Review Category : National Sports

“Blind Side” Player’s Mom Calls Super Bowl Appearance ‘The Greatest Validation’

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Two weeks ago, when Carolina Panthers left tackle Michael Oher took the field in the NFC championship, Leigh Anne Tuohy burst into tears.

For Tuohy, whose family was the focus of the 2009 film The Blind Side, seeing Oher playing football at this level is an overwhelming experience.

To that end, she’s been crying all week, and she knows that come Super Bowl Sunday, she’ll sobbing “like a baby.”

“On Sunday, I will be bawling because that’s my child first of all – to see your child live out a dream is wonderful – but every time he comes out there it represents hope to me,” she told ABC News. “The Panthers gave my son a chance and I’m forever grateful. That’s part of being a mother.”

Last season didn’t end well for Oher, who entered the NFL in 2009 as a first-round draft pick and won the Super Bowl in 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens. However, in 2014, while he was playing with the Tennessee Titans, he injured his toe and missed a few games. Last February, he was released from the team. The next month, however, proved to be a turning point, as the Panthers announced that they’d signed Oher to a two-year contract. It was a great move for the team: This season, Oher has successfully protected quarterback Cam Newton’s blindside time and time again, and has only allowed a few sacks.

“The greatest validation is the fact that so many people counted Michael out last year and here is a life lesson for everyone: Don’t count people out. Don’t look at that person because they didn’t do what you think they should’ve done or what you think they should’ve been doing and say they’re done or they’re toast. Don’t label that person because you don’t know their story,” she said. “When people are determined and they work hard, you don’t know what can happen. Here’s a kid who didn’t listen to what people said about him. He kept working. He kept focused, and he kept doing the right thing.”

She said that while it’s not her son’s nature to say “I told you so,” to his critics, she has noticed that “he has a giddy step right now.” Tuohy added that Oher became especially motivated after receiving a pre-season call from Newton, who persuaded him to join the team.

“He’s in an extra-special spot because he gets a call from Cam and Cam says, ‘I need you.’ When somebody tells you that, you’re just like, ‘I’m all in,'” she said. “It’s like [he’s thinking], ‘Look. These people believed in me and they coached me up. They realized I had value and they’re giving me an opportunity because they believed in me, so I’m going to work my a** off for them,’ and look what’s happened.”

Tuohy said that her whole family is in San Francisco right now to support Oher, and that on Sunday, they’ll be celebrating in their Panthers gear no matter what happens. If they win, she promises to “celebrate and be obnoxious, honking the horn,” and if they don’t, they’ll take Oher out for a nice dinner and reminisce about the team’s “fairytale, magical, Disney-esque season.”

“This is a team full of character and integrity from the owner to the head coach to Micahel’s position coach to the little boy that works the door. Theyr’e all just great people – ‘Yes ma’am. No ma’am. Thank you.’ They smile at you. It’s just that kind of organization,” she said. “I just thank God: How did we get so lucky to end up with a group of people like this? You don’t get that lucky in life and we feel very, very fortunate. We feel very blessed to be part of the Panthers organization.”

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Scoreboard Roundup — 2/4/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Detroit 111, New York 105
Houston 111, Phoenix 105
L-A Lakers 99, New Orleans 96
Toronto 110, Portland 103

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

2OT Boston 3, Buffalo 2 (SO Boston 1-0)
N-Y Rangers 4, Minnesota 2
Florida 6, Detroit 3
Edmonton 7, Ottawa 2
2OT Toronto 3, New Jersey 2 (SO Toronto 1-0)
Washington 3, N-Y Islanders 2
Philadelphia 6, Nashville 3
San Jose 3, St. Louis 1
OT Chicago 5, Arizona 4
OT Dallas 4, Colorado 3
Anaheim 4, Los Angeles 2
2OT Columbus 2, Vancouver 1

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Vanderbilt 77, (8) Texas A&M 60
(16) Oregon 76, Colorado 56

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The Story Behind the First Super Bowl

Focus on Sport/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — This Sunday marks the 50th Super Bowl in NFL history, a league with more than 90 years under its belt. So, how did this game come to be since football has been in this country for more than four decades?

The story of the first Super Bowl is a unique one that actually came out of competition between the old guard at the time, the NFL, and a rival upstart league, the AFL. Now five decades later, the game is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

The AFL-NFL Merger

With professional football’s popularity on the rise in the late 1950s, the American Football League was founded in 1959 to compete and also to bring football to new markets. The AFL had teams in new areas like Houston, Buffalo and Kansas City, and were able to steal away top talent from the NFL. The two separate leagues finally decided to merge in 1966, but wouldn’t play each other during the regular seasons for four more years (the merger was finalized in 1970).

The two leagues did create a championship for the separate leagues to compete in and determine who was the best team that year. This began in 1966.

It Wasn’t Called the Super Bowl

The first championship game was actually called the First AFL-NFL Championship Game and became known as Super Bowl just one year later.

The first championship game wasn’t even a contest as the resident champs, the Green Bay Packers and their legendary coach Vince Lombardi, crushed the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. In fact, the NFL would dominate the AFL until the the third championship game, when a young, upstart quarterback name Joe Namath predicted his New York Jets would defeat the NFL’s best team and take the crown away from the incumbent league.

The next year, Super Bowl 4 was the first time the championship game used the now famous title.

Remember those Chiefs that were crushed in the first big game? Lamar Hunt, the owner and founder of the team and of the AFL itself, had been using the term “Super Bowl” for years. Hunt would later explain that his daughter had a toy called the “Super Ball” and he tweaked the name. The media caught on, and eventually, the unified NFL-AFL did as well.

