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Bengals Bites (1/31): News and links

Taking a look at the Bengals, NFL and Super Bowl links and notes.

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Ronald Martinez

6. Cincinnati Bengals O-Line Salary: $18,457,234
Sometimes paying the most money does not mean one is getting the best value. However, the Cincinnati Bengals are the best offensive line unit on this list. The guys up front only allowed their quarterback to get hit 47 times and he was sacked on a mere 29 occasions. For this type of impressive play, the front office forked out $18,457,234 to the five guys up front. Despite the great numbers, none of the members were rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Origin of the Spices: The Evolution of the Buffalo Wing
The history of science is riddled with breakthroughs made by isolated visionaries. But surprisingly often, these brilliant minds tap into the zeitgeist and cook up the same discovery at the same time. Most people don't know, for instance, that the theory of evolution was independently developed by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Meanwhile, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz fought a bitter intellectual battle over who invented every high school student's worst nightmare.

Colin Kaepernick fires verbal bazookas at Richard Sherman
For someone who got schooled by Richard Sherman in the NFC championship, Colin Kaepernick sure has a lot to say about his NFC West rival. Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post had an exclusive talk with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback in which Kaepernick unloaded on Sherman, almost as if the QB forgot what happened 11 days ago in Seattle.

NFLPA says HGH testing is being held by appeals process
When the Super Bowl ends, three complete seasons will have come and gone without testing for human growth hormone -- even though the NFL and the players' union originally paved the way to check for that drug in August 2011. NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday that HGH testing is still being held up by a disagreement with the league over whether the commissioner or a neutral arbitrator will handle certain types of appeals.

NJ memorabilia dealer sues Eli Manning and Giants
A sports memorabilia collector in New Jersey is accusing members of the NFL's New York Giants of engaging in a scam to sell fake ''game-worn'' equipment for profit.

Manning, Sherman agree on Broncos QB's 'ducks'
After gushing about his adjustments for a few sentences, Sherman added: ''His arm, however, is another story. His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks.'' And so Manning was asked about that comment Thursday and wasn't the least bit offended. View galleryManning, Sherman agree on Broncos QB's 'du … Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman stretches as the start of NFL football practice Thursday … ''I believe it to be true,'' he quipped. ''I do throw 'ducks,''' he said. ''I've thrown a lot of yards and touchdown 'ducks.' I am actually quite proud of it.''

Derrick Coleman surprises young hearing-impaired Seahawks fans with Super Bowl tickets
Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman is an inspiration to many. As the only hearing-impaired player currently in the NFL, and the only legally deaf player in the history of the league, Coleman has a story of a rise to the top that has resonated with a lot of people. Coleman recently starred in a Duracell commercial that told his story, and that story inspired one nine-year-old girl to write to him.

Utah ape predicts Seahawks will win Super Bowl
A Utah ape that has correctly picked the Super Bowl winner for six straight years predicted Thursday that the Seattle Seahawks will be the next NFL champion. Eli the ape ran into an enclosure Thursday morning and swiftly knocked down a papier-mache helmet bearing the Seahawks logo, signaling his pick, said Erica Hansen of Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. "He made his pick without any hesitation," Hansen said.

Russell Wilson is poised and ready for Super Bowl XLVIII
Russell Wilson's 37th NFL game will be the Super Bowl, but when the game begins, Wilson will have an advantage: He has already watched it. "I visualize sequences," he said Thursday. "I visualize certain plays. I visualize red zone. I visualize the game being played out in my head. I even visualize myself going to the line and making checks ... I visualize the stadium ..."

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke buys 60 acres of land in Los Angeles
According to reports in the Los Angeles Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, by way of an affiliated holding company, recently purchased a 60-acre tract of land in Inglewood, Calif. The reports indicate that the land is located between the Forum and Hollywood Park and could serve as a possible spot for development of a new NFL stadium according to the Times' sources.

NFL takes aim at $25 billion, but at what price?
It won't stop there. The National Football League hopes to achieve $25 billion in revenue by 2027, up from about $10 billion now. Several analysts told USA TODAY Sports that the NFL can get there, but it will be an expensive journey. More palatial stadiums. Expanded playoffs. More exposure in more places, including smartphones, games in London and more Thursday night games sold to the highest-bidding network.

Marshawn Lynch likes his O-line coach because he punches people
Marshawn Lynch's media obligations for the week are finally over and Beast Mode went out with a bang. The Seahawks running back answered questions for almost nine minutes on Thursday, his longest interview session of the week, and he delivered what might go down as the most memorable quote of Super Bowl week. Toward the end of his interview, Lynch was asked his thoughts on Seahawks' offensive line coach Tom Cable. The former Raiders head coach is finishing up his third season in Seattle. "Being from Oakland, all I knew about him is that he punched people," Lynch said. "That's my type of person."

