Quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have reached an agreement on a five-year, $100 million contract that includes a first-year take in 2012 of $40 million, league, players union and the team sources told ESPN.For all practical purposes, the guaranteed money is considered by all parties involved to be an NFL-record $60 million, though there are contractual, but unlikely, outs for the Saints before he would receive all of that sum.The accord was struck Friday morning in the latest round of negotiations between Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Brees’ agent, Tom Condon.Brees had until Monday at 4 p.m. ET to reach a long-term contract with the Saints or his only option would have been to play in 2012 under the terms of his franchise tender of $16.371 million. But he had no plans to report to training camp without a long-term contract, sources said.Brees’s 2012 salary of $40 million is fully guaranteed. In 2013, the Saints will have a three-day window to release him after the waiver period begins (five days after the Super Bowl); if not, Brees gets another $15 million of fully guaranteed earnings, bringing his two-year total to $55 million.In 2014, the same three-day waiver scenario is in place before Brees is fully guaranteed another $5 million, with an additional $1 million in salary. Under the assumption Brees is the team’s quarterback for the next three years, he would make $61 million during that stretch, with $60 million fully guaranteed, the highest guaranteed total an NFL player has ever earned. Calvin Johnson’s deal with the Detroit Lions, signed earlier this year was initially reported to guarantee $60 million, but a closer look found it only fully guaranteed $48.75 million.While the waiver window gives the Saints an out, both the league and union view the $60 million as “guaranteed” because of the extreme unlikelihood that the Saints would want to have paid Brees $40 million for one year or $55 million for two years.The remaining $39 million to be earned in 2015 and 2016 is subject to the same waiver formula, bringing the potential grand total to $100 million over five years. No player in NFL history has averaged $20 million per year.Source: ESPN
Terrelle Pryor and Charles Woodson led the Oakland Raiders to a win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday night.Quarterback Pryor and the Raiders jumped out early on San Diego after Pryor threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Woodson, on the other hand, tied an NFL record with his 13th defensive touchdown after scooping up a fumble and bringing to the house.Pryor’s first strike was a 44-yard touchdown pass on Oakland’s first play from scrimmage.The Raiders then capitalized on four forced turnovers, a great goal-line stand, Woodson’s 25-yard fumble return and two long field goals by Sebastian Janikowski to win the game.Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers had a 400-yard passing game, throwing for 411 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also had three interceptions as his team took the loss.“That’s what the kid brings to us,” coach Dennis Allen said. “Terrelle brings that ability when things aren’t right, when things break down, he brings that ability to make plays.”
Manny Pacquiao has agreed to terms to fight Floyd Mayweather. No surprise there; he needs Mayweather to make the biggest payday of his career and to give his career the ultimate relevance. Now it’s up to Mayweather to get on board to make the fight boxing enthusiasts have clamored for since 2009.Mayweather should take the challenge, deliver a beating, collect around $150 million . . . and call it a career. He should bronze his unblemished gloves and not look back on boxing after the May 2 bout in Las Vegas, according to reports.Next month, Mayweather will be 38, meaning he’s on the other side of his boxing prowess, meaning the more he fights, the more vulnerable he becomes to losing to a lesser fighter.He has made around $350 million, and this with no endorsements. He has not lost in 47 bouts. Vanquishing Pacquiao would be the perfect cherry on top of a legendary career.Significantly, his legend will be about more than beating every man who stood across the ring from him. Mayweather, for all his annoying brashness and bragging and “making it rain,” shifted the paradigm.He took ownership of his career. He realized that he is the commodity and that a promoter making millions off his talent was not needed.He realized that he was the draw and deserved the bulk of the gate and the pay-per-view subscriptions. And so, as four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said, “Mayweather flipped the script.“Floyd cut all the middle people out. I’m not mad with him. I think about how much more money I could have made if I was more business savvy. He’s a good fighter, but he’s a really good business man. . . Here’s a guy everyone said was foolish. But he came up with a game plan on how to get the money you deserve.”He deserves to live out his life with his faculties and legacy in place—not as a punch-drunk fighter who entered the ring too many times after his prime.Financially, he certainly is in tremendous shape. For the proposed fight, a source told ESPN that Pacquiao has agreed to a 40 percent cut of the revenue, with Mayweather taking 60 percent. You cannot find anyone who does not believe a May 2 bout would not implode every boxing box office record, which includes the all-time pay-per-view buy record of 2.4 million. That was the Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight. The Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez match set the pay-per-view revenue record of $150 million and the all-time gate record at $20 million. This fight will eclipse all that.Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), 36, has agreed to use the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which has randomly tested Mayweather (and his opponents) for years. That was purportedly a stumbling block in the fight not being made over the years.That it could/should be Mayweather’s final bout will make it even bigger.
