Eli Rogers said he was thinking of what his mother "would want for me" when he made the decision to skip her funeral to play an XFL game on Saturday.

The DC Defenders wide receiver's mother, Tranae Jackson, was laid to rest in Miami on Saturday, but her son, Rogers, was instead in Washington playing a game against the New York Guardians.

Asked why he had done so, Rogers told ESPN: "Man, I'm really just thinking about her and what she would want for me.

"We have a certain relationship where she understands that I'm not too fond of certain things.

"So I just wrote a letter, I let my family read it at the funeral and they said it was a great turnout.

"I can't wait to go back and speak to them so they can tell me all about it."

Rogers had five catches for 49 yards in the Defenders' 27-0 victory over the Guardians.

The 27-year-old spent three seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers between 2016 and 2018, accumulating 822 receiving yards and catching four touchdowns.

Writing on Twitter before the game on Saturday, Rogers wrote: "Today was one of the toughest decisions I had to make in my life. My Mother's final service is today and I am not going to be there. After a long talk with God and her, I came to this conclusion... I know most people may think I am crazy. Selfish even..

"I respect your opinion. But in life, Sometimes, it is not about doing what you feel is right, it is about doing what you know is right. It's not about physically knowing someone. It is about know building a relationship with a person from the inside out.

"I know My Mother is proud of who I am today and the decision I chose today. Without Her sacrifice and humiliation, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It is because of her I was able to be in a position to chase my dreams. That is all she wanted from me."

Mason Rudolph said Myles Garrett's claim the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback racially abused him prior to their on-field brawl in November is a "bold-faced lie" and "1,000 per cent false".

Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after he ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit him over the head with it in the closing stages of the Cleveland Browns' Week 10 victory over the Steelers.

Although Garrett initially apologised for his actions, he subsequently accused Rudolph of using a racial slur, a claim that was vehemently denied by the Steelers signal-caller at the time.

Following an investigation, an NFL spokesperson said the league found "no evidence" to support Garrett's allegation.

After being reinstated by the Browns this week, Garrett again said Rudolph racially abused him, telling ESPN: "He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word'."

Responding to a clip of the interview on Twitter, Rudolph said: "1,000 per cent false. Bold-faced lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial slur.

"This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character."

Rudolph's attorney and agent Timothy M. Younger suggested legal action could be taken against Garrett.

A statement posted by Younger read: "We waited to hear the entire interview. Garrett, after originally apologising to Mason Rudolph, has made the ill-advised choice of publishing the belated and false accusation that Mr. Rudolph uttered a racial slur on the night in question.

"Not that Mr. Garrett claims that Mr. Rudolph uttered the slur simultaneously with being taken down, and before Mr. Garrett committed a battery by striking Mr. Rudolph on the head with a 6 lb helmet.

"His claim is ludicrous. The obviously was not the first time Mr. Rudolph had been sacked by an African American player. Mr. Garrett maliciously uses this false allegation to cox sympathy, hoping to be excused for what clearly is inexcusable behaviour.

"Despite other players and the referee being in the immediate vicinity, there are zero corroborating witnesses – as confirmed by the NFL.

"Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement – in California. He is now exposed to legal liability."

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said: "I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game.

"I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organisation – players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns organisation.

"In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions."

Running back David Johnson will not be cut by the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, general manager Steve Keim has confirmed.

Johnson was an All-Pro in 2016 after accruing 2,118 all-purpose yards and, despite missing 15 of the 16 games the next season, he was given a three-year $39million deal on the eve of the 2018 season.

However, Johnson has failed to live up to that contract since, rushing for just 1,285 yards combined across the past two campaigns and losing his starting spot to Kenyan Drake last season when the Cards acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.

Arizona want to keep Drake, who is due to enter free agency, but Johnson is owed a guaranteed $10m in 2020 and has a salary cap hit of more than $14m, so Keim acknowledged it does not make financial sense to move on from the 28-year-old.

"Cutting him is not an option," Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

"Not only the cap hit, but you're still paying him the cash as well, and it wouldn't be responsible for me or the organisation for me to do that.

"If David Johnson isn't the starter, he still has a significant role. He still creates big-time mismatches in the passing game, he still brings kick-return ability.

