Wild Card Weekend Upsets, Brady A Free Agent, Garrett Finally Fired

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The defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, lost in the first round of the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Patriots fell to the Tennessee Titans 13-20. The Titans will play the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC divisional round. Now that the Patriots are out of the playoffs, everyone is talking about quarterback Tom Brady’s future. For the first time in his career, the 42-year-old is a free agent, but according to reports, he has no plans to retire.

The Houston Texans eked out a victory over the Buffalo Bills thanks to a stellar performance from quarterback Deshaun Watson who led his team from a double-digit deficit in the second half and set up the game-winning field goal in overtime for a 22-19 win. The Texans will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the next round.

The Minnesota Vikings pulled out a 26-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints and will face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional round. After the Seattle Seahawks knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles, they will take on the Green Bay Packers in the other NFC divisional round.

Here is the full schedule (all times Eastern):

Divisional round

Titans at Ravens: January 11th, 8:15 pm

Vikings at 49ers: January 11th, 4:35 pm

Texans at Chiefs: January 12th, 3:05 pm

Seahawks at Packers: January 12th, 6:40 pm

In other football news and after endless rumors, the Dallas Cowboys finally announced they will not renew head coach Jason Garrett’s contract.

 

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Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class Finalists, Garett Likely Ending Time With Cowboys

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The finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 have been revealed, and former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and former Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne made the cut in their first year of eligibility. The other finalists named include LeRoy Butler (Packers), Torry Holt (Rams/Jaguars), Sam Mills (Saints/Panthers), Zach Thomas (Dolphins/Cowboys), Bryant Young (49ers), Steve Atwater (Broncos/Jets), Tony Boselli (Jaguars), Isaac Bruce (Rams/49ers), Alan Faneca (Steelers/Jets/Cardinals), Steve Hutchinson (Seahawks/Vikings/Titans), Edgerrin James (Colts/Cardinals/Seahawks), John Lynch (Buccaneers/Broncos), Richard Seymour (Patriots/Raiders).

The day before Super Bowl 54 (LIV) on February 1st, up to five of these finalists will be chosen for the Hall of Fame.

No official word yet, but the Dallas Cowboys could be moving on from head coach Jason Garrett. Garrett’s contract expires on January 14th, and according to sources, owner/general manager Jerry Jones has decided not to renew his contract.

 

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Iconic Former NBA Commissioner David Stern Passes Away, Alabama & Oregon Prevail In Weekend Bowl Games

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Former NBA Commissioner David Stern passed away on January 1st after suffering a brain hemorrhage a month ago while dining at a restaurant in NY. Stern served as the commissioner from 1984-2014 and is credited with growing professional basketball into a global powerhouse. Current commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement saying, “For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals — preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.

“David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world. Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand — making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation.” David Stern was 77 years old.

In one of the anticipated weekend Bowl games, Alabama prevailed 35-16 over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Alabama QB Mac Jones (who took over for an injured Tua Tagovailoa) threw for three touchdowns, while Jerry Jeudy ran over 200 yards, the first Alabama player to achieve that feat in a bowl game.

In the Rose Bowl, Oregon pulled out a 28-27 victory over Wisconsin thanks in part to UW’s four turnovers, three fumbles and one interception. The win marks Oregon’s third consecutive Rose Bowl victory.

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LSU Vs Clemson In College Football Finals, SF Clinches #1 Spot, Patriots Slide, Packers Ugly Win

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The #1 LSU Tigers trounced Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl to advance to the finals of the College Football Playoffs. LSU’s Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, who transferred from Ohio State, led the team to a 63-28 win. The defending champion Clemson, will take on LSU in the National Championship game after their 29-23 semifinal win over Ohio State. The Championship game is on January 13th in New Orleans.

In an exciting weekend of NFL football, the regular season is now behind us and the playoffs are set. In a couple of notable games, the San Francisco 49ers held off the Seattle Seahawks in a dramatic goal line tackle and clinched the NFC West allowing them a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. San Francisco 26, Seattle 21.

With a shocking 27-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the heavily favored New England Patriots slid from the #2 seed and a bye in the playoffs to a wild-card slot.

The Green Bay Packers had to rely on kicker Mason Crosby to squeak out a much-needed win over the Detroit Lions and a first-round bye. Packers 23, Lions 20

For all the other playoff news, click here.

 

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College Football Playoff Semis This Weekend, Antonio Brown Works Out With Saints

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Forty Bowl games are played in the last few weeks of December and the first few weeks of January. For a list of all the Bowl games, click here.   The College Football Playoff semifinals on December 28th features LSU vs Oklahoma at 4:00 EST and Ohio State vs Clemson at 8:00 pm EST. The winners will face each other on January 13th in New Orleans.

The New Orleans Saints are reportedly looking at potentially signing Antonio Brown. The New England Patriots released Brown in September after sexual abuse allegations surfaced. The NFL hasn’t issued a statement on whether Brown is still under investigation and eligible to sign with a team.

