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Falcons' owner Blank upset by the 283 diamonds in Pats' rings

February 01. 2018 10:47PM

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was upset with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for putting exactly 283 diamonds — referencing the 28-3 deficit the Patriots overcame — on the team’s Super Bowl LI rings, according to a New York Times story.

The Times recounted an evening in late August where the two owners, who are friends, discussed the “minor beef” over the rings, which were unveiled in June.

“I said to Robert, ‘You didn’t have to do the 28-3 in the ring,’” Blank said. “It kind of (ticked) me off.”

According to the Patriots, the 283 diamonds were used to “tell the story of the game.” It was the most diamonds ever in a Super Bowl ring and more than double what the team had in its rings after the 2003 and 2004 championship seasons.

The 25-point deficit is the largest ever overcome in Super Bowl history, and the third largest in any playoff game.

Field Level MediaTimberlake: Halftime show will be clean

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) — Justin Timberlake caused a national controversy when he performed the Super Bowl halftime show with Janet Jackson in 2004, and the pop singer said on Thursday not to expect his partner in crime to appear this time around.

Timberlake will return to America’s biggest stage Sunday, 14 years after a “wardrobe malfunction” overshadowed his last gig at the National Football League’s championship game.

“To be honest I had a ton of grand ideas about special guests. There’s a whole list. I think Vegas has a lot of odds on it. From NSYNC to (Jay-Z) to Chris Stapleton to Janet,” Timberlake told a news conference in Minneapolis.

“But this year... my band, the Tennessee Kids, I feel like they are my special guests and I am excited this year to rock the stage and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Timberlake infamously ripped off part of Jackson’s garment during their halftime show performance in Houston and briefly bared her breast. The incident coined the phrase “wardrobe malfunction.”

Eagles battling the flu

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (Field Level Media) — Health concerns are hitting the Philadelphia Eagles, with multiple key defenders battling flu-like symptoms.

The illness hit the locker room last week before the team left Philadelphia and multiple players and head coach Doug Pederson fell ill.

“I’m getting over it right now. It’s like a cold, dude. I don’t know. The whole team has it, though,” said linebacker Mychal Kendricks. “I don’t think it had anything to do with us being out here. I think it started sometime last week. Something we’ve got to get through. We’ll be fine. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Not the entire team is sick, but two more key defensive players — tackle Tim Jernigan and cornerback Ronald Darby — were under the weather enough Thursday that they didn’t participate in media availability with the rest of the roster at Mall of America.

Jernigan did not practice Wednesday due to illness. He also missed the Eagles’ final practice in Philadelphia last week.

Pederson said he’s fully recovered and described Jernigan’s illness as a “24-hour deal” in Wednesday’s pool report following practice at the University of Minnesota indoor facility.

Players do not believe subzero temperatures outdoors are a factor, but when players for the Eagles hit the team breakfast on Thursday morning, it was minus-4 in the Minneapolis area.

Players prep for labor fight

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (Field Level Media) — NFL players are preparing for an acrimonious and potentially lengthy negotiation with the league when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season.

That was the message from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA president Eric Winston and the union’s executive committee on Thursday.

Smith said he has a “healthy dialogue” with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but there are a wide range of issues that the players believe must be addressed and resolved before agreeing to a new CBA.

“We prepare for war,” said Smith. “So, if we’re able to get the CBA done, that’s great. But all of these men went through a unilaterally declared war on players in 2010 and 2011. I think it’s important for Roger and I to have a wonderful and open discussion, but he represents the owners, and we represent the good guys.”

Smith said he could not envision a way in which the current CBA is simply extended.

At the forefront of the lengthy list of issues the players want on the negotiating table are workplace safety, revenue sharing and player discipline.

“There’s no top three issues, no top five issues, just a series of issues,” said Smith. “How do we make this deal more equitable? And as you can imagine, we don’t always agree with the owners.”

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