"There are a number of things, and you can't just have one back. You have to have a platoon of backs. We've seen that. So there are enough carries to go around."

Johnson was drafted by Keim in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft after Arizona missed out on their preferred target Ameer Abdullah to the Detroit Lions.

It looked like a stroke of good fortune after two seasons and Keim is hopeful Johnson can still deliver on the gridiron, though he would not discuss the possibility of a trade.

"I still have a lot of faith in David," Keim added.

"He's got tremendous skills, he's a great person, he works extremely hard.

"I think it was one of those things [last season], if you look at the big picture, Chase [Edmonds] got hurt, David got hurt, we made the trade [for Drake], and Kenyan Drake came in and he got the hot hand."

Josh Norman is ready to "start something new and fresh" after confirming he has been released by the Washington Redskins.

Norman joined the franchise on a five-year contract worth $75million in April 2016, making him the highest paid cornerback in the history of the NFL at the time.

However, the 32-year-old fell out of favour towards the end of the 2019 season. He did not start in their final six games, suggesting his spell with Washington was coming towards an end.

In releasing the player, the Redskins – who are yet to officially confirm the roster move - will save $12.43m in salary cap space.

"It's their choice not mine," Norman told Julie Donaldson of NBC Sports Washington. "Now I can start something new and fresh."

Norman previously played for the Carolina Panthers, where he worked with new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

The fifth-round draft pick was named first-team All-Pro after the 2015 season but failed to agree terms on a new long-term contract in Carolina, leading to him becoming an unrestricted free agent.

In his four years with the Redskins, Norman had seven interceptions and eight forced fumbles.

 

Reinstated Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has once again alleged he was racially abused by Mason Rudolph prior to their brawl in November.

Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after he ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit the quarterback over the head with it in the closing stages of the Browns' Week 10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Although Garrett initially apologised for his actions, he subsequently accused Rudolph of using a racial slur, a claim that was vehemently denied by the Steelers signal-caller.

Following an investigation, an NFL spokesperson said the league found "no evidence" to support Garrett's allegation.

However, after being reinstated earlier this week, Garrett has again said that Rudolph racially abused him, telling ESPN's Outside The Lines: "He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word'."

Garrett said he did not want his initial accusation to be made public, adding: "I didn't want to try to use it as justification for my actions because there's nothing to justify. Like, there's nothing I can say or do to justify what I did on that day. I'm not saying I didn't do anything wrong.

"I know what happened, I know what I heard. People say things when they're heated, or full of emotion. I leave it on the field. He said it, but that was three months ago, four months ago now. I leave that behind.

"I know something was said. I don't want to make it a racial thing, honestly. It's over with for me and I'm pretty sure it's over with for Mason so we just want to move past it and keep on playing football."

Following Garrett's initial allegation, Rudolph's attorney, Timothy M. Younger, told ESPN: "This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett.

"The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."

Rudolph himself said Garrett's claim was "totally untrue".

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert does not believe Ben Roethlisberger "is at the end of the road" amid doubts over the quarterback following an elbow injury.

Roethlisberger underwent surgery on his right throwing elbow in September and was expected to make a full recovery and return for the 2020 NFL season, though question marks remain.

There has been speculation the 37-year-old – who turns 38 next month – and two-time Super Bowl champion could retire but Colbert said Roethlisberger is on track in his rehab.

"All signs are good at this point, and where that goes, we're hopeful he can make a complete recovery," Colbert said. "As of right now, he's on schedule for that. Where it goes from here remains to be seen.

"He had an injury to his right arm, but other than that, he's relatively healthy. We're not minimising the right arm injury to a right arm quarterback, but we don't think he's at the end of the road."

Colbert added: "Optimistically, [Roethlisberger] is on schedule to return and we hope to return to maybe even a better Ben Roethlisberger than he was previous to the injury.

"In the meantime, we understand who our backups are. We're comfortable with who those backups are. I thought they did a great, representable job in 2019 under the circumstances."

Steelers veteran Roethlisberger suffered the injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Roethlisberger, who hurt his right elbow in a 28-26 loss to the Seahawks, was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points during the first half of the team's home opener and even left for the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury.

In April, the six-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year contract extension with the Steelers through the 2021 season.

Since being drafted by the Steelers in 2004, Roethlisberger has played 218 games, and completed 4,651 passes for 56,545 yards and 363 touchdowns.

