Tag:Super Bowl
Posted on: February 3, 2012 3:20 am

Irsay: 'Peyton has not passed our physical'

It's getting ugly between Manning and Irsay... (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Peyton Manning saga is in full public relations mode. And despite a promise from Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay that things reached a peace accord, everything managed to turn sour again late on Thursday night, courtesy of Jim Irsay's Twitter account and a report that Manning was "cleared" to return to playing football.

That report surfaced Thursday afternoon and then Irsay tweeted late on Thursday that indicated Peyton was, in fact, not clear, physically speaking.

"Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts," Irsay tweeted. "Team statement coming on Friday."

This is about to get ugly, and it's about to get ugly quickly. There was some reconciliation of feelings between Irsay and Manning before the media arrived in Indianapolis earlier in the week. That almost put the Colts long-term situation at quarterback on the backburner when it comes to Indianapolis Star front pages. It hasn't.

Instead, things have somehow managed to become more awkward. Manning -- vis a vis a report -- was declared eligible to start playing football. This said nothing about the arm strength of Manning, who's recovering from nerve damage.

Irsay's tweet, on the other hand, speaks directly to Manning's lack of health, as it pertains to the Colts decision to pick up his $28 million option.

Peyton might well be healthy, but it matters little at this point, because the salvos are fired. Manning says he's healthy enough to play football. (Ergo, he believes he should be paid to be played football, right?)

And Irsay -- and the Colts -- disagree, and, ergo, Manning shouldn't be paid to play football. At least for the Colts. It's a nightmare of epic proportions for everyone involved and, despite the quite pleasant Super Bowl taking place in Indianapolis, this story is casting a cloud over the normally fun activities taking place in Indiana.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:44 pm

Fewell has led Giants past early-season woes

Perry Fewell has led New York's defense past a number of early-season injuries (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Surrounded by the media this week, Perry Fewell could reflect on August and September and talk about the adversity the Giants defense faced, when New York couldn’t keep its players healthy, and about the adjustments the team needed to make at the time.

Since the Giants will face the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in two days, Fewell doesn’t necessarily have bad memories from those uncertain days. At the time, though, it must have been maddening for the Giants defensive coordinator.

“It was a bad thing for us defensively,” Fewell said. “What it allowed us to do, though, was put young players on the field who normally wouldn’t play. A Jacquian Williams played a significant amount of time. A Greg Jones went on the field and played a significant amount of time. Spencer Paysinger, he played. It gave guys some experience that normally wouldn’t have gotten that experience. We won some games and we lost some games. But we found out who we were at the end.”Thomas

In training camp, though, the Giants had to wonder if the defense would have enough players to field a team. Among the early-season (or training camp) injuries: Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Terrell Thomas, Prince Amukamara, Marvin Austin, Jonathan Goff, and Clint Sintim. The avalanche of injuries wouldn’t end.

“It was all of us trying to figure out a way to make that work throughout the season,” Fewell said. “That was an ongoing process. The thing about it was that each week, somebody else went down. We were never able to develop consistency during that stretch.

“When we played some of the young guys, we found out what they could do and what they couldn’t do. I said, ‘OK, let’s put the pieces back and see if we can make these pieces work the way I think they can work.’ And it happened.”

Though Fewell hasn’t gotten much play this year as a future head coach -- in an offseason when most teams hired first-timers to run their squads -- his performance this season in New York should raise his profile even more. He interviewed for a few head coaching jobs last year, but he didn’t draw much, if any interest, following the 2011 regular season.

Could be because the Giants ranked 27th in yards allowed this season. Could be the three-week stretch where the team allowed 49, 38 and 34 points in losses to the Saints, Packers and Cowboys, respectively. After that Saints game, though, is when Fewell began to change the attitude of his unit by angrily berating his underperforming players.

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“He’s not a screamer,” linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. “He’s not a cusser. But he was animated and he said some things that were heartfelt. They were true, and it needed to be said. We didn’t have a good performance that week, and we needed to be called out. He holds himself accountable, and he holds all of us accountable.”

After the 2010 season, Fewell received good marks during his head coaching interviews with the Browns, Broncos, 49ers and Panthers -- though he did pull an 0-fer in actually landing the jobs -- but teams who needed new leadership seemed to forget him about this year.

Fewell thinks about that sometimes. He wonders if he’ll ever get his shot.

“It’s always beena goal of mine,” said Fewell, who went 3-4 as the Bills interim coach in 2009. “To win the Super Bowl is No. 1. Then, if that opportunity presents itself in the future, I would love to become a head football coach. But I saw the good and the not so good about it. To be a football coach is to get in and work with the players and see exactly what you can do with them and get them to reach their potential. Sometimes as a head football coach, you’re not able to do that. You’re an administrator, you’re a facilitator. You don’t always get to grind with them and have the fun things in the meeting room that’s really rewarding in this profession. Hey, I’m happy I’m doing what I do.”

