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PFT Live: Where will Peyton Manning play?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joins Mike Florio and sets the record straight about Peyton Manning. Schefter says that Manning fully intends to play in 2012. And while Schefter questions Manning’s health, he doesn’t question his mindset. Schefter breaks down the top five teams that could be competing for his services.

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PFT Live: Talkin’ Giants with Amani Toomer

Super Bowl XLII champion Amani Toomer gives analysis on this year’s New York Giants team. Toomer talks injuries, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, running back Brandon Jacobs and relates this year’s team to years’ past.

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Your Super Bowl referee is John Parry

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak talks with Referee John Parry before challenging a Tampa Bay Buccaneers interception in Tampa Reuters

We’ve known the teams taking part in the Super Bowl for some time now, but we were waiting on word about who would be officiating the game.

The wait is over. The NFL announced Wednesday that John Parry will be the referee for Super Bowl XLVI. Parry worked the Super Bowl between the Colts and Bears as a side judge, but this is his first time in charge of the whole rodeo. He was promoted to the top job after that Super Bowl and has worked nine playoff games since then, including the 49ers-Saints game in this year’s playoffs.

The rest of the crew is made up of the men who received top grades at their respective positions. They are umpire Carl Paganelli, head linesman Tom Stabile, line judge Gary Arthur, field judge Gary Cavaletto, side judge Laird Hayes and back judge Tony Steratore. The replay assistant will be former NFL referee Larry Nemmers.

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Gilbride calls Manning’s left-handed passes “foolish” and “stupid”

elimanningleft AP

On a few occasions, when under pressure and getting pulled down from his right side, Eli Manning has shifted the ball to his left hand and delivered a southpaw pass. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride wants him to knock it off.

Gilbride said today that while Manning has improved in recent years by minimizing his mistakes, he does occasionally try a left-handed pass, and that drives Gilbride nuts.

“He still does it,” Gilbride said. “I go crazy. It is foolish, it is stupid. You are asking for disaster. Don’t do that. Sometimes the instincts are just so strong that they take over.”

Manning has been able to get away with his lefty passes at times, but he’s also thrown costly left-handed interceptions. Gilbride is right: There are certain times when a quarterback has to take a sack, and throwing a left-handed interception instead is foolish and stupid.

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Brandon Jacobs thinks he’ll be back with the Giants

Brandon Jacobs AP

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has talked for months like a man who understood he was likely wrapping up his time in New York.

Four days before the Super Bowl, Jacobs feels a little differently. He was asked Wednesday if the Super Bowl will be his last game with the team.

“I honestly don’t think that’s the case. I think something’s going to get worked out,” Jacobs said via the New York Daily News.

We doubt it. Jacobs is due a $500,000 roster bonus in March and a huge salary. Jacobs knows he has to take a pay cut to stay, but we suspect the Giants are ready to move on.

Jacobs has been inconsistent at best this season. He doesn’t run with the same consistent aggression that he did early in his career. He’s too willing to bounce runs outside, and it rarely works out well.

It’s a topic that we conveniently talked about Tuesday on NBC SportsTalk.

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Longtime NFL line coach Bill Muir retires

Kansas City Chiefs 2011 Headshots Getty Images

Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star reports that former Chiefs offensive coordinator Bill Muir has retired. Muir informed the team of his intentions Wednesday morning.

The Chiefs wanted Muir back to coach their offensive line, but the 69-year-old told the Star that he’s had enough of football. He spent 28 seasons as an NFL offensive line coach and has been coaching in some capacity since the late 1960s.

“I feel badly because they want me to stay,” Muir said. “I’m not leaving because of anything that has gone on or will go on with the Chiefs. This is a personal decision. It’s very personal. I’ve been denying myself a lot of things over the years, but I’m at a point in my life where I want to do some other things.”

The Chiefs have interviewed quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn as a candidate to replace Muir as offensive coordinator.

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PFT Live 02/01: Adam Schefter, Amani Toomer

Mike Florio talks with ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter about Peyton Manning’s condition, his future with the Colts, and which teams in the NFL need Manning. Mike Florio also talks with Amani Toomer about Brandon Jacobs, the development of Eli Manning, and relates this year’s Giants team to his team in 2007.

