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Archive for February 3rd, 2019

Super LIII Preview: LA Rams vs. New England Patriots tonight at 6:30 pm ET on CBS



(photo by Alex Brown)


Home of Super Bowl LIII, Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia 2017 photo By Atlanta Falcons via webmPlay media, CC BY 3.0, https



On Sunday, February 3, the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams will meet in Super Bowl LIII (6:30 PM ET, CBS) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Super Bowl LIII will feature the No. 2 seed in each conference – the AFC Champion Patriots against the NFC champion Rams – and is the first Super Bowl matchup of No. 2 seeds since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975. It also marks a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI, when New England defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on February 3, 2002.

For the Super Bowl LIII capsule, click here.

Here’s what’s at stake in Super Bowl LIII:

With a New England victory…​

  • The Patriots will have captured their sixth Super Bowl championship, tied with the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (six) for most in NFL history.
  • New England will have won its 37th postseason game, surpassing PITTSBURGH (36) for the most all-time.
  • Head coach Bill Belichick joins GEORGE HALAS and CURLY LAMBEAU as the only coaches ever to win six NFL championships.
  • Quarterback Tom Brady has now won six Super Bowls, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley (five) for the most of any player.

With a Los Angeles win…​

  • The Rams will celebrate the second Super Bowl victory in the history of their franchise (SB XXXIV) and their first in Los Angeles.
  • At age 33, head coach Sean McVay becomes the youngest coach ever to win the Super Bowl. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held the previous mark at age 36.
  • Quarterback Jared Goff becomes the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory within his first three seasons.

The Patriots earned a trip to the Super Bowl with a 37-31 overtime win against Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game. New England, who won Super Bowl LI to conclude the 2017 season and advanced to Super Bowl LII last season, joins the BUFFALO BILLS (1990-93) and MIAMI DOLPHINS (1971-73) as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls. New England advanced to their 11th Super Bowl in franchise history and are looking for their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with thePITTSBURGH STEELERS (six) for the most in NFL history.  ​

The Rams advanced to Super Bowl LIII with a 26-23 overtime victory against New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game. Los Angeles kicker GREG ZUERLEIN converted the game-winning 57-yard field goal in overtime, the longest game-winning field goal in postseason history.

Los Angeles advanced to their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history (1979, 1999 and 2001) and are looking for their second Super Bowl title.

Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK and quarterback TOM BRADY will be making their ninth Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won five Super Bowls together, the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

Brady, who is making his NFL-record ninth career Super Bowl start, is the only starting quarterback in league history to win five Super Bowls and the only player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP four times (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX and LI). Brady set a Super Bowl record with 505 passing yards last year and is the all-time leader in Super Bowl passing yards (2,576), completions (235), passing attempts (357) and touchdown passes (18). He is also the NFL postseason leader in wins by a starting quarterback (29), completions (984), passing attempts (1,554), passing yards (10,917) and touchdown passes (73).

New England rookie running back SONY MICHEL has five rushing touchdowns this postseason, the most rushing touchdowns by a rookie in postseason history. Michel has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his first two career postseason appearances and can join ARIAN FOSTER as the only players in postseason history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of their first three playoff games.

Patriots running back JAMES WHITE, who had a rushing touchdown in Super Bowl LII, has scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) in two career Super Bowl appearances. Over the past three postseasons (2016-2018), White leads the NFL with eight total touchdowns.

New England tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI has 12 touchdown receptions in his postseason career and trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (22) for the most in NFL playoff history. Gronkowski’s 1,076 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions are the most ever by a tight end in NFL postseason history.

In the AFC Championship Game, Patriots wide receiver JULIAN EDELMAN had seven catches for 96 yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (151 receptions) as the only players with at least 100 career postseason receptions (105). Edelman has recorded at least five receptions in 12 consecutive playoff games, the longest such streak in postseason annals.​

Los Angeles Rams head coach SEAN MC VAY, who will be 33 years and 10 days old on Super Bowl Sunday, is the youngest head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. In each of the past two seasons under McVay, the Rams have ranked first or second in points per game.​

Rams quarterback JARED GOFF, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, is the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall to reach the Super Bowl within his first three seasons. Four quarterbacks (Pro Football Hall of Famers TROY AIKMAN and JOHN ELWAY, andDREW BLEDSOE and ELI MANNING) each reached the Super Bowl in their fourth season.

