🏈 Gridiron Olympics

NFL Combine preview, Caitlin Clark makes more history, LeBron and Luka go off, NHL, FA Cup, and more...

Happy Leap Day! It’s not quite football, but it’s almost, kind of like football! Over the next four days, some of the best athletes in the world will make the most basic activities look astonishing. Then, we’ll all overreact to their performances and fire off takes on Twitter as if we know something. That’s right, the NFL Combine is here! We’ll break down today’s events before the dogs on defense take the field this afternoon. In terms of, like, actual sports, Caitlin Clark can’t stop breaking records, Connor McDavid can’t be stopped, and, according to sources, this LeBron James guy might be pretty good someday. Let’s go!

WTF Stat: When holding the No. 7 ranking in men’s college basketball, teams have gone 14-13 this season. Surprisingly, this is the worst-performing rank among the top-25 - the best-performing rank is No. 5, as teams have gone 25-3 this season when holding said rank.

Written By: Ian Dardani

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🏈 NFL Players Association released its second annual team report cards, which assesses players’ working conditions and environments using a league-wide player survey - the Dolphins, Vikings, and Packers received the top three overall grades, respectively, while the Commanders received the lowest grade for the second straight season

Photo: Can’t Guard Clark | Source: USA Today

College Basketball - Top Games

  • NCAAW | #6 Iowa 108, Minnesota 60: Caitlin Clark (33 PTS, 8-14 3PT, 10 REB, 12 AST) became the all-time leading women’s scorer in major college basketball with 3,650 career points to pass Lynnette Woodard while moving within 18 points of Pete Maravich’s DI men’s and women’s record of 3,667. Iowa also won by a lot - Woodard had 3,649 points for Kansas from 1977-81, before the NCAA sanctioned the sport

  • NCAAW | #20 Oklahoma 71, #3 Texas 70: The Red River Shootout lived up to its name as Oklahoma’s Lexy Keys (16 PTS, 4-9 3PT) hit a game-winning triple with 4.5 seconds remaining to stun Madison Booker (26 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST, 6 STL) and Texas, giving the Sooners their first back-to-back regular season Big 12 titles since 2006-07

  • NCAAW | #2 Ohio State 67, Michigan 51: Jacy Sheldon (22 PTS, 3 AST) and the streaking Buckeyes pulled away from rival Michigan in Columbus for their 15th straight win and the Big Ten regular-season title - the game was revenge for Ohio State (25-3), whose only conference loss this season came against Michigan on Dec. 30

  • NCAAM | #4 Tennessee 92, #11 Auburn 84: In a back-and-forth affair that featured four ties and 14 lead changes, the Volunteers trailed 63-55 before future NBA lottery pick Dalton Kneckt (39 PTS, 5-8 3PT, 3 STL) took over, scoring 11 straight points and 20 of Tennessee’s final 23 to lift the Vols over Johni Broome (23 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST) and Auburn in Knoxville - Kneckt matched a career-high of 39 points and dropped 27 in the second half

  • NCAAM | #10 Duke 84, Louisville 59: After colliding with a fan during Wake Forest’s court storming on Saturday, Kyle Filipowski (9 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST) heroically played through a sore knee, and the Blue Devils blew out lowly Louisville at Cameron Indoor to get back on track - the brave doctors at Duke University Medical Center worked tirelessly to prevent amputation, allowing Filipowski to miraculously start last night’s game

See the full NCAAM scoreboard here and the current rankings here. See the full NCAAW scoreboard here and the current rankings here.

NBA - Top Games

  • Los Angeles Lakers 116, Los Angeles Clippers 112: Kawhi Leonard (26 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) and the Clippers led 98-77 with 11:48 remaining, but then LeBron James (34 PTS, 7-12 3PT, 6 REB, 8 AST) wisely avoided the LA traffic by pulling up from downtown, as the King splashed five triples in the 4th quarter and single-handily outscored the Clips 19-16 to give the Lakers a massive come-from-behind victory - the Lakers (32-28) are 8-3 in February, and hold the No. 9 spot in the West

  • Dallas Mavericks 136, Toronto Raptors 125: Luka Doncic (30 PTS, 16 AST, 11 REB) celebrated his 25th birthday with his 11th triple-double of the season, Kyrie Irving (25 PTS) dropped 15 in the 4th quarter, and the Mavs pulled away from Immanuel Quickley (28 PTS, 5 REB, 9 AST) and the Raptors to bounce back from Tuesday’s shocking loss at the buzzer against the Cavs

  • Chicago Bulls 132, Cleveland Cavaliers 123 (2OT): Another night, another Cavaliers thriller. But this time, Cleveland missed the potential game-winner at the horn, as Donovan Mitchell’s (19 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST) last-second shot in the first overtime period clanked off the rim, and DeMar DeRozan (35 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST) and the Bulls ultimately outlasted the Cavs in double-OT

See the full NBA scoreboard here and the current standings here.