Myles Garrett has been reinstated by the NFL and has rejoined the Cleveland Browns' active roster.

Star defensive end Garrett was handed an indefinite suspension after removing quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and hitting him with it during the Browns' 21-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 14.

He missed the rest of a 2019 season that the Browns finished 6-10, a campaign that cost head coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey their jobs.

Garrett, the first overall pick in the 2017 draft, was told he would have to meet with the commissioner's office prior to a decision being made over his reinstatement.

After meeting with Roger Goodell on Monday in New York, Garrett will be able to link up with the team and join the Browns for offseason activities in April.

"We welcome Myles back to our organisation with open arms," said Andrew Berry, the Browns' executive vice-president of football operations and general manager.

"We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a team-mate, player and person in our community."

A Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2018, Garrett has recorded 30.5 sacks in his three seasons in the league.

Cam Newton's future with the Carolina Panthers depends on his health, according to team owner David Tepper.

Panthers quarterback Newton is out of contract in 2021 and there are doubts over the 2015 MVP's future in Carolina, where Matt Rhule is the new head coach.

Newton endured another injury-hit season, with the 30-year-old making just two appearances due to a foot problem as the Panthers finished 5-11.

"Listen. I'm not a doctor,'' Tepper said on Tuesday. "I've said it a million times, is he healthy? He's not a doctor.

"There's a lot of different things that can happen. Is he healthy? And then we can talk.''

Tepper added: "Look, I've said again and again about it, it's a question of how healthy he is.

"That's still the number one overwhelming thing, to see how healthy he is and to figure out when he's healthy or not. Everything comes from that.''

Philip Rivers will enter free agency after 16 years with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The 38-year-old quarterback has set in excess of 30 franchise records in his long career with the Chargers but stated last month that his time in Los Angeles is likely to be over.

It was announced by the Chargers on Monday that the two parties had mutually agreed for Rivers to depart.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said: "After stepping back a bit from last season, we reconnected with Philip and his representatives to look at how 2019 played out, assess our future goals, evaluate the current state of the roster and see if there was a path forward that made sense for both parties.

"As we talked through various scenarios, it became apparent that it would be best for Philip and the Chargers to turn the page on what has truly been a remarkable run.

"We agreed that making this decision well before free agency would allow everyone to put themselves in the best position for success in 2020.

"I've said before that Philip can still compete at a top-starter level and, in a perfect world, number 17 is your quarterback forever.

"Obviously, we live in an imperfect world where the only constant is change. I think Philip's tremendous perspective, both when it comes to football and when it comes to life, helped lend clarity to a very complex situation."

Rivers is unsure what the future holds after his remarkable career with the Chargers came to an end.

"I am very grateful to the Spanos family and the Chargers organization for the last 16 years," said Rivers, a man described by owner Dean Spanos as "the heart and soul" of the franchise.

"In anything you do, it's the people you do it with that make it special. There are so many relationships and memories with coaches, support staff and team-mates that will last forever, and for that I am so thankful.

"I never took for granted the opportunity to lead this team out on to the field for 235 games. We had a lot of great moments, beginning in San Diego and then finishing in LA. I wish my team-mates and coaches nothing but the best moving forward.

"I'm not sure what the future holds, but my family and I look forward to seeing what God has planned for us next."

The Chargers have the sixth pick in the draft and already have veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the ranks

Patrick Mahomes has made the same impact on the NFL that The Beatles did on music and the "rock star" Super Bowl MVP is well on his way to greatness with the same mindset as Pele.

That is according to Adam Cook, the man who nurtured the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback's phenomenal talent at Whitehouse High School in Texas.

Mahomes' stardom was catapulted to another stratosphere when he inspired the Chiefs' stunning 31-20 Super Bowl comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium on February 2.

The 2018 NFL MVP got the Chiefs out of a hole to end their 50-year wait for a Super Bowl triumph.

Cook witnessed Mahomes' ability in a variety of sports and saw his signal-calling qualities at close quarters in his roles as quarterback coach, offensive coordinator and head coach at Whitehouse.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury got Cook a ticket for what he described as "the experience of a lifetime" of seeing his former student's finest hour on a glorious Sunday in Miami.

