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DeSean Jackson talks about how Aaron Rodgers got him to Cal

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson joined Florio on Thursday’s PFT Live for an excellent interview that can be viewed in full right here.

In one segment of the interview,  Jackson discussed how Aaron Rodgers enticed him to go to the Cal.

This may go down as Cal cheerleader alum Mike Silver’s favorite thing ever produced by PFT.

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PFT Live: NFL taking responsibility for ticket fiasco

In the final segment of Thursday’s PFT Live, NFL Executive VP of Business Operations Eric Grubman says the league, contractors and host stadiums are all responsible for ensuring a Super Bowl goes off without a hitch and explains the different options available to fans caught up in this year’s ticket fiasco.

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PFT Live: Jackson taking a stand against bullying

In the second segment of today’s PFT Live, Eagles WR DeSean Jackson talks about his experience helping a 13-year-old who had been horribly bullied, discusses his future with Philadelphia and more.

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PFT Live: Cincy losing leverage in possible Palmer trade

While some people think the Bengals’ Carson Palmer is bluffing by putting his Cincy house on the market, Mike Florio believes the QB is serious about his desire to be traded and says that eliminates any leverage Cincinnati might have in a trade. Also in the first segment of today’s PFT Live, Florio breaks down the latest in the CBA negotiations.

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League should be blamed for breakdown in labor talks

Super Bowl Football AP

The opening segment to today’s PFT Live focused on Wednesday’s collapse of the labor talks.  And Wednesday’s collapse of the labor talks looks to be the responsibility of the NFL, not the union.

Unless the union offered to take 50 cents on the dollar of every dollar and said that it was a bottom-line position with no room to move, the league should have acknowledged that 50 cents on the dollar of every dollar is a reasonable opening position, and the league should have digested the offer and responded.

So when the owners convene a conference call at 3:30 p.m. ET, we hope that men like Robert Kraft stand up and say to the negotiators, “Why didn’t you respond to the offer?”

Opening positions in any negotiation are meaningless.  The action begins once the stakes planted in the ground begin to move.  The NFL, by all appearances, short circuited this process by refusing to establish the floor once the union set the ceiling.

So establish the floor, NFL.  Otherwise, all this talk about wanting to do a deal is meaningless and hollow and phony.  The NFL is behaving like it doesn’t want to do a deal, and for the first time we’re detecting a sense that the fans are starting to realize that a lot of the talk from the league is just that — talk — and that the league won’t take action until every ounce of leverage has been applied to the men who put their bodies on the line every Sunday, either via a lockout or the threat of one.

John Madden said it best last week.  The players, owners, and Commissioner are the current custodians of the game.  And the game is too good to screw it up.

Based on Wednesday’s events, they’re going to screw it up.  And for now the league bears the bulk of the blame, in our view.

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Shaun Rogers may visit the Redskins

Shaun Rogers AP

As Florio pointed out this morning, recently released players like former Browns defender Shaun Rogers can sign with a new team immediately.

While many teams will undoubtedly hide behind labor uncertainty while twiddling their thumbs,  it’s no surprise that the Redskins could take a different approach.

Jay Glazer of FOX reports that Rogers has spoken with Washington and could set up a visit with the team, perhaps as early as tomorrow.  Surely Rogers’ camp hopes that another team gets involved to potentially drive up Rogers’ price.

Going after Rogers would be a sign that Albert Haynesworth has no future in Washington, not that we really need another sign.

Coming up with a fair contract before a work stoppage could be tricky.   Players may have to give up a little bit of earning potential long-term to get money in their pocket.

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Hall of Fame voter Len Pasquarelli rips “idiots like Jason Whitlock”

richarddent

We’ve talked a lot over the last week about the seven new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 10 candidates who were voted down at Saturday’s selection committee meeting, and the process by which new Hall of Famers are selected. It’s been an interesting, productive topic of conversation in the football media world.

