Sunday Broadcast Information (All Times Listed are Eastern)

Jacksonville at New England, 3:05 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter), Jay Feely (Field reporter); WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Kugler, Dan Fouts, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWwood1), 83 (Jacksonville), 82 (New England); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (Jacksonville), 82 (New England)

Minnesota at Philadelphia, 6:40 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Chris Myers (Field reporter); WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (Minnesota), 82 (Philadelphia);| XM: 88 (WestWwood1), 83 (Minnesota), 82 (Philadelphia)

Sunday’s Officials
Jacksonville at New England, 3:05 p.m.: Clete Blakeman
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 6:40 p.m.: Ed Hochuli

Sunday Odds (Home teams listed in CAPS)
Favorite           Spread      Underdog         O/U
NEW ENGLAND        –  9        Jacksonville     46
Minnesota          –  3        PHILADELPHIA     39

Sunday Injury Report

Jacksonville at New England, 3:05 p.m.

Jacksonville

QUESTIONABLE: S Tashaun Gipson (Foot)

New England

QUESTIONABLE: QB Tom Brady (Right Hand), T LaAdrian Waddle (Knee), DT Alan Branch (Knee), RB Michael Burkhead (Knee), RB Mike Gillslee (Knee)

Minnesota at Philadelphia, 6:40 p.m.

Minnesota

OUT: DT Shamar Stephen (Knee)

QUESTIONABLE: CB Mackensie Alexander (Rib), S Andrew Sendejo (Concussion), WR Adam Thielen (Back)

Philadelphia

QUESTIONABLE: LB Dannell Ellerbe (Hamstring)

Sunday Weather

Jacksonville at New England, 3:05 p.m.: Partly cloudy and 46 degrees
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 6:40 p.m.: Overcast and 46 degrees

Broadcast Information, Officials and Injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel

 

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The NFL and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group recently unveiled NFL Experience Times Square in the heart of New York City. The attraction, located on the corner of West 47th Street and 7th Avenue at 20 Times Square, spans 40,000 square feet and four floors, bringing fans the most interactive and extensive football experience in the world.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan welcomed the NFL FLAG 13-14 BOYS AND GIRLS NEW YORK REGIONAL WINNERS to kick off NFL Experience’s opening last night in Times Square. The two teams will compete for the title in their respective divisions during the NFL FLAG Championships at the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando.

“We partnered with Cirque du Soleil to create a captivating and authentic football experience that enables fans to step into the locker room and onto the field of an NFL stadium,” Goodell told the New York Times. “Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to the game, NFL Experience Times Square takes you on an unforgettable journey where you enter as a fan, become a player and leave as a Super Bowl champion.”

Blending state-of-the-art technology with hands-on activities, NFL Experience transports visitors directly into the game for an interactive exploration of football, from the practice field to the Super Bowl. Fans can test their skills to see how they measure up to professional football players, learn game strategy from Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and experience the adrenaline-pumping action of the NFL in an immersive 4D movie theater.

“NFL Experience Times Square is a next-generation entertainment attraction that will quickly join the list of unique, must-see New York City destinations,” said NFL Experience President Danny Boockvar. “We are tremendously proud to open our doors and bring New Yorkers and those visiting from across the country – and the world – closer to the action than ever before.”

“Going through NFL Experience brought me back to the game and triggered the emotions that I cherished as a player,” said Strahan. “As someone who spent 15 years in the League, I think the NFL Experience offers the most authentic look at the game outside of playing on Sundays.”

NFL Experience Times Square is Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group’s first experiential sports venture, blending the company’s extensive knowledge as a world-renowned live production company and the excitement of the NFL into one venue.

“As we expand our entertainment offering beyond performing arts into immersive experiences, we are thrilled to partner with the world’s leading sports brand. This project has not only allowed us to push our creative boundaries to showcase the NFL from a whole new perspective, but also open the fascinating world of professional sports to Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

NFL Experience brings football to life for visitors in unique ways, including:

•The Stadium (4D Theater): The artistry of NFL Films combines with the thrill-ride of a rollercoaster in a 180-seat state-of-the-art theater featuring a 10-minute, thrilling show. Four-dimension special effects bring fans onto the field with the weather elements and aromas from NFL games, and motion seats recreate the movement from plays.

•The 32’s: Explore team traditions, fun facts, top plays and even get a look inside home stadiums around the country – all available on displays throughout the exhibit. Fans will get to test their knowledge or vote for favorite players, and take a tour through all 32 teams with authentic club treasures on display.

•The Equipment Room: Guests will enter the training grounds and measure their skills with a combination of digital and physical tracking activities. Blocking dummies will measure tackle strength and guests will see how their vertical jump compares to NFL players and friends. Finally, fans will get inspired by postgame speeches from NFL coaches and view gear worn by the stars themselves.

•Suit Up: Guests will pick their team, select a jersey number and suit up as a real player with the help of digital face-tracking technology, turning them into a computer-generated image of their favorite star.

•Game Plan: Meet former NFL Coach Jon Gruden and get ready for the big game by learning a real NFL play: DICE RIGHT 61 BULLSEYE X INDIVIDUAL. This projection system gives guests the experience of virtually taking part in a quarterback meeting with Coach Gruden.

•Huddle Up: An immersive point of view experience that puts fans inside the team huddle to call DICE RIGHT 61 BULLSEYE X INDIVIDUAL as taught by Coach Jon Gruden. Custom media monitors and interactive game play allow guests to be the quarterback, pick the receiver and run the play, earning the praise of the coach.

•Quarterback Challenge: Guests will become the quarterback of their team and watch as their favorite receiver runs the play. In three attempts, they will pass the football to the receiver on screen and compare performance stats – such as speed and completion percentage – against their team’s quarterback.

•Super Bowl Celebration: Every year, one team feels the euphoria of standing on the field in a shower of confetti after winning the Super Bowl. An augmented reality experience will put guests amongst the winning team for the biggest NFL celebration. Fans will also experience the thrill of a virtual post-Super Bowl Gatorade dunk and take home a memorable photo capturing the fun.

•Champions Stage: All the hard work, sweat and tears culminate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and guests will commemorate their triumph with a photo beside the iconic symbol. Additionally, guests can get an up-close look at every Super Bowl Championship ring, from the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl I ring to the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl LI ring containing 283 diamonds.

•Postgame Tunnel: The closing postgame tunnel gives guests a one-of-a-kind perspective into the game from both the player and fan perspective with exclusive, never-before-seen footage.

•Food and Beverage: The only place fans can eat through all 31 NFL stadiums. The space features a food court and bar overlooking Times Square, serving dishes specific to each stadium. Bringing in locally sourced ingredients from every NFL hometown and input from all 31 stadium head chefs, the rotating menu will change based on the big game of the week.

•Special NFL Player Appearances: Hall of Famers, current players and NFL Legends from around the league will make appearances and participate in fan experiences throughout the year.

Tickets to NFL Experience Times Square begin at $39 and can be purchased on-site or online at NFLExperience.com.

About NFL Experience: NFL Experience Times Square is a first-of-its-kind interactive and immersive attraction located in the heart of New York City that brings fans closer than ever to the National Football League and their favorite team. Combining immersive content, interactive displays, a state-of-the-art 4-D cinema and other multimedia effects, the experience takes visitors from the stands onto the field, transporting them from Kickoff through Playoffs, and ultimately, the Super Bowl. For more information about NFL Experience, please visit http://www.nflexperience.com.

About Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group: Originally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Established in Montreal, the Canadian organization has brought wonder and delight to over 180 million spectators with productions presented in close to 450 cities in 60 countries. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group currently has over 4,000 employees, including 1,300 artists, from nearly 50 countries.

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group creates content for a broad range of audacious projects. On top of producing world-renowned shows, the organization has extended its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks and special events. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to make a positive impact on people, communities and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. For more information about Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, please go to cdsentertainmentgroup.com.

The NFL returns to the Land of the Mouse.

We hear he’s a big football fan, ya know.

