Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Slow and sharp, fast and steady. That's how Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota finished their respective NFL scouting combine performances on Saturday.
There were no unexpected bumps for either Winston or Mariota when each went through their 40-yard dash and throwing drills during the final phases of workouts for NFL brass. Winston ran an expected slow 40-yard dash (4.97 seconds) but dominated his throwing drills, smoothly completing most passes and showing elite arm strength and accuracy. Conversely, Mariota blazed a 4.52-second 40 and had a sharp, steady throwing session with plenty of zip on his ball.
While both players will go through a battery of more challenging individual team workouts, each showed well in their opportunities. Winston was particularly impressive, likely dispelling any of the talk of "shoulder weakness" that surfaced on Friday. That certainly wasn't evident Saturday as Winston showed a remarkably fluid, more compact motion that he has been working on since the end of the college football season.
Winston elaborated on his shoulder inspection, admitting that NFL teams prodded it more than expected.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Only in Jameis Winston's world can you go into a pivotal interview session at the NFL scouting combine with concerns about a fat belly, a wonky shoulder, small hands and large off-field concerns and end up stating your intentions to be in the Super Bowl next year.
But this is Winston. Aside from his pro-ready skills, the Florida State star doesn't have a single attribute that approaches his confidence in winning a room. And amazingly, that's how he squeaked out his first victory in the NFL debate with Oregon's Marcus Mariota – with effervescence that charms supporters and maddens haters. He went into Friday's media session under conditions that could have yielded nothing less than a probing collection of media bayonets. And by the end of it, the room was mostly entranced, even laughing at Winston's jokes.
This weekend's throw-off with Mariota will rightfully matter more to NFL teams. But Round 1? The public relations battle? Winston is going to exit with positive headlines. And that's at least a mild stunner.
Luckily for Mariota, the ability to win that room will hinge less on spinning charm and more on spinning a football.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Marcus Mariota hasn't studied Colin Kaepernick's game. He hasn't broken down film on Robert Griffin III, either. And Johnny Manziel, well, nobody asked, but it's a sure bet the Oregon Ducks star quarterback hasn't spent much time on Johnny Football.
As Mariota put it Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, "I don't really compare myself to other players."
He might want to start since NFL teams are doing it right now. And Mariota is already starting a subtle slide down the draft board because of it.
Granted, nobody is predicting a Mariota slide. This draft is too starved for quarterback talent for that to happen. But NFL teams are going to make comparisons to his game. Every team has two prominent questions for quarterbacks: who are you similar to, and what kind of success have comparative players had in the pro game?
Right now, franchises are asking that question about Mariota. They want him in a box. They need him in a box.
That sounds a lot like Kaepernick and Griffin. There are similarities (albeit fewer) to Manziel, too. In short, it's an ugly box at the moment.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Every year, there's a nightmare that gets replayed at the NFL scouting combine. A prospective draft pick drops pass after pass or can barely bench press his own weight. Or his arm looks wild or weak, or he runs the 40-yard dash like he's tethered to a fire hydrant. In the memorable cases, maybe things go so terribly that he quits altogether, like a Maurice Clarett.
This is what makes the combine such great theater. We tune in to see dreams made and get an inevitable sideshow of catastrophe. And since the league airs the annual combine on its cable network, we often see it live and uncut. What we don't see are the guys behind the guy, the agents who often see weeks, months or even years of work die in a single drill. They're the ones who are starting or extinguishing fires behind the scenes.
With that in mind, an NFL agent agreed to a combine chat with Yahoo Sports, offering a peek behind the curtain at the nightmarish side of this event. He talks 40-yard dash, and among other subjects, the dirtiest thing NFL teams do at the combine.
Charles Robinson: So give me the nightmare scenario for an agent at the combine.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago
The Phoenix police department and an employee at the Renaissance declined comment Monday, but a source with details of Sapp's arrest told Yahoo Sports that sometime around 2:30 a.m. MT, guests reported hearing an argument followed by objects banging in either the hallway or another room. When guests opened doors to see the disturbance, at least one reported seeing two women – one lying on the floor with apparent marks associated with a physical altercation, and a second woman who was with her, the source said. The women were shouting and alleged that Sapp had assaulted them and asked for someone to call police, the source said.
Officers arrived shortly after the incident and interviewed the woman who had alleged the assault. Officers then began to look for the second woman, who had left the scene. Both eventually identified themselves to police as escorts who had met Sapp in the hotel. The source said Sapp was interviewed by police, then remained in his room until the second woman could be located. It was after the second woman was found and interviewed that Sapp was taken into custody and subsequently charged with soliciting prostitution and assault around 7 a.m. local time.
