Tag Archive | "new orleans"

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens create family atmosphere at final walkthrough

Posted on 02 February 2013 by WNST Staff

NEW ORLEANS—Fifteen minutes of football. A lifetime of memories.

That sums up the Baltimore Ravens’ final on-field appearance Saturday in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Although footballs were involved, the 15-minute work session inside the Superdome hardly constituted a practice. It more resembled a pep rally and backyard social than a serious walk-through the day before a game.

Approximately 600 family members connected to the Ravens’ organization were on hand to help create a festive atmosphere, including Hall of Fame running back Lenny Moore of the Baltimore Colts. Cameras, video cameras and cell phones worked overtime capturing the big picture for posterity.

Running back Ray Rice playfully tackled his mother, Janet, on the sideline. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin went through his paces wearing an Orioles cap. Guard Marshal Yanda sported a a video camera attached to the top of his Ravens’ cap.

Safety Ed Reed concluded the session with the Saturday tradition of leading the entire Ravens team and a few coaches through a few conditioning drills.

Unquestionably, the Ravens are happy, healthy and hungry, not to mention being extremely loose, heading into “The Big Game.”

And that’s exactly how Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh scripted it.

“It’s the kind of foundation of everything we do,” Harbaugh who walked onto the field with his daughter, Alison. “That has been the whole story line of the whole week. In a sense that’s how we did it growing up, when we were kids. We grew up around dad’s teams.

“Most of the time in the NFL it’s not that way. Most of the time there is the separation of families and it’s considered to be a distraction. I just think the opposite. For me, it’s a distraction when people are more worried about their families not being allowed to be a part of it. When the families are included, the kids get to the know the players, and I think guys have a better sense of well being. I think this is a good example of it right here.”

Asked to summarize his team’s work week in New Orleans, Harbaugh said: “The word I would use is effective. We have been very effective. We’ve gotten everything we’ve needed to get done, that’s the No. 1 thing.

“But it what was not without some adversity, which is always a good thing. With all the stuff we’ve been through this year, it just seemed like a minor bump in the road. Nothing you can’t plow right through and make it work. Usually when stuff like that happens it works out better. I think in some ways it worked out better for us. It has benefited us in some way.”

Harbaugh was referring to his team’s initial practice venue in New Orleans, Tulane University, where the Ravens worked only once on a makeshift football field at the school’s baseball stadium.

Ultimately, Harbaugh and his Ravens shared the New Orleans Saints practice facility with brother Jim and his 49ers on Thursday and Friday.

“The league has an obligation and a desire to make sure the competitive playing field is fair,” John Harbaugh said. “I appreciate Jim cooperating with us. He was great about it. We were great with each other about it. Tulane was great about it, and the league was great about it and, ultimately, made it fair for everybody.”

Harbaugh confirmed that the team would remain at their same hotel Saturday night.

“Everybody will be involved in our message tonight (at the team meeting),” Harbaugh said. “That will be us being us. We have great Saturday night meetings. I think the message we deliver will tie together the season, it will tie together where we’ve been and we’ll also make a statement about where we’re going in this 60-minute football game.”

Comments (0)

Ravens, 49ers look to be at full strength for Super Bowl XLVII

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens, 49ers look to be at full strength for Super Bowl XLVII

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — There were no surprises on the final injury report of the week as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are both in excellent shape heading into Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

Neither team listed a player worse than probable as the Ravens listed 14 players with that designation and San Francisco listed a dozen players as probable. Baltimore’s entire 53-man roster practiced fully all week while 49ers linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith were limited in practices all week with shoulder injuries.

The only real injury concern for the Ravens last week was linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who has dealt with an ankle injury since late November. However, the fourth-year defensive player benefited from an extra week of rest and was a full participant in three practices held in New Orleans.

Both teams will hold light walk-throughs on Saturday that are closed to the media.

BALTIMORE
PROBABLE: WR Tandon Doss (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe/back), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Abert McClellan (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (knee/thigh), TE Dennis Pitta (thigh), WR David Reed (thigh), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal), LB Terrell Suggs (achilles/biceps)

SAN FRANCISCO
PROBABLE: LB Navorro Bowman (shoulder), LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), TE Garrett Celek (foot), S Dashon Goldson (foot), RB Frank Gore (shoulder/ankle), LB Clark Haggans (shoulder), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), RB LaMichael James (finger), RB Bruce Miller (shoulder), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (elbow/triceps), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Goodell seems to agree with Flacco about punishment system not working

Posted on 01 February 2013 by WNST Staff

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL

Super Bowl XLVII News Conference

New Orleans, Louisiana — February 1, 2013

 

Opening Statement:

“Good morning.  This Sunday will be the conclusion of an incredible season of NFL football.  Our teams this season gave fans dramatic games and amazing performances.  Think about it, the inspiring comebacks of Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson; the extraordinary rookie quarterbacks; Calvin Johnson, Tony Gonzalez catching; Aldon Smith, Von Miller and J.J. Watt sacking; the fantastic final Sunday of the regular season.  Everyone is buzzing about how exciting the playoffs have been.  So wouldn’t it be fitting if we have that one final struggle on Sunday night?  This Super Bowl matchup has it all: the Harbaughs, Ray Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, the Pistol offense, and the list goes on.  Congratulations to Steve Bisciotti, to John, Denise and Jed York.  We really can’t wait to see your teams in the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

 

“There are two important people who are not here, but very much on our minds.  Art Modell, the legendary former owner of the Ravens, who passed away in September.  Art’s spirit is certainly here this week.  And his name will be on the Ravens jersey on Sunday, as it has all season.  And this is the first Super Bowl without Steve Sabol, the creative genius behind NFL Films.  His imprint is all over our game and the Super Bowl.  Steve and Art were innovators.  They inspire us to exceed our expectations.  As a league, we have challenges.  We always do, and we embrace them for the opportunity to do better.

 

“On and off the field in the last couple of years, we have accomplished some remarkable things that have really strengthened the very foundation of our game.  We have the most talented athletes on earth, in a game that those players and fans love.  Our mission is to make it even better and we are doing the work.  The changes we are making are having a positive impact.  The game is exciting, competitive, tough and safer.  We are making the game better while also evolving into a health and safety culture.  That is a big priority.  We are also improving officiating, investing in upgrading the stadium experience and engaging more people in more ways than ever.  Our numbers are up in overall fan engagement, in most cases, dramatically.  So a big thank you to NFL fans, the best in sports.

