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This Copy of Super Mario Bros. Is About to Sell for a Record-Setting Sum

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Most of the hottest game releases for next-gen consoles are going to run you $ 70, an increase gamers are not relishing. That’s nothing compared with a copy of the original Super Mario Bros for NES. This sealed cartridge is set to shatter records with its auction price, which is creeping up on $ 400,000 with several days still to go. 

The Nintendo Entertainment System occupies a special place in many a nerd’s heart. Some NES games, such as the Super Mario Bros. series, have become cultural touchstones that people still play to this day, and some love these games so much they’ll pay exorbitant amounts of money to own rare physical copies. Nintendo rolled out the NES in select markets with various types of game packaging, which has led to multiple “versions” of some titles. Many of them are worth a whole lot of money, too. 

Heritage Auctions runs most of these rare NES game auctions, and its high-profile latest listing is about to set a new record. The game in question is a copy of the original Super Mario Bros., which first came out in 1985. However, this isn’t one of the early “test market” boxes, several of which have sold for substantial sums. The latest copy of SMB to hit the auction block is from a subsequent batch of game carts that were the first to be shrink-wrapped when they hit store shelves. The game is, of course, still shrink-wrapped. It will presumably remain that way, as any attempt to open it and play the game would destroy all of its (very significant) value. The box has been rated a 9.6 out of 10 by WATA Games, meaning the packaging is in nearly perfect condition. It also has an intact hangtab, indicating it was never even hung up in a store. 

The repositioned “Bros.” is what makes this copy of the game so rare.

The age, condition, and specific box properties make this copy worth a boatload. The auction price is sitting at $ 372,000 at this time, and it could climb further. Even if it doesn’t, this auction will easily set the record for the most expensive single video game. The previous record was set by a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 with a slightly different box logo (see above) that was modified in later batches. That game sold for $ 156,000, which is nothing to sneeze at for a game that retailed for about $ 60 in 1990. 

As the years wear on, these rare copies of classic games will only become rarer and more expensive. After 30 years, only very carefully preserved copies are in good enough condition to sell for big bucks. If anyone reading this is independently wealthy and would like to steal the game out from under the current high bidder, you’ll have to put up at least $ 384,000.

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Tom Brady wins 7th Super Bowl title as Buccaneers defeat Kansas City

Tom Brady made his seventh Super Bowl title look familiar — despite moving south to a new team and conference during a pandemic.

Brady threw two touchdown passes to old friend Rob Gronkowski and one to good pal Antonio Brown, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.

The GOAT, as Brady is known, earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and extended his Super Bowl titles’ record in his 10th appearance, his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The 43-year-old Brady broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joins Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises.

“I’m not making any comparisons,” Brady said. “Experiencing it with this group of guys is amazing.”

The Buccaneers (15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl, and joined the NHL’s Lightning as a 2020 season champion. The Rays also went to the World Series but lost to the Dodgers.

“I’m so proud of all these guys,” Brady said. “We had a rough November but we came together at the right time. We knew this was gonna happen. We played our best game of the year.”

NFL completes 269-game season on time

Tampa’s victory prevented Mahomes and Kansas City (16-3) from becoming the first repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots did it in 2003-04.

The NFL completed its 269-game season on time without any cancellations, a remarkable accomplishment that required nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests for players and team personnel.

Due to the virus, only 25,000 mask-wearing fans were allowed in, including approximately 7,500 vaccinated health-care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full.

A streaker wearing a hot-pink onesie eluded security and slid into the end zone with 5:03 left in the game. Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offence never got that far against Tampa’s ferocious defence.

Bruce Arians became the oldest coach at age 68 to win the Super Bowl. His mom, 95-year-old Kay Arians, witnessed it in person. Brady, Gronk and defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles helped Arians get that Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Bowles devised a masterful plan to frustrate Mahomes and shut down the Chiefs, the complete opposite of Kansas City’s 27-24 win in Tampa in Week 12, when the Chiefs jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Tyreek Hill had 269 yards receiving and three TDs in that one. He was held to 73 yards on seven catches.

After Kansas City took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and the Bucs.

Gronkowski catches 13th and 14 post-season TDs from Brady

Brady accomplished a career-first when he tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Gronkowksi to give the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Brady’s nine Super Bowl teams in New England produced just three points total in the first quarter. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with his buddy, caught his 13th and 14th post-season TDs from Brady. That broke the record they shared with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, who combined for 12.

Despite playing at home, the Buccaneers weren’t allowed to fire the cannons from their famed pirate ship after touchdowns and big plays. They did it soon after the clock expired as red, white and black confetti fell onto the field.

Rob Gronkowski #87 and Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate after defeating Kansas City in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. (Mike Ehrmann.Getty Images)

Fans still enjoyed the thud of Gronk’s thunderous spike after his first score.

Tampa missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Brady’s 2-yard pass to offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his hands by Anthony Hitchens in the end zone. Ronald Jones was stopped short on consecutive carries as Arians stuck to his “No risk it, no biscuit” philosophy and went on fourth down.

But Kansas City didn’t gain any momentum off the stop. Instead, they made one costly mistake after another.

First, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce dropped a pass that would’ve been a big gain on third down. Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty forced him to kick again. The Bucs started at Kansas City’s 38 instead of their 27.

A holding call on Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward negated an interception by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City’s defence held but an offside penalty during Ryan Succop’s successful field goal gave the Buccaneers a first down. Sarah Thomas, the first woman official in a Super Bowl, threw that flag.

