Listen to Go4it! Talking NFL Championship Weekend

We will be talking sports and having fun doing it. We will talk Championship Weekend in the NFL. 

Can Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs get back to the Super Bowl, or will Josh Allen and the Bills spoil the party?

Will Tom Brady get to his 10th Super Bowl, or will Aaron Rodgers get it done!

Also, talking Brooklyn’s Big 3. Will it be enough to win it all?

Listen below:

Gary Kubiak retires after 36 years in the NFL

Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach Gary Kubiak has announced his retirement from the NFL. Kubiak retires having appeared in nine conference championship games and seven Super Bowls as a player or coach.

Kubiak has been part of four World Championship staffs during his career, most recently as the Head Coach of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

In 10 seasons as a head coach with Houston and Denver, Kubiak had 87 wins including postseason games. Kubiak spent 36 seasons in the NFL, playing for nine and 27 in coaching and personnel. Gary Kubiak has issued the following statement:

“It’s been the honor of my lifetime to work for 36 seasons as an NFL player and coach. I’ve been on a football field for most of my life, and now I look forward to stepping away from the game and enjoying more time with my family and friends. I offer my sincere thanks to the owners and fans of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers for giving me opportunities to be a part of this great game and for treating me and my family so well over the years. I’ll miss the competition, the planning, game days and being part of a team. But, more than anything, I’ll cherish the friendships I’ve made along the way with players, coaches and staff. I love the game of football and will forever be its biggest fan.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has issued the following statement on the retirement of Gary Kubiak:

“Gary did a tremendous job with us at the Vikings over the past two seasons. I have a great deal of respect for him as a coach and as a person, and I’m glad I was able to coach with him. He has had one heck of an NFL career as a player, assistant coach and head coach, and I am really happy for Gary and his wife Rhonda as they head off to their ranch. We will all miss Gary at the Vikings organization and wish him the very best.”

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has issued the following statement on the retirement of Gary Kubiak:

“Gary Kubiak is leaving an impressive legacy in the NFL, and his impact will be shown for decades to come in the players he’s guided and the coaches he’s mentored. There’s not a better man in our business than Gary. The entire Vikings organization appreciates what Gary did for us and what he has meant to the game.”

Jaguars clinch number one overall pick in 2021 NFL Draft

In life, there are silver linings to everything, including losing 14 straight games, which the Jaguars have done after losing to the Bears 41-17 at TIAA Bank Field in the team’s home finale on Sunday. Jacksonville(1-14) trailed 13-10 at halftime, but were outscored 28-7 in the second half.

After the Jets win over the Browns, the Jaguars have clinched the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which means, if he declares, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence will be a member of the Jacksonville jaguars.

Jacksonville have been looking for a franchise QB for years, and  now, they may have finally found that guy. The Jaguars will have a new GM after dismissing Dave Caldwell in November and will probably have a new coach, so them having the number one pick, makes the Jaguars coaching position very attractive.

It’s been a struggle in Jacksonville after the team went 10-6 and made it all the way to the AFC title game. Since that season, the Jaguars are 12-35. They tried with Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, and Gardner Minshew, now if things fall into place, it’s time to try it with Trevor Lawrence!

Bucs’ Arians on playing world-champion Chiefs: ‘You always want to beat those guys’

On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(7-4) suffered a very disappointing home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Now, they have another formidable opponent coming to Raymond James Stadium in Patrick Mahomes and the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs(9-1) on Sunday.

Every team gets up for the world champions, and usually give their best effort. According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, it does not mean much to the coaches, but it does matter to the players.  

“I think the players get up for it. For coaches, it’s just the next game, but the players get up for it,” Arians said on Friday. “It’s something special– you always want to beat those guys and prove something to yourselves.”

One of the reasons the Chiefs have been very competitive over the years, including a Super Bowl last season, has been their head coach Andy Reid. In eight seasons with the Chiefs, Reid is 122-86 in the regular season, and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady thinks continuity has helped Kansas City be successful over the years. 

“They’ve had some continuity on that side with that system, with those coaches [and] lot of their key veteran players,” Brady said on Friday. “That’s always important – I feel continuity is the most critical aspect to consistent performance because you have to build on year after year, not just game after game or week after week. They’ve been in that system for a while – Coach Reid’s been there for a while [and] he’s a great coach. They do a great job. They’ve got a lot of good things going [and] they’ve been tough to beat for a lot of years now, including when Alex Smith was there. They were pretty good too [and] I played them all those years, as well. They’re doing a good job, and they have some dynamic players.”

