Tag:Super Bowl
Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:35 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 11:11 pm

The Eugene Robinson danger zone

INDIANAPOLIS: This is the time. This is it. Late Friday night into early Sunday morning. This is what one player once told me he called The Eugene Robinson Danger Zone.

It's the most dangerous time to a player because just about all of the Super Bowl preparation is complete and now boredom sets in and when boredom sets in there is the greatest danger a player will make a critical off the field mistake like, say, soliciting a prostitute the night before a Super Bowl.

The player called it the Eugene Robinson Danger Zone, or ERDZ for short, because it was Robinson who had one of the most humiliating moments in Super Bowl history. He was busted, the night before Super Bowl XXXIII, for soliciting a female police officer for oral sex. Robinson offered the officer $40. This came on the same day he received an award from a Christian group for his outstanding character.

Hey, I'm not judging, just making an observation. Yes, the ERDZ is in full effect. Whoop! Whoop! Red alert.

Robinson isn't alone. Stanley Wilson went on a cocaine binge the night before Cincinnati's Super Bowl and Oakland's Barrett Robbins disappeared for much of the day before the Raiders Super Bowl and was left off the roster. Yet it's Robinson who has become the greatest symbol of ERDZ.

One of my longtime player sources named this time period after Robinson because since then Robinson has become one of the great cautionary tales. Many teams that since reached the Super Bowl use Robinson as a an example of what not to do.

So fingers crossed no player enters the ERDZ this year.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:11 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:57 am

Super Bowl Shoutout: Manipulative Manning

OPENING HIT-- I've always said that Peyton Manning is the most cutthroat player in the NFL. Many times that's a good thing. You want that aspect on the field. You want a quarterback to go for the kill. Manning does that, but off the field he's the same way. The jovial Manning you see in commercials isn't really that guy. He's thrown teammates under the bus publicly, and now in an attempt to win the PR battle with fans is overshadowing his little brother during Super Bowl week.

These leaks about Manning being cleared to play are carefully plotted, well designed and unquestionably coming from Manning's camp. They're manipulative and designed as a preemptive PR strike to head off Jim Irsay likely saying sometime soon they have to release Manning because of his health. This is a Brett Favre-like ploy to put pressure on Irsay and the Colts. No question about it.

Peyton Favre.

Which is why Irsay reacted so strongly on Twitter to the Manning news early this morning. Irsay knows what Manning is doing and Irsay isn't going to let him get away with it. Good for Irsay. It's one thing for Manning to use the media to push his agenda; it's another for Irsay to sit back and let Manning do it without a fight.

I respect Irsay for this. He's putting his name to his side of the fight, which is more than Manning and his agent are doing.

I've been saying for some time the probable departure of Manning from the Colts is going to get ugly and it's starting now. Both sides want to blame the other for Manning's likely exit from Indy when there is actually no one to blame. It's just the circumstances. It's football. And it's Manning being Manning.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:06 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 11:50 am

Super Bowl Shoutout: The Power of Tebow

INDIANAPOLIS -- Let me tell you a story about a grounded superstar...

A small group of writers, including myself, were in a downtown restaurant having a casual dinner with commissioner Roger Goodell. Nice time, good people, the commish is a class act.

Suddenly our waitress has a message: Tim Tebow is in the restaurant.

Word is sent to Tebow that the commissioner is at our table and Tebow comes over. Tebow greets everyone at the table with a sincere smile and handshake. Nothing phony. Completely genuine. It was truly impressive to see. But the story gets better.

Behind our table was a window, and a small group of fans could see inside. They spotted Tebow. The crowd grew. And grew. And grew some more. A few people turned into about 40 or 50 at least. People who couldn't even see in the window just stood there hearing Tebow was inside. The crowd got so large it spilled into the street and police had to tell the fans to step back onto the sidewalk.

Tebow left and went outside where he signed countless autographs (Goodell later did the same).

I've been critical of Tebow's play (never of him as a person) but that was a highly interesting moment. I can't tell you how many athletes I've seen from many different sports treat fans in similar situations like garbage. Tell them to blank off or just walk by.

I'm not making any grand statements or saying there are no other athletes that would treat people and fans the same. Of course there are. I'm just making a simple observation: That was cool to see. Cool to see an athlete who gets it.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:06 pm

Reggie Wayne on Peyton Manning: 50-50 chance

INDIANAPOLIS: Everyone seems to have an opinion on if Peyton Manning will be able to physically recover from his neck injury and return to football. Manning teammate, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, is no different.

"I think his chances of returning to football are 50-50," said Wayne. "He had some pretty serious surgeries so I'm just not so certain. The one thing about Peyton though is if anyone can come back from this, he can. He works so hard at everything and this is no different. He's a tough guy but we're talking about the neck and that's why I'm not so certain but again if anyone can, he can. He's almost superhuman."

