Super Bowl opening night returns with energetic 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.
Mahomes, Hurts aware of significance of this Super Bowl duel
PHOENIX (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is thrilled young aspiring football players all over the world will get to watch two Black quarterbacks face each other for the first time in the Super Bowl. He’s also pleased they get to watch two really, really good quarterbacks. There are many storylines for this Super Bowl but the duel between Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is right at the top of the list. Mahomes said he’s appreciative of the Black quarterbacks who came before him and who helped create the opportunities he has now.
Thompson scores 42 points with 12 3s, Warriors beat Thunder
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 42 points with a season-high 12 3-pointers, Jordan Poole added 21 points and 12 assists starting in Stephen Curry’s place, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 141-114. Thompson sat down for the night to a roaring ovation with 4:41 left to finish 15 for 22 from the floor and 12 of 16 on 3s. Thompson now has eight games with 10 or more 3-pointers, second in NBA history behind Curry’s 22. Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points in Golden State’s first game since reigning NBA Finals MVP Curry injured his left leg during Saturday’s win against Dallas.
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.
NBA approves sale of Phoenix Suns, Mercury to Mat Ishbia
PHOENIX (AP) — Mortgage executive and former Michigan State guard Mat Ishbia is approved to become the new majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The NBA’s board of governors approved his plan to purchase the controlling stake of those franchises from Robert Sarver. 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 vote 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.
Nets’ Irving drama makes other East contenders look stable
The Brooklyn Nets broke up their All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving by trading Irving to Dallas. Compared to that, the other top teams in the Eastern Conference look pretty stable heading into Thursday’s trade deadline. Boston has the best record in the NBA and a team that reached the Finals a season ago. Milwaukee has the league’s longest current winning streak at eight games. The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t always been a picture of tranquility in recent years, but they’ve won nine of 11 and are third in the conference, just three games behind the Celtics.