1. ESPN says it wasn’t making a ‘political statement,’ but the network’s video of Michael Sam receiving the phone call from Rams coach Jeff Fisher telling him he’d been chosen, making him the first openly gay player in football history, might just be your daily cry.

     

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  4. Today’s podcast traces the history of football broadcasts, just in time for the big game. 

    Watch the 1970 Monday Night football intro

    Subscribe and listen to all of The Week’s mini-podcasts on SoundCloud hereand on iTunes here.

     


  5. Predicting all the NFL playoff winners, using a single metric:

    Which team’s mascot could beat the others in a fight.

    (BTW, we’re already 4 for 4 after Sunday…)

    Listen to all of The Week’s mini-podcasts here.

     

  6. On the left is the Chargers’ mascot, Boltman. He is insanity incarnate. He is more or less what would happen if Zeus and The Mask had a kid who binged on HGH.

    The Bengals’ mascot, Who Dey, is a fiercer animal alternative to the Chiefs’ Fox and the Colts’ Blue. But he still looks too timid to do any real damage. And, again, Lightning Roidman is straight up nuts.

    Winner: Chargers

    NFL playoffs predictions, by ferocity of mascot

     

  7. Tip and Tap (West Germany, 1974):

    Pros: Two doofy, chipped-tooth, red-faced dudes.

    Cons: Midriff shirts.

    All the World Cup mascots, ranked

     


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  9. The Lizard Kings
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    The name of Jacksonfille’s East Coast Hockey League franchise from 1995-2000.  Do it, Dan Snyder. The jersey sales to stoned teenagers alone will cover most of your 2014 payroll.

    11 defunct franchise names Washington’s football team can use

     

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  11. "Unreal. The only thing I could tell myself was, ‘It’s going to be a long season.’" — Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick

    Chip Kelly’s fast-paced NFL revolution is finally here

    (gif via SB Nation)

     

  12. Lords a leaping: The Ravens’ Jacoby Jones and the 49ers’ Chris Culliver. (Harry How/Getty Images)

    Grand jeté: San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree and the Ravens’ Ed Reed. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    11 surprisingly graceful images from the Super Bowl

     


  13. We hope you liked Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime performance, because it could be the last one for a couple years. Next year’s big game will be played in New Jersey’s open-air MetLife stadium, where the temperature is currently a frigid 27 degrees. And with next year’s Super Bowl likely to be similarly cold, NFL officials reportedly aren’t sure how to plan for the halftime show, as freezing temperatures could make the already-daunting task of quickly setting up and tearing down a massive stage even more difficult.

    More…