New England Patriots 'on verge of imploding' because of 'escalating feud' between Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft over QB's 'snake oil salesman' training guru
A growing rift between the Patriots' QB, head coach, and owner involves Brady's training guru, Alex Guerrero, who Belichick banned from the sideline
Belichick is also reportedly upset that the 40-year-old Brady's insistence on continuing his career in New England forced the team to turn its back on promising 26-year-old quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was traded
Guerrero has worked with Brady on the TB12 brand, which includes a book and phone app, both of which provide health tips. Together they opened the TB12 Therapy Center near the Patriots' Gillette Stadium in 2013
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Guerrero falsely claimed to be a doctor and insisted his products could cure cancer and concussions
The top-seeded New England Patriots will host a playoff game on January 13
Brady, Belichick, and Kraft have won five Super Bowls together since 2001
One source: 'Tom [Brady] changed. That's where a lot of these problems started'
There's only one thing that matters right now, figuring out a way to take down the Carolina Panthers for the third time in the last four months. Sweeping a team is hard enough in the NFL. Taking a team down three times during the same year, the task sitting right in front of the New Orleans Saints, is something some may feel is the most difficult ask in the league. That's exactly what the Saints will have to do to advance, and the matchup will be the final of the four wild card games this weekend.
If New Orleans is able to advance, however, their path to return to the glory achieved in 2009 took an interesting twist on Saturday.
When the Atlanta Falcons took out the No. 3 seed Los Angeles Rams, the dynamics of the NFC playoffs changed. In the NFL playoffs, the top two seeds from each conference are granted a bye the first week of the playoffs. After the wild card round plays out, the lowest of the remaining seeds travels to the No. 1 team, and the No. 2 team hosts the other squad.
When the chalk holds, and the No. 3 and No. 4 team advance, the No. 4 team travels to play the No. 1 seed. It's supposed to be the harder of the two draws, giving the team who achieved the best record a supposed easier matchup.
However this year, the NFC's No. 1 team hardly resembles the best team in the conference entering the playoffs. Philadelphia lost their MVP-candidate quarterback Carson Wentz late in the season. Although they were able to secure home-field advantage, they were a shell of themselves. Not only has Nick Foles been unable to duplicate Wentz's success, but their defensive secondary has become a major question mark as well.
They appear, on the surface, to be an easier draw than No. 2 seeded Minnesota Vikings.
That was the path for the Saints originally. If the chalk held, New Orleans would've found themselves traveling to Philadelphia if they were able to defeat Carolina.
However, with the Falcons' convincing 26-13 upset win, they have locked in the first NFC matchup. As the No. 6 seed, they will be the lowest remaining team and will be the team traveling to take on the vulnerable Eagles.
If New Orleans can pull off the threep, they will be rewarded with the most difficult matchup, traveling to Minnesota.
There is a bright side though, if the Saints can somehow manage to earn two victories over the next two weeks.
There being a team remaining that is a lower seed than them, opens up the possibility that the Saints could in fact host the NFC championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
If the Saints get through the Panthers and get their revenge for a Week 1 loss against Minnesota, and the Falcons use their playoff experience to escape Phildelphia, New Orleans would be the highest seed remaining. The highest seed hosts.
NFL Wild-Card Weekend took quite a few unexpected turns. It started Saturday afternoon with the Kansas City Chiefs opening up a 21-3 halftime lead over Tennessee, only to blow the game in epic fashion, losing by the score of 22-21. And so ends an era in Kansas City.
Then, later on Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams proved they were not yet ready for the big lights of playoff football at home against a much more seasoned Falcons team.
Billed as potentially the best game of the weekend, the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints did battle for the final spot in the NFL’s version of the elite eight. Drew Brees turned back the clock big time, leading the Saints to a 31-26 win over their division rivals.
These are among the top takeaways from NFL Wild-Card Weekend.
Smith completed 19-of-23 passes for 231 yards with two touchdowns in the first half. He proceeded to complete just 5-of-10 passes for 33 yards after halftime. That’s most definitely not the way Smith wanted to end a Chiefs career that saw him post a 50-26 record in five seasons.
