Conference USA: 10 Things To Know

Conference USA offers added intrigue in 2017, with UAB returning to football and Lane Kiffin and Butch Davis joining the league. But while they'll draw attention, the title will come down to the race between entertaining Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky teams.

WWE Stars Meet & Greet the Mets

The WWE will be holding it's second-biggest annual live event, SummerSlam at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn for the third consecutive year. As part of the event's tour of the Big Apple, some WWE superstars swung by Citi Field to meet the Mets..

SummerSlam Ready to Hit Big Apple

The 2017 iteration of WWE's SummerSlam takes place on Sunday evening at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and it's guaranteed to be a packed show. Lets sort through all the announced matches and find some meaning in the madness.

New Look United Wins Big Again

Manchester United have reinvented themselves as master attackers, winning 4-0 for the second time in as many matches this season. Elsewhere in the English Premier League, a careless Arsenal fell to Stoke, and Liverpool edged out a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Unlikeliest 2017 MLB Success Stories

Sometimes, all it takes is one unexpected contributor to fuel a team to the playoffs. In 2017, we have seen some stars emerge from the most unexpected of places, and many on contending teams. Which players are the unlikeliest success stories of the year?

AAC Preview: 20 Things To Know

The American Athletic Conference isn't a power conference, but it continues to be the strongest Group of Five league, giving it the best chance of landing a New Year's Six bowl bid. South Florida enters 2017 as the favorite, but watch out for Houston and Memphis.

Dive Into Five: The Weekend Watch List

The Little League World Series is in full swing this weekend -- plus, there's the MLB Little League Classic on Sunday between the Cardinals and Pirates. Those are just a couple of the must-watch events in sports. Tune in!

Trump’s Populism Isn’t Popular — But That’s On Him, Not Bannon

What if upon taking office in January, President Trump had carefully balanced the insurgent influence of Steve Bannon, his chief strategist (now gone), with the establishment-friendly approach of Reince Priebus, his chief of staff (now gone) — and governed as a kinder, gentler, more media-savvy populist? It wasn’t so long ago that such an outcome […]

Kevin Durant is Clapping Back at Everyone on Twitter This Week

We are happy to report that the Finals MVP is back on his bullshit.

Bannon May Be Out, But Nationalism Probably Isn’t

The departure of Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, from the White House on Friday may not mean much of anything. When I described the eight main “power centers” in the Trump administration in an article earlier this year, I emphasized what I called the “Bannon Wing” and included in that bloc figures like Trump […]

Emergency Politics Podcast: What Does Bannon’s Exit Mean?

On this emergency edition of FiveThirtyEight’s Politics podcast, the team reacts to the news that chief strategist Steve Bannon is leaving the Trump administration. The crew discusses how the shakeup changes the power dynamics in the White House and what influence Bannon might have as an outsider. You can listen to the episode by clicking […]

NBA Summer Vacation Watch: Summer Will Prevail

There's a lot of shit going on, but there is also NBA Summer Vacation, which is decidedly not shit.

Mayweather Is Defined By The Zero Next To His Name

Floyd Mayweather, the great welterweight boxer, will enter next Saturday’s blockbuster fight against UFC champion Conor McGregor undefeated in his pro career: 49 wins, zero draws, zero losses. Zero, in this case, is a huge number. Mayweather’s perfect record has played a central role in his career and his brand. He’s declared himself “TBE” — […]

Earth Has The Solar System’s Best Eclipses

Anyone who’s seen an eclipse like the one coming to the U.S. on Monday is likely to tell you that they’re special because of their strangeness, ethereal beauty and awesome power. But they’re also special because they require such a specific alignment of objects and events. That we can even see a total solar eclipse […]

UVA Football Spreads Unity Message

In the wake of rallies involving neo-Nazi and white nationalist protest groups and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia football team has joined together to spread a message of unity and community in response.

Jaromir Jagr Is a Victim of Ageism and Stupidity

Sure, he's 45, but Jagr can still play. Someone needs to end this madness and sign him already.

Grass Is Greener: MLB In Williamsport

There will be a celebration of baseball and Little League Baseball in Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday night, at Historic Bowman Field. The Cardinals will play the Pirates in the MLB Little League Classic. And we'll all feel like kids again.

Lots Of Americans Aren’t Sure If We Should Take Down Confederate Statues

President Trump’s defense of “very fine people” within the ranks of white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend has angered many, including Republican politicians. But Trump has also tried to stand up for something else: the statues that the white supremacists ostensibly came to defend. On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted, “Sad to see the history and […]

Few SEC Running Backs Have Found The NFL To Be ‘Really Easy’

When Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette said the jump to the NFL was “really easy” after his time playing in the much-hyped SEC for LSU, a lot of observers raised an eyebrow. Things certainly haven’t always looked easy for SEC backs drafted in the first round. Todd Gurley, who was taken 10th overall […]

Total Eclipse at the Park

Inside the path of totality of the solar eclipse that will bisect the U.S. on Monday, a handful of sporting events will be played, and a number of colleges and teams will open their facilities for the public to experience the spectacle.

DGB Grab Bag: Draisaitl's Deal, Icing the Rules, and the Devils Get Dramatic

Plus, Phil Kessel reaches a historic Down Goes Brown milestone.

Can You Unravel These Number Strings?

Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up problems related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic and probability. There are two types: Riddler Express for those of you who want something bite-sized and Riddler Classic for those of you in the slow-puzzle movement. Submit a correct answer for either, and […]

Significant Digits For Friday, Aug. 18, 2017

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Looking for a single page to bookmark to always access the latest Significant Digits? Say no more. -1.54 percent Drop in the S&P 500 Thursday, the second largest one-day drop of the year for the index, and part of a broader […]

Trump Keeps Derailing His Own Agenda

Welcome to TrumpBeat, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly feature on the latest policy developments in Washington and beyond. Want to get TrumpBeat in your inbox each week? Sign up for our newsletter. Comments, criticism or suggestions for future columns? Email us or drop a note in the comments. Shortly before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, President Trump walked up […]

KD: 'I Don't Respect Who's In Office'

Kevin Durant isn't heading to the White House any time soon. On Thursday, he made it official, telling ESPN he would not be making the customary visit to celebrate his first career title with the Golden State Warriors, if the team is ever invited.

