Olympics Table Tennis

Table Tennis - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Men's Singles - Gold Medal Match - Nigeria v Singapore - Oxenford Studios - Gold Coast, Australia - April 15, 2018. Gao Ning of Singapore in action. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games
Table Tennis - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Men's Singles - Gold Medal Match - Nigeria v Singapore - Oxenford Studios - Gold Coast, Australia - April 15, 2018. Gao Ning of Singapore in action. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Boxer Frazer Clarke wins Commonwealth Gold and targets Tokyo 2020 after sparring with Anthony Joshua
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Boxer Frazer Clarke wins Commonwealth Gold and targets Tokyo 2020 after sparring with Anthony Joshua
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Boxer Frazer Clarke wins Commonwealth Gold and targets Tokyo 2020 after sparring with Anthony Joshua
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Boxer Frazer Clarke wins Commonwealth Gold and targets Tokyo 2020 after sparring with Anthony Joshua
Frazer Clarke has spent more than 50 rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua and had the privileged position of watching the world heavyweight champion’s title fights up close thanks to his work as a ringside security guard. At times he thought his time would never come, but on Saturday Clarke took the first step in emulating his great friend by claiming gold in the Gold Coast to round off England boxing's greatest ever day at the Commonwealth Games. A hulking brute of a man, Clarke first boxed internationally as a 16-year-old and had designs on competing as a super-heavyweight at the London 2012 Olympics. That slot instead went to Joshua, who won gold, and the same fate befell Clarke four years later when Joe Joyce was selected ahead of him. Two years on from that snub, Clarke, 26, emerged from a tough encounter with India’s Satish Kumar to claim Commonwealth gold by unanimous points decision, before insisting that he will emulate Joshua by winning gold Olympic at Tokyo 2020. Satish Kumar (L) was Clarke's (R) opponent in the final Credit: Getty Images “There were times when I thought maybe this is not for me,” he said. “I had the injuries, knock backs and I’ve been pipped to the Olympics twice. “Both times when I sit back and think about it I wasn’t ready. Could I have won gold in London? No. Could I have won gold in Rio? Maybe. I had a better chance than in London. “But the right two lads got picked for the job and served our country very well. My time will be in Tokyo. I believe everybody’s got an allotted time frame, I just took a bit longer.” Since first sparring with Joshua in 2009 – when he recalls laying eyes on a man who “looked like he’d been chiselled out of stone” – Clarke says he has used his friend’s success as a model to replicate, watching every detail from how much water he drinks to the way he stretches. The pair shared a ring together the day before Clarke flew out to Australia, but the new Commonwealth champion’s bravado meant he was eager not to be reduced to a description of someone else’s human punch bag. “I do spar with Joshua but I’m no-one’s sparring partner and I never have been,” he said. “We work with each other and help each other. It does help me out, but I help him out. “Ask the man himself, he don’t get any better sparring than me. He can ship them in from all over the world but nobody serves him better than I do. “I hope people know me now and recognise me. I’m Frazer Clarke, Big Fraze from a little town Burton-on-Trent. “If you don’t know me now then get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.” Benefitting from the multi-million investment in Britain’s amateur boxing set-up in Sheffield, Team England came to the Gold Coast with high hopes and secured nine medals from their 12 fighters on Saturday. Clarke was one of six England gold medallists as Lisa Whiteside, Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Pat McCormack helped beat the country’s previous Commonwealth Games record of five. Lisa Whiteside added to England's medal haul Credit: AP Having watched from the sidelines as her former team-mate and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams swept all before her, Whiteside finally took advantage of her time to shine to win flyweight gold. With Adams now operating in the professional ranks, Whiteside seized her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul. “I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside, 32. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.” Away from the boxing ring there was double success for England’s sprint relay runners with both men and women’s 4x100m relay teams beating Jamaica to gold. Victory was some redemption for Zharnel Hughes, who thought he had won 200m gold earlier in the week only to be disqualified after the race. “It’s been a long week, but I’m still a gold medallist,” he said, after triumphing alongside Reuben Arthur, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’ve put the 200m behind me. It’s in the past. This shows I am a world-class athlete.” England's (L-R) Lorraine Ugen, Bianca Williams, Dina Asher-Smith and Asha Philip celebrate winning gold in the Women's 4x100m Credit: PA Their female counterparts ran the fastest time in English history, despite regular runners Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams being joined by long jumper Lorraine Ugen, who was parachuted in at short notice. Ugen finished fourth in the long jump on Thursday and only trained with the squad for 10 minutes on Saturday morning, but ran the anchor leg in a national record 42.26 seconds. There were further gold medals for England’s David Luckman in the shooting Queen’s prize individual and men’s table tennis doubles pair Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall. Meanwhile, England’s men and women rugby sevens teams are both guaranteed the chance of fighting for a medal on Sunday after advancing safely to semi-finals against New Zealand.
Table Tennis - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Mixed Doubles Semifinal 1 - Singapore v India - Oxenford Studios - Gold Coast, Australia - April 14, 2018. Sharath Achanta of India in action. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games
Table Tennis - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Mixed Doubles Semifinal 1 - Singapore v India - Oxenford Studios - Gold Coast, Australia - April 14, 2018. Sharath Achanta of India in action. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee
Wales' eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey, right, watches teammate Charlotte Carey play against India's Manika Batra during their women's team match the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
11-year-old table tennis player loses at Commonwealth Games
Wales' eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey, right, watches teammate Charlotte Carey play against India's Manika Batra during their women's team match the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Wales' eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey, center, walks in with teammate Chloe Thomas, left, and India's Manika Batra before their women's team match the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
11-year-old table tennis player loses at Commonwealth Games
Wales' eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey, center, walks in with teammate Chloe Thomas, left, and India's Manika Batra before their women's team match the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Table Tennis - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Women's Team Bronze Medal Match - Oxenford Studios - Gold Coast, Australia - April 8, 2018 - Tin-Tin Ho of England celebrates winning a match. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games
Table Tennis - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Women's Team Bronze Medal Match - Oxenford Studios - Gold Coast, Australia - April 8, 2018 - Tin-Tin Ho of England celebrates winning a match. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee
<p>Table Tennis – Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – Women’s Team – Group 2 Match 2 – Oxenford Studios – Gold Coast, Australia – April 5, 2018 – Anna Hursey of Wales competes. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee </p>
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Table Tennis – Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – Women’s Team – Group 2 Match 2 – Oxenford Studios – Gold Coast, Australia – April 5, 2018 – Anna Hursey of Wales competes. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee

Eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey of Wales is thought to be the youngest ever athlete at the Commonwealth Games. (AFP Photo/WILLIAM WEST)
Eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey of Wales is thought to be the youngest ever athlete at the Commonwealth Games
Eleven-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey of Wales is thought to be the youngest ever athlete at the Commonwealth Games. (AFP Photo/WILLIAM WEST)
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Table Tennis - Men&#39;s Singles First Round - Riocentro - Pavilion 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Soumyajit Ghosh (IND) of India plays against Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (THA) of Thailand. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
2016 Rio Olympics - Table Tennis - Men's Singles First Round
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Table Tennis - Men's Singles First Round - Riocentro - Pavilion 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Soumyajit Ghosh (IND) of India plays against Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (THA) of Thailand. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Table Tennis - Men&#39;s Singles First Round - Riocentro - Pavilion 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Soumyajit Ghosh (IND) of India plays against Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (THA) of Thailand. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
2016 Rio Olympics - Table Tennis - Men's Singles First Round
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Table Tennis - Men's Singles First Round - Riocentro - Pavilion 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Soumyajit Ghosh (IND) of India plays against Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (THA) of Thailand. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
For the second year running, the Miami Open will not feature Andy Murray – the two-time champion here, who keeps a second home a couple of miles away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. But the draw went ahead nevertheless with a surprisingly healthy British contingent of six, including defending champion Johanna Konta, of whom three had fought their way through qualifying. The most notable of these was perhaps Katie Boulter, the 21-year-old from Leicestershire, whose only previous appearance at the top tier came when she received a wild card into last year’s Wimbledon. Boulter had Jeremy Bates, himself an old Wimbledon hand, at courtside as she faced Hsieh Su-wei. Hsieh is an unusual player, primarily a doubles specialist, but capable enough to have taken the scalps of Konta at last year’s French Open and two-time slam champion Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne. Double-handed on both wings, she could almost be playing table-tennis as she deflects the ball with her wrists, relying on timing and placement because she is reed-thin and barely 5½ feet. Boulter is also willowy and delicately built, but does have a loose-limbed swing that can drive the ball through the court. What she could not handle was the Hsieh drop shot, which confounded Konta at Roland Garros last year. Drop shots ended both sets in Boulter’s 6-4, 7-5 defeat. The opening set must have been particularly galling, given the ball clipped the net-cord, causing it to fall so gently to earth it could have had its own parachute. Boulter will thus stand somewhere around the 190 mark when the next set of rankings are published in 10 days’ time. She is the British No 5 – with the top three being Konta, Heather Watson (who lost here in the first round on Tuesday) and Naomi Broady (who also lost on Monday, though her exit came in qualifying). Katie Boulter is currently the British No 5 Credit: Getty Images The No 4 position belongs to Gabriella Taylor, who entered the news cycle last summer when she contracted a rare bacterial disease named leptospirosis, and the suspicion emerged that she might have been poisoned by a rival. Five women in the top 200 and eight in the top 250: it might not sound like much, but it is the strongest representation Britain has had since the Eighties. With Taylor at 20, Boulter at 21 and Katie Swan – now just behind this group at No 307 in the world – about to turn 19 on Saturday, there is room for optimism about the next generation. But we should not get too over-excited: the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova showed what a phenomenon looks like by reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells 10 days ago, and beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova along the way. Kyle Edmund will compete at Queen&#39;s this summer Credit: Getty Images Meanwhile, the newly branded Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s has announced the latest recruits to its entry list. Kyle Edmund, who became the British No 1 earlier this month, will try to improve his modest record on grass – a surface on which he has won only four ATP-level matches – while Spanish No 5 Feliciano Lopez ­returns to defend the title he won so unexpectedly last year. Edmund is due to play here in Miami at the weekend, against either Nicolas Kicker or Frances ­Tiafoe. Uncharacteristically, he has also entered the doubles with the veteran Serbian campaigner Nenad Zimonjic, but then he has lacked match time since his superb run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He contracted a virus after that tournament that ruled him out of two clay-court events in South America, and lost his first match in Indian Wells.
Katie Boulter shows promise at Miami Open despite defeat
For the second year running, the Miami Open will not feature Andy Murray – the two-time champion here, who keeps a second home a couple of miles away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. But the draw went ahead nevertheless with a surprisingly healthy British contingent of six, including defending champion Johanna Konta, of whom three had fought their way through qualifying. The most notable of these was perhaps Katie Boulter, the 21-year-old from Leicestershire, whose only previous appearance at the top tier came when she received a wild card into last year’s Wimbledon. Boulter had Jeremy Bates, himself an old Wimbledon hand, at courtside as she faced Hsieh Su-wei. Hsieh is an unusual player, primarily a doubles specialist, but capable enough to have taken the scalps of Konta at last year’s French Open and two-time slam champion Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne. Double-handed on both wings, she could almost be playing table-tennis as she deflects the ball with her wrists, relying on timing and placement because she is reed-thin and barely 5½ feet. Boulter is also willowy and delicately built, but does have a loose-limbed swing that can drive the ball through the court. What she could not handle was the Hsieh drop shot, which confounded Konta at Roland Garros last year. Drop shots ended both sets in Boulter’s 6-4, 7-5 defeat. The opening set must have been particularly galling, given the ball clipped the net-cord, causing it to fall so gently to earth it could have had its own parachute. Boulter will thus stand somewhere around the 190 mark when the next set of rankings are published in 10 days’ time. She is the British No 5 – with the top three being Konta, Heather Watson (who lost here in the first round on Tuesday) and Naomi Broady (who also lost on Monday, though her exit came in qualifying). Katie Boulter is currently the British No 5 Credit: Getty Images The No 4 position belongs to Gabriella Taylor, who entered the news cycle last summer when she contracted a rare bacterial disease named leptospirosis, and the suspicion emerged that she might have been poisoned by a rival. Five women in the top 200 and eight in the top 250: it might not sound like much, but it is the strongest representation Britain has had since the Eighties. With Taylor at 20, Boulter at 21 and Katie Swan – now just behind this group at No 307 in the world – about to turn 19 on Saturday, there is room for optimism about the next generation. But we should not get too over-excited: the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova showed what a phenomenon looks like by reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells 10 days ago, and beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova along the way. Kyle Edmund will compete at Queen's this summer Credit: Getty Images Meanwhile, the newly branded Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s has announced the latest recruits to its entry list. Kyle Edmund, who became the British No 1 earlier this month, will try to improve his modest record on grass – a surface on which he has won only four ATP-level matches – while Spanish No 5 Feliciano Lopez ­returns to defend the title he won so unexpectedly last year. Edmund is due to play here in Miami at the weekend, against either Nicolas Kicker or Frances ­Tiafoe. Uncharacteristically, he has also entered the doubles with the veteran Serbian campaigner Nenad Zimonjic, but then he has lacked match time since his superb run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He contracted a virus after that tournament that ruled him out of two clay-court events in South America, and lost his first match in Indian Wells.
For the second year running, the Miami Open will not feature Andy Murray – the two-time champion here, who keeps a second home a couple of miles away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. But the draw went ahead nevertheless with a surprisingly healthy British contingent of six, including defending champion Johanna Konta, of whom three had fought their way through qualifying. The most notable of these was perhaps Katie Boulter, the 21-year-old from Leicestershire, whose only previous appearance at the top tier came when she received a wild card into last year’s Wimbledon. Boulter had Jeremy Bates, himself an old Wimbledon hand, at courtside as she faced Hsieh Su-wei. Hsieh is an unusual player, primarily a doubles specialist, but capable enough to have taken the scalps of Konta at last year’s French Open and two-time slam champion Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne. Double-handed on both wings, she could almost be playing table-tennis as she deflects the ball with her wrists, relying on timing and placement because she is reed-thin and barely 5½ feet. Boulter is also willowy and delicately built, but does have a loose-limbed swing that can drive the ball through the court. What she could not handle was the Hsieh drop shot, which confounded Konta at Roland Garros last year. Drop shots ended both sets in Boulter’s 6-4, 7-5 defeat. The opening set must have been particularly galling, given the ball clipped the net-cord, causing it to fall so gently to earth it could have had its own parachute. Boulter will thus stand somewhere around the 190 mark when the next set of rankings are published in 10 days’ time. She is the British No 5 – with the top three being Konta, Heather Watson (who lost here in the first round on Tuesday) and Naomi Broady (who also lost on Monday, though her exit came in qualifying). Katie Boulter is currently the British No 5 Credit: Getty Images The No 4 position belongs to Gabriella Taylor, who entered the news cycle last summer when she contracted a rare bacterial disease named leptospirosis, and the suspicion emerged that she might have been poisoned by a rival. Five women in the top 200 and eight in the top 250: it might not sound like much, but it is the strongest representation Britain has had since the Eighties. With Taylor at 20, Boulter at 21 and Katie Swan – now just behind this group at No 307 in the world – about to turn 19 on Saturday, there is room for optimism about the next generation. But we should not get too over-excited: the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova showed what a phenomenon looks like by reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells 10 days ago, and beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova along the way. Kyle Edmund will compete at Queen&#39;s this summer Credit: Getty Images Meanwhile, the newly branded Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s has announced the latest recruits to its entry list. Kyle Edmund, who became the British No 1 earlier this month, will try to improve his modest record on grass – a surface on which he has won only four ATP-level matches – while Spanish No 5 Feliciano Lopez ­returns to defend the title he won so unexpectedly last year. Edmund is due to play here in Miami at the weekend, against either Nicolas Kicker or Frances ­Tiafoe. Uncharacteristically, he has also entered the doubles with the veteran Serbian campaigner Nenad Zimonjic, but then he has lacked match time since his superb run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He contracted a virus after that tournament that ruled him out of two clay-court events in South America, and lost his first match in Indian Wells.
Katie Boulter shows promise at Miami Open despite defeat
For the second year running, the Miami Open will not feature Andy Murray – the two-time champion here, who keeps a second home a couple of miles away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. But the draw went ahead nevertheless with a surprisingly healthy British contingent of six, including defending champion Johanna Konta, of whom three had fought their way through qualifying. The most notable of these was perhaps Katie Boulter, the 21-year-old from Leicestershire, whose only previous appearance at the top tier came when she received a wild card into last year’s Wimbledon. Boulter had Jeremy Bates, himself an old Wimbledon hand, at courtside as she faced Hsieh Su-wei. Hsieh is an unusual player, primarily a doubles specialist, but capable enough to have taken the scalps of Konta at last year’s French Open and two-time slam champion Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne. Double-handed on both wings, she could almost be playing table-tennis as she deflects the ball with her wrists, relying on timing and placement because she is reed-thin and barely 5½ feet. Boulter is also willowy and delicately built, but does have a loose-limbed swing that can drive the ball through the court. What she could not handle was the Hsieh drop shot, which confounded Konta at Roland Garros last year. Drop shots ended both sets in Boulter’s 6-4, 7-5 defeat. The opening set must have been particularly galling, given the ball clipped the net-cord, causing it to fall so gently to earth it could have had its own parachute. Boulter will thus stand somewhere around the 190 mark when the next set of rankings are published in 10 days’ time. She is the British No 5 – with the top three being Konta, Heather Watson (who lost here in the first round on Tuesday) and Naomi Broady (who also lost on Monday, though her exit came in qualifying). Katie Boulter is currently the British No 5 Credit: Getty Images The No 4 position belongs to Gabriella Taylor, who entered the news cycle last summer when she contracted a rare bacterial disease named leptospirosis, and the suspicion emerged that she might have been poisoned by a rival. Five women in the top 200 and eight in the top 250: it might not sound like much, but it is the strongest representation Britain has had since the Eighties. With Taylor at 20, Boulter at 21 and Katie Swan – now just behind this group at No 307 in the world – about to turn 19 on Saturday, there is room for optimism about the next generation. But we should not get too over-excited: the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova showed what a phenomenon looks like by reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells 10 days ago, and beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova along the way. Kyle Edmund will compete at Queen's this summer Credit: Getty Images Meanwhile, the newly branded Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s has announced the latest recruits to its entry list. Kyle Edmund, who became the British No 1 earlier this month, will try to improve his modest record on grass – a surface on which he has won only four ATP-level matches – while Spanish No 5 Feliciano Lopez ­returns to defend the title he won so unexpectedly last year. Edmund is due to play here in Miami at the weekend, against either Nicolas Kicker or Frances ­Tiafoe. Uncharacteristically, he has also entered the doubles with the veteran Serbian campaigner Nenad Zimonjic, but then he has lacked match time since his superb run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He contracted a virus after that tournament that ruled him out of two clay-court events in South America, and lost his first match in Indian Wells.
For the second year running, the Miami Open will not feature Andy Murray – the two-time champion here, who keeps a second home a couple of miles away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. But the draw went ahead nevertheless with a surprisingly healthy British contingent of six, including defending champion Johanna Konta, of whom three had fought their way through qualifying. The most notable of these was perhaps Katie Boulter, the 21-year-old from Leicestershire, whose only previous appearance at the top tier came when she received a wild card into last year’s Wimbledon. Boulter had Jeremy Bates, himself an old Wimbledon hand, at courtside as she faced Hsieh Su-wei. Hsieh is an unusual player, primarily a doubles specialist, but capable enough to have taken the scalps of Konta at last year’s French Open and two-time slam champion Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne. Double-handed on both wings, she could almost be playing table-tennis as she deflects the ball with her wrists, relying on timing and placement because she is reed-thin and barely 5½ feet. Boulter is also willowy and delicately built, but does have a loose-limbed swing that can drive the ball through the court. What she could not handle was the Hsieh drop shot, which confounded Konta at Roland Garros last year. Drop shots ended both sets in Boulter’s 6-4, 7-5 defeat. The opening set must have been particularly galling, given the ball clipped the net-cord, causing it to fall so gently to earth it could have had its own parachute. Boulter will thus stand somewhere around the 190 mark when the next set of rankings are published in 10 days’ time. She is the British No 5 – with the top three being Konta, Heather Watson (who lost here in the first round on Tuesday) and Naomi Broady (who also lost on Monday, though her exit came in qualifying). Katie Boulter is currently the British No 5 Credit: Getty Images The No 4 position belongs to Gabriella Taylor, who entered the news cycle last summer when she contracted a rare bacterial disease named leptospirosis, and the suspicion emerged that she might have been poisoned by a rival. Five women in the top 200 and eight in the top 250: it might not sound like much, but it is the strongest representation Britain has had since the Eighties. With Taylor at 20, Boulter at 21 and Katie Swan – now just behind this group at No 307 in the world – about to turn 19 on Saturday, there is room for optimism about the next generation. But we should not get too over-excited: the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova showed what a phenomenon looks like by reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells 10 days ago, and beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova along the way. Kyle Edmund will compete at Queen&#39;s this summer Credit: Getty Images Meanwhile, the newly branded Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s has announced the latest recruits to its entry list. Kyle Edmund, who became the British No 1 earlier this month, will try to improve his modest record on grass – a surface on which he has won only four ATP-level matches – while Spanish No 5 Feliciano Lopez ­returns to defend the title he won so unexpectedly last year. Edmund is due to play here in Miami at the weekend, against either Nicolas Kicker or Frances ­Tiafoe. Uncharacteristically, he has also entered the doubles with the veteran Serbian campaigner Nenad Zimonjic, but then he has lacked match time since his superb run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He contracted a virus after that tournament that ruled him out of two clay-court events in South America, and lost his first match in Indian Wells.
