Tag:Super Bowl
Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:00 pm

Super Bowl fan lawyer thinks NFL offer is too low

Posted by Will Brinson

If the NFL was willing to concede leverage to the NFLPA the way they've been folding under the pressure of intense public scrutiny during "Super Bowl TicketGate," we'd already have a CBA done. (And Roy Williams would probably own the Cowboys.)

But the lawyer for the fans who are suing the NFL, Michael Avenatti, isn't happy with their latest outreach -- offering the 2,000 fans who were displaced either a reimbursement of their face value or a future Super Bowl ticket.

"Remarkably, the NFL and Jerry Jones still refuse to do the right thing," Avenatti told Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk. "As they know, most fans paid five to nine times the face value of their ticket. And, in many cases, the NFL even made money on these purchases through the NFL Ticket Exchange. The bottom line is that the face value 'offers' do not adequately compensate most fans for what they paid for their ticket.

"Resolving this is not complicated,” Avenatti added. "The NFL and Jones should immediately refund every affected fan the entire price they paid for their ticket, plus all related expenses for traveling to the Super Bowl. At a minimum, the fans should also receive quality tickets to another Super Bowl of their choice.

"I invite the NFL and Jerry Jones to contact me as soon as possible so that we may quickly resolve this dispute on terms fair to the fans."

You gotta think that the NFL feels the end of this entire issue coming soon -- but if the fans' lawsuit gains momentum and there continues to be a public outcry for supplemental compensation, it's entirely possible that the league will cave on further demands.

And you can bet that Avenatti won't stop trying to generate that sort of outcry until his clients are satisfied. Or he's paid.

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Posted on: February 11, 2011 11:11 am

Irsay doesn't 'pull a Jerry' on Indy Super Bowl

Posted by Will Brinson

No NFL team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium. 2010 seemed like the year that might change, with the Cowboys ripe for a run and Dallas hosting the event.

We all know what happened there and, um, "whoops"?

But what about Indianapolis? The Colts have Peyton Manning, they're always dangerous and in 2011, Indy's oil fields -- they have oil in Indy, I hope, because otherwise having their field named after oil would be just ridiculous -- will be ravaged by the same scene that overtook Dallas.

Still, Colts owner Jim Irsay is wisely staying away from building up any expectations about the possibility of his team playing in the "big game."

"Honestly, I don't even think about that," Irsay said. "I'm focused on doing whatever it takes that gives us the best shot to win this year. It's not like all of a sudden we're going to try harder this year because we have the Super Bowl. The intensity to win every year is the same and it doesn't change simply because we have the Super Bowl."

This is the smart thing to do, even though Irsay's organization is structured substantially different than the Cowboys. With Dallas, it was all about Jerry Jones' awkward desperation to get his team to the Super Bowl in their home town, and it almost felt like that pressure -- with him as owner and GM and with no true leader on the team -- helped sink their ship early on.

Irsay, meanwhile, has a team with Manning and a slew of veteran leaders, and while he might realize that the Colts' window to win with one of the all-time greats is in fact closing, he also understands that applying unnecessary pressure to his team won't do any good in the long run.

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Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: February 10, 2011 6:19 pm

Running through Gatorade's gauntlet of tests

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- So, somehow, despite a heavy influx of lobster enchiladas and brisket tacos into my diet over a week-plus trip to the Dallas for the Super Bowl, I somehow managed to lose weight. For that, I probably have to thank the good folks at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. The only other explanation would be my personal exercise regimen, and considering the joke of a gym at the Indigo Hotel, that's probably not the case. 

See, during the week, I was able to experience the mobile Gatorade testing lab in full force. It's similar to what I did last year, except this time I wasn't whipping up on DeSean Jackson, and the tests were roughly forty billion times harder.

We've got video and picture proof, of course, and I'll break down the individual exercises below, but the skinny is this: the Gatorade scientists believe that through proper diet, exercise and the use of a "fueling plan," they can help athletes become better at what they do. This is also why NFL rookies Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Cameron Heyward and Mark Herzlich (and more) worked out in the lab and were put on camera by NFL Films -- they want to make sure they're in better shape by the combine and then the NFL Draft than they are today, obviously.

A lot of regular people, as I mention below, just drink water when they exercise. Some people don't eat much for lunch. Some folks only drink coffee during the day. (Note: I am all of these people.)

So the principle idea -- for both professional athletes and us regular Joes -- is that through performance testing techniques and customized nutrition plans, there will be rapid improvement in performance. Here's what I went through to determine my baseline:

The Bod Pod (Body Composition)
This was perhaps the most brutal part of the entire experience, mainly because it involves being filmed, photographed and weighed while wearing just compression shorts and an awkward little skullcap/beanie thing. Flattering to the nth degree, indeed.

