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Brady shines as Buccaneers overpower Chiefs to win Super Bowl LV – Sportsnet.ca

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady made his seventh Super Bowl title look familiar – despite moving south to a new team and conference during a pandemic.

Brady threw two touchdown passes to old friend Rob Gronkowski and one to good pal Antonio Brown, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday.

The GOAT earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and extended his Super Bowl titles’ record in his 10th appearance, his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The 43-year-old Brady broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises.

“I’m not making any comparisons,” Brady said. “Experiencing it with this group of guys is amazing.”

Stunningly, it was also easier than any of his previous Super Bowl victories, which came by an average margin of five points. This was also the first time Mahomes lost by double digits in his four-year career.

The Buccaneers (15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl, and joined the NHL’s Lightning as a 2020 season champion. The Rays also went to the World Series but lost to the Dodgers.

“I’m so proud of all these guys,” Brady said. “We had a rough November but we came together at the right time. We knew this was gonna happen. We played our best game of the year.”

Tampa’s victory prevented Mahomes and the Chiefs (16-3) from becoming the first repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots did it in 2003-04.

The NFL completed its 269-game season on time without any cancellations, a remarkable accomplishment that required nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests for players and team personnel.

Due to the virus, only 25,000 mask-wearing fans were allowed in, including approximately 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full.

A streaker wearing a hot-pink onesie eluded security and slid into the end zone with 5:03 left in the game. Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offence never got that far against Tampa’s ferocious defence.

Bruce Arians became the oldest coach at age 68 to win the Super Bowl. His mom, 95-year-old Kay Arians, witnessed it in person. Brady, Gronk and defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles helped Arians get that Vince Lombardi Trophy.

“This really belongs to the coaching staff and our players. I didn’t do a damn thing,” Arians said after he was handed the trophy.

Bowles devised a masterful plan to frustrate Mahomes and shut down the Chiefs, the complete opposite of Kansas City’s 27-24 win in Tampa in Week 12, when the Chiefs jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Tyreek Hill had 269 yards receiving and three TDs in that one. He was held to 73 yards on seven catches.

After the Chiefs took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and the Bucs.

Brady accomplished a career-first when he tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Gronkowksi to give the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Brady’s nine Super Bowl teams in New England produced just three points total in the first quarter. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with his buddy, caught his 13th and 14th post-season TDs from Brady. That broke the record they shared with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, who combined for 12.

Despite playing at home, the Buccaneers weren’t allowed to fire the cannons from their famed pirate ship after touchdowns and big plays. They did it soon after the clock expired as red, white and black confetti fell onto the field.

Fans still enjoyed the thud of Gronk’s thunderous spike after his first score.

Tampa missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Brady’s 2-yard pass to offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his hands by Anthony Hitchens in the end zone. Ronald Jones was stopped short on consecutive carries as Arians stuck to his “No risk it, no biscuit” philosophy and went on fourth down.

But the Chiefs didn’t gain any momentum off the stop. Instead, they made one costly mistake after another.

First, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce dropped a pass that would’ve been a big gain on third down. Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty forced him to kick again. The Bucs started at Kansas City’s 38 instead of their 27.

A holding call on Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward negated an interception by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City’s defence held but an offside penalty during Ryan Succop’s successful field goal gave the Buccaneers a first down. Sarah Thomas, the first woman official in a Super Bowl, threw that flag.

Brady needed one play, firing a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. Gronk hesitated before spiking the ball, waiting to make sure the flag on the play was again against the Chiefs.

Mahomes drove the offence for a 34-yard field goal by Harrison Butker that cut it to 14-6, but Kansas City’s defence fell apart in the final minute of the first half — allowing 42 yards on two pass interference penalties. One against Mathieu in the end zone set up Brady’s TD pass to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.

It was Brady who convinced his new team to give Brown a chance after the troubled former All-Pro came off suspension. His TD toss to Brown was his 50th of the season, including 10 in the post-season.

Mathieu took an unsportsmanlike penalty after the TD pass for getting into it with Brady as he ran to the sideline.