Pressure Builds For New Huskers QB

For 15 years, Nebraska has been trying to recapture past glory, cycling through crises while ultimately treading water. The next great hope comes from an unlikely place: Tulane transfer QB Tanner Lee, who is being put under a lot of pressure to provide answers.

2017 NFL Previews: The AFC North

Well, there's not much debate about where the Browns will likely end up in this division, but the top of it is far more up for grabs. Will the Steelers hold it together for one more season, or can the Bengals or Ravens challenge them at the top?

This Cubs-Reds Game Has More Runs Than Anyone Knows What to Do With

It's a homerpalooza out there.

Victor Oladipo is About to be Thrown into the Fire

Now on his third team in five years, the former second-overall pick provides more questions than answers as he tries to become the new face of the Indiana Pacers.

Mets vs. Yankees? America Couldn’t Care Less, New York

The final Subway Series contest of the 2017 season takes place this evening at Citi Field, and if you put on the game, you might get the impression that the Yankees and Mets have a big-time rivalry going. It’s not that way for most baseball fans, however. The numbers show that only a minority actually […]

Americans Fear North Korea And Don’t Trust Trump To Defuse The Situation

While news from Charlottesville, Virginia, has dominated media coverage in recent days, it was only a short while ago that Americans were Googling the projected trajectory of intercontinental missiles launched from North Korea and fretting about the prospect of war. In late July, North Korea tested a missile that experts believe is capable of reaching […]

Buster Posey Has Quietly Become A Lock For Cooperstown

A few names come to mind when pondering the surefire Hall of Famers playing baseball today. Adrian Beltre, who recently broke the 3,000-hit barrier, is one, as is Mike Trout, despite his youth. But there’s another all-time great who is toiling away on one of the worst teams in MLB: San Francisco Giants catcher Buster […]

Look! We Found Something Republicans, Democrats And Jared Kushner Actually Agree On!

Brace yourself, because we are about to ask you to read a story about a boring technological problem and its impact on government. Like many dull things, though, it’s also important — a failure so pervasive that it costs taxpayers billions and has the power to bridge partisan divides, uniting Jared Kushner and congressional Republicans […]

Former Raiders Face Dark Days

The passage of time is brutal for former NFL players, particularly for those from the Oakland Raiders teams I covered more than three decades ago. Longtime tackle Henry Lawrence is one of the players who has dealt with numerous health issues.

Can Negative WARs Turn Positive?

Albert Pujols has had a Hall of Fame career, but his 2017 season with the Angels has been anything but a memorable season. In fact, in terms of WAR, Pujols has been one of the least effective players in baseball this season. Can he (and others) rebound?

Ranking Franchise Home Run Records

Giancarlo Stanton has already slayed one franchise home run record this season and Mike Moustakas is knocking on the door of another. Which home run records are the most infallible and which are in danger of falling soon?

One Art Lover’s Crusade To Catalog The World

If you’re a famous dead artist, nothing welcomes you to the canon quite like someone sitting down and meticulously recording every piece of art you ever made. These records become a compendium, often several volumes long, called a catalogue raisonné. Such a catalog can itself represent the life’s work of the scholar who compiles it. […]

The Ezekiel Elliott Case Is a Clusterfuck

The complexities inherent to domestic violence cases are being played out in NFL newsrooms. This is not good.

30 Teams, 30 Compelling Storylines

There's never really a dull moment in baseball, even if your team is out of playoff contention. Whether you're a Dodgers fan or a Phillies fan, there's at least one reason to watch your favorite franchise on the diamond in the final weeks of the regular season.

Significant Digits For Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Looking for a single page to bookmark to always access the latest Significant Digits? Say no more. 3 Number of orca deaths at SeaWorld parks this year, the latest resulting from the euthanization of a 42-year old female Kasatka at its […]

The Sheer Number Of Democrats Running For Congress Is A Good Sign For The Party

What are the chances that Democrats will take over Congress next year? Obviously, it’s early, and polling isn’t going to give us a very reliable picture just yet. But the number of candidates from each party getting in line to run can give us some useful hints about how things will shake out. Last year, […]

SEC Preview: 20 Things To Know

Beyond Alabama playing for another national title, 2016 was a down year for the SEC, with nobody else finishing with fewer than four losses. Alabama is still king, but with improved quarterback play, there's hope that the rest of the SEC can bounce back.

FWIW, McGregor's Training Is ... Odd

Tom Cruise leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Sorta. Also, Conor McGregor has a unique strategy for Floyd Mayweather that involves something you'd see at a used car lot. And Carl Crawford still can't get a ring.

Is Garry Kasparov Too Old To Dominate Chess Again?

Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and probably the best player ever to play the game, has come out of retirement and returned to competitive chess. He has suited up for this week’s Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, a 10-player round-robin tournament that consists of relatively speedy games and features some scarily strong competition. […]

There Are Still More Than 700 Confederate Monuments In The U.S.

Last weekend’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, began as a protest against the city’s plan to remove a statue memorializing Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Efforts to remove such monuments are nothing new, but they have intensified in recent years and look likely to gain further steam in the wake of the deadly events […]

Blake Bortles Is The Tom Brady Of Garbage Time

If the Pro Football Hall of Fame had a special wing for Garbage Time, they’d already be sculpting Blake Bortles’s bust. On the surface, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ signal-caller fits the profile of a perfectly mediocre NFL quarterback. But the traditional stats don’t show the true Bortles: He is the NFL’s best when the game is […]

Falcons' Chick-fil-A: Sunday None-day

Chick-fil-A is pure Georgia, so it only makes sense that a location would be included at Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Falcons and Atlanta United. Just don't expect to grub on one of their chicken sandwiches at many Falcons' games this season.

