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NFL asks reporters to specify their race for Super Bowl press passes

The NFL is requiring journalists covering Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis to provide racial identification when requesting credentials to be admitted to the Feb. 4 game.

Journalists for years have been asked to provide either a Social Security number or passport number and a photo for security checks for the game but have not been asked to specify their race, a field that is mandatory in the online press pass application form.

The NFL until this year conducted security checks on media members on its own, while the FBI performed checks on other credentialed personnel, such as vendors or stadium attendants, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Washington Post.

It’s a question that everybody today dances around, but it’s not because it’s something that folks are not used to giving, Wedick said. Maybe in this particular situation it’s something you didn’t have to give before, but we’ve become more security conscious and these venues are being more careful about making sure you are who you claim to be.

We’ll have that — what’s that song? ‘Getting To Know You’ — we’ll do that. We’ll get to know each other and we’ll go from there. He’s rehabbing an injury. I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to Ronnie about how far along he is so we’ll see.

Giants co-owner John Mara said the Giants definitely plan on Beckham being part of the team’s future. He said he wasn’t sure on a timetable for an extension, adding that Gettleman’s first priority will be to help the team find a new head coach. Gettleman echoed Mara’s sentiments about Beckham.

Ernie [Accorsi] taught me a long time ago: Don’t quit on talent, Gettleman said.

While that remark might sound strange coming from the man who rescinded Josh Norman’s franchise tag in Carolina, Gettleman understands the magnitude of the job ahead. He said fixing the Giants’ offensive line will be among his primary goals, and he’s not afraid to hurt some feelings when it comes to contract negotiations.

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Papa John’s owner blames sagging sales on NFL anthem protests and league leadership

If you ask the CEO of Papa John’s, there’s a straight line from his pizza company’s sagging third-quarter earnings through the NFL’s national anthem demonstrations to what he says is poor leadership at the top in the NFL.

This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago, John Schnatter said in prepared remarks (via Chris Otts of WDRB.com). Like many sponsors, we are in contact with the NFL and once the issue is resolved between the players and the owners, we are optimistic that the NFL’s best years are ahead. But good or bad, leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.

As Awful Announcing pointed out, this is not the first time Schnatter, a Republican Party donor, has weighed in on a political issue in the context of his company’s performance. In 2012, he warned that Papa John’s might have to raise prices on its pizza by 11 to 14 cents per pie to offset penalties he claimed would be imposed under the Affordable Care Act.

The company has a deal with the NFL as well as with 23 individual teams and the league has not responded to a request for comment. On social media, most replied that Papa John’s problem lies in its product.

The amount ESPN pays by itself isn’t all that far from what the other three networks pay combined �� somewhere around $3.5 billion per season �� and they all get the Super Bowl every couple of years. NBC comes out even better: It gets the Super Bowl plus the right to more or less craft its late-season schedule as it sees fit.

In any case, ESPN says it’s happy with its current NFL agreement. For an all-sports network with hours and hours of programming to fill �� plus an entire digital sports platform to maintain �� the right to broadcast NFL highlights alone is perhaps worth the high cost. Plus, even if the ratings are down, they’re still better than pretty much everything else on Monday night television.

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Supply, demand and the Super Bowl create the perfect storm for Minneapolis hotels

According to a Kayak.com search Monday afternoon, the closest hotel to U.S. Bank Field in Minneapolis with availability on Super Bowl weekend is a Days Inn in St. Paul about five miles from the stadium. TripAdvisor.com ranks it as No. 14 out of 16 St. Paul hotels, with user-submitted reviews mentioning a host of unsavory activities and a permanently closed restaurant.

Visit this particular Days Inn for a Friday-to-Monday stay one week later, and a room will run you $72 per night. But the price for lodging skyrockets with demand over Super Bowl weekend, even for a hotel that reviews suggest could be a little dicey. According to multiple Internet searches, a room from Friday to Monday of Super Bowl weekend at this particular establishment �� which one reviewer described as kind of stinky �� will cost a mere $899 per night.

Airbnb isn’t much better. According to AirbnbWatch, Twin Cities listings on the home-sharing site that usually would fetch between $50 to $100 per night are going for 10 times that price over Super Bowl weekend, oftentimes more.

Emergency struck in Week 2, but turned into the new normal when Keenum started 14 of Minnesota’s 16 regular-season games and excelled. It was a pleasant surprise that produced a memorable season for the Vikings, but also created this conundrum at the position.

It seems as though Bradford is at this point an afterthought (though that could change with the tides of free agency), boiling the decision down to Keenum and Bridgewater, with the latter saying he definitely sees himself as a starter somewhere in 2018. Each are far from guaranteed to pan out for Minnesota. The Vikings could even let all three walk and try their hand at acquiring Alex Smith, or signing Kirk Cousins.