Brady needed one play, firing a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. Gronk hesitated before spiking the ball, waiting to make sure the flag on the play was again against Kansas City

Mahomes drove the offence for a 34-yard field goal by Harrison Butker that cut it to 14-6, but Kansas City’s defence fell apart in the final minute of the first half — allowing 42 yards on two pass interference penalties. One against Mathieu in the end zone set up Brady’s TD pass to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.

It was Brady who convinced his new team to give Brown a chance after the troubled former All-Pro came off suspension. His TD toss to Brown was his 50th of the season, including 10 in the post-season.

Mathieu took an unsportsmanlike penalty after the TD pass for getting into it with Brady as he ran to the sideline.

Leonard Fournette, like Brown an in-season addition, ran 27 yards untouched for a touchdown in the third quarter, extending Tampa’s lead to 28-9. Arians pumped his fist after that score and pointed toward offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich, who made the call.

Succop’s 52-yard field goal increased the lead to 31-9.

Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007

Last year, Mahomes rallied Kansas City from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco and earned MVP honours in leading Kansas City to its first NFL championship in a half-century. But Tampa’s pass rush gave him no chance in this one.

Shaq Barrett had one of three sacks on Mahomes, who spent most of the game trying to escape Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and a relentless group.

Brady was 6-3 in Super Bowls during 20 seasons in New England before he signed a $ 50 million US, two-year contract with Tampa in March. The Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007 and hadn’t won a post-season game since Jon Gruden led Tampa over Oakland in Super Bowl 37.

Despite the home-field advantage, it wasn’t until Brady hooked up with Gronkowski for a 21-6 lead that fans chanted: “Let’s Go Bucs!” They were roaring in the fourth quarter.

There were plenty of red-clad Kansas City fans doing the tomahawk chop for part of the first half until the Bucs made it a rout.

Brady avenged his loss against Kansas City defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who held the same position for the Giants when New York stifled the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, preventing New England from a perfect season.

Brady’s New England teams won their titles by a combined 30 points, an average margin of five per victory. A 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams two years ago had been the most lopsided score until this one.

The warmer climate suited Brady perfectly. He passed Michael Jordan for more championships and it doesn’t seem he’s ready to slow down. He already said he might play past age 45,

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CBC | Sports News

Quebec native Antony Auclair could taste Super Bowl glory tonight

There are about 1,700 people in Notre-Dame-des-Pins, a small municipality in Quebec’s Beauce region, and chances are on Sunday night they will all be watching the Super Bowl.

The community’s claim to fame, aside from a picturesque covered bridge crossing the Chaudière River, is Antony Auclair, a six-foot-six, 256-pound tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Auclair’s success is a major point of pride for the town of Notre-Dame-des-Pins. Strung up along the side of Highway 173 is a banner that cheers on Auclair’s team.

The town’s mayor, Lyne Bourque, wears a signed Buccaneers mask as a show of support.

The town of Notre-Dame-des-Pins is showing its support for homegrown football star Antony Auclair. (Radio-Canada)

Now in his fourth season with Tampa Bay, Auclair signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2017 after playing at Laval University in Quebec City.

If Laurent Duvernay-Tardif hadn’t opted out of the NFL season to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in Quebec, two of the province’s homegrown football pros would be facing off as the Buccaneers go up against last year’s champs, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Following in the footsteps of Duvernay-Tardif, Auclair will become the 17th Canadian to appear in a Super Bowl, though there’s a good chance he won’t get playing time because he’s not on the starting line.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Auclair’s younger brother Adam, a defensive back for the Ottawa Redblacks, is in Tampa Bay to cheer on his brother’s team in person.

“It’s kind of crazy to live this with my brother,” he told CBC’s All in a Weekend“I’m pretty excited about the game. I’m excited to feel the vibe of the Super Bowl even if there are less fans in the building.”

Adam said he wasn’t sure about travelling to the U.S. because of the pandemic restrictions, but he ultimately decided that this was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” he couldn’t pass up.

Beyond that, he said everyone who will be in attendance at the game has to present a COVID-19 negative test.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Antony Auclair pictured with his parents, Julien Auclair and Marie-Andrée Quirion, who are both from Notre-Dame-des-Pins. (Pascal Ratthé/Radio-Canada)

Auclair’s parents will be watching from their home in Notre-Dame-des-Pins, and according to Adam, “they are going to be really, really close to the TV.”

Hard work pays off

Auclair is one of a handful of people who have graduated from playing football at a Canadian university to securing a spot in the NFL.

Adam attributes his brother’s success to his work ethic, saying he is one of the hardest working members of the team.

“When I was playing with him at Laval, he was always, after every practice, going to the gym. Or studying plays before he went to bed. He was always giving more than anyone else on the team. And he’s also a great leader, he’s a leader who will show by example and I think that’s what the coaches over there liked about him.”

Antony Auclair played for the Rouge et Or in Quebec City before going pro. (Laval University Rouge et Or)

This sentiment is echoed by Auclair’s former coaches.

“He always wanted to know more. He always wanted to work harder than everyone else. He was often the first in the field,” said Mathieu Bertrand, special teams co-ordinator for the Laval Rouge et Or. “Going to the NFL is one thing, but staying there for four years is another.”

