👋 Good morning! Congrats to the Georgetown men's soccer team for outlasting Virginia to win its first-ever national championship. After 13 straight penalty kick makes, this save won the title.
Today's word count: 1,559 words (6 minutes).
In Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14 is a day marked by tragedy. Flags are flown at half-staff, memorials are held, and at 9:30am, the bells of St. Rose of Lima ring 26 times — once for each of the 20 children and six teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Watch: With just 3.3 seconds remaining, Newtown High School QB Jack Street connected with WR Riley Ward on a 36-yard game-winning TD, giving the school its first state title since 1992.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more. I love this town, I love everybody. I'm at a loss for words."— Ward, per the Hartford Courant
Why it matters: Sports aren't going to solve the world's problems, and a football game isn't going to lessen the blow of an unthinkable tragedy. But what happened on Saturday is going to help Newtown heal, in one way or another.
The bottom line: When I watch the GIF at the top, of a Newtown player embracing his coach, I feel something in my chest. It's like butterflies, but warmer, and gets me choked up in a way that few things do.
Five teams clinched spots in the NFL playoffs yesterday, bringing the total to eight and leaving four spots remaining to be filled over the final two weeks.
More from Sunday:
China's state broadcaster CCTV pulled a match between Arsenal and Manchester City yesterday after Mesut Özil criticized Beijing for its mass detention of Uighur Muslims, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.
The backdrop: Özil, a Turkish-German soccer player, denounced China on Twitter and Instagram for persecuting Uighur minorities in Xinjiang province, while also calling out Muslim-majority countries for their silence.
What they're saying: "Korans are being burnt. Mosques are being shut down. Muslim schools are being banned. Religious scholars are being killed one by one,” Özil tweeted in Turkish. “Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet."
The big picture: This isn't the first time a Western sports team has come under fire for its response to China's human rights abuses.
OAKLAND — In their final home game in Oakland before next season's move to Las Vegas, the Raiders suffered a devastating 20-16 loss to the Jaguars. Some fans booed as the game clock wound down, while others remained in their seats long after, unwilling to fully let go of an era.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Tiger Woods' memorable 2019 began in April at Augusta, where he won his 15th major, and ended Sunday at Royal Melbourne, where he led the U.S. to victory in the Presidents Cup. The first playing captain in 25 years, Woods was the only player on either team that didn't suffer a single loss.
COLUMBUS, OHIO — With his dad sitting courtside, high school freshman LeBron James Jr. (aka. "Bronny") put up 15 points and scored the go-ahead layup in Sierra Canyon's 59-56 win over his dad's alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary.
LAS VEGAS — Alexander Volkanovski snapped Max Holloway's 925-day streak as UFC Featherweight Champion, dethroning him at UFC 245 to become the first Australian-born champion in UFC history.
Photo: Adam Hunger/Getty Images
LSU QB Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night by the largest margin in the award's storied history, cementing his place in college football lore after a record-breaking 2019 campaign.
The big picture: From Ohio State backup as a freshman and sophomore, to LSU "game manager" as a junior, to Heisman winner as a senior, the legend of Joe Burrow is like something out of a movie.
P.S. ... Six years ago, Burrow was just a high school kid trying to get his name out there.
🏀 29.4 ppg
Rider (N.J.) University's Stella Johnson is averaging 29.4 points per game this season, six more than anyone else in D-I. At her current pace, it will take Johnson less than two months to reach 2,000 career points, which is more points than there are seats in her home arena. Get to know her.
🏈 304 yards
Navy senior QB Malcolm Perry led the Midshipmen to an impressive 31-7 victory over Army — their first win over the Black Knights since 2015 — and broke multiple records in the process, including most rushing yards in an Army-Navy game (304).
💵 +2.5 spread
Pretty wild Sunday night in college hoops. Minnesota delivered No. 3 Ohio State its first loss, Wofford delivered No. 17 UNC its third straight loss and NC State beat UNC-Greensboro by three on a half-court buzzer-beater. Gotta feel for the bettors who took UNC-Greensboro +2.5.
89 years ago today, legendary golfer Bobby Jones was named the first-ever recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to "the most outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S."
Go deeper: "In the Golden Age of Sport, Jones took his place alongside such giants as Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Red Grange and Bill Tilden. From 1923 to 1929, the Georgia gentleman dominated golf, birdieing his way into this country's heart." (ESPN Archives)
I spent the weekend watching a lot of netball, and my take is that it's basically basketball, minus backboards and dribbling — and only certain players can shoot.
How to play: There are seven positions: goal keeper, goal defense, wing defense, center, wing attack, goal attack and goal scorer (see above), and they each have a designated area on the court that they aren't allowed to leave.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokić recorded his 32nd career triple-double on Saturday, moving him into a tie for 11th on the all-time list. (Reminder: he's 24 years old.)
Answer at the bottom.
Kendall "Reader selfies are coming, hang tight" Baker
Trivia answer: Russell Westbrook (144), LeBron James (87), James Harden (42), Rajon Rondo (32)