Weekend Sports in Brief

February 8, 2021 GMT

NFL

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady made his seventh Super Bowl title look familiar - despite moving south to a new team and conference during a pandemic.

Brady threw two touchdown passes to old friend Rob Gronkowski and one to good pal Antonio Brown, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday.

Brady earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and extended his Super Bowl titles’ record in his 10th appearance, his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The 43-year-old Brady broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joins Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises.

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The Buccaneers (15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl.

Tampa’s victory prevented Mahomes and the Chiefs (16-3) from becoming the first repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots did it in 2003-04.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers earned his third Associated Press Most Valuable Player award, while Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald took his third top defensive player prize at NFL Honors.

Also taking home awards were two members of the Washington Football Team: quarterback Alex Smith was the Comeback Player of the Year in one of the most inspirational stories of 2020, and edge rusher Chase Young got the top defensive rookie.

Titans 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry won Offensive Player of the Year, and the offensive rookie honor went to Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

Cleveland’s Kevin Stefanski was the Coach of the Year, and Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll earned assistant coach honors.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Peyton Manning is heading to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, an all-but-preordained honor for a quarterback who helped redefine offense in the 21st century.

Joining Manning in making it on their first ballot are defensive back Charles Woodson and the receiver known as Megatron — Calvin Johnson. Steelers guard Alan Faneca and safety John Lynch round out the modern-era Class of 2021.

Also going in are Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson, Raiders coach Tom Flores and Steelers scout Bill Nunn.

NBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is reuniting with Tom Thibodeau after a trade that brings him back to New York.

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The Knicks agreed to acquire the former NBA MVP from the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, a person with knowledge of the details said.

The Knicks will send Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick to the Pistons, the person told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade was not yet official.

— By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without versatile forward Larry Nance for six weeks after he broke his left hand during Saturday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Nance, who has missed several recent games with a sprained right wrist, broke the fourth metacarpal in his hand during the first quarter of the 124-99 loss as the Cavaliers dropped back-to-back games against one of the NBA’s best teams.

It’s not yet known if Nance will have surgery.

GOLF

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Brooks Koepka chipped in from 32 yards for eagle on the 17th hole to break a tie for the lead and then parred the last for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Five strokes behind Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele entering the round, Koepka shot a 6-under 65 to finish at 19-under 265. The four-time major champion also won in 2015 at TPC Scottsdale for the first of his eight PGA Tour titles.

Schauffele birdied the par-4 18th for a 71 to tie for second with Kyoung-Hoon Lee (68).

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Top-ranked Dustin Johnson won the Saudi International for the second time in three years on Sunday after shooting a 2-under 68 in the final round to finish two strokes clear of Justin Rose and Tony Finau.

Johnson, who was also runner-up in 2020, recorded his highest scoring round of the tournament at Royal Greens Golf Club but still finished top of the leaderboard on 15-under overall.

TENNIS

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Daniil Medvedev has improved his winning streak to 14 matches and secured Russia’s 2-0 victory over Italy in the ATP Cup final when he beat Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena.

Andrey Rublev had given his team a commanding start with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO (AP) — Public opposition remains strong in Japan to holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics following derogatory remarks about women made last week by the head of the local organizing committee.

A telephone survey over the weekend by Japanese news agency Kyodo showed just over 82% believe the games should be canceled or postponed again. The results are consistent with polls in recent months showing the strong opposition.

Organizers and the IOC have said the games cannot be postponed again and will be canceled if they can’t be held.

BOBSLED

Kaillie Humphries got some help from a U.S. bobsled legend on her way to making history Saturday.

Humphries is the world women’s bobsled champion for a record fourth time, teaming with Lolo Jones to win the title on a snowy day in Altenberg, Germany.

Humphries and Jones finished their four runs over two days. And Humphries drove to the title in a sled equipped with runners that were owned by Steven Holcomb, the former world and Olympic champion who died nearly four years ago.

OBITUARY

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Pedro Gomez, a longtime baseball correspondent for ESPN who covered more than 25 World Series, has died. He was 58.

Gomez died unexpectedly at home Sunday, his family said in a statement. No cause of death was given.

Gomez joined ESPN as a Phoenix-based reporter in 2003 after being a sports columnist and national baseball writer at The Arizona Republic since 1997. He was best known at the network for his coverage of Barry Bonds and his pursuit of the home-run record during the steroid controversy.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Leon Spinks, who won Olympic gold and then shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight, has died. He was 67.

Spinks, who lived his later years in Las Vegas, died Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm. He had been battling prostate and other cancers.

His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he passed away.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Charlie Krueger, a star defensive tackle who spent his 16-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 84.

The team said Saturday he died in Clayton, California, but did not disclose other details. The San Francisco Chronicle said the cause was heart and kidney failure.

Krueger played for the 49ers from 1958 to 1973, one of the longest tenured players in team history. He was part of teams that won three consecutive NFC West titles from 1970-72. His No. 70 jersey was retired in 1974 and he joined the club’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — Texas Rio Grande Valley coach Lew Hill died Sunday at 55.

Hill was in his fifth season as coach of the Vaqueros, who lost 77-75 against Texas Southern on Saturday night.

The school said the cause of death was not known, and didn’t provide any other details.

Hill, who was originally from Mount Vernon, New York, also was an assistant coach at South Alabama (1990-92), Southeast Missouri State (1992-94), East Carolina (1994-98) and Texas A&M (1998-2004).

Rio Grande Valley was 8-4 this season under Hill. He had a 66-77 record with the Vaqueros, including a 20-win season in 2018-19.

WINDSOR, Colo. (AP) — Ralph Backstrom, a six-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens, college coach and founder of a minor-league team, died Sunday. He was 83.

The Colorado Eagles announced the death of Backstrom, who founded the minor-league franchise located in northern Colorado, in 2002. He served as the Eagles’ team president from 2003-07. No cause of death was given.

Backstrom was a longtime forward and helped the Canadiens capture the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons on three different occasions. He played in 1,336 career games in the NHL and the World Hockey Association, with 378 goals and 514 assists.

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