“My biggest dream now is that he can bring the Super Bowl trophy back to PEPS (Pavillon de l’éducation physique et des sports de l’Université Laval) sometime in the spring,” said head coach Glen Constantin.

In this 2017 file photo, Adam Auclair of Laval University accepts the Presidents’ Trophy for outstanding defensive player during the U Sports All-Canadian Football Awards Gala. (Aaron Lynett/The Canadian Press)

True to form, Adam says Auclair is extremely focused ahead of the game.

“Even if he is probably not going to play this weekend, he is ready to play if his name gets called,” said Adam.

“I told him to enjoy every moment and I think that is really what he’s going to do. Even if he’s not playing, it’s a really big accomplishment that he’s going to be there.”

All in a Weekend11:15Adam Auclair on his brother Antony’s journey from the Beauce to the Super Bowl

Today Quebecer Antony Auclair will become only the 17th Canadian to appear in a Super Bowl. But long before he was suiting up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was squaring off against his brother Adam, outside their home in Notre-Dame-Des-Pins, in the Beauce. Adam Auclair, himself a player with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, tells us what brought his brother to the biggest game of his career. 11:15

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CBC | Sports News

Brady vs. Mahomes: Why legacies are at stake in the Super Bowl

The story of Super Bowl LV is a simple one: Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes.

Sure, two quarterbacks who will never share the field together won’t entirely determine whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Kansas City ultimately wins. 

Maybe K.C.’s banged-up offensive line prevents Mahomes from having a shot. Maybe Tampa Bay’s defence takes over. Maybe one of the many star receivers in the game shines.

But let’s be honest: this year’s Super Bowl will be remembered for its quarterbacks.

In one corner there’s 43-year-old Tom Brady, a six-time champion who, to the surprise of some, left New England — for 20 seasons, the only NFL home he’d ever known — for a fresh start in Florida.

In the other corner there’s 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes, the reigning champion who signed a 10-year, $ 503-million US contract extension with Kansas City in the off-season.

Mahomes, who won MVP in his first season as a starter and Super Bowl MVP in his second, is regarded by many as the next challenger to Brady’s claim as the greatest quarterback ever.

WATCH | Tom Brady vies for 7th title in Super Bowl LV:

At 43, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady is about to play in his 10th Super Bowl. While many football players are retired by 40, Brady is still dominant and hopes to play 2 more years. 2:04

If Mahomes’s team, favoured to win, comes through, it’ll leave him four Super Bowls shy of Brady’s career total. But if Brady wins his mind-boggling seventh, at 43 no less, the gap would become nearly impossible for Mahomes to overcome.

Imagine if Michael Jordan ever stared down LeBron James in NBA Finals. The never-ending GOAT debate would have a lot more clarity.

“The Super Bowl’s the Super Bowl. Being able to go up against one of the greatest, if not the greatest, quarterback of all time, in his 150th Super Bowl, I mean, it’s going to be a great experience for me,” Mahomes said on Monday, sarcastically pointing out Brady’s penchant for appearing in the NFL’s biggest game. 

Tale of the tape

Brady and Mahomes have gone head-to-head twice before, with each winning once. 

Their marquee matchup came in the AFC championship game two seasons ago when Brady was still a Patriot. In that game, New England jumped to a 14-0 lead, with Kansas City unable to score in the first half.

But Mahomes flipped the script in the second, leading his team to 31 points, including three touchdowns and the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter. When a controversial off-sides call against K.C. negated what would have been a game-ending interception of Brady, the game went to OT.

In the extra frame, the Patriots won the coin toss and promptly marched for a touchdown. Mahomes never got the ball. Advantage: Brady (despite two picks to Mahomes’s zero).

The second matchup came in November, when Mahomes boosted K.C. to a 17-0 lead and Brady’s second-half comeback attempt fell three points short.

While Brady’s line of 345 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions was nice, Mahomes responded with a whopping 462 yards, three scores and no picks. Advantage: Mahomes (despite the oddly quiet finish).

But don’t call Super Bowl LV the grudge match: Brady recently left the door open to playing past 45.

The sixth-round pick out of Michigan in the 2000 draft, Brady won Super Bowls in two of his first three seasons as a starter — a feat never matched, unless Mahomes wins on Sunday.

Mahomes and Brady speak to the media on Monday ahead of the Super Bowl. (NFL via The Associated Press)

He spent 20 seasons in New England paired with future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick. Brady and Belichick were inextricable from each other — until the former jetted to Tampa Bay.

A seventh Super Bowl win would retroactively give Brady more credit for the first six. He didn’t need Belichick to reach Super Bowls, it turns out.

Regardless, Brady’s resume is impeccable. Three MVPs, 14 Pro Bowls, an NFL-record 581 passing touchdowns, second all-time in passing yards. A one-way ticket to the Hall of Fame.

He’s played in nine Super Bowls and won two-thirds of them, in sometimes incredible ways (see 2017’s 28-3 comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons).

Challenger to the throne

Mahomes, meanwhile, is 44-9 — including 6-1 in the playoffs — as an NFL starter. In all but one of those playoff games, Kansas City scored at least 31 points, and in the one game it didn’t; Mahomes left in the third quarter with an injury.

In the regular season, Mahomes has already compiled 14,152 passing yards and 114 touchdowns. He’s also added 808 yards with his legs — within 200 of Brady’s 21-year total.

On the surface, Mahomes is more talented than Brady ever was. He has a stronger arm and more mobility, and his dizzying array of arm angles (you may have heard his father was an MLB pitcher) puts his athleticism on full display.

