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Bengals Bites (1/30): News and links

Taking a look at the stories around the internet concerning your Bengals, the NFL and the Super Bowl.

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Where passion and talent run deep
If you need a Bengaldom fix in the middle of Super Bowl week and some warmth in this frigid polar vortex winter of Philip Rivers and Ronnie Brown and Donald Butler's hijacking of Giovani Bernard's touchdown, you only have to make one stop.

Super notes: McDonald's sacks have '09 roots; Caldwell thought he'd see Bengals
Clinton McDonald has his weight down to 290 pounds and his career taking off with 5.5 sacks as he gets ready to slice into Seattle's defensive line rotation in Sunday's Super Bowl. But he's the kind of guy that savors every move from the ground up. "They taught me the league. They taught me how a blue-collar team does it. The Bengals are still family in my eyes, still family in my heart," McDonald said Wednesday morning. "The program the Bengals put together was a class act. The owners were involved, you got to see them every day, they put the NFL in a different light."

Football Writers Are Furious With Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch hates talking to the media. Hates it. He's skipped enough appearances this season that the NFL threatened him with a six-figure fine if he didn't speak at yesterday's Media Day. Lynch took the podium for just six unconstructive minutes, before retreating behind the scenes. Now the Pro Football Writers of America want his head.

The Seven Most Top Heavy NFL Teams By Cap Charge All Missed the Playoffs
Of the ten teams who had the most 2013 cap money devoted to the five highest paid players on the roster, only one made the postseason, and finished with a winning record. That was the New Orleans Saints at #8. The top seven teams all missed the postseason: Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis. (Both New York teams rounded out the Top 10).

The Truth About The NFL, The Super Bowl, And Sex Slavery
In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that the Super Bowl is "commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States." Ever since that moment, dozens of stories have appeared about the sex trafficking at the Super Bowl, and this year is no different. For three years running, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy has been telling reporters that the Super Bowl's status as a human-trafficking nexus is an urban legend. Abbott's office has not responded to inquiries about the information or sources on which he based his comments.

Super Bowl Swan Song
The common fallacy after winning a championship is to try to bring back just about everyone you had on the title-winning roster the following year. You can see the logic — you did just achieve everything you set out to achieve with those players — but it ignores the concept of despite. Namely, everyone on your roster doesn’t equally contribute to a championship; you can win a title despite some of the players in your organization, too.

How do Super Bowl producers change their game for the biggest audience of the year?
The Super Bowl is special, especially when it comes to the broadcast. Just ask Rich Russo, who will direct Sunday's game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks for FOX Sports. "I'd be lying if I said this was just like any other game," Russo told Awful Announcing this week in New York. "Obviously the magnitude of this game is enormous. But once kickoff happens, we have to treat it the way we have all year."

Which Industry Spends The Most On Super Bowl Commercials?
DVRs are the scourge of TV advertisers, which makes live sports—especially the NFL, and especially the Super Bowl—worth an enormous amount of money.

Should we remove the NFL's tax-exempt status?
They are America's ungrateful guests. For a week, the NFL folks bring their fancy celebrity friends and Prada-wearing corporate pals to visit yuze guys in Jersey, and then they turn up their noses at your back hair when you give them a burly mob-style hug. What do your guests have da nerve to do? They talk about how much greener the grass is at your neighbor's hotsy-totsy place in Manhattan. "[Look] at the TV commercials, look at all the banners up in New York City," said East Rutherford (N.J.) Mayor James Cassella. "There's nothing that even hints we have [the Super Bowl] here in New Jersey." Who knew?

How The Bud Bowl embodied the modern Super Bowl era
What's amazing, in retrospect, is how it just kept going and going, long after the puns had been exhausted, long after a quorum of otherwise respectable broadcasters had literally shilled themselves for beer money, long after an ad campaign designed to lampoon the very event it was wrapped around had itself become an overindulgent punchline. Before the first one even aired, David Letterman was ribbing Bob Costas about his involvement; four years in, The Simpsons made a mockery of a concept that was meant, in and of itself, to be a mockery. By the end, even Bud Bowl satire had grown tired and dated. But these were the '90s, and the campaign kept selling beer and so it kept going, and now, 25 years after Bud Bowl I aired, that feels like the moment when Super Bowl culture became so immersive that it started refracting back on itself.

