Either way, this is an immense controversy that has gone far beyond sports and has dominated the national conversation this week.

The NFL must decide where to go from here. Before Thursday night’s game in Green Bay, Packers players linked arms for the anthem. Chicago Bears players did the same on their sideline. The Packers had invited fans at Lambeau Field to link their arms, although there were reports that most in the stands did not do so.

Owners were in New York this week for previously scheduled committee meetings and discussed the issue. On Tuesday night, Goodell met with a group of owners and players on the matter.

Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals: The Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator is expected to be named the team’s new head coach, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report. Wilks finished his first season running the Panthers’ defense after five years as the team’s secondary coach. Wilks also interviewed for the head coaching jobs with the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants. As for the Panthers, Carolina defensive line coach Eric Washington is expected to be promoted to defensive coordinator, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport. Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb will follow Wilks to Arizona, according to Garafolo.

Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins: Rapoport reported Gruden isn’t in danger of losing his job. A source informed of the situation told Rapoport that the Redskins aren’t planning to make major changes this offseason after seeing how Gruden and his staff battled through the rash of injuries which damaged the team’s playoff hopes.

Matt Ryan’s non-MVP-like season continued with his three-interception performance Thursday night against the Saints. But the Falcons still found a way to win a game they had to have. They’re hanging around the NFC South race and they close the regular season with games against the Saints and then the Panthers.

The late-game mistakes by QB Drew Brees and Coach Sean Payton on Thursday night in Atlanta were as surprising as they were damaging. Payton needed to worry a lot less about the performance of the officials and a lot more about controlling his own emotions.
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