But one of the members of the selection committee, Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange, thinks it’s time to move on or move out from questioning the selection committee’s decisions.

In an interview with 1560 The Game, Pasquarelli said that he understands the calls for more transparency in the selection process, but he also believes that more transparency could lead some voters to become more reticent to have a candid conversation at the selection committee meeting.

“I think there probably will be a day where there’s more transparency,” Pasquarelli said. “I believe in transparency to a point, but I do think that having TV cameras in that room and televising the whole thing, while it would make for fascinating theater, you’re absolutely right about that, would perhaps deter some people from airing their views, and probably bring even more criticism.”

Fair enough, but if you’re going to be a member of the selection committee, don’t you need to have thick enough skin to deal with that criticism? And, with all due respect to the members of the committee, if criticism would deter them from airing their views, working in the media is the wrong business for them.

Pasquarelli then turned his attention to Jason Whitlock, who has sharply criticized the selection committee, both in his column at FOXSports.com and in his appearance on PFT Live, for selecting Richard Dent while voting down Willie Roaf.

“There’s been enough from idiots like Jason Whitlock who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, criticizing the process and the fact that Willie Roaf didn’t get in,” Pasquarelli said. “Let me ask you this: In his championing of Willie Roaf, OK, and the fact that he claims he would cry if Willie Roaf didn’t get in — and I assume that he’s honest about that — how is he any less subjective, for instance, than the people who voted for Richard Dent? Isn’t it his opinion and nothing more? There’s no criteria by which he goes. Isn’t it his opinion that Willie Roaf should be a member of the Hall of Fame? What does he have to go by that’s concrete about that?”

Of course, Whitlock did spell out what his case for Roaf over Dent is, including Roaf’s selection to two all-decade teams (Dent never made one) and Roaf’s 11 Pro Bowls (Dent made four). Pasquarelli is free to disagree with Whitlock about the importance of such accolades, but it’s wrong to say those who support Roaf as a better candidate than Dent have no criteria.

Pasquarelli, however, doesn’t buy it.

“What argument does Mr. Whitlock have that Willie Roaf deserves to be in the Hall of Fame more so than Richard Dent?” Pasquarelli said. “I’m dumbfounded by the logic of that because it’s totally illogical.”

Pasquarelli also rejects the idea that players should have some voice in determining who makes the Hall of Fame.

“The argument made by Mr. Whitlock that players should vote on this? Players in some cases have a different agenda than people in that room,” Pasquarelli said.

Although Pasquarelli insisted that “I’m not taking this personally,” he sounded as if he was. That’s too bad. It does a disservice to the Hall of Fame candidates if the selection process starts to feel like a media pissing contest. Even though media pissing contests are always fun.

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Cowboys not talking about Super Bowl ticket fiasco

Super Bowl Football

On Thursday, NFL executive V.P. of business ventures and Chief Financial Officer Eric Grubman acknowledged that the Cowboys hired the contractor that was supposed to install temporary seating that ultimately wasn’t installed in time for Super Bowl XLV.

Grubman also addressed whether the Cowboys hoped to break the single-game attendance record.

Here’s the excerpt.

PFT: Was it a priority for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to break that record?

EG: You’ll have to ask the Cowboys.

PFT: But if you had been working with the Cowboys and Jerry Jones leading up to the game and I assume you did, did you pick up on anything from those communications that it was an issue, a desire for them to break the record of 103,985?

EG: Yes, I think they were very interested in breaking the record.

It was good that Grubman answered the follow-up question, because if we’d asked the Cowboys the Cowboys would have said nothing.

The Cowboys are deferring all comments to the NFL,” team P.R. subsequently told Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.

It’s not a bad approach for the Cowboys, since the league is claiming full responsibility for the blunder.  Even if the blunder has the Cowboys’ fingerprints all over it.

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Looking at the teams with the most work to do this offseason

Mickey Loomis

Free agency is scheduled to start in early March, and it may not actually arrive until August or September.

