Road to Super Bowl 54: Offseason Headlines (Week of 5/27)

While some leagues enter a quiet stretch each offseason, the NFL remains abuzz with signings, rumors and offseason storylines. A quick roundup of some of the most newsworthy stories around the league from the week of May 27th, 2019.
 

Cowboys’ Jason Witten “anxious to go prove” he can still play

“Having spent a year away from the game in the Monday Night Football analyst chair, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten knows there are questions about his ability to continue to play at a high level.

“Look, it’s a show-me game and you’ve got to be able to find ways to get open and you’ve got to be able to find ways to play at the point of attack, and I’d want to see it from him,” Witten said. “I would want to see if they can do that … A lot of older players, as they got older, you hear them say, ‘This is the best I’ve felt.’ I think the year off helped me. I learned a lot. Also, I think I come back with a different perspective.”

Read the rest of the story from ESPN.com’s Todd Archer


Jets begin General Manager interviews

“Two weeks after firing Mike Maccagnan as general manager, the New York Jets are poised to begin the interview process for a replacement.

The Jets are expected to meet in the coming days with Seattle Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Chicago Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly and Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, starting Thursday with Fitterer.”

Read the rest of the story from ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini


Free agent Gerald McCoy reportedly deciding between two teams, visiting a third

“Longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was cut by the only team he’s ever played for earlier in May, has been taking free-agent visits this week. According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCoy wrapped up his visit with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, and will now decide whether to sign with the Ravens or Cleveland Browns — unless neither team offers him an agreeable contract.”

Read the rest of the story from CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin


Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles, wife Tori reveal family’s devastating news

“Tori Foles, wife of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles, announced in an emotional Instagram post Wednesday that the couple had miscarried.

Foles said that she went into “sudden labor” on Sunday while being only 15 weeks pregnant with the couple’s second child. She explained that she had been feeling ill and later learned she had contracted an infection of pneumonia in the blood.

“Not long after we learned we had miscarried our baby boy,” she wrote. “To fully labor and deliver and even see our baby boy was a pretty devastating process.”

Read the rest of the story from NBC News’ Doha Madani

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXX

As we continue on the countdown to the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, two of the NFL’s most storied and historic franchises faced off in Super Bowl XXX from Tempe, Arizona.

A Classic: Cowboys vs. Steelers

Played in front of over 76,000 fans at Tempe, Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium, Super Bowl XXX would eventually go to the Dallas Cowboys, who would go on to narrowly defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown would make history in Super Bowl XXX as the first defensive back to be awarded Super Bowl MVP honors, after making quite the impact in the Cowboys’ victory. Brown would force two interceptions by halftime, helping lead the Cowboys to yet another Super Bowl title in their fifth appearance.

 

Over 94 million viewers tuned in to catch Super Bowl XXX, broadcast on NBC in 1996, with Dick Enberg, Phil Simms and Paul Maguire on the call. Performer Vanessa Williams would sing the National Anthem, and former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana would take part in the coin toss. Halftime for Super Bowl XXX was performed by the legendary Diana Ross, and the cost of a 30-second commercial for brands skyrocketed to over $1.085 million in cost.

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXVIII

For the first time in NFL history, two teams were facing off in consecutive years, as the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills square off once again in 1994 on the Road to Super Bowl 53.

Buffalo Falls Short (x4)

As two teams met in consecutive years, the Super Bowl would also have consecutive results; the Dallas Cowboys coming out victorious over the Buffalo Bills as Super Bowl champions. The Cowboys would defeat the Bills, 30-13, in front of over 72,000 fans at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.

Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith would take home Super Bowl MVP honors in 1994, carrying the ball for 132 yards and two touchdowns, while also recording four catches on the night.

 

Halftime entertainment for Super Bowl XXVIII was a big deal in 1994, as the Judds, Winona and Naomi, would perform. The game was broadcast on NBC to over 90 million football fans worldwide, with Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy handling broadcasting duties. The cost of a 30-second commercial spot for the Super Bowl in 1994 was up to $900,000!

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXVII

A powerhouse in the 1990’s, the Buffalo Bills are squaring off in their third-straight Super Bowl appearance, facing the NFC-champion Dallas Cowboys on the Road to Super Bowl 53.

Buffalo Falls Short (…Again x2)

Playing in their third-straight Super Bowl would seemingly be a good feeling for Bills fans, however being losers of the last two, hope was fading. Still, when the team squared off with the Dallas Cowboys on January 31, 1993 in Super Bowl XXVII in Pasadena, California, over 98,000 fans strong would witness what they hoped was a Buffalo victory.

