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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Football

Arthur Blank needs some dance lessons

Arthur Blank dancing

What do you get for the man who has everything? Dance lessons. And Arthur Blank could use them badly.

The Atlanta Falcons owner, who co-founded The Home Depot, has been in the spotlight the past two weeks thanks to his football team reaching the Super Bowl.

With the big wins comes big celebrations, and that has led to Blank dancing. His skills are in desperate need of improvement.

Troy Aikman looking like white Jay Z goes viral

Troy Aikman Jay Z

We’ve seen Troy Aikman on TV as part of FOX’s broadcast crew hundreds of times, but it never really occurred to anyone that he looks like a white version of Jay Z. Until Sunday.

A photo of Aikman during the NFC Championship Game went viral after someone noticed how much he resembled the rapper:

A few memes and a great photoshop soon followed:

He’s got 99 problems but a broadcasting job ain’t one.

Report: 49ers to give Kyle Shanahan control over roster

The San Francisco 49ers are still seeking a general manager, but the role might be redefined upon Kyle Shanahan’s arrival.

Shanahan is widely expected to become the team’s head coach after the Atlanta Falcons season is over, but according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the team may recalibrate its GM search to account for personnel control being handed to the coach.

If the 49ers wanted a powerful GM, they probably would have hired one before making a decision on their head coach. Shanahan’s arrival is only a matter of time, and it sounds like he’ll be getting a lot of power within the organization when he gets there.

What Julian Edelman said about Steelers organization

Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman gave Pittsburgh Steelers fans a reason to be upset with the comments he made about the team during the week.

The New England Patriots wide receiver was asked about the Antonio Brown Facebook Live controversy and took what some interpreted as a shot at the Steelers.

“Hey, people have different rules,” Edelman said. “That’s how that team is run. I personally don’t think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses, whatever.”

The underlying message there is that the Patriots are run better than the Steelers and don’t put up with that sort of stuff.

Was it a shot at the Steelers? Edelman tried to set the record straight by backing off when speaking with the media on Wednesday. Edelman blamed the media for taking his comments out of context.

“Yeah, I mean I think it was taken out of context,” he said, per Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. “I have nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re an unbelievable franchise. It starts from the top with the Rooney Family, coach Tomlin, I think they just mis[interpreted] — I mean, I don’t know, I may have said it, but I think more of that was that it’s not the way we would do it here. That’s just how that goes. There was no maliciousness about it, but it’s whatever. That’s what the media does, try to make stories.”

That seems like Edelman realizing he screwed up and trying to backpedal by blaming the media.

Taking shots at other organizations is not “The Patriot Way,” which is likely why he tried to distance himself from any sort of controversy. But you’ve seen his remarks and can judge for yourself what you think he meant.

Colts were in trade talks for Sean Payton

Sean Payton

The Indianapolis Colts announced this weekend that they are bringing Chuck Pagano back as their head coach next season, but he clearly wasn’t their top choice.

Not only did Indianapolis make a run at Jon Gruden, but they also had talks with the New Orleans Saints about Sean Payton for the second straight season.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports that the two teams talked about a Payton trade for the second straight year. Talks apparently broke down over draft pick compensation. La Canfora believes the Saints were seeking a pick in the top two rounds for Payton.

The Colts aren’t the only team that was trying to get Payton. Multiple reports said the Rams were seeking a trade for the longtime Saints coach, though nothing developed there. The Los Angeles franchise ended up hiring 30-year-old Sean McVay instead.

Meanwhile, Payton’s status in New Orleans seems to be solidified. The Saints overhauled their coaching staff, getting rid of longtime assistant Joe Vitt among a handful of other coaches. That was indicative that Payton would be staying.

Robert Alford with hilarious flop against Packers

Robert Alford flop

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford had one heck of a flop as he tried to sell a push from Aaron Rodgers.

Midway through the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, Rodgers was called for a facemask penalty while scrambling. Rodgers thought he was hit out of bounds late and shoved Alford.

Alford had a great flop after that:

Alford didn’t draw the penalty he desired, but at least Rodgers was penalized.

Rob Gronkowski focused on rehab from back surgery

Rob Gronkowski

The New England Patriots managed to make it to the AFC Championship Game despite not having Rob Gronkowski.

The star tight end was placed on season-ending injured reserve in early December after undergoing back surgery for the third time in his career.

Gronk had back-to-back bad injuries this season. He suffered a punctured lung against the Seahawks and then injured his back two weeks later against the Giants.

Two weeks after the surgery, Gronkowski said that he hadn’t been doing anything for two weeks. He said that he needed to just chill and hang out for another two weeks before he could begin rehabbing. Based on that schedule, Gronkowski likely has had about 3 weeks where he’s been able to begin his rehab.

The latest update on Gronk’s status came in early January when it was reported that Gronkowski would be ready for the Patriots’ offseason activities.

Gronk is signed through 2019. The 27-year-old had 540 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in 8 games this season. He was in attendance for the AFC Championship Game, apparently sharply dressed.

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