Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Super Bowl XLVI
Posted on: February 2, 2012 5:12 pm
 

Colts' Pagano talks on new hires Manusky, Arians

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (AP)

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.

Full Super Bowl Coverage
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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
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.

Full Super Bowl Coverage
“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)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our 
RSS Feed.
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."

Full Super Bowl Coverage

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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Former Jet Ihedigbo only looking ahead to Giants

                                        (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- James Ihedigbo spent his first three NFL seasons with the Jets playing for Rex Ryan and trying to beat the Patriots' brains in. Now with New England and about to play in his first Super Bowl, the fourth-year safety isn't interested in talking about the past.

"I've refrained from talking about the Jets because that's not what this games about," Ihedigbo told CBSSports.com. "This game's about us, the hard work we've put in to get to this point."

While many of the storylines have been about the state of Rob Gronkowski's ankle and how Tom Brady will deal with the Giants' pass rush, the Patriots' defense has their own issues. Chief among them: stopping Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, as well as a revitalized New York running game.

"The Giants are a very explosive team," he said. "Nicks and (Ahmad) Bradshaw didn't play the last time we saw them and that adds more explosiveness to their offense. You look at how well (Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs) have run the ball in the playoffs and it's been very effective for them. They may not have run the ball well in the regular season but in the playoffs they really stepped that up so our ability to stop the run is going to be key in this game."

For some perspective, the Giants ranked 20th in rushing efficiency during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders. Against the Falcons in the wild-card game, New York rushed for 172 yards, but just 95 against the Packers the following week, and 85 against the 49ers in the conference championship game.

Full Super Bowl Coverage
Clearly not the same running attack the Giants brought with them to Super Bowl XLII (they ranked fourth in the league in rushing efficiency that season), but Jacobs thinks he and Bradshaw will be an important part of any success the offense has this Sunday.

“We can keep them off balance. I think we’re good enough for any team… to prove that we can go out there and make a difference in this football game," he said. "Everyone’s been talking about tight-ends, wide receivers, quarterbacks and so on and so forth and it’s kind of good for the first time being a part of the New York Giants football team that the running backs are being talked about. We as running backs are going to embrace that, because it never has happened. We’re going to try to take it and stay under the lights for a little bit and be on top of the lights on Sunday.”

The Patriots defense has been maligned for much of the year but that unit has played better of late, too. As the unofficial leader of the secondary, Ihedigbo knows that the previous 20 weeks don't matter. Just the next three days. 

“I definitely have taken on a leadership role," he said Thursday. "I’ve played in a lot of big games in my young career in the NFL and those guys understand that. We all understand what it takes to win and what’s asked of each other. The bar is set high for all of us, because the way we play determines whether we win or lose. We play well, we win. If we don’t play well, it’s not going to be a good game.”


New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke with the media on Thursday about the importance of building on their victory in 2007 and staying focused for the upcoming game against the Patriots.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:29 am
 

Hernandez: Gronkowski will be 'fine to play'

Gronk got a question or two about his ankle Thursday. (Will Brinson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rob Gronkowski sat at Thursday's media session and answered questions about his ankle for an hour. Of course, so did everyone else -- the redundancy of the questions wasn't just limited to the Patriots tight end, whose ankle has become the singular dead-horse storyline of this Super Bowl week.

When he finally got done, he stood up and faked a pronounced, heavy limp as he left the room. It was a funny moment, but it's not indicative of his health. Prior to the media session, I spotted Gronk at the players end of the hallway, waiting to walk down for interviews and he was joking around with his teammates and strutting in short bursts.

Gronk wasn't the only one being inundated with questions about his ankle: fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez

"Everybody else will just have to step up, but I’m sure he’ll be fine to play," Hernandez said when asked about a gameplan for Sunday if Gronk can't play.

Did Hernandez slip up and reveal something? Maybe -- he used the exact same phrase a few minutes later when asked if he was sick of hearing about his teammate's ankle.

"I’m sure he’ll be fine," Hernandez said. "I was expecting these questions because when probably the top player on your team besides Tom Brady is injured, it is a big thing."

Gronkowski was a little more forthcoming when asked if he's getting tired of spending a half-hour each morning talking about his ankle.