The Dallas Cowboys had other plans, however. Super Bowl XXVII would go on to be a history-making performance for the Cowboys, who would force a record nine turnovers throughout the game, four being interceptions and five forced fumbles. Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman would take home Super Bowl MVP honors, completing 22 of his 30 pass attempts for 273 yards and four touchdowns.

 

From this point forward, the Super Bowl halftime show would be all about getting that top performing artist to conduct the entertainment. In 1993, Michael Jackson would handle Super Bowl XXVII halftime duties, in one of the most memorable halftime performances even still to this day. Nearly 91 million viewers watched Super Bowl XXVII from the comfort of their own homes, and the cost of a 30-second spot was around $850,000!

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XIII

Once again a showdown featuring two of the country’s most fan-favored teams, the Dallas Cowboys would face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII.

Steelers Stop “America’s Team”

Once again played in front of over 80,000 fans in Miami, Florida at the famed Orange Bowl, Super Bowl XIII would see the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of the AFC, would go up against back-to-back NFC champion and the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. However, Super Bowl XIII would prove to be less enjoyable than the previous years for Dallas, as the Steelers would come away with the 35-31 victory in front of nearly 80,000 fans.

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw would walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors, completing 17 of his 30 passing attempts for 318 yards and four touchdowns, as the Steelers would never trail throughout the game. The final score of 35-31 was much closer than the game itself, as the Steelers actually led 35-17 with 19 seconds to go in the game. Super Bowl XIII would become infamously known as Black Sunday in Las Vegas, as many notable sportsbooks lost big on wagers throughout the game.

Cost of commercials during the Super Bowl continued to rise in 1979, this year’s cost of a 30-second spot rising to over $185,000 per spot, by far the most expensive to date for a Super Bowl.The announcers for Super Bowl XII were none other than Curt GowdyMerlin Olsen, and John Brodie.

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XII

Two teams looking to bounce back after disappointing campaigns in 2017, the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys had reached the pinnacle in 1978, facing off in Super Bowl XII from the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

America’s Team Claims Their Crown

In a game played once again from New Orleans in front of early 76,000 fans, the Dallas Cowboys, dubbed “America’s Team,” would walk away victorious after a 27-10 battle with the Denver Broncos.

Putting together a complete game in Super Bowl XII, the Cowboys defense would be vital to their victory. Dallas would go on to force eight (!!) turnovers and only allowed eight pass completions for Denver throughout the entirety of the game. Cowboys wide receiver Butch Johnson would provide the highlight reel, most notably reeling in a 45-yard touchdown diving into the end zone.

Dallas’ defensive stars, linemen Randy White and Harvey Martin, would go on to be named Super Bowl co-MVPs, the first (and so far, only) time that two players would share Super Bowl MVP honors.

The cost of a 30 second television commercial during Super Bowl XII went up to $162,000, still paling in comparison to the Super Bowl LI’s rates. Pat Summerall would once again be the game announcer on CBS, hosting alongside analyst Tom Brookshier. At halftime, Super Bowl fans were treated to plenty of entertainment, including musicians Pete Fountain and Al Hirt.

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl X

With the 2018 NFL season and the road to the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta just days away, two of America’s favorite teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, are looking to rebound after disappointing campaigns in 2017. In 1976, however, the two were squaring off at Miami Orange Bowl Stadium for Super Bowl X.

Steelers Repeat

Touting the title of “America’s Team” heading into Super Bowl X, the Dallas Cowboys would square off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, defending champions from Super Bowl IX (against the Minnesota Vikings). And for the second-straight season, the Steelers would walk away victors, a 21-17 win over the Cowboys.

Featuring two of the most iconic franchises in Super Bowl and NFL history, Super Bowl X was one of the more anticipated Super Bowls to date leading up to the big game. Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, who managed to catch four passes for a record 161 yards and one touchdown, would become the first ever WR to walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors.

Pre-game, the National Anthem before Super Bowl X would be sung by Tom Sullivan in unison with “Up With People.” For halftime entertainment, fans were treated to an equally entertaining show by “Up With People,” who attributed the show to America’s Bicentennial. Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier were the announcers for Super Bowl X on CBS, and brands could expect to pay around $110,000 for a 30-second commercial in 1976.

 


 

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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl VI

Looking to rebound after a disappointing 2017 campaign, the Dallas Cowboys were second-straight Super Bowl contenders in the 1971-72 season, facing off against the formidable Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

Dallas Dominates

Heading back to the “Big Easy,” the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins would square off in front of over 81,000 fans for Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Super Bowl VI performance for the Cowboys was one of the more dominant to-date, capturing a 24-3 victory over the Dolphins.

