Olympic Fencing action

<p>The sport court was tucked away in a potholed parking lot, separated from the nearby railroad tracks by chain-link fencing and several banks of trees. It was old, small and relatively unsafe, at least for professional athletes playing touch football. </p><p>Several seasons ago, outside their former training facility in Syosset, N.Y., the New York Islanders began holding spirited 5-on-5 or 7-on-7 games before every practice. The tradition lasted just three weeks, perhaps predictably given the slipshod setting, cut short when defenseman Johnny Boychuk chased after a deep pass and wound up scraped and bruised. “I led him perfectly, but it was right into the fence,” the quarterback admits. “After that, we figured we should focus on our day jobs.”</p><p>This was probably for the best. Who knows how many other injuries might have occurred hunting down Hail Marys from Anders Lee? A decade before he became the <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/nCzvCADrDKIBv5zvsJY_O4?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NHL’s third-leading scorer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NHL’s third-leading scorer</a>, a net-front monster and deflection master, the 27-year-old left winger was shredding high schoolers in suburban Minneapolis, knocking cowered opponents back into second grade like <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/B43ZCBBvB9c0gNOgTna6YT" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Spike from Little Giants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Spike from <em>Little Giants</em></a>. Think his 46-goal pace through Wednesday seems gaudy? Try 1,982 passing yards and 1,105 more on the ground as a senior at Edina High School, along with 37 total TDs and Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year honors … in 10 games.</p><p>Just ask Kim Nelson. He was Edina’s head coach when Lee transferred there in 2007, prior to his junior season, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/sj7QCDkxkWTwRZkRt7Nufv?domain=twincities.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:looking to move closer to home" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">looking to move closer to home</a>. (The school was literally located across the street.) Back then Nelson ran a “fairly sophisticated” air-raid attack that sampled concepts from Urban Meyer, Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn, largely out of the shotgun with wide splits along the offensive line, and contained multi-tiered pass progressions named things like HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT. </p><p>?</p><p>“That style of offense was a little bit new to the Twin Cities area,” Nelson says. “Anders was just the right guy at the right time. He was an innovator, I guess.”</p><p>The thought sounds crazy today, but Lee always felt that football came more natural than hockey. “Getting away from people, seeing down the field, stuff like that,” he says, “I loved it.” As a signal-caller he was fast and physical, equally capable at designed quarterback counters and broken scrambles. Occasionally defensive coordinator Reed Boltmann tried to coax Nelson into letting Lee also line up at safety, the position that he had played before changing schools. “Hey, he’s the franchise,” Nelson replied. “If we lose him, we won’t have much left.”</p><p>“I’d probably compare myself to very lame high school Tebow,” says Lee. &quot;I didn’t run a 4.4 or anything. Just tried to make plays and run and get guys open.&quot;</p><p>Granted, he wasn’t exactly surrounded by scrubs. One of the Hornets&#39; offensive tackles <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/uFmTCERyRWsOQjNQCqkx2W?domain=catamountsports.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:attended Western Carolina" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">attended Western Carolina</a>. The defense was anchored by Zach Budish, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/G2M_CG6A6WhEV9QVtMk4UM?domain=hockeydb.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators</a> who spent several years in the minors. But Lee was the offense’s unquestioned leader, organizing team meals, giving younger teammates rides home, staying late to pick up the dummies after practice. Once, during summer 7-on-7s at a nearby high school, Edina trailed by a score with 30 seconds left. “Don’t worry, I got this,” Lee told Boltmann, and then connected on two straight passes to win the game. “He’s got a quiet confidence about him,” Boltmann says. “He was kind of an assistant coach, the guy everybody looked to.”</p><p>Mike Rallis remembers. These days he goes by Riddick Moss, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/HyFkCJ616Whl7oD7TDGizS?domain=wwe.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fledging professional wrestler for WWE NXT" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fledging professional wrestler for WWE NXT</a>, but in ‘07 he was Lee’s best wide receiver. One specific play stands out. Unbeaten through seven games, the Hornets were facing Wayzata for the Classic Lake Conference title. The call was 432 Switch, spread formation, two receivers on either side. Flushed from the pocket by two oncoming blitzers, Lee rolled to his left, flipped his hips and chucked a dime to a diving Rallis, who was double-covered on a post route. They both still remember what the television announcer said:</p><p><em>AT THE WAYZATA 37 … PLAY ACTION … LEE ... STANDING … TAKES A HIT AFTER HE THROWS ... AND IT’S CAUGHT BY RALLIS! WHAT A CATCH!</em></p><p>In an alternate universe—one without ice rinks, perhaps—Rallis figures that Lee would’ve become a legitimate dual-threat Division I quarterback. Maybe more. </p><p>”When I’m trying to do my armchair scouting of the NFL draft or something like that, I try to determine if I can picture a QB being a franchise guy,” says Rallis, who later played at the University of Minnesota and earned a tryout with the Dolphins. “He’s the kind of guy that you would build a franchise around, 100 percent. Just the way he carries himself, the way he works, the way he commits himself to the team and the game ... When I watch Russell Wilson, I see a lot of similarities in the way [Anders] would scramble and use his athleticism.&quot;</p><p>Plenty of football programs showed interest anyway. Northern Illinois, Air Force and Wyoming called. The hometown Gophers invited Lee to their junior day, where he recalls watching film with their offensive coordinator. Harvard offered him opportunities to play both football and hockey, which he found “really appealing. But that would’ve just been absurd, and probably not doable. My talents were not going to get me further than college football, and I’m okay with that.”</p><p>In his mind, the choice was easy. “My route was always through hockey,” he says. But NHL teams were concerned. On the second day of the the 2008 draft, his first year of eligibility, Lee was watching from a friend’s basement—and wearing a Chicago Blackhawks T-shirt, he recalls—when his phone rang. It was former Islanders assistant GM Ryan Jankowski, calling from their table on the draft floor, wondering whether Lee planned to continue playing football as a senior at Edina. Yes, Lee replied. He was the captain and the quarterback. He couldn’t quit now.</p><p>“I think this was a pretty unique case,” Islanders GM Garth Snow says, explaining why his and every other team passed on Lee that June, “and I think that’s what scared most teams away.”</p><p>Fortunately, the Islanders had another crack. <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/QET3CKrGr9FPjkGjF4S4fz?domain=thedraftanalyst.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ranked 118th among North American skaters by NHL central scouting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ranked 118th among North American skaters by NHL central scouting</a>, 117 spots behind future linemate John Tavares. Lee went in the <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/NrhlCL9G9WFVJ2ZJtJUtDp?domain=hockeydb.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sixth round and No. 152" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sixth round and No. 152</a>. (As the pick was announced, he was busy working a job with Cutco, making cold calls to sell knives.) “Powerful, strong, really raw,” Snow says. “The biggest question mark was his skating. We just felt there was enough character and drive to improve.”</p><p>Their faith has been rewarded. With 26 goals in 46 games this season, two behind Alex Ovechkin for the league lead, Lee counts among the NHL’s preeminent power forwards; all but three of those strikes have occurred below the faceoff hashmarks, largely on tip-ins, redirections, second-chance efforts and rebound cleanups. He certainly looks the part, 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds with swooped hair and a square jawline, like Johnny Bravo on skates. (One assumes this makes Tavares, as team captain, Johnny Alpha.) </p><p>“Takes a lot of energy to play against Anders, I’d imagine,” coach Doug Weight says. “It’s a good thing for his linemates as well. [Opponents] use a lot of fuel up trying to prevent him from getting to the paint or getting in the goalie’s eyes. It’s a distraction. It’s a fatigue factor for the other teams. He knows where his fish is fried. I can use four more cliches if you want. He knows what’s going to make his money.”</p><p>Drawing parallels between Lee’s football background and his on-ice presence isn’t difficult. “He hits like a lineman,” Weight says. “He comes in with these big claws and smashes you against the boards.” Watch how he digs into position around the crease, massive legs bent and arms ready, like he’s about to execute 432 Switch from the shotgun again. Or how he out-muscled Devils defenseman John Moore toward a loose puck in the first period Tuesday night, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/KgyNCM8X8WFDQYAQi2uffV?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:bolting toward paydirt to put the Islanders ahead 1-0" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">bolting toward paydirt to put the Islanders ahead 1-0</a>. “At that point everyone was behind me,” Lee said after. “I don’t get that many breakaways in hockey.”</p><p>He misses football sometimes, but the sport finds ways to hang around. It was an ongoing joke among the Notre Dame men’s hockey team that Lee should’ve grabbed a playbook during his freshman year, because the FIghting Irish were hurting for quarterbacks <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/gSN_CNkGkWTJ2pG2UERu_f?domain=twincities.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:after starter Dayne Crist suffered a knee injury." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">after starter Dayne Crist suffered a knee injury.</a> One summer, Lee told Nelson that he was coming back home to Edina. “I’ll meet you, we’ll talk some football,” Nelson said. “A little HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT sounds good to me,” Lee texted back. As a native Minnesotan, he is obviously rooting for the Vikings <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/ySSqCOYGY6Hl6ky6TmpVOv?domain=si.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:throughout their present miracle run" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">throughout their present miracle run</a>.</p><p>Rallis still thinks about their “magical” season together too. Last week, the wrestler was driving with Levi Cooper, who <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/YAwvCPNGNWu97nk7txQVBk?domain=wwe.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:performs under the name Tucker Knight" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">performs under the name Tucker Knight</a>, en route to another show on their circuit. Somehow, the conversation landed on high school football. Out spilled the decade-old memories—how Rallis had called Lee that summer, hoping to recruit him to Edina before the latter eventually transferred; how Lee not only dropped one reverse pass from Rallis but batted the ball into the air so it got picked off; how he hurled that perfect pass to help beat Wayzata for the conference title, preserving Edina&#39;s undefeated year.</p><p>“That’s my quarterback,” Rallis says. “He’ll always be my quarterback.”</p>
From the Gridiron to the Ice Rink, Anders Lee Continues to Rack Up Points

The sport court was tucked away in a potholed parking lot, separated from the nearby railroad tracks by chain-link fencing and several banks of trees. It was old, small and relatively unsafe, at least for professional athletes playing touch football.

Several seasons ago, outside their former training facility in Syosset, N.Y., the New York Islanders began holding spirited 5-on-5 or 7-on-7 games before every practice. The tradition lasted just three weeks, perhaps predictably given the slipshod setting, cut short when defenseman Johnny Boychuk chased after a deep pass and wound up scraped and bruised. “I led him perfectly, but it was right into the fence,” the quarterback admits. “After that, we figured we should focus on our day jobs.”

This was probably for the best. Who knows how many other injuries might have occurred hunting down Hail Marys from Anders Lee? A decade before he became the NHL’s third-leading scorer, a net-front monster and deflection master, the 27-year-old left winger was shredding high schoolers in suburban Minneapolis, knocking cowered opponents back into second grade like Spike from Little Giants. Think his 46-goal pace through Wednesday seems gaudy? Try 1,982 passing yards and 1,105 more on the ground as a senior at Edina High School, along with 37 total TDs and Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year honors … in 10 games.

Just ask Kim Nelson. He was Edina’s head coach when Lee transferred there in 2007, prior to his junior season, looking to move closer to home. (The school was literally located across the street.) Back then Nelson ran a “fairly sophisticated” air-raid attack that sampled concepts from Urban Meyer, Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn, largely out of the shotgun with wide splits along the offensive line, and contained multi-tiered pass progressions named things like HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT.

?

“That style of offense was a little bit new to the Twin Cities area,” Nelson says. “Anders was just the right guy at the right time. He was an innovator, I guess.”

The thought sounds crazy today, but Lee always felt that football came more natural than hockey. “Getting away from people, seeing down the field, stuff like that,” he says, “I loved it.” As a signal-caller he was fast and physical, equally capable at designed quarterback counters and broken scrambles. Occasionally defensive coordinator Reed Boltmann tried to coax Nelson into letting Lee also line up at safety, the position that he had played before changing schools. “Hey, he’s the franchise,” Nelson replied. “If we lose him, we won’t have much left.”

“I’d probably compare myself to very lame high school Tebow,” says Lee. "I didn’t run a 4.4 or anything. Just tried to make plays and run and get guys open."

Granted, he wasn’t exactly surrounded by scrubs. One of the Hornets' offensive tackles attended Western Carolina. The defense was anchored by Zach Budish, a second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators who spent several years in the minors. But Lee was the offense’s unquestioned leader, organizing team meals, giving younger teammates rides home, staying late to pick up the dummies after practice. Once, during summer 7-on-7s at a nearby high school, Edina trailed by a score with 30 seconds left. “Don’t worry, I got this,” Lee told Boltmann, and then connected on two straight passes to win the game. “He’s got a quiet confidence about him,” Boltmann says. “He was kind of an assistant coach, the guy everybody looked to.”

Mike Rallis remembers. These days he goes by Riddick Moss, fledging professional wrestler for WWE NXT, but in ‘07 he was Lee’s best wide receiver. One specific play stands out. Unbeaten through seven games, the Hornets were facing Wayzata for the Classic Lake Conference title. The call was 432 Switch, spread formation, two receivers on either side. Flushed from the pocket by two oncoming blitzers, Lee rolled to his left, flipped his hips and chucked a dime to a diving Rallis, who was double-covered on a post route. They both still remember what the television announcer said:

AT THE WAYZATA 37 … PLAY ACTION … LEE ... STANDING … TAKES A HIT AFTER HE THROWS ... AND IT’S CAUGHT BY RALLIS! WHAT A CATCH!

In an alternate universe—one without ice rinks, perhaps—Rallis figures that Lee would’ve become a legitimate dual-threat Division I quarterback. Maybe more.

”When I’m trying to do my armchair scouting of the NFL draft or something like that, I try to determine if I can picture a QB being a franchise guy,” says Rallis, who later played at the University of Minnesota and earned a tryout with the Dolphins. “He’s the kind of guy that you would build a franchise around, 100 percent. Just the way he carries himself, the way he works, the way he commits himself to the team and the game ... When I watch Russell Wilson, I see a lot of similarities in the way [Anders] would scramble and use his athleticism."

Plenty of football programs showed interest anyway. Northern Illinois, Air Force and Wyoming called. The hometown Gophers invited Lee to their junior day, where he recalls watching film with their offensive coordinator. Harvard offered him opportunities to play both football and hockey, which he found “really appealing. But that would’ve just been absurd, and probably not doable. My talents were not going to get me further than college football, and I’m okay with that.”

In his mind, the choice was easy. “My route was always through hockey,” he says. But NHL teams were concerned. On the second day of the the 2008 draft, his first year of eligibility, Lee was watching from a friend’s basement—and wearing a Chicago Blackhawks T-shirt, he recalls—when his phone rang. It was former Islanders assistant GM Ryan Jankowski, calling from their table on the draft floor, wondering whether Lee planned to continue playing football as a senior at Edina. Yes, Lee replied. He was the captain and the quarterback. He couldn’t quit now.

“I think this was a pretty unique case,” Islanders GM Garth Snow says, explaining why his and every other team passed on Lee that June, “and I think that’s what scared most teams away.”

Fortunately, the Islanders had another crack. Ranked 118th among North American skaters by NHL central scouting, 117 spots behind future linemate John Tavares. Lee went in the sixth round and No. 152. (As the pick was announced, he was busy working a job with Cutco, making cold calls to sell knives.) “Powerful, strong, really raw,” Snow says. “The biggest question mark was his skating. We just felt there was enough character and drive to improve.”

Their faith has been rewarded. With 26 goals in 46 games this season, two behind Alex Ovechkin for the league lead, Lee counts among the NHL’s preeminent power forwards; all but three of those strikes have occurred below the faceoff hashmarks, largely on tip-ins, redirections, second-chance efforts and rebound cleanups. He certainly looks the part, 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds with swooped hair and a square jawline, like Johnny Bravo on skates. (One assumes this makes Tavares, as team captain, Johnny Alpha.)

“Takes a lot of energy to play against Anders, I’d imagine,” coach Doug Weight says. “It’s a good thing for his linemates as well. [Opponents] use a lot of fuel up trying to prevent him from getting to the paint or getting in the goalie’s eyes. It’s a distraction. It’s a fatigue factor for the other teams. He knows where his fish is fried. I can use four more cliches if you want. He knows what’s going to make his money.”

Drawing parallels between Lee’s football background and his on-ice presence isn’t difficult. “He hits like a lineman,” Weight says. “He comes in with these big claws and smashes you against the boards.” Watch how he digs into position around the crease, massive legs bent and arms ready, like he’s about to execute 432 Switch from the shotgun again. Or how he out-muscled Devils defenseman John Moore toward a loose puck in the first period Tuesday night, bolting toward paydirt to put the Islanders ahead 1-0. “At that point everyone was behind me,” Lee said after. “I don’t get that many breakaways in hockey.”

He misses football sometimes, but the sport finds ways to hang around. It was an ongoing joke among the Notre Dame men’s hockey team that Lee should’ve grabbed a playbook during his freshman year, because the FIghting Irish were hurting for quarterbacks after starter Dayne Crist suffered a knee injury. One summer, Lee told Nelson that he was coming back home to Edina. “I’ll meet you, we’ll talk some football,” Nelson said. “A little HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT sounds good to me,” Lee texted back. As a native Minnesotan, he is obviously rooting for the Vikings throughout their present miracle run.