NHL - All Games

  • Edmonton Oilers 3, St. Louis Blues 2 (OT): Pavel Buchnevich (1 G) gave the Blues a 2-0 lead in the 1st period, but Zach Hyman (2 G) rattled off two goals of his own to tie the game, and Connor McDavid (1 G, 2 A) said goodnight with the OT-winner, marking St. Louis’ third-straight L - the goal ended an 11-game drought for McDavid, who now has 72 assists this season and is on pace for 100

  • New York Rangers 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1: The Rags notched their NHL-leading 40th win, as Artemi Panarin (2 G, 1 A) and Igor Shesterkin (30 SV) led the Blue Shirts to an easy victory over the Blue Jackets at the Garden - New York (40-17-3) is tied with Vancouver (38-16-7) with a league-high 83 points

See the full box scores here and the current NHL standings here.

English FA Cup - Fifth Round, Top Games

  • Chelsea 3, Leeds United 2: Mateo Joseph (8’, 59’) gave Leeds a surprising advantage with an early goal and then netted an equalizer in the second half, but Connor Gallagher (90’) proved to be the hero, as the Chelsea super-sub delivered a dramatic game-winner for the home side in the 90th minute

  • Manchester United 1, Nottingham 0: Despite a lackluster performance for United, Brazilian Casemiro (89’) saved the day with a brilliant header in the match’s waning moments to keep the Red Lions’ hopes alive of lifting a trophy in a difficult season - United will face Liverpool in the quarterfinals

See the full international scoreboard here and the FA Cup quarterfinal draw here.

🏈 It’s Combine Time!

Photo: Michael Vick | Source: NFL

2024 NFL Scouting Combine Preview

A bunch of very athletic young men will be partaking in some very elementary drills that scouts will use to evaluate their ability to play tackle football. Makes sense, right? Right. The NFL Combine is here. So before anyone (broad) jumps to conclusions, let’s set the bench (press) mark by (40-yard) dashing through what you need to know - ha! (sorry, I hate myself)

Need to Know

  • The NFL Combine is held in Indianapolis, IN, (as it has been since 1987) at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Colts

  • NFL Network will air the on-field workouts all four days, with streaming options available via NFL+ and NFL.com

  • 321 prospects will attend this year’s combine, the majority of whom will spend six days in Indy. Michigan leads the way with an NFL-record 18 players participating, followed by Washington (13), Florida State (12), Georgia (11), and Texas (11)

  • In addition to specialized drills designed for each position group, combine participants may take part in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps, three-cone drill, shuttle runs (20- and 60-yard), and the bench press (225 pounds) - participants are not required to perform any physical testing (e.g., Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr., a projected top-five pick, won’t partake in any drills, and is simply in Indy to meet with the teams)

  • The players also undergo medical examinations, media press conferences, and team interviews - each NFL team is allowed 45, one-on-one interviews with the players of their choosing, with an 18-minute limit per interview

  • Below is the on-field workout schedule for each position group:

Schedule - On-Field Workouts

  • Thursday, Feb. 29: Defensive Linemen, Linebackers (3:00pm ET)

  • Friday, March 1: Defensive Backs, Tight Ends (3:00pm ET)

  • Saturday, March 2: Quarterbacks, Running backs, Wide Receivers (1:00pm ET)

  • Sunday, March 3: Offensive Linemen (1:00pm ET)

Note: Each position group’s bench press test will take place the day after their on-field workouts.

Today’s “Freaks” to Watch

  • Byron Murphy II (DT, Texas): The Longhorns anchor is the highest-rated defensive lineman in this year’s draft. At 6-foot-1, 308 pounds, Murphy has been clocked at 18 mph on the GPS, had a team-best 500-pound front squat, and a 405-pound power clean. He’s currently ranked as the No. 11 overall prospect on Pro Football Focus’ big board. His 40-yard dash goal is to be in the 4.8-second range, and in the bench press (225 lbs), he wants “at least” 35 reps.

