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.
OAKLAND (AP) - Three years to the day that Carson Palmer first practiced with the Raiders, with hopes of solidifying Oakland's revolving door at quarterback and turning the team into a contender, he returns having done just that in Arizona.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - The New York Jets have acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin from the Seattle Seahawks.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Call it the Shot That Shook the Bay.
Lorenzo Cain gearing up to run on Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval trying to launch long balls, Alex Gordon banging into walls chasing them. Madison Bumgarner and James Shields starting big games, with lights-out bullpens poised to close 'em.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The big man they call MadBum is a playoff MVP.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - John Tavares scored the decisive goal of the shootout and the New York Islanders remained unbeaten with a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
The Texas Rangers hired Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their new manager.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Buster Posey and the Giants already know how to win in October - even without all this help from the St. Louis Cardinals.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - James Shields led thousands of fans in a celebratory chant. Lorenzo Cain pranced along the warning track, cradling his newborn son. Ned Yost finally allowed himself to smile.
BEIJING (AP) - Mirza Teletovic scored 22 points to lead the Nets to a 129-117 overtime preseason victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, as Brooklyn swept a pair of exhibition games in China between the teams.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Oakland cornerback DJ Hayden practiced for the first time since breaking his foot in June, a potential boost for the Raiders' struggling defense.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Adam Wainwright is determined to forget about his frustrating October outings and get back to the dominant postseason pitcher he used to be.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's $11,025 fine from the NFL for what a game official called "inappropriate language" during the 49ers' loss to the Chicago Bears last month was cut in half Wednesday.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Even though he's just two touchdown throws shy of Brett Favre's NFL record of 508, Peyton Manning isn't getting caught up in history, and neither are his teammates.