Cook knew Mahomes was something special when he first coached him in the fifth grade and is not surprised to see him striking the right notes at the highest level.

Asked if the 24-year-old can become an NFL great, he told Omnisport: "No doubt about it, that is what you are seeing. It's something we kind of expect, I expect it for him.

"Any time you want to talk about the greats; Dan Marino never won the Super Bowl, some great players never achieved that. The discussion you get is they never did win the big one, well Patrick has been the league MVP, he's won a Super Bowl and won Super Bowl MVP.

"He's already established himself as a Hall of Famer. Those are the things you are going to look at, the numbers he has put up. But knowing he's only 24 years old, if he keeps doing what he's doing and keeps his head level right, keeps working like he's been doing, yes, he could go down as one of the greatest.

"Definitely in my mind he's becoming the face of the NFL. He's so exciting, he's so fun to watch. He's got good people around him and he is where he is now because of the decisions he has made in his life.

"There is nothing wrong with wanting to be great, it's just are you willing to pay the price for being in those positions? That's the key and Patrick has made sacrifices in his life.

"He's like a rock star, much like The Beatles. Their lives were never the same, they ultimately changed everything about rock. They influenced so much of what we listen to today and I think Patrick is doing that to the NFL. He's changing the way the game is played."

That will be music to the ears of Chiefs fans, as will Cook's comparison of their prized asset to the legendary Pele.

Cook, now athletics director at Whitehouse, added: "I spent a year looking into sports psychology and read some great stuff about Pele.

"It was never about holding the trophy up, it was about the rituals and doing those little things right so he could enjoy the game.

"He'd put a towel on his head before games and picture himself in Brazil as a young kid kicking the ball around, he'd visualise himself doing all those things he needed to do to win the game and not necessarily the end product of winning the game.

"I think Patrick has that same mindset. His mindset will be to go back to the work, making sure his body is right and making sure he has a long career and stays ahead of all the competition out there.

"He was good at whatever sport he played at school, but it shouldn't be forgotten that he put so much work in. You couldn't get him out of the gym, he would be throwing whenever he could. He just loved to play and get better.

"I know a couple of years ago the Kansas City Chiefs had to tell him to quit playing basketball, because he was out there dunking on people. If you get a ball out there he's going to compete.

"He's probably the greatest competitor I've ever been around."

Pat Mahomes may become the NFL's first $200million player but he can expect to earn double that amount in endorsements, according to a sports marketing expert.

The quarterback further enhanced his blossoming reputation by steering the Kansas City Chiefs to a first title in 50 years, with his performance in the 31-20 win over San Francisco 49ers enough to earn Super Bowl LIV MVP honours.

After a trip to Disneyworld and an open-top bus parade to celebrate the team's success, Mahomes now finds himself playing a waiting game as he looks ahead to the offseason.

A first-round pick by the Chiefs in 2017, he is moving into the last year of his rookie deal. There is no doubt that his employers will pay him; the question is more about how much he gets.

The 24-year-old is expected to sign the biggest deal in the league's history, yet the eye-catching number - whatever it ends up being in terms of overall value, and guaranteed money - is not the only chance Mahomes will have to cash in on his superstardom.

Asked if Mahomes could match his record-breaking new contract in off-field deals, Darrin Duber-Smith - a lecturer in marketing at the Metropolitan State University of Denver - told Stats Perform: "For sure.

"The thing about endorsement potential is success is only one of a few important variables in whether an endorser becomes wildly financially successful.

"Pat Mahomes is likeable. Success helps, but likeability is a bigger factor. Longevity is a big issue, attractiveness is a big issue, as is success. Those are sort of the four biggest variables for endorsement success, in my opinion.

"Tom Brady has longevity and has had success, and is good-looking too, but he doesn't have that likeability.

"Mahomes doesn't have the longevity aspect yet, of course. We don't know about that because an injury can derail someone's career very quickly.

"I would compare him to Peyton Manning, though. He even has more endorsement potential than Manning, who is one of the most likeable and also one of the highest-grossing celebrity endorsers ever."

 

While Manning is still earning in retirement, Mahomes is part of a new generation of quarterbacks. Alongside Deshaun Watson and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, he is a superstar who will attract in sponsors, not just with his play on the field but also his personality.

