Bleacher Report - Front Page
The 29-year-old has only appeared in seven games in the 2017-18 season and has missed each of Cleveland's last two contests with ankle problems.
Injuries are nothing new for Rose, who saw much of his tenure with the Chicago Bulls defined by his physical setbacks—including a torn ACL—after he won the NBA MVP in 2010-11. He also dealt with a sprained ankle that forced him to miss game action earlier this season.
While the health problems sapped Rose of some of the explosiveness that defined his game early in his career, he still averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game last season with the New York Knicks. He has followed up with 14.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in his first campaign with Cleveland.
Rose isn't the driving force who can carry a team like he was in his prime, but he doesn't need to be on the Cavaliers.
They have other options in the backcourt to carry the load with JR Smith, Dwyane Wade, Iman Shumpert and Jose Calderon. What's more, LeBron James often serves as a de facto point guard and facilitator anyway and can resume more of those duties until Rose returns.
The video, which was reportedly taken after Jones was asked to provide a videotaped message to a woman who was about to get married, shows the 75-year-old saying the following: "Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he's with a black girl tonight, don't you?"
"That comment was inappropriate," Jones said in a statement Friday, according to the Dallas Morning News' David Moore. "It's not who I am, and I'm sorry."
In an e-mail to the Dallas Morning News, former Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders insisted Jones' comments weren't a reflection of his character.
"A joke that was intended to add humor at the request of a fan in a lighthearted moment was taken totally out of intent," Sanders said, per Moore. "I'm sorry we're in this state of mind as a country, but if you're looking for a racist, Jerry Jones is not that guy."
Peter Wright cruised into the semi-finals at the 2017 Grand Slam of Darts, as he defeated Glen Durrant 16-10 in Wolverhampton, England, on Friday.
The BDO champion was off the pace, missing the doubles as Snakebite flexed his muscle at the oche.
Gary Anderson defeated Mensur Suljovic 16-12 in a tight encounter, but the two-time world champion produced the extra quality he needed late in the contest.
Here are Friday's quarter-finals results:
Peter Wright 16-10 Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson 16-12 Mensur Suljovic
Saturday's quarter-final matches:
Phil Taylor vs. Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen vs. Rob Cross
Wright gained revenge for his defeat to Durrant in the group stage, as he took his place in the last four with consummate ease.
The Lakeside kingpin didn't have a finish in the tip of his darts, and he was repeatedly punished by the juggernaut from the PDC.
Wright broke his opponent's throw to capture the opening pair of legs, but Durrant repeated the feat to level the match at 2-2.
PDC Darts highlighted the action:
Snakebite upped the pace to storm ahead, grabbing a 7-3 advantage, and Duzza appeared bruised as he struggled to keep up.
Wright won three of the next four legs to earn a 10-4 lead, and Durrant appeared a beaten man, as the difference in class was evident.
Durrant briefly rallied to take out a 124 finish, and he built some momentum as Wright tried to regain his rhythm.
Duzza stayed in the hunt to make it 14-9, finding the maximums as Snakebite appeared to take his foot off the gas, and the crowd reacted as the BDO champion narrowly missed a nine-dart finish.
However, Wright pulled his game together to crawl over the line, remaining good value for his 16-10 victory.
PDC Darts provided the winning darts:
Anderson and Suljovic fought tooth and nail in the opening stages of their battle, and the opening 10 legs were shared evenly.
The two-time world champion was struggling to move through the gears as the Champions League holder slowly moved into position, with Anderson being punished by the referee for stepping across the oche before releasing a dart.
PDC Darts shared the moment:
Gentle took advantage of the mistake to win the 10th leg, and Anderson was clearly displeased with his form.
Once again, there were issues with the board, as in earlier rounds, and Suljovic asked for a replacement after darts failed to stay in the treble bed.
The Flying Scotsman quickly worked through his disappointment and began to turn the screw on his opponent, going high and low around the board to take a 9-6 lead.
Anderson was averaging 101.2 compared to Suljovic's 96.3, but Gentle managed to bring the score back to 9-8 as the Scot missed his doubles.
Suljovic maintained his rising form to chase Anderson's tail, and the match was finely poised at 11-10 to the Scot.
However, Gentle suddenly ran out of gas, and his stamina was lacking as Anderson captured three legs in quick succession to lead 14-11.
Anderson went for the throat in the closing stages, and he quickly disposed of Suljovic in the final exchanges to make the last four of the competition.
All statistics via PDC.tv.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he had to go on a liquid diet for a couple of days after suffering a jaw injury in the team's Week 10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
On Friday, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk passed along Wilson's comments about his recovery from the hard hit.
"I had to wear this splint almost," Wilson said. "Basically a hard mouthguard which would reset my jaw a little bit and make me feel good again."
The NFL is also reviewing the team's handling of its concussion protocol in the aftermath.
Last week, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network the league was looking into the situation after referee Walt Anderson sent Wilson to the sideline to get checked out, but the quarterback only went into the medical tent for a few seconds before returning to the field.
The 28-year-old University of Wisconsin product added "the league's gotta do what the league's gotta do" when asked Friday about its review into the matter.
If the NFL determines Seattle violated the concussion protocol, it could fine the Seahawks and take away draft picks.
Wilson ended up playing the rest of Thursday's game against the Cardinals and finished with 238 passing yards and two touchdowns in the 22-16 win.
He's expected to remain in the Seahawks' lineup for Monday night's home game against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field despite the jaw injury.
La Liga resumed after the international break on Friday as Girona held Real Sociedad to a 1-1 draw at the Estadi Montilivi.
The result keeps Real Sociedad in seventh place while Girona stay 10th, now two points clear of Celta Vigo.
Here are the latest standings in Spain (goal difference in parentheses):
1. Barcelona 31 (26)
2. Valencia 27 (19)
3. Real Madrid 23 (13)
4. Atletico Madrid 23 (10)
5. Villarreal 20 (7)
6. Sevilla 19 (1)
7. Real Sociedad 18 (3)
8. Real Betis 17 (1)
9. Leganes 17 (1)
10. Girona 16 (-3)
11. Celta Vigo 14 (5)
12. Getafe 13 (2)
13. Espanyol 13 (-4)
14. Levante 12 (-3)
15. Athletic Bilbao 11 (-4)
16. Deportivo La Coruna 11 (-7)
17. Eibar 8 (-19)
18. Alaves 6 (-11)
19. Las Palmas 6 (-20)
20. Malaga 4 (-17)
The visitors took an early lead in the game with Willian Jose opening the scoring in some style after just seven minutes.
The 25-year-old was sent into the area by Mikel Oyarzabal before dropping his shoulder, leaving his defender on the floor and then firing home left-footed at the near post.
Real Sociedad's official Twitter account captured the moment perfectly:
Meanwhile, Opta noted how effective Oyarzabal has been for Eusebio Sacristan's side this season:
Girona have enjoyed a decent start to their first season in La Liga, notably beating Real Madrid 2-1 in October, and rallied after the break.
