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Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Suffers Concussion Days After Suspected Head Injury

The Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury on Thursday during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was carried off the field on a stretcher. He had suffered another injury less than a week ago in a game against the Buffalo Bills.

In the second quarter of the Bengals game, Tagovailoa was tackled by Bengals defensive lineman Josh Tupou. When he hit the ground, he made a gesture with his hands called the “fencing response,” which is often a sign of a brain injury. He then laid there, barely moving on the field, for nearly 10 minutes until trainers put him on a stretcher and carried him off the field.

A few minutes after the injury, broadcasters announced he had suffered head and neck injuries and was being taken to a hospital to be treated. Later, The Dolphins confirmed that Tagovailoa had suffered a concussion but had movement in all his extremities. After he was released from the hospital, he flew back with the team to Florida on Thursday night.

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Head Coach Mike McDaniel said it was a “scary moment” after the game.

“He was evaluated for a concussion and is in concussion protocol. That was an emotional moment. That is not part of the deal anyone signs up for even though you know it’s a possibility in football.”

Just a few days prior, Tagovailoa had suffered another blow to his head during a game against the Bills. His helmet slammed against the turf after he got hit by linebacker Matt Milano in the second quarter. He “immediately grabbed the sides of his helmet, staggered to his feet and after taking a few steps, fell to his knees.” He was examined for a concussion, cleared and returned to the field in the third quarter.

The Dolphins later said he had suffered a back injury, not a head injury. Tagovailoa agreed that he had passed the concussion evaluations before he returned to the game.

McDaniel defended playing Tagovailoa in the game against the Bengals less than a week after the injury, saying Tagovailoa had been evaluated by an independent doctor who said he was fit to play.

“For me, as long as I’m coaching here, I’m not going to fudge that whole situation—if there’s any sort of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into the concussion protocol. We don’t mess with that. I never have and as long as I’m the head coach, it will never be an issue that you guys have to worry about.”

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN that the incident from the game was likely much more severe than it was being portrayed.

“When you look at the video from last night, it obviously looks like a pretty significant injury. Tua’s on the ground for a long time. This movement that he’s doing with his hands … that is a significant sign, something that people really need to pay attention to…It can be a sign of basically disrupting some of the pathways, even temporarily, between the brain and the spinal cord. If that sounds serious, it is serious.”

Dr. Gupta said Tagovailoa appeared unstable after his first injury in the game with the Bills and should not have been cleared to play under the NFL concussion protocol.

Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth spoke about his past experiences with a head injury and the pressures to keep playing after being injured.

“I can literally remember playing the Philadelphia Eagles on a Thursday night football game years ago myself—getting concussed, wobbling around, a referee actually removed me from the game. I go back in the game because you want to play. I was able to get myself through the test, explain that I’m fine, knowing that I had been dinged pretty good. I had a teammate that was like, ‘Man, this guy just is not right and I don’t feel right letting him keep playing.’ He actually pulled me out of the game and told the coaches that I need to be removed. And I’m so thankful for that. … This situation just brings back those memories. For us guys that have been on that field, it’s tough, man. We’ve gotta keep these guys uninvolved in it. They shouldn’t feel obligated to do something more than what they need to. It’s just an ugly scene to see.”

Several people believe that Tagovailoa may have suffered two concussions in five days, which is extremely dangerous. The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) said their “investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing,” and they were hoping for Tagovailoa’s “full and speedy recovery.” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith vowed he would hold all responsible parties accountable.

“We insisted on these rules to avoid exactly this scenario. We will pursue every legal option, including making referrals against the doctors to licensing agencies and the team that is obligated to keep our players safe.”

Brian Flores Sues Three Teams, NFL While Alleging Racism In Hiring Process

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has sued the National Football League, as well as three teams — the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and the Dolphins — alleging discrimination played a part in both his firing and in the interview processes for Denver and NYG.

The 58-page lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court Tuesday by Wigdor Law LLP, and seeks class-action civil. In addition to the three teams and the league, the lawsuit also acknowledges “John Doe Teams 1 through 29” as defendants.

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Flores, 40, coached for Miami from 2019 to 2021, compiling a 24-25 record with two winning seasons. He claims Dolphins owner Stephen Ross attempted to incentivize the head coach to “tank” — a phrase for teams losing on purpose to further their draft standing — after he was hired in 2019 by offering $100,000 for every loss.

According to Flores, after the team saw victories late in the season, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier to him Ross was “mad” about Miami’s on-field success. Flores states that Ross tried to pressure him into recruiting a “prominent quarterback,” which would have violated the NFL’s tampering rules.

Ross then invited Flores for lunch on a yacht in winter 2020, where he told Flores that the quarterback was “conveniently” arriving for an impromptu meeting. Again refusing to tamper, Flores left. According to the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad, that quarterback was Tom Brady, who became a free agent in March of that year and later signed with the in-state rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Flores and Brady overlapped from 2004 to 2018 as members of the New England Patriots.

Following this incident, Flores alleges he was “treated with disdain” and made out to be someone who was difficult to work with. After Flores was fired — to the surprise of many at the time — on Jan. 10, he began interviewing for several head coaching vacancies around the league.

