Redskins

Carville, Matalin enjoy role as Big Easy boosters

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Carville, Matalin enjoy role as Big Easy boosters

NEW ORLEANS (AP) When Mary Matalin heard a baby cry during a Super Bowl news conference this week, she paused midsentence, peered in the direction of the fussing child and asked: ``Is that my husband?''

Matalin, the noted Republican political pundit, isn't shy about making jokes at the expense of Democratic strategist James Carville, who went from being her professional counterpart to her partner in life when they were married - in New Orleans - two decades ago.

This week, though, and for much of the past few years, the famous political odd couple have been working in lockstep for a bipartisan cause - the resurgence of their adopted hometown.

Their passion for the Big Easy and its recovery from Hurricane Katrina was why Carville and Matalin were appointed co-chairs of New Orleans' Super Bowl host committee, positions that made them the face of the city's effort to prove it's ready to be back in the regular rotation for the NFL's biggest game.

``Their commitment to New Orleans and their rise to prominence here locally as citizens made them a natural choice,'' said Jay Cicero, president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, which handles the city's Super Bowl bids. ``It's about promoting New Orleans, and their being in love with this city, they're the perfect co-chairs.''

Carville, a Louisiana native, and Matalin moved from Washington, D.C., to historic ``Uptown'' New Orleans in the summer of 2008, a little less than three years after Katrina had laid waste to vast swaths of the city. There was not only heavy wind damage but flooding that surged through crumbling levees and at one point submerged about 80 percent of the city.

The couple had long loved New Orleans, and felt even more of a pull to set down roots here, with their two school-age daughters, at a time when the community was in need.

``The storm just weighed heavy,'' Carville said. ``We were thinking about it. We'd been in Washington for a long time. The more that we thought about it, the more sense that it made. We just came down here (to look for a house) in late 2007 and said we're just going to do this and never looked back.''

Matalin said she and Carville also wanted to raise their daughters in a place where people were willing to struggle to preserve a vibrant and unique culture.

``It's authentically creative, organically eccentric, bounded by beauty of all kinds,'' she said. ``People pull for each other, people pull together. ... Seven years ago we were 15 feet under water. ... This is unparalleled what the people here did and that's what you want your kids to grow up with: Hope and a sense of place, resolve and perseverance.''

Carville has been an avid sports fan all his life, and Matalin jokes that he now schedules his life around Saints and LSU football.

An LSU graduate, Carville has been a regular sight in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, often wearing a purple and gold rugby-style shirt.

In New Orleans, he and Matalin have lent their names not just to the Super Bowl host committee, but to efforts to prevent the NBA's Hornets from leaving when the ownership situation was in flux.

``I was scared to death they would leave the city,'' said Carville of the Hornets, who were purchased by the NBA in December of 2010 when club founder George Shinn wanted to sell and struggled to find a local buyer. ``We were starting to do better (as a community). It would have been a terrible story to lose an NBA franchise at that time.''

Saints owner Tom Benson has since bought the NBA club and signed a long-term lease at New Orleans Arena, ending speculation about a possible move.

Carville and Matalin also have taken part in a range of environmental, educational, economic and cultural projects in the area. Matalin is on the board of the Water Institute of the Gulf, which aims to preserve fragile coastal wetlands that have been eroding, leaving south Louisiana ecosystems and communities increasingly vulnerable to destruction. They have supported the Institute of Politics at Loyola University and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

Carville teaches a current events class at Tulane University and he looks forward to getting involved in the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans in 2015 and New Orleans' tercentennial celebrations in 2018, when the city also hopes to host its next Super Bowl, if the NFL sees fit.

Leading a Super Bowl host committee, the couple said, has similarities to running a major national political campaign, but takes even more work.

``This has been going on for three years and it's huge,'' Matalin said. ``It's bigger, it's harder, it's more complex - even though it's cheaper.''

The host committee spent about $13 million in private and public funds to put on this Super Bowl, and the payoff could be enormous in terms of providing a momentum boost to the metro area's growth, Carville said.

