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Former NFL WR Vincent Jackson found dead in hotel
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รูปถ่ายหุ้น: ตัวรับสัญญาณกว้าง NFC แทมปาเบย์ Vincent Jackson เฉลิมฉลองหลังจากทำคะแนนทัชดาวน์ในไตรมาสแรกของ NFL Pro Bowl ที่ Aloha Stadium ในโฮโนลูลูฮาวาย 27 มกราคม 2013 REUTERS / Hugh Gentry / File Photo อดีตผู้รับกว้าง NFL Vincent Jackson คือ พบศพในห้องพักของโรงแรมในฟลอริดาเมื่อวันจันทร์ที่ผ่านมาเจ้าหน้าที่ยืนยัน ตำรวจกล่าวว่าแจ็คสันวัย 38 ปีอยู่ที่ Homewood Suites ในย่านชานเมืองแทมปาของแบรนดอนตั้งแต่วันที่ 11 มกราคม เขาบอกกับครอบครัวแจ็คสันว่าเขาหายตัวไปเมื่อวันที่ 10 กุมภาพันธ์ สองวันต่อมาเจ้าหน้าที่ของสำนักงานนายอำเภอฮิลส์โบโรห์เคาน์ตี้พบเขาที่โรงแรมและพูดกับเขา หลังจากประเมินความเป็นอยู่ของเขารายงานเกี่ยวกับผู้สูญหายถูกยกเลิก แม่บ้านคนหนึ่งพบว่าแจ็คสันเสียชีวิตในวันจันทร์เวลา 11.30 น. ET สำนักงานนายอำเภอกล่าวว่าไม่มีร่องรอยการบาดเจ็บที่ชัดเจน สำนักงานตรวจสอบทางการแพทย์ของฮิลส์โบโรห์เคาน์ตี้จะตรวจสอบสาเหตุการเสียชีวิต แจ็คสันเล่น 12 ฤดูกาลกับ San Diego Chargers (2005-11) และ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-16) การเลือก Pro Bowl สามครั้งจับได้ 540 ผ่านไป 9,080 หลาและ 57 ทัชดาวน์ใน 155 เกม "หัวใจของฉันเจ็บปวดกับคนที่รักมากมายที่ Vincent Jackson ทิ้งไว้เบื้องหลังตั้งแต่ภรรยาและลูก ๆ ของเขาไปจนถึงประเทศ Buccaneers ที่บูชาเขา" นายอำเภอแชดโครนิสเตอร์กล่าวในแถลงการณ์ "นาย. แจ็คสันเป็นคนที่ทุ่มเทให้กับครอบครัวและชุมชนของเขาเหนือสิ่งอื่นใด แจ็คสันวิ่งหกฤดูกาลระยะ 1,000 หลา เขาเป็นผู้นำ NFL ด้วยระยะ 19.2 หลาต่อทัชดาวน์ในฤดูกาลแรกของเขากับแทมปาเบย์ในปี 2012 "เราตกใจและเสียใจที่ได้ยินข่าวร้ายเกี่ยวกับการสูญเสีย Vincent Jackson" Bryan Glazer เจ้าของ Buccaneers กล่าวในแถลงการณ์ “ ในช่วงห้าฤดูกาลของเขากับแฟรนไชส์ของเรา Vincent เป็นมืออาชีพที่เต็มเปี่ยมซึ่งมีความภาคภูมิใจในการแสดงของเขาทั้งในและนอกสนามฟุตบอล” เกลเซอร์ยกย่องผลงานของแจ็คสันร่วมกับแจ็กสันในมูลนิธิแอ็คชั่น 83 และกล่าวว่าเขาเป็นผู้ได้รับการเสนอชื่อของทีมในสี่ฤดูกาลติดต่อกัน (2013-16) สำหรับรางวัล Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year แจ็คสันกลายเป็นผู้ทำประตูสูงสุดเมื่อเขายิงได้ 18 ครั้งในระยะ 300 หลาและสองทัชดาวน์ในสามเกมในรอบตัดเชือกปี 2007 The Chargers แพ้ให้กับ New England Patriots ในเกม AFC Championship "เราตกใจและเสียใจอย่างยิ่งกับข่าวการเสียชีวิตอย่างกะทันหันของ Vincent Jackson" The Chargers กล่าวในแถลงการณ์ “ Vincent เป็นคนโปรดไม่เพียง แต่สำหรับเกม Pro Bowl ของเขาในสนามเท่านั้น แต่ยังรวมถึงผลกระทบที่เขาสร้างต่อชุมชนด้วย” The Chargers เลือกเขาในรอบที่สอง (รวม 61) ของ NFL Draft ปี 2005 จาก Northern Colorado Read Next อย่าพลาดข่าวสารและข้อมูลล่าสุด สมัครสมาชิก INQUIRER PLUS เพื่อเข้าถึง The Philippine Daily Inquirer และชื่อเรื่องอื่น ๆ กว่า 70 รายการแชร์แกดเจ็ตได้สูงสุด 5 รายการรับฟังข่าวสารดาวน์โหลดเวลา 16.00 น. และแบ่งปันบทความบนโซเชียลมีเดีย โทร 896 6000 สำหรับการติดต่อข้อร้องเรียนหรือคำถามคุณสามารถติดต่อเราได้
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Jaguars’ Hiring of Chris Doyle Called ‘Unacceptable’ by Fritz Pollard Alliance
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An organization that promotes diversity in the N.F.L. on Friday criticized the Jacksonville Jaguars’ recent hiring of Chris Doyle, who left the University of Iowa’s football staff last year after a number of current and former Hawkeyes players said he had fostered a culture of bullying and racism.A statement from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which is named for the first Black head coach in the N.F.L., said the Jaguars’ decision to make Doyle their director of sports performance was “simply unacceptable.”“Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players,” Rod Graves, the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said in the statement. “His conduct should be as disqualifying for the N.F.L. as it was for University of Iowa.”Doyle, who was Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach, reached a separation agreement with the university in June, ending two decades of work there.The Jaguars announced on Thursday that Doyle had joined the staff of Urban Meyer, who was named Jacksonville’s head coach last month. Meyer, who won two college national championships as the head coach at Florida and one at Ohio State, has not coached since 2018 and has never worked in the N.F.L. before.The hiring of Doyle, who is white, comes at a time of intense scrutiny of the N.F.L.’s hiring practices and questions about whether minority candidates for coaching jobs have equal opportunities to be hired.