At this point, the Buccaneers have little margin for error if they want to have an opportunity to win the NFC South. The Buccaneers are currently one of the three wild card teams(6th seed) in the NFC, but if they’re going to win the division, they have to win and hope the Saints(8-2) without Drew Brees will falter. However, it all starts by beating the Chiefs on Sunday.

 

Bucs’ Brown on offense: ‘We still didn’t put our best effort out there yet’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball. It’s an offense that can beat you in so many ways, which was on full display on Sunday against the Panthers.

Tampa Bay finished with 544 yards of total offense, which is the fifth-most recorded in a game by any team this season and the third-most in team history. Brady completed 28-of-39 passes in the game for 341 yards and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), RB Ronald Jones ran for 192 yards, including a team-record 98-yard touchdown run, Chris Godwin had six receptions for 92 yards, and Mike Evans had six grabs for 77 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 46-23.

Even with all the success on offense, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians believes the team could have scored more. 

“The staff – we feel like we left 20 [points] out there, so I’m never satisfied,” Arians said on Sunday. “I was really, really happy to rush for 200 [yards]. I thought that was huge for us, and the O-Line takes a lot of pride in that. The tight ends did a great job and the receivers [in run blocking]. Tom [Brady] played great, and we still see where we can leave things out there and still get better.”

Antonio Brown, who caught seven passes for 69 yards against Carolina, thinks this offense could be special.

“[I’m] super grateful, and it’s an honor to be here around such a great group of guys,” Brown said on Sunday. “Like you said, we were hitting on all cylinders, but we still didn’t put our best effort out there yet. It’s going to be something special when things start to come together, and we could be 100 percent. I’m just extremely grateful for the opportunity and just week-by-week taking it all in.”

Rob Gronkowski is rounding into shape, Brown is getting acclimated to the offense, so this offense, if healthy, should only get better. Obviously, they will not score 46 points and accumulate 544 yards of total offense every week, but with all the talent on offense, expect many more good days for the Buccaneers.

Jaguars’ Luton: ‘We all expect better’

The Jacksonville Jaguars showed a lot of heart against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday and had a lead in the fourth quarter, but Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams on the game-winning touchdown as the Packers(7-2) defeated Jacksonville(1-8) 24-20.

The Jaguars have now lost eight straight games, but they played hard against the Packers. However, like most bad teams, they have a tough time closing out games. WR Keelan Cole Sr., who returned a punt 91 yards for a TD and also caught a 12-yard TD pass, discussed the importance of closing out games.

“Yeah, but that’s the little things that we have to go in and get better at, which honestly has been happening throughout the weeks,” Cole said after the game. “We just can’t finish it. Obviously, we can come up with a lot of excuses, but at the end of the day, we line up in front of them, and we have to finish it. Really, we just have to finish. We’re starting to figure out how to come out, how to be consistent throughout the game, and then we have to figure out how to finish it through, not even in the fourth quarter but the last four minutes of the fourth quarter.”

On Sunday, Jaguars rookie QB Jake Luton completed 18 of 35 passes for 169 yards and one TD, and while it’s great to be in a close game, there are no moral victories in the NFL, which Luton discussed.

 “Yeah, that is great. You want to be in a position right there to be in striking distance to win a game, but at the end of the day, this is the National Football League, and we get paid to win games,” Luton said. “Whether you lose by one or lose by 40, it is still a loss. It still goes in the loss column. So we have to figure out a way to make those plays when we need to make them and go win games. That is what we are here to do.

 “We all expect better. I feel like everyone feels like we are really close. We are proud of the way that we fight. It isn’t a lack of effort by any means. I think everybody on both sides of the ball is busting their butts as hard as they can. It is just a matter of execution. Guys are upset. They want and expect better. We all do. I don’t think there is any hanging of heads. There is just a personal expectation from each and every one of us to improve and put us in a situation to go win ballgames.”

No one expected the Jaguars to have the lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and while they’re no moral victories in the NFL, you have to give this team credit for fighting and clawing, but in the end, it’s another loss for the Jaguars.

Giants’ Jones: ‘I think our confidence as a team is continuing to grow’

Over the past four years, the New York Giants have had a hard time defeating their NFC East rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. Coming into Sunday’s game, Philadelphia had beaten New York eight straight times, but all of that ended on Sunday. Behind QB Daniel Jones, who threw for 244 yards and ran for 64 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown run, the Giants defeated the Eagles 27-17. 