Brady is one of the smartest QBs of all-time, a savant at picking apart a defence with quick, short passes in his later years. The move to the Buccaneers renewed his deep attack and blessed him with the top receivers he lacked by the end of his time in New England.

WATCH | Bring It In’s Super Bowl preview:

Host Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to discuss everything Super Bowl LV, including the Brady vs. Mahomes match-up, their predictions, and whether having 22,000 spectators in attendance is a good idea or not. 25:04

On Sunday, Brady has a chance to become the first QB to win a Super Bowl at home. When you play in 18 per cent of Super Bowls ever, that’s almost bound to happen.

He has a chance to affirm his status as leader of the Patriots dynasty, as more than a product of Belichick. He’s already defying odds playing football at 43, but winning a Super Bowl at that age would be a different story entirely.

He’s already cemented his GOAT status, but a win Sunday would put him in an almost-unreachable level.

In his way is Mahomes, a possible heir to the throne who may only have a shot to eclipse Brady with a win on Sunday. 

Mahomes has a chance to rewrite NFL history.

Legacies are at stake in Super Bowl LV.

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CBC | Sports News

Kansas City reaches 2nd consecutive Super Bowl after dispatching Bills

It took Kansas City five frustrating decades to make their second Super Bowl appearance.

Now, the defending champs are headed there for the second straight year.

Showing no lingering effects from a concussion, Patrick Mahomes sliced up Buffalo’s secondary with ruthless efficiency as Kansas City rolled to a 38-24 victory over Josh Allen and the Bills in the AFC championship game Sunday night. Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns, with most of it to favourite targets Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill,

Kansas City will face a familiar foe — Tom Brady — and the NFC champ Buccaneers in two weeks in Tampa, Florida.

Kelce finished with 13 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and Hill added nine catches for 172 yards, becoming the first duo in NFL history with consecutive games of at least 100 yards receiving each in a single post-season.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams added short TD runs for Kansas City, who will try to become the eighth franchise and first team since the Brady-led New England Patriots in 2003 and ’04 to defend the Lombardi Trophy.

Allen, who had his worst game of the season in a Week 6 loss to Kansas City, again struggled against the blitzing Kansas City defence. He finished with 287 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception, but a big chunk of his numbers came as the Bills tried to rally from a 38-15 deficit in the final minutes.

Their frustration boiled over with 3:19 to go, when Allen was getting sacked by Tanoh Kpassagnon. Alex Okafor finished off the tackle, and Allen pitched the ball in his face in resentment. Offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Dion Dawkins rushed in and levelled Okafor, resulting in a flood of offsetting personal foul penalties.

Bills can’t capitalize on early start

It capped a bitter loss for the Bills, who had reached their first AFC title game since beating Kansas City at home on Jan. 1, 1994. They had won 11 of 12 since their loss to Kansas City earlier this season — in fact, they hadn’t trailed in the second half since Week 8 — and were riding a wave of confidence that this might finally be their championship year.

Instead, after finally conquering the Patriots in the AFC East, the Bills have a new roadblock to the Super Bowl.

Kansas City actually spotted the Bills a 9-0 lead, thanks in large part to Mecole Hardman’s muffed punt inside their 5 that gifted Buffalo a touchdown. But the reigning champs were hardly rattled; Kansas City, after all, rallied from double-digits in each of their post-season wins last season, including their Super Bowl triumph over San Francisco.

Mahomes and Kelce soon found their groove. And the rest of the Kansas City offence followed suit.

They surgically took apart Buffalo’s defence on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a short TD throw to Hardman — no hard feelings over that fumble. Then, Kansas City cruised 82 yards in just five plays, the big one Hardman’s 50-yard end-around that set up Williams’ touchdown tumble. Finally, they made it three TDs in three possessions when Edwards-Helaire — in his first game back from an ankle injury — capped a 77-yard drive with a short plunge.

The only answer from Buffalo was Tyler Bass’s chip-shot field goal that made it 21-12 at the break.

You don’t beat Kansas City by kicking field goals from the 3-yard line, though. Or from the 9, where the Bills settled for another one to close within 24-15 late in the third quarter.

That became painfully clear on the ensuing drive. Mahomes hit Hill in stride and the All-Pro wide receiver promptly made the Bills secondary look downright foolish. Weaving in and out of woebegone defenders, Hill was finally caught inside the 5-yard line after a 71-yard gain, ultimately setting up Kelce’s short TD catch a few plays later.

Any hopes the Bills had of a comeback were dashed when Rashad Fenton picked off a tipped pass deep in Kansas City territory. Kansas City breezily marched the other direction, and Mahomes and Kelce kicked off the celebration of another trip to the Super Bowl when they connected for their second score of the game.

Brady leads Buccaneers past Packers

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road magic have them heading home to the Super Bowl, the first team to play in one on their home field.

Brady owns six Super Bowl rings with New England and now heads to his 10th NFL championship game with his new team. With help from a stifling pass rush and a curious late call on fourth-and-goal by the Packers, Brady and the Bucs beat top-seeded Green Bay 31-26 for the NFC title Sunday.

“It’s great to get another road win, and now we got a home game,” said Brady, who went 20 of 36 for 280 yards with three touchdowns. “Who’d ever thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it.”

The Bucs (14-5) earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 2002 championship season.

