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PS5 Availability Is Improving, but GPUs Prices Are the Worst We’ve Ever Tracked

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For the past six months, every CPU, GPU, and console gamers have wanted to buy has been between difficult and impossible to find, depending on your luck, skill, and willingness to pay scalpers a monthly fee for a chance to buy hardware. We’ve kept an eye on the situation as it has developed, and there’s even the ghost of some good news to report if you’re a console buyer. PC customers, unfortunately, shouldn’t expect relief any time soon.

First, the good news: A new analysis by The Verge shows prices for the PlayStation 5 coming down. More and more systems are selling on eBay for lower prices or aren’t selling at all at sky-high targets. Sean Hollister writes, “Over a seven-day period, eBay moved 5,284 PS5 consoles, and yet plenty of PS5s that were listed didn’t sell. PS5 scalping is becoming less profitable, eBay’s getting flooded, and things are slowing down.”

“Slowing down” is still a careful qualifier, considering that Sony has told people it doesn’t expect big improvements until the back half of the year, but at least the analysis demonstrates positive motion. The Verge’s findings on GPUs were not so rosy.


Image by The Verge

Now, it just so happens that I performed a similar analysis almost exactly three years ago. Let’s take a look at MSRP data from today against how hot things were running back three years ago. Verge’s data is above, here’s our 2018 data below:



Back in 2018, we had five GPUs out of 16 running more than 2x above MSRP. Today, no fewer than 7 GPUs out of 9 are running above 2x, while two are running above 3x. This is the worst GPU prices have been in my two-decade career. It’s not even close. The cheapest GT 1030 from an OEM brand I recognize (Gigabyte) is $ 133. The cheapest 1050 Ti is $ 262. A new RX 580 is currently selling for $ 649 for the 8GB flavor. The GTX 1080 is no longer on sale at a $ 500 price point, but the RTX 3070 is supposed to be. The current price of $ 1,239 as measured by the Verge makes the $ 776 inflation from several years ago seem nostalgic.

This tweet summarizes the situation quite well:

GPU manufacturers reportedly expect Nvidia availability to remain scarce into Q3 2021, and we can expect holiday demand to surge for Q4 like always. I’ve tried to remain positive in our various update articles on the GPU pricing debacle, but it increasingly looks like the market will be tight for the entire year. I’m not going to say this means nobody will get a card for MSRP — GPUs continue to ship, and clearly, some customers are getting them at retail — but it doesn’t look like you can depend on getting a GPU at MSRP this year, at any price point. Hopefully, as the year progresses, TSMC will be able to allocate more capacity for GPU manufacturing and finally get ahead of mining demand.

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Canadian keeper Sheridan vows to return ‘stronger, better than ever’ from surgery

Sky Blue FC says Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan has undergone successful surgery on her right quad.

The NWSL club said there is no timetable for Sheridan’s return.

The 25-year-old from Whitby, Ont., was injured Feb. 18 in Canada’s first game at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. She was helped off the pitch in the 10th minute of the 1-0 loss to the U.S., going down in pain after a seemingly innocuous pass to a teammate.

“Surgery went really well and I am excited to start my recovery process,” Sheridan said in a statement Tuesday. “I will be pushing myself to come back stronger and better than ever.”

The Olympic football tournament is scheduled for July 21 to Aug. 7 in Tokyo. Canada Soccer said it had no information on Sheridan’s possible return to action.

Veteran Stephanie Labbe, who has 72 caps, started the rest of the SheBelieves Cup, with the uncapped Rylee Foster as her backup. Erin McLeod, a 38-year-old who has 118 caps, had to leave camp early with a dislocated finger.

WATCH | Sheridan leaves SheBelieves Cup game with injury:

Early in the match against the United States, Canada’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan plays the ball then goes down in pain. She would have to be replaced by Stephanie Labbé. 1:19

Also Tuesday, the Chicago Red Stars said Canadian defender Bianca St-Georges had successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a “lower knee injury” suffered in camp with Canada prior to the SheBelieves Cup.

The NWSL team said the surgery happened Feb. 24. The 23-year-old from Quebec is expected to return to action before the May 15 start of the regular season.

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The First Black Hole Ever Discovered Might Be Even Larger

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The general idea of a stellar object with such intense gravity that even light cannot escape dates back to the late 18th century. However, it wasn’t until Einstein’s contributions in the early 20th century that we had the necessary theoretical underpinnings to go looking for such an object. Cygnus X-1 caught the attention of scientists because of its X-ray signature. Today, Cygnus X-1 is widely accepted to be the first black hole ever discovered, but we might not know as much about it as we thought. 