“I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years,” Meyer said on Thursday when questioned about hiring someone who had been accused of mistreating Black athletes. Doyle was the strength coach at the University of Utah in the late 1990s, a few years before Meyer was hired as the head coach there.“Urban Meyer’s statement, ‘I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years,’ reflects the good ol’ boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for Black coaches,” Graves said in the statement.Neither the N.F.L. nor the Jaguars responded to a request for comment on the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s statement.During a news conference last week, N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he was not satisfied with the rate at which coaches of color have been hired in the N.F.L., which has 32 teams.“It wasn’t what we expected,” he said of the diversity in the round of hirings after the 2020 season, “and it’s not what we expect going forward.”Of the seven head coaches hired since the end of the regular season, just two were nonwhite. Last year one of five head coaching jobs went to a minority candidate, and the year before just one in eight.Over the last three years 80 percent of head coaching jobs have gone to white candidates, though players of color made up 69.4 percent of the N.F.L. this season, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.After the Jaguars hired Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke, who are both white, last month, Graves praised the organization for interviewing several minority candidates and for seeking input from the Fritz Pollard Alliance.“I cannot argue that the process didn’t meet the standard of fair, open and competitive,” Graves told The Florida Times-Union.The hiring of Doyle, however, raised issues beyond the N.F.L.’s commitment to diverse hiring.Before Doyle left Iowa, Emmanuel Rugamba, a former Hawkeyes defensive back, gave multiple examples of the coach demeaning players with negative racial stereotypes. Rugamba said in a tweet that one day after a Black player walked away from Doyle, the coach said, “Why you walking wit all that swagger I’ll put you back on the streets.”James Daniels, a Chicago Bears offensive lineman and a former Hawkeye, tweeted over the summer: “There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”Doyle also presided over an off-season workout in 2011 that resulted in the hospitalization of 13 players.
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Super Bowl Viewership Drop in Line With Wider Decrease for N.F.L. and Sports
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Sunday’s Super Bowl was watched by just 91.6 million people on CBS, the lowest number of viewers for the game on traditional broadcast television since 2006. A total of 96.4 million people watched when other platforms — like the CBS All Access streaming service and mobile phone apps — were counted, the lowest number of total viewers since 2007.Still, the Super Bowl will surely be the most watched television program of 2021, and the N.F.L. is expected to see a huge increase in television rights fees when it signs several new television distribution agreements over the next year.After peaking at 114 million television viewers in 2015, television ratings for the Super Bowl have declined in five of the past six years. The 9 percent decline in television viewership from last year’s Super Bowl is roughly in line with season-long trends. N.F.L. games were watched this season by 7 percent fewer people than the season before.Many of the necessary ingredients for a bonanza Super Bowl were present. The game featured an intriguing matchup between the two most popular quarterbacks in football, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. The weather Sunday was freezing across much of the country, which traditionally drives people inside to be entertained by their televisions. But the game itself failed to deliver, all but ending by the third quarter when the Buccaneers led, 31-9, with no fourth-quarter scoring or hint of a competitive game. Viewership is measured as the average of the audience watching at each minute of the game; the longer a game is competitive and viewers stay tuned in, the better.The N.F.L. joins almost every other sport in seeing viewership declines over the past year. The pandemic shut down the sporting world for months in the spring, and when games resumed they frequently lacked energy with few or no fans in the stands. Games were often played on unusual days or at unusual times, disrupting the traditional sports viewership calendar.
