Super Bowl XLV News Headlines

In case you missed the media coverage from the past two weeks, below are headlines linking to stories surrounding Super Bowl XLV. Read the description for each story and then click on the link for the full text.

Dorsett: Big Ben “lucky” to still be a Steeler
Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed amidst all the Super Bowl hype is the fact that Ben Roethlisberger has come a long way since his offseason troubles. It seems like decades ago that Big Ben missed the first four games of the season after being suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for his off-field behavior. And as Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett pointed out to ESPN’s Matt Mosley, Roethlisberger is fortunate to be where he is right now.

Aaron Rodgers, Nick Barnett iron out issues
After Nick Barnett took a swipe at Aaron Rodgers via Twitter this weekend, the two have apparently kissed and made up. Kumbaya and a bonfire are set for later this week.

Super Bowl XLV ticket prices are high
Everyone knows the Super Bowl is an expensive ticket. But as Calvin Watkins of ESPN writes, this year’s Super Bowl matchup as well as the location (oil-rich Texas) has pushed prices even higher.

Should Aaron Rodgers be the 2010 NFL MVP?
Towards the end of the season, the NFL MVP race was seemingly down to two players: Tom Brady and Michael Vick. The Associated Press votes after the regular season and before the playoffs, so postseason play is not taken into account when determining the winner of this award.

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Maurkice Pouncey ruled out for Super Bowl

After speaking to a league source, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday NFL Countdown that Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey will not play against the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Pouncey injured his ankle in the AFC title game against the Jets and although he was optimistic that he would be able to play Super Bowl Sunday, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be healthy enough to suit up.

That means second-year center Doug Legursky will start in Pouncey’s place. Legursky has started just four games in his career and while he played well against the Jets last week, he’ll have his hands full with Packers’ nose tackle B.J. Raji, who has had a great postseason.

As I wrote earlier this week, even if Pouncey starts who knows how effective he’ll be. Colts’ defensive end Dwight Freeney dealt with an ankle injury prior to last year’s Super Bowl and played well in the first half. But due to the long layoff at halftime, his ankle stiffened up and he could barely play in the final two quarters. I’m not a doctor, but it’s not a stretch to think that the same thing could happen to Pouncey if he tried to play on Sunday.

Pouncey on crutches, in a hard cast – is he doubtful for the Super Bowl?

The injury news on Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey has gone from bad to worse.

Three days after suffering a high ankle sprain in a win over the Jets, Steelers’ insider Jim Wexell tweeted that Pouncey was on crutches and sporting a hard cast on Wednesday morning. Following Sunday night’s AFC title game, the rookie was optimistic that he would play in the Super Bowl, but his hopes just got bleaker.

If Pouncey can’t go, Doug Legursky will once again take his place. The backup played extremely well against the Jets, but he’ll have his hands full against mammoth Green Bay defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who is having an outstanding postseason. The nose tackle has recorded five tackles and one sack, and also returned an interception for a touchdown against the Bears last Sunday.

Pouncey’s injury situation reminds me of Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney’s ankle problem last year. Freeney didn’t practice in the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIV in hopes that he could rest the injury and start against the Saints. And while he played very well in the first half (his second quarter sack of Drew Brees halted one of the Saints’ drives and held them to a field goal), he admitted that the long layoff at halftime hampered his ability to play in the second half. His ankle stiffened up and despite his best efforts to loosen it on the sidelines, he just wasn’t the same player as he was in the first half.

Which brings us back to Pouncey. Even if the rookie center is able to start, how long can he play on a bum wheel? The question is not whether he can play, but whether or not he can be effective. It sounds like this injury is going to cost Pouncey an opportunity to help his teammates in two weeks, which is unfortunate because the former first rounder is having an exceptional rookie campaign.

Could the Steelers be without Pouncey for the Super Bowl?

He still has two weeks to receive treatment but Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey may not play in the Super Bowl after suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Jets on Sunday.

Pouncey is having a tremendous rookie season and has been the rock in the middle of Pittsburgh’s offensive line. Doug Legursky came in and played very well in the AFC title game, but Pouncey is one of the main reasons the Steelers’ offense has been clicking over the past month or so.

If Pouncey can’t play, his injury could potentially open things up for Packers’ nose tackle B.J. Raji to have a big game. He’s been a dominant force in the postseason thus far and although his main responsibility is to absorb extra blockers in run defense, he’s shown a great burst as a pass-rusher as well. He also dropped back into coverage on Sunday and took a Caleb Hanie pass back to the house for a pick-six in the fourth quarter against Chicago.

The Steelers need Pouncey in uniform in two weeks and while he says he’s “definitely” playing in the title game, we’ll have to wait and see how his ankle responds to treatment.

Report: Florida, NCAA looking into allegations involving Pouncey

01 January 2010: Maurkice Pouncey of Florida cheers with the fans during warm-ups before the game against Cincinnati during Sugar Bowl at the SuperDome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo via Newscom’s Pat Forde is reporting that Florida and officials from the NCAA are investigating a potential rules violation involving former Gator Maurkice Pouncey (now with the Steelers).

Florida is internally investigating what sources described as an allegation that a representative of an agent paid Pouncey $100,000 between the Gators’ loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game to Alabama and their season-ending Sugar Bowl victory over Cincinnati. Florida apprised the NCAA of the allegation after it became aware of it.

“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement released Monday morning to “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”

It’s important to note that even though Florida reported these allegations to the NCAA, the program isn’t any less susceptible to punishment. It’s up to the university to keep agents, boosters, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Girl Scouts away from players, even though it’s impossible for programs to play babysitter to every single athlete.

The key is whether or not Pouncey accepted money or not. If he was just talking to an agent, the Gators are probably in the clear and will avoid any major penalties. But if it’s discovered that Pouncey accepted $100,000 from an agent, then this could be Reggie Bush/USC all over again.

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