 

“Interest in the NFL is expanding as we grow internationally.  In fact, today we are announcing that our two games in London next season – the 49ers and Jaguars and the Steelers and Vikings – are already sold out.  It is a sign that the game is growing globally.  But there is more work to do and more ways to improve.  The Competition Committee’s agenda will include looking at eliminating certain dangerous low blocks; further taking the head out of the game and expanding the standards for the quality of our playing fields.  We will take steps to ensure more diversity in our hiring practices.  The results this year were simply not acceptable.

 

“On the health side, we will update our injury protocols and add neurosurgeons to our game day medical resources.  We are going to implement expanded physicals at the end of each season.  Three days to review players from a physical, mental and life-skills standpoint, so that we can support them in a more comprehensive fashion.  We want to pioneer new approaches to player health and safety that  emphasize prevention as well as treatment.  This will include our commitment to supporting our retired players.  Those are some of the priorities.   From the quality of our game, to growing fan interest and engagement, to our commitment to evolve and innovate, we have many reasons to be optimistic about the future.  I could not be more optimistic or ready to go.

 

“It’s also terrific for us to be back here in New Orleans.  Our 10th Super Bowl here, the first since (Hurricane) Katrina.  And it’s clear this city is back bigger and better than ever.  Our very heartfelt thanks to Mayor Mitch Landrieu; James Carville and Mary Matalin; the Host Committee; the 7,000 local volunteers for being truly, truly great hosts this week.  Also, to Tom and Gayle Benson and Rita LeBlanc, for all you have done for this community.  Everybody here has done an outstanding job.  You should be very proud and we are very grateful.

 

“Now we will get to your questions.”

 

The President recently said he would think twice about having a son play football, if he had a son.  He also said that fans need to examine their conscience about football.  Is there a deeper-rooted problem with the game and its safety than the NFL might have realized?  How can the NFL deal effectively with such problems?

 

“Well, the issue of player health and safety has always been a priority in the NFL.  We will continue to make it a priority.  You have our commitment.  The players have our commitment that we will do that. I started playing the game when I was in fourth grade, tackle football in Washington D.C. and I love the game of football.  I started as a fan, but I wouldn’t give back one day of playing tackle football.  The benefits of playing football, teaching you the values, teaching you character, teaching you how to get up when you’re knocked down, how to work with others, teamwork.  They are extraordinary lessons in life that I use to this day.  I welcome the President’s comments because it has been a priority and we want to make sure that people understand what we’re doing to make our game safer, not just in the NFL, but throughout sports.  The changes we’re making in the NFL, I think, are changing all of sports.  There is better recognition of head injuries, of treating them conservatively, and that affects every sport, beyond sports, to your children playing in the playground, to our troops overseas.  What we’re doing is leading the way to try and make sure people understand that you need to treat these injuries seriously.  We can make our games safer, as we have done. I believe that the changes that we’re making to our game will make football better.  It will make it safer.  It will make other sports safer.  We’re proud of our accomplishments and we have more to do, but we will not relent on this.”

 

More on the same issue – Joe Flacco on Media Day said the current fine system isn’t working. It’s not changing the way that defensive players are playing.  He’s going to get hit no matter what, and all that you’re doing is taking money out of their pockets.  Steve Bisciotti said that he thinks maybe intent needs to be taken into consideration.  Flacco also said maybe suspensions, but with pay, might get through to some of these guys.  I wonder what you think about their comments and about maybe whether suspensions is where you need to go?  I know that the league did try to suspend Ed Reed.

 

“I’m glad that you reminded yourself of that.  This is something that we have seen, an escalation in the discipline, because we are trying to take these techniques out of the game.  I think it was about four years ago at this very press conference, I said, ‘We have to take these hits out of the game that we think have a higher risk of causing injuries.’  The focus was on defenseless players, and I stand by our record because I think we have made those changes and made the game safer.  I think we’re going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders. It’s not just the player, the defenseless player, that’s being protected; it’s the person doing the striking.  We see in the injury rates that the defenseless player and the defensive back are having a higher injury rate.  Taking these hits out of the game can be positive.  The most effective way of doing that, and I’m not for it because we want to see all of our players on the field, is when they are repeat offenders and they are involved with these dangerous techniques, that we’re going to have to take them off the field.  Suspension gets through to them. It’s gets through on the basis that they don’t want to let their teammates down, and they want to be on the field.  We want to see them on the field.  We’re going to continue to emphasize the importance of following those rules.  When there are violations, we will escalate the discipline.”

 

I know that the system for discipline for on-field violations, the way the system exists now, you have neutral arbitrators in Art Shell and Ted Cottrell.  Also, my understanding is that in a new drug policy, the league would be willing to have neutral arbitration in that, too.  If you can confirm that, fine, but also, the NFLPA said yesterday that it is seeking to have neutral arbitration for off-the-field discipline issues.  I’m wondering if you see a connection with that demand as another component to the standstill in negotiations for HGH testing?

 

“Well interesting, Jarrett, to that point, you are correct. In our Collective Bargaining Agreement that we signed two years ago, we did agree to HGH testing.  As part of that, we agreed to neutral arbitration for drug cases.  We will do that as soon as we reach agreement on the HGH, which I expect and hope will be very soon.  We have moved down that path in an effective way.  On the field, we have a system that I think has worked quite effectively.  I don’t agree with all of the decisions, but I don’t expect to.  Off the field, beyond the drug issue, it is very important for us to maintain our integrity and our brand.  We expect that the people that are involved with our game from the commissioner to the players to the coaches will uphold those standards.  We have three great young men here today that are finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.  I’m proud of our players.  I’m proud of what they do, but we always have to make sure that we’re reflecting positively on the shield.  When there are violations along those lines, they impact on the integrity of the game.  That is something that the commissioner has had the  authority on for several decades, several versions of the CBA, and that is not something that we’re going to relent on.  We’re going to always uphold the standards of the NFL because the fans deserve that, and I believe the players deserve that.  That is the commissioner’s role, and you can hold me accountable for it, and I will stand by my decisions.”

 

I wanted to ask you about your comment about minority hiring in coaching, and you saying that you weren’t satisfied with it. What do you think are some of the issues that continue to make this a problem and what’s going to bring about real change?

 

“First, the Rooney Rule has been very effective over the last decade, but we have to look to see what the next generation of the Rooney Rule is.  What’s going to take us to another level?  We’re committed to finding that answer.  That’s going to have to come from conversations with a lot of people in this league to find out exactly what can be  most effective  in allowing our talent to excel.  And that’s what it is – we want to make sure we have the best people in the best possible positions, and give everybody the opportunity to do that.  We want to focus on how do we get to a Rooney Rule, or an extension of the Rooney Rule, or a new generation of the Rooney Rule, that will allow us to do that?  There was full compliance with the Rooney Rule.  There were, in fact, I believe, a record number of interviews.  But we didn’t have the outcomes that we wanted, and the outcomes are to make sure that we have full diversity throughout our coaching ranks, throughout our executive ranks, and throughout the league office.  It’s very important to the success of the league to do that, and we’re committed to finding those solutions.”