The First Championship Wasn’t the Spectacle It Is Today

Let’s be clear, this was a big deal. It was broadcasted on two networks, who both used their own announcers, not like today. And it wasn’t even close to being a sellout. The game took place at the LA Coliseum and out of the 94,000 available seats, a third were empty. The tickets also cost $12.

The entertainment also wasn’t Beyonce or Lady Gaga, but the University of Arizona marching band. The halftime show starred Al Hirt, a famed trumpeter, and men with jet packs.

A lot has sure changed in 50 years.

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BMX Biking Star Dave Mirra Dead of Apparent Suicide

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — BMX biking star Dave Mirra was found dead of an apparent suicide on Thursday.

The Greenvile, North Carolina Police Department released a statement on their Facebook page saying that “upon arrival, officers discovered Dave Mirra, 41, of Greenville, sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Mirra was in the area visiting friends.

Mirra was considered an icon in the pro-BMX world and also hosted MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” shows.

Greenville’s Mayor, Allen Thomas, said, “We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human bein who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift. He called Greenville, North Carolina home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage. A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon.”

Mirra is survived by his wife and two children.

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Manziel Police Report Released by Fort Worth Police Department

Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A full report released by the Fort Worth Police Department in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday provides details on the alleged altercation between Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and his girlfriend.

The first police report from the January 30 incident indicates that a woman was with Manziel. That woman has now been identified as Colleen Crowley.

In the police report, Colleen Crowley “tells police that Browns Manziel struck her several times and seemed to be on drugs.”

The report also provides further details and says that she was “struck several times by Johnathan including a strike to her left ear.”

The incident occurred at Hotel Zaza in Dallas. Crowley alleged that it was “as if he were on some kind of drugs.”

The Dallas Police Department was also investigating the incident. The Dallas Police Department released a statement on Thursday saying that the department, “has conducted the appropriate investigative follow-up to the report forwarded to use by the Ft. Worth Police Department regarding an alleged incident involving Johnny Manziel. Investigative efforts to date have not resulted in the filing of a criminal complaint and the incident is determined to be closed.”

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2015 NBA Champs, Golden State Warriors Visit the White House

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The 2015 NBA champions, Golden State Warriors went to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama Thursday.

The Oakland, California team, is coming off of their 134-121 win Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards.

Before the official visit in front of the cameras, the Warriors met privately with students from the White House mentoring program, My Brother’s Keeper.

Gifting President Obama, an avid basketball player and fan, with a jersey.

Team coach, Steve Kerr even extending the gift as a future job offer.

“You’re going to be a free agent at the end of this year. So we don’t know if you have anything lined up yet, but you can consider this a symbol of an offer that’s coming. We want you,” Kerr said. “As soon as your duties are done here in the White House, we’d like you to be the leader of Dub Nation.”

Special delivery. #DubNation pic.twitter.com/QSewGlVt2K

— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) February 4, 2016

Obama responding “I’m ready to go.”

Obama signed a basketball for point guard, Stephen Curry, who had 51 shots in last night’s Wizard’s game. Almost beating out his own record of 54.

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Meet Denver Broncos Mascot ‘Thunder’

Willard/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Thunder, the beloved mascot for the Denver Broncos, is making his third trip to Super Bowl Sunday. Every time the Broncos score a touchdown, Thunder will celebrate with fans by galloping across the gridiron.

The purebred Arabian gelding is also part of a good luck ritual for the Broncos. Intentionally putting on Thunder’s coat inside-out with the tags showing has helped the team win games before, according to his trainer and rider, Ann Judge.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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Tony Stewart Recovering from Fractured Vertebra

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images

(NEW YORK) — Tony Stewart will miss the start of his last Sprint Cup season after suffering from a broken back Sunday while riding a dune buggy in California.

This means that Stewart will not win a Daytona 500 during his Sprint Cup career.

Stewart had surgery Wednesday in North Carolina to treat a burst fracture in his L1 vertebra. The 44-year-old is expected to make a full recovery at some point this year, according to a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing.

At this point, there has been no interim driver selected to take Stewart’s place.

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US Soccer Sues Women’s National Team to Prevent Possible Strike

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) sued the union of its women’s soccer team over fears that players may go on strike before the summer 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The USSF filed the lawsuit in Chicago federal court Wednesday, saying in a statement it “reluctantly” filed the suit to “confirm the existence” of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the union that represents the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team.

The USSF believes that the executive director of the Women’s National Team Players Association, Richard Nichols, is skeptical about there being a current CBA for the team.

However, the federation claims that an agreement over the CBA took effect in 2013 and is still effective until Dec. 31, 2016.

Nichols told ESPN that he was upset that U.S. soccer brought the matter to court.

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Peyton Manning Explains Why He Shouts ‘Omaha’ All the Time

Harry How/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Long before anyone declares that they’re going to Disney World, there’s one word that Super Bowl viewers will be sure to hear on Sunday: Omaha.

Even though the big game isn’t being played in Nebraska and neither of the teams hail from the Cornhusker state, the city’s name will almost certainly be shouted repeatedly by Bronco’s quarterback Peyton Manning.

Manning is known for using the city’s name as a call during games, including the last time his team was headed to the Super Bowl in 2014.

ICYMI: How many times did Peyton Manning yell Omaha on Sunday?

WATCH: http://t.co/2vaAjPx4gG #NFLPlayoffs

— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2014

After those 2014 playoff games when he was heard shouting “Omaha” dozens of times, Manning explained himself. Sort of.

“I know a lot of people ask what Omaha means,” he said at a news conference at the time.

“Omaha is a run play, but it could be a pass play or a play-action pass, depending on a couple things: the wind, which way we’re going, the quarter, and the jerseys that we’re wearing. It varies, really play to play. So, there’s your answer to that one.”

Well, that clears that up.

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