Katie Boulter shows promise at Miami Open despite defeat
For the second year running, the Miami Open will not feature Andy Murray – the two-time champion here, who keeps a second home a couple of miles away on the shores of Biscayne Bay. But the draw went ahead nevertheless with a surprisingly healthy British contingent of six, including defending champion Johanna Konta, of whom three had fought their way through qualifying. The most notable of these was perhaps Katie Boulter, the 21-year-old from Leicestershire, whose only previous appearance at the top tier came when she received a wild card into last year’s Wimbledon. Boulter had Jeremy Bates, himself an old Wimbledon hand, at courtside as she faced Hsieh Su-wei. Hsieh is an unusual player, primarily a doubles specialist, but capable enough to have taken the scalps of Konta at last year’s French Open and two-time slam champion Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne. Double-handed on both wings, she could almost be playing table-tennis as she deflects the ball with her wrists, relying on timing and placement because she is reed-thin and barely 5½ feet. Boulter is also willowy and delicately built, but does have a loose-limbed swing that can drive the ball through the court. What she could not handle was the Hsieh drop shot, which confounded Konta at Roland Garros last year. Drop shots ended both sets in Boulter’s 6-4, 7-5 defeat. The opening set must have been particularly galling, given the ball clipped the net-cord, causing it to fall so gently to earth it could have had its own parachute. Boulter will thus stand somewhere around the 190 mark when the next set of rankings are published in 10 days’ time. She is the British No 5 – with the top three being Konta, Heather Watson (who lost here in the first round on Tuesday) and Naomi Broady (who also lost on Monday, though her exit came in qualifying). Katie Boulter is currently the British No 5 Credit: Getty Images The No 4 position belongs to Gabriella Taylor, who entered the news cycle last summer when she contracted a rare bacterial disease named leptospirosis, and the suspicion emerged that she might have been poisoned by a rival. Five women in the top 200 and eight in the top 250: it might not sound like much, but it is the strongest representation Britain has had since the Eighties. With Taylor at 20, Boulter at 21 and Katie Swan – now just behind this group at No 307 in the world – about to turn 19 on Saturday, there is room for optimism about the next generation. But we should not get too over-excited: the 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova showed what a phenomenon looks like by reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells 10 days ago, and beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova along the way. Kyle Edmund will compete at Queen's this summer Credit: Getty Images Meanwhile, the newly branded Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s has announced the latest recruits to its entry list. Kyle Edmund, who became the British No 1 earlier this month, will try to improve his modest record on grass – a surface on which he has won only four ATP-level matches – while Spanish No 5 Feliciano Lopez ­returns to defend the title he won so unexpectedly last year. Edmund is due to play here in Miami at the weekend, against either Nicolas Kicker or Frances ­Tiafoe. Uncharacteristically, he has also entered the doubles with the veteran Serbian campaigner Nenad Zimonjic, but then he has lacked match time since his superb run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He contracted a virus after that tournament that ruled him out of two clay-court events in South America, and lost his first match in Indian Wells.
In the first of a new weekly column uncovering tennis&#39; untold stories, Simon Briggs goes behind-the-scenes with Sportradar - the newest ally in the sport&#39;s fight against corruption. In a discreet building in London’s financial district, twenty or so young professionals are sitting at their computer screens. The office could belong to any new-media company, judging by the prominent table-tennis table, the darts board and the absence of collared shirts. Yet security has to be tight at Sportradar’s Integrity Services. Employees cannot be named – and their pictures cannot be taken – for fear of reprisals from the thugs they are trying to thwart. “People used to talk about fixing in tennis, and you’d think of the dodgy physio with inside info about someone’s bad knee,” says “Stephen”, a senior manager at the company. “Now it’s more likely to be about money-laundering or organised crime. We have to take precautions.” Sportradar’s Integrity Services began life in 2006, after the Bundesliga was rocked by a €2 million match-fixing scandal implemented by the rogue referee Robert Hoyzer and organised by the Balkan mafia. The FDS has since accounted for 36 criminal convictions, the majority in football, as well as 215 sporting disciplinary sentences. Former Bundesliga referee Robert Hoyzer at a court in Berlin Credit: AP But there is much more to Sportradar than their crimefighters. The main thrust of the business lies in collecting, packaging and reselling sporting data in the first place – a role that did not even exist until the start of the 21st century. And while the head office might be in London, the scope is global. Check out the electronic bulletin board above that table-tennis table, and you’ll see internal vacancies for a data analyst in Ljubljana and a customer-relations manager in Montevideo. From a tennis perspective, this story really starts in 2012, the year when Sportradar agreed to pay the International Tennis Federation a reported $14m per annum for data rights to the Pro Circuit (otherwise known as poorly paid Futures events, mostly contested by players ranked outside the top 300). But it was only three weeks ago that the ITF announced it would be sending some of that money back the other way, by engaging the Integrity Services. Since 2008, tennis has run its own police force under the title of the Tennis Integrity Unit. Yet the perception is that the TIU, which has beefed up its staffing levels from six people to 17 since match-fixing became a hot topic two years ago, is still struggling with the scale of the problem: 120,000 annual tennis matches, generating perhaps 250 suspicious betting alerts. Hence the ITF’s investment in this more technologically-led process, which picks up irregular patterns in the betting markets via algorithms, and then hands them over to investigators like “Andrew” who have 72 hours to see if there is anything substantive behind the data alerts. “If the odds move in a way that doesn’t make sense from our desks, we need to check the news, check social media, and look for an explanation,” Andrew says. “Maybe there’s an injury, or maybe something as simple as the weather can have an effect. We also employ a network of freelance journalists as boots on the ground. And as we go deeper into a case, we research the individual player, his associates and his connections. Big business | Sport&#39;s top betting markets “Less than one per cent of alerts end up being reported to sports federations or law enforcement. We start from the position of hoping to prove that matches are legitimate, because it’s important that we don’t pass anything on without having first convinced ourselves that there’s a genuine problem there.” Certain patterns crop up again and again. According to Stephen, “The smallest unit you can bet on meaningfully is a set, even if specialist bookmakers might offer games or even points. So you hear of players saying to their next opponent, ‘Right, I’ll win the first set 6-3, you win the second 6-2, and then we’ll play the third out for real.’ “That way, an insider can cash in on three markets – the result of the first set, the result of the second set, and the fact that the match went to a decider – without actually knowing who will win. But the players can still tell themselves that it was a proper match, even if it only lasted a set. Then, once they’ve crossed that line, the fixers have a hold on them.” Andrew shows me a file he compiled before the new ITF policing deal was struck, involving a tournament where multiple matches were put into an accumulator and thus paid off a massive dividend to the crooks. (The tournament has also been reported to the TIU.) Danger signs | Suspicious betting alerts in tennis “We wanted to investigate what was going on,” says Stephen. “The exercise was partly for our own understanding of the market, and partly because if you end up pitching your services, you have to be able to show some evidence of what you can offer. If you just say ‘We cracked these cases in football,’ then tennis authorities will reply, ‘What’s that got to do with us?’” The bulk of suspicious betting patterns occur at Futures level, simply because Futures events make up around three-quarters of the total matches played. But risk levels are roughly equivalent across the entirety of the game – or the men’s game, at least. Last year’s TIU figures showed that only 13 per cent of suspicious matches were played by women: a similar gender split to the numbers recorded in wider corporate fraud. Overall, women are simply less corruptible and less likely to commit crime. Sportradar’s deal does not cover ATP or Women’s Tennis Association matches – a typically mixed-up state of affairs in this often baffling sport. Those two elite tours both use the traditional tennis powerhouse IMG – the company founded by Wimbledon favourite Mark McCormack – to gather their score data, and they are relying solely on the TIU’s investigative powers. (It should be emphasised that Sportradar’s work is intended to supplement the existing arrangements rather than to replace them, and that the TIU are expected to lead any investigations derived from it.) Since January 2016 – when a joint BBC-Buzzfeed investigation into match-fixing caused an outcry – the sport has been waiting for the outcome of an Independent Review Panel headed by Adam Lewis QC. Delivery of an interim report was expected late last year, but has been held up by wrangling over the rights and wrongs of cases that took place almost a decade ago. The more important question would seem to be “Where should we go from here?” Pattern of suspicion | The growth in sport&#39;s anti-corruption fight The ITF have already indicated that their next step will include splitting the Pro Circuit into two: a beefed-up, better funded version of Futures tournaments for players ranked above 700 or so, and a Transition Tour for those below, offering no rankings points as we know them. The idea is to bring down the number of world-ranked players by perhaps 50 per cent, so that the cut-off point for so-called “professional tennis” is much higher. The governing bodies hope that betting on the very bottom rung of the ladder will fall as a result, although it’s hard to know whether punters will take the hint. Gamblers around the world have become hooked on these low-level events. There are few sports other than football and tennis that are truly international, thus providing content 24 hours a day, virtually all year round. And as Stephen points out, “It’s the niche markets that differentiate between bookmakers. Everyone offers the Premier League, but if you’re Croatian, for example, and your cousin plays second-division handball, you might want to bet on that. Then you place all your bets – including your Premier League bets – on whichever bookmaker is servicing those lesser events.” Are sports-data companies partly responsible for the integrity issues that tennis faces? Some would argue that these deals with the ITF and the ATP created the crisis in the first place. They certainly increased the availability of betting markets. But perhaps this was an inevitable trend in our super-connected era. There are plenty of operators looking to supply the numbers, including Perform, Genius Sports and STATS LLC. And even if you don’t license your sport with an official provider, it’s hard to stop others going to an event and sending live scores to a bookmaker. Ultimately, this data is one of tennis’s resources. Adam Lewis’s IRP, which is now expected to deliver its interim report in late April, will no doubt have a view as to how it is best used. But the ITF have decided that a deeper cooperation with the providers is better than the alternative: trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle. It could prove to be one of their wiser moves. Simon Briggs&#39; Secret Service column will be available every Tuesday at telegraph.co.uk/tennis.
On the front line in tennis' anti-corruption war
In the first of a new weekly column uncovering tennis' untold stories, Simon Briggs goes behind-the-scenes with Sportradar - the newest ally in the sport's fight against corruption. In a discreet building in London’s financial district, twenty or so young professionals are sitting at their computer screens. The office could belong to any new-media company, judging by the prominent table-tennis table, the darts board and the absence of collared shirts. Yet security has to be tight at Sportradar’s Integrity Services. Employees cannot be named – and their pictures cannot be taken – for fear of reprisals from the thugs they are trying to thwart. “People used to talk about fixing in tennis, and you’d think of the dodgy physio with inside info about someone’s bad knee,” says “Stephen”, a senior manager at the company. “Now it’s more likely to be about money-laundering or organised crime. We have to take precautions.” Sportradar’s Integrity Services began life in 2006, after the Bundesliga was rocked by a €2 million match-fixing scandal implemented by the rogue referee Robert Hoyzer and organised by the Balkan mafia. The FDS has since accounted for 36 criminal convictions, the majority in football, as well as 215 sporting disciplinary sentences. Former Bundesliga referee Robert Hoyzer at a court in Berlin Credit: AP But there is much more to Sportradar than their crimefighters. The main thrust of the business lies in collecting, packaging and reselling sporting data in the first place – a role that did not even exist until the start of the 21st century. And while the head office might be in London, the scope is global. Check out the electronic bulletin board above that table-tennis table, and you’ll see internal vacancies for a data analyst in Ljubljana and a customer-relations manager in Montevideo. From a tennis perspective, this story really starts in 2012, the year when Sportradar agreed to pay the International Tennis Federation a reported $14m per annum for data rights to the Pro Circuit (otherwise known as poorly paid Futures events, mostly contested by players ranked outside the top 300). But it was only three weeks ago that the ITF announced it would be sending some of that money back the other way, by engaging the Integrity Services. Since 2008, tennis has run its own police force under the title of the Tennis Integrity Unit. Yet the perception is that the TIU, which has beefed up its staffing levels from six people to 17 since match-fixing became a hot topic two years ago, is still struggling with the scale of the problem: 120,000 annual tennis matches, generating perhaps 250 suspicious betting alerts. Hence the ITF’s investment in this more technologically-led process, which picks up irregular patterns in the betting markets via algorithms, and then hands them over to investigators like “Andrew” who have 72 hours to see if there is anything substantive behind the data alerts. “If the odds move in a way that doesn’t make sense from our desks, we need to check the news, check social media, and look for an explanation,” Andrew says. “Maybe there’s an injury, or maybe something as simple as the weather can have an effect. We also employ a network of freelance journalists as boots on the ground. And as we go deeper into a case, we research the individual player, his associates and his connections. Big business | Sport's top betting markets “Less than one per cent of alerts end up being reported to sports federations or law enforcement. We start from the position of hoping to prove that matches are legitimate, because it’s important that we don’t pass anything on without having first convinced ourselves that there’s a genuine problem there.” Certain patterns crop up again and again. According to Stephen, “The smallest unit you can bet on meaningfully is a set, even if specialist bookmakers might offer games or even points. So you hear of players saying to their next opponent, ‘Right, I’ll win the first set 6-3, you win the second 6-2, and then we’ll play the third out for real.’ “That way, an insider can cash in on three markets – the result of the first set, the result of the second set, and the fact that the match went to a decider – without actually knowing who will win. But the players can still tell themselves that it was a proper match, even if it only lasted a set. Then, once they’ve crossed that line, the fixers have a hold on them.” Andrew shows me a file he compiled before the new ITF policing deal was struck, involving a tournament where multiple matches were put into an accumulator and thus paid off a massive dividend to the crooks. (The tournament has also been reported to the TIU.) Danger signs | Suspicious betting alerts in tennis “We wanted to investigate what was going on,” says Stephen. “The exercise was partly for our own understanding of the market, and partly because if you end up pitching your services, you have to be able to show some evidence of what you can offer. If you just say ‘We cracked these cases in football,’ then tennis authorities will reply, ‘What’s that got to do with us?’” The bulk of suspicious betting patterns occur at Futures level, simply because Futures events make up around three-quarters of the total matches played. But risk levels are roughly equivalent across the entirety of the game – or the men’s game, at least. Last year’s TIU figures showed that only 13 per cent of suspicious matches were played by women: a similar gender split to the numbers recorded in wider corporate fraud. Overall, women are simply less corruptible and less likely to commit crime. Sportradar’s deal does not cover ATP or Women’s Tennis Association matches – a typically mixed-up state of affairs in this often baffling sport. Those two elite tours both use the traditional tennis powerhouse IMG – the company founded by Wimbledon favourite Mark McCormack – to gather their score data, and they are relying solely on the TIU’s investigative powers. (It should be emphasised that Sportradar’s work is intended to supplement the existing arrangements rather than to replace them, and that the TIU are expected to lead any investigations derived from it.) Since January 2016 – when a joint BBC-Buzzfeed investigation into match-fixing caused an outcry – the sport has been waiting for the outcome of an Independent Review Panel headed by Adam Lewis QC. Delivery of an interim report was expected late last year, but has been held up by wrangling over the rights and wrongs of cases that took place almost a decade ago. The more important question would seem to be “Where should we go from here?” Pattern of suspicion | The growth in sport's anti-corruption fight The ITF have already indicated that their next step will include splitting the Pro Circuit into two: a beefed-up, better funded version of Futures tournaments for players ranked above 700 or so, and a Transition Tour for those below, offering no rankings points as we know them. The idea is to bring down the number of world-ranked players by perhaps 50 per cent, so that the cut-off point for so-called “professional tennis” is much higher. The governing bodies hope that betting on the very bottom rung of the ladder will fall as a result, although it’s hard to know whether punters will take the hint. Gamblers around the world have become hooked on these low-level events. There are few sports other than football and tennis that are truly international, thus providing content 24 hours a day, virtually all year round. And as Stephen points out, “It’s the niche markets that differentiate between bookmakers. Everyone offers the Premier League, but if you’re Croatian, for example, and your cousin plays second-division handball, you might want to bet on that. Then you place all your bets – including your Premier League bets – on whichever bookmaker is servicing those lesser events.” Are sports-data companies partly responsible for the integrity issues that tennis faces? Some would argue that these deals with the ITF and the ATP created the crisis in the first place. They certainly increased the availability of betting markets. But perhaps this was an inevitable trend in our super-connected era. There are plenty of operators looking to supply the numbers, including Perform, Genius Sports and STATS LLC. And even if you don’t license your sport with an official provider, it’s hard to stop others going to an event and sending live scores to a bookmaker. Ultimately, this data is one of tennis’s resources. Adam Lewis’s IRP, which is now expected to deliver its interim report in late April, will no doubt have a view as to how it is best used. But the ITF have decided that a deeper cooperation with the providers is better than the alternative: trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle. It could prove to be one of their wiser moves. Simon Briggs' Secret Service column will be available every Tuesday at telegraph.co.uk/tennis.
In the first of a new weekly column uncovering tennis&#39; untold stories, Simon Briggs goes behind-the-scenes with Sportradar - the newest ally in the sport&#39;s fight against corruption. In a discreet building in London’s financial district, twenty or so young professionals are sitting at their computer screens. The office could belong to any new-media company, judging by the prominent table-tennis table, the darts board and the absence of collared shirts. Yet security has to be tight at Sportradar’s Integrity Services. Employees cannot be named – and their pictures cannot be taken – for fear of reprisals from the thugs they are trying to thwart. “People used to talk about fixing in tennis, and you’d think of the dodgy physio with inside info about someone’s bad knee,” says “Stephen”, a senior manager at the company. “Now it’s more likely to be about money-laundering or organised crime. We have to take precautions.” Sportradar’s Integrity Services began life in 2006, after the Bundesliga was rocked by a €2 million match-fixing scandal implemented by the rogue referee Robert Hoyzer and organised by the Balkan mafia. The FDS has since accounted for 36 criminal convictions, the majority in football, as well as 215 sporting disciplinary sentences. Former Bundesliga referee Robert Hoyzer at a court in Berlin Credit: AP But there is much more to Sportradar than their crimefighters. The main thrust of the business lies in collecting, packaging and reselling sporting data in the first place – a role that did not even exist until the start of the 21st century. And while the head office might be in London, the scope is global. Check out the electronic bulletin board above that table-tennis table, and you’ll see internal vacancies for a data analyst in Ljubljana and a customer-relations manager in Montevideo. From a tennis perspective, this story really starts in 2012, the year when Sportradar agreed to pay the International Tennis Federation a reported $14m per annum for data rights to the Pro Circuit (otherwise known as poorly paid Futures events, mostly contested by players ranked outside the top 300). But it was only three weeks ago that the ITF announced it would be sending some of that money back the other way, by engaging the Integrity Services. Since 2008, tennis has run its own police force under the title of the Tennis Integrity Unit. Yet the perception is that the TIU, which has beefed up its staffing levels from six people to 17 since match-fixing became a hot topic two years ago, is still struggling with the scale of the problem: 120,000 annual tennis matches, generating perhaps 250 suspicious betting alerts. Hence the ITF’s investment in this more technologically-led process, which picks up irregular patterns in the betting markets via algorithms, and then hands them over to investigators like “Andrew” who have 72 hours to see if there is anything substantive behind the data alerts. “If the odds move in a way that doesn’t make sense from our desks, we need to check the news, check social media, and look for an explanation,” Andrew says. “Maybe there’s an injury, or maybe something as simple as the weather can have an effect. We also employ a network of freelance journalists as boots on the ground. And as we go deeper into a case, we research the individual player, his associates and his connections. Big business | Sport&#39;s top betting markets “Less than one per cent of alerts end up being reported to sports federations or law enforcement. We start from the position of hoping to prove that matches are legitimate, because it’s important that we don’t pass anything on without having first convinced ourselves that there’s a genuine problem there.” Certain patterns crop up again and again. According to Stephen, “The smallest unit you can bet on meaningfully is a set, even if specialist bookmakers might offer games or even points. So you hear of players saying to their next opponent, ‘Right, I’ll win the first set 6-3, you win the second 6-2, and then we’ll play the third out for real.’ “That way, an insider can cash in on three markets – the result of the first set, the result of the second set, and the fact that the match went to a decider – without actually knowing who will win. But the players can still tell themselves that it was a proper match, even if it only lasted a set. Then, once they’ve crossed that line, the fixers have a hold on them.” Andrew shows me a file he compiled before the new ITF policing deal was struck, involving a tournament where multiple matches were put into an accumulator and thus paid off a massive dividend to the crooks. (The tournament has also been reported to the TIU.) Danger signs | Suspicious betting alerts in tennis “We wanted to investigate what was going on,” says Stephen. “The exercise was partly for our own understanding of the market, and partly because if you end up pitching your services, you have to be able to show some evidence of what you can offer. If you just say ‘We cracked these cases in football,’ then tennis authorities will reply, ‘What’s that got to do with us?’” The bulk of suspicious betting patterns occur at Futures level, simply because Futures events make up around three-quarters of the total matches played. But risk levels are roughly equivalent across the entirety of the game – or the men’s game, at least. Last year’s TIU figures showed that only 13 per cent of suspicious matches were played by women: a similar gender split to the numbers recorded in wider corporate fraud. Overall, women are simply less corruptible and less likely to commit crime. Sportradar’s deal does not cover ATP or Women’s Tennis Association matches – a typically mixed-up state of affairs in this often baffling sport. Those two elite tours both use the traditional tennis powerhouse IMG – the company founded by Wimbledon favourite Mark McCormack – to gather their score data, and they are relying solely on the TIU’s investigative powers. (It should be emphasised that Sportradar’s work is intended to supplement the existing arrangements rather than to replace them, and that the TIU are expected to lead any investigations derived from it.) Since January 2016 – when a joint BBC-Buzzfeed investigation into match-fixing caused an outcry – the sport has been waiting for the outcome of an Independent Review Panel headed by Adam Lewis QC. Delivery of an interim report was expected late last year, but has been held up by wrangling over the rights and wrongs of cases that took place almost a decade ago. The more important question would seem to be “Where should we go from here?” Pattern of suspicion | The growth in sport&#39;s anti-corruption fight The ITF have already indicated that their next step will include splitting the Pro Circuit into two: a beefed-up, better funded version of Futures tournaments for players ranked above 700 or so, and a Transition Tour for those below, offering no rankings points as we know them. The idea is to bring down the number of world-ranked players by perhaps 50 per cent, so that the cut-off point for so-called “professional tennis” is much higher. The governing bodies hope that betting on the very bottom rung of the ladder will fall as a result, although it’s hard to know whether punters will take the hint. Gamblers around the world have become hooked on these low-level events. There are few sports other than football and tennis that are truly international, thus providing content 24 hours a day, virtually all year round. And as Stephen points out, “It’s the niche markets that differentiate between bookmakers. Everyone offers the Premier League, but if you’re Croatian, for example, and your cousin plays second-division handball, you might want to bet on that. Then you place all your bets – including your Premier League bets – on whichever bookmaker is servicing those lesser events.” Are sports-data companies partly responsible for the integrity issues that tennis faces? Some would argue that these deals with the ITF and the ATP created the crisis in the first place. They certainly increased the availability of betting markets. But perhaps this was an inevitable trend in our super-connected era. There are plenty of operators looking to supply the numbers, including Perform, Genius Sports and STATS LLC. And even if you don’t license your sport with an official provider, it’s hard to stop others going to an event and sending live scores to a bookmaker. Ultimately, this data is one of tennis’s resources. Adam Lewis’s IRP, which is now expected to deliver its interim report in late April, will no doubt have a view as to how it is best used. But the ITF have decided that a deeper cooperation with the providers is better than the alternative: trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle. It could prove to be one of their wiser moves. Simon Briggs&#39; Secret Service column will be available every Tuesday at telegraph.co.uk/tennis.
On the front line in tennis' anti-corruption war
In the first of a new weekly column uncovering tennis' untold stories, Simon Briggs goes behind-the-scenes with Sportradar - the newest ally in the sport's fight against corruption. In a discreet building in London’s financial district, twenty or so young professionals are sitting at their computer screens. The office could belong to any new-media company, judging by the prominent table-tennis table, the darts board and the absence of collared shirts. Yet security has to be tight at Sportradar’s Integrity Services. Employees cannot be named – and their pictures cannot be taken – for fear of reprisals from the thugs they are trying to thwart. “People used to talk about fixing in tennis, and you’d think of the dodgy physio with inside info about someone’s bad knee,” says “Stephen”, a senior manager at the company. “Now it’s more likely to be about money-laundering or organised crime. We have to take precautions.” Sportradar’s Integrity Services began life in 2006, after the Bundesliga was rocked by a €2 million match-fixing scandal implemented by the rogue referee Robert Hoyzer and organised by the Balkan mafia. The FDS has since accounted for 36 criminal convictions, the majority in football, as well as 215 sporting disciplinary sentences. Former Bundesliga referee Robert Hoyzer at a court in Berlin Credit: AP But there is much more to Sportradar than their crimefighters. The main thrust of the business lies in collecting, packaging and reselling sporting data in the first place – a role that did not even exist until the start of the 21st century. And while the head office might be in London, the scope is global. Check out the electronic bulletin board above that table-tennis table, and you’ll see internal vacancies for a data analyst in Ljubljana and a customer-relations manager in Montevideo. From a tennis perspective, this story really starts in 2012, the year when Sportradar agreed to pay the International Tennis Federation a reported $14m per annum for data rights to the Pro Circuit (otherwise known as poorly paid Futures events, mostly contested by players ranked outside the top 300). But it was only three weeks ago that the ITF announced it would be sending some of that money back the other way, by engaging the Integrity Services. Since 2008, tennis has run its own police force under the title of the Tennis Integrity Unit. Yet the perception is that the TIU, which has beefed up its staffing levels from six people to 17 since match-fixing became a hot topic two years ago, is still struggling with the scale of the problem: 120,000 annual tennis matches, generating perhaps 250 suspicious betting alerts. Hence the ITF’s investment in this more technologically-led process, which picks up irregular patterns in the betting markets via algorithms, and then hands them over to investigators like “Andrew” who have 72 hours to see if there is anything substantive behind the data alerts. “If the odds move in a way that doesn’t make sense from our desks, we need to check the news, check social media, and look for an explanation,” Andrew says. “Maybe there’s an injury, or maybe something as simple as the weather can have an effect. We also employ a network of freelance journalists as boots on the ground. And as we go deeper into a case, we research the individual player, his associates and his connections. Big business | Sport's top betting markets “Less than one per cent of alerts end up being reported to sports federations or law enforcement. We start from the position of hoping to prove that matches are legitimate, because it’s important that we don’t pass anything on without having first convinced ourselves that there’s a genuine problem there.” Certain patterns crop up again and again. According to Stephen, “The smallest unit you can bet on meaningfully is a set, even if specialist bookmakers might offer games or even points. So you hear of players saying to their next opponent, ‘Right, I’ll win the first set 6-3, you win the second 6-2, and then we’ll play the third out for real.’ “That way, an insider can cash in on three markets – the result of the first set, the result of the second set, and the fact that the match went to a decider – without actually knowing who will win. But the players can still tell themselves that it was a proper match, even if it only lasted a set. Then, once they’ve crossed that line, the fixers have a hold on them.” Andrew shows me a file he compiled before the new ITF policing deal was struck, involving a tournament where multiple matches were put into an accumulator and thus paid off a massive dividend to the crooks. (The tournament has also been reported to the TIU.) Danger signs | Suspicious betting alerts in tennis “We wanted to investigate what was going on,” says Stephen. “The exercise was partly for our own understanding of the market, and partly because if you end up pitching your services, you have to be able to show some evidence of what you can offer. If you just say ‘We cracked these cases in football,’ then tennis authorities will reply, ‘What’s that got to do with us?’” The bulk of suspicious betting patterns occur at Futures level, simply because Futures events make up around three-quarters of the total matches played. But risk levels are roughly equivalent across the entirety of the game – or the men’s game, at least. Last year’s TIU figures showed that only 13 per cent of suspicious matches were played by women: a similar gender split to the numbers recorded in wider corporate fraud. Overall, women are simply less corruptible and less likely to commit crime. Sportradar’s deal does not cover ATP or Women’s Tennis Association matches – a typically mixed-up state of affairs in this often baffling sport. Those two elite tours both use the traditional tennis powerhouse IMG – the company founded by Wimbledon favourite Mark McCormack – to gather their score data, and they are relying solely on the TIU’s investigative powers. (It should be emphasised that Sportradar’s work is intended to supplement the existing arrangements rather than to replace them, and that the TIU are expected to lead any investigations derived from it.) Since January 2016 – when a joint BBC-Buzzfeed investigation into match-fixing caused an outcry – the sport has been waiting for the outcome of an Independent Review Panel headed by Adam Lewis QC. Delivery of an interim report was expected late last year, but has been held up by wrangling over the rights and wrongs of cases that took place almost a decade ago. The more important question would seem to be “Where should we go from here?” Pattern of suspicion | The growth in sport's anti-corruption fight The ITF have already indicated that their next step will include splitting the Pro Circuit into two: a beefed-up, better funded version of Futures tournaments for players ranked above 700 or so, and a Transition Tour for those below, offering no rankings points as we know them. The idea is to bring down the number of world-ranked players by perhaps 50 per cent, so that the cut-off point for so-called “professional tennis” is much higher. The governing bodies hope that betting on the very bottom rung of the ladder will fall as a result, although it’s hard to know whether punters will take the hint. Gamblers around the world have become hooked on these low-level events. There are few sports other than football and tennis that are truly international, thus providing content 24 hours a day, virtually all year round. And as Stephen points out, “It’s the niche markets that differentiate between bookmakers. Everyone offers the Premier League, but if you’re Croatian, for example, and your cousin plays second-division handball, you might want to bet on that. Then you place all your bets – including your Premier League bets – on whichever bookmaker is servicing those lesser events.” Are sports-data companies partly responsible for the integrity issues that tennis faces? Some would argue that these deals with the ITF and the ATP created the crisis in the first place. They certainly increased the availability of betting markets. But perhaps this was an inevitable trend in our super-connected era. There are plenty of operators looking to supply the numbers, including Perform, Genius Sports and STATS LLC. And even if you don’t license your sport with an official provider, it’s hard to stop others going to an event and sending live scores to a bookmaker. Ultimately, this data is one of tennis’s resources. Adam Lewis’s IRP, which is now expected to deliver its interim report in late April, will no doubt have a view as to how it is best used. But the ITF have decided that a deeper cooperation with the providers is better than the alternative: trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle. It could prove to be one of their wiser moves. Simon Briggs' Secret Service column will be available every Tuesday at telegraph.co.uk/tennis.
