-- Ongoing discussions of the St. Louis Rams' stadium situation have a lot of people wondering if the team will be in a different location by 2015. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission has been discussing the financial permutations of turning the Edward Jones Dome into a "first-tier" facility (read: more luxury boxes). The Rams currently have a lease through 2025, but they can break the lease after the 2014 season if specific improvements aren't made, and the nebulous "first-tier" standards are not met. For a city paying down the debt on that stadium through the middle of the next decade, throwing more money at the problem could be a hard sell.
Complicating factor No. 1: The Rams are playing a "home" game in London in each of the next three seasons. Complicating factor No 2: The NFL's huge new TV deals kick in for the 2014 season, and you'd think the league would want a team in L.A. around that time… [Associated Press]
-- One Chicago writer claims that Jay Cutler lacks the "It Factor" to take the Bears to the Super Bowl. This from Rick Telander of the Sun-Times:
When compared to quarterbacks such as Brady and Manning — or Rodgers, Brees and maybe even Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger and others — Cutler seems to lack that extra ''something." His lack of media skills and personality are well-known, and that's fine. But does he have the locker room behind him? It seems Cutler's blank-faced nothingness must affect those around him. It certainly has affected certain professional people who have had contact with him and have wanted nothing more than a simple smile or ''hello.''
Telander then goes on to bash Cutler for expecting a child with girlfriend Kristin Cavallari, as if that has anything to do with anything. Perhaps Telander would prefer that the Bears re-acquire Rex Grossman — after all, didn't the Bears go to a Super Bowl with that "master of intangibles"? Ugh — I could FJM this one for days. [Chicago Sun-Times]
-- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only NFL team without a head coach right now. They're zeroing in on a few candidates, most notably Texas A&M's Mike Sherman and Rutgers' Greg Schiano, but no decisions have been made at this moment. One reason it's taken the Bucs a bit longer than most teams is that they really thought they had Oregon head coach Chip Kelly in the bag. In fact, the Ducks had already prepared to replace Kelly, who backed out at the 11th hour (actually, more like 11:59) and basically had to ask for his old job back. [Pro Football Talk]
-- Actually, Adam Schefter now reports that the Bucs are trying to finalize a contract with Schiano. They'd better lock him in a room! [Twitter]
-- While Mike Shanahan is down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, residents of the nation's capital are remembering the Redskins team that won the franchise's last Super Bowl … 20 years ago this week. The "When We Were Champions" headline is both a remembrance and an indictment of just how far the organization has fallen. [Washington Post]
-- Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has set his top-five players at every position for the 2012 draft. It's always an interesting list, because Mayock grinds as much tape as anybody in the business. Our own draft coverage will ramp up heavily after the Super Bowl (and be sure to read our Senior Bowl Missives from Mike Tanier through the week), but a Mayock list is a always good place to start when ranking players. [The Fifth Down]
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/American Football
- Jay Cutler
- Rick Telander