Wayne quickly added, "Now, where he might play, I don't know. That's the question. I hope it works out where he stays with the Colts but even with a great player like Peyton it's a business. Even Peyton isn't immune from the business part of football so it wouldn't shock any of us on the team that if he did play next year, it was somewhere else, because that's the nature of football."

Wayne gave an interesting glimpse in what it's like to be a Colts player these days in a football nation obsessed with Manning’s health.

"Everywhere I go people say to me, 'Please keep Peyton," said Wayne, who is working with Xbox Kinect this week. "I'm not Jim Irsay. It's not my team. Everyone wants Peyton to stay but like I said, it's a business."

"The only good thing about last season was that we never quit. I hated to see our coaching staff get fired. I was close to a lot of those guys and sometimes the media portrayed it as Peyton threw the ball to himself, caught it, snapped the ball, did everything and the rest of us were just nobodies. But we fought. I was proud that we never quit."

Category: NFL
Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:24 am

Brady punks Ochocinco

INDIANAPOLIS-- Media day at the Super Bowl is normally a joke. Reporters scratching themselves while standing amid circus clowns and smirking players. Usually there is little news or insight. But this one, my 12th or 15th or 17th -- I forget -- actually had an interesting moment.

Some yokel from OCNN -- I believe that's the Ochocinco News Network -- had a question for Brady. Brady could clearly see that the reporter was from Chad Ochocinco's online network. No question. The "reporter" asked Brady if he would please throw a pass to Ochocinco.

Brady didn't hesitate with his response.

"Tell him to get open," Brady said, "and I'll throw it to him."

Oh. Wow.


That was, well, very blunt. In some ways, very cold-blooded of Brady.

I could easily be wrong but I don't think I've ever heard Brady be so blunt about Ochocinco.

I actually thought that moment was the most interesting and actually provided a lot of insight -- if not the definitive answer -- as to why Ochocinco has been a failure as a Patriot. It's not about his relationship with Brady. Ochocinco isn't hurt. It may not be about his lack of learning the offense. It's more simple than that.

He can't get open.

That's it. That is all.

Category: NFL
Posted on: January 31, 2012 9:54 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:43 am

Super Bowl Shoutout: Can Gronk be effective?

OPENING HIT: Part of me wonders if Bill Belichick is pulling a fast one. That somehow Rob Gronkowski isn't as hurt as the Patriots are saying but that's far-fetched even for the tricky mind of Belichick. Which means Gronkowski is really badly injured.

This isn't a question of whether Gronk will play. He'll likely find a way to be on the field. The real question is effectiveness, and based on everything I hear the chances of Gronkowski being a factor are almost non-existent. You don't recover from high ankle trauma this quickly and the fact he still hasn't practiced is the biggest indicator of the seriousness of the injury.

My guess is Belichick will try and use Gronkowski as a decoy. Put him in the game, run a few routes maybe, use him as a blocker if possible. But the idea that Gronk will be Gronk with that kind of injury is a bit far-fetched.

Unless Gronkowski is even tougher than we think which seems impossible.


Category: NFL
Posted on: February 2, 2010 11:30 pm

The no buzz Super Bowl

MIAMI -- On Monday came one of the more boring media days in recent memory. The numbers of freaks, strippers and jackasses were low and there was just one puppet dude.

Media day was so bad Bill Polian skipped it. He faces a fine from the NFL. That's how low wattage media day was: Polian is willing to eat a fine to miss it.

The manufactured plot lines are asinine. Dwight Freeney's injury is significant but the attention given to it has reached ridiculous levels. It's Dwight Freeney, not the Dalai Lama. When Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator for the Saints, said he desires to rough up Peyton Manning it was a pedestrian statement from an egomaniac and it didn't deserve the hand wringing it's received.

The media is reaching because there's no buzz here. Very little. At least so far. No one is saying anything. The teams are being extremely careful about their words and actions.

That's great for the teams and the correct course but with few combustible or even interesting personalities it leads to a boring week.

And this has been a really boring week so far.

For the first time that I can remember many of the players from both teams looked well rested and I mean extremely well rested. It was noticeable. I doubt if many of these players will be visiting South Beach much.

The good news? Because of the professionalism of these teams the game might be outstanding. Their noses are too buried in their playbooks to party so the game might be extremely crisp.

At least that's the hope.

Category: NFL
Tags: Super Bowl
Posted on: February 1, 2009 11:32 pm

Santonio Holmes

He's been known, off the field, as not a good guy. But this game might change his image.

What's certain is the game changed his life. He'll never have to buy a beer in Pittsburgh again.

And he'll always be seen as the player who won the Steelers' sixth Super Bowl.

Category: NFL
Tags: Super Bowl
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