For the Chiefs, it’s now going to be all about 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes, who will more than likely take over the starting role next season. In turn, Smith will be a coveted option on the trade block after putting up the best season of his career. Among other teams, the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals are potential destinations.
Drew Brees comes through big time
What Brees did to the Panthers’ defense on Sunday evening should be illegal in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. He absolutely picked apart what had been a good pass defense to the tune of 376 yards on 23-of-33 passing with two touchdowns and one late interception.
It was an absolutely brilliant display from a quarterback that seemingly doesn’t age. And it has the Saints prepared to take on the Minnesota Vikings for an opportunity to play in the NFC Championship Game.
Brees himself had taken a back seat to the running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara during the regular season. With the Panthers dead set on stopping that dynamic duo, Brees found passing lanes all throughout the Superdome. It’s a difficult proposition for opposing defense. You’re darned if you do, you’re darned if you don’t. That was pretty apparent Sunday evening in the Bayou.
Rams just not ready for prime time
One of the biggest stories heading into Wild-Card Weekend was the Rams’ lack of playoff experience. It was a major question heading into a game against a seasoned Atlanta Falcons squad. And it came out in droves early Saturday night.
Young punt returner Pharoh Cooper had a horrible first half turnover on a fumbled kickoff, second-year quarterback Jared Goff threw for less than 10 yards in the first quarter and MVP candidate Todd Gurley dropped more passes (three) than he did in the regular season (one). This was all a case of nerves getting to the young Rams early.
While Los Angeles did make a game of it in the second half, these early mistakes cost the team big time. When all was said and done, Atlanta came out on top by the score of 26-13. Los Angeles turned the ball over two times, committed a couple brutal penalties late in the game, and Gurley himself gained a grand total of 10 receiving yards on 10 targets.
Bills’ patchwork offense proves to be their fatal flaw
Tyrod Taylor was downright terrible Sunday against the league’s best defense. Prior to leaving the game in the final seconds with a concussion, the much-maligned quarterback completed 17-of-37 passes for 134 yards with an interception in a 10-3 Bills loss.
We know Taylor is limited when it comes to passing the ball. That’s not much of a question. Instead, the focus here should be on just poorly Buffalo’s pass catchers played in this one. Kelvin Benjamin couldn’t create any separation against the best secondary in the game, catching one pass for nine yards on two targets. All said, Bills wide receivers caught 5-of-12 passes for 52 yards in the loss. That’s not all on Taylor, ladies and gents.
The issue in Buffalo is a patchwork offense created by general manager Brandon Beane. Adding Jordan Matthews and Kelvin Benjamin in trades proved to be fruitless. Taylor isn’t equipped to make his receivers better. And the receivers do very little to make him better. It’s that simple. And it cost Buffalo big time in the team’s first playoff game since 1999.
Panthers missing that key weapon
Kelvin Benjamin might not have had much of an impact in Buffalo after an in-season trade from Carolina, but Cam Newton obviously missed the big-bodied receiver in Sunday’s NFC wild-card game loss to the Saints. Relying on Devin Funchess and a bunch of second-rate pass catchers, Newton completed just 9-of-16 passes for 138 yards to wide receivers in the 31-26 loss.
The idea of relying on a catch-first running back in Christian McCaffrey and an aging tight end in Greg Olsen simply isn’t going to get the Panthers to where they need to be moving forward. Sure the two combined for 14 receptions and 208 yards. That’s not the point. Without any real boundary threat, the Panthers’ offense was doomed to fail against New Orleans.
Super Mario, indeed
The hostile crowd at Arrowhead didn’t faze Marcus Mariota. The cool January temperatures of Kansas City had no real impact here. And after a sluggish start to the game, the former Heisman winner showed up big time.
Mariota led the Titans on three touchdown-scoring drives in the second half, including two of 80-plus yards and one brilliant score. He compiled over 200 passing yards with two touchdowns during that span, helping Tennessee come back from a 21-3 halftime deficit to win 22-21.
But it was Mariota’s block on Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo to free Derrick Henry for a game-clinching first down late in the game that showed us everything we need to know about Mariota. Sure the third-year signal caller struggled to the tune of 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions during the regular year. That means very little right now. He helped pull off one of the most shocking comebacks in recent playoff memory, etching his name in the history books in the process. On to New England.
