Forget talk of legacies and dynasties — Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX is meaningful in its own right

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

PHOENIX — A decade ago, when the Patriots raised their third banner in four years, it was impossible to think New England would ever be in a situation where people felt they needed to obtain a fourth banner to cement their so-called dynasty. These are just talking points, of course. But talking points have a way of… Continue reading →

Underhill: Elite secondaries power Super Bowl teams, and constructing just such a unit is a key task for the Saints

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis

PHOENIX — Run you finger down the Super Bowl rosters and take a look at the names. The Bradys, Lynchs, Gronks and Wilsons populating each team will immediately pop out. But there’s a common thread between both of these teams: Their secondaries are among the best in the NFL. We’re all familiar with Seattle’s… Continue reading →

Super Bowl XLIX gameday: Seahawks vs. Patriots

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Scouting report, Part I: Patriots’ little guys could be a big problem for the Seahawks The Seahawks have revolutionized what teams look for in cornerbacks by stacking their roster with long, athletic guys who can go up and swat the ball away from wide receivers who have the ability to jump over smaller… Continue reading →

Will the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl? Find out which team our staff writers picked — and why

Associated Press photo by CHARLIE RIEDEL -- The Super Bowl XLIX is displayed on the University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday in Glendale, Ariz. The New England Patriots face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

The win Seattle registered in the NFC title game two weeks ago is one every Super Bowl championship campaign needs. And not even Tom Terrific or The Hoodie will be able to deny a Seahawks team that has an offense and defense that complement each other like every NFL team only wishes it could —… Continue reading →

Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen falls short of Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement again

Advocate file photo by JOHN H. WILLIAMS -- Saints kicker Morten Andersen  follows through on a game-winning 49-yard field goal against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 3, 1988.

PHOENIX — The NFL’s all-time leading scorer still has to buy his own tickets to Canton. In his third year of eligibility, former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen once again did not receive enough votes for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Wide receiver Tim Brown, linebacker Junior Seau, running back Jerome Bettis,… Continue reading →

Packers’ Aaron Rodgers named NFL MVP

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter of the Saints' 44-23 win Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. After early season troubles, the Saints defensive line has been hitting its stride.

PHOENIX — Just living the dream. And looking for more. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP award Saturday night, and J.J. Watt swept away the voters the way he sweeps quarterbacks off their feet to take top defensive honors. Rodgers, also the 2011 Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player award winner, took… Continue reading →

Underhill: This is Roger Goodell’s NFL, and he simply can’t get things right

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell participates in a news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHOENIX — Roger Goodell stood at a podium in the Phoenix Convention Center, addressing the thousands of media members on hand to cover Sunday’s game and countless others watching at home, on the current state of the NFL. There was a lot to talk about. Yeah, sure, there’s a football game Sunday — a pretty big… Continue reading →

Junior Seau, Morten Andersen among candidates for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Advocate file photo by JOHN H. WILLIAMS -- Saints kicker Morten Andersen  follows through on a game-winning 49-yard field goal against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 3, 1988.

PHOENIX — When Junior Seau’s name is mentioned as a first-time Hall of Fame candidate, people nod in recognition of his career achievements. Then they shake their heads with sadness. Seau spent 20 seasons in the NFL as a dominant linebacker, winning Defensive Player of the Year honors for San Diego in 1992, making six All-Pro teams,… Continue reading →

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Tom Benson is 'energetic' and 'in complete control' of the Saints

FILE - in this March 26, 2014, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during a news conference in Orlando, Fla. Goodell says the league asked for, but was not given, a just-released video showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee on an elevator. Goodell says during an interview with CBS aired Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014:

PHOENIX — If it were up to Roger Goodell to determine whether Saints owner Tom Benson is mentally fit to make his own decision, the NFL commissioner would give him his stamp of approval. At his Super Bowl news conference, Goodell was asked about the ownership squabble stemming from Benson’s recent decision to leave the Saints and… Continue reading →

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. set world record for most one-handed catches in a minute

Photo by DON JUAN MOORE/ESPN Images -- Odell Beckham Jr. makes one of his 33 one-handed catches in a one-minute session with Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

PHOENIX — Those who cheer for both the New Orleans Saints and LSU have likely let their minds wander about what it would be like for Drew Brees to throw passes to Odell Beckham Jr. On Thursday, that dream was realized. Sort of. On an ESPN set located in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Saints quarterback… Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints receiver Kenny Stills still optimistic about team’s future

Associated Press file photo by STEVEN SENNE -- Saints receiver Kenny Stills

PHOENIX — Kenny Stills isn’t worried about the future. The Saints might have finished a disappointing 7-9, and instead of playing in the Super Bowl, Stills was doing publicity hits there Thursday afternoon. “I don’t think there’s one singular thing for why the way our season went,” Stills said. “I think the coaches are going to make some… Continue reading →

Benson granddaughter Dawn says family dispute over Saints, Pelicans has left her ‘brokenhearted’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and Gayle Benson waves to the crowd before a preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.