When it does, we’ll see more player movement than any time in NFL history.   So which teams have the most to lose?

ESPN.com’s Mike Sando does yeoman’s work breaking down the 508 projected unrestricted free agents by team and position.

The teams with the most expected UFAs include the Saints, Raiders, Seahawks, and Chargers.   (New Orleans tops the list with 27 players, which isn’t a shock considering how many restricted free agents they had last year.)

The teams with the fewest unrestricted free agents include the Broncos, Bills, Cowboys, Dolphins, and Patriots.    The AFC Champion Steelers are in the middle of the pack, while the Super Bowl champion Packers have the seventh-fewest expected UFAs.

It’s a handy list worth checking out.   We just hope it’s not a list we break out again in August after hibernating for five months.

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Trent Dilfer of Cam Newton workout: “Phenomenal”

Cam Newton

NFL scouts couldn’t attend Cam Newton’s random Thursday “Media Day” workout.  But if they could . . .

That was phenomenal,” ESPN’s Trent Dilfer reports via Bruce Feldman.   “If scouts saw this they’d have been slobbering.”

With all due respect to my fellow scribes in attendance, Dilfer’s opinion may be the only one that particularly matters from this workout.  Dilfer does as much homework as any analyst, and he’s usually a tough critic.  We trust him if he said it was an impressive session.

Tony Pauline of SI.com wrote earlier this week that “at least” six teams rank Newton as their top overall prospect in the draft.   It defies belief that six teams even have a “top-ranked” player at this stage, but the note shows that Newton has some serious support within the scouting community.  Not to mention with Dilfer.

“His mechanics are so sound,” Dilfer said.   “The ball just jumps off his hands.  He made 30 big-time throws.”

Newton’s workout on Thursday ultimately doesn’t mean that much, but it’s a good sign he’s so confident in his development.  It’s a better sign that he impressed Dilfer so much.

The next step: Make the actual scouts slobber at the Combine or a real Pro Day.

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NFL prefers that Super Bowl ticket lawyers focus on “world peace”

Florio seat

In a refreshingly candid discussion regarding the league’s reaction to the failure of 400 fans who purchased tickets to the Super Bowl to actually gain entry to the Super Bowl, NFL executive V.P. of business ventures and Chief Financial Officer Eric Grubman appeared on Thursday’s ProFootballTalk Live to discuss the situation and its aftermath.  (The full transcript can be seen right here.)

To Grubman’s credit, the league is accepting responsibility for the situation, to a point.  The league, through Grubman, definitely is saying all the right things.  “The way we look at it is we’re the National Football League, we’re presenting the game, these are our fans, and a lot of them are heartbroken and they’re mad,” Grubman said.  “We accept the responsibility for that, and we have to figure out how to get them to give us a second chance.”

Still, the NFL doesn’t seem to be fully embracing the legal consequences arising from the failure to give the fans who paid for Super Bowl tickets the ability to attend the Super Bowl.  The idea of a triple refund and a ticket to Super Bowl XLVI or a ticket plus travel to any future Super Bowl sounds good from a P.R. perspective, but it doesn’t fully account for the league’s true duty to, in our view and apparently the view of Texas law, reimburse the fans for all expenses incurred in making a futile trip to Dallas for a game they didn’t get to actually attend.

In this regard, the league needs to project a bit more contrition.

“Frankly, I’m not surprised at the litigation,” Grubman said.  “But it’s not going to change the fact that we think we need to talk to our fans, tell them we’re sorry, and we need to try to make this better, and not let it happen again.  I do wish people who were filing the lawsuits and the lawyers who are getting so focused on this, I wish they would work on something like world peace because I think we need to keep this in perspective.  Over one hundred and sixty million people watched that game.  It was a great game.  Two fabulous football teams fought it out and one of them won, and it was just a thrill and it was exciting, and over a 100,000 people came to that stadium, so if you look at the defect rate its pretty small, and the NFL strives for 100 percent and that’s why we are doing this because we didn’t provide a great experience to 100 percent of the fans, but keeping a little perspective is probably what I wish the lawyers would do.”

