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Super Bowl Picks

Super Bowl Picks

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Published by: rstroope3460 on Feb 01, 2014
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C9 01-31-2014 Set: 22:08:16

Sent by: lmorris@dallasnews.com Sports CYAN MAGENTA YELLOW BLACK
The Dallas Morning News SportsDayDFW.com Friday, January 31, 2014 9C
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NEW YORK — The num-
ber of concussions in the NFL
dropped 13 percent from 2012
to 2013, according to data the
league released Thursday and
touted as a result of its efforts
to better protect players’
Using information collect-
ed from team doctors during
preseason and regular-season
practices and games, the NFL
also said there was a 23 percent
decrease over the last two sea-
sons in the number of concus-
sions caused by helmet-to-hel-
met contact.
Speaking at a pre-Super
Bowl news conference, Jeff
Miller, the NFL’s senior VP of
health and safety policy, called
the data “positive numbers
from our perspective; positive
“Our perspective is that
rules changes, culture change,
the enforcement of the rules
and the elimination, over time,
of dangerous techniques is
leading to a decrease in con-
cussions. Now all of that said,
we’re talking about a small
sample size of only a couple of
years,” Miller said.
“This is an ongoing and im-
portant culture-change event,
and so we’re going to continue
to analyze it and I think that
there’s room for continued
growth,” he added. “So we’re
pleased with the data, unques-
tionably, as it relates to concus-
sion, but there’s still more to
Some players have ex-
pressed concern that the NFL’s
emphasis on decreasing hits to
the head could lead to more
low hits and more knee inju-
ries. But Miller said the injury
statistics for the last three
years — the only seasons for
which he provided data Thurs-
day — show there has not been
an overall increase in damaged
knee ligaments.
Another finding about all
injuries that cause a player to
miss a game or practice, ac-
cording to Miller: “Thursday
night games don’t pose a more
significant risk of injury to the
players, at least as relates to the
objective data that we’ve col-
lected” about that day of the
week, as compared to games
on Sundays or Mondays.
Concussions rose nearly 4
percent from 2011 to 2012 —
252 to 261 — before lowering
to 228 last season.
The NFL Players Associa-
tion receives the same data.
“Yes, there has been a de-
crease. Frankly, I would like to
see what those numbers look
like over a three-year, four-
year period, rather than a one-
year period,” said DeMaurice
Smith, executive director of
the NFLPA.
“We’ll crawl through the
numbers in the off-season and
we’ll take a look.”
Ever since commissioner
Roger Goodell was taken to
task by Congress at a 2009
House hearing about brain
trauma in professional football
—and, more recently, as thou-
sands of former players sued
the NFL about concussions —
the league has been updating
its policies on head injuries al-
most constantly. Changes this
season included a rule banning
hits with the crown of the hel-
met, and putting independent
neurological experts on side-
lines during games.
The Associated Press
NFL points to
13 percent drop
League: Results seen
as ‘positive,’ but
time frame is short
Columnist Cowboys Insider Columnist Fox Sports SW The Ticket Cowboys Insider Cowboys Insider Columnist
vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight vs. Line Straight
Seattle (+2) vs. Denver Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle Denver Denver Denver Denver Seattle Seattle Denver Denver Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle
Last week vs. line 2-0 (1.000) 1-1 (.500) 0-2 (.000) 1-1 (.500) 1-1 (.500) 0-2 (.000) 2-0 (1.000) 1-1 (.500)
Season vs. line 129-128-9 (.502) 121-136-9 (.471) 119-138-9 (.463) 131-126-9 (.510) 128-129-9 (.498) 134-123-9 (.521) 119-138-9 (.463) 138-119-9 (.537)
Last week straight 2-0 (1.000) 2-0 (1.000) 0-2 (.000) 2-0 (1.000) 2-0 (1.000) 1-1 (.500) 2-0 (1.000) 2-0 (1.000)
Season straight 155-110-1 (.585) 179-86-1 (.675) 168-97-1 (.634) 179-86-1 (.675) 173-92-1 (.653) 174-91-1 (.657) 167-98-1 (.630) 175-90-1 (.660)
Lines through Tuesday; shaded box indicates leader
be a muchsmaller component
of the argument than it is …
unless you truly believe Terry
Bradshaw is one of the two best
quarterbacks of the last 50
“This legacy question keeps
popping up, and I guess I have
a little more time to think
about it,” Manning said. “At 37
years oldand in my 16th sea-
son, especially in a week like