It would also be a bit nightmarish if you're claustrophobic, given that the bod pod is a tiny egg that sucks all the air out to figure out how much body fat you've got. The good news, though, is that the pod ended up telling me I'm "moderately lean" (15.4 % body fat!) and that's always a nice way to start the day.

Regulator (Resting Metabolic Rate)
The purpose here is to measure resting metabolic rate -- basically (I think), how does my body "exercise" when I'm not actually exercising. Figuring out that baseline gives the Gatorade doctors a better idea of precisely what differential I'm running on while actually exercising.

This is not a difficult test, duh. (Although it is kind of boring -- I think I read Jake Locker's name upside-down about 35 times.) But it does determine how many calories the body needs per day -- that's right, the body actually likes ingesting calories.

Wingate Test
Talk about a cure-all for boredom -- the wingate is the hardest exercise I've ever done. No joke whatsoever; if you can't tell from the video of me cycling for 30 seconds, what happens is you get loose on the bike and get a 10-count to build to your max peddle speed. (It measures your anaerobic capacity, power and fatigue.)

Then they drop the hammer, Harry, by adding an ass ton of weight to the bike, which essentially creates a climb of 90 degrees. For about 15 seconds, it felt like a doable task to max out for 30 seconds, and then my legs turned to a Bill Cosby promotional product. I have no earthly idea how I managed to finish, but I would suggest avoiding this type of exercise if you can. Especially if someone's filming you.

Cognitive Function (Lighted Whack a mole)
That's not the technical term for the test, but it's close enough. The idea is to test your hand-eye coordination, reaction time and peripheral vision. Fortunately, I have superhuman eyes (20/10, suckas) and spent 85 percent of my college days playing video games. I also like shouting random numbers while slapping at lights in my free time, so I excelled here.

Motor Skills (ISPAN)
This bad boy us basically designed to hose short people because it tests the time in which it takes you to turn off the individual lights. Since I'm, ahem, not six feet tall, I sucked at this. Also not helping: me being about to pass out 10 minutes removed from the wind mere. A nice 30 second break to get the blood out of my feet and back in my dome might have been embarrassing on film but it felt nice in real life.

Mile run
This is a sneaky test because the goal is, obviously, to run a mile quickly. But it's also to run it without maxing out your heart rate. I chose the "6.0 speed" setting which equates to a 10-minute mile. And I definitely could have gone 6.5 or 7.0 and looked less slow but it played to my advantage because I was able to run the entire mile without ever getting above e low-end of my Zone 3 (163 and up; it's the aerobic threshold) and mostly keeping my heart rate in the low 160's. This resulted in the Gatorade doctors being pretty, pretty surprised at how in shape I am.


So, I'll be going through this test again in a few weeks, and there are a couple goals. First it should be noted that I almost never consume liquid calories during the day -- i really only drink water and black coffee.

The Gatorade scientists told me (and advertisements politely remind everyone) that you need to drink Gatorade before, during and after workouts. My response to this: "Well, OF COURSE you say that. You want to move product."

Their response: "No, but seriously, it will make you a better athlete and improve your workouts." So I'm going to give it (read: changing my diet and actually listening to what they have to say) a try. If it works, I'll let you know. If not, I'll definitely let you know.

Along the way, I'll be guided by a special Gatorade iPad application that allows me to input what I'm consuming and what exercises I'm doing to make sure I'm following their suggested plan.

Also helping is renowned trainer and all-around awesome guy Todd Durkin (he's worked with, of note: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and now me) who'll be providing a workout plan that'll boost my core and flexibility and stuff. I'm told there may be a six-pack involved if I work hard enough.

Or if I don't work at all.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 5:54 pm

Hot Routes 02.07.11: Where Vegas got hammered

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • So, as it turns out, the bookies aren't so smart after all. Okay, they're smart, but they're not perfect -- having Green Bay as a 2.5-poing favorite (or 3-point fave at kickoff depending on where you went) ended up torching them, as America laid tons of money on the Packers. At one point, Jay Rood, the guy runs the MGM's sportsbook, took a call from his boss who asked "What's the worst-case scenario?" Rood answered: "It's happening."
Posted on: February 7, 2011 3:29 pm

NFL knew about seating issue before fans arrived

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The most curious thing about the whole "fans paid for tickets but didn't actually have seats ready for them" issue at the Super Bowl was that the NFL had plenty of time to fix the issue. See, football hasn't been played at Cowboys Stadium since December 19 and the NFL's had control of the stadium since January 9.

So, surely they knew beforehand that the seats might not be ready, right? Indeed they did.

