<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Sports]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usThu, 19 Jan 2017 08:22:13 -0500Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:22:13 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Rodgers' Father Opens Up About Family's Rift With NFL Star]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:11:53 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631769054.jpg

Aaron Rodgers’ rift with his family has been making headlines since his brother’s appearance on “The Bachelorette” last year, but little has been said about the unusual family dynamic from Rodgers’ father – until now.

In an interview with the New York Times, Ed Rodgers said the family is still learning how to deal with the star quarterback’s rise to fame.

“One in the news is enough for us,” he said, adding, “Fame can change things.”

The Rodgers family patriarch confirmed in the interview that the family hasn’t spoken to Aaron Rodgers since the end of 2014, a short time after the Green Bay Packers star first began dating actress Olivia Munn.

Jordan Rodgers first revealed his troubled relationship with his brother on the dating show in July, saying he and his brother Luke don’t speak to Aaron.

"It's something we don't really talk about a whole lot," Luke Rodgers told ‘Bachelorette’ JoJo Fletcher. "It pains both of us like not to have that relationship. We miss our brother."

It was an issue that lingered heavily over the “hometown date” episode, with two empty chairs sitting at the Rodgers’ family dinner table, presumably for Aaron and Munn. 

"I miss my brother a lot, especially in moments like this because my family means so much," Jordan said in the episode.

At the time, Aaron Rodgers declined to talk about the family dynamic publicly.

"As far as those kinds of things go, I've always found that it's a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I'm just--I'm not going to speak on those things," he said.

Ed Rodgers told the Times that while "airing public laundry is not what I would have chosen,” he wasn’t upset that it happened.

“It’s good to have it all come out,” he said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Jordan Rodgers as well, as he told E! News in an exclusive interview that he hadn’t seen “The Bachelorette” before he became a contestant and wasn’t sure what to expect.

"Family things are always tough, and they're always tough to address, let alone on a TV show,” he said. “But I knew I made a commitment to go on there and be honest with JoJo and make sure that she knew everything because we didn't have any time off-camera and we were going to get to a proposal. So you have to be honest, you have to trust she believes in the person you are.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jamaican Bobsled Team Crowdfunds for Coach]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:55:06 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Jamaican+Bobsled+Team.jpg

The Jamaican bobsled team is back for the Olympics. A little strapped for cash, sure, but back nonetheless.

The climatologically challenged team is attempting to crowdfund a salary for a head coach for the next Olympic games in 2018 in PyeongChang, according to a GoFundMe page posted by the team's social media director.

(Correct - the team does not have a coach but does have someone to run its social presence. Kathleen Pulito, a volunteer from upstate New York, reports to Devon Harris, a member of the original team portrayed in the movie "Cool Runnings.")

"We have a really good shot at our women's team bringing home some hardware to Jamaica," Pulito told NBC 4 New York. "People don't quite see value in our brand just yet."

The perennial underdogs' biggest hope is Jazmine Fenlator, who competed for the United States in the 2014 Games before switching to her father's home country. 

Even so, the crowdfunding campaign is off to a slow start, having raised $1,100 of a $60,000 goal. But Pulito said her goal is to get a brand or two interested in the underdog story and go from there.

"Once one good sponsor hops on board, they kind of all jump on board," she said.



Photo Credit: Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Honors Victorious Cubs: 'Took You Long Enough']]> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:09:52 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631831536.jpg

Coming from a Chicago White Sox fan, it may have seemed like President Barack Obama's comments at the White House Monday were proof he has been converted to North Side fandom -- and the Cubs certainly thought so.

"Do know, that among Sox fans, I am the Cubs' number one fan," Obama said as he honored the World Series Champions. 

The visit marked the last event to be held at the White House during Obama's preidency, he said. 

"I will say to the Cubs it took you long enough," Obama said. "I've only got four days left."

Though he may pledge allegiance to the team's longtime rivals, even Obama had to admit he was swept away by the Cubs' 2016 season.

"Even I was not crazy enough to suggest that during these eight years we would see the Cubs win the World Series, but I did say that there has never been anything false about hope," Obama said. "Hope -- the audacity of hope. Yes we can."

In a speech that was saturated with funny anecdotes and sincere appreciation, Obama noted that this World Series win may have meant more to fans than ever before.

"The truth is there was a reason not just that people felt good about the Cubs winning, there was something about this particular Cubs team winning that people felt good about," he said before honoring each player for their achievements in the historic season that ended a 108-year drought. 

