NEW YORK — The NFL will allow teams to use video scoreboards to encourage crowd noise in stadiums during entire plays.
Although the scoreboards can only use audio prompts until 20 seconds remain on the play clock — down from 30 seconds — video prompts now can be used any time. Those videos also were limited to the final 30 seconds on the play clock until the 2013 season.
That’s the latest change the league is allowing in an attempt to enhance the fan experience in stadiums. Last week, teams were notified they must place cameras in their locker rooms to provide video only, with the footage being displayed on the video boards and also on team apps.
Teams have control over content.
Home teams also will be required to show replays on the video boards after all scoring plays, turnovers, challenged plays, first downs and receptions where the receiver ends up out of bounds. Multiple replays of any play automatically reviewed must be shown “with the very best camera angles available.”
Visiting teams now must be introduced as a unit 10 minutes before kickoff.
The NFL also says 98 percent of tickets for 2013 regular-season games already have been sold. That includes season tickets, individual game seats and group sales.
The Dallas Cowboys are in talks with defensive end Anthony Spencer regarding a new contract.
Salary-cap space isn’t a problem now; currently the team has a little more than $5 million to play with. But previous contracts are the issue.
The Cowboys don’t want to get caught with another bad contract for a player that becomes average after he signs it.
Starting right tackle Doug Free signed a four-year, $32 million deal with $17 million guaranteed in 2011. After two seasons, Free moved from left tackle to right tackle and has struggled mightily. He had to share playing time with Jermey Parnell late last season, and his play eventually improved. But overall, Free has struggled. And while a source said recently his status with the Cowboys was “secure,” there are strong indications the Cowboys will ask him to take a pay cut. If Free declines, he most likely will be released.
After his breakout season when he took over for Roy Williams, wide receiver Miles Austin cashed in and signed a seven-year, $57.1 million contract extension with $18 million guaranteed.
The year he signed the contract, 2010, Austin picked up 1,041 receiving yards. He’s failed to reach that total since and has battled hamstring injuries each of the last two seasons and has been surpassed by Dez Bryant as the best receiver on the team. This is a critical season for Austin in terms of his health.
The Cowboys value Austin’s skills, but are frustrated by his inability to remain healthy over the course of the season. He also failed to catch a pass in both games against NFC East rival the Washington Redskins last season.
Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau signed a modest four-year, $11 million free agent contract last season with the Cowboys. He’s undergone three surgeries since signing the deal. Bernadeau filled a need and the Cowboys got younger at the position. And while his contract isn’t as bad, the team might have been able to do more with that $11 million.
Looking at these contracts, you could make the argument that the Cowboys made mistakes in giving them. At the same time, Free and Austin were coming off good seasons the year they received them but have been inconsistent since.
When the team moves forward with Spencer, the goal is figure out if that career-high 11 sack season was the sign of things to come or just a man playing well in a contract year.
You might remember the viral video of a runaway golf cart at Cowboys Stadium that plowed into a group of people following a high school football game in 2011.
One of the people injured in the bizarre incident was Spring Dekaney High School head football coach Willie Amendola, the father of New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola.
Willie Amendola now has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Cowboys Stadium, according to Comcast SportsNet Houston. Amendola cites personal injury and “great personal anguish and embarrassment” to him and his family following the highly publicized incident.
The unmanned cart took off after an end zone pylon accidentally became wedged against the accelerator. The cart collided with Amendola and a group of reporters near midfield, then carried the coach approximately 30 yards before someone was able to jump on the cart, dislodge the pylon and apply the brakes.