- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
CHANDLER, Ariz. — The understudy is being asked to step up into a leading role this week.
Backup quarterback JImmy Garoppolo has been spending his entire rookie season learning the New England Patriots' complex offense and trying to match the brilliance and knowledge of starter Tom Brady. But he also has a second job during the season: acting as the scout-team quarterback for the Patriots' defense, giving it the looks needed during the week of preparation leading up to games.
His assignment in Super Bowl XLIX might be his toughest acting job yet. Yes, Garoppolo has been asked to play the role of Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, and others — 18 weeks worth, and many of them daunting tasks, each with a different skill set.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
Even as his former team prepares for the Super Bowl, Aaron Hernandez is now on trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Opening statements in the trial began Thursday.
Hernandez has been charged with first-degree murder in the June 2013 death of Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player and an acquaintance of the former New England Patriot. At the time of his death, Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Lloyd's body was discovered in an industrial park in North Attleborough, Mass. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. Hernandez's associate Ernest Wallace Jr. is also charged with the murder. Another associate, Carlos Ortiz, was charged with being an accessory after the fact.
The case is unfolding in Bristol County Superior Court under the eye of Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh. Eighteen jurors were seated, of which 12 will decide Hernandez's fate and six will serve as alternates.
Hernandez has also been charged in the June 2012 deaths of two men in Boston following an incident in a nightclub. However, Garsh has ruled that jurors will not be permitted to hear the details of the Boston case in this particular trial.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
PHOENIX – Marshawn Lynch didn't have a one-line script.
For his last media obligation of Super Bowl week, the quiet Seattle Seahawks running back expressed confusion why the media keeps showing up to hear what he has to say. He expressed at Media Day on Tuesday that he was just there to avoid a fine, and Wednesday he explained that the media knew why he was there. He kept repeating the same lines until his five-minute obligation was done.
This time, at the end of a long-winded question to start off, Lynch surprised everyone by wondering aloud why the media continued to document his few words.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
So this is a new wrinkle for the Super Bowl: Richard Sherman might, just might, miss it because of the impending birth of his son.
The Seattle Seahawks cornerback has decreed it unlikely he'll miss the game against the New England Patriots, but his girlfriend Ashley Moss is expected to deliver their first child, a son, in the next week. As a precautionary measure, she's in Arizona, and if she were to go into labor, she'd deliver the boy at a local hospital.
As for whether the boy would show up on Super Bowl Sunday, Sherman had this to say on Thursday: "He's not supposed to come Sunday. I think he's going to be a disciplined young man."
Earlier, Sherman had noted that impending fatherhood had changed his perspective on this particular game, and allowed that it could give him extra motivation on Sunday.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
The Seattle Seahawks' "12th Man" gives an enormous home-field advantage to the defending Super Bowl champs, binding team and fans together. But as this short Yahoo Sports video notes, Seattle shares the "12th Man" moniker with Texas A&M University.
How did each "12th Man" come to be? What must the Seahawks do to use the trademarked "12th Man"? And which team's fans believe they're the REAL 12th Man? What do Seahawks players who played at A&M think? All that and more right here.
So far, the 12th Man has traveled well from Seattle to Phoenix, showing up at all public events and making itself known. Seattle's home-field advantage is nearly insurmountable because of the 12th Man; how much of that will carry over to Sunday's game?
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
While New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been popping garlic like PEZ to get over his cold, the best remedy is a good night's sleep, and someone has been trying to prevent that the past few nights.
For the second time in three nights, the hotel where the Patriots are staying for the Super Bowl in Phoenix experienced a false fire alarm, according to a Twitter post from the NFL Network's Kimberly Jones.
However, Brady said Wednesday night's alarm didn't disrupt his dreams, since the false alarm apparently occurred in a different portion of the hotel than where the players are staying. Our own Eric Edholm is live on the scene to give us the latest on the QB's all-important cold remedies and sleeping patterns.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
If you are an NFL player, if you have ever been an NFL player, if you've ever watched an NFL player, or if you can spell "NFL," chances are somebody's going to ask you about deflate-gate. On Wednesday night, it was Drew Brees' turn, as he took questions from Conan O'Brien about the half-filled "scandal" that's consumed the New England Patriots.
Brees, while expressing relief that for once his team wasn't in the NFL's crosshairs this time, also tried to throw a fully inflated football to some fans and, well ... it didn't go so well. Check it out.
And keep up with Jay over on Facebook, too.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
The Super Bowl is a legendary event, but it hasn't always been a legendary game. For every last-second heroic, there are seven total blowouts. We've had some astounding Super Bowl teams, but more often than not, those teams haven't produced exceptional games.
Oh, but when everything falls into place, when you've got leads changing hands multiple times in the fourth quarter, when you've got plays that you'll be telling your grandkids about ... that's a truly great Super Bowl. Here, we pick our best, and we invite you to do the same.
Yahoo Sports' Kevin Kaduk (@kevinkaduk) and Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee) kick around the best-and-worst Super Bowls topic right here, and you can join in. This is the latest of our many Super Bowl Arguments videos, and you're invited to the party. Offer up your thoughts in the comments below and on Twitter at #SBarguments. Your words might end up on a future episode. Get to arguing!
Check out our previous Super Bowl week arguments here:
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
PHOENIX – " Well, I wouldn’t put on women’s pants, like skinny pants. But, you know, whatever you feel comfortable in. That’s my thing."
For fellow media members who are screaming that Marshawn Lynch is a jerk for his one-line answers to questions during Super Bowl week, now we can see what we're missing. Like the quote above. That's from Maxim's exclusive interview with Lynch in which the Seattle Seahawks running back discusses hard-hitting topics like skinny pants, that he bought a Lamborghini and the origins of his famous "Beast Mode" nickname.
We could have been getting valuable insight like ...
Do you do anything specific to get in the Beast Mode headspace? Nah. It’s just who I am. It’s not like I got to do nothing different besides be myself.
Can we just go back to "You know why I'm here"?
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
PHOENIX — They won't cover each other, much less be on the field at the same time.
In the same vein of quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning not having a true rivalry because they don't truly go head to head, the same can be said of two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL — Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis — who will be featured in Sunday's Super Bowl.
Still, it's hard not to wonder, and it's fun to debate, just who the best cornerback in the NFL is.
But asking Sherman and Revis to be part of the discussion proves difficult. It's clear from listening to them speak this week, they each feel they're the best at what they do. Two years ago, when Sherman was rising to fame with the Seattle Seahawks and Revis was an established star with the New York Jets, the two had at it on Twitter over who was best.
The two have been a bit mild-mannered on the topic this week, dancing carefully between giving mutual respect without overdoing it, but there's also a healthy level of respect from the coaches and other players of the Seahawks and New England Patriots over how good the two are.