NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees hopes the world watches what happens in and around the Superdome on Monday night.
As the Saints host the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans will mark the 10-year anniversary of the reopening of the hulking, 73,000-seat stadium on Sept. 25, 2006, following its unprecedented 10-month restoration from extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Brees figures coverage of the game will resonate with people he met this summer from flood-ravaged areas of West Virginia, when the Saints held training camp there — or with Louisiana residents whose communities around Baton Rouge were inundated last month.
“So many of those people, right when it happens to you, just can’t fathom ever being able to come back from that,” Brees said.
“New Orleans is a great example and symbol of how it can come back when you have this community that bands together and continues to press on.”
The handful of current Saints who were on the team in 2006 — Brees, right guard Jahri Evans, right tackle Zach Strief and safety Roman Harper — don’t anticipate an atmosphere as electric and cathartic as a decade ago.
Several said it would be impossible to contrive the raw, communal emotion that poured forth during a game played just 13 months after Katrina had transformed a community renowned for its joie de vivre into a sea of devastation.
And nothing could replicate the thunderous, drink-spilling frenzy that erupted when then-special teams standout Steve Gleason blocked a punt that Curtis Deloatch recovered for a Saints touchdown. That play — widely regarded as the most memorable in franchise history — is immortalized in a statue just outside the dome.
Still, they expect this Monday night to be special in its own way.
“As you begin to highlight the specific elements around New Orleans that have come back even stronger than they were prior to the storm, that’s a great story to tell,” Brees said. “It’s a very uplifting story.”
The Superdome, one of America’s most famous sporting arenas long before Katrina, became a poignant symbol of destruction, suffering and loss when Katrina hit.
Its expansive white roof was torn up, exposing evacuees inside to falling debris and water pouring in — all while rising water in surrounding streets turned the stadium’s elevated public plaza into an island of desperation.
It took nearly four days to evacuate more than 30,000 people who took refuge at the stadium. They spent three-plus days in increasingly squalid, dank conditions after plumbing and power systems failed.
The air was hot, heavy and stifling, overpowering the senses with the stench of perspiration, backed-up sewage, and festering mildew and mold.
Doug Thornton, a New Orleans-based executive for SMG, which manages the Superdome, was in the stadium until those stranded were evacuated by bus or helicopter.
Thornton recalled feeling “helpless and so sorrowful” as he left the dome and boarded a helicopter, which flew over his own devastated neighborhood near the breached 17th Street Canal.
“Then I looked back over my shoulder and saw the dome in the background and could see the water glistening for miles,” Thornton said. “I saw that roof ripped apart and I knew what I’d left behind and I couldn’t imagine that we could ever recover.”
Thornton figured the dome might be a demolition candidate. Architects later advised him it could be saved.
Then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue informed Thornton that the league wanted the stadium restored enough for football by the 2006 season, which would require crews working long hours, six to seven days a week.
The Saints played their home preseason games in Jackson, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana. They opened the 2006 regular season with two road games, winning both, further fueling excitement about the dome’s reopening.
Players already had gotten a sense of how unique their home opener would be two nights before the game, when coach Sean Payton brought players to the dome for a walk-through.
Payton gathered players near midfield to watch a short video which featured residents rebuilding amid devastated streetscapes, welcoming the Saints home and thanking them for being back.
“Forget sports for a while. There’s a period of time where just life as New Orleanians knew it, or Louisiana residents knew it — how would that be affected?” Payton recalled this week.
“So you have this event that coincides with the opening of an area that was used to shelter people. There were a ton of things that were unreal about it.”
Evans said the Saints were moved by the video and the hardship they’d witnessed around town.
“We wanted to play hard. We wanted to play tough,” Evans said. “We wanted to give the fans something to be proud of.”
Rock bands U2 and Green Day, eager to celebrate the rebirth of a city with a renowned musical history, joined to sing “The Saints Are Coming ” in a Super Bowl-like production before the game.
Thornton, who’d noticed some fans crying as they entered the dome, said he wept, too, when the music began. When the house lights went down, the lighting was similar to when the building was on emergency power during the storm.
Thornton noticed he was standing near the same section he and his staff had scurried people out of when the roof tore open above it during Katrina.
“I saw these people standing and cheering,” Thornton recalled, “and all I could visualize were people huddled under blankets shielding themselves from the rain.”
Strief was not in uniform that night, but was on the sideline.
“Usually in a game like that, the attention and focus and importance in that building is on the field — and it wasn’t that night,” Strief said. “The people in there that night were a bigger deal.”
Brees and Strief said they remember the sound of the blocked punt — the ball squarely hitting Gleason’s hand. Brees compared it to a “shotgun blast,” followed the crowd roaring so loud, Strief said, that “you could feel physically the energy and the noise.”