So the message seems to be this:  We’re really, really sorry, and we really wish you’d accept our apology and something less than what we’re legally required to give you after failing to give you the seat that corresponded with your Super Bowl ticket.

Though we admire the league for taking moral responsibility, the league needs to also accept legal responsibility by reimbursing the 400 fans all expenses for their bad experience, and possibly a something more for their trouble, like a ticket to any future Super Bowl.  The sooner the league does that, the sooner the league can close the book on the biggest Super Bowl embarrassment since Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake took the stage at halftime.

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Colts preparing franchise tag for Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

The Colts and Peyton Manning legitimately appear to want to get a contract extension done this month.  But it’s complicated.

And if those complications prevent a deal being signed in time, Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star notes that the team will use the franchise tag on Manning as a “fallback” option.

“It’ll get done when it gets done,” Bill Polian said Wednesday. “We’re in a very, very unsettled situation as an industry, so I don’t have any timetable specifically.”

Chappell notes the two sides haven’t spoken on a deal since late January, when it’s believed the Colts made an offer which exceeds Tom Brady’s recent contract.

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Eric Grubman interview transcript

Super Bowl Football AP

NFL executive V.P. of business ventures and Chief Financial Officer Eric Grubman joined ProFootballTalk Live on Thursday, February 10, 2011 to discuss the ticketing challenges that arose at Super Bowl XLV.

A full transcript of the interview appears below.

MF: Let me just start at the top, the reports are that there are 1,250 who showed up and I know they fall into different camps, but explain to us what happened when those folks showed up to the game arrived at Cowboy Stadium on Sunday.

EG: They arrived and the tickets were identified through a scanning process. The four hundred people in the end zone section were told that there was a problem with their seats and they would not be able to come into the building yet. Approximately 864 people and four other small sections on different sides of the stadium were brought into the stadium and were told that there were problems with their seats and that we were looking for tickets to relocate them.

MF: And the 864 people ultimately ended up in other accommodations?

EG:  We learned that a large section in the end zone with 2,400 seats was not ready for final inspection.  The four individual sections on the side, each of which had 216 seats, we had to pull the resources of people off the contractor did, I’m not in charge of that stuff, and move them to the 2,400 section.  We knew that those four sections were not going to be ready for the game. The 2,400 we thought there was a good chance we would get all 2,400, it turns out we got 2,000 of the 2,400 ready for the game.

MF: What do you say in response to some of the accounts that are now showing up that of the 864 who got into the game and were supposedly given comparable or better seats?  There are some accounts that those folks claim they didn’t get comparable seats or better seats, in fact they got worse seats.

EG: Well, the first thing I would have said to them and if I was able to get to them at the stadium, I would have said to them, “I am sorry, I apologize this is not the standard the National Football League lives up to.”  In terms of what to do now, I’m just getting the reports, we have to gather the information, frankly, I’m not really in a position this morning to tell you whether people got moved higher or lower, or closer to the 60-yard line, but if people didn’t get a good seat, we’re going to have to deal with that.

MF: So there will be some type of offer made to the 864, similar to the offer made to the 400 that didn’t get in at all?

EG: I really can’t say because I have no frame of reference, Mike. I just don’t know what the situation is. I’ve gotten a couple reports and have been incredibly focused on the 400, the people who didn’t get to see the game at all. Those stories are just heartbreaking, and we have had a full scale effort to get out to them, and I am just getting some reports of where the 860 were seated.

MF: Where do things stand right now as to who was responsible for what happened on Sunday?