Cristhian Stuani brought them level just after the hour mark, heading home Portu's cross at the far post to make it 1-1.
His importance to the team was highlighted by football writer Simon Harrison:
Young defender Pablo Maffeo, on loan from Manchester City, was also catching the eye for Girona again, according to journalist Benjamin Wills:
Sociedad pressed for a winner but could not find a way past goalkeeper Bono and were forced to settle for a point.
It's another impressive result for Girona, who have now gone three games without defeat in La Liga and taken seven points from the last nine available.
The Liga newcomers are hard to beat, particularly at home, while in Stuani up-front, they possess a real match-winner who is proving to be an excellent signing.
Retired quarterback Michael Vick reportedly cleared his debt stemming from a 2008 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Thursday when he sent a final $1.5 million payment to creditors.
According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, Vick officially paid back $17.4 million of the $17.6 million he owed.
Vick, who spent 548 days in jail for his involvement with an illegal dog-fighting ring, initially filed for bankruptcy in July 2008.
At the time, Reuters reported the 2001 No. 1 overall pick decided to file because he "failed to resolve a legal dispute with one large creditor, Joel Enterprises Inc." that was owed $4.5 million. The Atlanta Falcons were also reportedly owed $6.5 million as part of a salary settlement, according to Rovell.
The 37-year-old was able to repay the debts after his playing career was revived in 2009 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Vick, who was initially signed as a backup, emerged as the team's new starter in 2010 and was rewarded with a six-year, $130 million deal that included approximately $40 million guaranteed.
According to Spotrac, Vick took home roughly $59 million in total cash earnings between 2009-2015.
David Goffin booked his spot in the semi-finals of the 2017 ATP World Tour Finals in London with a convincing win over Dominic Thiem on Friday.
The Belgian won in straight sets against Thiem, who looked to be struggling with a knee problem, and will now face Roger Federer for a place in Sunday's final.
Later in the day, Grigor Dimitrov, who had already booked his place in the last four, comfortably saw off Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.
(7) David Goffin bt. (4) Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1
(6) Grigor Dimitrov bt. (alt) Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-1
Roger Federer vs. David Goffin, 2 p.m. GMT/9 a.m. ET
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Jack Sock, 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
Goffin got off to a slow start against Thiem, going 3-0 down before storming back to take the first set in some style with a brilliant forehand winner.
Tennis TV showed what a great finish it was by Goffin:
Having captured the first set, Goffin then took an early break in the second to put himself in a commanding position.
Tennis journalist Jose Morgado explained why it was all going wrong for Thiem:
The Austrian was also struggling with a knee problem, per Metro's George Bellshaw:
Goffin then cruised to victory in the second set, taking it 6-1 to advance to the semi-finals. The Belgian was not at his best but did not need to be against a struggling Thiem.
He will, however, need to improve if he is to get past Federer, who has won all three of his matches so far and is the man to beat at the O2 Arena.
In the evening session, Dimitrov got off to a great start against Carreno Busta, winning the first eight points in a row, per Live Tennis:
Dimitrov continued his fine form to take it to 5-0 before Carreno Busta finally managed to hold serve.
The Bulgarian then served out the first set, taking it 6-1, in just 22 minutes, per Tennis TV:
The second set started in similar vein, with Dimitrov breaking his opponent in the first game. Carreno Busta called for the trainer and taking an injury timeout. The Spaniard took a nasty fall in the game, stretching to reach a Dimitrov cross-court shot that may have exacerbated an existing problem.
There was no sympathy from Dimitrov, however, who continued to dominate his opponent with a relentless display of attacking tennis.
The Spaniard did manage to gain a foothold, holding serve to make it 4-1, but Dimitrov broke again at 5-1 to seal a commanding victory.
Sports journalist Reem Abulleil showed just how good Dimitrov has been in London:
On this form the Bulgarian will have little to fear from Sock and will fancy his chances of booking a place in Sunday's final.
The Football Association of Wales released a statement on their official website, confirming Coleman's immediate departure. The statement read:
"We are extremely disappointed to see Chris' tenure as Wales manager come to an end.
"The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as National Team Manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.
"We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about."
Reuters (via Eurosport) reported Coleman "is now expected" to take over at the Black Cats.
Sunderland are bottom of the Championship after winning just once in 16 games and in desperate need of fresh leadership after being relegated from the Premier League last term.
The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday that Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback Sunday against the Houston Texans, which means fantasy owners pegging their hopes to Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson could be in for something of a rollercoaster ride.
In 40 career starts, Gabbert has completed 56.0 percent of his passes for 7,351 yards, 38 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. He's also averaged a middling six yards per pass attempt over that span.
Needless to say, those numbers aren't inspiring.
However, they don't mean Fitzgerald's stock is shot.
When it comes to Week 11 specifically, the 34-year-old can still be viewed as a low-end WR2 or high-end flex play because of the consistency with which he's been targeted this season.
To date, Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals with 88 targets, 60 receptions, 677 receiving yards and three touchdowns with Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton splitting time under center.
And with Fitzgerald more of an underneath safety valve than a vertical field-stretcher at this point in his career—he's averaging 11.3 yards per catch—Gabbert should look to him early and often as something of a security blanket while Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson and Co. try and make hay along the boundary.
Also consider the Texans rank 27th against the pass after allowing the Los Angeles Rams to hang 339 yards on them a week ago, and Fitzgerald should be able to find enough holes in the secondary to be a viable fantasy starter.
It's hard to say the same about Peterson.
The Cardinals' lead back hasn't topped 30 yards in two of his past three outings, and he was bottled up to the tune of 1.4 yards per carry on 21 attempts last week against the Seattle Seahawks.
Looking ahead to Sunday, it's easy to envision the Texans replicating the Seahawks' game plan and stack in the box with eight and nine defenders in order to clamp down on Peterson and force Gabbert to win downfield.
Plus, Houston is currently one of nine teams allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards per game.
The running back pool is admittedly thin this year, so benching Peterson may not be a legitimate option for some owners, but it's hard to be bullish on his upside so long as Palmer is sidelined.
Danica Patrick announced Friday that the 2017 season will mark her final campaign as a full-time driver.
As seen in the following video courtesy of Fox: NASCAR, Patrick made the announcement two days before the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
Patrick added that while she will not be a full-time driver in 2018, she will still compete in NASCAR's Daytona 500, as well as the Indianapolis 500 for IndyCar.
According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass), Patrick plans to retire from racing following the Indy 500: "Nothing that was being presented excited me, then about three weeks ago, I just blurted out, 'What about Indy? Let's end it with the Indy 500.' This ignites something in me. But I am done after May. Everyone needs to put their mind there. My plan is to be at Indy, and then I'm done."
Patrick made her Cup Series debut for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012 and was a full-time driver for the team from 2013 through 2017.