Gleason, who retired in 2008, was diagnosed several years later with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which causes paralysis. Now he uses a wheelchair and is perhaps known more globally for his activism on behalf of those stricken with neuromuscular diseases than he was for football.
Yet his punt block cemented his place in New Orleans lore. He was popular before Katrina because of how he embraced New Orleans. He was dating a local woman who he would ultimately marry. And as he sat at his locker after the game, he said the play gave him “infinite joy.”
“Sometimes, people think the future of New Orleans is in doubt, and we’re just here to help people create a bright future,” Gleason said that night.
“I’ve got a lot of connections here. I’ve got people here that I know and love, and that was our goal, is to come out, man, and provide joy for those people — and that’s exactly what we did.
“It can’t get any better than that,” Gleason continued, “and I’m just real grateful that I could be a part of it.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP—NFL
Do your parents worry too much? The truth is, from the moment toddlers start crawling, walking and exploring their environment, right through the teenage independent and driving years, many parents kinda wish they could just put their sons and daughters in a bubble to protect them. And now they can—on the soccer field at least!
Bubble ball soccer, also known simply as bubble ball, is the latest sports craze, and leagues are popping up across the country for one reason: fun! Get ready to giggle as you slip on your transparent, jumbo-sized plastic bubble and take to the field or court. A mix between soccer and bumper cars, this is one game that’ll have you and your friends rolling on the ground—literally. And Channel One had a blast checking out the madness– watch the behind-the-scenes video and see photos in the slideshow below.
Like regular soccer, you use your legs to try and get the ball down the field and into the back of the net. But with the gigantic bubble protecting your head and the rest of your body, this game is more about the experience of flipping and rolling than passing and goal scoring. It’s for all ages too, making an unforgettable corporate event or birthday party activity. You can rent or buy bubble balls, and can contact National Association of Bubble Soccer to find a league or start one in your area!
Would you give it a go? Vote and tell us what you think — you can even submit video comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Keep the champagne on ice and the ski goggles on the shelf. The Dodgers were left waiting to clinch their fourth consecutive NL West title.
They certainly did their part.
Clayton Kershaw scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings, Josh Reddick slugged a grand slam in the seventh and Los Angeles beat the Colorado Rockies 14-1 on Saturday night to reduce its magic number to one with its fourth straight win.
The Dodgers just didn’t get any help from the Padres.
San Diego rallied from 6-0 down but then lost at home to San Francisco 9-6 in 10 innings. The final outs were shown on the video board at Dodger Stadium, with fans booing when the Giants won.
“They gave us a lot of hope there,” Kershaw said of the Padres’ comeback. “But we’ll wait until tomorrow.”
Los Angeles is on the brink of becoming the first team to win four straight NL West titles. The last NL club to claim four division titles in a row was the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the NL East from 2007-11.
The Dodgers can wrap up the title Sunday with a victory in Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully’s final home game before he retires next weekend.
“It’s always sweeter to clinch at home,” rookie manager Dave Roberts said, adding it would be only fitting with Scully watching from his fifth-floor booth.
Kershaw (12-3) struck out six and walked none to improve to 8-1 at home. The left-hander has been solid since coming off the disabled list after a herniated disk last month.
“Physically, I feel really good,” he said. “Just a little bit inconsistent with some things, sliders that didn’t quite get where I wanted to go.”
Chad Bettis (13-8) gave up seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, struck out three and walked four. The right-hander has been having one of his best seasons, with career highs in wins, starts (31) and innings (179 1/3), but he struggled from the second inning on and fell to 6-6 on the road.
“It was pretty embarrassing,” Bettis said. “I tried to set the tone early but my pitches were coming back over the plate.”
The Dodgers led 4-0 in the second on Joc Pederson’s two-run single, a fielder’s choice groundout by Corey Seager and Justin Turner’s RBI single. Turner reached base five times, going 3 for 3, with two runs and two walks.
Los Angeles tacked on two runs in the fourth to make it 6-0. Pederson scored on left fielder Ryan Raburn’s error and Turner singled to drive in his second run.
Reddick, who went 3 for 4, added an RBI single in the sixth and Adrian Gonzalez had a two-run single in the seventh, extending the lead to 10-0. Reddick’s grand slam came with two outs in the seventh, making it 14-0.
Rookie Pat Valaika, from nearby Valencia, hit his first major league homer in the eighth off Jesse Chavez for Colorado’s run.
“There is thunder in that bat,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill was scratched from his Sunday start out of concern for a blister that forced him to miss a month earlier in the season and caused him to leave a perfect game after seven innings on Sept. 11. He’ll be replaced by RHP Brandon McCarthy. Hill will start either next Saturday or Sunday at San Francisco. … LHP Scott Kazmir is receiving treatment for rib and chest spasms that forced him out of Saturday night’s game after one inning. The team doesn’t know if or when he will make another start. … Kershaw will start either Friday or Saturday at San Francisco.
