Saturday, March 2
NFL Coach of the Year, MVP candidates and biggest surprises at midseason: Sando’s Pick Six
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NFL Coach of the Year, MVP candidates and biggest surprises at midseason: Sando’s Pick Six

Cover 7 | Monday A daily NFL destination that provides in-depth analysis of football’s biggest stories. Each Monday, Mike Sando breaks down the six most impactful takeaways from the week.Just as no one predicted, the NFL season neared its midpoint Sunday with the Minnesota Vikings presenting a game ball to Joshua Dobbs in a locker room packed with people Dobbs barely knew.The NFL, scripted? You can’t script what is beyond comprehension, but with 135 of 272 regular-season games in the books pending the Monday night matchup, the Super Bowl teams from last season, the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, do sit atop their respective conferences.It’s a great time to size up the league.The Pick Six column for Week 9 sorts through my midseason choices for Coach of the Year, MVP, Defensive...
A Notre Dame champion’s driving force: ‘It was a genuine love’
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A Notre Dame champion’s driving force: ‘It was a genuine love’

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Niele Ivey looks back on those photos often — a younger version of herself, the newly crowned 2001 national champion, basking in confetti and the glow of a perfect moment.She had helped orchestrate Notre Dame’s comeback in front of a sold-out Savvis Center, 10 minutes away from where she first fell in love with a game. On a twisted ankle, no less. And when Purdue’s last-second shot rimmed out, she sprinted over halfcourt and leapt into the arms of assistant coach Kevin McGuff. He was the first person she saw then.She looks back at the photos and sees the joy radiating from her body. In her mind, there was no way to make it any better. It was one of the best moments of her life.But not for any of the reasons she thought.Now, in photos from that night, it’s Philippe she se...
Damar Hamlin’s emergency team looks back: ‘The crowd didn’t exist … it was me, God and that kid’
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Damar Hamlin’s emergency team looks back: ‘The crowd didn’t exist … it was me, God and that kid’

The Athletic has live coverage of Bills vs Bengals in Sunday Night Football action.Growing up, John Bush Jr. boxed and played basketball and football. But on Jan. 2, Bush was part of a relay team whose baton was the life of Damar Hamlin.Bush, a Cincinnati native, has been a respiratory therapist on the Paycor Stadium emergency action team since its inception in 2018. The team is a result of the emergency action plan (EAP) that every NFL stadium is required to have in case of severe trauma. Although Bush has been on the sidelines for every game since the NFL contracted with the Level 1 trauma center at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, he’d never crossed the line onto the playing field during a game.That all changed when Hamlin, a second-year safety with the Bills, suffered cardi...
Big Ten football coaches frustrated with conference stance on Michigan: ‘We want something done now’: Sources
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Big Ten football coaches frustrated with conference stance on Michigan: ‘We want something done now’: Sources

For the past two weeks, coaches across college football have been riveted by the alleged Michigan sign-stealing scheme, but inside the Big Ten, the topic has been more than just a curiosity. On Wednesday’s Big Ten coaches video call with commissioner Tony Petitti, and after Jim Harbaugh left the call, that frustration was voiced loud and clear, according to conference coaches, who said they don’t feel like the new Big Ten commissioner is “motivated” to do anything about the Wolverines.“There is just a ton of frustration,” a Big Ten coach told The Athletic on Thursday morning. “Look at Jim Harbaugh’s record before this started. The guy was on the hot seat before 2021, and now he’s like the king of college football. … No doubt this all has had a profound effect.“This guy’s being investigated...
Four tactics teams don’t use anymore – and why they went out of fashion
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Four tactics teams don’t use anymore – and why they went out of fashion

Football is changing.You don’t need to be Grampa Simpson shouting at a cloud to realise things are not what they used to be. The top level of the men’s game is widely different from how it was even 10 years ago.Many things are disappearing from football, some of which are slightly intangible — raucous atmospheres, community, the feeling that having so much football available to watch is dulling our senses and making us numb to the excitement of it — but some of them are more measurable.So we’ve measured them. Here are some things that nobody does anymore in football. Or, at least, are doing an awful lot less…1) We will not be playing 4-4-f*cking-2For a long time, the good old-fashioned 4-4-2 formation was the default way of setting a team up, in English football at least. The backbone of O...
John Calipari lost his way. Can he and Kentucky find it again?
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John Calipari lost his way. Can he and Kentucky find it again?