Los Angeles running back TODD GURLEY has rushed for a touchdown in each of the team’s two postseason games this season. Gurley led the NFL with 21 touchdowns (17 rushing, four receiving) and ranked fourth with 1,831 scrimmage yards. Rams running back C.J. ANDERSON leads the team in postseason rushing and has 481 rushing yards in the postseason since 2014, the most in the NFL over that span.

In the NFC Championship Game, Rams wide receiver BRANDIN COOKS led the team with seven receptions and 107 receiving yards. Cooks had 80 catches and 1,204 receiving yards in the regular season and became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,000 receiving yards with three different teams in three consecutive seasons. With New England in 2017, Cooks recorded 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns and added 10 receptions for 155 yards in the playoffs.

Los Angeles defensive tackle AARON DONALD led the NFL with 20.5 in 2018 and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer LAWRENCE TAYLOR (1986) as the only players to record 20+ sacks and make it to the Super Bowl in the same season. Rams defensive tackleNDAMUKONG SUH recorded 1.5 sacks in the NFC Championship Game and has recorded at least one sack in three of his past four playoff games.

Jared Goff Rams QB 2016 photo By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https

Tom Brady Patriots QB in Super Bowl LII 2018 photo By Brian Allen for Voice of America, Public Domain, https


2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class announced: headlined by Gonzalez, Reed and Brandt

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; Pete Fierle, Chief of Staff & Senior Vice President of Communications PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME; Rachel Gutting, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME; COURTESY






CANTON, OHIO “Selection Saturday” resulted in eight “Heroes of the Game” earning election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall’s 48-person selection committee held its annual meeting today in Atlanta to elect the Class of 2019.

The new class of Enshrinees was just announced on stage at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special that will air nationally tonight at 9 p.m. (ET and PT) on CBS. The newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame include cornerback CHAMP BAILEY, contributor PAT BOWLEN, contributor GIL BRANDT, tight end TONY GONZALEZ, cornerback TY LAW, center KEVIN MAWAE, safety ED REED, and safety JOHNNY ROBINSON.

Today’s annual selection meeting capped a year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list o​f 18 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche tabulated all votes during Saturday’s meeting.

The Class of 2019 will be officially enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the spectacular Enshrinement Ceremony held inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. The Enshrinement Ceremony is the main event of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.


Cornerback … 6-0, 192 … Georgia … 1999-2003 Washington Redskins, 2004-2013 Denver Broncos

15 seasons, 215 games … Washington’s first round draft pick (7th overall) in 1999 NFL Draft … Helped Redskins to 10-6 record and division title as rookie … Recorded five interceptions in rookie season including three in one game (vs. Cardinals, Oct. 17, 1999) … Traded to Broncos in 2004 … Key member of secondary that led Denver to five postseason appearances and four division titles including three straight to cap his career … Started at left cornerback in two AFC championship games and Super Bowl XLVIII … Returned interception 100 yards in Broncos victory over Patriots in 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff Game … Tied for NFL lead with career-high 10 interceptions returned for 162 yards and 1 TD, 2006 … Racked up 18 interceptions over two-season span (2005-06) which was most in NFL in more than two decades … Exceptional in pass coverage, rarely flagged for pass interference … Led Redskins in interceptions once, punt returns once … Broncos leading interceptor five seasons … Amassed 52 career interceptions returned for 464 yards and 4 TDs … Recorded 203 passes defensed … Chosen First-Team All-Pro four times, Second-Team All-Pro four times … Named All-NFC twice, All-AFC three times … Voted to 12 Pro Bowls … Selected to NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born June 22, 1978 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Owner … Oklahoma … 1984-Present Denver Broncos
Bowlen shaped the Broncos into one of the most storied franchises in NFL history during his 35 years as owner … Engrained winning culture into organization with immediate results … Broncos posted 13-3 record to win AFC West in Bowlen’s first season, 1984 … Sustained and unprecedented success over past three decades has resulted in more than 350 victories, seven Super Bowl appearances and regular-season winning percentage of .603 (1984-2017) … With Bowlen at helm, Broncos have advanced to playoffs 18 times, won 13 division crowns, seven AFC conference championships and three Super Bowl titles (XXXII, XXXIII and 50) … Under his leadership, the Broncos are only NFL team to post 90 or more victories in each of the past three decades … Broncos victory total since Bowlen took over as owner is second most in NFL …  Led effort for state-of-the-art Broncos Stadium at Mile High that opened in 2001 …. Member of numerous NFL committees over career including co-chair of NFL Management Council Executive Committee … Key figure to securing NFL’s labor and TV contracts …  As Chair of NFL Broadcast Committee was responsible for negotiations of $18 billion TV contract, the most lucrative in single-sport history … Named to Broncos Ring of Fame, 2015 … Born Feb. 18, 1944 in Praire du Chien, Wisconsin.

