• Falcons will be early birds at Super Bowl site


    NEW YORK: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be arriving in Houston for Super Bowl 51 a full day behind their rivals in the NFL championship spectacle, the Atlanta Falcons.

    Travels plans announced Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) by the league show the Falcons’ airplane landing Sunday afternoon at Houston and scheduled to practice on Monday afternoon at Rice University as the Patriots flight arrives.

    The Patriots will use the University of Houston as their training headquarters for the remainder of the week heading into Sunday’s title game against the Falcons.

    Tom Brady AFP PHOTO

    With Brady as quarterback, New England won Super Bowl crowns in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2015. The Falcons lost their only trip to the Super Bowl, falling to Denver in 1999.

    The league also on Wednesday named Carl Cheffers as referee on the seven-man crew selected to officiate Super Bowl 51.

    Cheffers is in his 17th season as an NFL game official. He entered the league in 2000 as a side judge and was promoted to referee in 2008. He served as the alternate referee for Super Bowl 49 and as an alternate official for Super Bowl 42.

    Together, the crew has 93 years of experience and 64 playoff games as NFL officials.

    The league also announced that the Miami Dolphins did not follow proper head injury protocol during their first-round playoff game against Pittsburgh on January 8.

    “They must engage their staff in a full review of the protocol and conduct additional education, if necessary,” the NFL said in a statement. “The Dolphins were also advised that any future deviation from the protocol may result in enhanced discipline, including monetary fines assessed against the club.”

    The league and players’ association reviewed events after Miami quarterback Matt Moore was hit by Bud Dupree in the second quarter, with the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker drawing a roughing the passer penalty.

    Moore remained on the field for several moments before retreating to the sideline for one play, prompting the NFL and union to open an investigation on the Dolphins. The NFL noted that while the team doctor properly engaged a neuro-trauma consultant, the team did not recognize that Moore was bleeding from the mouth and required further evaluation in the locker room.”

    Dupree was fined $18,231 by the NFL for the blow.



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