New England Patriots to face Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII

Brady will be looking to win his sixth Super Bowl ring against the Rams.

The New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 37-31 in overtime to reach a third successive Super Bowl. Elsewhere the Los Angeles Rams won in overtime 26-23 against the New Orleans Saints to reach their fourth-ever Super Bowl.

This isn’t the first time that these two teams have met at the Super Bowl. Back in 2001, the two sides met at Super Bowl XXXVI, although the LA Rams were playing in St. Louis at the time. The game ended 20-17 to the Patriots, led by second-year quarterback Tom Brady who was named MVP, and was the first in the franchise’s history. 

That game marked the start of the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady partnership that has since seen 8 more Super Bowl appearances and 4 more victories. Both Belichick and Brady are considered amongst the greatest coaches and quarterbacks in NFL history. Their Patriots have a winning or tied record against every team in the NFL. 

Back in 2019, this was the first time in the Super Bowl era that both the AFC and NFC Championship games have gone to overtime. In the AFC Championship the Patriots, who were appearing in their eighth straight Championship game, were dominant in the first two quarters, going into half time 14-0 up. 

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw touchdown passes to Travis Kelce and Damien Williams to take the score to 17-14 Patriots going into the final quarter of the game. An incredible 38 points were scored in the fourth quarter with the lead moving to the Chiefs then back to the Patriots before Mahomes managed to get within field goal range with just 32 seconds left to send it to overtime. 

Sadly it wasn’t to be for the Chiefs as the Patriots won with a touchdown from the only possession of overtime. After the game, Brady said: “We knew it was going to be tough. Kansas are explosive and they have been beating teams here all year. It was awesome, what a game.”

Elsewhere in the NFC Championship game, the Los Angeles Rams were behind for the entirety of the game, only pulling level with a field goal to force overtime. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals throughout the game with the last the game winner.

The game was not without its controversy though as the New Orleans Saints were denied an obvious pass interference penalty that would have presented a fantastic opportunity to score a game-winning touchdown. The Saints were well inside the Rams half late in the fourth quarter with the score tied.

The football was thrown to receiver TommyLee Lewis who was taken out by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman well before the ball arrived. The referees should have called for pass interference but no penalty was given. 

The head coach of the Saints Sean Payton said: “It’s tough to get over it. It was as obvious a call (as could be) and how two guys can look at that and come up and arrive with their decision, I don’t know. It happened though, so we can’t dwell on it. We’ll probably never get over it.”

With the AFC and NFC Championships over, all eyes now turn to Super Bowl LIII. It will be hosted at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta and will be the third Super Bowl hosted in the city, the two others being XXVIII in 1994 and XXXIV in 2000, the latter of which saw the Rams, then in St. Louis, win their first Super Bowl.

The Patriots will be playing in their third consecutive final, becoming only the third franchise to achieve the feat. The other teams were a Buffalo Bills side that played in four consecutive Super Bowls from XXV to XXVIII losing all four and the Miami Dolphins in three consecutive Super Bowls from VI to VIII, winning twice.

This game also sees record age differences between both the coaches and the quarterbacks. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 33 years older than the Rams’ Sean McVay, and Brady is 17 years older than Jared Goff.

With Brady looking to win his sixth ring, Super Bowl LIII is set to be a thriller. The game will take place on Sunday, February 3rd with BBC coverage starting from 11:30pm. 

Search called off after Cardiff City signing Emiliano Sala’s plane disappearance

“We were looking forward to providing Emiliano with the next step in his life and career”

At 15:15 on 24th January 2019, Guernsey Police announced that they had called off the search for missing Cardiff City signing Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson after failing to find any sign.

Harbourmaster Captain David Barker said that the chance of finding the pair alive at this point was “extremely remote”. “We reviewed all the information available to us, as well as knowing what emergency equipment was on board, and have taken the difficult decision to end the search.”

He added: “I understand Emiliano Sala’s family are not content with the decision to stop the search and I fully understand that. I’m absolutely confident that we couldn’t have done any more.”

