NFL

Goodell: "Patriots dominance paired with playoff newcomers 'great' for NFL"

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Goodell: "Patriots dominance paired with playoff newcomers 'great' for NFL"

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota -- Though the Deflategate sage may have indicated something else, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday that he believes the success the Patriots have had is good for the league and its fans. 

MORE PATRIOTS - Butler: 'I want to go out like Kobe' 

This year's Super Bowl-week presser for Goodell was the first time in four years that he wasn't asked a question that was somehow related to Deflategate. Asked instead about New England's relative dominance when it comes to Super Bowl appearances and championships, the commissioner explained that their consistency is something to behold. 

"It’s really remarkable," he said, "that they’re going for their third Super Bowl in four years in this kind of a system, where keeping that group together, changing whatever they need to change, whether it’s players or coaches, they do that in a way and still create success.

"I just marvel at that. I think our other clubs marvel at that. I think fans marvel at that."

MORE PATRIOTSHarmon on Patriots success: 'Nobody can take this from us, we earned it'

For the NFL, having the Patriots back in the Super Bowl, and having a variety of non-playoff clubs from 2016 back in the playoffs this year -- the Jags, Bills, Titans, Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Saints and Panthers were all back in -- represents all that the league is shooting for.

"I think the balance of having new teams with having teams that continue to find ways to win is a great thing for the NFL," Goodell said. "And I think it’s a great thing for our fans, so you can continue to win, and there are also teams that can surprise you. That’s what makes our game special."

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Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg dies at 82

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Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg dies at 82

SAN DIEGO  — Dick Enberg, a Hall of Fame broadcaster known as much for his excited calls of “Oh my!” as the big events he covered during a 60-year career, has died. He was 82.

Enberg’s daughter, Nicole Enberg Vaz, confirmed the death to The Associated Press. She said the family became concerned when her father didn’t arrive Thursday on his flight to Boston, and he was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood, with his bags packed.

His daughter said the family believes Enberg died of a heart attack but was awaiting official word.


“It’s very, very, very shocking,” said Vaz, who lives in Boston. “He’d been busy with two podcasts and was full of energy.”

Enberg’s wife, Barbara, already was in Boston and was expecting his arrival.

The family “is grateful for the kind thoughts and prayers of all of Dick’s countless fans and dear friends,” according to a statement released by Enberg’s attorney, Dennis Coleman. “At this time we are all still processing the significant loss, and we ask for prayers and respectful privacy in the immediate aftermath of such untimely news.”

Enberg got his big break with UCLA basketball and went on to call Super Bowls, Olympics, Final Fours and Angels and Padres baseball games as well as Rams football games.

He retired from his TV job with the Padres in October 2016, capping a six-decade career punctuated with countless calls of “Oh my!” in describing big plays. He also was well known for his baseball catchphrase of “Touch ’em all!” for home runs.

“Dick was an institution in the industry for 60 years and we were lucky enough to have his iconic voice behind the microphone for Padres games for nearly a decade,” Padres owners Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler said in a statement.

Raised in Armada, Michigan, Enberg’s first radio job was actually as a radio station custodian in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, when he was a junior at Central Michigan. He made $1 an hour. The owner also gave him weekend sports and disc jockey gigs, also at $1 an hour. From there he began doing high school and college football games.

During his nine years broadcasting UCLA basketball, the Bruins won eight NCAA titles under coach John Wooden. Enberg broadcast nine no-hitters, including two by San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum against the Padres in 2013 and 2014.

He said the most historically important event he covered was “The Game of the Century,” Houston’s victory over UCLA in 1968 that snapped the Bruins’ 47-game winning streak.

“That was the platform from which college basketball’s popularity was sent into the stratosphere,” Enberg said just before retiring from the Padres. “The ’79 game, the Magic-Bird game, everyone wants to credit that as the greatest game of all time. That was just the booster rocket that sent it even higher. ... UCLA, unbeaten; Houston, unbeaten. And then the thing that had to happen, and Coach Wooden hated when I said this, but UCLA had to lose. That became a monumental event.”

Enberg’s many former broadcast partners included Merlin Olsen, Al McGuire, Billy Packer, Don Drysdale and Tony Gwynn. He even worked a few games with Wooden, whom he called “The greatest man I’ve ever known other than my own father.”

Enberg called Padres games for seven seasons and went into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.

“There will never be another Dick Enberg,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said. “As the voice of generations of fans, Dick was a masterful storyteller, a consummate professional and a true gentleman. He was one of the true legends of our business.”

