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Tag:Super Bowl XLVI
Posted on: February 4, 2012 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 12:54 pm
 

DeAngelo, Stewart talk Panthers at Playboy party

Eye on Football hit Playboy's Super Bowl party Friday night. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, known as "Double Trouble" for the combination of their rushing attack with the Panthers, were at the Playboy blue carpet on Friday night. As everyone who reads this blog knows, there's no one who works here who's a homer at all when it comes to the Panthers.

We talked to them about Cam Newton, the rushing attack, the new Panthers logo and then made them give a shoutout to my buddy Zeke. Good times all around.



Also check out the full slideshow of pictures from the Bud Light blue carpet:


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Posted on: February 4, 2012 12:06 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 10:02 am
 

Pats S Ross Ventrone just happy to be here

Ventrone won't play Sunday, but he does a decent Steven Tyler impression. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- You couldn’t keep the smile off Ross Ventrone’s face last Tuesday at Media Day. He was taking requests to sing Aerosmith songs, and he was discussing why his long brown hair was a better look than teammate Tiquan Underwood’s fade. Basically, Ventrone was having a blast, and for a guy who’s on the New England practice squad and won’t play in Super Bowl XLVI, the safety drew a decent crowd during the hour of media availability.

Ventrone, you see, is happy just to be here.

He was cut eight times this season. And re-signed to the practice squad eight times. And promoted to the active roster five times. Ventrone can never get comfortable, because by the time he settles into a routine, he’s involved in another transaction.

“I just kept plugging away and working hard,” Ventrone said. “Everything worked out. I’m here, part of the organization. I’m glad things went the way they did.”

Ventrone has played in eight games this season and made a grand total of two tackles. But it’s not bad for a former University of Pittsburgh walk-on who transferred to Villanova and went unselected in the 2010 NFL draft. He spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad, and this season, he’s had a little more impact on his team. You know, when he was actually a member of it and not being released by the Patriots.

[Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

“Honestly, I don’t even think of it like that,” Ventrone said. “I just think that they want me on the team. They want me back. I keep working hard and try not to let that bother me or keep me down at all. I’m a positive person.”

And a funny dude. While mugging for the cameras, he referred to himself as “Rusty Benson 35” (his Twitter handle) and “Mr. Really.” He sang the climax of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” in a decent-enough falsetto. He talked about the last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl, when he watched from the stands as his brother, Raymond Ventrone (now a Browns defensive back) played for New England and made a big-time special-teams tackle late in the game.

“Being in a similar position as him, it’s cool,” Ross Ventrone said. “We played at the same high school and same college and now we’ve played for the Patriots. It’s cool to walk in the footsteps of your older brother.”

Now, he’s just hoping that his Super Bowl experience turns out differently than the final result of Raymond’s experience.  Not that he’ll have much say about it either way since he’ll be on the sideline dressed in civilian clothes.

“Aw man, I’m just having fun with this,” Ross Ventrone said. “I love this stuff. I love doing all the silly stuff. I’m just trying to take it all in.”

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 4, 2012 11:18 am
 

CBSSports.com's Super Bowl XLVI predictions


Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another title?

Gregg Doyel

I've never felt so good about a pick in my life, because I've never seen anything as rock-solid as the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. The Giants have already beaten the Patriots this season, at New England, and they did it despite the unavailability of leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and 1,000-yard receiver Hakeem Nicks. Plus, the Patriots weren't playing that game with receivers Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater forced to play key roles at defensive back, as will be the case Sunday.  

Forget what Vegas is saying. Everyone else is saying the Patriots will lose ... which is why I feel 100 percent certain that the Patriots will win. When everybody's convinced they're right, I'm convinced they're wrong. History shows people just aren't that smart.

Final score: It'll be a slugfest, but the Patriots will win 42-38.

Mike Freeman

Initially, I thought the Giants would actually beat the Patriots handily. Eli Manning would look at the Patriots defense, lick his chops, and light that defense on fire. Tom Brady would get harassed, an injured Gronk would be controlled, and Wes Welker would have a solid though not dominating day. It was all shaping up to a healthy Giants victory.