Scientists have been looking for black holes ever since general relativity predicted such an object could exist. Cygnus X-1 made history in 1964 as the first likely candidate black hole. Astronomers have revisited Cygnus over the years, and a new analysis suggests the first black hole spotted by humanity might be larger and farther away than believed. 

Cygnus X-1 is a stellar-mass black hole currently thought to have about 15 times the mass of our sun. It’s orbiting a blue supergiant variable star, the light from which has helped to characterize Cygnus X-1. In 2011, researchers used parallax measurements from different points in Earth’s orbit to pin down the black hole’s location. The team found it was just over 6,000 light-years away. Astrophysicist James Miller-Jones worked on this research, and now he’s back with a new team to refine the numbers. 

Miller-Jones and his team used a network of large radio telescope dishes across the US called the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to observe Cygnus X-1. The 2011 research didn’t collect data from the black hole during all parts of its orbit around the supergiant star, and that might affect the distance measurement. The VLBA scanned Cygnus X-1 for 12 hours at a time over the course of six consecutive days. Combining this parallax data with the 2011 numbers, the team has reported a different result. Instead of being 6,070 light-years away, Cygnus X-1 might be 7,240 light-years distant. 

The M87 supermassive black hole imaged in 2019.

So, why does that matter? Many of the characteristics of celestial objects are calculated based on their distance from Earth. If Cygnus X-1 is farther away, that means it’s also larger. The researchers have calculated that at more than 7,000 light-years away, Cygnus X-1 would be about 21 times more massive than the sun, a significant increase over the currently accepted figure. 

The new figures for Cygnus X-1 could change how we measure other black holes. This is likely not the most massive stellar-mass black hole in the universe, but we may need to revise estimates of how much mass a dying star loses as it collapses into a singularity.

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Paleontologists Might Have Discovered the Largest Dinosaur That Ever Lived

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The largest land animal alive today is the African bush elephant, weighing in at around 20,000 pounds. As big as elephants are, they’ve got nothing on some extinct megafauna. Scientists excavating a new species of dinosaur in Argentina have reported that the specimen might be the largest that ever lived. Even if it doesn’t set a record, the animal was much bigger than anything alive today. 

Only part of the animal has been exhumed from its stone coffin, but paleontologists know it’s from the sauropod family. These creatures, like Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus, had long tails and necks along with four thick, pillar-like legs. This body design allowed some species to grow to unfathomable proportions — the current dino record-holder is a sauropod called Patagotitan mayorum. This animal was about six times more massive than a modern African elephant, and the new find looks to be even larger. 

The new dinosaur, which is being excavated not far from where scientists discovered Patagotitan mayorum, is still mostly buried in rock. So, it doesn’t have a name, and the team hasn’t ventured a guess as to how large the animal was in life. However, some human-sized bones are 10 to 20 percent larger than the same bones in Patagotitan mayorum. The location makes sense, too. Patagotitan mayorum is also from this region of Argentina, which has gained a reputation for being home to several species of enormous, record-breaking sauropods. 

A Patagotitan mayorum reconstruction on display at the Field Museum, Chicago. Credit: Ryan Whitwam

Researchers first spotted the remains of this animal in 2012. A team didn’t make it to the site for excavations until 2015, but the animal had been lying there for 98 million years. A few more seasons wasn’t going to matter. Currently, the team has uncovered the tail, a few pelvic bones, and some vertebrae. From these, paleontologists know they’re looking at a very large dinosaur, possibly even the largest. 

It’s rare for an entire animal to fossilize — in fact, many species of dinosaurs are only known from a few sets of incomplete skeletal remains. This specimen appears to be mostly intact, but the bulk of it is still buried in rock. The team expects to spend several more years carefully removing rock from around the fossils. Hopefully, the remains include intact femurs or humorous bones. From these, researchers will be able to make an accurate estimate of the animal’s size. When that happens, this unnamed creature might take the crown as the largest known dinosaur.

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Pandemic leads to biggest drop ever in global emissions, but trend not expected to last

A locked-down pandemic-struck world cut its carbon dioxide emissions this year by seven per cent, the biggest drop ever, new preliminary figures show.

The Global Carbon Project, an authoritative group of dozens of international scientists who track emissions, calculated that the world will have put 34 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in the air in 2020. That’s down from 36.4 billion metric tonnes in 2019, according a study published Thursday in the journal Earth System Science Data.

