Matthew McConaughey bought a full-page ad to congratulate fellow Texas native Nick Foles

It’s a classy move from McConaughey, especially considering that Foles is on his favorite team’s division rival. And Foles appreciated the sentiment.

Even the now-famous Philly Special wasn’t practiced in the stadium, with Lovato saying the Eagles went over that two weeks before the Super Bowl.

According to Mike Florio, there was absolutely no evidence that the Patriots were watching the Eagles’ practice sessions at the stadium. But hey, nothing wrong with keeping things close to the vest, and it all worked out in the end, with the Eagles winning their first-ever Lombardi Trophy. Perhaps now the bad memories of Super Bowl 39 can finally be put to rest.

The $27.5 million per year average tops the $27 million average that Matthew Stafford received in a new contract extension from the Detroit Lions in 2017, but will almost certainly be topped by whatever contract is given to Kirk Cousins in free agency and a deal that Aaron Rodgers is expected to get from the Green Bay Packers sometime during the 2018 offseason.

It was a deal that Garoppolo’s play on the field to end the 2017 season warranted and one the 49ers essentially had to pay if they truly believed he’s the quarterback of the team’s future.

Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that the fine was for “for public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

The trade deadline created a lot of movement in the 2018 NBA draft. Let’s look at where the top prospects — Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba and Marvin Bagley III — might land.

Cuban told Julius Erving on the “House Call with Dr. J” podcast Feb. 18 that he shared his opinion with the team recently.

“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option,'” Cuban said on the podcast. “Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This was, like, a year and a half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that’s the key to being kind of a players’ owner and having stability.”
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After being declared inactive for Super Bowl 52, Alan Branch ate his feelings at Panda Express

When in doubt, like when you’re not playing in Super Bowl 52 after playing the whole season with the New England Patriots, just go eat some Panda Express. That’s exactly what Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch did a few hours before kickoff of Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis. He was seen at the Mall of America ordering Panda before kickoff, so he he’s not suiting up Sunday:

Branch missed the Pats’ AFC Championship game against Jacksonville a couple weeks ago due to a knee injury he suffered during the regular season. Branch missing the game was confirmed shortly after he was seen ordering Panda Express:

Washington led 2-1 with less than four minutes remaining but yielded two late goals. According to the team’s website, Thursday’s loss was just the second time in four seasons that the Capitals have taken a regulation loss after leading the game with 10 minutes left in the third.

Andre Burakovsky had a goal and an assist for Washington. Lars Eller added a goal and Braden Holtby made 30 saves.

“We’re always disappointed when we don’t get the two points and tonight we should definitely have it,” Burakovsky told NHL.com. “We just need to stick with it.”

Burakovsky now has three goals and five points in his last six games.

U.S. Bank Stadium management knows that, and it’s taking full advantage. It will cost you at least $11 and as much as $17 for a beer inside the venue hosting Super Bowl 52:

That’s $11 for the cheapest beer and $17 for a “specialty draft.” There is also a domestic can for $13 and specialty can for $15.

That’s a lot of money for a 16-ounce pour of Grain Belt, but at least it’s a local beer you’re not going to get at any other NFL stadium. Of course, if you go to a local Total Wine store in Minnetonka, Minn., it will only cost you $11.99 for a 12 pack of 16-oz. cans of the Minneapolis-based beer. You can get a pint of Nordeast, a darker — and tastier — variant of the beer on tap at downtown bars for anywhere from $3-5.

Bud Light, source of the incessant “dilly dilly” chants you’ve heard throughout the NFL playoffs, is a different story. It’s an ubiquitous presence in stadiums and bars across the country — a reliable standby that doesn’t offer much in terms of elaborate flavor but is refreshing enough to order a pitcher.
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By the end of the first runs, Ligety was ranked 20th with Cochran-Siegle ranked 21st.

So with May on the mend and Ervin Santana out until mid to late April following surgery on his middle finger, too, there are fewer competitors for Sanchez in his bid to make the rotation.

Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia are the favorites to win the first four spots, and manager Paul Molitor said he’s considering a four-man group for the first month to take advantage of the plentiful days off.

In that case, perhaps Sanchez could be in line for a long relief role with the ability to make a couple of spot starts. Molitor said he’s not thinking about that for now.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States posted a 1:10.75, which was 2.48 seconds slower than the lead, placing him at 21st overall, just behind Ligety, who had dropped by that point (36 runs).

