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deal w O via the NFL Players Inc. licensing- unit. "Since partnering in 2013, and have helped nearly 1,000 players connect with hundreds of brands to share campaigns, reaching more than 1 billion fans worldwide."

• The has named Shenzhen, as the host city for 2019-2028, a deal that includes the building of a 12K-seat venue, and doubling the prize money to $14M for the Top 8 singles players and Top 8 doubles teams.

• Overwatch League said that its first week of competition drew more than 10 million viewers via Twitch, MLG, and Chinese streaming partners ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC and Panda TV. Opening day had an average audience per minute of 408,000.

• Coca-Cola, International Speedway Corp. and Nascar have signed an extension to their partnerships under which Coca-Cola, would "continue its deep-rooted history in the sport by engaging racing fans across Nascar’s three national series and 12 ISC-operated race tracks" and events including the Coca-Cola 600 and the Coca-Cola 400. Coca-Cola-sponsored drivers include Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. Coca-Cola said it "has been involved with stock car racing for 50 years," and became an official partner with Nascar in 1998.

• NBC Olympics will debut Olympic Ice Presented by Toyota, a live, daily figure skating show airing nightly (7 PM ET) on NBCSN beginning Feb. 10 and continuing through Feb. 24. Live Olympic figure skating competition will follow the show in primetime. NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will present a digital-exclusive version of Olympic Ice Presented by Toyota immediately following prime-time coverage beginning Feb. 8.

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Top NBA All-Star Game Votes (To Date)
Eastern Conference
1.  Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 863,416
2.  LeBron James (CLE) 856,080
3.  Kyrie Irving (BOS) 802,834
4.  Joel Embiid (PHI) 433,161
5. Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 359,459
6.  DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 259,368
7.  Victor Oladipo (IND) 251,886
8.  Kevin Love (CLE) 221,969
9.  Ben Simmons (PHI) 210,085
10. John Wall (WAS) 175,990
Western Conference
1. Kevin Durant (GSW) 767,402
2. Stephen Curry (GSW) 735,115
3. James Harden (HOU) 602,040
4. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 438,469
5. Klay Thompson (GSW) 359,442
6. DeMarcus Cousins (NOP) 356,340
7. Draymond Green (GSW) 325,612
8. Manu Ginobili (SAS) 231,460
9. Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 212,650
10. Carmelo Anthony (OKC) 194,239

The 67th NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. TNT will televise (8 PM ET)

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Top-Selling NFL Jerseys By Team 2017 At Dick’s Sporting Goods
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New England Patriots
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Denver Broncos
6. Carolina Panthers
7. New York Giants
8. Seattle Seahawks
9. Atlanta Falcons
10. Cincinnati Bengals
11. Houston Texans
12. Minnesota Vikings
13. Detroit Lions
14. Chicago Bears
15. Green Bay Packers
16. Oakland Raiders
17. Kansas City Chiefs
18. Baltimore Ravens
19. Washington Redskins
20. Arizona Cardinals

SOURCE: DICK'S SPORTING GOODS

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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Wednesday
Jan102018

Here’s Jonny: Selling The Second Coming Of Jon Gruden To Raider (And The) Nation

By Barry Janoff

Janaury 10, 2018: The Oakland Raiders have already started to pack their bags with the intention of moving into a new stadium in a new city, Las Vegas, by the 2020 NFL season.

But that leaves two seasons to go in Oakland, where the team’s fan base is as rabid and fanatical as any in sports.

How to keep the masses happy?

Enter Jon Gruden.

Gruden says he is back home, returning to his old Oakland Raiders stomping ground in his second tenure there as head coach.

Gruden coached the Silver and Black from 1998-2001 and, after being “traded” for several draft picks, the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-2008 — including a win over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

He had been with ESPN since 2009, including as an analyst on Monday Night Football and running Jon Gruden’s QB Camp.

At his re-introductory press conference in Oakland on Tuesday, the team said there were more than 110 credentialed media members.

Perhaps more important, there were upward of 50 former players, some of whom played under Gruder.

The show of solidarity was led by nine Hall of Famers — Tim Brown, Willie Brown, Dave Casper, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, James Lofton, Howie Long, Jim Otto and Jerry Rice — as well as former head coach Tom Flores, Super Bowl XV MVP Jim Plunkett, Cliff Branch, Charles Woodson and Rich Gannon.

“Once a Raider, always a Raider,” said team owner Mark Davis.  “Never been more appropriate than today,"

And then, speaking directly to the team’s core fan base: ”Raider Nation, this is a big eff-en deal," said Davis.

Gruden said he returned to coaching after ten years for four reasons:

I love football .I love the city of Oakland. I love the Oakland Raiders. Most of all I love to win.

'I never wanted to leave the Raiders,” he said, and then in the same breath, “I never thought I'd be back.”

According to Gruden, and seconded by Davis, “Mark and I have been friends for a long time. Over the last six to seven years we have talked about the Raiders. Not necessarily becoming a coach, but maybe ways that we could improve the Raiders or my vision how I thought I could help them.

“Mark came to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I had any intentions of coaching and with the support of my family I said, ‘Yes, I do,’ and it’s a mysterious way it all came together and here I am. I don’t really have a solid explanation other than that.”

During his time with ESPN, according to Gruden, he continued to monitor the Raiders, as well as other NFL teams, from a coaching perspective.

“I have had some unique and beneficial opportunities as a broadcaster,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to watch practices and see how they conduct training camps [as a broadcaster]. I’ve had the chance to learn and see some things that I’ve never gotten to see as a coach. I’ve had a chance to study different offenses, different defenses, and the chance to get into personnel more.”

Regarding his new players:

• I've never met Marshawn Lynch, even as a broadcaster. Asked for him to attend production meetings but he never came. I am anxious to meet with him, sit down with him. He came back to Oakland for the same reasons I did’.”

• “There is a huge ceiling for Derek Carr. It's up to us as a coaching staff to help him soar. If I were an Oakland Raiders fan I would be excited to see him play.”

• Addressing his former players in the room: “I see some of you guys finally showed up on time!”

• Addressing his reported ten-year, $100 million contract: "I don’t have a guarantee to be alive for ten years so people know. Mark has told me that we are not getting any ownership of the team, so I am happy to report that today. I don’t really know the terms.

"All I know is that this year, I’ll be coaching in Oakland and next year I’m going to be coaching in Oakland. I know there is a big bull's eye on my chest. How long I stay here is dependent on how well we play.”

Will this be enough to satisfy Raider Nation, knowing that the team will be gone down the road?

"There is unfinished business,” said Gruden. "I’ve missed the game terribly. But I've really missed the Raiders.

“I hope people understand the emotion inside of me. I feel unfinished business. I also feel a lot of loyalty, and I feel a lot of responsibility to get the Raiders going again. It's been a while since we consistently performed at a high level and that's really all I care about. I'm going to do everything I can to help this team get right again."

“What I want to say to Raider Nation: I'm glad to be back. I can't wait to unite with you. Let's get going!”

PHOTOS: RAIDERS.COM

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