Scientists say this drop is chiefly because people are staying home, travelling less by car and plane, and that emissions are expected to jump back up after the pandemic ends. Ground transportation makes up about one-fifth of emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief man-made heat-trapping gas.

“Of course, lockdown is absolutely not the way to tackle climate change,” said study co-author Corinne LeQuere, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia.

The same group of scientists months ago predicted emission drops of four to seven per cent, depending on the progression of COVID-19. A second coronavirus wave and continued travel reductions pushed the decrease to seven per cent, LeQuere said.

I am optimistic that we have, as a society learned some lessons that may help decrease emissions in the future.– Chris Field, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Emissions dropped 12 per cent in the United States and 11 per cent in Europe, but only 1.7 per cent in China. That’s because China had an earlier lockdown with less of a second wave. Also China’s emissions are more industrial based than other countries and its industry was less affected than transportation, LeQuere said.

Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant that produces carbon black, an ingredient in steel manufacturing, in Hejin in central China’s Shanxi Province in November 2019. (Sam McNeil/The Associated Press)

Canada’s emissions were not part of the study. 

The calculations — based on reports detailing energy use, industrial production and daily mobility counts — were praised as accurate by outside scientists.

Even with the drop in 2020, the world on average put 1,075 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air every second.

Final figures for 2019 published in the same study show that from 2018 to 2019 emissions of the main man-made heat-trapping gas increased only 0.1 per cent, much smaller than annual jumps of around three per cent a decade or two ago. Even with emissions expected to rise after the pandemic, scientists are wondering if 2019 be the peak of carbon pollution, LeQuere said.

“We are certainly very close to an emissions peak, if we can keep the global community together,” said United Nations Development Director Achim Steiner.

Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, thinks emissions will increase after the pandemic, but said “I am optimistic that we have, as a society learned some lessons that may help decrease emissions in the future.”

“For example,” he added, “as people get good at telecommuting a couple of days a week or realize they don’t need quite so many business trips, we might see behaviour-related future emissions decreases.”

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How Chase Claypool’s rookie year stacks up with the best ever

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

Here’s what you need to know right now from the world of sports:

Chase Claypool is having a rookie year for the ages

The Canadian NFL star scored his 10th touchdown on Sunday, which is the most ever through 10 games by a first-year receiver in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). Claypool has 39 catches for 559 yards and eight TDs (including an 84-yarder) and has rushed nine times for 22 yards and a pair of scores. The second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame (via Abbotsford, B.C.) has also helped the Pittsburgh Steelers to a perfect 10-0 start heading into their matchup with rival Baltimore on Thursday night.

With six games left, Claypool’s rookie reason could hardly be going any better. But how does it stack up with the greatest of all time? In terms of touchdowns scored (so we’re not including passing TDs), here are some of the most eye-catching rookie performances in NFL history:

Gale Sayers did it all. The Chicago Bears running back scored a rookie-record 22 touchdowns in only 14 games (two less than the current schedule) in 1965. This was the last year before the NFL and AFL began having their champions meet in what became known as the Super Bowl (the leagues merged in 1970, creating the modern NFL). Sayers was the definition of an all-purpose threat. He ran for 14 of his touchdowns, caught six and also scored on both a kickoff and punt return. Sayers died in September at age 77.

Randy Moss showed ’em. Seething all year after falling to the 21st pick in the draft because of concerns about his “character,” the ultra-talented Minnesota Vikings receiver went on a rampage to close the 1998 season. Moss had “only” six touchdowns catches through his first nine games, but he exploded for 11 in the final seven contests of the regular season (including back-to-back three-TD days) to finish with 17. That’s four more touchdowns than any rookie receiver has ever scored — even if you include rushing and kick-return scores, of which Moss did not have any.

Cam Newton rushed for 14 touchdowns. That’s right. The quarterback. No passer of any experience level has come close to running in as many scores in a single season as Newton did in 2011. In fact, he also owns the second-best total — 10 in his 2015 MVP year, which also came with Carolina. Of Newton’s 14 rushing TDs as a rookie, six were one-yarders and another was two yards. But Newton also reeled off touchdown runs of 49, 16, 14 (twice) and 11 yards. Oh, and he threw for 21 TDs and more than 4,000 yards.

Claypool has already broken the Canadian rookie TD record. It belonged to Rueben Mayes, the running back who scored eight (all on the ground) in 1986 for New Orleans and is probably the man Claypool needs to surpass if he’s to become the greatest NFL player Canada has ever produced. And remember, Claypool still has six games left. Sayers’ record seems out of reach, but it’s not out of the question for Claypool to catch Moss for the receivers’ mark. He’s that good.