Tommy Ford, another American, was ranked 28th. Hirscher, Alexis Pinturault of France and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen of Norway were the top three after the first runs.

Myers, who played center field with the Padres in 2015, has begun taking flyballs in the outfield and has said he is all-in about moving back. He is under contract through 2022 after signing a six-year, $83 million deal last year.

We see him as a guy who can play the corners ably at both positions, Green said.

I’d say probably the majority of reps between those positions would be leaning toward right. We’ll give him exposure to both and kind of watch and see. Listen to him, too. How he is seeing the ball in both places. Naturally he is probably a little bit more comfortable in right, but we are going to have to see about the roster composition, too, he said.bears_006

Johnny Manziel: Baker Mayfield ‘can learn from what I did wrong’

Johnny Manziel and Baker Mayfield are both from Texas and have a really cool friendship, but the comparisons should stop there, Manziel said on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast.

We’re completely different people. We have a similar background. We’re both from Texas. We both played Texas high school football, but he’s not me, and I’m not him. The way my wires are in my head and the way that I’m built and my makeup is completely different than Baker, Manziel said, according to Ohio.com, which transcribed the quarterback’s comments.

The fourth group started with a very strong run from Dmitri Aliev of the Olympic Athletes from Russia. His score of 267.51 moved him high up the leaderboard. Then it was onto Jin Boyang of China, who managed a 194.45, for a total score of 297.77, unseating Chen for the lead!

Patrick Chan of Canada, one of the most decorated figure skaters of all time, had a very nice final run, including a quad toeloop into a double toeloop to start his routine. His total score of 263.43 placed him in sixth overall.

The Eagles aren’t the first in line for the phrase. They’re actually the eighth group to file for it. People in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida, as well as the Pennsylvania-based brewing company Yuengling, filed for rights to own the phrase, which refers to the now-famous Super Bowl LII trick play.

Trademark lawyer Josh Gerben of Gerben Law in Washington, D.C., says the Eagles will have to wait about four months for the USPTO to sort out the filings and then roughly eight months after that to see whether the trademark will be awarded to the team. While the other trademark filings are for intent to use Philly Special, the Eagles say they’ve already used it, referring to a shirt with their logo that was sold by Fanatics in the days after their Super Bowl win.

Gerben says one question the trademark office will have is whether the play’s name belongs to the Eagles or deserves to be in the public domain.

I think the league should of course be playing a very active role between bridging that gap between officials and players, Silver said when asked.royals_083

For the first time in history, there is more than one wide receiver in the same Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

The two Senior Committee finalists — Kramer and Brazile — were both included in the 2018 Hall class.

Brazile was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1975 after the Oilers selected the former Jackson State linebacker with the sixth overall pick of the 1975 NFL Draft. Brazile, who will turn 65 Wednesday, made the Pro Bowl every year from 1976-82 and was named to the 1970s all-decade team. During a 10-year career, Brazile never missed a game and retired with 13 interceptions and 11 sacks over his final three seasons, when sacks became an official stat in 1982.

Beathard, the former Redskins and Chargers general manager who was the contributor finalist, rounds out the 2018 Hall of Fame class. Beathard was the architect of Washington’s Super Bowl titles in 1982 and 1987. The Redskins won another Super Bowl in 1991, two years after Beathard left to become the GM of the Chargers. The Chargers had four straight losing seasons from 1988-91, but won the AFC West in 1992 and went to the Super Bowl two years later.

NFL Network reported that Smith will sign a four-year extension worth $94 million with $71 million guaranteed, which essentially locks him in as the starter.

The report from ESPN also indicates that while Smith is expected to take over at the quarterback position for the Redskins, the franchise might put a tag on Cousins for the third consecutive year and instead of taking the 2019 compensatory pick, the Redskins might try to flip him for a 2018 pick.

Cousins’ salary would be worth approximately $34.5 million for 2018 if Washington does place the franchise tag on him, according to ESPN, and a trade would become more complicated.

The Pro Bowler still has to agree to the terms as the Redskins wouldn’t be able to trade Cousins until he signs the franchise tag if that’s the route the team decides to take, and it could potentially delay the process for months.
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The Patriots cheat. The NFL is rigged, and officials are in on it. The fix is in.

In other words, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and New England are heading to the Super Bowl again.

