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Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

In just two days, the Chiefs and Eagles will be headed to Phoenix for Super Bowl LVII, and in equally big news, I'll also be headed to Phoenix. And yes, I will be using a small cactus as my pillow for the entire week so that I get the full Phoenix experience. 

Anyway, this means that the newsletter will be coming to you live from Arizona next week, so you're going to want to make sure to check your email inbox every day so that you don't miss a thing. If you want to follow my Super Bowl adventures, you can do that by following me on Twitter or Instagram

Let's forget about next week, though, because this week isn't quite over yet. We've got a huge Friday newsletter that includes Tony Romo talking about the Super Bowl, plus, we simulated Super Bowl LVII on Madden, so we now know who's going to win. 

Remember, if you're hanging out with family and/or friends this weekend, you should tell them all to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them

1. Today's show: Ex-NFL GM explains why Sean Payton was a smart hire for the Broncos

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The Super Bowl isn't happening until Feb. 12, which means the biggest event going on in the NFL this week is the Senior Bowl, which is taking place down in Mobile. We sent Ryan Wilson and Rick Spielman down to Alabama for the week, and that's where they were when they recorded today's episode of "With the First Pick."

The two guys touched on multiple topics during their 45-minute podcast, including the Broncos' decision to make a trade for Sean Payton. As a former NFL general manager, Spielman has had to hire a head coach before and based on his point of view, Payton was the only guy who made sense for the Broncos. 

"They had no other option in my opinion," Spielman said. "They had to knock it out of the park. ... When you have a veteran quarterback who had a down year and you just gave him all this money and gave up all this draft capital to get him, you better go out and get a coach who has experience."

Spielman then pointed to the fact that Payton also turned around the Saints during his first year coaching New Orleans -- and his first year coaching Drew Brees -- in 2006. There were a lot of questions about Brees and his injured shoulder during free agency in 2006, but the Saints took a chance on him and the Payton-Brees combo ended up leading the Saints to the NFC title game during their first year together. 

"Hopefully, he has the same success that he had with Drew Brees when Brees left the Chargers and came to New Orleans," Spielman said. "If you got a guy like a Payton coming in, who has had success with Brees, who has taken the Saints to the Super Bowl, who led the dominant team in the NFC South until Tampa Bay got Tom Brady, he knows how to win and he knows how to put a very good coaching staff together." 

Spielman and Wilson also talked about what the Buccaneers should do at quarterback now that Tom Brady is retired and, oh yeah, they're at the Senior Bowl, so they made a list of the players who have been impressing them so far. You can listen -- and subscribe -- to the podcast by clicking here. If you're more of a visual person, you can check out the episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Tony Romo talks about the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl on Fox this year, Tony Romo won't be in the booth for the big game, so we thought we'd hunt him down and get his thoughts on the Eagles and the Chiefs.'s Jeff Kerr got to ask Romo a few questions about the game this week and here were some of his most interesting answers: 

  • Romo says Patrick Mahomes is already a top-six QB of all time. "If Patrick Mahomes retired right now, he's not beating Tom Brady but he's in the discussion right after that -- even right now. He's in the two-to-six range already. He's not quite two in my opinion yet, but give him a few more years and he'll be knocking on the door."
  • Andy Reid is one of the best coaches to ever do it. "He's always been one step ahead. There's that one trait with Andy. He always has that (instinctive) ability to recognize what the opponent is trying to do. If the defensive coordinator is trying to do this, Andy goes to that encyclopedia. He's either played against this guy or this system or he knows those trends. He's just a really tough guy to go against because he thinks at a very high level -- and very quickly."
  • Why the Chiefs might have a tough time against the Eagles offense. "This happens once every 15-20 years, but a team comes in and they come up with a scheme that there's not a ton of data on. If you haven't played against this scheme a million times, they come in and its like 'Whoa what are the rules? How do we stop this?' Jalen Hurts has like four options on his plate, but they're not just routes. It's a handoff, it's a quarterback keep into a play-action bomb, into fake a handoff and its a RPO right over the ball. It just puts teams into a bind. To defend that scheme, it's going to take an entire offseason. You're going to find teams are going to have to play them multiple times before they can really figure them out."

Unfortunately, Romo did not give us a prediction for the game, but you can check out the rest of the interview by clicking here

3. Pro Bowl highlights: AFC dominates first night of competition


The Pro Bowl is a two-day event this year and after the first night of action, the AFC is absolutely dominating. 

