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Patriots and Tom Brady Win 5th Super Bowl in Thriller Over Falcons

A new standard has been set, as Tom Brady of the New England Patriots became the first quarterback in N.F.L. history to win five Super Bowls, leading his team to a 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.


It looked like a blowout in Atlanta’s favor, with the Falcons racing to a 28-3 lead, but Brady, who had endured a great deal of pressure for much of the game, held tight and reeled off 25 consecutive points prior to the overtime period, getting a great deal of help with a circus catch by Julian Edelman that will help erase the painful memory of the Patriots once having been sunk by David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

Then in the first overtime in Super Bowl history, the Patriots got the ball first, and as they have done so many times in Brady’s career, simply marched down the field, going 75 yards on 8 plays, winning the game on James White’s 2-yard touchdown run.

“We all brought each other back,” Brady, who was named Super Bowl M.V.P. for a record fourth time, said following the game. “We never felt out of it.”

Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu held off Logan Ryan after a catch in the fourth quarter. Credit Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Having grown up as a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Brady claims to have never considered the possibility of joining his idol, Joe Montana, in having won four Super Bowls, let alone passing Montana and Terry Bradshaw, the Pittsburgh Hall of Famer, who each had four wins in four attempts. And while his journey was not quite as flawless, with two losses to go with his five wins, he now stands out as the most decorated quarterback of the Super Bowl era, and is tied with Charles Haley, the relentless defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys and the 49ers, for the most Super Bowl wins as a player.

Following the game, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., came out to present the Patriots with the Vince Lombardi trophy and was met with an extended chorus of boos thanks to his unpopular decision, among Patriots fans, to punish the team for the Deflategate scandal by suspending Brady for the first four games of this season. The Patriots ended up going 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett filling in for Brady.

After Goodell handed the trophy to Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, the boos turned into loud cheers. Kraft played to the crowd, making a thinly-veiled reference to the punishment, calling it the sweetest win of his career.

“A lot has transpired over the last two years,” Kraft said. “I don’t think that needs a lot of explanation.”

Brady ended up completing 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and 2 touchdowns despite enduring 5 sacks and throwing the first postseason pick-six of his career. He got plenty of help from White, the team’s pass-catching running back, who had 14 catches for 110 yards and 1 receiving touchdown along with his game-winning run.

The Falcons, led by Matt Ryan, had looked nearly unstoppable for three quarters, scoring at will and holding New England in check with a defense that had steadily improved all season. But they seemingly ran out of steam on both ends of the ball, with the Patriots’ experience winning the day.

Even in defeat, there were plenty of positives for the Falcons, with Grady Jarrett tying a Super Bowl record with three sacks, Robert Alford returning an interception 82 yards for a touchdown, and Ryan completing 17 of 23 passes for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. But after Ryan found Tevin Coleman for a 6-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, everything fell apart. From that point forward, Atlanta’s drives ended punt-fumble-punt-punt, while New England repeatedly chipped away at the lead.

For Brady, the win makes him the unquestioned leader of the Super Bowl era among quarterbacks and ties him with Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers for the most N.F.L. championships as Starr had three titles prior to winning the first two Super Bowls.

Here’s how the Patriots completed the comeback and won their fifth title:

Patriots and Falcons Head to Overtime

The Falcons, given a chance to win the game, managed just 16 yards on 3 plays and were forced to punt the ball away. With just 4 seconds to work with, the Patriots attempted a fake kneel and ran the ball, but it did not go nearly far enough and the Super Bowl is headed to overtime for the first time in the game’s history.

Patriots Tie Game, 28-28

At the end of an incredible 91-yard drive, that included a circus catch by Julian Edelman, James White ran for a 1-yard touchdown, and Tom Brady found Danny Amendola for a successful 2-point conversion, tying the game at 28-28 with under a minute remaining in the game.

Matt Ryan will now get a chance to lead a game-winning drive, or play for overtime.

Patriots Get One More Shot

The Patriots have the ball back with a chance to tie the Falcons.

Devonta Freeman showed off how dangerous he can be in the open field, Julio Jones reminded everyone that he just may be the best wide receiver in the game, but thanks to a devastating sack by Trey Flowers, and a holding call on Tom Compton, the Falcons were not even able to get a field goal.

Matt Ryan started the drive at his own 10-yard line and immediately found Devonta Freeman for a 39-yard catch-and-run that looked like it could go all the way with just a tad more luck. After a short run by Freeman, Ryan then escaped pressure and found Julio Jones for a seemingly impossible 27-yard reception on the sideline in which the star wide receiver reached over a defensive back to get the ball and then managed to plant his feet before falling out of bounds.

With 3:30 remaining, Brady has the ball and is down by 8 points.

Patriots running back James White scored at the end of the third quarter. Credit Andrew Gombert/European Pressphoto Agency

Patriots Cut Lead to 28-20

We have a ballgame.