In describing what was "widely considered one of the greatest Game 7's of all time," Obama ran through a play-by-play of the gut-wrenching moments that had Cubs fans on the edge of their seats that fateful November night. 
"Suddenly everything has changed," Obama said. "No more black cats, billy goats, ghosts, flubbed grounders – the Chicago Cubs are the champs."

Even though he made sure to honor the World Series champs themselves, he also noted the baseball legends who have made history with the team over the last century. Some of those players were also in attendance Monday, including Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins and Jose Cardenal. 
Monday's visit was slightly unusual, as the reigning World Series champions normally make the traditional White House visit during the following MLB season. The Cubs were hoping to get to Washington, D.C., before Obama left office. Though the president is a White Sox fan, he calls Chicago home and rooted for the North Siders since his team didn't make the playoffs.
"I was in my hometown of Chicago on Tuesday for my farewell address and I said sometimes it’s not enough just to change laws, you’ve got to change hearts and sports has a way of sometimes changing hearts in a way that politics or business doesn’t," Obama noted. 
During the event, Cubs president Theo Epstein first pardoned Obama "for all your indiscretions as a baseball fan" and welcomed him "with open arms today to the Cubs' family." The moment marked what he called a "terrific conversion," celebrated with a series of gifts from the champions to the president himself. 
Among the gifts were two jerseys with the no. 44, shared by first baseman Anthony Rizzo. One jersey read "Chicago Cubs," but the second just read "Chicago," in case the president wasn't yet comfortable with displaying full Cubs pride. 
In addition, the president was given a tile from Wrigley Field's historic center field scoreboard, a W flag signed by the team, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley Field.  
"We also wanted you to know that as a new fan you have some catching up to do," Epstein said. 

The president invited the Cubs to the White House in a phone call to Joe Maddon following the team's victory, and with the club all assembled in Chicago for this weekend's Cubs Convention, arranging travel to Washington D.C. was a solution that worked out well for the team to see the president.

While the Cubs' visit to the White House comes just days before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, the team will still have a connection to the new administration. Trump has nominated Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts as deputy commerce secretary. Ricketts joined his sister, co-owner Laura Ricketts, brother and co-owner Tom Ricketts, and the team at the presidential reception.

The Cubs are the second Chicago team to visit the Obama's White House. The president also hosted the Chicago Blackhawks after their three Stanley Cup championships since 2010. 

After the ceremony, the Cubs were expected to visit patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before returning to Chicago, according to MLB officials.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SD Companies Won't Move Chargers]]> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:23:55 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/176*120/Dean+Spanos+vs+Jacksonville.JPG

So the Chargers said they are going to move to Los Angeles. Now they actually have to move to Los Angeles.

Anyone who has ever moved before understands what an undertaking this is. You have to pack up the boxes, prepare the furniture, finally address all the junk that’s been accumulating in the garage … it’s not a small endeavor, and that’s just for a house.

The Chargers are moving offices and a practice facility. That means they have to pack up and transport all the tackling sleds, all the computers, all the files … basically 55 years-worth of stuff. For that they will have to hire a moving company.

Finding one, however, has proven to be a problem.

“We were just sitting there thinking about the physical move of the Chargers,” said Ryan Charles, head of sales and marketing for www.HireAHelper.com. “We were thinking we would not want to be a part of that, having been born and raised here and being a lifelong Chargers fan.”

Charles asked the companies within the Hire A Helper network if they would refuse to help the Chargers move and they all said yes. But the movement did not stop there.

“Other moving companies, our peers, might not want to, either,” said Charles, “and wouldn’t it be cool if we all banded together to say that we wouldn’t?”

So Charles started cold-calling his fellow moving companies to float the idea by them. The response was a bit surprising … in a good way.

“The feedback was immediately positive,” said Charles. “I got chuckles, people were laughing, there were guys saying ‘I wouldn’t move them for X amount of dollars.’”

That variable is likely in excess of $100,000, by the way. With all the offices and training equipment, plus the likelihood of having staff and players jump on board, this is a monster payday these companies are turning down to stick to their principles.

As of Sunday night 22 movers based in San Diego had vowed not to move the Chargers north and more are expected to sign on in the coming days. An email is being sent to as many movers as Charles can think of.

“It’s almost like the last line of defense. We were making this last statement of loyalty to the SAN DIEGO Chargers,” said Charles.

But it is not simply the San Diego moving companies that have pledged their resistence. Movers in the Los Angeles area are also joining the cause.