Randy Moss hauled in 17 TDs as a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. (John Zich/AFP via Getty Images)


Two players at the Canadian junior hockey team’s selection camp tested positive for the coronavirus. Hockey Canada said the unnamed players were in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Red Deer, Alta., where preparations are underway for the upcoming world junior championship. All camp activities, including a planned intrasquad game, were suspended for the day while everyone got tested. The world juniors are scheduled to open on Christmas Day in Edmonton. A bubble is being established around the Oilers’ arena, where all games will take place (almost certainly without fans). Defending-champion Canada plays its first game on Boxing Day vs. Germany. Read more about today’s positive tests here.

The last Canadian team left in the Major League Soccer playoffs plays tonight. Toronto FC faces Nashville at 6 p.m. ET in East Hartford, Conn. Toronto has been playing its home matches there because of the Canadian government’s pandemic-related restrictions. TFC went 13-5-5 this season to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Nashville (8-7-8) defeated Miami 3-0 in a play-in game on Friday to grab the No. 7 seed. The entire playoff tournament is single elimination. The winner of tonight’s match faces No. 3 seed Columbus, which beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2 in their round-one matchup, on Sunday.

And finally…

Winning an Olympic track medal should be easy for Moh Ahmed after all those years battling his twin brothers.

Ibrahim and Kadar are younger, but they were “feisty and competitive,” Moh says, going at it on the basketball court near the family’s home in St. Catharines, Ont., and on the soccer pitch. Before high school, it was usually the twins who made their teams while their older brother and his “immature” body got cut.

But Moh started running track at 13 and found his niche. His dream of reaching the Olympics came true in 2012, when he finished 18th in the 10,000 metres. Four years later in Rio, he dropped to 32nd in that event but placed fourth in the 5,000. Then, last year, he won bronze in the 5K at the world championships with a time of 13:01 (stare at that number for a bit, recreational runners). Now he’s got his sights set on his first Olympic medal this summer in Tokyo. Read more about Ahmed and how his sibling rivalry inspired him in this story by CBC Sports’ Doug Harrison.

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Xbox Series X Launch Is Microsoft’s Biggest Ever, Causes ISP Traffic Spike

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In the run-up to the Microsoft Series X launch, Microsoft made it clear that it would not be outmaneuvered two launches in a row. The Xbox Series X’s overall specs are better than the PlayStation 5 in several particulars, and it offers features like universal backward compatibility that the PlayStation 5 doesn’t have to the same degree. Microsoft also targeted a wider spread of price points than Sony did — while both companies offer a pair of consoles, Sony chose to target $ 400 and $ 500, while Microsoft went for $ 300 and $ 500. The difference between the two is that the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition ($ 400) lacks only a Blu-ray drive, while the Xbox Series S is meaningfully less powerful than the Xbox Series X and explicitly targets 1080p gaming.

Clearly, the company’s targeting paid off. Microsoft has announced its largest launch in history, with more consoles sold (no numbers yet) than in any previous generation. The Xbox Series S, in particular, seems to have drawn new gamers into the Xbox fold. Microsoft notes that more new gamers joined on this platform than in any previous launch. A total of 3,594 different games were played across 24 hours, indicating that the player base definitely took advantage of backward compatibility. The company is also touting high conversion numbers — 70 percent of Xbox Series S|X consoles are attached to new or existing Game Pass members.

Microsoft, of course, is scarcely going to tout numbers that don’t back up its argument, but there’s some independent confirmation that the launch was huge. According to UK ISP Virgin Media, it experienced record-breaking traffic on the day of launch, as gamers set up consoles, downloaded updates, and got to playing. The company served 108PB of data on Tuesday, November 10, or an average of 20GB per customer: “At the peak of recorded traffic, the equivalent of 48 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla games were being downloaded every second.”

The sizeable traffic was driven by the 60GB + 8GB update/release of Assassin Creed: Valhalla, a 30-65GB Call of Duty: Modern Warfare update, an 85-130GB preload for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and a 65GB Destiny 2: Blue Light update. What this works out to, in aggregate, is an awful lot of data to download. Other UK ISPs like TalkTalk and OpenReach either set records or nearly set them. The upcoming launch of the Sony PlayStation 5 is also expected to set records.

The Xbox Series S has some drawbacks, but it drew more new gamers into the Xbox ecosystem than any previous launch, according to Microsoft.