Contributor … Wisconsin … 1960-1988 Dallas Cowboys, 1995-present National Football League

Historic half-century career in pro football … As vice president of personnel for the Cowboys, helped build one of most dominant franchises in all of sports … Integral talent scout for Cowboys and member of team’s brain trust along with Hall of Famers Tex Schramm and Tom Landry since inception in 1960 through 1988 … Developed innovative scouting and management of personnel systems … Many innovations are standard process for NFL teams today … Early user of computer analysis to evaluate players … Discovered number of free agents such as wide receiver Drew Pearson and defensive backs Cliff Harris and Everson Walls … Responsible for building rosters that led Cowboys to winning records in 20 consecutive seasons (1966-1985) … Cowboys registered 10 or more wins in a season 16 times during period … Helped Dallas to 13 division titles, six conference championships and two Super Bowl victories (VI and XII) … Joined at its inception in 1995 and has been key contributor ever since … Regarded as top draft expert … Serves as resident historian for and has provided countless number of columns about league’s significant events and players … A regular radio personality on SiriusXM NFL Radio … Born March 4, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.​

Tight End … 6-5, 250 … California … 1997-2008 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2013 Atlanta Falcons

17 seasons, 270 games … First-round pick (13th player overall) by Chiefs in 1997 … Named Chiefs’ rookie of the year after recording 33 catches for 368 yards and 2 TDs, 1997 … Recorded more than 50 receptions in a season in each of his last 16 years (second most all-time) including 14 seasons with 70 or more catches … Led NFL in receiving with career-best 102 receptions, 2004 … Led Chiefs in receiving eight times … Traded to Atlanta in 2009 … Led Falcons in receiving, 2012… Set Chiefs record with 26 games with 100 or more receiving yards; added five more 100-yard efforts with Falcons … Ranks behind only Jerry Rice in career receptions … Career statistics: 1,325 receptions for 15,127 yards, 111 TDs … Streak of 211 straight games with a catch, 2000-2013 (longest ever by tight end, second longest in NFL history at time of retirement) … Career-long 73-yard TD catch vs. division rival Raiders, Nov. 28, 1999 …Team leader that helped Chiefs and Falcons to two division titles each … Started at tight end for Falcons in 2012 NFC Championship Game, had 8 catches for 78 yards and 1 TD … Named First-Team All-Pro seven times (1999-2003, 2008, 2012) … Voted to 14 Pro Bowls … Named Team MVP by Chiefs (2008) and Falcons (2009) … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s … Born Feb. 27, 1976 in Torrance, California.

