Fun Fact of the Day: ICYMI, Tiger Woods is finally back on the golf course! But after a 15-month hiatus to recover from back surgeries, he’s a little bit rusty. He shot a 1-over-par 73 on Day 1 of the Hero World Challenge and is currently ranked 17th out of 18 players.
Ride ‘em Cowboy. The Dallas Cowboys just barely edged out the Minnesota Vikings last night 17-15. In the final minute of the game, the Vikings scored a touchdown and had a chance to tie things up with a 2-point conversion. QB Sam Bradford’s throw was off the mark, but his facemask was held after the play. Unfortunately, the refs missed the penalty call and the Cowboys walked away with victory. Now, the Cowboys have won 11 straight games—the longest single-season winning streak in their franchise's history.
The mighty are falling. What in the world is going on?! Last night, 2 of the best teams in the NBA lost: the Golden State Warriors and the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors snapped their 12-game winning streak, by losing to the Houston Rockets 132-127 in double overtime. Meanwhile, the L.A. Clippers handed the Cavs their second straight blowout loss (113-94), after the Cavs also lost handily to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Seen and Heard
The Madden Curse strikes again. *FANTASY FOOTBALL ALERT!* New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is getting back surgery and is expected to miss the next 2 months. This news has Pats fans freaking out because Gronk is the best tight end in the NFL and he is uber important to the Pats’ chances of making it to the Super Bowl this year. When Gronk is out, the Pats’ offense struggles and QB Tom Brady’s stats actually start to look pretty mediocre (gasp!). Another sign of trouble for Gronk’s future: he’s been struggling with injuries more than usual this year. He’s already missed games for a hamstring injury and punctured lung, leading some people to ask whether the Madden Curse has taken another victim?!
Will he make the Cut-ler? Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be out the rest of the season with a torn shoulder. Now, everyone expects the Bears to drop Cutler before next season because: #1) he’s not very good; #2) Bears fans hate him; and #3) he isn’t owed any guaranteed money next season, so the team can cut him and take only a $2M salary cap hit. For the rest of the season, backup QB Matt Barkley will take his place. Fortunately for Barkley, it’s a pretty low-pressure gig because the Bears’ are way outside playoff contention with a 2-9 record.
We def need some refs. The NFL is going to hire as many as 17 full-time referees for next season. Coaches and fans are exclaiming, ‘Finaaallly,’ because they have been asking for this for a long time. Currently, all NFL refs work part-time and many hold full-time jobs elsewhere. The new full time refs will get more training and will hopefully make more accurate calls.
Harsh on Hoosiers. Indiana’s coach Kevin Wilson “resigned” yesterday over “philosophical differences” with the school. Before the announcement, Indiana investigated reports that Wilson was mistreating players, including spitting on their jerseys and rushing them back to practice after serious injuries. On the field, Wilson led the Hoosiers to a 6-6 record this season, which is good enough to make them bowl-eligible for the 2nd year in a row.
Conference Championship Games to Watch. This weekend’s Conference Championship games could decide who makes it to the College Football Playoffs! Clemson and Washington currently sit at #3 and #4 in the rankings, but if they choke in their championship games, it could pave the way for #5 Michigan, #6 Wisconsin, or #7 Penn State to make it in. Here are the games to watch:
- Pac-12: #4 Washington v. #8 Colorado. Fri 9pm ET on Fox
- ACC: #3 Clemson v. #23 Virginia Tech. Sat 8pm ET on ABC
- Big 10: #6 Wisconsin v. # 7 Penn State. Sat 8pm ET on Fox
Week 13 Games to Watch. The playoffs are just 4 weeks away, so every game counts. Here are the best matchups to watch this Sunday:
- Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-4). 1pm ET on CBS.
- Buffalo Bills (6-5) @ Oakland Raiders (9-2). 4pm ET on CBS
- New York Giants (8-3) v. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5). 4:30pm ET on
Real Madrid @ Barcelona. If you wake up early this Saturday morning, be sure to tune in for this classic match between archrivals. Real Madrid has been dominant all season long, so this is a must-win game for Barcelona if they want a chance at the La Liga title (for best record in the Spanish league). As per usual, Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Madrid) will be going head-to-head and both are nominated (again) for this year’s Ballon d’Or (for the best soccer player in the world). Saturday 10:15am on beIN