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December 19, 2019

One Big Thing:

PHOTO: USA Today, Patriots Wire

Patriots coach Bill Belichick had little to add to what he’s already said about the NFL’s investigation into New England’s production team filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline in Week 14. (READ MORE) by Henry McKenna | Patriots Wire


The 2019 NFL playoffs already have begun for the New England Patriots. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday his team “absolutely” is treating Saturday’s rematch with the Buffalo Bills like a postseason game. The 11-3 Pats can clinch their 11th consecutive AFC East title with a win over the 10-4 Bills. (READ MORE) by Zack Cox | NESN

Bill Belichick sidestepped questions about Tom Brady’s inefficient season during a press conference on Thursday. The New England Patriots coach wouldn’t address what he has made of Brady’s completion percentage (60.1%), which is the lowest it has been in a single season during his career. (READ MORE) by Henry McKenna | Patriots Wire

The Patriots can’t even get Tedy Bruschi to defend them. “What were you thinking?” Bruschi said on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown.” (READ MORE) by Samantha Previte | NY Post

On This Day:

1917 1st NHL game played on artificial ice in Toronto

1926 National Football League Championship: Frankford Yellow Jackets (14-1-2) win first past the post title

1934 Happy Birthday Al Kaline, baseball Hall of Fame outfielder (Detroit Tigers), born in Baltimore, Maryland

1948 Cleveland Browns beats Buffalo Bills 49-7 in AAFC championship game

1948 National Football League Championship, Shribe Park, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Eagles shutout Chicago Cardinals, 7-0 in a snowstorm, ‘the Philly Blizzard

1956 Happy Birthday Tom Lawless, American baseball player

1972 Happy Birthday Warren Sapp, American NFL Hall of Fame defensive tackle (Tampa Bay Bucs), born in Orlando, Florida

1980 “Raging Bull”, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta and Cathy Moriarty as his wife, is released in the United States

1984 Wayne Gretzky, 23, is 18th & youngest NHL-er to score 1,000 points

1984 Scotty Bowman wins his 691st regular season game, the most wins by any coach in NHL history

1988 Oklahoma’s College football team gets 3 year probation

1989 Larry Bird (Celtics) begins NBA free throw streak of 71 games

1991 NY Yankee pitcher Steve Howe arrested for cocaine possession

2010 “Miracle at the New Meadowlands”, Philadelphia Eagles trail New York Giants by 21 points with eight minutes to play, before scoring 4 touchdowns in final 7 minutes, including dramatic walk-off punt returned for a touchdown by DeSean Jackson

2018 Houston Rockets set NBA single-game record with 26 three-pointers in 136-118 victory over Washington Wizards; 8 players hit from deep as Rockets shoot 26-of-55 (47.3%); James Harden leads charge, shooting 6-of-11 on 3s

What’s New:

GP: Stephen Curry 191218 ASIA
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during a pre-season game on October 18, 2019 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. Photo: Noah Graham

Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry has said basketball remains an important vehicle for driving debate, even as the league continues to suffer the consequences of a political fallout with China.

The NBA star told CNBC that players will continue to champion global issues. Curry, who has been out of the game since October due to injury, added that the league continues to make strong inroads into major markets such as China and Japan.

On Monday, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating both its substance abuse and PED policies. “I think they need to look way more into it,” veteran linebacker K.J. Wright said”…

Sitting first in the Pacific Division and on track for their first playoff appearance in eight years, the Arizona Coyotes won the Taylor Hall sweepstakes on Monday, acquiring the 28-year-old left winger from the New Jersey Devils.

This could be the year Toronto Maple Leafs breaks its streak and has a player join the scoring elite. Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs’ 22-year-old cornerstone center, is the player who can get it done.

When the NHL chose Las Vegas over hockey-mad Quebec City in 2016 as the home for its 31st team, critics thought the league had a degenerate gambling problem. After all, it already had a losing track record selling the cold-weather sport to warm-weather lovers.

The bat used by legendary baseball player Babe Ruth to hit his 500th home run was auctioned this week. Ruth’s 500th bat was a gift he bequeathed to the former Mayor of Suffern, New York, Jim Rice, back in the mid-1940s. Ruth befriended the former politician, says Rice’s son, Terry.

The late Marvin Miller will finally become a Baseball Hall of Famer in 2020 after the Modern Baseball Era Committee selected the former MLBPA director, along with longtime catcher Ted Simmons, for enshrinement during its December vote.

For the full 2019 season, MLB RSN games averaged a 2.86 rating and NBA games averaged a 2.3 rating per game for the 2018-19 season.

One nice surprise this year, though, is that the NBA is offering a band-aid of sorts for this problem. You can now subscribe to NBA TV, the league’s proprietary TV network, for $6.99 per month or $60 per year.

Five Super Bowl-winning coaches and such NFL champion players as Roger Craig, Drew Pearson and Donnie Shell are among the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s special centennial class.

In total, $10 billion is expected to be spent around the 2020 election cycle. That should help push local TV advertising spend to over $20 billion in the U.S. next year. NBC Sports has sold $1 billion in national ad sales for Olympics, executives said on a call last week. The company is on track to beat its prior record of $1.2 billion in domestic ad sales during the Rio 2016 games.

Facebook says it will run its first Super Bowl ad. The spot will be part of its “More Together” campaign, which launched in May to promote groups. Fox, the network airing the 2020 Super Bowl, confirmed with CNBC in November that it had sold out its advertising slots.

Five Super Bowl-winning coaches and such NFL champion players as Roger Craig, Drew Pearson and Donnie Shell are among the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s special centennial class.

Baseball’s players’union has filed a grievance against the New York Yankees in an attempt to regain the remaining $26 million due released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved fast-tracking the billion-dollar arena complex the Clippers want to build in Inglewood, as plans for the project continue to advance.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addresses the state of the league in a Q&A with CNBC. Among the topics Manfred discusses is the ongoing sign-stealing investigation involving the Houston Astros and the Three-batter Minimum rule which he says will be in lace next season.

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