EG: Well, there’s two levels of responsibility here, Mike. The way we look at it is we’re the National Football League, we’re presenting the game, these are our fans, and a lot of them are heartbroken and they’re mad. We accept the responsibility for that, and we have to figure out how to get them to give us a second chance. When it comes down to figuring out how to make sure this never happens again, we will be looking at our internal processes, and how we work with contractors, and how we work with host clubs and so on and so on. As it relates to the money, I wouldn’t even want to begin to hazard a guess.  This is a tough situation, a lot of people probably could have done things better or differently, we just have to figure that out as time goes on.

MF: But are you in a position now to say this happened because of something the NFL did or something the Cowboys did or something Jerry Jones did, something the contractor did, or is it still too early to tell?

EG: It’s too early to tell. You know these things they go by in a blur sometimes, when there is a great outcome everybody takes credit and when there’s a bad outcome we’ve got to stand up and say, you know, it’s us, and it’s all of us. But the game is a presentation of the National Football Game, so from the standpoint of facing the fans, it’s the National Football League and we’re telling them we’re sorry and we’re trying to make it right.

MF: Did anything like this ever happen before at a Super Bowl, where people showed up with tickets and they were either denied admission or they were sent to seats that they deemed not comparable to the tickets they purchased?

EG: I don’t know the answer to that question. Certainly, in the seven years that I have been here, I am not aware of anything like this.

MF: Now we have heard, time and again, that when a team hosts the Super Bowl at its stadium, that the local franchise essentially gives the keys to the NFL and the NFL takes over, but I have heard anecdotally that in this case at least Jerry Jones and the Cowboys were more involved.  Is that accurate or is that not accurate?

EG: Well, it’s accurate to say in this instance, I won’t deal with what happened in the other 44 Super Bowls because I am sure there is a lot of particulars in any one Super Bowl, but the fact that the Cowboys were involved in hiring the contractor to install the seats and that is just the specifics of how we and the Cowboys decided to do it this time around.

MF:  A public offer was made earlier this week to the 400 folks who were denied admission. There were a couple of options, one option that wasn’t offered was a refund of the ticket price and a full refund of all travel expenses and lodging, etc. Why wasn’t that offered to the 400 people who showed up and weren’t permitted to actually get into the stadium?

EG: Well this is something that we have been trying to do the best we can, and in talking to the first group of fans that we were ale to reach out to, you know, let’s just recall what happened in the immediate aftermath.  Roger Goodell, Commissioner, said we said that say we’re going to give you three times your purchase price, three times the face value, and then the next morning Commissioner Goodell said “Look, we’ll give up tickets to the Indianapolis Super Bowl,” and then we started to have time to literally talk to these fans and listen to them and what I heard was, “You don’t understand NFL this was not that game, this was a dream, and you took my dream away.”  And so when we tried to figure out how do we give them a chance to get their dream back that’s when we can back with the second option. We have had about 40 people here at the NFL trying to identify and reach out to these 400, we’re getting feedback as we’re talking to them, and we’re hearing different things and you know we are trying to take that into account. We are trying to do right by the fans and I can’t turn back history, but we can do the best we can going forward.

MF: Is it true, Eric, that if fans take one of the two options currently on the table that they are going to have to sign paperwork waiving any and all legal rights that they would otherwise have?

EG: I haven’t seen the paperwork. I am leaving that up to our staff, but certainly I would think that that makes sense for us, yes.

MF: And now that a class action has ben filed on behalf of the 400 and another group we will talk about in a minute, has the effort to to contact these folks individually been suspended?

EG: No, nothing has been suspended, we’re going to call them, we’re going to take calls, we’re going to answer emails. Frankly, I’m not surprised at the litigation.  But it’s not going to change the fact that we think we need to talk to our fans, tell them we’re sorry, and we need to try to make this better, and not let it happen again. I do wish people who were filing the lawsuits and the lawyers who are getting so focused on this, I wish they would work on something like world peace because I think we need to keep this in perspective. Over one hundred and sixty million people watched that game.  It was a great game. Two fabulous football teams fought it out and one of them won, and it was just a thrill and it was exciting, and over a 100,000 people came to that stadium, so if you look at the defect rate its pretty small, and the NFL strives for 100% and that’s why we are doing this because we didn’t provide a great experience to 100% of the fans, but keeping a little perspective is probably what I wish the lawyers would do.