The Cowboys had quite an interesting road prior to heading into Super Bowl VI. There were fans and analysts alike who did not expect the Cowboys to have a fighting chance in this game, let alone a chance to win. A lot of this came from Dallas’ Super Bowl V sloppy loss to the Baltimore Colts. However, the Cowboys more than dominated Super Bowl VI and continued to set record after record.

To this day, the 1971-72 Dallas Cowboys team remains as the only team to prevent their opponents from scoring a touchdown during the Super Bowl. The MVP of Super Bowl VI was none other than Roger Staubach, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, who completed 12 of his 19 pass attempts for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

The halftime show for Super Bowl VI was a salute to Louis Armstrong, performed by Carol Channing and Ella Fitzgerald, who were accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps Drill team.


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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl V

Before they were known as the Indianapolis Colts, the team originated in Baltimore, where they lost Super Bowl III to the New York Jets. However, the team would return in Super Bowl V, looking to capture their first title against “America’s Team.”

Colts Capture Their First Championship

Once again played at Miami’s famed Orange Bowl Stadium in January 17, 1971, Super Bowl V between the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Colts would take place in front of nearly 80,000 fans strong.

The first Super Bowl to be played on artificial turf, and would go on to be dubbed the “Stupor Bowl,” due to Dallas’ record-setting 10 penalties throughout the game. The Baltimore Colts would walk away with their first Super Bowl victory, 16-13 winners over America’s Team, despite losing legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas in the second quarter due to injury.

Super Bowl V continues to live on in infamy as the only Super Bowl in which the MVP was awarded to a player on the losing team. Chuck Howley, linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, would go on to take Super Bowl MVP honors in his team’s losing efforts, intercepting two passes. He was also the first player who was not a quarterback to win the award.


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Road to Super Bowl 53: NFC East Preview

Featuring the Super Bowl champions, the NFC East appears to be loading up to take on the Eagles, with a new Pro Bowl quarterback taking the reigns in Washington and roster turnover in Dallas and New York. Can the Philadelphia Eagles defend their crown on the Road to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta?

Philadelphia Eagles

2017 Record: 13-3, Super Bowl LII Champions

The defending Super Bowl champions, fresh off an exciting 41-33 victory in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots, the Eagles themselves will be returning the majority of their Super Bowl champion roster, including a look at a hopefully healthy quarterback Carson Wentz.

Although the Eagles were susceptible to change in the 2018 offseason, losing key players like running back LeGarrette Blound, wide receiver Torrey Smith, defensive pass rusher Vinny Curry and tight end Brent Celek, the team did manage to bolster their already stellar defensive front, adding Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and some young weapons through the draft.

 


 

Dallas Cowboys

2017 Record: 9-7

In what was considered yet another disappointing season for the Cowboys faithful, the team shook things up in the offseason hoping to turn it around in 2018.

Despite retaining head coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys are not without roster turnover in the 2018 offseason. The team lost two of its premier pass catchers in wide receiver Dez Bryant (released) and tight end Jason Witten (retirement), as well as two defensive staples in linebacker Anthony Hitchens and Orlando Scandrick. The Cowboys did, however, manage to bring in some big names, most notably former Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin, defensive end Kony Ealy and the former Jaguars standout receiver Allen Hurns. The Cowboys will also look forward to the return of a full season for running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was absent due to suspension for part of the 2017 season.

 


 

Washington Redskins

2017 Record: 7-9

Plenty of shakeup coming in the nation’s capital this offseason was headlined by the Washington Redskins deciding to move on from quarterback Kirk Cousins in favor of a former NFL MVP to take charge of the offense.

Shortly before losing quarterback Kirk Cousins to the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins traded cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to the Kansas City chiefs for the Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith. After making the decision to hand the reigns to Smith, the Redskins continued their transformation, bringing in plenty of defensive talent and a talented young offensive core, most notably rookie running back Derrius Guice from LSU, linebacker Pernell McPhee and defensive back Orlando Scandrick.

 


 

New York Giants

2017 Record: 3-13

For New York Giants fans, the excitement of putting the last 12 months behind them with a fresh start at kickoff of the 2018 season will be a welcoming feeling. A 3-13 campaign, headlined by turmoil with former head coach Ben McAdoo, and an injury to Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr., resulting in the #2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, leaves the Giants with a clean slate on the Road to Super Bowl 53.

Despite losing key players such as defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the Giants reloaded on both sides of the ball, drafting possibly the most exciting player in the 2018 NFL Draft in running back Saquon Barkley out of Penn State, signing former New England Patriots offensive lineman Nate Solder and trading for former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree.

 


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