When the 2018 NFL PRO BOWL returns to Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, the NFL is bringing back a week-long celebration to unite and inspire the entire football community. Leading up to the game, the NFL is hosting a series of PRO BOWL WEEK events, including free interactive fan experiences, youth and high school football competitions, and a series of community events with nonprofit organizations and military personnel to positively impact thousands of local residents, children and their families.

One of the new additions this year is the PRO BOWL KIDS STADIUM TAKEOVER. For the first time, after the Pro Bowl postgame ceremony, all kids ages 14 and under with parents at Camping World Stadium will be invited to run around the very same field as some of the NFL’s biggest stars. On Pro Bowl Sunday, participants can check in at a Pro Bowl Kids Stadium Takeover check-in table located on either the field level near section 145 or on the plaza level near section 149. More information is available at ProBowl.com.

Additional Pro Bowl Week activities will include the NFL FLAG CHAMPIONSHIPS; PLAY FOOTBALL HIGH SCHOOL DAY; PRO BOWL SKILLS SHOWDOWN; free access to AFC & NFC TEAM PRACTICES; NFL PRO BOWL EXPERIENCE, a free, football-themed fan festival and NFL PLAY 60 events. The NFL will also work with the You Can Play Project on an event for NFL Legends, local LGBT youth and allies, and with Raliance and Break the Cycle on a summit for local young leaders, with the goal of empowering and equipping youth with strategies to combat gender-based violence.

As part of the “THANK YOU, COACH!” initiative, Pro Bowl players will invite a high school coach, who most impacted their life and NFL career, and a guest to celebrate Pro Bowl Week in Orlando. With the PRO BOWL GIVEBACK PROGRAM, players will compete for more than bragging rights – each member of the winning team may apply for a $10,000 NFL Foundation grant to be donated to the high school or youth football program of their choice, help leave a lasting legacy on the community, and increase opportunities for the next generation of football players.

The week-long celebration will culminate with the Pro Bowl game, featuring 88 of the NFL’s best players, on Sunday, January 28 at Camping World Stadium that will air on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ABC at a new start time of 3 p.m. Eastern. Tickets to the 2018 Pro Bowl game are on sale now at ProBowl.com.

All fans will also be able to stream the game live with the NFL and Yahoo Sports mobile apps. Live audio coverage of the Pro Bowl will be provided by Westwood One and will also be available on SiriusXM and the TuneIn app.

ESPN is the League’s media partner for the Pro Bowl and will provide live coverage of the game and many of the events during Pro Bowl Week across the ESPN, ABC and Disney platforms, in addition to NFL Media.

Genesis, the Official Luxury Vehicle of the NFL, will award the Most Valuable Player on offense and defense with a brand-new Genesis model of their choice.

The Pro Bowl is an all-inclusive event for fans on gameday. The 2017 Pro Bowl marked the first autism-friendly game hosted by a professional sports league. Working with KultureCity, Camping World Stadium’s sensory-inclusive partner, the NFL will offer families who attend the 2018 Pro Bowl with support, including sensory accessibility resources and two dedicated sensory rooms located in the stadium to enable them to enjoy the game with more confidence and comfort.

The following are ways the NFL is celebrating the football community, providing fans access to a range of free football activities, and positively impacting Orlando and the surrounding region during Pro Bowl Week.

PRO BOWL WEEK KICKOFF AND COMMUNITY GRANT EVENT: On Tuesday, January 23, the NFL will join the City of Orlando and LIFT Orlando at Orange Center Elementary School (2043 Jacobs Place), to kick off Pro Bowl Week festivities and host a tree planting project as part of an Orlando-based neighborhood revitalization project.

Among those who will take part in the event are Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan, NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O’Reilly, Pro Bowl Legends Captains Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson and local high school football teams from Maynard Evans High School and Jones High School.

The NFL seeks to improve the surrounding communities and leave a positive legacy in the host city beyond the Pro Bowl game. The tree planting project alongside Orange Center Elementary School is one of three NFL Environmental Program events planned, as part of efforts to enhance the Orlando community’s environment.

The event will kick off at 11 a..m  with brief remarks from attendees and a media availability with the Pro Bowl Legends Captains. Following the press event, at approximately 11:30 a.m., participants will plant trees alongside community residents and NFL volunteers.

THANK YOU, COACH!: Pro Bowl players will be saying “Thank You, Coach!” to that special high school coach who most impacted their life and NFL career. Each Pro Bowl player attending may invite their high school coach and a guest to celebrate Pro Bowl Week in Orlando.

On Friday, January 26, high school coaches will enjoy a special welcome reception, and on Saturday, January 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports, coaches and Pro Bowlers will lead the “Thank You, Coach!” clinic and High School Skills Challenge. On Sunday, January 28, the coaches will attend the Coaches Tailgate at the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium before kickoff and be recognized on-field alongside their Pro Bowl player.

NFL FOUNDATION PRO BOWL GIVEBACK: This year, Pro Bowl players will compete for more than bragging rights – players on the winning team may apply for a $10,000 NFL Foundation grant to be donated to the high school or youth football program of their choice. The Pro Bowl Giveback Program ensures the NFL and its players will leave a lasting legacy on the youth and high school football community and increase opportunities for the next generation of football players.

2018 NFL PRO BOWL EXPERIENCE: The NFL Pro Bowl Experience will be open to fans Wednesday, January 24 – Thursday, January 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, January 26 – Saturday, January 27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort.

The free-admission, family-friendly football fan festival will bring fans closer to the NFL through interactive games and sponsor activations. New activities to this year’s Pro Bowl Experience include some of the same challenges that AFC & NFC Pro Bowlers will compete in during the Skills Showdown, such as: Kick-Tac-Toe, in which three footballs must be kicked in a row on a giant tic-tac-toe board, and the Best Hands competition to catch as many different passes as possible.

Leading up to Pro Bowl Week, the NFL will launch its official companion app: Pro Bowl – Fan Mobile Pass. It guides visitors through Pro Bowl Week and provides exclusive chances to win prizes, including tickets to the game, autographed footballs, and more. The app will also feature gameday content, including real time updates of which players are on the field. Fans are encouraged to register in advance at NFL.com/PBFanMobilePass.

​An assortment of free fan activities at the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl Experience are detailed below. No tickets are required.

•40-Yard Dash: Race down the field against your opponents and virtual NFL players on a giant 40-yard long LED wall.

•Airbrush Tattoos: Show your team spirit through NFL and Pro Bowl themed airbrush tattoos and face painting.

•Best Hands: Catch as many different passes as possible like an NFL all-star.

•Family Football Zone: An interactive area for kids and families to play together. Play catch in the field or take part in a range of football and tailgate-themed games.

•Kick-Tac-Toe: Kick 3 in a row on a giant tic-tac-toe board. The Kick-Tac-Toe challenge will also occur doing the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, where AFC & NFC Pro Bowlers will attempt to do the same.

•Long Snap Accuracy Challenge Presented by Verizon: Test your aim by long snapping footballs through a variety of obstacles.

•NFL Pro Bowl Trophy: Take a photo with the official NFL Pro Bowl Trophy.

•NFL Shop at Pro Bowl: Shop for your favorite NFL and Pro Bowl gear at the NFL Shop trailer located inside NFL Pro Bowl Experience.

•Obstacle Course: Navigate through obstacle courses and train like an NFL player.

•Panini: The exclusive physical trading card licensee of the NFL, Panini is an Official Sponsor of the NFL Pro Bowl. Stop by the Panini booth for a chance to win NFL trading cards.

•Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Pass to as many targets as possible while on the clock.

•Run-A-Route: Test your wide receiver skills and run a see-and-react route to catch a pass down field.

•Vertical Jump: Jump as high as you can and hit the corresponding flag to discover your vertical reach just like at the NFL Scouting Combine.

•Virtual Reality Experience: Get inside the NFL with virtual reality technology and experience what it is like to be on-the-field on an actual NFL game.

AFC & NFC TEAM PRO BOWL PRACTICES

The AFC and NFC teams will practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports from Wednesday, January 24 through Saturday, January 27. All media availabilities will take place on the field at the conclusion of each practice.