The 35-year-old enters Sunday's race winless in the Cup Series, but she does have seven career top-10 finishes to her credit, and she is the only woman to ever win a Cup Series pole.
Prior to joining NASCAR, Patrick spent seven years in the IndyCar Series where she became the first woman to win a race.
She is also the highest-finishing woman in the history of both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.
Provided Patrick starts the 2018 Indy 500 as planned, it will mark her first IndyCar appearance since the 2011 season.
Previous starter Drew Stanton is dealing with a sprained knee. He will serve as Gabbert's backup if he is able to do so, but if he cannot suit up, the recently signed Matt Barkley will be the backup.
Stanton had started the Cards' past two games after veteran quarterback Carson Palmer landed on the shelf with a broken arm.
The 28-year-old Gabbert has not attempted a pass this season, but he does have 40 career starts to his credit with a record of 9-31.
Last season, Gabbert appeared in six games for the San Francisco 49ers, throwing for 925 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions to go along with 173 rushing yards and two scores.
For his career, Gabbert has thrown 38 touchdowns and 37 interceptions, making him a less-than-ideal option for a Cardinals team fighting to remain in the playoff hunt.
Arizona sports a 4-5 record and currently sits two games behind the Seattle Seahawks for the final playoff spot in the NFC.
NFL owners have been discussing potential succession plans for commissioner Roger Goodell as debate continues to rage regarding his future in the league office, and one interesting name reportedly surfaced of late.
According to ESPN.com's Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham, "a confidant of one owner reached out to gauge whether Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, would be interested in running the NFL."
Silver, however, had zero interest in the proposition and "immediately said no."
That Silver would decline is hardly surprising.
The 55-year-old joined the NBA in 1992 and steadily worked his way through various roles, including NBA chief of staff and special assistant to the commissioner, before he took over as commissioner for David Stern in February 2014.
Since then, the league has experienced something of a financial and popularity boom.
In Oct. 2014, the NBA agreed to a nine-year, $24 billion television rights deal with ESPN and TNT—which was valued at three times the previous agreement, according to the New York Times' Richard Sandomir.
More recently, the league watched as the 2017 Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors became the most-watched championship series since 1998.
The story has differed for the NFL.
According to Van Natta Jr. and Wickersham, "TV ratings and favorability polls have drifted downward this autumn," which has produced "dissatisfaction with Goodell's stewardship" among some owners.
For now, Goodell is locked in a dispute with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has threatened to sue the league in order to block the commissioner's proposed contract extension, according to the New York Times' Ken Belson.
On Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Todd Archer reported there will be an "owners-only session that will deal with the impending extension for commissioner Roger Goodell" at the NFL's winter meeting Dec. 13 in Irving, Texas.
Twitter. It’s a wonderful, beautiful trash heap of miserable mayhem and funny jokes that quickly get beaten into the ground mercilessly. I hate it, and I spend all day there. It’s also a place where like-minded sports fans can come together, show support for their teams, complain endlessly and beg for the sweet release of the offseason. Those special groups are the Sports Twitter communities.
Team and local Twitter subsets are loosely defined and freewheeling. The analytics dorks? Part of it. Sports talk radio hot takers? Members. Bandwagoners? On board. People who earnestly use 280 characters? Sadly welcome.
But it’s not always fun, games, memes and score updates. After all, in the big picture, most pro sports teams stink. And even when a team is doing really well, some communities can’t help but pick fights and seek out things to complain about (hello, Eagles Twitter). A sizable chunk of sports Twitter is a cesspool of complaining, anger, anxiety, bewilderment and more complaining. So, all things considered—team futility, fan hostility, general hopelessness, etc.—which sports Twitter communities are the saddest?
Warning: these communities have been known to use profanity.
8. Dolphins Twitter: It Exists
On the surface, it’s easy to mock the Miami Dolphins and their fans. They’ve been irrelevant since Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, are a mainstay on a Twitter account that tweets pictures of empty stadiums and play this ridiculous fight song on the rare occasions they score. It’s not hard to see why fans would be mad:
And that’s not even touching how the team’s former O-line coach foolishly filmed his extracurriculars.
But here’s the thing about local members of Dolphins Twitter: They’re happier than most of us. I’m from Philadelphia, and our most famous export is a fictional, miserable boxer who lost. Miami has Pitbull, the literal most positive man on the entire planet, and DJ Khaled, the second-most positive man on the planet. And why are they so positive? They’re in Miami. Every time I see a picture of a half-empty Dolphins (or Heat or Marlins) game, I always think the same thing: I wouldn’t be there watching that team either—it’s Miami. That’s why Dolphins Twitter is at the bottom of this list. While they should be happy, it’s super impressive they can fight through all that “Mr. Worldwide wearing a youth medium baseball jersey” joy and get to the sadness of it all. Kudos, Dolphins Twitter.
The Five Stages of Grief
7. Knicks Twitter: A Success Story
Welcome to the first (but definitely not last) appearance from New York on this list. Honestly, any other year, the Knickerbockers community would be top-five, but Phil Jackson is gone, James Dolan is quiet(er) and Kristaps Porzingis is a superstar. He’s like if the Monstars stole the ability from every good player and shoved it into Stick Stickly. But in the good ol’ days—earlier this year—things were different. ‘Staps skipped his exit interview, Carmelo Anthony was Melo-ing all over the place and pre-ouster Phil Jackson was making everything worse. That, in addition to every New Yorker’s innate need to feel and be superior to others, made for a sad mix:
And we can’t mention Dolan and his kazoo without showing it off:
The Five Stages of Grief
Also, you can just search “Dolan” and any profane word of your choosing.
6. Oilers Twitter: Northern Negativity
The Edmonton Oilers are probably the best team on this list. They’re in great shape. Last season, they made the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years, took a second-round matchup to seven games and did it all on the back of 20-year-old superstar Connor McDavid. But the Oilers lost four of their first five games to start this season and currently sit with only 16 points, the third-lowest total in the NHL. This is what sets Oilers Twitter apart.
Most other communities on this list have been bad for a while and are still bad. The Oilers were bad for a while, but now they’re good. Real good. But they’re supposed to be way better than they are, which has spawned a unique phenomenon in sports Twitter communities: Incredulous Twitter. Part shrugging, part angry, part confused, Oilers Twitter is doing some really great work in the “sad Twitter” department, though its spot on this list may be more temporary than anyone else’s.
