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Good morning. The NFL is allowing 22,000 fans to attend the Super Bowl, including 7,500 healthcare workers who will attend the game at no charge.

The cool part?

The average value of a Super Bowl ticket over the last five years is roughly $4,500, meaning the NFL is providing $33,750,000 worth of tickets to healthcare workers. Even better? Given the lower supply of tickets, the 2021 Super Bowl’s average ticket price will likely be much higher.

In today's Sprint:

  • 🏈   Super Bowl bound
  • 🥊   McGregor KO'd
  • ⚾   Hank Aaron tribute

TRIVIA

How many of the NFL's five first-year head coaches finished with a winning record in the 2020 season? Bonus points if you know the name(s).

  1. 3
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 5

NFL

Stairway to Seven

Well, the Sprint went 50% on our Conference title predictions. Though we’re sad to say goodbye to Bills Mafia, Brady vs. Mahomes is a nice consolation prize.

NFC

#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 vs. #1 Green Bay Packers 26

The Bucs will be the first team in 55 years to host the Super Bowl at its home stadium.

The Recap:

  • Tom Brady (280 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT) and the Bucs’ offense put up 21 points in the first half, including a 39-yard TD pass with barely any time left on the clock.
  • The Bucs’ defense blew past the Packers' offensive line, forcing 5 sacks and picking off Rodgers once.
  • Aaron Rodgers (346 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT) played like the MVP-favorite but never got a shot at a game-winning drive.

The drama: “It wasn’t my decision,” Rodgers replied post-game when asked about Packers’ HC Matt LaFleur opting for a field goal on 4th down late in the 4th quarter. He later added, “A lot of guys’ futures are uncertain - myself included.”

Stat of the day: After this season, Tom Brady will have played in 18% (10/55) of all Super Bowls ever played.

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs 38 vs. Buffalo Bills 24

The Chiefs will try to become the 8th team to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

The Recap:

  • The Bills jumped to a 9-0 lead early before the Chiefs rattled off 21 straight points and never looked back.
  • The trio of Patrick Mahomes (325 yds, 3 TD), Tyreek Hill (9 rec, 172 yds), and ravis KelceT (13 rec, 118 yds, 2 TD) lit up a talented Bills’ defense.
  • Chiefs’ starting left tackle Eric Fisher left the game late with an achilles injury. If he can’t play in the Super Bowl, that’s a huge blow for the Chiefs.

Mark your calendars for Sunday, February 7th, 6:30 PM EST on CBS. Bucs vs. Chiefs. Brady vs. Mahomes.


WEEKEND WATCH

The Other Guys

While the NFL Conference championship games stole the spotlight, plenty of other quality matchups deserve some attention. Here’s what you may have missed:

UFC

Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor - Lightweight Main Event

  • Poirier avenged himself against McGregor in commanding style, becoming the only UFC fighter to beat the Irishman by KO or TKO.

NBA

(12-5) Philadelphia 76ers 122 vs. (8-6) Boston Celtics 110

  • Joel Embiid (38 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast) continued to play at an MVP-level. The Sixers, finally at full health, showed the league that they will be a force in the East.

(10-8) Brooklyn Nets 128 vs. (6-9) Miami Heat 124

  • The Nets downed the current Eastern Conference champions to claim the first win for Brooklyn’s big three. Stars Kevin Durant (31 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast) and Kyrie Irving (28 pts, 6 reb, 7 ast) helped the Nets overcome a 41-point outburst from Bam Adebayo.

NCAA

#19 Missouri 73 vs. #6 Tennessee 64

  • Tennessee dropped its second game in a row, capping a difficult week for the Volunteers’ athletic department. We know Tennessee will drop in the rankings, but the real question is by how much.

Oklahoma 75 vs. #9 Kansas 68

  • The Sooners rode a big night from De’vion Harmon (22 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast) to down their second top-ten opponent of the month. Oklahoma faces another test in their next game against #5 Texas.

NHL

(3-1-1) Boston Bruins 6 vs. (3-2-1) Philadelphia Flyers 1

  • Longtime Bruins Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron wiped the floor with the Flyers, both recording 2 goals and 1 assist./li>

Soccer (FA Cup)

Southampton 1 vs. Arsenal 0

  • Arsenal’s abysmal season continued as it was knocked out of the FA Cup. The worst part? Southampton only scored because of an own goal.

Manchester United 3 vs. Liverpool 2

  • Despite Liverpool’s success in the Premier League and Champions League, it can’t figure out the FA Cup. Man U, on the other hand, has found its groove.

HAMMERIN' HANK

Hank Aaron passed away at the age of 86. To the Sprint, Hammerin' Hank will forever be baseball's home run king.

Stephen A. Smith had this to say, “Without Hank Aaron, there wouldn’t be people like me.” To read tributes from current and former players, click here.


WATER COOLER TALK
  • 🏀   The University of Michigan's athletic department has been put on a two-week pause after detecting a COVID-19 variant across several of its teams. The basketball team, ranked seventh in the country, postponed their next four games.
  • 🏈   Nick Saban continues to reload the Alabama coaching staff with ex-NFL coaches. Bill O’Brien is the Tide’s new offensive coordinator and Doug Marrone is the new offensive line coach.
  • 🏈   Matthew Stafford, maybe the most underrated quarterback in the NFL, and the Detroit Lions are expected to part ways this offseason.

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TRIVIA ANSWER

B. 1. That coach is Cleveland Browns' Kevin Stefanski, who led the team to an 11-5 record, a playoff berth, and a playoff win.