Practices are free and open to the public, and entry to the seating areas is available on a first-come, first-served basis. To attend practice, fans must register for Fan Mobile Pass via the Pro Bowl – Fan Mobile Pass app or on NFL.com/PBFanMobilePass. Visit ProBowl.com for more details.

Wednesday, January 24
10:30 a.m. – NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
10:45 a.m. – AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17

Thursday, January 25
11:30 a.m. – NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
11:45 a.m. – AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17

Friday, January 26
11:30 a.m. – NFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
11:30 a.m. – AFC team practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17

Saturday, January 27
11:30 a.m. – NFC team walk-through at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 16
11:30 a.m. – AFC team walk-through at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Field 17

special olympics UNIFIED FLAG FOOTBALL game: For the second year, the NFL will team up with Special Olympics in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week to host a Unified Flag Football game with Special Olympics Florida athletes. The NFL and Special Olympics are committed to building inclusive communities and providing opportunities for athletes of all abilities to participate in sports through the expansion of Special Olympics Unified Sports flag football, where individuals with and without intellectual disabilities play flag football together on the same team. The Unified Flag Football game will take place on Wednesday, January 24 from Noon to 1 p.m. on Field 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Current Pro Bowl players will serve as coaches and cheer athletes on during the game.

The NFL and Special Olympics kicked off their national partnership at the 2017 Pro Bowl. With, contributions from the NFL Foundation, Special Olympics provided grants to local Special Olympics Programs in eleven NFL team markets. This year, the NFL and Special Olympics will expand those efforts to five new markets that will receive NFL Foundation funding. The grants will be used to help enhance Unified Sports programming and increase participation of athletes, Unified partners, and coaches across the country. NFL teams will continue to work with local Special Olympics Programs to help grow and expand opportunities for Special Olympics Unified Flag Football.

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5 million athletes and Unified partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, Finish Line and Safilo Group. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium.

NFL WOMEN’S CAREERS IN FOOTBALL FORUM: The NFL will host the Women’s Careers in Football Forum Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Fifty women were selected from among more than 400 applicants to attend the second annual forum. The event will feature panel discussions, breakout sessions, and networking sessions aimed to educate and prepare women for careers in Football Operations, including coaching, officiating, scouting and football front office positions.

Featured speakers and panelists will include Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, NFL Chief Football Administration Officer Dawn Aponte, Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Women’s Leaders in College Sports Chief Executive Officer Patti Phillips, Atlanta Falcons Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli, CFL Toronto Argonauts General Manager Jim Popp, NFL Director of Football Development Samantha Rapoport, Stanford University Head Coach David Shaw, and Minnesota Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren.

Twenty-two of the female participants at the inaugural Forum in 2017 went on to secure internships and full-time positions in coaching and scouting at the professional, collegiate and high school levels, including nine with the NFL.

NFL PLAY 60 CHARACTER CAMP: On Thursday, January 25 at 10 a.m., the NFL will host a free Character Camp on Field 23 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. The event will include 300 predominantly-Hispanic youth from the Orlando area. The non-contact football camp will be led by Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz.

The NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps program is a partnership between the NFL and the Muñoz Agency.  The mission of the camps is to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise, and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life. The camp is part of a series of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps hosted as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football. Since the inception of NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps in 2012, over 60 camps have been held impacting more than 20,000 youth across the country.

NFL PLAY 60 FIELD DAY: On Thursday, January 25 from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m., the NFL will host a PLAY 60 Field Day with current NFL players, local youth and students from local schools enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host community groups from their regions at the PLAY 60 Field Day, which will take place on Field 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Prior to the PLAY 60 Field Day, local community groups attending the PLAY 60 Field Day will have the opportunity to view Pro Bowl practice.

The event will consist of different physical activity stations ranging from relay races to ‘fuel up’ healthy eating stations and Quarterback Challenge drills.

The NFL is celebrating 10 years of getting kids active and healthy through NFL PLAY 60, the league’s youth health and wellness campaign encouraging kids to get active for 60 minutes a day. For more information, visit NFL.com/PLAY60.

NFL FLAG YOUTH MEDIA NIGHT: Members of the NFL FLAG Championship teams will experience what it feels like to be in the spotlight as an NFL player at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, January 25 at 6:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports. At the event, NFL FLAG participants will take part in media interviews with current Pro Bowl players, NFL Legends and members of the media.

In addition to being interviewed like the stars, NFL FLAG competitors will enjoy food and entertainment, photo opportunities, walk the Play Football Red Carpet like the NFL’s best, and have an opportunity to mix and mingle before the competition kicks off on Friday, January 26.

NFL & USA FOOTBALL AMBASSADOR PROGRAM: The NFL/USA Football High School Ambassador Program Coaching Initiative offers former NFL players interested in understanding the Youth Football landscape and currently coaching or interested in coaching youth football, an opportunity to network and participate in in-person Heads Up Football training sessions.

Former NFL players who are a part of the year-round program, which is a Play Football initiative, will participate in weekend-long Pro Bowl activities. Activities include: interviewing NFL FLAG competitors during NFL FLAG Youth Media Night; a day-long seminar led by the NFL and USA Football; viewing Pro Bowl practice and various Play Football High School Day activities; and attending the USA Football National Conference.

USA FOOTBALL NATIONAL CONFERENCE: The fifth annual USA Football National Conference, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees, is the largest annual gathering of high school and youth football administrators and coaches in the United States.

Speakers addressing National Conference attendees include Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, former Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl XXXV Champion Trent Dilfer, Villanova University Director of Athletics Mark Jackson, National High School Hall of Fame coach Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius H.S., four-time state champion head coach Jason Mohns of Scottsdale Saguaro H.S., University of Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and Super Bowl XX Champion Mike Singletary.

National Conference speakers will address a range of topics, including coach education, player safety, program development and key trends. This year’s conference will take place from Friday, January 26 to Sunday, January 28 at the Orange County Convention Center.

USA Football National Conference Schedule:
•Friday, January 26 from Noon to 8 p.m.
•Saturday, January 27 from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
•Sunday, January 28 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

NFL FLAG CHAMPIONSHIPS AT PRO BOWL POWERED BY USA FOOTBALL: The NFL FLAG Championships powered by USA Football are returning to Pro Bowl. The NFL FLAG Championships will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports from Friday, January 26 – Saturday, January 27 and are part of the NFL’s weeklong celebration of football at all levels. All teams will kick off the week at NFL FLAG Youth Media Night on Thursday, January 25. Live coverage will occur on ESPN and ABC during “Postseason NFL Countdown” at 1 p.m.

Sixty-six teams from across the country – ten regional champions in four divisions plus 26 teams selected by NFL Clubs – will compete. An additional five international teams from Canada, China and Mexico will participate in the exhibition games. Divisions include: 9-10 coed, 11-12 coed, 13-14 boys and 13-14 girls. NFL Pro Bowl players and Legends will serve as guest coaches, encouraging the teams as they compete for the national title.

The 13-14 Girls Championships will take place on Saturday, January 27 after Pro Bowl practice during Play Football High School Day. ESPN and ABC will televise the 13-14 Boys Championship Game on Sunday, January 28 as part of the network’s “Postseason NFL Countdown” show.

NFL FLAG powered by USA Football promotes physical fitness and teaches the sport’s values and life skills on and off the field to more than 410,000 young people. A non-contact version of traditional football offered for boys and girls ages 5-17 in cities across the country, NFL FLAG emphasizes fun, safety, teamwork, self-esteem, discipline and goal-setting. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States.

YOU CAN PLAY PROJECT: HI-FIVE INITIATIVE: On the morning of Saturday, January 27, the NFL will team with the You Can Play Project to host Orlando-area LGBT youth from local organizations, including the Hope Community Center, Our Fund and the Zebra Coalition, for a special event at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Students will attend Pro Bowl practice and then sit down with current NFL players and NFL Legends for a conversation on LGBT rights and inclusion in sports. The session will be facilitated by former NFL player and You Can Play Project Executive Director, Wade Davis. Additionally, youth participating in the event will attend the Pro Bowl on Sunday, January 28 at Camping World Stadium.