Ayanbadejo: Teammates used marijuana during Super Bowl week
"I'm not going to say which Super Bowl it was but I just remember getting off the elevator one night -- it was early on in the week, just to start the week off -- and all of the sudden I just got hit over the head with fumes of marijuana on the entire floor of the hotel that the team was staying on," Ayanbadejo said. "I could just imagine there were a few young guys just toking it up in more than one room. I was like, 'Man this is the week of the Super Bowl and you're just going in?'

Incognito's lawyer: Text exchanges show 'banter, not bullying'
The vulgar and inappropriate text messages and comments that Jonathan Martin apparently received from Richie Incognito were just as bad as the ones Martin was allegedly sending to his fellow offensive lineman, Incognito's attorney said on Thursday. "The coarse and unacceptable comments that were sent to Jonathan Martin were of the same poor taste as those sent by him," Incognito's attorney Mark Schamel said. "All of these communications were provided to Ted Wells and the NFL investigation. What they show is banter between friends, not bullying."

The Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan beef is getting personal
After Sapp recently said Strahan doesn’t deserve to join him in the Hall of Fame, Strahan responded by calling Sapp a "coward" and a "sheep." So, of course, Sapp had to respond again and did so on Wednesday with phony "what did I do?" confusion and a dig at Strahan’s appearance. "He took it to a level that it didn’t need to be. I was just talking about his resume. I didn’t say anything about his gap tooth or his S words or his F words that I don’t understand. What the hell he is saying? So if he wants to go personal we can go personal, but I was just stacking his resume against the class."

Colin Kaepernick calls Richard Sherman behavior ridiculous
The normally even-keeled quarterback, speaking with ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" on Thursday, offered up some harsh words for Sherman, whose rant about 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree set off a media firestorm. "To me, it was ridiculous," Kaepernick said. "But if that's what you need to do to make yourself feel like a better player, you have to tell everyone, I'm the best corner in the league, go ahead and tell them."

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio won't attend Super Bowl

New York City is co-hosting the Super Bowl this weekend but its mayor will not attend the nation's biggest sporting event. Bill de Blasio will not travel across the Hudson River to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to watch the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in a game that will showcase the nation's largest city to a television audience expected to top 100 million people. De Blasio said he would stay home to watch with his teenage son, but the decision not to buy tickets to the high-priced event and to publicly say so is in line with the image he crafted during his campaign: that he was a middle-class family man focused on fixing the city's widening income inequality.

Arizona Cardinals president rips Glendale over planning ahead of Super Bowl XLIX
Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill did not sugar coat his feelings toward the city of Glendale during a visit to "radio row" at the Super Bowl on Thursday. With Super Bowl XLIX a year away, the city has been unable to lock in guaranteed prices with hotels around University of Phoenix Stadium. And that's bothersome to Bidwill, who doesn't feel Glendale's officials are pulling their weight. "I think they're acting very selfishly," he said. "I think that you look at specifically the hotels out there, they're just worried about their bottom line and that's not the way great cities act. That's not the way great leaders act.

Adam Vinatieri of Indianapolis Colts not ready to retire
Indianapolis Colts free-agent-to-be kicker Adam Vinatieri said he has no plans to retire and is hoping to kick "two or three more years." "I don't think that's out of my limits," Vinatieri said Thursday night.

Broncos find perfect fit for offensive juggernaut
Long before Adam Gase was handed the controls of the Denver Broncos offense, Gase sat in an Applebee's in Mount Pleasant, Mich., interviewing for a job to sell insurance. Gase laughed this week about how he had been kicked out of graduate school at LSU, where he had been working as a graduate assistant coach for Nick Saban. He had student loans that needed to be paid.

Justin Tuck of New York Giants says he will test free agency
If the New York Giants were hoping to sign free-agent defensive end Justin Tuck to a team friendly deal before the market opens in March, it does not sound as though they will get their wish. "I will see what the market is for me," Tuck told the New York Post on Thursday. "I've never been in this situation before, and it's a great opportunity for myself. I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't see what the market is, and I will."

Pete Carroll and John Fox face 'ultimate challenge'
They posed for photos with the Lombardi Trophy (but didn't touch it), congratulated each other on making it here to Super Bowl XLVIII and hugged when it was over. Now Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Denver Broncos coach John Fox head into two days of final preparations for Sunday's title game, away from the media crush of the past week that ended with Friday's joint press conference at the Rose Theater at Time Warner Center.

