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February 4, 2011 - Buck Frank
The worst-kept secret finally became official on Friday. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will not play in Super Bowl XLV because of an ankle sprain. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported earlier in the week he would not play, but Pouncey and coach Mike Tomlin continued to say there was a chance. Chris Kemoeatu had even earlier said Pouncey wasn't going to play, and the way Pouncey was limping around, it just didn't seem possible. I guess Tomlin didn't want to burst Pouncey's Super Bowl bubble too soon, but if the Post-Gazette reported he wasn't playing, I tend to believe the decision had already been made before the team departed for north Texas. Doug Legursky is a capable replacement but can't possibly be the same as Pouncey. Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji is probably licking his chops right now. For an underdog's sake, here's hoping Legursky holds his own on Sunday. --NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had his annual press conference Friday, and the majority of the questions dealt with the collective bargaining agreement deadline. He basically reiterated the same things he's been saying the past few months. Goodell's push toward an 18-game schedule with the preseason being decreased from four to two games is still being used as a bargaining chip for the owners, even though Steelers owner Dan Rooney has spoken out against it. Goodell said he's talked to fans, and they don't want to pay top dollar for so many preseason games. I think if Goodell talked to real football fans, they would know that four preseason games are beneficial for the coaches to fully evaluate young talent in game situations and are, thus, a necessity. Maybe the fans Goodell talked to are the ones who spend a lot of money on tickets and seat licenses but don't really understand how the game works. I haven't heard anyone, except Goodell, in favor of an 18-game regular season. Goodell was also asked how he'll feel if Ben Roethlisberger or James Harrison is named MVP of the Super Bowl, and he has to hand the trophy to one of them. "I would be more than happy to hand the MVP trophy off to Ben Roethlisberger or James Harrison,' he said. "They've had extraordinary years, and I think it's great for the game of football.' --Make sure you grab a copy of Sunday's Altoona Mirror for a 16-page Super Bowl XLV preview guide. It's a lot cheaper than the actual Super Bowl XLV program and more insightful.