Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 2/7/11

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Krieger: Finances may sway Broncos - The Denver Post
This is not the first suggestion that the Broncos have financial issues. In 2009, their player payroll was $26 million below the NFL salary cap of $128 million. Because the league opted out of the labor agreement, there was no cap in 2010. But had there been, the Broncos' cap number reportedly would have been $102.9 million, which would have ranked 27th out of 32 teams.

Predominantly Orange Hall of Fame reaction and a past visit with Richard Dent | All Things Broncos
Now that we’re all caught up in orange nostaligia and the Broncos are planning to return to Predominantly Orange in 2012, it’s all the more appropriate to point out that it’s an absolute travesty that no members of the Orange Crush defense are in the Hall of Fame. Not Randy Gradishar, who was at least on a par with the 17 Steeler linebackers of his era (whatever it is…I lost count) in the Hall. And not Louis Wright, a shutdown corner before someone came up with the term.

NFL NEWS: SUPER BOWL: THE GAME

Rodgers steps into Packers lore with Super Bowl victory - The Denver Post
"I haven't said (Favre's name) in a long time," veteran Packers receiver Donald Driver said. "You can stop it now. Aaron proved he's one of the best, if not the best quarterback in the game today."

How the Packers won Super Bowl XLV - The Denver Post
1. They turned turnovers into points. Packers safety Nick Collins intercepted Ben Roethlisberger's fifth pass attempt of the game and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. The Packers turned the Steelers' two other turnovers of the game — another Roethlisberger interception to go with a Rashard Mendenhall fumble — into touchdowns as well. Teams that win the turnover battle are now 33-3 in Super Bowls.

Mendenhall's fumble was tipping point of Super Bowl - The Denver Post
In the 347 times Rashard Mendenhall had a football put into his hands during 16 games of the regular season, the Steelers running back failed to finish the play with it in his hands only twice.

Steel Curtain's leaders do a disappearing act - The Denver Post
Pittsburgh's big-play, hard-hitting defensive leaders were nowhere to be found when the Steelers needed them most as Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay's offense led the Packers to a 31-25 victory Sunday night in Super Bowl XLV.

Advanced NFL Stats: Super Bowl 45 Analysis
The Matthews-forcedBishop-recovered Mendenhall fumble mentioned above was worth 0.18 WPA. Just as big was the 3rd and 10 31-yd pass to Greg Jennings with 5:59 to play, also worth 0.18 WPA. The leverage was huge there. A punt gives PIT all kinds of time and options to either play for the tie or the win. The successful conversion helped put GB up by 6, putting immense pressure on PIT on their final possession.

Mike Pereira analyzes Super Bowl XLV officiating - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
In recent seasons, the Super Bowl has almost always boiled down to one big play at the end. And this game was no exception. Williams’ coverage on Roethlisberger's pass to Wallace initially looked to the world like pass interference. I sure thought it was. Replays, however, showed that Williams went to the side of Wallace and did not make enough contact to consider this interference. Many, many times, it is much harder to pass on making a call than it is to actually make one. Kudos to John Hussey, Doug Rosenbuam and Scott Helverson for not making an inappropriate call that could have changed the outcome of this great game.

Dejected Roethlisberger Shoulders Blame For Steelers' Defeat - NYTimes.com
"I don't put blame on anybody but myself. I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches, my team mates. It's not a good feeling," he told reporters. "You know me, I hate to lose. Like I said, especially when you feel like you're letting down guys that really stepped up today in a big way, so it's really hard."

Clay Matthews’ hit was the play of the game | ProFootballTalk
Matthews burst through the line and drilled Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall three yards behind the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble that Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop recovered. On the Packers’ ensuing possession they scored to expand their lead to 28-17, and that hit from Matthews proved to be the play of the game.

Charles Woodson suffered broken collarbone | ProFootballTalk
UPDATE: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Woodson tried to address the team at halftime, but he became too emotional and couldn’t finish.

Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers named MVP after 3 TD performance - ESPN
Rodgers is 27 years old, just as Favre was then. And after biding his time as a backup until the Packers split with Favre, Rodgers has quickly established himself as one of the game's best. This was his third full season as a starting QB, and he was particularly good throughout the playoffs, leading the No. 6 seed Packers to three NFC road victories before winning the championship Sunday.

Super Bowl XLV sets only one record | ProFootballTalk
As it turns out, only one record was set — fewest combined rushing attempts, with 36. The Packers ran the ball 13 times, and the Steelers ran the ball 23 times.

McCarthy fitted Packers for rings last weekend | ProFootballTalk
"We wanted to come into the game focused," guard Daryn Colledge said. "We knew we had a chance to win this and came in with that mindset, and that’s the way we played: Downhill.

NFL NEWS: SUPER BOWL: THE HYPE

2011 Super Bowl Commercials -- NFL FanHouse
Watch the 2011 Super Bowl commercials online. Every 2011 Super Bowl ad is here

Super Bowl Pregame Show Was 4.5 Half Hours Too Long - NYTimes.com
When you conceive a show as bad as this and go to these lengths to diminish the football content for more than three hours, you overpromote the company’s wares on Fox ("The Chicago Code," which starts Monday, and the Daytona 500), FX ("Lights Out," "Sons of Anarchy" and "Justified") and 20th Century Fox (the animated film "Rio," the only film promoted on the red carpet that had a clip).

Ad Meter 1st: A doggone tie – USATODAY.com
USA TODAY's Ad Meter tracks the second-by-second responses of a panel of viewers to ads during the Super Bowl and ranks them from best to worst. To watch, click on an ad in the results to the right. You can list the ads by Ad Meter results, alphabetically, chronologically and by video views.

Most successful Super Bowl commercials might not have made the air - Glenn Garvin - MiamiHerald.com
If Sherlock Holmes were a TV critic (man, do I hate it when the ghost of Arthur Conan Doyle shrieks like that), he might have called Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials The Case of the Dog that Did Not Bark. Oh, there were plenty were plenty of dogs, all right – I’m still trying to figure out why a sip of Bud Lite would make a grizzled Old West gunslinger break into a chorus of Tiny Dancer. But an enormous number of commercials that have been hyped all week as "Super Bowl ads" did not air.

MSU profs rate Volkswagen ad top Super Bowl commercial | MSU News | Michigan State University
Using a five-point grading school with the clickers, the 23 voting faculty members rated each commercial based on creativity, production and overall quality. This year, for the first time, the profs used "clicker" technology, normally used in their classrooms, to tabulate the results.

Scoring the 2011 Super Bowl Commercials For Search Visibility and Visitor Engagement
Every year, advertisers pay millions to air commercials during the Super Bowl. (The price this year is around three million dollars for a thirty second slot.). More info than you ever needed about the link between the Super Bowl Commercials and the internet...

Super Bowl Ads Mine Decades of Americana - NYTimes.com
It would also have been difficult to figure out most of the 60-plus commercials without a working knowledge of Americana or, at least, access during the game to Wikipedia (if not WikiLeaks). The spots dished up a dizzying — and at times ditzy — mélange of celebrity star turns, movie references, homages to television shows, snippets of songs and even hat-tips to other spots.

Super Bowl — Christina Aguilera Mishandles ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ - NYTimes.com
At the opening of Super Bowl XLV, less than a minute into the song, however, Christina Aguilera mangled some words to the anthem. Instead of "O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming," Aguilera belted out, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last reaming." That line was a repeat of one she had sung a few seconds earlier, with the word "gleaming" being replaced by "reaming."

Super Bowl — Fox Muffed Its Opportunity to Report on Ticket Debacle - NYTimes.com
What a weird night to watch the Super Bowl and know that a ticket fiasco was unfolding inside and outside Cowboys Stadium. About 1,250 people had tickets to temporary seats (built for greed’s sake) that were declared unusable. Fox made note of the situation once before the game and never said another word.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Super Bowl unlikely to return to North Texas soon
The point isn't that we had it rough. It was mostly annoying, but on balance there are real problems in the world. The point is that this is a major convention hotel that had three years to prepare for our visit and couldn't have failed any more miserably.