Tom Brady was never going to just roll over and let the Falcons win, and he found Danny Amendola for a 6-yard touchdown pass that along with a 2-point conversion has narrowed Atlanta’s lead to 28-20.

The drive when set up when the Falcons, who had not turned the ball over all game, decided to look for a deep pass on 3rd-and-1. Before Matt Ryan could release the ball he was hit by Don’t’a Hightower, who swatted the ball to the ground. Alan Branch was able to recover the ball, giving New England just a 25-yard field to work with.

Brady needed just five plays, enduring one sack from Dwight Freeney along the way, and now trails by just 8 points with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

Atlanta may be short-handed the rest of the way as Tevin Coleman, one of Atlanta’s two star running backs, was forced from the game with an injury to his left ankle on the Falcons’ previous drive. He was helped off the field and his status for the rest of the game has yet to be announced.

Patriots Not Going Down Without a Fight

Grady Jarrett, the Atlanta defensive tackle, almost single-handedly turned what looked like a sure-thing touchdown drive into a field goal for the Patriots. A pair of sacks in the red zone forced the Patriots to abandon what had been a 12-play, 72-yard drive, with Stephen Gostkowski hitting from 33 yards to narrow the Atlanta lead to 28-12. With the game in the fourth quarter, it is now nearing the point of desperation for New England.

Brady steadily moved the ball down the field, with a huge 25-yard completion to Martellus Bennett having put the Patriots inside Atlanta’s 10-yard line. But then Jarrett, who had a sack in the first half of the game as well, just tore through the offensive line twice to put Brady on his back. The interior pressure from Jarrett, who has equaled his single-season sack total, has been a major factor all game. Brady has been hit 14 times by various Atlanta defenders.

The Patriots had gotten the ball back with no further scoring by Atlanta even though a botched onside kick attempt resulted in the Falcons starting a drive from New England’s 41-yard line. Atlanta ended up losing 10 yards on the drive before punting the ball away.

The sequence helped ease the pain for Gostkowski, who missed an extra point, failed to convert an onside kick, and was penalized for 5 yards for touching the ball too soon on the onside kick attempt.

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Patriots Find the End Zone

The Patriots finally got the team’s first touchdown of the game when Tom Brady found James White for a 5-yard score. But thanks to a missed extra point, New England only narrowed Atlanta’s lead to 28-9.

The Patriots nearly out-thought themselves earlier in the drive when they tried to mix things up on a third-and-3 by letting Julian Edelman attempt a pass. The attempt from the college quarterback who learned to play wide receiver in the N.F.L. nearly wobbled its way into the arms of a defender before falling to the ground.

New England was able to convert on fourth-and-3 with a 17-yard pass from Brady to Danny Amendola, and a third down conversion later in the drive came by way of Brady’s legs, with the 39-year-old rumbling for a 15-yard gain.

LeGarrette Blount got the Patriots into the red zone with a 4-yard carry, and then the big running back got another 9 yards on a run outside the tackles. Faced with a 1st-and-goal from the 7-yard line, the Patriots ran once with Blount for 2 yards and then let Brady find White, his safety valve on offense, for the touchdown.

Falcons Keep the Throttle Down

Matt Ryan almost seems to be toying with the Patriots at this point. The Falcons’ quarterback threw his second touchdown pass, this one a 6-yarder to Tevin Coleman, and along with the extra point Atlanta now leads 28-3.

The drive started with a diving catch by Taylor Gabriel that went for 17 yards. A short run was followed by Matt Ryan again going to Gabriel who was wide open in the middle of the field for a 35-yard gain.

Ryan picked up another first down on a diving catch by Mohamed Sanu that got Atlanta back into the red zone, and after a pair of rushing attempts by Devonta Freeman, Gabriel drew a defensive pass interference penalty on an incomplete pass, which helped set up the scoring play.

Ryan is now 12 for 14 for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns, showing the world why he was an easy choice for M.V.P. this season.

Patriots Stall Out to Start 2nd Half

Momentum can turn remarkably quickly in a football game, so after the Patriots’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, and then Julian Edelman reeled off a 34-yard punt return, New England suddenly seemed to have new life.

A challenge by Atlanta, that proved Edelman had stepped out of bounds, brought the ball back seven yards, and Tom Brady’s first pass attempt of the half, while catchable, sailed over Chris Hogan’s head. A pass to Danny Amendola went for a loss of two yards, forcing a third-and-12. Brady then tried to force the ball to Edelman but his go-to wide receiver could not handle the ball, and New England’s offense once again was forced to punt.

First Half Is All Atlanta Falcons

Falcons Alford ran past Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on his way to the end zone. Credit Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There were plenty of pundits predicting a Falcons victory, but few could have seen a blowout in Atlanta’s favor on the horizon. That is just what happened in the first half, as the Falcons raced to a 21-3 lead in a game that seemed even more lopsided than that.