Leonard Fournette, like Brown an in-season addition, ran 27 yards untouched for a touchdown in the third quarter, extending Tampa’s lead to 28-9. Arians pumped his fist after that score and pointed toward offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich, who made the call.

Succop’s 52-yard field goal increased the lead to 31-9.

Last year, Mahomes rallied the Chiefs from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco and earned MVP honours in leading Kansas City to its first NFL championship in a half-century. But Tampa’s pass rush gave him no chance in this one.

Shaq Barrett had one of three sacks on Mahomes, who spent most of the game trying to escape Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and a relentless group.

Brady was 6-3 in Super Bowls during 20 seasons in New England before he signed a $50 million, two-year contract with Tampa in March. The Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007 and hadn’t won a post-season game since Jon Gruden led Tampa over Oakland in Super Bowl 37.

Despite the home-field advantage, it wasn’t until Brady hooked up with Gronkowski for a 21-6 lead that fans chanted: “Let’s Go Bucs!” They were roaring in the fourth quarter.

There were plenty of red-clad Chiefs fans doing the tomahawk chop for part of the first half until the Bucs made it a rout.

Brady avenged his loss against Chiefs defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who held the same position for the Giants when New York stifled the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, preventing New England from a perfect season.

The warmer climate suited Brady perfectly. He passed Michael Jordan for more championships and it doesn’t seem he’s ready to slow down. He already said he might play past age 45.

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Jays’ young arms give glimpse of future, Kluber shows what might have been – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – As Corey Kluber gave the Toronto Blue Jays a glimpse of what might have been in the present, top pitching prospects Simeon Woods Richardson and Alek Manoah offered them an intriguing look at what might lie ahead in the future.

The juxtaposition between the two was front and centre in Wednesday night’s 4-1 Grapefruit League victory by the New York Yankees.

Kluber, the two-time Cy Young Award winner working his way back after consecutive seasons lost to injury, was an off-season target for the Blue Jays before he signed with the Yankees on a one-year, $11-million deal — a high-risk, high-reward add with the potential to impact the AL East landscape.

He struck out three batters over two perfect innings that he described as “pretty solid” afterward, pleased primarily to be getting game-reps in a competitive setting, while adding “obviously it was a bonus that it went well.”

That the outing came against an opponent that represented a path not taken over the winter didn’t seem to matter to the 34-year-old, who didn’t offer much about the level of consideration he gave to the Blue Jays.

“Any of the teams that were interested in me, I (don’t think) I closed the book on them by any means,” he said. “I listened to everybody and tried to gather all the information we could and came to the decision we did in the end. I don’t think that changes the way I would have approached tonight, whether they would or would not have been interested this off-season. Either way, you only play for one team and the other 29 of them are the opponents, so trying to go out there and do the best I can for my team and my teammates.”

The same went for Woods Richardson and Manoah on that latter part.

Even though neither has pitched above A-ball, both promising right-handers have fast-track repertoires, displayed over a combined four innings of one-hit, one-walk work against a regular-season-quality lineup.

Woods Richardson, a 20-year-old who served as part of the return for Marcus Stroman, got the start and as he listened to the Yankees lineup being announced – D.J. LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich – it struck him that, “they’re actually in the box, you’re not watching guys on TV no more, you’re actually facing them.”

Quickly he reset, throwing mostly a four-seamer that averaged 92.7 m.p.h. and topped out at 94.6, and a curveball that generated two whiffs, including a third strike on Stanton in the second. Not bad for his Grapefruit League debut.

“It was just don’t try to do too much and be myself on the mound, you know?” Woods Richardson said of his self-talk as he took the field. “You might have seen me head-bobbing and shaking my head. It was just trying to be myself as much as possible and be as comfortable as possible. And yet, even though the adrenaline is coming in, anticipation of the game is coming, I still had to take a deep breath, get on the mound, attack the strike zone and just be myself.”

Manoah, the 23-year-old first-rounder in 2019, picked up right from there.

After Bruce’s single to lead off the third, Manoah struck out Dietrich on a 97.8 m.p.h. fastball that was his hardest of the outing (he averaged 96.8) and then induced a LeMahieu double play. Manoah opened the fourth by hitting Judge, but then struck out the side by catching Hicks looking at a slider, freezing Stanton with a sinker and getting Torres on a slider in the dirt.