But there’s also the chance that Fewell could benefit from his extra exposure this week. Maybe accomplishing his ultimate goal will lead him to another of his most important ambitions.

“I think it gives me more marketability,” Fewell said. “Now I have the experience of coaching in the Super Bowl, knowing what the preparation is like for Super Bowl week. That adds value to what I can do.”

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 8:02 pm

JPP: Brady reacted to pressure that didn't exist

                                     (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The last time the Patriots and Giants met in the Super Bowl, quarterback Tom Brady was sacked five times. On Wednesday, Brady was asked about the implication that he can be rattled in the pocket.

"It wouldn't be the Super Bowl if they (the Giants defense) weren't trying to knock me down or knock me out … but our offensive line gets paid too," he said. "We're going to try to eliminate (bad throws) … we had too many of those last time (against the Ravens). We're not going to be able to win the game playing like that."

The Pats and Giants met earlier this season too, and while Brady was sacked just twice, it was the perceived pressure that forced him into mistakes -- at least to hear Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

“I think it will have much impact on his performance because if you look at Week 9, when we played them, it’s like he felt us," Pierre-Paul said during Thursday's media availability. "When we looked back on the film, we watched the film, and we didn’t really rush like we can rush as a defense. He was throwing balls on the ground and stuff, but like I said, it’s going to be a battle. We have to get there. We have to. …

"(Brady) did react to pressure that didn’t exist, and he was just throwing the ball places where there wasn’t even a receiver there. Imagine us getting there even faster and actually doing our jobs and getting hits on him.”

Brady has a short history of underwhelming performances against the Giants (he's also played poorly in the games just prior to facing the Giants, too), but he's also one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history and a three-time Super Bowl winner.

[Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

Following the Patriots' conference championship win over the Ravens two weeks ago, Brady said he "sucked" and promised owner Bob Kraft that he would "play a lot better" in the Super Bowl. Good news for New York, however: turns out, Brady's human. Pierre-Paul was asked if the Patriots quarterback was was a god.

"He's not," he responded.

Which was made clear from watching him play against the Giants.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:30 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:31 pm

EoF on the scene: Super Bowl XLVI, Radio Row

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Radio Row has gone from a ghost town to hopping in 24 hours. Almost all of this had to do with Tim Tebow (who we somehow missed) and Madonna (who we didn't). Enjoy.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:42 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:45 pm

Gronkowski returns to Patriots practice Thursday

Gronk should get plenty of questions on Friday as well. (AP)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rob Gronkowski returned to practice on a limited basis for the Patriots Thursday afternoon after an entire week of speculation about whether or not he would be able to play on Sunday.

But Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't officially put to rest any of the concern about Gronk possibly missing the game when he delayed any further decision on Friday.

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"He did some things. He didn’t do everything," Belichick said following practice. "We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I think that will be the big key – how he responds to this today."

Gronk's status early on Friday at the media session will be telling; if he's moving around well and able to walk without any serious limitations, it'll be an excellent sign for New England. (We noted earlier on Thursday that Gronk was "strutting" prior to the media session and fake limping afterwards.)

“It was good. It was fine," Belichick said when asked how Gronk performed. "We’ll see where he is tomorrow -- whether that set him back, whether it didn’t and whether he’s able to continue to progress on a daily basis. But it was a good test for him, too, at least.

"At least he was out here and did some things to see how it feels. We’ll see how it goes."

Gronkowski, per our Patriots Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner Jr., called getting back to practice "huge" and "significant."

"It's definitely huge, significant," Gronkowski said. "Obviously I want to get out there, I want to get some practice in before the Super Bowl. I want to do as much as possible, whatever I can do before the game. We'll see how I am feeling, talk to the training staff, talk to the coaches, put it all together."

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 5:12 pm

Colts' Pagano talks on new hires Manusky, Arians

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts hired Greg Manusky Thursday to be the new defensive coordinator. He was fired by the Chargers last month and will now join Chuck Pagano's staff a week after Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler backed out of the job.

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Pagano met with the media to talk about the latest additions to his staff.

"[Greg's] been a player and coach in this league for a long time … and he'll bring great leadership and passion and energy to our organization and to the defensive side of the ball." Pagano also said that Manusky will call plays.

The new head coach was also asked about offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach with the Colts back in 1998. And now, 14 years later, he's returning to Indianapolis, which means that there's a good chance Arians will soon get to work with another rookie franchise quarterback.

There's still much to sort out, from Manning's future, to who the Colts will target with the first-overall pick in April's draft. (Andrew Luck is the early runaway favorite but Robert Griffin III will likely get consideration as well.)

"Bruce's resume speaks for itself," Pagano said. "He called plays at the highest level and he's won a Super Bowl."