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Marty Schottenheimer, 77, Winning N.F.L. Coach With Four Teams, Dies
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After working in real estate following his retirement as a player, he turned to coaching in the N.F.L. He spent two years as the Giants’ linebacker coach and then was their defensive coordinator in 1977. He coached the Detroit Lions’ linebackers for two seasons after that before becoming the Browns’ defensive coordinator. He succeeded Sam Rutigliano as the Browns’ head coach midway through the 1984 season, when they were 1-7.Relying on a power ground game featuring Earnest Bynar and Kevin Mack and the passing of Bernie Kosar, Schottenheimer took the Browns to the American Football Conference final following the 1986 and 1987 seasons, but they lost to the Denver Broncos each time in their bid to reach the Super Bowl.The first time, the quarterback John Elway led the Broncos to a tying touchdown after they took over on their 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter, the sequence that became known as “the drive.” The Browns were then beaten on a field goal in overtime.The next year, in a play that became known as “the fumble,” Bynar was stripped of the football just as he was about to cross the goal line for a potential game-tying touchdown with about a minute left. The Broncos took a safety and ran out the clock for a 38-33 victory.Schottenheimer’s 1988 Browns team went 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. At the time, his brother, Kurt, was the team’s defensive coordinator, and when the owner, Art Modell, insisted that he reassign his brother, Schottenheimer quit. He had also resisted Modell’s demand that he hire a new offensive coordinator, having filled that role himself when it become vacant that year.Schottenheimer was the first to admit that he was strong-willed.“Maybe I thought there was a pot of gold somewhere else to be found,” he said in his memoir, “Moneyball!” (2012), written with Jeff Flanagan. “But I was stubborn, very stubborn back then. I’ve always been stubborn but much more so when I decided to leave Cleveland.”He then began a 10-season run as coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, taking them to the playoffs seven times.
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A Painful Lesson for the Chiefs: It’s Hard to Repeat as Champions
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หากบอสในแคนซัสซิตี้ต้องการการเตือนความจำว่าการทำซ้ำตัวเองในฐานะแชมป์ซูเปอร์โบวล์นั้นยากเพียงใดพวกเขาต้องการเพียงแค่มองข้ามสนามที่แทมปาเบย์บุ๊คเชอร์กองหลังทอมเบรดี้ Mahomes และ Chiefs กำลังเดินทางไปสู่ชัยชนะ 31-9 ในแทมปาฟลอริดา เขาปรากฏตัวในซูเปอร์โบวล์ 10 ครั้งจาก 20 รายการสุดท้าย แต่เขาชนะสองครั้งติดต่อกันเพียงครั้งเดียวในฤดูกาล 2003 และ 2004 เช่นเดียวกับ New England Patriots ในฤดูกาล 2017 และ Seattle Seahawks ในฤดูกาล 2014 หัวหน้าปี 2020 ล้มเหลวในการคว้าตำแหน่งที่สองติดต่อกัน "ฉันคิดว่าสิ่งที่ทำให้มันเป็นความท้าทายก็คือมันยากที่จะคว้าแชมป์ซูเปอร์โบวล์" เบรดี้กล่าวกับผู้สื่อข่าวเมื่อสัปดาห์ที่แล้ว "คุณไม่สามารถซื้อทีมฟุตบอลได้คุณต้องพัฒนาผู้เล่น" บรูซเอเรียนมี พรสวรรค์อายุน้อย แต่บัญชีรายชื่อของพวกเขาถูกสร้างขึ้นอย่างมากนอกฤดูกาลเมื่อพวกเขาเซ็นสัญญากับเบรดี้ร็อบกรอนโควสกีนักวิ่งลีโอนาร์ดโฟร์เน็ตต์ ฯลฯ อย่างไรก็ตามนักแข่งดูเหมือนจะถูกกำหนดให้ทำสถิติ 14-2 ซ้ำใน NFL และเป็นทีมเต็ง ในซูเปอร์โบวล์การละเมิดที่ดูเหมือนจะผ่านพ้นไม่ได้เมื่อกองหลัง Mahomes ผู้เล่นซูเปอร์โบวล์ที่มีค่าตัวมากที่สุดของปีที่แล้วเล่นได้ดี แต่ก่อนเกม Mahomes ยอมรับว่าความเท่าเทียมกันใน NFL ทำให้ทีมยากที่จะทำซ้ำในฐานะแชมป์ "ฉัน หมายความว่าคุณอาจเป็นทีมที่แย่ที่สุดในลีกหนึ่งปีและมันจะดำเนินไปจนถึงซูเปอร์โบวล์ในปีหน้า "เขากล่าว ขีด จำกัด เงินเดือนซึ่ง จำกัด จำนวนเงินที่ทีมสามารถใช้จ่ายในสัญญาของผู้เล่นเป็นเหตุผลสำคัญสำหรับความเท่าเทียมกันนี้ นี่ไม่ใช่กรณีเมื่อหลายสิบปีก่อน ทีมฟุตบอลกรีนเบย์ได้รับรางวัลซูเปอร์โบวล์สองรายการแรกในช่วงทศวรรษที่ 60 และไมอามีดอลฟินและพิตต์สเบิร์กสตีลเลอร์สได้เข้าร่วมการแข่งขันในยุค 70 (สตีลเลอร์สทำได้สองครั้ง) กองหลังโจมอนทาน่านำทีมซานฟรานซิสโก 49ERS สู่รายการติดต่อกันในช่วงปี 1980 และดัลลัสเคาบอยเป็นแชมป์ซ้ำในช่วงต้นทศวรรษ 1990 แต่นับตั้งแต่เอ็นเอฟแอลเปิดตัวขีด จำกัด การจ่ายเงินในปี 1994 มีเพียงผู้รักชาติของจอห์นเอลเวย์และเดนเวอร์บรองโกสเท่านั้นที่ทำซ้ำ เช่นเดียวกับที่มักเกิดขึ้นใน NFL การบาดเจ็บสามารถปิดรางได้ในทันที หัวหน้าต่อสู้เมื่อวันอาทิตย์ส่วนหนึ่งเป็นเพราะพวกเขาพลาดการต่อสู้ที่น่ารังเกียจทั้งสองครั้งซึ่งรวมถึงเอริคฟิชเชอร์หนึ่งในเกมที่ดีที่สุดในเกมนี้ที่พลาดซูเปอร์โบวล์หลังจากเอ็นร้อยหวายฉีกขาดเมื่อสองสัปดาห์ก่อน Laurent Duvernay - Tardif ผู้พิทักษ์ที่ไม่พอใจซึ่งจบการศึกษาด้านการแพทย์ได้ละทิ้งฤดูกาล 2020 เพื่อทำงานในแคนาดาบ้านเกิดของเขาเพื่อช่วยต่อสู้กับไวรัสโคโรนา Tackle Mitchell Schwartz เล่นเพียงหกสัปดาห์แรกของฤดูกาลก่อนที่จะบาดเจ็บที่หลัง ผู้บังคับบัญชายังต้องเผชิญกับการเปลี่ยนแปลงการฝึกสอนในนาทีสุดท้าย Brit Reed โค้ชผู้เล่นไลน์นอกของพวกเขาซึ่งเป็นลูกชายของหัวหน้าโค้ช Andy Reed - พลาดเกมวันอาทิตย์หลังจากมีส่วนร่วมในอุบัติเหตุรถชนในแคนซัสซิตีรัฐมิชิแกนเมื่อคืนวันพฤหัสบดี พวกเขายิง Mahomes สามครั้งและกดดัน 29 จาก 56 ดร็อปเอาต์ของเขาตามสถิติและข้อมูลของ ESPN ซึ่งมากที่สุดในประวัติศาสตร์ซูเปอร์โบวล์ โมฮัมเมสใช้เวลาส่วนใหญ่ในเกมโดยดึงกองหลังออกจากแนวรับ เขาขว้างสองเซพชั่นโดยไม่มีทัชดาวน์และต้องการแอสซิสต์ 49 ครั้งเพื่อสะสมระยะเพียง 270 หลาซึ่งส่วนใหญ่ในตอนท้ายของเกม การรักษารายชื่อที่เข้าถึงสามเกมติดต่อกันในแชมป์ AFC จะเป็นเรื่องยาก หัวหน้ามีรายได้เกือบ 18 ล้านดอลลาร์เหนือขีด จำกัด เงินเดือนในปีหน้าตามเว็บไซต์ Over The Cap ซึ่งเป็นเว็บไซต์อิสระที่ติดตามสัญญาและเงินเดือนของ NFL ผู้เล่นหลักหลายคนเป็นตัวแทนอิสระรวมถึงผู้รับ Sammy Watkins และ Demarkus Robinson ศูนย์กลาง Austin Reiter และกองหลัง Daniel Sorensen และ Basho Briland หัวหน้าจะต้องเผชิญกับอุปสรรคอีกประการหนึ่ง: เงินเดือนสูงสุดซึ่งอิงจากรายได้รวมของลีกอยู่ที่ประมาณ 198 ล้านเหรียญในฤดูกาลนี้ อาจลดลงเหลือ 175 ล้านดอลลาร์ในฤดูกาลหน้าเนื่องจากลีกสูญเสียเงินหลายพันล้านดอลลาร์จากการขายตั๋วในช่วงที่เกิดโรคระบาดในส่วนของ Buccaneers จะมีเงินสูงสุดประมาณ 28.9 ล้านดอลลาร์ซึ่งจะทำให้พวกเขาสามารถเซ็นผู้เล่นได้อีกครั้งและจะดึงดูดฟรี ตัวแทน แต่หัวหน้าจะรักษา Mahomes กองหลังที่เก่งกาจซึ่งเซ็นสัญญา 10 ปีเมื่อซัมเมอร์ที่แล้วซึ่งมีมูลค่าสูงถึง 500 ล้านเหรียญ เมื่ออายุเพียง 25 ปีเขาจะมีเวลาอีกหลายปียกเว้นการบาดเจ็บ - เพื่อพบกับเบรดี้เยลโลว์เวย์มอนทาน่าทรอยไอค์แมนเทอร์รี่แบรดชอว์บ็อบกริสและบาร์ตสตาร์ในฐานะกองหลังคว้าแชมป์ซูเปอร์โบวล์กลับมาได้ หลังจบเกม Mahomes ที่รู้สึกหดหู่ยอมรับถึงความยากลำบากในการคว้าแชมป์ NFL "เมื่อเรามารวมตัวกันเรารู้ว่าเขาจะไม่ประสบความสำเร็จเสมอไปและเราจะไม่สามารถคว้าแชมป์หลายพันรายการติดต่อกัน" เขากล่าว "เรารู้ว่าเราจะผ่านช่วงเวลาเช่นนี้ผ่านความทุกข์ยาก"
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The Crowd, the Quiet, the Cutouts: A Strange Year at the Super Bowl
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Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.On Sunday, Benjamin Hoffman was at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., covering his 12th Super Bowl for The New York Times. His first, in 2009, was also in Tampa, But that might be where the similarities stop. Attendance for the game, a lopsided 31-9 win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs, was limited to a third of the stadium’s capacity, and the normal week of mega events was minimized to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. In a series of emails, Mr. Hoffman, a senior editor on the Sports desk, shared what the game was like from up close. Here is that edited exchange.You’ve covered previous Super Bowls. Those were usually preceded by days of events that gave the game its oversize feeling. What was it like when you arrived in Tampa this year?The entire week felt considerably different. Instead of spending Monday through Friday in hotel conference rooms with players, we were at home talking to them on Zoom. I arrived in Tampa on Friday — typically when a Super Bowl city has reached a fever pitch — and found it to have the feel of much earlier in the week. The various signs of a Super Bowl being in town — the blocked-off streets, the pop-up vendors, the N.F.L. gear being worn everywhere — were there, but the crowds seemed much smaller, and the media gatherings were nonexistent.Did you miss having face-to-face interviews with players and coaches?I think they did the best they could with the Zoom access to players, but nothing can really replicate the middle of a Super Bowl week when some of the media has cleared out and you find yourself in a room of players who would love to talk about the game rather than the off-the-wall questions they’ve spent the first few days of the week answering. The remote access also limited our ability to bounce around between players. A lot of the organic reporting that happens at Super Bowls just by being around people and events was impossible.How was it inside a Super Bowl with limited attendance? Did your senses pick up on anything in a less-than-packed stadium?The second I walked in I could tell just how few people were going to be there because the stands were already full of the corrugated plastic cutouts of fans. The people who were allowed in were spaced out.At first, the regulations about masks and distancing were followed closely, but that waned as the game started. By the second quarter, fans were milling around, many of them maskless, and they were treating the game like a tailgate party, which was pretty heavily influenced by it being the home team playing.The way The Times covers big sporting events has evolved. Online, a live briefing is updated constantly. How has the way a journalist works during the game changed?The live coverage has made everything more immediate, moving up the timeline on everything we do. Dave Anderson, the legendary Times sports columnist, had a famous line when an editor called him mid-game to ask what he was writing about. He said something along the lines of “it hasn’t happened yet.” We can’t work with a strategy like that anymore. We were writing everything as it happened and doing our best to make sense of all of it. In some ways it’s a lot easier — you’re largely writing about what’s in front of you — but the most difficult thing is the nagging feeling that there is a more pulled-back analysis that you’d like to be able to do but you just don’t have the time. Ben Shpigel largely detached to do that analysis, allowing others to do the more immediate stuff.As you mentioned, the Buccaneers won playing in their stadium, the first time that ever happened. Did it feel like a home game?Right up until game time I would have insisted the crowd was around 50-50, as Chiefs fans were being plenty vocal and the teams’ color schemes are fairly similar. But once they started playing it was apparent that it was a Buccaneers crowd. Their touchdowns were greeted with thunderous cheers, and in moments of surprising silence — a stadium that is two-thirds empty can really get quiet — you could hear fans shouting insults at [Chiefs quarterback] Patrick Mahomes. It had to be strangest for the players, because it was the Super Bowl, but in many ways it felt almost like a preseason game.Maybe the N.F.L. had timing and a structural advantage on its side. There are fewer games and less travel, for example. But are you surprised the league was able to play its entire season?The league got in all 256 regular season games and every playoff game, but there were some major compromises along the way that I’m not sure other leagues would have been willing to make. The most extreme was Denver having to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback, but there were other issues, like the Browns playing the Jets with no wide receivers and the Saints playing a game with just one running back. The Steelers, thanks to an outbreak on the Tennessee Titans, essentially played the entire season without a bye week. So while I’ll absolutely credit the N.F.L. with working hard to make the season happen, I think they have perhaps overstated how smoothly the whole thing went.
