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PITTSBURGH — Maybe it's because I'm from Buffalo, but from this vantage point, conference championship games feel just as big and sometimes bigger than Super Bowls. That's especially true the first time around, which was Bills 51, Raiders 3, if I recall correctly. (And how could I forget?) One's entire football existence — as a player, fan or coach — is geared toward getting to the Super Bowl, ...

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PHILADELPHIA — The starting quarterback quit during the fourth quarter of the season opener, the coaches walked out a few weeks later after their checks bounced, and the turf was so thin that it felt like concrete. This — the inaugural season of an indoor football league — was Nick Sirianni’s introduction to professional football, where the players made $300 if they won and $200 if they ...

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TAMPA, Fla. — Clyde Christensen was asked to review the play sheet to see if anything was missing. Less than a week after retiring as Bucs quarterbacks coach, part of the purge of nine assistants from Todd Bowles’ staff on Jan. 19, Christensen received a text message and follow-up phone call from Peyton Manning, who is the AFC coach for the NFL’s first Pro Bowl flag football game. “Peyton said, ...

Jon Rahm made an impressive charge up the leaderboard on his favorite course with a 6-under 66 at Torrey Pines to pull within two shots of leader Sam Ryder after the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Ranked No. 3 in the world, Rahm is one round away from his third win in as many starts and taking over at No. 1 for the first time since March 20.

Novak Djokovic will carry a 27-match winning streak at the Australian Open into the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. That unbeaten run was put on pause a year ago when Djokovic could not participate in the tournament because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. That is just one of several non-tennis matters that have swirled around the 35-year-old from Serbia. He will be seeking a 10th championship at Melbourne Park on Sunday. He also hopes to earn a 22nd Grand Slam title overall to tie Rafael Nadal's mark for men. Tsitsipas is trying to win his first major trophy. The winner will rise to No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

Four of the best tight ends in the NFL will be on display in Sunday's conference championship games. In the opener, Dallas Goedert of the Eagles will face the 49ers and George Kittle, while the nightcap features Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and Hayden Hurst of the Bengals. They have all been instrumental in helping their teams reach the precipice of the Super Bowl, though all do it in different ways.

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Novak Djokovic put aside some shaky early play to beat unseeded American Tommy Paul and reach the Australian Open final, where he will face Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday. The winner will move up to No. 1 in the ATP rankings. 

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Novak Djokovic has put aside some shaky early play to beat unseeded American Tommy Paul 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 and reach the Australian Open final. Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title on Sunday. The winner will move up to No. 1 in the ATP rankings. Tsitsipas made it to his second Grand Slam final with a 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 semifinal victory over Karen Khachanov. The No. 3-seeded Tsitsipas had been 0-3 in semifinals at Melbourne Park. Djokovic is seeking his 10th Australian Open championship to extend his own men's record and a 22nd Grand Slam trophy overall to equal Rafael Nadal's mark.

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Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina plays in her second final in the past three Grand Slam tournaments when she meets No. 5 Aryana Sabalenka for the Australian Open championship. They are two of the hardest-hitting players in tennis. Saturday's contest is the first Grand Slam final of Sabalenka's career. She is 10-0 in 2023, winning all 20 sets. Sabalenka has won all three previous matches she and Rybakina have played each other. All went to three sets. They last met in 2021. Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata will play Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski in the men's doubles final.

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PHILADELPHIA — When Matt Leo thinks of his only college game against Jalen Hurts, his belief in Brock Purdy is what overshadows everything else. Leo, the Eagles practice-squad defensive end, doesn’t remember many of the moments that determined the 42-41 Oklahoma win in which his current team’s quarterback outdueled his college quarterback, try as he may for the reporters circled around him. ...

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Before the playoffs started, my Super Bowl prediction was Cincinnati-Philadelphia. The best four teams are still standing, and here’s why I still believe a trip to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona is in the cards for the Bengals and Eagles. NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SAN FRANCISCO AT PHILADELPHIA TV: Fox, 3 p.m. Sunday Philadelphia by 2.5; O/U: 46.5 Jalen Hurts and the Eagles haven’t faced a team like ...

The NFC championship game pits the San Francisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers have won 12 straight games. Seven of those have come since rookie Brock Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick, took over at quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. The Eagles are 15-1 overall when quarterback Jalen Hurts starts a game. The Niners are making a record 18th appearance in the NFC title game, their second in a row and third in four years. The Eagles are trying to win their second Super Bowl in six seasons.

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The Philadelphia Eagles are heading to the NFC championship game on the strength of wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Brown had 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, while Smith finished his second NFL season with 95 catches, which are the most by a wide receiver in team history.

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