Rallis still thinks about their “magical” season together too. Last week, the wrestler was driving with Levi Cooper, who performs under the name Tucker Knight, en route to another show on their circuit. Somehow, the conversation landed on high school football. Out spilled the decade-old memories—how Rallis had called Lee that summer, hoping to recruit him to Edina before the latter eventually transferred; how Lee not only dropped one reverse pass from Rallis but batted the ball into the air so it got picked off; how he hurled that perfect pass to help beat Wayzata for the conference title, preserving Edina's undefeated year.

“That’s my quarterback,” Rallis says. “He’ll always be my quarterback.”

<p>The sport court was tucked away in a potholed parking lot, separated from the nearby railroad tracks by chain-link fencing and several banks of trees. It was old, small and relatively unsafe, at least for professional athletes playing touch football. </p><p>Several seasons ago, outside their former training facility in Syosset, N.Y., the New York Islanders began holding spirited 5-on-5 or 7-on-7 games before every practice. The tradition lasted just three weeks, predictable given the slipshod setting, cut short when defenseman Johnny Boychuk chased after a deep pass and wound up scraped and bruised. “I led him perfectly, but it was right into the fence,” the quarterback admits. “After that, we figured we should focus on our day jobs.”</p><p>This was probably for the best. Who knows how many other injuries might have occurred hunting down Hail Marys from Anders Lee? A decade before he became the <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/nCzvCADrDKIBv5zvsJY_O4?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NHL’s third-leading scorer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NHL’s third-leading scorer</a>, a net-front monster and deflection master, the 27-year-old left winger was shredding high schoolers in suburban Minneapolis, knocking cowered opponents back into second grade like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JutRmiFTZsE" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Spike from Little Giants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Spike from <em>Little Giants</em></a>. Think his 46-goal pace through Wednesday seems gaudy? Try 1,982 passing yards and 1,105 more on the ground as a senior at Edina High School, along with 37 total TDs and Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year honors … in 10 games.</p><p>Just ask Kim Nelson. He was Edina’s head coach when Lee transferred there in 2007, prior to his junior season, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/sj7QCDkxkWTwRZkRt7Nufv?domain=twincities.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:looking to move closer to home" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">looking to move closer to home</a>. (The school was literally located across the street.) Back then Nelson ran a “fairly sophisticated” air-raid attack that sampled concepts from Urban Meyer, Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn, largely out of the shotgun with wide splits along the offensive line, and contained multi-tiered pass progressions named things like HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT. </p><p>“That style of offense was a little bit new to the Twin Cities area,” Nelson says. “Anders was just the right guy at the right time. He was an innovator, I guess.”</p><p>The thought sounds crazy today, but Lee always felt that football came more natural than hockey. “Getting away from people, seeing down the field, stuff like that,” he says, “I loved it.” As a signal-caller he was fast and physical, equally capable at designed quarterback counters and broken scrambles. Occasionally defensive coordinator Reed Boltmann tried to coax Nelson into letting Lee also line up at safety, the position that he had played before changing schools. “Hey, he’s the franchise,” Nelson replied. “If we lose him, we won’t have much left.”</p><p>“I’d probably compare myself to very lame high school Tebow,” says Lee. &quot;I didn’t run a 4.4 or anything. Just tried to make plays and run and get guys open.&quot;</p><p>Granted, he wasn’t exactly surrounded by scrubs. One of the Hornets&#39; offensive tackles <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/uFmTCERyRWsOQjNQCqkx2W?domain=catamountsports.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:attended Western Carolina" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">attended Western Carolina</a>. The defense was anchored by Zach Budish, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/G2M_CG6A6WhEV9QVtMk4UM?domain=hockeydb.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators</a> who spent several years in the minors. But Lee was the offense’s unquestioned leader, organizing team meals, giving younger teammates rides home, staying late to pick up the dummies after practice. Once, during summer 7-on-7s at a nearby high school, Edina trailed by a score with 30 seconds left. “Don’t worry, I got this,” Lee told Boltmann, and then connected on two straight passes to win the game. “He’s got a quiet confidence about him,” Boltmann says. “He was kind of an assistant coach, the guy everybody looked to.”</p><p>?</p><p>Mike Rallis remembers. These days he goes by Riddick Moss, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/HyFkCJ616Whl7oD7TDGizS?domain=wwe.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fledging professional wrestler for WWE NXT" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fledging professional wrestler for WWE NXT</a>, but in ‘07 he was Lee’s best wide receiver. One specific play stands out. Unbeaten through seven games, the Hornets were facing Wayzata for the Classic Lake Conference title. The call was 432 Switch, spread formation, two receivers on either side. Flushed from the pocket by two oncoming blitzers, Lee rolled to his left, flipped his hips and chucked a dime to a diving Rallis, who was double-covered on a post route. They both still remember what the television announcer said:</p><p><em>AT THE WAYZATA 37 … PLAY ACTION … LEE ... STANDING … TAKES A HIT AFTER HE THROWS ... AND IT’S CAUGHT BY RALLIS! WHAT A CATCH!</em></p><p>In an alternate universe—one without ice rinks, perhaps—Rallis figures that Lee would’ve become a legitimate dual-threat Division I quarterback. Maybe more. </p><p>”When I’m trying to do my armchair scouting of the NFL draft or something like that, I try to determine if I can picture a QB being a franchise guy,” says Rallis, who later played at the University of Minnesota and earned a tryout with the Dolphins. “He’s the kind of guy that you would build a franchise around, 100 percent. Just the way he carries himself, the way he works, the way he commits himself to the team and the game ... When I watch Russell Wilson, I see a lot of similarities in the way [Anders] would scramble and use his athleticism.&quot;</p><p>Plenty of football programs showed interest anyway. Northern Illinois, Air Force and Wyoming called. The hometown Gophers invited Lee to their junior day, where he recalls watching film with their offensive coordinator. Harvard offered him opportunities to play both football and hockey, which he found “really appealing. But that would’ve just been absurd, and probably not doable. My talents were not going to get me further than college football, and I’m okay with that.”</p><p>In his mind, the choice was easy. “My route was always through hockey,” he says. But NHL teams were concerned. On the second day of the the 2008 draft, his first year of eligibility, Lee was watching from a friend’s basement—and wearing a Chicago Blackhawks T-shirt, he recalls—when his phone rang. It was former Islanders assistant GM Ryan Jankowski, calling from their table on the draft floor, wondering whether Lee planned to continue playing football as a senior at Edina. Yes, Lee replied. He was the captain and the quarterback. He couldn’t quit now.</p><p>“I think this was a pretty unique case,” Islanders GM Garth Snow says, explaining why his and every other team passed on Lee that June, “and I think that’s what scared most teams away.”</p><p>Fortunately, the Islanders had another crack. <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/QET3CKrGr9FPjkGjF4S4fz?domain=thedraftanalyst.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ranked 118th among North American skaters by NHL central scouting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ranked 118th among North American skaters by NHL central scouting</a>, 117 spots behind future linemate John Tavares. Lee went in the <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/NrhlCL9G9WFVJ2ZJtJUtDp?domain=hockeydb.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sixth round and No. 152" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sixth round and No. 152</a>. (As the pick was announced, he was busy working a job with Cutco, making cold calls to sell knives.) “Powerful, strong, really raw,” Snow says. “The biggest question mark was his skating. We just felt there was enough character and drive to improve.”</p><p>Their faith has been rewarded. With 26 goals in 46 games this season, two behind Alex Ovechkin for the league lead, Lee counts among the NHL’s preeminent power forwards; all but three of those strikes have occurred below the faceoff hashmarks, largely on tip-ins, redirections, second-chance efforts and rebound cleanups. He certainly looks the part, 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds with swooped hair and a square jawline, like Johnny Bravo on skates. (One assumes this makes Tavares, as team captain, Johnny Alpha.) </p><p>“Takes a lot of energy to play against Anders, I’d imagine,” coach Doug Weight says. “It’s a good thing for his linemates as well. [Opponents] use a lot of fuel up trying to prevent him from getting to the paint or getting in the goalie’s eyes. It’s a distraction. It’s a fatigue factor for the other teams. He knows where his fish is fried. I can use four more cliches if you want. He knows what’s going to make his money.”</p><p>Drawing parallels between Lee’s football background and his on-ice presence isn’t difficult. “He hits like a lineman,” Weight says. “He comes in with these big claws and smashes you against the boards.” Watch how he digs into position around the crease, massive legs bent and arms ready, like he’s about to execute 432 Switch from the shotgun again. Or how he out-muscled Devils defenseman John Moore toward a loose puck in the first period Tuesday night, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/KgyNCM8X8WFDQYAQi2uffV?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:bolting toward paydirt to put the Islanders ahead 1-0" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">bolting toward paydirt to put the Islanders ahead 1-0</a>. “At that point everyone was behind me,” Lee said after. “I don’t get that many breakaways in hockey.”</p><p>He misses football sometimes, but the sport finds ways to hang around. As a native Minnesotan, he is obviously rooting for the Vikings throughout their present miracle run. It was an ongoing joke among the Notre Dame men’s hockey team that Lee should’ve grabbed a playbook during his freshman year, because the Fighting Irish were hurting for quarterbacks <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/gSN_CNkGkWTJ2pG2UERu_f?domain=twincities.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:after starter Dayne Crist suffered a knee injury." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">after starter Dayne Crist suffered a knee injury.</a> One summer, Lee told Nelson that he was coming back home to Edina. “I’ll meet you, we’ll talk some football,” Nelson said. “A little HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT sounds good to me,” Lee texted back. As a native Minnesotan, he is obviously rooting for the Vikings <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/ySSqCOYGY6Hl6ky6TmpVOv?domain=si.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:throughout their present miracle run" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">throughout their present miracle run</a>.</p><p>Rallis still thinks about their “magical” season together too. Last week, the wrestler was driving with Levi Cooper, who <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/YAwvCPNGNWu97nk7txQVBk?domain=wwe.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:performs under the name Tucker Knight" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">performs under the name Tucker Knight</a>, en route to another show on their circuit. Somehow, the conversation landed on high school football. Out spilled the decade-old memories—how Rallis had called Lee that summer, hoping to recruit him to Edina before the latter eventually transferred; how Lee once showed a brief shred of gridiron mortality by dropping a reverse pass from Rallis that got intercepted; how he later clinched the conference title against Wayzata by swatting down a deep ball at safety to preserve Edina&#39;s undefeated year.</p><p>“That’s my quarterback,” Rallis says. “He’ll always be my quarterback.”</p>
From the Gridiron to the Ice Rink, Anders Lee Continues to Rack Up Points

The sport court was tucked away in a potholed parking lot, separated from the nearby railroad tracks by chain-link fencing and several banks of trees. It was old, small and relatively unsafe, at least for professional athletes playing touch football.

Several seasons ago, outside their former training facility in Syosset, N.Y., the New York Islanders began holding spirited 5-on-5 or 7-on-7 games before every practice. The tradition lasted just three weeks, predictable given the slipshod setting, cut short when defenseman Johnny Boychuk chased after a deep pass and wound up scraped and bruised. “I led him perfectly, but it was right into the fence,” the quarterback admits. “After that, we figured we should focus on our day jobs.”

This was probably for the best. Who knows how many other injuries might have occurred hunting down Hail Marys from Anders Lee? A decade before he became the NHL’s third-leading scorer, a net-front monster and deflection master, the 27-year-old left winger was shredding high schoolers in suburban Minneapolis, knocking cowered opponents back into second grade like Spike from Little Giants. Think his 46-goal pace through Wednesday seems gaudy? Try 1,982 passing yards and 1,105 more on the ground as a senior at Edina High School, along with 37 total TDs and Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year honors … in 10 games.

Just ask Kim Nelson. He was Edina’s head coach when Lee transferred there in 2007, prior to his junior season, looking to move closer to home. (The school was literally located across the street.) Back then Nelson ran a “fairly sophisticated” air-raid attack that sampled concepts from Urban Meyer, Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn, largely out of the shotgun with wide splits along the offensive line, and contained multi-tiered pass progressions named things like HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT.

“That style of offense was a little bit new to the Twin Cities area,” Nelson says. “Anders was just the right guy at the right time. He was an innovator, I guess.”

The thought sounds crazy today, but Lee always felt that football came more natural than hockey. “Getting away from people, seeing down the field, stuff like that,” he says, “I loved it.” As a signal-caller he was fast and physical, equally capable at designed quarterback counters and broken scrambles. Occasionally defensive coordinator Reed Boltmann tried to coax Nelson into letting Lee also line up at safety, the position that he had played before changing schools. “Hey, he’s the franchise,” Nelson replied. “If we lose him, we won’t have much left.”

“I’d probably compare myself to very lame high school Tebow,” says Lee. "I didn’t run a 4.4 or anything. Just tried to make plays and run and get guys open."

Granted, he wasn’t exactly surrounded by scrubs. One of the Hornets' offensive tackles attended Western Carolina. The defense was anchored by Zach Budish, a second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators who spent several years in the minors. But Lee was the offense’s unquestioned leader, organizing team meals, giving younger teammates rides home, staying late to pick up the dummies after practice. Once, during summer 7-on-7s at a nearby high school, Edina trailed by a score with 30 seconds left. “Don’t worry, I got this,” Lee told Boltmann, and then connected on two straight passes to win the game. “He’s got a quiet confidence about him,” Boltmann says. “He was kind of an assistant coach, the guy everybody looked to.”

?

Mike Rallis remembers. These days he goes by Riddick Moss, fledging professional wrestler for WWE NXT, but in ‘07 he was Lee’s best wide receiver. One specific play stands out. Unbeaten through seven games, the Hornets were facing Wayzata for the Classic Lake Conference title. The call was 432 Switch, spread formation, two receivers on either side. Flushed from the pocket by two oncoming blitzers, Lee rolled to his left, flipped his hips and chucked a dime to a diving Rallis, who was double-covered on a post route. They both still remember what the television announcer said:

AT THE WAYZATA 37 … PLAY ACTION … LEE ... STANDING … TAKES A HIT AFTER HE THROWS ... AND IT’S CAUGHT BY RALLIS! WHAT A CATCH!

In an alternate universe—one without ice rinks, perhaps—Rallis figures that Lee would’ve become a legitimate dual-threat Division I quarterback. Maybe more.

”When I’m trying to do my armchair scouting of the NFL draft or something like that, I try to determine if I can picture a QB being a franchise guy,” says Rallis, who later played at the University of Minnesota and earned a tryout with the Dolphins. “He’s the kind of guy that you would build a franchise around, 100 percent. Just the way he carries himself, the way he works, the way he commits himself to the team and the game ... When I watch Russell Wilson, I see a lot of similarities in the way [Anders] would scramble and use his athleticism."

Plenty of football programs showed interest anyway. Northern Illinois, Air Force and Wyoming called. The hometown Gophers invited Lee to their junior day, where he recalls watching film with their offensive coordinator. Harvard offered him opportunities to play both football and hockey, which he found “really appealing. But that would’ve just been absurd, and probably not doable. My talents were not going to get me further than college football, and I’m okay with that.”

In his mind, the choice was easy. “My route was always through hockey,” he says. But NHL teams were concerned. On the second day of the the 2008 draft, his first year of eligibility, Lee was watching from a friend’s basement—and wearing a Chicago Blackhawks T-shirt, he recalls—when his phone rang. It was former Islanders assistant GM Ryan Jankowski, calling from their table on the draft floor, wondering whether Lee planned to continue playing football as a senior at Edina. Yes, Lee replied. He was the captain and the quarterback. He couldn’t quit now.

“I think this was a pretty unique case,” Islanders GM Garth Snow says, explaining why his and every other team passed on Lee that June, “and I think that’s what scared most teams away.”

Fortunately, the Islanders had another crack. Ranked 118th among North American skaters by NHL central scouting, 117 spots behind future linemate John Tavares. Lee went in the sixth round and No. 152. (As the pick was announced, he was busy working a job with Cutco, making cold calls to sell knives.) “Powerful, strong, really raw,” Snow says. “The biggest question mark was his skating. We just felt there was enough character and drive to improve.”

Their faith has been rewarded. With 26 goals in 46 games this season, two behind Alex Ovechkin for the league lead, Lee counts among the NHL’s preeminent power forwards; all but three of those strikes have occurred below the faceoff hashmarks, largely on tip-ins, redirections, second-chance efforts and rebound cleanups. He certainly looks the part, 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds with swooped hair and a square jawline, like Johnny Bravo on skates. (One assumes this makes Tavares, as team captain, Johnny Alpha.)

“Takes a lot of energy to play against Anders, I’d imagine,” coach Doug Weight says. “It’s a good thing for his linemates as well. [Opponents] use a lot of fuel up trying to prevent him from getting to the paint or getting in the goalie’s eyes. It’s a distraction. It’s a fatigue factor for the other teams. He knows where his fish is fried. I can use four more cliches if you want. He knows what’s going to make his money.”

Drawing parallels between Lee’s football background and his on-ice presence isn’t difficult. “He hits like a lineman,” Weight says. “He comes in with these big claws and smashes you against the boards.” Watch how he digs into position around the crease, massive legs bent and arms ready, like he’s about to execute 432 Switch from the shotgun again. Or how he out-muscled Devils defenseman John Moore toward a loose puck in the first period Tuesday night, bolting toward paydirt to put the Islanders ahead 1-0. “At that point everyone was behind me,” Lee said after. “I don’t get that many breakaways in hockey.”

He misses football sometimes, but the sport finds ways to hang around. As a native Minnesotan, he is obviously rooting for the Vikings throughout their present miracle run. It was an ongoing joke among the Notre Dame men’s hockey team that Lee should’ve grabbed a playbook during his freshman year, because the Fighting Irish were hurting for quarterbacks after starter Dayne Crist suffered a knee injury. One summer, Lee told Nelson that he was coming back home to Edina. “I’ll meet you, we’ll talk some football,” Nelson said. “A little HOT SHALLOW DIG SHOOT sounds good to me,” Lee texted back. As a native Minnesotan, he is obviously rooting for the Vikings throughout their present miracle run.