 

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Warriors Big Win Over Rockets, Leonard Leads Clippers Over Lakers, Kaep’s New Shoe

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The Golden State Warriors have had a tough season, but with the help of Damion Lee (Stephen Curry’s brother-in-law) who scored a career-high 15 rebounds and added 22 points, the Warriors managed a big win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. The Warriors 116-104 victory ended the Rockets four-game winning streak and held the Rockets’ James Harden to only 24 points.

In another Christmas Day game, the Los Angeles Clippers held on for a win over their cross-town rivals, the Los Angles Lakers. LeBron was not in full form after suffering a groin injury, while the Rockets’ Kawhi Leonard added a much-needed 35 points in the 111-106 victory.

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Nike has gone all-in backing controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick by releasing a  $110 Air Force 1x shoe with a silhouette of his likeness on the back and the date, 08-14-16, on the sole. The date is the first game Kaepernick did not stand for the National Anthem. According to reports, the shoe sold out on the first day of its release (although Nike isn’t making sales figures public).

 

 

 

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Bengals Lose But Get First Round Pick, Cowboys Iffy, Ravens Clinch AFC #1 Seed, Isaiah Thomas Ejection Over Frosty

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With just one week left to go in the NFL regular season, some teams have secured their fate. Below are just a few highlights. For the full playoff picture, click here.

The Cincinnati Bengals lost again (38-35 overtime defeat to the Miami Dolphins) and now hold the worst record in the NFL. The only good news is their horrible season secures them the top pick in the NFL draft.

The Dallas Cowboys might miss out on the playoffs after their 17-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With a win over the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens clinched the AFC’s #1 seed and home-field advantage.

The New England Patriots secured the AFC East title with a win over the Buffalo Bills, but will need a win in week 17 to get a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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The NBA ejected Washington Wizard guard Isaiah Thomas and will suspend him for two games for walking into the stands during the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Isaiah had just made one of two free throws when the spectator raised “both of his middle fingers and said, ‘F—you, b—-,’ three times.” Thomas confronted the spectator and said, “Don’t be disrespectful. I’m a man before anything. Be a fan.” The man said, “I’m sorry, I just wanted a Frosty.” The 76ers were holding a promotion where fans won a frozen dessert if their opponents missed two free throws in a row. The NBA has a zero-tolerance policy for their fans, so they banned the spectators and revoked the seats from the season-ticket holder for the rest of the season.

 

 

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Giannis Career-Best Five 3-Pointers, Jags Move Clocks Back After Coughlin Firing

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The reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in his Milwaukee Bucks’ 111-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Giannis recorded a career-best five three-pointers but remained humble in his post-game interview saying, “I think the most important thing is trying to stay humble. When you win MVP and you win 60 games, it’s hard. You feel like, ‘What else?’ But at the end of the day, I realize, and my family realizes, I’m not supposed to be here. I wasn’t the No. 1 pick like AD was, like LeBron was. I ain’t supposed to be here. I ain’t supposed to go up against these two. I’m just happy I’m here.”

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Now that the Jacksonville Jaguars have fired Tom Coughlin, the Jags equipment staff moved the clocks back to their original time. When Coughlin was with the team he moved the clocks back five minutes. He believed, “if you’re not five minutes early to a meeting or commitment, you’re considered late.” He also excessively fined players for rules infractions which is why he was ultimately fired. The NFL Players Association even went as far as recommending players consider his conduct when selecting their next club.

 

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Chris Paul Buys Custom Suits For Teammates, Jags Fire Coughlin Again

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Chris Paul bought custom-made suits for his Oklahoma City teammates. He outfitted every player on the Thunder roster in Wednesday night’s big comeback win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Paul said he wanted to show his investment in the team where he landed after being traded from the Houston Rockets last summer. He also reflected on the fact that as a kid he didn’t have nice things and wanted to give his teammates a gift. He said the best part was that the whole team came together. His teammate Steven Adams, who isn’t fond of dressing up, initially resisted wearing the suit, but then realized he could wear his “Peaky Blinders” hat with the outfit.

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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan fired the head of the Jags’ front office, Tom Coughlin. The firing comes two days after the NFL Players Association encouraged players to be cautious about signing with the Jaguars due to the team issuing excessive fines. The letter from the NFLPA stated that “25% of the grievances filed by NFL players have been against the club and that players.” This is the second time the Jaguars have fired Coughlin. He was also the team’s coach and GM from 1995-2002.

 

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Pro Bowl Selections

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The NFL selection committee picked the roster of players for the Pro Bowl on January 26th in Florida, and the Baltimore Ravens tied for the most players selected. With 12 players chosen, the Ravens lead the NFL followed by the New Orleans Saints with seven selections and the Kansas City Chiefs with six. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had the most fan votes. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes were also chosen for the roster.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was not selected for the first time since 2008, and the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins were the only two teams not fielding a single player. For a listing of all players, click here.

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