“Once we started hearing the sentiment from L.A., you know, the ‘We don’t want you,’ we thought maybe there are Los Angeles companies who wouldn’t want to move them in to their city. We reached out to them and we have five L.A. moving companies on board that have agreed [to not move the Chargers to Los Angeles].”

Not every moving company in San Diego will take part in this movement but enough will to let the Spanos family know just how disappointed Chargers fans are. Plus, this kind of camaraderie might be the proverbial silver lining.

“It’s an awesome statement of loyalty, that’s for sure," Charles added.

To see all the companies dedicated to not move the Chargers just visit www.wewontmoveyouchargers.com and see the list continue to grow.


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<![CDATA[Minnesota Wild Apologize After 'Violent' Mascot Skit]]> Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:18:09 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/nordy+birthday+mn+wild+skit.png

Hockey fans are used to seeing some pretty brutal fights on the ice, but it’s usually between the players – not the mascots.

Not the case at Thursday night’s game between the Minnesota Wild and the Montreal Canadiens. During intermission at Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center, the Wild invited several other NHL mascots to celebrate Nordy’s "birthday."

In attendance were the St. Louis Blues’ Louie, New Jersey’s NJ Devil and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Tommy Hawk – who apparently shoved a birthday cake into Nordy’s face.

Nordy then exacted his revenge when Tommy held up a piñata and a blindfolded Nordy "missed," smacking the Hawks mascot, who fell to the ground. [[410727135, C]]

At the urging of the announcer, he continued to strike Tommy a total of 10 times as he theatrically writhed on the ice.

"Nordy! You hit the piñata! Keep swinging! Keep swinging!" the announcer shouted. "You almost broke it open!"

NJ Devil stepped in to restrain Nordy, who took off his blindfold in time to see a presumably unconscious Tommy dragged off the ice.

"Tommy, that’s what happens when you shove a cake in somebody’s face. Get him to medics," the announcer added.

The reaction of the crowd seemed to be mixed, as was the response on social media after the team tweeted a video of the encounter.

"Good thing to teach kids. Violence to people you dislike is the right thing to do," one response reads, while another called it "obviously a joke and for fun."

"I love the Wild and all but... I'm not really into simulated beatings, man," one fan tweeted, while another wrote, "Oh please. It’s Hockey. It’s a violent sport. Maybe stay home. Ridiculous." [[410727165, C]]

A reporter for the Chicago Tribune decried the "violent" skit, saying it went against the NHL’s attempts to "promote a family atmosphere."

"I was glad I wasn't in the stands with my 7-year-old son having to explain why his favorite mascot was just apparently beaten with a baseball bat," Chris Kuc wrote.

According to the Tribune, the Wild issued a statement Friday saying, "We apologize to anyone offended by the mascot skit Thursday night. It was certainly not our intention."



Photo Credit: twitter.com/NHL
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<![CDATA[The Internet Roasts the New LA Chargers Logo ]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:44:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/chargers-dodgers.gif

When the Chargers organization announced the move to Los Angeles Thursday, they changed their logo on social media, and fans unleashed an all-out blitz.

The letters "LA" in white are connected on a blue background with a lightning bolt shooting to the right of the logo.

The Dodgers logo has always connected the "L" with the "A" on a blue  background.

[[410530325,C]]

The NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning quickly jumped on social media to draw its own comparison. The tweet has gone viral.

In a radio interview Thursday, Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos was asked about the logo similarity. He said: "I don't know if this is going to be permanent or if it's going to be the introductory logo into the marketplace. My son is handling all that so I'd have to defer to him."

Check out some of the responses on Twitter:

[[410546775, C]]


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<![CDATA[Chargers Move to LA]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:40:08 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Chargers-Fan-Sad-GettyImages-630777752.jpg

Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos announced the NFL team’s move to Los Angeles on Thursday, a change that had been discussed for months and dreaded by many in San Diego.

"After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season," the letter posted to Chargers.com reads.

The move comes after years of failed negotiations between the city of San Diego and the owners of the NFL franchise.

The letter was posted on Twitter by the Chargers main account, which has since been renamed "Los Angeles Chargers."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement more than an hour later describing how the team worked tirelessly to find a way to stay in San Diego.

"As difficult as the news is for Charger fans, I know Dean Spanos and his family did everything they could to try to find a viable solution in San Diego," Goodell said.

The Chargers have been in San Diego for 56 years, since moving from Los Angeles in 1961, and fans began expressing their anger over losing their team.

[[410539675,C]]

Here is the entire memo:

After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season.

San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years.

But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.

[[410528915,L,300,311]]

LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do. We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans. We must get back to winning. And, we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.