They were helped by a strange decision by Packers coach Matt LaFleur with just over two minutes remaining and down by eight points. On fourth-and-goal, he elected to kick a field goal to get within five. Tampa Bay then ran out the clock on the Packers (14-4).

The Bucs will face Kansas City at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.

‘We’re coming home to win’

“We’re coming home,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “We’re coming home to win.”

Green Bay trailed 31-23 and had first-and-goal from the 8 in the last few minutes. But after Aaron Rodgers threw three straight incompletions, the Packers settled for Mason Crosby’s 26-yard field goal with 2:05 left.

The Packers had all three timeouts left and were hoping their defence could force a punt. The Bucs foiled that plan, draining the rest of the clock, helped by a pass interference penalty on Kevin King.

Led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combining for five sacks, Tampa Bay snapped Green Bay’s seven-game winning streak. The Packers lost in the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Green Bay hasn’t reached the Super Bowl since its 2010 championship season.

Rodgers went 33 of 48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, but fell to 1-4 in conference championship games as a starting quarterback.

Tampa Bay took command in the middle portion of the game.

Green Bay trailed 14-10 and had the ball just before halftime until Sean Murphy-Bunting picked off Rodgers at the Tampa Bay 49-yard line with 28 seconds remaining. After converting a fourth-and-4, Tampa Bay was at Green Bay’s 39 with 8 seconds remaining. The Bucs passed up a long field-goal attempt, and Brady found Scotty Miller down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown catch with just 1 second remaining.

“We didn’t come here to not take chances to win the game,” Arians said. “Love the play we had. Got a great matchup and got a TD. That was huge.”

The Bucs built a 28-10 lead early in the third quarter thanks to Brady’s three touchdown passes. Brady went 20 of 36 for 280 yards.

The Packers got the ball to start the second half, and Aaron Jones caught a short third-down pass. He took a huge hit from Jordan Whitehead that knocked the ball loose. Devin White recovered and ran 21 yards to the Green Bay 8.

One play later, Brady found a wide-open Cameron Brate to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 28-10.

The Packers rallied as Brady threw interceptions on three straight drives for just the second time in his career. Green Bay cut the lead to 28-23 late in the third quarter on Rodgers’ touchdown passes to Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams.

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CBC | Sports News

FIFA threatens World Cup, Champions League bans to squash potential breakaway super league

Plans by Europe’s richest soccer clubs to launch a new competition worth nearly $ 5 billion US annually jolted FIFA and Champions League organizer UEFA into warning players on Thursday that they would be banned from the World Cup if they take part in such a breakaway league.

FIFA and all six continental confederations issued a statement saying they would not endorse a new so-called European Super League, and that players who participate in such a competition would be banned from playing in major international tournaments — such as the World Cup or continental championships.

The statement was a clear response to proposals that are circulating in European soccer, and which have been seen by The Associated Press, for the creation of a 20-team annual competition that would include 15 top clubs as permanent members. The five other teams would vary each season, although the qualification method has not been determined.

Each of the 15 founding members would get a share of at least $ 4.2 billion in initial infrastructure grants. The money would be split among four tiers of clubs, with the top six each getting $ 420 million.

Larger share of the pie

The Times of London, which first reported on the details of the proposal, identified Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool as being among the driving forces for the proposal. The competition would begin with two groups of 10 teams, with the top four from each group advancing to the quarter-finals. That would guarantee every team between 18 and 23 annual Super League matches, compared to a minimum of six games in the Champions League group stage.

The games — apart from the final — would be played in midweek like the current Champions League, allowing them to still play in domestic competitions.

Real Madrid and Barcelona were linked last year with planning a breakaway competition inviting famous clubs to enter and increase their own wealth from global broadcasting deals by playing each other more often.

Outgoing Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said in October a Super League plan had been “put forward by the biggest clubs in Europe.”

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin denounced a “selfish and egotistical scheme” after Madrid president Florentino Perez was reportedly seeking financiers to back the project.

This latest Super League proposal hopes to generate $ 4.86 billion US annually from broadcasters. In comparison, UEFA most recently reported making a combined 3.25 billion euros from selling the rights to the Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.

The 15 founding clubs of the new competition would take the greatest slice of the broadcasting revenue.

Madrid and Perez were previously linked in 2018 to preparing an invitational breakaway league. That project was revealed in leaks of hacked clubs documents to German magazine Der Spiegel.

‘Deeper reforms’

The influential European Club Association, whose vice chairman is Real Madrid official Pedro Lopez, has a working agreement with UEFA for its members to play in European club competitions and co-operate to develop them “in a strategic and holistic perspective.” The working deal expires in July 2024.

Asked for comment Thursday, the ECA said it was working with UEFA on “deeper reforms” in competitions and financial regulations to take account of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the soccer industry.

The FIFPRO group of players’ unions declined comment on a potential threat to its members’ right to play in recognized national team competitions.

The 30-nation European Leagues group said Thursday that breakaway plans were “for a limited number of clubs similar to those franchise models operating in North America.”

FIFA and UEFA reaffirmed Thursday the importance of promotion and relegation giving access to all clubs as a key principle of soccer.

“Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch,” the FIFA-led statement said.

UEFA is expected to announce proposals in the coming weeks for modifying its club competitions’ entry paths and playing formats taking effect in 2024.

The group stage of the Champions League is likely to be changed to give clubs who qualify 10 guaranteed games instead of the current six.

