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Top 10 plays in Boston sports history: Is Malcolm Butler’s interception the best?

02.04.15 at 4:55 pm ET
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Where does Malcolm Butler’€™s interception at the end of Super Bowl XLIX rank among the greatest plays in Boston sports history? It seemed like a question worth asking and a top 10 list worth making. Here we go:

10. Flutie’€™s hail mary – Nov. 23, 1984
The game itself didn’€™t really mean a ton. Neither Boston College nor Miami were in contention for the national title, and BC had already accepted an invitation to the Cotton Bowl. But it was a great game with a great finish. Doug Flutie and Bernie Kosar combined for more than 900 yards passing, and Flutie’€™s 48-yard hail mary to Gerard Phelan on the final play will forever be one of the most memorable and most incredible finishes in college football history. Dan Davis’€™ radio call and Flutie winning the Heisman Trophy that year add to the play’€™s legacy.

9. Ortiz’€™s grand slam – Oct. 13, 2013
Going into the bottom of the eighth in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS, the Red Sox trailed the Tigers 5-1 and were in serious danger of falling into an 0-2 hole in the series. They had scored just one run in the first 16 innings of the series. But then Will Middlebrooks doubled, Jacoby Ellsbury walked and Dustin Pedroia singled to load the bases with two outs. On the first pitch he saw, David Ortiz ripped a changeup just out of Torii Hunter‘€™s reach and into the Sox bullpen to tie the game at 5-5 and give us that iconic photo of Officer Steve Horgan throwing his hands up in celebration as Hunter flipped over the wall in front of him. The Sox would go on to win the game, win the series and win their third World Series in 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lance Armstrong’s girlfriend admits she took blame for him in car accident

02.04.15 at 9:30 am ET
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Lance Armstrong let his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, take the blame after the cyclist drove his SUV into two parked cars in December. Hansen said that she had lied to the police “to protect her boyfriend and avoid national attention.”

According to Aspen police, Hansen left her contact information with the owner of the house where the cars were parked but didn’t report the incident to the police. Instead, the homeowner reported it, and Hansen was cited for “failing to report an accident and exceeding safe speed for conditions.”

When asked if Armstrong asked her to take the blame for him, Det. Rick Magnuson said in his report that she said it was a “joint decision.”

Magnuson wrote that she said, “‘We’ve had our family name smeared over every paper in the world in the last couple of years and honestly, I’ve got teenagers, I just wanted to protect my family because I thought, ‘Gosh, Anna Hansen hit some cars, it’s not going to show up in the papers, but Lance Armstrong hit some cars, it’s going to be a national story.’ ”

Hansen’s initial citations were transferred to Armstrong and she did not have any charges filed against her after coming clean.

Read More: Anna Hansen, Lance Armstrong,

Browns WR Josh Gordon will have to apply for reinstatement after 1-year suspension

02.04.15 at 9:23 am ET
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Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended by the league Tuesday for violating the NFL’€™s substance-abuse program. It’€™s the third suspension of his career, and it’€™s the longest, as he is to be kept out for at least one year without pay. Gordon will have to apply for reinstatement.

Gordon has not yet decided whether he will appeal this suspension, as he said in a public letter he posted last week.

“As we have conveyed, we are disappointed to once again be at this point with Josh,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “Throughout his career we have tried to assist him in getting support like we would with any member of our organization. Unfortunately our efforts have not resonated with him.

“Our hope is that this suspension affords Josh the opportunity to gain some clarity in determining what he wants to accomplish moving forward and if he wants a career in the National Football League.”

In the 2013 season, even though he only played 14 games, Gordon led the league with 1,646 receiving yards. He was not able to repeat that performance, though, as he was suspended for the first 10 games of this past season after initially being suspended indefinitely. After the league revised its drug policy, the ban was trimmed to 10 games. But while waiting for an appeal, Gordon was arrested for a DUI and traffic violations in North Carolina and Ohio, respectively.

He checked himself into rehab for a short stint, but, according to coach Mike Pettine, Gordon was late for meetings and was suspended for the Browns’€™ season finale for not attending a walk-through before the team’€™s flight.

In addition, Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel checked into rehab last week.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Judge dismisses juror in Aaron Hernandez trial

02.04.15 at 8:10 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Nuggets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Bulls at Rockets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Mavericks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Temple at South Florida, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: East Carolina at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Marquette at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: VCU at George Mason, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: TCU at Baylor, 8:30 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Providence at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kansas State at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton at Xavier, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College football: National signing day, 8 a.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: FA Cup, Liverpool at Bolton, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Aaron Hernandez is accused of orchestrating the murder of Odin Lloyd. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez stands accused of orchestrating the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

— A juror in the Aaron Hernandez trial was dismissed Tuesday by the judge, who said there was evidence that the woman had previously expressed a concern about the lack of a murder weapon, discussed several items of evidence the court has ruled inadmissible, showed an early interest in participating on the jury, and attended more Patriots games than she claimed on her questionnaire.

Judge Susan Garsh stopped the trial and held a 90-minute closed-door hearing before removing the juror and trimming the jury pool to 17 (12 jurors will decide Hernandez’s fate).

