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Florida school district: Students must have permission to kneel during national anthem

Orange County school district officials in Florida said students must have parents’ permission to kneel during the national anthem at sporting events, WFTV reported.

The issue has been making national headlines since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of social injustice.

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Some athletes are starting to follow national players’ lead on the issue, although none did at a football game  Thursday night in Orlando between Evans and Jones high schools.

Several school districts said it has not happened in central Florida, but a southwest Florida school district said students needed written permission to kneel.

Orange County Public Schools officials said it has interpreted state law to treat the national anthem like the Pledge of Allegiance.

District officials said they like the policy on the Pledge of Allegiance, students may kneel if they have permission in the form of a letter from a parent.

“I have to stay neutral, but whatever they do, I’m going to support them. That’s really between that individual and their family,” Jones High School football coach Elijah Williams said.

A school district spokesman said that if any of the students had kneeled, they would not have gotten in trouble.

Orange County Public Schools said its legal team is still reviewing state law.

Florida statute mentions students should stand for the national anthem, but only mentioned students being excused by a written letter for the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Rob Lowe criticizes Cam Newton, Twitter responds

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After he watched Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton storm out of a press conference that followed the Panthers’ loss to the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl 50, Rob Lowe was more than a little peeved.

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The “Parks and Recreation” and “The West Wing” actor offered a candid take on the incident that alluded that Newton lacked class.

 

After losing to the Broncos, Newton kept his answers short and tense during a post-game press conference that ultimately ended with Newton’s abrupt exit.

“Wow. What a press conference from Cam Newton. So gracious! So classy! So humble! What an example to kids! Just like Peyton.  ,” Lowe wrote.

Lowe attended the game with one of his sons and was spotted wearing a Denver Broncos jersey to support his longtime friend Peyton Manning.

After Lowe’s tweet went up, many Twitter users immediately pointed out that Lowe may not be the best person to be dishing out examples of who is and who is not a good example for a child.

Some tweets directed at Lowe contained reference to the late 1980s sex tape scandal that almost derailed his career.

Lowe videotaped himself having sex with two women during the 1988 Democratic Convention. One of those women was 16 at the time, which was against the law in the state of Georgia, where the video was filmed.

5 things you can buy for the price of a Super Bowl ticket

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Super Bowl 50 may be the most expensive in series history with tickets averaging $5,000 a pop, according to WSBTV.

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Football fans hoping to see the Carolina Panters and the Denver Broncos between the hedges can expect to pay thousands of dollars for tickets to the game and also incur other costs including transportation costs, parking and food and hotels in San Francisco,  one of the most expensive places in the country to live, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index.

All other costs aside, here are six things that could be purchased with the same amount of money some people are paying for a ticket to Super Bowl 50:

1. A cruise for you and 15 other friends 

Assuming you purchased a cruise package for $300, which is a reasonable assumption, you could go on a cruise to the Bahamas with more than a dozen of your closest friends and family and still have money leftover to spend.

2. About 500 large Papa John's pizzas

One large cheese pizza is about $10, so with 500 pizzas, you could buy enough to throw the entire neighborhood a pizza party or provide lunch for your whole company and maybe even the people in the building next door. 

3. A national experience with Guns N' Roses

According to Elite Daily, for the price of a Super Bowl ticket, a dedicated fan could buy tickets to every concert on the rock band's tour schedule and accompanying travel expenses.

4. A semester in school

About 50 colleges and universities offer programs that cost about the same as a ticket to this year's Super Bowl. Of course that cost only includes tuition and not books, meals or room and board, but it's a start.

5. A car

CarFax.com lists used Mercedes models, Corvettes and Mustangs for $5,000 and less.

San Francisco-based news station KRON reported that a consumer could also purchase at least eight courtside tickets for an NBA game, 40 flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco and a 65-inch LG Smart Ultra HD TV for the same price. 

You could win $50,000 for one Doritos tweet during the Super Bowl

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Get your Twitter fingers ready. 

The right post on the social media platform could win you $50,000. 

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Doritos, known for premiering memorable commercials during the NFL playoffs, will award three lucky social media users with $50,000 each.

The Frito-Lay brand is looking for the best message, the best photo and the best video posted during the Super Bowl 50 game on Sunday. 