Right now there are no priorities — it’s rest, reload, Keenum said of what’s important in the coming weeks for him. Take some time away and enjoy it with my family, and we’ll cross those roads when we get there.

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Bengals fans pledge over $5K to Blake Bortles’ charity

Shredding the Steelers has earned Blake Bortles a new pocket of supporters — in Cincinnati.

In the wake of Jacksonville’s 45-42 playoff win over Pittsburgh, Bengals fans have come out of the woodwork to thank the Jaguars quarterback by donating to the Blake Bortles Foundation, per ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco.

Who know what this could lead to? If Bortles and the Jaguars take out the high-and-mighty Patriots on Sunday, Bengals fans won’t be the only ones chiming in. Followers of the Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Panthers, Bears, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Rams, Chargers, Dolphins, Vikings, Saints, Giants, Jets, Raiders, Eagles, Steelers, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Titans and Redskins will know just how to say thanks. Alright, maybe not the Steelers.

You hear it from guys like Capela, Durant said. Usually he’s catching the ball and laying it up from CP [Chris Paul] or James Harden. His job is not as hard. When your job is that hard, you know you can’t just come out there and say s— like that. I don’t expect that from CP and James and [Trevor] Ariza and the rest of the guys like that because they know how hard it is to come out and do that every night. Capela, catch and dunk every night. It’s pretty easy for him.

Should Houston (32-12) and Golden State (37-10) finish the regular season with identical records, the Rockets will be granted the higher seed and have home-court advantage. Houston took two of the three contests on the season.

Houston’s revamped roster featuring Paul, Luc Mbah a Moute and PJ Tucker, partnered with the franchise player in Harden, has NBA fans thinking it might be an interesting series should these two squads face each other in the playoffs.

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Adrian Peterson hits the NFL free agency market as Vikings decline $18 million option

The Minnesota Vikings will let Adrian Peterson test the free agent market, announcing Tuesday that they will not pick up the option on his contract for the upcoming season. However, the running back said that the door is still open to find some common ground with the team.

Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization, General Manager Rick Spielman said in a statement issued by the team. We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open while determining what is best for both parties moving forward.

Peterson has said that he would like to stay in Minnesota, but told ESPN that he would consider the Houston Texans, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers if he became a free agent. His availability creates instant conversation in other places, like Dallas, where the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would like to pair him with Ezekiel Elliott.

If Adrian Peterson was free, source said #Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would pursue him to pair with Zeke Elliott. He’ll be free on 3/9

The league declined to comment on any communications between Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, and the Redskins after the game about the call.

The call pushed the Redskins out of field-goal range on their final drive of the fourth quarter and resulted in a 10-second runoff, a combination that doomed a last-ditch effort to win in regulation. They lost, 34-31, in overtime after leading 31-16 in the fourth quarter.

A judgment call such as that is not subject to instant replay scrutiny during a game and cannot be reversed, under the NFL’s rules governing the use of replay. But officials are graded and judged by the league on the accuracy of the calls they make and future assignments can be affected.

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Injuries: DeMarco Murray a long shot to play Sunday

While it might bring him some midsection pain, the rest of Jacksonville can breathe easy — Cam Robinson will play in the playoffs.

Here are other injuries we’re monitoring Monday:

1. Oakland Raiders guard Vadal Alexander left in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night to be evaluated for a concussion and didn’t return.

6. Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray is considered a long shot to play Sunday against the Jaguars because of an apparent LCL sprain, according to Rapoport.

7. Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said the team will have a better idea of running back Melvin Gordon’s availability in the coming days. Gordon suffered an ankle injury during the fourth quarter Sunday and did not return versus the New York Jets.

8. Buffalo Bills running back Travaris Cadet is out for the season with a dislocated ankle and will have surgery Wednesday morning, Rapoport reported.

If so, the NFL waves farewell to one of its finest figures. With a career spanning 59 years as a Hall of Fame player and coach, LeBeau still ranks 10th all-time in interceptions following a stellar 14-year run as a defensive back with the Lions.

Beginning his coaching career in 1973, LeBeau served as a long-time coordinator with the Bengals (1984-1999) before taking over as Cincinnati’s head coach from 2000-2002. From there, he won a pair of Super Bowls as Pittsburgh’s masterful defensive play-caller (2004-2014) before spending the past three seasons with Tennessee.

As the innovator of the zone blitz defense, LeBeau has authored some of the league’s nastiest and unpredictable schemes. Quarterbacks won’t miss him, but if this is truly the end, LeBeau’s stamp on the game is enduring.

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