- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner54 mins ago
PHOENIX – It must be a little strange for Dan Quinn, having two important jobs on his mind this week.
The Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator is going to be the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons part isn’t official, because he can’t be hired until his team is eliminated, but everyone assumes he is their coach-in-waiting. The Atlanta media has followed Quinn around at all his media availability periods this week.
If it is a struggle, Quinn doesn’t let it show. He’s coaching in a Super Bowl, after all.
“I am having an absolute blast with these guys,” Quinn said. “If I didn’t enjoy the moment of this experience, that would be crazy. I am absolutely having a blast.
“This is such a cool experience that where else would you rather be?”
It’s Quinn’s enthusiasm, and the great defenses he has guided the past two years, that presumably sold the Falcons on settling on him as their next head coach.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
PHOENIX — Forget a moment about Marshawn Lynch talking or not talking.
What about him walking?
The very real possibility exists that Sunday could be Lynch's final game with the Seattle Seahawks if the team opts not to bring him back.
There are two halves to this equation: One, the Seahawks might be in a financial bind, having handed out several contract extensions this season and still needing to save up for paying Russell Wilson and Byron Maxwell (whom the team has deemed to be a priority in re-signing). Can they also keep Lynch, who is currently set to hit on the salary cap for $7.5 million next season.
The other half is Lynch. Does he want to be back? The way his Seahawks teammates gush about him as a friend and locker-room figure, you'd think the answer would be yes. But there have been reports over the course of the past year that he remains unhappy with his contract situation, even after receiving a $1 million bump following an eight-day holdout in training camp last year. The Seahawks also appear to be in decent shape to replace him with young running backs Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, who come much cheaper.
But can the Seahawks even picture life after Lynch?
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
CHANDLER, Ariz. – First, a numbers comparison.
Tight end A: 76 catches, 1,078 yards, 13 TDs, 14.2 yards per catch Tight end B: 78 catches, 896 yards, 7 TDs, 11.4 yards per catch
The first set of numbers are Rob Gronkowski’s season averages, prorated to account for missed time due to injuries.
The second tight end is Tony Gonzalez, widely considered the best tight end in NFL history, and his prorated 16-game averages.
Maybe it’s time to start looking at Gronkowski in this way: Gonzalez had the greatest career for a NFL tight end (or perhaps Shannon Sharpe if you weigh Super Bowl rings in the conversation, and John Mackey is on the short list too), but Gronkowski is the best tight end ever at the peak of his ability. Consider another stat: Gronkowski has played at least 10 games in four seasons, and has four seasons with double-digit touchdowns. Sharpe and Gonzalez combined for five double-digit touchdown seasons in their 31 years in the NFL.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
PHOENIX — Marshawn Lynch switched it up on Wednesday.
Lynch repeated his media stiff-arm routine from Tuesday's Media Day on Wednesday, but with a twist.
On Tuesday, Lynch repeated the phrase "I'm just here so I don't get fined" as a boycott to speaking to the media prior to Super Bowl XLIX.
On Wednesday, Lynch arrived at the podium and coined a new saying: "You know why I am here."
There was a buzz at the Seattle Seahawks' hotel, the Arizona Grand, when, just a few minutes prior to the media access portion, a public-relations official moved Lynch's placard from a small side table to one of the larger podiums. TV cameras and media members scrambled to move to the new location, perhaps thinking that Lynch had a second thought about chatting with the media.
He had not.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
If New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's voice sounded a bit strange on Media Day, it wasn't because he's cracking under the deflate-gate pressure. The two-time NFL MVP is battling a cold.
"I've had it for four or five days," he conceded during Wednesday's media availability. "My kids got sick, and then my wife's pretty sick right now, so I brought it, unfortunately, to Phoenix. But I'll be fine. I'll be good."
While folks who wonder why Brady hasn't won a Super Bowl since his blind date with Gisele Bundchen in 2006 can now add this to their list of reasons for believing in the supermodel's curse, the three-time champ doesn't expect his sniffles to hinder his ability to battle the Seattle Seahawks come Sunday.
"I'll be at 100 percent," Brady added. "Yeah, I'll be great. I'm not worried about it all."
Likewise, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels helped quell concerns about his quarterbacks ailment. "I know he's sick," offered McDaniels, "but he's watched more Seahawks tape than anyone."
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Welcome to the latest Shutdown Corner podcast! On today's trying-not-to-get-fined Super Bowl week episode, we have:
• Rob Gronkowski sings! (1:00 mark)
• A look at Marshawn Lynch's Media Day performance. Does it matter that he didn't say a word? (3:54 mark)
• The ridiculousness of Media Day. Why does it exist? Why do people dress up in costumes? Why would anyone pay to watch this? (11:30 mark)
All this and more as part of the special Shutdown Corner Podcast's Super Bowl week episodes. Listen up, and while you're listening ...
- Kevin Kaduk at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
It turns out that the way to a different Marshawn Lynch Media Day quote is through his stomach.
Peter's secret? He came bearing a special lemon cake baked in Sacramento by Lynch's maternal grandfather Leron Lynch.
"Oh yeah, that's the magic cake," Lynch said. "Thank you."
OK, so the cake didn't spark a long address or interview from Lynch. But the delivery did give us a more personal look at a player that most casual fans only know as a media-averse man of few words.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
It's been 13 years since the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI. Even today, the stunning-at-the-time upset continues to rankle members of the heavily favored Rams. On Tuesday, former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner allowed that, yeah, maybe the whole deflate-gate business has provided fresh fuel to some long-held suspicions.
"I don't want to believe that there was anything outside of his team beat our team," Warner said, per the New York Daily News. "That's what I want to believe. Yeah, there's a sliver of a doubt … Was there any advantage they gained in any game? Not just our Super Bowl game, but maybe a game before that to get to the Super Bowl. All those things enter your mind. It's not because I'm bitter. It's not because I say they cheated, because I have no idea."
Warner noted that quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are clearly all-time talents, but that this latest scandal continues to taint their legacy.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
PHOENIX — Amid the Media Day silliness on Tuesday, we chose instead to play see how well the New England Patriots know one of their quietly important teammates.
Or rather, if they can spell his name.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui might be far from a household name in league circles, and you don't see dudes walking down the street in Everytown, U.S.A. with that name too often.
But still ... his teammates? They should be able to spell his last name, challenging as it is, right?
Watch the video to see how his Patriots teammates fare in Tuesday's spelling bee.
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- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
Brett Favre had a responsibility when Aaron Rodgers was his backup on the Green Bay Packers, and it wasn’t to get Rodgers ready to take his job.
The Favre-Rodgers relationship is a story that won’t die, but that happens when one Hall of Famer is backing up another. It happened with Joe Montana and Steve Young too.
Favre famously said it wasn’t his job to get Rodgers ready to play, and years into retirement that stance hasn’t changed, as he said in an interview with InDepth’s Graham Bensinger. But he thinks the entire situation, and his relationship with Rodgers, has been overblown. His acrimonious departure from Green Bay probably didn’t help with the perception.
“Aaron and I, we don’t talk all the time but I don’t talk all the time with family members,” Favre told Bensinger in a wide-ranging interview. “It has nothing to do with him being the starting quarterback of Green Bay in spite of what people may think.
“I got no hard feelings. Why would I have hard feelings for Aaron Rodgers and why would he have hard feelings for me?”