Before Malcolm Butler's heroics, he looked to be victim of another great Super Bowl catch against the PatriotsCharles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago
GLENDALE, Ariz. – In the final minutes before stepping into the game of his life, Malcolm Butler's eyes were fixed on New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Every word mattered, every syllable.
Super Bowl XLIX was ready to begin, and Butler heard Belichick speaking to him. Granted, the words were reaching out to an entire room, but the message felt singular, like a collective lesson meant for private ears.
"When you're out there today and you find yourself thinking about the future, go back to the present," Belichick said. "Play the next play."
It's fortune cookie coaching, a vague reminder to keep your wits. But sometimes this is the stuff that ping-pongs inside the head of a player and changes a game. And sometimes it changes the biggest game.
This is how Butler went from devastation to elation in three Super Bowl plays. A 40-second, career-making span that will be relived forever – or at least as long as the Patriots' 28-24 victory against the Seattle Seahawks is considered a standard for great championships. This is how emotions swung deep and hard.
"Surreal," tight end Rob Gronkowski said.
Patriots won't talk about ghosts of '07 season heartbreak at Super Bowl but they're impossible to avoid and hear
PHOENIX – The garbage can in the middle of the locker room was failing. Within 30 minutes, it was bulging from the inside out, crushed to the brim with equipment, gifts and mementos that had been shed in disgust by the 2007 New England Patriots.
A stack of expensive embroidered bathrobes with Super Bowl XLII logos – gifts to each player – were jammed inside, several still in their plastic wrapping. Multiple sets of game-worn gloves were among the refuse, poking out from beneath some silvery game programs. There was a pile of maybe a half-dozen partially-taped cleats on the top, each sliced down the side from where players had taken scissors and sliced them off their feet.
Had things gone differently on Feb. 3, 2008, these abandoned layers would have fetched tens of thousands of dollars. Fans and memorabilia hunters would have gobbled them up and put them under glass, fit for eternal worship in some North End bar or Charlestown barbershop.
"Nope," he said, flatly. "I try not to."
PHOENIX – For 32 years, the NFL has waited for television's celestial alignment to repeat itself in the Super Bowl. But Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers came and went. Bill Parcells and the New York Giants faded away. Jimmy Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys divorced. Even Bill Belichick and Tom Brady couldn't make it happen in five previous tries.
But this year might be as close as the league has gotten to the holy grail: a game that captures both the largest TV viewership and ratings in Super Bowl history.
The first half of that elusive double – total viewership – has seen a record set four out of the last five years. Last year hit a new high of 112.2 million viewers. The latter half – ratings (also known as the total percentage of households with a television) – hasn't been snapped since 1982, when CBS reeled in 49.1 percent. By comparison, last year's Super Bowl set the viewership record but "only" captured 46.7 percent of households.
• The matchup itself is attractive
PHOENIX – Forget about Sunday's clash between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Getting in to the Super Bowl might be the craziest game played this week.
On Wednesday night an already tight ticket market virtually vanished. The two biggest brokers of seats for Sunday's Super Bowl – StubHub.com and PrimeSport.com – went from a combined offering of 1,400 tickets Wednesday night to around 150 on Thursday morning. And that has sent prices for even the worst seats rocketing higher. The "get-in" nosebleed seats are now starting at $8,500 on StubHub.com, with field-level end-zone seats listed for as much as $21,533.25 each.
Multiple independent brokers told Yahoo Sports that StubHub is so starved for inventory, it has begun calling other independent brokers and offering to buy entire inventories of Super Bowl tickets.
But even having availability at this point is rare. PrimeSport, a significant ticket resale partner of the NFL, completely pulled its Super Bowl ticket inventory off its website, leaving visitors this message:
"Deals like this change the industry forever," one high-level broker said.
PHOENIX – A mad scramble for Super Bowl tickets and a mysterious lack of inventory on the open market have sent prices soaring this week.
Multiple brokers told Yahoo Sports they are having issues filling pre-sold orders for Super Bowl tickets, due to tight inventory and "worst seat available" prices that have pushed as high as $5,700 per ticket. That's considered an astronomical "get-in" price, a term used for the cheapest face-value tickets offered. As one broker referred to such tickets, "Those are the ones that simply get you into the building."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the poorest seats in University of Phoenix Stadium were going for nearly $5,000 each with taxes and fees included. The website TiQiQ.com, which compiles ticket pricing research, said Wednesday that Super Bowl seats are selling for an average of 82 percent more than this time last year, when the Seattle Seahawks faced the Denver Broncos in New Jersey.
"I think the get-in number by [Thursday] is going to get near $7,000," one high-level broker told Yahoo Sports. "This market is ready to go nuts. Like, real nuts. Like you've never seen before."