Miracle in Minneapolis: Vikings fans celebrate stunning victory

Jamie Squire/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- When New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz drilled a 43-yard field goal with 25 seconds to go to give the Saints a 24-23 lead over the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday’s divisional playoff game, long-suffering Vikings fans began to feel a little déjà vu. Another loss. Another playoff disappointment. Another cold winter devoid of a Super Bowl championship that has long eluded the snake-bitten team.

But then everything changed.

The Vikings' second-year quarterback, Case Keenum, launched a last-second bomb down the sideline to Stefon Diggs, who scampered 61 yards to the end zone as time expired, sending all 66,612 fans at US Bank Stadium into a state of delirium.

A franchise known for coming up short in the postseason had just pulled off one of the most miraculous plays in NFL history. "If there was a curse, we probably would have lost today," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said.

From Minnesota to New York and all the way to Hawaii, Vikings fans celebrated the “Miracle in Minneapolis.” Most could only scream or jump up and down. They were at a loss for words.

Fans like Millie Wall, a 99-year-old Minnesota native who witnessed her first Vikings playoff game in person after the team sent her tickets, never lost hope. After the game, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave Wall tickets to the Super Bowl. And if the Vikings beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, they will become the first team in play in and host a Super Bowl.

Sunday’s game showed how sports can produce the most raw and unpredictable moments and the Vikings were finally on the winning side.

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Man attempts to play catch with someone every day in 2018: 'It's just fun!'

Ethan Bryan(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- One baseball lover wants to return to the simpler things in life this year, and has resolved to play catch every single day.

Ethan Bryan said he got the idea to play catch every day in 2018 after his 13-year-old daughter, Sophie, gifted him a catching glove for Christmas. On her gift, a note read: "Dad, want to play catch?"

On the very first day of the New Year, the Springfield, Missouri father of two told ABC News that he took his daughter up on the offer.

"It was horribly cold...but I said, 'Do you want to play catch?' And she looked at me and said, 'Sure!' Bryan, 43, recalled to ABC News.

While throwing the ball around, Bryan, who's played catch since he was 8 years old, remembered how good it felt.

"This is what I love to do more than anything -- to play catch -- so I said let’s see how many days in a row we could do it," Bryan explained.

And so far, so good. He's played catch with both of his daughters -- Sophie along with 16-year-old Kaylea -- as well as church friends and other family members. Bryan has also played with retired St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan.

"It’s just fun," he said. "There are times when I drop the ball. It happens. It’s not about being perfect. There’s no judgment. We’re just out there having fun. And I think as we get older we forget how important it is to step back and have fun."

Bryan added, "There’s a freedom that’s found in playing catch that I just love -- just to connect with somebody away from screens, away from phones, away from this incredibly technology-infused life."

Chris Taylor, who met Bryan at a book launch event, played catch with the baseball enthusiast last Saturday.

"He texted me -- and I'm known for cosplaying as Thor -- so he texted me, 'Does Thor play catch?' And I said, 'Yeah!'" Taylor recalled to ABC News.

The two threw the ball around a few times. Taylor, who admitted he hadn't played catch "in a while," said it felt good to have fun again.

"Ethan’s just a little ball of joy," he said. "It felt great and I want to do more of it."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at age 89

Ida Mae Astute/ABC/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Keith Jackson, who was often referred to as the voice of college football over the past five decades, died late Friday night, according to his family. He was 89.

Jackson spent more than 50 years as a sports broadcaster. He retired in 2006.

He began calling college football games for ABC Sports after it acquired the broadcast rights for NCAA football in 1966. He also worked NFL and NBA games, 11 World Series and League of Legends, 10 Winter and Summer Olympics, and auto racing.  Jackson got his start on the radio in 1952, broadcasting Washington State games.

He was the first play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football in 1970, when the program debuted.

He was credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl "The Granddaddy of Them All" and Michigan's stadium "The Big House."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 1/12/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Friday's sports events:

Washington 125, Orlando 119
Indiana 97, Cleveland 95
Charlotte 99, Utah 88
Brooklyn 110, Atlanta 105
Minnesota 118, N.Y. Knicks 108
Golden State 108, Milwaukee 94
New Orleans 119, Portland 113
Denver 87, Memphis 78
Houston 112, Phoenix 95

Vancouver 5, Columbus 2
Calgary 4, Florida 2
Washington 4, Carolina 3
Chicago 2, Winnipeg 1
Edmonton 4, Arizona 2

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Saudi Arabia allows women to attend soccer match

iStock/Thinkstock(JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia) -- In a historic move permitted by Saudi rulers, a stadium in Saudi Arabia’s second city, Jeddah, allowed women to attend a soccer match between two local teams.

Dressed in headscarves and long flowing abbayas the women filed into the stadium, ushered by women in orange T-shirts over their conservative dress, to take up seats at the “family section" of the stands, separate from the male spectators. The structure of the stadium accommodated the segregation with women-only car parks and separate entrances for the female spectators.

These sections are found throughout the country in public places, such as restaurants. Men and women can only sit together as married couples or if they are directly related.

Despite the landmark development for women’s freedom, less than half of the “family section” was filled.

Saudi Arabia will see more mixed stadiums opening over the next few days with the capital Riyadh opening its stadium on Saturday and the city of Damam next week.

“It’s very nice and it’s about time.” Karima Buchari, a college lecturer and mother of two teenage daughters in Riyadh, told ABC News. She watched the women at the stadium on the news.

“It’s a huge change because they just used to keep those places for men," she said.