The UEFA Champions League resumes on Tuesday with the first slate of its Round of 16 games. In the video above, we explain why this year’s matchups could create some unpredictable results.Read more: Our 2019 Champions League predictions
In the immediate aftermath of the New England Patriots’ 28-24 Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night, we gave a preliminary measurement of how exciting the game was using what Brian Burke of Advanced Football Analytics calls the “Excitement Index.” This index tracks the cumulative change in win probability throughout a game, the logic being that bigger swings in win probability indicate a more thrilling game.By NumberFire’s live in-game probability model, the Excitement Index of Super Bowl XLIX was curiously modest, ranking just 12th all time. But, as we noted, win probability models can vary to a surprisingly large degree, so we wanted to recalculate the Excitement Index using data from Pro-Football-Reference.com, which hadn’t yet updated Sunday night. (We used Pro-Football-Reference in our original ranking of the most exciting Super Bowls last week.)The difference between the two sources is bigger than you might think. If we run the Pro-Football-Reference numbers, Sunday’s game comes in at No. 3 all time, a much higher — and, in our subjective view, more deserving — placement than we’d originally calculated.In addition to the vagaries of competing win probability metrics, it’s also worth noting that the Excitement Index has obvious limitations. Similar to the way the coastline paradox makes it difficult to pin down the true length of a landmass’s coastline, a bunch of incremental changes to win probability can add up quickly for a game’s Excitement Index even if the overall trend of a game is in the same direction.The Excitement Index (as originally defined by Burke) also counts a swing in win probability from, say, the first quarter the same as one from the fourth quarter. In terms of leverage index, this is entirely appropriate — but it may not track as well with the subjective feeling of excitement we tend to experience as fans, where late-game moments are given much more weight.To try to capture some of that feeling, we also calculated an alternative version of the Excitement Index that puts more weight on the end of the game. Here’s how it works: A play at the very end of the game receives a weight of 2, halftime receives a weight of 1, and the opening kickoff gets a weight of 0. It’s a bit ad hoc, we know, but it seems to produce ratings that match the perceived excitement of Super Bowls better than an unweighted sum of win-probability changes.Using our alternative Excitement metric, Super Bowl XLIX is second all time. (See the table below for the updated ranking by this method.)Then again, as we wrote last night, no index can ever really put a number on the elation felt by Patriots fans — and the corresponding despair of those rooting for the Seahawks — at the end of a game like Sunday’s.
OSU then-junior defenseman Cara Zubko (2) passes the puck during a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 5-3. Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s ice hockey team recorded its fifth series-losing sweep of the season in its 2015 finale to drop its record to 6-12-0 on the season.The first period of both games ended with OSU trailing 2-1, and both were close, low-shot affairs dominated by special teams play. OSU was on the penalty kill 11 times on the weekend, including the final 10 minutes of the third period on Saturday. Eventually, frustration boiled over and OSU took a combined 27 minutes in penalties.“Just the team being undisciplined, and that’s not how I run my team, so we’ve got to show more discipline, even when you’re frustrated,” coach Jenny Potter said. “Being undisciplined definitely hurts your team.”Game notesOn Friday, OSU fell 4-2 despite outshooting the Bulldogs 25-23. Senior forward Melani Moylan scored her first goal of the season just three minutes into the game, but Minnesota Duluth would tie it at 1-1 six minutes later off of junior Ashleigh Brykaliuk’s ninth goal of the season.Sophomore Lauren Spring would score for OSU in the period’s closing minute to give the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead after the first.The second period was mostly quiet for both teams except for Minnesota Duluth’s game-tying goal at 2:36 into the frame. Brykaliuk assisted on sophomore Catherine Daoust’s fourth goal of the season.The third period would remain tied until the eighth minute, when Brykaliuk recorded her third point of the game, an assist on junior Sidney Morin’s first goal of the season. With redshirt freshman goaltender Alex LaMere on the bench in favor of a sixth attacker, Brykaliuk would record her second goal and fourth point of the game, as Minnesota Duluth dashed OSU’s hopes of a comeback.On Saturday, with redshirt senior Stacy Danczak now starting in goal, Minnesota Duluth scored first from senior Michela Cava’s ninth goal of the season. Junior forward Claudia Kepler would score to tie it at 1-1 for OSU.