Hyperbolic criticism of football has gone too far
Roger Goodell does not dream of ruling the NFL from a throne built from the skulls of dead players. He does not hate his employees and would not willingly send them to a slaughterhouse just to consolidate power or increase revenues by 0.5 percent. He cares at least as much about the welfare of current and former employees as most captains of industry -- perhaps not as much as he should, nor as much as we would like, but more than the comic book villain he is caricatured as.

Rob Neyer is leaving SB Nation
Three years ago baseball writer Rob Neyer left ESPN for SB Nation. At the time in February 2011 it was a tectonic shift in the sportswriting industry. A well-known author, columnist, and statistical analyst moving from Bristol, Connecticut to a blog network would have been totally outside the realm of possibility five or ten years ago. At the bottom of a lengthy column posted yesterday, Neyer announced he was leaving SB Nation and it sounds like he's leaving for a new opportunity...

Seahawks CB Brandon Browner questions NFL drug policy
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league will be open-minded on medical marijuana if it helps players, but that's little solace to the Seahawks' Brandon Browner.

Spagnuolo hired by Ravens to coach secondary
The Baltimore Ravens have hired Steve Spagnuolo to be their secondary coach and assistant head coach. Spagnuolo became Baltimore's senior defensive assistant in 2013. Before then, he was defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints in 2012 and coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11. Spagnuolo also spent two seasons as the New York Giants' defensive coordinator, in 2007 and 2008.

Peyton Manning, John Elway share a unique bond in Denver
With apologies to Richard Sherman and the weather, both of which seemingly inspire endless discussion and debate, there's one topic that captivates me above all others about Super Bowl XLVIII: The numerous and intriguing parallels that link the quarterbacking careers of Peyton Manning and John Elway, unquestionably the two most illustrious names that have anything to do with this game.

Reflective Peyton Manning enjoying 'uncle time' with Eli's new daughter
Peyton Manning was relaxed and reflective Wednesday, cherishing the support of brothers Cooper and Eli and the opportunity to play in a third Super Bowl in this, the second act of his historic career. Sixteen months removed from spinal fusion surgery, the Denver Broncos quarterback shared How he plays for his older brother, Cooper, whose promising football career was ended by spinal stenosis his freshman year at the University of Mississippi.

Will the Texans select Bridgewater No. 1 overall?
There are 99 days until the Houston Texans are officially on the clock with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NFL draft. Between now and then, the conversation will center around which quarterback should be the top pick. Lousiville QB Teddy Bridgewater is considered one of the those options. Bridgewater’s desire to be the No. 1 pick is "my dream right now, and I’m just trying to make it come true."

Pete Carroll, once ahead of his time, now at home with Seattle Seahawks
Watch Pete Carroll during warm-ups on Sunday. When not engaged in various games of catch, a form of fun he takes quite seriously; or bopping around Seattle's half of the field like a supercharcharged particle, he'll line up behind the defense, lower into a backpedal that looks pretty damn fluid for a 62-year-old, then break on the ball. Before the Patriots and Jets let him go; before he coordinated a ferocious defense in San Francisco or learned the principles of the 4-3 "under" defense (with one-gap principles) from Monte Kiffin at Arkansas in 1977, Pete Carroll was a pretty good safety -- undersized but heady -- at the University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

Marino may have come close to throwing for 6,000 yards | Q
Former Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino held the single-season passing record for 27 years. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees eclipsed Marino’s mark of 5,084 yards in 2011. Denver Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning topped Brees’ record of 5,476 yards this season by one yard. The record now stands at 5,477 passing yards. But the game has changed since Marino played. Marino believes neither Brees nor Manning could have touched his record if he played the game today.

No security threats for Super Bowl XLVIII, NFL says
As if to buttress the notion that Super Bowl XLVIII will be secured like none other, the NFL hosted a press conference Wednesday in midtown Manhattan, featuring two rows of uniformed officers and suits from local law enforcement and the FBI, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson seated in the center. The Big Apple Super Bowl "I just came from MetLife Stadium and the command center there, where I received a security briefing," Johnson began.

Doug Baldwin: It’s "ridiculous" that NFL forces Lynch to talk
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch does his best to avoid reporters, but during Super Bowl week that's not easy: The NFL requires all players to meed with the media throughout the week, and although Lynch hasn't had much to say, he has grudgingly attended. Doug Baldwin thinks that's dumb.