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What we learned from Thursday of Super Bowl week

PHOENIX -- The media availability is over for players after Thursday's sessions, and it didn't come a day too soon. Marshawn Lynch's latest press conference was not comfortable for anyone, even if it was fascinating.

The Super Bowl XLIXperience


With the big game less than a week away, Around The NFL's Dan Hanzus brings you the best of Super Bowl week in Arizona. **READ**

After a week where the Patriots dominated the headlines, Thursday was more about the Seahawks and other NFL teams. This was the day in Phoenix when most of the other NFL players and celebrities began to arrive, with news following. Archie Manning revealed on a radio show that his son Peyton should make a decision about his future in the next few weeks. DeMarco Murrayessentially dared the Cowboys to not re-sign him. Nick Foles said with hope he would be the starter in Philadelphia, while Josh Gordonspoke like he's never spoken before.

After a week of nothing but Seahawks and Patriots it was refreshing to remember there are 30 other teams in the league. This Super Bowl matchup could not be any more fascinating, but we still need some distractions with three days left to go.

Here's what else we learned Thursday:


  1. Marshawn Lynch finally unleashed a soliloquy on Thursday, vacillating between disdain for a cuckolded Super Bowl media and minutes of awkward silence. In the age of social media and viral videos, Lynch's muted message has been disseminated more widely than any of those from the most verbose players in the halcyon days of print media.
  1. In response to the Patriots' recent strategy of switching eligible and ineligible receivers at the line of scrimmage, coach Pete Carroll revealed that referees will use signals to properly identify which players are eligible on a given play.
  1. With Russell Wilson's monster contract on the horizon, Carroll is confident that the Seahawks can avoid the roster overhaul that befell the Ravens when Joe Flacco got paid two offseasons ago. While Seattle's nucleus is intact, difficult decisions will have to be made on key players such as Byron Maxwell, who dubbed himself "the prettiest girl at the dance" in free agency.
  1. Richard Sherman is on baby watch. With a girlfriend expected to give birth next week, Sherman is confident that his new addition will be a "disciplined young man" and do his father a favor by waiting until after Super Bowl Sunday to greet the world.
  1. The Seahawks have taken on the personality of their leader. As Sherman explained Thursday, Carroll is "such a psychological" coach. Carroll's coaching staff and players have repeatedly emphasized the essence of "team," loving your brother and, especially, celebrating the uniqueness of each individual. The latter is an obvious contrast in style with Bill Belichick's assembly-line football humanoids.
  1. Darrell Bevell won't be altering his game preparation in any way. Typically, he'll script the first 15 plays of the game and then alter based on the adjustments made by New England. It's a mix of plays that helps ease Russell Wilson into a certain tempo and sets up the Patriots for later on in the game. Bevell says the first 15 typically takes him about three hours to put together.
  1. The Seattle coaching staff is trying to find a delicate balance between studying all of Belichick's tape and not undergoing an information overload. For example, Seattle did not watch any Peyton Manning tape from Indianapolis in preparation for the Super Bowl. Defensive backs coach Kris Richard said the Seahawks would not look at any Rams tape from when Josh McDaniels was St. Louis' offensive coordinator. That would define information overload.

--Chris Wesseling and Conor Orr


  1. The Patriots couldn't be happier to wrap up this week's onslaught of media availability. Poor Vince Wilfork ambled into the room and let out a heavy sigh before undergoing one more long hour of questions, saying: "Hey, I'm tired of this, I'm not gonna lie." I give the team credit, though, for their willingness to talk at length with us. It's one of the best weeks of the year for access, and the assistant coaches, especially, seem to shine. I walked away with a completely different impression of offensive play-caller Josh McDaniels, who came across as bright, patient and reflective.
  1. Tucked away behind the scenes in Foxborough, the Patriots are slow-cooking a secret weapon: Bill Belichick's son. We asked plenty of Patriots players and coaches about Steve Belichick, the third-year coaching assistant who is making a strong impression inside the building. Here's our piece on the son of Bill.
  1. The Around the NFL gang has made our picks for Sunday's big game. My guess? I have the Patriots taking down the Seahawks 24-21, a victory triggered by a game-changing pick by Darrelle Revis in overtime.
  1. Julian Edelman has a legitimate man crush on Tom Brady: "I wouldn't want any other guy," said the Patriots receiver. "I've been fortunate enough to just play here, and have him only as my quarterback, so that's been a blessing. When you have a guy who constantly has a chip on his shoulder, regardless of the circumstances of what he's done in the past, future -- what he has in his life -- that really shows guys ... if you work really hard at something, you really dedicate to your craft, you can have a chance to do something."
  1. Rob Gronkowski on Brady's competitive nature: "Second to none. If you're shooting basketball with him, playing a game of P.I.G., he's going full out, trying to win that game." In case you're wondering, Gronk didn't fare well, telling us: "Nah, he beat me."

-- Marc Sessler

Everything else ...

» Katy Perry held her Super Bowl halftime press conference on Thursday, which gave her the chance for a Beast Mode callback -- I'm just here so I don't get fined -- and a hot take on DeflateGate: "I don't think I'm so much of an expert on the game of football, but I think I can ensure everyone in here that nothing in my performance will be deflated."

» Four members of the Around The NFL team got behind the velvet rope at the Jay Glazer party in Scottsdale. Here's my dispatch, filed after the party.

»Bumped into former Bengals running back Ickey Woods, who was once most famous for his Ickey Shuffle TD dance but is now far well known for a commercial in which he celebrates cold cuts. I asked Woods for a special rendition and he obliged.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to Super Bowl Media Day and breaks down the storylines nobody is talking about. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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