Receivers Reed, Carter, Brown left out of Hall again

INDIANAPOLIS — Andre Reed had 951 catches during his 16-year NFL career, but he still can’t catch a break when it comes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Reed, along with fellow wide receivers Cris Carter and Tim Brown, all were on the outside looking in when the 2012 Hall of Fame class was announced Saturday at the JW Marriott.

Bills coach Marv Levy was outside the ballroom where the announcement was made, still stumping for a personal favorite.

“I believe Andre Reed belongs in the Hall of Fame,” said Levy, 86. “Now that’s one voice speaking, but I know his teammates would all say it very strongly. I don’t believe there’s ever been anyone better at yards after catch than Andre. And as a self-effacing, modest, hard-working, always-prepared individual that makes me root for him even more.”

Former Chargers great Dan Fouts made it to the Hall of Fame with the help of his receivers, and he still believes all three of the snubbed pass-catchers eventually will be fitted for a gold jacket.

“I think they are all deserving,” he said, “and I think they’ll all get in at some point.”

When Reed retired, he was third on the NFL’s receiving-yards list, though he has dropped to 13th in the 11 seasons since he last retired. I asked Levy if he believes Reed is hurting after missing the cut again.

“No, he’s hurting, darn right,” said Levy, who reached four consecutive Super Bowls with Reed’s help. “He won’t lash out, but he thought he was closer this year than ever.

“I keep pulling for him. OK, we lost one, you don’t just lie down and whimper and quit,” he said. “Keep going, and I’ll keep promoting for him.”

— Dan Hanzus

Levy ‘surprised’ Super Bowl foil Parcells missed HOF cut

INDIANAPOLIS — Marv Levy received an up-close look at Bill Parcells in what might have been the latter’s finest coaching moment.

It was Super Bowl XXV, the first of four consecutive empty title-game trips for Levy’s Bills in the early 1990s. The Bills and their high-powered offense figured to be too much for the Giants, but Parcells’ ball-control scheme kept Jim Kelly & Co. off the field for 40 of the 60 minutes.

The Giants won 20-19, giving Parcells his second and final ring. Many believed the coach would be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, but he missed the cut of the final five.

“I was surprised 100 times in there, but so was everybody else, to tell you the truth, about a lot of things,” Levy said in a hallway of the JW Marriott, where the vote was announced. “With Parcells, I did say to my wife, ‘Wow, Bill didn’t make it.’ Yeah, it surprised me.”

The 2012 Hall of Fame class includes Curtis Martin, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf, Dermontti Dawson and senior selection Jack Butler.

— Dan Hanzus

Celebrity Beach Bowl merely a stage for Snoop Dogg

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s cold and wet outside, but the conditions inside the big white bubble at Victory Field are ideal for the sixth annual DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl.

A large crowd has turned out to see Team Spike TV take on Team Palladia on more than 1 million pounds of freshly poured sand. I could be at Lucas Oil Stadium pounding the pavement for a fresh angle on the Super Bowl, but it just seemed like a better idea to be at a place where Joe Montana could potentially throw a touchdown pass to Neil Patrick Harris.

SI swimsuit model Kate Upton was wholly effective despite zero catches. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


After the media is herded to the sideline, I’m met by the glory of SI swimsuit models Kate Upton and Chrissy Teigen embracing at midfield. That bright start is tempered a bit when Montana — the captain of Team Spike TV — is spotted wearing No. 34. Spike needs to fire its equipment manager.

As NPH warms up near the sideline, a fan calls out, “Doogie!” I’m sure he’s not sick of hearing that. Meanwhile,  Maria Menounos — the Grace Kelly of entertainment journalism — is in the house. She’s the best.

As kickoff approaches, I notice the jocks and celebs have settled into separate cliques. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that Barry Sanders and the girl from “The Vampire Diaries” don’t have a lot of common ground.

I should note that Cam Newton is the coach of Team Spike and Matthew Stafford is leading Team Palladia. In Newton’s case, this will mean running up and down the field yelling like a madman. He’s clearly enjoying himself. Stafford looks like he went out hard last night and needs a nap. Then again, that’s how Stafford always kind of looks, right?

