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.
NAPA (AP) - The new PGA Tour season felt like an old one to a trio of Ryder Cup players Thursday at the Frys.com Open.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Thursday that he has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for the pink "Beats by Dre" brand name headphones he wore around his neck after Sunday's game.
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Landon Donovan set U.S. national team and Major League Soccer records for goals and assists, scored in a signature stoppage-time moment that lifted America to a first-place finish in a World Cup group for the first time in 80 years and won five MLS titles - with a sixth still possible.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - As Bruce Miller swung away and trash-talked linebacker Dan Skuta from across the locker room pingpong table, Jim Harbaugh emerged to officiate.
ALAMEDA (AP) - As a coaching disciple of Bill Parcells, Oakland Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano has long believed that a powerful offense starts with a strong running game.
HOUSTON (AP) - Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson should be arrested anew after admitting during his court appearance on a child abuse charge that he had "smoked a little weed" while out on bond, Texas prosecutors said Thursday.
ALAMEDA (AP) - The Oakland Raiders placed starting middle linebacker Nick Roach on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday after he was unable to recover from a concussion in the preseason.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Even in his late 30s and a year removed from a devastating ankle injury that cut short his 2013 season in Atlanta, Tim Hudson pictured himself pitching at a high level again.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, facing surgery for a torn labrum in his left hip that caused him to miss most of the last three months of the season, has retired at 34, ending a 14-year career that included two World Series championships.
The AFC South pretty much has been the province of the Colts and Texans in recent years. Even though Houston fell apart last season, it's not a big surprise it has emerged as the only challenger to Indianapolis in the division this year.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers have found the offensive balance that helped the team reach the NFC championship game in each of the past three seasons.
NEW YORK (AP) - NFL owners spent five hours discussing the league's personal conduct policy, domestic violence and discipline for misbehavior during their fall meetings Wednesday.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Diego Valeri scored twice and Donovan Ricketts had his fifth shutout of the season to help the Portland Timbers beat San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Wednesday night.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Changing cast, same old hit show for the St. Louis Cardinals.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Matt Adams could barely contain his enthusiasm - and he didn't really try, either. He thrust both arms in the air while still in the batter's box and added a couple of big hops to his home run trot as he approached first base.