Aussie Rules Football

Aussie Rules Football is a game that defines a nation. Born in Melbourne, the hard hitting, fast paced sport is one of the most physically demanding in the world. And with stadiums that routinely get 80,000+ fans, it's safe to say that this sport has

Cardinals Rediscover Their Way

There were times this season when the St. Louis Cardinals looked lost. But, as president of baseball operations John Mozeliak explains, the team is now playing with "energy and purpose." And they're not going away.

In Appreciation of Joey Votto

Joey Votto is an amazing player, but he often goes unnoticed. His unique skill is unrivaled in baseball right now, and he deserves to bask in all its glory.

Pac-12 Preview: 20 Things To Know

This is capable of being a big year for the Pac-12, which should have a couple national title contenders, solid depth in the middle and outstanding quarterback play. Can Washington repeat as champion, or is USC ready to return to the top?

This Week's Greatest Athlete on Earth

Who is our greatest athlete on earth this week? Three baseball players make an appearance on the list, as does a tennis player that beat his idol to win the Rogers cup. We even give a little Harry Potter nod in the No. 5 spot. But who takes home this week's crown?

30 Possible Future Retired Numbers

Getting your number retired is an honor quite like no other. To take a jersey out of circulation requires quite a list of accomplishments, but some active players might have just the right resume. Which players are most likely to get their jerseys retired on every MLB team?

ESPN Televised a Fantasy Football Auction and, Well, It's Really Bad!

White owners used to purchase slaves in a remarkably similar way.

Top 14 Photos Of The Week

As part of an ongoing series, Sports on Earth is partnering with Getty Images to bring you the best snapshots from around the sports world each week. Here we count down the best 14 photos from August 8-14.

Must-Watch Games on NBA Schedule

The NBA announced its full schedule for the 2017-18 regular season on Monday, and with it comes must-watch television. From dramatic rematches from last year's playoffs to grudge matches between teams with bad blood, here are the dates to put on your calendar.

Big Ten Preview: 20 Things To Know

After producing four playoff contenders, the Big Ten has restored its reputation, with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin at least creating excitement at the top of the league. In 2017, a playoff bid could come down to the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions.

2017 NFL Previews: The NFC East

The NFC East race has often come down to the wire in recent years and it will likely do so again, as all four teams in the division have a legitimate claim for a playoff berth. How will Ezekiel Elliot's suspension impact the standings? Let's speculate.

Broyles Made Long-Lasting Impact

If you closely examined almost any corner of college football today, you'd find Frank Broyles' fingerprints. Broyles, who died Monday at age 92, brought Arkansas a national championship and went on to a successful career as a broadcaster and athletic director.

The Dallas Mavericks Are Built to Exceed Expectations

Nobody thinks the Mavericks can make the playoffs this season. Here's why they may be wrong.

Ronaldo Shoves Ref, Banned 5 Matches

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the go-ahead goal in Real Madrid's 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, but it wasn't all roses. He received a red card, was suspended five matches for shoving a referee, and probably won't return until September.

Goodell Takes the Safe Approach

Whether for business reasons or otherwise, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made sure Ezekiel Elliott's discipline was significant. Regardless of the motive, it was the way things may go from here on out in the league.

Athletes' Voices On Charlottesville

A number of professional athletes, including LeBron James and a few notable University of Virginia alum, condemned the acts of hate and violence perpetrated by white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend

The Best NBA Impersonations

With SNL great Kenan Thompson nailing an impression of LaVar Ball this past weekend, we have yet another instance of an excellent NBA impersonation. Which others NBA impressions over the years -- done by players and actors alike -- are just as iconic?

The Angels Are On a Divine Run

Everyone in baseball is focused on Los Angeles because of the Dodgers' historic success. But maybe we should turn our attention to the other team in town, as Mike Trout and crew are in the thick of the AL Wild Card hunt and possibly better than you think.

Wolfpack Face Daunting ACC Task

Choosing N.C. State as a sleeper team that could surprise in 2017 would seem to make a lot of sense for a number of reasons, but there's an enormous hurdle: Being stuck in the ACC Atlantic with Florida State, Clemson and Louisville.

Fantasy Football Draft Cheat Sheet

This time of year, there's only one way to channel your football energy until the season starts. It's time for fantasy football talk. Here's our positional rankings and an overall top 50 to make sure you're ready for your draft.

NL Central Title In the Cards?

After a recent eight-game winning streak, the Cardinals are making a run in the NL Central. After looking lost for much of the season, they enter week just a game behind the Cubs, and now have a friendly feline on their side.

Florida Suspends 7 For Michigan Game

Florida has suspended receiver Antonio Callaway and six other players for the team's season opener against Michigan. The players were suspended for misusing school-issued funds, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Justin Time! Thomas Wins PGA Championship

Justin Thomas wins the PGA Championship.

Bryce Land: Nats' Prayers Answered

It appears, at least for now, that baseball won't lose Bryce Harper for the season because of what happened at first base on a wet field at Nationals Park on Saturday. That's great news for Nats fans and anybody who loves the sport.

FBS Independents: 10 Things To Know

There are four major college football independents again this season, with some intriguing storylines: Notre Dame is attempting to bounce back from a disastrous 4-8 season, and Army is aiming for a back-to-back wins over Navy. Here are our picks for all four teams.

Top 10 home run robberies of 2017

Home runs are plentiful in 2017, but home run robberies still remain a scintillating rarity. It takes great timing, poise and skills to bring a ball back from beyond the wall. Let's celebrate these top 10 stunning plays of the season.

