Welcome to New Orleans

The players have arrived, the media has arrived and New Orleans has welcomed them all to the first Superbowl the city has hosted since hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005. With Mardi Gras in full swing the city is the place the be this week as it prepares to host one of sports biggest events on Sunday.

Today marks media day, which is pretty self explanatory. The players are likely to get grilled by journalists from all over the world not just regarding the game, but their back stories and all manner of trivial things. It’s a great spectacle and really helps to capture the personal aspect of the sport, offering the opportunity to see players who normally wear helmets when they’re on the field and hear them speak. For all the latest news on the event I suggest you check out ProFootballTalk.com anf NFL.com for video content.

I’m saving my Superbowl preview for later in the week, but here’s my take on some of the other miscellaneous news items around the NFL at the moment:

– Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested for DUI last week, and apparently his blood alcohol content was double the legal limit. You don’t need me to tell you he’s in trouble, but I will tell you if Roger Goodell decides to punish him with a suspension then the Cowboys will miss the big man. Ratliff is almost unique in the league as a dynamic NT who can not only stuff the run but also rush the passer, and his presence in the middle of the field can often hinder the play of opposing centres, leading to missed assignments and botched snaps.

– Joe Flacco called a cold weather Superbowl “retarded”. Not sure if that’s a wise thing to say, but he is right and it is a bad idea. Next year will be the acid test for the idea and New York will be praying that the weather is unseasonably warm for the big game. If, and it’s a huge if, the game is a success it could open the door for the Superbowl to be held in New England, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh amongst other cities. I love cold weather football and it is a staple of most play-off games. However the Superbowl is not just a game as today’s media day shows. The week is an event, and when you have thousands of members of the press and tens of thousands of supporters migrating to a city you can bet they would rather they could venture outside in shorts and a t-shirt than a coat and gloves.

– The Philadelphia Eagles are approaching the date when they’ll have to make a decision on their quarterback, Michael Vick. On February 6 Vick is due a $3 million roster bonus, whilst his total salary for next season is five times that amount. Clearly Vick didn’t play to that level last season (or the year before for that matter) and it’s likely he’ll either be released or traded. There is a possibility that new Eagles head honcho Chip Kelly tries to keep Vick by getting him to renegotiate his contract, but I don’t think Kelly wants Vick as his QB next year as he attempts to resurrect the birds. Kelly does like his QB’s to be agile, which Vick is, but he also likes them to avoid turnovers and sacks whilst making quick decisions. Vick is terrible at all three of those, and at 33 he’s past the age where he can be expected to improve significantly, if at all. Expect Vick to move on, although your guess is as good as mine with regards to his next stop.

– As I write this Adam Schefter has tweeted that Randy Moss has proclaimed himself the greatest WR of all time, and Jerry Rice responded by saying “put my numbers alongside his”. Well played, Jerry.

– Rob Ryan said he’d find a new defensive coordinator job in “five minutes” after he was tin tacked by the Dallas Cowboys. He’s still waiting after the St. Louis Rams decided not to hire him after contract negotiations broke down, with the hold up thought to be the scheme he wanted to run and the scheme HC Jeff Fisher favours. Ryan has always been a 3-4 guy whilst Fisher has operated with a 4-3 front during his career, so I’d hazard a guess that the reports are true and that’s the reason Ryan is still unemployed. Personally I don’t rate him all that much anyway, and his units have never been as successful as his fathers (Buddy Ryan) or brother (Rex). Buddy was famously the DC on the 1985 Chicago Bears Superbowl team.

That’s all for today, and remember to check out media day for all things Superbowl XLVII related.

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