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AP Explains: The three-ring circus of Super Bowl Media Day (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:03:57 PST)
Media Day at the Super Bowl is unlike any other media day - or any other event, for that matter. Though the primary purpose still is to help journalists do their jobs, Super Bowl Media Day has morphed into a spectacle of its own, a three-ring circus filled with wild antics, costumes, obscure questions some ornery answers and the occasional marriage proposal (we'll get into that later). A rundown of what makes Super Bowl Media Day so unique heading into Tuesday's version in Arizona: --- HUMBLE BEGINNINGS Media Day started with the first Super Bowl, won by no-nonsense coach Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers in 1967. At the 1969 Super Bowl, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath chatted with reporters while sitting poolside.

Weekend Sports In Brief (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:49:45 PST)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- J.J. Watt danced, Jimmy Graham dunked, Odell Beckham Jr. dazzled. The Pro Bowl in the desert was all about having a good time.

Quinn has led Seattle to record-setting defense (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 25 Jan 2015 12:11:23 PST)
Almost every day during training camp and often during the season, Dan Quinn would put on large padded gloves and essentially go through a sparring session with the Seattle Seahawks defensive linemen as they warmed up for practice working on pass rushing techniques. Once Quinn got into the position of being a defensive coordinator - after years of working as a position coach - he was not going to become someone who watched and coached from afar. We love the Xs and Os but the Jimmys and the Joes are what make this thing go,'' Seattle defensive backs coach Kris Richard said. So he values you, which is awesome.'' Quinn's name has been the most talked about in coaching circles since the end of the regular season because of the job he's done as Seattle's defensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Futures Deals (Rotoworld)
(Sun, 25 Jan 2015 02:07:00 PST)
Nick Mensio keeps track of all the reserve/future contracts signed around the NFL.

Sherman, Seahawks take the trash-talk lead over Patriots (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 24 Jan 2015 15:52:38 PST)
Richard Sherman gave Tom Brady an earful and trolled him on Twitter a few years ago. This Super Bowl between the New England Patriots (14-4) and Seattle Seahawks (14-4) will feature some epic yapping from some of the best trash-talkers in the NFL. ''I think people get a skewed view of Tom Brady, that he's just a clean-cut, does-everything-right (guy), and never says a bad word to anyone, and we know him to be otherwise,'' Sherman said.

A summary of the wild 2014 NFL season (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:59:02 PST)
The NFL has reached the pinnacle of its season with the Super Bowl just around the corner. Although it's the most popular sport in the U.S., for many Americans and millions around the world, the Super Bowl is the only football game they will watch all year. Some people know more about the NFL's domestic violence policy or the way the league inflates footballs than about the actual teams - the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots - playing in the big game on Feb. 1. A lookback at an NFL season that will be long remembered more for things that happened off the field: --- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for the season and released by the team after video surfaced of him punching his fiance in an elevator.

Senior Bowl: Best-ever selections and recent finds for every NFL team (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:21:26 PST)
Some teams have unearth a great deal of talent from the game, including one with eight future Hall of Famers.

Buccaneers hire Mike Bajakian as quarterbacks coach (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:25:35 PST)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to revamp their offensive staff, adding Mike Bajakian as quarterbacks coach. Bajakian spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee, where he also mentored quarterbacks under coach Butch Jones. Tampa Bay ranked 29th in points scored and 30th in total offense while stumbling to a 2-14 record last season. Former Atlanta Falcons assistant Dirk Koetter joined the Bucs as new offensive coordinator this month, and Bajakian figures to play a key role in the development of the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft if Tampa Bay decides to select Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariotta.

Report says three London NFL games in 2015 will be in morning time slot (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:12:01 PST)


First 26 players chosen for Pro Bowl teams by Irvin, Carter (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:19:28 PST)
PHOENIX (AP) -- The first 26 players were drafted by the two Pro Bowl teams Tuesday, with the remainder from more glamorous positions to be chosen in a televised event Wednesday night.

Del Rio tabs Musgrave as Raiders offensive coordinator (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:35:29 PST)
Jack Del Rio picked the same offensive coordinator to start his tenure in Oakland as he did more than a decade ago in Jacksonville. Musgrave said Tuesday he harbors no hard feelings toward Del Rio over his dismissal 10 years ago and said he looks forward to working with Del Rio again with the Oakland Raiders. ''Jack and I are always pulling in the same direction,'' Musgrave said. ''We had some real positive times there in Jacksonville.

