Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Late Sunday night, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera stood against a wall in a mostly empty locker room. A few players who remained hustled by with headphones on. Despite litter strewn across every inch of the room, he clutched an empty water bottle tightly, sliding down into a chair. The 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos had begun to sink in, and someone in Rivera's ear questioned whether critics might chop down an entire season of growth over one night of failure.
"That's baloney," Rivera said, his voice and shoulders squaring into sharp rigidity. "If someone expects to take it from us, they're going to have to fight me for it."
"I'm sure the personnel guys and the powers that be will start [troubleshooting] probably on tomorrow," Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said. "[They'll be] getting ready for the [scouting] combine and draft. The NFL season is kind of a 12-month-a-year thing. As for players, you pour so much energy, you pour so much of your being into the preparation and the game and just everything that goes into the whole season and it's over. It comes to a crashing halt."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
SAN FRANCISCO – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally said what we already knew: The Pro Bowl isn't working.
He could have reached further at Friday's annual pre-Super Bowl media address. The word "embarrassment" comes to mind. Rather than developing a showcase for stars, the event has devolved into a glorified walkthrough. Now it sadly is a bookend of two things fans hate: preseason games and pre-Super Bowl shame.
But there is hope. Goodell said he is open to new ideas. Here are a few, which could be considered a Pro Bowl booster shot:
Ditch the game. We are growing exponentially smarter about long-term physical consequences of playing football, so it's irresponsible to ask players to risk themselves in full-contact situations in an exhibition game. The franchises don't want that, the players don't want it and fans surely aren't interested in having stars put into harms way for what amounts to an NFL infomercial.
Herein lies the opportunity.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – At one point this week, when Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman was asked about his pending free agency, he paused and pointed at the Super Bowl logo on his jersey.
"[This is] all that matters to me," he said. "After that game, that's probably when I'll have sea upon sea of questions about all that stuff."
He was hardly alone this week. Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller also waved off a question about free agency, saying he was more interested in "losing himself" inside Super Bowl preparations. Whether they want to talk about it or not, both Norman and Miller are set to become two of the highest paid defensive players in the NFL this offseason. It's also a foregone conclusion that neither Norman or Miller will actually see free agency thanks to a franchise tag that will be applied if they can't work out new deals in the coming weeks. As it stands, both positions (cornerback and linebacker) are projecting a tag value of around $14 million in 2016.
With that in mind, here are three players, aside from Norman and Miller, who are looking to cash in as they come out of the Super Bowl …
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Among Super Bowl prop bets, it's the elephant sitting at the crossroads of reality and ridicule.
"Ted Ginn. Dropped passes."
You can gamble on a lot of things in the Super Bowl, but few are so taunting and opinionated as those wagering on the hands of the Carolina Panthers wideout, which were statistically among the worst in the NFL this season. When Bovada released it's oddball prop bets leading into Super Bowl 50, Ginn's was simple: Would he drop a pass? The odds offered made it clear the wagering site believed it was more probable than not. This is what happens when you drop nine passes against only 44 receptions – including a few wide-open touchdowns. The biggest stage of your career becomes a gambling sneer. Or your name gets plugged into a search engine and returns a minefield of clickable results like "Good Ted Ginn, bad Ted Ginn" and "Ted Ginn's a ball-dropper, but he makes plays, too."
This is the wave of Ted Ginn's NFL life. One wipeout after another has brought him to this Sunday – a fragile career opportunity to wipe away years of sour memories. As long as he can keep his hands wrapped around it.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Apparently the potential final game for one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks in history isn't the ticket-selling tractor beam you might think.
Super Bowl 50 might be the final game for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning or a celebration of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, but that hasn't generated a spike in ticket prices for the game. In fact, heading into the middle of the week, tickets are downright cheap when compared to the cost of last year's most affordable seats. And according to three large-scale ticket brokers and a handful of smaller sellers, the basement price to get into the game could head a little lower.
"This market is not going to be anything like last year," one longtime broker said. "That's just not going to happen."
The reason it's not going to happen? An entire lower rung of the ticket-brokering community was financially sacked one year ago.
The brokers also aren't seeing a massive thirst from the Silicon Valley crowd – even with it potentially being a historic game, with Manning's retirement seeming imminent.
So what will happen next?