Insanity Abounds Early in EPL Season

The English Premier League is in rare form on its opening weekend. The first Saturday of the new campaign was full of surprises, upsets, comebacks and homecomings. If the season continues along at this pace, we're in for quite a ride.

Dive Into Five: The Weekend Watch List

Need some sports to occupy your time on Saturday and Sunday? There is plenty going on, as the English Premier League kicks off, the Red Sox visit the Yankees and the world's top golfers compete in the PGA Championship.

Mountain West: 10 Things To Know

Group of Five power Boise State has taken a small step back the past few years, and now Brett Rypien and the Broncos will be challenged in an unpredictable Mountain West also featuring San Diego State, Wyoming and Colorado State.

Blockbuster Beginning to the EPL

The English Premier League season is one day old, but we already have a candidate for match of the year. Arsenal came from behind multiple times on Friday to defeat Leicester City, scoring the winner in the final moments of the season opener.

Breaking Down The Bills' Trades

If you thought it was hard to pull off just a straight-up swap of players in the NFL between just two teams, how about this: On Friday, it was announced that the Bills made deals with both the Rams and Eagles, involving players and draft picks.

Fallen Star: Zeke's 6-Game Suspension

After months of investigating, the NFL has finally made a decision in response to the domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott: The league suspended the Cowboys' running back for the first six games of the upcoming season.

NFL Suspends Elliott For Six Games

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended six games after a yearlong NFL investigation of his domestic violence case in Ohio. The league said there was "substantial and persuasive evidence" that Elliott had physical confrontations last summer with his ex-girlfriend.

Winter Olympic Athletes to Know

Although the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is just under six months away, it's never too early to start looking at some of the top medal contenders. Read on about these six athletes to watch.

32 Big MLB Competitions, Ranked

Who will win the NL Cy Young Award? Which team in the Majors will clinch a playoffs spot first? Who will lay claim to the AL Wild Card spots? We dive into all of these questions and more.

Sale Vote: Sox Set, Others Sink

Chris Sale will pitch against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. It will feel like a stage and a setting worthy of him and the year he is having for the Red Sox, one in which he's become more an ace than anybody in baseball.

2017 NFL Previews: The AFC South

The AFC South may have three or even four teams with a .500 record or better, making it a compelling division to watch this year. With all four teams both young and in transition, it could take a standout quarterback to rise to the top.

Heisman Huskie? It's A Jake Walk

Most of the Pac-12 quarterback buzz this offseason has resided in Los Angeles, home to Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. But after mounting a Heisman campaign much of last year, don't discount Washington's Jake Browning in the 2017 race for college honors.

Walk It Off

Snap judgment on the Atlee softball team.

The Top 5 Plays

Amed Rosario shows off the skills at short.

The Tuck Rules

Jay Cutler's presser was painful to watch.

FWIW, The Browns Could Go 0-16

The Cleveland Browns made a sad hype video.

FWIW, The Browns Could Go 0-16

This week, the most dangerous soccer game in the history of everything. The Patriots bought some Jets with unique features, and why the Browns may not win a game all season, if their recent hype video is any indication.

Predicting the 2017-18 EPL Table

On the eve of another English Premier League season, it's time to take a look at how the standing will shake out come May, and predict where all 20 teams will finish in the league standings come seasons' end.

Ranking the Hottest QB Competitions

There are only a handful of open NFL QB competitions this year, but you can also count on a few more under-the-radar battles where many people are actually hoping for a change. Which of these QB competitions are heating up and who will ultimately win starting jobs?

Explaining Spurs' Stagnant Summer

For a team among the elite of the English Premier League, Tottenham was quiet in the transfer market this summer. The club hasn't made a single major signing, but its reluctance to spend may be out of necessity instead of choice.

Cards Fur Real? Rally Animals Rule

The Cardinals managed to pick up a key victory last night thanks to the help of a Rally Cat (and a grand slam by Yadier Molina). As rally animals have long been sparking team success, maybe this is exactly what St. Louis needed.

12 Biggest Late-Season X-Factors

In the big picture of 162 ballgames, no one player can dictate the course of a team's season. But in the much smaller window, a key injury situation or a single guy running particularly hot or cold can make a huge difference.

Big 12 Preview: 20 Things To Know

It's a new era in the Big 12, where the Oklahoma-Texas rivalry features new coaches and the conference is bringing back its title game. While Oklahoma State and Texas hope to challenge their top rival, the Sooners are still the team to beat.

UCLA's Rosen Schools The System

Outspoken UCLA star QB Josh Rosen has made headlines and drawn predictable backlash for comments to Bleacher Report addressing issues in the balance of academics and athletics. Agree or not, players in Rosen's position deserve to be respectfully heard.

Greatest College Football Slogans

Some college football slogans are simply phrases. Others are a way of life. Regardless, these motivational tools are often intrinsically bound to schools, fanbases and football teams, so let's take a crack at ranking the best ones.

Down and Trout: Mike Needs October

Mike Trout, who just turned 26, has had one shot at October (an Angels sweep at the hands of the Royals). But it's worth wondering if he'll be able to get another chance with his current team the way things are going.

Jim Brown Weighs In On Kaepernick

With so much happening regarding the transformation of Colin Kaepernick from San Francisco 49ers quarterback to national lightning rod, it was time to go for the jugular. It was time to huddle with Jim Brown.

USC Hype Won't Backfire This Time

After a downturn featuring NCAA sanctions and coaching drama, USC broke out down the stretch last season behind QB Sam Darnold. But Darnold's return isn't the only reason that USC's 2017 national championship hopes should be taken seriously.