All the great work is being done in the hashtag #HereComeTheOilers, which is basically a gif party no one wants to be at. They’re having fun with sad Twitter before it sucks their souls away:
Pretty much the only thing happening on Oilers Twitter outside of mocking the Oilers is people mad about Oilers Twitter:
The Five Stages of Grief
5. Jets Twitter: Football’s Mets
In case you haven’t been paying attention to the NFL this season, here’s a quick update: The New York Giants are very, very bad. They’re a disaster. Their coach (for now) Ben McAdoo isn’t exactly a fountain of inspiration. Eli Manning is a shadow of who he once was. They have one win. But why are the Jets here and not the Giants? Let’s ask Giants Twitter:
The Giants have a relatively recent history of winning, and their fans won’t let Jets fans forget it. Winning a Super Bowl is hard (I, an Eagles fan, know this), so they have every right to flaunt it in the Jets’ face. But the sibling rivalry is real. While Giants fans are tweeting about how they suck but at least they’re not the Jets, Jets Twitter is welcoming Giants fans to being terrible. Neither community can get the other off their mind. They’re stuck with each other, they’re both terrible and neither has any real path to being good.
So why the Jets and not the Giants? Every other Jets Twitter tweet is about the Giants. Just move on already:
The Five Stages of Grief
An oldie but a goodie:
4. Bulls Twitter: Tanks and Fists
Chicago Bulls fans totally expected to be bad and are (mostly) totally fine with being bad. Did they like the return on the Jimmy Butler trade? Some did, some didn’t (it was trash). But they’re smart, and they accept the position they’re in. If you want to tank, you have to full-on tank. They get it.
That’s all fine, but Bulls Twitter didn’t enter this season expecting Bobby Portis to punch Nikola Mirotic so hard he legitimately broke his face. Portis hospitalized Mirotic, which led to a brief suspension for Portis and caused Mirotic to ask for a trade, which has now somehow led everyone to side with Portis. Plus, as a fun bonus for people who aren’t Bulls fans, they have a hashtag (#GarPax) just to be miserable about their front office. Every team should have one of those. Chicago is doing it right. Except for all the punching.
The Five Stages of Grief
Any one of dozens of tweets that say, “Bulls so trash.” Here’s one:
3. Kings Twitter: Proud and Enthused
Sacramento Kings fans have been through a lot. Just four years ago, it seemed that the then for-sale Kings might be bought and relocated to Seattle (Sonics Twitter would surely earn a spot on this list). Instead, now-owner Vivek Ranadive swooped in to save the team’s Sacramento home. But during Ranadive’s tenure, things have been less than smooth.
George Karl coached the team and then published a book where he blamed Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony’s failures (when Karl was coaching the Nuggets) on growing up without father figures. It was about as poorly received as you’d expect. Ranadive famously was very high on Nik Stauskas, which became public knowledge in a widely mocked draft room video. Then he and general manager Vlade Divac traded “Nik Rocks” Stauskas (and a valuable pick swap/future pick combo) not long after to get cap relief in order to sign free agents they didn’t end up signing.
Now, they have to watch DeMarcus Cousins continue to thrive in New Orleans. It’s been rough, but Kings fans are proud. They fought off threats for years from people trying to take their team and move it away. Vivek saved them. He’s got immunity for at least a couple more years.
The Five Stages of Grief
2. Mets Twitter: America’s Younger Brother
In talking about the Philadelphia 76ers, many national writers would talk about how “The Process” was terrible because it created a “losing culture.” I’m not here to debate the merits of that within a locker room, but years of fielding a terrible on-field/court product can create a losing culture within your fanbase. For example: Mets Twitter.
The Mets are only two years removed from a World Series appearance, but Mets Twitter very quickly reverted to its base instincts, honed from supporting a team that has been more mediocre than bad but is forced to play second fiddle in its own city to the Yankees. It’s understandable. The Yankees get Jay-Z name drops and Denzel Washington wearing their hat. The Mets once had Garth Brooks on their spring training roster. They paid Tim Tebow. Every non-Yankees fan may hate the Yankees, but we all know they’re Marcia and the Mets are Jan. It’s a fact of life, and let’s be honest, a nation of younger siblings (your family’s “Mets fans”) was psyched when Marcia took that football to the face.
Here’s some optimism from extremely early in the 2017 season:
And an August loss:
General recent malaise:
In the field of self-deprecation, Mets Twitter is the GOAT.
The Five Stages of Grief
1. Browns Twitter: (Un?)Defeated
Oh, Cleveland. There was a near-100 percent chance this spot would belong to the Browns. Before the Cavaliers brought a well-deserved title to “Believeland,” the future self-esteem and success of your average Clevelander could have been easily described with the city’s turn-of-the-20th-century nickname: “Sixth City.” The name came from the Land’s population standing at the time, but why would you ever call yourself that? The New York Times once called Philadelphia the Sixth Borough, and everyone here is still furious about that. Never admit you’re not top-five, and certainly don’t embrace it.
But because of all this, it’s impossible to dislike Cleveland Browns fans. Go ahead, try. That’s not dislike you’re feeling—it’s a weird mix of schadenfreude, pity and endearment. But on Browns Twitter, it’s less fun.
On October 31, @BrownsYouthFB, the “Youth & High School Football account for the Cleveland Browns,” tweeted about a contest involving high school football. The account, which typically tweets about football played in the Cleveland area by literal children, received this response:
The Browns just set the NFL record for consecutive Sunday losses (26). The team tried to send two draft picks to Cincinnati for backup quarterback AJ McCarron, but the trade fell through due to one or both teams’ front office incompetence. This was actually a rational response:
Even silver linings (a probable No. 1 overall pick next year) can’t force a positive response:
As you can guess, game days are fun:
But there’s comfort in this. When the team you love is very bad now, has been very bad in the past and will continue to be very bad in the future, you can detach yourself from it. There’s a feeling of near-Zen from watching a terrible team you know is terrible (take it from a lifelong Philly fan). Enjoy it, and hope it doesn’t last forever.
The Five Stages of Twitter Grief
With bragging rights at stake and some of the biggest names in WWE going head-to-head in star-studded matches, Survivor Series 2017 promises to be one of the more exciting installments of one of the company's biggest shows in recent times.
The headline is Raw and SmackDown Live doing battle to determine which brand is the best, and the ongoing invasion angles between both shows have certainly done a good job of hyping Sunday's pay-per-view.
But despite the card looking fascinating on paper, there are sure to be some bouts that will have left fans feeling firmly disappointed.
It's clear there are some stars who need wins more than others this weekend, but whether the company agrees remains to be seen.
Here's a look at the likely results that could prompt the most outrage from WWE fans at Survivor Series.
Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix told reporters Thursday he thinks Martellus Bennett "quit" on the team prior to his release.
"At the end of the day you have to think of it as a business," Clinton-Dix said, per the Wisconsin State Journal's Jason Wilde. "Me personally? I thought he quit on us. I don't fault him, but I did think he quit on us. He let us down — as a teammate. For a guy that came in, of his caliber, his leadership quote-unquote, I expected more from him. I held him to a higher standard, me personally. But he handled it the way he wanted to handle it."
Bennett was waived by the Packers with an injury designation on Nov. 8 and reportedly planned to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff.
But in a series of posts on Instagram, which were relayed by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Bennett alleged that Packers team doctor Pat McKenzie attempted to persuade him to play through the injury and delay the operation.