The festivities kicked off on Thursday with the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge and I'm not going to lie, it was actually pretty entertaining to watch. If you missed it, here's a quick recap of what went down: 

  • Derek Carr dominated. The Raiders QB participated in the precision passing contest and set a Pro Bowl record with 31 points. To see how he did that, be sure to click here. And you know what, I really shouldn't have called him a "Raiders QB" because he has definitely moved on from the Raiders. Although most players wore a hat representing their team, Carr wore a red hat with an NFL logo on Thursday night, which you can see here
  • Trey Hendrickson helps AFC to victory in lightning round. The lightning round was part kids birthday party and part football contest as the AFC and NFC battled it out in three competitions: Water balloon toss, catching punts from a JUGS machine and "Thrill of the Spill," which was like a dunk tank, except confetti came out of the buckets instead of water. Hendrickson, the Bengals defensive star, dominated the JUGS machine by catching five "punts" during a round where no other AFC player caught more than three (You can see Hendrickson's round by clicking here). 
  • Jordan Poyer wins longest drive. This contest actually had some drama. T.J. Hockenson looked like he was going to win after a 316-yard drive, but then the Bills safety came in and knocked a golf ball 320 YARDS on his FINAL TURN to win the contest for the AFC. You can see Poyer's walk-off drive here
  • NFC takes down AFC dodgeball. There was no drama here as the NFC had a 4-to-1 edge in players at the end of the final match. Minkah Fitzpatrick was the last man standing for the AFC, but he got knocked out by George Kittle. The most impressive effort of the night went to Saquon Barkley, who looked like he was dodging bullets in "The Matrix" at one point, which you can see here.  

You can get a full recap of the skills challenge by clicking here. After the first four challenges, the AFC leads the NFC 9-3. 

There will be even more points up for grabs on Sunday. If you're planning to watch, here's what you need to know: 

Date: Feb. 5 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: ABC/ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Location: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)

As you may or may not know, there is no actual football game this year. If you tune in on Sunday, here's what you'll see: 

  • Flag football
  • Kick-tac-toe (which is exact what it sounds like)
  • Move The Chains -- Four teams (two teams from each conference) will compete side by side in a weighted wall pull that will showcase their strength, speed and ingenuity.
  • Gridiron Gauntlet -- A side-by-side relay race showcasing strength, speed and agility, six players from each conference will compete to see who finishes first and wins three points for his team.

The finals of the best catch contest will also be held on Sunday. The conference with the most points after each contest has been completed will be declared the winner. 

4. Derek Carr drama with Raiders continues: QB has no plans to help his team

Just when you thought that things between Derek Carr and the Raiders couldn't get any more awkward, they got more awkward on Thursday. Carr was forced to represent the Raiders at the Pro Bowl, except you couldn't actually tell that he was representing the Raiders because he didn't wear any Raiders gear. 

During the Pro Bowl, Carr actually took a shot at the Raiders after winning the precision passing contest. After finishing with the highest score, Carr was asked if he's ever been that hot throwing the football before, "Not that hot," Carr said. "That's probably why I'm going somewhere else." 


Although we know Carr will be playing somewhere else in 2023, it's impossible to say where he'll land right now. The biggest drama from this situation comes from the fact that Carr has $40.4 million in contract money that becomes guaranteed if he's still on the Raiders' roster on Feb. 15. 

Here's what Carr had to say about that on Thursday night. 

  • He won't be giving the Raiders an extension. Carr could make life easier for the Raiders by extending the trigger date, but he made it clear that won't be happening, "I don't think that would be best for me," the QB said, via That's cold. 
  • Raiders won't let him talk to other teams. If the Raiders are planning to trade Carr, they're not going about it very intelligently. Carr confirmed on Thursday that the Raiders are not allowing him to look for a trade partner. "I'm just obeying the rules. If it gets to the date [and I get released], then I'll be able to talk to all my friends," Carr said. 
  • Why this is weird. In a situation like this, it would make sense for the Raiders to let Carr's camp to speak to other teams. Carr has a no-trade clause, so the easiest way for him to get dealt is to let his agent find a new team and then let that team work out a trade with the Raiders. Instead, the Raiders have taken that option off the table. The Raiders could release Carr before Feb. 15, but then they'd be getting zero compensation in return and that would be quite the blunder by the front office. 