Then at the beginning of this week the Giants started chirping. And chirping. And chirping some more. It was a jab-fest for them with the team’s main message being they could get to Tom Brady both physically and mentally.

Normally, as Tom Coughlin would say, talk is cheap but this is Brady who thrives on talk and doubters. I’ve seen it happen with Brady on more than a few occasions. Not to mention the Patriots are on a revenge tour. I think the Giants would have been better served shutting the hell up. I know they are talkers. I know the Giants thrive on emotion and yapping but don’t pull on SuperBrady’s cape.

The Giants will still win but their mouths just turned this game from a comfortable win for them into one of the tightest Super Bowls ever.

Final score: Giants, 28-27

Clark Judge

I’ll take the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, and here’s why: Because they’re more balanced than New England, they’re hot, they’re confident and they have the pass rush to flummox the usually unflappable Tom Brady.

Oh, yeah, they also won their last two vs. the Patriots – including a 24-20 defeat this season.

But it’s that pass rush that convinces me. The Giants can bring pressure with their defensive line, allowing everyone else to drop into coverage, and if you don’t think that will affect Brady you weren’t watching the Giants shred Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Brady struggled in his last two starts vs. New York. He was sacked seven times, hit on countless other occasions and had more turnovers (4) than touchdown passes (3). He also lost both games. That counts for something, and I say it counts for a Giants’ victory.

Final score: Giants, 24-17

Pete Prisco

Quarterback and pass rush.  

That's the key to winning in the NFL these days. Get a great thrower and have a lot of guys to knock down the other team's thrower. The New England Patriots have the great passer in Tom Brady, but they lack the great pass rushers. The New York Giants have a very good passer in Eli Manning, but they have a lot of pass rushers.

Full Super Bowl Coverage
That's why the New York Giants will win Super Bowl XLVI. This time, unlike the last time they played in a Super Bowl, the Giants aren't huge underdogs. What I can't figure out is this: Why they aren't they favored.

The Giants are the better team. 

It's a tribute to Brady that the Patriots are here, but in watching him play the Giants in the past, he isn't the same Brady when he faces that the New York defense. Like I wrote this week, the Giants seem to be in his head. In the Giants' victory this season in Foxboro, Mass., Brady looked ordinary.  

That's the big edge for the Giants. They have the pass rushers. They don't fear Brady. They rattle him. That's why the Giants will beat the Patriots again in a Super Bowl. 

The NFL is all about quarterback and pass rushers -- and the Giants will show on Sunday. 

Final score: Giants, 31-24

Paul Dehner

Forget Gronkowski's ankle. Forget Aaron Hernandez. The defining story line of Super Bowl XLVI will be how the Patriots offensive line handles the intense Giants pass rush. Recent history of all New York's opponents on their postseason run insists that's more of a fleeting wish than a likelihood. The Giants have pounded every quarterback in their way into submission and eventual defeat. Tony Romo was sacked six times, Matt Ryan twice, Aaron Rodgers four times and Alex Smith three. The opponent didn't matter.

Tom Brady's only the next in line. When Brady can't throw, the Pats don't go. The Giants front four is coming and there isn't too much Brady can do about it. Jason Pierre-Paul and the rest of the Giants own the rare ability to disrupt timing -- the ultimate equalizer in the new, pass-happy NFL. They'll do it again on Sunday. That's the reason they'll loft the trophy.

Final score: Giants, 21-17

Alex Raskin

Another scoreless first half — like the one the New England Patriots and New York Giants had back in Week 9 — is improbable, but another defensive battle isn’t. Everyone is rightfully talking about each team’s respective high-powered offense. However, this game will be won on the defensive side of the ball and the Giants are up to the challenge.

New York has forced and recovered five fumbles in the postseason and the secondary has played significantly better since the Week 15 loss to the Washington Redskins. Throw in the Giants’ reliable linebackers and fearsome pass rush, and the advantage swings heavily in favor of the NFC Champions.

