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BC-AP Sports Digest

January 27, 2019

The supervisor is Rebecca Miller, followed by John Nicholson at 5 p.m. and Vin Cherwoo at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

The NFL has an officiating problem. PodcastOne Sports Now guest host Rob Maaddi and AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner discuss the blown call that cost the Saints a Super Bowl trip. AP Deputy Sports Editor Oskar Garcia weighs in on the NFL’s attempt to ban certain bets, and AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker considers free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.


Veteran sports writer Ivan Maisel of ESPN has taken on the task of telling the tale of college football, starting from the very beginning. On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, Maisel joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss how he and his colleagues went about the enormous task of chronicling a sport that spans the country.




In a first-of-its-kind analysis, The Associated Press has found that NFL rules designed to help veteran players get more money and extend careers have failed. The rules were adopted in 2006 and expanded on in 2011. But since 2005, the average amount of playing experience on the league’s opening-day rosters has shrunk from 4.6 years to 4.3. The NFL keeps going younger and cheaper, and journeyman players are getting squeezed out of the game. By Eddie Pells and Larry Fenn. SENT: 1,440 words, photos.


_ FBN--YOUNGER AND CHEAPER-RETIRED AT 27 _ Done with football at 27, ex-NFL linebacker has no regrets. By Eddie Pells. SENT: 950 words, photos.

_ FBN--YOUNGER AND CHEAPER-ROOKIE CONTRACTS _ Contracts for first-round picks in 2010 vs. 2018. SENT: 150 words.

_ FBN--YOUNGER AND CHEAPER-MINIMUM SALARIES _ NFL minimum salaries in 2018. SENT: 100 words.


MELBOURNE, Australia _ Novak Djokovic wins his record seventh Australian Open championship and a third consecutive Grand Slam title by beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the final. The No. 1-ranked Djokovic raised his major trophy total to 15 and is behind only Roger Federer’s 20 and Nadal’s 17. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 940 words, photos.


_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-WHAT WE LEARNED _ Novak, Naomi, other things we learned at the Australian Open. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 740 words, photos.


SAN JOSE, Calif. _ For Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning, just about everything has gone right so far this season. As they get ready to return from the All-Star break as the NHL’s top team, the Lightning knows there is little they can do before April to make this a successful campaign. By Josh Dubow. SENT: 750 words, photos.


Written off after an early blowout loss to Duke, No. 8 Kentucky has put itself back in the national title conversation with a string of impressive wins. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.



There should be one word on the minds of every NFL player and the union that represents them. Guaranteed. It’s way past time for those who play America’s most popular _ and physically demanding _ sport to be paid what they’re worth. The most obvious starting point would be to ensure their contracts work like pretty much every other professional league on the planet. By Sports Columnist. SENT: 1,180 words, photos.



MELBOURNE, Australia _ Lesser experienced players than Rafael Nadal have felt destroyed by the kind of defeat Novak Djokovic inflicted on him in the Australian Open final. That’s now how the 17-time major winner thinks. “I’m not new to this,” he says. “I don’t think I have been destroyed.” He was against somebody playing “at the highest level possible.” By John Pye. SENT: 740 words, photos.


_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-DOUBLES _ 1 major goal achieved for Nicolas Mahut-Herbert and Pierre-Hugues Herbert; next goal is gold. By John Pye. SENT: 580 words, photos.

_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN GLANCE. SENT: 160 words, photos.



ATLANTA _ The reason the Rams and Patriots are in the Super Bowl has a lot to do with the big guys playing up front. Los Angeles had the same offensive line starters for all 16 games and both playoff games. That opened things up for an offense averaging 32.9 points per game, which is second in the NFL. Tom Brady hasn’t been sacked in either of New England’s two playoff wins. Opposing defenses recorded only three QB hits while chasing an offense whose 27.3 points per game ranked fourth in the NFL. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 800 words, photos.


Sports fans love dynasties. Here are a few to compare with the New England Patriots. UPCOMING: 1,450 words, graphic by 6 p.m.


ORLANDO, Fla. _ Steady rain is forecast for the Pro Bowl, where Russell Wilson and Saquon Barkley lead the NFC against Patrick Mahomes, Von Miller and the AFC. By Mark Long. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 3 p.m.

AP Sports Extra: Super Bowl _ A paginated preview of the Super Bowl is available in AP Newsroom by searching for “SE” or “Superbowl” (one word) under the Graphics tab. Three page sizes are available _ full broadsheet, half broadsheet, tabloid _ with space for local advertising or content. The pages look at the Rams-Patriots matchup, keys to the game and other facts and figures. For questions, contact Barry Bedlan at bbedlan@ap.org



SAN DIEGO _ World No. 1 Justin Rose has a three-shot lead over Adam Scott in the Farmers Insurance Open. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 8 p.m.


_ GLF--DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC _ Bryson DeChambeau shoots 8-under 64 to cruise to his first overseas victory at Dubai Desert Classic. SENT: 630 words, photos.