Jaguars hire Marrone as assistant head coach, O-line coach (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:22:52 PST)
Doug Marrone probably didn't envision this when he walked away from the Buffalo Bills last month. After interviewing for at least three NFL head coaching jobs, Marrone landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as assistant head coach and offensive line coach Tuesday. He interviewed with the New York Jets, the Chicago Bears and the Atlanta Falcons, and also was considered in the mix in Denver, but didn't get a single offer - not as head coach or offensive coordinator.

Dan Quinn's 2nd interview with Falcons goes 'very well' (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:57:39 PST)
ATLANTA (AP) -- - Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's second interview with the Falcons appears to have strengthened his chances of becoming Atlanta's next coach. Quinn's agent, Rick Smith, told The Associated Press that Monday's interview ''went very well.'' ''There's definitely mutual interest,'' Smith said Tuesday. The Falcons can't offer the job to Quinn until after the Seahawks play New England in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. Atlanta fired coach Mike Smith after a 6-10 season.

Most of the NFL head coach openings went to defensive minds (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:16:22 PST)
John Elway broke the mold. The Denver Broncos general manager bucked this year's trend when he hired his former backup QB and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak as his head coach. Every other head coach vacancy that's been filled has gone to men with defensive roots: John Fox in Chicago, Jack Del Rio in Oakland, Jim Tomsula in San Francisco, Rex Ryan in Buffalo and Todd Bowles with the Jets. Oddly, every one of those teams also had trouble on offense in 2014.

Cowboys' Witten in 10th Pro Bowl as sub for Broncos' Thomas (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:04:09 PST)
Dallas tight end Jason Witten is going to his 10th Pro Bowl, as an injury replacement for Denver's Julius Thomas. Witten's addition Monday night sends him to his third straight Pro Bowl after a seven-year streak ended in 2011. The 32-year-old Witten had 64 catches for 703 yards and five touchdowns in his 12th season. He and Tony Gonzalez are the only tight ends with 11 straight 700-yard seasons.

List of candidates interviewing for NFL head coaching jobs (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 19 Jan 2015 01:14:09 PST)
A list of candidates who interviewed for NFL head coaching jobs this offseason and the teams they met with (x-hired):

Dungy likes Rooney Rule, even if NFL clubs violate 'spirit' (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 19 Jan 2015 01:12:01 PST)
Tony Dungy was an up-and-coming NFL assistant in his early 30s when he met with the Green Bay Packers about their opening for a head coach in 1988. ''When I finished the interview,'' Dungy said, ''I asked them, 'What are you looking for?' And they said, 'Well, we're really looking for a person that has head-coaching experience and an offensive-minded person.' I was a defensive coach who had never been head coach.'' So he didn't get that job, and wound up waiting eight years for his first shot at being a head coach. Still, Dungy is convinced that the unsuccessful sit-down with the Packers ultimately helped send him on the path toward becoming the first black coach to win the Super Bowl - and so he thinks the Rooney Rule, which wasn't around in his day, serves an important purpose, even if he also thinks teams sometimes violate its ''spirit.'' ''That (Packers) general manager said, 'Hey, he wasn't what we were looking for, but he was really a sharp guy ... and if you're looking for a defensive coach, you ought to talk to this guy.' Word spreads,'' Dungy explained.

Disrespected once again, Russell Wilson helps write miracle comeback for Seahawks (Yahoo Sports)
(Sun, 18 Jan 2015 21:10:43 PST)
Nobody defined Seattle's comeback better than Wilson. The same guy who took constant shots from Clay Matthews kept picking himself up.

Falcons to have second interview with Seahawks' Quinn (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 18 Jan 2015 20:17:43 PST)
Seattle's NFC championship game win won't stop the Atlanta Falcons from talking with Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn's agent, Rick Smith, confirmed to The Associated Press on Sunday night the Falcons will have their second interview with Quinn on Monday. NFL's anti-tampering rules allow head coach candidates to hold second meetings with teams on the bye week between conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

Fourth-quarter meltdown dooms Packers in NFC title game (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 18 Jan 2015 18:23:47 PST)
For the first three quarters, the Packers took advantage of Seattle's mistakes before crumbling after several missed opportunities in the fourth. Green Bay built a 19-7 lead early in the fourth against the defending champion Seahawks in Sunday's NFC championship game before letting it slip away in a 28-22 loss in overtime. Russell Wilson's 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse 3:19 into the extra period won it. The Packers' defense intercepted the Seahawks' Russell Wilson four times and forced five Seattle turnovers.

