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John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Dave Hyde: Bill Parcells questions Dolphins' risk in riding with Tua Tagovailoa

Sports / Football /

Tua Tagovailoa’s parents said this past week he’ll play next season. He remains in concussion protocol and will skip the Pro Bowl. Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells wrote the Miami Dolphins are at risk relying on him.

It’s only the second week of the Dolphins offseason and if it seems conversation already is funneling to one player that’...Read more

Joe Sargent/Getty Images North America/TNS

Ron Cook: Mike Tomlin should've followed Bill Belichick in replacing his offensive coordinator

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — Two coaches.

Two different approaches.

Bill Belichick attempted to fix the New England Patriots' offensive shortcomings this past season by hiring Bill O'Brien as the team's offensive coordinator last week. O'Brien is a terrific coach, who had a strong resume with the Houston Texans — at least until he was allowed to make ...Read more

Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images North America/TNS

AFC championship game: Rematch is duel between Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They are, arguably, the two best quarterbacks in the NFL, Super Bowl-tested and in their mid-20s.

Patrick Mahomes has led the Kansas City Chiefs to two Super Bowls, one championship and five consecutive AFC championship games.

Joe Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl last season, and has his team primed for ...Read more

Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America/TNS

Vahe Gregorian: 'In the face of the fates': On Chiefs-Bengals, mind games and the 1969 parallel

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Maybe this sounds familiar: Once upon a time, the Chiefs lost three straight times in less than a year to a bitter (and cocky) rival. Those defeats were lowlighted by an agonizing collapse on the cusp of the Super Bowl, a loss that propelled them into the offseason.

And along the way back to that stage a year later, they ...Read more

Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Paul Zeise: Neutral site conference championship games are a good idea

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — I was sad when Buffalo lost to Cincinnati last week but not for the reasons you might think.

I am not a Bills fan — don't particularly care for the Bills, to be honest — and while the Damar Hamlin story was captivating and inspiring, no, that didn't have me rooting for the Bills, either.

My interest in the Bills winning had ...Read more

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America/TNS

Farmers Insurance Open notes: Sam Ryder sets Torrey gallery, Twitter abuzz with $148 jogging pants

Sports / Football /

SAN DIEGO — As the drama unfolded Saturday afternoon in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open, a significant discussion centered on ... leader Sam Ryder's pants?

Ryder wore joggers, cuffed at the bottom and paired with ankle socks.

Stylish? Sure. But it was the color of the pants that caused some confusion in the gallery and on the ...Read more

Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/TNS

Sam McDowell: What the Vegas odds say about the Chiefs-Bengals AFC Championship Game. (It's rare.)

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The single most impactful player in the AFC Championship Game plays quarterback for the Chiefs.

The biggest unknown in the AFC Championship Game is the quarterback for the Chiefs.

You can see why the Vegas oddsmakers have had a tough time with this one.

Patrick Mahomes will play through a high-ankle sprain, his true ...Read more

David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Mike Sielski: The NFL is considering a dumb idea. The Eagles and their fans can show just how dumb it is.

Sports / Football /

PHILADELPHIA — Inside the practice bubble at the NovaCare Complex, taking up the entire wall behind one of the end zones, is a wide-angle photograph from what was, in all likelihood, the game that featured the loudest moment at Lincoln Financial Field.

The photo is from the 2018 NFC championship game, and it spans to show the Eagles and ...Read more

Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Marcus Hayes: Eagles and 49ers should rule for years. This NFC championship game is just Chapter 1.

Sports / Football /

PHILADELPHIA — This could be the beginning of a beautiful rivalry.

What Rick told Louis at the end of "Casablanca," Howie Roseman could tell John Lynch at 3 p.m. Sunday when the Eagles host the 49ers. They run the two best teams in the NFC, with innovative young coaches, dynamic defenses, promising quarterbacks, and, most significant, a lot ...Read more

Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Dieter Kurtenbach: The 49ers-Eagles NFC Championship Game is going to be a throwback

Sports / Football /

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Football can be a beautiful game, replete with dazzling athletic feats of finesse, improvisation and grace.

Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles won’t be that kind of football.

No, the Niners and Birds are set to play a brutal, facemask-to-facemask, mud-and-blood contest in ...Read more

JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/Bay Area News Group/TNS

NFC title game: Eagles-49ers winner will be the team that holds the line

Sports / Football /

PHILADELPHIA — With four NFL teams vying Sunday for two spots in the Super Bowl, most everyone is focused on the quartet of young quarterbacks. That's fair. They touch the football on just about every play.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a ton of other critical assets.

Well, make that 1,620 pounds of them.

That's the collective listed weight ...Read more

Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Dieter Kurtenbach: The best player on the 49ers isn't who you think it is

Sports / Football /

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 49ers can claim they have the NFL’s best roster. They have arguably the league’s best running back, linebacker, defensive end, fullback, and tight end.

But there is no debate about who the 49ers’ best player is.

Trent Williams is 34 years old and weighs 320 pounds, give or take. He has never scored a touchdown...Read more

Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Nick Sirianni's introduction to 'pro' football: Checks bounced, coaches quit, and players boycotted

Sports / Football /

PHILADELPHIA — The starting quarterback quit during the fourth quarter of the season opener, the coaches walked out a few weeks later after their checks bounced, and the turf was so thin that it felt like concrete. This — the inaugural season of an indoor football league — was Nick Sirianni’s introduction to professional football, where ...Read more

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America/TNS

Joe Starkey: Ranking the Steelers' 16 AFC championship appearances, shall we?

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — Maybe it's because I'm from Buffalo, but from this vantage point, conference championship games feel just as big and sometimes bigger than Super Bowls. That's especially true the first time around, which was Bills 51, Raiders 3, if I recall correctly. (And how could I forget?)

One's entire football existence — as a player, fan ...Read more

Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

The 'show goes on' for retired Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Clyde Christensen was asked to review the play sheet to see if anything was missing.

Less than a week after retiring as Bucs quarterbacks coach, part of the purge of nine assistants from Todd Bowles’ staff on Jan. 19, Christensen received a text message and follow-up phone call from Peyton Manning, who is the AFC coach for the...Read more

Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Bucs will interview Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Todd Monken could return to his old job as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, but this time he’d be wearing two national championship rings earned as the play-caller at the University of Georgia.

Monken was part of the Tampa Bay coaching staff under Dirk Koetter from 2016-18 as receivers coach and offensive coordinator. He ...Read more

Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America/TNS

Sam McDowell: How the Bengals (inadvertently) helped prep Patrick Mahomes for this week's adversity

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stood in front of the media for about nine minutes Thursday, and for a short portion of them, he recapped how he spends the other 23-plus hours of his day.

You know, the time we don’t see him.

His preparation for the AFC Championship Game opens with an early-morning trip to the practice...Read more

Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group/TNS

McCaffrey a full go for 49ers; Mitchell questionable with groin injury

Sports / Football /

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Christian McCaffrey is ready to make good on his promise to play in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Whether the 49ers will also have Elijah Mitchell available to share the load remains to be seen.

McCaffrey was removed from the injury report entirely and coach Kyle Shanahan said he was “...Read more

STEVEN M. FALK/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

'It takes all of us': Jason and Kylie Kelce are driving forces for the Eagles Autism Foundation

Sports / Football /

PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Hammond stood five years ago in the auditorium of the Eagles practice facility, invited at the end of a team meeting to speak about the franchise’s new charitable foundation. She had been recently hired to start the Eagles Autism Foundation and needed some help. She needed the players — not just the quarterback, but ...Read more

From actor to AFC championship: SoCal's Trenton Irwin on big stage with Bengals

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — Trenton Irwin sat at the end of the dining room table — but not for long.

The teen watched for nearly 30 seconds as others tasted their food, and then were catapulted in succession through a window, into a China cabinet and French doors. When Irwin finally took a bite, he was launched backward into the wall of a faux fireplace...Read more