LEXINGTON, Ky. — On April 4, 2015, John Calipari was the king of college basketball. He’d brought Kentucky to the Final Four for the fourth time in five years, this time with an unprecedented 38-0 record and a shot at not only his second national championship but also one of the greatest seasons of all time.On April 5, 2015 in Indianapolis, his Wildcats led Wisconsin by four points with five minutes to go, seemingly destined for a title-game collision with Duke and nemesis Mike Krzyzewski. That is, until Calipari effectively deflated the basketball, ordering a team with seven eventual NBA draft picks to play stall ball. “I don’t like this. It ended up in a bad shot last time,” legendary broadcaster Bill Raftery told the television audience, groaning as he watched plodding possessions that ...
Bad language, worse jokes and riot police: What really happens in the tunnel
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Bad language, worse jokes and riot police: What really happens in the tunnel

“I’ll see you in the tunnel.”There was a time when that was more than a throwaway line on the pitch, even if some players found a way to make sure that they never showed up.“One of my standard challenges was to (jump and) head the ball and put my studs down someone’s back — which you’d get sent off for now,” Liam Ridgewell, the former Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Portland Timbers defender, tells The Athletic. “I did it to the late, great Papa Bouba Diop at Fulham.”Ridgewell, now a coach with MLS side Portland, pauses as he thinks back to what happened next.“You know that GIF when Jim Carrey wipes his mouth and changes his demeanour? Well, Bouba Diop turned around, rubbed his back and went: ‘What. Did. You. Just. Do?’ And I thought: ‘S—.’“He said: ‘I’ll see you in ...
NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Eagles, Ravens at the top, plus something scary for every team
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NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Eagles, Ravens at the top, plus something scary for every team

Happy Halloween, NFL fans.The Power Rankings are getting into the spirit of the season by picking out something scary associated with each team. Some of these are scary for fans of a given team, while others should be scary for the team’s upcoming opponents.We hope all of them give you insight into where we stand with the NFL season nearly halfway complete.(Last week: 2)Sunday: Beat Washington Commanders 38-31Something scary (for others): A.J. BrownThe 6-foot-1, 226-pound wide receiver/cyborg is playing at a historic level. He had eight catches for 130 yards Sunday against Washington and now has topped 125 receiving yards in six consecutive games, becoming the first NFL player in history to do that. He is second in the league in receiving yards (939) behind only Tyreek Hill.Up next: vs. ...
The unstoppable Angel Reese wants more. And she makes no apologies for that
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The unstoppable Angel Reese wants more. And she makes no apologies for that

BATON ROUGE, La. — When every inch of Angel Reese’s 6-foot-3 frame sank into the pleated leather chair across from coach Kim Mulkey’s desk this fall, it didn’t surprise Mulkey that Reese blurted out exactly what she was thinking.But it did surprise Mulkey what her star forward said.“I’m so happy to have a schedule again.” After a summer of photo shoots and events, flights and airport terminals, award shows and a medalist podium, after a summer of getting so much of everything Reese has wanted, what she wanted at the end of it all was … monotony. A week that looked similar to the previous one and the next and the one after that. She wanted to sleep in her own bed and potty train her new Toy Yorkie puppy, Tiago. She wanted to be in her apartment and cook her own meals. Alone. In quiet.The pl...
Tennis’ top women say the sport is broken. This is why
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Tennis’ top women say the sport is broken. This is why

For the better part of a decade, Tatjana Maria, the veteran German player, has been cramming into cramped hotel rooms with her husband/coach and children, or using her own money to pay for larger ones as she traveled the world with her family so she could be a full-time mom and professional tennis player.In 2018, CoCo Vandeweghe played most of the season on a broken foot to avoid fines for missing mandatory tournaments. The injury led to a syndrome that left her unable to walk and nearly ended her career.Without a guaranteed salary, in 2019, Danielle Collins shelled out money she didn’t really have and didn’t know she would earn back to help cover the costs of a full-time coach, physiotherapist and hitting partner to try to break into the upper echelon of a sport that has largely existed f...