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Antrel Rolle says he’s come around on Tom Coughlin

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

A year ago Giants safety Antrel Rolle said that it was time for coach Tom Coughlin to realize it’s 2011 and update his coaching methods. But in 2012, Rolle says he has come around to see the wisdom in the way Coughlin does things.

“My first season I questioned a lot of things that coach Coughlin was doing,” Rolle said today. “After taking a step back and reflecting on all of it, I understand exactly why he is the way he is. I used to always wonder, I felt like he was always trying to turn us into men. Does he not know that we are men before we ever step on the football field here as a Giant? I used to ask myself questions like that. Once I matured enough and I took a step back, he is not trying to turn us into men, he is trying to help us become better men. That is something that I realize and that is something that I have taken on my shoulders and I am man enough to admit.”

Rolle now credits Coughlin’s structured approach to running the team for the way the Giants have been able to deal with the distractions of the Super Bowl.

“I understand everything behind his discipline and his structure, it comes with a reason,” Rolle said. “Things are tough in New York and he has to be that way. He has prepared us for a bigger and brighter stage, which is the stage we are on right now. For us to come here and be able to handle all the press, all the media, all the festivities and things around us and our team has done an exceptional job doing that. I see it, I see it in our eyes that our focus is the game and the game only. I think that this is what he has been trying to prepare us for all year I long. He has just going about it in different ways.”

It’s easy to see why players would find it frustrating that Coughlin has exacting standards about minor details like how they wear their socks, but Rolle said he now sees some benefits to Coughlin holding the players to a high standard. It’s hard to argue with the success Coughlin has had as a head coach.

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League fines Umenyiora $20,000

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

Well, that didn’t take long.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the league fined Osi Umenyiora $20,000 for skipping Wednesday morning’s media session. Umenyiora was back at a team meeting this afternoon, so it doesn’t appear to be a major concern.

It’s believed the league set a record time between infraction and penalty. New York’s media availability ended at 11:30 a.m. ET. The fine came less than two hours later.

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Coughlin thinks it’s silly to even ask: Of course Gronkowski is playing

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Getty Images

The status of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s ankle has been the subject of hundreds of media questions already this week, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin says the questions can stop now.

It’s obvious, from Coughlin’s perspective, that Gronkowski will be ready to go.

“Not to belittle the question, I really do think he’ll play,” Coughlin said when asked about Gronkowski’s status today.

The question at this point seems to be less whether Gronkowski will play and more whether Gronkowski will play as many snaps as he usually does, and if he’ll be as effective as he usually is. Coughlin said the Giants will have to be ready to see the Patriots come out in different personnel packages if Gronkowski isn’t on the field quite as much as usual.

“I just think that we’ll prepare as if he’ll play and we’ll do our due diligence with any of these other personnel combinations that come up,” Coughlin said. “We are preparing naturally for different personnel sets, also including the fact that we think he’ll play.”

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Osi Umenyiora misses media session

Super Bowl Football AP

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora was absent from Wednesday’s league-mandated media session on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons.

NFL Network’s Albert Breer says it’s not contract related.

“The league is also looking into Osi Umenyiora’s absence today. Could be nothing. Could be something,” Breer writes.

So that narrows it down. We’re guessing there isn’t much to the story, but we’ll let you know.

While Umenyiora missed his media session, his counterpart Matt Light was back on Wednesday. He was asked about his penchant for mixing it up with Osi.

“Can you have an individual rivalry? I thought rivalries were between teams in general. But, I’m ready to go out there and play whatever game I have to play. We’ll have fun doing it. I’m not sure that comes at a personal level.”

Light seemed crushed to have missed out on Media Day because of his sickness.

“I tell you what, I feel horrible about that. I do. And I love spending time with you guys. Not having the opportunity to be around so many of you in such a wonderful setting was very disheartening, but I’m pulling through.”

UPDATE 12:50 p.m. ET: A Giants spokesman confirmed to Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger that Umenyiora was at the team’s 12:15 p.m. meeting. So it doesn’t seem like a huge concern.