“Discharge of the juror is indeed in the best interest of justice,” Garsh announced to the courtroom in Fall River.

Hernandez is being tried for orchestrating the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player who had been dating Hernandez’s fiancee’s sister. That woman, Shaneah Jenkins, testified later Tuesday that she went to the North Attleboro home where her sister and Hernandez lived hours after learning of Lloyd’s death. Crying on the witness stand, she recounted seeing Hernandez that day and hearing him tell her it would get better with time.

“[He] asked me if I was OK, put his hand on my shoulder, told me he’d been through this death thing before,” she said, noting that he then left.

Jenkins said her sister, Shayanna Jenkins, who has a 2-year-old daughter with Hernandez, acted secretive that day. She said Shayanna received text messages and phone calls, and at one point took a folded-up trash bag to the basement, returned and asked to borrow Shaneah’s car.

Shayanna Jenkins has appeared in court behind Hernandez, but she was absent Tuesday.

— Falcons owner Arthur Blank made no attempt to hide the fact that his team piped in fake crowd noise during games, and he said he’s not happy about it.

The NFL has been investigating to determine if the Falcons used artificial crowd noise. A report is expected in a couple of weeks, but Blank removed any doubt, and he made it clear that he considers it a black-and-white issue.

“It’s not really a fine line. I think what we’ve done in 2013 and 2014 was wrong,” Blank told The Associated Press. “Anything that affects the competitive balance and fairness on the field, we’re opposed to, as a league, as a club and as an owner. It’s obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn’t represent our culture and what we’re about.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: NFL Network fires Warren Sapp after arrest at Super Bowl hotel

02.03.15 at 7:52 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Pistons, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Jazz at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Georgia at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. John’s at Butler, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s at Saint Louis, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Florida at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Syracuse, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Seton Hall at DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Boise State at Utah State, 9:35 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Beanpot semifinal, Boston University vs. Harvard, 5 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Beanpot semifinal, Boston College vs. Northeastern, 8 p.m. (NESN)
Soccer: FA Cup, Cambridge at Manchester United, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The NFL Network announced that it has terminated its contract with Warren Sapp after the Hall of Fame defensive lineman was arrested early Monday morning in Phoenix on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute and assaulting two women.

Sapp was in Arizona for the Super Bowl. He was taken into custody at a downtown Phoenix hotel at about 2:30 a.m. after police, investigating a noise disturbance, were told by a woman that she had been assaulted. According to a police spokesman, Sapp “admitted involvement in the act of prostitution but denied assaulting the females.” Apparently there was an argument over money, and an altercation left the women with minor injuries.

Sapp had his initial court appearance late Monday afternoon. He is due back in court Feb. 23. He faces a maximum penalty of $2,500 in fines, six months in jail, three years probation and a mandatory 15 days in jail if convicted of soliciting a prostitute.

Sapp, who spent most of his 13-year NFL career with the Buccaneers, has a long history of legal troubles. He filed for bankruptcy in 2012, one year before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The 42-year-old first joined NFL Network in 2008.

— Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody was indicted Monday on 12 counts of animal cruelty, charges his agent termed ludicrous. The Ravens responded quickly by terminating his contract.

Some of the charges are related to the death of Cody’s Presa Canario mastiff last month. He also was charged with possession of an alligator, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

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Mavericks PG Rajon Rondo to miss at least 3 games following facial injury

02.02.15 at 1:17 pm ET
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Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo will miss at least three games after suffering a nasal fracture and an orbital fracture in his left eye in Dallas’ Saturday night game against the Magic.

Less than two minutes into the game, Rondo was accidentally kneed by teammate Richard Jefferson.

“Hopefully, he has a quick and speedy recovery,” Jefferson said. “Luckily we have the All-Star break not far away, so hopefully that will give him some more time to get right. He’s a tough guy.”

Rondo was traded by the Celtics on Dec. 19 after months of tension in Boston. Since arriving in Dallas following the trade, Rondo has missed only one game.

Rondo will miss games against Minnesota, Golden State and Sacramento, and will be tested over the next few days to determine if he will need to miss more time.

It is unclear who will replace Rondo in his absence. The top options appear to be Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton.

“We’ve just got to make it work with the guys that we have available in these situations, and we will,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “This is part of the challenge of an NBA season.”

Read More: celtics, Dallas Mavericks, rajon rondo,

Browns QB Johnny Manziel enters treatment

02.02.15 at 11:16 am ET
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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

Just one day after the Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl in the Belichick-Brady era, news surfaced regarding one of the league’s most notable individual stories of the past year. A representative for Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel confirmed that the troubled youngster has started treatment to help resolve some off-field issues.

“Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate and he thought the offseason was the right time to take this step,” a statement released by Manziel’s publicist Denise Michaels read. “On behalf of Johnny and his family, we’re asking for privacy until he rejoins the team in Cleveland.”

Manziel, one of the highest-profile picks in last year’s draft, has had several off the field issues dating back to his days playing for Texas A&M. This season, Manziel has drawn negative attention for partying on multiple occasions, and for his entourage getting into a fight.