"A little bit," Gronkowski said, laughing.

It's good news for the Patriots, though, because Gronkowski's ankle is all anyone's talking about this week. Revenge? Pssh. No time to talk revenge when there's a need to ask about Gronk's ankle over and over again.

In a constant battle between two nearly dead horses, the concern in Indy over Peyton Manning's future is slightly more important than the concern over Gronkowski's ankle.

But only slightly; Gronk's injury might have taken the lead Thursday morning when someone asked him -- this really happened -- if his other ankle was jealous. Welcome to the Super Bowl, GronkNation.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:14 am
 

Brady has history of poor play before facing NYG

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Shortly after the Patriots beat the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, Tom Brady was asked about his very un-Tom Brady-like effort: 22 of 36 for 239 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

"Well I sucked pretty bad today but our defense saved us," was Brady's initial reaction. He expanded on those thoughts in the postgame press conference.

"As a quarterback, you never want to turn the ball over. …I wish I would've done a better job with that today. In some ways you always beat yourself up. I've been doing this for quite awhile. I'm glad we won, I'm glad we're moving on and hopefully I can go out there and do better in a few weeks."

Brady also made a promise to owner Robert Kraft that night: "I promise you I'm going to play a lot better in two weeks."

Full Super Bowl Coverage
It's an odd thing to hear from Brady because he's been so good for so long. As observers, we've almost come to expect every performance to be masterful, every decision to be clinical. When it doesn't happen, the cognitive dissonance is too much, even for Brady, the man largely responsible for the Patriots' three Super Bowl titles since 2001.

Which is why no one is concerned that Brady won't play like, well, Brady when the Patriots and Giants meet in Super Bowl XLVI in three days. But here's the thing: the Giants have said all week that the key to getting Brady off his game is to hit him. A lot. That game plan, coupled with David Tyree's head certainly helped New York to a Lombardi Trophy four years ago. Brady entered that game as the quarterback of an 18-0 team and fresh off a regular season that included 4,806 yards, 68.9 completion percentage, 50 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 117.2 passer rating.

In the Super Bowl, the Giants held him to 29 of 48 for 266 and one touchdown. He was also sacked five times after going down just 21 times in the regular season.

We're all aware of the damage New York's front four can inflict on a passing offense, even one with Brady at the center. But here's something else to consider: in terms of passer rating (57.5), Brady has his worst game of the season against the Ravens two weeks ago. In previous weeks he had completed fewer passes for fewer yards with more interceptions, but never in the same game.

The good news: every time Brady's passer rating has dipped below 90 this season, he's hit triple-digits the following week.

The bad news: Brady was coming off a similarly poor performance heading into Super Bowl XLII, the last time the Patriots and Giants met.

In that year's AFC Championship game, New England hosted San Diego and won despite an underwhelming showing from Brady who finished the afternoon completing 22 of 33 for 209 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating: 66.4, his second-lowest of the season (he bottomed out at 51.5 against the Jets in Week 15) and well below his 117.2 average.

After beating the Chargers Brady said "Now we're going someplace warm, because I'm freezing my you-know-what off."

Turns out, the weather didn't matter two weeks later in Arizona. Partly because of the Giants' stifling pass rush but also because Brady didn't look anything like the Hall of Fame quarterback we reflexively expect to put up 400 yards and toss four touchdowns every time he takes the field. And just like four years ago, Brady is coming of a forgettable game, and just like four years ago, he now has to face the Giants in the Super Bowl.

But maybe this is just coincidence. Then again, Brady didn't play particularly well against the Steelers this season, their opponent just before losing the Giants in Week 9. 

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:44 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 9:51 am
 

Tom Brady is in Gisele's prayers

Gisele Bundchen is praying for her husband (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

It’s great that Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, cares about her husband’s well-being and happiness. And there certainly would be nothing wrong with the model praying for the Patriots quarterback’s safety as he heads into Super Bowl XLVI. And if she wants to ask friends and families to send positive vibes to the heavens as well, I guess that’s fine as well.

But if that email somehow comes out in the public -- and she simply asks her friends and family to pray that the Patriots beat the Giants -- Gisele shouldn’t be surprised if she faces an immediate backlash from at least one New York tabloid.

