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Volume 24 No. 116
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NFL Franchise Notes: Lovie Smith Chose Buccaneers Due To Familiarity With Team

In Tampa, Rick Stroud reports new Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith on Tuesday, before he was officially hired on Thursday, was summoned to a home owned by team co-Chair Bryan Glazer to discuss his potential hire. IMG agent Matt Smith, who represents Lovie Smith and also is his son, said, "In the coaching carousel, everybody is playing this shadow game and trying to figure out where they stand. The Bucs were very candid they wanted dad, and they were willing to do what it takes to get him." Lovie Smith chose the Buccaneers because of "familiarity with the Glazer family and organizational structure" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/3).

REDSKINS ISSUE REEXAMINED: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote, "At a time when the controversy regarding the team’s name has died down considerably, the Redskins have put it back on the front burner by issuing a press release touting a new poll that shows opposition to a potential name change." However, "close inspection of the results [showed] that support for a name change is increasing, at a rate that should alarm the Redskins." The poll showed that 71% "oppose a name change," 18% support it and 11% are undecided. Conducted by Public Policy Polling, the survey "encompassed 741 registered voters who answered a variety of NFL-related questions via automated telephone interviews from December 13 through December 17, 2013." Meanwhile, an AP poll conducted last April "put the number" of those who support the Redskins name at 79% (, 1/2).

ROSS TAKING HIS TIME: In Ft. Lauderdale, Omar Kelly writes Dolphins fans "want a sacrifice offering of someone's job for the 8-8 season and colossal collapse, which included losing the final two games against weak opponents with a playoff berth on the line." Problem is, what fans "want doesn't necessarily ensure the franchise will move forward," and team Owner Stephen Ross "knows that." Sources said that this is why Ross "hasn't made any decisions" yet regarding possibly firing GM Jeff Ireland, coach Joe Philbin or others. Ross has "gained reputation as the NFL's new big spender," but he "doesn't interfere with football decisions." Ross may have been "too patient" with Ireland, who just finished up his sixth season as a GM. While patience and the NFL "don't necessarily go together, truth is, Ross needs time to analyze the issues so he can come to a resolution" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/3).

THAT'S THE TICKET: In Charlotte, Steve Harrison reports after roughly 7,000 tickets for the Panthers' playoff game next week sold out in three minutes on Wednesday, some fans believed that "so-called secondary ticket buyers such as StubHub had snapped up the tickets unfairly when they were sold by Ticketmaster." But Panthers Ticket Sales & Operations Dir Phil Youtsey in an e-mail wrote that the team "didn't do anything differently" with the sale. He added, "We have sold our tickets through Ticketmaster for over the past 15 years using the same system" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/3).