 

I know you highlighted player safety in your opening statement. What was your reaction to the NFLPA’s study yesterday that said 78 percent of players do not trust their team’s medical staffs?

 

“I did hear that yesterday.  Last week, we met for four hours with union officials.  Several players were there.  Several owners were there.  They did raise the issue of making sure we have proper medical attention, but they didn’t raise those statistics.  That was news to me as of yesterday.  I’m disappointed, because I think we have tremendous medical care for our players.  These are not just team doctors.  These doctors are affiliated with the best medical institutions in the world – the Cleveland Clinic, Stanford, Hospital for Special Surgery.  The medical care that is provided to our players is extraordinary.  Now, we will always seek to improve it.  We will always seek to figure out how we can do things better, provide better medical care, but I think it’s extraordinary.  And as I talk to players – including one yesterday – they feel the same way, but we’ll have to address that and we’ll have to figure out what we can do to try to improve it.  One of those I also mentioned in the opening.  We’ll add a neurosurgeon on the field that can be there for consultation, that can be there for another set of eyes on the field, and to support the doctors in making the best possible decisions on the field, and off the field.  And I believe our doctors do that.”

 

You went to owners meetings in Dallas last year and met with MADD. How disappointing is it that so soon after Jerry Brown’s death that his teammate is arrested for DWI, and is there something else that the league can do to tell the players that this is unacceptable?

 

“Well, Charean, I think we have to go beyond telling players or telling executives.  The reality is we have to do a better job of educating people in the NFL that this is a priority.  This is for your safety, for the safety of the people in your car, and for innocent people that are out there.  There are services designed to help them make better decisions before they leave their homes.  We have to make sure that they understand those services, and most importantly, take advantage of them, use them. We did meet with MADD, and I met with MADD last week.  We’re going to engage in a number of programs to help educate all of our clubs – players, coaches (and) executives – on what we can do.  Victim impact programs have been very effectively used with several clubs over the past several months.  We’re going to do that because this is a high priority, not only for the sake of safety, but it’s part of our responsibility in the communities that we live.”

 

Yesterday, the NFLPA was very vocal about singling out dissatisfaction with Dr. David Chao, the Chargers’ team doctor, and said it requested the league find a ‘suitable replacement’ for him. What is your response to that request and also comments that NFL players deserve better than Dr. Chao?

 

“In the CBA, at the union’s request, we entered an agreement that is called Article 50.  Article 50 states that if there is an issue with any medical decision, or the medical professionals of the club, there can be a solution by engaging with independent doctors, I believe three neutral doctors, including an NFL attorney, and they will review the matter.  As I understand it, that is exactly what is going on in San Diego. We’ll allow the process to unfold. I’m confident our doctors make the best possible decisions for the players, and we’re going to stand behind that. We’ll engage in the process and let it unfold.”

 

The Rams and local stadium authority are waiting for an arbitrator’s decision on stadium improvement proposals there. Are you confident that the parties can resolve their differences and that the Rams will stay in St. Louis?

 

“I haven’t gotten an update on the arbitration process. I expect the possibility of a decision in the next couple of weeks.  It is, as you know, a clause and a part of a contract that they initially agreed to when the Rams came to St. Louis 12-15 years ago. That is something we are engaging in. We want to make sure that the team gets the stadium issues resolved because they need to have the type of stadium that will help support them for the long term in St. Louis. I believe that the business community and the officials in St. Louis want that outcome. I believe Stan Kroenke wants that outcome.  They’re all working together to try and get there. Again, the process is unfolding and I hope they’ll be able to reach that agreement.  I’m optimistic they will.”

 

If they cannot pass the renovations, is the NFL willing to provide any stadium funding for those improvements?

 

“We’re willing to do that in any market where there is a public/private partnership, to allow the other 31 clubs to help contribute to financing the stadium that will help solve the problem for the long term.  If we can get to the point where we have the structure of a deal, I’m very confident that the league will support that and participate.”

 

The 18-game schedule is still on the table. Is that a reality?  And, HGH testing. is that going to happen or not?

 

“Let me start with the second portion of your question.  I believe that HGH testing is going to happen prior to the 2013 NFL season.  It’s the right thing to do for the players, for their health and well-being long-term.  It’s the right thing to do for the integrity of the game. It’s also the right thing to do to send the right message to everybody else in sports.  You don’t have to play the game by taking performance-enhancing drugs.  The science is there. There is no question about that.  Baseball, Olympics, everyone believes that the science is there and are utilizing the tests, so we need to get to that agreement.  On the first part of your question, we’re always going to reevaluate our season structure.  We’ve been very open about the fact that we want to address our preseason. Do we need four preseason games?  Do we only need two or three? How do we continue to develop talent? How do we continue to evaluate players?  The fans’ reaction to the quality of preseason is a big concern.  So, we have to do that collectively.  That’s what our CBA does. If we wanted to implement an 18-game schedule, we could have done that in the prior CBA.  The ownership and management agreed that we would do that collectively and we would consider and balance the player health and safety issues with that.  So, we’ll continue to evaluate that. I think the changes we made in the CBA, particularly in offseason training, the training camp period and even during the regular season – eliminating contact, allowing players to get away from the game – that’s been great for the players.  They deserve that.  Every player I talk to tells me they feel better at this time of the year than they’ve ever felt in the past.  I think that’s a direct result of some of the changes in the CBA.  We will continue to figure out how we can improve with our season structure, but we will not make changes  if we can’t do it in a safe and effective way.”

 

The union yesterday advocated the appointment of a chief safety officer to overview all player safety, and that would be mutually agreed upon, whoever that person is. Also, advocated credentialing for all team doctors and trainers.  Do you see anything that could stand in the way of those kinds of advancements with player health and safety?

 

“Well again, Albert, let me start with the fact that we spent four hours last Friday meeting with union officials, including many players and owners, and that issue did not come up.  It was not raised during that entire four hours. That being said, I would tell you that I believe safety is all of our responsibilities.  I can’t appoint somebody who’s going to make the game safer as an individual. That’s all of our responsibilities.  I’ll stand up, I’ll be accountable. It’s part of my responsibility, I’ll do everything.  But the players have to do it.  The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it.  Our medical professionals have to do it. All of us are going to have to do that.  All that being said, since I just heard this in the last 12 hours, I’ll do anything that’s going to help us make the game safer and better. They have my commitment on that, so I’ll be happy to engage in the dialogue in a meeting where we can talk about the plusses and the minuses and how we make the game safer.”

