Archive for January, 2016

NFL limbers up for Super Bowl 50 with Pro Bowl exhibition (AFP)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
National Football League fans hungry for the Super Bowl 50 showdown between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos got an appetizer with the Pro Bowl exhibition in Hawaii. As the Panthers and Broncos arrived in San Francisco, shifting the center of the NFL universe to the Bay Area, league stars whose teams didn't make it to the February 7 championship spectacle strutted their stuff Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu -- where the all-star team captained by former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin defeated the team captained by former 49ers legend Jerry Rice 49-27.

Canada’s Mark Arendz wins gold in biathlon at IPC Asian Cup

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Mark Arendz put a golden stamp on the opening weekend of para-nordic racing, winning the men's individual biathlon race on Monday.

Top Calvin Johnson moments we’ll remember, with career in doubt (Shutdown Corner)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
Is this really it for Calvin Johnson? If so, he'd be walking away from the game after only nine season — but nine brilliant ones, and we're still the lucky ones. From the moment the 6-5, 230-pound Johnson borrowed someone's shoes at the Indianapolis scouting combine and, oh yeah, blazed a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, we knew we were about to see a different kind of dude. Over those nine seasons, Johnson only played in two postseason games but became an icon as the best receiver in the game for most of that time. Here are five of his indellible moments with his career very much in doubt. Beating cover-3 Johnson was a jump-ball specialist, and it almost didn't matter how many defenders you tried to stop him with — he likely could jump higher. Watch in this 2013 play from Week 7 that season against the Cincinnati Bengals as three defenders (with a fourth in the vicinity) can't stop him on his Hail Mary-esque touchdown catch from 50 yards out. Calvin Johnson Rule The existential birthplace of "What is a catch?" might have been Week 1 of the 2010 season when Johnson caught a touchdown pass with 24 seconds left to take the lead against the rival Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Or, rather, that's what our eyes told us we saw. Our ears heard the call: Johnson did not control the ball all the way through the process of the catch (what?) and thus is was ruled incomplete. It's as absurd today as it was five-plus seasons ago. We still talk about this play, and we still don't know what an catch is in this league. Pshaw, as if that matters ... Cowboy killer In 2011, the Dallas Cowboys were beating the Lions 27-3 five minutes into the third quarter when Johnson and the Lions started roaring back. Johnson outshined Dez Bryant in the game, and on this ridiculous jump-ball TD in the fourth quarter he outleaped three Cowboys defenders in what would be a 34-30 Lions win. Johnson would have some of his finest games against this team. As we were saying ... Two years after that game against the Cowboys, Johnson would put on a historic show against them. On 14 catches, Johnson amassed 329 yards receiving — the second-most in NFL history behind Flipper Anderson's 336 in 1989. Just sit back and watch the show. The Cowboys had exactly zero answers for him that day in 2013. That magical season The Lions fell from 4-4 and looking respectable to losers of their final eight games of 2012. But don't blame Johnson, who had a season for the ages — 122 catches for 1,964 yards, the most ever in league history. Johnson broke Jerry Rice's 1995 record of 1,848 yards in a season and did so in style, even if he was on a bad team, as often was the case in Johnson's career in Detroit. Thanksgiving feasting Johnson's Lions played on Thanksgiving every season, and he found a way to eat well almost every year in that traditional early-game slot. Here's a smorgasbord of Johnson touchdowns, which often served as the main dish even if the Lions didn't always come to play on the holiday. Calvin, if this is it, we'll miss watching you. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

Here’s how Downtown Julie Brown changed the Super Bowl (Yahoo Sports)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
The famous veejay changed the way the "game" was covered so much that it's fair to wonder why Media Day took so long to enter prime time.

Russell Wilson throws 3 TDs in Pro Bowl victory for Team Irvin

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead Team Irvin to a 49-27 victory over Team Rice in the Pro Bowl on Sunday.

Russell Wilson throws 3 TDs in 49-27 Pro Bowl victory (The Associated Press)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
With no Super Bowl trip this season for the Seattle Seahawks, their stars came to play - and dominate - at the Pro Bowl. Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead Team Irvin to a 49-27 victory over Team Rice on Sunday and earn offensive MVP honors at Aloha Stadium. Seattle teammate Michael Bennett was the defensive MVP after having the game's only sack and deflecting a pass.

John Scott and the NHL All-Star Game, a movie in the making

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
John Scott and Gary Bettman

The NHL got the feel-good story of the year when fans voted John Scott into the All-Star Game. What started as a joke quickly became unfunny when it seemed the NHL would do anything to keep him from playing. John Scott got the last laugh though, and then some.

NFL-Manning and Newton a contrast in styles on and off the field (Reuters)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
By Larry Fine SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Peyton Manning-Cam Newton quarterback generation gap was on graphic display at San Jose airport as the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers arrived on Sunday to begin final preparations for Super Bowl 50. Manning, the 18-year veteran and future Hall of Famer who may be playing his last game in the Feb. 7 clash at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, wore a conservative blue suit and orange tie representing the Broncos' team colors for the trip. Newton, the irrepressible, buoyant spirit of the upstart Panthers, rocked a pair of zebra-print trousers and a black leather hoodie as he disembarked the team plane that landed about an hour after Denver's. The 26-year-old Newton has vowed he will remain the same flamboyant quarterback that led Carolina to the NFL's best regular season record at 15-1 with his exuberant brand of passing and rushing as the league's top dual-threat.

Lions say they're still giving Johnson time to decide future (The Associated Press)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions are still giving Calvin Johnson time to ponder his future.

Even for Pro Bowl, this throw by Raiders’ Derek Carr was a dime (Shutdown Corner)

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
The Pro Bowl is on Sunday night. What, you're not watching? Well, allow us to tell you what you missed. You can reduce the entire game most years to four or five plays, and this one will make the cut. Here's the best incompletion you'll see today — or most days: Yeah, that was an incomplete pass. Who cares? The Pro Bowl is an incomplete game. Throws like this make the whole experience worth it. Or something. Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr stepped up and slung that ball about 60 yards in the air and almost beat Richard Sherman to the post. We just wish that Carr, the man throwing the ball, could have had Odell Beckham Jr. or Jarvis Landry or someone else with supre-sure hands on the other end. (It was T.Y. Hilton who couldn't haul in the pass, and the man has perfectly fine hands and all.) Carr has been picked off twice in the game so far, but we'll choose to remember this pass instead over all else. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm