New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton employed a largely CFL-style approach on Christmas Day against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Saints play-caller had the offence gaining first downs by using only two downs 30 out of 36 times, moving the chains in a 52-33 victory in Week 16. Payton is familiar with the three-down league from his stint as a quarterback with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1987.
“It was one of those CFL games where we were converting, basically getting first downs on first and second down,” Payton said in his post-game videoconference.
“We really didn’t have a lot of third downs. Generally, when you’re doing that, you can have a really good game.”
Payton’s offence had 11 total drives in the game and didn’t punt while producing 583 total offensive yards. The Saints scored seven touchdowns and one field goal, while Drew Brees was intercepted twice. The last possession ended with the home team in victory formation.
Dynamic running back Alvin Kamara tied an NFL single-game record with six rushing touchdowns on 22 carries for 155 yards, averaging seven yards per carry. Kamara totaled 172 offensive yards on 25 touches wearing his red and green Christmas cleats.
Dana White reveals fate of internet pirate he targeted for threatening to illegally stream UFC 257 – MMA Fighting
UFC President Dana White loves a good fight, and nothing seems to fire him up more lately than going after online pirates who stream UFC events illegally.
Ahead of UFC 257 on Saturday night, White had personally targeted a particular streamer who’d actually taunted him on social media after his declaration that he was shutting down illegal streams for the event featuring Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2.
White said prior to the event that not only had the person threatening to broadcast the card been identified, but he said authorities were waiting to pounce on the illegal stream if the service went live on fight night.
Following Poirier’s second round knockout against McGregor to cap off the UFC’s first pay-per-view of 2021, White offered an update regarding his ongoing war.
“So let me tell you that story,” he said during the UFC 257 post-fight press conference. “The night, I guess it was I did an interview with BT [Sport] and then I think you asked me as the press conference and I basically said this is what’s going to happen. I told you guys that we found the guy and we were watching him.
“He put out a statement that night, said ‘I will not be streaming the McGregor vs. Poirier anymore, but I will show you how to buy it legally’ and put out this huge statement. Now his whole streaming service has been deleted and is gone. Disappeared. One down and sh*t load to go. I’m ready.”
In recent weeks, White has renewed his new mission to go after anybody pirating UFC events illegally. But this particular card piqued his interest because UFC 257 was expected to be one of the biggest cards of the year.
At the post-fight press conference, he said the event will likely go down as one of the two biggest pay-per-views in UFC history.
As far as deterring other online pirates stealing shows, the UFC president promises to take interest in one particular person with each and every event as he seeks to make an example out of anybody attempting to hijack his broadcast.
“Every event I’m going to go after one of these guys.” White said. “One of these or more, we’ll see.
“And who you are guy that did this, good move, we had you, pal. I don’t know if he knew or something but we had you. All you had to do was pop up that stream and you were in big trouble. He did the right thing.”
Conor McGregor’s leg ‘completely dead’, ‘like an American football’ after Dustin Poirier’s kicks at UFC 257 – MMA Fighting
Like many fighters whose calves get kicked, Conor McGregor didn’t realize the damage done until it was too late.
Speaking to reporters after his loss to Dustin Poirier in the headliner of UFC 257 on Saturday, McGregor struggled to process the reversal of fortune that turned a solid performance in the first round into a stoppage via second-round TKO.
“It’s heartbreaking,” McGregor said after stepping up to the podium at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, which hosted the pay-per-view event. “It’s hard to take. The highest highs and the lowest lows in this game.”
Part of McGregor’s reconciliation was accepting how much of a part Poirier’s low leg kicks played in setting up the flurry of punches that handed him the first TKO loss of his professional MMA career.
The former two-division champ and box-office star showed up to the press conference on crutches.
“My leg is completely dead, and even though I felt like I was checking them, it was just sinking into the muscle in the front of the leg, and it was badly compromised, he said. “It’s like an American football in my shoe at the minute. It is what it is. Dustin fought a hell of a fight.”
Poirier was the victim of McGregor’s punches the first time they met in 2014 in a featherweight bout. The loss was the catalyst for Poirier to move up to the lightweight division, where he went on a tear that led to the interim title.
As for the path McGregor will walk, he said he’ll make the necessary adjustments and soldier on. There’s no doubt that part of his work will be to minimize the potential affect of low kicks. Up until the second round, McGregor felt he was trending in the right direction despite giving up a takedown.