The Patriots’ defense intercepts passes and buckles down in the red zone, but the Giants’ big-play offense has a way around that. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham allow quarterback Eli Manning to throw touchdown passes from anywhere on the field by going over or underneath opposing coverages.

Final score: Giants, 24-16

Will Brinson

It absolutely terrifies me that everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is on the Giants bandwagon. Eighty-five percent of the public money is on the Giants. Almost everyone at CBS is picking the Giants. Everyone outside of Boston is picking the Giants. It makes sense, because New York's front four is going to get pressure on Brady.

The Patriots best offensive weapon, Rob Gronkowski, is going to be limited. And how are the Patriots going to defend Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham? Not with Julian Edelman playing defensive back. Of course, the problem with all this is that the entire world's betting against the combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. That's somewhat illogical. Two things are going to make this a very close game: Gronk's ankle forcing him to stay in and block and Vince Wilfork turning into an animal for the second straight game. (Wilfork's my darkhorse for MVP.) In the end, though, it's going to come down to who has the ball last and I think it ends up being Eli.

Final score: Giants, 27-21

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Super Bowl Coverage (AP)

Josh Katzowitz

Seems to me like the buzz this week in Indianapolis is how the Giants will beat the Patriots for the second time this season. And for reasons I’m having a hard time explaining, I don’t think that will happen. Give New England coach Bill Belichick two weeks to figure out how to beat the Giants, and I think he does it.

Obviously, New York has some solid advantages. The Giants front four will provide plenty of issues for the Patriots as they try to keep Tom Brady untouched. Eli Manning shouldn’t have a problem picking on New England’s secondary. And assuming Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski isn’t 100 percent effective, New England’s offense will be a little less versatile.

So, really, the Giants should win.

But I can’t pull the trigger on predicting them to do so. And I don’t know why. Which, I guess, isn’t much of answer why I’m picking the Patriots to win. I just kinda think they will.

Final score: Patriots, 24-22

Ryan Wilson

It's hard to believe that Vegas has had New England as the favorites for nearly two weeks now because almost everybody likes New York. Never mind that Giants have issues in the secondary and Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl winner, New York's front four somehow makes up for all that.

Four years ago, the Pats came into this game undefeated and unstoppable. The Giants' pass rush changed all that. And that's what happened this season, in Week 9, when the two teams met. We get the feeling that New England won't be able to protect Brady on Sunday either.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career even without much of a running game behind him. The Patriots' defense has been better in recent weeks but they still struggle in both phases. And that's bad news if Brady isn't his usual self.

Final score: Giants, 24-21

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:17 pm
 

The official Super Bowl XLVI injury report

By Josh Katzowitz

On Friday evening, the NFL released the final injury report of the 2011 season.

Here it is in all its glory:

Giants

PROBABLE:RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (shoulder), S Tyler Sash (foot), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle, knee), CB Corey Webster (hamstring), LB Jacquian Williams (foot)

Patriots

QUESTIONABLE: T Marcus Cannon (ankle), S Patrick Chung (knee), LB Dane Fletcher (thumb), TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle), DT Kyle Love (ankle), G Logan Mankins (knee), LB Rob Ninkovich (hip), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Sebastian Vollmer (illness, back, foot), WR Wes Welker (knee), LB Tracy White (abdomen)

PROBABLE: WR Deion Branch (knee), C Dan Connolly (groin), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder), T Matt Light (illness), WR Matt Slater (shoulder)

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:14 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 7:00 pm
 

How do we keep our youth football players safe?

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Getty Images)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Before he was even finished with his opening statement Friday, Chris Nowinski -- former Harvard football player, former WWE professional wrestler and current advocate for concussion research and prevention -- summed up his entire reason for holding a press conference on recognizing and averting brain injury.

“The question is this,” Nowinski said, “How many times should a 6-year-old be hit in the head for sport?”

If you don’t care about concussions for NFL players --or if you kick in your TV when an official flags a defender for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet hit -- the sentence above should give you pause.