That the Patriots even scored was somewhat surprising after some tremendous work by the upstart Atlanta defense that produced a pair of turnovers, both by Robert Alford who has to be the early favorite to be named the game’s Most Valuable Player should the score hold up.

On New England’s final drive of the half, Tom Brady salvaged some respect with a series of completions. No further room could be found, but the team was close enough that Stephen Gostkowski was able to put the Patriots on the board with a 41-yard field goal.

Brady did not seem like himself for much of the half, missing badly on several passing attempts, likely as a result of constant pressure from Atlanta’s defensive line. In one sequence late in the half, he found Martellus Bennett for a 15-yard completion but paid for it with the type of truly jarring hit that New England’s offensive line is nearly always able to protect him from.

With Atlanta set to receive the ball to start the second half, New England needs to find answers on both sides of the ball. The Falcons are winning the turnover battle, moving the ball easily on offense following a sluggish start, and seem to have no problem penetrating the Patriots’ offensive line.

Pick-Six Gives Falcons 21-0 Lead

Repeatedly given extra chances to succeed on a drive that seemed doomed, the Patriots looked like they would at least get a field goal prior to halftime, but Robert Alford had other ideas, stepping in front of Tom Brady’s pass for an interception and running it back 82 yards for a touchdown. Along with the extra point, Atlanta now has a commanding 21-0 lead with less than three minutes left in the first half.

It was the first postseason pick-six of Brady’s career, and was Alford’s second turnover of the game.

That the defense came through for Atlanta once again was fairly surprising as the unit’s youthful exuberance had reared its head earlier in the drive. Three times they appeared to have ended the drive by not allowing Brady to convert on third down only to have the drive extended each time thanks to defensive holding penalties.

But thanks to Alford, none of those mistakes matter.

Falcons’ Defense Has Patriots Reeling

alcons cornerback Robert Alford recovered a fumble ahead of Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman in the second quarter. Credit Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

With the Patriots clearly reeling, the Falcons are continuing to push hard on both sides of the ball, and Matt Ryan found Austin Hooper in the left side of the end zone for a diving 19-yard touchdown catch. After a botched attempt at an extra point was brought back thanks to a penalty, the Falcons made the second attempt and now lead 14-0.

Atlanta’s defense delivered the ball back to its offense with yet another three-and-out and the offense wasted no time, going 62 yards on 5 plays with less than two minutes running off the clock.

Matt Ryan started the drive with a 24-yard completion to Taylor Gabriel and then an 18-yard completion to Julio Jones. A 1-yard run by Tevin Coleman got the ball back into the red zone, and after Ryan’s first attempt to Hooper fell incomplete thanks to great coverage by Patrick Chung, Ryan threw to his tight end on the other side of the field for the score.

The Falcons now have a 189 to 111 advantage in total yards.

Fumble Leads to Falcons’ Lead

The Atlanta defense continues to prove that its strong play in the playoffs was no fluke, and the team’s sensational offense finally showed up. That combination added up to a 7-0 lead for the underdogs.

The second quarter opened with Tom Brady finding Julian Edelman for a 27-yard gain and New England looked to keep the Falcons on their heels by running right at them with LeGarrette Blount. But the big running back managed four yards before Deion Jones punched the ball out for a fumble and Robert Alford was able to recover it, handing the ball back to Atlanta’s offense.

Not content to go out meekly on a third consecutive drive, Matt Ryan steadily moved his team down the field with two consecutive completions to Julio Jones that covered 42 yards, followed by a 15-yard run by Devonta Freeman. Inside the red zone for the first time, Atlanta again ran with Freeman, and then from the 5-yard line Ryan handed the ball to Freeman who faked right, cut left and easily ran into the end zone for the first score of the game.

The scoring drive covered 71 yards on 5 plays.

A Scoreless First Quarter

Beyond a thrilling 37-yard run by Devonta Freeman of the Falcons, and some excellent work by the defensive lines for both teams, the first quarter was fairly uneventful, with both teams resorting to punts on each possession.

The Patriots had one promising drive, that included Tom Brady finding Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and James White for completions in a steady march down the field. But a play-action fake did not fool Courtney Upshaw, a mammoth defensive tackle, at all as he ran right through the fake and sacked Brady for an 8-yard loss.

Brady’s next pass was an attempt to White which fell incomplete thanks to tight coverage and then another defensive tackle, Grady Jarrett, chased Brady down from behind for Atlanta’s second sack of the game, short-circuiting what had looked like a promising drive as New England once again was forced to punt.

Pressure has been cited as one of the keys to the game for Atlanta, and thus far their defensive line is definitely making its presence known. But their defense is not typically the team’s strength, so the Falcons’ offense will need to wake up to keep the team in this game.

