Dec 17, 2019

Axios Sports

πŸ‘‹ Good morning! Let's sports.

Today's word count: 1,296 words (5 minutes).

1 big thing: 🏈 Your 2019 first team All-Americans
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Data: AP, 247Sports; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Playoff participants LSU and Ohio State each placed three players on the AP All-America first team released yesterday.

  • Georgia and Wisconsin also had multiple first-team selections, and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor is the only player this season to repeat as a first-teamer.
  • Alabama had no players on the first team for the first time since 2010, but had five players on the second and third teams, tying them with Utah and Oklahoma for the second-most overall selections (Ohio State had seven).

Worth noting: 10 of the 25 first-team All-Americans were Top 100 recruits in their respective classes, while seven weren't even in the top 1,000 β€” a reminder of (a) how hard it is to project teenagers and (b) the growth that can happen in college.

Second team:

  • Offense: QB Justin Fields (Ohio State, So.); RB J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State, Jr.); RB Travis Etienne (Clemson, Jr.); WR: DeVonta Smith (Alabama, Jr.); WR Michael Pittman (USC, Sr.); TE Hunter Bryant (Washington, Jr.); T Jedrick Wills Jr. (Alabama, Jr.); T Tristan Wirfs (Iowa, Jr.); G Shane Lemieux (Oregon, Sr.); G John Simpson (Clemson, Sr.); C Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma, So.); All-Purpose: Jaylen Waddle (Alabama, So.); K Rodrigo Blankenship (Georgia, Sr.)
  • Defense: DE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa, Jr.); DE Curtis Weaver (Boise State, Jr.); DT Jaylen Twyman (Pitt, So.); Jordan Elliott (Missouri, Jr.); LB: Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (Oregon State, Jr.); Zack Baun (Wisconsin, Sr.); Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech, Sr.); CB Amik Robertson (Louisiana Tech, Jr.); Jaylon Johnson (Utah, Jr.); S Julian Blackmon (Utah, Sr.); S Grant Delpit (LSU, Jr.); P Braden Mann (Texas A&M, Sr.)

Go deeper: Third-team

2. πŸ‘Ž Worst owner debate: Snyder vs. Dolan

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios. Photos: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images, G Fiume/Getty Images

Yesterday, I asked you whether Daniel Snyder (Redskins) or James Dolan (Knicks) was the worse owner. The results were extremely close, with Snyder winning by less than 10 votes.

  • Snyder: 50.1% of the vote
  • Dolan: 49.9% of the vote

A side-by-side look at the two...


  • Snyder, 55, is a college dropout and self-made billionaire. At age 32, he became the youngest ever CEO of a New York Stock Exchange-listed company (Snyder Communications), and three years later in 1999, he bought the Redskins for $800 million.
  • Dolan, 64, is the son of Cablevision founder Charles Dolan, who handed him the Knicks β€” and the entire Madison Square Garden Company β€” in 1999.

By the numbers:

  • Snyder: Under Snyder, the Redskins are 142-191-1 (.425) with a grand total of two playoff wins. Nine coaches in 20 seasons.
  • Dolan: Under Dolan, the Knicks have the NBA's lowest winning percentage this century (.412) and have won just one playoff series (2013). 13 coaches in 20 seasons.

Fan relations:

  • Snyder: In 2009, the Redskins banned fan signs from FedEx Field, largely to prevent critical messages.
  • Dolan: In 2019, he threatened to ban a fan from Madison Square Garden for life after he yelled "Sell the team!" in his direction.

Media relations:

  • Snyder: In 2011, he filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Washington City Paper and writer Dave McKenna in response to McKenna's article, "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder."
  • Dolan: He has routinely barred media outlets from press conferences and events, and "media paranoia is an indisputable part of the building's playbook," ESPN's Ian O'Connor wrote last year.

The bottom line:

"The Acela is more than just a well-appointed train from Gotham to D.C. .... It is also the Misery Express, connecting Washington's NFL team faithful with the fitful fans of the New York Knicks, in decades-old debates over The Big Engines That Can't."
β€” Selena Roberts, Sports on Earth
3. πŸ“Έ Last night in photos
Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS β€” Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's career TD record, while also registering an NFL-record 96.7 completion percentage in the Saints' 34-7 win over the Colts. Final line: 29/30, 307 yds, 4 TD, no turnovers or sacks.

Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

MILWAUKEE — Kristaps Porziņģis (26 pts) and Seth Curry (26 pts) led the Mavericks past Giannis Antetokounmpo (48 pts) and the Bucks, snapping Milwaukee's 18-game win streak (tied for 11th-longest in NBA history).

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

DALLAS β€” Connor McDavid (whose 59 points rank first in the NHL) and teammate Leon Draisaitl (whose 57 points rank second) combined for a goal and two assists in the Edmonton Oilers' 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars.

4. πŸ€ Men's poll: Kansas to No. 1; UNC falls out
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Data: AP; Table: Axios Visuals

Kansas moved up one spot to become the fifth team to top the rankings β€” the first time the AP poll has had five different No. 1 teams before New Year's Day (the record for an entire season is seven).

The bottom line: The 2019-20 men's college hoops season is wide open, and while the lack of dominant blue bloods could hurt regular-season ratings, the feeling that anyone can beat anyone will surely pay off come March.

5. πŸ€ Women's poll: Louisville up to No. 6
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Data: AP; Table: Axios Visuals

The top 25 remaining mostly unchanged with teams on break for exams.


  • Last night: No. 2 UConn held off No. 16 DePaul, 84-74.
  • Coming up: No. 23 Tennessee visits No. 1 Stanford on Wednesday, and No. 20 Missouri State visits No. 17 Gonzaga on Friday.
Bonus: πŸ€ The "Triple-Double Queen"

Sabrina Ionescu dribbles the ball, while Kobe Bryant looks on. Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Oregon superstar Sabrina Ionescu racked up 16 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists in her team's 84-41 win over UC Riverside last night.

Why it matters: The future No. 1 pick has now recorded an unparalleled 20 triple-doubles in her college career, which is eight more than any other player (man or woman). BYU's Kyle Collinsworth is second with 12.

ICYMI ... Ionescu led Oregon to a stunning victory over the U.S. women's national team last month. Here's her post-game interview.

6. πŸ“Š By the numbers
David Tepper. Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

⚽️ $325 million

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper will spend a record $325 million to bring Major League Soccer's 30th franchise to Charlotte, per ESPN. With this addition, 20 clubs will have joined MLS since 2005.

πŸ’ 3 players, 2 picks

In an early-season NHL blockbuster, the Arizona Coyotes acquired former MVP Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for three players and two draft picks.

🏈 $5 million

NFL helmet maker Vicis, which counts Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers as investors, is running out on money and might have to raise additional funds by selling shares at a $5 million valuation after being valued at $90 million as recently as last year, NYT reports.

7. Dec. 17, 2014: ⛳️ Gus gets a hole-in-one
Screenshot: @GCMorningDrive (Twitter)

Five years ago today, 103-year-old Gus Andreone became the oldest golfer to hit a hole-in-one, recording the ace with his driver on the 113-yard, 14th hole at Palm Avis Country Club in Sarasota, Florida.

  • RIP, Gus: Andreone passed away last year as the oldest member of the PGA of America. The Pittsburgh native won three bronze stars while serving in WWII and credits "the greatest game ever invented" with helping him survive the war. "The thought of golf kept me going," he said.

Go deeper: PGA legend Gus Andreone passes away at age 107 (PGA)

8. The Ocho: 🌊 Meanwhile, in Hawaii
Imaikalani deVault during the quarterfinals. Photo: Ed Sloane/WSL via Getty Images

With a big swell incoming, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Oahu, Hawaii, is set to resume today. The intrigue: Close friends Kelly Slater and John John Florence are vying for the final U.S. Olympic spot.

That photo, though .... Surfing is unreal.

9. 🏈 NFL trivia

Saints WR Michael Thomas has 133 receptions this year, which is the third-most ever in a single season and just 10 shy of the all-time record (143).

  • Question: Who holds the all-time record?
  • Hint: He's currently 47 years old.

Answer at the bottom.

10. 🎬 Good reads (about movies)
Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Knicks are stuck in a "Star Wars Night" loop that may never end (Ricky O'Donnell, SB Nation)

"The New York Knicks have found themselves caught playing on 'Star Wars Night' every time they took the court for the past week."

How Kevin Garnett landed in "Uncut Gems" (Alan Siegel, The Ringer)

"'Uncut Gems' contains actual game footage, real players, and one of the best acting performances by an athlete ever. But bringing such a uniquely specific, sports-soaked story to the big screen was a nearly decade-long odyssey."

An old college sports film for our time (Luke Cyphers and Daniel Libit, The Intercollegiate)

"Movies tackling the unsavory side of college sports β€” from 'Blue Chips' to 'The Program' to 'He Got Game' β€” are nothing new ... But a nearly forgotten 1933 film ... may be the most unflinching, sociopathic look at intercollegiate athletics ever produced."

Talk tomorrow,

Kendall "Some news" Baker

Trivia answer: Marvin Harrison