The Raiders could keep Carr on the roster until March and try to work out a trade then, but that would come with some serious risk. Since he has a no-trade clause, Carr could simply veto any deal after Feb. 15 to keep a trade from getting done. If that happened, the Raiders could release him, but then they'd be on the hook for the $40.4 million that becomes guaranteed on Feb. 15. Like I said, there's a lot of drama here. 

Releasing Carr before Feb. 15 feels like the safest way out of this for all sides, but there's not guarantee that's going to happen. 

5. Super Bowl on Madden: We simulated Eagles-Chiefs and here's how it ended

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The Super Bowl is still nine days away, but we didn't want to wait that long to find out who's going to win, so we had's Tyler Sullivan simulate the entire game on Madden. Yes, this means Sullivan got paid to play video games for two hours, and yes, I'm jealous, but the important thing here is that if his simulation turns out to be correct, then we now know who's going to win the Super Bowl. 

Here's what happened on Sullivan's Madden simulation: 

  • Patrick Mahomes gets off to a hot start. The Chiefs quarterback started the game by completing his first 14 passes during a first half where Kansas City jumped out to a 14-0 lead. 
  • Eagles come up with the biggest play of the first half. The biggest play of the first half turned out to be a 55-yard bomb from Jalen Hurts to DeVonta Smith. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they were only able to get a field goal out of the drive and the Chiefs went into halftime with a 14-3 lead. 
  • Eagles cut lead down to three in third quarter. The Eagles get a one-yard touchdown run from Miles Sanders to cut Kansas City's lead down to 14-11 (This is the Eagles, so of course they went for two after they scored their touchdown). 
  • Winner and MVP. In the end, the Chiefs outscored the Eagles 10-0 in the fourth quarter to win the Super Bowl 24-11. Even though Mahomes finishes the sim 19 of 20 for 158 yards and two touchdowns, the MVP award went to NICK BOLTON. The Chiefs linebacker took home the award for coming up with a clutch interception in the second half while also leading his team in tackles. 

If you want to know every detail about how this simulation played out, plus watch highlights from the game, then be sure to click here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Joe Mixon has a warrant out for his arrest

It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you, and that roundup involves a lot of coordinator firings. 

  • Bengals running back could be in hot water. Joe Mixon currently has a warrant out for his arrest on a misdemeanor complaint of aggravated menacing. According to the affidavit, Mixon stated, "You should be popped in the face. I should shoot you, the police [can't] get me." Mixon's agent claims that the charge will be dropped today. You can read more about the situation here
  • Patrick Mahomes gives update on his ankle. Mahomes' ankle injury was a big story leading up to the AFC title game, but not so much for the Super Bowl and that's because the the injury seems to be doing much better. "I don't think I had any step backwards or anything like that, no re-aggravation of the ankle. Just the general, little bit of pain I had playing," Mahomes said Thursday, via PFT. "But other than that, I feel like I'm in a good spot." 
  • Vic Fangio scores huge pay day with the Dolphins. The Dolphins finally convinced Fangio to be their defensive coordiantor on Thursday and it seems that money may have played a part in his decision to go to Miami. According to MMQB, Fangio got a three-year deal that will pay him $4.5 million per season, which will make him one of the highest paid coordinators in the NFL.   
  • Brett Maher likely done in Dallas. After watching Maher miss an NFL-record four extra points in the wild-card round, it doesn't sound like Mike McCarthy plans on keeping his kicker around for 2023. Here was McCarthy's answer when he was asked about the kicking situation this week, "We are back to the drawing board," the Cowboys coach said, via the Dallas Morning News. That definitely doesn't sound like a vote of confidence. 
  • Sean Payton eyeing Brian Flores as defensive coordinatorThe Broncos have requested an interview with Flores in hopes of landing him as their defensive coordinator, according to Flores is currently in the running for the Cardinals' head-coaching job, but if he doesn't land that, then it won't be surprising to see him take a defensive coordinator job somewhere around the league. Flores is currently employed by the Steelers as a senior defensive assistant. 

We're not going to list every coaching interview here, because it would triple the length of the newsletter, but if you want the latest updates on every coach and GM interview being held this offseason, then be sure to click here so you can follow along in our tracker