"We made a judgment that we had a very good shot to be able to complete it," NFL Executive VP Eric Grubman said at Monday's press conference. "We made a judgment that it was the right course of action to bring the fans in, rather than discourage them, or create a sense that they wouldn’t have the information necessary."

Yikes. But just how far out was the NFL aware of the problem? Pretty far, it seems (emphasis mine).

"We felt in the middle of the week that it was going to be a problem," Grubman said. "We did not feel until the game day that we had an issue where there was a distinct possibility that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate fans."

The sports media's been pretty kind today towards the NFL because of the way in which they're hooking the 400 displaced fans up -- free tickets to next year's Super Bowl in Indy, a trip down to the field, some nice swag and a hefty reimbursement.

But that was, insofar as I understand it, just for the 400 people who didn't get to watch the game at all. Several hundred more fans were put into the Party Plaza and weren't to thrilled about it. Additionally, all of these people traveled down to Dallas and suffered through some pretty nasty weather conditions and a brutal fan experience even though it could have been avoided.

Jumping the gun and alerting everyone about the problem with the seats would have created a bit of a fiasco, sure, but at the very least it would have given the fans who purchased those tickets the option to hold off on their expensive travel plans.

If there is indeed a lawsuit filed on behalf of the fans involved, it's going to be a public relations mess, even if the legalese on the back of the fans' ticket stubs eventually gets the case dismissed. And it's something that could have been avoided with a little more foresight into how fans would react to finding out they might not be able to use the tickets for which they'd already paid.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 2:24 pm

Displaced fans get free trip to Super Bowl XLVI

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- Much ado was made about the 400 fans who paid for a ticket to Sunday night's Super Bowl XLV but weren't given a ticket because of a tremendous flub by the people in charge of Cowboys Stadium.

The one piece of good news from last night is that it wasn't "between 6,000 and 9,000 fans" as some reports indicated.

That doesn't make it any less of a PR disaster, and Roger Goodell addressed the issue at the NFL's press conference on Monday morning.

"Any time you're putting on an event of this magnitude, you have your challenges," Goodell said. "We've had them this week. We had an issue yesterday with several seats for our fans. It's something that we have been taking very seriously, working at it. We apologize to those fans that were impacted by this." 

Fortunately, the NFL is going a step further and hooking those fans up with some solid swag. Like Super Bowl tickets for next year:

"The 400 fans without seats last nite went on field postgame, received free merchandise, food, beverage, $2,400, free SB46 tickets," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy announced.

Interestingly, the fans were given "three times" what they paid for tickets (insofar as we know), which means the NFL valued the tix at $800.

Of course, they still probably dropped more than $5,000 (easily) on the trip to Dallas, so they're not exactly making money on this whole deal.

Hopefully the NFL is making sure that their travel expenses are covered next season when they head to Indianapolis.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 7, 2011 10:24 am

2012 Super Bowl odds

Posted by Will Brinson

Well, the 2011 Super Bowl is over, and that means only one thing: time to get ready for 2012!

Okay, actually we've got a lot of housekeeping to do in between then, in terms of the combine, the Draft and this little labor situation, so perhaps that's getting a bit too far ahead of ourselves.

Still, if someone's willing to offer up 2012 Super Bowl odds (which Sportsbook.com is), then I'm willing to talk about them. The favorites:
New England -- 5:1
Green Bay -- 6:1
Pittsburgh -- 8:1
Baltimore -- 12:1
New York Jets -- 12:1
San Diego -- 12:1
Weird that Green Bay isn't favored? Um, yeah, it is. But New England was the top team in the regular season during 2010, they have a pile of draft picks and they'll likely bring everyone back.

Additionally, the Packers almost missed the playoffs, if you'll recall. (And not to rain on their parade, but can you imagine what their fans would be saying today if they hadn't made the postseason?)

The other weird thing: it's all AFC teams except Green Bay.

Oh yes, and the Chargers missed the playoffs last season. So there's that.

Don't forget that teams like the Pats and Jets are extremely popular with the public.

The next tier is interesting as well:
Atlanta -- 15:1
New York Giants -- 15:1
New Orleans -- 15:1
Philadelphia -- 15:1
Indianapolis -- 18:1
Dallas -- 18:1
Chicago -- 18:1
I can't remember the last time Peyton Manning wasn't in the top five for Super Bowl odds preseason, but I'd be willing to bet it's a long time ago.

Chicago's interesting because they're the only conference championship team that didn't get single-digit odds. Perhaps that says something about whether they can keep up their run from 2010.

Dallas, despite a terrible season, hops right back up into the top teams who are favorites. Again, the public likes Dallas, and they have tons of talent, so no one's going to get burnt by making them 30:1 or anything.