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman broke out for a 37-yard run in the first quarter. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Falcons Win Toss, Kick Off to Patriots

After a coin flip by President George H.W. Bush (tails), Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons kicked off at 6:37 p.m. Eastern at NRG Stadium in Houston. After winning the toss, the Falcons deferred, giving the Patriots the ball to start the game.

After a week dominated by political discussions, Tom Brady’s chances of winning a fifth Super Bowl, and curiosity of what Lady Gaga’s halftime performance could entail, the talk on Sunday turned decidedly to football. President Trump predicted an 8-point victory for his good friend Tom Brady, but the biggest issue seemed to be the uncertain status of Alex Mack, the Falcons’ star center, who will reportedly be playing with a fractured fibula.

Overcoming a significant injury to play in the Super Bowl is hardly a new phenomenon, with Terrell Owens having played a starring role for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX despite having fractured the same bone as Mack. But no one knows how effective Mack can be, or how long he will be able to stay on the field. Any disruption in line play could dramatically alter Atlanta’s high-flying offense, as Mack is not only great at managing handoffs but was rated as the top run-blocking center in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Despite a wide gap of experience between the two teams, both sides remained calm and composed all week. Atlanta Coach Dan Quinn emphasized a team-first business-like approach to the Falcons that was honed in his time in Seattle, and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick continued to run the league’s tightest ship.

The Falcons need Vic Beasley Jr. to put pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Credit Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Story by New York Times [/read]

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Patriots Mount a Comeback for the Ages to Win a Fifth Super Bowl

(Cover Photo) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrated with the Vince Lombardi trophy after beating the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Tom Brady became the first quarterback to win five titles, rallying New England back from a 25-point deficit to defeat Atlanta, 34-28, in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.

HOUSTON — The chants rang out long and loud at NRG Stadium in South Texas — not merely from bars or living rooms across New England — until a wall of sound enveloped a team and a quarterback on a mission. “Brady, Brady,” the fans screamed, and it was in moments like this – the first overtime in Super Bowl history – that Tom Brady seemed most comfortable, as if lounging on his sofa in his beloved Uggs.

In his previous four Super Bowl victories, Brady led the Patriots to fourth-quarter comebacks. However sublime, those efforts — against the Rams and the Panthers, the Eagles and the Seahawks — all seemed quaint before Sunday night, when Brady stunned the Atlanta Falcons to author what is undoubtedly the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

The New England Patriots signaled touchdown after James White dove across the goal line in overtime. Credit A J Mast for The New York Times

When James White sneaked into the end zone from 2 yards away, completing a 34-28 victory that defied the bounds of credulity, the Patriots stormed onto the field and raised their helmets and hugged anyone that moved. The Falcons stood as if frozen for posterity, their grim looks reflecting a team in disbelief.

The Patriots trailed by 25 points with 2 minutes 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter. And they won. You need not ask how they did it, or what the Falcons failed to do, and ultimately the details will be lost to time. But the simple answer is that even though the Falcons boasted a quarterback who was the N.F.L.’s most valuable player, they did not have Tom Brady. And that, as always, made all the difference.

Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards as New England, Brady and Coach Bill Belichick all captured a fifth Super Bowl, further extending a dynasty born in an era designed to encourage parity. This has all been one grand tour of vindication for Brady, who seethed over being suspended for his role in the scandal known as Deflategate, the letting out of air from footballs to gain an advantage.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was hit by Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in the first half. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

His performance on Sunday ensured an awkward confrontation with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had meted out a four-game suspension as punishment.

Atlanta had built a seemingly insurmountable lead of 28-3 with 8 minutes 31 seconds remaining, on a 6-yard toss from Matt Ryan to Tevin Coleman, and led by 28-9 five minutes into the fourth quarter before the Patriots unleashed 10 minutes of mayhem.

The first pivotal play came on a strip sack by Dont’a Hightower, giving New England the ball at the Atlanta 25-yard line. Brady converted the excellent field position into a 6-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with 5:56 remaining.

Coach Bill Belichick watching the Patriots, who did not score until five seconds remained in the first half. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The Falcons drove deep into New England territory before a holding penalty knocked them out of field-goal range, forcing them to punt. Taking over at their own 9-yard line with two timeouts and 3:30 left, the Patriots marched 91 yards on a drive extended by a catch by Julian Edelman as absurd as the comeback: while falling, he caught a tipped pass, then dropped it, then cradled the ball just before it would have touched the ground.

Brady would hold his hands aloft after White rumbled into the end zone from a yard out with 57 seconds left, and Danny Amendola converted the 2-point conversion to tie the score, 28-28.