<p><em>It’s February, which is always a good time to visit Las Vegas, especially if you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest. In honor of the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights, one of the great sports stories of the past 365 days, here are some 2018 sports media predictions as ranked by the percentage of them coming true. </em></p><p><strong>100 percent:</strong> The months of February and March often feature viewership drops for those in the sports bloviating business. The NFL season has ended, the NBA has a long way to go until its postseason, and the Olympics rarely move the needle on FS1 or ESPN. Thus, count on the show-runners and producers who enable this slop to go heavy on anti-LeBron and anti-Tom Brady, rhetoric, along with pushing oppositional talk as a philosophy to get attention.</p><p><strong>90 percent:</strong> The NBA is going to finish significantly up in viewership for the 2017-18 regular season. Per Sports Media Watch: NBA games through Feb. 8 had averaged 2.0 million viewers across ESPN, ABC and TNT, a 12 percent increase over last year. Given the roster moves by the Cavaliers, which makes Cleveland much more interesting as a television play the next two months, plus the tightness of the Western Conference race (the fifth seed and the 10th seed are separated by less than four games), the late regular-season national viewership should be strong. The Warriors have 13 nationally televised games left including NBA TV broadcasts.</p><p><strong>80 percent:</strong> <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/02/anthem-kneelers-among-nfls-highest-paid-players-study.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fox News commentators" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fox News commentators</a> will continue <a href="https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/956200679558623233" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:to attack the NFL" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">to attack the NFL</a> even with Fox Sports last month signing a <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/01/31/thursday-night-football-fox-sports-deal-announcers-schedule-possibilities" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:five-year deal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">five-year deal</a> with the league for the rights to broadcast Thursday night games, starting with the 2018-2019 season.</p><p><strong>70 percent:</strong> ESPN SportsCenter host Michael Smith will ask off the 6:00 p.m. ET SportsCenter for another role at ESPN. It’s clear given his recent interview with author James Miller for his <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/origins-with-james-andrew-miller/id1266445999?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Origins” podcast on SportsCenter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Origins” podcast on SportsCenter</a> that Smith is ticked with how management changed course in less than a year on what it told Smith and former co-anchor Jemele Hill <a href="https://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2017/01/new-sc6-michael-jemele-launching-feb-6-6-p-m-et/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:when it created the show" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">when it created the show</a>—be yourself and we will support you. I’ve been writing for months—<a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2017/10/15/jemele-hill-espn-sportscenter-future" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here’s a piece from last October" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here’s a piece from last October</a>—about the effort by ESPN management to change the show and bring in ESPN talent as guests with opinions counter to the hosts. This is the major reason why Hill ultimately left.</p><p><strong>60 percent:</strong> The WWE re-ups its television rights deal with NBCUniversal, spurring other bidders.</p><p><strong>50 percent:</strong> The upcoming Mike Greenberg-fronted morning show on ESPN, “Get Up,” which debuts on April 2, will average between 400,000-450,000 viewers for its first month, then drop come May and June. That drop will make it very challenging for ESPN heading forward given the outlay it has made on salary.</p><p><strong>40 percent:</strong> Peyton Manning opts to give sports broadcasting a try and signs a deal to call Fox’s Thursday Night Football package.</p><p><strong>30 percent: </strong>Traditional sports outlets will start hiring reporters to cover the sports gaming/gambling fulltime ahead of what looks like legal sports gambling nationwide in the next couple of years.</p><p><strong>20 percent:</strong> Roger Federer will win SI’s Sportsperson of the Year honor, an award he should have won 10 years ago.</p><p><strong>10 percent:</strong> ESPN gambles that Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas can succeed as a first-year television analyst and hires him for Monday Night Football to work with Sean McDonough and Matt Hasselbeck.</p><p><strong>0 percent:</strong> Sports journalists will stick only to sports on social media, opting to agree with those who contend there is no nexus between sports and politics, sports and gender, sports and race, and sports and economics.</p><h3>THE NOISE REPORT</h3><p><strong>1.</strong> The Search For Jackie Wallace</p><p>Episode 162 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Ted Jackson. In this podcast, Jackson discusses his story, The Search For Jackie Wallace, in which Jackson chronicles his four-decade relationship with Wallace, a former NFL player and two-time Super Bowl participant who has struggled with addiction and homelessness for years; how Jackson first met Wallace in 1990 when Jackson took a picture of a Wallace at a camp setup under the I-10 freeway; how a journalist straddles the line between telling a story and exploitation of a subject; the long and winding story of Wallace; what his interactions over the years were like with Wallace; the national response to the story, which now has more than 7 million page views; an update on Wallace, who has been missing since last July; what Jackson hopes readers take away from the story; and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/si-media-podcast-with-richard-deitsch/id997819235?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Apple Podcasts" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Apple Podcasts</a> and <a href="https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cadence13/si-media-podcast-with-richard-deitsch" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stitcher." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stitcher.</a></p><p><strong>1a</strong>. NBC’s Opening Ceremony coverage featured two of its commentators angering both <a href="https://twitter.com/JosDuijvestein/status/96236856323026944" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Dutch" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Dutch</a> and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/02/11/nbc-apologizes-to-koreans-for-olympics-coverage-that-praised-japans-brutal-occupation/?utm_term=.94b690421781" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:South Koreans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">South Koreans</a>. On a more positive note, NBC said the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games drew a total audience of 28.3 million viewers. (For Winter Games comparison, the opening ceremony in Sochi drew 31.7 million and Vancouver&#39;s drew 32.7 milion. The last Opening Ceremony (Rio drew 26.5 million.) In an era of cord-cutting and the Olympics trying to find young viewers, NBC drawing <a href="https://twitter.com/crupicrupicrupi/status/962451120269426688" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:28 million-plus for an Olympic telecast is a quality number" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">28 million-plus for an Olympic telecast is a quality number</a>. PyeongChang will likely be down overall from Sochi but if the percentage down is low, it won’t be terrible for NBC. We’ll see in a couple of weeks. On Saturday night NBC/NBCSN/NBC Sports Digital averaged 24.2 million viewers, down just 4% from the 25.1 million who tuned in for the first Saturday night in Sochi.</p><p><strong>1b.</strong> The top-rated markets for Saturday live primetime Winter Olympics coverage on NBC/NBCSN:</p><p>1. Salt Lake City</p><p>2. Denver</p><p>3. Seattle</p><p>4. San Diego</p><p>5. Kansas City</p><p>6. Sacramento</p><p>7. Portland</p><p>8. Milwaukee</p><p>9. Tulsa</p><p>10. Los Angeles</p><p>The Olympics traditionally rates higher in cities west of the Mississippi.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> This is a great piece by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch regarding the NFL’s ratings decline. Lewis cites that in overall households (8.6), adults 18-34 (3.7), adults 18-49 (4.6) and adults 25-54 (5.5), the 2017 NFL regular season was the lowest rated since at least 2000. In viewership, the 2017 season was the least-watched NFL season since 2008 (14.6M). But Lewis’s research showed that the NFL had declined for the sixth straight year in adults 18-34 and the seventh straight year in adults 18-49. That’s where its underlying problems are for television. <a href="http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2018/02/nfl-ratings-decline-2017-analysis/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Check the piece out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Check the piece out</a>. It’s excellent.</p><p><strong>2a.</strong> NBC said measuring out-of-home viewership for its Super Bowl LII telecast increased viewership by more than 12 million viewers. The Out of Home viewing metric (from Nielsen) is new and something sports network have wanted for a long time given the number of people who watch sports at bars, hotels and restaurants. With the out-of-home viewership, NBC said Super Bowl LII registered a Total Audience Delivery of 118.2 million viewers, across all NBC platforms including streaming.</p><p><strong>3</strong>. Former Yankee manager Joe Girardi was hired last week by the MLB Network as an analyst. The network says he&#39;ll appear across the network. On a conference call, MLB Network president Rob McGlarry reiterated multiple times the attractiveness of hiring someone immediately off the field. I asked him about the real possibility of Girardi leaving the network in a short amount of time. How does McGarry weigh the attractiveness of a broadcasting candidate versus the possibility of that candidate leaving?</p><p>“When you hire someone like Joe with the success he has had in the past, there is a very real possibility he might go back on the field,” McGarry said. “We are fine with that. It is a real part of the business.&quot;</p><p>Girardi, to his credit, said on the call that he wants back in as a manager, so this will clearly be a short-term rental. Girardi said he had conversations with other sports networks but said MLB Network” is baseball-only and that is a good fit for me.”</p><p><strong>4. </strong><em>Non sports pieces of note:</em></p><p>•Remarkable work from Reuters: <a href="https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rakhine-events/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village</a></p><p>•From David Grann of the New Yorker: <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-white-darkness" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:A solitary journey across Antarctica" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">A solitary journey across Antarctica</a></p><p>•Via Taffy Brodesser-Akner: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/arts/jimmy-buffett-does-not-live-the-jimmy-buffett-lifestyle.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle</a></p><p>•From Eleanor Cummins of Popular Science: <a href="https://www.popsci.com/babe-ruth-cancer-treatment" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer</a>, but his death changed the way we fight it</p><p>•Via Suki Kim: “Here&#39;s my take on how women are being used for propaganda in the Olympics, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/opinion/north-korea-lipstick-diplomacy.html?smid=tw-share" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by both North Korea and South Korea" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by both North Korea and South Korea</a>”</p><p>•Via New York Times Magazine: When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/magazine/when-youre-a-digital-nomad-the-world-is-your-office.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fmagazine&#38;action=click&#38;contentCollection=magazine&#38;region=rank&#38;module=package&#38;version=highlights&#38;contentPlacement=2&#38;pgtype=sectionfront" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the World Is Your Office:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the World Is Your Office: </a></p><p>•If interested in Brazil, read this from Stephanie Nolen and Aaron Vincent Elkaim <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/amazon-rainforest-deforestation-crisis/article37722932/?src=longreads" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:of the Globe and Mail" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">of the Globe and Mail</a> (Canada).</p><p>•Michael Lewis traveled to Washington in search of Donald Trump and wound up watching the <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-09/has-anyone-seen-the-president?utm_medium=email&#38;utm_source=newsletter&#38;utm_term=180209&#38;utm_campaign=sharetheview" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:State of the Union with Steve Bannon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">State of the Union with Steve Bannon</a>.</p><p><em>Sports pieces of note:</em></p><p>•<a href="https://www.sportsnet.ca/olympics/despite-setbacks-olympic-games-formula-never-failed/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sportsnet’s" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sportsnet’s</a><a href="https://www.sportsnet.ca/olympics/despite-setbacks-olympic-games-formula-never-failed/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stephen Brunt" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Stephen Brunt</a> on the Olympic mystique amid drugs and politics.</p><p>•Amazing work from <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/06/super-bowl-2018-eagles-patriots-nick-foles-doug-pederson-howie-roseman" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SI’s Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SI’s Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin</a> from the Super Bowl</p><p>•ESPN’s Sam Borden, <a href="http://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/22365980/pingpong-diplomacy-how-two-koreans-united-table-tennis-met-sin" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on ping-pong diplomacy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on ping-pong diplomacy</a></p><p>•Deadspin’s David Bixenspan examined <a href="https://deadspin.com/witness-vince-mcmahon-stared-down-groping-accuser-for-1822642014?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&#38;utm_source=deadspin_twitter&#38;utm_medium=socialflow" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon</a></p><p>•From SI’s Tim Layden: Twenty years ago Hermann Maier flew off the mountain in the Olympic downhill. A look back at the fall, and the famous photo, <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/hermann-maier-nagano-olympic-crash-photo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:including a chat with there erstwhile Herminator." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">including a chat with there erstwhile Herminator.</a></p><p>•Via ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill: <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22349868/the-family-tennessee-titans-legend-steve-mcnair-left-behind" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Family Steve McNair left behind" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Family Steve McNair left behind</a></p><p>•From Esquire’s Nick Pachelli: Eight months after the shocking death of his mentor—<a href="http://www.esquire.com/sports/a15916079/justin-olsen-bobsled/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and America’s greatest bobsled driver" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and America’s greatest bobsled driver</a>—Justin Olson has his sights set on the podium</p><p>5. ESPN spokesperson Ben Cafardo said that the ESPN NBA show “The Jump” had its most-watched episode ever last week with a three-hour NBA Trade Deadline edition. The show averaged 603,000 viewers.</p><p>5a.<a href="https://twitter.com/SportsFrontPage/status/961992870516404224" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Front pages" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Front pages</a> in Philadelphia after the Eagles parade.</p>
Media Circus: 10 Predictions Across the 2018 Sports Media Landscape

