49ers' David Akers New Field Goal King

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Among the free agent signings during the condensed NFL offseason, the San Francisco 49ers' signing of kicker David Akers was one of those that more-or-less flew under the radar. But in retrospect, it may have been one of the best free agent moves of the summer.

Akers kicked four field goals during the team's 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, giving him 42 on the season. He now holds the NFL record for the most field goals in a single season. The previous record was held by Houston Texans kicker Neil Rackers, who kicked 38 field goals back in 2005 when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

"All our players and coaches, everybody is real happy for David's success," 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the win.

Akers is in his 12th season in the NFL. This is his first season with the 49ers after spending his whole career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Maple Leafs Give Coach Ron Wilson Contract Extension

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- In the spirit of the holiday season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have given head coach Ron Wilson a gift to remember. The team has agreed to extend Wilson's contract, despite its struggles in recent seasons. Terms of the deal were not immediately released.

"He came. He came!" Wilson tweeted Christmas morning, perhaps referring to Santa Claus. "Remember saying that as a kid? Well he did: I got a new Red Ryder BB gun and a contract extension!"

The 56-year old Wilson was hired by the Maple Leafs in June of 2008 and has gone 119-120-42 over that span. Wilson has the most wins of any other active NHL coach with 637. Despite his success, which spans 18 seasons, he has yet to lead the Maple Leafs to the playoffs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Patriots Clinch First-Round Bye 

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, MA) -- The New England Patriots clinched at least the two seed in the AFC, with their 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots trailed by 17 at the half before capping the comeback with a one yard Tom Brady touchdown sneak. 

"There's always things that are going to go wrong in a football game and things aren't going to work out the way you want them to all the time," said Patriots receiver Wes Welker,  "The main thing is just playing a full 60 minutes and never giving in and understanding that one drive and one score (can) get things going."

The Patriots finish off their season next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Detroit Lions Clinch First Playoff Birth Since 1999

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The Detroit Lions clinched their first playoff birth since 1999, by beating the San Diego Chargers 38-10.

"There's going to be a time that we don't celebrate getting to the playoffs, but it's not going to be tonight," Schwartz said. "It's been a long time coming."

The win was the Lions' third straight.  They will get a chance to improve their playoff position next week, when they head to Lambeau Field to take on division rival Green Bay. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio



Scoreboard Roundup - 12/24/11

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL: The Buffalo Bills (6-9) bucked the Denver Broncos (8-7),40-14.

The Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) turn away the Arizona Cardinals (7-8), 23-16.

The Tennessee Titans (8-7) tame the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11), 23-17.

The Oakland Raiders (8-7) get by the Kansas City Chiefs (6-9), 16-13.

The New England Patriots (12-3) rally and beat the Miami Dolphins (5-10), 27-24.

The New York Giants (8-7) stop the New York Jets (8-7), 29-14.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) roll by the St. Louis Rams (2-13), 27-0.

The Minnesota Vikings (3-12) romp the Washington Redskins (5-10), 33-26.

The Carolina Panthers (6-9) destroy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11), 48-16.

The Baltimore Ravens (11-4) hang on and beat the Cleveland Browns (4-11), 20-14.

The Detroit Lions (10-5) earn their first playoff birth since 1999 by beating the San Diego Chargers (7-8), 38-10.

The Philadelphia Eagles (7-8) buckle down the Dallas Cowboys (8-7), 20-7.

The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) come back and win over the Seattle Seahawks (7-8), 19-17.

NCAAF: In the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Southern Mississippi (12-2) closed out Nevada (7-6), 24-17.


Panthers Newton Breaks Rookie Passing Record

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton put a stamp on his incredible rookie season. During the team's 48-16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton set the rookie record for most passing yards in a season.

Newton needed just 17 yards heading into the game to break Peyton Manning's record of 3,739 yards back in 1998. Newton got those 17 yards during the team's first offensive drive when he threw a seven-yard pass to Brandon LaFell. While Newton was at it, he also threw a franchise record 91-yard touchdown pass to LaFell later in the game.

Newton finished with 171 passing yards with three touchdowns, while he also ran for 65 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown run. For the season, Newton has passed for 3,893 yards and has ran for 674 rushing yards.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Athletics Will Be Given Permission To Move To San Jose

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Oakland Athletics will be allowed to move the team to San Jose by February.

The team has been trying to get out of Oakland for quite some time, but the team's efforts had been halted by Major League Baseball so that Commissioner Bud Selig's-appointed committee could look into the matter.

The San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights for San Jose and until now, they had been hesitant to let the move happen. Nightengale is also reporting that the move will taken to vote by the other MLB owners.

The Atletics have already purchased land in the San Jose area for a potential new stadium. Co-owner Lew Wolff has suggested that a new ball park could be ready within 30-36 months pending approval from Major League Baseball.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suspensions For Bynum And Villanueva Reduced

National Basketball Association(NEW YORK) -- With a shortened NBA season comes shortened suspensions for a couple of players. The league announced that Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum and Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva will both have their suspensions reduced because of the condensed 66-game season.

Bynum was originally suspended five games for his flagrant foul on former Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barrea during the team's final game of their playoff series. His suspension was reduced to four games.

Meanwhile, Villanueva was originally suspended for five games following a scuffle he had with Cleveland Cavaliers center Ryan Hollins at the end of last season. He has already served one game of his suspension, and will now have to sit out for just the first three games of the season.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scoreboard Roundup - 12/23/11

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) Mens Top 25 College Hoops: Wagner (8-3) upsets (15) Pittsburgh, 59-54.
(4) Louisville (12-0) holds-off W. Kentucky (4-9), 70-60.

(6) Baylor (12-0) hangs on and beats West Virginia (9-3), 83-81.

(13) Wisconsin (11-2) blows by MVSU (1-10), 79-45.

(21) UNLV (13-2) knocks off California (10-3), 85-68.

NHL: The Boston Bruins (23-9-1) blow out the Florida Panthers (18-11-7), 8-0.

The Carolina Hurricanes (11-19-6) one-up the Ottawa Senators (17-14-5), 2-1 in OT.

The New York Rangers (21-8-4) pop the Philadelphia Flyers (21-9-4), 4-2.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (18-13-4) nail the New York Islanders (11-16-6), 5-3.

The Colorado Avalanche (18-17-1) topped the Tampa Bay Lightning (14-17-3), 2-1 in OT.

The St. Louis Blues (20-10-4) snuck by the Phoenix Coyotes (18-14-3), 3-2.

The Dallas Stars (20-13-1) dumped the Nashville Predators (18-13-4), 6-3.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (20-11-4) pummel the Winnipeg Jets (16-14-5), 4-1.

The Calgary Flames (17-15-4) vault the Vancouver Canucks (21-12-2), 3-1.

The San Jose Sharks (19-10-3) edge the Los Angeles Kings (16-14-5), 2-1 in SO.

The New Jersey Devils (19-14-1) sneak by the Washington Capitals (17-14-2) 4-3, in SO.


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Paul Pierce is Doubtful for Celtics Opener

Boston Celtics/NBA(WALTHAM, MA) -- The injuries keep adding up for the Boston Celtics. First it was Jeff Green. Now it looks like C's captain Paul Pierce will miss the teams season opener with a sore right heel.

The Celtics kick off the entire NBA season Christmas day, when they take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

"It's medical staff decision -- 100 percent a medical staff decision," head coach Doc Rivers said. "I think this year it's really going to have to be that. Because we can't trust [the player] in that. Because if they do play and risk further injury, then miss some games, that's [like] 25 games because it's a shortened season."

Last season, the 34-year-old Pierce averaged 18.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

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