If you feel like it’s OK that the Browns allowed Colt McCoy to reenter a game after suffering a head injury and that it’s OK former tight end Ben Utecht is already having major problems with post-concussion syndrome and that it’s OK teams can hedge their bets by calling an in-game concussion a “stinger,” maybe you should think about your own child playing football.

Do you still think it’s OK that your 6-year-old might be suffering multiple concussions in a season? At least the NFL players can make the choice. The 6-year-old can’t.

That’s why the Sports Legacy Institute and Nowinski as president CEO held a press conference Friday to announce a proposal that would assign a “hit count” to a football player in the same way a “pitch count” is assigned to a youth pitcher.

As Nowinski says, science doesn’t know the answer to how many head hits it takes to cause permanent brain damage, in the same way that science doesn’t know how many cigarettes it takes to cause lung cancer. But the SLI's goal is to determine a standard number this year and then convince youth sports league by 2013 to turn that figure into permanent policy.

“We need to make aware that hits to the head have serious consequences,” Nowinski said. “It’s not being addressed at the youth level when brains are most vulnerable.”

One problem: I’ve never gotten the impression NFL players care much about their long-term health when they’re playing the game, and when I talked to a number of Super Bowl participants last year, I got the impression that players didn’t feel the need to keep their kids away from the game either.

The players know the dangers; they apparently just don’t have a problem putting their kids in harm’s way. Isaac Kacyvenski and Colts center Jeff Saturday disagreed with me Friday. They said players do, in fact, care.

“I have the exact opposite reaction from talking to players,” said Kacyvenski, the former NFL linebacker who was a 2006 Seahawks Super Bowl co-captain. “We’ve had discussions at length with players who are worried behind the scenes. They're worried about their future. The long-term consequences are unclear.”

Saturday, who along with Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is supporting the SLI and its initiatives, agreed with Kacyvenski: “I don’t know many football players who go with what you’re saying. I haven’t seen it.”

Saturday, on the other hand, was concerned enough about the issue to forbid his son from playing padded football until he turned 11. Before then, his boy played flag football. That’s because, as Saturday explained to his kids, it’s daddy’s job to play this high-risk, high-reward game. Football, he says, is supposed to be fun for you. So, if you’re scared, don’t take the head shot. Let it go, because it’s not a big deal.

Saturday, simply put, has to know (and he does) that he’s advocating for his children. Frankly, that’s the kind of attitude I expected to hear when I asked some Packers and Steelers last year. I expected the debate that Saturday and Kacyvenski gave me on Friday.

“In the NFL, a ton of it is awareness,” Saturday said. “We want our men to know, these are the symptoms we need to look for. I’m a 36-year-old man and I can tell you when I have a headache that’s not going away, I’m not sleeping as well, I don’t feel as good. Six-year-olds or 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds, they’re just going to deal with it. They want to go play in the yard. They’re not going to tell you, ‘I’m restless and cranky.’ They don’t communicate in the same way. They don’t know always how to process the information. You have to take it out of their hands.”

Nowinski is quick to point out that the public's brain injury awareness has exploded in the past five years, but when players like Rob Gronkowski or Brian Urlacher say they’d lie to doctors to hide a concussion, that doesn’t do his cause any favors.

“Everybody is accountable,” Nowinski said. “The reality is we’re talking about dramatic culture change. We’re talking somewhat about redefining manhood.”

And if the next generation of players aren’t as good as their predecessors because they’ve devoted less time to padded practice, that’s OK by him.

“If we create a generation of slightly worse tacklers with dramatically healthier brains, that’s a win,” Nowinski said. “I’ll live with that.”

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:13 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 6:41 pm
 

Colts: Peyton, Irsay 'remain close and unified'

The Colts do their best to look "close and unified." (Colts)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Late last night, Colts owner Jim Irsay shocked the football-watching world with a late-night tweet refuting a report that Peyton Manning's had been medically cleared to play football again. He also promised a statement from the team on the matter.

