Super Bowl opening night returns with circus atmosphere
PHOENIX (AP) — Nick Sirianni answered questions about Rocky, Santa Claus and even which of his players on the Philadelphia Eagles he’d want to date his 5-year-old daughter when she grows up. Welcome to Super Bowl opening night where football talk gives way to the wacky. The circus atmosphere that kicks off the NFL’s biggest week has returned for the first time since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced teams to meet the media on video conferences the past two seasons. Sirianni and the Eagles took the stage first at the home of the Phoenix Suns. “Fly, Eagles, Fly” chants greeted players and coaches before they spent an hour answering wide-ranging questions from more than 2,000 media members.
Irving trade official as Mavs essentially start season over
DALLAS (AP) — Kyrie Irving is a member of the Dallas Mavericks with the trade from Brooklyn becoming official. The mercurial guard who now will be paired with fellow All-Star Luka Doncic could make his Dallas debut Wednesday at the Los Angeles Clippers. Doncic could be out against the Clippers with a heel injury. Whenever the All-Stars do get on the court together, Doncic and Irving instantly become one of the NBA’s top duos in a tightly packed Western Conference.
AP source: NBA approves sale of Phoenix Suns to Mat Ishbia
PHOENIX (AP) — Mortgage executive and former Michigan State guard Mat Ishbia is the new majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, after the NBA’s board of governors approved his plan to purchase the controlling stake of those franchises from Robert Sarver, a person with knowledge of the matter said Monday night. The vote was 29-0, with the Cleveland Cavaliers abstaining, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the final decision had not yet been announced publicly. Ishbia agreed on Dec. 20 to the deal, one that put the total value of the Suns and Mercury at $4 billion.
Brady will not move into Fox announcing booth until 2024
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tom Brady told Colin Cowherd during Monday’s episode of “The Herd” on FS1 and Fox Sports Radio that he will not start his broadcasting career with Fox until the 2024 season. The seven-time Super Bowl champion — who retired last week after a 23-year career with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — signed a 10-year deal with Fox last May to become the network’s top analyst when he decided to retire for good. Brady is expected to eventually join Kevin Burkhardt on Fox’s top team. Brady is still not expected to be a part of Fox’s Super Bowl pregame coverage on Sunday.
Justin Rose wins at Pebble Beach to end 4-year drought
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Justin Rose is a PGA Tour winner again after four years. Rose made short work on a short Monday with three birdies in four holes. That sent him to a 66 and a three-shot victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Rose had not won since Torrey Pines four years ago. Now he’s headed to the Masters again. The tournament was delayed to a Monday finish because of high wind on Saturday. Rose benefited from that stoppage of play. And he was helped by hardly any wind over the final nine holes he played Monday. Brendon Todd and Brandon Wu finished second.
Sean Payton brings old-school style to Denver in his return
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Sean Payton is returning to the sideline after a year in the broadcast studio. The Super Bowl-winning head coach of the New Orleans Saints will work one more week for Fox Sports as an analyst at the Super Bowl before diving into his new job as head coach of the Denver Broncos. Payton said he’s picking the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday to beat the Kansas City Chiefs because he doesn’t want anyone else in the AFC West winning anything. Payton is bringing an old-school way of running things to Denver and that’s going to mean some changes for Russell Wilson.
Vikings hire Brian Flores as defensive coordinator
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have hired Brian Flores as their defensive coordinator. The Vikings are trying to revive a once-dominant unit that ranked among the NFL’s worst last season. Flores was a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach this season for Pittsburgh. He spent three years as head coach in Miami prior to that. Flores, who is Black, was fired by the Dolphins. He then filed a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination by the team and the NFL. Flores was an assistant for eight seasons for New England’s defense before he went to Miami.
Shiffrin’s Beijing lesson helps after another big-race DNF
MERIBEL, France (AP) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin failed to finish the slalom portion of the women’s combined event on the opening day of the world championships. Shiffrin straddled the third-to-last gate while appearing to be close to beating first-run leader Federica Brignone. The American was trailing Brignone by 0.96 seconds after the super-G portion but had made up 0.88 of that difference before skiing out. Shiffrin reacted with apparent open-mouthed astonishment before bending over her ski poles. She then went over to Brignone and embraced the Italian skier. Shiffrin is competing in her first major event since failing to win a medal in six starts at last year’s Beijing Olympics.
How Manchester City came to face Premier League charges
GENEVA (AP) — The English Premier League vs Manchester City is a legal fixture for the ages. Soccer’s richest and most watched league challenged its defending champion on Monday in a case that could be unprecedented. The league alleged more than 100 breaches by City of financial rules and failures to cooperate with an investigation that took four years. Charges date from 2009 in the first full season City was owned by the Abu Dhabi ruling family. The league gave no timetable for a case that gives its disciplinary panel sweeping powers. City says it welcomes the chance to close the matter.
Fox’s Pereira knows pressure Super Bowl officials are facing
Mike Pereira knows the pressure Carl Cheffers and his officiating crew will be under during Super Bowl 57 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. As the NFL’s vice president of officiating in 2008, Pereira promoted Cheffers from side judge to referee. After 14 years with the league, Pereira retired and joined Fox in 2010 as a rules analyst. Pereira’s move to television paved the way for officials to continue to lend their expertise once they left the field. It has also increased scrutiny on officials with each replay decision or close call analyzed. Pereira will be in the booth for his fifth Super Bowl with Fox.