Super Bowl XLIX: Keys To The Game And Prediction

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Sean Pendergast
Tom Brady zombie-walking thru media week
For the eight or nine days after the AFC Title Game, the prevailing story that none of us could escape was "Deflate-Gate." Hours upon hours of coverage of the pressure of footballs, the effects of deflation, and Bill Belichick's cheating history. Honestly, the only good thing about Deflate-Gate was the green light to use the word "balls" on the radio in every sophomoric way possible.

Finally, that topic died around Tuesday of this week, and was replaced by Marshawn Lynch press conferences and endless hand wringing by certain media members that Lynch was clowning the interview process with repetitive one sentence answers (HOW DARE HE!!). There was really nothing great that came out of that.

So needless to say, I'm ready for the game to get here.

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Aaron Hernandez Trial Begins With Video of Hernandez Holding Possible Murder Weapon

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TMZ Sports
We are a couple days away from Super Bowl XLIX, a game that will be the sixth Super Bowl the New England Patriots have participated in during the Bill Belichick Era.

The last time they were in this game, closing out the 2011 season, they were there on the strength of a unique two tight end set with the freak of nature Rob Gronkowski at one tight end spot and the ultra-athletic Aaron Hernandez at the other tight end spot.

Things have certainly changed since then.Three years later, Gronk is still here, a unanimous All Pro pick at the position and on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Hernandez, he's kind of tied up with other things. His murder trial (the first of multiple murders he will be standing trial for) in the Odin Lloyd homicide began yesterday.

Indeed, it's a long way from Super Bowl XLVI.

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Super Bowl XLIX: Five Prop Bets to Invest In

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We are about 48 hours away from kickoff of Super Bowl XLIX. Kickoff of the Super Bowl is always one of the most exciting times to be an American. It's football, OUR sport, played at the highest level.

But perhaps you don't have a dog in the fight this Sunday. You're not a fan of the Seahawks, maybe because Richard Sherman talks too much or because Marshawn Lynch doesn't talk enough. And you're not a fan of the Patriots because they're a bunch of spying, ball deflating, cheating bastards! (Your words, not mine.)

So how do you maintain a suitable interest level and drive your blood pressure high enough to be dangerous? Well, PROP BETS, of course!

So let's give you a few juicy investment opportunities! Here are a few that I will be scouting heavily for Sunday.

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Wade Phillips Hired by Gary Kubiak As the Defensive Coordinator in Denver

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Photo by Marco Torres
Wade Phillips
So the construction (or reconstruction, as it were) of Gary Kubiak's coaching staff in Denver is now complete.

On the heels of announcing earlier in the week that Reggie Herring, who coached linebackers for Kubiak in Houston, would be taking on that exact same role with the Broncos, the announcement was made yesterday that Wade Phillips, after a year out of football, would be returning to the game as Kubiak's defensive coordinator, a position he also held in Houston for three seasons.

In fact, for a majority of the positions that really matter on Kubiak's coaching staff, the Mad Libs phrase "he also coached _______ for Kubiak in Houston" applies. Just fill in the blank with any football coaching function, and in all likelihood, this would be a true statement for the applicable Broncos' staff member.

So I ask you, Bronco fans, how does that make you feel? After peeling away all of the warm, fuzzy feelings of your son returning home, how do you truly feel?

I ask this because your team's management has basically reassembled the same staff that secured the number one overall pick in the 2014 draft by going 2-14 in 2013.

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Super Bowl XLIX Notebook: Marshawn Lynch Snubs The Media Again

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Liz Matthews via YouTube
Marshawn Lynch continues to dare the NFL to empty his bank account.
So yesterday was Wednesday at the Super Bowl, one day closer to the game, one more series of checklist items knocked off.

On Radio Row, traffic began to pick up with current and former players coming to town to shill everything from jock itch cream to six inch subs provide thoughtful, energetic interviews like half the time. For the two teams, after Media Day on Tuesday, it was time for individual press sessions on Wednesday (more on this in a second).

And guess what? For the first time in like ten days, there was nothing new on the Deflate-Gate front! No science experiments, no demands for apologies, no crying Baltimore Ravens. NOTHING!! It was kind of nice.

So let's get you up to speed on what, aside from Deflate-Gate, has been a fairly drama free week of Super Bowl ramp-up hype.

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Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao Meet for the First Time

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YouTube
We interrupt coverage from Super Bowl XLIX to give you a story on, of all things, boxing? Yes, boxing.

