Because Cooks had established himself as a runner, he was not considered a defenseless player and the hit was within the rules.

Super Bowl 52, also known as Super Bowl LII, is set for Sunday, Feb. 4, at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings since the 2016 season. The game will be the first Super Bowl hosted by Minnesota since Super Bowl XXVI on Jan. 26, 1992.

This year it’s the Eagles vs. the Patriots, but regardless of which teams are in the Super Bowl, commercials before, during and after the game have become must-see TV over the years. Here is everything you need to know about commercials during the 2018 Super Bowl.

Not that Brady cares, but because those accomplishments in the eyes of the majority do indeed already define his career, they’re the reason why his retirement would not be met with debate. Only admiration. Brady has nothing left to prove.

Of all the notable NFL retirements after Super Bowl victories — John Elway, Jerome Bettis and Peyton Manning being the most recent examples — none featured the sport’s unquestioned all-time best at his position. The closest comparison is linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced his impending retirement weeks before his Ravens reached and won Super Bowl XLVII. And Lewis, because of an injury, started only six games during his final regular season in 2012. Brady started all 16 games in 2017 and led New England to a 13-3 record.

It was the first reception of the game for Cooks, who also had a 1-yard rush, as the Eagles held a 9-3 lead at the time of his exit.

The longstanding argument for Joe Montana as the GOAT is the fact that he went 4-0 in Super Bowls. But in Montana’s decade-long heyday for the 49ers, he got to “only” six championship games, adding one more AFC loss while wrapping up his career in Kansas City.

Brady is the first player with five rings all for the same team. (Hall of Fame defensive end Charles Haley got his splitting time with San Francisco and Dallas.) Going way back pre-Super Bowl, the only pro football run that compares is Otto Graham’s 7-1 record in championship games in eight years for the Browns, in two leagues.

So then you go bigger, to the NBA with Michael Jordan, the modern consensus overall GOAT. In a sport more influenced by individual superstars who play both offense and defense, Jordan also had compact glory, with his six championships coming in a span of eight seasons.bills_049

A game and night unfit for man or beast was scheduled in April as per the understood demands of TV in exchange for money.

With more than eight minutes left in Saturday’s Vikings-Packers, NBC posted a graphic showing that four players had already been disabled. They were now, at the minimum, out of this game. And there were more injured to come.

But that stood to reason as, despite Roger Goodell’s claim that NFL decisions are “all about our fans,” the game was being played outdoors in zero-degree weather. Reader Allan Fredyn: “Had Goodell left his dog out on a night like that he could’ve been arrested.”

Same with Saturday’s other NFL game, Colts at Ravens, which began, outdoors, at 4:30.

If you’ve read this far, watch a red zone channel and do not recognize Siciliano’s name or picture, it’s probably because you have cable. The only way to see Siciliano is via DirecTV. The NFL Network’s RedZone Channel is available as an added pay channel for cable subscribers. The major distinction is DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket plan provides full network coverage of all Sunday afternoon games, subject to local blackout rules.

DirecTV’s version began in 2005, when the company was owned by NewsCorp (the parent company of The Post), inspired by Sky TV’s whip-around coverage of La Liga soccer games in Italy. Siciliano and founding producer James Crittenden have been there since the outset. NFL Network’s program, hosted by Scott Hanson, came along in 2009. Both are Syracuse graduates and current colleagues at NFL Network.

That means that ESPN, even in the throes of laying off hundreds, this season chose to hire Ryan either in spite of his repetitive incorrigibility, or because of it.

But just as bad, if not worse, went unspoken. The Jets then chose not to return the kickoff, ArDarius Stewart taking a knee — the original, non-protest kind — 6 yards deep in the end zone. From the 25, the Jets went into “victory formation,” ending the half.

But with a 5-7 record, down 13-0 and with three timeouts left, why not take advantage of — take a shot at — an open field to return the kick? Are long gains and TDs on kickoffs so rare as to not be worth a try, especially under such game and season circumstances?

The Heisman Trophy, like MLB’s All-Star Game, is now a bigger deal among the media, especially ESPN, than the public.

The Super Bowl’s high-mindedness this year can be found in the return of Justin Timberlake to entertain.bills_030

Jerry Jones could face disciplinary measures, if some NFL owners get their way.

There is strong and increasing sentiment among NFL owners that league leaders should take disciplinary action against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, although that would not include attempting to strip Jones of his franchise, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations.

Potential disciplinary measures against Jones, if he’s deemed guilty of conduct detrimental to the league, could include a fine, a suspension or the Cowboys’ loss of a draft pick or picks.

Plus, any help keeping Luck upright will only benefit the team — his passer rating dipped from 112 to 72 under pressure in 2016 with his completion rate dropping from 71 to 51 percent in those instances.

Colts’ starting running back Frank Gore will be 34 years old when the season starts, prompting the organization to use its third-round pick on a replacement, perhaps looking at University of South Florida’s Marlon Mack as a future replacement.

Mack ran for 1,187 yards with 15 touchdowns and added 28 catches out of the backfield as a junior last season. More than half of that rushing yardage (621 yards) came on runs of 15 yards or more.

Their overall record after the Super Bowl was 45-51. Gruden’s history, then, is one that elevates the team already in place, but has not put together winning seasons year after year.

It might be instructive to look at the success rate of coaches who have had long layoffs before returning to the game.

There have been five coaches who have experienced a break of at least nine years between NFL head-coaching jobs. Pete Carroll was out for 11 years — although he was a highly successful college coach in the interim — and his post-break record is 79-48-1 (with a Super Bowl title and another NFC championship), by far the most successful of the group. Chan Gailey was out 11 years and he was 16-32 after his return. Art Shell was 2-14. Joe Gibbs, a legendary Super Bowl winner, did no better than 30-34. Dick Vermeil went 66-62 (with a Super Bowl title).