The You Can Play Project is an advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and gender identify. The organization’s Hi-Five initiative aims to create meaningful connections between LGBT youth and leaders within the professional sports community. The NFL was the first professional sports league to join the initiative when it launched in 2013.

PLAY FOOTBALL HIGH SCHOOL DAY: On Saturday, January 27, during Play Football High School Day, the best will meet the next! The NFL will host approximately 200 local high school football players and celebrate both male and female football participants as well as coaches. These student-athletes will participate in numerous exclusive, invite-only activities throughout the day.

The day kicks off with an opportunity to learn and polish their skills during the High School Skills Challenge which will be led by the high school coaches of current Pro Bowl players in attendance as part of the NFL’s “Thank You, Coach!” initiative. After viewing Pro Bowl practice, the student-athletes will attend a character development session led by an NFL Legend and will have a chance to explore the Pro Bowl Experience.

Additionally, during High School Football Day, the spotlight will not only be placed on tackle football participants but the flag athletes will have an opportunity to compete with an emphasis on Girls Flag with the NFL Girls 13-14 FLAG Championships and a Florida High School Girls Varsity game occurring simultaneously after Pro Bowl practice.

DON SHULA NFL HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD: The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award honors an exemplary football coach at the high school level who displays the integrity, achievement, and leadership demonstrated by Coach Shula. Coaches are nominated for the national award by all 32 NFL teams, and the winner is selected by a panel of judges including Peyton Manning, Willie McGinest, Condoleezza Rice and Michael Strahan.

The Don Shula Award winner will be announced during the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, January 28 at 3 p.m. and will be covered on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ABC. Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to their high school’s football program. The 2017 winner will receive an additional $10,000 from the NFL Foundation, $5,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program and attend the Super Bowl.

All NFL club-selected Don Shula Award nominees will be invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football in Orlando. The coaches will participate in a special coaches’ clinic, enjoy a VIP visit to Pro Bowl practices and attend the USA Football National Conference.

To learn more about this year’s nominees, click here.

MAKE-A-WISH®: Through the assistance of the NFL, Make-A-Wish will grant the wishes of five children to attend the 2018 Pro Bowl. Wish children and their families will attend a Pro Bowl practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports and will attend the game at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 28. Every year since 1982, the NFL and Make-A-Wish have teamed to grant one or more wish kids to attend either the Super Bowl or Pro Bowl.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 33,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 34 minutes. It has granted more than 285,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 15,300 in 2016 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.

MILITARY OUTREACH: The following is a sampling of events planned for service members and their families in Orlando during Pro Bowl Week as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service:

•Following Pro Bowl practice on Saturday, Jan. 27 the NFL and Wounded Warrior Project will host a flag football game for 50 wounded warriors from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Field 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Following the game, warriors will join 100 individuals from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a special Military Appreciation Luncheon from 1 to 2 p.m. NFL Legends, cheerleaders, and mascots will be in attendance to meet and greet TAPS families and wounded warriors and their families as they enjoy a complimentary meal provided by MISSION BBQ.

•The NFL will host members of TAPS and Wounded Warrior Project at Pro Bowl practices throughout the week at ESPN Wide World of Sports and on gameday.

•Family members from TAPS will enjoy complimentary admittance to Disney’s theme park.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 70,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information, visit http://www.taps.org.

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects warriors with one another, their families, and communities. It serves warriors through lifesaving programs and services targeting mental and physical health, career and benefits counseling, and support for the most severely wounded. And WWP empowers warriors to mentor other veterans and live life on their terms. To learn more, visit: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
THE COLLEGE CATCH: For the first time at Pro Bowl, the NFL will host “The College Catch,” a conversation with leaders in football that is aimed at educating and inspiring the next generation of sports business professionals.

Occurring at 10 a.m. on Sunday, January 28 at Harry Buffalo’s on Church Street, “The College Catch” provides college students with the opportunity to learn from and network with the best in the sports business. Attendees will get access to the speaker session as well as a ticket to the NFL 2018 Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium at 3 p.m.

PRO BOWL SKILLS SHOWDOWN: For the second consecutive year, players from the AFC and NFC will compete against each other in unique competitions at the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, which will air on Thursday, January 25, at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The event will also re-air across ESPN, ABC and Disney XD, as well as NFL Network.

The 2018 Pro Bowl Legends Captains, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson of the AFC and Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn of the NFC, will lead their respective squads. Each Skills Showdown team will feature a mix of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linemen, linebackers, defensive backs and kickers.

Taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the competition will include:

•Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball presented by Pepsi: Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball, with every member of each team participating. The team with the last person on the court wins.

•Kick-Tac-Toe: A new challenge that tests the accuracy of placekickers from both conferences with a version of the classic game, as they attempt to hit a 3×3 grid of targets inside the uprights.

•Gridiron Gauntlet: Five players from each team will participate in a relay race designed to showcase strength, speed and agility. Among other surprises, the challenge will include a 40-yard dash with an inflated parachute that is attached to the first player on each team who will sprint before tagging in teammates.

•Best Hands presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Four receivers – two from each conference – will catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Designated targets require a specific style of catch – diving, one-handed, over the shoulder, etc. – which must be executed before the receiver can move on to the next target.

•Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18: Each conference’s quarterbacks will battle it out in an accuracy competition, as they attempt to hit targets of varying size and distance.

•Drone Drop Challenge: A bonus event during which one player from each team will attempt to catch footballs dropped from drones from increasing heights above the field. The player who makes the highest catch wins money for the charity of his choice.

Fans are encouraged to join the conversation surrounding the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown on social media using the hashtag #ProBowl. A limited number of free tickets to the Skills Showdown taping will be made available to fans. Fans may register for tickets here.

EA SPORTS: THE MADDEN NFL 18 CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP: From Thursday, January 25 to Saturday, January 27, EA SPORTS will host The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship, the third EA Major Series event of the $1 million Madden NFL 18 Championship Series, will bring together the top 32 players from across the country representing each NFL club to compete during Pro Bowl Week. These elite competitive players advanced through a grueling online elimination process featuring millions of Madden players in pursuit of the Club Championship title and their share of over $400,000.

The competitions will take place:
•Thursday, January 25 from 2 to 10 p.m.
•Friday, January 26 from 2 to 10 p.m.
•Saturday, January 27: 2 p.m. to Midnight

PRO BOWL FUN RUN SERIES: Grab the family and your favorite team jersey for the 2018 Pro Bowl Fun Run Series located at the Track & Field Complex at ESPN Wide World of Sports beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 27.

From Kids Dashes to a Half Mile Run, there is a distance for football fans of any age. Participants can look forward to appearances from Disney characters, Pro Bowl cheerleaders and mascots and a one-of-a-kind finisher medal! Click HERE to register.

Race packet pick-up begins at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, January 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

PRO BOWL ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM: The NFL is teaming with the City of Orlando, Verizon, Sabra and local community partners to reduce the environmental impact of the Pro Bowl and leave a positive “green” legacy in the Orlando host community.

Below is a sampling of environmental initiatives taking place during Pro Bowl Week:

•Rosemont Community Center Gardens: Students and community volunteers will join with the NFL, the City of Orlando, Verizon and Sabra to create community gardens at the Rosemont Community Center (4782 Rose Bay Drive, Orlando) on Friday, January 26. Students from Annunciation Middle School, Rosemont Elementary, student athletes from the University of Central Florida and Verizon volunteers will build and plant new garden boxes for vegetables. They will also add plants that attract pollinators. There will be a brief ceremony with NFL Legends to kick off the project at 9 a.m. The gardens will be cared for by the children and seniors who use the Community Center and will provide an opportunity for education about healthy eating and cooking. In addition to providing food, and teaching the children to care for the environment, the plantings also promote NFL PLAY 60, the league’s youth health and wellness campaign, by encouraging children to enjoy outdoor activities.

•Parramore Garden Rebuild: Orlando’s oldest community gardens, the Parramore gardens (654 West Robinson Street, Orlando) will be rebuilt with funding from the NFL Foundation’s Pro Bowl Community Grant project in partnership with NFL sponsors Verizon and Sabra.