Chiefs fail again on game’s grandest stage
At some point it’s going to become apparent that Andy Reid isn’t the man to lead the Chiefs to relevance in the playoffs. It’s not necessarily on the level of Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati, but it’s getting there.
Reid’s in-game coaching was nothing less than a detriment to the Chiefs in Saturday’s AFC wild-card playoff loss to Tennessee. Heading into the half up 21-3, NFL’s regular season rushing champ Kareem Hunt saw four second half rush attempts when the Chiefs were ahead. All said, the rookie ran the ball 11 times with Alex Smith dropping back to pass 37 times. That’s just not acceptable.
It won’t be this offseason, but the Chiefs’ brass will soon come to the conclusion that its marriage with Reid must come to an end. Saturday’s humiliating second half performance could very well lead them in that direction.
Falcons could be very dangerous
Going into Los Angeles and defeating the Rams in their first home playoff game in Southern California since the 1980s is a pretty solid accomplishment for the defending NFC champs. But it’s how the Falcons came out on top that could tell us the story of this team moving forward.
Matt Ryan was not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, putting up just 218 passing yards and one score. The combo if Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for only 106 yards on 32 attempts. This isn’t the same offense that ran roughshod through the NFL last season.
Instead, it was the performance of the team’s defense that should be noted. A solid pass rush got to Jared Goff for three sacks and six hits. After missing last year’s playoff run, cornerback Desmond Trufant dominated the likes of Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins, holding the latter to just one coach on four targets.
It’s this type of stingy defense that should play well against Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles next week in the divisional round. And even with the Falcons’ offense having regressed from a season ago, that should be enough for a second consecutive trip to the NFC Championship game.
Panthers secondary gets whooped
Remember when the Panthers’ young secondary was downright horrible last season? Well, the likes of James Bradberry and Daryl Worley came through big time en route to leading a defense that improved 12 spots from a season ago.
Sunday’s version of this unit looked more like what we saw in 2016. Michael Thomas used and abused the Panthers’ secondary to the tune of eight receptions for 131 yards on nine targets. Meanwhile, Ted Ginn burnt Carolina for a game-changing 80-yard touchdown early on.
We focused on the fast track inside the Superdome as potentially being a difference-maker here. And that really did come back to haunt a young Panthers secondary in Sunday’s five-point loss to New Orleans.
Despite this, Jacksonville came out on top at home by the score of 10-3. Sure its defense was in complete domination mode against an overmatched Tyrod Taylor, but Bortles’ excellence on the ground played a major role.
With Leonard Fournette struggling to do anything (57 yards on 21 attempts), Bortles picked up the slack big time. Faced with pressure throughout the afternoon, he scrambled to the tune of a career-high 88 yards on 10 attempts, picking up a half dozen first downs in the process.
We’re not going to sit back and say Bortles has much of a chance to go into Pittsburgh and lead his Jaguars to a divisional round win over the Steelers. But he showed grit here. That’s a net positive for a Jags team that won its first playoff game in a decade.
Trump is met by chorus of cheers and jeers - but no kneels - as he strides on to the field to stand for the National Anthem after being met by protests outside the College Football Championship
NAACP urged people to wear white and hold anti-Trump signs at the game, and rapper Kendrick Lamar could voice his displeasure with Trump at half-time
Another group took a knee before title game, in reference to the protests before NFL games in which players raise awareness about inequality and police violence against minorities by kneeling during the anthem
Trump addressed the American Farm Bureau convention in Nashville on Monday
He took a victory lap over softening the estate tax and accelerating tax deductions for the purchase of heavy equipment
Also talked about the American flag again, saying, 'We want our flag respected'
Trump appeared to struggle with the words to 'The Star-Spangled Banner' before Monday's game
Legendary College Football Announcer Keith Jackson Dies
2 hrs ago
Legendary college football announcer Keith Jackson died Friday night, reports Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.
He was 89 years old.