Cornerback … 5-11, 200 … Michigan … 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos

15 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Patriots in 1st round (23rd player overall) of 1995 NFL Draft … Named All-Pro in 1998 and 2003 … Voted to five Pro Bowls (1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006) … Starting left cornerback in four AFC championship games … Started at left cornerback in three Super Bowls including Patriots victories in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII … Recorded seven tackles, one assisted tackle, two passes defensed and scored on 47-yard interception return for touchdown in New England’s 20-17 win over Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI … Intercepted three or more passes in a season nine times … Led NFL in interceptions twice (9 in 1998 with Patriots and career-high 10 in 2005 with Jets) … Team’s leading interceptor six times (Patriots – 4, Chiefs – 1, Jets – 1) … Registered 53 career interceptions for 828 yards and 7 pick-sixes … Career-long 74-yard interception return for touchdown against New England (Dec. 26, 2005)… Recorded 37-yard interception return in final game of career … Five career sacks … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born Feb. 10, 1974 in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

Center … 6-4, 289 … Louisiana State … 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans

16 seasons, 241 games … Selected by Seahawks in 2nd round (36th player overall) in 1994 NFL Draft … Spent majority of college career as tackle before moving to center during senior year … Played in 14 games, and started 11 games during rookie season with Seahawks … Named to NFL’s  All-Rookie Team … Played at right guard first two pro seasons, moved permanently to center, 1996 … Noted for leadership and steady play … Helped Jets to division title and championship game appearance in first season in New York, 1998 … Anchored steady Jets offensive line that led way for 44 100-yard games and seven 1,000-yard seasons by Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin … Blocked for 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of his 16 seasons and five different running backs (Chris Warren, 2; Martin, 7; Travis Henry, 1; LenDale White, 1; and Chris Johnson, 2) … Capped career with Pro Bowl season by paving way for 2,000-yard performance by Johnson … Named All-Pro six times (1999-2002, 2004, and 2008) … Voted to eight Pro Bowls including his final two seasons … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born Jan. 23, 1971 in Savannah, Georgia.

Safety… 5-11, 200 … Miami (Fla.) … 2002-2012 Baltimore Ravens, 2013 Houston Texans, 2013 New York Jets

12 seasons, 174 games … Selected by Ravens in first round (24th overall) in 2002 NFL Draft … Made instant impact on Baltimore’s dominant defense with 5 interceptions as rookie … NFL’s top interceptor in 2004, 2008, 2010 to become just second player in NFL history to lead NFL in interceptions three times … Led AFC in interceptions four times … Ravens leading interceptor seven seasons … NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, 2004 after picking off league-high 9 passes returned for then-NFL record 358 yards, 1 TD … Career statistics: 64 interceptions returned for NFL record 1,590 yards and 7 touchdowns …. Owns two longest interception returns in NFL history (107 yards vs. Eagles on Nov. 23, 2008; and 106 yards vs. Browns on Nov. 7, 2004) … Registered 140 career passes defensed … Also returned 30 punts for 205 yards … 3 touchdowns scored on fumble recoveries … Leader on Ravens team that advanced to playoffs seven times, won four division titles, and Super Bowl title … Started at free safety in three AFC championship games … Recorded 5 tackles, 1 interception and 1 pass defensed in Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII win … Selected All-Pro six times … Voted to nine Pro Bowls … Member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born Sept. 11, 1978 in St. Rose, Louisiana.

Safety… 6-1, 205 … Louisiana State … 1960-1971 Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs

12 seasons, 164 games … Selected in first round of 1960 AFL Draft by Texans and 3rd overall in the 1960 NFL Draft by Detroit Lions … Utilized by Texans as running back first two seasons … Moved to defense in third season, responded with 4 interceptions …  Recorded multiple interceptions each season after moving to safety … Single-season best 10 interceptions in 1966 (led AFL) and 1970 (led NFL) … Lone career pick-six came on 29-yard interception return vs. Boston Patriots, Sept. 25, 1966 … Helped team to four division titles … Played in three AFL championship game victories … Started in two Super Bowls … Recorded two tackles, one fumble recovery and intercepted one pass for nine yards in Chiefs’ 23-7 win over Minnesota Vikings, Super Bowl IV … Named All-AFL five straight seasons (1965-69), All-Pro, 1969 and All-NFL, 1970 … Voted to AFL All-Star Game six times, Pro Bowl once … Named to AFL’s All-Time Team … Intercepted 57 career interceptions, returned for 741 yards and 1 TD …Also gained 658 rushing yards, 6 TDs; 77 catches for 1,228 yards, 9 TDs; 21 punt returns for 272 yards, 1 TD; and 3 kickoff returns for 54 yards … Scored one TD on fumble return (46 yards vs. Baltimore Colts on Monday Night Football, Sept. 28, 1970) … Born Sept. 9, 1938 in Delhi, Louisiana.