The Celebrity Beach Bowl is the type of event that invites randomness, but it’s still odd to see Peyton Manning (and father Archie) come out for the coin toss. Peyton’s toss was accurate but seemed to lack zip. Does this mean something?


The game is broken into two 20-minute halves. Led by Warren Moon,  Spike TV gets the ball first and marches right down the field. Snoop Dogg is lined up wide and obviously has come to win. The guy is taking this game seriously. He’s also moving well for a 40-year-old. He’s like a faster version of Plaxico Burress.

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks earns cheers when she makes a nifty open-field tackle of Deion Sanders. She probably learned this from her dad, former Giants CB Phillippi Sparks.

Sanders gets his revenge. He hauls in a long touchdown pass to put Palladia on the board. After Snoop makes a catch to convert the two-point conversation (worth one point here), he performs an X-rated dance with the ball, shocking the crowd and causing the big screen operator to cut away in a panic.

Later, Snoop pulls in a long touchdown pass from Moon — despite the house lights going down — to extend Palladia’s lead to 21-7. In other first-half news, hulking “True Blood” star Joe Manganiello pancaked some poor sap for no reason, Upton has been been completely neutralized and David Arquette cannot catch.

DJ Pauly D has reached the stage where he no longer resembles a human. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


After a blazing halftime set by the positively orange DJ Pauly D, Montana’s struggles continue when he opens the half with an incompletion. It appears Palladia is confusing the Hall of Famer with a mix of man and zone coverage schemes. Just kidding.

Montana gets his team back in the game with a touchdown pass to Terrell Owens, who finally has a public workout that people actually attend. After scoring, T.O. takes a Sharpie out of his sock, signs the ball and tosses it to a fan. If you listen closely, you can hear Bruce Springsteen‘s “Glory Days” playing in the background.

I notice that any time one female pulls the flag of another female, they automatically hug and laugh. It’s like a reverse “Mean Girls.” Meanwhile, Artie Lange replaces Montana and promptly throws an interception. Brilliant strategy by Newton. Lange isn’t seen again.

Moon throws his fourth TD pass minutes later, and the rout is on. When Snoop scores his second touchdown of the game, the big screen cuts to a generic graphic for fear of another inappropriate display.

After Palladia wraps up a 34-21 win, Snoop is named MVP and receives a Gatorade shower for his efforts. I ask if his lewd TD dance was planned.

“That was on the spot,” the Doggfather says. “That one’s called ‘Do It To Me.’ I made that up.”

They should play this game every day.

— Dan Hanzus

Live blog: All the glitz and glamour of NFL Honors

Panthers QB Cam Newton attends NFL Honors, where he won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. (Todd Rosenberg/NFL)’s Marc Sessler was on the red carpet at Indianapolis’ Murat Theatre for NFL Honors, which aired Saturday night on NBC. Here are his live dispatches from the event:

5:39 p.m. ET: It’s winding down here on the red carpet, and our final big sighting is none other than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who’s talking with NFL Network’s Melissa Stark. Quite a night for Goodell, who disappears behind a curtain just in time for NFL Honors to begin.

5:36 p.m. ET: Lenny Kravitz is here, and he’s certainly one of — DROP EVERYTHING: Tim Tebow showed up. Energy burst. Heads turning. People stepping on toes to get a peek. Tebow glides up to the NFL Network set for a chat with Rich Eisen.

5:28 p.m. ET: It’s quarterback time: Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Carolina’s own Superman: Cam Newton.

5:22 p.m. ET: Jim Schwartz is here and doing a better jobs shaking hands with people in Jim Harbaugh‘s absence.

5:20 p.m. ET: Phil Simms and DeSean Jackson enter, proving that Eagles and Giants can get along, at least for a night such as this.

5:17 p.m. ET: They’re blowing by fast and furious: A.J. Green, Christian Ponder, and here comes Jon Hamm. We have grown women sweating, giggling, melting down as he walks by, totally sure of himself. Mad Men’s Don Draper just caused total havoc down here at the edge of the red carpet. Indy has morphed into a Los Angeles fever dream.

5:10 p.m. ET: Antonio Gates walks by as Jerry Rice re-emerges for a round of interviews.

