Sunday, December 17, 2017
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Greg Cote: NFL game of dodgeball continues with Patriots as Super Bowl week kicks off

Hey, did you catch the Pro Bowl game Sunday night? Yeah, me neither. But I heard one of the skills challenges the day before involved dodgeball. No, seriously, because evidently they couldn't think of an idea even dumber. On deck: Twister!

The Pro Bowl unofficially kicks off Super Bowl Week each year, although it actually launched Monday with two major events in the host city of Houston:

1. Super Bowl Live opened, a 250,000 square-foot "fan village" that features a virtual reality trip to Mars, an outdoor skating rink and the daily live arrest of an NFL player. (Okay we made up that last one).

2. Super Bowl Opening Night, formerly Media Day, where fans sat in the stands at Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, to watch reporters interview players down on the field. The only thing worse than a mass Q&A session at a Super Bowl? Paying to watch it.

The interview process will be its own game of NFL dodgeball all week as the Patriots maneuver to dodge all inquiries related to Deflategate, the Pats' buddy relationship with President Donald Trump, Tom Brady's appetite for revenge against commissioner Roger Goodell and cheating-tainted legacies.

We are surprised this hasn't gotten more attention, but Trump — close friends with Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Brady — quietly signed an executive order Monday ordering Matt Ryan to have a lousy game. (Fake news alert).

• NFC champion Atlanta arrived in Houston on Sunday afternoon, while AFC champ New England arrived Monday. It was expected to be the last time all week the Falcons were ever ahead of the Patriots.

• The Patriots won by an average score of 28-25 in 50,000 computer simulations conducted by PredictionMachine.com. We conducted our own simulation using an electric football game from the '60s but results were inconclusive as a wildly vibrating Brady kept falling over.

• To absolutely guarantee no more Deflategate-type skullduggery from the Patriots, Goodell has ordered that all of the balls used in this Super Bowl be bowling balls.

• "His executive orders are almost as fantastic as mine!," Trump said.

• Security is heightened throughout Houston this week as NFL officials crack down on counterfeit merchandise and media interviews with brain-injury experts.

• Enterprising columnists sniffing an offbeat angle were scrambling to locate ex-Falcon Eugene Robinson — the devout Christian arrested for soliciting a prostitute in Miami the night before Atlanta's only previous SB appearance — only to learn, crestfallen, that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just did that.

• They played Madden '17 simulation of the Super Bowl and — ah, who cares who won the video game!

By the way, it's Super Bowl 51 to us, not the Roman numeral "LI," because demographic studies indicate only 12 percent of Miami Herald readers are ancient Romans from 900 AD.

• Finally, our Super Bowl Party Tip du Jour: When deciding how many chicken wings to order, the standard is 240 per person, according to the National Chicken Council.

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Suggs, Ravens get defensive in 23-16 win over Texans

Suggs, Ravens get defensive in 23-16 win over Texans

BALTIMORE ó Terrell Suggs led an aggressive Baltimore defense that kept Houston out of the end zone for the final 51 minutes, and the Ravens went deep in the playbook on offense to squeeze out a 23-16 victory on Monday night. The Ravens forced three ...
Updated one month ago