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At the Super Bowl, the N.F.L.’s Social Message Is Muddled
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The N.F.L. likes to project power and precision. Sideline catches are scrutinized with zoom lenses, first downs are measured in inches and Air Force jets fly over stadiums just as “The Star-Spangled Banner” reaches its peak.But when it comes to topics like race, health and safety, the league’s certainty dissolves into a series of mixed messages.That was the case on Sunday at the Super Bowl, the N.F.L.’s crowning game, which is typically watched by about 100 million viewers in the United States. The championship game provides the league a massive platform each year to promote itself as America’s corporate do-gooder, with the best interests of its enormous fan base at heart. That was harder to do this year as the country remained roiled by the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has exacerbated festering political division and racial unrest, issues the N.FL. had to plow past to complete its season.On Sunday, the N.F.L. trumpeted its support for the fight against social injustice. The national anthem was performed by two musicians, one Black and one white. The poet Amanda Gorman, who wowed the country with her recitation at President Biden’s inauguration, read an ode to the three honorary captains — a teacher, a nurse and a soldier — frontline workers in different fields. The TV announcers spoke often of the work that the league and the players have done to battle racial inequities.Yet, moments later, when the Kansas City Chiefs took the field, the N.F.L. played a recording in the reduced capacity stadium of the made-up war cry that is a team custom. The prompt got fans to swing their arms in a “tomahawk chop,” an act that many find disrespectful and a perpetuation of racist stereotypes of the nation’s first people. Last week, the Kansas City Indian Center, a social service agency, put up two billboards in the city that read, ‘Change the name and stop the chop!”“At the start of the game it was all unify, unify, unify, and then there’s this racist chant,” said Louis Moore, an associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University who studies connections between race and sports. “Eight months after George Floyd, and you’ve done all this stuff, letting players put phrases on the backs of their helmets, giving workers a paid holiday for Juneteenth. They are putting a corporate Band-Aid on a problem instead of dealing with it.”Moore pointed to other inconvenient realities that were either dismissed, ignored or obscured by the relentless messaging.There was scant mention of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has not played since the 2016 season, when he began kneeling during the national anthem to shine a light on police brutality.That led to a sharp, viral rebuke on Twitter from the singer Mariah Carey.There was little talk of the league’s abysmal record hiring people of color as head coaches and general managers even as television cameras showed the Chiefs’ successful offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, who is Black and has been unable to land a head coaching position in multiple hiring cycles.Before the game, CBS Sports showed a segment that featured Viola Davis, the Academy Award-winning actress, saluting Kenny Washington, a Black player who in 1946 reintegrated the N.F.L., which had an unofficial color barrier for 13 years.Yet there was no discussion of a lawsuit brought by two former N.F.L. players who accuse the league of rigging the concussion settlement to make it harder for Black players to receive payments.The league spent considerable time lauding nurses and other health care workers on the front lines who have been helping fight the coronavirus. It had invited 7,500 vaccinated workers to the game, a signal to Americans that if you, too, get inoculated, you will be able to safely attend big events like the Super Bowl.Not discussed was that just hosting the Super Bowl could lead to a spike in the number of infections. Sure, the N.F.L. provided fans at the game with face masks and hand sanitizer, but little if any contact tracing was done to monitor exposure. Tracking infected fans will be made all the more difficult as people return to their homes in all corners of the country.The Super Bowl, American sports’ biggest party, is not confined to TV and phone screens. The week of events leading up to the game was a magnet for tens of thousands of fans who attended parties or flocked to Tampa’s bars and restaurants, often unmasked. In the aftermath of the home team’s victory, mask-less revelers took to the streets of Tampa, an utterly predictable scene that has followed other major championships. Many of the people who celebrated without regard to social distancing or other guidelines will expose others to the virus as they travel home to all corners of the country.For all the N.F.L.’s feel-good words and gestures to this moment in American history at the Super Bowl, and its attempts to use football to try to bring the nation together, the league’s carefully crafted message risked being muddled by its actions.