The first order of business for the Selection Committee at today’s meeting was to discuss and debate the merits of the Seniors Finalist, Robinson. He was required to receive at least an 80 percent positive vote to earn election. Next, the careers of Bowlen and Brandt, this year’s Contributors Finalists, were reviewed. Like all other Finalists, the Contributors Finalists needed a minimum 80 percent positive vote to be elected.

The Selection Committee then presented and reviewed the 15 Modern-Era Finalists that included two cut downs in the process. The first cut of finalists was from 15 to 10. The five eliminated from consideration at that point were Isaac Bruce, Don Coryell, Tom Flores, John Lynch and Richard Seymour. The final 10 finalists were reduced to five. Removed at that point were Steve Atwater, Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson and Edgerrin James.

The five remaining finalists – Bailey, Gonzalez, Law, Mawae and Reed – were then voted on individually and all five received the necessary 80 percent positive vote from the Selection Committee to be elected.

The Hall of Fame’s membership, including the newly elected Class of 2019, now stands at 326.


The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls, a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class, is held each year in Canton. Bailey, Bowlen, Brandt, Gonzalez, Law, Mawae, Reed and Robinson will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. The ceremony is nationally televised by NFL Network and ESPN.

The 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls kicks off the NFL’s 100th season with the annual Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 1. Other major events complementing the Enshrinement Ceremony and Hall of Fame Game are the nationally televised (NFL Network) Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner (Friday, Aug. 2) and the Enshrinees Roundtable (Sunday, Aug. 4). The festivities wrap up on Sunday night with the Concert for Legends.

The Hall of Fame Game, Enshrinement Ceremony and the Concert for Legends, will be held in the world-class Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The venue is a key component of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village that is currently under construction on the Hall’s campus.

More than 130 Gold Jackets (living Hall of Famers) return to the Hall of Fame each year to be a part of the Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. Nowhere else are fans able to see and interact with as many Hall of Famers in one place at one time as in Canton during the annual celebration.


Official ticket packages for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls are on sale now at or by calling 844-751-0532. A variety of ticket packages, starting at $299, provide fans with VIP experiences, premium seating and parties with Hall of Famers. Packages range from event day offerings to four-day experiences that include a multitude of exclusive extras.

Individual tickets to the 2019 Hall of Fame Game (teams to be determined) and Enshrinement Ceremony of Bailey, Bowlen, Brandt, Gonzalez, Law, Mawae, Reed, and Robinson will go on sale Friday, Feb. 15 and will be available at:

Fans can also sign up to receive information and updates about tickets by going to or by following the Hall on social media @ProFootballHOF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.


Located in Canton, Ohio, the birthplace of the National Football League, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution with the Mission to Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values, & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. AAM accreditation is national recognition for the museum’s commitment to excellence and the highest professional standards of museum operation and public service.

Hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe travel to Canton annually to experience “The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!” that chronicles America’s most popular sport. The Pro Football Hall of Fame, also voted Top Tourist Attraction in Ohio, was named the Best Attraction for Sports Fans in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest.

Construction on Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, an $889 million development project that includes 10 main components, is under way in Canton to transform the Hall of Fame’s campus. ​​




2018 NFL Awards announced at Honors Show




The night before the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams meet in Super Bowl LIII, the National Football League handed out awards from the 2018 season at NFL HONORS – a two-hour primetime awards special recognizing the best players, performances and plays. The show aired nationally Saturday night on CBS.