By then, it seemed the result would be merely a formality. The Patriots won the coin-toss — calling heads, as they always do — and opted to receive. Brady completed his first five passes of overtime as the Patriots steadily marched down the field. On first down at the Atlanta 15-yard line, he tried to hit Martellus Bennett near the goal line. The ball hit the ground, but so too did a flag. A pass interference call gave the Patriots the ball at the 2-yard line, and White capped the comeback on the next play.

eceiver Julian Edelman improbably kept the ball off the ground long enough to complete a catch that kept the Patriots’ game-tying drive alive. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Only with a cleareyed view of these last five months, after the completion of another N.F.L. season, can it now be said: the anxiety, anger and exasperation that pervaded New England for months, after a protracted saga that cost the Patriots their sainted quarterback for a spell and dented their reputation — none of it mattered. The Patriots reached the final game, just as they though they would. And they won, just as they thought they would all along.

For all of Belichick’s experience, his counterpart across the field, Dan Quinn, had coached in more Super Bowls recently, three in the last four seasons. Before taking over in Atlanta two seasons ago, Quinn oversaw a defense in Seattle that stifled the high-scoring Denver Broncos and that smothered Brady two years ago, at least until an injury to Cliff Avril dissolved the Seahawks’ pass rush.

The memory of that defeat still smolders for Quinn, who from that loss to New England remembers not the game-saving goal-line interception by Malcolm Butler, but how the Patriots went ahead to stay with about 2 minutes left. Quinn may never again coach a defense as fast and physical — words emblazoned on a bracelet he has worn — as the Seahawks’, but the Falcons, on this night, resembled Seattle at its mighty best for much of the game.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan fumbled the ball after being hit by Dont’a Hightower in the fourth quarter. Credit A J Mast for The New York Times

They harassed Brady, swarmed the ball and created turnovers, converting both of New England’s mistakes before halftime into 14 points. Most obvious was the Falcons’ speed advantage, and how, like Quinn’s Seahawks did against Denver, they parlayed it into momentum. Robert Alford’s 82-yard interception return for a touchdown, the second-longest return in Super Bowl history, had the same effect on the Patriots as Malcolm Smith’s for Seattle three years ago.

And that, to an extent, was part of the plan Quinn toted along with him to Atlanta, whose ascension under him began with an evolved way of thinking forged by his time in Seattle: He wanted his players to work as hard as they ever have — but have a great time doing it. The Super Bowl was a blast, until it wasn’t.

Belichick crafted his reputation as a defensive sorcerer by twice smothering prolific offenses in Super Bowls — the 1990 Bills, when he coordinated the Giants’ unit, and the 2001 Rams, in the championship that launched New England’s dynasty. As potent as that Rams team was, it actually averaged fewer points and fewer yards per play during the season, and committed 33 more turnovers, than these Falcons. Scoring 80 points across two playoff victories emboldened Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to call their offense “unstoppable.” It was, until it wasn’t.

Robert Alford returned an interception 82 yards for a touchdown as the Falcons built a seemingly insurmountable lead. Credit A J Mast for The New York Times

The image of Brady flailing, helpless, as his team was about to trail by 21-0, encapsulated a modest first half in which he was sacked twice and missed open receivers with unaccustomed frequency. It also seemed disorienting to anyone had watched his previous 14 games, in which he destroyed the farcical perception that the Patriots, by going 3-1 with him suspended, no longer needed him — that quarterbacks in New England’s ruthless machinery are interchangeable, even him.

As merciless as he is exacting, Brady turbocharged the Patriots’ offense with 33 touchdowns to four interceptions heading into Sunday, when he began the game by toiling in a way not seen this season. It didn’t last.

Brady and the Patriots were down for much of Sunday night, but they reappeared in the fourth quarter. And now, after Sunday, after winning yet another Super Bowl, he struck a familiar pose: holding the Lombardi Trophy as confetti fell.

Covered by New York Times

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Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl: No Controversy, Lots of Glitter

Lady Gaga went for one big, glittering, diverse party with her Super Bowl halftime show. “We’re here to make you feel good,” she declared mid-set. At her N.F.L. news conference, she had promised a statement of “inclusion,” an upbeat and uncontroversial stance, and she made good on it as she began her set, singing a few lines each of “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land” and reciting the “one nation indivisible” conclusion of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Wearing a shiny, silvery, big-shouldered sci-fi bodysuit and matching high-heeled boots, with a glittery mask painted around her eyes, Lady Gaga was lowered through the air, on suspension cables, into NRG Stadium in Houston, showing off a trapeze-like flip. And she started belting her hits, with a nod to the local audience: “Poker Face” announced, “I want to hold ’em like they do in Texas.”

One of those hits was “Born This Way,” her dance-floor anthem of self-acceptance for all kinds of people. “You’re black, white, beige, chola descent / You’re Lebanese, you’re orient,” she sang, and later, “No matter gay, straight, or bi / Lesbian, transgendered life / I’m on the right track baby / I was born to survive.” It was doubtless the first time the word “transgendered” had been sung at a Super Bowl halftime show. Dozens of dancers of multiple skin tones and genders joined her, matching her moves in exultant line dances and embodying her message of empowerment as a shared celebration.