How Sooner Is Now? Baker's Test

After back-to-back Big 12 titles and top-five Heisman Trophy finishes, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield made headlines for the wrong reasons, thanks to a February arrest. Off-the-field embarrassment behind him, Mayfield is re-focusing on pursuing the elusive national title dream.

Top 14 Photos Of The Week

As part of an ongoing series, Sports on Earth is partnering with Getty Images to bring you the best snapshots from around the sports world each week. Here we count down the best 14 photos from August 1-7.

This Week's Greatest Athlete on Earth

Which athletes impressed us the most this week? Does a talented surfing dog qualify? How about a sizzling hitter that just switched teams on the diamond or a sprinter that outran Usain Bolt? Let's take a look at which candidate took the crown.

Summer Camp Pure Fun For Steelers

Expectations and pressures might seem high for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they report to training camp, but the players sure aren't showing it. The team is doing its best to stay loose and have fun before heading into the grueling season.

Dodgers Are Heading Toward History

The Los Angeles Dodgers are sizzling, having won 43 of their past 50 games. The team is not only a lock to make the postseason, but it is practically a lock to become one of the greatest teams of all time. In fact, they have a realistic chance of winning 119 games.

2017 NFL Previews: The NFC West

With one bad team in transition, one team on the rise in a new city, one team getting old -- but still filled with stars -- and one team that has won the division three out of the past four seasons, what will happen in the NFC West this year?

Rollin' Nolan Hits Peak For Rockies

Nolan Arenado is realistic about his place among baseball's elite. When he hears the chants of "MVP, MVP!" from the Coors Field crowd after a dramatic home run, he takes it in stride. That doesn't mean we can't marvel at him.

Wilfork Chills & Grills In Retirement

Veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork announced his retirement from the NFL in classic Vince Wilfork fashion: using a sponsored video for a charcoal company. What other pro athletes should be next on the list for some money-making opportunities on the side?

The NFL's Worst Preseason Injuries

Ryan Tannehill's injury this preseason is an unfortunately familiar tune over the past two decades. The injury may have altered the fate of both the Dolphins and the NFL as a whole this season. What are the biggest preseason injuries that have shaken the NFL in the past?

Sizing Up the AL Wild Card Race

This season, we may see the best Wild Card finish in history: There are so many teams currently in the American League Wild Card hunt that it is difficult to parse out who has the biggest edge. Let's take a closer look at each contender.

ACC Preview: 20 Things To Know

The ACC has a couple star QBs returning, but defense will become the story of the conference in 2017. Can Florida State return to the top of the Atlantic? Will Miami finally play for a title? We break down everything to know about the ACC.

Cut Above? Jay's the Man In Miami

Before Jay Cutler could broadcast the first game of his television career, the allure of the NFL has already drawn him back to the playing field. The Dolphins signed the veteran signal-caller to a one-year, $10 million deal.

Barkley's Best Is Yet To Come At PSU

Saquon Barkley was already one of the most successful running backs in college football last season, leading Penn State's resurgence. With a more seasoned offensive line ready for a leap forward, Barkley is poised for even bigger things in 2017.

Snap Decision: Softball Team DQ'd

A softball team from Atlee, Va., was disqualified from the Junior League World Series after advancing to the championship game because of a photo posted on Snapchat in which six players extended middle fingers, a gesture intended for their opponent.

Belichick Hacks NFL Training Camp

This summer, the Patriots have scheduled joint practice sessions with three separate opponents. While joint practices aren't new, the volume and way Bill Belichick will use them could set a new standard for the league.

CC Still Turning Back The Clock

CC Sabathia's at an age and stage when there are lots of cool notes attached to his numbers, including most recently when he tied Cy Young for 20th on the all-time strikeout list. But all he cares about now is helping the Yankees win.

15 Premier League Players to Watch

The English Premier League calendar begins this Friday, and the fun won't stop until a champion is crowned next May. To get ready for the new campaign, let's run down 15 players to watch for the upcoming season.

Tomlinson's Stirring HoF Speech

Seven men were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, but the highlight of the night was a stirring speech given by former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Grading Athletes' Career Finales

In his final individual race, Usain Bolt finished in third place in the 100-meter final, losing to Justin Gatlin at the IAAF World Athletic Championships. A final game rarely defines a career, but sometimes it does. Here are grades for 10 other recent career finales.

MAC Preview: 10 Things To Know

Our 2017 college football conference previews continue with the Mid-American Conference. Last year, Western Michigan and Ohio broke the Northern Illinois-Bowling Green hold on the conference. Now, it's time for Toledo and Miami (Ohio) to emerge.

10 Most Improved MLB Players in 2017

With so many teams having improved their rosters at the non-wavier Trade Deadline, we were wondering who the most improved players have been thus far this season across both leagues. Here's a quick look at five hitters and five pitchers.

Sun Belt Preview: 10 Things To Know

Our preseason college football conference previews begin in the Sun Belt, where favorite Appalachian State won't play either of its top two challengers, Troy and Arkansas State, this season. While it's a three-team race, the Mountaineers are clear favorites.

Dive Into Five: The Weekend Watch List

There are so many sports every weekend that it can be nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Our guide breaks down what to watch, including Nationals-Cubs headlining the baseball schedule, plus soccer and Michelle Wie at the Women's British Open.

NFL Preseason Still Easy To Ignore

The 2017 NFL preseason began on Thursday night with the Cowboys and Cardinals playing at the refurbished Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. It was the rare preseason game that people were eager to attend, but it still showed how easy the preseason is to ignore.

Most Underrated CFB Players

With 130 college football teams and new star players every year, it's impossible for every successful player to get proper recognition. We're here to do a small part in trying to fix that by honoring the most underrated players at every position.

Buck Doesn't Stop, Nor Will the O's

He's Buck Showalter and the manager of the Orioles and goes into a long baseball weekend just three games out of the second Wild Card in his league in the loss column. There is no quit in this manager -- and the team continues to follow his lead.