It’s February, which is always a good time to visit Las Vegas, especially if you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest. In honor of the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights, one of the great sports stories of the past 365 days, here are some 2018 sports media predictions as ranked by the percentage of them coming true.

100 percent: The months of February and March often feature viewership drops for those in the sports bloviating business. The NFL season has ended, the NBA has a long way to go until its postseason, and the Olympics rarely move the needle on FS1 or ESPN. Thus, count on the show-runners and producers who enable this slop to go heavy on anti-LeBron and anti-Tom Brady, rhetoric, along with pushing oppositional talk as a philosophy to get attention.

90 percent: The NBA is going to finish significantly up in viewership for the 2017-18 regular season. Per Sports Media Watch: NBA games through Feb. 8 had averaged 2.0 million viewers across ESPN, ABC and TNT, a 12 percent increase over last year. Given the roster moves by the Cavaliers, which makes Cleveland much more interesting as a television play the next two months, plus the tightness of the Western Conference race (the fifth seed and the 10th seed are separated by less than four games), the late regular-season national viewership should be strong. The Warriors have 13 nationally televised games left including NBA TV broadcasts.

80 percent: Fox News commentators will continue to attack the NFL even with Fox Sports last month signing a five-year deal with the league for the rights to broadcast Thursday night games, starting with the 2018-2019 season.

70 percent: ESPN SportsCenter host Michael Smith will ask off the 6:00 p.m. ET SportsCenter for another role at ESPN. It’s clear given his recent interview with author James Miller for his “Origins” podcast on SportsCenter that Smith is ticked with how management changed course in less than a year on what it told Smith and former co-anchor Jemele Hill when it created the show—be yourself and we will support you. I’ve been writing for months—here’s a piece from last October—about the effort by ESPN management to change the show and bring in ESPN talent as guests with opinions counter to the hosts. This is the major reason why Hill ultimately left.

60 percent: The WWE re-ups its television rights deal with NBCUniversal, spurring other bidders.

50 percent: The upcoming Mike Greenberg-fronted morning show on ESPN, “Get Up,” which debuts on April 2, will average between 400,000-450,000 viewers for its first month, then drop come May and June. That drop will make it very challenging for ESPN heading forward given the outlay it has made on salary.

40 percent: Peyton Manning opts to give sports broadcasting a try and signs a deal to call Fox’s Thursday Night Football package.

30 percent: Traditional sports outlets will start hiring reporters to cover the sports gaming/gambling fulltime ahead of what looks like legal sports gambling nationwide in the next couple of years.

20 percent: Roger Federer will win SI’s Sportsperson of the Year honor, an award he should have won 10 years ago.

10 percent: ESPN gambles that Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas can succeed as a first-year television analyst and hires him for Monday Night Football to work with Sean McDonough and Matt Hasselbeck.

0 percent: Sports journalists will stick only to sports on social media, opting to agree with those who contend there is no nexus between sports and politics, sports and gender, sports and race, and sports and economics.

THE NOISE REPORT

1. The Search For Jackie Wallace

Episode 162 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Ted Jackson. In this podcast, Jackson discusses his story, The Search For Jackie Wallace, in which Jackson chronicles his four-decade relationship with Wallace, a former NFL player and two-time Super Bowl participant who has struggled with addiction and homelessness for years; how Jackson first met Wallace in 1990 when Jackson took a picture of a Wallace at a camp setup under the I-10 freeway; how a journalist straddles the line between telling a story and exploitation of a subject; the long and winding story of Wallace; what his interactions over the years were like with Wallace; the national response to the story, which now has more than 7 million page views; an update on Wallace, who has been missing since last July; what Jackson hopes readers take away from the story; and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

1a. NBC’s Opening Ceremony coverage featured two of its commentators angering both the Dutch and South Koreans. On a more positive note, NBC said the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games drew a total audience of 28.3 million viewers. (For Winter Games comparison, the opening ceremony in Sochi drew 31.7 million and Vancouver's drew 32.7 milion. The last Opening Ceremony (Rio drew 26.5 million.) In an era of cord-cutting and the Olympics trying to find young viewers, NBC drawing 28 million-plus for an Olympic telecast is a quality number. PyeongChang will likely be down overall from Sochi but if the percentage down is low, it won’t be terrible for NBC. We’ll see in a couple of weeks. On Saturday night NBC/NBCSN/NBC Sports Digital averaged 24.2 million viewers, down just 4% from the 25.1 million who tuned in for the first Saturday night in Sochi.

