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.
BILBAO, Spain (AP) - The bags were already packed and the Americans had already checked out of their rooms.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - Michael Crabtree hawked bags of popcorn and hot dogs in the stands at old Texas Stadium as a boy.
CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. (AP) - Rory McIlroy felt anything under par was a good score Thursday at Cherry Hills, even if he had reason to expect much better.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - In the span of just a few hours on a hot Tuesday afternoon, Terrance Gore drove from Arkansas to Kansas City, moved into a locker deep within Kauffman Stadium, slid into a starched white Royals jersey and took some bunting practice on the field.
NEW YORK (AP) - Marin Cilic wasn't allowed to play last year in the U.S. Open, forced to the sideline by a four-month doping suspension that he says he didn't deserve.
NEW YORK (AP) - Martina Hingis will play in the U.S. Open women's doubles final for the first time since winning the 1998 title.
NEW YORK (AP) - The Yankees plan to have Masahiro Tanaka throw another bullpen session Saturday and say the injured star must pitch in some sort of game setting to determine whether he can avoid elbow surgery.
SEATTLE (AP) - Marshawn Lynch ran for a 9-yard touchdown and the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks had a 22-10 lead over the Green Bay Packers after three quarters in the NFL season opener on Thursday night.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Shelby Harris had no idea what his football future would hold when he was suspended for his final college season at Illinois State.
NEW YORK (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers' new stadium is the most expensive venue to take a family of four for an NFL game.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Wes Welker's suspension didn't exactly send the Denver Broncos into a scramble. Their adaptable offense is built to weather such setbacks.
NEW YORK (AP) - Through a pair of back-and-forth sets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put on a display befitting a matchup of past U.S. Open champions.
BILBAO, Spain (AP) - They were expected to be in Barcelona. They hope to finish their trip in Madrid.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - In a week that should be filled with talk about another Super Bowl run and the pomp and circumstance of finally playing the much-hyped season opener, the San Francisco 49ers once again find themselves dealing with potential embarrassment and legal problems away from the field.
OAKLAND (AP) - Jon Lester did just about everything the Oakland Athletics had hoped he would do in big games against big pitchers during the season's stretch run.