Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

Serious 49ers arrive in relaxed mood

NEW ORLEANS — With a team flag waving from an open window of their chartered plane, the 49ers arrived Sunday for their first Super Bowl in 18 years.

The players walked off the plane in a businesslike manner — no video recorders or cameras, no waves to onlookers. QB Colin Kaepernick mouthed the words to a song on his headphones as he walked on the tarmac.

"Pressure comes from a lack of preparation," Kaepernick said. "This is not a pressure situation. It's a matter of going out and performing."

Most veterans disembarked first, including C Jonathan Goodwin. He won a Super Bowl three years ago with the Saints and grew up rooting for the 49ers.

"You get to go to the Super Bowl with your childhood team," he said. "So that's something special to me."

The Ravens are scheduled to arrive today.

How much longer? Ravens S Bernard Pollard, who will play in his first Super Bowl after making the playoffs twice during his first six seasons, said he is worried about the future of the NFL.

"Thirty years from now, I don't think it will be in existence," he told cbssports.com. "I think with the direction things are going — where (the league) wants to lighten up and they're throwing flags and everything else — there's going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it."

Pollard added he's not sure the league can do anything about it.

"The league is trying to move in the right direction (with player safety)," he said. "But at the same time, (coaches) want bigger, stronger and faster year in and year out. And that means you're going to keep getting big hits and concussions and blown-out knees.

"The only thing I'm waiting for — and, Lord, I hope it doesn't happen — is a guy dying on the field. We've had everything else happen there except for a death."

Just an observer: 49ers QB Alex Smith ran off the field at Candlestick Park two weeks ago to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd, not much different from the reception last January when he took the 49ers to the NFC title game.

But his trip to the Super Bowl this season is hardly how he envisioned it. Benched for Kaepernick, he will play the role of Ravens QB Joe Flacco on the scout team during practice.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little bittersweet," Smith said. "Yes, I want to be out there. That's what you work for. At the same time, it is a team sport, and these are all my teammates. If you can't be happy for them, then something's wrong with you."

Smith lost his job after sustaining a concussion Nov. 11 against the Rams. Since then, he has stayed out of the spotlight.

"Alex has been a class act as far as handling everything that is going on," 49ers TE Vernon Davis said. "He's been through a lot. But he also understands that it's the nature of the business. And this is a business."

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup final — with a chip on their shoulder."Everybody on this team has something to prove," forward Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The nearly Yanny-vs.-Laurel level national debate over their latest pitching strategy innovation of starting relievers isn't quite as entertaining today. The In-N-Out burgers in the clubhouse after the game weren't as tasty. T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as USF's football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Romo not the reason, but Rays streak ends at 6 with 5-2 loss to Angels

Romo not the reason, but Rays streak ends at 6 with 5-2 loss to Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif.  – Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine for the Rays on Sunday.It was the less effective pitchers who followed, and the ineffectiveness of...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

TAMPA – Capitals G Braden Holtby basically summed up playoff life for the Capitals after Saturday's Game 5 loss in the Eastern Conference final when he said the team never makes it easy for itself."No, we don't," coach Barry Trotz agreed Sunday...
Updated: 6 hours ago
For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

As the last tension-filled seconds of a tight playoff game wind down, high above the Amalie Arena ice, the play-by-play man becomes increasingly animated.Dave Mishkin, eyes bulging, face purple, jumps from his seat, holding the headset with his left ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

TAMPA — The Lightning is a win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup final. Its Game 5 win Saturday, to take a 3-2 lead over the Washington Capitals, was another chapter of a story being written on the fly."Think about Game 1 in New Jersey,"...
Updated: 7 hours ago