The new measure for women is part of 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s reforms in the Kingdom to reduce restrictions for women and to modernize the country. Last year he announced that women will be allowed to drive beginning in June 2018 and in 2015 women were allowed to vote and represent themselves for the first time in municipal elections.

“Soon they’ll have women playing football.” Buchari said. She regards Prince Salman as a champion for women.

“Yes, he is a hero and this era is the Saudi women’s time for sure,” she said.

These small steps towards women’s freedom in Saudi Arabia do not address the permissions they still need from men to go about their daily lives; these include: getting married, opening a bank account, elective surgery, traveling abroad.

Buchari remains hopeful that there will be more concessions for her freedom to come.

“I hope we use it [the freedoms] wisely and we make the country proud of our accomplishments,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Billie Jean King backs calls to rename Margaret Court Arena

Michael Dodge/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- During a news conference on Friday, tennis legend Billie Jean King said she believes Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open should be renamed due to Court's comments about the LGBT community.

Court, who is from Australia, is now a Christian pastor and has been an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage.

King, who is gay, was originally a proponent of having the arena named after Court in 2003 in recognition of the 24-time Grand Slam winner, but that changed after Court's comments.

"I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community -- I'm a gay woman -- about the LBGTIQ community," King said at news conference Friday. "That really went deep in my heart and soul.

King is being honored at the Australian Open this year, on the 50th year of her first win at the Grand Slam. She is being recognized as the Australian Open Woman of the Year.

King did not say players should boycott the Arena at the Open, but she added, "If I were playing today, I would not play on it." 

King is not the only former women's tennis player that is calling for a name change.

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam winner, wrote an open letter last year recommending that tennis officials rename the court for Evonne Goolagon Cawley, another Australian tennis great.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said that while there's an "ongoing conversation", there is no formal process about changing the name of the court.

Last year Court's negative comments about gay people in Australia were heavily criticized. The country voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in 2017.

Court is a regular attendee at the event, but she is not attending this year's Open, which starts on Monday.

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Scoreboard Roundup -- 1/12/18 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:
 Final Boston   114 Philadelphia 103
 Final Toronto  133 Cleveland 99
 Final L.A. Clippers 121 Sacramento  115
 Final L.A. Lakers 93 San Antonio  81
 Final Carolina  3 Washington  1
 Final Buffalo  3 Columbus 1
 Final Calgary  5 Tampa Bay  1
 Final (6) Wichita St.  95 East Carolina 60
 Final Oregon  76 (11) Arizona St.  72
 Final (15) Gonzaga 103 Portland  57
 Final (17) Arizona 62 Oregon St.   53
 Final NC State   78 (19) Clemson  77

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Former Miami Dolphins offensive line coach says release of cocaine video was 'what I needed'

33ft/iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Former Miami Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster told that the release of a video showing him using cocaine earlier this year was the prompt he needed to clean up his life.

Foerster entered rehab on October 9, the same day he resigned from his job with the Dolphins. He has since completed a 60-day program for drug and alcohol addiction. He is now in a sober-living facility as part of a 24-day outpatient treatment program, where he is subjected to twice weekly drug tests.

The 56-year-old told that the video, released by Kijuana Nige, was filmed during a stretch where he had use cocaine for eight or nine days in a row.

He also said that he is open to a return to coaching football at any level, but understands his career may well be over.

"I had 25 years in the league and 10 in college," Foerster said. "I've been blessed. I made a terrible mistake and I'm responsible for it, and I didn't go to treatment because I wanted to get my job back."

"I knew this [expletive] was out of control. It's been the mosthumbling experience. But it's what I needed," he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Pittsburgh Steelers' Le'Veon Bell says he would consider sitting out or retiring if team places franchise tag on him again

Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(PITTSBURGH) -- One of the National Football League's biggest stars says he would consider sitting out a full season, or even retiring, if his team tries to use the league's franchise tag on him for the second straight year.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell made the comments to ESPN, saying that he is optimistic that he won't be forced to make such a decision. "But I would definitely consider it," he said, before Thursday's practice.

Bell played under the franchise tag this season, earning $12.1 million. That number is expected to increase to about $14.5 million next year.

The Steelers can tag a player between February 20 and March 6, with the two sides having until July 16 to agree to a long-term contract.

Bell says he just wants the team to "value me." That after turning down a long-term deal worth up to $30 million for the first two years last offseason.

"Just get the numbers straight exactly where we want them. I'm not going to settle for anything," Bell said. "I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at."

Bell caught 85 passes for 655 yards and rushed 321 times for 1,291 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns this season. If he did decide to sit out, Bell acknowledged that his career would likely be over.

"I'm happy where I'm at," he said. "Football is kind of like my job, it's not something that makes me unhappy, but I don't need it to be happy. I've made the money that I feel I needed to make, my family would be good. I don't necessarily care if I get more money or not."

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Scoreboard Roundup -- 1/11/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the latest scores and results:

Utah 107, Washington 104
Dallas 115, Charlotte 111
Miami 114, Indiana 106
Detroit 114, Brooklyn 80
Chicago 122, N-Y Knicks 119 (2OT)
Houston 121, Portland 112
Memphis 105, New Orleans 102
Minnesota 104, Oklahoma City 88
Milwaukee 110, Orlando 103
Atlanta 110, Denver 97
L.A. Clippers 125, Golden State 106

Ottawa 4, Toronto 3
Minnesota 2, Chicago 1

#1 Villanova 89, #10 Xavier 65
#4 Michigan St. 76, Rutgers 72 (OT)
#7 Duke 87, Pittsburgh 52
Texas 99, #16 TCU 98 (2OT)
Louisville 73, #23 Florida St. 69

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