DENVER _ Hat tricks are on the rise around the league this season. It almost seems as simple as 1, 2, 3. There have been 61 hat tricks through the first 770 games of the season. That’s the most since 1995-96, according to research by the NHL stats and information department. Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine each have a hat trick of hat tricks this season. By Pat Graham. SENT: 780 words, photos.


COLUMBUS, Ohio _ The uncertain contract situation of stars Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin hasn’t kept the Columbus Blue Jackets from winning. Goalie Bobrovsky and winger Panarin have declined to re-sign with Columbus, which means one or both could be on the trading block before the league’s Feb. 25 deadline. By Mitch Stacy. SENT: 800 words, photos.



OKLAHOMA CITY _ Paul George and the Thunder host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who have the league’s best record, in a game featuring two of the top three defenses in the NBA. By Cliff Brunt. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 6 p.m.



MILWAUKEE _ After falling one game short of their first World Series appearance since 1982, there is plenty of pressure on the Milwaukee Brewers to build on that success and take another step forward in 2019. Nobody on the roster is likely to feel that pressure more than outfielder Christian Yelich, the NL MVP. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Fernando Alonso takes the lead at the Rolex 24 at Daytona shortly before the red flag is thrown with just over two hours remaining in the twice-round-the-clock endurance event. The Spaniard is scheduled to close the race for Wayne Taylor Racing and has driven the Cadillac to the lead in each of his stints. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Race scheduled to wrap up at 2:40 p.m. but could be called earlier because of poor weather.



LONDON _ Tottenham exits its second competition in four days after losing 2-0 at Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Defending FA Cup champion Chelsea hosts Sheffield later in the other fourth-round game. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 3 p.m.


GLENDALE, Ariz. _ The U.S. national team plays its first game under coach Gregg Berhalter in an exhibition against Panama. By john Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words. Game starts 8 p.m.



DETROIT _ Nathan Chen tries for his third straight national title on the final day of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Free skate starts 2:10 p.m.



KITZBUEHEL, Austria _ Josef Ferstl becomes the first German winner of the World Cup super-G at the classic Hahnenkamm event. His win came 40 years after his father, Sepp Ferstl, won back-to-back downhills at the same resort. By Eric Willemsen. SENT: 700 words, photos.


GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany _ Stephanie Venier of Austria edges Olympic champion Sofia Goggia to win her first World Cup in a crash-interrupted downhill race that was ended early. The race was finished with 10 skiers still waiting to descend the Kandahar course after Italy’s Federica Sosio became the seventh to crash. By Ciaran Fahey. SENT: 550 words, photos.


_ SKI--WCUP-SVINDAL RETIREMENT _ Olympic downhill champion Aksel Lund Svindal to retire after worlds. By Eric Willemsen. SENT: 500 words, photos.

_ BOB--WORLD CUP _ Francesco Friedrich of Germany wins another World Cup bobsled race. SENT: 120 words, photos.

_ LUG--WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS _ King Felix: German star Loch wins record-tying 6th men’s luge world championship. SENT: 200 words, photo.






Sunday Time Schedule (EST)


Pro Bowl at Orlando, Fla., 3 p.m.


Cleveland at Chicago, 3:30 p.m.

Sacramento at L.A. Clippers, 3:30 p.m.

Milwaukee at Oklahoma City, 6 p.m.

Orlando at Houston, 7 p.m.

Toronto at Dallas, 7 p.m.

Utah at Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Washington at San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Miami at New York, 7:30 p.m.

Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)


No. 6 Michigan State at Purdue, 1 p.m.

No. 17 Houston at Tulsa, 2 p.m.

No. 18 Villanova vs. Seton Hall at the Wells Fargo Center, 2:30 p.m.

No. 19 Iowa at Minnesota, 5 p.m.


No. 1 Notre Dame at North Carolina, 2 p.m.

No. 2 Baylor at Oklahoma, 3 p.m.

No. 3 UConn vs. UCF at Hartford, Conn., 4 p.m.

No. 4 Louisville vs. Pittsburgh, 2 p.m.

No. 5 Oregon at Washington, 5 p.m.

No. 6 Stanford at No. 21 Utah, 2 p.m.

No. 7 Mississippi State vs. Mississippi, 3 p.m.

No. 8 N.C. State at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m.

No. 9 Oregon State at Washington State, 3 p.m.

No. 10 Marquette at Butler, 2 p.m.

No. 11 Maryland at Indiana, Noon

No. 13 Syracuse at Duke, 1 p.m.

No. 14 Rutgers at Penn State, 2 p.m.

No. 15 Kentucky at No. 24 Texas A&M, 5 p.m.

No. 16 Arizona State vs. Southern Cal, 3 p.m.

No. 17 Iowa vs. Purdue, 3 p.m.

No. 22 Florida State at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

No. 23 Michigan State at Michigan, 2 p.m.

No. 25 Missouri vs. Auburn, 3 p.m.

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