The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started.

NBC Sports reported Spanos informed Goodell and several owners of his decision after a meeting of the league's stadium and finance committees had ended Wednesday.

Bitter and disappointed fans gathered outside the team's headquarters in Murphy Canyon. One egged the front door late Wednesday as reports of the move surfaced. By Thursday, several fans left their team jerseys on the ground in front of the building. One man said, "I'm done" as he walked away.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other local officials expressed frustration over the Chargers' decision.

"The Chargers were ultimately never willing to work with us," Faulconer said adding that the team wanted more taxpayer money than officials could spend.

He was informed of the team's decision Wednesday night by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The mayor did not receive a call from Spanos until after the announcement was made public.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts, who was moved to tears at one point, admitted there may have been some missteps by officials in the past but that they always tried in good faith to keep the team in town.

Also, the City of San Diego would be owed a $12 million termination fee.

The Chargers can provide termination notice anytime between February 1 and May 1 of each year and provide the following termination amount each year:

2017: $12,575,000

2018: $9,760,000

2019: $6,740,000

2020: $3,390,000

That doesn't pay off the remaining bond debt that financed the expansion, according to the NBC 7 Investigates team.

The Chargers' possible relocation has been a hot-button issue for years.

At the center of the problem is the Chargers dilapidated home stadium. Since 1967, the Chargers have played at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. Multiple efforts between the Chargers, NFL, city and county officials have failed to provide a stadium solution, either a new stadium or a remodeled Qualcomm Stadium.

Chargers fans expressed their anger even before the move was official. Police had to surround the administrative offices at Chargers Park Wednesday night after one heated fan egged the front of the building.

Dan Wellington filmed himself on social media hurling about a half-dozen eggs at the team’s headquarters.

“Why go? This is such a bad deal," he said. "You're going to have to spend so much to move and you’re not willing to put it here. As a lifelong Chargers fan it’s a total kick in the stomach.”

[[410483535,C]]

Another fan also showed up at Chargers Park Wednesday night, saying he was fed up and frustrated.

“I hate you guys, I can't wait to burn everything I own of you guys from shoes, to canopies, to jerseys, to sweaters, to junior Chargers Girl uniforms," Frank Sesma said. "I don’t make that much money and I've dedicated a lot of money and soul to these guys.”

[[410530325,C]]

Spanos made no secret he preferred a downtown stadium site and asked San Diegans to keep an open mind regarding a proposed ballot measure.

In November, San Diego voters rejected the latest stadium proposal, a ballot measure that would have raised hotel occupancy taxes to help pay for a proposed $1.8 billion downtown stadium project. Measure C needed a two-thirds vote to pass but it received only 43 percent approval.

The Chargers will play at the StubHub Center in Carson and later join the Rams at their stadium in Los Angeles, which is set to open in 2019. 

Rams Owner and Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke also released a statement regarding to move: 

"We welcome the Chargers and look forward to working with them to provide NFL fans in the region and throughout the world with an unparalleled experience at the LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park. Our mission is to create a year-round global sports and entertainment destination and this is another important step in achieving that goal."

ESPN's Adam Schefter, who cited league sources, first tweeted about the move Wednesdayn night, just hours after NBC 7 SportsWrap reported that the NFL had extended the deadline for the team's decision from Jan. 15 to Jan. 17. 

The team joined the National Football League in 1970 as part of the NFL-AFL merger.

[[335522221,C]]



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cubs to Visit White House Before Obama Leaves Office]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2017 20:13:50 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-621152150.png

President Barack Obama will welcome the World Series champion Chicago Cubs at the White House on Monday, just five days before he leaves office.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the visit Wednesday and said Obama “is really looking forward to it.”

The move is slightly unusual. The reigning World Series champions normally make the traditional White House visit during the following MLB season.

The Cubs, who ended a 108-year title drought in Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians, were hoping to get to Washington, D.C., before Obama left office. Though the president is a White Sox fan, he calls Chicago home and rooted for the North Siders since his team didn't make the playoffs.

NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern first reported the visit on Tuesday.

The president invited the Cubs to the White House in a phone call to Joe Maddon following the team's victory, and with the club all assembled in Chicago for this weekend's Cubs Convention, arranging travel to Washington D.C. was a solution that worked out well for the team to see the president.

While the Cubs visit to the White House comes five days before president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, the team will still have a connection to the new administration. Trump has nominated Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts as deputy commerce secretary. Ricketts will join his sister, co-owner Laura Ricketts, brother, co-owner Tom Ricketts, and the team at the presidential reception.