“Despite best efforts of air and search assets from the Channel Islands, UK, and France, we have been unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot, or the passenger.”

The 28-year-old Argentine striker became Cardiff City’s record signing, joining from Ligue 1 club Nantes for a £15 million fee. He was enjoying a phenomenal season in the French league scoring 12 goals, just one less than Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar. 

After the signing was completed he returned to Nantes to say a final goodbye to his teammates, who he had played with for three-and-a-half seasons. It was on this return leg back to Cardiff that the plane disappeared from the radars. 

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan gave a short statement about the events, saying: “We were looking forward to providing Emiliano with the next step in his life and career. Those who met Emiliano described a good-natured and humble young man who was eager to impress in the Premier League.”

“The response from the football community has been truly touching and we place on record our sincere thanks to those who have sent messages of support. We also thank everyone involved with the search and rescue operation, and continue to pray for Emiliano, David Ibbotson and their families.”

Judd Trump beats Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-4 to win his first Masters title at Alexandra Palace

“I was getting sick of losing and watching other players winning all the titles on TV.”

Judd Trump pulled off a convincing victory in the final of the Masters against Ronnie O’Sullivan. The match was expected to be closely fought between two of the biggest snooker players however Trump played magnificently in the first session creating a lead that was too much for the seven-time champion O’Sullivan.

Trump had not won a Triple Crown (World Championships, UK Championship, and the Masters) event in eight years since the UK Championships in 2011, but his performance would have you believe it was only a few months. He took a commanding 4-0 lead in the first session, with O’Sullivan picking up just 45 points. 

The 43-year-old O’Sullivan managed to take the next frame but could not get any more of a foothold in the session and it ended 7-1 to Trump. With the match a ‘best of 19 frames’ format, O’Sullivan would need to achieve a 9-2 or better scoreline in the evening session to win.

Whilst this may seem an insurmountable task, it has been seen in a Masters final before. Back in 1991 the defending champion Stephen Hendry came up against Mike Hallett and was expected to seal a quick and simple victory. Hendry, to the surprise of everyone except perhaps Hallet, went down 7-0, then 8-2. 

With this iteration of the tournament a ‘best of 17 frames’ format, Hallet needed just one more frame to take his first Triple Crown title. Hendry proved to be far from beaten though and, in what has been called one of the greatest finals in snooker history, he won 7 straight frames to successfully defend his Masters title. Hallett later said, “it took me about six months to get over it, I was totally crushed.”

Sadly, for O’Sullivan and the audience watching, there wasn’t a legendary comeback like Hendry’s. Despite O’Sullivan getting two century performances getting three frames back, he ultimately lost to Trump 10-4. Trump wins £200,000 for his victory and receives the Paul Hunter Trophy.

After the match, Trump said: “I have waited a long time for this. It has been seven or eight years since I last won a big one. You are always surprised when you have a lead against Ronnie at any point. He looked sharp tonight. I had to be at my best to just get to 3-3 in the last session.”

“I was getting sick of losing and watching other players winning all the titles on TV,” said Trump. “The likes of Mark Selby consistently staying at world number one, Mark Williams coming back to form and winning the World Championship and obviously Ronnie O’Sullivan. 

“This is easily the biggest event I have won now. I used to play all-out attack and it worked now and again but this week I did not play brilliantly apart from against O’Sullivan. I am very pleased with how I dug in and showed patience.

“It has been a long time since I won a massive event and it has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice. The rewards have paid off for the practice I have done over the last four or five months. Hopefully it is a major turning point in my career now and I can kick on.”

With the next Triple Crown event coming in April with the World Championships, the result of this final seems to have changed a few people’s minds about who could win. Six-time world champion Steve Davis said: “It’s put the cat among the pigeons for the World Championship because all of a sudden he is a credible winner. He plays a modern-day game.”

“It’s no-compromise snooker. He doesn’t shirk up his responsibilities on the table. He can play safe, he knows how to mix it up, but he’s happiest among the balls the same as O’Sullivan is. Some of the modern players coming through, they’re changing the equation for what are the right and wrong shots.”