5:05 p.m. ET: Troy Aikman walks by, looking like a man who still could suit up and wreck a defense.

5:02 p.m. ET: Two of the game’s finest runners — Matt Forte and Arian Foster — roll by in rapid-fire succession. Foster is wearing a killer fedora.

5 p.m. ET: Best suit of the night: Brandon Marshall in pink.

4:58 p.m. ET: Major stir as Joe Namath and Don Shula come walking through. Namath stops by to chat with these very lucky kids in front of me and flashes his Super Bowl ring. Now Brandon Marshall is chatting with these youngsters. Luckiest. Children. On. Earth.

4:54 p.m. ET: Matt Hasselbeck, Von Miller, Jason Witten — and Joe Montana, pulled away directly to the Crown Room, where an exclusive subgroup of NFL legends will gather before the show kicks off.

4:51 p.m. ET: One young female volunteer is assigned to guide Joe Montana through the entrance to the lobby. The male volunteer next to her is mildly jealous.

4:47 p.m. ET: Here’s comes Steven Jackson, and those who don’t recognize him are floored to find out he’s a running back. The man is a vast human who must have sown two sport coats together for this thing. LeSean McCoy: smaller.

4:43 p.m. ET: Local volunteers are most excited about the arrival of Colts center Jeff Saturday. They were less enthusiastic about Rex Ryan, who’s now holding court inside.

4:38 p.m. ET: It’s suddenly a swarm of giant men on the red carpet: Deion Sanders (hustling past), Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis, who tells Mark Shapiro‘s sons: “You guys dressed sharp tonight.”

4:34 p.m. ET: Jerry Rice finally escapes the crush of cameramen and photographers to walk by in a suit that costs more than a mid-tier used car.

4:32 p.m. ET: Major props to the volunteer staff. Most tell me they’ve never worked an event like this, but they’re flawless in their work and uncowed by the star power in the room.

4:31 p.m. ET: Matt Birk arrives, and Eliza wheels him away. It’s picking up now, and the more generous stars are stopping to take photos and speak with reporters. As this is being written, Jerry Rice rolls on by. Football fan heaven unleashed.

4:29 p.m. ET: Terrell Suggs hits the scene. Ball So Hard University graduate looks like a walking doorway.

4:26 p.m. ET: Just a few feet away, Mark Shapiro‘s young sons have been given a prime spot along the red carpet to watch the madness. They giggle and keep asking where Peyton Manning is. One even asks about Archie Manning. Guess they’re mini football historians.

4:24 p.m. ET: Jaguars owner Shad Khan is one of the first to arrive, waving to the cameras and strolling into the lobby minus too much hubbub.

4:23 p.m. ET: I speak to a local volunteer, one of many assigned to serve as guides for the stars tonight. This young woman, Eliza, is assigned to Matt Birk and tells me she’s been asked to keep tabs on him all night.

4:18 p.m. ET: Some of the press are mistaking well-dressed civilians for celebs. One young woman cruises through in heels and a high-octane dress (don’t ask me the designer). “Kate Mara,” someone whispers. It’s not Kate Mara. Not even close. But everyone’s pulling it off tonight.

4:07 p.m. ET: We’re stationed beside a fleet of bouncers who could double as NFL down linemen. Besides keeping tabs on an antsy press corps, one bends down to pick up a ballpoint pen off the floor. “Can’t have Cam Newton tripping over this,” one says under his breath. Another tells me that, at an event like this, the No. 1 thing you look for are uninvited guests trying to sneak in. “But this place is tight,” he promises.

4:01 p.m. ET: Without a game to prepare for Sunday, a handful of NFL coaches, including Rex Ryan and Sean Payton, are on the guest list. Dolphins legend Don Shula is scheduled to be here, too.

3:55 p.m. ET: Besides our gallant host, Alec Baldwin, other celebrities on tap to roll through: William Baldwin (nepotism is king), Jimmy Fallon, Jon Hamm (aka Don Draper), Taylor Lautner and Katy Perry (be on alert, Tim Tebow).

3:52 p.m. ET: Just some of the NFL stars scheduled to appear tonight include Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, Clay Matthews, Jerry Rice, Aaron Rodgers, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Kurt Warner and Steve Young.

