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Bengals and Rams pick their 2022 Super Bowl uniforms, plus Vikings appear to have found their new coach

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter! 

As everyone knows, the first big decision any team has to make for the Super Bowl is which jersey color they’re going to where and the Bengals and Rams both made that decision Wednesday. 

In today’s newsletter, we’ll let you know what they decided, plus we’ll also let you know how successful they’ve been in the jersey color they’ll be wearing. Of course, this isn’t a fashion newsletter, so we won’t only be talking about uniforms today, we’ll be taking a look at who the Vikings will be likely hiring as their next head coach. Plus, we’ll have the latest on Brian Flores’ damning allegations against Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, so let’s get to the rundown. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

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1. Today’s show: Super Bowl mailbag

With the Super Bowl still 10 days away, we thought we decided to get crazy for Thursday’s podcast by doing a Super Bowl mailbag. The premise of this episode is pretty simple: We asked our listeners to shoot in some questions about the Super Bowl and then we proceeded to answer them. 

Here’s a look at three of the questions we answered on the podcast. 

Q: How different do you think the outcome of the playoffs would be if Joe Burrow was on the Rams and Matthew Stafford was on the Bengals?

A: I think the biggest difference here is that the Bengals would have lost to the Titans 57-10 if Matthew Stafford had been their quarterback. When teams are able to get pressure on him without blitzing, Stafford has struggled this year and I’m not sure his 33-year-old body would have survived nine sacks. As for the Rams, I think Burrow is good enough that they probably would have still ended up in the Super Bowl. 

Q: Do we think we get another nail-biter of a game to finish out this postseason or does one team just dominate the other?

A: I think we get another nail-biter and that’s mostly because the Bengals are a tough team to blow out. Their offense is good enough to keep up in a shootout and their defense is good enough to keep them in a grind-it-out game, so I have a tough time seeing one team destroying the other in this game. Basically, you better plan on gluing yourself to your couch and getting a toilet hooked up in your family room, because you’re not going to want to leave your seat once this game starts. 

Q: What team is the most likely to pull a Bengals-like turnaround?

A: We actually have a STORY on this in today’s newsletter so I won’t go into very much detail, but my personal pick here is the Giants. If Brian Daboll can make Daniel Jones just half as good as Josh Allen, the Giants could be really good in the next year or two. (For this question, we only considered teams that won five or less games in 2021). 

To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here. Watching it is definitely more fun than listening to it. 

2. NFL to investigate Flores lawsuit; Hue Jackson also makes damning claims


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The lawsuit filed by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores this week included some damning accusations against the NFL and its teams. Although the lawsuit was filed to fight racial discrimination in hiring, Flores also made an allegation against Dolphins owner Stephen Ross that could have some serious repercussions around the league. 

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According to Flores, the Dolphins owner wanted the team to tank so badly in 2019 that Ross offered Flores $100,000 per loss for the tank, which could be construed as an owner trying to fix a game. As noted by PFT, if that’s the case, Ross could potentially be prosecuted for violating the sports bribery act. 

Here are the latest details on the situation: 

  • The NFL is going to investigate the claims against Ross. Although the league quickly denied the racial accusations in the lawsuit — saying they’re without merit — they didn’t do that with the Ross accusations. Instead, the league has said it is going to investigate the claims against Ross, according to ESPN.com.  The league will also be investigating other potential rules violations (Ross is also being accused of tampering with a free agent by trying to set up a meeting between Flores and Tom Brady before Brady was officially a free agent).  
  • Ross strongly denies the claims against him. Almost 48 hours after the lawsuit was filed, Ross finally responded late Wednesday night. “With regards to the allegations being made by Brian Flores, I am a man of honor and integrity and cannot let them stand without responding. I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory.” You can read more on Ross’ statement by clicking here
  • Ross could be in hot water. If Flores’ accusation came down to his word against Ross’, things would get dicey for the NFL because the league would have no way to prove what happened either way. However, according to NFL.com, a third-party witnessed the bribe made by Ross, and if that’s the case, this is a serious enough accusation that almost any punishment would be on the table from docking multiple draft picks to forcing Ross to sell the team. 
  • Hue Jackson also makes damning claims. Flores isn’t the only one claiming that he was bribed to lose games. Hue Jackson is claiming that Browns owner paid him to lose games during his time in Cleveland. Jackson told ESPN that he “wasn’t offered $100,000 for every game, but there was a substantial amount of money made within what happened in this situation every year at the end of it.” If owners are trying to throw games to get a better draft pick, then the NFL has a monstrous problem on its hands and the solution might be to stop giving the best draft pick to the worst team. 

For a closer look at this entire situation, be sure to click here

3. Vikings appear to have found their new coach


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After more than three weeks of searching, it appears the Vikings have finally found their new head coach. According to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, the Vikings are set to hire Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. However, the hiring can’t become official until after the Rams’ season is over. O’Connell would replace Mike Zimmer, who was fired after compiling a 72-56-1 record over eight seasons in Minnesota. 

The hiring of O’Connell means that Jim Harbaugh won’t be returning to the NFL this year. 

