- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015


PHOENIX (AP) - NFL owners shot down nearly every video replay proposal brought to their meetings Tuesday, while approving six safety rules enhancements.

Of the 13 alterations, including extending the number of coaches’ challenges and letting them challenge penalty calls, the only one passed will allow game officials to go to replay for clock issues at the end of a half, game or overtime if more than 1 second is on the clock.

Washington’s suggestion to use replay to review personal fouls was withdrawn.

The owners approved a proposal for stopping play when a medical adviser believes a player is unstable and should be taken off the field. They also approved rules prohibiting players from pushing teammates on the line of scrimmage when the opponent is punting; eliminating all peel-back blocks; and extending defenseless player protection during an interception return.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Super Bowl turns 50 this year and the NFL is planning a golden yearlong celebration.

The league unveiled plans that include sending a gold-colored football to the high school of every player or head coach who played in the big game. The football will have the player’s name and the name of the high school.

The league also will have the number 50 on the 50-yard line in gold and teams will host Super Bowl reunions.

In addition to the Super Bowl trophy, which is still silver, there are big, Tiffany-crafted numbers 5-0 that will go to the Super Bowl winner. The numbers are cast in bronze, plated in 18-karat gold and weigh nearly 33 pounds.

There will be 19 games between past Super Bowl opponents during the preseason and regular season.

PHOENIX (AP) - Browns coach Mike Pettine expects quarterback Johnny Manziel to take part in the team’s practices next month after leaving rehab.

Pettine said the team has received good feedback about Manziel, who entered a treatment facility on Jan. 28 for an undisclosed problem. A first-round draft pick in 2014, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M; backed up Brian Hoyer before playing poorly in two starts. Following the season, Manziel acknowledged he should have taken his job more seriously.

Pettine does not know when Manziel will be discharged from rehab, but he expects the young QB to return to football immediately. The Browns will work out on April 20.



PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Stephen Curry had 33 points and 10 assists and the Golden State Warriors pulled away from the shorthanded Trail Blazers in the second half for a 122-108 victory on Tuesday night, clinching the team’s first division title in 39 years.

Andre Iguodala came off the bench to score 21 points for the Warriors, who won their seventh straight to push their record to and NBA-best 58-13.

Golden State hasn’t claimed the Pacific Division crown since the 1975-76 season, the year after the team won the NBA championship.

With a comfortable lead on second-place Memphis in the Western Conference, Golden State has dropped just one of its last 12 games.

Damian Lillard had 29 points for the Blazers, who have lost five straight following a 1-4 road trip.



WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has awarded its highest civilian honor to golfing great Jack Nicklaus, who accepted the gold medal with a few tears, humility and humor.

In a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, the House and Senate leadership bestowed the award on Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors that Speaker John Boehner called the “gold standard.”

Nicklaus spoke of his parents, thanked his family and praised his wife Barbara. He recalled that when his son Jack was six, he was asked what his father did for a living. The younger Nicklaus said, “nothing, he just plays golf.”

Attending the ceremony for the 75-year-old Nicklaus was golfing legend Arnold Palmer.



NEW YORK (AP) - Pitchers will have to beat the clock at Triple-A and Double-A this season.

In an effort to speed games, Minor League Baseball’s governing body said Tuesday a ball will be called in the count starting May 1 when a pitcher fails to start his windup or reach the set position within 20 seconds after having possession of the ball on the mound.

The speed-up rules are more radical than those instituted in the major leagues for 2015, where approval of the players’ association was needed.

In the majors, the speed-up rules involve clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks, but the penalties that start May 1 are warnings and fines. The minors also will have timers for pitching changes and breaks, but balls and strikes will be assessed against violators.



LAS VEGAS (AP) - The richest fight in boxing history is getting even richer. And that’s before the first ticket has even been sold.

New estimates show Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s payoff for fighting Manny Pacquiao could easily be $180 million, up substantially from earlier predictions of $120 million. Pacquiao gets the short end of the purse, but even that is expected to be well over $100 million by the time everything is tallied up.

The money is staggering, though not exactly unexpected. Five years of waiting seem to have only piqued the public’s demand for the one fight even casual fans of the sport want to see.

Just what the two fighters earn won’t be known until the pay-per-view is sold. But the May 2 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is shaping up to be very lucrative.



NEW YORK (AP) - Marian Gaborik snapped a second-period tie, and Jonathan Quick shook off an opening-minute goal to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

The Kings, fighting for a chance to defend their title, have won the first two games of a five-game trip on successive nights. Robyn Regehr scored a rare goal in the first period, and Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin extended the lead in the third. Anze Kopitar had two assists.

Quick made 34 saves.

Los Angeles, which beat the Rangers in five games for the 2014 title, is tied in points with third-place Calgary in the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tiebreaker.

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