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    PHILADELPHIA — With four NFL teams vying Sunday for two spots in the Super Bowl, most everyone is focused on the quartet of young quarterbacks. That's fair. They touch the football on just about every play. The Philadelphia Eagles have a ton of other critical assets. Well, make that 1,620 pounds of them. That's the collective listed weight of the Eagles offensive line, the best in football and ...

      PITTSBURGH — Maybe it's because I'm from Buffalo, but from this vantage point, conference championship games feel just as big and sometimes bigger than Super Bowls. That's especially true the first time around, which was Bills 51, Raiders 3, if I recall correctly. (And how could I forget?) One's entire football existence — as a player, fan or coach — is geared toward getting to the Super Bowl, ...

        PHILADELPHIA — The starting quarterback quit during the fourth quarter of the season opener, the coaches walked out a few weeks later after their checks bounced, and the turf was so thin that it felt like concrete. This — the inaugural season of an indoor football league — was Nick Sirianni’s introduction to professional football, where the players made $300 if they won and $200 if they ...

          SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 49ers can claim they have the NFL’s best roster. They have arguably the league’s best running back, linebacker, defensive end, fullback, and tight end. But there is no debate about who the 49ers’ best player is. Trent Williams is 34 years old and weighs 320 pounds, give or take. He has never scored a touchdown in the NFL. He has never carried the ball or caught a pass ...

            TAMPA, Fla. — Clyde Christensen was asked to review the play sheet to see if anything was missing. Less than a week after retiring as Bucs quarterbacks coach, part of the purge of nine assistants from Todd Bowles’ staff on Jan. 19, Christensen received a text message and follow-up phone call from Peyton Manning, who is the AFC coach for the NFL’s first Pro Bowl flag football game. “Peyton said, ...

              LOS ANGELES — Trenton Irwin sat at the end of the dining room table — but not for long. The teen watched for nearly 30 seconds as others tasted their food, and then were catapulted in succession through a window, into a China cabinet and French doors. When Irwin finally took a bite, he was launched backward into the wall of a faux fireplace with more velocity than a Joe Burrow pass. “Man, ...

                PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Hammond stood five years ago in the auditorium of the Eagles practice facility, invited at the end of a team meeting to speak about the franchise’s new charitable foundation. She had been recently hired to start the Eagles Autism Foundation and needed some help. She needed the players — not just the quarterback, but everyone — to buy in. Finally, a hand went up. It was ...

                SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Christian McCaffrey is ready to make good on his promise to play in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether the 49ers will also have Elijah Mitchell available to share the load remains to be seen. McCaffrey was removed from the injury report entirely and coach Kyle Shanahan said he was “full go” during practice Friday before the 49ers’ team ...

                FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Ryan Nielsen, formerly the co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for the Saints, was hired as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator Friday. Nielsen joined the Saints staff in 2017. Since, the Saints have recorded 281 sacks, the second-most in the NFL over that period. The Falcons recorded 21 sacks this season, which ranked 31st in the league. The Saints had 48 sacks. ...

                Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol a month after entering it, according to a league source, and now will be unable to participate in the Pro Bowl. Tagovailoa was not among the original selection of three AFC quarterbacks for the NFL’s All-Star exhibition taking place Feb. 2-5, but with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe ...

                Nick Sirianni is getting his flowers figuratively instead of thrown at his face. The chest-bumping, sideline-prancing, expletive-tossing head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles has won over a tough city that questioned his credentials and mocked his introductory news conference when he was hired two years ago.

                Rookie Chet Holmgren got hurt last summer and will miss the entirety of this season. But evidently, his rehab has been going extremely well since four NBA players say he should start next month’s All-Star Game. It doesn't make much sense, but the voting by NBA players for their own All-Star Game rarely does.

                The San Francisco 49ers will play at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Much of the focus will be on the two young quarterbacks, Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts and San Francisco's Brock Purdy, with everyone watching to see how they will handle the pressure of the moment. Hurts and Purdy have been here before. Not in the NFC championship game, ...

                After the divisional round of the NFL postseason concluded Sunday, only four teams remain in the hunt for the Super Bowl title. For the rest of the league, it’s on to the offseason and the 2023 draft. Here are The Baltimore Sun’s projections for the first round, which begins April 27 in Kansas City. — Notes: The order for picks 29-31 are projected. The Miami Dolphins forfeited their ...

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                BOSTON — Light rain cut through a thick, gray fog choking Foxboro when Bill O’Brien walked into Patriots headquarters Monday to end the team’s search for its next offensive coordinator. O’Brien’s second interview was his final step toward a long-awaited reunion with the franchise that launched his NFL career. Soon, he would be hailed as the savior of an offense in need of resurrection. Because ...

                PHILADELPHIA — When Matt Leo thinks of his only college game against Jalen Hurts, his belief in Brock Purdy is what overshadows everything else. Leo, the Eagles practice-squad defensive end, doesn’t remember many of the moments that determined the 42-41 Oklahoma win in which his current team’s quarterback outdueled his college quarterback, try as he may for the reporters circled around him. ...

                Before the playoffs started, my Super Bowl prediction was Cincinnati-Philadelphia. The best four teams are still standing, and here’s why I still believe a trip to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona is in the cards for the Bengals and Eagles. NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SAN FRANCISCO AT PHILADELPHIA TV: Fox, 3 p.m. Sunday Philadelphia by 2.5; O/U: 46.5 Jalen Hurts and the Eagles haven’t faced a team like ...

                Before this season, The Inquirer’s reporters and columnists were tasked with making predictions about how things might go for the Eagles. Part of the exercise included selecting division winners, wild-card teams, conference champions, and a Super Bowl champion. Some of my picks were awful. Others were OK. Not many fans and pundits predicted the Eagles would make it to the Super Bowl. I did. ...

                As the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Frank Reich might end up being a perfectly fine hire. But I’ll put it bluntly — Reich isn’t who I wanted to get this job. I wrote a column before the season ended pushing for Steve Wilks, the no-nonsense interim head coach who went 6-6 with the Panthers after taking over in difficult circumstances in October. Wilks was the players’ choice, he was ...

                FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Despite analytical data to the contrary, the Falcons believe they have laid the foundation for what will become a solid defense. Also, the special-teams units had a breakthrough season in 2022 and signaled that they’ll be a major part of a turnaround as the Falcons will try to move on from their fifth consecutive losing season. The defense didn’t finish in the top half of ...

                After Mike LaFleur and the team “parted ways” a couple of weeks ago, Jets coach Robert Saleh interviewed more than 15 candidates for their vacant offensive coordinator position. But there was one name Saleh kept returning to during his search: former Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett. “Went to college, went to different schemes and talked to different people,” Saleh said. “A lot of really good ...

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