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    Philadelphia Eagles to Face Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII 

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The Kansas City Chiefs are advancing to Super Bowl LVII following a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

After suffering a high ankle sprain last week in the Chiefs’ Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Patrick Mahomes led the team to a victory in a back-and-forth game.

Kansas City got out to a 6-0 lead after two field goals and before halftime, Mahomes found his favorite target — tight end Travis Kelce for a touchdown to take a 13-3 lead. Kelce was listed as questionable to play coming into the game due to a back injury.

Right before halftime, the Bengals drove down the field and kicked a field goal to cut the deficit to 13-6.

On the Bengals’ first offensive possession of the second half, quarterback Joe Burrow found wide receiver Tee Higgins for a 27-yard touchdown to tie up the game at 13. However, a clearly hobbled Mahomes and the Chiefs responded with a laser touchdown throw to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to take the lead right back.

The Chiefs’ defensive unit shut down the high-powered Bengals offense until the first play of the fourth quarter.

On fourth down, Burrow heaved the ball down the field and found Ja’Marr Chase for a 35-yard strike to move Cincinnati deep into Kansas City territory. Two plays later, the Bengals scored on a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Samaje Perine to tie the game yet again.

The Chiefs sacked Burrow on third down to give them the ball back with less than a minute left and the score tied at 20. Chiefs returner Skyy Moore returned the Bengals punt 29 yards to set the offense up with good field position. On third down, Mahomes scrambled and as he went out of bounds, Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai pushed him and was called for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty which put the Chiefs in field goal range.

Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker knocked down the 45-yard field goal to send the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons.

Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, to advance to championship game for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

The Eagles scored on their first possession and didn’t look back in the rout of the 49ers.

The 49ers were momentarily left without rookie starting quarterback Brock Purdy after he suffered a right elbow injury in the first quarter, on a hit by Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick that forced a fumble. Josh Johnson, who is the fourth-string quarterback for San Francisco, filled in for Purdy until the third quarter before being ruled out of the game with a concussion.

Playing on the injured elbow, Purdy re-entered the game but the 49ers’ offense struggled to tally any points.

 

Meanwhile, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia run game, ran all over the 49ers’ defense, notching 148 rushing yards and scoring all four touchdowns on the ground. With his rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, Hurts (15) passed Cameron Newton (14) for most rushing touchdown’s in a single season by a QB in NFL history, including playoffs, according to NFL Research.

 

The-CNN-Wire

Lovie Smith Said the NFL had ‘A Problem’ About Black Coaches 

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When Lovie Smith was hired by the Houston Texans in February 2022 as the team’s new head coach, he said the NFL had “a problem” with hiring Black coaches and diversity.

“I realize the amount of Black head coaches there are in the National Football League,” Smith told reporters just under a year ago.

“There’s Mike Tomlin and I think there’s me, I don’t know of many more. So there’s a problem, and it’s obvious for us. And after there’s a problem, what are you going to do about it?”

Smith was fired Monday at the end of his one and only season at the helm of the Texans, finishing with a record of 3-13-1.

 

Smith is the second Black coach in two years to be relieved of his duties by the Texans, which fired David Culley at the end of the 2021 season.

Smith’s time in charge wasn’t full of wins and high points — though his parting gift to the organization was a last-minute Hail Mary victory over the Indianapolis Colts, which saw them relinquish the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the Chicago Bears. But his Texans team showed togetherness and competence, traits often desired by outfits undergoing a rebuild.

Houston general manager Nick Caserio said Smith’s firing was the best decision for the team right now.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Lovie Smith for everything he has contributed to our team over the last two seasons as a coach and a leader,” Caserio said in a statement.

“I’m constantly evaluating our football operation and believe this is the best decision for us at this time. It is my responsibility to build a comprehensive and competitive program that can sustain success over a long period of time. We aren’t there right now, however, with the support of the McNair family and the resources available to us, I’m confident in the direction of our football program moving forward.”

But the firing of the 64-year-old coach, the Texans organization as a whole, and the measures implemented by the league to promote diversity have been heavily criticized by former players and TV pundits.

“The Houston Texans have fired Lovie Smith after 1 year. Using 2 Black Head Coaches to tank and then firing them after 1 year shouldn’t sit right with anyone,” former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted Sunday, when news of Smith’s firing broke.

 

On ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin also condemned the decision. Smith called the Texans organization an “atrocity.”

“They are an embarrassment. And as far as I’m concerned, if you’re an African American, and you aspire to be a head coach in the National Football League, there are 31 teams you should hope for. You should hope beyond God that the Houston Texans never call you,” Smith said.

Irvin said Black coaches are being used as “scapegoats” by the Texans.

“It’s a mess in Houston and they bring these guys in and they use them as scapegoats. And this is what African American coaches have been yelling about for a while and it’s blatant, right in our face,” he said.

When CNN contacted the Texans for comment, the team highlighted the moment at Monday’s news conference when Caserio was asked why any Black coach would consider working for the team, and his response was that individual candidates would have to make their own choices.

“In the end it’s not about race. It’s about finding quality coaches,” the general manager said. “There’s a lot of quality coaches. David (Culley) is a quality coach. Lovie (Smith) is a quality coach.

“In the end, each coach has their own beliefs. Each coach has their own philosophy. Each coach has their comfort level about what we’re doing. That’s all I can do is just be honest and forthright, which I’ve done from the day that I took this job, and I’m going to continue to do that and try to find a coach that we feel makes the most sense for this organization. That’s the simplest way I can answer it, and that’s my commitment.

“That’s what I’m hired to do, and that’s what I’m in the position to do. At some point, if somebody feels that that’s not the right decision for this organization, then I have to respect that, and I have to accept it.”

His First Time! Damar Hamlin Speaks Publicly and Give Thanks for Surviving On-field Cardiac Arrest

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A lot of folks, for some reason, didn’t believe Damar Hamlin was still alive even after he was seen at the Bills-Bengals playoff game last weekend. It seems that for some folks because the incapacitated NFLer was all covered up from head to toe and couldn’t be seen clearly through the windows in the luxury booth he was a guest in, they didn’t want to believe he was literally still with the living. Or at least not hospitalized.

Well, all that changed as of tonight (01-28-23) because Damar Hamlin is giving out thanks. And he’s doing it via social media where you CLEARLY SEE and HEAR him.

That’s right. This is the first time Hamlin has spoken publicly since he went into cardiac arrest when the Buffalo Bills played the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2.

The Bills safety thanked the people who supported him on Saturday in a heartwarming video posted by Buffalo’s Twitter account.

“I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time as there was a lot to process within my own self,” the 24-year-old said at the start of the video. “I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of all the love and support and everything that’s just been coming my way. What happened to me on “Monday Night Football: I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world.”

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