With the victory, New York(3-7) wins their second straight game and are 1.5 games behind the Eagles(3-5-1) for the top spot in the NFC East. According to Jones, who had a season-high passer rating for the second week in a row – 100.9 after posting a 94.2 rating last week in Washington, New York’s confidence is growing.

“I think our confidence as a team is continuing to grow,” Jones said. “We were certainly frustrated through the first stretch of the season. Frustrated not to get the results we expected, but we didn’t let that discourage us. We didn’t let it affect our confidence week in and week out. We continue to improve, continue to work towards the next week, and I think that’s ultimately what has helped us do that, continue and grow, and the challenge is to keep doing that, and we’ll continue to build confidence through that work and through that improvement.”

For the second straight week, Jones was turnover-free, and Giants head coach Joe Judge sees a quarterback who’s getting better.

“This guy is a young player who is developing; he’s learning a lot every week,” Judge said. “You can see his improvement week to week. Sometimes there’s something you want to get off the tape, and he understands that, and we correct that in practice, working hard. But there’s a lot of games he’s played where maybe there’s a blemish that takes away from the 99% of the really good football he has played. But Daniel continues to be an improving player, he’s a tough dude, mentally and physically, and that spreads throughout our entire team. When he steps into that huddle, there’s 10 guys looking at him knowing he’s going to be the one to give them the answer to the problem on the field.”

Giants S Jabrill Peppers, who was apart of the Giants’ defense that held Philadelphia to 0-for-9 on third-down conversion attempts, feels the team is buying into what Judge is selling.

“Joe(Judge) has been a part of a lot of winning programs,” Peppers said. “All we had to do was buy-in. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. A lot of the times, it was more execution things. When you see how close you are, and then it’s a play here and a play there, it kind of keeps you wanting to keep pushing and keep chomping at the bit. You have to stay bought in because it’s going to turn and we felt that. We were in it damn near every game we played, and it just came to a couple plays here and there. That’s our mindset, man. We’re going to stick to the script, come to work to get better each and every day and execute on game days.”

It appears the Giants could be the best team in the NFC East, and in the last two weeks, the Giants have shown the ability to close out games. If the Giants keep playing at this level, don’t be surprised if they represent the NFC East in the playoffs this season. 

Crawford: ‘I want Pacquiao’

For the first three rounds, Kell Brook(39-3, 27 KOs) was fighting well and was effectively using his jab against WBO 147-pound champion Terence Crawford. However, before you knew it, the fight was over. Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) exploded was a right jab that forced Brook into the ropes for a knockdown. Crawford would finish Brook off with a combination that prompted referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight, and Crawford would win by fourth-round TKO to retain his belt at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble on Saturday night.

 “Never in my career, nobody has ever done that to me in sparring or anything,” Brook said after the fight.

Crawford added: “Kell is a tremendous talent. He came, and he tried to take my title. He was in shape. He made the weight. There were no excuses to be put on the table. He came off of three wins.”

According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, Crawford, who has now won eight straight fights by knockout, is the best welterweight in the world.

“Terence Crawford showed, once again, why he is the best welterweight in the world,” Arum said. “It was a dominating performance over a very good fighter in Kell Brook. Terence ranks up there with all the great welterweights I’ve promoted.”

After the fight, Crawford made it clear that he wants WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, next.

“I already said who I want {next}. I want Pacquiao. I want to revisit that fight,” Crawford said. “That was a fight that should’ve happened right now. But being that the pandemic happened, and they weren’t going to allow fans in the Middle East, they had to put a hold to that. Everything was 95 percent done. We had the venue. The money was almost there. It wasn’t quite there. That was the only thing we were waiting on.”

What happens next for Crawford should be interesting. There have been talks that Crawford is not happy with his situation at Top Rank. According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, Crawford’s deal with Top Rank expires in October 2021. If the 33-year-old Crawford is fighting Pacquiao next, which he mentioned was a possibility, that’s an opportunity to get a nice payday and a big name at 147. However, if Crawford wants the other big names at 147, like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, or Danny Garcia, all of who fight under the PBC banner, he’s going to have to probably sign with PBC, and if that gets him the big fights, it’s a great move.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

76ers’ G League team hires Jameer Nelson

The Delaware Blue Coats(Philadelphia 76ers’ G League affiliate) have named former NBA star Jameer Nelson Assistant General Manager, the team announced on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old Nelson, who played 14 seasons in the NBA with Magic, Mavericks, Celtics, Nuggets, Pelicans, and Pistons, will assist Blue Coats General Manager Matt Lilly in overseeing all aspects of basketball operations for the 76ers’ G League affiliate.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jameer Nelson to the organization as he takes the next step in his storied basketball career,” Lilly said. “Jameer is a natural fit given his tremendous playing career, deep industry relationships and strong connection to our communities on and off the court. I am eager to work with him as we continue to grow our program in Delaware.”