But most of the show was simply about full-tilt pop fun: songs like “Telephone,” about dancing at clubs, and “Bad Romance,” about falling in love and lust. It was a megamix of her songs spanning her career, from her 2008 debut single, “Just Dance,” to “Million Reasons,” the power ballad from her 2016 album, “Joanne.” She sang “Million Reasons” from a piano as people waving orange electric torches made patterns that radiated across the football field; that was her relatively still point in a fiercely athletic performance. “The Super Bowl is what champions are made of,” she declared as “Bad Romance” revved up.

Lady Gaga has proudly presented herself as the continuation of generations of song-and-dance showbiz troupers, a tradition of fervent effort and well-rehearsed spectacle delivered with joy. She sang with hardworking gusto throughout the set, even as she covered considerable yardage strutting and kicking, prancing and gesticulating, pumping her hips and shaking hands with fans.

It was a show of shiny costumes and big smiles, of a huge group of dancers all sharing the same moves, an outpouring of energy that was eager to please everybody. Lady Gaga ended it with one last strut, up a ramp, and a self-congratulatory gesture that has been used by both rappers and an ex-president: a microphone drop, earned with sweat.

Story by New York Times

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Usain Bolt uses Nitro Athletics to show why he will be missed in retirement

Usain Bolt signs autographs after running in a Nitro Athletics relay.

Talking “smack” to a 16-year-old schoolgirl is hardly fair but when it is Usain Bolt you know not to take it seriously.

Bolt was lined up in the lane next to Riley Day in a mixed relay event at the opening Nitro Athletics series meet at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium on Saturday night when the eight-time Olympic gold medallist began trash talking the Australian teenage sprint sensation.

“He was talking smack, he was like ‘we’re going to win, we’re going to win’,” laughed Day.

“I was like ‘I’m not taking this’.”

Day’s humorous anecdote sums up Bolt perfectly, a man who is always looking to have a bit of fun.

But it also highlights the void the Jamaican will leave in track and field when he formally retires after August’s world championships in London.

Bolt’s exploits on the track speak for themselves, however it is his charisma and personality that has helped breathe life into a sport that even its own governing body has described as being “stale”.

You only had to see the number of children still clambering for an autograph or selfie with the 30-year-old more than half an hour after the conclusion of the meet in Melbourne to realise how his popularity will be missed once he takes off the spikes for the last time.

Bolt, though, is intent on keeping track and field relevant long after he has retired and this is why he has happily agreed to be the headline act of Nitro Athletics, a fresh concept introduced by Athletics Australia to ensure it grows in the future by balancing competition with entertainment.

PHOTO: Usain Bolt poses for photographs with Japanese athlete Hiroko Takigawa (right) and American athlete Kara Winger. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy)

Comparisons to cricket’s Twenty20 were made by several athletes on Saturday night and the hope is the format of Nitro Athletics — which includes non-traditional events such as medley relays, the elimination mile and three-minute distance challenge — will be embraced worldwide.

This is especially the goal of Bolt, who lent his name to one of the six teams contesting Nitro Athletics.

He gave the series debut a pass mark while believing there is still room for improvement ahead of the remaining two meets at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday and next Saturday.

“I think over time we will figure out ways to make it better and perfect it,” Bolt said.

“But it started off good and support was okay, so we are looking forward to [getting] even better.”

Bolt praises ‘energy’ of Nitro crowd

Bolt, as has been his custom, fed off the crowd of 7,039 spectators, an outstanding figure when considering the meet went head-to-head with the Melbourne A-League derby, a AFLW fixture and a Bruce Springsteen concert only a few suburbs away.

PHOTO: Usain Bolt knows the entertainment factor is crucial for the success of Nitro Athletics. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy)

He knows the entertainment factor Nitro Athletics provides is crucial for track and field to not only draw crowds but also attract new supporters and he is hopeful this can be kick-started before the series wraps up next weekend.

“That’s one thing I look forward to, the energy of the crowd,” Bolt said.

“They came out and supported and I really appreciated it and I’m urging them to come out the next two days to support this thing.”

What Bolt also appreciates is the camaraderie between athletes, so it will be no surprise if he again takes part in the kind of light-hearted interactions he enjoyed with Day.

“From the start I was talking smack,” he said.

“That’s what makes it so good because they know we are just kidding but we were just having fun. Some aren’t used to engaging with your competitors so it’s different and fun for that.

“Everybody was smiling, enjoying it, so that’s what we wanted and what we need for the sport.”


Cover Image: PHOTO: Usain Bolt’s charisma and star power has been crucial to making a success of the Nitro Athletics meet. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy)

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Me Nuh Like This’ – says Fabian [PIRATE] Lawrence

Montego Bay (McN) – Weekend Reads

Fabian Lawrence is an unhappy man at the moment.