Fans furious over Super Bowl temporary seating screw-up | ProFootballTalk
Noble, who was holding a ticket with a $900 face value, wanted to be inside the stadium watching the Steelers warm up, but he’s currently stuck outside, with no guarantee that he’ll get in. "They’re going to make me stand in a long line for nothing," he said.

No Attendance Record, But North Texas Gets Super Bowl Classic
Some 103,219 mostly green-and-gold and black-and-gold clad fans witnessed the Green Bay Packers' 31-25 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers inside Cowboys Stadium, narrowly missing the all-time Super Bowl attendance record set in 1980 at the Rose Bowl (103,985) and the $1.3 billion venue's own attendance mark (105,121) set in the Cowboys' 2009 regular-season home opener.

Studying Super Bowl Commercials
The commercials have taken such a big role, in fact, that schools have begun to take notice. Fox News investigates the matter in the video below.

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

Gamers Mimic the Season's Ups and Downs - Graphic - NYTimes.com
Gamers followed those headlines, which shaped how they played Madden NFL 11, the most popular football video game. Since the preseason, gamers started more than 290 million games of Madden, or about 1,200 every minute.

Mike Munchak Expected to Become Titans Head Coach -- NFL FanHouse
Mike Munchak, the Titans' offensive line coach the past 14 seasons who emerged quickly as a favorite for the head coaching position upon coach Jeff Fisher's departure 10 days ago, is expected to be selected as the team's head coach, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported Sunday.

Jeff Fisher Places a Full Page Ad in The Tennessean - Music City Miracles
Jeff Fisher takes out a Thank You add to the fans in the Tennessean.

Dan Snyder’s Odd Case Against Washington City Paper - NYTimes.com
The complaint itself is a kitchen sink of splendors that is short on specifics in terms of what precisely Dave McKenna’s article got wrong. The complaint does digress into the rather novel legal argument that because Mr. Snyder owns several media properties, City Paper was trying to gain a competitive advantage by maligning him.

Arthur Blank talks about his improved team, possible new stadium | ProFootballTalk
The man who purchased the team in 2002 paid us a visit on Friday, and we talked about the dramatic strides his team has made in three years, along with the plans for a stadium to replace the Georgia Dome.

Super Bowl: William "The Refrigerator" Perry acknowledges alcoholism, insists he's not putting himself in jeopardy - ESPN
His day consists of watching television and eating three or four meals prepared by his heart-broken wife, Valerie. She nags him to exercise, but says she gets "cussed out'' for it. She bugs him to take his medication but says she gets ignored over it. Her new trick, just to get him on his feet, is to tell him he has to come to the kitchen to eat his lunch. That's her best way to get "The Refrigerator'' to walk near the refrigerator. Of course, then when she least expects it, her husband will hobble out the door and into his car. She knows exactly where he's headed: to the liquor store.

Sources: Jon Bon Jovi in talks to buy part of Atlanta Falcons - ESPN
Blank is among a select group of owners who have been seeking more minority partners to gain an infusion of cash that in Blank's case will also help him realize his plans to build a new outdoor stadium in the Atlanta area.

Franchise tag for Harris raises questions - Jets Blog - ESPN New York
It shows how much Rex Ryan values Harris. But we knew that already. Remember in the 2009 preseason, when the Jets could've had WR Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos? The Broncos wanted Harris in return and the Jets told them that was a deal-breaker. Even though Harris' numbers dropped a bit in 2010, he's important to Ryan because the defensive signal caller, because he's only 27 and because defense is everything for Ryan.

