While Steelers fans watching the newscast may have chuckled at the reminder of Brady’s alleged involvement in the Deflategate scandal, officials at the station hardly were amused. On Wednesday, they announced that the employee, a man named Michael Telek, had been fired.
“While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting,” the station said in a statement obtained by the Post-Gazette. “The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards. The individual who created the graphic no longer works for KDKA-TV.”
Telek told the Pittsburgh City Paper that he was trying to play to the Patriots-loathing masses in Western Pennsylvania.
“It was something light,” he said. “Everyone in Pittsburgh hates Tom Brady.”
Telek also said he was initially told by station management that he merely would be reprimanded but instead was fired after the chyron went viral. A crowdfunding campaign has been started to help him out as he looks for a new job — it had raised nearly $1,700 as of Thursday morning — but he announced on Twitter that he would donate the money to a charity in Brady’s name once he finds work.
— Speaking of Brady, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday he would have no trouble extending his contract past 2019, which is the final year of his current deal. Brady, 41, has long maintained that he wants to play until he’s 45, or through the 2022 season.
“Think about it: The last three years we’ve been privileged to go to the Super Bowl with a quarterback in place. I would be quite surprised if he didn’t continue for quite a while as our quarterback,” Kraft told ESPN’s Mike Reiss in Atlanta.
A reworked contract not only would keep Brady in New England likely until his retirement; it also would give the Patriots room to maneuver in free agency. Brady contract is scheduled to count $27 million against the salary cap next season, and a new deal could lessen that hit by giving Brady more money via signing bonus and guarantees down the line.
“Having the head coach [Bill Belichick] we have and having Tom, there is a unique symmetry there, and chemistry,” Kraft said of the duo that will be playing in its ninth Super Bowl on Sunday. “It carries over to the whole organization. I think we’re very lucky.”
Your need-to-know Super Bowl info
TV: CBS, which will begin its football-related coverage at 11:30 a.m. The official Super Bowl pregame show starts at 2 p.m. ESPN Deportes will handle the Spanish-language broadcast.
Broadcast crew: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, with Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn providing sideline reporting.
Online: The game will be streamed free online at CBSSports.com or via the CBS Sports app. The game also will be available via the CBS All Access subscription streaming service. New subscribers get a one-week free trial, which means anyone who signs up this week can stream the game on Sunday and then cancel before a payment is required. For anyone with a smartphone or tablet, the game will be available free via the NFL Mobile app or the Yahoo Sports app.
Odds: As of Thursday morning, the Patriots were 2½-point favorites and the over-under total remained steady at 56.5, near the highest-ever total for the game (57 in both Super Bowl LI between the Falcons and Patriots in 2017 and Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and Colts in 2010). The final score has gone over the total in six of the past eight Super Bowls. New England has been the favorite in six of its eight Super Bowl appearances with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady but has covered the spread in just one of those games (against the Falcons in 2017).
National anthem: Gladys Knight will perform the national anthem.
The Post’s Super Bowl coverage
— No Super Bowl party is complete without a prop-bet contest. The Post has you covered with a printable sheet containing 20 of the best questions that will be answered during the game. Play along!
— Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been with nine teams over his 41-year coaching career. Thanks to the wisdom he learned from his father, Bum Phillips, he’s rarely been unsuccessful. Sally Jenkins checks in with one of the more interesting and beloved men in football.
— An officiating crisis is the last thing the NFL needs ahead of the Super Bowl, Mark Maske notes.
— Sean McVay has the Rams on the verge of a Super Bowl title. Only a few years ago, he merely was a low-level assistant on Mike Shanahan’s Redskins staff.
— Unlike past years, when the Super Bowl halftime act held a news conference ahead of the big game, Maroon 5 will not be talking to reporters. That’s one way to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the conversation.
— James Brown will host the Super Bowl pregame show for the ninth time; only Brent Musburger has done it more. Ben Strauss rides the Acela to work with the widely admired broadcaster.
— If you’re in the market for Super Bowl prop bets, here are a few to consider before you step to the window.