> Our Dave Boling wrote about what this birthday means to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano turned 53 Wednesday. His 52nd birthday was spent at Simon Cancer Center in downtown Indianapolis, where chemotherapy treatment began to counter his diagnosis of acute promyelocytic leukemia. From Boling:
While fighting the draining effects of the treatment that sometimes made him so weak he’d sleep up to 20 hours a day, Pagano kept up with the team via his laptop, and watched the daily videos of practices.
Dedicating the season to Pagano, the Colts, behind rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, bounced back from a 2-14 season in 2011 for a 9-3 record under Arians. Pagano made an emotional return for the final regular-season game and coached the Colts in their playoff appearance.
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“It was a very emotional process,” Luck said Wednesday. “(It) put a lot of things into perspective. There were some great things that happened last year, but the most important was him coming back to coach. It was emotional – draining at times – but for Coach Pagano to be healthy was the best thing about last year.”
> I wrote about the return of Bruce Irvin to the Seahawks.
> This is cool. Sound FX from LB Brian Cushing of the Texans. He's not quite Walter White off the rails, but he decides to start his day by taunting Marshawn Lynch for wearing a visor. They have another cordial conversation later.
> This is cool, too. Here's a look at "trash-talking cornerbacks" from NFL Films. Guess who is lead batter? But, they take a longer look at Sherman who is much more than merely a gameday yapper.
> Sports Illustrated's Don Banks says enough is enough. It's going to be a Broncos vs. Seahawks Super Bowl. From Banks:
What’s that? Have you not been paying attention? Of course it’s going to be Denver versus Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII. Duh. That Super pairing has been obvious for days now, ever since both the Broncos and Seahawks posted perfect 4-0 Septembers and proved in their own separate way that no opponent will be able to block their path to the big party in the Garden State.
> Also at SI, they take a look at the season at the quarter poll. Only one mention of the Seahawks.
> The discussion around concussions in the NFL, and football in general, continues to be an interesting one. In one of the most violent organized activities in the country, it's expected that tough guys participate and fill their role as such. The flipside is head trauma has affected thousands of NFL players. Sports Illustrated and ESPN published an excerpt from a new book called, "League of Denial" by two well-known investigative reporters. Here's a part about the doctor former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue hired, Elliot Pellman, to head the "Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee":
Pellman's views on concussions were perfectly aligned with NFL doctrine at the time. In 1994 he told SI that "concussions are part of the profession, an occupational risk." Former players described how Pellman, as the Jets' doctor, often allowed concussed athletes back on the field. One running joke on the team involved three words -- Red Brick Broadway -- that Pellman had players recite to determine if they were able to play after a concussion. According to Kevin Mawae, who played center for the Jets for eight seasons, "The three words were always the same. He would leave you and come back before the next series, and you'd go, 'Red Brick Broadway. I'm ready to go.' "
Once, Mawae said, he took a knee to the head and blacked out. "Next thing I know I'm laying prostrate on the ground," he said. After performing a "systems check," Pellman and the Jets' medical staff allowed Mawae to return for the next series, but the player says "my teammates were telling me that I was making calls that weren't even in our playbook."