According to Wilde, a segment of Packers players "believe Bennett quit on them when times got tough without injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers."
"I think it definitely has the power to galvanize a locker room," linebacker Clay Matthews said, per Wilde. "Because it shows you—especially going through difficult times—it shows you who's in and who isn't."
In their first game without Bennett, the Packers rattled off a 23-16 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field to hang in the NFC playoff picture and move to 5-4 on the season.
Now looking to further solidify themselves as wild-card contenders, the Packers will take aim at the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday when the two sides clash at Lambeau Field.
Oliver Harbord of Football.London reported the Premier League champions could turn to the rising star if stopper Thibaut Courtois departs Stamford Bridge. United are also considering the 23-year-old as a potential replacement for David De Gea, as their No. 1's long-term future remains unresolved.
However, Spanish journalist Pipi Estrada has claimed Kepa will arrive at Los Blancos in the Spanish capital, as Real turn their attentions away from De Gea (h/t Jack Staplehurst of the Daily Star).
Speaking on TV programme El Chiringuito, Estrada said:
"Kepa and Real Madrid have already reached an agreement.
"There is only one detail—if he arrives in the winter or summer. Real Madrid wants Kepa to come in the winter market and would pay Athletic €5 million more.
"And there the problem would be that Kiko Casilla would have to find a way out.
"If Athletic accepts that amount that Real Madrid offers, it would be done in January."
Kepa has kept three clean sheets in 10 La Liga games this season, according to Squawka, achieving a claim average of 100 per cent.
The keeper recently said he is content with life in Bilbao, despite the growing interest in his talent and potential.
Per Football Espana, the player said:
"I'm happy at Athletic, I'm calm and I'm only focused on working hard for my club. I know that people talk about me because I have family and friends who read the papers and listen to the radio. Obviously I'm not blind to it, but I'm calm."
Here is Kepa in action:
The Spain international could become a major star for his country, giving the nation two world-class options between the sticks with De Gea.
However, if Courtois leaves the Bridge, Chelsea fans might desire a more experienced option to arrive. Kepa lacks big-game experience and would take time to settle in west London.
In other Blues news, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has proclaimed Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both have careers at the club when their current loan spells end.
"I think we are talking about two young players, two really good players.
"Ruben and Tammy will be the future for Chelsea. It is right for them to play regularly.
"I read Ruben’s interview, and he said it was important for his development.
"It is the same path for Christensen and now he is playing regularly. He is an important player."
Abraham and Loftus-Cheek have both appeared ready for weekly action in the top division, and their development will expand during their stint away from their parent club.
Abraham has impressed in a Swans shirt, scoring four goals in 11 Premier League games this season, according to WhoScored.com.
Loftus-Cheek has long had a stellar reputation in the youth and reserve ranks, but the 21-year-old has been desperate for minutes after failing to gain a starting berth under Conte.
Zinedine Zidane has responded to speculation that Neymar could move to Real Madrid by saying he is a "very good footballer" and "as for the future, who knows?"
Madrid reportedly want Neymar at the Santiago Bernabeu to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and have already held talks with the Brazilian's father, according to Francesc Aguilar at Mundo Deportivo (h/t MailOnline's Matt Maltby)
Neymar only moved to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, from Madrid's fiercest rivals Barcelona, but has proved to be a huge hit in Ligue 1.
Opta show how prolific Unai Emery's side have been this season with the Brazilian in the ranks:
Zidane has now spoken about the Neymar speculation, via FourFourTwo: "Neymar is a very good footballer, that's true. I have the best players here at this club and the same goes for the dressing room. You can only work with and focus on the players that are here. As for the future, who knows?"
The Portugal international has had a difficult start to the season, as shown by Opta:
Ronaldo's future was also called into question in the summer with the forward reportedly wanting to leave after being "upset" at accusations of tax fraud, per Dan Roan at BBC Sport.
The 32-year-old opted to stay although there may still be unresolved issues, per Dermot Corrigan at ESPN FC:
Ronaldo will turn 33 in February of next year and Madrid will have to plan for life without their inspirational forward at some point.
Replacing the Portuguese is an incredibly difficult task, but Neymar is one of the very few players in the world who has the stature and the talent to take his place in the Madrid attack.
Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post passed along the status update Friday.
He was a force in 2015 and finished with 952 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches, each career-high marks. He was solid again last year with 686 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions but has been inconsistent in 2017 with 27 grabs for 211 yards and two scores across six games.
At his best, Reed can serve as a matchup nightmare because of his size (6'2" and 246 pounds) against safeties and speed against linebackers. However, Washington is better equipped than other teams to lose someone with that skill set because of the presence of veteran Vernon Davis.
The two-time Pro Bowler Davis may not be in his prime anymore, but he is a reliable option for quarterback Kirk Cousins and can step into the regular tight end role until Reed is ready to return.
Pryor had a breakthrough season in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns and was looking to continue his ascension in his first year with Washington before this setback.
He tallied 1,007 receiving yards and four touchdown catches for Cleveland and parlayed his performance into a contract with Washington during the offseason.
But to this point, Pryor has struggled mightily in the nation's capital to the tune of 20 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown through nine games.
Washington will likely rely on the wide receiver combination of Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant even more with Pryor out.
According to the team's release, there is no timetable for Conley's return, and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
The Ohio State product dealt with an Achilles issue earlier in the season and has struggled to remain on the court at times the past few years. He played 69 games in 2016-17, 56 games in 2015-16 and 70 games in 2014-15.
When he is healthy, Conley is the floor general for the Grizzlies and one reason they have been a regular Western Conference playoff contender in recent campaigns. He can attack the lane off the bounce, find his teammates, stretch opposing defenses with his perimeter shooting and provide impressive defense against quicker guards.
He tallied a career-high 20.5 points per game last season while also dishing out 6.3 assists a night. Conley has followed up by averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 dimes per game this season.
Memphis will likely turn toward Mario Chalmers to handle the point guard duties while Conley is out. It also has the combination of Dillon Brooks and Andrew Harrison in the backcourt, who both figure to see more time until Conley returns to action.
Ernesto Valverde has commented on speculation Barcelona will try to sign Antoine Griezmann by saying he is a "great player" and that the club will "not close the door on anything."
The Catalan giants have already agreed a deal in principle to sign the France international next summer, per Le 10 Sport (h/t Sport).
Griezmann has a release clause of €100 million, and Barcelona will try to complete a deal with Atletico "in the coming months."
Opta highlight just how effective Griezmann has been in La Liga:
"Griezmann is a great player, one of the names being talked about but for now I have the players that I have. In the future, we will see. Of course, the club, like all clubs, is open to doing business in the January window, even though we're happy with what we already have. We're not going to close the door on anything."
It is, perhaps, little surprise to see Griezmann's future again the subject of speculation, and his reported release clause makes him a relatively affordable and attractive option.