Jacksonville ran into a badass quarterback and blew a 10-point lead.

A sixth Super Bowl victory for an NFL quarterback has no bearing on Brady’s status as the best of all time. In the minds of the vast majority, that debate ended long ago.

So when Brady says he does not see an end in sight when asked about the remainder of his career, we believe him. But what if he’s near-sighted? The Patriot Way, after all, does not permit a player to reveal anything of significance ahead of schedule.

And a Brady retirement after Super Bowl 52 certainly would qualify as significant. It also would make perfect sense, and it would have all the makings of the most timely retirement in sports history.

However, the play was upheld on review as officials determined Ertz had become a runner. The score gave the Eagles a 38-33 lead and they went on to win, 41-33.

There’s no accountability for Jacksonville. What about the costly delay of game penalty late in the second quarter before the Pats’ touchdown drive? What about Leonard Fournette not laying out on a wheel route on what could have been a game-winning touchdown drive?

There’s also no mention of the fact that the replay booth upheld a Myles Jack fumble recovery when it could have been argued Dion Lewis was down. That doesn’t fit the “Roger Goodell is the replay puppet master” narrative. At least, not this time. Maybe there will be a call against the Eagles in the Super Bowl, and Charlie Day of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (language NSFW) can break it down at that point.

Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. The Broncos clearly need to do something about the QB position, but they shouldn’t force it if one of the top two prospects doesn’t fall to No. 5. The smart thing would be to add a veteran as a short-term starter and then use a Day 2 pick on a quarterback like Josh Allen or Mason Rudolph to develop, with the option of trading back into the first round for either.

No. 5 overall is high for a guard, but Nelson is likely one of the top-five players at any position in this class. Put him on a line with Ronald Leary, Matt Paradis and a developing Garett Bolles, and you’re putting whoever is at QB in a better position to succeed.bills_014

As this week’s games kick off Sunday, more players are expected to take a knee in protest after Trump’s comments.

After Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who had indicated that he would not go to the White House if invited by Trump, the president preemptively disinvited the team in a tweet on Saturday morning.

“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” Trump said.

On Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted an announcement that Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins would accept an invitation to come to the White House.

That game showed Romo is not yet ready to rip his fellow QBs. Until he does, he’ll never fully embrace the TV Dark Side.

Still, here’s the scary prospect for Collinsworth, Aikman and whoever ESPN hires as color analyst to succeed Jon Gruden on “Monday Night Football.” Romo will only improve as he gets more reps with Nantz, Wolfson, CBS’ lead NFL producer Jim Rikhoff and game director Mike Arnold. He’s already planning a sit-down with Nantz and the team this off-season to examine ways to improve.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” Trump said on Saturday.: If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin forcefully defended Trump’s comments about NFL players demonstrating during the national anthem, saying that NFL owners should vote on new rules prohibiting the practice.

“This is about respect for the military, the first responders,” he said. Mnuchin also declined to criticize the coarse language Trump used, saying, “I think the president can use whatever language he wants to use.”

Freeman out: Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman will sit out Monday’s game after suffering his second concussion of the season.
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Beating the practically QB-less Jets was not exactly a major feat, but at least the Saints took care of business.

Now they face the Falcons for the second time in three games and have a chance to make amends for their loss in Atlanta. The late-game mistakes by QB Drew Brees and Coach Sean Payton were costly in that defeat, so they must be more reliable this time around.

Montana’s successor may have thrown for more touchdowns in Super Bowl 29, but no quarterback performance can quite compare to what Montana did to the Broncos in Super Bowl 24. Against Denver’s top-ranked scoring defense (14.1 points per game) Montana set, at the time, a Super Bowl record for touchdowns while also earning a quarterback rating of 147.6 and completing 13 consecutive passes.

Each week, national NFL writer Mark Maske ranks the league’s 32 teams. This week, the New England Patriots take advantage of the rule book and a questionable late-game decision by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to move back into the No. 1 spot. Pittsburgh stays in the top five despite the loss but is now looking up at the Panthers and Vikings, who look like the class of the NFC. Speaking of which, the L.A. Rams jump three spots after their destruction of the Seahawks in Seattle. And the Jaguars, now with double-digit wins for the first time since 2007, clock in at No. 5 with a return to the playoffs just a few weeks away.