Rallis still thinks about their “magical” season together too. Last week, the wrestler was driving with Levi Cooper, who performs under the name Tucker Knight, en route to another show on their circuit. Somehow, the conversation landed on high school football. Out spilled the decade-old memories—how Rallis had called Lee that summer, hoping to recruit him to Edina before the latter eventually transferred; how Lee once showed a brief shred of gridiron mortality by dropping a reverse pass from Rallis that got intercepted; how he later clinched the conference title against Wayzata by swatting down a deep ball at safety to preserve Edina's undefeated year.

“That’s my quarterback,” Rallis says. “He’ll always be my quarterback.”

WINTERHAVEN, CA - OCTOBER 08: An unmarked US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) border patrol vehicle drives along US-Mexico border where no fence divides the US (R) from Mexico (L) before dawn near the Imperial Dunes October 8, 2006 west of Winterhaven, California. US Fish and Wildlife Service wardens and environmentalists warn that a proposed plan by US lawmakers to construct 700 miles of double fencing along the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border, in an attempt to wall-out illegal immigrants, would also harm rare wildlife. Wildlife experts say cactus-pollinating insects would fly around fence lights, birds that migrate by starlight in the desert wilderness would be confused; and large mammals such as jaguars, Mexican wolves, Sonoran pronghorn antelope, and desert bighorn sheep would be blocked from migrating across the international border, from California to Texas. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Faltering Nafta Talks May Set U.S. Markets' Future
WINTERHAVEN, CA - OCTOBER 08: An unmarked US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) border patrol vehicle drives along US-Mexico border where no fence divides the US (R) from Mexico (L) before dawn near the Imperial Dunes October 8, 2006 west of Winterhaven, California. US Fish and Wildlife Service wardens and environmentalists warn that a proposed plan by US lawmakers to construct 700 miles of double fencing along the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border, in an attempt to wall-out illegal immigrants, would also harm rare wildlife. Wildlife experts say cactus-pollinating insects would fly around fence lights, birds that migrate by starlight in the desert wilderness would be confused; and large mammals such as jaguars, Mexican wolves, Sonoran pronghorn antelope, and desert bighorn sheep would be blocked from migrating across the international border, from California to Texas. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier stands guard during a night patrol near the India Pakistan border fencing at Suchet Garh in Ranbir Singh Pura, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) south of Jammu, India, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Security has been beefed up on the Indian side of the border ahead of India&#39;s Republic Day that will be celebrated on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier stands guard during a night patrol near the India Pakistan border fencing at Suchet Garh in Ranbir Singh Pura, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) south of Jammu, India, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Security has been beefed up on the Indian side of the border ahead of India's Republic Day that will be celebrated on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier stands guard during a night patrol near the India Pakistan border fencing at Suchet Garh in Ranbir Singh Pura, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) south of Jammu, India, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Security has been beefed up on the Indian side of the border ahead of India's Republic Day that will be celebrated on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Terrorism with special focus on ISIS, border fencing and cyber security will be brought to the table when India&#39;s security establishment meets the Israeli delegation accompanying Netanyahu on the 5-day visit starting Sunday.
India-Israel to Discuss ISIS, Border Issues But No Equipment Purchase During Netanyahu Visit
Terrorism with special focus on ISIS, border fencing and cyber security will be brought to the table when India's security establishment meets the Israeli delegation accompanying Netanyahu on the 5-day visit starting Sunday.
SAMSUNG VL 5 SPEAKER · Features a Magnetic Dial that Sticks to and Magnetic Surface · Control Volume and Sound · Samsung's AKG VL5 includes 3 5" Woofers and 2 tweeters · Enjoy 24/7/365 ADT Professional Monitoring services · Connect with hundreds of compatible SmartThings devices with the APP FUSION TREK PHONE SIGNAL BOOSTER BY SURECALL · First Time - Eliminates the need for any Cables/Antennas outside the Vehicle · Install is easy, Mount the Booster to your Rear window or Rear Deck · Cell Phone Must be secured against the Cradle. Magnets are provoded · Boosts signal for all North American carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint · Unlike you're phone bill, it's a one time fee. KIDS CONNECT GPS TRACKER & CELL PHONE · World's first 4G GPS Tracker Phone for kids · Parents Control All Incoming & Outgoing Numbers · Geo-fencing - keeps child within certain area · SOS Button for emergencies · Touch Screen · Voice Monitoring -- Send a Text to hear the surroundings · Keep your kids safe & in touch iDerma PHOTO THERAPY FOR FACE · Youth Restoring Masque for Home use · Uses Low Level LED's · Celebrities often talk about the benefits of Low Level LEDs for Beauty · A wearable home-use phototherapy device for a number of skin-related conditions including, wrinkles, acne, hyper-pigmentation, age spots, etc. · One 10 minute segment per day 3 times per week
The Best of CES 2018 (Pt 1)
SAMSUNG VL 5 SPEAKER · Features a Magnetic Dial that Sticks to and Magnetic Surface · Control Volume and Sound · Samsung's AKG VL5 includes 3 5" Woofers and 2 tweeters · Enjoy 24/7/365 ADT Professional Monitoring services · Connect with hundreds of compatible SmartThings devices with the APP FUSION TREK PHONE SIGNAL BOOSTER BY SURECALL · First Time - Eliminates the need for any Cables/Antennas outside the Vehicle · Install is easy, Mount the Booster to your Rear window or Rear Deck · Cell Phone Must be secured against the Cradle. Magnets are provoded · Boosts signal for all North American carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint · Unlike you're phone bill, it's a one time fee. KIDS CONNECT GPS TRACKER & CELL PHONE · World's first 4G GPS Tracker Phone for kids · Parents Control All Incoming & Outgoing Numbers · Geo-fencing - keeps child within certain area · SOS Button for emergencies · Touch Screen · Voice Monitoring -- Send a Text to hear the surroundings · Keep your kids safe & in touch iDerma PHOTO THERAPY FOR FACE · Youth Restoring Masque for Home use · Uses Low Level LED's · Celebrities often talk about the benefits of Low Level LEDs for Beauty · A wearable home-use phototherapy device for a number of skin-related conditions including, wrinkles, acne, hyper-pigmentation, age spots, etc. · One 10 minute segment per day 3 times per week
The White House is asking for $18 billion (£13 billion) from Capitol Hill to fund the US-Mexico border wall, Donald Trump&#39;s signature campaign promise. If granted, the money would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place. The entire border stretches almost 2,000 miles, although much of it is already impassable. The request forms part of a $33 billion, 10-year package to tighten up homeland security with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements&quot; such as technology, personnel and roads. According to reports, the blueprint allocates $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other officials; $5.7bn for towers, surveillance equipment and other technology; $1bn for road construction and maintenance. In return for the cash, the Trump administration will be expected to discuss a way forward for the so-called dreamers - illegal immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents and know no other country. Protesters supporting the so-called Dreamers outside the White House in September 2017 Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Under the Obama presidency, they were given protection from repatriation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act, known as DACA. Mr Trump announced the end of that programme last year and has said he will not sign a fix granting &quot;amnesty&quot; to DACA recipients without action to secure the border first. Negotiations over the wall&#39;s funding will form part of broader budget negotiations in the coming weeks that if not resolved could see a government shutdown. Sen Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee, said in a statement: “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction. &quot;I’ve been clear from the beginning that Senate Democrats will consider reasonable border security measures in order to pass the Dream Act into law. &quot;The Trump Administration set this crisis in motion when it ended DACA four months ago. It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills - plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding - on the backs of these young people.&quot; During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump promised his base he would build a &quot;big beautiful wall&quot; and that &quot;Mexico would pay for it.&quot; The chant of &quot;build that wall&quot; became a popular slogan among his supporters. At the time, he estimated the construction would cost $10 billion and cover the entire 2,000-mile border. So far, the Trump administration has struggled to secure funding to cover just 72 miles of priority areas along the border, which have been identified near San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley. Mexico has steadfastly refused to contribute and the spending plan indicates American taxpayers would fund it for at least the foreseeable future.
White House requests $13bn to build Trump's border wall
The White House is asking for $18 billion (£13 billion) from Capitol Hill to fund the US-Mexico border wall, Donald Trump's signature campaign promise. If granted, the money would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place. The entire border stretches almost 2,000 miles, although much of it is already impassable. The request forms part of a $33 billion, 10-year package to tighten up homeland security with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements" such as technology, personnel and roads. According to reports, the blueprint allocates $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other officials; $5.7bn for towers, surveillance equipment and other technology; $1bn for road construction and maintenance. In return for the cash, the Trump administration will be expected to discuss a way forward for the so-called dreamers - illegal immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents and know no other country. Protesters supporting the so-called Dreamers outside the White House in September 2017 Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Under the Obama presidency, they were given protection from repatriation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act, known as DACA. Mr Trump announced the end of that programme last year and has said he will not sign a fix granting "amnesty" to DACA recipients without action to secure the border first. Negotiations over the wall's funding will form part of broader budget negotiations in the coming weeks that if not resolved could see a government shutdown. Sen Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee, said in a statement: “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction. "I’ve been clear from the beginning that Senate Democrats will consider reasonable border security measures in order to pass the Dream Act into law. "The Trump Administration set this crisis in motion when it ended DACA four months ago. It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills - plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding - on the backs of these young people." During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump promised his base he would build a "big beautiful wall" and that "Mexico would pay for it." The chant of "build that wall" became a popular slogan among his supporters. At the time, he estimated the construction would cost $10 billion and cover the entire 2,000-mile border. So far, the Trump administration has struggled to secure funding to cover just 72 miles of priority areas along the border, which have been identified near San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley. Mexico has steadfastly refused to contribute and the spending plan indicates American taxpayers would fund it for at least the foreseeable future.
The White House is asking for $18 billion (£13 billion) from Capitol Hill to fund the US-Mexico border wall, Donald Trump&#39;s signature campaign promise. If granted, the money would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place. The entire border stretches almost 2,000 miles, although much of it is already impassable. The request forms part of a $33 billion, 10-year package to tighten up homeland security with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements&quot; such as technology, personnel and roads. According to reports, the blueprint allocates $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other officials; $5.7bn for towers, surveillance equipment and other technology; $1bn for road construction and maintenance. In return for the cash, the Trump administration will be expected to discuss a way forward for the so-called dreamers - illegal immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents and know no other country. Protesters supporting the so-called Dreamers outside the White House in September 2017 Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Under the Obama presidency, they were given protection from repatriation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act, known as DACA. Mr Trump announced the end of that programme last year and has said he will not sign a fix granting &quot;amnesty&quot; to DACA recipients without action to secure the border first. Negotiations over the wall&#39;s funding will form part of broader budget negotiations in the coming weeks that if not resolved could see a government shutdown. Sen Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee, said in a statement: “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction. &quot;I’ve been clear from the beginning that Senate Democrats will consider reasonable border security measures in order to pass the Dream Act into law. &quot;The Trump Administration set this crisis in motion when it ended DACA four months ago. It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills - plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding - on the backs of these young people.&quot; During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump promised his base he would build a &quot;big beautiful wall&quot; and that &quot;Mexico would pay for it.&quot; The chant of &quot;build that wall&quot; became a popular slogan among his supporters. At the time, he estimated the construction would cost $10 billion and cover the entire 2,000-mile border. So far, the Trump administration has struggled to secure funding to cover just 72 miles of priority areas along the border, which have been identified near San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley. Mexico has steadfastly refused to contribute and the spending plan indicates American taxpayers would fund it for at least the foreseeable future.
White House requests $13bn to build Trump's border wall
The White House is asking for $18 billion (£13 billion) from Capitol Hill to fund the US-Mexico border wall, Donald Trump's signature campaign promise. If granted, the money would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place. The entire border stretches almost 2,000 miles, although much of it is already impassable. The request forms part of a $33 billion, 10-year package to tighten up homeland security with the remaining $15 billion going to fund “critical physical border security requirements" such as technology, personnel and roads. According to reports, the blueprint allocates $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other officials; $5.7bn for towers, surveillance equipment and other technology; $1bn for road construction and maintenance. In return for the cash, the Trump administration will be expected to discuss a way forward for the so-called dreamers - illegal immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents and know no other country. Protesters supporting the so-called Dreamers outside the White House in September 2017 Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Under the Obama presidency, they were given protection from repatriation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act, known as DACA. Mr Trump announced the end of that programme last year and has said he will not sign a fix granting "amnesty" to DACA recipients without action to secure the border first. Negotiations over the wall's funding will form part of broader budget negotiations in the coming weeks that if not resolved could see a government shutdown. Sen Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee, said in a statement: “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction. "I’ve been clear from the beginning that Senate Democrats will consider reasonable border security measures in order to pass the Dream Act into law. "The Trump Administration set this crisis in motion when it ended DACA four months ago. It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills - plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding - on the backs of these young people." During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump promised his base he would build a "big beautiful wall" and that "Mexico would pay for it." The chant of "build that wall" became a popular slogan among his supporters. At the time, he estimated the construction would cost $10 billion and cover the entire 2,000-mile border. So far, the Trump administration has struggled to secure funding to cover just 72 miles of priority areas along the border, which have been identified near San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley. Mexico has steadfastly refused to contribute and the spending plan indicates American taxpayers would fund it for at least the foreseeable future.
<p>Star Wars fans worldwide are taking courses that combine various schools of fencing and martial arts to fight like Jedi knights.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thesaberauthority.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Saber Authority" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Saber Authority</a>, <a href="http://usa.ludosport.net/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:LudoSport International" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">LudoSport International</a>, and the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/saberfighting/about/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:School of Saberfighting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">School of Saberfighting</a> are a few that offer classes.</p>
Star Wars fans worldwide are attending lightsaber schools

Star Wars fans worldwide are taking courses that combine various schools of fencing and martial arts to fight like Jedi knights.

The Saber Authority, LudoSport International, and the School of Saberfighting are a few that offer classes.

<p>Star Wars fans worldwide are taking courses that combine various schools of fencing and martial arts to fight like Jedi knights.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thesaberauthority.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Saber Authority" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Saber Authority</a>, <a href="http://usa.ludosport.net/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:LudoSport International" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">LudoSport International</a>, and the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/saberfighting/about/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:School of Saberfighting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">School of Saberfighting</a> are a few that offer classes.</p>
Star Wars fans worldwide are attending lightsaber schools

Star Wars fans worldwide are taking courses that combine various schools of fencing and martial arts to fight like Jedi knights.

The Saber Authority, LudoSport International, and the School of Saberfighting are a few that offer classes.

The incident happened around 1pm, when the man, identified as Kailash Verma, climbed on steel pipes near the lions’ enclosure. He then scaled the wired fencing and jumped 18 feet inside the den.
Man Wanders Inside Indore Zoo’s Lion Enclosure, Rescued Unharmed
The incident happened around 1pm, when the man, identified as Kailash Verma, climbed on steel pipes near the lions’ enclosure. He then scaled the wired fencing and jumped 18 feet inside the den.
Beatrice &quot;Bebe&quot; Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Fencing's Golden Fighter
Beatrice "Bebe" Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Beatrice &quot;Bebe&quot; Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Fencing's Golden Fighter
Beatrice "Bebe" Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Beatrice "Bebe" Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Fencing's Golden Fighter
Beatrice "Bebe" Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Beatrice &quot;Bebe&quot; Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Fencing's Golden Fighter
Beatrice "Bebe" Vio is a fighter in more ways than one. At just five years old, she showed incredible promise at fencing. But, at age 11, her dreams were threatened after she contracted a severe form of meningitis that cost her both her hands and legs. Still, Vio remained undeterred and returned to fencing within a year. She began fencing from a wheelchair using a special prosthesis to hold her foil. Her fighting spirit paid off when she won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland has sold offshore assets from its asset financing group Lombard to specialist lenders Investec and Shawbrook Bank for £150m ($203.4m), Sky News reported on Wednesday. The state-backed bank put around £200m worth of assets up for sale in October in order to comply with new ring-fencing rules coming into force in 2019. They are intended to separate banks’ retail operations from riskier businesses such as investment banking. The rules mean RBS’s UK retail business cannot own assets outside of the European Economic Area. The assets are currently held in the Channel Islands. RBS declined to confirm the Sky News story. Investec and Shawbrook were not available for immediate comment.
RBS sells Lombard assets for £150m
Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland has sold offshore assets from its asset financing group Lombard to specialist lenders Investec and Shawbrook Bank for £150m ($203.4m), Sky News reported on Wednesday. The state-backed bank put around £200m worth of assets up for sale in October in order to comply with new ring-fencing rules coming into force in 2019. They are intended to separate banks’ retail operations from riskier businesses such as investment banking. The rules mean RBS’s UK retail business cannot own assets outside of the European Economic Area. The assets are currently held in the Channel Islands. RBS declined to confirm the Sky News story. Investec and Shawbrook were not available for immediate comment.
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Why your Old Sac NYE’s firework celebration might include caution tape
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Why your Old Sac NYE’s firework celebration might include caution tape
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Why your Old Sac NYE’s firework celebration might include caution tape
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
Why your Old Sac NYE’s firework celebration might include caution tape
Thousands of people will head out to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Old Sacramento and find caution tape and chain-link fencing. Crews are almost finish completing the new Old Sac Boardwalk. WATCH THE VIDEO above to see how the construction may obstruct your NYE firework view.
<p>It’s not very often a fox gets outfoxed – but for one tiny cub, a metal wire fence ended up being too much of a challenge for him. RSPCA animal welfare officer Carl Hone was called to Tadworth Primary School, in Surrey, on <span><span>12 April</span></span> by a teacher running a holiday club, who found the cub with his head stuck in the wire fence.<br>The cub, only around three or four weeks old, couldn’t free himself so Carl cut through the fencing with wire clippers. The little cub wasn’t injured, so Carl released him there and then so he could make his own way back to his den and family. (RSPCA) </p>
Outfoxed!

