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🏈Buccaneers, Chiefs, and 22,000 Fans Are Going to the Super Bowl
NFC Champions: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for quarterback (QB) Tom Brady yesterday. Sure, he threw three touchdowns (TDs) in the Bucs 31–26 win over the Green Bay Packers and he’s going to the Super Bowl again...
- But Brady also threw three straight interceptions to end the game on a bit of a sour note. Luckily for him, his defense picked up the slack to stave off the Packers’ second half comeback.
- The Bucs will become the first team to ever have at the Super Bowl. Because of course Tom Brady .
AFC Champions: It was only the best of times for Kansas City’s QB Patrick Mahomes, who threw three TDs and zero interceptions in KC’s 38–24 win over the Buffalo Bills. If there was any worry of lingering effects from the concussion he suffered last week, Mahomes quickly put those fears to bed.
- Like Brady, Mahomes had a solid defense to propel the win. Unlike Brady, Mahomes relied heavily on his tight end, Travis Kelce (pronounced KEL-SEE), who tied a record for most receptions in a conference championship with 13.
- With the win, KC now has a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls, the first team to do so since...sarcastic drum roll...Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in 2005.
Up next: Before we can get to the biggest football game of the year, we have to first endure the most boring game of the year: next Sunday’s Pro Bowl. Once described as “,” the NFL’s version of an All-Star game will take place this year, with the chosen rosters competing via Madden NFL 21. Fire up the PS5.
🏒Patrick Laine Traded to Columbus Blue Jackets
The trade: Patrik Laine (pronounced LIE-NAY) was a superstar and fan favorite with the Winnipeg Jets since being drafted second overall in 2016. But despite helping the team make the playoffs for the past three seasons, the 22-year-old had yet to graduate to the . Getting restless, he wanted a .
- Enter Pierre-Luc Dubois. Similarly unhappy with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dubois has been , and Columbus head coach John Tortorella was to get rid of him. Hence the swap. Laine’s heading to Columbus, leaving big skates in Winnipeg for Dubois to fill.
- Dubois promises to be a great addition to the Jets’ line-up, though with the , we might not see him in action for a couple of weeks.
The rest of the North: Elsewhere, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are duking it out for the . The Leafs have won five of seven games, while the Habs are hanging on to first place without a single regulation loss (though they’ve lost twice in overtime).
- And those standings won’t change today, with just one tilt on the NHL schedule tonight: the sixth-placed Vancouver Canucks play the seventh-placed Ottawa Senators at 10 p.m. ET. Past our bedtimes.
The GIST's Bits & Bites - Toronto Six and Toronto Raptors
- The Toronto Six had a tough start to the season, losing Saturday’s game 3–0 to the 2018 Isobel Cup–winning Metropolitan Riveters and yesterday’s game 6–5, in a shootout to the reigning champs, the Minnesota Whitecaps. Game three is tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET, against the Boston Pride.
🏀NBA: The Toronto Raptors we know and love are clawing their way back to us. After a rocky (read: awful) start to the season, the Raps have won five of their last six games, including yesterday’s 107–102 game against the Indiana Pacers, and guys from the 2019 championship-winning roster, like Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Norm Powell, are putting up big numbers.
- That said, the Raps are still boasting a 7-9 record and fan favorites Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are out with injuries. We’re cautiously optimistic...for now.
⚽️Football (the European kind): The ’s Manchester City may have forgotten which sport they’re playing. Last weekend’s 7–0 win over Aston Villa and yesterday’s 7–1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion look more like football scores of the NFL variety.
🏀Kobe and Gigi Bryant: In Memoriam
The GIST: Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the helicopter crash that killed basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna (Gigi) Bryant and seven others.
Kobe: Bryant was one of the best basketball players ever. He was a #GirlDad. He was an Academy Award winner. He was an advocate for women’s sports and a fan and mentor to the likes of NY Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced YO-NESS-COO) and more. He was also in 2003.
- Kobe was a complicated figure. And people may have different reactions when they think of Kobe. But that’s okay.
Gianna: We didn’t just lose Kobe. We also lost the future of the WNBA, in his daughter Gigi and her teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester. Just young teenagers, the three Mamba Academy stars were on the path to basketball greatness. So while we reflect on the lives lost on January 26th, 2020, we also mourn what could have been.
The GIST's Bits & Bites - CA
🏒Hockey: Women’s pro hockey is making its 2021 debut on Saturday. The NWHL’s sixth season will be a , taking place in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York, over a condensed two-week period. The six teams will play in a 15 game regular season, then head into a round robin before the sudden death postseason.
- Also making its debut: the league’s first Canadian team, the . Check out their schedule (don’t miss Game #1 on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET), and keep an eye out for The GIST’s Sunday Scroll this weekend for a deep dive on all things women’s hockey.
⛳️Golf: The new LPGA season (much longer than the NWHL’s) is starting, too! The LPGA is kicking off their with this weekend’s Diamond Resort Tournament of Champions. The four-day Florida event tees off this morning and features World No. 6 Brooke Henderson, who has . Check out the leaderboard .