Mahomes, Hurts buoy Super Bowl teams amid QB injury spate
The Chiefs and Eagles are bringing MVP finalists Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts to the Super Bowl to cap a season in which the NFL had a glaring amount of instability at quarterback. A total of 68 QBs started at least one game, a record for a non-strike year. Nearly half of all changes during the regular season were because of injuries at the most important position, despite the league’s efforts to try to keep QBs healthy. A record 13 teams used at least three starters, including the San Francisco 49ers, whose season ended in the NFC title game when they had no healthy quarterbacks available.
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.
AP sources: Walsh to leave Biden Cabinet for NHL union
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is expected to leave the Biden administration to run the National Hockey League Players’ Association. That’s according to two people familiar with his plans. The hockey players’ union has been searching for a new executive director to take over for Don Fehr. A serious fan of the Boston Bruins, Walsh showed an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport in videos posted online during his tenure from 2014 to 2021 as mayor of Boston. Walsh’s departure would make him the first of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet secretaries to leave.
Ticket demand, anticipation grows as LeBron nears Kareem
Ticket prices are predictably high for the Los Angeles Lakers’ next two home games, with LeBron James poised to break the NBA scoring record. James is 36 points from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Lakers play at home Tuesday against Oklahoma City. And if King James doesn’t set the mark that night, he’ll try again Thursday when the Lakers host Milwaukee. Some tickets for that game have been listed for as much as $100,000 apiece.
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.
Mat Ishbia to AP: Suns ‘will be one of best places to work’
Mat Ishbia says his first major project as owner of the Phoenix Suns will be to listen to employees and figure out what problems they’ve faced. After that, he’ll start fixing. The tenure of embattled Robert Sarver as owner of the NBA’s Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury officially ended Tuesday. That’s when Ishbia — the chairman, president and chief executive of United Wholesale Mortgage, plus a member of Michigan State’s NCAA championship team in 2000 — took over. He will be governor, while brother Justin Ishbia will be alternate governor. Mat Ishbia told The Associated Press he plans to make adjustments in order to make the Suns “one of the best places to work.”
Jessica Pegula reveals her mother Kim Pegula’s health crisis
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Pro tennis player Jessica Pegula has revealed that her mother, Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula, went into cardiac arrest in June and is still recovering. In an essay that The Players’ Tribune published Tuesday, Pegula writes that her mother is improving every day as she deals with significant language and memory issues, and that her long-term status is unknown. The family previously has only said that Kim Pegula was receiving care for “unexpected health issues.” Jessica Pegula says she decided to tell her story after Bills player Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during a Jan. 2 game in Cincinnati.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman again shows his resilience
PHOENIX (AP) — The “Howie! Howie! Howie” chants at the team’s send-off party in Philadelphia followed Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to Super Bowl opening night in Phoenix. They were yelling obscenities at Roseman not too long ago. The once-exiled executive who was cast aside for Chip Kelly for a year and returned to lead the Eagles to the franchise’s only Super Bowl title is back again after hitting rock bottom in 2020. The Eagles are one win away from their second Super Bowl title in five years under Roseman’s leadership. They have to beat former coach Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to hoist the Lombardi Trophy again.
Super Bowl gambling surging as states legalize it? You bet
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The gambling industry’s national trade group predicts that 1 in 5 American adults will make a bet on Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. The American Gaming Association says over 50 million U.S. adults plan to bet on the game, wagering a total of $16 billion. But most of that will happen off the books — whether it’s people placing a bet with an illegal bookie, or filling out squares in an office. Sports betting is legal in 33 states plus Washington, D.C., this year, up from 30 states last year. Experts in addiction say aggressive advertising is contributing to a rise in problem gambling.
No pitch clock, shift limits for World Baseball Classic
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s new pitch clock, limits on shifts and larger bases will not be used during the World Baseball Classic. The three innovations will be debuted during the spring training exhibition season that starts Feb. 24. The 20-team national team tournament runs from March 8-21, and players will return to their clubs for more exhibition games with the new rules ahead of opening day on March 30. Pitch limits again will be used. This will be the fifth edition of the WBC. The U.S. won the last edition in 2017.