With 2:29 remaining in Sunday's NFC championship game, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled the ball on the New York 21-yard line and it was recovered by the 49ers. However, the officials ruled that Bradshaw's forward progress had been stopped, so the Giants retained possession. That doesn't sit well with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who compared the play to the infamous tuck rule call that helped Tom Brady and the Patriots defeat the Raiders in the Snow Bowl 10 years ago.

There’s been widespread speculation that the Jets would make a run at Peyton Manning if the Colts decide to move on from the veteran quarterback. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that another AFC East team is one of three clubs expected to join the hunt. Schefter writes that the Dolphins, Redskins and Cardinals all have interest, and The Miami Herald confirms via team sources that the Dolphins will “aggressively pursue him” if the 35-year-old is cleared medically.

The Associated Press reported that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died Sunday morning after complications from lung cancer. Paterno was 85.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today," his family said in a statement. "His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled."

Paterno had been in the hospital for over a week with what had been deemed by his family to be minor complications related to his cancer. However, his condition grew increasingly grave during his stay.

Brewers star Ryan Braun reportedly began his appeal of his positive drug test Thursday, as the National League MVP attempts to avoid a 50-game suspension.

Braun is presenting his case to a three-member arbitration panel, according to the New York Daily News, and he'll have to prove that "the presence of a prohibited substance in his urine was not due to his fault or negligence."

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson went on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" and talked about how the Jets struggled with internal strife during their 8-8 season. In the interview that aired Wednesday night, LT said the relationship between quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes was especially poor, and it helped create a fractured locker room.

"It is as bad as I've ever been around, honestly," Tomlinson said. "And I've been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not. But it was as bad as I've been around."

Rangers coach John Tortorella is known for speaking his mind and not backing down to anyone, and apparently it doesn't matter even when dealing with the team's owner. After James Dolan told the media Tuesday that the first-place Rangers were "pretty close" to winning a Stanley Cup, Tortorella called out his boss.

The Giants have talked the the talk and walked the walk the past couple of weeks, so there was no reason to expect they would change their brash ways as they prepare to meet the 49ers in the NFC championship game.

"We're not going to be denied at this point," safety Antrel Rolle said Monday. “We know what we have as a team. It’s not all about talent, it’s about chemistry, jelling at this point. We have one goal in mind and that’s to win a championship.”

Added Rolle: "In our minds, we can't be beat."

According to an article by Kent Babb of The Kansas City Star, former Chiefs coach Todd Haley was convinced that team management had bugged rooms and phones in an attempt to monitor employees' conversations, and he wasn't the only one with paranoid thoughts. Since Scott Pioli was hired as general manager in January 2009 (away from the Patriots), the article states, "life for many inside the Chiefs' front office has been marked by massive staff turnover, fear and insecurity about how closely they are watched." There are also charges of age discrimination.

FOXBORO -- Logan Mankins was almost offended by the mere suggestion.

But on Thursday, when he spoke for the first time since injuring his left knee on Christmas Eve against the Dolphins, I asked the powerful Patriots offensive lineman a simple question.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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Jets legend Joe Namath is not impressed by his old team's hiring of former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator.

"I'm stumped," Namath said during a Thursday appearance on New York's 1050 ESPN Radio. "I am stumped. Ay yay yay."

Namath questioned Sparano's qualifications for the position.