The question of which console will sell better over the long run is an interesting one. Going into this generation, Sony is clearly the odds-on favorite. The PS2 utterly dominated its generation, and while the PS3 was badly hampered by its rocky start, it eventually out-shipped the Xbox 360. The PS4, of course, has decisively out-shipped the Xbox One by a more than 2:1 margin.

There are a number of early “Which is better” articles, but they mostly come down to the margins of both ecosystems. Xbox has Game Pass and Quick Resume, while Sony has a larger catalog of exclusive titles, but also less backward compatibility. It also has a better haptic controller, though we don’t know how much use players will get out of the feature long-term. Xbox Series X is faster than the PS5 on paper, but the current game available on both platforms gives the XSX a lead in only some modes. For whatever reason, the PS5, not the Xbox Series X, actually leads in the highest-performing game mode. In other modes, the XSX’s lead is 8 percent or less.

This is a pretty good result for gamers because there are no bad choices on the market right now. The XSX and PlayStation 5 are both powerful, they’re both fast, and they both have a back catalog of games you can play Day 1. We should expect both companies to report exceptional launch figures. The pandemic has driven greater interest in gaming throughout the entire year, and that’s scarcely going to end now that new platforms have debuted. With COVID-19 infections booming across the United States, indoor entertainment is at a premium relative to everything else.

More practically, consoles typically always sell well at launch. Nintendo’s Wii U is the poster child for this effect — the company launched the device on November 12, 2012, and had sold 3.06M of them worldwide by December 31, which wasn’t too shabby. Thereafter, sales fell off a cliff. Nintendo didn’t break the 6 million mark until March 2014.

Given the pandemic and the potential for limited consumer availability, it’ll be some months before we have any idea which platform is proving more popular, long-term. Both Microsoft and Sony are likely to sell every console they can ship, turning the entire affair into more of a pandemic supply chain benchmark than a referendum on console ecosystems.

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Meet Mapletron: Why Chase Claypool could become the best Canadian NFL player ever

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

On Sunday afternoon in a mostly empty stadium in Pittsburgh, a largely unknown 22-year-old NFL rookie from Abbotsford, B.C., scored four touchdowns — three receiving, one rushing — to help the undefeated Steelers to a 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

In many ways, what Chase Claypool did was a fluke. A lot has to go right for even the best players to reach the endzone four times in one day. It’s happened eight times in the NFL in the past five years, and no rookie has done it since 2012.

But the man himself is no fluke. It may seem extremely early to say this about someone who’s four games into his pro career, but Claypool has all the ingredients to become the greatest NFL player Canada has ever produced. Here’s why:

His college pedigree

Claypool played four years at Notre Dame, which is not what it used to be but is still one of the better football programs. In his senior season last year, he put up monster numbers: 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games.

His body

Plenty of guys post impressive college stats and are never heard from again. NFL football is a different game. The players are bigger and stronger and yet somehow also faster, smarter and more athletic than they are in college. But what drew pro scouts to Claypool — and compelled Pittsburgh to use their second-round draft pick on him — was that he combined those big numbers at Notre Dame with NFL-grade physical traits.

In fact, even by the superhero-like standards of the NFL, Claypool’s body and athleticism stand out. At the scouting combine held before his draft, he measured in at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in an astonishing 4.42 seconds. Only one man at least that tall and at least that heavy has run that fast in the history of the combine: Calvin Johnson, who’s one of the best receivers in history and was such a renowned super-human physical freak that he was nicknamed “Megatron.” After Sunday’s performance, some have started calling Claypool “Mapletron.”

“He has got some God-given abilities that not many people in this world have,” veteran Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “He’s big, fast and strong and he’s very, very smart.”

His skills

NFL history is littered with players who had the body of a Greek god and put up jaw-dropping workout numbers but never developed the technical precision required to achieve true greatness. Like any rookie, Claypool still has work to do in that department. But his impressive college stats suggest he came into the pros with a solid foundation, and he put his impressive skill set on display in the four-touchdown game.

Two of Claypool’s TDs on Sunday, including the run, came on plays that started within five yards of the end zone and were mostly the result of excellent play designs and blocking. It says something that the Steelers’ coaches chose to give him the ball on those plays. But any reasonably skilled receiver or running back probably could have done the job.