It was big boy stuff, something Manoah said he was prepared for after the Blue Jays “threw me into the sharks” during live batting practice by pitting him against George Springer, Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette and Rowdy Tellez.

“For me, that was a really exciting moment to be able to throw against a Silver Slugger, MVP finalist and guys who played in some big games,” he said. “When I went into that outing I was extremely amped up. The location of my pitches wasn’t as great. So tonight going in, I was able to use some of that adversity and some of that experience and, ‘Hey, we’re going to face a good lineup tonight, but stay within yourself, your stuff is good, your stuff plays, go out there and just compete, man. Just have a good time and whatever happens, happens. … That was the headspace.”

Similarly impressive is how both young pitchers weren’t content to simply soak in the atmosphere, instead trying to leverage every bit of the opportunity before them.

Even before taking the mound, Manoah closely watched the Yankees hitters, “looking for tendencies.”

“Are guys watching the ball all the way into the mitt? Are they swinging at first pitches? Are they biting on sliders? What what kind of approach are they having?” he continued. “That kind of will tell me how the day is going to go for me. If I got guys that are going to swing at first pitches, hey, we’re going to throw that sinker in there and let’s get some ground balls. If we’ve got guys [who] are going to spit a little bit, hey let’s get more of the plate, let’s get them in a count where we’ve got them handcuffed a little bit, 1-2, 0-2.”

Woods Richardson also made a point of watching Kluber dice up the Blue Jays, focusing on the way “he attacked the zone and the way he could (use) his pitch selection to control the strike zone, and get guys to miss, and just to see how a former Cy Young winner operates. It was cool to match up against him for my first outing.”

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Canadiens GM says Carey Price had no input in decision to fire coach – Montreal Gazette

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Marc Bergevin says he did consult with head coach Dominique Ducharme, but final decision to fire goalie coach Stéphane Waite was his alone.

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Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin says Carey Price had no input in his decision to fire goalie coach Stéphane Waite and that he didn’t ask the goalie for his opinion.

“The day that I work like that, I’m not the right guy for the job,” Bergevin said during a video conference Wednesday to explain his decision to fire Waite after the second period of Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, in which Price made 26 saves for his first win in his last four games.

Price now has a 6-4-3 record with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage.

Bergevin said he did consult with Dominique Ducharme about firing Waite, but added the new interim head coach didn’t ask for a new goalie coach. Bergevin said the decision was his and that Ducharme supported him.

As for Price, Bergevin said the goalie didn’t learn Waite had been fired until after he had done a video conference with reporters following Tuesday’s game. The Canadiens announced Waite’s firing an hour after the game ended.

“It’s surprising, obviously,” Price said Wednesday when asked about his goalie coach for the last eight years getting fired. “It’s an unfortunate part of the business.”

When asked what went wrong as far as working with Waite, Price said: “It’s an evolution of maybe small things that have led up to this point.”

When asked if he could pinpoint those small things and whether they were technical or mental aspects, Price said: “Both.”

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Price is a man of very few words and that was the case again Wednesday. When it was mentioned to Price that his answers in interviews can give some people the perception he doesn’t care enough about what he’s doing, Price said: “It doesn’t matter to me anymore.”

Waite’s firing comes a week after head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller were both fired.

“It’s just about moving forward,” Price said about all the coaching changes. “I’m grateful for the time that I spent with Steph. He’s been a hard-working, dedicated goalie coach and I really appreciate all that work that he’s done with us and right now it’s a quick turnaround. We don’t have a lot of time to dwell on things. So it’s all about regrouping and getting the work done and start bonding quickly.”

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Now it will be Sean Burke’s job to get Price back on track as the Canadiens’ new “director of goaltending.” But first Burke will have to observe a 14-day COVID-19 quarantine after arriving in Montreal from his home in Arizona. In the meantime, Price will work with Marco Marciano, the goalie coach for the AHL’s Laval Rocket.

“He’s a very enthusiastic guy,” Price said after working with Marciano at practice Wednesday. “He brings a lot of energy and it’s going to be fun.”