 

First of all, I have been to 41 Super Bowls.  I don’t want to brag on that, but here is what I want to ask you for all of these people.  The first ticket to the Super Bowl only costs $12 and that was in Los Angeles. Now, the tickets cost $850, $950 and $1250.

 

“It sounds like the prices went down.”  (Laughter)

 

Well yeah, they are down in a certain manner.

 

“I hear you.  I understand your point.”

 

The thing I wanted to know, and I have asked you before, is there some way to put a cap on this thing so the ticket only sells for a certain price?  The other thing I was going to say is about the Pro Bowl and that you will still leave it in Hawaii except come after the Super Bowl.  A man makes the Pro Bowl, and he might make the Super Bowl, but the way it is with this arrangement is I still think it would be better after the Super Bowl the way it was before.

 

“OK, well let me start with your question because the second was a comment.  The first part of your point was, ‘Could there be a cap on the Super Bowl ticket prices?’  I would tell you that we have worked very hard to try to keep them reasonable and to try to give access to people so they can attend the Super Bowl.  It is very difficult because, as you know, they are being sold on the secondary market at multiples of the face value.  So, a couple of years ago, it may have been five years ago because it was the first year I was the commissioner, we put a cap on a certain number of tickets so that they could go to the fans.  I think we capped it at $500.  We found that a lot of times, most of the time, those tickets ended up on the secondary market at multiples.  I want our fans to be able to attend NFL games.  I want them to be able to come because they want to enjoy the experience and enjoy the event  and it’s affordable and that it’s safe.  But the realities are that there is a market demand, and there is a limited number of tickets.  Only 70,000 people are going to get into that Superdome, but there are hundreds of thousands of people here in New Orleans that are celebrating and part of the event.  We work hard to try to engage fans, create the NFL Experience and allow people to be able to come and be part of the event, but there is only a limited number of seats.”

 

Looking back, do you have any regrets on how the Saints bounty investigation was handled?  Even though the player penalties were overturned ultimately, do you feel like the message was still sent to the teams and to the players to avoid this type of behavior in the future?

 

“Let me just take a moment and get back and make sure everyone is clear on the record.   There is no question there was a bounty program in place for three years.  I think that that is bad for the players, for the game, and I think the message is incredibly clear, and I don’t believe that bounties will be part of football going forward.  That’s good for everybody.  I do think that message has come through clear.  As it relates to the regrets, I think my biggest regret is that we aren’t all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get them out of the game to make the game safer.  Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility.  That’s what I regret, that I wasn’t able to make that point clearly enough with the union, and with others.   That is something we are going to be incredibly relentless on.”

 

How do you define innovation to improve the NFL?  Whether it’s consumer marketing, digital media, player safety, game operations, or the fan experience, is it solving a problem or satisfying a need in a glamorous way that increases value?  Within the NFL, is innovation primarily viewed as an ideology or viewed as a process that is less glamorous but more productive?

 

Well, innovation is something that we are proud of.  I made that point in my opening remarks. It’s a philosophy.  It’s about you can always get better and it’s your responsibility to seek solutions.  I like solutions.  I believe in solutions.  You have to identify problems and find those solutions.  But you also have to have a commitment to finding a better way, and that is part of innovation.  What is tricky in an organization like the National Football League is we rely a lot on our tradition. That is important to us.  We believe in it.  It’s what we are all about.  I said this when I became commissioner, I said it to the owners when they fortunately selected me for this job.  I said, ‘Our biggest risk is being complacent.  We cannot assume that our success is going to continue just because we have been successful.’  I think the last six years, we have continued to find ways to improve. Whether it’s player health and safety, whether it’s making the game better or more exciting, whether it’s giving the fans more opportunity to engage with the game of football closer. The NFL Network is now fully distributed.  People are engaging with the NFL on their cell phones. We have more ways for fans to engage, and that’s why I  like to say that there has never been a better time to be a fan.  Innovation is not just some theme.  ,It is something that  we feel in our core and something  where we are always going to live, to try to make things better.”

 

You’ve mentioned on previous occasions that the Competition Committee will revisit blocks toward the knee so we don’t have situations like Brian Cushing with the Houston Texans losing a season on a block like that.  Is the long-term goal of player safety to create a baseball-type of strike zone, which is mid-chest to just above the knee?  Have your studies shown that this is the safest way to avoid the head injuries and maybe some of the lower-limb extremity issues?

 

“There are several things. First, we’re going to review all low blocks.  In working with our Player Advisory Committee that Ronnie Lott and John Madden chair we talked about that earlier this year shortly after the Brian Cushing injury.  We need to review all of those low blocks.  It’s important for us to try to find ‘Is there a better way of doing what we’re doing?’  We are focused on that with the Competition Committee.  As it relates to what you call the ‘strike zone’, there is no question that there is a focus to try to get back to the fundamentals of tackling.  The number one issue is: take the head out of the game.  I think we’ve seen in the last several decades that the players are using their head more than they have, when you go back several decades.  There are several theories on that. The helmets are better; they feel safer using their head.  The facemask.  You can come up with a lot of theories that we’ve discussed. But the reality is we have to get back to  tackling, using the shoulders, using your arms properly to tackle.  And there is a strike zone, and that’s where we are encouraging our players to focus and our coaches to coach that way, and it’s made a difference.  We have seen a dramatic change in the way that’s happening over the years, so we’ll continue that.”

 

Vincent Gray, the Mayor of Washington D.C., recently said if the Redskins were ever going to entertain the idea of coming back to the District, there would have to be discussion about the name issue.  Recently, the most recent “Indian Country Today” polls, the largest Native American magazine, they dispute and contradict everything Sports Illustrated or the NFL  did about 10 years ago.  They say that the overwhelming number of Indians, American Indians, do not like the name, they feel it’s offensive:  Does the league try to absorb the legal costs for the team when they are sued over trademark infringement by American Indians?  And, as a progressive commissioner, how do you feel about the name, and do you have any problem with it going forward?

 

“Well, the first part of your question, I couldn’t answer.  I have no idea who pays the legal costs.  I do know that, growing up in Washington, I do understand the affinity for that name with the fans.  I also understand the other side of that, and I don’t think anybody wants to offend anybody, but this has been discussed several times over a long period of time.  I think Dan Snyder and the organization have made it very clear that they’re proud of that heritage and that name, and I believe the fans are, too.”

 

The various committees that are down here for next year’s Super Bowl have talked a lot about feeling a little bit of pressure carrying the banner for cold-weather cities.  Is what they do next year, and the success or problems of the logistical challenge they have, will that affect your future decisions or consideration of other cold-weather sites?