Griezmann has a proven goalscoring record not only in La Liga, but also in the Champions League, per WhoScored.com:
While his quality is not in doubt, one question mark over a possible move to Barcelona would be where he would fit into Valverde's side.
However, the opportunity to bring in a talent such as Griezmann at a relatively reasonable price is bound to appeal, and he would bring youth to an ageing attack, with Messi and Suarez both set to turn 31 next year.
"The refs, they come up to me, talking to me disrespectfully, wanting me to curse back at them, but me cursing back at them isn't going to help me," he said. "I'm not going to get a flag in my favor next time around, but that's the way they handle business, I guess. I told Coach I'm just going to try to stay out of the refs' way."
The 27-year-old defender, who owns an extensive history of suspensions and fines for on-field conduct related to player safety, added he was "raised to defend myself always" and doesn't think it's fair officials can make repeated contact with him after a play:
"I still think they shouldn't be allowed to touch us if we can't even touch them, not even in a physical way. The thing about it is the game of football is physical, and in the heat of the moment, when a guy is talking s--- to you and you are getting pushed after the play and the ref comes up and puts his arm on you like you are the one that started something or pushed somebody first, every time that happens it kind of gets old. You know you're not the one that started it and the ref comes up to you, it gets old."
Burfict exited the Bengals' 24-20 loss to the Titans after making contact with down judge Jeff Bergman, which resulted in his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of the contest and an automatic ejection.
"He has to understand," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters. "I've pointed it out. In those situations, everybody's over there, and you just can't push back. Sometimes, which happens, you push back and it's the official, you can't do that. He knows better. We pay a price. We pay a price because he hurts us when it's on the field that way and then he's not on the field. So, both ways."
The NFL has yet to announce any further discipline for the linebacker as a result of the incident.
Cincinnati is set to play its third consecutive game away from home Sunday when it travels to face the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The NFL is a constant game of "Can you top this?" for coaches and play-designers.
There is a zone blitz for every West Coast offense and a 46 defense for every run-and-shoot. Even when schemes fade due to their limitations, elements stick in the modern game.
The NFL of 2017 is the most schematically, formationally diverse we've ever seen, and that will continue in future seasons. Coaches will tell you that it's a league of matchups—and about getting the personnel and numbers together in ways that stop an offense or fool a defense. That's led to new roles for players at every skill position on both sides of the ball.
Fullbacks had better be able to motion from the backfield out wide to present a linebacker with a matchup issue if they want to stay on the field. Cornerbacks need to cover outside and in the slot, where the responsibilities can be completely different. Linebackers who can't cover won't be in the game plan often. And on and on.
The NFL1000 team of scouts has been watching tape all season, and we've noticed trends that are changing the game. Some are adapted from the NCAA, while others are revisions of pro concepts revved up for today's NFL.
Lead scout: Doug Farrar
Quarterbacks: Mark Schofield
Running backs/fullbacks: Mark Bullock
Receivers/tight ends: Marcus Mosher
Offensive line: Ethan Young
Defensive line: Justis Mosqueda
Linebackers: Derrik Klassen
Secondary: Ian Wharton
Here are 10 schematic concepts that are finding more favor in the NFL, and how they might progress.
According to Talal Ansari of BuzzFeed, an Uber driver identified as Kate said Winston touched her crotch early on the morning of March 13, 2016 during an Uber ride.
Winston released a statement regarding the allegations:
"A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.
I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false. While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNN's Jill Martin that the matter is under review, according to an email obtained by Bleacher Report.
BuzzFeed obtained a letter from the NFL's special counsel for investigations, Lisa Friel, to the Uber driver that said, "The League has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston. The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter."
The NFL addressed the situation in another statement, saying, "The allegation was shared with the NFL and we have reached out to Uber to request any information they may have."
"We are in the process of obtaining further information regarding today's media report," The Buccaneers said in a statement provided to Martin. "We take these matters seriously and are fully supportive of the investigation being conducted by the NFL."
In a statement provided to Martin by Uber, the company said, "The behavior the driver reported is disturbing and wrong. The rider was permanently removed from the app shortly after we learned of the incident."
Uber's spokesperson said the driver reported the incident to the company shortly after she said it occurred, and that the rider was then banned from using the service.
Kate told BuzzFeed that Winston "behaved poorly" throughout the ride, saying that he shouted homophobic slurs at pedestrians as well.
The former Uber driver provided details, adding, "I wasn't just creeped out, I was frozen. I mean he's an NFL quarterback and I'm 5'6". I'm not prepared for that. So I completely froze."
Kate said women in the public eye coming forward to speak out against sexual misconduct compelled her to share her story, saying, "I have been empowered by my sisters who have forged this path by speaking up, and I must do my part to make it a little more well traveled. If I'm silent, I fear that further harm will come to other women, if it hasn't already. He sexually assaulted me, and I have every right to tell the damn truth about it."
Winston's representative said the following on the matter in a statement to Buzzfeed: "We categorically deny this allegation. It is our understanding the Uber driver was unable to identify the specific individual who allegedly touched this driver ... The only reason his name is being dragged in to this is that his Uber account was used to call the ride."
A former Florida State student named Erica Kinsman said Winston sexually assaulted her in 2012, but no charges were ever levied against him. Winston denied the allegations, while a university investigation into her claims found insufficient evidence to rule against him in a Title IX investigation into the matter.
In 2016, Winston settled a federal lawsuit and countersuit with Kinsman.
According to Sport (h/t Metro), Sky Blues manager Pep Guardiola wants to add the attacker to his squad, but Barcelona have joined the race for his signature. United appeared favourites to capture the France international last summer, but City's interest could now turn Griezmann's head.
Le 10 Sport (h/t Sport) reported Barca are the current favourites to take the player to the Camp Nou after agreeing a deal in principle with the Atleti forward. Griezmann's release clause is reportedly €100 million.
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo recently dismissed rumours of Griezmann joining United or any of their rivals.
Speaking to Marca (h/t Goal's Tom Webber), Cerezo said:
"We have put in a lot of effort to keep him and to keep all the players. The problem Griezmann has had is that a series of news stories about other important European clubs wanting him has not benefitted him.
"Griezmann is and will be an Atletico player. He is an important player and at an important club and he wants to win titles with Atletico.
"He may have had a start to the season which could have been better, but there is a lot left of the LaLiga season for him to show how important he is for the club and how important football is for him."
The 26-year-old has struggled for form and consistency this season, scoring just two goals in nine La Liga appearances.
Here is the player in action:
In other Red Devils news, Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose is ready to move to Old Trafford in January as coach Jose Mourinho attempts to strengthen his options at full-back. United are now prepared to increase their effort to sign the England international.
According to The Sun (h/t Metro), Mourinho wants to upgrade the left-back position after relying on Ashley Young since his return from injury.
However, United could give Luke Shaw one last chance to impress, as the club prepare to trigger a 12-month extension clause in his contract.