With its lunch getting eaten by MMA and WWE (and, to a large extent, cannibalization of itself with it's murky structure and shady perception), boxing doesn't have a whole lot left to offer the pay per view buying community. Despite perhaps having missed the window where aesthetically the fight itself would be a classic, "Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao" still has enough cachet to be a winner at the box office and on pay per view.

Amazingly, and I'll admit I had no idea this was the case, the two have never met in person before. Until last night. It happened! And it happened at, of all places, at an NBA game.

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Super Bowl XLIX: Media Day Recap

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Sean Pendergast
Tom Brady. So hot right now.
If you're a sports media junkie, a diehard listener to sports talk radio or a rabid viewer of sports on television, Radio Row at the Super Bowl is like your Disney World. That's how I felt the first time I traveled to the Super Bowl to cover the week leading up the big game.

Wow, over there, it's Mike Francesa doing his show for WFAN in New York! (NOTE: I grew up listening to Francesa.)

Hey, there's Jim Rome doing his show on the CBS set! (NOTE: I was once a critically acclaimed caller to Rome's show.)

You can fill in any number of a few more dozen TV and radio personalities, and for me, a life long fan of the genre, the Disney World analogy holds up. This is my amusement park, these are my characters. But if Radio Row is media's Disney World, then Media Day is like the cantina scene in Star Wars (or Wal-Mart after midnight).

Freaks, goofs, and media posers galore. Tuesday was Media Day for Super Bowl XLIX. Here are a few of the highlights....

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J.J. Watt Appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Destroys Dude in Elmo Suit

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YouTube
JJ makes another TV appearance. Because he's fancy like that
The Pro Bowl is now over, and J.J. Watt was able to add more hardware to his showcase (and apparently, another truck to his garage), winning Defensive MVP honors, despite the vehement Twitter protests of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes' wife.

Someday, we in Houston all hope that J.J. Watt won't be playing in the Pro Bowl because his team will be playing in a far more important game the next Sunday (Super Bowl, fools), but for now, we can continue to marvel at the meteoric rise of one J.J. Watt as not only a football player, but a mainstream star.

That ascension continued last night, as Watt was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which is easily the best of the late night talk shows when it comes to celebrities willing to show some personality (a category Watt is a card carrying member of).

The show open last night proved that:

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Deflate-Gate: Investigation Closing in on Locker Room Attendant

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frankieleon via flickr
Amidst all the denials by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, amidst all the bluster and anger Belichick displayed in his impromptu press conference on Saturday afternoon, and amidst his slew of science experiments that he allegedly performed privately to prove that indeed it was merely the Patriots' normal process that sucked the air out of those footballs in the AFC Title Game (as opposed to some sort of underhanded, deliberate, illegal scheme to deflate the balls), it doesn't really change the fact that most of America believes one thing:

The Patriots deployed an underhanded, deliberate, probably illegal scheme to deflate the balls used in the AFC Title Game. This is the bed Belichick has made for himself. His credibility when it comes to bending or breaking the rules is virtually nil.

Amazingly, in a comedy sketch to open Saturday Night Live this past weekend, the latest real-life twist in Deflate-Gate may have been impersonated by art. SNL put the blame at the feet of a locker room attendant named "Dougie Spoons"...

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Previewing Super Bowl Week: Five Storylines

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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YouTube
So now begins the diffusing of Deflate-Gate
The shelf life for any thought-to-be-salacious NFL storyline sort of evolves as follows:

1. Story gets broken by one of Adam Schefter (ESPN), Jay Glazer (FOX), Chris Mortensen (ESPN, correct 32.5 percent of the time), or Ian Rapoport (NFL Network) and tweeted out.

(1a. Whoever doesn't break the story tweets as if they did and covers themselves by including the words "sources say" in his tweet.)

2. Sports radio and SportsCenter obsess over the story for the next two or three days, both becoming a huge brick and mortar version of a can of lighter fluid.

3. Fatigue sets in, and the topic evolves from "[fill in name of scandal]-Gate" to how sick we all are of discussing "[fill in name of scandal]-Gate".

4. Saturday Night Live and South Park race to see who can clown the scandal first.

And that's where we were this weekend on Deflate-Gate, when Bill Belichick called his press conference Saturday to show off his newfound science knowledge, and presumably SNL had to scramble to rewrite its script that day. Here's how it went:

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