Arians comes to the Colts after the Steelers chose not to renew his deal. Two weeks ago, he told the York Daily Record (Pa.) that he retired when he "wasn't offered a contract." After that, "it was an easy decision for me."

Arians added that team president Art Rooney II didn't give him a reason. "I can't answer that question," he said. "Only the people there can. That's the business. I know the job we did as a staff. I don't have any regrets."

He had been in Pittsburgh since 2004, after working with Pagano on Butch Davis' staff in Cleveland the previous three seasons. Arians was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007, head coach Mike Tomlin's first year with the Steelers. In four of five seasons, Pittsburgh was a top-10 offense, according to Football Outsiders (and the only year they weren't, 2008, they won the Super Bowl). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger flourished under Arians, but the Steelers got away from what they had previously been known for: running the ball.

There will be no run-first subtexts in Indianapolis. The Colts need someone to nurture a young passer and you'd be hard-pressed to find a candidate more qualified than Arians.

"He understands how to develop quarterbacks, especially young quarterbacks," Pagano said. "Bruce and I go back a long time. His philosophy matches our philosophy, and the pieces we're going to put around him [match] his passion and energy. He's a brilliant guy, he thinks outside the box so I feel really fortunate that Bruce is with us."

It was a peculiar split for Arians and the Steelers. Not because it came out of nowhere -- Rooney reportedly wanted Arians out several years ago and Roethlisberger and Tomlin fought to keep him -- but because the Steelers' offense had regularly been a top-10 unit going back to 2007.

Part of that is due to Roethlisberger, but that claim can be made about most winning teams: sustained success starts with the quarterback. And that's exactly what Pagano seems ready to do: rebuild this team around a franchise player. The only question, at least initially, is if that player will be Manning, Luck or someone else.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:54 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:59 pm

Madonna seeks to inspire Gronkowski

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- If all of us can speculate about Rob Gronkowski’s ankle and whether he can play this Sunday, there’s no reason why Madonna shouldn’t weigh in on the subject as well.

So, when she was asked by a Boston TV reporter at her press conference Thursday if she thought Gronkowski would play this Sunday, she said she hoped he would (“So do I,” the reporter responded). The reporter also asked how she would respond if she suffered a high ankle sprain before her halftime performance.

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“A lot of people would say I’m a masochist,” said Madonna, who's trying to work through a hamstring injury ((seriously). “I would just tape my ankle and say prayers. Take an anti-inflammatory and get my butt out there.”

Here’s hoping Gronkowski draws inspiration from those words.

In other news, a very nervous Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, representing the OCNN, asked Madonna what advice she would give to a young football player who planned on a long career. The answer was uninteresting, but on his follow-up, McCoy asked if he could have a kiss after the press conference.

Madonna sweetly smiled and shook her head. A stunning rebuke on what had been, up until that point, a jovial occasion.

(Photo credits: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:35 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:58 pm

Luck willing to sit, hasn't spoken to Peyton

Luck is willing to sit in 2012 if he needs to. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck's made his way to the Super Bowl. No surprise here: but people are curious about his opinion on the situation involving Peyton Manning and the Colts, who hold the top pick in April's NFL Draft.

Luck, in town to train at the Gatorade Sports Science Lab leading up to the draft (you can view footage of Luck testing at Gatorade's Facebook page), said he has not spoken to Manning and also said that he would be willing to play for a team, even if he wasn't guaranteed to be the starter, "if that's what the situation called for.

"I think like any competitor you want to play," Luck told CBSSports.com. "But if that's what the situation calls for, then put your best foot forward."

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Asked about the big seasons from guys like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton and how that puts pressure on teams at the top of this year's draft (read: the Colts) to play their early picks right away, Luck pointed out that if he can play, he certainly wants to.

"Any competitor wants to play," Luck said.

There's also pressure on Luck because of expectations. He's been touted as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton, and possibly the best since John Elway. But Luck, who comes across with a perfect mix of humility and confidence, doesn't let the outside opinions crank up his expectations too high.

"It's nice when someone has a good opinion about you," Luck said. "But it's just an opinion. It doesn't mean you've done anything yet by any means. So you sort of take it for what it's worth. Not to disrespect the people who make the opinions, but you put your head down, work hard and control what you can control."

Luck is going to go early in the draft. Colts owner Jim Irsay said he's taking a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick and all signs point to the Stanford product going with the top selection. Were Indy to take Robert Griffin, III, and make Luck available to the Rams, St. Louis could hold an auction for that pick so frenzied they'd need someone from Sotheby's to moderate it.

And there's no question that whoever gets Luck will end up with affable face of the franchise that will quickly be able to compete. There's just one little dealbreaker when it comes to the team he lands with.

"I don't want to run the option," Luck said, laughing.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com