The Guardian (h/t Metro) reported Mourinho is keen to give the 22-year-old a chance to stake a claim after suffering with stagnant form and injury. Shaw has played in only 20 games in all competitions since the start of Mourinho's tenure, and Metro said Arsenal are considering an approach in January.
Both full-back positions continue to be problematic for United, and their lack of width has been evident since Paul Pogba's injury. The Frenchman opens up the park for Mourinho, and the team has missed his creativity in midfield.
Runners have not been able to burst down the wing with Pogba on the sideline, but the Frenchman's return will allow United to spread the play evenly.
Shaw remains a bright talent, but it is questionable whether he has the defensive mindset to play for Mourinho.
The Special One preaches a pragmatic approach, and Shaw has been known to vacate his position with too much ease.
Barcelona have reportedly not yet made an approach for Mesut Ozil, while Arsenal are said to have already made an offer for Lyon's Nabil Fekir.
The Catalan giants are keen on the German as a possible alternative to Philippe Coutinho if they are unable to land the Liverpool star in January.
However, Barca have not made "formal contact" with the Gunners yet, with Ozil free to talk to foreign clubs from January 1, 2018, per James Olley at the Evening Standard.
Unlike Coutinho, Ozil would be available to play in the UEFA Champions League for Barcelona, and the 29-year-old would be a cheaper option as his contract is due to expire in the summer.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that Ozil's future will be decided in December, per beIN Sports (h/t Charles Watts of Football.London).
Ozil and Coutinho would both add creativity to a Barcelona side that, aside from Lionel Messi, has often looked devoid of inspiration this season, despite topping La Liga after 11 games.
WhoScored.com show how Ozil may even have the edge on the Brazilian:
Ozil's inability to agree a new deal with Arsenal seems to suggest his future lies away from the Emirates Stadium, although Barcelona's priority does still appear to be Coutinho.
Another option for Barcelona is Fekir, who is enjoying a superb season with Lyon but has already been the subject of interest from Arsenal, per Sport (h/t Sport Witness).
The Blaugrana see Fekir as an alternative to Coutinho, but Arsenal "already raised a concrete offer" for January.
Any winter move for Fekir may end in failure, as Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has said the 24-year-old will remain with the club for the rest of the season and potentially beyond, per SFR Sport (h/t Metro).
Fekir has 11 goals in 11 Ligue 1 appearances this season to help his side into third place in the French top flight.
Opta highlight just how impressive that tally is:
The France international is also the most improved improved player in Europe's big leagues this season, per Martin Laurence at the Guardian.
Fekir could be an ideal replacement for Ozil, and while Lyon will want to hold on to their star man, he could now be ready to make the step up to a bigger club.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Thomas hopes to be playing by the end of December, and he feels good about where he currently stands regarding his injury:
"So, I can't control what people think or say about what's going on in my hip. I know, and I know that I'm going to be OK. I just know that it's going to take time. I can't control the amount of time it's going to take, because I decided not to have surgery. And that was the best decision for me, because of what numerous doctors say. And I don't want to go too deep into that, but I know what I'm going to be and I know I'm going to be fine at the end of the day. And I know I'm going to be able to play the game of basketball again at a high level for however long that I would like to play the game."
Thomas was also asked about his offseason trade from the Boston Celtics to the Cavs and the possibility of those teams meeting in the Eastern Conference Finals for a second consecutive year.
If it does happen, Thomas believes it would be an ideal story:
"Oh, that would be lovely. That would be the story that God made, and it probably will work that way. It always does. It always works—I'm not going to say in my favor, but it seems to always work out no matter what the circumstance is. That would be a special moment. If they make it there, and we make it there, and then we clash, and then you never know what's going to happen. But I'll be ready for whatever happens."
Thomas hasn't played at all this season due to the hip ailment that cut his 2016-17 season short during the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland.
While the two-time All-Star admitted not playing has been a challenge, he also said that he has progressively started to feel better throughout the rehabilitation process:
"Like I said, I never had to sit out. I've never had to be in a situation like this. But now that I've been in it, and now that I've been able to rehab and been able to attack every day the same way, like that's the best part about it because I see the light at the end of the tunnel now. At first, it was hard. Like I'm not going to lie, it was hard because you didn't see what was coming at the end. Like say back in May and June, when I'm not able to play. I couldn't see (that day when) I'd play again. Like, I know I'm going to, but when am I going to be able to get back out there on the floor. And now, every day, every week, I'm getting better and better. I'm doing more and more. I'm feeling more like a basketball player again, because I'm doing everything a basketball player does now."
The 28-year-old Thomas is expected to step into Irving's vacated spot in the Cavs lineup when healthy after averaging a career-high 28.9 points per game last season.
Cleveland is off to an uneven 8-7 start this season without Thomas, while Boston leads the NBA with a record of 14-2.
Cena has experienced success again and again at the annual pay-per-view. He's been a part of winning Survivor Series teams. He's been a triumphant champion. And he's been on the event's marquee several times over.
Lesnar, normally booked as a frightening, overwhelming force, hasn't had nearly as much to celebrate at Survivor Series.
On Sunday in Houston, at the 31st edition of the PPV, The Beast Incarnate will look to break his recent pattern when he faces AJ Styles in a champion-against-champion battle. Cena, meanwhile, will be in line to add to his hefty resume when he represents Team SmackDown in a traditional Survivor Series elimination match against Raw.
He has five times been among the survivors in elimination matches. Three of those times, he was the sole survivor.
Orton has also ousted opponents at an unmatched rate. He has taken out 14 Superstars in Survivor Series elimination bouts. That's the most for anyone in WWE history, as noted by Joey Koontz of ESPN.com.
Of the Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown combatants this year, Triple H is a distant second with five eliminations.
In addition, Orton leads the way in terms of Survivor Series appearances among the men and women competing in the two Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown elimination matches on Sunday.
For those looking at the numbers to see who may come out on top, Cena's inclusion on the blue brand's squad makes SmackDown the safer bet. WWE clearly loves to see him win in these situations.
Cena at the Series
Orton may be the king of elimination matches, but Cena has been Survivor Series' big winner overall.
The powerhouse is 9-1 in his 10 Survivor Series appearances. That includes four wins in championship matches and victories over everyone from Chris Jericho to Team Raw's captain Kurt Angle.
Cena has also headlined Survivor Series five times.
Hulk Hogan never did that. Bret Hart, Steve Austin and The Rock never reached that mark either. Orton, meanwhile, has main evented the PPV four times.
Lesnar's Survivor Series numbers don't come close to either The Viper or Cena. He is winless at the event thus far. He fell to Big Show in 2002, to a five-man crew headed by Angle the next year and lost to Goldberg in less than a minute and a half in 2016.
The Beast Incarnate enters this year's event as the favorite, but it's hard to feel too confident about his chances. WWE clearly doesn't have an issue with letting him fall at Survivor Series.
The Undefeated and Uninitiated
Survivor Series promises to be a showcase for the New Era. Rising stars will have a chance to make their mark on the event.