•Food Recovery: The NFL is teaming with Second Harvest Food Bank and Disney Harvest to recover unserved, prepared food from kitchens and minimize food waste. Unserved, prepared food will be distributed to local shelters and community kitchens in Orlando.

•Materials Recovery: There will be an intensive drive to collect and donate all items left over from Pro Bowl events. In partnership with A Gift For Teaching and Salvation Army, the NFL will donate decorative materials, office supplies and other items to local nonprofit organizations that can reuse, repurpose or remanufacture the material. This project keeps material out of local landfills and turns it into valuable items for resale or reuse.

•Renewable Energy Project: Camping World Stadium, the site of Pro Bowl 2018, will be powered using “green energy” to reduce the climate impact of Pro Bowl. In addition to game day, renewable energy credits will power Camping World Stadium during the entirety of the two-week set up and breakdown of Pro Bowl.

•Solid Waste Management/Recycling: Comprehensive solid waste management is implemented at all major Pro Bowl facilities including Camping World Stadium and ESPN Wide World of Sports. Effective waste management and recycling efforts significantly reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. PepsiCo is providing recycle bins to Camping World Stadium and Wide World of Sports to help maximize recycling.

The NFL Environmental Program has incorporated environmental projects into the management of Pro Bowl events for seventeen years. The NFL Environmental Program is one of a significant number of community initiatives developed each year by the NFL to leave a positive legacy in the Pro Bowl host community.

PRO BOWL FAN CENTRAL: Come early to the 2018 Pro Bowl to enjoy Pro Bowl Fan Central, the hub of fan excitement on gameday at Camping World Stadium. Music, food, beverages and football fun will welcome fans from Noon to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 28 before entry into the stadium. Some of the activations include:

•Bud Light: We all know Bud Light is Famous Among Friends. That’s why, at the 2018 Pro Bowl, attendees can share a beer with their friends at the Bud Light Bar at Pro Bowl Fan Central

•Panini: The exclusive physical trading card licensee of the NFL, Panini is an Official Sponsor of the NFL Pro Bowl. Stop by the Panini booth for a chance to win NFL trading cards.

•Pepsi Zero Sugar: PepsiCo will be sampling its zero-calorie soda at the fan plaza.

SATURDAY NIGHT PEP RALLY & PRE-GAME ACTIVATION ZONE: The Church Street Pep Rally – on Saturday, January 27 at 5 to 9 p.m. – and the Church Street Pregame – on Sunday, January 28 at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – will provide free fun for all football fans. Featuring an NFL Shop, music, games, player appearances, prizes, food and drink specials, and more, Church Street is located a short four-minute shuttle ride away from Camping World Stadium. On Sunday, free shuttle rides will begin at 10 a.m. to take NFL fans from the Church Street Pregame to Camping World Stadium for the 2018 Pro Bowl.

The National Football League announced on Monday that the coaching staffs of the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints were selected to lead the 2018 Pro Bowl teams in Orlando, Florida.

The 2018 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 28, at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Tickets to the game, which will kickoff at 3 p.m. Eastern and be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and simulcast on ABC, are on sale now at ProBowl.com.​

Mike Tomlin and the coaches from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Sean Payton and the coaches from the New Orleans Saints will lead the AFC and NFC teams, respectively.

Each conference will also be led by two Legends Captains – one offensive and one defensive. Pro Football Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson (offense) and Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor (defense) will lead the AFC, while three-time Pro Bowl running back Warrick Dunn (offense) and Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks (defense) will lead the NFC.

For additional information on the game or week-of festivities, fans are encouraged to visit ProBowl.com.

In other Pro Bowl News…

The National Football League announced on Tuesday that actor, recording artist and “Dancing with the Stars” winner Jordan  Fisher will sing the National Anthem and perform as part of halftime festivities at the 2018 Pro Bowl at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium on Sunday, January 28.

Fisher’s career has spanned television, music, film and Broadway. In 2017, he took home the Mirrorball trophy, alongside partner Lindsay Arnold, on the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars. His first single with Hollywood Records – “All About Us” – became the second most-added song on pop radio, and his self-titled EP debuted at #18 on the Billboard Heatseeker album chart. In addition to his recent roles on “Grease Live” and “Moana,” Fisher joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton.”

The Pro Bowl will be televised live at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ABC. Tickets to the game are now available at ProBowl.com. Fans are encouraged to follow and join the Pro Bowl conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ProBowl.

Leading up to the game, the NFL will host PRO BOWL WEEK festivities at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort and across the Orlando area, including free experiences for fans and an extraordinary number of events focused on commemorating all levels of football – from youth to high school to the NFL’s best. Some of the many Pro Bowl Week activities will include:

PRO BOWL KIDS STADIUM TAKEOVER: For the first time, after the Pro Bowl postgame ceremony, all kids ages 14 and under accompanied by their parents at Camping World Stadium will be invited to run around on the very same field as the NFL’s biggest stars.

PRO BOWL EXPERIENCE: A free admission family-friendly football fan festival will bring fans closer to the NFL through a variety of activities including interactive games, a virtual reality experience, photo opportunities with the Pro Bowl Trophy and more.

PRO BOWL PRACTICES: AFC and NFC team practices – which are free and open to the public – will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, allowing fans to watch their favorite players as they get ready for the game.

PRO BOWL SKILLS SHOWDOWN: For the second straight year, the athletic prowess of the NFL’s best players will be tested in unique competitions, including Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball presented by Pepsi, Precision Passing presented by EA SPORTS Madden 18 and the new Kick Tac Toe challenge.

The Pro Bowl is an all-inclusive event for fans on gameday. The 2017 Pro Bowl marked the first autism-friendly game hosted by a professional sports league. Working with KultureCity, Camping World Stadium’s sensory-inclusive partner, the NFL will offer support to families who attend the 2018 Pro Bowl, including sensory accessibility resources and two dedicated sensory rooms located in the stadium to enable them to enjoy the game with more confidence and comfort.

Additional information on the game and Pro Bowl Week festivities is available at ProBowl.com.

And now there are four.

Professional football’s answer to the Final Four takes place Sunday afternoon as the AFC and NFC champions will be crowned.

For the four teams that are in the championship game, it’s their chance to make history and either win another Lombardi Trophy or take one for themseleves.

32 teams went through watching the Senior Bowl, the draft, OTAs, training camp, sleeping in dorms for the first time since college, pre-season games, the regular season and now it comes down to this.

Win? You get to go to the Super Bowl in two weeks time.

Lose? Your next game is in September.

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

For those teams that are in, it’s their chance to impress a national audience. For those teams that didn’t make the playoffs, it’s a chance to regroup, to circle their wagons and see what they could do to get better.

when the post-season started, there were 12 teams that were in the party. Now we’re down to four. The two winners will get to go to Minneapolis and be part of something bigger than themselves. It’s their chance to make some history.

Both Philadelphia and Jacksonville completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons. The Eagles and Jaguars are the first “worst-to-first” teams since the 2009 New Orleans Saints to advance to the Championship Game.

Three of the remaining four clubs – Philadelphia, Minnesota and Jacksonville – missed the postseason in 2016. This is the first time since 2008 in which three of the four teams in the Championship Games missed the playoffs in the previous season.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: FROM “WORST TO FIRST”: The Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars both advanced to the Conference Championship Games after completing “worst-to-first” turnarounds this season. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

The last two teams that went from “worst-to-first” in their divisions to earn a Super Bowl berth were the 2003 Carolina Panthers (Super Bowl XXXVIII) and the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who won Super Bowl XLIV.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their divisions and advance to the Super Bowl since 2003:

SEASON – TEAM (RECORD, PRIOR SEASON RECORD; ADVANCED TO)
2003 – Carolina (11-5, 7-9; Super Bowl XXXVIII)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3, 8-8; Won Super Bowl XLIV)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6; 3-13; ???)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3; 7-9; ???)