Most recently, Manziel was fined by the Browns for oversleeping the day before Cleveland’s final game of the season. Manziel later admitted that he had partied too hard the night before.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Nationwide defends ‘dead kid’ Super Bowl commercial

02.02.15 at 8:23 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Hawks at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Virginia at North Carolina 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Morgan State at Coppin State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: American at Holy Cross, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Iowa at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Alabama A&M at Texas Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— There seems to be no doubt which Super Bowl commercial garnered the most attention: Nationwide’s depressing spot featuring a young boy lamenting all the things he’ll never be able to do in life, “because I died from an accident.”

Nationwide SB ad memeThe ad, part of the company’s MakeSafeHappen campaign, inspired a number of creative memes, perhaps none better than one from South Carolina software developer Jared Smith, who tweeted a shot of the Nationwide kid saying he would have had Marshawn Lynch run the ball on the Seahawks‘ final play, “but I died.”

In an interview with Yahoo, Smith said the ad “pissed a lot of people off, including me — and I don’t even have kids.”

The company responded to the criticism with a statement defending the point of the ad.

“Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America,” the statement read. “Most people don’€™t know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance. We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us — the safety and well being of our children. We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited MakeSafeHappen.com, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death. Nationwide has been working with experts for more than 60 years to make homes safer. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere.”

Here’s the ad. Check below for some other memorable Super Bowl spots.

— The Seahawks‘ decision to pass the ball at the 1-yard line, leading to Malcom Butler’s game-saving interception, might go down as the worst play call in Super Bowl history. At least according to NFL players who weighed in on Twitter.

Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was one of many who wondered why Marshawn Lynch wasn’t given the chance to run the ball in the end zone. Wrote Richardson: U have a running back named beast mode n u line up in shotgun formation n throw the ball on 1 yr line’€¦the real MVP IS SEATTLE OC.

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Video: Prosecutors offer potential smoking gun in Aaron Hernandez trial

01.31.15 at 5:06 pm ET
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This video (surfaced by TMZ) was presented by prosecutors in the Aaron Hernandez trial, potentially showing the defendant holding a gun upon returning to his house the night of the Odin Lloyd shooting.

Thinking Out Loud: Providence makes best of snowy situation

01.30.15 at 2:48 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to the super-villain Mr. Freeze …

— So … what’s a little snow between friends? The fourth-largest snowfall on record? This week, beautiful, fluffy white snowflakes became hated, heavy drifts of pure, cold, white misery. Honestly, I thought I had seen/been through it all in 27 years as a New England resident. That is, until this past week. My backyard, a cranberry bog in the Massachusetts town of Berkley, was buried under 30-plus inches of snow after all was said and done with Winter Storm Juno. And what is it with naming winter storms, like naming hurricanes? Does this help keep track of them through the years? And why would we want to remember this? Stupid is as stupid does.

— We all seem to remember the great storms in history, like the Blizzard of”78, so let’s compromise here. Snowmageddon 2015. Has a great ring to it, with the proper amount of alarm and hype just like our TV reporters would want, don’cha think?

— The week’s confinement to quarters gave me time to recall a few of my favorite one-liners on the weather, like this one: It was so cold this week, lawyers put their hands in their own pockets. The same can be said for politicians, too.

— One of the casualties of the snowfall was Providence’s Tuesday night game with DePaul — delayed to Thursday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. One possibility had the Friars and Blue Demons playing at Alumni Hall on campus, if the Fleetwood Mac concert Wednesday had to be postponed. That would have made for an interesting scenario — with only 3,000 or so tickets/seats available — and the first regular-season game on campus in more than 40 years. Alas, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and crew decided the show would go on as scheduled. The postponement still became the first in almost 22 years for the Friars, since Georgetown and John Thompson pulled out of a scheduled game at the Dunk in 1993 due to a snowstorm.

— Not for nuthin’ … but a stroke of genius by the PC athletic department in selling tickets to the Thursday afternoon game with DePaul for just $1. Who could make a 2 p.m. tip-off on a work day, or during a work week already messed up by the snowstorm? As it turned out, 3,568 fans did show for the matinee. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to local charities, and fans who pre-purchased tickets will get two tickets to a future game next season. That’s certainly making chicken salad out of chicken feathers.

— The rantings and ravings here over Kris Dunn the past couple of weeks? I could say I told you so … so I will. His triple-double performance against DePaul Thursday (career high 27 points, career high 13 rebounds, 11 assists) was rare, of course. First ever for PC in a Big East game, ninth in school history. I hope it means nothing, but perhaps Friars fans need to enjoy these last few weeks of games with Dunn in Friar duds, ‘cuz he is rapidly gaining attention, and ascending the NBA draft ladder.

— For my money, Dunn has perhaps the best pure ability of any individual Friar I’ve had the privilege to cover in more than 20 years — and there have been some very good ones. There is fluidity to his game I haven’t seen since Eric Murdock dominated on both ends of the floor in 1990-91. And Murdock went on to play in the NBA for nine seasons.

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