- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2008

In the midst of the NFL’s biggest party, an annual testament to the league’s massive wealth, more than 30 former players, most of them Hall of Famers, haven’t forgotten their needy brethren.

Among the items being auctioned off at gridirongreats.org through Feb. 6 are an African safari with four former stars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle autographed by 25 of them and a dinner with Hall of Famer Mike Ditka at his Chicago restaurant.

Gridiron Greats was founded last year by former Green Bay guard Jerry Kramer to provide financial assistance and social services to retired players in dire need.

It was as if the Hall of Fame had been transplanted from Canton, Ohio, to Phoenix as immortals Gale Sayers, “Mean” Joe Greene, Charley Taylor, Anthony Munoz and Larry Little joined Ditka, another leader of the organization, in support of Kramer. “We’ve all known the problems for some time,” Kramer said. “Now we’ve come together to try to solve them.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“If we ever get to that time where there’s no cap, we’ll never have one again.”

— NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw reacting to recent unhappiness with the collective bargaining agreement by owners

NUMBER OF THE DAY

4,786

Media credentials issued for Sunday’s game. That tops last year’s record by 270, largely because New York and Boston are both huge media markets.

PROP BET OF THE DAY

Five likeliest MVPs (with odds)

Patriots QB Tom Brady1-2

Giants QB Eli Manning7-2

Patriots WR Randy Moss4-1

Patriots RB Laurence Maroney5-1

Patriots WR Wes Welker5-1

Courtesy of bodoglife.com

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Patriots ILBs Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau vs. Giants RB Brandon Jacobs

Bruschi, 34, and Seau, 38, are the emotional veteran leaders of a New England defense that ranked fourth overall and 10th against the run. Jacobs, a bruising alternative to now-retired Pro Bowl pick Tiki Barber in 2006, shined this year, averaging 5.0 yards a carry as the No. 1 back.

Jacobs has struggled in postseason, averaging just 3.2 yards a carry and seeing the ball less than faster backup Ahmad Bradshaw. Ball control — more Jacobs — will be important against the potent Patriots, for whom Seau has been the top postseason tackler.

— David Elfin

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