Weekend Sports in Brief
Two high-profile rematches with the Super Bowl on the line.
The NFL’s highest-scoring offenses face off in the conference championships next Sunday. Brady leads the New England Patriots into Kansas City to take on Mahomes and the Chiefs, and Brees and the New Orleans Saints host Goff and the Los Angeles Rams.
New Orleans’ defense played a crucial role in its 20-14 win over Philadelphia in the divisional round on Sunday, and New England showed off its rushing attack in a 41-28 win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Los Angeles Rams advanced by powering their way to a 30-22 win against Dallas on Saturday, while Kansas City is headed for its first AFC title game in 25 years after rolling to a 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Sarah Thomas is the first woman to work an NFL playoff game as an on-field official.
Thomas was the down judge in Sunday’s divisional round game between New England and the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s a first, according to the league’s Twitter account .
Thomas was hired in 2015 and was already the league’s first female full-time official.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL on Sunday ended months of uncertainty by officially announcing Maroon 5, Big Boi and Travis Scott as the performers at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
Maroon 5 had been the widely reported halftime show act since September, but the NFL didn’t confirm the band as its headliner until Sunday. The league said Maroon 5 will be joined by Big Boi, the Atlanta-based rapper from Outkast, and Scott.
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea tore his right Achilles tendon in a game against Minnesota, a season-ending setback for a key Mavericks’ reserve.
Barea was injured in the second half of the Mavericks’ 119-115 victory in Minneapolis on Friday night. The team said Saturday that Barea was weighing his options for surgery.
The 34-year-old Barea was averaging 10.9 points and a team-high 5.6 assists as a key part of the second unit for Dallas.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Thunder will retire Nick Collison’s No. 4 in March.
The ceremony will take place when the Thunder hosts the Toronto Raptors on March 20. The crowd favorite’s number will be the first the franchise retires since moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City before the 2008-09 season.
Collison announced his retirement last May after spending all 15 years of his career with the Thunder franchise, which was the Seattle SuperSonics when he was drafted 12th overall in 2003.
WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor forward Tristan Clark, the national leader shooting 74 percent from the field, will miss the rest of the season after surgery on his left knee.
The Bears made the announcement about the 6-foot-9 sophomore before Saturday’s home game against No. 7 Kansas. It came four days after Clark scored 16 points while playing 34 minutes in a home win over No. 20 Iowa State.
Phil Masinga, the former South Africa and Leeds United striker who scored the goal that took his country to the World Cup for the first time, died Sunday. He was 49.
The South African Football Association said Masinga died in a Johannesburg hospital from a “cancer related disease” just a month after being diagnosed.
He was transferred last month from a hospital in his home town of Klerksdorp to the hospital in Johannesburg, SAFA said.
Masinga made 58 appearances for South Africa but is best remembered for the fierce long-range strike against Republic of Congo at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg in 1997 that saw Bafana Bafana, then the champions of Africa, qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan has ended its relationship with former USA gymnastics executive Rhonda Faehn, three days after she agreed to work as a coaching consultant for the women’s team.
Athletic director Warde Manuel released a statement Sunday, saying: “I have come to the conclusion that it is not in the best interest of the University of Michigan and our athletic program to continue the consulting contract with Rhonda Faehn. It was the wrong decision, and I apologize. “
USA Gymnastics parted ways with Faehn as senior vice president in May after she was criticized by victims of Larry Nassar, the former national team doctor serving decades in prison for abusing athletes.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A public address announcer has apologized for a remark about a Native American player during a lacrosse game that he and the team called “insensitive,” with both team and league vowing disciplinary action.
Georgia Swarm forward Lyle Thompson said on social media that Philadelphia Wings public address announcer Shawny Hill said “Let’s snip the pony tail” during Saturday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Thompson, who is from the Onondaga Reservation in central New York, said fans began to shout “scalp” him.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Olympic champion swimmer Ryan Lochte is among the cast announced for the second season of “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.”
Other house members announced Sunday by CBS include former NFL star Ricky Williams, Olympian Lolo Jones and former WWE wrestler Natalie Eva Marie.
Lochte has said he is training for a shot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 12-time Olympic medalist was undergoing alcohol counseling in October. He recently announced his wife is expecting their second child.
MIAMI (AP) — Former Miami Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the only NFL team to achieve a perfect season, died at age 71.
His death Saturday was confirmed by the Dolphins, who had no further details.
Kuechenberg joined the Dolphins as a free agent in 1970, coach Don Shula’s first season, and played for them until 1983. He started every game for the team that went 17-0 in 1972, and started 16 games for the team that repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1973.
Kuechenberg was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a member of the Dolphins’ Honor Roll.
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Joe Gibbs Racing says co-founder J.D. Gibbs, the eldest son of team owner and Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, has died. He was 49.
The team announced J.D. Gibbs’ death on Saturday, saying he passed from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. It was revealed in 2015 that he was dealing with “conditions related to brain function.” He was serving as president of JGR at the time.
Jason Dean Gibbs later served as co-chairman of JGR. Before stepping into a management role, he was an over-the-wall crewmember and a part-time driver. He made 13 NASCAR national series starts between 1998 and 2002.