The Cubs will be the second Chicago team to visit the Obama's White House. The president also hosted the Chicago Blackhawks after their three Stanley Cup championships since 2010. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Biles, Raisman Ditch Leotards for Bikinis in New SI Issue]]> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:17:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/allysimone.jpg

Get ready to see Simone Biles and Aly Raisman like you've never seen them before.

The two gold medal-winning Olympians are ditching their leotards for slightly more revealing attire. Both women will appear in the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

"I am thrilled to include the gold medal-winning, U.S. women's gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles in this year's Swimsuit issue," said MJ Day, SI Swimsuit editor.

"Aly and Simone represent all that is beautiful and strong and inspiring in women today. Women that are not only elite athletes, that are captivating and impressive in their own professional accomplishments (lots and lots of Olympic gold medals between them), but strikingly sexy and beautiful in front of photographer James Macari's lens. I love seeing them shine in an entirely different way in the Swimsuit issue and being able to share these gorgeous and powerful images with the world."

The swimsuit edition hits newsstands in February.



Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan via Getty Image
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<![CDATA[Steelers Bring High-Powered Offense to Kansas City]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:30:58 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SteelersChiefs.jpg

A recovered Ben Roethlisberger brings a Steelers offense doing almost everything right into Kansas City on Sunday for a shot at the AFC championship game.

The Steelers quarterback aggravated an old foot injury last week when an opponent landed on it late in a blowout win over Miami in the Wild Card round, but he expects to be fine against the Chiefs.

The winner of what could well be an entertaining and closely matched divisional round playoff game will probably get to travel to New England to face the Patriots, who face an overmatched Houston Texans team this week.

The Chiefs-Steelers game will be broadcast Sunday on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Kansas City is trying to atone for a quiet exit from the playoffs last year, and will be looking to get Travis Kelce involved in the game plan. The tight end had a career season and presents matchup difficulties for any defense — especially when that defense also has to account for receiver Tyreek Hill, who caught nine TD passes this season.

Meanwhile, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston will also be looking to make up for last year against New England, when he was mostly ineffective due to injury. He missed the first 10 weeks of the season this year, but tallied four sacks in five games.

The Steelers’ offense has been unstoppable lately. In winning eight straight games, it has averaged almost 27 points. Running back Le’Veon Bell scored twice last week against the Dolphins and so did receiver Antonio Brown.

On defense, Pittsburgh’s linebackers turned in an impressive performance against Miami, led by 38-year-old stalwart James Harrison, who has 1.5 sacks and set the tone for his younger teammates.

Players to Watch

-- Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier spent last week eluding Miami’s blockers and causing havoc against the Dolphins, and could easily be just as disruptive against the Chiefs.

-- Pittsburgh LB Lawrence Timmons had eight solo tackles, including two sacks, against the Dolphins.

-- Kansas City QB Alex Smith is coming off a strong season finale and he and his line will have had a week to rest and recover before taking on the Steelers’ defense.

-- Kansas City LT Eric Fisher will be key to helping the Chiefs protect Smith and give him time to find Kelce, Hill and others. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Flyers Greats Teaming Up for 50th Anniversary Alumni Game]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:14:28 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000018761496_1200x675_851676227920.jpg Former Philadelphia Flyers will take the ice against Pittsburgh Penguins alumni this Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center to raise money for charitable causes.]]> <![CDATA[Carli Lloyd Wins FIFA Best Player Award]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 15:03:35 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631342200.jpg

Carli Lloyd of the United States has won her second straight FIFA's best woman player award.

Lloyd beat Olympic gold medalist Melanie Behringer of Germany and five-time winner Marta of Brazil.

Lloyd says "I honestly was not expecting this."

Germany did win the women's coaching awards as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize. She also won the 2010 award.

Neid beat two previous winners: Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist, and last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States.



Photo Credit: FIFA via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cristiano Ronaldo Wins FIFA Best Player Award ]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 14:53:11 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631342524.jpg

Cristiano Ronaldo received FIFA's best player award for the fourth time on Monday, after Portugal and Real Madrid won both major European titles in 2016.

He beat runner-up and great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards.

"2016 was the best year of my career," Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech, which he began by exclaiming "Wow, wow, wow."

Ronaldo got 34.54 percent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot. Messi received 26.42 percent, and third-place Griezmann got 7.53 percent. Voting was by national team captains and coaches, selected media, and fans online.

