This season, the NFL will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl. The game has certainly evolved since Super Bowl I, but the league has been slow to adapt to new sideline and on-field technology.
Microsoft, the official technology partner of the NFL, has been working to change that. And administrators from the tech company see this season’s celebration of five decades of NFL tradition as a perfect time to bring the league more into the 21st century.
“We want to celebrate the NFL’s history, but Microsoft also wants to look forward to the next 50 years,” said Jeff Tran, director of sports alliances at Microsoft.
Microsoft is entering its third year of an exclusive relationship with the NFL. The partnership has brought new advancements on the field, as well as innovative ways to watch games at home.
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — The humbled men in gold jackets entering football immortality were unmistakable. So was the endless sea of twirling yellow Terrible Towels there to greet them and the outpouring of compassion for the legend who wasn't there.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis headlined the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Saturday night, the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history turning the annual enshrinement ceremony into a de facto pep rally.
Bettis grabbed one of the ubiquitous towels synonymous with the franchise at the beginning of his speech and led a chant of "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go" as the capacity crowd at Tom Benson Stadium - most of them clad in some variation of black-and-yellow - roared in support of the player that served as the physical embodiment of the team he helped lead to a fifth Super Bowl title in 2006.
"I really thought the Bus' last stop was in Detroit at Super Bowl 40," Bettis said. "But now I know the Bus will always and forever run in Canton, Ohio."
Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel is more than just a football player. He’s also a mathematician. And a very good one. While at Penn State, Urschel earned his undergraduate degree and masters — both in math, both early, both with a 4.0 GPA — while teaching at the school and playing football for the Nittany Lions. Since graduating, Urschel has kept working with math, publishing academic papers and doing intense high-level research.
Urschel was in New York last week to promote his partnership with the marketing firm Persado, which uses advanced math concepts to help companies to reach customers more effectively. While he was in town, he stopped by the SI Kids offices to talk about math, why it’s important kids learn math, and his thoughts on the upcoming football season.
Check out an edited version of our conversation, and pick up the July issue of SI Kids for a profile of the world’s biggest mathlete!
More than three months ago, quarterback Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to its fourth Super Bowl victory. But the celebration came to an abrupt end.
Yesterday, the NFL suspended Brady for four games for his role in a scheme to illegally deflate footballs. The Patriots were fined $1 million and lost a first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round selection in 2017 because of the "Deflate" gate scandal.
The punishment was handed down after the NFL released the findings of an investigation into Deflategate led by Ted Wells.
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.”
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.
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.