3:47 p.m. ET: The early discussion here along the red carpet: side bets about who will show up first. One photographer goes with Ray Lewis, but the talent list says the Ravens’ star linebacker will not be here tonight.

3:37 p.m. ET: We’ve just arrived. The lobby is buzzing, and the red carpet — shielded from the elements under a tent — is filling up with press. Not too much longer now before a steady stream of A-listers and NFL stars turn this place into a glorious carnival. NFL Honors is here.

Giants’ website announces Super Bowl champs … on Saturday

An image proclaiming the Giants as Super Bowl champions appeared on the team's official website.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Giants haven’t been short on confidence or swagger this week.

This image soon appeared on the Giants' website after the earlier publishing error.

Unlike the close-lipped Patriots, the Giants have chirped and chirped leading up to Super Bowl XLVI. Chris Canty told New Yorkers to get ready for a parade next Tuesday. Antrel Rolle said the Giants didn’t come to Indy expecting to lose.

Then on Saturday, someone at accidentally posted an image announcing the team as the Super Bowl XLVI champion. There was a picture of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Eli Manning and an ad for official Super Bowl champs gear. It looked quite nice, actually, just not on the day before the big game.

The page quickly was taken down and replaced with a “page not found” screen, which links you back to the regular home page.

But thanks to screen grabs from Comcast SportsNet New England, the pics will live forever — and probably in the Patriots’ locker room.

It’s unclear if Tom Brady or Bill Belichick were checking out on Saturday, but someone over at certainly was and alerted New Englanders.

— David Ely

What makes for a warmer welcome than a handmade scarf?

INDIANAPOLIS — Wanting to be good hosts in their first Super Bowl, the people from this cold-weather, Midwestern town worked hard to do something unique — create handmade scarves to keep visiting volunteers warm.

So the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee enlisted the help of people from 45 states and four countries to finish the Super Scarves Project.

“It’s a sign of Hoosier hospitality,” said Kimberly Harms, director of public and media relations for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “It was intended to be a warm greeting from a cold-weather state to the volunteers, to say ‘thank you’ for coming and volunteering at the Super Bowl, and was (also) for those who physically couldn’t volunteer to have an opportunity to get involved.”

The knitters’ initial goal was to create 8,000 scarves, in the Colts’ colors of blue and white, in time for Super Bowl week. They reached that mark and nearly doubled it, with more than 13,000 scarves being hand-knit by a wide variety of people.

“We had everything from men who never knitted before (but) wanted to be a part of it, to a young girl recovering from ACL surgery, to older women who are widows and were looking for something to get involved in and pass the time,” Harms said. “There was one woman who was in a coma with a brain aneurysm and had four strokes. When she came out of the coma, she had lost a lot of mobility and ended up learning to knit with her 85-year-old mother, who was a breast cancer survivor. She developed the dexterity in her fingers and created a Super Scarf.”

Even the dinosaur outside the Children’s Museum is sporting a blue-and-white scarf. His, however, is much larger than the regular-sized ones worn by volunteers, measuring 90 feet in length.

“I’m incredibly humbled, and I am just a very, very small part of spreading the news and sharing the stories of the people who spent hours and hours, and spent their own money for the yarn, to create the Super Scarves,” Harms said. She added that it makes her sound “like a little girl at Christmas, but I get all tingly inside when I hear people saying, ‘Cool. I love your scarf. Where’d you get yours from?’ It’s so fun, and people get so excited.”

— Matt Florjancic, Special to

Master chef Besh links NFL stars to culinary delights

INDIANAPOLIS — Celebrated chef John Besh already is doing advance work for next year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans, which has the makings of an epic doozy.

But before he departed Indianapolis and this year’s Super Bowl, Besh shared a story about a killer meal he had at St. Elmo Steak House, where he dined in the same room with Drew Brees, Archie Manning and a host of Big Easy luminaries. That led us to play a little word-association game involving the Patriots, the Giants and some of the NFL’s biggest stars. dropped a name. Chef Besh fired back with the first morsel that came to mind.