1b. The top-rated markets for Saturday live primetime Winter Olympics coverage on NBC/NBCSN:

1. Salt Lake City

2. Denver

3. Seattle

4. San Diego

5. Kansas City

6. Sacramento

7. Portland

8. Milwaukee

9. Tulsa

10. Los Angeles

The Olympics traditionally rates higher in cities west of the Mississippi.

2. This is a great piece by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch regarding the NFL’s ratings decline. Lewis cites that in overall households (8.6), adults 18-34 (3.7), adults 18-49 (4.6) and adults 25-54 (5.5), the 2017 NFL regular season was the lowest rated since at least 2000. In viewership, the 2017 season was the least-watched NFL season since 2008 (14.6M). But Lewis’s research showed that the NFL had declined for the sixth straight year in adults 18-34 and the seventh straight year in adults 18-49. That’s where its underlying problems are for television. Check the piece out. It’s excellent.

2a. NBC said measuring out-of-home viewership for its Super Bowl LII telecast increased viewership by more than 12 million viewers. The Out of Home viewing metric (from Nielsen) is new and something sports network have wanted for a long time given the number of people who watch sports at bars, hotels and restaurants. With the out-of-home viewership, NBC said Super Bowl LII registered a Total Audience Delivery of 118.2 million viewers, across all NBC platforms including streaming.

3. Former Yankee manager Joe Girardi was hired last week by the MLB Network as an analyst. The network says he'll appear across the network. On a conference call, MLB Network president Rob McGlarry reiterated multiple times the attractiveness of hiring someone immediately off the field. I asked him about the real possibility of Girardi leaving the network in a short amount of time. How does McGarry weigh the attractiveness of a broadcasting candidate versus the possibility of that candidate leaving?

“When you hire someone like Joe with the success he has had in the past, there is a very real possibility he might go back on the field,” McGarry said. “We are fine with that. It is a real part of the business."

Girardi, to his credit, said on the call that he wants back in as a manager, so this will clearly be a short-term rental. Girardi said he had conversations with other sports networks but said MLB Network” is baseball-only and that is a good fit for me.”

4. Non sports pieces of note:

•Remarkable work from Reuters: How Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village

•From David Grann of the New Yorker: A solitary journey across Antarctica

•Via Taffy Brodesser-Akner: Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle

•From Eleanor Cummins of Popular Science: No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer, but his death changed the way we fight it

•Via Suki Kim: “Here's my take on how women are being used for propaganda in the Olympics, by both North Korea and South Korea

•Via New York Times Magazine: When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office:

•If interested in Brazil, read this from Stephanie Nolen and Aaron Vincent Elkaim of the Globe and Mail (Canada).

•Michael Lewis traveled to Washington in search of Donald Trump and wound up watching the State of the Union with Steve Bannon.

Sports pieces of note:

Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt on the Olympic mystique amid drugs and politics.

•Amazing work from SI’s Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin from the Super Bowl

•ESPN’s Sam Borden, on ping-pong diplomacy

•Deadspin’s David Bixenspan examined 2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon

•From SI’s Tim Layden: Twenty years ago Hermann Maier flew off the mountain in the Olympic downhill. A look back at the fall, and the famous photo, including a chat with there erstwhile Herminator.

•Via ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill: The Family Steve McNair left behind

•From Esquire’s Nick Pachelli: Eight months after the shocking death of his mentor—and America’s greatest bobsled driver—Justin Olson has his sights set on the podium

5. ESPN spokesperson Ben Cafardo said that the ESPN NBA show “The Jump” had its most-watched episode ever last week with a three-hour NBA Trade Deadline edition. The show averaged 603,000 viewers.

5a. Front pages in Philadelphia after the Eagles parade.

<p>GANGNEUNG, South Korea — You can lobby the IOC, and earn the right to host an Olympics, and spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and arenas and villages, and even make temporary peace with your menacing neighbor to the north, but what you <em>cannot</em> do, no matter how much you want, is ensure this:</p><p>First full day of the Games … short-track speedskating, perhaps South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympic sport … a South Korean wins gold as the crowd loses its individual voices and collective mind.</p><p>Lim Hyojun, however, can take care of that.</p><p>Lim won the first gold medal for the host country, in the men’s 1,500-meter event, in one of those great slices of sports pleasure that every Olympics delivers. It was such a perfect Olympic story that you had to remind yourself how unlikely it was.</p><p>Lim decided he wanted to be an Olympic speedskater when he watched the great Ahn-Hyun Soo compete in the 2006 Turin Olympics. When PyeongChang won hosting rights, in 2011, Lim set his goal to win gold here.</p><p>And with three laps to go, Lim and countryman Hwang Daeheon looked like they might go gold-silver. The cheers were thunderous. But short-track speedskating is one of the most entertaining Olympic sports for the same reason that you should not wager on it: at any moment, a skater can go from medal contention to getting tripped up and looking like a fidget spinner as he slides across the ice into the foam wall.</p><p>This is what happened to Hwang. Lim was South Korea’s last hope.</p><p>He would say through an interpreter later that, “I was not that nervous compared to the first round of the World Cup. It was quite mysterious.” After his first heat, he told his coach that the semifinal would be harder than the final. Maybe he thought that once he made it to the last race, after all these years, he would be able to finish the job.</p><p>He finished it, all right. It was the end of a great night at what are supposed to be the Peace Olympics and actually did feel like it. A contingent of North Korean fans cheered and waved unification flags and danced in an extraordinarily well-orchestrated display. Another crowd was forced to make room when Somebody Important was clearly about to enter the arena, only to cover that Two Important Somebodies had arrived: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. It made you feel like the big problems in this crazy world could be solved if we all just piled into a big, loud, happy arena to watch short-track speedskating. I am still jet-lagged.</p><p>Anyway: It was one of those nights that reminds you what the Olympics can still do. The Olympics, more than any other event, make you realize that sports are only meaningful because they are a shared experience. And different cultures share different experiences. The marathon had a different feel in Athens, site of the ancient Olympics, than it will in Tokyo. Table tennis in Beijing, swimming in Sydney … the location really does matter. And some sports that are huge in the other parts of the world don’t even fill arenas at the Olympics.</p><p>Well, the Koreans have fallen hard for short-track speedskating. This was not entirely evident in the minutes leading up to Saturday’s competition; there were a quite a few empty seats, and the general atmosphere felt like a regular-season Division II college basketball game. Then, as the competition started, it became clear: the seats had been empty because Koreans were not interested in sitting around to prove to visitors that they love short-track. They wanted to watch it. When the races started, the joint was rocking.</p><p>Between races, two guys with microphones tried to rev up the crowd by singing my favorite song about short-track speedskating, “Uptown Funk.” Every time a Korean passed somebody, the fans roared, even if it was just a heat.</p><p>(Not <em>everybody</em> got caught up in the atmosphere. Ebullient 18-year-old American Maame Biney said she was too focused on her skating and her alter ego, Anna Digger. Biney also said that during the race, “my legs were like wooooo.” Pardon me while I follow Maame Biney around for the next 14 days.)</p><p>By the end of the night, Lim was a gold-medalist. There was a crazy circle to his journey there: after Lim watched Ahn in Turin, Ahn had a falling-out with South Korean authorities, started competing for Russia and became Viktor Ahn. Ahn is now banned as part of the Russian doping penalties, but in a small way, Lim’s victory was his, too. Ahn had inspired Lim. Ahn had encouraged Lim. Lim said Saturday night, “I’d like to thank Viktor Ahn, too for this win.”</p><p>The medal will be Lim’s, not Ahn’s or Hwang Daeheon’s. But the night belonged to South Korea.</p>
Lim Hyojun’s Speedskating Gold Medal a Reminder of What the Olympics Can Still Do

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — You can lobby the IOC, and earn the right to host an Olympics, and spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and arenas and villages, and even make temporary peace with your menacing neighbor to the north, but what you cannot do, no matter how much you want, is ensure this:

First full day of the Games … short-track speedskating, perhaps South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympic sport … a South Korean wins gold as the crowd loses its individual voices and collective mind.

Lim Hyojun, however, can take care of that.

Lim won the first gold medal for the host country, in the men’s 1,500-meter event, in one of those great slices of sports pleasure that every Olympics delivers. It was such a perfect Olympic story that you had to remind yourself how unlikely it was.

Lim decided he wanted to be an Olympic speedskater when he watched the great Ahn-Hyun Soo compete in the 2006 Turin Olympics. When PyeongChang won hosting rights, in 2011, Lim set his goal to win gold here.

And with three laps to go, Lim and countryman Hwang Daeheon looked like they might go gold-silver. The cheers were thunderous. But short-track speedskating is one of the most entertaining Olympic sports for the same reason that you should not wager on it: at any moment, a skater can go from medal contention to getting tripped up and looking like a fidget spinner as he slides across the ice into the foam wall.

This is what happened to Hwang. Lim was South Korea’s last hope.

He would say through an interpreter later that, “I was not that nervous compared to the first round of the World Cup. It was quite mysterious.” After his first heat, he told his coach that the semifinal would be harder than the final. Maybe he thought that once he made it to the last race, after all these years, he would be able to finish the job.

He finished it, all right. It was the end of a great night at what are supposed to be the Peace Olympics and actually did feel like it. A contingent of North Korean fans cheered and waved unification flags and danced in an extraordinarily well-orchestrated display. Another crowd was forced to make room when Somebody Important was clearly about to enter the arena, only to cover that Two Important Somebodies had arrived: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. It made you feel like the big problems in this crazy world could be solved if we all just piled into a big, loud, happy arena to watch short-track speedskating. I am still jet-lagged.

Anyway: It was one of those nights that reminds you what the Olympics can still do. The Olympics, more than any other event, make you realize that sports are only meaningful because they are a shared experience. And different cultures share different experiences. The marathon had a different feel in Athens, site of the ancient Olympics, than it will in Tokyo. Table tennis in Beijing, swimming in Sydney … the location really does matter. And some sports that are huge in the other parts of the world don’t even fill arenas at the Olympics.

Well, the Koreans have fallen hard for short-track speedskating. This was not entirely evident in the minutes leading up to Saturday’s competition; there were a quite a few empty seats, and the general atmosphere felt like a regular-season Division II college basketball game. Then, as the competition started, it became clear: the seats had been empty because Koreans were not interested in sitting around to prove to visitors that they love short-track. They wanted to watch it. When the races started, the joint was rocking.

Between races, two guys with microphones tried to rev up the crowd by singing my favorite song about short-track speedskating, “Uptown Funk.” Every time a Korean passed somebody, the fans roared, even if it was just a heat.

(Not everybody got caught up in the atmosphere. Ebullient 18-year-old American Maame Biney said she was too focused on her skating and her alter ego, Anna Digger. Biney also said that during the race, “my legs were like wooooo.” Pardon me while I follow Maame Biney around for the next 14 days.)

By the end of the night, Lim was a gold-medalist. There was a crazy circle to his journey there: after Lim watched Ahn in Turin, Ahn had a falling-out with South Korean authorities, started competing for Russia and became Viktor Ahn. Ahn is now banned as part of the Russian doping penalties, but in a small way, Lim’s victory was his, too. Ahn had inspired Lim. Ahn had encouraged Lim. Lim said Saturday night, “I’d like to thank Viktor Ahn, too for this win.”