Here’s what you need to know about O’Connell: 

  • He’s leaving Los Angeles after just two seasons. O’Connell has been a fast riser in the NFL. His first job as an assistant coach came just seven years ago when the Browns hired him to be their QB coach in 2015. After one season in Cleveland, he moved on to San Francisco to spend a year with the 49ers. From there, he went to Washington, where he would spend three seasons with the Commanders as QB coach (2017-18) and offensive coordinator (2019). After his stint in D.C., O’Connell was hired by the Rams in 2020.
  • O’Connell will be the second youngest coach in Vikings history. At just 36 years old, O’Connell will become the second-youngest head coach in the NFL (behind his current boss, Sean McVay) and the second-youngest coach in Vikings history. The only coach who was younger was Norm Van Brocklin, who was the franchise’s first coach in 1961. 
  • O’Connell also has playing experience. The former San Diego State QB was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft by the New England Patriots and he actually saw a little bit of playing time that season since it was the one year where Tom Brady was injured. After one year with the Patriots, O’Connell bounced around with various teams (Lions, Jets, Dolphins, Chargers), but would never play in another game. 
  • Jim Harbaugh out. Although there was a lot of speculation that Harbaugh might be getting the Vikings job, that speculation ended on Wednesday after he announced that he would be returning to Michigan. According to ESPN.com, Harbaugh never received an offer from the Vikings after interviewing on Wednesday, which is likely why he quickly announced his plans to return to Michigan (Wednesday was National Signing Day, so Harbaugh was in a spot where he had to quickly announce his plans).  
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For more on O’Connell’s likely hiring, be sure to click here

4. Bengals and Rams pick their uniforms for Super Bowl LVI

Even though the Super Bowl is being played in Los Angeles this year, the Cincinnati Bengals will actually be the home team for the game and because of that, the Bengals got to make the first choice on which uniform to wear for Super Bowl LVI. 

The Bengals announced their pick on Wednesday and then shortly after that, the Rams also announced which uniform combo they would be wearing. 

Here’s what you need to know about the uniform selections: 

  • Bengals going with black jerseys and white pants. This pick probably came as a surprise to some fans and that’s mainly because the Bengals beat both the Titans and Chiefs while wearing white. However, they did end their 31-year playoff drought against the Raiders while wearing black and they also wore black in their first Super Bowl appearance in 1982. 
  • Rams will wear white. With the Bengals wearing black, it might seem like white would be the obvious choice for the Rams, but the decision wasn’t so simple. The Rams’ white road jersey is actually a color called bone gray. The only white jersey the Rams have is an alternate “modern throwback” uniform that they just unveiled this year. That new white throwback is what the Rams will be wearing.  
  • It’s very rare for a team to wear an alternate jersey in the Super Bowl. This year will mark just the third time that a team has worn an alternate uniform in the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the most recent instance happened when the Rams wore their royal blue throwbacks against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII (The Rams lost that game). The other team to wear an alternate was the 1994 49ers, who wore a 75th anniversary throwback all season and in the Super Bowl.  
  • Teams wearing white have dominated recent Super Bowls. In the 17 Super Bowls that have been played since 2005, the team wearing white has won 14 of them, which makes it slightly surprising that the Bengals didn’t go with white. Last year, the Buccaneers were the home team playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium and they still decided to wear their road white uniform. 
  • Neither team seems to care about uniform superstitions. The Bengals went 2-4 in their black uniforms this year, so they clearly aren’t superstitious about uniform color (They went 7-3 in white). As for the Rams, they went just 1-2 in their modern throwback, but 7-1 in their bone uniforms, so again, they also don’t seemed too concerned by any superstitions related to jersey color.
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By the way, if you’re wondering why the Bengals are the home team, it’s because the NFC and AFC alternate that honor every year. Even-numbered Super Bowls go to the AFC, which is why the Bengals will be the home team even though the game is being played in the Rams’ stadium. 

5. Ranking last-place teams that could make a jump to the Super Bowl in 2022


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With the Bengals playing in the Super Bowl this year, that should give a lot of bad teams hope that they might be able to turn things around and get to the big game next year. Just two years ago, the Bengals had the worst record in the NFL, and now they’re playing for a Lombardi Trophy. It’s been a remarkable season for a team that went 4-11-1 while finishing in last place in the AFC North last year. 

With that in mind, our Tyler Sullivan ranked the last-place teams from 2021 that have the best chance of getting to the Super Bowl in 2022. 

1. Ravens
2. Seahawks
3. Broncos
4. Giants
5. Jets
6. Jaguars
7. Panthers
8. Lions

The top spot on this list is hard to disagree with. The fact that the Ravens finished in last place is still almost impossible to believe. As for every other team on this list, each has some serious questions. One team I would’ve ranked higher is the Carolina Panthers. With Tom Brady no longer in the NFC South, that division feels wide open and it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see the Panthers steal it. I’d probably slot them behind the Broncos and move everyone back a spot. 

If you want to check out Tyler’s explanation for his rankings, then be sure to click here.  

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Saints likely headed to London in 2022

It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Saints likely headed to London According to the The Times-Picayune, the Saints will be playing in London in 2022 where they will likely be facing a rival from the NFC South. The Saints have made two prior trips to London (2007 and 2017) and they won both games. 
  • Six former Washington employees make new allegations. The Commanders have been hit with new allegations of workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment. The allegations were made on Thursday when six former Washington employees joined leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee. For more details on the situation and the lewd allegations, be sure to click here
  • Bill Belichick releases statement praising Tom Brady. Although Brady omitted the Patriots from his retirement announcement, the Patriots coach still praised his former star, “Tom’s humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history.” You can read Belichick’s entire statement by clicking here
  • Dick Vermeil makes Super Bowl prediction. I’m assuming you can guess who the former Rams coach will be picking on Super Bowl Sunday and if you can’t guess, I’ll give you a hint: it’s the Rams. If you want to check out our CBSSports.com interview with Vermeil, be sure to click here.  
  • Spike Lee to direct Colin Kaepernick docuseries. ESPN has announced that Lee will oversee a docuseries featuring the former 49ers quarterback. The production will feature extensive interviews with Kaepernick, who hasn’t granted very many interviews since his 2016 exit from the NFL.   


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