NEW ORLEANS -- Let’s take a few minutes away from the Super Bowl hype to take a run through some headlines from around the division:
Mark Bradley writes that the odds on the Falcons leaving Atlanta if they don’t get a new stadium are 1,000-to-1. I’d say the odds are even longer than that, especially if you factor in the possibility the team could move to the suburbs if it doesn’t get a new stadium downtown. But fans don’t have to worry about this team fleeing for Los Angeles. The Atlanta market is too good to abandon and the Falcons have established themselves more than ever by winning in recent years. Besides, although there still may be ups and downs, I think a new stadium eventually will be built downtown.
Remember back in the preseason when center Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad in The Charlotte Observer to promise the Panthers would win the Super Bowl? Obviously, that didn’t work out. But Kalil said he has no regrets. He shouldn’t. There was nothing wrong with showing some confidence, although Kalil said he probably won’t be doing any more advertising in the future.
Coach Ron Rivera told The Associated Press he knows he needs to win in 2013. He said owner Jerry Richardson didn’t give any verbal ultimatum that the Panthers have to make the playoffs or else. But Rivera’s a bright guy and I think he knows he needs to put this team in the playoffs or else he’ll be out of a job.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Although the Saints were a little slow in firing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Larry Holder writes that they still could be looking at some quality candidates as a replacement. San Francisco assistants Ed Donatell and Jim Tomsula have some experience in the 3-4 scheme coach Sean Payton wants to run. But the Saints can’t talk to any of the assistants involved in the Super Bowl until next week.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The agent for receiver Mike Williams said there has been some dialogue about a contract extension. Makes plenty of sense because Williams will be heading into the final year of his rookie contract. He’s coming off a solid season in which he fit well as the No. 2 receiver after Vincent Jackson. The Bucs like to talk about how they like to build through the draft. Williams is a player they've drafted and he's developed into a solid contributor.