‘Patriot Way’ paves road to New England dynasty

UNTV News   •   February 6, 2017   •   3017

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to claim a breathtaking 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, cementing their status as true a NFL dynasty.

With the victory, Brady becomes the first quarterback to win five Super Bowl championships and, at 39, the second oldest at his position to win the NFL’s biggest prize.

And while Brady claims each one is special, Sunday’s may be the sweetest as it was his first since serving a four-game ban this season handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the Deflategate scandal that surfaced two years ago.

Brady, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft shrugged off suggestions of revenge as motivation while the Patriots played the season with a massive New England-against-the-world chip on their collective shoulders.

While Brady would not qualify his titles, Kraft was clear about where Sunday’s stunning victory ranks.

“Two years ago, we won our fourth Super Bowl down in Arizona and I told our fans that was the sweetest one of all,” said Kraft. “But, a lot has transpired during the last two years and I don’t think that needs any explanation.

“I want to say to our fans, our brilliant coaching staff, our amazing players, who are so spectacular this unequivocally the sweetest.”

For Patriots fans at NRG Stadium who took massive delight in roundly booing Goodell during the trophy presentation, it was also clear this Super Bowl was something special.

Goodell, who has been conspicuous in his absence from New England’s home games since the Deflategate scandal, has long been held as a villain by the team’s supporters, just as outside their borders the Patriots are viewed by many as cheaters.

“Thank you to all our fans. Everyone back in Boston, New England, we love you. You’ve been with us all year. We’re bringing this sucker home,” said Brady as he raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy. “They’re all sweet, they’re all different.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years. We were in the AFC championship last year and won the Super Bowl two years ago so I don’t think anyone is feeling bad for the Patriots.”

Indeed, the Patriots have reached the playoffs in 16 of the 17 years, missing only in 2008 when Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in his team’s opening game.

Since 2002 that Patriots have five Super Bowl wins in seven trips to the championship game.

Their victory on Sunday added another chapter to the Patriots legacy as Brady engineered a jaw-dropping comeback from a 28-3 third quarter deficit to steal the title and deny Atlanta a maiden Super Bowl.

Their success has become known as “The Patriot Way,” a no-nonsense approach preached by Belichick, who also picked up his fifth Super Bowl victory to move past Chuck Noll (Pittsburgh Steelers) for most by a coach.

The trophies, statistics and records accumulated over the last 15 years stamp the Patriots, love them or hate them, as an NFL dynasty.

Making their unmatched success even more impressive is it has come during the age of the salary cap which makes sustained excellence harder than ever.

“No I don’t get into that,” Belichick said when asked where his team ranks in NFL history. “Rank them whatever.

“Tonight we earned the championship, these guys played like champions when it counted most in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“It’s about this team and what this team accomplished.

“It isn’t about anything else.”

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Timberlake back at Super Bowl halftime, no wardrobe malfunctions

UNTV News   •   February 5, 2018

Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Justin Timberlake performs during half time of Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Justin Timberlake posed for a selfie, paid tribute to music legend Prince and played it safe at a halftime Super Bowl performance on Sunday, returning to the gig where he and Janet Jackson introduced “wardrobe malfunction” to the American lexicon.

Timberlake danced and sang his way through a roughly 12-minute set before a television audience estimated at over 100 million people, mixing a song from his new album and staples such as “Can’t Stop the Feeling” that made him an intentionally known solo artist.

In an homage in Minneapolis to the state’s native son Prince, who died in 2016, Timberlake played a white piano and sat beneath a projection of Prince on a screen to sing a cover of “I would Die 4 U.”

The only major piece of clothing that came off this time was Timberlake’s jacket. In 2004, he infamously ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s garment during their halftime show in Houston and briefly bared her breast.

The incident dubbed “Nipplegate” was blamed on a wardrobe malfunction. It also lit the Internet on fire with a flash of the bare breast becoming the most-searched image in Internet history at the time.

Timberlake said via social media just ahead of his 2018 performance that he would not be sharing the Super Bowl stage with Jackson on Sunday.

Jackson ended up taking most of the blame for the 2004 incident, with some radio stations boycotting her music. Timberlake came away from the incident with little damage to his career.