Falcons' coach search could become waiting game for Quinn (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 15 Jan 2015 18:03:22 PST)
The Atlanta Falcons' coach search could become a waiting game if their top candidate is Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The Falcons may be positioned to target Quinn - if they have enough patience. Atlanta already has conducted its first interview with Quinn. The Seahawks will play Green Bay in Sunday's NFC championship game.

Sanders becomes 10th Broncos player named to Pro Bowl (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:22:28 PST)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Four days after calling his season a failure because it won't end with a parade, Denver receiver Emmanuel Sanders was selected to play in his first Pro Bowl.

National Football League roundup
(Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:52:00 PST)
(The Sports Xchange) - The San Francisco 49ers stayed in-house for their next head coach and elevated Jim Tomsula from defensive line coach on Wednesday. The 46-year-old Tomsula, who has served as San Francisco's defensive line coach for the past eight years, will take the job vacated by Jim Harbaugh. The Oakland Raiders named Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as their head coach on Wednesday, sources told The Sports Xchange. The 51-year-old Del Rio served as the Broncos' defensive coordinator for three years. ...

Jets hire Cardinals' Todd Bowles as coach (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:49:40 PST)
Todd Bowles is coming home and taking over as the New York Jets' head coach. The Jets hired the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Wednesday to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired, along with general manager John Idzik, on Dec. 29 after six seasons. Bowles, 51, was highly sought after leading Arizona's aggressive-style defense the last two seasons. This will be his first full-time head coaching job at any level after serving as Miami's interim coach for the final three games in 2011.

New Atlanta Falcons stadium video is something to behold (Shutdown Corner)
(Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:19:37 PST)
Have you seen the video rendition of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium yet? If the answer is no, watch this. Now. [ Join FanDuel's $2M AFC/NFC Title fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid ] Yes, we're in an era of megaplexes and behemoths of steel and glass being erected, one outdoing the next — "technological terrors" if you want to paraphrase Darth Vader. But this thing looks cool. It had better, at a reported cost of $1.4 billion with a "b." It looks like a reason to actually go to Atlanta. (I kid! It's a great city, one that I have visited more than once and one I plan on returning to. Especially now.) In the video, you're airlifted — virtually, of course — above the new stadium and down through a hole that opens up in the roof. See? Told you it was cool. If Steve Bartkowski doesn't parachute through this opening for the first game at the new stadium, someone in event planning should lose their job. The multiple video screens that will circumnavigate the top of the stadium look insane, although — like Jerry World — there is the fear of taking people's eyes off the action on the field and up into the sky. But, hey, that's what the money is being spent on, right? The luxury suite stuff and other amenities fall in line with every other new stadium these days. There's nothing exceptional looking, and that's fine. The structure itself is the real deal, and there's no doubt it has the ability to host multiple events, including NCAA Final Fours, bowl games, World Cups, rock concerts and ... oh yeah, Super Bowls. Plural. Because that's what you're gunning for when you build something like this. Impressive. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