Not surprisingly, Bergevin said Waite took his firing hard, adding his work as a goalie coach is his passion.

“It wasn’t easy for him, not at all,” Bergevin said.

Price said he spoke with Waite Tuesday night after the firing was announced.

“Obviously, we’re thankful for our time spent together and I’m very grateful for his hard work,” Price said.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

  1. Montreal Canadiens goalie coach Stéphane Waite talks with Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price during a workout at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on July 21, 2020.

    Stu Cowan: Survivor 2021 — Canadiens edition

  2. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin says he still believes Carey Price is one of the best goalies in the NHL despite having a 2.96 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage.

    Canadiens Notebook: GM went with ‘gut feeling’ to fire Stéphane Waite

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Which Countries are Experiencing a Boom to Their Gaming Industries?

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gaming

Which countries around the globe are becoming popular destinations for gaming? They might not be quite where you think! Find out more here!

When we speak of the countries that are leading the way in game development, you will often see the same names coming up over and over. For example, Japan and the US are market leaders in game development and that is unlikely to change any time soon. However, we are also seeing some other countries experience a boom that could make the industry a more level playing field overall.

Spain

 

The Spanish gaming sector is rapidly increasing. In cities like Valencia, many companies are beginning to open shop and develop new and innovative titles for their audiences. This is proving to be a popular destination for new start ups for several reasons.

Spain has a much lower cost of living than other countries, even in some of the bigger cities like Madrid. This means that people are able to operate businesses here and enjoy a good quality of living all at the same time. Even the more expensive cities such as Barcelona can still be fantastic choices for the right people.

Start ups can choose to target English or Spanish-speaking European markets, but there is also the potential to appeal to the markets in Latin America. With new opportunities constantly emerging in the Spanish markets, this is a great place to watch the gaming industry grow.

Finland

Finland is another country that has proved that it has a fantastic market for gaming that is only going to be set to grow. The capital of Helsinki is bustling with start ups and plenty of opportunities are arising for people who want to make a living in this sector.

Gaming has been a long-standing tradition in Finland for years so it is unsurprising that they have seen a move towards the mobile market flourish. Though there have been many changes to the models of paid mobile gaming over the years – first with a one-payment download and then with the rise of the free-to-play model – the Finns have managed to stay with the trends while innovating and pushing even further.

In particular, the Finnish iGaming industry is booming and is only set to increase. Anyone who wants a clear picture of what the Finns are able to put out in terms of gaming expertise need only turn to the iGaming industry to see their power.

Singapore

The Asian gaming market is massive. Though big countries like China, Japan, and South Korea dominate the market, there is a lot of interest in some of the other smaller markets, such as that surrounding the city-state of Singapore.

eSports are huge across Asia and there is a lot of development being put forward to help establish teams and game developers across various countries. This is certainly true in Singapore where a lot of money has already been invested. The aim here is to set up not just credible game developers that can trade on an international level, but also several high-ranking eSports teams that can play in many of the big tournaments around the world.

These tournaments include ones within individual sports, such as the various Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournaments that take place, but also tournaments that would allow competitors to represent Singapore itself in competition. For example, the Southeast Asian Games added eSports to the sports included in the Southeast Asian Games. There have also been several discussions as to whether or not eSports should be added to the Olympics. With so many opportunities to compete arising, it is unsurprising that we are seeing investment pouring into places like Singapore in response.

A Global World of Gaming

It is clear that you no longer have to be based in one of the top countries for gaming in the world to be able to have any degree of success in creating games. There are so many opportunities for game developers all over. With high-speed internet and cloud solutions offering connectivity like never before, we are able to come together and work on games even if we were situated in remote destinations all over the world.

This high level of ease of interaction is likely to lead to some amazing opportunities for gaming in the future. If you are searching for some of the biggest and most exciting launches in the future, you are just as likely to find them emerging from a small developer as you are from one of the major players.

The world of gaming is definitely shifting, and it makes it an incredibly exciting place to keep up with. If you are interested in the gaming markets, make sure you check out what is happening in some of the smaller players as well as the big ones. We can never tell where the next internet-breaking game is going to come from!

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