Ronaldo's fourth FIFA award closed the gap on five-time winner Messi, the runner-up to each Ronaldo victory, who did not attend the ceremony.

Ronaldo's 2016 trophy haul included the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup, plus individual best player awards from UEFA and France Football magazine.

Messi's Barcelona won the Spanish league and cup double, though he captained Argentina to lose the Copa America final.

Griezmann's France and Atletico Madrid lost both finals to Ronaldo's teams.

Ronaldo's coaches for club and country were beaten by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, who earned the men's coaching prize for a stunning English Premier League title.

"What happened last year was something strange. The God of football said Leicester must win," said Ranieri, who was in his first season at the unfashionable provincial club widely tipped for relegation.

Ranieri collected his trophy from Diego Maradona, who earlier Monday played in an exhibition match with other retired greats at FIFA headquarters.

Like Ronaldo, Carli Lloyd of the United States won a FIFA player prize for the second year in a row.

Lloyd won despite Germany midfielder Melanie Behringer playing on the Olympic gold medal-winning team. Five-time winner Marta was runner-up and Behringer was third.

"I honestly was not expecting this," Lloyd said. "I know Melanie did fantastic in the 2016 Olympics."

Germany did win the women's coaching prize as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize, after also winning the 2010 award. Neid beat two previous winners: Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist, and last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States.

The Puskas Award for best goal was won by Mohd Faiz Subri, who scored with a wildly swerving long-range free kick for Malaysian club Penang.

A players' vote organized by international union FIFPro gave a World XI of: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid); Messi, Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona), Ronaldo.

The First FIFA fan award was chosen by fans and was made to supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, who joined in singing the English club's anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" before a Europa League quarterfinal. The other nominees were Iceland fans at Euro 2016, and Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord.

FIFA made its Fair Play Award to Atletico Nacional, the Colombian club which was scheduled to host Chapecoense in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Nov. 30.

After most of the Brazilian team died in a plane crash flying to the match, Atletico Nacional asked the South American soccer confederation to present the title and trophy to Chapecoense.



Photo Credit: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Images From the 2017 NFL Playoffs]]> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:23:44 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631697042.jpg Check out some of the best images from the playoffs of the 2016-2017 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Playoffs: Thomas Rawls Leads Seattle Past Detroit 26-6]]> Sat, 07 Jan 2017 23:57:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_302614932023-SEA-DET-NFC.jpg

The formula that has led the Seattle Seahawks to unmatched success over the past five seasons returned.

A healthy dose of Thomas Rawls rumbling on the ground. A few timely throws by Russell Wilson helped by some remarkable catches. And a defense that never allowed Detroit a sniff of the end zone.

Rawls rushed for a franchise playoff-record 161 yards, Paul Richardson made one of the catches of the year for his first career postseason touchdown, and the Seahawks beat the Lions 26-6 on Saturday night in an NFC wild-card game.

"It kept the chains going," Rawls said. "We want to end like this. We want to end with a great mark running the football, which is our identity, playing tough hard-nosed Seahawks football, and that's exactly what we did."

Seattle won its 10th straight home playoff game, continuing Detroit's miserable conclusion to the season that finished with four straight losses. Detroit's long playoff history without postseason success continued: no playoff wins since 1992. No road playoff wins since 1957. 

Rawls was the workhorse as the run game the Seahawks became known for when Marshawn Lynch was in the backfield finally found consistency that was missing all season. Rawls bettered Lynch's 157 yards in the 2014 NFC championship game against Green Bay. Rawls had runs of 12, 14, 26 and a 32-yarder late in the third quarter, when Wilson ended up being his lead blocker. 

Rawls capped his night with a 4-yard touchdown run that gave Seattle a 19-6 lead. He was the first player with at least 150 yards rushing in a playoff game since Lynch's performance against the Packers.

While Rawls did the grunt work, Richardson filled the highlight reel with a trio of catches. None was better than his 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Seattle a 7-0 lead.

Richardson went horizontal reaching out with his left hand to cradle the pass as he was being interfered with by Tavon Wilson. What wasn't called on the play was Richardson's right hand yanking on the facemask of Wilson as he reached to make the catch.

Richardson had another one-handed catch in the fourth quarter, and Doug Baldwin got into the act of amazing catches, pinning a 10-yard reception to the back of his leg late in the fourth quarter to continue a Seattle drive. Two plays later, Baldwin's 13-yard touchdown reception put it away. 

Wilson finished 23 of 30 for 224 yards, while Baldwin had 11 catches for 104 yards.