Jackson was considered by many to be "the voice" of college football, broadcasting the sport for 50 years. While he's most known for his college football coverage, he covered the NFL, MLB the NBA, boxing, auto racing, golf and the Olympics. He also covered the 1964 Republican National Convention with legend Walter Cronkite.
He attended the 2017 Rose Bowl game, which was his first college football game since retiring from broadcasting in 2006. The last game he called was the famous BCS title game on Jan. 4, 2006, when Texas beat USC.
The broadcast level inside the Rose Bowl stadium was named the Keith Jackson Broadcast Center in his honor in 2015.
He is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl, "The Granddaddy of Them All" and Michigan Stadium as the "Big House."
Read a story about him from Sports Illustrated's Vault here.
With Nick Foles engineering several long drives, Jake Elliott converting three field goals, and the defense getting stingy in the tightest spot, Philadelphia moved into the NFC championship game with a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.
Foles directed brilliant marches of 74 and 80 yards in the second half -- one into the whipping wind, the other with it -- and Elliott atoned for missing an extra point by converting from 53 yards at the end of the second quarter, 37 and 21 in the second half. Then the Eagles (14-3) held when Atlanta (11-7) got to the 9-yard line with a first down, and to the 2 on fourth down.
When Matt Ryan's final pass sailed over Julio Jones' head in the end zone , Philly could celebrate its first playoff victory since the 2008 season.
Next Sunday, the Eagles will host either Minnesota or New Orleans for the conference crown. The Eagles last made the Super Bowl in the 2004 season, losing to New England.
"I mean, we just kept believing in each other," said Foles, who became the starter when Carson Wentz, a leading MVP contender, injured his knee in December. "That was it. Our team never wavered, defense did an amazing job, special teams -- that's just been the story this year is that we just all stuck together..."
The Falcons, of course, memorably blew a 28-3 second-half lead to the Patriots in last year's Super Bowl. They will not get the opportunity to atone for it, though Ryan got them close at the end.
Despite being underdogs as the No. 1 seed, the Eagles showed plenty of moxie.
A masterful 74-yard, 12-play drive on which Foles was 5 for 6 for 70 yards -- the only incompletion was Jay Ajayi's drop -- led to Elliott's 37-yard kick into the wind that made it 12-10.
The Eagles put together their best drive, an 80-yarder covering 14 plays, yet again faltered close to the end zone. Elliott added a 21-yarder with 6:02 remaining after coach Doug Pederson briefly considered going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 3.
Then, as the fans in the Linc held their breath, the Eagles held deep in their territory.
"Man, just stay calm," said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who was a force all day. "We always talk about that. We've been in those situations during the regular season, so we kind of know how to handle those situations, not try to make a play but let the play come to us."
And the road to the Super Bowl remains through Philly.
Published on Apr 9, 2015
Sumo wrestlers enter training stables, or beyas, as young teens and dedicate their lives to the sport until they retire. Training involves incredible food intake, heavy beer consumption as a means of weight gain and daily full-contact sparring. Along with the health impacts, most wrestlers leave the sport with little education and less money. In this VICE Sports exclusive, we visit with two retired rikishis to get their take on life after sumo.
'I can fire that motherf*****': Patriots QB Tom Brady brags about his arm strength at 40 and credits his controversial training guru while hanging at home with his family in his Facebook documentary 'Tom vs. Time'
The first installment of Tom Brady's Facebook documentary series offered fans an inside glimpse at the 40-year-old quarterback's rigorous health routine
The doc also features Brady's business partner and health guru Alex Guerrero, who was called a 'snake oil salesman' by Boston Magazine after he falsely claimed to be a doctor and made exaggerated claims about his fitness products
Guerrero was reportedly banned from the Patriots' sideline and team plane by longtime New England head coach Bill Belichick
Brady uses many cliches in the doc: 'There's a warrior toughness about me'
Is this the death warrant for USA Gymnastics? US Olympic Committee says they will decertify the sport's governing body if the WHOLE board doesn't resign in six days in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse scandal
17 remaining USA Gymnastics board members have until Wednesday to resign
Otherwise the USOC will decertify the body, revoking its status with Olympics
Former national team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison
He abused more than 100 female athletes including many Olympians
At least four members of the USA Gymnastics board have already resigned