Christmas came a day early for 86 NFL players when the 2015 Pro Bowl rosters were announced on Tuesday. The players were chosen for the Pro Bowl through a fan/player/coach vote, and the teams will be selected through a Pro Bowl Draft overseen by two former players. This year, it's Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin.
There are a lot of expected names on these rosters — Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, JJ Watt — as well as a few notable exclusions. (Odell Beckham Jr, where are you?!) The Broncos have the most players represented (nine), while the Bears, Raiders, Jets, Chargers, Bucs, and Washington all have the fewest (one a piece).
But like last year, the game will kick off Super Bowl week and take place before Super Bowl XLIX. It will be played January 25 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the site of the Super Bowl. (That game is played February 1.) So that means if a team like Denver, New England, Dallas, or Seattle make it to the championship game, a lot of marquee names will choose to sit out. In other words, these rosters will likely change before the first snap of the Pro Bowl.
Here's the full rundown of the rosters, as they were announced on December 23:
It's become something of a tradition in the NHL for teams to put together weird and wonderful videos for the holidays. The clips give players and coaches (and, increasingly, team broadcasters) the chance to have some fun and give fans a whole new look at their favorite team.
This year, the Sharks and Penguins have come up with a couple of so-bad-they're-great videos that might as well be moving-image versions of ugly sweaters.
When my editors first asked me to write a year-end piece highlighting the 10 most important players to the story of the 2014 fantasy football season, I thought it would be pretty easy. But when I sat down at my desk, it soon became apparent that I was in for a more daunting task than expected.
Sure, DeMarco Murray, Odell Beckham and Le’Veon Bell were easy inclusions. After that, the story of the 2014 fantasy football season spirals out of control, as have so many of its predecessors. Does the guy who had six touchdowns in back-to-back games get a mention? What about the quarterback who threw for 300-plus yards with almost unprecedented regularity? One particular tight end became a force of nature about halfway through the season. Surely he must be a part, right?
At the same time, I could go a completely different route on focus on the absurd. Like the Week 1 waiver wire darling who was back on the wire in most leagues one month later. Or the unmitigated running back bust who resurfaced with his best game of the year in championship week. And could a kicker be crucial to telling the story of the 2014 fantasy football season? Really? A kicker?
So as you can see, it was a much greater intellectual challenge than I originally thought it would be. Luckily, I was able to whittle my list down to the 10 most important players from the past four months. You may have your own, but I think it’s safe to say that you can’t recount the tale of the 2014 fantasy football season without...
It was one of the greatest moment's of Frank Kaminsky's life, but he can barely remember it. Last March 29 he was running around the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, screaming and jumping. It seemed like the only appropriate behavior — after all, Wisconsin had knocked off top-seed Arizona 64-63 in the Elite Eight, and Kaminsky had won the award for West Regional Most Outstanding Player. The victory touched off pandemonium among Badgers fans.
This season, Kaminsky will likely have more reasons to celebrate. The 7-foot forward passed up a chance at being a first-round NBA pick to return for his senior year, along with three other Wisconsin starters. He is an early favorite to win the Naismith Award (given to the national player of the year), and the Badgers are expected to make another deep tournament run. "I have so much fun hanging out with the people we have, I'm excited to spend another season with them," Kaminsky says. "That's what it's all about, right?
As kids, Kevin Durant and Leo Chang both admired trendy Nike sneakers. Now they make such shoes together. Durant, the reigning NBA MVP, is one of the elite athletes whose endorsement deal with Nike includes a line of signature kicks. Chang, a top designer at Nike, brings the kicks to life, sending Durant's ideas to shoe-lovers all over the world.
"We look nothing alike; our backgrounds are very different," Chang says. "But we've had very similar things happen to us, like growing up with single parents and not having the easiest life."
Durant's latest signature shoe — the KD7 — is all about telling the story of his life. The theme of the shoe, lightning, evokes Durant's team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and also his childhood aspirations of being a weatherman. The main colorway (or color theme) is called 35,000 Degrees, referring to the temperature at which lightning strikes Earth. The loud bright-mango color reflects both the color of lightning and Durant's sense of style. "I love standing out," Durant says. "I love wearing all black and then having a pair of green shoes or orange shoes."
There isn’t always a whole lot of justice in the fantasy playoffs. Any team can get hot for a three-week stretch, and one bad week — or even one poor individual performance — can knock out the best team in the league. Nothing is ever going to change the crapshoot nature of the fantasy postseason.
As random as the playoffs always seem to be, fantasy owners will probably remember Week 16 of the 2014 season for a long time, particularly with respect to the quarterback position. Consider the following:
Even if you don’t collect baseball cards, you probably know the basics: Player photo on the front, stats on the back, and maybe some cool collector’s cards or autographs or chips off a game-used bat mixed in to the set. But since 2006, the Topps company has been shaking up what to expect from baseball cards with its Allen & Ginter World’s Champions series.
When you open a Ginter pack, you’ll find standard-sized cards of current players like Mike Trout and Madison Bumgarner, as well as smaller, thinner cards of those players and cards of baseball greats like Roberto Clemente and Lou Gehrig. But you’ll also pull cards about airplanes, cats, and festivals. Or a card with a Miss America winner or one featuring a famous sports surgeon. You might even get a card that you can redeem for a “baseball card” made of plastic with a preserved spider inside.
“Part of what’s fun about this is, What would make us excited to get on a card?” says Matthew Perrone, Senior Brand Manager at Topps Baseball. “No idea is off the table.”