nolead begins

Targeted destinations

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Bill Cowher, according to a source, has decided he's ready to return to the sideline and that the longtime Steelers coach has three teams atop his list: the Houston Texans; the Miami Dolphins; and, at the very top, the implosion-damaged remains of the New York Giants.

It's hard to say if Miami will be ready to get rid of Tony Sparano after this up-and-down season that will end without a playoff berth, but it's clear that Houston is close to having run its course with Gary Kubiak.

What about the Giants? After Sunday, we know they certainly could use a special-teams coach and a new punter. But with Tom Coughlin heading into the last year of his contract in 2011, it's likely New York will make a decision on his future this off-season rather than have a lame-duck coach. With a collapse as magnificent as Sunday's and with a real possibility of missing the playoffs, Coughlin's firing isn't too hard to imagine.

Under normal circumstances, a winning season might be enough for the Giants' front office to offer Coughlin a modest extension. But if the Giants are unsure about Coughlin and are worried that the 64-year-old might be close to retiring even if they decided to keep him, can they pass on the opportunity to land a coach with Cowher's reputation when they have a chance?

nolead begins

Vikings' punter all a-Twitter

Chris Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings' punter, is none too happy about having to play outdoors against the Bears on Monday night at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis. He let the world know about it via Twitter.

Among the things he had to say on Sunday were: "It's unplayable," "the field is as hard as concrete," and the game is going to be a "trainwreck."

nolead begins

More sideline shenanigans

It turns out punts are not just a problem for the New York teams. Sunday's Eagles-Giants game needs no rehashing. Neither does Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi and his saga.

The Carolina Panthers' Tyler Brayton, a defensive end, was fined $15,000 for hitting Atlanta's Chris Owens out of bounds during a punt return in last week's game. The fine was levied Friday but not made public.

Brayton hit Owens in the head after the Falcons player was forced off the field. Fox Sports showed a video of the incident. The grainy coaches' film shows Brayton walking up from the bench area toward the field as Owens is engaged with a Carolina defender. Brayton then drops Owens with what appears to be an elbow to the head.

nolead begins

Rexy looks sexy

Maybe Mike Shanahan isn't so crazy after all. Rex Grossman, the much-maligned backup QB who will be starting for the Redskins the rest of the year after Donovan McNabb was benched, threw for 322 yards, four touchdowns, and two two-point conversions to bring Washington back against Dallas. Grossman led the Skins back from a 27-7 deficit early in the second half of a game they eventually lost, 33-30.

nolead begins

Points after

New England guard Dan Connolly's 71-yard kickoff return against Green Bay is believed to be the longest ever for an NFL offensive lineman. According to Stats L.L.C., Connolly's rumble is the longest since 1976, when complete records have been kept.

The Dolphins are 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road. Stats L.L.C. says no NFL team has ever had such a disparity.

In his first career start, Denver's Tim Tebow became the third player to throw a touchdown pass of at least 30 yards and run for a score of at least 40 yards in the same game.

Colts receiver Austin Collie, who had only played part of a Nov. 21 game after suffering a concussion two weeks earlier, was dealt another concussion on Sunday.