It’s not very often a fox gets outfoxed – but for one tiny cub, a metal wire fence ended up being too much of a challenge for him. RSPCA animal welfare officer Carl Hone was called to Tadworth Primary School, in Surrey, on 12 April by a teacher running a holiday club, who found the cub with his head stuck in the wire fence.
The cub, only around three or four weeks old, couldn’t free himself so Carl cut through the fencing with wire clippers. The little cub wasn’t injured, so Carl released him there and then so he could make his own way back to his den and family. (RSPCA)

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy says Premiership ring-fencing will be to England’s benefit.
London Irish director wants scrapping of Premiership promotion and relegation
London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy says Premiership ring-fencing will be to England’s benefit.
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
Caltrans puts up fencing near Stockton homeless encampments
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
Caltrans puts up fencing near Stockton homeless encampments
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
Caltrans puts up fencing near Stockton homeless encampments
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
Caltrans puts up fencing near Stockton homeless encampments
A new Caltrans project installs fencing near homeless encampments in Stockton. The fencing has forced people in the camps to leave and have nowhere to go. Caltrans says the project addresses safety issues and keeps people from trespassing.
The City of Joondalup has erected bollard fencing to stop illegal parking as locals complain about noise and driveway access.
Growing anger over Christmas lights display
The City of Joondalup has erected bollard fencing to stop illegal parking as locals complain about noise and driveway access.
The City of Joondalup has erected bollard fencing to stop illegal parking as locals complain about noise and driveway access.
Growing anger over Christmas lights display
The City of Joondalup has erected bollard fencing to stop illegal parking as locals complain about noise and driveway access.
Barbed wire lines fencing outside the Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) nuclear power plant, operated by Electricite de France SA (EDF), in Flamanville, France, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. EDF said it will start talks on reducing its stake in Areva SA's New NP reactor division after announcing a binding agreement to take control of the 2.5 billion-euro ($2.7 billion) business. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg
French Nuclear Delays Escalate as Contractors Fumble in Dark
Barbed wire lines fencing outside the Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) nuclear power plant, operated by Electricite de France SA (EDF), in Flamanville, France, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. EDF said it will start talks on reducing its stake in Areva SA's New NP reactor division after announcing a binding agreement to take control of the 2.5 billion-euro ($2.7 billion) business. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg
<p>How was <strong>Tom Savage</strong> allowed to return to the field so soon after suffering a concussion Sunday against the 49ers? The NFL announced Monday it had launched an investigation to answer that question, and to see if the established procedure for evaluating players during a game could be strengthened. Which raises an additional question: What exactly is that process again?</p><p>When a player receives impact to the head, he, a teammate, coach, NFL official, trainer, spotter, or independent neurological expert can remove him from play to conduct a sideline exam. From there, the player is either returned to play, sent to the locker room for further testing, or immediately placed in the concussion protocol, depending on the assessment by the head team trainer (who is assisted by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant). It&#39;s up to them—not any coaches—to determine whether a player is fit to play. They can use just about any evidence in making their ruling, including a player&#39;s speech pattern, his gait, his eye movement, his response to a set series of questions and—notably in this case—video review of the hit in question. </p><p>Video of Savage squirming after hitting the ground (diagnosed as a seizure by uneducated armchair neurologists, but more likely an instance of <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1494620-stevan-ridleys-concussion-biomechanics-of-his-injury-fencing-response" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fencing response" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fencing response</a>, an instinctual reaction to head trauma) was the main fuel for outrage on Sunday. Why didn&#39;t it prevent medical personnel from allowing Savage to re-enter the game and play three more downs? Two trained spotters in the booth have access to the TV feed, as does the sideline medical staff (though replays can&#39;t be viewed by coaches, for competitive strategy purposes). However, Texans coach <strong>Bill O&#39;Brien</strong> intimated that head Houston trainer <strong>Geoff Kaplan</strong> had not seen the hit and Savage&#39;s reaction before making his diagnosis; O&#39;Brien <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronWilson_NFL/status/940235133415776259" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> Monday, &quot;With benefit of seeing video . . . I would have never let that player back in the game and I don&#39;t believe that <strong>Geoff Kaplan</strong> would have allowed that player back in the game.&quot; So maybe that&#39;s where the process broke down in this case. Hopefully the league investigation provides answers.</p><p>The way to avoid that type of mistake could be to flip the testing paradigm around. Rather than having players re-enter the game unless they show obvious signs of concussion, doctors could keep them out until they are sure the player is healthy (maybe for a minimum of a quarter), allowing time for further evaluation of the player as well as the play that forced the testing. But teams and players will have to decide whether they can live with key players potentially staying on the sideline before it is revealed that they were not, in fact, concussed. </p><p><strong>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</em></a><em>.</em></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><strong>NOW ON THE MMQB: </strong>Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/carson-wentz-torn-acl-injury-philadelphia-eagles?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:stacks up" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">stacks up</a> the NFC playoff race post-Wentz ... Andy Benoit <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/ryan-shazier-injury-pittsburgh-steelers-replacements-patriots-game?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:studies" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">studies</a> the Steelers without <strong>Ryan Shazier</strong> ... Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/week-14-awards-jaguars-fans-seahawks-player-mmqb?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:hands out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">hands out</a> awards ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>. </p><p><b>LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB:</b> Our new Power Rankings poll ... Greg Bishop shows how painful an NFL Sunday is ... Jenny Vrentas recaps a week with the Eagles ... and more. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stay tuned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stay tuned</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. </strong>With <strong>Rob Gronkowski</strong> suspended, the Dolphins held the visiting Patriots from converting a single third down (0-for-11). At 6-7, Miami is still in the wild-card hunt, while New England now heads to Pittsburgh, trailing the Steelers in the race for the conference&#39;s top seed.</p><p><strong>2. Carson Wentz </strong>had a message for fans after having his season ended by a torn ACL. “I promise,” he said on <a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&#38;ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.philly.com%2Fphilly%2Fsports%2Fcarson-wentz-twitter-torn-acl-philadelphia-eagles-rams-20171211.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>. “This will not stop me and I will come back stronger than ever.” Stacey Burling <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/health/carson-wentz-acl-tear-recovery-time-philadelphia-eagles-20171212.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> what&#39;s in store for Wentz now. </p><p><strong>3.</strong> During his first media availability since suffering a severe leg injury against the Saints, Bears tight end <strong>Zach Miller</strong> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/g00/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-zach-miller-wiederer-20171211-story.html?i10c.encReferrer=" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> he&#39;s undergone eight surgeries on that leg now. He bent it for the first time last Friday . . . painfully. He&#39;s not sure if he&#39;ll ever play football again; for now he&#39;s killing time playing Madden.</p><p><strong>4. </strong>The Seahawks may have avoided suspensions for their actions at the end of Sunday&#39;s game, but that doesn&#39;t mean <strong>Pete Carroll</strong> is happy about them. “Everybody is remorseful,’’ <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/seahawks/seahawks-coach-pete-carroll-on-end-of-game-melee-at-jacksonville-everybody-is-remorseful-we-dont-want-to-play-like-that/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carroll said Monday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carroll said Monday</a>. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that, ever.’’</p><p><strong>5.</strong> With Wentz out of the picture, the Vikings suddenly have a clearer path to the Super Bowl. But will <a href="http://www.startribune.com/vikings-suddenly-unstable-offensive-line-feels-all-too-familiar-no-early-speculation-on-riley-reiff-s-status/463496723/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:offensive line instability" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">offensive line instability</a>, which doomed them after a 5-0 start a year ago, cost them again?</p><p><strong>6. </strong>The Lions are in a weird spot. At 7-6 with the Bears and Bengals next on the schedule, they&#39;re still alive in the playoff hunt. At the same time, <strong>Jim Caldwell </strong>seems to be coaching for his job. Despite that, he <a href="https://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/12/11/detroit-lions-jim-caldwell-team-resiliency/942753001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:deflected credit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">deflected credit</a> for Detroit&#39;s resiliency of late.</p><p><strong>7. </strong>In Esquire, <strong>Richard Sherman</strong> gave <a href="http://www.esquire.com/sports/a14323331/richard-sherman-nfl-protests-kaepernick-trump/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a wide-ranging interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a wide-ranging interview</a>. On the topic of head injuries, he said, &quot;the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion.&quot; And that was just the second question.</p><p><strong>8.</strong> <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> may be gone, but the chaos continues in East Rutherford. The latest scandal is <strong>Eli Apple</strong> <a href="https://www.newsday.com/sports/football/giants/eli-apple-giants-steve-spagnuolo-1.15419596" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tweeting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tweeting</a> (including retweeting a Cowboys highlight) during Sunday&#39;s loss. Want the Giants&#39; 2017 in a sentence? &quot;Spagnuolo said he was not aware of the content of the tweets.&quot;</p><p><strong>9. </strong>Big news for non-Verizon customers: you could be able to <a href="https://www.recode.net/2017/12/11/16760394/verizon-nfl-games-stream-football-1-5-billion" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:watch local and national NFL games on your phone" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">watch local and national NFL games on your phone</a> as soon as January.</p><p><strong>10.</strong> Meet <a href="https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/yellowjackets-womens-football/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Austin Yellow Jackets" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Austin Yellow Jackets</a>, Texas&#39;s Only Female Football Team Coached Solely by Women.</p><p><em><strong>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</strong></em> <span><em>Let us know here.</em></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>A week after <strong>Eli Manning</strong> was benched, another <a href="http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/12/scott-hanson-redzone-bathroom-break-streak-four-years-nfl-network" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:historic streak" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">historic streak</a> came to an end.</p><p><strong>Question? Comment? Story idea?</strong><i> L</i><em>et the team know at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></em></p>
How Tom Savage's Concussion Should Have Been Handled

How was Tom Savage allowed to return to the field so soon after suffering a concussion Sunday against the 49ers? The NFL announced Monday it had launched an investigation to answer that question, and to see if the established procedure for evaluating players during a game could be strengthened. Which raises an additional question: What exactly is that process again?

When a player receives impact to the head, he, a teammate, coach, NFL official, trainer, spotter, or independent neurological expert can remove him from play to conduct a sideline exam. From there, the player is either returned to play, sent to the locker room for further testing, or immediately placed in the concussion protocol, depending on the assessment by the head team trainer (who is assisted by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant). It's up to them—not any coaches—to determine whether a player is fit to play. They can use just about any evidence in making their ruling, including a player's speech pattern, his gait, his eye movement, his response to a set series of questions and—notably in this case—video review of the hit in question.

Video of Savage squirming after hitting the ground (diagnosed as a seizure by uneducated armchair neurologists, but more likely an instance of fencing response, an instinctual reaction to head trauma) was the main fuel for outrage on Sunday. Why didn't it prevent medical personnel from allowing Savage to re-enter the game and play three more downs? Two trained spotters in the booth have access to the TV feed, as does the sideline medical staff (though replays can't be viewed by coaches, for competitive strategy purposes). However, Texans coach Bill O'Brien intimated that head Houston trainer Geoff Kaplan had not seen the hit and Savage's reaction before making his diagnosis; O'Brien said Monday, "With benefit of seeing video . . . I would have never let that player back in the game and I don't believe that Geoff Kaplan would have allowed that player back in the game." So maybe that's where the process broke down in this case. Hopefully the league investigation provides answers.

The way to avoid that type of mistake could be to flip the testing paradigm around. Rather than having players re-enter the game unless they show obvious signs of concussion, doctors could keep them out until they are sure the player is healthy (maybe for a minimum of a quarter), allowing time for further evaluation of the player as well as the play that forced the testing. But teams and players will have to decide whether they can live with key players potentially staying on the sideline before it is revealed that they were not, in fact, concussed.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr stacks up the NFC playoff race post-Wentz ... Andy Benoit studies the Steelers without Ryan Shazier ... Peter King hands out awards ... and more.

LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Our new Power Rankings poll ... Greg Bishop shows how painful an NFL Sunday is ... Jenny Vrentas recaps a week with the Eagles ... and more. Stay tuned.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. With Rob Gronkowski suspended, the Dolphins held the visiting Patriots from converting a single third down (0-for-11). At 6-7, Miami is still in the wild-card hunt, while New England now heads to Pittsburgh, trailing the Steelers in the race for the conference's top seed.

2. Carson Wentz had a message for fans after having his season ended by a torn ACL. “I promise,” he said on Twitter. “This will not stop me and I will come back stronger than ever.” Stacey Burling explains what's in store for Wentz now.

3. During his first media availability since suffering a severe leg injury against the Saints, Bears tight end Zach Miller said he's undergone eight surgeries on that leg now. He bent it for the first time last Friday . . . painfully. He's not sure if he'll ever play football again; for now he's killing time playing Madden.

4. The Seahawks may have avoided suspensions for their actions at the end of Sunday's game, but that doesn't mean Pete Carroll is happy about them. “Everybody is remorseful,’’ Carroll said Monday. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that, ever.’’

5. With Wentz out of the picture, the Vikings suddenly have a clearer path to the Super Bowl. But will offensive line instability, which doomed them after a 5-0 start a year ago, cost them again?

6. The Lions are in a weird spot. At 7-6 with the Bears and Bengals next on the schedule, they're still alive in the playoff hunt. At the same time, Jim Caldwell seems to be coaching for his job. Despite that, he deflected credit for Detroit's resiliency of late.

7. In Esquire, Richard Sherman gave a wide-ranging interview. On the topic of head injuries, he said, "the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion." And that was just the second question.

8. Ben McAdoo may be gone, but the chaos continues in East Rutherford. The latest scandal is Eli Apple tweeting (including retweeting a Cowboys highlight) during Sunday's loss. Want the Giants' 2017 in a sentence? "Spagnuolo said he was not aware of the content of the tweets."

9. Big news for non-Verizon customers: you could be able to watch local and national NFL games on your phone as soon as January.

10. Meet the Austin Yellow Jackets, Texas's Only Female Football Team Coached Solely by Women.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