Thank goodness Rex Ryan is still an NFL head coach (Shutdown Corner)
(Wed, 14 Jan 2015 09:51:53 PST)
I don't get anyone who doesn't like Rex Ryan. He's tremendous for the NFL. The problem that has developed over the years is that players and coaches get criticized for being interesting. Say something outside of the most white-bread quotes and it's a bad thing. So the NFL is full of robots. Why is that better for anyone? Isn't the game supposed to entertain us? [ Join FanDuel's $2M AFC/NFC Title fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid ] Ryan has never cared about the backlash against being himself, and thankfully his time with the New York Jets didn't change him. When he was introduced as the Buffalo Bills' new head coach on Wednesday, he was at his cocksure best. "Put everything you want to our opponents, put everything want on your bulletin board, that’s fine," Ryan said. "The Bills say they’re a physical football team, the Bills say they’re going to outprepare you, we’ll outwork you and that stuff. Go ahead and put it up there. I don’t care where you are. Because we’re not afraid of it." He's perfect for Buffalo, especially now. The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999, the longest drought in the NFL. After the season coach Doug Marrone simply opted out of his contract, and it's clear now he had no job guaranteed for him when he decided to do so. He still hasn't landed a job. He decided he would rather walk away with $4 million, thanks to a clause in his contract, than actually coach the Bills. What a low point for the franchise, which deserves better. Buffalo wasn't viewed as the most attractive destination among the NFL openings. Ryan interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, who are widely considered better destinations. Ryan said the Bills were the team he wanted. He wants to be here and he expects to win. Buffalo had to perk up hearing that. Oh, and that playoff drought? "I’m not going to let our fans down," Ryan said. "I’m not going to do that. I know it has been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs. Well get ready man, we’re going. We’re going." Maybe the Bills needed this, the don't-give-a-care coach of the NFL coming in and telling everyone that things are changing, starting now. Here's what Bills running back C.J. Spiller thought: Rex just dropped the mic when he got done speaking at the podium I can feel his energy just by watching this press conference — Cj Spiller (@CJSPILLER) January 14, 2015 This is why many players say they love playing for Ryan. Here were some more gems from a pretty fun press conference: - On the defense: "Fourth in the league is probably a little disappointing to be honest with you. That’s not where my expectations are. I know we’ll lead the league in defense. That’s just the way it goes." - On Bills owner Terry Pegula: "As Terry likes to say, ‘We have one ego.’ I go, ‘Yes sir, that’s exactly right.’ When he hired me, that ego got a little bigger." - On playing tough: "We’re going to build a bully and we’re going to see if you want to play us for 60 minutes." - On playing the Patriots: "We’re going to into every game, we expect to win period. Regardless of who we play. If they want to bring back Russ Francis and John Hannah to play guard, we’ll play them too." - On his press conferences: "As you guys get to know me, I’m going to have fun with these. I’m going to enjoy it. I don’t take myself too seriously. But what I do take seriously is the product you’re going to see on the field." Ryan saved one of his best lines as a shot at Marrone, who left the Bills holding the bag at the end of the season. "This football team deserves a loyal coach," Ryan said. "Nobody is more loyal than me as a football coach, I can tell you that." RT if you're pumped up and need something to run through after listening to Rex Ryan. pic.twitter.com/OuRQ8ZOM22 — Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) January 14, 2015   Does Ryan's bravado in an introductory press conference matter? Maybe. It can't hurt give his players and the fan base some much needed confidence. A coach predicting his team will make the playoffs isn't bad. Everyone in the NFL should think that, and what's the harm in saying it? Whatever happens from here on out in Buffalo, it's certain that things are going to get a lot more interesting there. That's a great thing. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

And then there were 4 ... rankings remaining NFL head-coaching vacancies (Shutdown Corner)
(Wed, 14 Jan 2015 08:01:01 PST)
With the news in the past 12 hours or so, with the New York Jets landing Todd Bowles and the Oakland Raiders closing in on Jack Del Rio , there are four remaining head-coaching vacancies. Which are the most attractive jobs left remaining? It depends on how you define the quality of the jobs — taking into conseration the division competition, the ownership and front-office situations, free-agent money to spend, draft status and the talent on the roster, namely at quarterback. [ Join FanDuel's $2M AFC/NFC Title fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 17,475 teams paid ] Here goes, in reverse order: 4. Chicago Bears So many questions. Age and bad contracts on defense. Major personnel decisions looming on Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. Tough competition in the competitive NFC North (two playoff teams, plus an up-and-coming Minnesota Vikings squad). A young, first-time general manager taking over the personnel reins in Ryan Pace. And yet, it appears — if the reports are valid — that one of the more attractive and experienced candidates (John Fox) wants the job, and could get it. Does the new head coach want Cutler? With an unwieldy contract and seemingly unattractive trade options, there might be little choice but to keep him. Still, there are redeemable assets such as Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, and a few other young pieces to develop on both sides of the ball. There also is the No. 7 overall draft pick that could yield an immediate starter, likely on defense. Heck, the team's second-round pick might also do the same. The organizational high colonic is well underway, but the pipes are yet to be fully flushed. 3. San Francisco 49ers Is Colin Kaepernick salvageable? Can you build an offense around him? Certainly his planned work this offseason with Kurt Warner can't hurt. But it will be a fascinating challenge for the next coach — who could have an offensive bent, based on the candidates they've talked to and are linked to — to see how he and Kaepernick can move his progression forward. Change is coming to the roster. The team has 15 unrestricted free agents, and Justin Smith is expected to retire. Among the key UFAs: Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Michael Crabtree, Perrish Cox, Dan Skuta and Chris Culliver. All of them were key contributors this past season, or in the recent past. A few of them — Crabree likely, and maybe Skuta — are expected to walk. There will be new blood in San Fran. And yet there's a core of talent in place, including some young projects with all the draft picks the team has made the past few seasons, and the roster might be good enough to make the playoffs next season. But if the team goes with a young coach, there also could be an adjustment period. It's a fascinating situation but far from a perfect one either. 2. Atlanta Falcons The presence of Matt Ryan, who to date has been good (and occasionally very good) but never great, makes them an attractive job, as does his main target Julio Jones. A destination job? That's YTD. The defense needs almost an entire overhaul. Where are the pass rushers? The playmakers? Where is the leader of that group? It might be a two-year overhaul on that side of the ball. Ryan turns 30 in May and should remain in his prime for another several seasons. He has averaged 4,643 passing yards the past three seasons, completing two-thirds of his passes and has had nearly a 2-1 TD-INT ratio over that time period. Ryan is signed through 2018, and you'd think the next head coach would have that time to develop a winner. But keeping him upright is important, too, and the offensive line remains in disrepair. The fact that the front office is less than settled, with Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff in flux, can't be seen as a huge positive, even if both men have done good things in the NFL at different times. We'll see how much say they have in the process depending on the man Arthur Blank ends up signing off on. 1. Denver Broncos You could make the case for this being the most or least attractive job remaining. Basically, it's two jobs: one with Peyton Manning, and one without. That's the deal. With him, maybe the Broncos can make a Super Bowl run a year from now. Seriously. Yes, Manning was bad down the stretch, but it was injury-related and if he decides to come back to make a John Elway-like swan song, a new head coach could walk into a dream situation. That said, the team has some serious financial decisions to make, with free-agents-to-be Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin, Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton,