Oh wait, that’s already happened.

The NY Post has the scoop on the mass email calling the message a “disgustingly sappy email … for her pretty-boy hubby.”

Here’s the text of the note (sic’s and all), obtained by the Post:

“My sweet friends and family, sunday will be a really important day in my husband’s life. He and his team worked so hard to get to this point and now they need us more than ever to send them positive energy so they can fulfill their dream of winning this super bowl . . .

“So I kindly ask all of you to join me on this positive chain and pray for him, so he can feel confident, healthy and strong. Envision him happy and fulfilled experiencing with his team a victory this sunday.

“Thank you for your love and support. Love, G :)”

After the newspaper touched base with her via email, Bundchen said: “I am surprised that you received this email; it was a private note only sent to close friends and family.”

Again, nothing wrong with a spouse praying for another spouse, even if it is just to win a football game.

But as we’ve seen lately with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and a Giants defense that will pressure Brady intensely to get him out of his rhythm, Giselle’s prayers, in this case, might not be enough.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.

Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:26 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 2:33 am
 

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Quarterback rematch? That doesn't bode well for Brady. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Fact: only twice before this year has a Super Bowl featured a rematch of quarterbacks. Eli Manning and Tom Brady will be the third such rematch, and it seems relevant to examine what kind of success the other guys had when they squared off the second time, in advance of Sunday's tilt.

Of course, we need to know who went head-to-head first. Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers and Roger Staubach of the Cowboys battled the first time, way back when the Super Bowl only got one Roman numeral (X). They met again in Super Bowl XIII. And Troy Aikman of the Cowboys met Jim Kelly of the Bills twice during the Fire Marshall Bill Halftime Era.

Full Super Bowl Coverage

If you know much about the NFL, you can make an educated guess as to how these sort of rematches play out for the guy who lost the first game. (A: Not well.) Bradshaw's one of only two quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins; Joe Montana is the other. (Although a Brady win on Sunday would net him a fourth.)

And those Jim Kelly squads were great up until the "Big Game" -- four straight AFC Championships netted exactly zero Super Bowl wins. That, by the by, is a reminder of how fleeting these moments are, and why winning them matters more than anyone who doesn't play the game will every know.

Anyway, Super Bowl X took place on January 18, 1976 in Miami. Bradshaw's Steelers toppled the Cowboys 21-17. Bradshaw was nine of 19 (!) for 209 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Staubach was 15 of 24 for 204 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The NFL presents a slightly different game these days, huh?

When they two matched up again three years later, Bradshaw was substantially more effective in his second win, going 17 of 30 for 318 yards, four touchdowns and one pick in a 35-31 win. Staubach was no slouch either, completing 17 of 30 passes too. He only threw for 228 yards but did have three teeters and a pick.

Aikman and Kelly squared off for the first time in Super Bowl XXVII, a 52-17 blowout for the Cowboys. (Michael Jackson performed both "Billie Jean" and "Black and White" at this game, which is equal parts awesome and ... aging.)

Kelly suffered an injury in this game, so Frank Reich led the Bills with 194 passing yards, one touchdown and a pick. Kelly threw two picks despite leaving early; the Bills coughed up an awkward nine turnovers in the loss. As you would imagine, that could have eliminated the need for the Cowboys to produce eye-popping stats, but Aikman threw for four touchdowns anyway.

When the two met a year later at the Georgia Dome, the result was different, but still the same. Aikman threw for 207 yards and no touchdowns, while Kelly produced 260 yards and zero touchdowns as well. A series of field goals and/or rushing touchdowns provided the scoring and neither quarterback was particularly effective, from a statistical sense.

So which direction does 2012 take? Logic (and a 55-point over/under in Vegas) says the former. Brady and Manning should see more success than Kelly and Aikman saw in their rematch.

Even though the Giants pass rush is ferocious, neither defense is absolutely elite, while both offenses are the definition of potent. Regardless, the short history of quarterback rematches in the Super Bowl doesn't exactly favor Brady. Then again, shattering NFL playoff trends isn't exactly something new for the Patriots signal caller.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com