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Rams, St. Louis start trading stadium proposals

jones-dome2 Getty Images

The potential-divorce square dance between the Rams and St. Louis will intensify today, as the Convention and Visitors Commission prepares to make a proposal to the team regarding an extension of the lease that the team can escape after the 2014 season, if the venue isn’t among the top 25 percent in the league.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the CVC will make a proposal today, which happens to be the deadline for doing so.  The Rams may accept or reject by March 1.  If they pass, the Rams have until May 1 to make counter offer.  If an agreement isn’t struck by June 15, the issue would be submitted, per the Post-Dispatch, to arbitration.

But the arbitration apparently wouldn’t be binding, since the absence of an agreement between the two sides would permit relocation after March 1, 2015.

These various deadlines make it a foregone conclusion that the stadium won’t be among the top fourth of the entire NFL by 2014.  The question is whether the Rams and St. Louis can work something out.

In this regard, the Rams haven’t tipped their hand.  And by keeping all options (including L.A. and London) open, the Rams could end up with a sweeter-than-sweetheart deal to stay in St. Louis.  Or an equally sweet deal to move.

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Kenny Britt resolves New Jersey court case

Baltimore Ravens v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Last summer it seemed like Titans receiver Kenny Britt was winding up on these pages almost daily for running afoul of the law in Nashville or New Jersey.

He’s started to clear his docket of some of those cases. He had charges of providing false information on drivers license dropped last month and he resolved a case stemming from an arrest in New Jersey last June on Tuesday. For those who have lost track of Britt’s history, this was the case dealing with Britt destroying a marijuana blunt while cops were approaching him on suspicion that he had illegal drugs. Britt was charged with resisting arrest, tampering with evidence and obstructing government functions. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in July.

On Tuesday, Britt pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and paid a $1,500 fine to settle the case, according to the Associated Press. Britt tore his ACL in the third week of the 2011 season and the Titans believe he’ll be ready to go once training camp rolls around. Assuming, of course, no more legal trouble gets in the way.

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Brandon Spikes is glad Bill Belichick looked past his 40 time

Bill Belichick, Brandon Spikes AP

Brandon Spikes was a two-time first-team All-American at Florida and figured he was sure to be a first-round draft pick. But Spikes ended up lasting until late in the second round before the Patriots took him 62nd overall.

Spikes blames his fall on his 40-yard dash time, and he credits Bill Belichick for being the one coach willing to take a chance on a productive player who was a step slow.

“I felt like it was overlooked. Bill gave me a chance and I play hard every day,” Spikes said today. “I think it was all about the 40 yards in a straight line. It is what it is. I’m not regretting anything that happened.”

That 40-yard dash appeared to hurt Spikes’ draft stock significantly. At the time, draft analyst Mel Kiper said, “Brandon Spikes had a high grade, then he runs the 5.0-flat 40, and I think that was an issue. . . . He had great productivity, really an instinctive kid, but that 40 time really threw a lot of people off.”

Paying attention to that great productivity, more than the 40-yard straight-line run, paid off well for Belichick.

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PFT Live: Adam Schefter and Amani Toomer stop by

PFT Live is off and running.

So I better put this post up quickly.

Former Giants receiver Amani Toomer and ESPN’s Adam Schefter join the show.

Watch it or else.

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Bradshaw on the new, mobile Manning: “Get down Eli!”

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

Eli Manning will never be mistaken for Michael Vick, but he’s noticeably improved at buying time in the pocket before throwing passes.

He’s even been able to convert more first downs with his legs. PFT asked Ahmad Bradshaw for his reaction when he sees Manning take off.

“He’s had a lot of runs this year over ten yards. We don’t expect that as an offense,” Bradshaw said. “Everybody is just like, ‘Get down Eli!'”

A lot of Manning’s best improvisational plays have been tossess to Bradshaw.

“I’m the last line of defense. . . . He saves a lot of plays. I’m just there screaming his name, trying to get the ball any way I can,” Bradshaw said. “He’s been able to get out of a couple tackles and flip the ball to me.”