Three of the remaining four clubs – the Eagles and Minnesota in the NFC and the Jaguars in the AFC – missed the postseason in 2016, marking the fifth time since 1990 – and the first since 2008 – that three teams advanced to the Championship Game after missing the postseason in the previous year.​

The seasons which had three teams advance to the Conference Championship Game after missing the postseason in the previous season since 1990:

SEASON – TEAMS TO ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE CHAMPIOHSHIP GAME WHO MISSED PLAYOFFS IN PREVIOUS SEASON
1996 – 3 (Carolina, Jacksonville, New England)
1999 – 3 (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee)
2000 – 3 (Baltimore, New York Giants, Oakland)
2008 – 3 (Arizona, Baltimore, Philadelphia)
2017 – 3 (Jacksonville, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

OVER 100: Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles completed 23 of 30 passes (76.7 percent) for 246 yards and a 100.1 passer rating in the Eagles’ 15-10 win over Atlanta in the Divisional Playoffs.

Foles, who faces Minnesota on Sunday night, can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to record a passer rating of at least 100 in each of his first three postseason starts.

The quarterbacks with the most starts with a passer rating of at least 100 to begin postseason career:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)(GAMES WITH 100+ PASSER RATING)
Troy Aikman, Dallas (1992-93)(5)^
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2009-10)(3)
Tony Eason, New England (1985)(3)
Joe Theismann, Washington (1982)(3)
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2013, 2017)(2)*
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

DANGEROUS JAGUARS: Jacksonville defeated Pittsburgh, the Number 2 seed in the AFC, 45-42 in the Divisional Playoffs to advance to their third AFC Championship game in franchise history.

Jacksonville, who plays at Number 1 seed New England on Sunday, can become the 11th team to defeat the top two seeds from their own conference in the same postseason since 1990 when the current playoff format was adopted.

The teams to defeat the top two seeds from their own conference in the same postseason since 1990:

YEAR – TEAM (CONFERENCE)
1992 – Buffalo (AFC)
1997 – Denver (AFC)
1999 – Tennessee (AFC)
2000 – Baltimore (AFC)
2003 – Carolina (NFC)
2005 – Pittsburgh (AFC)
2007 – New York Giants (NFC)
2010 – Green Bay (NFC)
2011 – New York Giants (NFC)
2012 – Baltimore (AFC)
2017 – Jacksonville (AFC)*
*Play at Number 1 seed New England on Sunday

RUMBLING ROOKIE: Jacksonville rookie running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 45-42 victory over Pittsburgh in the Divisional Playoffs.

With one rushing touchdown on Sunday against New England, Fournette can tie the postseason record for the most rushing touchdowns by a rookie.

The rookies with the most rushing touchdowns in a single postseason:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)(RUSHING TDS)
Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (2000)(4)
William Floyd, San Francisco (1994)(4)
Tony Dorsett, Dallas (1997)(4)^
Norm Standlee, Chicago (1941)(4)
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (2017)(3)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

PROLIFIC PASSER: New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 35 of 53 passes (66 percent) for 337 yards and three touchdowns for a 102.5 passer rating in the Patriots’ 35-14 win against Tennessee in the Divisional Playoffs.

Brady, who faces Jacksonville on Sunday, can become the first quarterback in postseason history to record four consecutive games with at least 300 yards and multiple touchdown passes.

The quarterbacks with the most consecutive postseason games with 300+ yards and 2+ touchdown passes:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)(CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF GAMES WITH 300+ YARDS & 2+ TDs)

Tom Brady, New England (2016-17)(3)*
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (2013, 2016)(3)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2010-11)(3)
Jim Kelly, Buffalo (1989-90)(3)^
Dan Fouts, San Diego (1980-81)(3)^
*Active streak
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TOUCHDOWN MACHINE: New England running back James White recorded two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Patriots’ win against Tennessee in the Divisional Playoffs.

White, who had three touchdowns in SB LI, needs two touchdowns to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith (seven) and Larry Fitzgerald (seven) for the most combined rushing and receiving touchdowns over a three-game span in postseason history.

The players with the most combined rushing and receiving touchdowns in a three-game span in postseason history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (SEASONS)(MOST RUSH AND RECIEVEING TDS IN 3-GAME SPAN IN PLAYOFF HISTORY)
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona (2008-09)(7)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas (1995-96)(7)^
Many tied with 6
James White – New England (2016-17)(5)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

BRING IT HOME: Minnesota defeated New Orleans 29-24 to advance to their 10th NFL/NFC Championship game in franchise history.

With a win against Philadelphia on Sunday, the Vikings will become the first team to play in a Super Bowl in the team’s home stadium and the fifth team to play in a Super Bowl that was hosted in their home state.

The teams to play in a Super Bowl hosted in their home state:

SUPER BOWL – DATE (WINNER)(LOSER)(SITE)
XXXVII – January 26, 2003 (Tampa Bay)(Oakland)(San Diego, California)
XIX – January 20, 1985 (San Francisco)(Miami)(Stanford, Calfornia)
XIV – January 20, 1980 (Pittsburgh)(Los Angeles Rams)(Pasdena, California)
XI – January 9, 1977 (Oakland)(Minnesota)(Pasadena, California)

As was the case when the playoffs started, all the games are “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

The winners get a lot of cash for their effort. Each player will get $51,000 for winning the AFC and NFC title, which comes out to $2,730.000 for each team. The winners advance to Super Bowl LII where the share is $112,000 for each winner ($59,360,000.00 for that team, $56,000 for each loser ($2,968,000 for the team).

In addition to the cash, they get some lovely parting gifts.

The AFC Champion receive the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named in honor of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Lamar Hunt, the founder of the American Football League and longtime majority owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. First presented following the 1984 season, the 2010 season marked the debut of its redesign by Tiffany and Company.

For the NFC? That winner receive the George S. Halas Trophy, named in honor of the former owner, coach and player of the Chicago Bears and one of the founders of the National Football League. First presented following the 1984 season, the 2010 season marked the debut of its redesign by Tiffany and Company.

Both the AFC and NFC trophies reflect the sterling silver material of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded each year to the Super Bowl champions and also designed by Tiffany and Company and the trophy designs are based on a football and features an etched conference logo and the NFL Shield. By the way, each team gets to keep the trophies.

Jacksonville (10-6) at New England (13-3), 3:05 p.m. on CBS. The AFC champion will be crowned in Foxboro as Jacksonville makes their way to Gillette Stadium for a meeting with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Jacksonville will make their first venture into the AFC Championship Game since 1999, when they lost to Tennessee 33-14 in Jacksonville at what was then the Gator Bowl before the stadium changed its name to EverBank Field. The Jaguars went into Pittsburgh last Sunday and came away 45-42 winners over the Steelers at Heinz Field in their second meeting of the 2017 season.

The Jaguars took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a pair of Leonard Fournette TDs to open the scoring. Fournette had runs of 1 and 18 yards in the period to take the early lead before Steeler fans could get settled in the chilly 18-degree weather in the Steel City. After T.J. Yeldon added another score with a 4-yard run, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers ended Jacksonville’s bid for a shutout with 8:20 left before the intermission when he and WR Antonio Brown connected on an 23-yard TD pass. The Jaguars would then respond when Jacksonville’s Tevin Smith fullfilled the dream of every NFL lineman ever, picked up a Roethlisberger fumble and returned it 50 yards for a TD with 2:20 left before half. Pittsburgh ended the scoring in the first half when Roethlisberger and WR Martavis Bryant made it a 2-score game with 25 seconds left before the intermission.

Pittsburgh came out of the gates to start the third quarter and made the contest a 7-point affair with 9:09 left in the quarter when LeVeon Bell and Roethlisberger connected on a 19-yard TD pass as part of a 10-play, 77-yard drive that used 5:51 of clock to make the score 28-21. Fournette then put the lead back to 14 with a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter. If the Steelers were going down, they were going down fighting, as Brown and Roethlisberger connected on a 43-yard TD strike with 9:05 left in regulation. Jacksonville then pulled away again as Tommy Bohannon caught a 14-yard pass from Blake Bortles for a 42-28 contest with 4:19 left.