MF: I understand what you are saying, but there are still 400 people who bought a ticket to the game and did not get in. Under the consumer laws in Texas, they may have rights to compensation for every penny they spent to go to Dallas, for a trip that didn’t result in the Super Bowl, you understand what these folks went through, I assume?

EG: Well, I don’t think that you or I could truly understand what they went through, I can appreciate it, I feel like I let down my brother. You would probably feel the same, if you were in my shoes. It’s just an awful feeling, but it’s probably not as bad as the feeling that they have. Do I understand that people have rights, and that they can pursue those rights, of course. I’m not naive. I don’t know that the pursuit of those rights will get them any more or less, and I certainly don’t know  whether it will get them a shot at their dream.  We are going the best that we can, without thinking about the legal issues.  I’ll just have to let the lawyers know the legal issues and worry about what might happen in court.

MF: Now there is another category of folks who have complained at least through one named plaintiff in this class action, and that’s the Cowboys PSL holders who allegedly spent $100,000 for their personal seat licenses at Cowboy Stadium. The claim is that these folks bought tickets, and when they showed up, they either had obstructed views or metal folders chairs or both. Has the NFL learned anything, whether or not that claim is valid that there were Cowboy season ticket holders, PSL holders who got obstructed-view seats or substandard seating?

EG: I am aware just by reading the newspaper and other accounts, just as you are, but I have no particular inside knowledge between the Cowboys and their PSL holders.

MF:  The big question that a lot of people have about the situation, and we appreciate the fact that the NFL is being candid and willing to talk about it, I think there is some confusion and frustration about why the NFL knew about it this before Sunday, why it wasn’t disclosed, so that folks could for example, not come to Dallas if folks weren’t going to be able to get in or otherwise be prepared for the possibility that they may not get in if they showed up on game day.

EG: Well, the first and most important reason is we believed that we were going to get 100% of the seats that were manifested available for game time.  And we believed that up right through a certain time Sunday morning, I can’t remember exactly what time that was. We thought we were going to get them all. We had some challenges, the Cowboys bought another contractor in, and we just thought that we were going to get it done. We didn’t spend a lot of time, talking about whether we were going to let people know earlier in the week because of that, but as I think about it now, I’m not sure that would have done any good. Imagine the chaos, if we would have announced that we’re not sure what seats we have, but we might have all of them. I’m not sure anybody would have  done anything differently and it probably would have caused a lot of angst, but I guess I’ll just have to leave that to somebody else.

MF: But when did it first come to your attention that there may be an issue with a certain number of seats that were being installed for the game. At what point last week [or] previous to last week that you knew it might be an issue?

EG: I can’t exactly recall when I knew; I think it was sometime around Thursday that I went over to the stadium for a meeting and to look at the stands to see what the contractor was talking about.  Saturday morning we had an all hands on deck meeting at the stadium, so I could understand what was the game plan for putting all of those seats in commission.

MF: How do you respond to the concern by some that the NFL didn’t just want another piece of bad news to come out last week, between the weather, the ice falling off the roof of the stadium?  Did the NFL just decide we are going to try to get this done, we’re going to take a PR hit if we fail, let’s not take another PR hit in the week leading up to the game?

EG: Well, what I would say to those folks is that they don’t understand how the NFL works. The way the NFL works is that we just try to do the absolute best job that we can, we try to give the fans what they want. We’re working 24/7 to do that, and I frankly think that our vast majority of people just leave the fears of litigation and P.R. issues to others. They are just doing their job, and if you or anybody who were imagining that could see the faces and see the heartache and the hard work that the NFL people up in the stadium and outside in the cold, I think you’d have a different opinion. It’s an NFL that just works unbelievably hard and this time we failed. And we’re gonna just stand up and take responsibility for it.