Peyton Manning: Po’boy

Eli Manning: Steak sandwich

Tom Brady: Filet mignon

Brees: Anything with seafood

Rich Eisen: Steak and potatoes

Roger Goodell: A very refined meal, three courses or more

— Marc Sessler

Soon, it will be New Orleans’ turn to be Super again

INDIANAPOLIS — It has been 10 years since New Orleans last hosted a Super Bowl. And people in Crescent City can’t wait for the drought to end next season, when the title game will come to town for the 10th time.

Representatives from the city, the state of Louisiana and the Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee have been in Indianapolis all week to give people a preview of the game and culture. From a media guide full of Southern-style recipes to Mardi Gras beads, fleur-de-lis pins and samples of king cake at the Super Bowl media center, one thing is clear: New Orleans won’t have any trouble throwing a Super Bowl party.

“This is going to be probably the most important party that New Orleans has thrown ever,” said chef John Besh, a native of New Orleans. “I think it will be that turning point, letting the world know that we’re in better shape than we were before. We’ve rebuilt smarter and better, righting some of the wrongs of the past and creating a much more sustainable city and a better city.”

New Orleans was in the running to host earlier Super Bowls, but those plans were altered when Hurricane Katrina decimated the city Aug. 29, 2005, causing more than $81 billion worth of damage. The Superdome, home to the Saints (and, next year, Super Bowl XLVII), served as a refuge for evacuees, but with no running water and holes in the ceiling, it needed massive repairs.

“We’re back, and we want everyone to know that Katrina’s our past,” said Allison Baznik, media and public relations coordinator for the Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee. “It’s not who we are, and we have really done a good job of rebuilding the city, and I think it’s better than it’s ever been.”

According to Besh, the quadrant of the city where the Superdome, Champions Square and the new Hyatt Hotel stand “is just on fire” with redevelopment. It’s a point of pride for Besh, who owns several restaurants in the area and was recognized by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” in 1999.

“The people that stayed there after the storm to rebuild now have this new civic awareness, where we care,” Besh said. “We are a lot less tolerant of some of the problems we’ve had in the past. We own that city, and so that’s the big change, the people taking more pride in the city, and we can’t wait to show the world just how good we are.

“The icing on the cake would be getting the Saints there to have home-field advantage in the Super Bowl. It’s like 25 Mardi Gras all wrapped into one.”

— Matt Florjancic, Special to

Countdown to the Super Bowl: 1 day

We are now one day from the Super Bowl. Can you feel it? In honor of being a day away, we should pay homage to Super Bowl I and one of the most unforgettable stories in Super Bowl history. Forget Bart Starr, who was selected the most valuable player of the inaugural Super Bowl (which wasn’t even called the Super Bowl at the time).

No, we are talking about the legend of Max McGee.

The hard-partying McGee was at the end of his career in 1966. He had only four receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown for the 12-2 Packers, who advanced to play the Chiefs in Los Angeles.

Assuming he wouldn’t play much against Kansas City, and being in one of his favorite party towns, McGee figured he’d pull the all-night bender to end all benders. Packers coach Vince Lombardi warned McGee about sticking to curfew, but he still snuck out, slipping back in time to catch the team bus to the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Sweating, dizzy and fighting blurry vision, McGee told starter Boyd Dowler, “I hope you don’t get hurt. I’m not in very good shape.”

Do you need to be told what happened next? Dowler went down, and McGee likely passed a brick when Lombardi called for him to get into the game.

Borrowing a lineman’s helmet — McGee had left his in the locker room —  he scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history on a 37-yard reception from Starr.

McGee finished the game with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns. As McGee once said, with the game on the line, you can have the milk-drinkers. Give me the whiskey-drinkers.

Well, this one is for Max, the true MVP of Super Bowl I.

Be sure to Tweet along with Rank during Super Bowl XLVI @adamrank.

No shortage of fun at record-breaking NFL Experience

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Play 60 Challenge has its own downtown zip code at massive NFL Experience, and there’s no shortage of young football fans jumping at the chance to catch passes from the league’s stars. Heck, NFL Experience as a whole already has broken its attendance record this year, with more than 200,000 people attending — and one day still left.