 

“The answer is undoubtedly the game next year is going to have an impact on future decisions for open-air, cold-weather sites.  We believe, though, in the New York/New Jersey market.  We think it’s going to be a fantastic event.  I have said many times before, and I believe that the membership has supported this through their vote of awarding the Super Bowl there, that not only is the community prepared for this – they have a great stadium with two teams.  The plans that have been developed for the Super Bowl, I think, are extraordinary, and they’re just beginning to be released, and we will be prepared for the weather factors, and this community can do that, but the game of football is made to be played in the elements.  Now, we hope they’re not extreme on one hand, but we’ll be prepared for that if that’s the case.  Some of our most classic games in our history were played in extreme weather conditions.  We know them all, the ‘Ice Bowl,’ some of the games that I look back as a fan and say, ‘That was fun.’  So I’m confident the people of New York and New Jersey, the two teams, the host committee are going to do an extraordinary job next year, and we’re looking forward to it.”

 

The largest attendance in the history of the league is in Mexico.  The first game outside the U.S. was in Mexico.  I wanted to ask you why hasn’t the NFL gone back since 2005.  Why?

 

“I’m proud to say I was at that game, and it was a great event. And you could see the passion of the fans in Mexico for that game, and we would like to be back there.  Our focus in the last couple of years has obviously been on trying to prove the model works in the UK.  We have to make sure that whenever we do come back to Mexico, and I expect we will, that we do it successfully,  with the right kind of television support, fan support and sponsor involvement.  The stadium will be the kind of stage that we want for that game. So I would expect if we are   successful in the UK, where we thankfully are continuing to grow, that we’ll have the opportunity to get back there.  And the sooner, the better for me.”

 

Any time frame?

 

“No.”

 

Yesterday the union talked about filing multiple grievances against the NFL, and it recently appealed its collusion loss in the Minnesota federal court to the eighth circuit.  Are you disappointed the relationship with the union has remained so litigious?

 

“Well, Dan, let me start with, the point is I don’t really control that.  What I think disappoints me is that we reached a very comprehensive agreement a couple of years ago for 10 years to take the game to another level, and unfortunately we’re spending most of our time focusing on issues that we had agreed to.  As you point out, collusion charges, which were very clearly dealt with in the agreement.    HGH was agreed to and we should have gotten to the point where we solved our differences and gotten that resolved.  Commissioner discipline – I can go on.  These are things that were resolved and are clear in the document and in our partnership.  What we need to do is get back to focusing on how do we all work together to make the NFL better?  I understand we’re going to have differences, I understand why there are grievances, I understand why there are lawyers, but we have to find solutions for the best interests of the game, and that’s my commitment and that’s what we have to work towards.”

 

Addressing the player safety issue, you said it’s a shared responsibility.  Well, earlier this year Alex Smith sustained a concussion, was forthcoming about his condition and while he was out, he lost his starting job.  My question for you is, how concerned are you that going forward players are going to be less honest about their condition after seeing a situation like that?

 

“I  believe very strongly that there’s a difference between a medical decision and a football decision.  I’m glad that he came forward and identified that he had an injury.  That wouldn’t be in the best interest of Alex in the short term or the long term, so players need to do that.  I also believe, and he’s been healthy for several weeks, that those are football decisions that the coach has now made.  He’s healthy enough to return to play, but the coaches made a decision that they’re going in another direction, and that’s something that the coaches have to do.  So while I understand somewhat the dilemma, the highest priority you can have is for players to make sure that they raise their hands when there’s an injury and so that they can get the proper treatment, because they’re not going to be effective as players if they have lingering problems, if they have lingering issues with a concussion.  They need to be as healthy as possible to compete in this league, and we all want to see the players on the field, but we let the coaches make the football decisions and the medical personnel make the medical decisions.”

 

First of all, do you feel welcome here in New Orleans given the way people feel about you in light of the bounty scandal?  We have establishments that have your picture that say, ‘Do not serve this man,’ or do you feel somewhat like you’re behind enemy lines?  Secondly, Saints fans want to know why you won’t return that second-round draft choice in the next draft?

 

“Let me take the first part of your question first.  I couldn’t feel more welcome here.  You know when you look back at it, my picture, as you point out, is in every restaurant. I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade.  We got a voodoo doll.  I’m serious, really, the people here have been incredible.  The last couple of nights I’ve been out with a lot of the people that I worked very closely with following the Katrina tragedy, and we celebrated the work that we did then, but what we did is we all reflected on how great that was that we worked together, and they couldn’t be nicer.  They couldn’t be more welcoming, and the same is true with fans.  Now, I understand the fans’ loyalty is to the team.  They had no part of this.  They were completely innocent in this.  So I appreciate the passion.  I saw that for myself when we were down here for Katrina, and it’s clear that that’s what they’re all about.  So I support the fact that they’re passionate in supporting their team.  On the last point, the reason there won’t be any change in the second-round draft choice is what I said earlier.  There are clear violations of the bounty rule for three consecutive years.  That’s not going to be permitted in the NFL.  That’s not just my judgment. Commissioner Tagliabue reviewed this, and had his own process and came to the same conclusion that there were violations.  So, the reason why we’re not returning any of the draft choices or any of the discipline is because it occurred, and it should not have occurred.”

 

Kind of piggybacking off that question, yesterday I talked with NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth, and he said because of the bounty scandal and everything that’s happened, trust has been fractured from the players within the league. How do you fix that considering penalties were levied, and then they were vacated twice by  parties other than you?

 

“Let’s make sure the record is clear that the first penalties were vacated only briefly to make sure that there was a distinction between what was a salary-cap violation and what was discipline on the field.  That body, the panel that was established by the CBA, made it very clear that that’s the authority of the commissioner.  The second issue is Commissioner Tagliabue and I agree on the facts.  There was no difference in the findings of the facts  with respect to the investigation done by the league overseen by Mary Jo White, verified by Commissioner Tagliabue’s process.  The only difference was that he vacated the disciple from the players.  We disagree with that.  I disagree with that.  I believe that we’re all responsible for what goes on in our locker rooms, on the field, as part of our game.  That’s a collective responsibility.  We’re not going to hide from that.  That will be something that – and I said it to our clubs in December when we met – everyone here should understand the responsibility for our rules will be enforced as fairly and as clearly as possible.  So I’m going to have to work harder to try to make sure that we can work together; we can trust one another.  But we also need to make sure that we understand that we’re going to have differences from time to time, and that’s OK.  But there needs to be a fair resolution and move forward in a positive way for the game of football.”

 

Could you tell us what the selling out of two games in London for 2013, what kind of message that says to your ownership with regard to potential UK franchises?