“I don’t know how the puck got down low but (Moylan) had it pinned against the boards,” Kepler said. “I kind of pulled it from her feet and took it around the goalie and put it over her shoulder.”After scoring just four goals in two games, the team was not satisfied with the number of chances it generated against Minnesota Duluth.“Not really, we didn’t create enough,” junior defender Alexa Ranahan said. “But I know the girls worked as hard as we can, and I’m proud of the team.”After the game, OSU sounded as if it plans to work on the offense in the next three weeks before its first game of the 2016 calendar year.“Obviously, it doesn’t take too many chances, you got to bury the ones you get,” Potter said.However, Potter was sure to credit her alma mater for its performance in limiting the Buckeyes’ attack in the two games.“I think they competed all weekend,” she said. “It’s just a couple of breakdowns, so we’ve got to regroup and move forward.”Despite the team’s level of competition, the weekend was defined by the final 10 minutes of the third period. While on the power play with just over eight minutes remaining in the game, freshman defender Lauren Boyle was called for interference. Before the resumption of play, freshman forward Maddy Field was assessed a 10-minute misconduct penalty.With a four-to-three man advantage, senior defender Cara Zubko was given a five-minute penalty for contact to the head of an opponent and was assessed a game misconduct penalty, ejecting her from the contest. “It was definitely chaotic,” Ranahan said. “It’s unfortunate that penalties ruined the momentum of the period. It’s hard as a player having so many stops, it’s frustrating, but that’s hockey.”With three skaters in the penalty box and one in the dressing room, Minnesota Duluth was able to score its fifth goal of the game with six minutes remaining, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the skaters.“Penalties at the end don’t help,” Kepler said. “Whether we agree with them or not, it makes it way harder to come back and win hockey games.”OSU will be off until Jan. 2, when it welcomes Penn State to Columbus for two games. Puck is scheduled to drop at 2:07 p.m. on Jan. 2, as well as the next day. Stat broadcastOSU scored first on Friday for the first time in three weeks, going back to the first period of its Nov. 20 game against St. Cloud State.In addition to her first goal of the season, Moylan also recorded her first assist of the season on Kepler’s first-period goal.With Danczak in goal, LaMere watched the game from the bench, ending her games-started streak at 10.With two assists on Friday, Boyle has 10 points so far this season, moving her into a three-way tie for third.
BOSTON – “(Ohio State) has two types of basketball teams,” Jared Sullinger said after OSU’s 81-66 victory against Cincinnati. “We’ve got the cool guys and we’ve got the blue-collar guys.” Never was that more apparent than Thursday when the Buckeyes blew a double-digit second half lead only to regroup on their way to victory and a trip to the Elite 8. Coming out of the locker room for the second half, OSU held a 12-point lead and everything was going to plan. Sophomore forwards Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas combined for 30 out of OSU’s 37 points and the Buckeyes seemed to have the game in control. But when the second half started, Sullinger said the cool guys showed up. “To start the second half, we got into the cool guy mode and we kind of let our guard down,” Sullinger said. “(OSU coach Thad Matta) basically told us before we started the second half that they (were) going to come at us with everything they had because Cincinnati is just the type of team that doesn’t give up.” Cincinnati opened the half on a 21-6 run and eventually took a four point lead with 11:34 remaining. The Buckeyes committed four turnovers in fewer than three minutes during that span and the Bearcats were capitalizing on the other end. “We felt like the game was in the bag,” Sullinger said. “Cincinnati came out and punched us in the mouth.” Matta agreed. “We let our guard down,” Matta said. “We had some costly turnovers there, I think three in the first four minutes, that as we told our guys, if you turn it over against Cincinnati, they are scoring at the other end. And they did.” The crowd started to get into the game and suddenly OSU was in danger of being bounced from the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year. Part of the change in momentum may have had to do with Cincinnati’s change in defense. The Bearcats played zone in the first half, but switched to man-to-man in the second half. “We were actually looking for them to play zone,” sophomore guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. said. “So a few times out there instead of running plays for our man we were running our zone plays against their man-to-man which doesn’t work obviously.” Matta was especially animated toward his team