This will be the first Survivor Series appearance for Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka and Baron Corbin.
They won't be the only ones to enter the event undefeated. Enzo Amore, Bayley, Kalisto, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks and Styles are all 1-0 at the moment. Charlotte Flair has a slightly more substantial streak going at 2-0. She has to knock off Alexa Bliss from Raw to extend that mark.
Cesaro, meanwhile, has quietly been untouchable at Survivor Series, going 3-0 at the event.
Last year, he was on the winning side of the 20-man tag team match. He, Jack Swagger and The Shield were victorious in an elimination bout in 2013. And Cesaro outlasted R-Truth in 2012 to remain the United States champion. He'll team with Sheamus and face The Usos with an eye on making it four in a row.
Cesaro is miles away from building an Undertaker-like streak or numbers that rival Cena or Orton's, but Survivor Series has been kind to The King of Swing thus far.
John Hart stepped down from his role as Atlanta Braves President of Baseball Operations on Friday amid an MLB investigation into the team's handling of the international player market.
The Braves announced the decision on social media and provided a statement from Hart, who's leaving to "pursue other opportunities outside the organization:"
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month potential penalties for the alleged "multi-pronged malfeasance," which led to the exit of general manager John Coppolella and international scouting supervisor Gordon Blakeley, included a substantial fine, the loss of prospects acquired through the international market and restrictions of future signings from outside the United States.
On Thursday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com noted an MLB ruling could arrive early next week and added: "The depth of Hart's involvement or knowledge, or lack thereof, of the alleged infractions may be better understood once MLB announces the penalties."
"The past few months have been the toughest in the storied history of the Atlanta Braves franchise," CEO Terry McGuirk told reporters this week. "Frankly, the Braves have not lived up to our standard that the fans expect of us and that we expect of ourselves. On behalf of the entire Braves family, I want to apologize to the fans and our partners. We’ve let you down and we will work to regain your trust."
Hart jointed the Braves organization in 2014 and worked alongside Coppolella on a massive rebuilding project, which featured several notable international signings, including Kevin Maitan.
Don't call it a comeback; they've been here for years.
Triple H and Kurt Angle are once again back in the ring, but this time they're on the same side. They will lead Team Raw against Team SmackDown Live in a traditional five-on-five elimination match at the Survivor Series. The November 19 epic will pit both of WWE's top brands against each other in a battle of supremacy, and the two WWE icons will stand up for Monday Night Raw.
But this is definitely an uneasy alliance.
Fans knew it was only a matter of time until The Game returned to the ring. The former 14-time world champion has always been around, of course, but he has not been a full-time presence on Raw since his loss at WrestleMania on April 2.
The end to that match cast serious doubt as to Hunter's future in the ring. It wasn't as though he couldn't still go, and it wasn't as if he had lost a step. But from a storyline perspective, Triple H had been shot down in flames.
The Game has not won a televised one-on-one match since 2016, and his last Mania win came in 2015. Hunter put Roman Reigns over at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, thus cementing The Big Dog's top-guy status.
The same can be said of Triple H's match with Rollins at WrestleMania 33. It was obvious that The Game had moved on and had reached a time in his career when he was better used to put over rising talent.
Of course, that talent had to earn it; The Game never handed anything to any opponent.
So if his reign of dominance in the ring had come to an end, then Hunter's next logical step was to reassert his position of authority in the company. That's where fans now find him as WWE moves to Survivor Series.
When Triple H's music hit on the November 13 edition of Raw, the crowd exploded. His return may have been unexpected, but his timing could not have been better.
Kurt Angle had to pull the plug on his storyline son Jason Jordan's positioning as a member of Team Raw. Jordan had been injured earlier in the night by Bray Wyatt and was obviously in no condition to compete just six days later at Survivor Series.
Enter Triple H, who decided to take control of the situation and Pedigree an emotional Jordan. The Game inserted himself into Team Raw, and fans could not have been happier. But did they pop over the announcement because they approved of Hunter's inclusion, or Jordan's removal?
Once the excitement dissipated, fans surely began to wonder what was going to happen. Triple H is still coming off like a heel, which means he's not back to put smiles on fans' faces. He's still the tyrannical authority figure, and that means he doesn't care about doing the right thing.
He cares about doing what's best for business, which means he must stroke his own ego.
The Cerebral Assassin lives up to his nickname in more ways than one, and there's no reason to believe that will change now. Just because he's siding with Angle does not mean they're going to come out on good terms after the Survivor Series is over.
After all, if Team Raw loses, Angle loses his job as General Manager.
Hunter has nothing to gain from even working alongside Team Raw; he's over both brands. Even from a storyline perspective, this move makes no sense. Triple H shouldn't care which brand wins or loses, because he has an interest in both. The common denominator in this equation is Stephanie McMahon, whose influence likely brought The Game back to the ring.
The civil war between her and brother Shane never seems to end.
Fans should expect Hunter to try and take control early. He will call the shots during the match and attempt to point Team Raw in the right direction. Triple H's ego will not allow him to take a backseat to Angle, or anyone else.
The friction between the two will be apparent, and it will be a problem.
Triple H may be part of the McMahon feud, but he's not the only one on Team Raw that has family issues.
Kurt Angle's storyline with Jason Jordan has developed a new twist. For the first time, Jordan attempted to capitalize on his relationship with Angle, and that was surely not lost on the fans. From the moment that a teary-eyed Jordan begged his father not to pull him from the Survivor Series match, the seed was indeed planted.
Will Jordan go heel and affect the match's outcome at Survivor Series?
Nothing is for certain, of course, but now the specter of Jordan's possible involvement is looming over the event. If Jordan makes an appearance and costs Team Raw the win, then Angle loses his job as General Manager. It could be sweet revenge for Jordan, who saw his dream spot stolen from him by Triple H.
Therein lies the biggest problem with Angle and Hunter's shaky partnership at Survivor Series.
At some point, Angle must stop acting like a fearful GM and start acting like a father. He stood by and watched his son get laid out by one of the most despicable heels WWE has ever seen. He watched and he did nothing to stop it.
What if Angle himself costs Team Raw the win at Survivor Series?
Angle could decide that family is more important than business and turn on The Game during the match. The swerve could come at a critical time, when the match reaches a crisis point. Angle's actions could cause Team Raw to lose, and the last words from him could be to a prone Triple H on the mat.
You don't have to fire me, I quit!
Regardless of whether Angle will step up for Jordan, fans should expect the Olympic Gold Medalist to come out swinging at Survivor Series. Angle didn't really get a chance to show off at TLC when he teamed with The Shield, so this could be the perfect time for him to shine.
But the friction between him and Hunter will be obvious. Angle may even win the match for his team and then lay Hunter out after the bell rings. Either way, the sudden heat between the two men may lead to something more down the road.
Triple H versus Kurt Angle may be the next big match for both legends.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeart Radio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com