More than 12 hours later, the Colts released that statement and it wasn't what anyone expected, as it painted (or tried to paint) the Colts and Manning as "close and unified."

"Peyton Manning, Jim Irsay and the entire Colts family remain close and unified as we continue to work through all the options that relate to his future with the Colts," the Colts said in a statement released by the team. "The present focus is on the Super Bowl and the great game that awaits. A good time was had by all at the Colts party Thursday night."

The statement was accompanied by the photo you see above, in which everyone is technically "unified" and "close." The reality is, it looks like an incredibly awkward photo. Just how awkward is it though? Apparently that's John Cougar Mellencamp on the right ... and Meg "Ryan on the left?

It's weird, bizarre, awkward and random. Just like this whole Manning-Irsay situation.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 3:54 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 4:01 pm
 

Gronk practices Friday without limp, questionable

Gronk remains quite popular and is questionable for Sunday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

As the Gronk turns is Indy's second-most popular soap opera, but things are starting to look up for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who practiced on Friday without a limp and is listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

Alex Marvez, the Patriots pool reporter, writes that Gronk worked out in "gray sneakers" and a  “Yo Soy Fiesta” t-shirt. Bill Belichick was, naturally, a little less specific.

"He practiced yesterday. He didn’t do anything today," Belichick said. “We’ll see where he’s at on Sunday, but hopefully [he’ll play]. I saw no setbacks. He’s still making progress.”

This was New England's final tune-up of the week, as they'll skip any actual practice on Saturday.

“We’ll have meetings and we’ll do some reminders and things like that in our hotel but we’re not going to actually practice,” Belichick said.

Belichick also believes the team, without the extra day of practice, is fully prepared for Sunday's Super Bowl matchup.

"I think we’re ready to go," Belichick said. "We’ve worked hard this week Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in practice, and we had good practices back [in Foxborough, Mass.] last week. We went through some mental-review things out there [Friday]."

One of the more interesting things to come out of Friday's practice was Belichick's participation -- according to Marvez, he literally got down on the ground with his team and worked as an offensive lineman trying to draw coverage teams offsides. 

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 3:42 pm
 

Stevie Johnson: 'I'm done' with TD celebrations

Johnson plans on taking a more serious approach in 2012. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Stevie Johnson drew a lot of attention over the past two years with his touchdown celebrations, much of it unwanted. And as he heads towards an offseason that could see him become a free agent, those antics have to be concerning for teams interested in Johnson's service.

Except Johnson says that he's 'done' with touchdown celebrations moving forward, regardless of where he ends up playing.

"It could be a good thing or a bad thing," Johnson said when asked if teams would be worried. "But no matter what: I'm done with it. When I was doing my first couple seasons, I was just trying to be a relevant guy, you know? I think people are beginning to know who [No.] 13 is."

Really? Johnson's just going to quit coming up with random, quirky ways to draw attention to himself? Apparently so.

"Yeah, for real man," Johnson said. "Just thumbs ups. I'm going to still play with the confidence and swagger I have but thinking about what I'm doing next, I'm done with it."

The real question is whether or not Johnson will be in Buffalo. The wide receiver said he'd prefer to remain a Bill but understands the limited number of chances he'll have to cash in on a shot at the open market.

"I'm definitely hoping the Bills step up and we can connect on an agreement and I can play out my career in Buffalo," Johnson said. "But with free agency, you get this maybe once in your career so I'm gonna keep my options to all the teams and we'll go from there."

There's also a good chance Buffalo decides to utilize the franchise tag on Johnson; keeping him for an additional year and seeing if he can replicate his success from the previous two years wouldn't be all that cost prohibitive.

And while Johnson wouldn't prefer the franchise tag, he would be open to it.

"I'd definitely be open to that because I'd have another season in Buffalo," Johnson said. "But it's good and bad because it's only one season that I'd have. But if it has anything to do with signing in Buffalo I'm definitely interested in it."

Presuming that Johnson ends up sticking, he's making it sound like someone else will be asking why he's so serious.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com