New Bears GM accelerating coaching search, will reportedly include John Fox (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 14 Jan 2015 07:31:21 PST)
The Bears needed 26 days to decide on Phil Emery to replace Jerry Angelo as general manager in 2012. They more than cut that time in half — 11 days — with the selection of Ryan Pace to replace Emery. It took the Bears 17 days to hire Marc Trestman after the firing of Lovie Smith in 2013. It will not be a complete surprise if Pace and the Bears also find Trestman’s replacement in less than half the time needed to land Trestman, possibly as early as the end of this week. Pace used the word “urgency” in outlining his drive for a head coach four days ago. And no deals have been proffered to any of the interviewed prospects on a shortening list. But since Pace’s hiring, the Bears, who had held initial interviews with Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn even before Pace was hired, interviewed Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles the day Pace was hired. [MORE BEARS:  Bears roster control not likely to be problem for John Fox, GM Ryan Pace ] On Tuesday the level of urgency ratcheted up one more notch with interviews of Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone. The interview process is expected to extend to former Carolina/Denver coach John Fox on Wednesday, as first reported by Mark Maske at the Washington Post. The process could be considered widening but in fact is believed to be narrowing, with Fox and Marrone at different levels entirely from the three coordinators already screened. For one thing, both have been NFL head coaches, something no Bears coach has been when taking the Chicago job since George Halas returned for his fourth and final stint on the sidelines in 1958. And both Fox and Marrone have connections to key individuals in the process. [SHOP BEARS:  Buy a Walter Payton retro jersey ] Fox was the New York Giants defensive coordinator during the late-1990s tenure of Ernie Accorsi, employed by the Bears to aid in the search for both general manager and coach. And Marrone, who has interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets, was offensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints from 2006-08 before leaving to coach Syracuse (2009-12) and then the Bills in 2013-14. Pace was a pro scout and New Orleans director of pro personnel while Marrone was with the Saints. Marrone exercised an exit option in his Buffalo contract tied to team ownership, which was acquired from the family of the late Ralph Wilson by Terry and Kim Pegula. The Bills had a combined 15-17 in Marrone’s two seasons as coach, including 9-7 last season, the Bills’ first winning record since 2004. -- John "Moon" Mullin, CSNChicago.com

AP sources: Jets close to agreement to hire Bowles as coach (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:03:28 PST)
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Jets are close to an agreement with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to make him their head coach, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations.

Todd Bowles cancels planned interview with Falcons (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:49:57 PST)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons have to recast their coaching search after Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles called off a scheduled second interview with the team.

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