“I thought I done well,” he said. “I got up, turned him. I felt alright with him in the clinch, I felt like I was better than him in the clinch. But too little, too late. The leg was compromised, and I didn’t adjust. Fair play to Dustin.”
McGregor is not the first fighter to suffer debilitating effects as the result of calf kicks. The strike affects the peroneal nerve that provides movement and sensation to the leg. Damage to the nerve can cause foot drop, rendering a fighter unable to lift or plant the foot. While it didn’t appear that the ex-champ was hobbled in such a way, he said the situation only got worse as Poirier continued to land the strike.
“I was going to tough her out,” he said. “I toughed it out as much as I could. It was an unusual one. I felt like I lifted my leg up multiple times, but it just sunk into to the muscle at the front, and it was badly compromised. And then Dustin had good, solid defense, as well. So when I was pressing forward with the shots, he was defending well. He fought a hell of a fight, and I’m happy for him.”
McGregor made no excuses for being unable to perform. The setback was instead something to reflect on, and he was still in that process as reporters asked him about what happened. The best answer he could arrive at was that he had simply been outclassed, and he would return to make things right.
“It was a phenomenal performance from Dustin,” he said. “I don’t know what to say. I’m going to go back, chill out, watch the full fight and get a better grasp on it. But the leg was compromised, and I was rushing the shots a little bit. And I didn’t adjust. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. I don’t even know whether I’m that upset. I don’t know what to say.”
Why George Armstrong was the best captain the Maple Leafs ever had – Sportsnet.ca
George Armstrong would stand in front of the full-length mirror in the locker room, his arms skinny like broomsticks, teeth in his hand and belly puffed out.
“You’re beautiful, Chiefy-cat,” he’d say, flexing his muscles as his teammates roared with laughter.
This was the ‘Chief’: the Toronto Maple Leafs captain who doubled as locker-room joker.
“George always kept things light,” recalled fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate Red Kelly back in 2013, chuckling. “Toronto was lucky to have him, in good times and bad.”
Armstrong, nicknamed Chief because of his Iroquois heritage, died at the age of 90. The team announced his passing on Sunday.
One of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey and the longest-serving captain in Maple Leafs history, Armstrong played his first full season for the Blue and White in 1952. He was named captain six years later by team owner Conn Smythe and wore the “C” for 12 seasons, leading the Leafs to four Stanley Cups. During the unlikely run in 1967 against the Montreal Canadiens, it was the Chief who scored the Cup-clinching goal on an empty net.
“He got over centre and he shot the puck, straight as an arrow,” Kelly said.
It’s a moment burned in the memory of many a Leafs fan; the last time Toronto hoisted Lord Stanley’s mug.
Despite all of Armstrong’s accomplishments, he long remained one of the game’s most underrated leaders. The big right winger wasn’t a fast skater and he didn’t have a great shot; critics didn’t even think he’d crack the NHL. But he was a hard worker and in his 21 seasons in Toronto, he tallied 296 goals and 417 assists in 1,187 games.
Smythe called No. 10 “the best captain the Leafs have ever had.” Coach Punch Imlach thought so much of Armstrong’s leadership that when the Chief retired for a short time after the 1967 season, Imlach left the captain position open in case he came back (he did).
“Some people thought I was nuts to hold the job open, but I never thought so,” Imlach later wrote. “George Armstrong did more for the Maple Leafs than any other hockey player who played for me. He always felt that he had a responsibility to the game, that it gave him a lot and he was always trying to put some of it back.”
Armstrong wasn’t the type to give speeches. He led by example, the last guy off the ice after practice. When Jim McKenny joined the Leafs as a rookie, Armstrong taught him to work the corners and boards, told him to stay out of league politics, even tried to make sure he made curfew. He treated everyone with the same respect, from first-liners to players who rode the bench. And he used his off-ice antics to help his teammates keep loose before big games.
“He’d always come up with something at the spur of the moment,” Kelly said. “It was just like, boom, out of nowhere, he’d hit the target and he’d have us all laughing.”
Armstrong went on to coach the Ontario Hockey Association’s Toronto Marlboros for three seasons, leading them to a Memorial Cup championship in 1975, the same year he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He even reluctantly took over behind the bench for the Leafs during the 1988–89 season, a short stint before starting a job as a scout for the Toronto club.
The Chief was a private guy who didn’t do interviews or make many appearances, which McKenny said was a shame, since Armstrong was such a great personality.
“He always [took] it upon himself to entertain,” said McKenny, chuckling.
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