Bell was not finished as he scored on an 8-yard run with 2:18 left. Jacksonville needed one more score to put the game away and got it from Josh Lambo, who kicked a 45-yard field goal with 1:45 left. Pittsburgh would have the last word as they would put the final tally on the scoreboard when WR JuJu Smith-Schuster caught a 4-yard pass from Roethlisberger with 1 second left in the contest. Fournette ran for 109 yards and three TDs (Bell led Pittsburgh with 67 yards) as the Jaguars outrushed Pittsburgh 164-83 and Bortles threw for 214 yards and a TD, while Roethilsbeger threw for 469 yards and five TDs with a pair of sacks and an interception.

Jacksonville on third down conversions was 8 of 14 and held the ball for 28:50 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down), while the Steelers ruled the clock and held the ball for 31:10, going 7 of 16 on third down, 4 of 6 on fourth down.

New England took care of Tennessee 35-14 last Saturday night in Foxboro at Gillette Stadium. After trailing 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Pats scored 21 second quarter points unchallenged, taking a 21-7 lead with them to the break. New England outrushed the Titans 101-65 with Dion Lewis leading the way with 62 yards, while Brady threw for 337 yards and three TDs, connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of those tosses, while Marcus Mariota threw for 254 with a pair of TDs, with eight sacks (neither QB threw an interception). New England on third down tries went 11 of 17 and kept the ball for 32:56, while the Titans held the pigskin for 27:04, going 5 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Jaguars had four players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Campbell and defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

The Patriots had four players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: quarterback Brady, fullback James Develin, tight end Gronkowski and special teamer Matthew Slater.

The Pats lead the series with Jacksonville 7-0 and have outscored the Jaguars 214-119. New England’s last win in the series came in 2015 in Foxboro by a final of 51-17.

New England in post-season leads Jacksonville 3-1 in the series and has outscored the Jaguars 89-54. New England’s last playoff win over Jacksonville came in Foxboro in 2007 in the AFC Divsional Playoffs by a final of 31-20, while Jacksonville’s lone victory in the sereis came in the Sunshine State in 1998 in the AFC Wild Card Game by a final of 25-10.

New England’s favored by 9 and the over/under’s 46. For the Pats, it’s a chance to go back and get another Lombardi trophy. For Jacksonville, it’s their chance to knock off Goliath. It’ll be closer than 9 but New England prevails and moves on to the Twin Cities.

Minnesota (13-3) at Philadelphia (13-3), 6:40 p.m. on FOX. A pair of teams that have yet to win a Super Bowl meet in the NFC Championship Game in the City of Brotherly Love as the Eagles host the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field.

Minnesota earned their way into the NFC Championship in a manner that not even Hollywood could have expected, coming away from US Bank Stadium 29-24 winners over Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints last Sunday afternoon. The Vikings led 17-0 at the intermission against New Orleans before the Saints’ Michael Thomas ended Minnesota’s bid for a shutout when he and Drew Brees connected on a 14-yard TD pass with 1:18 left in the third quarter. Brees and Thomas would connect again with 13:09 left in the contest when they connected on a 3-yard toss. After Kyle Horbath gave the Vikings a 20-14 lead with 10:12 left to play, New Orleans took the lead for the first time in the game when rookie RB Alvin Kamara caught a 14 yard TD pass from Brees with 3:01 left to. That lead would not last long, as once again it was Horbath putting the Vikings back on top with a 52-yard field goal with 89 seconds left.

New Orleans was not about to be outdone as they would use an 11-play, 50-yard drive that used 64 seconds of clock and took the lead back when K Wil Lutz connected on a 43-yard field goal with 25 seconds left. Minnesota, without time outs, engineered a drive that almost didn’t see the light of day as Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs opened with a 19-yard pass to their 39-yard line. After two Keenum passes were incomplete, the Vikings needed and got a miracle when Diggs caught Keenum’s desparation pass and took it into the end zone for a 61-yard TD pass as time expired for a walk-off TD to send Minnesota fans home happy and the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.

Minnesota outrushed New Orleans 95-80 and Keenum threw for 318 yards, while Brees threw for 294 (both men were sacked twice, Keenum threw an interception, while Brees threw two) and Diggs led all recievers with 137 yards on six catches, including the game-winner. Minnesota on third down was 10 of 17 and held the ball for 33:17, including the game-winning drive, while the Saints held the pigskin for 26:43, going 2 of 9 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Eagles erased a 10-9 deficit against Atlanta in the NFC Divisional Game at Lincoln Financial Field, taking a 15-10 win ove the Falcons Saturday afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2008 NFC Championship Game in Glendale, where they lost to Arizona 32-25. The Eagles used a pair of Josh Elliott field goals in the second half to take the lead, then held off a late Atlanta rally in the final seconds of the contest. The Falcons opened the scoring in the contest with a 33-yard field goal by Matt Bryant in the first quarter before the Eagles took the lead for the first time when RB LeGarrette Blount scored with 10:28 left before halftime from a yard out but Elliott missed the extra point. Atlanta then went to work and took the lead back with a 6-yard TD pass from Matt Ryan for a 10-6 lead. Elliott would make it a one-point game at the intermission with a 53-yard try and the Eagles would go on to score their final six points of the contest uncontested.

Philadelphia outrushed Atlanta 96-86 and Nick Foles threw for 246 yards, while Ryan threw for 210 yards (Ryan was sacked three times, Foles sacked once and neither man threw an interception). Philadelphia was 6 of 13 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth downO) conversions and held the ball for 32:06, while Atlanta kept the pigskin for 27:54, going 4 of 13 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down tries.

Minnesota in regular 23 regular season meetings with Philadelphia leads the series 13-10 and have outscored the Eagles 543-528. The Eagles won the last meeting with the Purple Gang, taking a 21-10 win in the City of Brotherly Love in the 2016 season, while Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2013 in the Twin Cities by a final of 48-30.

The week seven contest saw the Eagles take an 11-3 lead with them to the break at Lincoln Financial Field, thanks to a 98-yard kickoff return by Josh Huff, a Carson Wentz two-point conversion and a 35-yard field goal by Chris Strugis. Philly would hold Minnesota in check in the second half and take the win as Dorial Green-Beckham would catch a 5-yard toss from Wentz and Sturgis would add a 21-yard field goal to seal the win. Philly outrushed Minnesota 101-93 and Wentz threw for 138 yards and a pair of TDs, while Bradford threw for 224 yards and a TD but was sacked six times and picked off once. Third down tries in the week seven contest was nothing to cheer about (Philadelphia was 4 of 11, Minnesota was 9 of 19) but the Eagles found success in their only fourth down try, while the Viking were 1 of 3 on fourth down. In the week seven contest in the City of Brotherly Love, while the Eagles were 2 1/2 point underdogs in the contest, their 11 point allowed them to cover the spread; however, the 40 over/under was untouched as both clubs could only muster 31 points.

The Vikings had four players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive end Everson Griffen, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and wide receiver Adam Thielen, while Philadelphia had six players selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl: guard Brandon Brooks, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, tight end Zach Ertz, safety Malcom Jenkins, tackle Lane Johnson and quarterback Carson Wentz.

In the post-season, the Eagles and Vikings have played three times and Philadelphia has taken wins in all three contests, with the last win coming in 2008 in the Twin Cities by a final of 26-14 in the NFC Wild Card Game. The odds makers like the Vikings on the road as 3 point favorites with the over/under at 39. Both numbers make sense. Both teams want to go back to the Super Bowl; for the Vikings, it will be their first trip to the big game since 1977, when they lost to Oakland 31-19 in Super Bowl XI in Pasadena, while the Eagles’ last trip to the Super Bowl was Super Bowl XXXIX, when they lost to New England 24-21 in Jacksonville. It’s also added incentive for the Vikings, who would be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. The football gods have been kind to the Vikings of late and they’ll be kind again. Minnesota covers the 3 and wins in the City of Brotherly Love.

The National Football League and Verizon recently announced a multi-year partnership in which Verizon’s portfolio of premium digital and mobile media properties, including Yahoo Sports, will stream in-market and national games, including national pre-season, regular season, playoff games and the Super Bowl nationwide to sports fans – regardless of mobile network. The partnership kicked off in January 2018 with streaming of the NFL playoffs on Yahoo and Yahoo Sports, in addition to go90 and the NFL mobile app.

