By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns
Wednesday marked another day where the focus was on the high left ankle sprain of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
He did not participate in practice but the feeling from people around the team is that he will play.
Gronkowski told reporters at Wednesday’s media session that he’s getting better each day. The Pats are looking at a specialized cleat for their outstanding tight end to wear.
One of the things that the NFL takes very seriously during Super Bowl week is media availability, and that was evident on Wednesday. Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora missed the scheduled session with reporters and was fined $20,000.
The officials for Super Bowl XLVI have been named and John Parry will be the referee. It will be Parry’s second Super Bowl and first as a referee.
SUPER BOWL XLVI OFFICIALS
|Head Linesman||24||Tom Stabile||17||9|
|Line Judge||108||Gary Arthur||15||11|
|Field Judge||60||Gary Cavaletto||9||6|
|Side Judge||125||Laird Hayes||17||15|
|Back Judge||112||Tony Steratore||12||9|
Parry was the side judge in Super Bowl XLI before being promoted to referee in 2007. Larry Nemmers will be the replay assistant while Lou Nazzaro will serve as video operator. The NFL’s officiating program’s evaluation system calls for the highest-rated eligible officials at each position to earn the right to work a Super Bowl. One must have at least five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments in order to officiate in a Super Bowl.
The third annual “Madden Protectors Award,” given to the NFL’s best offensive line, was awarded to Saints linemen Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Zach Strief, Brian De La Puente and Jermon Bushrod.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was named the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year while Eagles running back LeSean McCoy picked up FedEx Ground NFL player of the Year honors.
A PARTY FOR A GOOD CAUSE
This Saturday, one of the most important events during Super Bowl week takes place. “Taste Of The NFL” is an organization that raises money to help kick hunger in the United States.
The annual “Party With A Purpose” during Super Bowl week has raised over $11 million in support of food banks. Chefs and players representing all 32 NFL teams are on hand on the eve of the biggest game on the planet to help feed the 37 million Americans who have turned to their local food banks for help.
I caught up with the organization’s founder, Wayne Kostroski…
Former running back Freeman McNeil will be the Jets’ representative on Saturday night while Bill Ard, a guard on the Giants’ Super Bowl XXI club, will be Big Blue’s representative. For more info on “Taste Of The NFL,” go to www.tasteofthenfl.com.
AROUND THE SUPER CITY
Business really seemed to pick up here in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Radio row was busier than it had been on Monday and Tuesday. Fans from out of town are starting to arrive and the city is doing a great job of keeping everyone busy.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
On Thursday, coaches and players will meet the media once again. It will be the final time that the players and assistant coaches will speak to reporters. Head coaches Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin will address reporters for the final time on Friday.
Also on Thursday, there will be a press conference to promote Sunday’s halftime show featuring Madonna.
Perhaps Madonna will address the rumors that Nicki Minaj and M.I.A will be joining Madonna on stage.
I don’t know what that means.
That’s all for now! Check back tomorrow for more!
What’s your prediction for Giants-Pats? Sound off below!