Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And if you’re Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s even better to be a little bit of both. The Bucs went into Lambeau Field on Sunday and beat the top-seeded Green Bay Packers 31–26 in the NFC championship game. Tampa Bay’s Jekyll-and-Hyde tendencies were on full display throughout the game, but ultimately their defensive effort was enough to see the Bucs through to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2003 — and somehow further cement Brady’s legacy as the greatest player in NFL history.

The Bucs established an early lead…


The Saints lost to the Buccaneers 30–20 on Sunday night, and Brees put on a performance that made you feel every one of his 42 years of age. He couldn’t push the ball downfield, couldn’t get the Saints offense moving whatsoever, and finished with one of the worst stat lines of his career: 19 of 34 for 134 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. …


In 2020, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson extended a red zone streak to 47 touchdown throws without an interception, led the NFL with 6.3 yards per carry, became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 30 career wins, finished seventh in QBR, and reached the playoffs for the third time in as many seasons. This was, allegedly, a down year.

The fastest way to send your head spinning in the NFL is to try to tackle Lamar Jackson in the open field. The second-fastest is to follow the general Lamar Jackson/Ravens discourse.

On December 2, the Ravens were 6–5 after…


I think there’s probably something messed up inside of Justin Fields right now. Midway through the second quarter of Ohio State’s College Football Playoff semifinal game against Clemson, Tigers linebacker James Skalski launched into the Buckeyes quarterback with his helmet, prompting a targeting penalty and forcing Skalski to be ejected.

Have you ever watched a YouTube compilation of body-shot knockouts? They are deeply upsetting, as boxers with iron chins are brought to their knees by wounds you need an X-ray to see. That’s how Fields looked after being speared in the side with a hunk of metal. And the pain…


The Broncos have not made the postseason since winning Super Bowl 50. After four straight seasons without a playoff appearance, the 2020 campaign was supposed to hint at or confirm a long-awaited breakthrough for the Broncos — an encouraging finish to the 2019 season followed by an intriguing offseason set the table for it. But hope for this year was ultimately upended before the season even kicked off thanks to a barrage of untimely injuries, and even the healthy parts of the roster have failed to flash much potential. …


Every time the Chargers win a football game, it feels like they have to overcome two teams: their opponents, and themselves. That was certainly the case Thursday night, when L.A. ultimately prevailed over the Raiders, 30–27, in a chaotic overtime game that featured a number of miscues, bad decisions, and bizarre moments that nearly swung the tide in favor of Las Vegas.

Los Angeles feels like they should be a better football team than their now 5–9 record would indicate, and that’s mostly due to the play of quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert is having one of the best rookie seasons…


When Eagles coach Doug Pederson named Jalen Hurts his starting quarterback this week, he made it clear that this wasn’t a long-term decision. Pederson specifically called Hurts the starter “this week against New Orleans,” and said he only hoped his second-round rookie could provide a “spark” for Philly’s stagnant offense. On Sunday, Hurts did exactly that.

Hurts led the Eagles to a 24–21 win over the NFC-leading Saints, giving Philadelphia its most impressive performance of the season and keeping the squad’s longshot playoff hopes alive. And while Hurts’s final passing line — 17-of-30 for 167 yards and a touchdown —…


Football is a zero-sum game. This is obvious in most matchups, when a touchdown brings the scoring team closer to winning and simultaneously pushes the opponent away from victory. Every action in the NFL has an equal and opposite reaction — what is good for one team is always bad for another.

Yet despite this reality, there are occasionally moments where cooperation makes sense. Such a scenario presented itself Sunday, when the Raiders and Jets clashed in New York. At 6–5, Las Vegas came into the day needing a win to stay afloat in a tough AFC playoff race. The…


Last Sunday, with a 27–25 win in Jacksonville, the Browns improved to 8–3 and clinched their first non-losing season since 2007. That is both a basic statement of fact and an impressive feat in the franchise’s long-standing effort to change its narrative arc. “Non-losing” might not seem like a high bar until you remember that, for decades, the Cleveland Browns have turned losing into a Technicolor art form. By that standard, perhaps the most surprising aspect of their 2020 season is that their success has come in shades of muted gray. The Browns are pretty good and also a bit…


Eighteen years ago, the Boston Red Sox promoted a 28-year-old lawyer with no professional playing experience into their vacant general manager role. Since then, the Theo Epstein–built clubs have won three World Series titles, made the playoffs 11 times, and posted 15 winning seasons. They’ve broken the two most legendary title droughts in North American sports, and inspired almost every other team in the league to remake their leadership in Epstein’s image. Baseball’s Hall of Fame has just 36 members classified primarily as executives, of whom only two — Pat Gillick and John Schuerholz — were GMs within the past…

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