John Ireland, the radio voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, tweeted : “If there was a Mount Rushmore of LA Sports Announcers, Dick Enberg is on it with Chick Hearn, Vin Scully and Bob Miller. Rams, Angels, UCLA, NBC, and so much more. Was the first famous announcer I ever met, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Definition of a gentleman.”

Enberg won 13 Sports Emmy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and UCLA named its Media Center in Pauley Pavilion after Enberg this year.

At halftime of a UCLA game in February, former Bruins stars Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes presented Enberg with a No. 8 jersey, signifying the number of championships he called.

“That’s not going to happen again,” Enberg said before the game. “Who was looking over me? To be able to come in and ride the Wooden Wave.”

“Kindest, most proactive possible treatment of newcomers in this business, for the length of his career,” broadcaster Keith Olbermann said of Enberg on Twitter . “What a terrible loss.”

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said flowers will be placed Friday on Enberg’s star on the Walk of Fame.

© 2017 by Associated Press.

Facing misconduct investigation, Panthers owner selling team

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Facing misconduct investigation, Panthers owner selling team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Facing a growing investigation that accuses him of sexual misconduct and using racist language at work, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced Sunday that he will sell the NFL team after the season.

The team announced on Twitter that Richardson is selling the team, linking to a five-paragraph letter by the franchise's only owner.

"I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership," Richardson wrote, saying he wouldn't begin discussions until after the season. The Panthers, who lost in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, are in playoff position again.

"I hope everyone in the organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl," said Richardson, 81.

Richardson's letter did not directly address the investigation or allegations against him.

The NFL awarded Richardson, a former player with the Baltimore Colts, an expansion franchise in 1993, and he has been the team's only owner.

"There has been no greater mission or purpose in my life than to have brought and NFL franchise to Charlotte," Richardson wrote. "The obstacles back then were significant and some even questioned whether or community could or would support professional football. But I always knew that if given the chance the Carolina would rise to the occasion. And you have."

Richardson attended Sunday's win over the Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium and was photographed sitting beside his wife Rosalind in his luxury box.

He did not speak to reporters.

The NFL had no comment on the upcoming sale of the Panthers.

"While I will no longer be the team owner, I will always be the Panthers Number One fan," Richardson's letter said.

The Panthers are tied to Charlotte through June 2019.

The city of Charlotte and the Panthers reached agreement on improvements for the team's stadium in 2013. The plan called for the city to contribute about $87 million for renovations to Bank of America Stadium in exchange for a six-year hard tether to keep the Panthers in Charlotte.

The money is less than what the team was seeking for improvements of the stadium, which opened in 1996. Forbes estimates the Panthers worth at $2.3 billion. The Buffalo Bills sold in 2014 for $1.4 billion following the death of owner Ralph Wilson.

Richardson and his ownership group paid $206 million in 1993 for an expansion team.

Richardson's announcement comes after a Sports Illustrated report Sunday that cited unnamed sources who said Richardson made sexually suggestive comments to women and on at least one occasion directed a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout. The report states that the settlements came with non-disclosure requirements forbidding the parties from discussing the details.

The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct. Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Sunday the team requested the league take over the investigation for "transparency reasons."

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called the situation surrounding Richardson "very sad."

"I'm saddened by any of the stories of the things that might have incited this at this time," Jones said after Dallas' win at Oakland on Sunday night. "He took what he made in his short time in pro football and turned it into a great business and then used that to get the Carolina franchise."

The Panthers began play in 1995 but have never delivered on Richardson's promise of winning a Super Bowl. They lost after the 2003 and 2015 seasons.

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney said he had never seen any evidence of Richardson displaying any sexual or racial misconduct in the workplace.

"If this (sale) happens I think it is a significant loss for the NFL," Hurney told The Associated Press. "I have the utmost respect for him as an owner. Our employees have the utmost respect for him. I came back because of the respect I have for him and for the organization he started and developed."

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said after Sunday's win over Green Bay that Richardson has served as a father figure to him since his arrival in Carolina seven years ago.

"For me I hope things don't alter my thinking of Mr. Richardson," Newton said. "But I do know that he has given me some things that I will forever be appreciative of."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the game it is important to let the process play out.

"The only thing I can speak on is for what he has been to me as far as I'm concerned," Rivera said. "A lot of you know I had a house fire, and he was there for (my wife) Stephanie and I. He was tremendous in supporting us. My brother passed, and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can't speak to anything other than that."

Richardson was hospitalized 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker for heart problems. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 and was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart. He received the new heart on Feb. 1, 2009, and has not had any known setbacks since.

It has been a wild year for the Panthers organization.

Team president Danny Morrison abruptly resigned in February. Richardson then fired general manager Dave Gettleman on the eve of training camp and replaced him with Hurney on an interim basis.