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Opinion: Rob Gronkowski needs to change his act

02.05.13 at 11:32 am ET
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We’ve reached intervention stage with Rob Gronkowski.

Now, that’s not meant to suggest we are dealing with an alcohol issue when it comes to the best tight end on the planet, though I suspect if he had been completely sober there’s a chance the video we’ve all seen on TMZ wouldn’t exist.

Before we get to the areas of concern, though, let’s be very clear about this: Rob Gronkowski, by every account, works incredibly hard, is a terrific teammate, has production off the charts, plays hurt, has done more than his share of charity and seems to truly enjoy being a professional football player in New England. The fact that there is no filter is a reason for his popularity. And that’s why people, by and large, are OK with all the extracurricular activities. Put it another way: If video surfaces of John Lackey dancing and wrestling at a club in Fort Myers sometime over the next couple of weeks there will be a very different reaction in this city (of course correctly so). Lackey being Lackey isn’t viewed as a good thing.

Also this: I didn’t care about Bibi Jones and whatever they did or not do in his or her bedroom or anywhere else. I’m pretty sure these were consenting adults, I’m not really interested in passing judgement in the (presumed) sexual activities of two single people doing nothing illegal. I thought it was a massively overblown story and absurd that Gronkowski felt the need to apologize to Bob Kraft.

And the dancing controversy after last the Super Bowl last year was equally ludicrous. This was an opportunity for a vocal minority in the media to act outraged over something that didn’t deserve a second glance. Gronkowski was clearly limited with an ankle injury in that game — he would have surgery on the ankle a week later — and deserved praise for trying to play through it, not scorn for failing to grieve about a loss in the way the way some would have liked to see. Do I think Rob Gronkowski was just as upset about the loss to the Giants as everyone else on that team? Yup. Did I care that he chose to blow off some steam by removing his shirt and dancing at a postgame party? I did not.

Now what happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night is different. Lots of times we don’t know what right or wrong is but lots of times we do, and what Gronkowski did on that stage was potentially damaging to the New England Patriots. Not the brand, not some image, not the Patriot Way, but the actual on-field product. Lifting a friend in the air and attempting wrestling moves (and that was a hideous DDT) is inviting further damage to a left arm that has been broken twice in the last three months. This isn’t taking a picture with a porn star or dancing a week before surgery, this is pure recklessness. Rob Gronkowski is a $54 million investment for the Patriots ($18 million guaranteed) and a massive part of the future of the franchise. This is a guy who could easily end up in Canton if he can stay healthy. So is there any upside to his actions in Las Vegas, does it make any sense for Gronkowski to risk another setback?

I’m all for Gronk being Gronk — all we in the media do is bash the Patriots for not having personality, for following every Belichick command, so it seems inconsistent that Gronkowski’s individualism is being criticized — but there are limits, and it was crossed in Las Vegas. The act has to change just a little, some tweaking is needed. That’s all, the world isn’t ending, no criminal acts were committed. It was a 23-year-old acting like a 23-year-old without a $54 million contract and all the serious responsibilities that go along with that deal.

So Bill Belichick or Bob Kraft or Tom Brady (maybe all three, who knows?) needs to have the talk with Gronkowski (I’m guessing he’s already had the other talk). The TMZ footage was the tipping point, plain and simple.

And the message should be this: Don’t put yourself or the New England Patriots in danger. Enjoy being a single, famous and rich 23-year-old, but don’t cross the line again.


Based on early results, CBS calls Super Bowl XLVII highest-rated game ever

02.04.13 at 11:05 am ET
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Nielsen’s Monday morning report of metered markets — the most populous regions in the United States — gave CBS promising returns on its Super Bowl investment. Those results, which will be followed by a more detailed analysis later Monday, showed that the broadcast had an overnight household rating of 48.1 with a 71 share, making it the highest-rated Super Bowl ever in metered markets.

A rating point represents 1 percent of the number of TV households tuned in, while share refers to the percentage of TVs in use that are displaying the program.