SHUTDOWN D

Overshadowed by the offensive performance was Seattle's defense shutting down the Lions. Hampered by a handful of dropped passes and some untimely penalties, the Lions could only manage a pair of long Matt Prater field goals.

Matthew Stafford was 18 of 32 for 205 yards. He was sacked three times and Detroit never ran a play inside the Seattle 33-yard line.

"We definitely knew if we came in and focused, we'd be fine," All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "We knew they got some great players on the other end, but we were just locked in all week and we prepared very well. We knew were going to play well."

FOURTH-DOWN SUCCESS

Seattle was 4 of 11 on fourth downs during the regular season, but got two big conversions on its first touchdown drive. On fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 39, Rawls bounced for 4 yards; the drive was capped by Richardson's catch on fourth-and-goal from the 2. 

Detroit wasn't so successful. On its third possession, it went on fourth-and-2 from the Seattle 38. The oddly designed play had Stafford throwing behind the line of scrimmage to Matthew Mulligan. The play was blown up by Wagner and K.J. Wright for a 2-yard loss.

KICKING IT 

Prater became the first kicker with multiple 50-yard field goals made in the same playoff game, and Seattle's Steven Hauschka was true on both of his field goal attempts. But Hauschka missed his seventh extra point of the season after Rawls' touchdown with 8:43 remaining. 

UP NEXT

Detroit: The Lions will lament the end of their season. After getting its record to 9-4, Detroit lost its final four games.

Seattle: The Seahawks will face the No. 2 seed Atlanta Falcons next Saturday. Seattle beat Atlanta 26-22 in October.

"We're expecting a fight," Wagner said. "They're going to come in rested. They're going to be hungry, but we're hungry, too. We're going to come out and give 'em everything we got."



Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Montco School Alum Team Up to Battle Cancer]]> Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:22:59 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000018706554_1200x675_849196611641.jpg This weekend, graduates from a chelntenham High School in Wyncote, Pennsylvnaia will team up to slam dunk cancer for the 4th Annual Cheltenham Lady Panthers Alumnae Game. Organizer and Cheltenham grad Misha Horsey and American Cancer Society Representative Monica O’Brien tell us more.]]> <![CDATA[Pulse Shooting Rainbow Seat ]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 15:41:14 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/orlando-united-soccer-team-rainbow.jpg

Less than seven months after tragedy ravaged their city, one of Orlando’s pro sports teams is honoring the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

The city’s Major League Soccer franchise, Orlando City SC, unveiled Wednesday 49 seats in their new stadium done in the colors of the rainbow flag – done in memory of the 49 people killed in the June 12 incident on the popular gay nightclub.

Five rows of eight seats in the colors red, orange, yellow, green and blue go along with another row of nine seats in purple. Each has a plaque on it with the hashtag #OrlandoUnited. The seats are located in Section 12 of the new stadium, in memory of the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

The team first honored the victims during their game against the San Jose Earthquakes days after the shooting, stopping the game for a moment of silence during the 49th minute as fans flew a rainbow flag to remember those lost.

Orlando City’s new stadium is located just over two miles north of the nightclub, which remains closed after the owner didn’t sell the building to the city, which sought to turn the building into a memorial.

The Lions will play thier first game in the new stadium on March 5th.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Orlando City Soccer]]>
<![CDATA[Harlem Globetrotter Sinks 100-Foot Shot From Oracle Roof]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 07:17:34 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/0104-2016-Globetrotter.jpg

It's tough to top some of the highlights Stephen Curry and the rest of the Golden State Warriors have provided fans over the years at Oracle Arena, but the visiting Harlem Globetrotters did just that with an unbelievable trick shot.

Video posted online by the exhibition basketball team shows Harlem Globetrotters star Buckets Blakes hitting a 100-foot basket from the rooftop of Oracle Arena.

The Globetrotters are in the Bay Area preparing for a seven-game stretch from January 14-22.



Photo Credit: Harlem Globetrotters]]>
<![CDATA[Seahawks Host Lions to Kick Off NFL Playoffs]]> Sat, 07 Jan 2017 17:43:16 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-630770962-Seahawks.jpg

After a bumpy start to the season, Russell Wilson is improving as the Seahawks begin the playoffs at home against the reeling Detroit Lions on Saturday night.

Gametime is set for 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, and NBC Sports will be streaming the game live online here.

The Lions, who lost their final three games to finish 9-7, mostly feasted on bad teams and benefited from some good fortune on comebacks this season. But Matthew Stafford is coming off a fine season in which he’s had to carry most of the load — the Lions’ run game has been very quiet this season.