The Chester, Pennsylvania native and former Saint Joseph’s star was an All-Star was the Orlando Magic during the 2008-09 campaign, Nelson helped lead Orlando to the franchise’s second-ever NBA Finals appearance. His 3,501 career assists are the most in Magic franchise history, while he ranks second all-time in career games played (651), third in three-pointers made (874), and fifth in both points (8,184) and steals (619).

“I can’t wait to get started. I am energized by the chance to help shape this organization’s future,” Nelson said. “I want to thank the 76ers and Blue Coats for the opportunity, and I look forward to using what I learned during my playing career to identify and elevate talent within our program.”

Ryan Karl: ‘A win against Barrios puts me right there at the top with Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez’

Ryan “Cowboy” Karl is determined to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of him as he prepares to battle unbeaten WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios in the SHOWTIME PPV co-main event this Saturday, October 31 from Alamodome in San Antonio in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“I’m not content just fighting for a title, I’ll be happy when I win the title,” said Karl. “This is everything that I’ve been working my whole life for. This moment is a huge opportunity for me. A lot of fighters never get this chance.”

The Milano, Texas native enters this fight on a three-bout winning streak, with all of those victories coming by stoppage. This run has come after Karl’s two losses came in a span of four fights from 2017 to 2018, an experience that provided valuable lessons for the 28-year-old.

“I learned to listen better to my corner,” said Karl. “I also learned to not take fights when you’re injured and not fully healed, as well as to not overlook people. I thought that I was so good that I could beat a good fighter when I was less than 100%. So, I’ve learned to not take my health for granted and that you have to be healthy enough to spar and prepare the right way.”

Karl’s winning streak was kicked off by him avenging one of his losses, as he scored a fifth-round knockout over Kevin Watts after suffering that same result in their first matchup. Most recently, Karl triumphed over Bergman Aguilar last November.
“I’ve always believed that I’d be a world champion,” said Karl. “We’ve had setbacks with injuries and other obstacles, but I’ve never doubted myself or thought that I couldn’t do it. I’m lucky to have strong family support as well, which has helped me keep the faith.”

In Karl’s corner is his longtime coach, the renowned Ronnie Shields, who has guided Karl throughout his pro career and during this training camp in the midst of a pandemic. Karl has been sparring with unbeaten Kent Cruz in preparation and has also been buoyed by being able to still be with his family during camp.

“Training camp is going great and we’re very happy with our progress,” said Karl. “It’s definitely different with my coaches wearing masks in the gym and being as cautious as we can be. But the fact that I’m still able to see my wife and my sons is great. My oldest son Jace is six and he’s doing online learning from home at the moment. And then I have a one-year-old son named Jack as well. So it’s great to be around them and my wife who’s due to have our daughter in December.

Karl and San Antonio’s Barrios are very familiar with each other dating back to their days competing in the same amateur tournaments in Texas. Despite their proximity, it was only in recent years, as Barrios moved up in weight, that Karl began to see him as a possible future opponent.

“Early on I didn’t think we’d ever fight because he was so small, but then I saw that he was moving up and I started thinking that he was tall enough that we might see him down the road,” said Karl. “I didn’t know him very well in the amateurs because he was a lot younger than me. Around the time that I turned pro I was 22 and Mario was only 18 then. He was just a lot smaller and younger than me.

“Mario has done a great job as a pro. His managers have built him up and gotten the right fights for him, fighting a lot of smaller guys. He has good power and he’s a good boxer. He does a lot of things well. I think that I’ll be his biggest opponent to date, but he’s handled his previous opponents well so far.”

The “Cowboy” has become known for his come forward style, one that he believes will create a memorable fight for the fans and end with him amongst the sport’s 140-pound elite on October 31.

“I’m not the type of fighter to go in there and wait a bunch of rounds to come on,” said Karl.  “Everybody knows that I like to fight. I’m anticipating an exciting, competitive fight. This one definitely won’t be boring. I expect us to throw lots of punches and I’m in great shape, so that plays to my strengths.

“A win against Barrios puts me right there at the top with Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez. So hopefully this will get me a chance at them and revitalize my career for the biggest and best fights.”