In addition, the newest PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME class was announced and introduced during the show with the Class of 2019 appearing on stage at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

The full list of awards and winners include:

AP Most Valuable Player presented by Pizza Hut

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs
AP Coach of the Year

Matt Nagy Chicago Bears
AP Comeback Player

of the Year presented by Castrol

Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts
AP Offensive Player of the Year presented by Microsoft Surface Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs
AP Defensive Player

of the Year

Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley New York Giants
AP Defensive Rookie

of the Year presented by Old Spice

Darius Leonard Indianapolis Colts
AP Assistant Coach of the Year Vic Fangio Denver Broncos
Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year presented by Nationwide Chris Long Philadelphia Eagles
Deacon Jones Award Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams
FedEx Air Player of the Year Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs
FedEx Ground Player of the Year Saquon Barkley New York Giants
Salute To Service Award Presented by USAA Ben Garland Atlanta Falcons
Bridgestone Clutch Performance Play of the Year Miami Dolphins – Miami Miracle
Courtyard Unstoppable Performance of the Year Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams
Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year Los Angeles Rams Offensive Line
Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award Gabe Infante St. Joseph’s Preparatory School

of the Year

Seattle Seahawks “Choreography”
Moment of the Year Arron Rodgers Return
Game Changer

presented by Gillette

Shaquem Griffin


Los Angeles Rams Saturday Super Bowl Pool Report

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Nicki Jhabvala Pro Football Writers of America; COURTESY




Saturday Pool Report
Los Angeles Rams Practice
February 2, 2019
By Nicki Jhabvala
Pro Football Writers of America

ATLANTA — Following three days of practice at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility in Flowery Branch, the L.A. Rams began to put the final touches on their week of planning and spent some time enjoying the moment with friends and family.

Saturday around 1 p.m., after meetings and a walkthrough held at their hotel in Buckhead, the Rams slipped on their blue throwback jerseys and yellow pants for a team photo inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Coaches stood at the top and players on the bottom rungs of the bleachers placed at the 5-yard line, with general manager Les Snead, owner Stan Kroenke and coach Sean McVay planted front and center.

Then they scattered individual photos, positional group photos, selfies and time with family members, who were allowed down on the field. Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth chased his kids around the field, running back C.J. Anderson’s mom chatted up McVay, cornerback Aqib Talib introduced defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to his youngest son, and for about 40 minutes all soaked in their journey to Super Bowl LIII.

“It’s great,” McVay said. “This is something I’ve never really been a part of. It’s really special. We’ve got a few players and coaches that have been a part of Super Bowls in previous years, but for a lot of guys it’s their first time and I think it’s definitely something you want to cherish.”

When family time ended around 2p.m., players and coaches returned to the stadium locker room and prepared for an evening of additional meetings as the focus shifted back to football.

“I feel really good,” McVay said. “I think they understand the time where they can enjoy themselves right now, but when we’re doing football-related things, locking into the game plan, they’ve done a great job. And I think that’s kind of been this team’s personality really this whole season. It’s a good balance; they enjoy themselves, but not at the expense of allowing it to affect our focus and concentration.”

McVay said his team enters the game with a clean bill of health; both safety Blake Countess and kicker Greg Zuerlein, who were previously on the injury report with foot injuries, are good to go. Both practiced in full Friday.

“They’re going to be playing in the game,” McVay said. “Unless something changes from now until then, we should be good.”

Over the last week and a half, McVay placed an emphasis on maintaining a similar routine — as similar as possible, anyway — in preparing for the New England Patriots. The Rams installed the majority of their game plan last week in L.A., then used this week for final tweaks and adjustments.

“It’s a good delicate balance of making sure that you don’t do too many things, having two weeks to get ready for an opponent,” McVay said. “But the main thing is the players having ownership on what we’re going to do and I think they feel good and confident.”

Sunday, because of a later (6:30 p.m. ET) kickoff, the Rams will use the morning at their hotel to run through it all one last time. Players will have an “activation,” in which the strength and conditioning staff will get them loose and put them through a stretch.

“Then we’ll have quick meetings, a walkthrough and pre-game meal and then come over and here we go,” McVay said while taking a look around the stadium. “… I think you realize the magnitude of this event really with the media coverage and things like this. I’ve kind of stayed at the hotel. My parents have come over and I’ve seen them a bit, then going to practice back and forth. I haven’t really gotten out much, but hopefully we’ll take care of business and be able to enjoy after tomorrow.”