With her relatives feuding over who will inherit her grandfather’s NFL and NBA franchises as well as other properties when he dies, Dawn Benson Jones is “brokenhearted” at the allegations other relatives have made about Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s mental acuity, she said in a statement. The statement from Dawn Benson Jones circulated to New… Continue reading →

Saints receiver Kenny Stills is confident that the team will turn things around this offseason

New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) celebrates after stopping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a run during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

. PHOENIX — Kenny Stills isn’t worried about the future. The Saints might have finished a disappointing 7-9, and instead of playing in the game his team thought it would be playing in at the end of the season, Stills was doing publicity hits at the Super Bowl on Thursday afternoon. Click… Continue reading →

Sources: Delvin Breaux's official deal with the Saints is three years for $1.587 million

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --Delvin Breaux, New Orleans Voodoo Friday, March 8, 2013. COOKING.MAGS OUT / INTERNET  OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ JOHN McCUSKER

Delvin Breaux inked a three-year deal with the Saints worth $1.587 million, according to a source. The deal contains a $12,000 signing and has $138,000 fully guaranteed for skill, injury and cap for 2015. There are no guarantees beyond the first season. His base salaries over the next three seasons will be $435,000, $525,000 and $615,000. Breaux signed with the Saints on Monday… Continue reading →

After failed stints with Saints, Rob Ninkovich has emerged on Patriots defense

New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork (75) and linebacker Rob Ninkovich (50) pursue the play during their first NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) j=afc.011813

PHOENIX — Part of Rob Ninkovich is thankful for the time he spent in New Orleans. If he ever falters as a defensive end, he now knows he has a skill he can fall back on as a long snapper. So he never has to worry about finding a job in another field. It’s like Patriots… Continue reading →

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas says Saints safety, fellow Texas Longhorn Kenny Vaccaro can get back on track

Associated Press photo by MATT YORK -- Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas answers a question at a Super Bowl XLIX news conference Wednesday in Phoenix. The Seahawks face the New England Patriots at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

PHOENIX — When Kenny Vaccaro was going through a rough patch earlier this season that led to his role being changed by the Saints, he reached out to Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas for some words of wisdom. A fellow star from the University of Texas, Thomas has developed a relationship with Vaccaro over the years and felt… Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson says he’s ‘doing fine’ during halftime interview

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle Benson, wave to fans from their box at the Pelicans-Nuggets game at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015.

New Orleans Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson was interviewed at halftime of Wednesday’s Pelicans-Nuggets game at the Smoothie King Center, saying he’s “doing fine.” The 87-year-old owner, of course, is currently embroiled in a legal entanglement within his own family, being sued by his daughter and grandchildren for trying to transfer ownership to wife Gayle Benson… Continue reading →

Former Saints quarterback Jeff Blake says all teams deflate footballs

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Former Saints quarterback Jeff Blake

. Former Saints quarterback Jeff Blake doesn’t understand all the hubbub over the Patriots allegedly deflating football during the AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts. To him, this is common practice. So common, in fact, Blake says the balls were slightly deflated by quarterbacks in every game he played during his 13 years in the… Continue reading →

Saints save $150,000 in salary for 2015

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) calls a play for the offense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

The Saints salary total for 2015 lost $150,000 worth of weight Wednesday, according to NFLPA documents. Looking through the documents, it appears the savings come from wide receiver Andy Tanner and safety Ty Zimmerman’s salaries remaining at $435,000, instead of bumping up to $510,000, as previously listed. Continue reading full story on The Advocate’s… Continue reading →

Seattle safety Earl Thomas gives Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro a vote of confidence

New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) celebrates making an interception of a pass to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (85) in the second quarter of the NFL game , Sunday,Nov. 30, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

. PHOENIX — When Kenny Vaccaro was going through a rough patch late last season season that led to his role being changed by the Saints, he reached out to Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas for some words of wisdom. A fellow product of the University of Texas, Thomas has developed a relationship with Vaccaro over… Continue reading →

Out of football for 6 years before signing with the Saints, Delvin Breaux never stopped believing

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Delvin Breaux

PHOENIX — Delvin Breaux never stopped believing in himself. It didn’t matter that three broken vertebrae in his neck that kept out of football for six years or that he never played a snap of college football. He believed he belonged in the NFL and never once stopped trying to break into the league. It’s where… Continue reading →

In new court docs, Saints owner Tom Benson: Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, Renee Benson incapable of managing $1.7B empire

Associated Press photo by BILL HABER - New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson poses for a photo with his wife Gayle Benson and his granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans Sept. 21.

