Seattle take on New England in what promises to be a compelling Super Bowl 49 on Sunday, but the title showcase caps a season of turmoil in the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell has been at the center of the storm as the league grappled -- often clumsily -- with charges of violence by players against women and children that put fans and sponsors on edge. Goodell was lashed for his handling of Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back who knocked out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in a casino elevator. A probe conducted by former FBI director Robert Mueller uncovered no evidence that the league had seen the video of the punch, but scolded the NFL for failing to conduct a more complete investigation.
By Steve Keating PHOENIX (Reuters) - Taking part in his sixth Super Bowl Media Day, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has probably heard the questions all before during the 'anything-goes' get-together with reporters. Ahead of the 2008 Super Bowl, which was also played in Glendale where the Patriots will take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Brady was asked by a female presenter from a Mexican television station if he would marry her. On Tuesday, no wedding proposals were put to the Patriots quarterback, who is married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen, but Brady fielded a few questions out of left field, like, 'Who has the best beard on the team?' Answer: 'Rob Ninkovich, Julian Edelman.' 'What hurts when you get sacked?' Answer: 'Depends where you land.' Brady answered all with a smile and good humor, clearly happy that the questioning, for the most part, steered clear of the deflated football controversy that has hung over the team since their blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts that clinched a Super Bowl berth.
By Mark Lamport-Stokes SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - Tiger Woods has not competed at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 14 years but he is remembered most by the raucous crowds that gather here at the TPC Scottsdale for his electrifying debut four years earlier. In January 1997, Woods was just three months from clinching his first major title in record-breaking style at the Masters and he gave the fans at Scottsdale a hint of the magic to come with a stunning ace in the Phoenix Open third round. Ten strokes off the lead after 36 holes, Woods arrived at the infamous par-three 16th and watched as his playing partner, fellow American Omar Uresti, hit his tee shot from 152 yards to just three feet behind the cup. "Just smelling and hearing the beer hit behind me on the tee box ... to turn around and see all this beer flying was crazy," Woods told reporters at the TPC Scottsdale on Tuesday after playing nine holes in practice.
By Steve Keating PHOENIX (Reuters) - If the Super Bowl is one of the greatest one-day sporting events then Media Day is the ultimate football freak show, a zany mix of journalism, superheroes and players in an anything-goes media mosh pit. The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, who will meet in Sunday's NFL championship, faced the media mob on Tuesday as thousands of reporters circled the floor during a question-and-answer free-for-all watched by thousands of fans in attendance. Very little is off limits at the annual Super Bowl Media Day. Without a hint of shame, "Entertainment Tonight" reporters can ask Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to sing a Katy Perry song or New England coach Bill Belichick can get quizzed on what his favorite Joe Pesci movie is - and actually get an answer.
(Reuters) - Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis and brash Seahawks counterpart Richard Sherman will show off their coverage skills in Sunday's Super Bowl and perhaps settle a social media spat from a couple of seasons ago. Revis, a six-time Pro Bowler, traded words with Sherman in a Twitter tug of war after the young Seattle player bragged that he had overtaken Revis, who played only two games for the Jets that season due to a knee injury. This dude just steady putting my name in his mouth to get notoriety," Revis tweeted about Sherman, who claimed All-Pro honors that 2012 season, his second in the league.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick's flip-flops and hoodie shared the stage with Johnny Weir's designer duds and a man wearing a barrel Tuesday as the NFL's Super Bowl circus came to town. Media Day, once a day for Super Bowl contenders to talk somewhat seriously about their upcoming title clash, has evolved into a destination -- and an adventure destination at that, what with the step ladders, tripods microphone booms and selfie sticks being swung on the jam-packed floor of the US Airways Center -- home of the NBA's Phoenix Suns. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll laughed it off.
By Mark Lamport-Stokes SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - The Waste Management Phoenix Open and Super Bowl are both being staged this week in the Phoenix area and Patrick Reed, one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour, is licking his lips in anticipation. The National Football League's showpiece is the biggest sports event in the United States while the $6.3 million Phoenix Open, played at the TPC Scottsdale, is renowned for its raucous crowds and the loudest hole in golf. Add to that the return of former world number one Tiger Woods to PGA Tour action this week, for the first time in five months, and you have all the ingredients for a sporting extravaganza in the Grand Canyon State over the next five days.