His profile is aided by a change in the marketing landscape, according to Duber-Smith. Where once teams were the main attraction, now it is the players who have the pulling power.

"It's all about what we call 'star power' in the sports marketing world," he explained. "We can thank 15 or 20 years of fantasy football for that.

"Star power drives almost everything – people will go out and watch really poor teams, so long as there are one or two great stars. Teams can also make millions of dollars despite not winning for decades, just so long as the star power is there.

"The NFL has rallied this year, and I think that's down to a couple of things. First, they are paying a lot more attention to which games they are showing on television, so that really helps, but we also have 'Generation Z' coming in.

"They are different. With the millennials, we had a malaise for a period of time. Now, though, we have in this batch of new quarterbacks, probably the most exciting bunch we've possibly ever seen.

"It's all about quality. The Premier League is rated number one in the world, and the way you look at that is through player salaries. The thing about Americans is – and you're going to see this when the XFL fails – they don't like to watch poor sports.

"They like to watch the best in the world, which explains why the Premier League ratings are so much higher than our own MLS. We don't care where it comes from – if it's high quality, we will watch it."

There is little doubt about Mahomes' quality. Kansas City have drafted and developed a franchise QB who should be worth every penny of what they end up paying him. As one of the faces in the NFL, he should expect to be in high demand.

Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday.

Rams veteran Weddle – a six-time Pro Bowler – called it quits after 13 seasons in the league.

The 35-year-old had one season remaining on a two-year deal he signed with the Rams in March 2019.

Weddle tweeted: "It's been REAL @NFL @Chargers @Ravens @RamsNFL! "TEAM-MATES, COACHES and others I LOVE y'all. We had a GREAT RUN!!!!! #BEARDOUT."

A five-time All-Pro, Weddle tallied 29 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, eight forced fumbles and 1,179 tackles in 201 career games.

Weddle spent his first nine seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers, before joining the Baltimore Ravens and the Rams.

In his lone season with the Rams, Weddle finished second on the team in tackles with 108.

"I wish Eric and his family the best as he retires from football," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "Eric had a distinguished 13-year career in the NFL, where he played at a high level and earned respect across the entire league.

"He is one of the smartest and most instinctual players I have ever been around. Last season, he served as a captain on our team and was a key cog on our defense. More than that, he was a leader in our locker room and set a professional example for everyone he encountered."

Andy Reid vowed "next year, we're coming right back here" as the Kansas City Chiefs celebrated their Super Bowl LIV triumph with a mammoth parade on Wednesday.

The Chiefs ended a 50-year wait for a title thanks to a thrilling 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, having trailed by 10 points during the fourth quarter of the game in Miami.

It marked the crowning glory in the career of popular head coach Reid, who finally won a Super Bowl ring for the first time, and he clearly has little intention of it being his only success.

Speaking in front of fans, Reid declared: "Next year we're coming right back here. One more time, baby. One more time."

The trophy for the AFC champion is named after Lamar Hunt, the father of franchise owner Clark Hunt.

Lamar Hunt died in 2006 and superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who gleefully chugged beers on the bus during the journey, said that was part of the inspiration for the Chiefs.

"When I became the starter, the first thing I wanted to do was bring the Lamar Hunt Trophy back to Kansas City, back to this organisation," said Mahomes, who was named MVP for the game.

"And the second most important thing I wanted to do was bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the best coach in the National Football League."

Among the celebrations and shenanigans, Travis Kelce adorned a Louis Vuitton coat reportedly worth $20,000, as well as a custom-made WWE title belt strapped around his waist.

Stepping up to the microphone, Kelce bellowed out, "Can you dig it?" and screamed, "You've got to fight for your right to party" in reference to team's anthem by The Beastie Boys.

Hollywood actor and Chiefs fan Paul Rudd also got in on in the act, sharing what the result meant to him while speaking to the NFL Network.

"You get the feeling that no one else in the league is paying attention. It's a small market. Only Chiefs fans know about it," Rudd said. 

"It's the first time I've been able to say to my son, 'You can be proud of this team, you don't have to wait until next year'. It's pure elation.

"Every single year since he was seven, he cries at the end of the season. This year, he cried more than ever, but they were happy tears."

It's third-and-three in the first offensive series of Super Bowl LIV and Patrick Mahomes' pass to Damien Williams in the flat falls incomplete.

