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.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - An extra week to heal has proved beneficial for San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis, who says he can play without thinking again. And that's a good thing.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Khalil Mack has done just about everything the Oakland Raiders have asked of him his rookie season.
OAKLAND (AP) - The Oakland Athletics have declined to exercise their $5.5 million contract option for shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima and instead owe him a $500,000 buyout.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Drew Brees had turnovers to end New Orleans' first two drives, while Cam Newton and Carolina couldn't take advantage as the teams were scoreless after the first quarter of Thursday night's game.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Hunter Pence herded his teammates into the center of a clubhouse that was ready to pop. As the Giants hollered and hugged, he kept asking: "Is everybody here? Is everybody here?"
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A giant, indeed.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Stephen Curry had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 19 points and the undermanned Golden State Warriors made Steve Kerr a winner in his coaching debut, rolling past the Sacramento Kings 95-77 on Wednesday night.
Back in 2010, New Orleans went 11-5 and Seattle was 7-9. But the Saints were a wild card for the playoffs and the Seahawks won their division.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Derek Carr won the starting quarterback job for the Oakland Raiders in part based on how well he played in the preseason against Seattle.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - Colin Kaepernick offered a few encouraging words, and rookie Marcus Martin knew the quarterback believed in him to step in at center and do the job.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - The Sacramento Kings have officially broken ground on their new downtown arena.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Madison Bumgarner was limbering up at Kauffman Stadium this week, getting loose with his San Francisco teammates near the dugout, when Tim Hudson and Michael Morse sneaked up from behind and playfully ruffled the pitcher's long, scraggly locks.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals took their dream season to the limit, falling just short of their first World Series title since 1985.
In Kansas City, Game 7 of the World Series conjures up memories of Bret Saberhagen's brilliance, a St. Louis meltdown and the only Royals championship in 1985.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - For his final game as baseball commissioner, Bud Selig was able to see the low-budget Kansas City Royals compete with the high-spending San Francisco Giants for the title.