Super Bowl XLIV, XLV champs to open 2011 season? | ProFootballTalk
With the Packers winning Super Bowl XLV, it means that first game of the 2011 regular season will be played at Lambeau Field on a Thursday night, televised by NBC. And there’s one game on the Packers’ home docket that screams out for consideration. The Saints.

NFL DRAFT

Unique draft circumstance landed Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay - Mocking The Draft
But when the 49ers took Alex Smith first overall in that draft and the Buccaneers opted for running back Cadillac Williams, Rodgers went into free fall. To understand Rodgers' drop further, you have to understand the culture of the NFL in 2005. The year before, Eli Manning (New York), Philip Rivers (San Diego), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) and J.P. Losman (Buffalo) were first round picks.

NFL LOCKOUT

Goodell keeps making case for 18 games, fans keep saying they don’t want it | ProFootballTalk
All things considered, we’d shrink the preseason to two games and increase the regular season to only 17 games, with the extra 16 games played in neutral sites, both in other countries and in the U.S. Even with only 19 total games, the sport will still continue to grow — and everyone will continue to get richer.

Super Bowl XLV Could Be Legendary; So Could a Lockout -- NFL FanHouse
For now, we kick off Super Bowl XLV with the game full of splendid anticipation. And the immediate moments afterward a crash, hand-wringing, the threat like that of a merry, marathon, child playground game that suddenly halts when one sulking kid takes the ball and goes home.

Charley Walters: Matt Birk expects an NFL lockout in March, then a solution just before 2011 season begins - TwinCities.com
"Somebody will try to tell you it's 60-40 for the players, but it's not," he said. "We're partners in this deal, and it's 50-50. Maybe I'm a little too simple-minded, but 50-50 seems like a fair deal. "You're talking about $9 billion, $10 billion a year right now that the sport is generating. That should be enough to go around."

NFL marketing machine appears recession-proof
What's even more remarkable about the NFL's success is how it manages to ensure the league -- and not players or teams -- is the primary brand. While other sports have thrived and faltered based on marquee athletes, and television ratings have risen or tumbled based on the success of flagship franchises, the NFL has grown regardless of the performance or struggles of any one player or market.

Ravens Insider: Do fans want 18-game regular season? - Baltimore Ravens news, schedule, analysis and opinion - baltimoresun.com
According to an Associated Press poll, 27 percent strongly favor or somewhat favor adding two regular-season games and dropping two preseason games. When the group is narrowed to those identifying themselves as NFL fans, support for the change rises to a total of 45 percent — yet only 18 percent who strongly favor it. This seems to suggest that fans are more interested in decreasing the price of preseason tickets and not increasing the regular season.

As deadline approaches, all eyes on NFL, union to see who will make first move - USATODAY.com
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said creating "angst" and "tension" in the process was key to reaching a new agreement. Smith shot that down, but Ganis argued that with the NFL preaching compromise the union leader will only be able to maintain his hard-line stance as long as players remain committed to his vision. "When will they start to feel enough discomfort that they tell their union leadership, even if we don't have the books, go negotiate around the clock and see what you come up with?" Ganis asked.

Super Bowl Players Worry About NFL's 2011 Season Amid Labor Dispute - Bloomberg
Minutes after losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Jonathan Scott had another worry -- losing next season’s paychecks. "It’s sad to see this game we all love so much has always revolved around money," Scott said. "I pray they come up with a resolution."

Commentary: 18-game plan exposes NFL owners’ hypocrisy
Which is a monumentally bad idea. Adding extra games when the league is preaching safety is hypocritical. Not to mention the potential damage there is to players to have them playing in two more games. Consider teams like New England, Baltimore or Indianapolis, which regularly play deep into the postseason. Two more regular season games, plus additional playoff games, means adding an extra season of football to a player by the time he’s been in the league five years.

Sources: Owners have $320M saved for lockout - ESPN
Under the terms of the CBA that govern uncapped years, each of the NFL's 32 teams was not required to fund player benefits such as 401K plans that are not in effect in uncapped years, saving each team $10 million that the NFL is holding on to, according to multiple team sources.

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