Yahoo Sports AM: Top two teams go down

Today's edition includes two big upsets on the hardwood, Wander Franco's murky future, the first NBA-NHL brother tandem, our final NFL power rankings, and more.

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🚨 Headlines

💵 Spo's record deal: Erik Spoelstra has agreed to an eight-year extension with the Heat worth more than $120 million, the most committed money in North American coaching history, per ESPN. The 53-year-old Spoelstra has been Miami's head coach since 2008.

🏈 Vrabel gets the boot: In a surprise move, the Titans fired Mike Vrabel on Tuesday following his second straight losing season. Vrabel went 54-45 in six seasons with Tennessee and made three trips to the playoffs (2019-21).

⚾️ Shota to Chicago: The Cubs are reportedly signing Japanese LHP Shota Imanaga, who went 74-55 with a 2.96 ERA and 1,183 strikeouts over eight seasons with the Yokohama Bay Stars.

🏀 Raptors coach rips refs: Darko Rajaković was furious after the Lakers had a 23-2 free throw advantage in the fourth quarter of their 132-131 win. "They had to win tonight? If that's the case, just let us know so we don't show up for the game."

⚽️ Name change: Seattle's NWSL franchise, known as OL Reign since 2019, is bringing back its original name, Seattle Reign FC, and iconic queen logo amid a reported sale to the Sounders ownership group.

🏀 Top two teams go down

Fans storm the court after Nebraska beat No. 1 Purdue. (Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
Fans storm the court after Nebraska beat No. 1 Purdue. (Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

No. 1 Purdue and No. 2 Houston both lost on Tuesday night — the eighth time in AP poll history that the top two teams lost to unranked opponents on the same day.

  • Nebraska 88, Purdue 72: This was the Cornhuskers' fourth win over a No. 1 team and first since 1982. As for the Boilermakers, this is the fourth time in the last two seasons that they've lost to an unranked opponent while holding the No. 1 ranking.

  • Iowa State 57, Houston 53: The Cougars were the last remaining undefeated team in the country. Now there are zero. Add in women's hoops and there are just three unbeatens left in all of Division I basketball: South Carolina, UCLA and Baylor.

Flashback: The last time this happened was Feb. 6, 2016, when Kansas State beat No. 1 Oklahoma and Notre Dame beat No. 2 UNC. The good news for Purdue and Houston? The Sooners and Tar Heels both made the Final Four that season.

The big picture: For the second straight year, college basketball is being defined by parity — and chaos. It truly feels like anything can happen on any given night. The transfer portal appears to be playing a role in this: As players move seamlessly between programs in search for playing time, it's created more "good" teams and fewer "great" ones.

⚾️ Wander Franco's murky future

(Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
(Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Wander Franco, one of baseball's brightest young stars, may have already played his final MLB game, Jeff writes.

Catch up quick: MLB put Franco on administrative leave in August following allegations that the Rays' 22-year-old shortstop had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in his native Dominican Republic. Franco denied the allegations.

  • Dominican authorities began an investigation as Franco remained sidelined, and last week he was arrested and accused of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering.

  • Prosecutors allege Franco paid the girl's mother thousands of dollars in exchange for her silence. The mother faces the same charges and was placed under house arrest.

  • Franco was released from jail on Monday on a $34,000 bond. On Tuesday, a judge determined he would face the lesser charges of sexual and psychological abuse, which carry a maximum prison sentence of five years as opposed to the decades he originally faced.

What's next: At a minimum, the start of Franco's 2024 season is in jeopardy. But there's also a chance he never plays in the big leagues again, and could potentially forfeit the remaining $174 million on the $182 million contract he signed in 2021.

  • The U.S. government could revoke Franco's visa based on the allegations alone, but even with his visa, coming to the States "would open himself up to being detained at the border," immigration attorney Javad Khazaeli told The Athletic ($).

  • If he can't enter the country by Opening Day, he'd be placed on the restricted list. If he's ultimately convicted of the aggravated felony of sexual abuse of a minor, he'd be permanently banned from the U.S., which would trigger the forfeiture of his contract.