The other two touchdowns better showcased Claypool’s tantalizing combination of athleticism and technical skills. He used those to get open against his primary defender, secure the catch and finish the play all the way to the endzone. His second TD of the day was the most impressive. On that one, he beat the man pressing him at the line of scrimmage with some excellent footwork to get wide open immediately and catch Roethlisberger’s pass. A safety moved in to stop him, but Claypool roasted him with a quick lateral move, turning what should have been a nice 15-yard gain into a 35-yard, highlight-reel touchdown.

CBC Sports’ Dion Caputi, who’s an expert on NFL prospects and has covered the draft for years, likes what Claypool has shown so far. He’s also bullish on the receiver’s chances to get even better because of the “commitment and work ethic” that’s evident when studying tape of Claypool.

“There’s no degree of randomness to [his success] either,” Caputi says. “He’s exhibiting a real penchant for breaking press coverage at the hands of many big, physical modern NFL boundary corners he tends to be matched against.

“He creates his own opportunities with savvy route-running ability but can rely on his vertical skills and length to compensate when adjustments are required.”

Read more about Claypool in this story by Dion.

His surroundings

Claypool really lucked out when Pittsburgh drafted him. Besides being one of the best-run and most consistently successful franchises in football, the Steelers have an outstanding track record in developing receivers they drafted outside the first round. Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Heinz Ward and Mike Wallace are among the middling prospects Pittsburgh has cultivated into stars in recent years.

Better yet, this year’s Steelers team surrounds Claypool with talent. Roethlisberger is in his twilight, but he’s a future hall-of-fame QB who still likes to sling it around. Smith-Schuster is a good No. 1 receiver, James Conner a solid running back and the offensive line is strong (a Steelers trademark). The defence is among the best in the NFL, so it’s often getting the ball back in the offence’s hands quickly. And Mike Tomlin is one of the most respected head coaches in the league.

His competition

To be honest, Canada has not produced a ton of good NFL players. Yes, Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, receiver Nate Burleson and two-way legend Bronko Nagurski were all born in Canada. But they moved to the States when they were toddlers, so we can’t really give the Canadian football system credit for their success.

As far as NFLers who were actually born and raised in Canada, many of the standouts are kickers. Eddie Murray was named a first-team All-Pro after his rookie season with Detroit in 1980, won the Super Bowl following the ’93 season with Dallas and stayed in the NFL into his mid-40s. Steve Christie, also an All-Pro as a rookie, spent 15 years in the league, hit numerous clutch kicks to help Buffalo win the last two of its four consecutive AFC titles and still holds the record for longest field goal in Super Bowl history. Another Oakville, Ont., native, Mike Vanderjagt, was for a time the most accurate leg in NFL history before the “idiot kicker” wore out his welcome with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Honourable mention, as well, to defensive lineman Israel Idonije, who had a solid decade-long career (mostly with Chicago) in which he totalled 29 sacks, topping out with eight in 2010. And also to Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a key member of the unit that protected Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes last year. The aspiring medical doctor opted out of this season to continue his work on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic in his native Quebec. His greatness clearly extends beyond the gridiron.

No disrespect to kickers and linemen — they’re unfathomably good at what they do. But they’re generally not stars. Football fans (especially casual ones) focus on the so-called “skill positions”: quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end. Those are the guys who rack up points for your fantasy football team, whose names go on replica jerseys, who get the cute insurance-company commercials.

Considering that, the bar Claypool needs to clear to be considered Canada’s greatest-ever NFL player is probably Rueben Mayes. The running back from North Battleford, Sask., had a phenomenal first season for New Orleans in 1986, rushing for 1,353 yards and eight touchdowns to win the offensive rookie of the year award. But his production tailed off after that and his career was cut short by injuries. Mayes was a significant player for only four seasons, finishing with 3,484 yards rushing, another 401 receiving and 23 touchdowns.

Mayes is also something of a cautionary tale for those hyping Claypool (like, for example, this newsletter). Pro football is an exciting but brutal way to make a living. Even the most talented and toughest players are always one snap away from a career-threatening injury (ask Dak Prescott). So Claypool has a long way to go and a lot of bullets to dodge. But all the pieces are in place for him to become the best player this country has ever sent to the NFL.

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Why Dylan McDermott Is ‘More Grateful’ Than Ever for His 2020 Emmy Nomination (Exclusive)

Why Dylan McDermott Is ‘More Grateful’ Than Ever for His 2020 Emmy Nomination (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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‘Twilight’ Director Catherine Hardwicke Reveals If She’d Ever do a ‘Midnight Sun’ Movie (Exclusive)

‘Twilight’ Director Catherine Hardwicke on If She’d Ever do a ‘Midnight Sun’ Movie (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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