New England Patriots Saturday Super Bowl Pool Report

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Jenny Vrentas Pro Football Writers of America; COURTESY




Saturday Pool Report
New England Patriots Practice
February 2, 2019
By Jenny Vrentas
Pro Football Writers of America

ATLANTA—For a few minutes Saturday morning, Bill Belichick’s top concern was opening a bag of macadamia nuts for his 2-year-old granddaughter, Blakely. The Patriots coach has spent the past two weeks preparing for Super Bowl LIII, which included stashing some snack packs in his pants pocket in case of a hungry toddler.

Blakely, the daughter of Belichick’s son, Steve, was born in October 2016, so this will be her third Super Bowl before she turns 3.

“She’s starting off fast,” Belichick said.

Blakely was one of more than 800 friends and family who joined the Patriots players, coaches, front office and staff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday morning. After finishing a week of practice at Georgia Tech, the Patriots did not hold a walk-through or practice on Saturday, but instead came to the site of the game for team photos and a gathering with their guests. This is the same routine they have followed in previous Super Bowls.

“This breaks up the day and lets them participate in it with their families,” Belichick said. “This is a dream for every player to play in this game, so to be able to share it with loved ones and family is special. We have tried to embrace it.”

The entire 53-person active roster and 10-person practice squad were present, along with players on injured reserve, including running back Jeremy Hill and defensive back Eric Rowe. The Patriots have no players with an injury designation for the final game of the season. “Everybody is good,” Belichick said.

The Patriots buses, escorted by police, pulled up to Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 10:40 a.m. and filed inside. Quarterback Tom Brady was in the middle of the pack, holding the hand of his 6-year-old daughter, Vivian, with his wife and two sons walking closeby. Brady spotted former teammate and Hall of Fame nominee Richard Seymour, who rode in with the team, and wrapped him in a warm embrace.

The players changed into the white jerseys and navy pants they’ll wear in the game and walked out onto the field for photos. Brady kneeled for the quarterbacks’ picture, prompting a few staff members to playfully call out to him that he looked like he was posing for a Pop Warner photo. Belichick stood next to the team photographer, smiling as he watched each position group line up with their arms around each other.

“It’s fun to see them having fun,” Belichick said. “They’ve earned it. You’ve gotta earn your way here; there is no other way to get here. So it’s very satisfying to see them having fun and enjoying each other and having the camaraderie that comes with getting to the game.”

Brady and Belichick posed for a photo with team owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, the team president. Then, the entire team climbed onto a stack of risers for the customary team photo. As the Patriots families and friends came down onto the field, they took a final team picture with several players and coaches holding their young children, who were carefully passed up the rows. For the next 40 minutes, they all mingled on the field. Brady met up with his parents and sisters, while Vivian did cartwheels nearby. The traveling party of Devin and Jason McCourty, the first twins to play together in the Super Bowl, sported shirts that read, “All we do is twin,” with “win” printed in contrasting red letters.

During their visit, Belichick was taking mental notes about the stadium, which opened in 2017. The Patriots have not played here before.

Belichick added that he did not think noise would be as big of a factor this week as in the conference championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. “The stadium is so big,” he said. “It’s going to be loud, but I don’t think it is going to be deafening loud, just because of the size of it and because the crowd is half and half, not all 80,000 against us.”

Belichick said it usually takes him three days to get through all the reminders he gives his team before the game, covering topics such as the pacing of the game, which will have 11 commercials in each half and a 29-minute halftime. “There’s no momentum to it,” he said. “It’s like going to a traffic light, stop, traffic light, stop—that kind of thing. But that’s the game, so you’ve gotta play it that way.”

He will gather the team for a team meeting Saturday night and another one Sunday morning, before heading to the stadium. Belichick said there will be no special guests at the meeting the night before the game.

“Just us circling the wagons and playing for each other,” he said. “We are playing a good team, and we are going to have to play our best game of the year.”


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