  • Even if Franco avoids conviction, MLB could still suspend him for violating its joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. In that case, his contract would likely remain intact, but he wouldn't earn any money during his suspension (see: Trevor Bauer).

Betting on the wrong horse: The outcome of Franco's case will also impact card collectors who invested in the youngster when he entered the league at the height of the collecting boom. His cards' value declined 77% last year, per Sportico, and will likely only rebound if he's exonerated.

🏀🏒 The first NBA-NHL brother tandem

Tyler Myers (L) and Quentin Grimes are half-brothers. (Vancouver Canucks)
Tyler Myers (L) and Quentin Grimes are half-brothers. (Vancouver Canucks)

There have been plenty of brother duos in the NBA and even more in the NHL. But there's only one NBA-NHL brother tandem: Knicks guard Quentin Grimes and Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers.

All in the family: Grimes and Myers are maternal half-brothers. Together with their mother, Tonja Stelly, they make up quite the trio. Three last names, two sports, one family.

  • Grimes, 23, grew up in Houston with Stelly, where he was a five-star recruit. He was taken with the 25th pick in the 2021 NBA draft after leading Houston to the Final Four.

  • Myers, 33, was born in Houston but grew up in Calgary with his father. He was drafted 12th overall in the 2008 NHL draft and won the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) in 2010.

Together at the Garden: The brothers' schedules aligned this week at Madison Square Garden, with the Canucks visiting the Rangers on Tuesday and the Knicks hosting the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. Stelly made the trip from Texas to watch both games, and Grimes joined her on Tuesday to support Myers.

  • Myers had an assist in Vancouver's 6-3 win over New York.

  • Grimes had 17 points in New York's 112-84 win over Portland.

Who's taller? You'd think the hoops-playing sibling would have the height advantage, but that's not the case. The 6-foot-5 Grimes is slightly shorter than the average NBA player, while the 6-foot-8 Myers is the tallest active player in the NHL.

💵 $90 million for ESPN, $0 for the players

(Logan Riely/Getty Images)
(Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Monday's CFP title game averaged 25 million viewers (roughly the population of Australia) and generated $90 million in ad revenue for ESPN, with sponsors like Allstate and AT&T paying more than $800,000 for each 30-second spot.

Food for thought: Imagine sharing those figures with a non-American who doesn't understand college sports, and then informing them that the athletes who played in the game were paid $0 in salaries. They simply wouldn't believe you.

Change is coming: College administrators will meet this week in Phoenix to explore NCAA president Charlie Baker's groundbreaking proposal to create a new subdivision within Division I that would allow certain schools to pay athletes directly.

  • Meanwhile, newly-minted national champion Jim Harbaugh used his Tuesday press conference to continue advocating for college athletes to earn their fair share. He called for coaches to take pay cuts and said unionization is "probably the next step."

  • "The universities, the NCAA, the conferences … everybody [is] maximizing every single revenue source there is, but they're not sharing it with the talent," said Harbaugh. "There's no business that that would ever fly. I mean, the Supreme Court has said the same thing."

  • "If people aren't going to do [what's right] out of their own goodwill … [unionization] is probably the next step," added the Michigan coach. "I think that's the way you've gotta go."

Further reading: Baker's plan to pay college athletes, explained

🏈 NFL power rankings: Final edition

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

Our final NFL power rankings are here, courtesy of Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab. Here's where all 32 teams finished compared to where they started in our Week 1 rankings.

  1. Ravens (up 9)

  2. 49ers (up 3)

  3. Bills (up 1)

  4. Cowboys (up 2)

  5. Lions (up 2)

  6. Chiefs (down 5)

  7. Browns (up 9)

  8. Dolphins (up 1)

  9. Rams (up 21)

  10. Texans (up 21)

  11. Eagles (down 9)

  12. Steelers (up 1)

  13. Packers (up 2)

  14. Buccaneers (up 14)

  15. Seahawks (up 4)

  16. Colts (up 13)

  17. Jaguars (down 5)

  18. Bengals (down 15)

  19. Saints (down 2)

  20. Bears (up 7)

  21. Raiders (up 5)

  22. Vikings (down 4)

  23. Broncos (up 1)

  24. Jets (down 16)

  25. Falcons (down 4)

  26. Giants (down 7)

  27. Titans (down 5)

  28. Chargers (down 14)

  29. Cardinals (up 3)

  30. Patriots (down 10)

  31. Commanders (down 8)

  32. Panthers (down 7)

Biggest risers and fallers: The Rams (30 → 9), Texans (31 → 10), Buccaneers (28 → 14) and Colts (29 → 16) were the biggest risers, while the Jets (8 → 24), Bengals (3 → 18), Chargers (14 → 28) and Patriots (20 → 30) were the biggest fallers.