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Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Win Is a Familiar End to an Odd Season
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Mahomes had won 16 of 17 starts this season, but he and his team collapsed amid a deluge of penalties, drops and pressure from the Buccaneers, who, exploiting the Chiefs’ diluted offensive line, reveled in it, inflicted it, even embraced it. At halftime, Mahomes had 67 yards, and Kansas City trailed by 15 points, tied for its largest deficit of the Mahomes era, according to Pro Football Reference.The only other time Mahomes’s team had been behind by that many points across his three seasons as Kansas City’s starter occurred in October 2018, in a loss to Brady at New England. Brady spent two decades there, where he and Belichick were the immovable objects of the postseason, winning six championships as the most famous quarterback-coach tandem of this generation.What Belichick must have been wondering Sunday night as New England wept, watching Brady throw each touchdown to a former Patriots teammate — two to Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement for the chance to play again with his old pal, and one, just before halftime, to Antonio Brown.Brady’s time in New England will forever be a part of him, but now he wears a skull and crossbones on his helmet, can dress in shorts to practice in the winter and reports to a 68-year-old coach, Bruce Arians, who, coming out of retirement to coach the Buccaneers, represents the stylistic antithesis of Belichick. When asked recently about pursuing Brady during the off-season, Arians responded with a rhetorical question: “Do you sit and live in a closet trying to be safe, or are you going to have some fun?”Brady’s arrival in Tampa reflected a certain harmonic convergence, a confluence of foresight, audacity and serendipity largely alien to the Buccaneers, who hadn’t won a playoff game since capturing their only title in the 2002 season. Their quest was nicknamed Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson, a wink to the prophesy from the movie “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, they will come.” Brady valued how General Manager Jason Licht had assembled a team that solved problems around him instead of asking him to solve them himself.
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Plethora of unique Super Bowl LV proposition wagers highlighted
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Millions of gridiron football fans around the world will undoubtedly be tuning in tomorrow night to watch all of the action as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go up against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Although most online sportsbooks are offering a plethora of markets on almost every aspect of this National Football League (NFL) championship contest, some others are reportedly opting for more unique routes with proposition wagers on markets as wacky as the length of the pre-game national anthem alongside an over/under on how many television advertisements broadcast during the match will feature a dog. Sweatband suggestion: These were just two of the 17 more unique proposition bets highlighted by the news domain at Insider.com on Wednesday as American football fans prepare to watch the ‘Chiefs’ and the ‘Bucs’ battle it out at the latter’s Raymond James Stadium. Other less traditional wagers purportedly involve whether anthem singer Eric Church will be wearing a leather jacket, the color of the headband being sported by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes (pictured) and if the broadcast will have any commercials for a Star Wars film. Anthem abilities: The singing of the national anthem seems to be a popular focus as the source also reportedly found sites offering odds on who will sing the last note of the tune penned by Francis Scott Key and whether any of the scoring drives from Sunday night will take less time to complete. There are purportedly also even more bizarre bets on which coach’s nostrils will be the first to feature in the broadcast, will the spread or total of the game be mentioned and how many times NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be shown. Half-time histrionics: American broadcasts of Super Bowl LV are reportedly due to be fronted by NFL analysts Jim Nantz and Tony Romo with sportsbetting aficionados reportedly furthermore able to find odds on whether this latter expert will correctly predict one of the game’s offensive plays. Markets on what color liquid will be poured on the winning coach and what is to be the first song performed by half-time entertainer The Weeknd are likewise purportedly available as are bets on the shade of the Canadian singer’s jacket and whether he will be sporting gloves or head bandages.