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Rumors Suggest Nvidia Might Re-Launch RTX 2060, RTX 2060 Super

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Nvidia announced its RTX 3060 during CES last week, but according to one report, the company has actually restarted production of its RTX 2060 and RTX 2060 Super. If true, it would mean Nvidia doesn’t think it can alleviate the graphics card shortage quickly enough if it relies solely on 7nm GPUs.

The rumor comes from French site Overclocking.com, which claims to gotten confirmation from several brands. Reportedly, Nvidia shipped out a new set of RTX 2060 and 2060 Super GPUs to re-enable the manufacture of these cards. If true, Nvidia could potentially alleviate the GPU shortage by relying on TSMC’s older (and presumably, less-stressed) 12nm product line.

Nvidia showed the following slide during the RTX 3060 launch. It gives some idea how the two compare, though it does not look as though DLSS is being used for the RTX 2060, and there’s no 2060 Super.

Nvidia’s published claims about RTX 3060 versus 2060 performance. Remember, DLSS is enabled on some RTX 3060 benchmarks.

Either way, there should be some room in the product market beneath the RTX 3060 to carve out space for the 2060, 2060 Super, or both.

How’d We Get Here, Anyway?

We’re in this position today because Nvidia wanted to avoid a repeat of Turing’s disastrous launch. Back in 2018, Nvidia repeatedly told investors that the huge spike in GPU sales through 2017 and into 2018 was being driven by gamers, not by cryptocurrency mining. It’s never been clear how true that was — and Nvidia has been sued by shareholders over the idea that the firm knew full well where its demand was coming from. But whether the company misread the market or not, it appears to have been genuinely caught off-guard when the crypto market cooled off. This left a lot of Pascal GPUs on shelves that had to be moved.

Turing’s second problem was its pricing. Nvidia decided to raise prices with Turing and increased the prices of its GPUs accordingly. It proved unwise to raise Turing prices when Pascal cards were hitting some of the best prices of their lives, and sales of the cards suffered.

Turing’s third problem was that its major feature wasn’t supported in any shipping titles yet. This is not unusual when major new features are introduced to gaming — hardware support has to precede software support, because the arrow of time is annoying and inconvenient — but it still counts as a drag on the overall launch.

This time around, Nvidia wanted to avoid these issues. Turing production was discontinued well before Ampere launched. The end-user community was deeply unhappy with Nvidia’s Turing pricing, and Nvidia, to its credit, adjusted its prices. The non-availability of ray tracing, similarly, is not a problem here. While the number of ray-traced games remains small, there’s now a small collection — including AAA titles — with RTX / DXR support integrated.

Nvidia did everything right, in terms of building appeal for gamers. The one thing it didn’t count on was the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on semiconductor demand. Bringing back the RTX 2060 and 2060 Super could give Nvidia a way to respond to this problem without sabotaging its new product lineup.

Frankly, it’d be nice to see the RTX 2060 and 2060 Super back in-market, if only to bring a little stability to it. Here are Newegg’s current top-selling GPUs as of 1/20/2021:

It’s not unusual for the Top 10 to have a few cheap cards in it, but every GPU with any horsepower whatsoever is far above retail price.

Newegg’s best-selling GPUs are bottom-end Pascal cards. The last-gen RX 580 and the GTX 1660 Super are the only two consumer cards selling for under $ 500. Both of them are terrible deals at this price point.

There’s always a bunch of low-end garbage stuffed into the GPU market. Typically, these parts live below the $ 100 price point, where you’ll find a smorgasbord of ancient AGP cards, long-vanished GPU micro-architectures, and rock-bottom performance that almost always costs too much. Today, the garbage has flooded into much higher price points. Want a GTX 960? That’ll be $ 150. How about a GTX 460 for $ 145 or an HD 7750 for $ 155? There’s a GTX 1050 Ti for $ 170, which is only $ 40 more than the GPU cost when new, over four years ago.

Right now, it’s impossible to buy any GPU for anything like MSRP. If bringing the RTX 2060 and RTX 2060 Super back to market actually provides some stability and some kind of modern GPU to purchase, I’m in favor of it. At this point, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if AMD threw the old Polaris family back into market, either. While they wouldn’t be a great value at this point ordinarily, the cheapest RX 5500 XT at Newegg is $ 397. Under these circumstances, any midrange GPU manufactured in the last four years that can ship for less than $ 300 would be an improvement.

The past five years have been the worst sustained market for GPUs in the past two decades. Currently, GPU prices have been well above MSRP for 24 out of the past 56 months, dating back to the launch of Pascal in late May, 2016. This isn’t expected to change until March or April at the earliest. When cards aren’t available at MSRP for nearly half the time they’ve been on the market over five years and two full process node deployments, it raises serious issues about whether we can trust MSRPs when making GPU recommendations. Right now, the best price/performance ratio you can get in the retail market might be an RX 550 for $ 122.

The GPU market in its current form is fundamentally broken. Manufacturer MSRPs have the same authority as any random number you might pick out of a hat. There are a lot of factors playing a part in the current situation, including manufacturing yields and COVID-19, but this problem started four years before the pandemic.

AMD and Nvidia need to find a better way to ensure that customers are able to buy the cards they actually want to purchase, or they need to delay their launches for a sufficient length of time as to build up a meaningful stockpile of hardware, sufficient to supply launch demand for a matter of days, not seconds. Alternately, they may need to delay launches until yield percentages and availability are high enough to ensure a constant stream of equipment to buyers.