A week after Eli Manning was benched, another historic streak came to an end.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>How was <strong>Tom Savage</strong> allowed to return to the field so soon after suffering a concussion Sunday against the 49ers? The NFL announced Monday it had launched an investigation to answer that question, and to see if the established procedure for evaluating players during a game could be strengthened. Which raises an additional question: What exactly is that process again?</p><p>When a player receives impact to the head, he, a teammate, coach, NFL official, trainer, spotter, or independent neurological expert can remove him from play to conduct a sideline exam. From there, the player is either returned to play, sent to the locker room for further testing, or immediately placed in the concussion protocol, depending on the assessment by the head team trainer (who is assisted by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant). It&#39;s up to them—not any coaches—to determine whether a player is fit to play. They can use just about any evidence in making their ruling, including a player&#39;s speech pattern, his gait, his eye movement, his response to a set series of questions and—notably in this case—video review of the hit in question. </p><p>Video of Savage squirming after hitting the ground (diagnosed as a seizure by uneducated armchair neurologists, but more likely an instance of <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1494620-stevan-ridleys-concussion-biomechanics-of-his-injury-fencing-response" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fencing response" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fencing response</a>, an instinctual reaction to head trauma) was the main fuel for outrage on Sunday. Why didn&#39;t it prevent medical personnel from allowing Savage to re-enter the game and play three more downs? Two trained spotters in the booth have access to the TV feed, as does the sideline medical staff (though replays can&#39;t be viewed by coaches, for competitive strategy purposes). However, Texans coach <strong>Bill O&#39;Brien</strong> intimated that head Houston trainer <strong>Geoff Kaplan</strong> had not seen the hit and Savage&#39;s reaction before making his diagnosis; O&#39;Brien <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronWilson_NFL/status/940235133415776259" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> Monday, &quot;With benefit of seeing video . . . I would have never let that player back in the game and I don&#39;t believe that <strong>Geoff Kaplan</strong> would have allowed that player back in the game.&quot; So maybe that&#39;s where the process broke down in this case. Hopefully the league investigation provides answers.</p><p>The way to avoid that type of mistake could be to flip the testing paradigm around. Rather than having players re-enter the game unless they show obvious signs of concussion, doctors could keep them out until they are sure the player is healthy (maybe for a minimum of a quarter), allowing time for further evaluation of the player as well as the play that forced the testing. But teams and players will have to decide whether they can live with key players potentially staying on the sideline before it is revealed that they were not, in fact, concussed. </p><p><strong>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</em></a><em>.</em></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><strong>NOW ON THE MMQB: </strong>Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/carson-wentz-torn-acl-injury-philadelphia-eagles?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:stacks up" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">stacks up</a> the NFC playoff race post-Wentz ... Andy Benoit <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/ryan-shazier-injury-pittsburgh-steelers-replacements-patriots-game?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:studies" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">studies</a> the Steelers without <strong>Ryan Shazier</strong> ... Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/week-14-awards-jaguars-fans-seahawks-player-mmqb?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:hands out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">hands out</a> awards ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>. </p><p><b>LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB:</b> Our new Power Rankings poll ... Greg Bishop shows how painful an NFL Sunday is ... Jenny Vrentas recaps a week with the Eagles ... and more. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stay tuned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stay tuned</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. </strong>With <strong>Rob Gronkowski</strong> suspended, the Dolphins held the visiting Patriots from converting a single third down (0-for-11). At 6-7, Miami is still in the wild-card hunt, while New England now heads to Pittsburgh, trailing the Steelers in the race for the conference&#39;s top seed.</p><p><strong>2. Carson Wentz </strong>had a message for fans after having his season ended by a torn ACL. “I promise,” he said on <a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&#38;ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.philly.com%2Fphilly%2Fsports%2Fcarson-wentz-twitter-torn-acl-philadelphia-eagles-rams-20171211.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>. “This will not stop me and I will come back stronger than ever.” Stacey Burling <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/health/carson-wentz-acl-tear-recovery-time-philadelphia-eagles-20171212.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> what&#39;s in store for Wentz now. </p><p><strong>3.</strong> During his first media availability since suffering a severe leg injury against the Saints, Bears tight end <strong>Zach Miller</strong> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/g00/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-zach-miller-wiederer-20171211-story.html?i10c.encReferrer=" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> he&#39;s undergone eight surgeries on that leg now. He bent it for the first time last Friday . . . painfully. He&#39;s not sure if he&#39;ll ever play football again; for now he&#39;s killing time playing Madden.</p><p><strong>4. </strong>The Seahawks may have avoided suspensions for their actions at the end of Sunday&#39;s game, but that doesn&#39;t mean <strong>Pete Carroll</strong> is happy about them. “Everybody is remorseful,’’ <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/seahawks/seahawks-coach-pete-carroll-on-end-of-game-melee-at-jacksonville-everybody-is-remorseful-we-dont-want-to-play-like-that/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carroll said Monday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carroll said Monday</a>. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that, ever.’’</p><p><strong>5.</strong> With Wentz out of the picture, the Vikings suddenly have a clearer path to the Super Bowl. But will <a href="http://www.startribune.com/vikings-suddenly-unstable-offensive-line-feels-all-too-familiar-no-early-speculation-on-riley-reiff-s-status/463496723/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:offensive line instability" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">offensive line instability</a>, which doomed them after a 5-0 start a year ago, cost them again?</p><p><strong>6. </strong>The Lions are in a weird spot. At 7-6 with the Bears and Bengals next on the schedule, they&#39;re still alive in the playoff hunt. At the same time, <strong>Jim Caldwell </strong>seems to be coaching for his job. Despite that, he <a href="https://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/12/11/detroit-lions-jim-caldwell-team-resiliency/942753001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:deflected credit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">deflected credit</a> for Detroit&#39;s resiliency of late.</p><p><strong>7. </strong>In Esquire, <strong>Richard Sherman</strong> gave <a href="http://www.esquire.com/sports/a14323331/richard-sherman-nfl-protests-kaepernick-trump/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a wide-ranging interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a wide-ranging interview</a>. On the topic of head injuries, he said, &quot;the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion.&quot; And that was just the second question.</p><p><strong>8.</strong> <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> may be gone, but the chaos continues in East Rutherford. The latest scandal is <strong>Eli Apple</strong> <a href="https://www.newsday.com/sports/football/giants/eli-apple-giants-steve-spagnuolo-1.15419596" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tweeting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tweeting</a> (including retweeting a Cowboys highlight) during Sunday&#39;s loss. Want the Giants&#39; 2017 in a sentence? &quot;Spagnuolo said he was not aware of the content of the tweets.&quot;</p><p><strong>9. </strong>Big news for non-Verizon customers: you could be able to <a href="https://www.recode.net/2017/12/11/16760394/verizon-nfl-games-stream-football-1-5-billion" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:watch local and national NFL games on your phone" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">watch local and national NFL games on your phone</a> as soon as January.</p><p><strong>10.</strong> Meet <a href="https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/yellowjackets-womens-football/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Austin Yellow Jackets" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Austin Yellow Jackets</a>, Texas&#39;s Only Female Football Team Coached Solely by Women.</p><p><em><strong>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</strong></em> <span><em>Let us know here.</em></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>A week after <strong>Eli Manning</strong> was benched, another <a href="http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/12/scott-hanson-redzone-bathroom-break-streak-four-years-nfl-network" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:historic streak" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">historic streak</a> came to an end.</p><p><strong>Question? Comment? Story idea?</strong><i> L</i><em>et the team know at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></em></p>
How Tom Savage's Concussion Should Have Been Handled

How was Tom Savage allowed to return to the field so soon after suffering a concussion Sunday against the 49ers? The NFL announced Monday it had launched an investigation to answer that question, and to see if the established procedure for evaluating players during a game could be strengthened. Which raises an additional question: What exactly is that process again?

When a player receives impact to the head, he, a teammate, coach, NFL official, trainer, spotter, or independent neurological expert can remove him from play to conduct a sideline exam. From there, the player is either returned to play, sent to the locker room for further testing, or immediately placed in the concussion protocol, depending on the assessment by the head team trainer (who is assisted by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant). It's up to them—not any coaches—to determine whether a player is fit to play. They can use just about any evidence in making their ruling, including a player's speech pattern, his gait, his eye movement, his response to a set series of questions and—notably in this case—video review of the hit in question.

Video of Savage squirming after hitting the ground (diagnosed as a seizure by uneducated armchair neurologists, but more likely an instance of fencing response, an instinctual reaction to head trauma) was the main fuel for outrage on Sunday. Why didn't it prevent medical personnel from allowing Savage to re-enter the game and play three more downs? Two trained spotters in the booth have access to the TV feed, as does the sideline medical staff (though replays can't be viewed by coaches, for competitive strategy purposes). However, Texans coach Bill O'Brien intimated that head Houston trainer Geoff Kaplan had not seen the hit and Savage's reaction before making his diagnosis; O'Brien said Monday, "With benefit of seeing video . . . I would have never let that player back in the game and I don't believe that Geoff Kaplan would have allowed that player back in the game." So maybe that's where the process broke down in this case. Hopefully the league investigation provides answers.

The way to avoid that type of mistake could be to flip the testing paradigm around. Rather than having players re-enter the game unless they show obvious signs of concussion, doctors could keep them out until they are sure the player is healthy (maybe for a minimum of a quarter), allowing time for further evaluation of the player as well as the play that forced the testing. But teams and players will have to decide whether they can live with key players potentially staying on the sideline before it is revealed that they were not, in fact, concussed.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr stacks up the NFC playoff race post-Wentz ... Andy Benoit studies the Steelers without Ryan Shazier ... Peter King hands out awards ... and more.

LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Our new Power Rankings poll ... Greg Bishop shows how painful an NFL Sunday is ... Jenny Vrentas recaps a week with the Eagles ... and more. Stay tuned.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. With Rob Gronkowski suspended, the Dolphins held the visiting Patriots from converting a single third down (0-for-11). At 6-7, Miami is still in the wild-card hunt, while New England now heads to Pittsburgh, trailing the Steelers in the race for the conference's top seed.

2. Carson Wentz had a message for fans after having his season ended by a torn ACL. “I promise,” he said on Twitter. “This will not stop me and I will come back stronger than ever.” Stacey Burling explains what's in store for Wentz now.

3. During his first media availability since suffering a severe leg injury against the Saints, Bears tight end Zach Miller said he's undergone eight surgeries on that leg now. He bent it for the first time last Friday . . . painfully. He's not sure if he'll ever play football again; for now he's killing time playing Madden.

4. The Seahawks may have avoided suspensions for their actions at the end of Sunday's game, but that doesn't mean Pete Carroll is happy about them. “Everybody is remorseful,’’ Carroll said Monday. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that, ever.’’

5. With Wentz out of the picture, the Vikings suddenly have a clearer path to the Super Bowl. But will offensive line instability, which doomed them after a 5-0 start a year ago, cost them again?

6. The Lions are in a weird spot. At 7-6 with the Bears and Bengals next on the schedule, they're still alive in the playoff hunt. At the same time, Jim Caldwell seems to be coaching for his job. Despite that, he deflected credit for Detroit's resiliency of late.

7. In Esquire, Richard Sherman gave a wide-ranging interview. On the topic of head injuries, he said, "the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion." And that was just the second question.

8. Ben McAdoo may be gone, but the chaos continues in East Rutherford. The latest scandal is Eli Apple tweeting (including retweeting a Cowboys highlight) during Sunday's loss. Want the Giants' 2017 in a sentence? "Spagnuolo said he was not aware of the content of the tweets."

9. Big news for non-Verizon customers: you could be able to watch local and national NFL games on your phone as soon as January.

10. Meet the Austin Yellow Jackets, Texas's Only Female Football Team Coached Solely by Women.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

A week after Eli Manning was benched, another historic streak came to an end.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>How was <strong>Tom Savage</strong> allowed to return to the field so soon after suffering a concussion Sunday against the 49ers? The NFL announced Monday it had launched an investigation to answer that question, and to see if the established procedure for evaluating players during a game could be strengthened. Which raises an additional question: What exactly is that process again?</p><p>When a player receives impact to the head, he, a teammate, coach, NFL official, trainer, spotter, or independent neurological expert can remove him from play to conduct a sideline exam. From there, the player is either returned to play, sent to the locker room for further testing, or immediately placed in the concussion protocol, depending on the assessment by the head team trainer (who is assisted by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant). It&#39;s up to them—not any coaches—to determine whether a player is fit to play. They can use just about any evidence in making their ruling, including a player&#39;s speech pattern, his gait, his eye movement, his response to a set series of questions and—notably in this case—video review of the hit in question. </p><p>Video of Savage squirming after hitting the ground (diagnosed as a seizure by uneducated armchair neurologists, but more likely an instance of <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1494620-stevan-ridleys-concussion-biomechanics-of-his-injury-fencing-response" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fencing response" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fencing response</a>, an instinctual reaction to head trauma) was the main fuel for outrage on Sunday. Why didn&#39;t it prevent medical personnel from allowing Savage to re-enter the game and play three more downs? Two trained spotters in the booth have access to the TV feed, as does the sideline medical staff (though replays can&#39;t be viewed by coaches, for competitive strategy purposes). However, Texans coach <strong>Bill O&#39;Brien</strong> intimated that head Houston trainer <strong>Geoff Kaplan</strong> had not seen the hit and Savage&#39;s reaction before making his diagnosis; O&#39;Brien <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronWilson_NFL/status/940235133415776259" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> Monday, &quot;With benefit of seeing video . . . I would have never let that player back in the game and I don&#39;t believe that <strong>Geoff Kaplan</strong> would have allowed that player back in the game.&quot; So maybe that&#39;s where the process broke down in this case. Hopefully the league investigation provides answers.</p><p>The way to avoid that type of mistake could be to flip the testing paradigm around. Rather than having players re-enter the game unless they show obvious signs of concussion, doctors could keep them out until they are sure the player is healthy (maybe for a minimum of a quarter), allowing time for further evaluation of the player as well as the play that forced the testing. But teams and players will have to decide whether they can live with key players potentially staying on the sideline before it is revealed that they were not, in fact, concussed. </p><p><strong>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</em></a><em>.</em></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><strong>NOW ON THE MMQB: </strong>Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/carson-wentz-torn-acl-injury-philadelphia-eagles?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:stacks up" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">stacks up</a> the NFC playoff race post-Wentz ... Andy Benoit <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/ryan-shazier-injury-pittsburgh-steelers-replacements-patriots-game?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:studies" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">studies</a> the Steelers without <strong>Ryan Shazier</strong> ... Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/11/week-14-awards-jaguars-fans-seahawks-player-mmqb?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:hands out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">hands out</a> awards ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>. </p><p><b>LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB:</b> Our new Power Rankings poll ... Greg Bishop shows how painful an NFL Sunday is ... Jenny Vrentas recaps a week with the Eagles ... and more. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stay tuned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stay tuned</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. </strong>With <strong>Rob Gronkowski</strong> suspended, the Dolphins held the visiting Patriots from converting a single third down (0-for-11). At 6-7, Miami is still in the wild-card hunt, while New England now heads to Pittsburgh, trailing the Steelers in the race for the conference&#39;s top seed.</p><p><strong>2. Carson Wentz </strong>had a message for fans after having his season ended by a torn ACL. “I promise,” he said on <a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&#38;ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.philly.com%2Fphilly%2Fsports%2Fcarson-wentz-twitter-torn-acl-philadelphia-eagles-rams-20171211.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>. “This will not stop me and I will come back stronger than ever.” Stacey Burling <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/health/carson-wentz-acl-tear-recovery-time-philadelphia-eagles-20171212.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> what&#39;s in store for Wentz now. </p><p><strong>3.</strong> During his first media availability since suffering a severe leg injury against the Saints, Bears tight end <strong>Zach Miller</strong> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/g00/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-zach-miller-wiederer-20171211-story.html?i10c.encReferrer=" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> he&#39;s undergone eight surgeries on that leg now. He bent it for the first time last Friday . . . painfully. He&#39;s not sure if he&#39;ll ever play football again; for now he&#39;s killing time playing Madden.</p><p><strong>4. </strong>The Seahawks may have avoided suspensions for their actions at the end of Sunday&#39;s game, but that doesn&#39;t mean <strong>Pete Carroll</strong> is happy about them. “Everybody is remorseful,’’ <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/seahawks/seahawks-coach-pete-carroll-on-end-of-game-melee-at-jacksonville-everybody-is-remorseful-we-dont-want-to-play-like-that/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carroll said Monday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carroll said Monday</a>. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that, ever.’’</p><p><strong>5.</strong> With Wentz out of the picture, the Vikings suddenly have a clearer path to the Super Bowl. But will <a href="http://www.startribune.com/vikings-suddenly-unstable-offensive-line-feels-all-too-familiar-no-early-speculation-on-riley-reiff-s-status/463496723/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:offensive line instability" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">offensive line instability</a>, which doomed them after a 5-0 start a year ago, cost them again?</p><p><strong>6. </strong>The Lions are in a weird spot. At 7-6 with the Bears and Bengals next on the schedule, they&#39;re still alive in the playoff hunt. At the same time, <strong>Jim Caldwell </strong>seems to be coaching for his job. Despite that, he <a href="https://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/12/11/detroit-lions-jim-caldwell-team-resiliency/942753001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:deflected credit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">deflected credit</a> for Detroit&#39;s resiliency of late.</p><p><strong>7. </strong>In Esquire, <strong>Richard Sherman</strong> gave <a href="http://www.esquire.com/sports/a14323331/richard-sherman-nfl-protests-kaepernick-trump/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a wide-ranging interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a wide-ranging interview</a>. On the topic of head injuries, he said, &quot;the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion.&quot; And that was just the second question.</p><p><strong>8.</strong> <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> may be gone, but the chaos continues in East Rutherford. The latest scandal is <strong>Eli Apple</strong> <a href="https://www.newsday.com/sports/football/giants/eli-apple-giants-steve-spagnuolo-1.15419596" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tweeting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tweeting</a> (including retweeting a Cowboys highlight) during Sunday&#39;s loss. Want the Giants&#39; 2017 in a sentence? &quot;Spagnuolo said he was not aware of the content of the tweets.&quot;</p><p><strong>9. </strong>Big news for non-Verizon customers: you could be able to <a href="https://www.recode.net/2017/12/11/16760394/verizon-nfl-games-stream-football-1-5-billion" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:watch local and national NFL games on your phone" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">watch local and national NFL games on your phone</a> as soon as January.</p><p><strong>10.</strong> Meet <a href="https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/yellowjackets-womens-football/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Austin Yellow Jackets" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Austin Yellow Jackets</a>, Texas&#39;s Only Female Football Team Coached Solely by Women.</p><p><em><strong>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</strong></em> <span><em>Let us know here.</em></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>A week after <strong>Eli Manning</strong> was benched, another <a href="http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/12/scott-hanson-redzone-bathroom-break-streak-four-years-nfl-network" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:historic streak" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">historic streak</a> came to an end.</p><p><strong>Question? Comment? Story idea?</strong><i> L</i><em>et the team know at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></em></p>
How Tom Savage's Concussion Should Have Been Handled

How was Tom Savage allowed to return to the field so soon after suffering a concussion Sunday against the 49ers? The NFL announced Monday it had launched an investigation to answer that question, and to see if the established procedure for evaluating players during a game could be strengthened. Which raises an additional question: What exactly is that process again?

When a player receives impact to the head, he, a teammate, coach, NFL official, trainer, spotter, or independent neurological expert can remove him from play to conduct a sideline exam. From there, the player is either returned to play, sent to the locker room for further testing, or immediately placed in the concussion protocol, depending on the assessment by the head team trainer (who is assisted by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant). It's up to them—not any coaches—to determine whether a player is fit to play. They can use just about any evidence in making their ruling, including a player's speech pattern, his gait, his eye movement, his response to a set series of questions and—notably in this case—video review of the hit in question.

Video of Savage squirming after hitting the ground (diagnosed as a seizure by uneducated armchair neurologists, but more likely an instance of fencing response, an instinctual reaction to head trauma) was the main fuel for outrage on Sunday. Why didn't it prevent medical personnel from allowing Savage to re-enter the game and play three more downs? Two trained spotters in the booth have access to the TV feed, as does the sideline medical staff (though replays can't be viewed by coaches, for competitive strategy purposes). However, Texans coach Bill O'Brien intimated that head Houston trainer Geoff Kaplan had not seen the hit and Savage's reaction before making his diagnosis; O'Brien said Monday, "With benefit of seeing video . . . I would have never let that player back in the game and I don't believe that Geoff Kaplan would have allowed that player back in the game." So maybe that's where the process broke down in this case. Hopefully the league investigation provides answers.