The previous record was set two years ago in Super Bowl XLV between the Packers and Steelers.

The two cities with the highest rating were Baltimore and New Orleans, site of the game.

CBS said the most-watched part of the game was the final few minutes, which were played between 10:30-10:45 p.m. The Nielsen numbers do not reflect the half-hour from 8:45-9:15 p.m., when the game was delayed by a power outage.

Read More: Super Bowl XLVII,

Niners’ Michael Crabtree, Jim Harbaugh convinced refs blew call on critical fourth-and-goal pass

02.04.13 at 10:16 am ET
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The 49ers mounted a furious comeback in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night, but they fell just short in losing to the Ravens, 34-31. There also was some controversy, as a fourth-and-goal pass fell incomplete after what might have been a hold on Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.

“It was a missed call,” stated the intended receiver, Michael Crabtree. “[The referee] missed two or three in the game, but that was it right there, the Super Bowl was right there.

“I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t know, man. What do you think? I thought it was holding.”

Should the Ravens have been called for holding on the 49ers' critical fourth-and-goal pass late in Sunday's Super Bowl?

  • Yes, it was holding (68%, 1,674 Votes)
  • Technically it might have been holding, but the refs were right to let it go in that situation (25%, 623 Votes)
  • No, it was not holding (7%, 184 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,477

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Added 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: “You know, I really want to handle this with class and grace, and we had several opportunities in this game. We didn’t play our best game, and the Ravens made a lot of plays and battled back. They competed to win. But there’s no question in my mind that it was a pass interference and hold on Crabtree on the last one.”

Niners running back Frank Gore isn’t convinced the best team won.

“They got away with one,” Gore said. “We showed we were the better team. It was just a couple plays here, a couple plays there.”

Read More: Frank Gore, Jim Harbaugh, Jimmy Smith, Michael Crabtree

Randy’s no Rice: Moss kept quiet in Super Bowl loss

02.04.13 at 1:30 am ET
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The claim was a head-turner. Of course, no surprise there — Randy Moss is used to utterances that are controversial, fascinating, provocative, nonsensical or brilliant.

Still, his claim on media day prior to this year’s Super Bowl represented a fairly extreme claim, even by Moss’ own standards.

“I really live on impact and what you’re able to do out on the field,” Moss, now a receiver for the 49ers, told reporters in New Orleans. “I really think I’m the greatest receiver to ever play this game.”

While there’s a strong case to be made that Moss turned in some of the best — if not the best — seasons ever by a wide receiver (particularly his 2007 campaign with the Patriots, and perhaps some of his early-career seasons with the Vikings, when he posted huge yardage totals that failed to account for the incredible amount of yardage he added through pass interference penalties), it was difficult to suggest that he could match up with Jerry Rice for the title of greatest receiver ever.

And when it comes to performances on football’s biggest stage, there’s no debate at all between the two receivers. Moss did little to back his boast on Sunday as his team lost, 34-31, to the Ravens. He hauled in a pair of catches for 41 yards while never reaching the end zone. Frequently, it seemed he was neither the primary nor secondary option for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, even when the 35-year-old was in single coverage.

His relatively unimpactful performance in this year’s Super Bowl followed a solid but less-than-standout performance with the Patriots against the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, when Moss caught five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. While that performance was fine, it’s intriguing to note that it closely resembled Rice’s effort as a 40-year-old in Super Bowl XXXVI, when he caught five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. That was, far and away, Rice’s worst performance in any of his four Super Bowls.

In other words, Rice was more impactful in his worst Super Bowl than Moss was in his best. A look at the Super Bowl game logs of the two players underscores the notion that Moss’ performances in championship games have fallen far short of Rice’s.










On Sunday, Moss’ effort — or lack thereof — became the subject of considerable ire in San Francisco, as former 49ers Bill Romanowski and Dwight Clark ripped the receiver for having “alligator arms” and failing to make an attempt to prevent a second-quarter interception by Ravens safety Ed Reed.