this, I think it’s healthy to take
some time to reflect and smell
the roses.
“If I hadmy choice what my
legacy would be, it would be
that I played my butt off for
every team that I ever played
on, was a really good teammate
andI dideverything to win.”
That’s fair enough, but,
realistically, he will be regarded
as muchmore thanthat. In
addition to the Super Bowl ring
(or rings if Denver beats Seat-
tle), Manning is the only four-
time Most Valuable Player in
league history. His 13 Pro Bowl
selections are the most ever.
No quarterback ever started
more victories (167). He has as
many 10-win seasons as Troy
Aikman has seasons played.
In his 16th season, just two
years removed from missing an
entire season following neck
surgery, Manning set NFL
records in 2013 for passing
yards (5,477) and touchdowns
(55). And if you suggest that
passing stats are off the chart in
this era because of rules chang-
es that favor the offense, I ask
this question:
How come Manning has
managed 13 4,000-yard pass-
ing seasons and no one else is
close? Drew Brees has seven
and he surely has a couple
more under his belt, but, at 35,
he’s not going to get close to six
Besides, who’s to say that
after throwing for more than
5,400 yards this season, Man-
ning can’t get to 4,000 again in
When it comes to individual
performance in a team game,
Manning blows away the com-
petition. So what about this
11-11playoff record? Just how
damaging should this .500
record when the games are of
the greatest magnitude be to
the Manning legacy?
The answer is not at all.
It baffles me when people
confuse postseason records
with those of the standard
variety. Yes, an 11-11basketball
or baseball team isn’t anything
But an 11-11playoff record,
with one Super Bowl ring in-
cluded and another on the line
intwo days, means Manning
has guided his teams to the
playoffs 13 times. How much
value needs to be placed on
Consider Aikman’s 11-4
record. Now in normal circum-
stances, 11-4 looks demonstra-
tively better than 11-11.
Aikman’s three rings give him
the edge, naturally, but his
years of productivity were
relatively brief compared to
Manning’s due partly to
Aikman’s health and also to the
decline in the team around him
after 1995.
Manning’s 13 playoff trips
set him apart from all others.
Tom Brady — who remains his
only real competition for best
quarterback of this era — has
made 11but has three Super
Bowl rings and five Super Bowl
trips. He is going to finish his
career with the upper hand in
both Super Bowl categories.
Win or lose, Manning will
rank as one of the top quarter-
backs ever because of his long
list of accomplishments. The
fact that he is setting records in
the twilight of his career merely
adds to the legacy.
“He’s always been a winner,”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
“He’s always been a champi-
onship guy. But now he has
banked on the great experience
that he’s built up behind him to
formulate an offensive system
that’s almost unnatural.
“It challenges us in every
way possible. We might play a
great game and that still might
not be enough to win.”
Or perhaps Manning will
play great and it won’t be
enough against this great Seat-
tle defense. In that case, his
playoff record will be 11-12. And,
for that, someone will call him
aloser without stopping to
consider just how many suc-
cessful regular seasons those 12
defeats signal.
Follow Tim Cowlishaw on Twit-
ter at @TimCowlishaw.
By any measure, Manning’s legacy safe
Continuedfrom Page 1C
File 2007/The Associated Press
Peyton Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl title against the Chicago
Bears in 2007. He could be the first starting quarterback to win titles with two franchises.
’69 Super Bowl hero
hints at concussions
NEW YORK — Former Jets
quarterback Joe Namath, who
led the team to its only Super
Bowl championship, said in an
interview to be aired Sunday
on CBS that he suffered some
long-term ef-
fects from con-
cussions while
playing in the
“I’ve been
through some
things medi-
cally,” Namath
told reporter
Rita Braver in an interview for
CBS Sunday Morning With
Charles Osgood. “I’ve seen
some things on my brain. But
I’ve had some treatment, and
I’ve improved. None of the
body was designed to play foot-
ball. Excuse me, you know,
football, we’re just not de-
signed for.”
CBS released some of Na-
math’s remarks in a news re-
lease on Thursday. It did not
indicate whether there was a
follow-up to Namath’s remarks
about having “seen some things
on my brain.”
Namath had chronic knee
problems during much of his
career, and had both knees re-

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