The medal will be Lim’s, not Ahn’s or Hwang Daeheon’s. But the night belonged to South Korea.

Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George&#39;s Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Repentant England Women head coach Phil Neville claims 'battered the wife' comment was reference to table tennis
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George's Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George&#39;s Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Repentant England Women head coach Phil Neville claims 'battered the wife' comment was reference to table tennis
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George's Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George&#39;s Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Repentant England Women head coach Phil Neville claims 'battered the wife' comment was reference to table tennis
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George's Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
<p><strong>Dick LeBeau</strong> has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when <strong>Jim Brown</strong> still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of <strong>Johnny Unitas</strong>. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn&#39;t successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers&#39; defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he&#39;s been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with <strong>Mike Mularkey</strong> gone, there&#39;s a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.</p><p>Jason Wolf <a href="https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nfl/titans/2018/01/16/titans-dick-lebeau-would-comfortable-retiring-if-not-asked-return-next-season-steelers-nfl-defensive/1035047001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn&#39;t right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there&#39;s a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It&#39;s also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau&#39;s relationships with the current players are a big reason he&#39;s considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau&#39;s legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week&#39;s matchup, <strong>Bill Belichick</strong> <span>said</span>, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league.&quot;</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <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"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/sean-payton-new-orleans-saints-minnesota-vikings-skol-chant" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:argues" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">argues</a> that <strong>Sean Payton</strong> needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:scouted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">scouted</a> the Patriots using <strong>Steve </strong><strong>Belichick</strong>&#39;s scouting manual ... <a href="http://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:</b> Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through <strong>Logan Ryan</strong>&#39;s eyes ... 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><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/vikings-saints-stefon-diggs-playoff-touchdown-miracle-met" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:On the Vikings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">On the Vikings</a>, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/nfl-coaching-carousel-news-mike-vrabel-tennessee-titans?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that <strong>Mike Vrabel</strong> is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... <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><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1</strong>. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: <strong>Drew Brees </strong>has <a href="http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/sports/saints/article_3d5523b2-faf9-11e7-a245-4b7be7dc2010.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:no plans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">no plans</a> to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, <strong>Sean Payton</strong> was caught taunting again, and this time he <a href="http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2018/01/sean_payton_skol_clap.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a>, &quot;It was good playoff fun.&quot;</p><p><strong>2. </strong>The biggest question mark in the playoffs is <em>still</em> whether<strong> Nick Foles</strong> is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-vikings-falcons-nfc-championship-nick-foles-doug-pederson-film-breakdown-nick-foles-tale-divisional-playoff-20180116.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:into the film" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">into the film</a> from last week to get answers.</p><p><b>3. </b><strong>Dion Lewis</strong> chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4810470" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:carry the team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">carry the team</a>.</p><p><b>4.</b> Rushing champion <strong>Kareem Hunt </strong>was <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article194989514.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:named" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">named</a> rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.</p><p><strong>5. </strong>Former Giants coach <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> is <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/01/ben_mcadoo_interviewing_for_br.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interviewing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interviewing</a> for the Browns&#39; offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> from 2006-12 in Green Bay.</p><p><b>6. </b>Armando Salguero <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article194920564.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong>—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.</p><p>7. Maybe <strong>Doug Marrone</strong> was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team &quot;threw a tantrum,&quot; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/16/jags-threw-a-tantrum-when-marrone-started-making-changes/109507820/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to defensive tackle <strong>Malik Jackson</strong>.</p><p><strong>8. </strong>I&#39;ve seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don&#39;t have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark <a href="https://www.theringer.com/nfl-playoffs/2018/1/16/16896096/playoffs-2017-season-lessons-jaguars-patriots-vikings-eagles-quarterbacks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a> no, &quot;You still need a quarterback.&quot;</p><p><b>9. </b>You knew something was going to come out of <strong>Ben </strong><strong>Roethlisberger</strong>&#39;s <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/01/16/ben-roethlisberger-todd-haley-qb-sneaks-steelers-jaguars/stories/201801160087" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tuesday radio interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tuesday radio interview</a>. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can&#39;t audible to a QB sneak. &quot;I truly have never said I don&#39;t want to run it,&quot; the QB added. &quot;I have asked for it.&quot; This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/16/fox-abc-nbc-cbs-make-bids-for-tnf/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:still wants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">still wants</a> to air it.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but <strong>Leonard Fournette </strong>getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000907265/article/leonard-fournette-uninjured-after-minor-car-crash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a football crazy story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a football crazy story</a>.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Titans Coaching Shuffle Leaves a Legend in Limbo

Dick LeBeau has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when Jim Brown still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of Johnny Unitas. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn't successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers' defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he's been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with Mike Mularkey gone, there's a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.

Jason Wolf reported in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn't right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there's a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It's also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau's relationships with the current players are a big reason he's considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau's legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week's matchup, Bill Belichick said, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league."

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

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Jonathan Jones argues that Sean Payton needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr scouted the Patriots using Steve Belichick's scouting manual ... and more.

LATER TODAY: Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through Logan Ryan's eyes ... and more. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: On the Vikings, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer reported that Mike Vrabel is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: Drew Brees has no plans to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, Sean Payton was caught taunting again, and this time he says, "It was good playoff fun."

2. The biggest question mark in the playoffs is still whether Nick Foles is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) into the film from last week to get answers.

3. Dion Lewis chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help carry the team.

4. Rushing champion Kareem Hunt was named rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.

5. Former Giants coach Ben McAdoo is interviewing for the Browns' offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM John Dorsey from 2006-12 in Green Bay.

6. Armando Salguero explains the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout Jarvis Landry—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.

7. Maybe Doug Marrone was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team "threw a tantrum," according to defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

8. I've seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don't have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark says no, "You still need a quarterback."

9. You knew something was going to come out of Ben Roethlisberger's Tuesday radio interview. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can't audible to a QB sneak. "I truly have never said I don't want to run it," the QB added. "I have asked for it." This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.

10. Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network still wants to air it.

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

THE KICKER

Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but Leonard Fournette getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is a football crazy story.

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

<p><strong>Dick LeBeau</strong> has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when <strong>Jim Brown</strong> still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of <strong>Johnny Unitas</strong>. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn&#39;t successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers&#39; defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he&#39;s been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with <strong>Mike Mularkey</strong> gone, there&#39;s a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.</p><p>Jason Wolf <a href="https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nfl/titans/2018/01/16/titans-dick-lebeau-would-comfortable-retiring-if-not-asked-return-next-season-steelers-nfl-defensive/1035047001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn&#39;t right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there&#39;s a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It&#39;s also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau&#39;s relationships with the current players are a big reason he&#39;s considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau&#39;s legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week&#39;s matchup, <strong>Bill Belichick</strong> <span>said</span>, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league.&quot;</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <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"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/sean-payton-new-orleans-saints-minnesota-vikings-skol-chant" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:argues" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">argues</a> that <strong>Sean Payton</strong> needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:scouted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">scouted</a> the Patriots using <strong>Steve </strong><strong>Belichick</strong>&#39;s scouting manual ... <a href="http://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:</b> Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through <strong>Logan Ryan</strong>&#39;s eyes ... 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><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/vikings-saints-stefon-diggs-playoff-touchdown-miracle-met" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:On the Vikings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">On the Vikings</a>, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/nfl-coaching-carousel-news-mike-vrabel-tennessee-titans?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that <strong>Mike Vrabel</strong> is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... <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><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1</strong>. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: <strong>Drew Brees </strong>has <a href="http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/sports/saints/article_3d5523b2-faf9-11e7-a245-4b7be7dc2010.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:no plans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">no plans</a> to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, <strong>Sean Payton</strong> was caught taunting again, and this time he <a href="http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2018/01/sean_payton_skol_clap.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a>, &quot;It was good playoff fun.&quot;</p><p><strong>2. </strong>The biggest question mark in the playoffs is <em>still</em> whether<strong> Nick Foles</strong> is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-vikings-falcons-nfc-championship-nick-foles-doug-pederson-film-breakdown-nick-foles-tale-divisional-playoff-20180116.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:into the film" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">into the film</a> from last week to get answers.</p><p><b>3. </b><strong>Dion Lewis</strong> chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4810470" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:carry the team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">carry the team</a>.</p><p><b>4.</b> Rushing champion <strong>Kareem Hunt </strong>was <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article194989514.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:named" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">named</a> rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.</p><p><strong>5. </strong>Former Giants coach <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> is <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/01/ben_mcadoo_interviewing_for_br.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interviewing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interviewing</a> for the Browns&#39; offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> from 2006-12 in Green Bay.</p><p><b>6. </b>Armando Salguero <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article194920564.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong>—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.</p><p>7. Maybe <strong>Doug Marrone</strong> was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team &quot;threw a tantrum,&quot; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/16/jags-threw-a-tantrum-when-marrone-started-making-changes/109507820/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to defensive tackle <strong>Malik Jackson</strong>.</p><p><strong>8. </strong>I&#39;ve seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don&#39;t have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark <a href="https://www.theringer.com/nfl-playoffs/2018/1/16/16896096/playoffs-2017-season-lessons-jaguars-patriots-vikings-eagles-quarterbacks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a> no, &quot;You still need a quarterback.&quot;</p><p><b>9. </b>You knew something was going to come out of <strong>Ben </strong><strong>Roethlisberger</strong>&#39;s <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/01/16/ben-roethlisberger-todd-haley-qb-sneaks-steelers-jaguars/stories/201801160087" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tuesday radio interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tuesday radio interview</a>. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can&#39;t audible to a QB sneak. &quot;I truly have never said I don&#39;t want to run it,&quot; the QB added. &quot;I have asked for it.&quot; This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/16/fox-abc-nbc-cbs-make-bids-for-tnf/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:still wants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">still wants</a> to air it.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but <strong>Leonard Fournette </strong>getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000907265/article/leonard-fournette-uninjured-after-minor-car-crash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a football crazy story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a football crazy story</a>.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Titans Coaching Shuffle Leaves a Legend in Limbo

Dick LeBeau has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when Jim Brown still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of Johnny Unitas. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn't successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers' defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he's been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with Mike Mularkey gone, there's a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.

Jason Wolf reported in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn't right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there's a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It's also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau's relationships with the current players are a big reason he's considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau's legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week's matchup, Bill Belichick said, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league."

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

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Jonathan Jones argues that Sean Payton needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr scouted the Patriots using Steve Belichick's scouting manual ... and more.

LATER TODAY: Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through Logan Ryan's eyes ... and more. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: On the Vikings, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer reported that Mike Vrabel is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: Drew Brees has no plans to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, Sean Payton was caught taunting again, and this time he says, "It was good playoff fun."

2. The biggest question mark in the playoffs is still whether Nick Foles is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) into the film from last week to get answers.

3. Dion Lewis chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help carry the team.

4. Rushing champion Kareem Hunt was named rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.

5. Former Giants coach Ben McAdoo is interviewing for the Browns' offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM John Dorsey from 2006-12 in Green Bay.

6. Armando Salguero explains the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout Jarvis Landry—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.

7. Maybe Doug Marrone was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team "threw a tantrum," according to defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

8. I've seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don't have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark says no, "You still need a quarterback."

9. You knew something was going to come out of Ben Roethlisberger's Tuesday radio interview. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can't audible to a QB sneak. "I truly have never said I don't want to run it," the QB added. "I have asked for it." This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.

10. Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network still wants to air it.

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

THE KICKER

Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but Leonard Fournette getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is a football crazy story.

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

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