10 Great Seasons By Athletes Over 40

Tom Brady turned 40 on Thursday, and he'll be one of the NFL's oldest players in 2017. With an eye on what he and the New England Patriots can accomplish in his first season over the hill, let's look at 10 of the best seasons from athletes over 40.

2017 World Series Urgency Index

No doubt a World Series title changes everything. And I'd argue that there are five teams, of the 15 or so who still harbor any sort of championship dreams right now, that are more hungry, more famished, for a World Series than any other.

Top 25 College Football Defenses

After breaking down college football's top 25 offenses entering 2017, it's time to turn our attention to the top 25 defenses. The top of the list features plenty of teams we've grown accustomed to seeing field elite defenses, led by Alabama and Clemson.

Taking a break: Sherman Report on hiatus

Just wanted to let everyone know that Sherman Report is on hiatus.

My plate suddenly got very full. My duties include teaching at the content lab at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism during the winter quarter. I am very excited about that opportunity.

As a result, I don’t have the time required to maintain the site. I am not shutting down Sherman Report. Just taking a break.

I will continue to do tweets on sports media issues via my Twitter feed: @Sherman_Report.

Also, please look for my columns on sports media for the Chicago Tribune and Poynter.

Many thanks for your support through the years.

Ed… Continue Reading

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New Year’s inspiration: Kenneth Jennings pushes on 27 years after devastating football injury

Kenneth JenningsIn 1989, I did a three-part series on Kenneth Jennings, chronicling his new life after suffering a devastating football injury during a high school game. It truly was one of the highlights of my career. I never saw him down or complain about his situation.

Twenty-seven years later, he has the same approach to life. Here’s a link to my story in today’s Chicago Tribune.

Take a few moments to read the story and please share with others. There is plenty we all can learn from Mr. Jennings.

An excerpt:


Kenneth Jennings doesn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t celebrate the day he took his final steps and moved his arms for the last time. He even has a term for it.

“I just celebrated my 27th re-birthday,” Jennings said.

On Oct. 8, 1988, Jennings, then a junior … Continue Reading

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Happy Holidays from Sherman Report: See you in 2016

Santa and golfSherman Report is taking a break for the holidays. Check back here on Monday, Jan. 4, when we’ll kick off coverage of sports media in 2016.

Sincere wishes for a terrific holiday season. And many thanks for your support of Sherman Report.… Continue Reading

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Favorite posts from 2015: One journalist’s journey from ESPN to shining shoes

Jeff BradleyAs we conclude 2015, I am reposting (is that a word?) some of my favorite sports journalism columns for Poynter.


For the bulk of his professional life, Jeff Bradley has spent his summers at a Major League ballpark. He had high-profile beats covering baseball for ESPN The Magazine and the Newark Star-Ledger.

But last summer was different. Struggling to make ends meet ever since being let go by the Star-Ledger in January of 2013, Bradley worked as a clubhouse attendant at a country club near his home in New Jersey. He shined shoes, vacuumed the carpet and kept the bathrooms clean.

Bradley likely is the only clubhouse attendant who also has written about Derek Jeter for national publications. A few times, Bradley was mistaken for being a member. On other occasions, he ran into people who knew him … Continue Reading

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Favorite posts from 2015: What NHL announcer Mike Emrick can teach you about language and journalism

mike-emrick-h1000-headshot_standardAs we conclude 2015, I am reposting (is that a word?) some of my favorite sports journalism columns for Poynter.


I approached Mike Emrick with a request prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center in Chicago Monday.

I told him that I thought aspiring journalists and broadcasters–and established ones for that matter–can learn quite a bit if they pay close attention to his calls of hockey games for NBC and NBCSN. I asked him to share some of his lessons and insights about the art of mastering the English language.

“Well, I’d certainly like to try,” said Emrick, who is his working his 14th Stanley Cup Final with the Chicago-Tampa Bay series.

Emrick has more than a passing interest in teaching.  He got his nickname, “Doc,” for receiving his Ph.D in communications … Continue Reading

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Favorite posts from 2015: Outside the Lines celebrates 25 years of hard-hitting journalism

Bob Ley and OTLAs we conclude 2015, I am reposting (is that a word?) some of my favorite sports journalism columns for Poynter.


Bob Ley boils down the essence of “Outside The Lines.”

“Let’s go commit some journalism,” Ley said.

There isn’t another show on sports television — and few others in television, period — that can match ESPN’s crown jewel when it comes to committing quality journalism on a regular basis. “Outside the Lines,” also known as OTL, will celebrate its 25th anniversary Tuesday with a one-hour special on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.

Ley, who was the anchor for the first OTL on May 7, 1990, admits the landmark anniversary caught him by surprise.

“A bunch of us were sitting around and we went, ‘Holy crap, we’ve been doing this for 25 years,’” Ley said. “They cleared out an … Continue Reading

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Favorite posts from 2015: Former White House communications director on similarities, differences of covering sports and politics

P092206ED-1215.jpgAs we conclude 2015, I am reposting (is that a word?) some of my favorite sports journalism columns for Poynter.


Kevin Sullivan’s vast career in public relations has taken him from the NBA to NBC to the White House. Sports always have been a focal point, even for the most important job interview of his life.

In 2006, Sullivan was recommended to serve as the communications director for George Bush. However, he still had to pass the test in meeting the president.

Sullivan knew Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, was a big sports fan. So he was ready when the president asked, “Where are you from?”

“Chicago, sir. White Sox, not Cubs,” said Sullivan, a native of Chicago’s South Side.

Sullivan obviously had the credentials, but the sports connection helped seal the deal. He then … Continue Reading

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Favorite posts from 2015: The slow death of boxscores in newspapers

Baseball box scoreAs we conclude 2015, I am reposting (is that a word?) some of my favorite sports journalism columns for Poynter.