  • Chop Robinson (EDGE, Penn State): Robinson is a borderline first-round prospect and could boost his stock today with some eye-popping numbers. The explosive 250-pounder has a rare first step and incredible agility, even in comparison to skill position players. Chop clocked a 4.47 40-yard dash last summer, and ran a ridiculous 4.22 20-yard shuttle, which would have been the 10th-best time among all participants at last year’s combine. He also broad-jumped 10’7” and bench-pressed 400 pounds.

  • Kris Jenkins (DT, Michigan): Jenkins didn’t boast the most impressive on-field stats at Michigan, but according to former HC Jim Harbaugh, he is the “mutant of all mutants.” At 295 pounds, Kris is lighter than his 360-pound Pro Bowl father (who was selected by the Panthers in the second round of the 2001 draft) but is incredibly athletic. He did 32 reps of 225 on the bench press last summer, ran a 4.33 shuttle, broad-jumped 9’8”, and had a vertical leap of 34 inches. He is expected to have one of the quickest three-cone times amongst interior defensive linemen, and should be one of today’s “winners.”

Other Top DL/LB Prospects

  • Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama) - PFF Rank: 15

  • Jared Verse (EDGE, Florida State) - PFF Rank: 16

  • Laiatu Latu (EDGE, UCLA) - PFF Rank: 18

  • Jer’Zhan Newton (DT, Illinois) - PFF Rank: 20

  • Payton Wilson (LB, NC State) - PFF Rank: 28

  • Chris Braswell (EDGE, Alabama) - PFF Rank: 38

  • Adisa Isaac (EDGE, Penn State) - PFF Rank: 42

  • Darius Robinson (EDGE, Missouri) - PFF Rank: 45

  • Edgerrin Cooper (LB, Texas A&M) - PFF Rank: 49

We'll be back tomorrow for a full breakdown of the rest of the position groups!

Former Washington WR John Ross ran the fastest 40-yard dash in NFL Combine history back in 2017. What was his time?

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Photo: Liverpool’s stunning loss | Source: Getty Images

On February 29, 2020, Watford upset Liverpool, 3-0, to end the Reds’ 44-match unbeaten streak. Entering the contest, Liverpool was one win away from breaking Manchester City’s English top-flight record of 18 successive league victories, set in 2017. The Reds hadn’t lost since Oct. 27, 2019, and had just won the Champions League earlier that summer. However, their unbeaten run came to an end in unfathomable fashion as 5-9-13 Watford hammered the Premiership leaders at Vicarage Road stadium behind goals from Ismaila Sarr (54’, 60’) and Troy Deeney (72’). The defeat marked Liverpool’s (26-1-1) first Premier League defeat of the season in their 28th match, ending their hopes of an unbeaten league campaign to become the new "Invincibles,” emulating Arsenal's feat of 2003-04 and Preston North End's in 1888-89. But not all was lost for Jurgen Klopp’s club, as the Reds would go on to win their first Premiership title since 1990 later that spring.


  • Golden State Warriors @ New York Knicks 7:30pm ET, TNT

  • Oklahoma City Thunder @ San Antonio Spurs 8:30pm ET, Local

  • Miami Heat @ Denver Nuggets 10:00pm ET, TNT

  • Full Schedule


  • Vegas Golden Knights @ Boston Bruins 7:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Winnipeg Jets @ Dallas Stars 8:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Colorado Avalanche @ Chicago Blackhawks 9:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Full Schedule

College Basketball

  • NCAAM: Memphis @ East Carolina 7:00pm ET, ESPN2

  • NCAAM: #23 Gonzaga @ San Francisco 11:00pm ET, ESPN2

  • NCAAM: Full Schedule

  • NCAAW: #5 Virginia Tech @ #17 Notre Dame 7:00pm ET, ESPN

  • NCAAW: #1 South Carolina @ Arkansas 9:00pm ET, SECN

  • NCAAW: #9 LSU @ Georgia 9:00pm ET, ESPN2

  • NCAAW: Full Schedule

NFL Combine - On-Field Drills

  • Defensive Linemen, Linebackers 3:00pm ET, NFL Network

Trivia Time Answer

C. 4.22 seconds. Ross ran a blazing 4.22 40 in 2017 to break Chris Johnson’s combine record of 4.24 set in 2008. Ross was selected ninth overall by the Bengals and played three seasons with Cincinnati. He last saw NFL action with the Giants in 2021 before officially retiring in 2023. Former Baylor CB Kalon Barnes, a current member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, now holds the second-fastest 40-time at the combine, having clocked a 4.23 in 2022 - former Michigan and current Bengals CB DJ Turner ran the fastest time last year, at 4.26 seconds.

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Happy anniversary to my loving mother and father. Thanks for reading!