In addition to the expanded availability of live games, the new agreement will provide fans mobile access to NFL highlights, coverage of NFL throughout the week and year and a robust set of jointly-developed original content. With Verizon and Oath’s lead in U.S. monthly mobile millennial reach and more than 200 million U.S. monthly unique mobile and digital views, NFL content will reach a massive digital audience.

Verizon will continue to be an Official Sponsor of the NFL and offer unique experiences for customers enrolled in the Verizon Up rewards program at key NFL events including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and the NFL Draft. The partnership also involves work with individual NFL teams on Smart Stadium technology to help improve stadium operations.

“We’re making a commitment to fans for Verizon’s family of media properties to become the mobile destination for live sports,” said Lowell McAdam, Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications. “The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it. We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.”

“Verizon has been a key NFL partner, both in the distribution of games on NFL mobile and as a sponsor, since 2010 and we’re thrilled to be both extending and expanding our relationship with them,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our expanded partnership with Verizon is great for our fans.  Starting with the upcoming playoffs and for seasons to come, live NFL action directly on your mobile device – regardless of carrier – will give millions of fans additional ways to follow their favorite sport.”

To watch the live mobile experience on Yahoo in January, download the Yahoo Sports app on iOS and Google Play.

Verizon Communications Incorporated (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York City, has a diverse workforce of 160,100 and generated nearly $126 billion in 2016 revenues. Verizon operates America’s most reliable wireless network and the nation’s premier all-fiber network, and delivers integrated solutions to businesses worldwide. Its Oath subsidiary reaches about one billion people around the world with a dynamic house of media and technology brands.

VERIZON’S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: News releases, feature stories, executive biographies and media contacts are available at Verizon’s online News Center at http://www.verizon.com/news/. News releases are also available through an RSS feed. To subscribe, visit http://www.verizon.com/about/rss-feeds/.

Yahoo Sports connects fans to the sports and fantasy games they love most and is the first screen for the next generation of sports fans worldwide, who crave real-time personalized quality content and superior fan experiences every day. Download the Yahoo Sports app on iOS and Google Play for the mobile home of the NFL.

 

The National Football League and FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) announced today quarterbacks Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs), Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles) and Tom Brady (New England Patriots) are the finalists for the 2017 FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year honors, while running backs Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs), Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams) are the finalists for the 2017 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year.

In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII, fans have the chance to cast their vote for the one quarterback and one running back they feel had the year’s best Air & Ground performances. Through February 1 at 3 p.m. Eastern, fans can cast their vote for each category at nfl.com/fedex​ or on Twitter by tweeting @FedEx using the hashtag #AirandGround and listing their nominee’s last name to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year.

As part of the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year program, FedEx will donate $100,000 to the USO – $50,000 in each player’s name. The donation will be used to support the USO, a military support organization dedicated to connecting service members and their families to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

Throughout the 2017-18 season, FedEx supported its commitment to serving the community by making weekly $2,000 donations to the USO in each of the weekly winning players’ names. The total contribution will amount to $168,000 this season.

New this year, NFL Network Analyst, 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, 2006 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year and former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson served as the primary voice for the program.

FedEx will announce the 2017 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year winners at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 3, the night before Super Bowl LII, at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on NBC.

A closer look at the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year finalists:

•Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith led the NFL with a 104.7 passer rating. Smith threw for 4,042 yards with five interceptions and became the first player in league history to record five consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions. Smith ranked 3rd in the NFL with a 67.5% completion percentage, completing 341 of 505 passes.

•Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz’s 33 touchdown passes were the second-most in the NFL despite missing the final three games of the season due to injury. Wentz threw for 3,296 yards and had the league’s fourth best passer rating at 101.9. A 2018 Pro Bowl selection, Wentz led the Eagles to a 13-3 record and the NFC’s number one seed in the playoffs.

•New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl. Brady led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards and ranked third in touchdown passes with 32 and passer rating with a 102.8 rating. With eight interceptions this season, Brady joined Alex Smith as the only players in NFL history to have four consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and fewer than 10 interceptions.

A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year finalists:

•Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt led the league with 1,327 rushing yards and ranked third in scrimmage yards with 1,782. Hunt is the second rookie not selected in the first round to lead the league in rushing yards in the common draft era, since 1967. The 2018 Pro Bowl selection is the only rookie to have two games in a single season with at least 200 scrimmage yards, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.

•Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell led the AFC with 1,946 scrimmage yards and finished tied for the AFC lead with nine rushing touchdowns. Bell was selected to his third Pro Bowl and led all players in Pro Bowl fan voting with 855,539 total votes. Bell’s 1,946 scrimmage yards and 1,291 rushing yards are both the second-most in his five-year career.

•Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley led the NFL with 2,093 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns. The 2018 Pro Bowl selection set career highs in rushing yards, 1,305, and rushing touchdowns, 13. Gurley is the third different player in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five touchdown catches in a single season.

As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx is proud to sponsor the 15th annual FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year awards. The awards highlight the league’s leaders at the quarterback and running back positions, recognizing the players that consistently delivered the best results throughout the season.

The $100,000 donation is part of the company’s FedEx Cares global giving platform, in which FedEx will invest $200 million in more than 200 communities by 2020 to create opportunities and deliver solutions around the world.

For more information, visit nfl.com/fedex or follow the conversation on Twitter at @NFL.

About FedEx Corporation: FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $62 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 400,000 team members to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. To learn more about how FedEx connects people and possibilities around the world, please visit about.fedex.com.

About the USO: The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.

In other NFL award news…

The National Football League announced the five finalists for the 2017 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR award.

2017 PEPSI NEXT NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

Player Position Team
Alvin Kamara, Running Back – New Orleans Saints
Christian McCaffrey, Running Back – Carolina Panthers
Kareem Hunt, Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
Leonard Fournette, Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback – New Orleans Saints

Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com/Rookies through Thursday, January 25 to determine the 2017 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR.

The 2017 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR award will be recognized in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII festivities and online at NFL.com/Rookies.

The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2017 NFL season.  Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the finalists.

A closer look at the finalists:

•New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara: Kamara, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led all rookies with 14 total touchdowns and ranked second with 1,554 scrimmage yards. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only rookies in NFL history to have at least five rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a kickoff-return touchdown. Kamara led all rookies with 81 receptions, the third-most by a rookie running back in NFL history.

•Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey: McCaffrey set the Carolina Panthers franchise rookie record and ranked second among NFL rookies with 80 receptions, the fourth-most by a rookie running back in NFL history. He also set the franchise rookie record with 1,086 scrimmage yards and was one of four rookies with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards this season.

•Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt: Hunt, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led the league with 1,327 rushing yards and is the second rookie not selected in the first round to lead his league in rushing yards in the common draft era (since 1967). He became the second rookie in NFL history to record at least 1,000 scrimmage yards through his team’s first seven games and began his career with seven consecutive games of at least 100 scrimmage yards, an NFL rookie record. Hunt, who had six games with at least 100 rushing yards, finished with eight rushing touchdowns and 1,782 scrimmage yards, the most among NFL rookies.

•Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette: Fournette led all rookies and tied for third in the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns. He ranked second among rookie running backs with 1,040 rushing yards and was one of nine running backs to rush for at least 1,000 yards during the 2017 season. Fournette rushed for more than 100 yards on five occasions and helped the Jaguars win their division for the first time since 1999 (AFC Central).

•New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore: Lattimore, a 2018 Pro Bowl selection, led all rookies and tied for fifth in the NFL with five interceptions. He finished the season with 52 tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble and 18 passes defensed, tied for the most by a rookie during the 2017 season.

This is Pepsi’s 16th year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the 15th year that Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.

About PepsiCo: PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated approximately $63 billion in net revenue in 2016, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth and shareholder value. In practice, Performance with Purpose means providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our operating costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for our employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we operate. For more information, visit http://www.pepsico.com.