Forget “Dick and Jane.” I learned to read by studying the baseball box scores in the newspaper. Many of you probably did the same if sports dominated your early years.

Once you deciphered the code, the box score provided almost everything you needed to know about a game. It told you that Mickey Mantle went 1 for 3 with a run scored as the result of his 36th homer of the season. Or that Sandy Koufax recorded 13 strikeouts in shutting out the Giants.

The box score has been a staple of newspapers since the 1800s. Yet like everything else in the ever changing world of media, its future is precarious in print editions, as sports editors wrestle … Continue Reading

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Favorite posts from 2015: The lost art of using the phone

phoneAs we conclude 2015, I am reposting (is that a word?) some of my favorite sports journalism columns for Poynter.


At the dawn of 2015, I made a New Year’s resolution. I vowed to try to rely less on email and actually use the good old-fashioned phone to reach out to public relations people on my various beats. Even if I didn’t have anything on the agenda, I planned to dial someone’s number just to see what was going on.

You know, how’s the family? What’s the latest at your place?

Of course, New Year’s resolutions never stick. So along with my vow to read more and eat less, I haven’t come close to calling PR folks as much as I had hoped.

I make that admission to show that I am just as guilty as anyone in … Continue Reading

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Sports Media Friday: Is ESPN winning or losing? PR post cites ratings wins in primetime; Bloomberg story paints different picture

Koufax SISpanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports media:

There have many stories of late about ESPN losing subscribers. So the PR machine tried to reverse the spin and tell the other side of the story. It did a post on its Front Row blog noting sports’ dominance in ratings during prime time.

ESPN’s Dave Nagle writes:

ESPN’s marquee programming – including the NFL, highlighted by cable’s first playoff game; college football, including last January’s debut of the College Football playoff; the NBA, notably the NBA Finals on ABC which has won the night among all viewers 48 consecutive games; Major League Baseball; college basketball; and the ESPYS – drove viewership to new heights in the 52 weeks ending Monday, Dec. 14.

Demonstrating the “DVR-proof” nature of major live events – as well as the enduring appeal

Continue Reading

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Year-in-review requires perspective listening to 2013 Simmons podcast with Whitlock

Jason Whitlockbill-simmonsAn excerpt from my latest column for Poynter:


To gain perspective on the two biggest stories in sports journalism in 2015, you need to dial up a podcast from two years ago.

On Aug. 15, 2013, Jason Whitlock was Bill Simmons’ guest on his “BS Report” podcast for Grantland. Yes, it can be found, and in light of what happened this year, the interview sounds laughable and more than a touch ironic.

Back then, Whitlock was beaming in rejoining ESPN after leaving in 2006. “This is one of the greatest days of my life,” he said.

Whitlock discussed how he “fell in love” with ESPN president John Skipper. Skipper wanted Whitlock to oversee a new ESPN aimed at African-Americans. Whitlock called it “the black Grantland.”

“Skipper carved out a vision for me,” Whitlock said. “It was like he talked … Continue Reading

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Talking a lot, saying little: ASAP Sports has transcribed 1,364 interviews with Tiger Woods

Mercer Baggs of has a good piece on Tiger Woods turning 40 on Dec. 30. He notes that after all these years, we still don’t really know who Woods is.

However, it isn’t as if Woods hasn’t talked. From the column:

Tiger’s talked a lot over the last two decades. Did you know he has 1,364 transcripts on since 1996? That’s about 72 transcribed interviews a year during that span. Well more – over 200 more – than Phil Mickelson has given in a greater time frame. And that only counts when a stenographer was around.

Also, I had forgotten about this:

Back in the day, the early professional days, Tiger regularly came into Golf Channel studios. He did interviews. He even viewed tape. We could peek into the window of the library screening room and watch him

Continue Reading

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‘The Vertical’: Adrian Wojnarowski set to launch NBA site on Yahoo

AdrianFollowing the lead of Peter King with MMQB, NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski will get similar treatment with his new deal from Yahoo! Sports.

Here’s the official announcement from Yahoo:


Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the most dominant force in NBA reporting, is debuting his new weekly podcast called “The Vertical Podcast with Woj.” The audio series, launching today, will begin with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as the first guest, and will publish new episodes each Wednesday, along with regular breaking news reports throughout the year.

And this is just the beginning as Woj is launching a new basketball site, “The Vertical,” as a part of Yahoo Sports in early 2016, bringing together an elite group of NBA journalists, insiders and experts to create the internet’s hub of basketball information and storytelling.

The site will feature Michael Lee, one of the … Continue Reading

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Terrific news: Mark Rolfing feeling ‘great’ after cancer treatments; set to work Kapalua tournament

Everyone who knowsMark_Rolfing_Bio_Photo Mark Rolfing will be thrilled to hear this news. He is returning to his duties as a golf analyst.

Rolfing missed the last part of the season while undergoing treatment for cancer. However, he said in a text to me last week that he is feeling “great” and looking forward to getting back to reporting on golf.

Here is the official release from the Golf Channel:


Longtime Golf Channel / NBC Sports golf analyst Mark Rolfing is set to return to the broadcast team at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 7-10. In August, Rolfing was diagnosed with a rare form of salivary gland cancer and took a leave of absence following the PGA Championship for surgery and treatment.

Rolfing, who lives in Maui, will serve as a tower analyst for … Continue Reading

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Former LA Times sports editor Bill Dwyre reflects on past, future of business

DwyreExcerpts from my latest column for Poynter.


You will be hard pressed to find anyone with a more unique perspective on the epic shifts in sports journalism than Bill Dwyre.

After 25 years as sports editor of the Los Angeles Times, Dwyre sought a change in 2006. He wanted to spend the final years of his career writing as a columnist.

