Saturday, August 08, 2020

February 3, 2020  MIAMI (AP) — It took the Chiefs five full decades to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Kansas City. They don’t intend to wait that long again. With confetti still swirling and their thrilling Super Bowl triumph over the San Francisco 49ers mere minutes old, most of the Chiefs were already talking about next season. They got a taste of reaching

the AFC title game last season and it drove them to make it back this season, and now that they’ve had a taste of winning the championship, the organization’s mindset is quite simple: Why stop at just one?

“Next year we’re coming back,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “We’re coming back for a repeat.”

There’s plenty of reasons to believe they can do it. The Chiefs will return just about every key piece that delivered the city its first championship in 50 years, including Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, breakout star Damien Williams and the core of their rebuilt defense, along with a coaching staff that’s gotten plenty of interest for head coaching jobs elsewhere.

So perhaps it was no surprise that most Las Vegas sports books already have installed the Chiefs as 6-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl next season. The Baltimore Ravens and NFC champion Niners were close behind.

“I’m really excited about it. You get one, you want to get another,” said Andy Reid, who finally got to bask in his first Super Bowl championship after 21 years of coaching. “But we’ve got to backpedal a minute and enjoy this one, and then we’ll get busy on the next one.”

There certainly will be plenty of time to celebrate. The Chiefs wrapped up some media obligations in Miami on Monday, then were to head back to Kansas City, where an entire city was prepping for a victory parade Wednesday.

Not long after that, though, expect Reid and general manager Brett Veach to get down to business.

The Chiefs are likely to make Mahomes the NFL’s highest-paid player this offseason, the first opportunity he will have to sign a contract extension. The Chiefs also must decide what to do with Jones, one of the league’s premier defensive linemen, who is eligible for free agency but has expressed his desire to remain with the team on a long-term deal.

“Why wouldn’t I want to be here?” he asked. “We have a chance to be a dynasty.”

The Chiefs also had a number of role players whose deals are expiring, and bringing them back or unearthing replacements will be crucial during free agency. Among them are defensive linemen Terrell Suggs, Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavier Williams, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, and cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller.

Another question facing the Chiefs: What will they do with Sammy Watkins, who proved his worth with a massive playoff run capped by five catches for 98 yards in the Super Bowl. He is due to count $21 million against the salary cap next year, so the Chiefs are likely to ask him to take a pay cut or restructure his contract or be forced to release him.

“If we keep going the way we’re going, the sky is the limit for this team,” said Watkins, who contradicted reports he might even sit out next season by insisting he’d return. “Why not? We’ll come back and win next year.”

But even with all those holes to fill, the Chiefs are still in enviable shape. They have arguably the league’s best quarterback and one of its most electrifying pass-catchers in Tyreek Hill. They have one of its premier tight ends in Travis Kelce and a running back in Damien Williams, who gashed the 49ers for 104 yards rushing with TDs on the ground and through the air.

On defense, they have elite pass rusher Frank Clark and safety Tyrann Mathieu — the prize acquisitions last offseason who came up big in the Super Bowl — signed to contracts that will keep them in Kansas City at least two more years.

“It will be important to keep a couple of those other guys and obviously continue to get better, whether that’s through the draft or free agency,” Mathieu said. “The most important thing is our core is intact. We’ve got a hell of a football team, so we are looking forward to next season already.”

There have been seven franchises that have won back-to-back Super Bowls, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who did the trick twice in the 1970s. That now becomes the goal for a team that sees a window of dominance opening in the AFC, where the Chiefs and Ravens already have begun to replace the New England Patriots as the gold standard.

“I think as long as we keep the people that we have in this organization on this team, with the coach that we have, I think we have a chance to be good year-in and year-out,” Mahomes said. “It’s not going to be easy. We’re sitting here right now, and I know that going back, we’re going to have next year to play a lot of great football teams. There’s a lot of great teams in this league, so you understand that. But at the same time, just try to get better every year.”

Not just to reach the pinnacle of the game. At long last, the Chiefs finally have accomplished that.

The task facing them now is staying there.

August 2, 2020   LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” has died. He was 85. Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning in a Utah hospital. He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments, she said. The mustached Brimley was a familiar face for a number of roles, often playing characters like his grizzled baseball manager in “The Natural” opposite Robert Redford’s bad-luck phenomenon. He also worked with Redford in “Brubaker” and “The Electric Horseman.” Brimley’s best-known work was in “Cocoon,” in which he was part of a group of seniors who discover an alien pod that rejuvenates them. The 1985 Ron Howard film won two Oscars, including a supporting actor honor for Don Ameche.

July 31, 2020  LONDON (AP) — Alan Parker, a successful and sometimes surprising filmmaker whose diverse output includes “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express,” and “Evita,” has died at 76, his family said. A Briton who became a Hollywood heavyweight, Parker also directed “Fame,” “The Commitments and “Mississippi Burning.” Together his movies won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards. The director’s family said he died Friday in London after a long illness. Parker was born in London on Feb. 14, 1944, and, like many other aspiring British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne, began his career in advertising as a copywriter and director of commercials.

NEW YORK (AP) — When historians look back on the top films at the box office in the summer of 2020, they may feel like they’ve slipped into a time warp, or maybe “Back to the Future.” Over the second weekend in July, “Empire Strikes Back” — 40 years after it was first released — was again No. 1. “Ghostbusters” claimed the July 4th weekend, 36 years after opening. Over the June 19-21 weekend and 27 years after it last led the box office, “Jurassic Park” again ruled theaters. In a pandemic that has resurrected all kinds of vintage pastimes, from puzzles to drive-ins, even the blockbusters are retro. That is much out of necessity. About 1,000 theaters in the U.S. are currently open, just about a sixth of the nation’s cinemas. That includes the approximately 300 drive-ins that have, since the multiplexes shuttered in March, hosted the majority of moviegoing.

July 29, 2020  LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tracy Morgan and his wife of five years are ending their marriage The actor-comedian’s representative said in an emailed statement Wednesday that Morgan and Megan Wollover have filed for divorce. “This is a challenging time for all involved, so I ask that you please respect our privacy,” Morgan said in a statement. Morgan and Wollover married after the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member recovered from a 2014 highway crash. One man was killed in the crash that left Morgan and two friends seriously injured. The crash happened when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limo Morgan was riding in.