The Associated Press
Playoff ratings are soaring, the messy concussion lawsuit is all but over, and the only thing the NFL really has to worry about now is keeping a bunch of corporate bigwigs warm at the Super Bowl.
MIAMI (AP) - The first airborne banner calling for Jeff Ireland to be fired flew over the Miami Dolphins' stadium in 2011. Other similar signs followed, most recently in November, and on Tuesday those wanting him out finally got their wish.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady head-butted teammates before his first Super Bowl.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Ever since getting pounded by the Seahawks early last month, the New Orleans Saints have learned to love the idea of going back to Seattle.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - As the newest starter in the Seattle Seahawks secondary, cornerback Byron Maxwell had plenty of time earlier in his career to be an observer.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Growing up, Andrew Luck kept trying to emulate the quarterbacks he watched on Sunday afternoons, guys like Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Memphis Grizzlies have acquired guard Courtney Lee and have sent guard Jerryd Bayless to the Boston Celtics as part of a three-team trade that also includes the Oklahoma City Thunder.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - Bring on Carolina once more, and another cross-country playoff flight.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Before Pete Carroll turns his full attention to Seattle's playoff opponent, he'll make sure the Seahawks aren't expecting another easy win against New Orleans like in Week 13.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Panthers coach Ron Rivera is expecting a few more big plays from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this time around.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - A defense that allowed 44 points in a playoff game might boost the confidence of its next opponent.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Colts are getting some help from a former Patriot.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Forget the Ravens.
Say these things for Dennis Rodman: He likes going to North Korea, and likes bringing a bit of a side show with him.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - All season long and deep into October, the Kansas City Royals have relied on their winning formula of fundamental baseball: sparkling defense, a dominant bullpen and just enough timely hitting.
CLEVELAND (AP) - When the Oakland Raiders travel east, their performance usually heads south.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Eric Hosmer loaded up, launched a long fly and watched it sail toward McCovey Cove. Way out there in right field, near the 421-foot mark, the ball bonked off the brick wall.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Oakland Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley has a serious biceps injury and could miss the remainder of the season.
DENVER (AP) - Emmanuel Sanders waited six long weeks to join the list of players who have caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning. Now, he has four in less than a week.
SAN JOSE (AP) - Mark Letestu scored twice, including the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining, and Ryan Johansen also scored two goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the road-weary San Jose Sharks 5-4 on Thursday night.
The chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" can rev up again next summer.
SINGAPORE (AP) - Serena Williams awoke on Thursday dreading playing tennis. By the end of the day, her doubts were defeated and she was still in the running for a third straight WTA Finals crown.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - The PGA of America president referred to Ian Poulter as a little girl on two social media accounts Thursday evening for his criticism of the jobs Nick Faldo and Tom Watson did as Ryder Cup captains.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - Erik Compton is happy with where he is in golf, and he's not referring to his 5-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead in the McGladrey Classic.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Marcus Mariota hasn't given much thought to being part of the first college football game played at Levi's Stadium. It's probably because the Oregon quarterback plans to return to the $1.3 billion facility in another six weeks.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - In the middle of a champagne-and-beer-soaked clubhouse after the San Francisco Giants won the NL Championship Series, Tim Hudson was given the chance to speak to his team.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum has no structural damage in his tight back and is expected to be available when the World Series resumes with Game 3 on Friday night.
BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Red Sox have hired Chili Davis as their hitting coach.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Take a look around the Kansas City Royals' dugout and it's pretty evident: The handwriting is on the wall in this World Series.