The way to avoid that type of mistake could be to flip the testing paradigm around. Rather than having players re-enter the game unless they show obvious signs of concussion, doctors could keep them out until they are sure the player is healthy (maybe for a minimum of a quarter), allowing time for further evaluation of the player as well as the play that forced the testing. But teams and players will have to decide whether they can live with key players potentially staying on the sideline before it is revealed that they were not, in fact, concussed.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr stacks up the NFC playoff race post-Wentz ... Andy Benoit studies the Steelers without Ryan Shazier ... Peter King hands out awards ... and more.

LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Our new Power Rankings poll ... Greg Bishop shows how painful an NFL Sunday is ... Jenny Vrentas recaps a week with the Eagles ... and more. Stay tuned.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Dolphins 27, Patriots 20. With Rob Gronkowski suspended, the Dolphins held the visiting Patriots from converting a single third down (0-for-11). At 6-7, Miami is still in the wild-card hunt, while New England now heads to Pittsburgh, trailing the Steelers in the race for the conference's top seed.

2. Carson Wentz had a message for fans after having his season ended by a torn ACL. “I promise,” he said on Twitter. “This will not stop me and I will come back stronger than ever.” Stacey Burling explains what's in store for Wentz now.

3. During his first media availability since suffering a severe leg injury against the Saints, Bears tight end Zach Miller said he's undergone eight surgeries on that leg now. He bent it for the first time last Friday . . . painfully. He's not sure if he'll ever play football again; for now he's killing time playing Madden.

4. The Seahawks may have avoided suspensions for their actions at the end of Sunday's game, but that doesn't mean Pete Carroll is happy about them. “Everybody is remorseful,’’ Carroll said Monday. “We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that, ever.’’

5. With Wentz out of the picture, the Vikings suddenly have a clearer path to the Super Bowl. But will offensive line instability, which doomed them after a 5-0 start a year ago, cost them again?

6. The Lions are in a weird spot. At 7-6 with the Bears and Bengals next on the schedule, they're still alive in the playoff hunt. At the same time, Jim Caldwell seems to be coaching for his job. Despite that, he deflected credit for Detroit's resiliency of late.

7. In Esquire, Richard Sherman gave a wide-ranging interview. On the topic of head injuries, he said, "the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion." And that was just the second question.

8. Ben McAdoo may be gone, but the chaos continues in East Rutherford. The latest scandal is Eli Apple tweeting (including retweeting a Cowboys highlight) during Sunday's loss. Want the Giants' 2017 in a sentence? "Spagnuolo said he was not aware of the content of the tweets."

9. Big news for non-Verizon customers: you could be able to watch local and national NFL games on your phone as soon as January.

10. Meet the Austin Yellow Jackets, Texas's Only Female Football Team Coached Solely by Women.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

A week after Eli Manning was benched, another historic streak came to an end.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

Attendees partake in the inauguration ceremonies to swear in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. Lucas Jackson: &quot;The assignment was simply to shoot the inauguration from the Washington Monument. To avoid confusion I made sure to transmit crowd pictures while Trump was onstage with the crowd at its peak. Twitter quickly erupted with claims that my images were taken early in the morning or photoshopped to remove attendees. At his first briefing, the President&#39;s new press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: &quot;Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.&quot; This was not true. It was a new experience to have the validity of such a straightforward image questioned. After that press conference the picture was everywhere. Later, CNN released an image it took from the portico of the U.S. Capitol as Trump was sworn in. That vantage point is several hundred feet lower than the Washington Monument so the crowd looks bigger than in my picture. A second wave of &#39;liar&#39; inundated me on Twitter. I ignored the noise but posted a copy of my image on Instagram with the caption: &quot;Perspective; it matters.&quot; Later people noticed that the clock on the Smithsonian building in my picture shows the time at 1:15. Social media tried to claim my images were taken over an hour after the inauguration once the crowd had thinned. But the Smithsonian said its clock was broken and was stuck on that time.&quot; REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File photo SEARCH &quot;POY STORY&quot; FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH &quot;REUTERS POY&quot; FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Pictures of the Year: A picture and its story
Attendees partake in the inauguration ceremonies to swear in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. Lucas Jackson: "The assignment was simply to shoot the inauguration from the Washington Monument. To avoid confusion I made sure to transmit crowd pictures while Trump was onstage with the crowd at its peak. Twitter quickly erupted with claims that my images were taken early in the morning or photoshopped to remove attendees. At his first briefing, the President's new press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: "Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past." This was not true. It was a new experience to have the validity of such a straightforward image questioned. After that press conference the picture was everywhere. Later, CNN released an image it took from the portico of the U.S. Capitol as Trump was sworn in. That vantage point is several hundred feet lower than the Washington Monument so the crowd looks bigger than in my picture. A second wave of 'liar' inundated me on Twitter. I ignored the noise but posted a copy of my image on Instagram with the caption: "Perspective; it matters." Later people noticed that the clock on the Smithsonian building in my picture shows the time at 1:15. Social media tried to claim my images were taken over an hour after the inauguration once the crowd had thinned. But the Smithsonian said its clock was broken and was stuck on that time." REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File photo SEARCH "POY STORY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
<p>Fencing&#39;s Russian boss attacks flag ban at Olympics</p>
Fencing's Russian boss attacks flag ban at Olympics

Fencing's Russian boss attacks flag ban at Olympics

<p>Fencing&#39;s Russian boss attacks flag ban at Olympics</p>
Fencing's Russian boss attacks flag ban at Olympics