When I swung by the field Friday night at the Indiana Convention Center, I saw Jets WR Plaxico Burress playing with 20 or so kids, repeatedly running a hyperkinetic 2-minute drill. Cardinals RB Beanie Wells also was at the event, even though he was on crutches after his recent knee surgery.

Launched in 2007, NFL Play 60 is a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes daily. Kids learn some basic football skills at NFL Experience, then participate in a football game with NFL players on similar turf found at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Do the players become angry when one of their perfect spiral clanks off a pair of young hands and falls to the turf?

“They get competitive, but we only see it in a good way,” said Samantha Rapoport, senior manager of USA Football. “It never gets overly competitive, but the guys take it seriously.”

— Dan Hanzus

Burress: Sanchez can improve; Manning won’t be a Jet

INDIANAPOLIS — Plaxico Burress tossed a gorgeous touchdown pass to a 10-year-old wideout and ambled off the field at Friday’s NFL Play 60 event inside the Indiana Convention Center.

Beyond the end zone, surrounded by innocent young ones, the receiver talked about the state of the Jets in the wake of reports painting New York’s locker room as a crumbling disaster zone.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Burress said. “You know, I think the Jets will rebound. They’ll make some moves. Mike Tannenbaum is one of the best GMs in all of football. They’ll make the decisions to get the right people and get that train on the right track, and I think they’ll be just fine.”

I asked Burress if Mark Sanchez, criticized from within the locker room for his shaky play down the stretch, can evolve into a franchise quarterback for the Jets.

“Mark can play better,” Burress said. “You know, I know him. Going into this offseason coming up, those quarterbacks and receivers have the opportunity to work together. I know that he doesn’t like the way that he went out and the way that he played, and I’m positive that he’ll work hard in the offseason. He’ll get better as a quarterback, no doubt about it.”

The Convention Center is flooded with fans bouncing around in Peyton Manning jerseys, so I asked Burress how he’d feel about the Jets going after the star passer if he hit the open market.

“Peyton Manning is the best quarterback ever to play this game. Period. Right now. And, you know, Tom Brady — they’re 1A and 1B,” Burress said. “So, I don’t know what will happen. I think he’ll retire as an Indianapolis Colt, that’s just my personal feeling. … I think he’ll play elite football for another five, six years, whatever it may be, and he’ll retire an Indianapolis Colt.”

— Marc Sessler

Lucky pies in the sky — then in the Giants’ stomachs

INDIANAPOLIS — Coach Tom Coughlin is known for his superstitions, but he’s not alone on that in the Giants’ facility.

Giants OL Chris Snee shows off a slice of Umberto

In keeping a tradition alive, Rich Salgado — who sells insurance to more than 300 NFL players and is a lifelong Giants fan — personally arranged for the team to have 12 pizzas delivered from Umberto’s in New Hyde Park, N.Y., on Friday to the team’s practice field at the University of Indianapolis.

Salgado lives on Long Island and began bringing pizza from his favorite shop to Michael Strahan on Fridays back in 2007. Guys noticed, and the orders grew. This year, Salgado, a former University of Maryland lineman himself, brought about a half-dozen pies every week, one for DE Justin Tuck, the rest for offensive linemen Chris Snee and David Diehl to hand out to teammates.

This week, with the team away, things were slightly more complicated.

Salgado arranged for a dozen pizzas to make the trip to Indy, and they left Umberto’s on Long Island at 9:30 a.m. Friday. A buddy of Salgado’s is a sheriff, so the goods received a “police escort” to LaGuardia Airport in Queens and were ushered through security in a special heated box. TSA agents then loaded the pizza on to a Delta flight bound for Indy, with another set of TSA agents waiting there to take the pies off the plane and hand them off to Salgado, who reached the airport at 12:30 p.m. to pick them up.

From there, Salgado drove the pizza from the airport to the team’s practice site, kind of like he would go on a normal Friday from New Hyde Park to East Rutherford, N.J., and the players received their grub at around 3 p.m., after practice.

Over the last two weeks, the Giants have adhered as strictly as possible to the schedule they used in Arizona for Super Bowl XLII. And the procurement of that pizza just goes to show you there aren’t many lengths Big Blue won’t go to during Super Bowl week.

