopping 40 yards per return, 10 yards per carry at running back and 30 yards per reception at wide receiver.The 1993 NFL DraftHughes emergence in his junior and senior year of college landed him in the NFL, getting drafted by the very local New Orleans Saints in the fifth round. For Hughes, it was a dream come true in many ways. But, given the choice, would he have rather gone to a Super Bowl contender? Hughes answered, “You’re talking about the draft, so you don’t get to pick and choose. At that time, I think it would have been the San Francisco 49ers. Yes Rick Leonard Jersey Stitched , I would have gone to them. However, I think my best opportunity to play was with the Saints because of what I did (returned kick-offs and punts). Hughes was happy to stay home though. After jesting that he dodged a bullet by not being selected by the Bengals the pick prior, Hughes spoke about how happy he was to join the Saints. “My family and I were just so thrilled. They had brought me in for a workout and I knew they needed a punt and kick returner.” Hughes in the NFLHughes not only earned his roster spot on the Saints as a rookie, but also made such a splash that he played his way onto the Pro Bowl team. His family was able to join him on the trip as fate would have it. Prior to starting his rookie season in the NFL, Hughes played in the American Bowl. Hughes said, “I ended up being the MVP of the game. Along with the trophy, they gave me two first class tickets to the Pro Bowl. When I made it to the Pro Bowl that year, I ended up trading those first-class tickets in for four coach tickets and paying for the rest of them. I ended up having my whole family come. We all hung out in Hawaii and had a great time.”Hughes success continued into year two. “Again, I led the NFL in kickoff returns and kickoff return yardage, which I don’t know if that was a good sign for our defense”, Hughes joked. “I led the NFL in my third year as well. Three years in a row I broke my own record.” Hughes held the record for most kickoff returns for several years until current record holder MarTay Jenkins of the Arizona Cardinals eclipsed Hughes’ mark. Jim MoraIt’s well chronicled that with the Saints offensive woes mounting at the tail end of Jim Mora’s 11-year stay with the New Orleans Saints, fans and media went to the head coach to ask why he didn’t use Tyrone Hughes at wide receiver. Between his speed and his experience at the position, Hughes was a logical answer on the offensive side of the ball, or so it seemed to most. When asked if he still had any bitterness toward Jim Mora in not being afforded the opportunity to play wide receiver, Hughes responded, “Yes, I do. There was always bitterness. First of all, I was one of the fastest guys on the team. They could have put me at receiver while I was still learning the defense. Whether it’s political or whatever, everything is not done in the best interest of the team. It was more in the best interest of the organization. What I mean by that is how they would justify the reasons for not doing something, regardless of how stupid it may have sounded. Jim Mora’s response was, ‘We don’t feel he can catch good enough’. Think about that. If I drop a pass Youth Marshon Lattimore Jersey , that’s incomplete. If I drop a punt or kickoff, that’s a turnover.” October 23, 1994So, whatever happened to Tyrone Hughes’ pregame prediction on October 23, 1994. Tyrone Hughes did, in fact, return two kicks for touchdowns and in the process set NFL records for most kickoff return yardage in a game (304) and most combined return yardage (kickoffs and punts) in a game (347), of which both still stand today. When asked how he knew such a prediction itself, Hughes commented, “That was actually the first time I had done something like that. It just felt that, after watching the film, we would have the opportunities to return.” After Hughes’ success that day, he didn’t make a habit of making pregame predictions. “I had never done it before and I never did it again. But that day, it just felt like we had an opportunity.”, Hughes mentioned. Tyrone Hughes was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2015 along with another great returner, Michael Lewis.
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