 

“I think the message is very clear.  There are passionate fans that love the NFL in the UK and, I believe, globally, and that there is another step that we need to look forward to in London. We’re already beginning that process.  What’s the next step, beyond the two games?  Should we move to three?  Should we consider other alternatives to continue to accelerate the growth of the game in the UK?  But I think that’s a positive reaction from the fans and our ownership understands this is a market where we need to be more active, and that we need to continue to grow our game.  Thank you.”

Comments (0)

Complete guide to WNST New Orleans parties here…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Complete guide to WNST New Orleans parties here…

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

Clearly, WNST.net is throwing the biggest parties in New Orleans this weekend for the Super Bowl and the amazing fun we all plan to have here in The Big Easy is made even better when you participate and join us for biggest Baltimore Ravens fan celebrations ever.

You can purchase our WNST V.I.P. Super Party wristbands that give you special access at ALL of our parties as well as several bars on Bourbon Street for $115.70 by clicking here: http://wnst.net/brian-billick/buy-our-wnst-super-v-i-p-party-pass-and-soak-up-the-excitement-of-new-orleans/

We have FREE EVENTS every day and you can buy tickets at the door with cash only at all of our ticketed events as well. So, if you’re feeling spontaneous and looking to spend quality, memorable time with Baltimore Ravens fans, this is our schedule of events:

 

FRIDAY NIGHT:

A free event from 6 p.m. til ??? at Empire (located at 300 Decatur) in the French Quarter. This bar is COMPLETELY purple and will be the pickup site for all who purchased WNST V.I.P. Party wristbands for admission to all of our weekend activities. Great food, cold beer and awesome music. This is our “meet and greet” but you’re welcomed and encouraged to party all night with us in the heart of New Orleans. And, yes, the picture here is what Empire looks like on the inside. It’s all purple already!

 

SATURDAY (Two events)

DAY: Our purple pep rally and outdoor cookout begins at noon and is FREE AND OPEN to all Baltimore Ravens fans. WNST partner and Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick will be on hand to meet and greet all of the purple faithful. Come to Toulouse at The River and we’ll be under the green and white pavilion that sits behind Jackson Brewery and the Famous Gumbo Pot. If you can see the giant Houston Oilers-style derrick, you’re almost there. Just walk to the water past Decatur and look for the Steamboat Natchez riverboat! This is also the site of Sunday’s party!

Our cruise on the Steamboat Natchez is a ticketed event and you’re welcome to join us for a delicious jazz lunch and cruise from 2:30 ’til 4:30 on the Mississippi. Boarding begins at 2 p.m. and tickets are $60. For more information is available here: http://wnst.net/top-story/crabs-n-beer/cruise-mississippi-natchez-on-super-saturday-in-nola-with-billick-wnst/

 

NIGHT: Doors open at 7 p.m. at The Howlin’ Wolf for a gigantic Baltimore Ravens fan celebration and concert with New Orleans locals and Grammy Award winning Rebirth Brass Band (show starts at 11 p.m.). Cold beer, great Cajun food and awesome music and dancing all night. This is a ticketed event ($25) and a two-day pass can be purchased for $40 for both big nights at the “purple ground zero” for all Ravens fans in New Orleans here: http://wnst.net/nfl/legendary-howlin-wolf-will-be-purple-ground-zero-for-all-baltimore-ravens-fans-in-nola/

 

SUNDAY (Three events)

Our pre-game tailgate and purple march are ABSOLUTELY FREE AND OPEN TO ALL BALTIMORE RAVENS FANS!!!

Beginning at 10 a.m. on gameday, we’ll have cold beer, drinks, great food and awesome purple music from legendary DJ Bobby Nyk at the foot of Woldenberg Park. Come to Toulouse at The River and we’ll be under the green and white pavilion that sits behind Jackson Brewery and the Famous Gumbo Pot. If you can see the giant Houston Oilers-style derrick, you’re almost there. Just walk to the water past Decatur and look for the Steamboat Natchez riverboat!

The Natchez will serve as a giant bar all day and all Baltimore Ravens fans are welcome to board the boat, dance and drink all afternoon leading up to our big purple stampede up Poydras Street to win the Lombardi Trophy.

There will be five hours of partying before we begin our historic Mardi Gras march to the Superdome at 2:52 p.m. to honor Ray Lewis. All details, maps and information regarding the march are here: http://wnst.net/nfl/gigantic-purple-march-to-honor-ray-lewis-set-for-252-p-m-sunday-in-new-orleans/

If you are NOT going to the Super Bowl and want to watch the game with all Baltimore Ravens fans, you’ll want to head to The Howlin’ Wolf (S. Peters & St. Joseph) in The Warehouse District where the game will be shown on the big screen.

Our post-game celebration will commence at 10 p.m. and this is a TICKETED event with the 8 Ball Brass Band playing the victory party. Advance tickets are $25 but you can purchase a two-day pass for Saturday/Sunday nights concerts here: http://wnst.net/nfl/legendary-howlin-wolf-will-be-purple-ground-zero-for-all-baltimore-ravens-fans-in-nola/

New Orleans never seems to shut down or sleep.

And when the Baltimore Ravens win this Super Bowl title, we expect it to be a long, long night of partying at The Howlin’ Wolf into the wee hours.

 

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens practice at full strength for second straight day in New Orleans

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

By Peter King
Pro Football Writers of America

NEW ORLEANS—Already on a road trip for Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens took another one Thursday, splitting their second day of full-scale workouts for their game against San Francisco between their NFL-assigned Tulane University FieldTurf practice field and the grass fields at the New Orleans Saints facility in nearby Metairie.

After several players told Ravens officials Wednesday night they’d prefer to practice on grass, the Ravens early Thursday morning asked the league if it could be worked out that they practice at the Saints’ facility. This was potentially awkward, because the 49ers practiced at the same facility, and obviously neither team wanted the other to be able to see their practice sessions. So the Ravens agreed to dress at Tulane’s baseball facility–site of their full Wednesday practice, with a makeshift 80-yard field stretching across the artificial-turf outfield–and hold their 30-minute walk-through practice there. Then the players and coaches boarded five buses for the eight-mile trip from Tulane to the Saints’ facility not far from New Orleans International Airport. There, under heightened security, the Ravens completed their on-field work for the day with a one-hour, 25-minute practice coach John Harbaugh called “a very normal, late-season Thursday practice.”

“Just like in high school,” one player said of the commute, “only the buses are nicer.”

All 53 players on the Ravens’ active roster practiced under sunny skies, and none of the players was limited.

“I think our players dealt with it great,” said Harbaugh, who walked off the field afterward with linebacker Ray Lewis. “As Ray just said to me, ‘We work.’ That’s what we do. Our guys don’t flinch at things like this.”