Those entering the contest have between 12 p.m. Pacific time and the final whistle of the game to post their cleverest entries using the hashtags #Doritos and #entry.

The company will announce the winning tweets on Monday.

This year also marks the final year Doritos will host its Crash the Super Bowl campaign in which fans submit home-made commercials with a chance to have it aired during the playoffs and to win $1 million in prize money.

10 fun facts about the Super Bowl

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Are you ready for the "Golden Game?" The 50th Super Bowl will take place in Santa Clara, California, on Feb. 7th, featuring the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

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Here are a few other fun facts and figures to consider about the big game:

1. The name – The NFL has come a long way from the first Super Bowl, which was not even called the Super Bowl. It was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Keep that in mind as you ponder buying that eBay bargain "authentic" ticket stub with "Super Bowl I" printed on it.

2. Ticket prices – TiqIQ lists the average Super Bowl 50 ticket price at just over $6,350 as of Friday. Compare that to the nearly $4,100 average ticket price for last year's Super Bowl during the same two weeks before the big game, and it seems likely that Super Bowl 50 will set a new record. It's quite a change from 1967, when championship game tickets topped out at $12 each and the "secondary market" consisted only of ticket scalpers outside the L.A. Coliseum.

3. Pass the guac – What is a Super Bowl without snacks, and plenty of them? Estimates suggest that during the Super Bowl, we consume 4,000 tons of popcorn, 8 million pounds of guacamole with 14,500 tons of chips and over 1.2 billion chicken wings, among other snacks. Americans will wash that down with over 325 million gallons of beer.

4. Betting – While many people watch the Super Bowl simply for the football action, bets on the “Golden Game” have taken on a life of their own as fans place bets on everything from the outcome of the game to the result of the opening coin toss and how long the National Anthem will be sung. According to Superbowlbets.com, every year an estimated 200 million people worldwide wager approximately $10 billion on some form of Super Bowl bet.

5. History, good and bad – The Broncos are now tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl appearances with eight. Unfortunately, they also lead in the number of Super Bowl losses with five. The Patriots have four losses, along with the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills, but they also have four wins compared to none for Minnesota and Buffalo.

6. Old vs. new – Out of the last 12 Super Bowls, 11 of them featured one of three AFC quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger. Manning's latest playoff victory makes that 12 out of 13 (unless Denver starts Brock Osweiler, which has as much chance of happening as Janet Jackson repeating as halftime entertainment). The other quarterback? Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens, the only one of the bunch never to lose a Super Bowl.

Meanwhile in Carolina, the NFC supplies a former No. 1 pick at quarterback and a team that has appeared in the Super Bowl once, but lost its only appearance. Coincidentally, had Arizona won instead, that would still have been the case.

7. Where's the "L?" – This is the only year that the NFL is abandoning the classic Roman Numeral designation, thinking that Super Bowl 50 sounds more appealing than Super Bowl L. However, Roman numerals will be back next year with Super Bowl LI. We can’t wait to get our kicks at Super Bowl LIX.

8. Maybe next year (but probably not) – Only four teams have never reached the Super Bowl. The recently added Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans have not done so, nor have two of the league's oldest members: the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns. So far, it looks like that tradition will hold through the 2016-17 season.

Both the Lions and Browns won championships in the pre-Super-Bowl era, but have not so much as played in a championship since. Ask your grandfather about when the Lions and Browns were good… or maybe your great-grandfather.

9. TV commercials – The cost of Super Bowl ads has hit an almost absurd $5 million for a 30-second spot, up 11 percent from last year. Then again, how many TV events offer a captive audience where arguably the ads gather as much (or more) attention than the show?

10. TV viewers – Last year's Super Bowl topped the list with 114.4 million viewers watching an exciting game that came down to the last seconds before New England sealed a victory over Seattle with a goal-line interception. Of the top 10 individual television broadcasts ever, all but one are Super Bowls. The "M*A*S*H" series finale currently sits in seventh place at 106 million viewers. Logically, in a few more years, the entire top 10 list will be comprised of Super Bowls.

Regardless of which team you root for, enjoy Super Bowl 50 with plenty of friends and plenty of snacks. If the game is a blowout, you can still enjoy the commercials and your share of 8 million pounds of guacamole.