Right now, we have launch days that sell out instantly and interminable delays between new shipments. If these rumors are true, and we hope they are, Nvidia bringing back the RTX 2060 and 2060 Super will help a little in the short term, but what we obviously need is for AMD and Nvidia to take a fundamentally different approach to product inventory management. As things stand, these aren’t product launches. They’re product teases.

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The Browns put the ‘super wild’ in Super Wild Card weekend

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:

The NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend got, well, super wild

The opening round of the playoffs sure went out with a bang last night. Here’s more on that and the other exciting stuff that happened in the NFL:

Cleveland pulled off a monumental upset. The Browns’ first playoff appearance in 18 years looked like it would be short-lived after head coach Kevin Stefanski, Pro Bowl tackle Joel Bitonio and several other team members were ruled out after positive coronavirus tests. But Cleveland shocked the world last night by racing out to a 28-0 lead before the end of the first quarter and holding on to beat Pittsburgh 48-37 for the franchise’s first playoff win in 26 years. This might be it for future Hall of Fame Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who finished with these goofy passing stats: 47-of-68 for 501 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. Two of those TDs were caught by Canadian rookie Chase Claypool, who had 59 yards receiving.

Buffalo also snapped a very long drought. The Bills got their first playoff win in 25 years, surviving a 27-24 nailchewer vs. Indianapolis that came down to the final play (an unsuccessful Hail Mary by the Colts). Josh Allen (324 yards and two touchdowns passing, another 54 yards and a score rushing) and Stefon Diggs (six catches for 128 yards and a TD) came up big once again for Buffalo.

The Los Angeles Rams surprised Seattle. L.A. was a three-point underdog whose No. 1 quarterback couldn’t start as he continues to recover from thumb surgery. But Jared Goff was forced onto the field in the first quarter when backup John Wolford got knocked out of the game by a hit to the head. Later, the Rams also lost key receiver Cooper Kupp and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Aaron Donald to injuries. But L.A.’s strong defence still made life miserable for star Seattle QB Russell Wilson, and the Rams pulled off a 30-20 upset.

The favourites won the other three games. Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson got his first career playoff win by leading Baltimore over Tennessee 20-13; Tom Brady won his first playoff game as a Buccaneer, 31-23 over Washington; and New Orleans smothered the punchless Chicago Bears 21-9.

The top two teams — and top two quarterbacks — are back this weekend. Patrick Mahomes and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City return from the bye they earned for finishing atop the AFC to face Cleveland on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Aaron Rodgers and the NFC-leading Green Bay Packers come off their bye to play the Rams on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET. The other matchups are Baltimore vs. Buffalo on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET and Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans on Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET. That last matchup features two of the greatest QBs of all time — Brady and Drew Brees — going head to head with a trip to the NFC title game on the line.

Bills players celebrate after beating the Colts on Saturday. (Adrian Kraus/The Associated Press)


The U.S. college football national championship game is tonight — and a Canadian will play a prominent role. Top-ranked Alabama is making its fifth title-game appearance in the last six years and looking for its third victory in that span. The Crimson Tide’s best player is wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy after making 105 catches for 1,641 and 20 touchdowns and added a rushing TD. Their No. 2 receiver is Canadian John Metchie III, who made 47 catches for 835 yards and six TDs. The Tide’s opponent tonight is third-ranked Ohio State, which is led by star quarterback Justin Fields. The presumptive No. 2 pick in this year’s NFL draft threw six TD passes in the Buckeyes’ 49-28 semifinal win over Clemson despite being hurt by a big hit to the ribs in the first half. The game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and Alabama is favoured by nine points.

Four of the five Canadians involved in Australian Open qualifying won their opening-round matches. Genie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino advanced on the women’s side, while Peter Polansky and Steven Diez moved on in the men’s. Brayden Schnur lost. It takes three consecutive wins to clinch a spot in one of the main draws, which begin Feb. 8. Read more about how the Canadians did in the first round of qualifying here.

A Trump course was stripped of the 2022 PGA Championship in response to the U.S. Capitol siege. The PGA of America decided to take the major tournament away from Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., after the outgoing president of the United States helped fuel last week’s riot. Trump was reportedly “gutted” by the move. Read more about it here.

And in case you missed it…

Three things that happened over the weekend in the world of winter Olympic sports that you should know about:

Canada picked up its first World Cup bobsleigh medal of the season. The Canadian team elected to not send any athletes to the first few stops, in November and December, due to coronavirus- and travel-related concerns. So this weekend’s races in Germany were the first to include Canadians. Justin Kripps piloted his four-man sled to silver. Read more about the race and watch highlights here.

Canadian Max Parrot won the World Cup snowboard big air season opener. The competition in Austria was Parrot’s first since last March, at the 2020 Winter X Games Europe. Parrot fell on his second jump but was able to rebound for the gold Saturday by nailing his third. Read more about the event and watch highlights here.

American Jessie Diggins became the first non-European to win the prestigious Tour de Ski. Cross-country skiing’s answer to the Tour de France was held 14 times before this, and the closest anyone from outside Europe had come to winning it was in 2017-18, when Diggins finished third in the women’s event and Canadian Alex Harvey was third in the men’s. Diggins made history yesterday by finishing second in the eighth and final stage. That was enough to maintain her overall lead in the event, which began on New Year’s Day in Switzerland and ended in Italy. Canada didn’t send any athletes this year.