Fencing's Russian boss attacks flag ban at Olympics

A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies to swear in U.S. President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) on January 20, 2017 and President Barack Obama sometime between 12:07pm and 12:26pm on January 20, 2009, Washington, U.S. Lucas Jackson: &quot;The assignment was simply to shoot the inauguration from the Washington Monument. To avoid confusion I made sure to transmit crowd pictures while Trump was onstage with the crowd at its peak. Twitter quickly erupted with claims that my images were taken early in the morning or photoshopped to remove attendees. At his first briefing, the President&#39;s new press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: &quot;Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.&quot; This was not true. It was a new experience to have the validity of such a straightforward image questioned. After that press conference the picture was everywhere. Later, CNN released an image it took from the portico of the U.S. Capitol as Trump was sworn in. That vantage point is several hundred feet lower than the Washington Monument so the crowd looks bigger than in my picture. A second wave of &#39;liar&#39; inundated me on Twitter. I ignored the noise but posted a copy of my image on Instagram with the caption: &quot;Perspective; it matters.&quot; Later people noticed that the clock on the Smithsonian building in my picture shows the time at 1:15. Social media tried to claim my images were taken over an hour after the inauguration once the crowd had thinned. But the Smithsonian said its clock was broken and was stuck on that time.&quot; REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (L), Stelios Varias
Pictures of the Year: U.S. Politics
A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies to swear in U.S. President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) on January 20, 2017 and President Barack Obama sometime between 12:07pm and 12:26pm on January 20, 2009, Washington, U.S. Lucas Jackson: "The assignment was simply to shoot the inauguration from the Washington Monument. To avoid confusion I made sure to transmit crowd pictures while Trump was onstage with the crowd at its peak. Twitter quickly erupted with claims that my images were taken early in the morning or photoshopped to remove attendees. At his first briefing, the President's new press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: "Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past." This was not true. It was a new experience to have the validity of such a straightforward image questioned. After that press conference the picture was everywhere. Later, CNN released an image it took from the portico of the U.S. Capitol as Trump was sworn in. That vantage point is several hundred feet lower than the Washington Monument so the crowd looks bigger than in my picture. A second wave of 'liar' inundated me on Twitter. I ignored the noise but posted a copy of my image on Instagram with the caption: "Perspective; it matters." Later people noticed that the clock on the Smithsonian building in my picture shows the time at 1:15. Social media tried to claim my images were taken over an hour after the inauguration once the crowd had thinned. But the Smithsonian said its clock was broken and was stuck on that time." REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (L), Stelios Varias
A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies to swear in U.S. President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) on January 20, 2017 and President Barack Obama sometime between 12:07pm and 12:26pm on January 20, 2009, Washington, U.S. Lucas Jackson: &quot;The assignment was simply to shoot the inauguration from the Washington Monument. To avoid confusion I made sure to transmit crowd pictures while Trump was onstage with the crowd at its peak. Twitter quickly erupted with claims that my images were taken early in the morning or photoshopped to remove attendees. At his first briefing, the President&#39;s new press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: &quot;Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.&quot; This was not true. It was a new experience to have the validity of such a straightforward image questioned. After that press conference the picture was everywhere. Later, CNN released an image it took from the portico of the U.S. Capitol as Trump was sworn in. That vantage point is several hundred feet lower than the Washington Monument so the crowd looks bigger than in my picture. A second wave of &#39;liar&#39; inundated me on Twitter. I ignored the noise but posted a copy of my image on Instagram with the caption: &quot;Perspective; it matters.&quot; Later people noticed that the clock on the Smithsonian building in my picture shows the time at 1:15. Social media tried to claim my images were taken over an hour after the inauguration once the crowd had thinned. But the Smithsonian said its clock was broken and was stuck on that time.&quot; REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (L), Stelios Varias SEARCH &quot;POY TRUMP&quot; FOR THIS STORY
Pictures of the Year: U.S. Politics
A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies to swear in U.S. President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) on January 20, 2017 and President Barack Obama sometime between 12:07pm and 12:26pm on January 20, 2009, Washington, U.S. Lucas Jackson: "The assignment was simply to shoot the inauguration from the Washington Monument. To avoid confusion I made sure to transmit crowd pictures while Trump was onstage with the crowd at its peak. Twitter quickly erupted with claims that my images were taken early in the morning or photoshopped to remove attendees. At his first briefing, the President's new press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: "Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past." This was not true. It was a new experience to have the validity of such a straightforward image questioned. After that press conference the picture was everywhere. Later, CNN released an image it took from the portico of the U.S. Capitol as Trump was sworn in. That vantage point is several hundred feet lower than the Washington Monument so the crowd looks bigger than in my picture. A second wave of 'liar' inundated me on Twitter. I ignored the noise but posted a copy of my image on Instagram with the caption: "Perspective; it matters." Later people noticed that the clock on the Smithsonian building in my picture shows the time at 1:15. Social media tried to claim my images were taken over an hour after the inauguration once the crowd had thinned. But the Smithsonian said its clock was broken and was stuck on that time." REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (L), Stelios Varias SEARCH "POY TRUMP" FOR THIS STORY
If there’s one thing more exciting than the prospect of watching England limp out of the group stages of next year’s World Cup, it’s the chance to learn more about the enigmatic nether regions of the host nation. We all know Moscow and St Petersburg, each soaking in its own charm and character, but what of Kazan or Yekaterinburg? Nizhny Novgorod, anyone? Of the 11 cities set to welcome thousands of football fans from around the world, we would wager the names of eight, maybe nine, have never crossed the lips of those poised to visit. With that in mind, here’s a crash course on the Russian host cities you’ve never heard of. Or follow these links for the lowdown on Moscow and St Petersburg. 1. Samara Where is it? To the south-west, not far from the Kazakhstan border. Population: 1.2million Of note: Known as Kuybyshev, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev, from 1935 to 1991. How to get there: Kurumoch International Airport, as well as rail links to Moscow and other major cities. Samara is proud of its space-race heritage Credit: Getty “Samara is a very diverse city,” says the official World Cup literature. “It is a merchant town and an important aerospace centre; it is athletic, musical and youthful. Back in 1916, Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist and future Nobel Prize laureate, wrote: ‘Samara is the best, the most sinful, most elegant and most comfortable part of Moscow, cut out from the city and transplanted on the banks of the Volga.’” Samara is indeed home to Russia’s aerospace centre and is where the rocket that took Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was built. There is also a Football Museum, opened in 2007; Vladimir Lenin Memorial Home, where the Ulyanov family once rented a flat; and a subterranean stronghold made for Joseph Stalin but never used, today known as “Stalin’s Bunker”. The city on the banks of the Volga is twinned with Palermo, Italy, and St Louis, US, among others. 2. Yekaterinburg Where is it? East of the Urals. Population: 1.4million Of note: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the 1918 executions of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. How to get there: Kolstsovo International Airport is one of the largest in the country. The church built on the site of the Romanov executions Credit: Getty In contrast to St Petersburg’s “window to Europe”, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s “window to Asia”. Capital of the Urals, the region is of great economic importance and full of natural treasures, such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Why not swing by the Boris Yeltsin Museum? The former leader was born nearby. 3. Rostov-on-Don Where is it? Southern Russia, on the banks of the Black Sea. Population: 1.1million Of note: Home of the Don Cossacks. How to get there: Platov International is the city’s brand spanking new airport. “The story of the Don Cossacks, delectable fish, and all the traditions of a large trading port: Rostov-on-Don treats visitors to the flavours of the Russian south,” says Russia&#39;s World Cup information website. The city, twinned with Glasgow, boasts a number of tourist sites including Russian Orthodox churches, as well as the heritage of a raft of renowned authors, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Pushkin. The Upside Down House - where, you guessed it, everything is upside down - sounds perfect for travellers with time to kill. 59 fascinating things you didn&#39;t know about Russia 4. Sochi Where is it? The Russian Riviera - on the Black Sea. Population: 370,000 Of note: Winter Olympics 2014 host city. How to get there: Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Russian Riviera Credit: Getty We all know about Sochi, don’t we? The unofficial summer capital of Russia, where past tsars and Joseph Stalin had dachas (the latter of which can be visited), Sochi boasts a subtropical climate that warms the Russian elite every summer. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary Memorial Museum and Sochi’s Museum of Sporting Glory. The people behind the World Cup boast of its “impressive modern infrastructure”. 5. Saransk Where is it? Saransk is capital of the Mordovia region, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Population: 297,000 Of note: Gerard Depardieu, the French actor, has been a registered resident here since 2013. How to get there: There’s a daily direct train from Moscow, or a small airport. “Saransk is a town of myths and legends, with a chequered past and big plans for the future,” says the World Cup’s promotional literature. “Remembering his trip to Saransk, Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1906: ‘Old pines with long trunks and short crowns. The soil is black, and a little stony… Backwoods. The Sura River, and the best sturgeon ever.’ By 2018, when the FIFA World Cup arrives here, the myths of Saransk will have been transformed into architecture.” Intruguing. Do not miss the Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, or a triumvirate of excellent squares - Millennium Square, Victory Square and Soviet Square. Inside the bizarre world of Soviet sanatoriums 6. Kaliningrad Where is it? Prepare to have your mind blown. Population: 437,456 Of note: Kaliningrad is Russia’s European enclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. How to get there: Khrabrovo Airport, train from Moscow, or ferry from a number of European cities. During Soviet times Kaliningrad was a closed military zone, and after the fall of the USSR, it suffered a horrendous economic collapse. Today, however, it is popular with holidaying Russians, especially its half of the Unesco-protected Curonian Spit beach strip that it shares with Lithuania. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1255, Kaliningrad was also home to the legendary Baron Munchhausen, philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer and compose Ernst Hoffman. England in Kaliningrad: The city will host England v Belgium on 28 June 2018. 7. Volgograd Where is it? On the banks of the Volga, south-west of Moscow. Population: 1million Of note: Volgograd was once known as Stalingrad. How to get there: Volgograd International Airport connects to other major Russian cities, or its connected to Moscow by rail. The imposing The Motherland Calls sculpture Credit: Getty It’s hard to detach the city from its past, a city made by famous by a devastating Second World War siege. The official literature notes: “Over the course of the last hundred years, Volgograd has often been a prominent figure on the Russian and global stage. Many events have left their mark on the city in monuments, places and traditions. “Over the last century the city has changed its name three times: at the beginning of the twentieth century it was called Tsaritsyn and it was a backwater place on the banks of the Volga River. Then it became Stalingrad - the fortress that played a pivotal role in World War II, and later was renamed Volgograd, having become in the process a sunny and hospitable city whose residents love fishing, football, boat rides and beaches.” The Motherland Calls, a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad and the tallest statue of a woman in the world, is well worth a visit. The imposing structure soars above the city, while beneath it is buried the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev. England in Volgograd: The city will host England v Tunisia on 18 June 2018. 8. Nizhny Novgorod Where is it? 250 miles east of Moscow. Population: 1.3 million Of note: It was previously known as Gorky, in honour of the Soviet author. How to get there: Strigino International Airport. Colourful cathedral domes in Nizhny Novgorod Credit: GETTY The city was previously closed to foreigners during the Soviet era to protect the security of its military research centre and production factories. Even street maps were not available for sale until mid-1970s. “At the same time Nizhny Novgorod is an old Russian merchant town with timber planking and carved window frames that survived the onslaught of modern architecture,” says the official literature. The city boasts a Kremlin, “the cradle of Nizhny Novgorod”, built high above the Volga. The structure seen today was built in the 16th century. England in Nizhny Novgorod: The city will host England v Panama on 24 June 2018. 9. Kazan Where is it? Where the Volga meets the Kazanka. Population: 1.1million Of note: It is referred to the Sports Capital of Russia, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championships and 2015 World Aquatics Championships. How to get there: Kazan International Airport, or by rail from Moscow. Kazan, too, has a Kremlin, which in 2015 was visited by 1.5 million people. The World Cup organisers say Kazan is a “feast of a city”. “Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital,” they say. “The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.” The city has its own Millennium Bridge, too.
What can England fans expect in Nizhny Novgorod?
If there’s one thing more exciting than the prospect of watching England limp out of the group stages of next year’s World Cup, it’s the chance to learn more about the enigmatic nether regions of the host nation. We all know Moscow and St Petersburg, each soaking in its own charm and character, but what of Kazan or Yekaterinburg? Nizhny Novgorod, anyone? Of the 11 cities set to welcome thousands of football fans from around the world, we would wager the names of eight, maybe nine, have never crossed the lips of those poised to visit. With that in mind, here’s a crash course on the Russian host cities you’ve never heard of. Or follow these links for the lowdown on Moscow and St Petersburg. 1. Samara Where is it? To the south-west, not far from the Kazakhstan border. Population: 1.2million Of note: Known as Kuybyshev, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev, from 1935 to 1991. How to get there: Kurumoch International Airport, as well as rail links to Moscow and other major cities. Samara is proud of its space-race heritage Credit: Getty “Samara is a very diverse city,” says the official World Cup literature. “It is a merchant town and an important aerospace centre; it is athletic, musical and youthful. Back in 1916, Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist and future Nobel Prize laureate, wrote: ‘Samara is the best, the most sinful, most elegant and most comfortable part of Moscow, cut out from the city and transplanted on the banks of the Volga.’” Samara is indeed home to Russia’s aerospace centre and is where the rocket that took Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was built. There is also a Football Museum, opened in 2007; Vladimir Lenin Memorial Home, where the Ulyanov family once rented a flat; and a subterranean stronghold made for Joseph Stalin but never used, today known as “Stalin’s Bunker”. The city on the banks of the Volga is twinned with Palermo, Italy, and St Louis, US, among others. 2. Yekaterinburg Where is it? East of the Urals. Population: 1.4million Of note: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the 1918 executions of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. How to get there: Kolstsovo International Airport is one of the largest in the country. The church built on the site of the Romanov executions Credit: Getty In contrast to St Petersburg’s “window to Europe”, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s “window to Asia”. Capital of the Urals, the region is of great economic importance and full of natural treasures, such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Why not swing by the Boris Yeltsin Museum? The former leader was born nearby. 3. Rostov-on-Don Where is it? Southern Russia, on the banks of the Black Sea. Population: 1.1million Of note: Home of the Don Cossacks. How to get there: Platov International is the city’s brand spanking new airport. “The story of the Don Cossacks, delectable fish, and all the traditions of a large trading port: Rostov-on-Don treats visitors to the flavours of the Russian south,” says Russia's World Cup information website. The city, twinned with Glasgow, boasts a number of tourist sites including Russian Orthodox churches, as well as the heritage of a raft of renowned authors, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Pushkin. The Upside Down House - where, you guessed it, everything is upside down - sounds perfect for travellers with time to kill. 59 fascinating things you didn't know about Russia 4. Sochi Where is it? The Russian Riviera - on the Black Sea. Population: 370,000 Of note: Winter Olympics 2014 host city. How to get there: Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Russian Riviera Credit: Getty We all know about Sochi, don’t we? The unofficial summer capital of Russia, where past tsars and Joseph Stalin had dachas (the latter of which can be visited), Sochi boasts a subtropical climate that warms the Russian elite every summer. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary Memorial Museum and Sochi’s Museum of Sporting Glory. The people behind the World Cup boast of its “impressive modern infrastructure”. 5. Saransk Where is it? Saransk is capital of the Mordovia region, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Population: 297,000 Of note: Gerard Depardieu, the French actor, has been a registered resident here since 2013. How to get there: There’s a daily direct train from Moscow, or a small airport. “Saransk is a town of myths and legends, with a chequered past and big plans for the future,” says the World Cup’s promotional literature. “Remembering his trip to Saransk, Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1906: ‘Old pines with long trunks and short crowns. The soil is black, and a little stony… Backwoods. The Sura River, and the best sturgeon ever.’ By 2018, when the FIFA World Cup arrives here, the myths of Saransk will have been transformed into architecture.” Intruguing. Do not miss the Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, or a triumvirate of excellent squares - Millennium Square, Victory Square and Soviet Square. Inside the bizarre world of Soviet sanatoriums 6. Kaliningrad Where is it? Prepare to have your mind blown. Population: 437,456 Of note: Kaliningrad is Russia’s European enclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. How to get there: Khrabrovo Airport, train from Moscow, or ferry from a number of European cities. During Soviet times Kaliningrad was a closed military zone, and after the fall of the USSR, it suffered a horrendous economic collapse. Today, however, it is popular with holidaying Russians, especially its half of the Unesco-protected Curonian Spit beach strip that it shares with Lithuania. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1255, Kaliningrad was also home to the legendary Baron Munchhausen, philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer and compose Ernst Hoffman. England in Kaliningrad: The city will host England v Belgium on 28 June 2018. 7. Volgograd Where is it? On the banks of the Volga, south-west of Moscow. Population: 1million Of note: Volgograd was once known as Stalingrad. How to get there: Volgograd International Airport connects to other major Russian cities, or its connected to Moscow by rail. The imposing The Motherland Calls sculpture Credit: Getty It’s hard to detach the city from its past, a city made by famous by a devastating Second World War siege. The official literature notes: “Over the course of the last hundred years, Volgograd has often been a prominent figure on the Russian and global stage. Many events have left their mark on the city in monuments, places and traditions. “Over the last century the city has changed its name three times: at the beginning of the twentieth century it was called Tsaritsyn and it was a backwater place on the banks of the Volga River. Then it became Stalingrad - the fortress that played a pivotal role in World War II, and later was renamed Volgograd, having become in the process a sunny and hospitable city whose residents love fishing, football, boat rides and beaches.” The Motherland Calls, a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad and the tallest statue of a woman in the world, is well worth a visit. The imposing structure soars above the city, while beneath it is buried the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev. England in Volgograd: The city will host England v Tunisia on 18 June 2018. 8. Nizhny Novgorod Where is it? 250 miles east of Moscow. Population: 1.3 million Of note: It was previously known as Gorky, in honour of the Soviet author. How to get there: Strigino International Airport. Colourful cathedral domes in Nizhny Novgorod Credit: GETTY The city was previously closed to foreigners during the Soviet era to protect the security of its military research centre and production factories. Even street maps were not available for sale until mid-1970s. “At the same time Nizhny Novgorod is an old Russian merchant town with timber planking and carved window frames that survived the onslaught of modern architecture,” says the official literature. The city boasts a Kremlin, “the cradle of Nizhny Novgorod”, built high above the Volga. The structure seen today was built in the 16th century. England in Nizhny Novgorod: The city will host England v Panama on 24 June 2018. 9. Kazan Where is it? Where the Volga meets the Kazanka. Population: 1.1million Of note: It is referred to the Sports Capital of Russia, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championships and 2015 World Aquatics Championships. How to get there: Kazan International Airport, or by rail from Moscow. Kazan, too, has a Kremlin, which in 2015 was visited by 1.5 million people. The World Cup organisers say Kazan is a “feast of a city”. “Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital,” they say. “The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.” The city has its own Millennium Bridge, too.
If there’s one thing more exciting than the prospect of watching England limp out of the group stages of next year’s World Cup, it’s the chance to learn more about the enigmatic nether regions of the host nation. We all know Moscow and St Petersburg, each soaking in its own charm and character, but what of Kazan or Yekaterinburg? Nizhny Novgorod, anyone? Of the 11 cities set to welcome thousands of football fans from around the world, we would wager the names of eight, maybe nine, have never crossed the lips of those poised to visit. With that in mind, here’s a crash course on the Russian host cities you’ve never heard of. Or follow these links for the lowdown on Moscow and St Petersburg. 1. Samara Where is it? To the south-west, not far from the Kazakhstan border. Population: 1.2million Of note: Known as Kuybyshev, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev, from 1935 to 1991. How to get there: Kurumoch International Airport, as well as rail links to Moscow and other major cities. Samara is proud of its space-race heritage Credit: Getty “Samara is a very diverse city,” says the official World Cup literature. “It is a merchant town and an important aerospace centre; it is athletic, musical and youthful. Back in 1916, Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist and future Nobel Prize laureate, wrote: ‘Samara is the best, the most sinful, most elegant and most comfortable part of Moscow, cut out from the city and transplanted on the banks of the Volga.’” Samara is indeed home to Russia’s aerospace centre and is where the rocket that took Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was built. There is also a Football Museum, opened in 2007; Vladimir Lenin Memorial Home, where the Ulyanov family once rented a flat; and a subterranean stronghold made for Joseph Stalin but never used, today known as “Stalin’s Bunker”. The city on the banks of the Volga is twinned with Palermo, Italy, and St Louis, US, among others. 2. Yekaterinburg Where is it? East of the Urals. Population: 1.4million Of note: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the 1918 executions of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. How to get there: Kolstsovo International Airport is one of the largest in the country. The church built on the site of the Romanov executions Credit: Getty In contrast to St Petersburg’s “window to Europe”, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s “window to Asia”. Capital of the Urals, the region is of great economic importance and full of natural treasures, such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Why not swing by the Boris Yeltsin Museum? The former leader was born nearby. 3. Rostov-on-Don Where is it? Southern Russia, on the banks of the Black Sea. Population: 1.1million Of note: Home of the Don Cossacks. How to get there: Platov International is the city’s brand spanking new airport. “The story of the Don Cossacks, delectable fish, and all the traditions of a large trading port: Rostov-on-Don treats visitors to the flavours of the Russian south,” says Russia&#39;s World Cup information website. The city, twinned with Glasgow, boasts a number of tourist sites including Russian Orthodox churches, as well as the heritage of a raft of renowned authors, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Pushkin. The Upside Down House - where, you guessed it, everything is upside down - sounds perfect for travellers with time to kill. 59 fascinating things you didn&#39;t know about Russia 4. Sochi Where is it? The Russian Riviera - on the Black Sea. Population: 370,000 Of note: Winter Olympics 2014 host city. How to get there: Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Russian Riviera Credit: Getty We all know about Sochi, don’t we? The unofficial summer capital of Russia, where past tsars and Joseph Stalin had dachas (the latter of which can be visited), Sochi boasts a subtropical climate that warms the Russian elite every summer. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary Memorial Museum and Sochi’s Museum of Sporting Glory. The people behind the World Cup boast of its “impressive modern infrastructure”. 5. Saransk Where is it? Saransk is capital of the Mordovia region, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Population: 297,000 Of note: Gerard Depardieu, the French actor, has been a registered resident here since 2013. How to get there: There’s a daily direct train from Moscow, or a small airport. “Saransk is a town of myths and legends, with a chequered past and big plans for the future,” says the World Cup’s promotional literature. “Remembering his trip to Saransk, Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1906: ‘Old pines with long trunks and short crowns. The soil is black, and a little stony… Backwoods. The Sura River, and the best sturgeon ever.’ By 2018, when the FIFA World Cup arrives here, the myths of Saransk will have been transformed into architecture.” Intruguing. Do not miss the Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, or a triumvirate of excellent squares - Millennium Square, Victory Square and Soviet Square. Inside the bizarre world of Soviet sanatoriums 6. Kaliningrad Where is it? Prepare to have your mind blown. Population: 437,456 Of note: Kaliningrad is Russia’s European enclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. How to get there: Khrabrovo Airport, train from Moscow, or ferry from a number of European cities. During Soviet times Kaliningrad was a closed military zone, and after the fall of the USSR, it suffered a horrendous economic collapse. Today, however, it is popular with holidaying Russians, especially its half of the Unesco-protected Curonian Spit beach strip that it shares with Lithuania. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1255, Kaliningrad was also home to the legendary Baron Munchhausen, philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer and compose Ernst Hoffman. England in Kaliningrad: The city will host England v Belgium on 28 June 2018. 7. Volgograd Where is it? On the banks of the Volga, south-west of Moscow. Population: 1million Of note: Volgograd was once known as Stalingrad. How to get there: Volgograd International Airport connects to other major Russian cities, or its connected to Moscow by rail. The imposing The Motherland Calls sculpture Credit: Getty It’s hard to detach the city from its past, a city made by famous by a devastating Second World War siege. The official literature notes: “Over the course of the last hundred years, Volgograd has often been a prominent figure on the Russian and global stage. Many events have left their mark on the city in monuments, places and traditions. “Over the last century the city has changed its name three times: at the beginning of the twentieth century it was called Tsaritsyn and it was a backwater place on the banks of the Volga River. Then it became Stalingrad - the fortress that played a pivotal role in World War II, and later was renamed Volgograd, having become in the process a sunny and hospitable city whose residents love fishing, football, boat rides and beaches.” The Motherland Calls, a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad and the tallest statue of a woman in the world, is well worth a visit. The imposing structure soars above the city, while beneath it is buried the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev. England in Volgograd: The city will host England v Tunisia on 18 June 2018. 8. Nizhny Novgorod Where is it? 250 miles east of Moscow. Population: 1.3 million Of note: It was previously known as Gorky, in honour of the Soviet author. How to get there: Strigino International Airport. Colourful cathedral domes in Nizhny Novgorod Credit: GETTY The city was previously closed to foreigners during the Soviet era to protect the security of its military research centre and production factories. Even street maps were not available for sale until mid-1970s. “At the same time Nizhny Novgorod is an old Russian merchant town with timber planking and carved window frames that survived the onslaught of modern architecture,” says the official literature. The city boasts a Kremlin, “the cradle of Nizhny Novgorod”, built high above the Volga. The structure seen today was built in the 16th century. England in Nizhny Novgorod: The city will host England v Panama on 24 June 2018. 9. Kazan Where is it? Where the Volga meets the Kazanka. Population: 1.1million Of note: It is referred to the Sports Capital of Russia, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championships and 2015 World Aquatics Championships. How to get there: Kazan International Airport, or by rail from Moscow. Kazan, too, has a Kremlin, which in 2015 was visited by 1.5 million people. The World Cup organisers say Kazan is a “feast of a city”. “Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital,” they say. “The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.” The city has its own Millennium Bridge, too.
