Blogs: Gridiron Guru

Cleveland Browns Unveil New Uniform Set

cleveland browns new uniforms

When your team name is a color, it’s hard to get too creative with what players wear on the field. Which is why the Cleveland Browns have had, basically, the same jersey for decades: Orange helmet, brown home uniforms, white pants. But going into 2015, the Browns have tried to mix things up.

Yesterday, Cleveland unveiled a new set of jerseys — home, away, and a third — that the team will wear this season. The unis are an updated version of the NFL Nike Elite 51 that “respects the past and embraces the future by paying tribute to the city and the fans,” according to Nike. “The uniform incorporates a modern, 21st century Cleveland-centric design inspired by the Dawg Pound, a group that consists of some of the team’s most enthusiastic fans, and influenced by the evolution of the city itself.”
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Eagles Linebacker Connor Barwin Goes From Gridiron Star to Bleacher Creature

connor barwin philadelphia eagles bleacher creatures

As the anchor of the Philadelphia Eagles defense, linebacker Connor Barwin has to present an imposing, intimidating attitude on the field. And he’s really good at it. The sixth-year pro had the best season of his career in 2014, racking up 14.5 sacks (best in the NFC), 47 tackles, and forcing two fumbles. He was the NFC Defensive Player of the Month in November, and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. 

But Barwin’s on-the-field rep softens up a bit off the gridiron. Literally.

There is now a stuffed-toy version of Barwin as part of the Bleacher Creatures line of toys. (The company makes plush figures of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football players; superheroes; mascots; wrestlers; even the Pope!) Over the weekend, we caught up with Barwin at the 2015 American International Toy Fair in New York and chatted about his Bleacher Creature, what led to his big year on the field, and advice for kids who want to play football.
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Thomas Davis: The Man Amongst Men

thomas davis carolina panthers

Thomas Davis didn’t play in Super Bowl XLIX, but the Carolina Panthers linebacker still made an impact on Super Bowl weekend.

On the eve of the big game, Davis received the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and used his platform to send a message to players around the NFL. “To the guys in this league, I just want to say to you, let’s take charge,” he said that night. “We are a village. Let’s step up and be a village of guys that make a difference.”

On the field, Davis is known for coming back from three ACL tears between 2009 and ’11 to post three consecutive 100-plus tackle seasons. Off it, he and his wife Kelly lead the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, which reaches thousands of underprivileged kids with programs like Christmas gift giveaways and a Youth Leadership Academy that annually awards two college scholarships—programs that didn’t exist in the tiny, impoverished town of Shellman, Ga., where he grew up in a single-parent home.

Sports Illustrated’s The MMQB talked to Davis about the meaning behind his message, the feedback he received, and what it’s like to be an active player in the stands at a Super Bowl.
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Fueling Up with Andrew Luck

andrew luck indianapolis coltsIndianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck grew up with healthy choices all around him. But it wasn’t until he started playing football at Stanford that he began paying more attention to what he put in his body. Now he’s a big proponent of eating smart and staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and BODYARMOR, an electrolyte-filled sports drink. He spoke with SI KIDS about how he keeps his body fueled.

At what age did you learn the concept of moderation when it comes to eating food that is not great for you?

It’s something I still work on. I love chocolate. If I don’t watch myself, I’ll look down, and I’ll have eaten the whole bar, 32 squares of something. I do think moderation is key. That’s what my parents preached growing up. It’s O.K. to have a serving of dessert if you ate the rest of the meal and if your meal was nice and balanced, but limit that to once serving, or else it’s going to bite you somewhere.
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How Will Seahawks Approach Offseason?

seattle seahawks super bowl xlix

The Malcolm Butler interception that ended Super Bowl XLIX and sent the Seattle Seahawks into a long offseason of what-might-have-beens shouldn't eclipse the job that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have done in the Emerald City since taking their respective positions in 2010. The Seahawks were the youngest team ever to win the Super Bowl a year ago, and just two players — center Max Unger and punter Jon Ryan -- preceded Carroll and Schneider on the roster. Clearly, these guys know how to build a team and sustain success despite the vagaries of NFL personnel.

The Seahawks are set up pretty well for at least one more trip to the sport's biggest game in the next few years, but where do things stand in Seattle heading into the 2015 offseason, and what may change as the new season begins?
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Tom Brady Leads Pats to Fourth Title With Cool and Calm

tom brady new england patriots super bowl xlix

GLENDALE, ARIZ. — When Tom Brady and the Patriots broke the huddle with 12:10 remaining in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX, they were in a position that no team wants to be in.

New England trailed the Seahawks by 10 points, 24-14, and was basically without a running game, rushing four times for four yards in the second half to that point. So the Patriots were going to have to throw the ball the length of the field against one of the most vaunted defenses in the annals of the NFL. Seattle finished the regular season with the league’s best defense in points, total yards and passing yards allowed.

“Against any team, that’s a hard order,” said Patriots veteran running backs coach Ivan Fears. “Against that defense? They’re good. There’s no doubt about it.”
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Patriots Rally to Defeat Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX!

new england patriots tom brady super bowl xlix

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tom Brady and the Patriots made this Super Bowl all about football, not footballs.

Clutch football, spiced by a sensational fourth-quarter rally and a goal-line, game-saving interception.

The record-setting Brady threw for four touchdowns, including a 3-yarder to Julian Edelman with 2:02 remaining Sunday night as New England rallied from a 10-point deficit to win its fourth Super Bowl in the Brady-Bill Belichick era, 28-24 over Seattle.

But the Patriots (15-4) had to survive a last-ditch drive by the Seahawks (14-5), who got to the 1, helped by a spectacular juggling catch by Jermaine Kearse. Rookie Malcolm Butler stepped in front of Ricardo Lockette and picked off Russell Wilson's off-target pass to complete one of the wildest Super Bowl finishes.
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