— Albert Breer

‘Madden NFL 2012’ predicts Super Bowl XLVI winner

INDIANAPOLIS — already has released predictions for Super Bowl XLVI, complete with takes from our analysts and a variety of current and former NFL players. But there’s something irresistible about watching the virtual versions of Tom Brady and Eli Manning go blow-for-blow at an animated Lucas Oil Stadium.

Our friends at EA Sports simulated Sunday’s game on “Madden NFL 2012,” and as many have predicted, the game was tight.

If the video is an indication of what is to come, it looks like Brady and Manning both are in for big games, and it once again will come down to a final drive late in the fourth quarter.

So who came out on top? You’ll have to watch the video for that answer.

— David Ely

Sandler remains hopeful for beloved Jets

INDIANAPOLIS — Patriots fans can take Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Jets fans are happy to have Adam Sandler.

Sandler looks like a Jets fan. If you put him in a hat and dropped him off at a Meadowlands tailgate, many would never suspect he’s one of the most bankable Hollywood stars in the history of the business.

Adam Sandler makes an appearance on Radio Row on Friday. (Alix Drawec/NFL)

When I got a couple of minutes with him Friday on Radio Row, I asked if he could imagine the Jets ever actually being the focal point of this type of scene. The Jets have been to one Super Bowl, way back in 1969.

Before there was a Radio Row. Hell, it was before there was “The Brady Bunch.”

“You know what’s great?  The last couple of years, you felt it get closer and closer,” Sandler said. “And, in fact, there was so much pressure on them this year that it was supposed to happen it was bananas.”

Unlike most Jets fans, Sandler remains optimistic.

“You can kind of taste it right now, and we had a little setback this year, but hopefully, we get rolling again,” he said. “It would be good, people would be happy for the Jets. It’s one of those teams that struggled for so long that you do get like, ‘All right, good for the Jets.’ They’re not a nationally hated team quite yet.”

Sandler was only 2 when Joe Namath jogged off the field at the Orange Bowl with his finger pointing skyward, but he says it still counts as a title for him.

“I felt it.”

— Dan Hanzus

Vanilla Ice and his nine lives of fame

INDIANAPOLIS — Vanilla Ice is at the Super Bowl.

Vanilla Ice's career has been all overthe map since he hit No. 1 in 1990 with"Ice Ice Baby." (Alix Drawec/NFL)

That Vanilla Ice is anywhere should be considered something of an accomplishment. Ice — real name Rob Van Winkle — was a pop-culture sensation 22 years ago … and a pop-culture laughingstock not long after that.

And yet here he is, promoting his role in an Adam Sandler movie, “That’s My Boy,” at the site of the world’s biggest sporting event.

You’ve come a long way (Ice Ice) Baby. But how?

“Nothing can stop me,” he said. “You take life like this. Simple phrases. Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery. You get in where you fit in, you enjoy life, man. You put a smile on your face, and that karma will come back to you.”

Vanilla Ice is a sloganeering orb of positive light, but I remind him this wasn’t always the case. I cite his infamous appearance on the 1999 MTV special, “25 Lame,” in which he destroys a set after realizing his role on the show was to be mocked in person by a collection of comedians that included Jon Stewart and Denis Leary.

“You got to go through the trenches to understand and appreciate the good times,” said Ice, now 44 years old and the star of a popular home improvement show on DIY Network. “I’ve had a weekend that’s lasted a few years. … I wouldn’t really wish my life on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t trade it with anybody right now.”

I have to ask him about Madonna, whom Ice dated in the early 90s. I wondered if there would be a conversation if the elevator doors opened and the two were face to face … an entirely plausible scenario with both in Indianapolis this weekend.

“Of course there’s a conversation,” he said. “She’s fantastic, she’s a legend. We went out for a couple of years, and, you know, we just went our own ways.”

“It didn’t end well, but that doesn’t mean you hold grudges and you carry that, what, 17 years, 18 years?” he said. “I’m sure she’d be just as happy for me as I am for her.”

And that was a story about Vanilla Ice at the Super Bowl.

— Dan Hanzus

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