Seattle’s excellent run defense should be able to make this game one-dimensional and force the game into the hands of Stafford, former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and tight end Eric Ebron among others.

The Seahawks — who are 7-1 at home this season — are well positioned to take advantage of the soft spots in Detroit’s defense. Wilson should enjoy going up against a pass defense that allows opponents to complete more than 70 percent of passes. He also has found the Seahawks’ matchup-straining tight ends of Jimmy Graham and Luke Wilson often this year.

Wilson injured his ankle in Week 1 and knee in Week 3, but never missed a game this season. He had a wacky five-interception game against Green Bay in December, but responded by closing the season with eight TD passes against one interception in the last three games.

On defense, the Seahawks will be without star Earl Thomas but Kam Chancellor has stepped in to lead the defense. Up front, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark have combined for more than 20 sacks and should be able to get some pressure against the Lions’ average pass protection.

Players to watch

Detroit RB Zach Zenner totaled more than 100 yards rushing and receiving and has emerged as the Lions’ best option at the position.

Detroit CB Nevin Lawson has shined while the Lions defense has struggled. The Seahawks’ easiest yards through the air will probably not come against his man.

Seattle TE Luke Wilson is the second option among Seattle’s tight ends, but has two TD catches in the last three weeks.

Seattle S Steven Terrell has performed capably in the absence of Thomas, and allowed only one catch on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Penn State Stumbles in 4th, Falls to USC in Rose Bowl ]]> Mon, 02 Jan 2017 22:10:56 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Penn-State-Rose-Bowl.jpg

Trace McSorley picked a bad time to start throwing interceptions.

The Penn State quarterback had been nearly flawless in protecting the ball during a nine-game winning streak, but three interceptions in the Rose Bowl, including a pick with 27 seconds remaining that USC safety Leon McQuay returned to the Nittany Lions’ 33-yard line, proved to be the difference in a wild 103rd Rose Bowl.

Despite harnessing its vaunted second-half magic for touchdowns from Saquan Barkley, Chris Godwin and McSorley on the first three offensive plays of the second half, Matt Boermeester kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired and No. 9 USC rallied to hand No. 5 Penn State a crushing 52-49 defeat in the Rose Bowl on Monday.

McSorley threw consecutive hanging deep balls that McQuay was able to break on — the senior able to collect the second and return it 32 yards — wasting a magnificent charge from Penn State (11-3) behind 193 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Barkley and nine receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns from Godwin.

Barkley and Godwin accounted for 381 of Penn State’s 465 yards.

It looked as if USC (10-3) would pick up where it left off when these two teams met in 2009 by bombarding the Penn State secondary and cruising to an easy win. McSorley was picked off on Penn State’s first play from scrimmage after Miles Sanders misjudged the opening kickoff and was lucky to fall on it at the 3-yard line, and threw another interception following a missed USC field goal, leading to an early Trojan touchdown.

Sam Darnold threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, as USC opened up double-digit leads at 13-0, 20-7 and 27-14. But a third-down face mask penalty on defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu while tackling McSorley kept a Nittany Lion drive alive, and a twisting 11-yard touchdown catch by Mike Gesicki sent Penn State into the locker room down just 27-21.   

After propelling itself to a Big Ten title largely on the strength of its adjustments in the second half, Penn State took that advantage to the extreme with Barkley’s 79-yard touchdown run where he juked four USC defenders and broke two tackles while darting across the field, Godwin’s juggling 72-yard touchdown reception, and McSorley’s 3-yard touchdown run after Brandon Bell intercepted Darnold to take a 42-27 lead.  

USC responded with a 25-7 run, tying the game at 49-49 on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to Burnett with 1:20 left. 

Defense? What Defense
The highest-scoring Rose Bowl in history was a thoroughly entertaining and utterly unpredictable affair, serving as the perfect antidote to two blowouts in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The two teams combined for 1,040 yards, with McSorley throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns and his USC counterpart Darnold 453 yards and five touchdowns.

Penn State and USC had each allowed less than 20 points per game during winning streaks of nine and eight games, respectively, to end the season.

Glue on Godwin’s Gloves
USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson dominated the conversation during the week leading up to the game, but Godwin was every bit the equal of the unanimous All-American, if not better. It would be hard to rank the array of impressive receptions Godwin made, but the standout was likely a grab on the final drive of the first half where the junior reached back with his left hand to catch and tuck the ball away on third down to move the chains. 



Photo Credit: CSN Philly]]>