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For now, then, it seems unlikely that those around the 49ers will endorse Moss’ claim that he deserves the title of greatest receiver of all time. Certainly, even Moss would be hard-pressed to make such a claim about himself when it comes to the Super Bowl.

Lights out: Ravens beat Niners in electrifying finish to Super Bowl XLVII

02.03.13 at 10:48 pm ET
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Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns and Jacoby Jones returned a kick 108 yards as the Ravens held on to beat the 49ers, 34-31, in a bizarre Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday night. Flacco finished 22-of-33 for 287 yards and three touchdowns in earning Super Bowl MVP honors.

Colin Kaepernick was on the verge of engineering the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history when it appeared the Ravens committed a blatant defensive holding by Jimmy Smith on Michael Crabtree in the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the Ravens’ 5 with just over a minute left. No call was made and the Ravens took possession at their 5 and killed off most of the clock.

The game ended when the Ravens took a safety on a punt with four seconds left, and then punted away to Ted Ginn. The 49ers specialist returned it 31 yards to midfield but was tackled as time ran out.

The game marked the first loss in six Super Bowls for the 49ers while the Ravens won for the second time in as many trips to the big game, winning Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

In a game that featured an electrifying halftime show by Beyonce and a 34-minute power outage minutes later in the third quarter, Kaepernick led his team from a 28-6 hole in the third quarter back to 31-29, passing for a score and running for another as San Francisco scored 23 points in just over 12 minutes. However, the Niners could not convert a two-point conversion that would have tied the game.

The Ravens jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead thanks in large part to the sensational play of Flacco, as he threw three first half touchdowns. Ed Reed picked off Kaepernick and the Ravens gambled on fourth-and-9, but kicker Justin Tucker was tackled a yard short on a fake field goal. On the next drive, Flacco hit Jones for a 56-yard touchdown pass, putting Baltimore up 21-3.

Jacoby Jones opened the second half by taking the kick eight yards deep in the end zone and racing up the middle for the longest kickoff return in Super Bowl history.

Moments later, as San Francisco was facing third-and-13 in its own territory, the lights and power went out through most parts of the Superdome. The game was delayed 34 minutes as NFL officials and stadium administrators went into a frenzy trying to restore order and power.

After the lights came back on, the Niners were forced to punt. But on their next drive, they began a furious comeback. Crabtree caught a 31-yard TD pass. Frank Gore, who finished with 110 yards on 19 carries, ran around the right side for a 6-yard score after a Ginn punt return.

David Akers converted a field goal that cut the lead to 28-23. The Ravens added a field goal early in the fourth quarter, making it, 31-23. The Niners then scored on a Kaepernick 15-yard run. With a chance to tie the game, the Niners could not convert a two-point conversion. Reed appeared to be offsides on the corner blitz, but no call was made and the Ravens held a 31-29 lead.

After another Ravens field goal, Kaepernick got the ball back with a chance to win. The Niners drove to the Ravens’ 7. But with four chances, the Niners couldn’t punch it in.

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Beyonce, nfl, San Francisco 49ers

Power outage delays Super Bowl 34 minutes in third quarter

02.03.13 at 10:13 pm ET
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In one of the most bizarre moments in the 47-year history of America’s greatest game, a power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome suspended play of Super Bowl XLVII for 34 minutes Sunday evening.

The Ravens were just celebrating a 108-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones for a touchdown and appeared ready to put the game away.

With the 49ers trailing 28-6 and facing a third-and-14, stadium lights cut out on San Francisco’s side of the field. Then lights went out throughout the building.

The NFL released the following statement after play resumed: “Stadium authorities are investigating the cause of the power outage. We will have more information as it becomes available.”

Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan followed with a statement on behalf of the building: “We sincerely apologize for the incident.”

Speculation was rampant following a spectacular halftime show by Beyonce that required numerous flashing lights and finished with dramatic flare.

The 49ers captured the game’s momentum, scoring 23 points in just over 12 minutes of game time following the outage.

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Beyonce, nfl, San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Live Blog

02.03.13 at 4:00 pm ET
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Read More: Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl,
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