Philly's spot is a little low, I think, if only because of Michael Vick, and I might argue the same thing for a really good Atlanta team. But apparently the NFC is the second-best conference in 2011.

Just don't tell the Packers that right now.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:24 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 2:23 am

Turnovers tell the tale of Steelers struggles

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- How many times over the past week was this phrase -- the team who wins the turnover battle will win the game -- used to analyze Super Bowl XLV? My best guess is right around 5,345,042 times. That's hyperbole, of course, but there's a reason why lines like that are such go-to cliches for people who analyze sports: they're true.

While the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't immune to turning the ball over, you'll almost never see them fire a couple of rounds into their own feet. But they did just that on Sunday en route to their first Super Bowl loss in the Ben Roethlisberger era.

Mistake-laden football isn't not a common sight because Pittsburgh's a well-coached team that's sustained success by making big plays on the defensive end and letting other teams force their own errors. But the script was flipped Sunday, and it led to the aforementioned typical results.

"Usually when you lose it's because of penalties and turnovers," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said.

Covered that already.

"When you turn the ball over like we did, you put yourself in a bad position to win the game," running back Rashard Mendenhall said.

And he's one of the guys who coughed the ball up.

"You can't turn the ball over and win football games in the NFL," center Doug Legursky said. "That's just Day 1 stuff."

Even a last-minute replacement knows that.

"No excuses," Roethlisberger said. "Regardless of the situation, you just can't turn the ball over."

Not if you plan on winning. Want me to keep going with these? Because I can -- every single Steelers' player who spoke with the media mentioned the turnovers and they know that despite being outplayed by the Packers, they didn't exactly help their own cause.

Just look at the final game stats: The Steelers finished with 19 first downs (to Green Bay's 15), they held the ball for 33:25 (to Green Bay's 26:35), they converted 54 percent of their third downs (to Green Bay's 46 percent), they piled up 387 net yards (to Green Bay's 338).

In other words, the either dominated the Packers or at least broke even with them on the stat sheet … with two major exceptions: Pittsburgh turned the ball over three times (to Green Bay's none) and committed seven penalties for 67 yards (to Green Bay's six for 55).

The penalties came at inopportune times (illegal block to set up Ben's pick six, and terribly-timed holding calls) for sure, but the turnovers were particularly brutal.

That was patently obvious to everyone, including the guys who made the biggest mistakes. Asked about his own game-changing fumble to start the fourth quarter, Mendenhall didn't make any excuses.

"I just got hit and the ball came out," Mendenhall said. "It just happened and it should not have happened."

This particular instance isn't exactly indicative of poor preparation, but the vibe around the Steelers after the game seemed to be one of stunned shock at their poor performance.

"I don't know, I had some opportunities to make some plays," Troy Polamalu said. "I was just a step off here or there."

He wasn't exactly alone, though, considering that the entire Steelers team spent 28 minutes of the first half doing their best impression of Robert Downey, Jr., at a wine-tasting, looking wobbly as hell, out of synch, and doing things the Steelers don't usually do.

Roethlisberger looked off most -- if not all -- of the game, repeatedly over-throwing receivers en route to racking up an embarrassingly bad 16.7 passer rating in the first half. It was the type of performance that will have people wondering what the hell Ben did in Dallas all week, his tradition of taking linemen out to karaoke bar to sing Billy Joel tunes notwithstanding.

Green Bay, on the other hand, looked as prepared as you can possibly ask a team to be. Even when they lost their defensive MVP Charles Woodson and saw Pittsburgh rally to within four points at 21-17, the defense managed to capitalize on a mistake by the Steelers as Clay Matthews tattooed Mendenhall in the backfield for a fumble that Desmond Bishop recovered.

"It's really film work and preparation," Matthews said. "I had a good feeling that play was going to come."

Could the Steelers really have been that predictable? Losing by just six and scoring 25 against a very good defense doesn't seem to indicate as much, but Packers safety Nick Collins -- a former high-school running back who scampered his way into the end zone for an early backbreaker of a pick six -- and his take on the play might show that they were after all.

"I was just reading [Ben Roethlisberger's] eyes," Collins said about the interception. "I was able to get a nice jump on the ball and when I saw it floating up there, I just wanted to make sure that I caught it."

Those eyes told a MUCH different tale after the game -- Roethlisberger limped around the locker room with red, puffy eyes that showed some an overwhelming amount of emotion even for a guy who's had his share of troubles this season and probably thought things would end better once he got this far.

They obviously didn't, but unfortunately, neither he nor anyone else in Pittsburgh's locker room has anyone but themselves to blame for walking off without a championship this time around.

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