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SpaceX Plans to ‘Catch’ Super Heavy Rockets With Launch Tower

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Up until now, SpaceX rockets have always landed by deploying legs around the rocket as it returned to earth. If new remarks from Elon Musk are accurate, the company wants to get rid of that method to save weight. Future spacecraft may not sport legs at all.

The Super Heavy launch vehicle is the first-stage launcher for the second-stage craft known as Starship. Super Heavy will still use its engines to control its descent, similar to the current Falcon 9, but it will use its grid fins to control orientation in flight.

According to Musk, SpaceX believes it doesn’t need legs to land the rocket safely. After a reader asked Elon if a user-created video captured the Super Heavy descent profile accurately, the founder of SpaceX dropped this announcement:

“We’re going to try to catch the Super Heavy Booster with the launch tower arm, using the grid fins to take the load” doesn’t sound like the kind of statement that gets people hot and bothered, but context is everything, and an awful lot of SpaceX fans are excited about the idea. An equally large group of them, including the author, are a bit puzzled by it. It isn’t clear what it means to have the launch tower “catch” the Super Heavy. Launch towers don’t exactly fall down if you breathe on them, but I’ve never heard of using one directly to catch a rocket (even a depleted, first-stage rocket).

The implication seems to be that the rocket bears its own weight directly on the grid fins and that the “catch” is more about lining up the rocket with the launch arm in a way that allows them to interlink again, as opposed to using the launch arm to somehow brake or control the Super Heavy as it descends.

According to Elon, the goal is to enable the reuse of the same rocket in under an hour. This is rocket re-usability of the sort envisioned by sci-fi writers who predicted Earth-Moon or Earth-Mars shuttles leaving every hour on the other, with little more than a refueling required before the next journey.

It’ll be a long time before we reach anything like that speed, if ever. The first Super Heavy boosters to land successfully will be carefully analyzed before being allowed to launch again. Currently, the world-record holder for the most-reused rocket is B1049, a SpaceX booster that has launched and been recovered successfully six times.

But Super Heavy doesn’t need to refly in under an hour to revolutionize space travel. NASA’s best record for putting the same Shuttle into orbit is 55 days, and most of the refreshes took considerably longer.

A reusable rocket that could launch once per month would be a dramatic leap ahead of anything NASA achieved with the Shuttle (and with the benefit of a few more decades of R&D in computing and material engineering). A reusable rocket that could launch every week would revolutionize the cost of space transport. It goes without saying that “under an hour,” if it were possible, would shake things up a bit.

Feature image is the Starship, the Super Heavy’s second stage. 

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Soccer star Alphonso Davies, Super Bowl champ Duvernay-Tardif share Lou Marsh Trophy

Bayern Munich left back Alphonso Davies and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are co-winners of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

It is the third tie in the 82-year history of the award, presented annually by the Toronto Star.

Media members across the country voted on the award Tuesday. Duvernay-Tardif and Davies each received 18 votes with one vote going to one of the other finalists — soccer players Christine Sinclair and Kadeisha Buchanan and Denver Nuggets basketball star Jamal Murray.

The most recent tie was in 1983 with wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen and hockey star Wayne Gretzky.

“This year has been a roller-coaster and I’m very happy to be able to share the Lou Marsh with another deserving winner, LaurentDTardif,” Davies said in a tweet. “It hasn’t been an easy year for many Canadians and we hope we were able to bring some happiness to you with our accomplishments this year.”

The 20-year-old Davies became the first Canadian to win a Champions League men’s title.

In June, Davies was named Bundesliga rookie of the year in voting by fans, clubs and the media. Kicker magazine, a German sports magazine that focuses mainly on football, included him in its Bundesliga team of the season.

Recent Lou Marsh Trophy winners

  • 2019 — Bianca Andreescu, tennis
  • 2018 — Mikael Kingsbury, freestyle skiing
  • 2017 — Joey Votto, baseball
  • 2016 — Penny Oleksiak, swimming
  • 2015 — Carey Price, hockey
  • 2014 — Kaillie Humphries, bobsleigh
  • 2013 — Jon Cornish, football
  • 2012 — Christine Sinclair, soccer
  • 2011 — Patrick Chan, figure skating
  • 2010 — Joey Votto, baseball
  • 2009 — Sidney Crosby, hockey

Last week, ESPN ranked Davies as the second-best left fullback in the world, behind Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.

Davies was named the top Canadian male soccer player for 2020 last week.

WATCH | The Breakdown: Alphonso Davies and Canadian soccer:

Joshua Kloke, writer at The Athletic, speaks to CBC Sports about the Canadian’s historic title and if it changes the national soccer landscape.  6:55

Duvernay-Tardif, a McGill University medical school graduate, won the Super Bowl as a starter with the Chiefs before becoming the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A native of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., Duvernay-Tardif chose to volunteer in a long-term care facility in his home province at the height of the pandemic’s first wave.

“Humbled to win the Lou Marsh Award with Alphonso Davies, one of the greatest athletes Canada has ever produced,” Duvernay-Tardif posted on Twitter.

The 29-year-old Duvernay-Tardif was one of five athletes recognized as “Sportsperson of the Year: The Activist Athlete” by Sports Illustrated on Sunday.

The Lou Marsh Trophy has been awarded annually since 1936 with a three-year hiatus during the Second World War.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux on the year that was:

Athletes around the world raised a collective voice in an unprecedented show of power. 5:03

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