More Super Bowl coverage:
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Peyton Manning looked around and smiled Monday night, the first major media gathering of Super Bowl 50 week. He cracked jokes and talked about doing this week right. About how he'd spend a little more time letting the moment in, resisting a methodical temptation to hurry up and get to Sunday. For a moment, he sounded philosophical, as if calculating his appreciation for the final winter of his career.
It was an intimate allowance from the Denver Broncos quarterback in the least intimate setting possible. But it was more than that, too. It was also a reality check about what is in front of Cameron Jerrell Newton, the Carolina Panthers quarterback and presumptive league MVP. Make no mistake, Newton is on the verge of ascending to a throne that many thought would go to the Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck. He has an opportunity to become the bridge between arguably the greatest quarterback era in NFL history and a budding group of young stars that will spend their careers chasing their aging peers.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
MOBILE, Ala. – If you had to start somewhere with wideout Braxton Miller's Senior Bowl, let it be from Thursday, in the one-on-one red zone drills where he was changing directions like a hummingbird and laying waste to defenders.
Perhaps the Ohio State star's top highlight here was a contentious matchup with Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray. For days, Miller and Murray barked at each other on the field, with the handsy defender banking on a lifetime of coaching that taught him to be physical with speed-and-finesse wideouts. At one point in the midst of trash talking, Miller asked Murray how many times he was flagged this past season.
Then came the final hour of practice, and the two were head-to-head again. Miller's goal? Get Murray off him in time to catch a touchdown on an inside slant.
As the two went to the ground, Murray stripped off Miller's helmet as hoots and "oooohs" cascaded in the stands nearby. Miller responded by standing up and barking at Murray again in satisfaction.
NFL evaluators would agree. The progress is showing.
Here are a few of the other players who helped or hurt themselves in practice this week …
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago
MOBILE, Ala. – A little over a decade ago, nearly 20 Baltimore Ravens gathered in a conference room in the team facility and listened to an idea. One of the Ravens players had vouched for a financial entrepreneur none of the others knew, and now this man was pitching a "Ravens hedge fund," where the players would pool together $10 million in a joint investment portfolio and reap aggressive returns.
The table was lined with rich bank accounts. Future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden had a seat. So did fellow lineman Orlando Brown, who had recently reaped a large injury settlement. Linebacker Bart Scott was there, alongside other big names. Even two Ravens executives had attended the pitch at the request of the players – player development adviser O.J. Brigance and team president Dick Cass, who was also a respected attorney. All sat and listened to a nattily attired man promise to make their money grow exponentially … if only they would have a little faith in him.
At that moment, eyebrows around the room raised up.
But he also learned that just having money doesn't make every investing opportunity right, too.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago
MOBILE, Ala. – If there was any doubt about whether the Dallas Cowboys were giving North Dakota State University quarterback Carson Wentz a serious look as a high draft pick, it was dispelled Tuesday.
While Dallas didn't go out of its way to wave the Senior Bowl pom-poms for Wentz, Cowboys director of player personnel Stephen Jones had a fairly developed line of thought when it came to plucking a quarterback high in this year's draft. To put it succinctly: This isn't some mock draft fantasy. If Wentz is the right guy and right move for the future transition of the franchise, Dallas is prepared to make that decision. And if it means Tony Romo will have to spend a few years mentoring a young guy like Wentz, well, Jones thinks Romo will be a good company man. Even if that means sacrificing a high pick (and a potential instant impact player) in favor of someone who might not take over for a few years.
Asked what he was looking for in the development of players, Garrett said the ability to absorb information and build on it from one day to the next will be key.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago
MOBILE, Ala. – Until a few weeks ago, average NFL fans might have had a problem picking Carson Wentz out of a two-man lineup. Now many are wondering if the North Dakota State University quarterback might end up as the No. 1 passer in the April draft.
If ever there was a case of wildly raising the bar on expectations as quickly as possible, Wentz is it. That's not to suggest the latest NFL draft darling can't justify such praise. It's just … well … even the head of the Senior Bowl, Phil Savage, hasn't seen Wentz play in person. Wentz is "probably going to be the most watched player here," Savage said, but it's an odd reality for the Senior Bowl's top official, who readily admits that the top draw at quarterback is a guy who most NFL evaluators haven't seen in a live game.
"The reality of it is," Savage said, "if Carson Wentz goes in the top 10, what a feather in his cap [for him], but also for us in terms of trying to convince [top] quarterbacks, 'Hey, you should come in here and participate and play.'
Including being the No. 1 quarterback off the board when the draft comes.
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