Lewis, in fact, helped carry one of the Gatorade coolers from the bus to the practice field as the team disembarked. And the players seemed happier working on the grass, particularly this late in the season when six months of practice and game wear-and-tear makes the players crave a grass field.

After a special-teams period to start practice, the specialists–kicker Justin Tucker, punter Sam Koch and snapper Morgan Cox–adjourned to the Saints’ indoor practice field for their work. On the field, the Ravens regular units and scout teams went through another 60 minutes of work before finishing, sereneded by an eclectic mix of music, from the hard rock of AC/DC to the rap of Soulja Boy and Chief Keef to the metal of Metallica.

After Harbaugh spoke to the team, veteran Terrell Suggs addressed the players for about two minutes.

John Harbaugh and his brother Jim, the 49ers coach, will hold a joint press conference Friday morning at the media center here, their last press obligation of the week. The Ravens will hold their final full practice of the week Friday afternoon, again at the Saints’ facility, before having a normal light Saturday workout prior to Sunday’s game.

BALTIMORE
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Tandon Doss (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe/back), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Abert McClellan (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (knee/thigh), TE Dennis Pitta (thigh), WR David Reed (thigh), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal), LB Terrell Suggs (achilles/biceps)

SAN FRANCISCO
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Navorro Bowman (shoulder), CB Tarell Brown (shoulder), TE Garrett Celek (foot), S Dashon Goldson (foot), RB Frank Gore (shoulder/ankle), LB Clark Haggans (shoulder), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), RB LaMichael James (finger), RB Bruce Miller (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (elbow/triceps), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

Comments (0)

Like Lewis many years ago, Flacco can define legacy at Super Bowl

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like Lewis many years ago, Flacco can define legacy at Super Bowl

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — If you go back far enough in time, you’ll find a point when the greatest in NFL history weren’t nearly as accomplished or decorated in their respective careers.

Joe Montana wasn’t always a four-time Super Bowl winner for the San Francisco 49ers. John Elway was long considered the quarterback who couldn’t win the big one before two Super Bowl rings to end his long career in Denver.

In Baltimore, Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense weren’t always associated with the league’s all-time greatest. The soon-to-be-retired linebacker may have been the team’s best defensive player immediately as a rookie in 1996, but the rest of the world didn’t understand his greatness until a victory in Super Bowl XXXV in which he was voted the game’s most valuable player.

That moment in time propelled Lewis into the conversation as one of the greatest defenders in league history and the Baltimore defense into more than a decade of dominance and respect in NFL circles. It’s the shadow quarterback Joe Flacco will try to escape once and for all as the Ravens compete against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday evening.

Even if the fifth-year quarterback doesn’t look at it in the same way, Sunday’s game will be his defining moment.

“This team has had such a great defense for many years, such big faces on that side of the ball,” Flacco said. “That’s what we’re known for. Us guys on the other side, we don’t have any problem with that. We know that in order to win football games we have to go out there and do our job. We’re kind of humble guys on our side of the ball and don’t really care what people say about how we won it.”

Of course, a single championship won’t bring Flacco into the discussion of the all-time greats, but it would forever transform how outsiders perceive both him and the Ravens. With Lewis retiring and safety Ed Reed’s return in doubt, this era of great Baltimore defense is coming to an end. The numbers this season reflected that despite a stalwart performance from Lewis and the defense in three postseason games.

The opinions about Flacco have already been altered as he’s thrown eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in playoff wins over Indianapolis, Denver, and New England. Teammates believes he has nothing left to prove, but the critics and doubters will remain if the Ravens are unable to finish the job against San Francisco.

No one said it was easy — or even fair — to take that final step, but a win against the 49ers is what’s really needed to close the book on one era and open the door to another, presumably with Flacco leading the way. A new-found respect has been penciled in by even his biggest critics this postseason, but his performance on Sunday will be what’s written in permanent ink.

He may not be able to do it alone, but this postseason has fallen heaviest on the broad shoulders of the Baltimore signal-caller.

“This postseason has done that,” tight end Dennis Pitta said. “I don’t know if it will be on one game or not, because we’re going against a really good defense. It’ll be a challenge for us. I think our defense needs to play well, [but] I certainly think the offense has come a long way. That stigma — that perception — that the Baltimore Ravens are only defense has certainly changed through the course of this season and through this postseason.”

Truthfully, there isn’t much more you can ask of Flacco. A loss to the 49ers wouldn’t erase what he’s already done in his first five seasons in the league. Many will debate where he ranks in the quarterback hierarchy, but there’s no disputing his impeccable ability to remain calm in pressure-filled situations.

But a loss would still be a disappointment, leaving him outside a premium group of quarterbacks.

He’s knocking on the door of greatness, but one final push is needed, just as it was when Lewis came through the tunnel and danced in Tampa with the entire world watching on Jan. 28, 2001. In the meantime, those closest to him will continue to sing his praises until the rest of the world finally catches up — at least in their opinions.

“Joe Flacco’s done a hell of a job,” running back Ray Rice said. “He deserves all the credit. Every quarterback out there gets respect, but you’ve got to mention Joe up there with them now because of what he’s done. He just outplayed two Hall of Famers. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will be Hall of Famers. Joe Flacco outplayed them both, and that doesn’t happen often.”

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ellerbe says ankle feels “a lot better” in New Orleans

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER DANNELL ELLERBE

(on eating home cooking from players’ moms) “I haven’t been doing a lot of eating, but I did eat when Jacoby’s (Jones) mom came. It was really good. I wasn’t trying to eat possum. I’ll eat squirrel but I’m not eating possum.”

 

(on not overdoing it before the game) “It’s early right now. We’ve got time to work it out. We have a whole week ahead of us. I’m definitely not going to overdo it.”

 

(on personal requests relating to the Super Bowl) “I think the craziest request I got was everybody wanting a Ray Lewis jersey. Everybody wanted a Ray Lewis jersey or for Ray Lewis to sign something. Everybody was thinking they could come to the Super Bowl and wanted me to pay for everything. That was the craziest. They were asking for food, new clothes, and everything. It was all from family. I’ve got 15 people coming. When I told them how much a ticket was they understood. I think they were just thinking the tickets were free. We only get two free.”

 

(on his ankle injury) “Yes, I’m playing if I played last week. That was the most pain I’ve played in in my entire career. I’m definitely playing in this game. I feel a lot better and it’s the Super Bowl, so I’m not sitting out. I got a cortisone shot. I’m going to stop telling people I got an epidural because that’s what pregnant people get. Never again. I don’t want to go through that again. I hate needles.”