MF:  What about the contention that the NFL didn’t say anything in the hopes of getting as many people as possible into the building, so that the attendance record of 130,985 could be broken?

EG: I’d tell them again they have no concept of what the NFL stands for. I was never focused on the record, we didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the record and I think my time beginning Saturday morning quite early through till Sunday, well after the game, is just for me a blur of trying to accommodate the fans and get to people and situations to try to make it better. I never counted, I still haven’t counted, and I doubt that any of us have been very focused on that.

MF: Was it a priority for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to break that record?

EG: You’ll have to ask the Cowboys.

MF: But if you had been working with the Cowboys and Jerry Jones leading up to the game and I assume you did, did you pick up on anything from those communications that it was an issue, a desire for them to break the record of 103,985?

EG: Yes, I think they were very interested in breaking the record.  What we did, and we asked the Cowboys to do was design a plan that fit the design specifications of the building. That building is designed to hold a certain number of people. There are different configurations you can do that. I suppose someone could look at this and say you should have picked scenario one instead of scenario two or three instead of four. We picked one that was to fit how the building was designed, would we pick a different one next time?  Yeah, probably we would.  I think that we’ll look at that pretty hard at some point when we get back to that stadium to do an NFL event.

MF: Well, Eric Grubman, Executive V.P of  Business Ventures and Chief Financial Officer of the National Football League, I very much appreciate your candor, you willingness to tackle these issues. I know it was a disappointing day for the NFL and for the folks who didn’t get in. I wish you all the best as you continue to investigate what happened and prevent it from happening at a future Super Bowl.

EG: Thanks Mike, for giving us the time to talk to our fans.

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New Cardinals coordinator has decided on his first play call

R. Horton1

Don’t know much about new Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton or his defensive approach?

One word defined his introductory press conference on Wednesday: Pressure.  Horton said again and again that the Cardinals would be aggressive, play “downhill” and attack with pressure.  Basically, he wants to be a Dick LeBeau defenses.

“I’m here to say right now, the first call is going to be a blitz,” Horton said.  “No question about it.”

Horton’s biggest challenge may be teaching a new defense when players aren’t available in he offseason because of a possible work stoppage.  He also wasn’t worried about coach Ken Whisenhunt’s tendency to divorce defensive coordinators every two seasons.

“Most people don’t marry the first girl they date,” Horton said.  “Hopefully they marry the best one.”

UPDATE: The Cardinals officially hired Deshea Townsend as assistant defensive backs coach Thursday.   Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Cardinals will be hiring former Bengals assistant Louie Cioffi.

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Michael Oher visits “The View”

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens

We don’t talk about The View very much here at PFT (even though Florio watches it every day), but we’ll make an exception for today’s episode, which featured a good guest spot from Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher.

Oher is one of only a handful of NFL players — and surely the only offensive lineman — famous enough to appeal to the demographic that watches The View, which doesn’t cross over much with the demographic that watches the NFL. As the man whose life story became the book and movie The Blind Side, Oher is more famous for his life off the field than for what he’s accomplished on the field, and that’s what he talked about today, as he pitches his own book about his life.

The most interesting comments were about Oher’s repeated attempts to develop a relationship with his biological mother, who has long struggled with drug addiction.

“I’ve been trying to help her for so long . . . she’s trying hard,” Oher said. “I think it’s going to turn out to be positive.”

Now that he’s a professional athlete, Oher said, he tries to use that platform to reach young people.

“You need mentors and positive people in your life,” Oher said. “Just surround yourself with a positive circle. That’s hard coming where I came from.”

It’s a message that Oher is uniquely qualified to spread, and he’s unique among NFL players in his ability to spread that message outside the traditional channels.

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