7 things to remember before booking Super Bowl trip

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With the teams solidified for Super Bowl 50, many football fans are starting to think more seriously about their travel plans to San Francisco.  

In response, many travel agencies have begun offering travel packages for the Feb. 7 game. 

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Experts have said fans can expect to pay $5,000 to $15,000 per person, so make sure you know what's included and what's not included.

The easy part: buying airfare.

The hard part: buying a ticket to the game and booking a hotel room.

According to the Better Business Bureau, excited game-goers shouldn't just pick a travel agency with a good reputation. They suggest looking for one with experience planning for major sports events.

"Super Bowl's pretty much it's own animal," BBB president Tom Bartholomy told WSOC-TV. "I would go to their website first, see what they're about, see what they've done, see what they claim to have done and then, see what their reputation is (on) BBB.org. And you'll be able to see are the claims they're making on their website backed up by what their customer experience has been."

Plus, don't forget to do these seven things when choosing a travel agency:

  1. Ask what hotels they work with. Then, double check that's true with the hotels themselves.
  2. Get the package in writing.
  3. Read the fine print, especially cancellation and refund policies.
  4. See if taxes and tips are included.
  5. Pay by credit card. It gives you more protection.
  6. Ask about ground transportation.
  7. Remember, meals aren't usually included in package deals.

Jerome Bettis parks 'The Bus' in Canton

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The humbled men in gold jackets were unmistakable.

So were the unending seas of yellow Terrible Towels there to greet them.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis headlined the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Saturday night, the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history greeted by thousands of fans who made the short trip to Canton and gave the final stop of his singular career a decided western Pennsylvania flavor.

The capacity crowd at Tom Benson Stadium -- most of them clad in some version of black-and-gold -- roared as Bettis made his way down the red carpet, his enshrinement serving as the final destination for a player who embodied the blue-collar mentality of the city and the franchise he helped lead to a fifth Super Bowl title in 2006.

The adulation surrounding Bettis' induction proved fitting on a night so many saw their lengthy waits to join football's most exclusive club come to an end.

Only linebacker Junior Seau was elected in his first year on the ballot. For the rest, Saturday night was a mixture of relief, joy and wonder.

Defensive end Charles Haley cracked jokes between heartfelt disclosures of his battle with depression. Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff didn't say a word, instead letting Hall of Fame teammate Fran Tarkenton speak for him shortly after Tingelhoff's bust was unveiled.

"He's waited 37 years to get to the Hall of Fame," Tarkenton said as thousands rose to their feet in appreciation.

Kansas City guard Will Shields spoke with the same thoughtfulness that made him one of the best linemen of his generation during a standout career with the Chiefs.

Contributors Bill Polian and Ron Wolf paid tribute to the icons who paved the way for their success. Wide receiver Tim Brown led chants of "Rai-ders! Rai-ders!" in a joyous moment more than a decade after the last of his 1,094 receptions.

Haley, the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings, gave a rousing, freewheeling speech that included a good-natured jabs at everyone from former San Francisco owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. DeBartolo called the decision to trade Haley to Dallas in 1992 his biggest mistake during his tenure.

Haley didn't disagree, though he also made sure to pay emotional tribute to the men who signed his paychecks. That included a touching nod to Jones, who organized a bone marrow drive when Haley's daughter Brianna was diagnosed with leukemia.

While Haley retired after the 1999 season with 100½ sacks and a fistful of championships. Yet he spent the better part of a decade watching former teammates get the call while his phone remained silent.

He blamed it partly on his own struggle with his inner demons. Haley said he was a "22-year-old man with a 16-year-old inside of me screaming for help and I would not ask for it" when he arrived in the NFL in 1986.

Even as he helped the 49ers win a pair of Super Bowls before earning three more with Dallas, Haley couldn't seem to shake the idea that something was wrong, something he couldn't quite articulate.

"My life spiraled out of control for years, for years," Haley said. "But today, guys, I am getting back into the locker room, to my teammates and tell them guys the mistakes that I've made and that the only way you can grow is that you've got to ask for help."

Wolf, who hired Mike Holmgren and traded for Brett Favre shortly after taking over in 1991, led off by praising the core that restored the Packers to legitimacy after two decades of mediocrity.

"There was always a threat to players of other teams that if they didn't shape up, they would be traded to Green Bay," Wolf said. "We worked hard to eliminate that stigma."