Their shockingly lopsided victory in Seattle reestablishes the Rams as a top NFC contender. They went 2-2 in their four recent games against the Vikings, Saints, Eagles and Seahawks, and they close the regular season against the faltering Titans and the rebuilding 49ers. A 12-win season is well within reach.

What happened to the defense against the Giants? The secondary was carved up by Eli Manning, and the pass rush was nonexistent. The good news was the play of fill-in QB Nick Foles, who took over for the injured Carson Wentz and threw four TD passes. But the Eagles did not look like a Super Bowl team Sunday, and it had nothing to do with Foles.
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We look at six teams, including several playoff contenders, that might have what it takes to make a deal.

By now, Medeiros, the Saint Louis School president, has noticed another fresh wrinkle.

Referring to the atmosphere at school, he said: “I would like to say it’s been completely different, but ever since Marcus is doing really well, we’ve been experiencing this for a few years, since Marcus winning the Heisman. They’re very excited, but it’s not as if it’s a situation where they’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, we’ve never been through a situation like this.’ ”

They graduate finally not with the turning of a tassel, but with the turning of a lei, red and blue, school colors of the Crusaders. Thursday was “Tie Thursday,” on which the lads wear ties.

The Giants will likely be counting on Shurmur to produce better play from the 37-year-old Manning, at least for one more season, and to possibly tutor a young quarterback the team could draft with the No. 2 overall pick. “He has an outstanding track record in developing young players, and it is clear his players respond to his guidance and direction,” Giants executives John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a statement.

All-Star Kemba Walker is available, reports Adrian Wojnarowski.

In addition to unmatched efficiency inside the arc, Curry has added a significant wrinkle to his game by getting to the line much more. Entering this season, Curry averaged one foul shot for every 4.3 shot attempts. That’s historically low. In fact, it’s the lowest by any of the more than 60 players who poured in 20 points per game over the course of their career.

So far this season, Curry is taking a free throw for every 2.6 field goal attempts, a rate that slots him right in the middle of that 20-point scorers club and above the likes of Michael Jordan, who early in his career actually led the entire league in total free throw attempts. For a player shooting almost 92 percent from the free throw line — which, oh by the way, might end up being the best ever by someone who gets to the line as much as he does — that’s an especially big development.chargers_037

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We might not thank God anymore, but that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving isn’t still religious.

This is how stadiums became temples of nationalism. When the Constitution functions like Scripture, and the pledge serves as our creed, and the flag is revered like the cross, and the national anthem becomes our hymn, and the hand over heart is a sacred expression like the sign of the cross, then a swelling patriotism becomes our religion and dissenters are heretics.

James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., whose latest book, “Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology,” was just published by Baker Academic.

Kamara leads a wave of young backs who have been developing receiving skills for years. The rise of offseason passing leagues and pass-heavy spread offenses in college have created a new breed of running back.

“Whatever you want to credit that to — seven-on-seven passing academies to just the style of offenses that they run in college, I’m not sure — but guys seem to come in even more prepared now than they ever have been,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “What they’re able to do, I think their versatility is something that you see with so many of these young backs that come in. They can run the ball between the tackles, they can catch the ball out of the backfield, you can split them out and almost treat them as receivers sometimes. Just really talented players.”

The traditional plow-horse running back is not extinct — the Jaguars took Leonard Fournette fourth overall and would probably do so again; he is a battering ram suited for their ball-control offense. But many running backs may be better viewed as skill players.

This week’s bracket projection incorporates what the committee revealed last Thursday. But in the ever-evolving world of college basketball, Monday’s projection also includes adjustments based on a weekend of games. Four days can change plenty — or in some cases, not much at all.

Despite scoring 31 points below their season average and losing at home to Florida State on Sunday, the Cardinals remain a No. 1 seed and the third overall team on the board. The reasons are many, but the most important is that there isn’t a logical successor to Louisville’s spot. Oregon, the No. 4 overall team on the committee’s list Thursday, lost — and did so to a team (Oregon State) not ranked as high as the Seminoles.

This was also the Cardinals’ first loss. Possible contenders such as Texas and Tennessee each have three. The Lady Vols lost twice in the four days since the reveal.

In the Vikings-Saints game, there were four lead changes in the final 3:01 of the fourth quarter. Titans vs. Bills had four lead changes in the second half, and three in the last 1:48 of the game.jaguars_009