Even those with a passing interest in the NFL are not too surprised. The Kansas City Chiefs have been slow starters in these playoffs. They spotted the Houston Texans a 24-point lead in the Divisional Round and then trailed the Tennessee Titans by 10 in the AFC Championship Game.

Ethan Cooperson, a senior research analyst for the broadcast support team at Stats Perform, knows the estimated 40 million listeners tuned into Westwood One's play-by-play caller Kevin Harlan and analyst Kurt Warner desire more than just an observation that it takes Mahomes and Co. a while to get going.

On this occasion, Cooperson and the team have trawled the Stats Perform database to recognise a pattern: Kansas City have now gone three-and-out on each of their three opening drives in the playoffs having done so only twice in the regular season, when they were the NFL's best at moving the chains on third down.

It is one example of the type of data nugget that Cooperson, sat next to Harlan and Warner in the upper reaches of Miami's Hard Rock Stadium, writes down on pieces of paper to pass across to the Westwood One commentary duo throughout the 54th edition of the Super Bowl.

"You have to think quickly, think on your feet," Cooperson tells Omnisport before the game.

"You react to those things and figure out what's important, what trend is happening, what record might be broken or what might have happened that hasn't happened in a long time."

This game is a classic example. The aforementioned Kansas City running back Williams - who had fewer than 500 rushing yards in the regular season - ends up being a key part of the Chiefs' 31-20 success over the San Francisco 49ers.

Stats Perform's historical database can quickly identify Williams as the first player in Super Bowl history to have over 100 yards on the ground, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.

"People want to know, 'Well, how many times has this ever happened?'," Cooperson, who also works alongside the CBS broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, explains.

"People want to go deeper into those historical numbers. It's not enough anymore to be able to say, 'How many times has it happened this year?' We want to know, 'How many times has this ever happened?'"

He adds: "We're trying to look beyond what much of the media already has, digging into the Stats Perform database, the historical database, trying to find interesting trends that the public doesn't know about."

One of Cooperson's favourite recent examples was when running back Derrick Henry became just the fifth player in NFL history to score a touchdown on his birthday, doing so in Tennessee's Wild Card Round win over the New England Patriots.

Cooperson had an inkling that might happen, but it was a case of quick-thinking two weeks later when he worked out Titans tackle Dennis Kelly (321 pounds) was the heaviest man to catch a postseason touchdown in NFL history, a stat which got him a namecheck from Nantz on the air.

"I think back to when I first started doing TV with CBS in 2000 and some of the things that we got on there at that time, that we thought were really interesting and deep... Well, frankly, someone now in fourth grade could get access to some of those numbers," he says.

"So what we thought was great back then is very easy and simple to come by now.

"There's more demand, [we have to] dig deeper, find more stuff that goes deeper into the historical trends."

In the end, a rather mundane game came to life in the final quarter. The Chiefs scored the joint-most points (21) in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl while becoming the first team in NFL history to overturn 10-point deficits in each of their three playoff wins.

Just like Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, Cooperson has to make adjustments as the game wears on.

"You don't want to get so involved in things that you have prepared or looked up prior to the game," Cooperson admits. 

"You very much want to react to what's happening."

Travis Kelce appeared more ready than superstar team-mate Patrick Mahomes to lead the Kansas City Chiefs' celebrations at their Super Bowl parade on Wednesday.

The Chiefs claimed their first title in 50 years on Sunday, Mahomes inspiring a stunning fourth-quarter turnaround to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Miami.

Kansas City trailed by 10 points after three quarters, but Mahomes, who had already rushed for one touchdown, threw for two scores as Andy Reid's team roared back.

Along with the usual Super Bowl rings, the Chiefs were rewarded with a custom WWE belt from wrestling executive Paul 'Triple H' Levesque.

And as the team gathered for Wednesday's celebratory parade in Kansas City, a Twitter post showed tight end Kelce wearing the belt.

The celebrations had seemingly already had an impact on Mahomes, however.

The quarterback, who has previously been mocked by team-mates for a voice described by head coach Reid as "froggish", revealed on Twitter that he was struggling ahead of the event.

He wrote: "Im go ahead and warn y'all my voice is almost gone and i already don't have a lot!"

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