In hindsight, Dwyre says it was the right decision. The view he got during the last 9 ½ years was much different than if he stayed in “my glass office.”

“I’m happy that I did get both looks [as an editor and writer],” Dwyre said.

Even though he says he isn’t retiring from writing, Dwyre recently bid farewell to the Los Angeles Times. He didn’t necessarily want to leave, but he says if somebody “offers you a buyout … Continue Reading

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A pro’s pro: ESPN’s Chris LaPlaca inducted into PR Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Chris LaPlaca, one of ESPN’s originals from the launch in 1979.

Katina Arnold writes in ESPN Front Row:

WASHINGTON — ESPN Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications,Chris LaPlaca was inducted into the “PR People Hall of Fame” at the PR News PR People Awards Luncheon. Hosted at the National Press Club, this event celebrates individuals who set benchmarks of excellence in public relations. Along with LaPlaca, Karen van Bergen (Porter Novelli), Margery Kraus (APCO Worldwide) and Bob Pearson (W20 Group) were also inducted.

In his acceptance speech, LaPlaca emphasized the need for “professional curiosity,” a message he conveys to people he mentors as well as colleagues in the media industry.

“Chris is the consummate communications professional, always on the cutting edge of communications strategies during his remarkable 35-plus-year career,” said ESPN Executive Vice President, Administration, Ed

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Sportsperson of the Year: Serena opts for provocative pose for Sports Illustrated cover


As always, there will be plenty of debate for Sports Illustrated’s choice of Sportsperson of the Year. I think I would have gone with Steph Curry, considering how he is tearing apart the NBA.

However, it is hard to argue with Serena Williams. She had a truly dominant year.

However, this isn’t the conventional cover for the winners of this award. Why the provocative pose?

It was her idea according to SI’s Christian Stone:

She was a difference-maker in other areas, speaking out against bodyshamers in both words and actions, posing for the Annie Leibovitz–shot Pirelli calendar in only a bikini bottom. The cover shot of this issue? Her idea, intended, like the Pirelli shots, to express her own ideal of femininity, strength, power.

Surely, there will be critics who contend there are other ways to express femininity, strength … Continue Reading

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RIP Phil Pepe: Long-time baseball writer for New York Daily News

Phil Pepe had quite a career. From the New York Daily News obit:

Pepe covered the Yankees for The News from 1968-1981 and wrote the lead game story for every World Series from 1969-81. In 1982, he succeeded Dick Young as The News’ sports columnist.

He left the paper in 1989 for WCBS radio, where he did morning sports — including his signature “Pep Talk” — for more than 15 years. He was also the director of broadcasting/radio analyst for the Class-A New Jersey Cardinals of the New York-Penn League for 12 seasons from 1994-2005.

He was the executive director of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America for the past 21 years, having also served as the chapter’s chairman in 1975 and 1976. He attended every BBWAA awards dinner since 1962 and ran the event

Continue Reading

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Players are real losers with dwindling media access in college football

IvanExcerpts from my latest column for Poynter:


Access, or a lack thereof, continues to be a major problem for college football reporters. And that goes for the reporters from the biggest outlets in the business.

“What I got [in terms of access] as a national guy 25 years ago for the Dallas Morning News was much better than I get now writing for the biggest website in the country,” said Ivan Maisel of “I bet the guys at Sports Illustrated say the same thing.”

Billy Watkins of the Clarion-Ledger vented about his frustrations in a column about covering college football in Mississippi. In an email to me, Watkins wrote:

“I’m doing a big profile of a player at Navy. He is a senior from Mississippi. They have bent over backward getting me anything and everything I need for … Continue Reading

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Sports Illustrated’s greatest Super Bowl story that never appeared in the magazine

All I can really say is read this story by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard. I don’t even know where to begin in terms of describing what it is about.

Just set aside a few minutes to read this wild and highly entertaining tale. You will be glad you did.

An excerpt:

When you begin working at a new job you’re bound to hear certain tales, perhaps apocryphal, perhaps embellished. For those of us who arrived at SI around the turn of the millennium, such was the story of Rick Telander and the Super Bowl hobo. The tale usually came out over beers at some dive bar, late on a hazy New York City night when the magazine had been put to bed but we were still wired. Inevitably, someone would bring up the story about the time that Telander, the

Continue Reading

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Blades of Glory

Rolling logs, swinging axes, saws aplenty, and even an appearance by the Musky Queen: welcome to the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Russell, the Creator

The numbers show that Russell Westbrook became one of the NBA's most efficient assist men last season. Now that Kevin Durant is back healthy, the Thunder could be better than ever.

30 for 30 Shorts: Every Day

Our latest film, directed by Gabe Spitzer, tells the story of how the journey to a million steps starts with taking one at a time.

The 15 Biggest Plays in Baseball History

Which plays caused the widest swings in a team’s numerical chances at winning the World Series?

The Laughs, Pathos, and Overwhelming Talent of Jan Hooks

An intimate portrait of the former ‘Saturday Night Live’ star’s career and life, one year after she was laid to rest.

Ball in the Family

How Austin Rivers, coached by his father on the Los Angeles Clippers, turned around his NBA career.

After the Rupture

The Dallas Mavericks opened the vault for Wesley Matthews in free agency, but before the shooting guard can prove his worth, he must battle back from a torn Achilles.

30 for 30 Shorts: #BringBackSungWoo

Our latest film, directed by Josh Swade and Josh Shelov, tells the story of the Kansas City Royals’ frenzied fan base and, more importantly, its biggest fan of all.


Why rising USMNT striker Jordan Morris chose college soccer over the pros.

The Most Important Hip-Hop Song of 2004

In an exclusive excerpt from ‘The Rap Year Book,’ Grantland’s Shea Serrano breaks down ‘Still Tippin’’ by Mike Jones.