More NFL: Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football awards

📆 Jan. 10, 1982: "The Catch"

Dwight Clark leaps to haul in the winning score. (Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)
Dwight Clark leaps to haul in the winning score. (Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)

42 years ago today, Joe Montana found Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to beat the Cowboys, 28-27, in the final minute of the NFC Championship at Candlestick Park*, Jeff writes.

The start of something special: Two weeks later, the Niners beat the Bengals to win their first of four Super Bowls in the 1980s.

More on this day:

  • 🏈 1982: The Bengals beat the Chargers in a frigid AFC Championship known as the Freezer Bowl. The -59 degree wind chill made it the coldest game in NFL history.

  • 🏀 2003: Charlotte was awarded the NBA's most recent expansion franchise, the Bobcats, one year after losing the Hornets to New Orleans. In 2014, they brought back the Hornets name after New Orleans became the Pelicans.

*Fun fact: In attendance at Candlestick that day? A young 49ers fan named Tom Brady. Here's the photograph to prove it.

📺 Watchlist: NHL doubleheader

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Tonight's NHL doubleheader on TNT/Max features three of the best teams in the West, including the last two Stanley Cup champions, Jeff writes.

  • Wild at Stars (7:30pm ET): Dallas, which ousted Minnesota from the playoffs last season, is 2-0-0 against the Wild this season, outscoring them 12-3.

  • Golden Knights at Avalanche (10pm): The 2022 champs host the 2023 champs, who cruised to a 7-0 victory in their first matchup of the season.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NBA: Pelicans at Warriors (8:30pm, ABC); Nuggets at Jazz (10pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 NCAAM: No. 7 UNC at NC State (8pm, ESPN); No. 15 Wisconsin at Ohio State (8:30pm, BTN); No. 9 Oklahoma at TCU (9pm, ESPN2)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: Oklahoma at No. 12 Kansas State (7pm, ESPNU); No. 3 Iowa* at Purdue (8pm, Peacock)

  • ⚽️ Supercopa de España: Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid (2pm, ESPN2) … Semifinals of the annual tournament featuring the winners and runners-up of the Copa del Rey and LaLiga.

*Clark's on fire: Even by her own lofty standards, Caitlin Clark has been on another level in her past five games, averaging 35.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 8 assists while hitting more than six 3-pointers per game.

🇫🇷 Skyscraper trivia

The Nets and Cavaliers pose in front of the Eiffel Tower. (@NBA)
The Nets and Cavaliers pose in front of the Eiffel Tower. (@NBA)

The Nets and Cavaliers are in France this week for the NBA's third regular-season game in Paris. Both teams took in the sights on Tuesday ahead of tomorrow's clash (2pm ET, NBA TV).

The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, was the tallest human-made structure in the world (1,024 feet) until 1930, when it was surpassed by what building?

  • Empire State Building (New York City)

  • Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)

  • Chrysler Building (New York City)

  • CN Tower (Toronto)

Answer at the bottom.

🍿 Coming soon: "The Dynasty"


Apple has released the official trailer for its upcoming 10-part series about the Patriots' dynasty, and it packs quite the punch into 60 seconds.

Details: "The Dynasty: New England Patriots" is based on the New York Times bestselling book by Jeff Benedict and premieres Feb. 16 on Apple TV+. The trailer teases interviews with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft and features this juicy quote from WR Danny Amendola:

"We worked for Bill, but we played for Tom."

Trivia answer: Chrysler Building (1,046 feet), which held that title for 11 months before the Empire State Building (1,250 feet) finished construction.

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