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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — During an unveiling of the logo for Super Bowl XLV, the NFL announced Thursday that, going forward, the basic design of future logos will remain static.
"Keeping with this design strategy, we created a Super Bowl identity that will be consistent year to year and reflects the Vince Lombardi Trophy," read a statement distributed at the event, which was held in what was described as a miniature replica of the new Cowboys Stadium at the Super Bowl media center.
"To achieve this we have developed a new Super Bowl identity system that includes two logos for use. The national logo ... will be the NFL's main expression for promoting the Super Bowl property. The regional logo ... can be used as a way for the League and its partners to accentuate the region and localize products and promotions. The regional icon that will be used year to year is the stadium in which the game will be played. The regional logo for Super Bowl XLV features Cowboys Stadium."
In addition to the prepared release that was distributed, Mark Waller, the NFL's chief marketing officer, spoke about the new design before it was actually revealed.
"For those of you who have been to these presentations before, you're going to see something a little different today in that what we're going to share with you today is actually going to be a permanent core design for the Super Bowl identity going forward," Waller said. "If you look back over history, you'll notice the logo has changed every year. Going forward, we're actually going to have a core identity logo that stays the same, and then we're going to show very different original versions of it, starting with the North Texas Super Bowl."
He later elaborated on the new design, after it had been unveiled.
"I think it's bold and has a stature and pre-eminence that reflects what the Super Bowl is," Waller said. "I think it now is in keeping with what the event is."
He addressed rumors that this unveiling of this logo would coincide with an announcement of the phasing out of the traditional Roman numerals.
"No, the Roman numerals are a core to the Super Bowl," said Waller. "They were always going to be a core element of the design."
As part of the introduction, legendary Cowboys QB Roger Staubach was on hand to talk about the progress the North Texas Super Bowl host committee is making toward staging next year's big event.
"Our host committee is made up of everyone that's all over North Texas," said Staubach. "We've got a cooperative spirit that is unprecedented, I think, in terms of making this thing work and making it happen. Because of that, I think we're going to be extremely successful, and we want the NFL to keep coming back to North Texas."
Obligatory Freeney update
DE Dwight Freeney, hobbled by a bum ankle that threatens his availability for Sunday's game, was a popular figure again at the Colts' Thursday media session, as reporters were anxious for an update on his health.
What did we learn?
Nothing definitive, although the popular opinion among writers in South Florida is that he will be active on game day.
"Yep, I am still day-to-day," said Freeney. "Like I said, every time I wake up in the morning I reassess the situation. I haven't seen the trainers yet this morning, so I haven't heard what they have to say about it. I'm just feeling it out. It's starting to feel better and it is starting to look more like an ankle now."
Freeney said he expects to test the ankle in earnest in the next day or so.
"I think my first attempt, really, will probably be tomorrow (Friday)," Freeney said. "I will probably go out and see what I can do tomorrow and then Saturday a lot more."
According to the latest injury report distributed by the Colts Thursday evening, Freeney did not participate in practice. The only other player not to participate in Thursday's practice was CB Jerraud Powers, who has been sidelined by a foot injury.
Saints alter practice routine
The Saints altered their normal practice routine slightly Thursday, as head coach Sean Payton opted to trim the session by about 20 minutes, according to the daily pool report filed by PFWA member John Czarnecki and released to all Super Bowl media. In addition, the team-drills portion of the workout was limited to eight snaps and some special-teams practice was worked in between the offensive and defensive plays.
"We're in the second week now and we can do that," Payton said. "It was a little warm out here (around 80 degrees when practice began). I think you have to be a little careful; some guys would worry about getting all the plays in. All I was concerned about was getting good work in, and we accomplished that."
The Saints substituted their shoulder pads for shells for the final 40 minutes of practice.
The only key player not to participate in practice was RB Lynell Hamilton, who has been bothered by a sore left ankle. Hamilton, who is key on special teams and in short-yardage situations on offense, was able to do some light jogging while being watched by the Saints' training staff.
"He's feeling better," Payton said of Hamilton. "I'm hopeful of him playing."
Harvin wins Diet Pepsi Rookie of Year award
The annual Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year award is generally announced during an entertaining press conference hosted by NFL Network personality Rich Eisen. This year, though, there was a simple announcement read by an NFL public-relations official.
She announced to the crowd assembled in a large meeting room at the NFL media center that Vikings WR Percy Harvin had won the award, but due to travel problems, he was not able to be in attendance — which meant no formal press conference.
Instead, a pair of the finalists for the award — Michael Oher of the Ravens and Brian Cushing of the Texans — appeared to field questions from the media.
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