``For us - New Orleans - I think this is going to be much more than a football game Sunday,'' Carville said of the championship matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. ``We'll know how we feel about it on Monday. It's a big event, it helps a lot of people, but I think we have a chance if it goes the way we hope it does, it'll go beyond economic impact. It'll go beyond who won the game. I think there's something significant that's coming to a point here in the city.''

So there's a bit of anxiety involved, to go along with the long hours. But Carville and Matalin say they've loved having a role in what they see as New Orleans' renaissance.

``I always say I'm so humbled by everyone's gratitude,'' Matalin said. ``We get up every day and say, `Thank you, God. Thank you, God.' It's a blessing for us to be able to be here, to live here.''

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Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

There is a one-in-eight chance the Redskins will play against the Arizona Cardinals next season in Mexico City.

The Cardinals are hosting the Super Bowl in 2023, so as a tradeoff, one of their games next season will be played south of the border at Estadio Azteca, the NFL announced Friday.

Arizona has home games against the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in 2020, so one of those eight squads will head to Mexico City rather than the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. AZ.

"We are thrilled to learn that this game will take place at Estadio Azteca where we received such an enthusiastic reception in 2005," Cardinals chairman and president Michael Bidwill said in a release. "We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from fans in Mexico and look forward to an incredible experience."

The Redskins have only played in one game outside the United States as part of the International Series. In Week 8 of the 2016 NFL season, the Redskins and the Bengals finished in a 27-27 tie at Wembley Stadium in London.

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Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards lose to Jazz

Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards lose to Jazz

The Washington Wizards lost to the Utah Jazz 129-119 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Only one spot in the standings separates the Wizards from the playoff picture, but it sure doesn't seem like it at the moment.

With their loss to the Jazz on Friday night, the Wizards have dropped four of five coming out of the All-Star break. They have lost nine straight games to the Jazz going back to 2016.

If the Wizards are going to figure it out soon, they will have to do so on the road. Their loss to Utah kicked off a four-game West Coast road swing.

The Wizards are now 21-37 on the season. That puts them on pace for 30 wins.

2. Within the context of this week, 30 points on Wednesday against the Nets qualified as an off-night for Bradley Beal. On Friday, he was back to his early-week form with 42 points, including 23 in the first half alone.

Beal also added 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals. He shot 17-for-33 overall and 6-for-15 from long range.

This was Beal's 10th 40-point game of the year, which is two off the franchise record for a single season. The problem is the Wizards are 1-9 in those games.

This was Beal's 17th straight 25-point game, which is tied for the longest streak ever in Wizards/Bullets history. He tied Walt Bellamy, who set the record in the 1961-62 season.

3. Some day years from now, when Rui Hachimura is asked if he remembers his 'welcome to the NBA' moment, he's probably going to answer with what Donovan Mitchell did to him in the first half on Friday night.

Mitchell threw down one of the more vicious poster dunks you will see, and it all happened in the halfcourt. Mitchell is just a different type of dunker and he got Hachimura at the perfect time with a jump off two feet.

 

On one hand, good for Hachimura for meeting him at the rim. But, man, that was ugly.

4. That moment aside, Hachimura had a solid night in the box score. He poured in 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added seven rebounds and three steals.

Hachimura's consistency scoring the ball already as a rookie continues to impress. This was his 35th career game and his 26th with double-figure points and his 18th with 15 points or more.

But also consistent is Hachimura's trajectory as a scorer. It was another game where he started off hot, then cooled down to disappear late.

5. It appears that Troy Brown Jr.'s decrease in minutes on Wednesday was not a one-time thing. He again took a backseat to Jerome Robinson, who played 22 minutes compared to Brown's 18.

Head coach Scott Brooks explained the move on Wednesday by saying "minutes are going to be competitive" now that the team is healthy. Robinson has evidently been showing Brooks more in recent games.

The best guess is that it involves defense. Robinson has been more impressive on that end than he has been on offense. He is a physical perimeter defender and the Wizards can use more of that.

One play in the first half demonstrated that well. He checked Jordan Clarkson at the three-point line and trailed him off the dribble to the baseline where he stuffed him to force a jumpball. It was the type of contest we haven't seen enough of from the Wizards this season.

Brown, though, has a chance to respond and he was more aggressive attacking the rim against the Jazz. That is a good sign.

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