during a timeout in the span. Smith Jr. said his normally calm coach had some choice words for his team, but they helped turn the tide of the game. “He said quite a few things,” Smith Jr. said. “Obviously it worked and we were able to flip the switch. We were playing cool Buckeye basketball which always gets us beat, but we immediately snapped out of that.” Sullinger said the cool Buckeyes hit the showers shortly thereafter and OSU took control of the game. The Buckeyes exploded on a 17-1 run, put the game out of reach and the Bearcats were never able to recover. Four Buckeyes scored during the span and defensively OSU was able to force their opponent into making uncharacteristic mistakes. Cincinnati turned the ball over 18 times Thursday, which is seven more than their season average. Sophomore guard Aaron Craft accounted for six steals by himself. “We took our cool guy look off and we went blue-collar,” Sullinger said.” Normally we would kind of let the game flow like it was flowing and we just stopped and put our hands on it and molded it the way we wanted to mold it.” Sullinger had a big part in molding the game. He finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Thomas led all scorers with 26 points. The win advances OSU to the Elite 8 for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The past two years the Buckeyes’ journey ended in the Sweet 16. Senior guard William Buford is the only player on the team who was there for both losses and said it felt great to finally get over the hump. “Just to say that we’re in the Elite 8 and make it past this hump of the Sweet 16 that we haven’t made it over in the past two years just feels great,” Buford said. OSU will face No. 1 seed Syracuse in the regional final Saturday. Tip is set for 7:05 p.m. and the winner will advance to the Final Four in New Orleans.
From growing up in Monroeville, Ohio, to wrestling together at Ohio State, brothers Logan and Hunter Stieber have been inseparable. “We’re 18 months apart and we hung out basically every single day for our whole lives,” Hunter Stieber said. “We’re drill partners in practice. We’ve been best friends ever since our childhood and we still are in college.” The Stieber brothers have excelled in their time at OSU, amassing impressive numbers and racking up numerous accolades. Logan Stieber, a redshirt sophomore, is the defending 133-pound NCAA Champion and possesses a career record of 56-5. His younger brother, Hunter Stieber, a true sophomore, wrestles in the 141-pound weight class and holds a career record of 54-7. Both siblings were named All-Americans last year. It’s why OSU coach Tom Ryan dreams of more than two Stiebers. “I wish they were octuplets,” he said.”They’re a pleasure. They’re respectful. They’re disciplined. They win at a very high level and they’re eager to learn and get better. So we are very fortunate to have both of them.” However, without each other’s help, the brothers said they would be nowhere near as successful as they have been up to this point. “I’m able to have a workout partner whenever I want,” Logan Stieber said. “He’s my size. We push each other. I want him to be the best, and if he does really good, I want to match him, you know what I mean? So we both motivate each other in certain ways like that.” Hunter Stieber agreed that always having his brother around greatly benefits his performance on the mats. “It’s great just having him there to push me, help me out,” he said. “He’s an amazing wrestler. He’s an amazing coach and he sees all the little things that I need to work on. So after all my matches and practices, he can give me little hints and tips about what to improve on. He’s just a great asset that I have to help me get better.” It seems as though the Stiebers have been particularly beneficial to one another this season, as they both went undefeated in the regular season. Logan, despite missing most of January with a leg muscle strain, is 18-0 while Hunter has gone 26-0. The two have set their goals high for this season as both aspire to reach the pinnacle of NCAA wrestling. Logan wants to be named a national champion again while Hunter is seeking to win it for the first time. “I want to win a national title,” Hunter Stieber said. “I’m ranked second right now so it’s definitely in my reach. I just have to keep improving, working hard and working out with my brother and coach and I could definitely win a Big Ten and national title. Then we can push for a team title, but everyone has to do their job, including me and Logan. We have to perform to our best.” Both of them still have a few years left in their college careers no matter what happens this year. “Their potential is limitless,” Ryan said. “It’s whatever they want it to be. They understand hard work. They have the foundation that, if you want something in life, you have to work for it. So with that mentality, anything is possible.” The Stieber brothers will be back in action when OSU heads to the NWCA National Duals meet on Friday in Minneapolis, Minn.
Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell is heading to the NBA according to ESPN. Russell led the Buckeyes in scoring in 2014-15.Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographerOhio State’s D’Angelo Russell is off to the NBA after being named a first team All-American in his only collegiate season, according to a report by ESPN.com.Russell declared for the 2015 NBA Draft on Wednesday after he led the Buckeyes with 19.3 points per game as a freshman last season, helping the team to a 24-11 record and an appearance in the round-of-32 in the NCAA Tournament.During an interview with ESPN.com, Russell said declaring for the NBA Draft was a “hard decision,” and added that he would have loved to play for OSU coach Thad Matta for one more year.“But at the same time I wanted to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA,” Russell said during the interview Wednesday. “I know what I am capable of and the sky’s the limit with effort. I know I have a lot to work on.”Russell is projected to be a top-five pick in the draft after becoming the second-highest scoring freshman in program history. On top of leading the team in scoring, Russell also led the Buckeyes with 5.7 rebounds per game and finished second on the team with 175 assists and 55 steals.The Louisville, Ky., native is OSU’s first “one-and-done” player since B.J. Mullens, who declared for the 2009 NBA Draft after just one season in Columbus.Coming out of Montverde Academy, Russell was ESPN’s 13th overall prospect, but the 6-foot, 5-inch guard decided to make the leap to the NBA after starting every OSU game he played.“You never know when this opportunity comes,” Russell told ESPN.com. “I believe I am ready because my approach was to unpack my bags, get committed to winning and listening to the coaches — as opposed to coming in and saying I am a pro and trying to leave. I wasn’t trying to get in and out at Ohio State.”After Russell’s announcement, the Buckeyes are set to lose six players from the 2014-15 roster. In addition to Russell, Matta’s squad will be without senior centers Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, senior guard Shannon Scott, senior forward Sam Thompson and redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee.OSU is also set to bring in five new recruits in guards JaQuan Lyle, Austin Grandstaff and A.J. Harris, forward Mickey Mitchell and center Daniel Giddens. All five players are rated as four-star recruits by ESPN.While the Buckeyes readjust to life without their leading scorer, Russell will have to wait until the draft on June 25 in New York to find out his professional fate.
OSU junior heavyweight has his hand raised after defeating Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery in the 285-pound finals at the 2017 NCAA tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. Snyder won 6-3, while the Buckeyes placed second as a team. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsOhio State wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder struck gold for his country once again at the World Wrestling Championships on Saturday in Paris with a 6-5 victory in the men’s freestyle 97kg final over Russia’s Abdulrashi Sadulaev to win a gold medal. Snyder trailed for most of the match, but was able to make the most of a pair of spin-behind takedowns that netted four of his six points in the matchup. Trailing 4-5 with less than 30 seconds remaining, the heavyweight maneuvered himself behind a kneeling Sadulaev to take position, two points and the eventual victory. The Ohio State senior entered the tournament as the top seed among 26 of the globe’s elite wrestlers. This was the third gold medal for Snyder as the Buckeye had also taken home a gold medal from both the Olympics and a previous World Wrestling Championship. The win also clinched a team championship in freestyle for the United States. Snyder’s opening match in Paris was a 10-0 technical fall finish as he defeated Mamed Ibragimov of Kazakhstan in a convincing victory, registering four takedowns and two forced step-outs. Japan’s Naoya Akaguma was waiting for Snyder in the quarterfinals, though the Buckeye made quick work of him as well. The two-time NCAA Champion scored a takedown at the 2:59 mark of the opening period to register his second straight 10-0 technical fall. Throughout the match, the Ohio State senior tallied three takedowns and four forced step-outs. To reach the gold medal matchup, Snyder defeated Aslanbek Alborov of Azerbaijan in the semifinals by a score of 9-2. Snyder dominated by a score of 7-2 in the opening period after recording two takedowns and three forced step-outs. In the second period, the two-time Big Ten Champion scored a takedown and finished the 9-2 victory to advance to the finals. Former Ohio State wrestler Logan Stieber competed in Paris as well. Despite being the No. 2 seed in the tournament, the four-time national champion suffered shutout losses in two of his three matches and was eliminated from the 61kg weight class. Stieber graduated from Ohio State in 2015.