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson argued in a civil court filing on Tuesday that he has ample justification to make his wife Gayle the inheritor of his teams instead of relatives he had previously tapped for that role. The latest jab in Benson’s family drama came in response to a lawsuit from his daughter, Renee… Continue reading →

Sharper faces rape charges next month

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2014, file photo, former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper looks toward his attorney, Blair Berk, during an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge set the new preliminary hearing date for Sharper, on charges that he drugged and raped two women he met at a West Hollywood nightclub. The date has been tentatively set for Feb. 17.  (AP Photo/Mario Anzuoni, Pool, File)

LOS ANGELES — A preliminary hearing for former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper on charges that he drugged and raped two women he met at a West Hollywood nightclub has been tentatively set for Feb. 17. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge set the new hearing date Tuesday after meeting privately with prosecutors and… Continue reading →

Jonathan Casillas claims both he and Chris Reis recovered Super Bowl onside kick

New England Patriots linebacker Jonathan Casillas warms up before the NFL football AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

PHOENIX — Box scores from Super Bowl XLIV credit Jonathan Casillas with recovering Thomas Morstead’s onside kick to start the second half, which helped the New Orleans take a lead over the Indianapolis Colts and propelled the Saints to victory. But in his book, “Recovery of a Lifetime,” another member of the Saints, Chris Reis,… Continue reading →

Patriots’ Brandon Bolden following in footsteps of grandfather, former Chiefs player Frank Pitts

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden takes questions from reporters in the locker room prior to NFL football practice, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots are to face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, Sunday, Feb. 1, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Brycen Bolden has sat in his great-grandfather’s living room more than once and been forced to watch old videos of the Super Bowl that features a much younger version the man identified by the announcers of Frank Pitts. Brycen Bolden is only 3 years old. There’s little indication he knows what he’s watching,… Continue reading →

Patriots linebacker Jonathan Casillas credits the Saints for turning him into a professional

New England Patriots linebacker Jonathan Casillas warms up before the NFL football AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

. PHOENIX — The official game book for Super Bowl XLIV credits Jonathan Casillas with recovering Thomas Morstead’s onside kick to start the second half, which helped the New Orleans Saints earn a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. But in his book, “Recovery of a Lifetime,” another member of the Saints, Chris Reis, claims that… Continue reading →

Future Saints, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson's 18 lawsuits might raise eyebrows among NFL, NBA

Advocate staff photo by DANIEL ERATH -- . Gayle Benson

As the NFL and NBA begin the process of vetting Gayle Benson, the wife of Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and the new proposed heir to his two sports franchises, the leagues’ officials might raise their eyebrows at one fact from her life as a businesswoman before she married Louisiana’s lone billionaire. She ended up… Continue reading →

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham would like to see the NFL's dunk ban change

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) scores a first quarter touchdown and draws a flag in a preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham dunked over the goalpost twice after touchdowns in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, and now he would like to do it again during an NFL game without penalty, according to the Associated Press. "That (dunking in the game) was amazing," Graham said. "For me, it made the entire week. Hopefully, one… Continue reading →

The 2014-15 NFL season has been a season of hell for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

FILE - in this March 26, 2014, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during a news conference in Orlando, Fla. Goodell says the league asked for, but was not given, a just-released video showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee on an elevator. Goodell says during an interview with CBS aired Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014:

. In this GQ story, Gabriel Sherman writes about the ups and mostly downs of the 2014-15 season for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and how the pro football machine he has built has misfired a few times. Click here to see the story.Continue reading →

Drew Brees: Saints have found solutions to fix 2014 problems after 'my most frustrating season'

New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees warms up before the NFL Football Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees didn't mince words at the Pro Bowl. The 7-9 campaign in 2014 "was my most frustrating season," he told Sports Illustrated. But Brees expressed confidence in coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomisa and the team's staff, saying he thinks the braintrust has identified what ailed the team… Continue reading →