What can England fans expect in Nizhny Novgorod?
If there’s one thing more exciting than the prospect of watching England limp out of the group stages of next year’s World Cup, it’s the chance to learn more about the enigmatic nether regions of the host nation. We all know Moscow and St Petersburg, each soaking in its own charm and character, but what of Kazan or Yekaterinburg? Nizhny Novgorod, anyone? Of the 11 cities set to welcome thousands of football fans from around the world, we would wager the names of eight, maybe nine, have never crossed the lips of those poised to visit. With that in mind, here’s a crash course on the Russian host cities you’ve never heard of. Or follow these links for the lowdown on Moscow and St Petersburg. 1. Samara Where is it? To the south-west, not far from the Kazakhstan border. Population: 1.2million Of note: Known as Kuybyshev, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev, from 1935 to 1991. How to get there: Kurumoch International Airport, as well as rail links to Moscow and other major cities. Samara is proud of its space-race heritage Credit: Getty “Samara is a very diverse city,” says the official World Cup literature. “It is a merchant town and an important aerospace centre; it is athletic, musical and youthful. Back in 1916, Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist and future Nobel Prize laureate, wrote: ‘Samara is the best, the most sinful, most elegant and most comfortable part of Moscow, cut out from the city and transplanted on the banks of the Volga.’” Samara is indeed home to Russia’s aerospace centre and is where the rocket that took Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was built. There is also a Football Museum, opened in 2007; Vladimir Lenin Memorial Home, where the Ulyanov family once rented a flat; and a subterranean stronghold made for Joseph Stalin but never used, today known as “Stalin’s Bunker”. The city on the banks of the Volga is twinned with Palermo, Italy, and St Louis, US, among others. 2. Yekaterinburg Where is it? East of the Urals. Population: 1.4million Of note: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the 1918 executions of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. How to get there: Kolstsovo International Airport is one of the largest in the country. The church built on the site of the Romanov executions Credit: Getty In contrast to St Petersburg’s “window to Europe”, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s “window to Asia”. Capital of the Urals, the region is of great economic importance and full of natural treasures, such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Why not swing by the Boris Yeltsin Museum? The former leader was born nearby. 3. Rostov-on-Don Where is it? Southern Russia, on the banks of the Black Sea. Population: 1.1million Of note: Home of the Don Cossacks. How to get there: Platov International is the city’s brand spanking new airport. “The story of the Don Cossacks, delectable fish, and all the traditions of a large trading port: Rostov-on-Don treats visitors to the flavours of the Russian south,” says Russia's World Cup information website. The city, twinned with Glasgow, boasts a number of tourist sites including Russian Orthodox churches, as well as the heritage of a raft of renowned authors, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Pushkin. The Upside Down House - where, you guessed it, everything is upside down - sounds perfect for travellers with time to kill. 59 fascinating things you didn't know about Russia 4. Sochi Where is it? The Russian Riviera - on the Black Sea. Population: 370,000 Of note: Winter Olympics 2014 host city. How to get there: Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Russian Riviera Credit: Getty We all know about Sochi, don’t we? The unofficial summer capital of Russia, where past tsars and Joseph Stalin had dachas (the latter of which can be visited), Sochi boasts a subtropical climate that warms the Russian elite every summer. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary Memorial Museum and Sochi’s Museum of Sporting Glory. The people behind the World Cup boast of its “impressive modern infrastructure”. 5. Saransk Where is it? Saransk is capital of the Mordovia region, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Population: 297,000 Of note: Gerard Depardieu, the French actor, has been a registered resident here since 2013. How to get there: There’s a daily direct train from Moscow, or a small airport. “Saransk is a town of myths and legends, with a chequered past and big plans for the future,” says the World Cup’s promotional literature. “Remembering his trip to Saransk, Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1906: ‘Old pines with long trunks and short crowns. The soil is black, and a little stony… Backwoods. The Sura River, and the best sturgeon ever.’ By 2018, when the FIFA World Cup arrives here, the myths of Saransk will have been transformed into architecture.” Intruguing. Do not miss the Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, or a triumvirate of excellent squares - Millennium Square, Victory Square and Soviet Square. Inside the bizarre world of Soviet sanatoriums 6. Kaliningrad Where is it? Prepare to have your mind blown. Population: 437,456 Of note: Kaliningrad is Russia’s European enclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. How to get there: Khrabrovo Airport, train from Moscow, or ferry from a number of European cities. During Soviet times Kaliningrad was a closed military zone, and after the fall of the USSR, it suffered a horrendous economic collapse. Today, however, it is popular with holidaying Russians, especially its half of the Unesco-protected Curonian Spit beach strip that it shares with Lithuania. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1255, Kaliningrad was also home to the legendary Baron Munchhausen, philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer and compose Ernst Hoffman. England in Kaliningrad: The city will host England v Belgium on 28 June 2018. 7. Volgograd Where is it? On the banks of the Volga, south-west of Moscow. Population: 1million Of note: Volgograd was once known as Stalingrad. How to get there: Volgograd International Airport connects to other major Russian cities, or its connected to Moscow by rail. The imposing The Motherland Calls sculpture Credit: Getty It’s hard to detach the city from its past, a city made by famous by a devastating Second World War siege. The official literature notes: “Over the course of the last hundred years, Volgograd has often been a prominent figure on the Russian and global stage. Many events have left their mark on the city in monuments, places and traditions. “Over the last century the city has changed its name three times: at the beginning of the twentieth century it was called Tsaritsyn and it was a backwater place on the banks of the Volga River. Then it became Stalingrad - the fortress that played a pivotal role in World War II, and later was renamed Volgograd, having become in the process a sunny and hospitable city whose residents love fishing, football, boat rides and beaches.” The Motherland Calls, a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad and the tallest statue of a woman in the world, is well worth a visit. The imposing structure soars above the city, while beneath it is buried the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev. England in Volgograd: The city will host England v Tunisia on 18 June 2018. 8. Nizhny Novgorod Where is it? 250 miles east of Moscow. Population: 1.3 million Of note: It was previously known as Gorky, in honour of the Soviet author. How to get there: Strigino International Airport. Colourful cathedral domes in Nizhny Novgorod Credit: GETTY The city was previously closed to foreigners during the Soviet era to protect the security of its military research centre and production factories. Even street maps were not available for sale until mid-1970s. “At the same time Nizhny Novgorod is an old Russian merchant town with timber planking and carved window frames that survived the onslaught of modern architecture,” says the official literature. The city boasts a Kremlin, “the cradle of Nizhny Novgorod”, built high above the Volga. The structure seen today was built in the 16th century. England in Nizhny Novgorod: The city will host England v Panama on 24 June 2018. 9. Kazan Where is it? Where the Volga meets the Kazanka. Population: 1.1million Of note: It is referred to the Sports Capital of Russia, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championships and 2015 World Aquatics Championships. How to get there: Kazan International Airport, or by rail from Moscow. Kazan, too, has a Kremlin, which in 2015 was visited by 1.5 million people. The World Cup organisers say Kazan is a “feast of a city”. “Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital,” they say. “The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.” The city has its own Millennium Bridge, too.
If there’s one thing more exciting than the prospect of watching England limp out of the group stages of next year’s World Cup, it’s the chance to learn more about the enigmatic nether regions of the host nation. We all know Moscow and St Petersburg, each soaking in its own charm and character, but what of Kazan or Yekaterinburg? Nizhny Novgorod, anyone? Of the 11 cities set to welcome thousands of football fans from around the world, we would wager the names of eight, maybe nine, have never crossed the lips of those poised to visit. With that in mind, here’s a crash course on the Russian host cities you’ve never heard of. Or follow these links for the lowdown on Moscow and St Petersburg. 1. Samara Where is it? To the south-west, not far from the Kazakhstan border. Population: 1.2million Of note: Known as Kuybyshev, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev, from 1935 to 1991. How to get there: Kurumoch International Airport, as well as rail links to Moscow and other major cities. Samara is proud of its space-race heritage Credit: Getty “Samara is a very diverse city,” says the official World Cup literature. “It is a merchant town and an important aerospace centre; it is athletic, musical and youthful. Back in 1916, Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist and future Nobel Prize laureate, wrote: ‘Samara is the best, the most sinful, most elegant and most comfortable part of Moscow, cut out from the city and transplanted on the banks of the Volga.’” Samara is indeed home to Russia’s aerospace centre and is where the rocket that took Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was built. There is also a Football Museum, opened in 2007; Vladimir Lenin Memorial Home, where the Ulyanov family once rented a flat; and a subterranean stronghold made for Joseph Stalin but never used, today known as “Stalin’s Bunker”. The city on the banks of the Volga is twinned with Palermo, Italy, and St Louis, US, among others. 2. Yekaterinburg Where is it? East of the Urals. Population: 1.4million Of note: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the 1918 executions of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. How to get there: Kolstsovo International Airport is one of the largest in the country. The church built on the site of the Romanov executions Credit: Getty In contrast to St Petersburg’s “window to Europe”, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s “window to Asia”. Capital of the Urals, the region is of great economic importance and full of natural treasures, such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Why not swing by the Boris Yeltsin Museum? The former leader was born nearby. 3. Rostov-on-Don Where is it? Southern Russia, on the banks of the Black Sea. Population: 1.1million Of note: Home of the Don Cossacks. How to get there: Platov International is the city’s brand spanking new airport. “The story of the Don Cossacks, delectable fish, and all the traditions of a large trading port: Rostov-on-Don treats visitors to the flavours of the Russian south,” says Russia&#39;s World Cup information website. The city, twinned with Glasgow, boasts a number of tourist sites including Russian Orthodox churches, as well as the heritage of a raft of renowned authors, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Pushkin. The Upside Down House - where, you guessed it, everything is upside down - sounds perfect for travellers with time to kill. 59 fascinating things you didn&#39;t know about Russia 4. Sochi Where is it? The Russian Riviera - on the Black Sea. Population: 370,000 Of note: Winter Olympics 2014 host city. How to get there: Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Russian Riviera Credit: Getty We all know about Sochi, don’t we? The unofficial summer capital of Russia, where past tsars and Joseph Stalin had dachas (the latter of which can be visited), Sochi boasts a subtropical climate that warms the Russian elite every summer. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary Memorial Museum and Sochi’s Museum of Sporting Glory. The people behind the World Cup boast of its “impressive modern infrastructure”. 5. Saransk Where is it? Saransk is capital of the Mordovia region, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Population: 297,000 Of note: Gerard Depardieu, the French actor, has been a registered resident here since 2013. How to get there: There’s a daily direct train from Moscow, or a small airport. “Saransk is a town of myths and legends, with a chequered past and big plans for the future,” says the World Cup’s promotional literature. “Remembering his trip to Saransk, Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1906: ‘Old pines with long trunks and short crowns. The soil is black, and a little stony… Backwoods. The Sura River, and the best sturgeon ever.’ By 2018, when the FIFA World Cup arrives here, the myths of Saransk will have been transformed into architecture.” Intruguing. Do not miss the Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, or a triumvirate of excellent squares - Millennium Square, Victory Square and Soviet Square. Inside the bizarre world of Soviet sanatoriums 6. Kaliningrad Where is it? Prepare to have your mind blown. Population: 437,456 Of note: Kaliningrad is Russia’s European enclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. How to get there: Khrabrovo Airport, train from Moscow, or ferry from a number of European cities. During Soviet times Kaliningrad was a closed military zone, and after the fall of the USSR, it suffered a horrendous economic collapse. Today, however, it is popular with holidaying Russians, especially its half of the Unesco-protected Curonian Spit beach strip that it shares with Lithuania. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1255, Kaliningrad was also home to the legendary Baron Munchhausen, philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer and compose Ernst Hoffman. England in Kaliningrad: The city will host England v Belgium on 28 June 2018. 7. Volgograd Where is it? On the banks of the Volga, south-west of Moscow. Population: 1million Of note: Volgograd was once known as Stalingrad. How to get there: Volgograd International Airport connects to other major Russian cities, or its connected to Moscow by rail. The imposing The Motherland Calls sculpture Credit: Getty It’s hard to detach the city from its past, a city made by famous by a devastating Second World War siege. The official literature notes: “Over the course of the last hundred years, Volgograd has often been a prominent figure on the Russian and global stage. Many events have left their mark on the city in monuments, places and traditions. “Over the last century the city has changed its name three times: at the beginning of the twentieth century it was called Tsaritsyn and it was a backwater place on the banks of the Volga River. Then it became Stalingrad - the fortress that played a pivotal role in World War II, and later was renamed Volgograd, having become in the process a sunny and hospitable city whose residents love fishing, football, boat rides and beaches.” The Motherland Calls, a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad and the tallest statue of a woman in the world, is well worth a visit. The imposing structure soars above the city, while beneath it is buried the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev. England in Volgograd: The city will host England v Tunisia on 18 June 2018. 8. Nizhny Novgorod Where is it? 250 miles east of Moscow. Population: 1.3 million Of note: It was previously known as Gorky, in honour of the Soviet author. How to get there: Strigino International Airport. Colourful cathedral domes in Nizhny Novgorod Credit: GETTY The city was previously closed to foreigners during the Soviet era to protect the security of its military research centre and production factories. Even street maps were not available for sale until mid-1970s. “At the same time Nizhny Novgorod is an old Russian merchant town with timber planking and carved window frames that survived the onslaught of modern architecture,” says the official literature. The city boasts a Kremlin, “the cradle of Nizhny Novgorod”, built high above the Volga. The structure seen today was built in the 16th century. England in Nizhny Novgorod: The city will host England v Panama on 24 June 2018. 9. Kazan Where is it? Where the Volga meets the Kazanka. Population: 1.1million Of note: It is referred to the Sports Capital of Russia, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championships and 2015 World Aquatics Championships. How to get there: Kazan International Airport, or by rail from Moscow. Kazan, too, has a Kremlin, which in 2015 was visited by 1.5 million people. The World Cup organisers say Kazan is a “feast of a city”. “Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital,” they say. “The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.” The city has its own Millennium Bridge, too.
What can England fans expect in Nizhny Novgorod?
If there’s one thing more exciting than the prospect of watching England limp out of the group stages of next year’s World Cup, it’s the chance to learn more about the enigmatic nether regions of the host nation. We all know Moscow and St Petersburg, each soaking in its own charm and character, but what of Kazan or Yekaterinburg? Nizhny Novgorod, anyone? Of the 11 cities set to welcome thousands of football fans from around the world, we would wager the names of eight, maybe nine, have never crossed the lips of those poised to visit. With that in mind, here’s a crash course on the Russian host cities you’ve never heard of. Or follow these links for the lowdown on Moscow and St Petersburg. 1. Samara Where is it? To the south-west, not far from the Kazakhstan border. Population: 1.2million Of note: Known as Kuybyshev, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev, from 1935 to 1991. How to get there: Kurumoch International Airport, as well as rail links to Moscow and other major cities. Samara is proud of its space-race heritage Credit: Getty “Samara is a very diverse city,” says the official World Cup literature. “It is a merchant town and an important aerospace centre; it is athletic, musical and youthful. Back in 1916, Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist and future Nobel Prize laureate, wrote: ‘Samara is the best, the most sinful, most elegant and most comfortable part of Moscow, cut out from the city and transplanted on the banks of the Volga.’” Samara is indeed home to Russia’s aerospace centre and is where the rocket that took Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was built. There is also a Football Museum, opened in 2007; Vladimir Lenin Memorial Home, where the Ulyanov family once rented a flat; and a subterranean stronghold made for Joseph Stalin but never used, today known as “Stalin’s Bunker”. The city on the banks of the Volga is twinned with Palermo, Italy, and St Louis, US, among others. 2. Yekaterinburg Where is it? East of the Urals. Population: 1.4million Of note: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the 1918 executions of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. How to get there: Kolstsovo International Airport is one of the largest in the country. The church built on the site of the Romanov executions Credit: Getty In contrast to St Petersburg’s “window to Europe”, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s “window to Asia”. Capital of the Urals, the region is of great economic importance and full of natural treasures, such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Why not swing by the Boris Yeltsin Museum? The former leader was born nearby. 3. Rostov-on-Don Where is it? Southern Russia, on the banks of the Black Sea. Population: 1.1million Of note: Home of the Don Cossacks. How to get there: Platov International is the city’s brand spanking new airport. “The story of the Don Cossacks, delectable fish, and all the traditions of a large trading port: Rostov-on-Don treats visitors to the flavours of the Russian south,” says Russia's World Cup information website. The city, twinned with Glasgow, boasts a number of tourist sites including Russian Orthodox churches, as well as the heritage of a raft of renowned authors, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Pushkin. The Upside Down House - where, you guessed it, everything is upside down - sounds perfect for travellers with time to kill. 59 fascinating things you didn't know about Russia 4. Sochi Where is it? The Russian Riviera - on the Black Sea. Population: 370,000 Of note: Winter Olympics 2014 host city. How to get there: Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Russian Riviera Credit: Getty We all know about Sochi, don’t we? The unofficial summer capital of Russia, where past tsars and Joseph Stalin had dachas (the latter of which can be visited), Sochi boasts a subtropical climate that warms the Russian elite every summer. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s the Nikolai Ostrovsky Literary Memorial Museum and Sochi’s Museum of Sporting Glory. The people behind the World Cup boast of its “impressive modern infrastructure”. 5. Saransk Where is it? Saransk is capital of the Mordovia region, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Population: 297,000 Of note: Gerard Depardieu, the French actor, has been a registered resident here since 2013. How to get there: There’s a daily direct train from Moscow, or a small airport. “Saransk is a town of myths and legends, with a chequered past and big plans for the future,” says the World Cup’s promotional literature. “Remembering his trip to Saransk, Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1906: ‘Old pines with long trunks and short crowns. The soil is black, and a little stony… Backwoods. The Sura River, and the best sturgeon ever.’ By 2018, when the FIFA World Cup arrives here, the myths of Saransk will have been transformed into architecture.” Intruguing. Do not miss the Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, or a triumvirate of excellent squares - Millennium Square, Victory Square and Soviet Square. Inside the bizarre world of Soviet sanatoriums 6. Kaliningrad Where is it? Prepare to have your mind blown. Population: 437,456 Of note: Kaliningrad is Russia’s European enclave, wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. How to get there: Khrabrovo Airport, train from Moscow, or ferry from a number of European cities. During Soviet times Kaliningrad was a closed military zone, and after the fall of the USSR, it suffered a horrendous economic collapse. Today, however, it is popular with holidaying Russians, especially its half of the Unesco-protected Curonian Spit beach strip that it shares with Lithuania. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1255, Kaliningrad was also home to the legendary Baron Munchhausen, philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer and compose Ernst Hoffman. England in Kaliningrad: The city will host England v Belgium on 28 June 2018. 7. Volgograd Where is it? On the banks of the Volga, south-west of Moscow. Population: 1million Of note: Volgograd was once known as Stalingrad. How to get there: Volgograd International Airport connects to other major Russian cities, or its connected to Moscow by rail. The imposing The Motherland Calls sculpture Credit: Getty It’s hard to detach the city from its past, a city made by famous by a devastating Second World War siege. The official literature notes: “Over the course of the last hundred years, Volgograd has often been a prominent figure on the Russian and global stage. Many events have left their mark on the city in monuments, places and traditions. “Over the last century the city has changed its name three times: at the beginning of the twentieth century it was called Tsaritsyn and it was a backwater place on the banks of the Volga River. Then it became Stalingrad - the fortress that played a pivotal role in World War II, and later was renamed Volgograd, having become in the process a sunny and hospitable city whose residents love fishing, football, boat rides and beaches.” The Motherland Calls, a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad and the tallest statue of a woman in the world, is well worth a visit. The imposing structure soars above the city, while beneath it is buried the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev. England in Volgograd: The city will host England v Tunisia on 18 June 2018. 8. Nizhny Novgorod Where is it? 250 miles east of Moscow. Population: 1.3 million Of note: It was previously known as Gorky, in honour of the Soviet author. How to get there: Strigino International Airport. Colourful cathedral domes in Nizhny Novgorod Credit: GETTY The city was previously closed to foreigners during the Soviet era to protect the security of its military research centre and production factories. Even street maps were not available for sale until mid-1970s. “At the same time Nizhny Novgorod is an old Russian merchant town with timber planking and carved window frames that survived the onslaught of modern architecture,” says the official literature. The city boasts a Kremlin, “the cradle of Nizhny Novgorod”, built high above the Volga. The structure seen today was built in the 16th century. England in Nizhny Novgorod: The city will host England v Panama on 24 June 2018. 9. Kazan Where is it? Where the Volga meets the Kazanka. Population: 1.1million Of note: It is referred to the Sports Capital of Russia, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championships and 2015 World Aquatics Championships. How to get there: Kazan International Airport, or by rail from Moscow. Kazan, too, has a Kremlin, which in 2015 was visited by 1.5 million people. The World Cup organisers say Kazan is a “feast of a city”. “Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital,” they say. “The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.” The city has its own Millennium Bridge, too.

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