Green Bay won its first Super Bowl in nearly 30 years in 1997 when Favre guided the Packers by New England. Wolf, who spent 23 years working for the Raiders, called owner Al Davis a "remarkable teacher" who gave him a chance to grow from a scout scouring for prospects into one of the most respected team builders of his generation.

Polian praised Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy for helping him resurrect the Bills after Polian took over as general manager in 1984. The two men put together the foundation of a team that made four straight Super Bowl appearances behind Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed, all of whom Polian joined in the Hall. Polian finally won a championship with Indianapolis and Peyton Manning, though Polian couldn't help but wonder how a "kid from the Bronx" ended up in Canton.

There was no wondering for Bettis, who wasn't shy about his desire to follow in the footsteps of other Steeler greats who guided the team to greatness.

Many of them were on hand to watch Bettis join them, including Franco Harris, Joe Greene, Mel Blount and Lynn Swann. Several of Bettis' former teammates, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward, watched from in front of the stage as the Hall's doors finally opened for the player known simply as "The Bus."

Billionaire NFL team owner Glazer dies at 85

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The Buccaneers' announce Malcolm Glazer's passing earlier today.

The Buccaneers have announced that the second owner in franchise history, Malcolm Glazer, passed away this morning at the age of 85.

After a period under Hugh Culverhouse's ownership that was marked with ill feeling between players and the owner, Glazer's purchase of the team saw a huge turnaround in the team's fortunes. Under his ownership, the Bucs went from the worst team in the sport by a considerable margin, to Super Bowl champions in just seven seasons.

Below is the Buccaneers' statement in full:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are saddened to announce the passing of Owner/President Malcolm Glazer earlier this morning at the age of 85. A dynamic business leader, Glazer helped mold the Buccaneers into a model franchise and one respected league-wide. Since being purchased by Glazer in 1995, the Buccaneers franchise has earned seven playoff berths, five playoff wins, and captured its first Super Bowl championship in 2002. Known among his league peers as a pioneering thinker, Glazer infused his team and employees with the determination and dedication to be the best in the NFL. Glazer's commitment to building a championship organization has provided the foundation for continued success, on and off the field. Glazer's input was instrumental on the league level as well, as evidenced by his time serving on the NFL's Finance Committee. He also played a major role in Tampa becoming a host for the Super Bowl on several occasions. In 1999, Glazer launched the Glazer Family Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting charitable and educational causes in the Tampa Bay community, highlighted by the opening of the Glazer Children's Museum in 2010. In its 15 years of existence, the Foundation has donated millions in programs, tickets, grants and in-kind contributions. In 2005, Glazer purchased Manchester United. Since then, the club captured five Premier League titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013), as well as the 2008 Champions League title. Born in Rochester, New York as one of seven children, Glazer took over the family watch-parts business at age 15 following the death of his father and then continued his foray into the professional world, investing in other businesses. Glazer owned or was a substantial shareholder of a diverse portfolio of international holdings and public companies, including: First Allied, Zapata Corporation, Houlihan's Restaurant Chain, Harley Davidson, Formica, Tonka, Specialty Equipment and Omega Protein. A resident of Palm Beach, Florida, Glazer leaves behind his wife, Linda, six children and 14 grandchildren. Mr. Glazer's long established estate succession plan has assured the Buccaneers will remain with the Glazer family for generations to come. Linda Glazer, along with their five sons and daughter, will continue to own and operate the team as they have throughout the family's ownership. A private family funeral service will be held for Mr.Glazer. The opportunity for others to remember and celebrate Mr. Glazer's life will be announced at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to All Children's Hospital, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, and Shriners Hospitals for Children - Tampa.

Published in partnership with SBNation.com

Inmate sues NFL over missed call that cost Steelers playoff berth

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A prison inmate in Mercer County is suing the NFL because the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs.

According to Fox Sports, Daniel Spuck is suing the league over the play in which Kansas City missed a potentially game-winning field goal. (Click here to see the entire lawsuit.)

The referees didn’t call an illegal formation penalty against San Diego that would have given the Chiefs’ kicker another chance at the field goal.

Had the Chiefs won the game, the Steelers would have been the sixth-seed in the AFC.

Spuck is requesting the playoffs be postponed so Kansas City can try the kick again.

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