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Why Some Women Don’t Want Antonio Brown in the Super Bowl
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Get over it.That was the message Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown tried to convey this past week.The past doesn’t matter, he seemed to say. With the Super Bowl upon us, the only concern should be about his ability to catch passes on Sunday.Brown’s preferred talking points were his love for quarterback Tom Brady, his team’s drive to beat the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs, and his comeback.That comeback did not involve an injury that eroded his electrifying talent on the field. Those skills have remained sufficiently intact for Brown, 32, to find a plush spot in the N.F.L., in spite of the history he did not want to discuss at a requisite pre-Super Bowl news conference.“I’d be doing a disservice if I talked about things that are not a focus of this game,” he said.Those things include withering verbal abuse aimed at the mother of three of his children and recorded on video. And an accusation of sexual harassment that was described in detail in a national magazine. And a looming lawsuit accusing him of rape, a claim that Brown has vociferously denied.Now, he is one win from a championship ring after off-the-field trouble sent his career into one of the most stunning tumbles experienced by a star athlete in recent memory.Tampa Bay gambled on him in a way that no other team dared, signing Brown to a one-year contract in October after he had been out of the game for a season and a half. The Buccaneers did not heed commentators who, looking at the pattern of trouble around Brown, said he needed time away from the league — possibly for good, but at least until his lawsuit was resolved.The team also chose to look past the #MeToo movement and its fundamental lesson: Women with stories of pain, and of powerlessness in their dealings with famous men, should be heard and taken seriously.Let’s remember that one in four women are subjected to abuse by intimate partners during their lifetimes, according to a government report. Let’s think of what they endure every time they see athletes like Brown, with unresolved accusations around them, take the field.Let’s listen to Brenda Tracy, who describes herself as the survivor of a 1998 gang rape by a group of men that included two Oregon State football players. The players weren’t criminally charged, but they were suspended by the coach for making “a bad choice.” Tracy became an advocate for abused women, working toward change by sharing her story with anyone who will listen. Colleges across the country have hired her to speak to their athletic teams.“I won’t be watching the Super Bowl this year,” she told me. “With Antonio Brown out there, it’s just too much.”Ahead of the big game, Brown characterized himself as a changed man — humbled, grateful, and in control. He spoke in quiet, careful tones. He gave the sense that he sees the accusations as a chance to prove that he can conquer adversity, mostly by catching Brady’s passes.“I want my legacy to be a guy that was persistent, a guy that never gave up, no matter the odds, no matter the hate,” Brown said.What he really wanted was to move on.Let’s not. Let’s look at the claims, made by a personal trainer named Britney Taylor, in the lawsuit.In court filings, Taylor said that Brown assaulted her twice in 2017. She also asserted that Brown raped her in 2018.Through his legal team, the wide receiver has denied the accusations. He has countersued, accusing Taylor of defamation. Brown and Taylor were involved in a “consensual personal relationship,” his lawyer said in a statement.It is important to remember that the court proceedings can still be avoided if the two parties reach a settlement. It is not a criminal trial, in which Brown would face the possibility of prison.But Britney Taylor isn’t alone.In a Sports Illustrated article, an artist made detailed accusations of sexual harassment by Brown. The wide receiver also once targeted the mother of three of his children with a profane tirade and then posted a video of the incident on social media.On Twitter in 2018, he threatened a reporter from ESPN’s The Undefeated who wrote an article about Brown’s thorny personal life and turbocharged social media use. Brown ended up apologizing through a statement: “It is not OK to threaten anyone, and I need to be better spiritually and professionally.”That year he also settled a lawsuit that accused him of throwing heavy furniture from his 14th-floor apartment and nearly hitting a toddler.Brown’s exasperating behavior as a teammate prompted the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade him to the Oakland Raiders in 2019. Just before the start of the season, the Raiders dumped him for similar reasons.He landed briefly in New England, early in Brady’s final season with the Patriots. The lawsuit accusing Brown of rape soon became public, followed by the artist’s accusations of harassment. His third employer of that year cut him loose.Brady, who said recently that he and Brown had “connected right away” in New England, endorsed Tampa Bay’s decision to bring the receiver aboard midway through this season. When Brown arrived in town, he initially lived in Brady’s home.Yet Brown and the Buccaneers seem like an odd pairing. The team has two full-time female coaches, and there were only eight in the entire league this season. The Women’s Sports Foundation has honored Coach Bruce Arians for supporting women in the N.F.L.But Arians proved that talent matters more than principle.Sadly, that’s too often the bottom line for male stars in major sports. If you are accused of abusing or harassing women and are easy to replace, your job is probably gone. It doesn’t take a conviction, trial or arrest. (See Jared Porter, the former New York Mets general manager who was fired after accusations that he had repeatedly sent inappropriate texts to a female reporter.)If you are a star, well, your entitlement is virtually unlimited.Brown signed with the Buccaneers just after completing an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The reason for that penalty? He had pleaded no contest to burglary and assault charges after a dispute with a truck driver.He had every opportunity to express remorse for that incident this past week. He did not. So again, let’s listen instead to women, to people who won’t be in front of a huge global audience this weekend.Mindy Murphy runs The Spring of Tampa Bay, the largest shelter serving domestic violence survivors in Hillsborough County, home to the Buccaneers.When the N.F.L. tried to change its culture a few years ago, after Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught striking his fiancée, Murphy helped conduct training with the Buccaneers on abuse.Now she feels disillusioned.Seeing Brown chase a Super Bowl ring is a “disservice to what survivors have experienced,” she said. “When a team in the N.F.L. says, ‘We are going to hire him, and he deserves a second chance,’ or they say, ‘We don’t know for sure what’s happened, because it happened behind closed doors,’ they reinforce the idea that it’s not a good idea to speak up.”Remember that while watching the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl, and also remember Brown’s past.
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