 

(on playing this week) “Oh yeah, I’m definitely playing. If I could handle it last week, I can handle it this week.”

 

(on preparing for this game) “We keep it the same (as the regular season). Last week we got our work in and we’ve been trying to get as much work in and get ready at the same time.”

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Jacoby Jones trying to not get too emotional about Super Bowl in hometown

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

WIDE RECEIVER JACOBY JONES

 

(on the matchup between the special teams and the 49ers kick coverage) “(David) Akers has got a really strong leg. He can kick out of the end zone and that punter, he’s a climber too. So you’ve got to be patient and wait on your opportunities.”

 

(on how a Pro Bowler like him doesn’t have a podium for Media Day) “That’s fine. I like the walking around and mingling a little bit. I like to fly under the radar. I’m used to it. I love it.”

 

(on his emotions playing in the Super Bowl in New Orleans) “I’m from New Orleans you know. It’s good to play at home in a Super Bowl but you’ve got to look at it like a regular season game. You’ve got to approach it like that.”

 

(on if he feels pretty relaxed this week) “Yeah. I’m pretty much a laid back guy though. I’ll be chilling, I’m a goofy guy and I play around. I’m not really too hyper.”

 

(on if his mom cooked) “Of course, she brought in 150 plates for the team yesterday.”

 

(on what his mom cooked for the team) “Gumbo, everything. I can’t even name it all. Cajun food.”

 

(on his experience in New Orleans after the hurricane hit) “It hit the day before my game and my mom was coming up to see me play, so all they packed was a weekend’s worth of clothes and everything else was gone.”

 

(on if he came back to visit the city much after the hurricane hit) “I was still in college. We actually lived across the river in a little, small house. I could lay down and I was longer than the room.”

 

(on if it’s emotional to have the Super Bowl in New Orleans) “It’s good to play at home, don’t get me wrong, but like I said, I’m holding onto my emotions because I’m still looking at it like a regular season game. I’ve got to get the ring like it’s a job.”

 

(on if he’ll get emotional after the game if they win) “Who knows after that? I could have fun all over New Orleans.”

 

(on overcoming the difficult end to his season last year to get to this point) “That’s life. You’re going to go through your ups and downs. You’re going to fall flat on your face. It’s all about getting back up and making the next play.”

 

(on if he looks at his time with the Texans as a launching pad for his career today) “I appreciate the Texans because they gave me an opportunity to play in the league. They gave me a shot. They gave me an opportunity and I appreciate it.”

 

(on signing with the Baltimore Ravens and beating the Texans to the Super Bowl) “Exactly. If I had a chance to pick, I was going to pick my best opportunity for a chance of getting a ring.”

 

(on if wants to rub it in Houston’s face that he made the Super Bowl) “Not at all. It is what it is. It’s a business, straight up.”

Comments (0)

Can “Joe January” carry through to “February Flacco”?

Tags: , , , ,

Can “Joe January” carry through to “February Flacco”?

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Dwayne Showalter

Reggie Jackson was Mr. October.  The Yankees even had Mr. November in Derek Jeter.  Those guys won championships in the fall months and bolstered their Hall of Fame credentials along the way.  The Baltimore Ravens have “Joe January”.  Joe Flacco has proven himself to be quite the performer once old calenders start getting pulled off the wall.  Every game hasn’t been the most aesthetically pleasing, but more often than not, Joe has proven to be as good as any quarterback in the league come playoff time.  And Sunday in New Orleans, he could morph into “February Flacco”.

Joe Flacco is whatever you want him to be now.  He’s clutch.  This postseason, the Ravens Super Bowl aspirations went from “pipe-dream” to “team of destiny” in the time it took a throw to travel 60-some yards from Flacco’s right hand to the waiting arms of Jacoby Jones two weeks ago in frigid Denver.

He can put the team on his back.  Last week, Flacco starred during a white-hot second half on a field where many playoff dreams have died over the last decade plus.

He’s tough.  He has taken every meaningful snap since opening day his rookie year.  Eighty regular season games.  Twelve (about to be 13) post-season starts.  Not for one play has the man needed to come off the field.

He’s cool.  You want a fiery type behind center?  Be my guest.  I’ll take the Unitas type.  The same demeanor, win or lose.

It doesn’t have to be all about Joe either.  Some quarterbacks want to be the center of the universe.  Tom Brady and Drew Brees come to mind.  Flacco can be the hero, as in Denver, or let someone else handle the load (see 4th and 29).

I’ve heard some pretty telling commentary on the Baltimore signal caller.  I’ve heard how Joe made Andrew Luck look like an over-matched rookie in the first round while making Peyton Manning seem like an over-the-hill veteran that couldn’t keep pace in Denver.  You could say he did the same last week in New England.

To me, Joe is now a seasoned veteran poised to take a giant step toward greatness.   His numbers aren’t always gaudy but his record sure is.  Do you know the Ravens would have to lose 28 straight games to drop Flacco to a .500 quarterback as a starter in the regular season?  Add another four straight in the playoffs.

Should the Ravens win in New Orleans on Sunday, Flacco will achieve greatest honor bestowed on NFL quarterbacks.  Super Bowl Winner.  Today’s “greats” all have that one thing in common.  They won the Super Bowl.  Aaron Rogers, Peyton, Eli, Brady, Roethlisberger and Brees all have that feather in their cap.  Everyone else is second tier.

A win Sunday would cement Flacco’s spot in the Ravens Ring of Honor.  And it would, in my opinion, complete the foundation on what could become a Hall of Fame career.  Yeah, I said it.  Seems odd but think about it.  He’s in his 5th year.  It’s not hard to picture him making another appearance or two (or more) in the Super Bowl.  If he only adds 17,633 future yards to the 17,633 yards he’s already amassed, he’d be listed 17th all-time.  Add three more decent seasons to that number, and he’d be top 10 all-time.

As for the rest of the Ravens, they certainly appear poised to give it their best shot come Sunday.  They are as healthy as you can be at this point.  They have a clear rallying point.  They are hot.  They have some Super Bowl experience.  I think the Ravens have slightly better players on offense than the 49ers.  I think the Ravens have slightly better special teams units (certainly a more stable kicker at this point).  Defensively, both teams are loaded.  I like both Harbaugh’s but Jim can act like a nut.  I could see him losing control in a game this big.  And I like the intangibles the Ravens bring to the game.  And I like the Ravens holding on to win 24-17.

Comments (4)

SB-Ravens-49ers-Arrival

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens Arrive in NOLA… on a Business Trip!

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Gary Quill


Nuff Said! GO RAVENS!!! OH-OH OH OH OH OH OH OH-OH!

Comments (0)