A few hours ahead of the game, Jackson’s fans stormed social media and made #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay the top trending item on U.S. Twitter. Supporters of the singer flooded the social media platform with messages of appreciation for Jackson, who as a solo artist has sold more than double the number of records of Timberlake, according to Recording Industry Association of America data.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Susan Thomas

Pink to sing national anthem at Super Bowl LII

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2018


FILE PHOTO: 2017 American Music Awards – Show – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 19/11/2017 – Singer Pink performs. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni – HP1EDBK04T7CD

(Reuters) – Pink will get the Super Bowl party started by singing the national anthem before the championship game in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, the NFL said on Monday.

The performance will mark the Grammy award-winning singer’s first appearance on the Super Bowl stage, which has been graced by artists such as Luke Bryan, Lady Gaga and Idina Menzel in recent years.

Performances of the national anthem have been a major talking point during the NFL season as players have used the occasion to take knees, sit or link arms during the song to protest about racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S.

The protests have been criticized by the Trump Administration, which has chosen to interpret the demonstrations as offensive to the U.S. military.

Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game in Indianapolis earlier this season when players protested during the anthem.

The NFL previously announced that singer Justin Timberlake would headline the halftime show.

The NFL also announced on Monday that Alexandria Wailes will perform in American Sign Language both the national anthem and “America The Beautiful.”

The Super Bowl is the most-watched event on U.S. television, drawing more than 100 million viewers.

Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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Lady Gaga takes Super Bowl spotlight, but how will she use it?

admin   •   February 2, 2017

Lady Gaga sings the U.S. National Anthem before the start of the NFL’s Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake Picture Supplied by Action Images

As Lady Gaga prepares to take America’s biggest stage at the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday, much of country is speculating whether the outspoken singer will grab the opportunity to speak out on women’s rights, immigration or U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the past, Gaga’s attention-getting performances have ranged from dressing in raw meat to taking sexual assault victims to the Academy Awards. Many viewers are well aware of that history and will watch keenly on Sunday, when Gaga headlines a 15-minute set during the NFL championship game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston.

“People will take note of the lyrics and the political climate and come to their own conclusions,” said Nolan Feeney, staff writer at Entertainment Weekly.

When it comes to the Super Bowl’s 100 million-plus television audience, the 30-year-old singer may find that the safest way to make a political statement could be following in the footsteps of Beyonce, who let her music do the talking at last year’s Super Bowl.

Beyonce sang “Formation,” an anthem supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, accompanied by dancers dressed in homage to the Black Panthers Party of the 1960s and 70s.

Her powerful performance drew widespread praise, along with some criticism from people who perceived the song as anti-police. But their call to boycott Beyonce’s music fizzled out within weeks and her album became one of the year’s best sellers.

Both Gaga and the NFL have kept a tight lid on any details about her performance, which follows her drama-free singing of the U.S. national anthem at the 2016 Super Bowl.

The NFL on Wednesday denied reports that it had asked the singer to avoid political commentary.

“Everyone we work with understands this is a moment for families across America and the world to come together for a great experience. Lady Gaga understands that and we know she will deliver an incredible performance yet again,” NFL spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said.

If Gaga performs “Born This Way,” a song about diversity that has become an anthem for the LGBTQ community, it may have larger implications especially in Texas, where lawmakers are pushing to restrict public bathroom access for transgender people.

Gaga has to be careful not to step over the line. When Houston last hosted the Super Bowl in 2004, headliners Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson famously caused broadcaster CBS to be fined $550,000 when her breast was accidentally exposed. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the fine for the incident, which gave birth to the phrase “wardrobe malfunction.”

Nevertheless, Jackson’s career was hurt.

“History tells us artists don’t think the Super Bowl is a great place to be particularly provocative,” Feeney said.

When Madonna performed in 2012, her guest star, rapper M.I.A., drew complaints for extending her middle finger. Madonna called the gesture “out of place” and the NFL sued the rapper.

Lady Gaga broke into the music industry in 2008 with pop hits such as “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” and her act featured skin-baring outfits and stunts. Over the years, her performances have grown more nuanced, and for her latest album, “Joanne,” the singer toned down her physical appearance to showcase her musical prowess.

Lady Gaga has said nothing about her plans for Sunday’s show. She did post a photo on social media of herself reclining across the bleachers of Houston’s NRG Stadium, with the simple caption, “5 days.” — By Piya Sinha-Roy | LOS ANGELES

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, editing by Leela de Kretser and David Gregorio)

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