The man who many call “Pirate” from his hey days playing football for Ruseas and Seba said he saw a newspaper outlining who is the best footballers, and school teams were from in the 80’s era… AND nothing was mentioned about him in any of the paragraphs.

Long time Footballer Fabian Pirate Lawrence Complains That the News about the 80ies Football Did Not Include Him (Photo – Alan Lewin)

:Me mad when me see this, an want the writer to correct it immediately!” demanded an angry Lawrence.

“Mee went to Ruseas from 1983 to 87,  and play from the under 16 level, to the Dacosta Cup, and won four titles during those times…”

He went on,

“I also scored 17 goals under coach Diggy Henry,and to come and see this published and me not mention, this is a big joke, ” Pirate shook his and pointed out.

After leaving Ruseas Fabian Lawrence went on to played for Defenders FC from Greenpond, African United and Seba United.

He also played for the national under 23 a few times.

He described himself as one of the most decorated and stylish player of his era.

“Me want me credit where it is due.” Said an angry Lawrence.

Alan Lewin reports

Featured News Jamaica Sports

Portmore outclass Arnett 3-1 at Prison Oval

Portmore United 3 Foster (35th), Pryce (42nd), Binns (69th) Arnett Gardens FC 1 Strickland (39th)

Portmore United beat Arnett Gardens FC 3-1 at Prison Oval yesterday to record their third win in five outings in the Red Stripe Premier League.

Maalique Foster opened the scoring for Portmore in the 35th minute, but Leon Strickland levelled for Arnett in the 39th minute.

Cleon Pryce (42nd minute) and a brilliant Michael Binns (69th minute) free kick secured the three points for the hosts.

Victory pushed Portmore, last season’s losing finalists, to fourth with 37 points. Arnett, who have endured a troubled season so far, stay sixth with 28 points.

Yesterday, Arnett Gardens had an early opening but Kemal Malcolm’s header was acrobatically saved by Portmore goalkeeper Shaven-Sean Paul.

At the other end, Portmore signalled their intent when Tramaine Stewart’s free kick had to be parried away by Arnett’s ‘keeper Damian Hyatt.

Moments later Stewart sparked the move that saw Portmore take the lead.

The small attacker spread a pass wide to the impressive Pryce who crossed for Foster to bundle home past Hyatt.

Four minutes later Arnett scored a scrappy equaliser of their own when Strickland was first to a rebound after ‘keeper Paul saved well in a goalmouth melee.

However, excitement reached fever pitch just before the half-time interval as an incisive attack saw Portmore retake the lead.

Ricardo Morris fed a pass to overlapping left-back Kareem Manning, who fizzed a cross over to Pryce, who miscued his volley but was elated to see the ball bouncing in the far corner of the goal beyond Hyatt.

The game lost its lustre in the second half as action dwindled until Binns went on the field in the 67th minute.

Binns, who had just entered to replace Morris, made his first kick of the game count with telling effect.

Invoking memories of the sensational left-footer he scored from open play in last season’s final, Binns strode forward to rocket a shot high into the net to the right of the diving Hyatt.

The goal knocked the stuffing from the visitors and Portmore were able to hold the two-goal advantage with little fuss.

Not even the red card handed to their defender Damono Solomon late in the game threatened to deny them the win.


Portmore — Shaven-Sean Paul, Damono Solomon, Andre Dyce, Kareem Manning, Henrico Ricketts, Ewan Grandison, Ricardo Morris (Michael Binns 67th), Maalique Foster (Cardel Benbow 77th), Tramaine Stewart, Cleon Pryce, Jovan East (Jermie Lynch 82nd).

Subs not used: Eric Edwards, Ryan Wellington, Suelae McCalla

Booked: Manning (44th), Dyce (54th), Foster (62nd), Solomon (ejected – 90+2)

Arnett Gardens — Damian Hyatt, Ranike Anderson, Dicoy Williams, Jabeur Johnson, Dasha Satchwell (Tamar Edwards 75th), Marvin Morgan, Jason Moore (Bebeto McDonald 74th), Fabian Reid, Kemal Malcolm, Oniel Anderson, Leon Strickland (Kimani Arbouine 74th)

Subs not used: Carlloyd Walters, Jamar Martin, Steve Clarke, Jarmar Jackson

Booked: Satchwell (16th), Anderson (68th), Malcolm (90+1)

Referee: Cardella Samuels

Assistant referees: Princess Brown, Stacy-Ann Greyson

Fourth official: Doyen Tummings

Match commissary: Dudley Powell


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Reggae Youths hold Granville in Western Confed Super League

GRANVILLE, St James — Reggae Youths came from behind late to hold defending champions Granville United to a 1-1 draw in their second-round Jamaica Football Federation’s Western Confederation Charlie’s JB Rum Super League game played at the Granville Community Centre on Saturday.