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Flores contends that the Giants interviewed him simply to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and front office positions. The rule, established in 2003, has been adjusted a number of times in the last two decades.

Flores spoke with the Giants on Zoom on Jan. 18, shortly before the Giants — undergoing major personnel changes this offseason — named former Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen to their GM role. The next day, Schoen finalized Flores’ second interview for Jan. 27. Hours later, Flores texted with Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick, who told Flores, “Sounds like you have landed [the job] – congrats!!”

Flores confirmed he had an interview for Thursday and felt he had a shot at it, to which Belichick replied he heard from Buffalo and New York he was “their guy.” Flores then asked Belichick whether he was talking to him or former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who the Giants named their new HC on Jan. 28. Belichick confirmed he thought he was talking to Daboll.

“Sorry – I f****d this up. I double checked & I misread the text. I think they are naming Daboll. I’m sorry about that. BB”

Flores also claims that during his 2019 interview with the Denver Broncos, team officials — including then-general manager John Elway — showed up disheveled and hungover, alleging they were heavily drinking the night prior. The Broncos would later hire Vic Fangio.

In response to the lawsuit, the NFL stated they are “deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices” and continue to make process in providing equal opportunities. However, the NFL also said Flores’ claims are without merit, and that they will defend against them.

New York commented that they “are pleased and confident” with their hiring process, having interviewed a number of diverse candidates, while the Dolphins denied the allegations and added they are proud of the diversity within their organization.

Following the firings of Flores and David Culley from the Houston Texans, there is now only one black head coach (Mike Tomlin) in the NFL, which equates to 3.1% of all head coaches being black. Additionally, just 35-45% of assistant coaches are black, while no owners are black.

In addition to stating that in certain ways, the NFL is racially segregated and operated “much like a plantation,” the lawsuit lists a number of reliefs Flores is seeking, which includes increasing and incentivizing diversity in ownership and coaching, increasing objectivity in hiring and termination decisions for prominent roles, and seeing complete transparency in pay for GMs, HCs, and coordinators.

Hard Rock Stadium

1972 Miami Dolphin’s Named The “Greatest Team In NFL History”

The National Football League has officially named the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the greatest team in NFL history. ESPN reports that during the Dolphins finale home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the 22nd, the 1972 team was honored during halftime with an arena wide toast. The football legends all raised a glass of Dom Perignon to celebrate a monumental and well-deserved accomplishment. 

The NFL named the 1972 Dolphins as a part of their “NFL 100 Greatest” series that they created to end the decade. The NFL worked alongside the Associated Press to collectively go through the NFL’s history with a fine tooth comb. They created a mini television special that consisted of 20 one-hour long episodes; clips from the special are now available on the official NFL website.

“The NFL and the Associated Press (AP) came together to select the 100 greatest across five categories – Plays, Games, Characters, Game Changers and Teams. The 80-person blue ribbon panel was comprised of experts selected by the AP and NFL Media. Supporting the rankings, NFL Films conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and legends that aired across 20, one-hour episodes with four episodes that were dedicated to each topic,” said the NFL in their official statement regarding the special. 

The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami was filled with MVPs from the 1972 team, including former coach Don Shula, quarterback Bob Griese, receiver Mercury Morris, offensive linemen Larry Little, fullback Larry Csonka, and defensive back Dick Anderson. All of these names carry such recognition already for true football fans, especially those who have kept up with the Dolphins for a while, and now they’re all getting another well-deserved NFL recognition. 

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Don Shula and Bob Griese (right) at the halftime ceremony honoring the Dolphins 1972 Perfect Season 

The 1972 team was so significant to the history of the NFL because of its unmatched level of skill from every player, and record shattering season. The 1972 Dolphins won their Super Bowl that year, which was the perfect finale to an already perfect season, literally. They are the only team in NFL history to remain completely undefeated throughout the entire season and including any postseason games (Superbowl VII). The closest team that almost joined the Dolphins and their undefeated season title was the 2007 New England Patriots, who did record the most consecutive wins (18) before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. 

“I’m tired of people saying we were named the greatest team. We took that s***. We earned the goddamn thing. Only one team can claim perfection: us. That came from our hard work. Nobody elected us to perfection. We were the first definition of that in the NFL. Nobody gave us s***. We took it. We took the hilltop and put the flag up. Now anybody is welcome to join us. But there will be two of us, and we will always be the first,” said former fullback Larry Csonka before the game this past Sunday.

During halftime all the former members of the 1972 Dolphins who were present took to the field wearing their sports blazers that were the signature Dolphin green-blue. The team jokingly referred to these as their “perfection” jackets, referring to their perfectly played season. The halftime ceremony involved the signature champagne toast along with a reading of every players name. Every player who was present also received a personalized golden football once their name was announced. 

The ceremony ended with a standing ovation and a song for former Coach Shula, who will be turning 90 at the beginning of 2020. Fans joined the former teammates in singing “Happy Birthday” to the legendary coach himself, a perfect ending for a perfect team.