Manning’s ability to make people miss is why he’s a little different this year. It’s one of the reasons the Giants have to feel good about their chances Sunday. The Giants often make big plays against perfectly called defenses.

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“Butterball” Vince Wilfork says people are surprised he can dunk

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

On Monday Patriots coach Bill Belichick gushed about how athletic and in shape defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is. But Wilfork says most people don’t realize just what a good athlete he is.

Asked today what most surprises people that he can do, Wilfork said, “Probably dunk a basketball. People look at me and are like, ‘He’s a butterball, he can’t.’”

There’s no hiding the fact that Wilfork is fat. He’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 325 pounds, which pegs his body mass index at 41.7, on a scale where anything over 30 is obese. And Wilfork probably weighs a good deal more than 325 — in college the Miami Hurricanes listed him at 344 pounds, and he sure doesn’t look like he’s lost 19 pounds since college.

But football is a sport in which fat people can thrive, especially if they’re as athletic as Wilfork. If Wilfork plays as well against the Giants in the Super Bowl as he did against the Ravens getting to the Super Bowl, he could become the biggest Super Bowl MVP ever.

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Greg Manusky interviews for Raiders defensive coordinator

Greg  Manusky AP

The Raiders locked up Greg Knapp as their offensive coordinator and now they’re moving on to the other side of the ball.

Alex Marvez of reports that the team interviewed Greg Manusky for the defensive coordinator position. Chuck Bresnahan, the coordinator for the 2011 season, hasn’t been officially discharged, but every indication is that he will not be retained for next season. Manusky was the defensive coordinator for the 49ers from 2007-2010 and led the Chargers defense before being dismissed at the end of the season.

49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell, who worked with new head coach Dennis Allen in Atlanta, has also been mentioned as a candidate for the job. Donatell was once defensive coordinator with the Packers.

The Raiders also wanted to speak with Broncos linebackers coach Richard Smith, whose candidacy seemed strong thanks to working under Allen with Denver last season. The Broncos denied their divisional rivals permission to speak to Smith, though, which means they will need to keep looking a little bit longer.

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Jerod Mayo feels like a kid before Christmas

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

Jerod Mayo was the Patriots’ first-round draft pick three months after they lost Super Bowl XLII to the Giants, so the Super Bowl experience is new to him. And like a lot of us, Mayo is getting anxious for the game to get here already.

“It’s like counting down days before Christmas,” Mayo said. “Guys are very excited and anxious to get on the field.”

Other than the media responsibilities, however, Mayo said he’s been surprised by how normal this week is.

“I think the coaches have done an excellent job making it feel like home and making everything the same except for things like this, obviously,” Mayo said at the team’s meeting with the press Wednesday morning. “Meeting rooms are the same. Meeting times are the same. [Bill Belichick is] still getting on us about little things, and that’s the way we like it.”

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Victor Cruz came close to getting cut in 2010

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

Victor Cruz turned in several of the biggest plays of this Giants season, but he almost wound up on the waiver wire before his run with the team got started.

Cruz was in a fight for one of the final roster spots as cutdown day approached at the end of the 2010 preseason. The team liked Cruz, but they also liked Derek Hagan and felt that Cruz could use some time on the practice squad. Giants vice president of player evaluation Chris Mara admitted to Mike Garofalo of the Newark Star-Ledger that the salsa dancing receiver was destined for waivers before some intervention from up above.

“He was saved by some upper-echelon Giants front-office people,” Mara said. “I’ll put it that way.”

According to Mara, Giants fans have Rex Ryan to thank for Cruz making it through the final cut. Cruz scored three touchdown passes to spice up an otherwise unmemorable preseason game between the Giants and Jets in the summer of 2010 and Ryan raved about him after the game. The voluble Jets coach went so far as to say he hoped the Giants cut him so that the Jets could pick him up. That helped the Giants make the decision to keep him because they felt sure that Cruz wouldn’t clear waivers and make it to their practice squad.

Ryan’s mouth hasn’t made him too popular with Giants fans over the last three years, but this is one instance where it seems his inability to keep his thoughts to himself worked out to their satisfaction.

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