The point was enough to give the St James club a one-point lead in Zone One over Trelawny’s Clark’s Town, 14 to 13, for at least 24 hours.

Granville United stayed in third place on nine points.

Santino Grinnion’s penalty conversion three minutes into stoppage time salvaged a point for Reggae Youths after Odane Snow had given the home team the lead in the 80th minute.

Also on Saturday, Montego Bay Boys Club edged Holland United 1-0 at the UDC field to extend their unbeaten run to seven games and moved to 15 points, one fewer than leaders Sandals South Coast who have played one game less.

Marvin Martin scored the lone goal of the game, netting in the 61st minute.

Source: Observer

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Baca Star on a roll in Trelawny Major League

BOUNTY HALL, Trelawny — Baca Star United won for the second time in as many starts on Saturday, blanking Granville FC 3-0 in their Trelawny Football Association’s Monymusk Plantation Rum Major League game at Bounty Hall.

Hoswana Mendez scored twice in the second half for Baca Star United as they matched last season’s start after they had earned promotion and took over sole ownership of Zone Two with six points.

Also on Saturday, Fitzroy Robinson scored the season’s first hat-trick to lead Kinloss FC to a 3-1 win over Daniel Town, also in Zone Two, rebounding from their opening 0-5 hammering at the hands of Duanvale FC.

At Bounty Hall, Vincent Hibbert gave Baca Star United the lead in the seventh minute as they led 1-0 at half-time, before Mendez scored his brace in a 15-minute span in the second half.

Mendez scored in the 63rd and 78th minutes as Baca Star United cruised to victory.

At Kinloss, Robinson scored in the 16th, 57th and 76th minutes for Kinloss FC with Andra Rose getting a goal in the 61st minute for Daniel Town, who are yet to win so far in two games and are stuck on one point.

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Usain Bolt: I am disappointed based on losing a medal, but…

Kingston, Jamaica (AFP) — Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt insisted Thursday that the loss of one of his nine Olympic gold medals because of the doping sanction of relay teammate Nesta Carter won’t tarnish his legacy.

I am disappointed based on losing a medal, but it won’t take away from what I have done throughout my career, because I have won my individual events and that’s the key thing,

Bolt said while attending the opening of a high school gym in Santa Cruz, Jamaica.

Bolt said he had already handed back the 4x100m relay gold from the 2008 Beijing Games, which the International Olympic Committee officially withdrew from Jamaica this week because of Carter’s postive drug test.

“I am not fully happy about the situation but rules are rules,” Bolt said, noting that Carter and Jamaica’s athletics authorities are planning to appeal the sanction.

“We have to sit and see how that works out,” he said.

Bolt, Carter, Asafa Powell and Michael Frater were on the Jamaican relay squad that was disqualified after Carter tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine in a re-test of Beijing samples.

All of them surrendered their medals on Friday.

READ: Bolt loses 2008 Olympic relay gold in teammate’s doping case

The loss of the relay gold deprives Bolt of one of his “triple triples” — he won gold in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m at Beijing and repeated the unprecedented feat in London in 2012 and again in Rio last year.

While conceding that the term “triple-triple” had “a nice ring to it” Bolt said he was looking forward.

“What can you do?” he said. “I’ve done all I wanted in the sport, I have really impacted the sport, I’ve really accomplished a lot so for me, I can’t complain,” he added.

He emphasized that his priority was to avoid distractions in order to train properly in the coming months.

“This is my last season and I want to go out on a winning note,” said Bolt, who is heading for engagements in Australia next week said his immediate plans center on “just training” for competition.

Bolt, who is reportedly willing to contribute to funding of Carter’s appeal, said he had not yet spoken to Carter since news of the lost gold medal, but stressed that there was “no bad blood” between them.

“I know it must be very hard, must be rough on him, I know how social media can be and I know how Jamaica is. So hopefully there is some love (being shown towards Carter).

“It’s rough, things happen in life for reasons no one knows,” he said. “I hope he doesn’t take it to heart.”


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The Jamaican team is disqualified – medals shall be returned

GENEVA — Usain Bolt has lost one of his nine Olympic gold medals because of a doping case involving Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter.

The IOC said Wednesday that Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant, in re-analysis of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Olympic rules state that the entire relay team can be disqualified and stripped of medals if one runner fails a doping test.

Carter and Bolt were teammates on the winning 4×100-meter team, which set a world record of 37.10 seconds. Carter ran the opening leg, and Bolt took the baton third in a team that also included Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.

“The Jamaican team is disqualified,” the IOC said in a statement. “… the corresponding medals, medalist pins and diplomas are withdrawn and shall be returned.”

Read: Bolt’s reaction to loosing his medal: Usain Bolt: I am disappointed based on losing a medal, but…