Sources: Rob Neyer joining Fox Sports
Earlier this week veteran baseball writer Rob Neyer announced he was leaving SB Nation after three years at the blog network. Neyer's article made it sound like a future home was already on the horizon and Awful Announcing has learned that is indeed the case. Multiple sources have informed AA that Neyer is heading to Fox Sports, following in the footsteps of other prominent web-based hires like Jimmy Traina (SI) and Erik Malinowski (Buzzfeed).

National Congress Of American Indians Releases Anti-Redskins Ad
Just in time for the Super Bowl, the National Congress of American Indians has released a simple, yet powerful, commercial directed right at Dan "you can use caps" Snyder. For nearly two minutes we see video and images of American Indians living their everyday lives while the narrator lists the various names they use to refer to themselves. Teacher, doctor, Seminole and Sitting Bull among them. There is one name they do not use and although it is not verbalized, the Washington helmet is a pretty solid clue.

"The Big Game" An Unnecessary Super Bowl Synonym, Thanks To The NFL
The Super Bowl doesn't need a nickname. It's the fucking Super Bowl. Alas, as an ever-litigious NFL cracks down on businesses that use those trademarked words in advertising without paying King Goodell an appropriate amount of gold, "The Big Game" has become a go-to for industries that aren't official league sponsors—alongside a wink and a nod. (It originated as 'The big game on Sunday.') Advertising's encroachment into media coverage probably made the above video an inevitability, but that's just a sample of times on-air talent referred to the Super Bowl as "The Big Game" over a 20-minute period Thursday afternoon. In all, TV people said "The Big Game" on TV more than 3,000 times yesterday alone.

Facebook Data Show Just How Much Football Games Depress You
Whenever Facebook rolls out a new broad survey of its data, like a map of NFL fandom, the instinct is usually to jump right to the counterintuitive bits—Why would there be a pocket of Saints fans in the heart of Texas?—and then sussing out an answer. But here, with a look at how positive and negative words are used in realtime as NFL games go on, they only really mind you of the crushing masochism of watching sports.

Former NFLer: "Getting Banged In The Head Was Just Part Of It"
Duke quarterback Al Woodall was a second-round draft pick by the world champion New York Jets in 1969. He appeared in 31 regular season NFL games, starting 19, and retired following the 1974 season, having spent his entire professional football career as a backup to the oft-injured Joe Namath. Woodall resides in both North Carolina and Connecticut, and is one of the more than 4,500 former NFL players who filed suit against the league over concussions and other head injuries.

Bob Uecker says Major League IV could be on its way
"I’ll be honest with you, they’re talking about it," Uecker said. "The story line is all set, too. They’ve already asked me if I would be in for ‘Major League IV,’ and I told them I would. I’ve talked to the directors. They’re talking about it and they’re pretty serious, but that’s all I can tell you, really. If there was more, I would tell you that, too. They have been talking about it for the last year-plus. As a matter of fact, they called me during the season last year and asked me if I would be in."

Ranking the Super Bowl Champions
For those of you who enjoy the Power Rankings I do during the season here is a look at the efficiency rankings of all the Super Bowl champions. For those unfamiliar with the rankings what these percentiles measure is the percent a team either scores or prevents an opponent from scoring above or below their schedules average for the season. So for example a team with a scoring efficiency of 25% means that team scored 25% more points per game than their opponents gave up that season. A defensive score of 25% means that a team held their opponents to 25% below their normal scoring output on the season. The stats are for regular season only.

Super Sunday Financial Facts
With Super Bowl Sunday just days away, we’ll take a unique approach to "breaking down" the final two teams. The following is a "fun fact" analysis of the contracts, salaries, cash, and statuses of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks rosters. We’ll assess the average player, the totals spent, dollars spent to injuries, and players potentially heading to free agency this offseason.

Does the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process need fixing?
Every year, a long list of nominees is whittled down to a small group, which is then decided upon during the Saturday before the Super Bowl. This year there are 17 finalists (including two Senior Committee nominees, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey), with four to seven open spots, and each candidate must receive at least 80 percent approval from the selection committee—a group of 46 (up from 44 last year) established NFL writers. (There is one voter representing each of the 32 teams, and 14 at-large voters.) Character is not supposed to be a concern, simply on-field play. During the Saturday session, which can last up to eight hours, each candidate’s case is presented by one of the selection committee members. Often, the presenter is the writer from the NFL city where the player spent most of his career.

It's... Halftime!
How a drum major known as Tommy the Toe begat the best (Bono, Jacko, Jagger) and worst (Up With People!) segment of every Super Bowl Sunday.