- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
The NFL might not be talking to Tom Brady until after the Super Bowl, but it apparently has focused in on a New England Patriots locker room attendant who might have illegally tampered with footballs, per Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
The full text of Glazer's report indicates that the league's investigation into the deflate-gate incident has focused on the attendant who allegedly took footballs from the officials' locker room to another area on the way to the field. It's not clear if this was an isolated incident for the AFC title game, or if this was behavior that occured habitually for all games.
Glazer writes that the NFL has interviewed the attendant and, per Glazer's sources, possess video of the attendant's actions. The league is still trying to determine if there was any wrongdoing that happened, but the attendant is considered to be a "strong person of interest" in the investigation.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
PHOENIX – Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, in his unique way, put the deflate-gate situation in a different context.
Does NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have a conflict of interest?
Sherman's comment was the result of a photo with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Goodell at Kraft's house before the AFC championship game, but a new GQ article on Goodell brings a lot of new perspective to the forefront.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Welcome to the latest Shutdown Corner podcast! It's Super Bowl week, and we're bringing you quick-hit episodes every single day of the week. On today's fully inflated episode, we have: • A look at the Pro Bowl's few highs and many lows; can this game be saved? (1:48 mark) • Richard Sherman arrives in town, talking loud (8:53 mark) • Wrapping up DeflateGate (for now) (11:16 mark) • Enough griping, this is the best game we could have asked for (15:02 mark) All this and more as part of the Shutdown Corner Podcast. Listen up, and while you're listening ...
- Yahoo Sports Staff at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Creating a Super Bowl ad that people will talk about years from now is a tough task, yet a handful are always brought up this time of year. The Budweiser frogs. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Apple's 1984 ad.
In advance of the dozens of ads that will play between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots game this Sunday, Jay Busbee and Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo Sports each picked out their favorite Super Bowl commercial before listing their top five football pitchmen. Jay went with Reebok's "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker" spot while Kevin preferred the simple comedy genius of Budweiser's "Wassup?" campaign in 2000.
Which Super Bowl ad resonated most with you? Do you agree or disagree with Jay and Kevin? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #SBArguments.
Jay and Kevin's Previous Super Bowl Debates • • Does Tom Brady need another Super Bowl win to cement his legacy?
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
PHOENIX – The Pro Bowl started with a huge, sellout crowd. Before the fourth quarter even started, there were more than a few pockets of empty seats in University of Phoenix Stadium. It cleared out even more by the end, even though the game came down to the final seconds.
Television ratings also reflected that fans might finally be tuning out the Pro Bowl. The television ratings, usually ahead of any NBA or Major League Baseball playoff game before the championship round, took a big dip for the second straight year according to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily.
The overnight ratings (which aren't official, but just a first glance), according to Karp, were 5.6. That compares to 6.7 last year and 7.7 in 2013. Those are still huge numbers, compared to anything else ESPN was going to have in the Sunday night time slot, but it's still a huge drop.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
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Note to media members covering the Super Bowl: Do not, for the love of Roger Goodell, post a picture of your credential on social media.
That's exactly what one Arizona man did for what was supposed to be his first Super Bowl ever, according to KTVK-3TV. When the NFL caught wind of Russ Knight, who was hired to be an assistant frequency coordinator during Super Bowl week, posting a picture of himself and his newly acquired credential, the league revoked it.
NFL security called him up and delivered the bad news.
"He said, 'Russ, we've got a problem,'" Knight said. "Apparently, on my picture, even though it's far away, they could zoom in and they could read my credential on the bottom."
The league prohibits such things for security measures. It's printed right on the back of the credential: It can't be posted on the internet, for fear that it could be cloned or copied to duplicate a fake credential.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
PHOENIX – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was embarrassed about all the time he had to spend studying and discussing footballs after the AFC championship. He’s right.
He’s likely not embarrassed for himself. He’s embarrassed over the insane overreaction to this deflate-gate controversy.
Let’s get this out of the way so I can answer countless emails and tweets at once: I’m not a Patriots fan, I’m not from New England, I do not personally know Belichick and don’t really want to. I don’t care if the Patriots win or lose. They're just one of 32 teams to me.
But as the Patriots arrive here on Monday for Super Bowl XLIX, I just can’t believe we’ve somehow made Belichick a sympathetic figure.
I get it, people hate the Patriots and like conspiracy theories and playing detective. And nothing I say here will change your mind. If you decided last Monday that Belichick is a dirty cheater who deflated the footballs himself, that will be your opinion forever.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
Tom Brady's comments about the first week of deflate-gate will certainly draw a lot of compassion from people. Right.
The New England Patriots quarterback said that as the controversy over the team using under-inflated footballs during the AFC championship game brewed, and Brady was blamed by many, he felt it.
"I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me, and my feelings got hurt," Brady said on WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan Show." "Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me. What’s serving me is try to prepare for the game ahead. I’ll deal with whatever happens later. I’ll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn’t the time for that."
Let's pause as everyone rushes for their violins.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
GLENDALE, Ariz. — In a game with 1,063 combined yards of offense, it was a defensive play that was the highlight of the Pro Bowl.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes — aka "Optimus Grimes" — was one of the few defenders who really showed up to play in the 32-28 Team Irvin over Team Carter game. J.J. Watt might have won defensive MVP honors, but Grimes' interception was ridiculous.
Covering Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, Grimes never turned around to find the ball on a fade route in the end zone, instead playing the receiver. No problem — Grimes reacted to the ball when Hilton leaped to make the catch, and Grimes — without ever really seeing the ball — just stole it. Like it was his lunch money.
Grimes' interception this season while covering Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson was the better play because it happened against Megatron in a heated tight, regular-season game. But this Pro Bowl pick might have had an even higher degree of difficulty.
It was that good.
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- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Pro Bowl goal posts just looked weird.
The NFL trotted out experimental goal posts that were much narrower than regulation, and the uprights were much higher, too.
Adam Vinatieri was not a fan.
The Indianapolis Colts kicker, one of the most accurate ever and probably the kicker with the best chance to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday (Jan Stenerud is the only full-time kicker in the Hall), missed two extra points and a field goal to the narrow goal posts. The NFL narrowed the goal posts from 18.6 feet to 14 for the Pro Bowl. They also had kickers attempt extra points to the 15-yard line for a 33-yard try instead of the normal 20-yard attempt. All of Vinatieri's misses were barely wide.
"I probably would have made all my kicks today and walked out of here feeling a little happier than I am now," Vinatieri said.
Kickers have gotten much better over the years. Extra points are automatic and field goals were made at better than an 80 percent clip this past season. Adjusting the goal posts and/or moving the distance for extra points would bring those percentages way down.
"It's a game changer," Vinatieri said.