Three years ago, the Trail Blazers were under enormous pressure to prove to LaMarcus Aldridge that they were all-in on acquiring proven talent to help make a championship run. The power forward was an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2014-15 season and ended up signing with the San Antonio Spurs.cowboys_103

Rodgers did not definitely say he will kneel during the national anthem on Sunday.

“You would think any reservations that you might have about hiring a young guy are right out the window now,” said a front office executive with one NFL team that is not in the head coaching market this offseason.

You know how kids, when they’re impressionable, they root for a front-runner? When the Steelers were good [in the late ’70s], I kind of got on the Steelers bandwagon, until I realized that the Redskins were the team I should be rooting for. There were people that were way bigger fans than me, but I’ve been pretty passionate about the Redskins for a long, long time. When I go to the microwave, if I want to heat something up for 45 seconds, I press 44 and I say, “Riggo,” or I push 47 and I say, “Chris Cooley.” So corny. But there’s stuff like that.

I’ve got two boys that are 16 and 18, and when I think about it, the Redskins have been mostly bad in their lives. The Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were terrible when I was a kid; my kids and their entire generation think of the Redskins the same way now.

In an ESPN The Magazine profile of him in August, Rodgers said Colin Kaepernick “should be on an NFL roster right now” and “I think because of the protests, he’s not.” After Rodgers posted that photo to Instagram, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady commented with an “arm muscle” emoji, seemingly as a display of support for Rodgers’ message.

Anquan Boldin, who stepped away from football before this season to get more involved with social activism, discussed the national anthem protests at the start of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and also shared this message on social media:

The Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell might be the best running back in football, but he can also line up wide. He caught 75 passes in 12 games last year, and he has another 66 catches already this season. The usage actually led to a contract dispute — Bell held out all of training camp because he wanted to be paid like a receiver. It may not be the last time the issue arises.cowboys_094

It still seems likely that one of the two will end up in San Francisco as Kelly’s replacement.

Three of their opponents on the San Francisco 49ers’ sideline — linebacker Eli Harold, safety Eric Reid and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin — also took a knee. Rams linebacker Robert Quinn raised a fist during the anthem, as did the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. As usual, they were joined by teammate Chris Long, who placed a hand of support on Jenkins’s back as he stood with his other hand over his heart. Two players, Kansas City’s Marcus Peters and Tennessee’s Rishard Matthews, remained in their locker rooms during the anthem.

“Now, if you are in a situation where you lose both your quarterbacks to injury and you have a good team … if you have a playoff-quality team and catastrophe strikes with your quarterback situation, these points are moot because now he’s your starter,” Polian said in September. “None of that applies. You can build your offense around him and it removes those issues. It’s a very small window in terms of the number of teams, and it’s a small calendar window.”

Both have interviewed with the 49ers. McDaniels interviewed with the Rams. Shanahan was scheduled to do so but had the interview canceled because of weather-related travel issues for the Rams’ contingent. The Rams, at least for now, seem to be focused on McVay, who is youthful but promising after helping Kirk Cousins to become a 4,900-yard passer this season in D.C. Neither McDaniels nor Shanahan has been linked to the Chargers’ job at this point.

But if even one of them ends up without a head coaching job, that would be a fairly major upset based on what was expected when this hiring cycle began.

Fantasy spin: Give me all of the Charles Sims. Even though Dirk Koetter did mention Jacquizz Rodgers, the expectation from most is that Sims will get a lot of work if Martin misses time. The West Virginia product has been an extremely productive player for Tampa Bay on limited touches. Sims averaged nearly five yards per carry last year and is a smooth, natural pass-catcher. Fantasy insiders are expecting big, big things from Sims even though he is far from a household name.cowboys_052

The Eagles showed their balance Sunday. Wentz threw four touchdown passes.

Kenny Golladay/T.J. Jones, WRs, Lions: I mentioned Detroit last week when the team had its bye. Golden Tate was forced out in Week 6 with a shoulder injury and after initially expected to be sidelined several weeks, Tate looks like he’s a-go (see above). Still, let’s size up the Lions’ receiving corps. Marvin Jones will occupy his usual No. 2 spot on the depth chart with Tate playing. It’s also not a great matchup as Pittsburgh is solid defensively, but given the Lions play better at home and struggle to run the ball consistently, Matthew Stafford is likely to shoulder the burden in moving the offense up and down the field.

As for Golladay, he suffered a setback Friday and looks like he won’t play Sunday. So who becomes the No. 3 option in Detroit?. Jones saw nine targets after Tate’s departure two weeks ago; he’s likely to see some opportunities Sunday.

Owners have expressed to players that they would like for the players to stand for the anthem, according to Mara. But the league’s support of players’ social programs should not be interpreted as a trade-off to get players to stand for the anthem, he said.

There’s no quid pro quo going on, Mara said. There’s no specific expectation. We want the players to stand. We want everybody to stand. But we’re not going to require them to do that.

Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins: For the season, Thomas is the No. 19 tight end. But over the past five weeks, he’s tied for sixth, and only Jimmy Graham has more than Thomas’ three scores. But before buying all the way in on the Thomas rejuvenation, look at what his Week 14 opponent, New England, has done against the position of late. Since Week 6, the Patriots have played six games, and have allowed 170 yards total to tight ends, with no scores.

The NFL’s game operations manual notes that the national anthem must be played prior to every NFL game and that all players must be on the sideline for it. The section also states that failure to do so may result in discipline. This season, the league has declined to punish players who chose to remain in the locker room or tunnel during the anthem, and three entire teams, the Steelers, Seahawks and Titans, did so in Week 3.
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