Reddick is red-hot this month, batting .397 with five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in eight games after struggling last month.
“August was a mixture of bad luck and bad swings,” he said.
KERSHAW AT THE PLATE
Known as a good hitter, Kershaw helped himself with a two-out RBI single in the fifth, extended the Dodgers’ lead to 7-0.
Rockies catcher Tony Wolters lost track of how many outs there were in the sixth. With Adrian Gonzalez at bat, Justin Turner took off for second base. Gonzalez struck out swinging, Wolters stood up and started walking off the field only to have Turner steal second with two outs. The Dodgers went on to score a run before the inning ended.
Some Dodgers fans brought radios to the game in a throwback salute to Scully, who credits the transistor as the “single greatest break” of his 67-year career. In 1958, when the Dodgers moved west and played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, fans toted radios to hear Scully describe the players and action that was too far away to see well in the vast stadium.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (5-6, 3.58 ERA) makes his seventh start on the road, where he is 0-4 with a 5.10 ERA. The rookie has beaten the Dodgers twice this season, but hasn’t won that second victory over them on Aug. 31.
Dodgers: McCarthy (2-2, 3.63) comes off a month-long stint on the disabled list with right hip stiffness.
NEW YORK (AP) — Social media app Snapchat is introducing video-recording glasses called Spectacles and is changing its company name to incorporate the new product.
The glasses can record video 10 seconds at a time by tapping a button on the device. The video is then uploaded to the popular image-messaging app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The glasses are the first hardware from the Los Angeles-based company.
The glasses record so-called “circular video,” meaning it plays full-screen on any device in any orientation.
They will be available in the U.S. in the fall on a limited basis and cost $130.
In a way, the Spectacles recall Google’s venture into eyewear, Google Glass, which took photos and video. But that device also had a screen that let you surf the web as well and cost $1,500.
Google shuttered that venture in early 2015 after it received a tepid response from users.
The company says it’s changing its name to Snap Inc. since it now has more than one product. The app will retain the name Snapchat.
This article has been corrected to show that the video is uploaded to the Snapchat app, not a special “Memories” section.
Take away draft picks. Suspend their star quarterback. Nothing seems to faze the New England Patriots, who just keep on winning no matter what obstacles are thrown their way.
OK, it’s time to get serious.
Let’s come up with something, anything to bring these guys down.
All suggestions accepted.
Clearly, these are desperate times for the rest of the NFL. The Patriots are off to a 3-0 start even though Tom Brady is stuck at home with his perfect family, serving out a four-game suspension for an unhealthy obsession with football air pressure and hastily downgrading his cellphone before the contract was up.
New England didn’t even have its backup quarterback for Thursday night’s game against the formerly unbeaten Houston Texans. Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined with a shoulder injury, so Bill Belichick — surely thumbing his nose at the rest of the league — sent out somebody named Jacoby Brissett to run the offense.
While the rest of us were surfing the web, trying to make sure this supposed third-stringer wasn’t just Brady in disguise, Belichick installed something resembling the wishbone with only three days to prepare. Brissett, naturally, guided the Patriots to a 27-0 shellacking of a team with one of the NFL’s top-ranked defenses.
“Look, we just try to go out there every week and win,” Belichick said during a conference call Friday, his voice droning somewhere between contempt and superiority. “Try to go out there and put the best game plan together with the players we have against the opponent we’re playing against and win.”
Not long after Belichick hung up the phone came a report that Brissett injured the thumb on his throwing hand and may need surgery. If so, we can only assume that Steve Grogan will be suiting up for the Patriots’ next game. Heck, he’s only 63 and can’t be much worse than Matt Cassel, who somehow led the Patriots to an 11-5 mark the year Brady went out with a knee injury.
Since Brady will be back in one more game anyway, time is running short.
Here’s a few ideas to get the conversation started:
SPIES, LIES & VIDEOTAPE
In the first of his “Gate” scandals, Belichick was caught videotaping an opponent’s defensive signals in violation of NFL rules back in 2007. “Spygate” led to a half-million-dollar fine against the coach and the Patriots being stripped of their first-round pick. Turns out, that was about as effective as Brangelina’s marriage counseling.
Maybe we should allow opposing teams to sit in on Belichick’s film sessions, so they at least have a sneak preview while he’s formulating his latest Coppola-like game plan.
LETTING THE AIR OUT
“Deflategate” revealed that Brady is very particular about how much air is in the footballs he throws, and his actions before an AFC playoff game after the 2014 regular season showed that he’s not above skirting the rules to get a better grip.
Wonder how he’d do with a ball that is inflated to 0.0 pounds per square inch? He should give that a try when he returns from his suspension, no doubt with the Patriots sitting at 4-0.
The Patriots’ roster could be capped at 11 players, forcing everyone to play both offense and defense, just like the good ol’ days. Better yet, in football’s formative years, touchdowns counted for only five points instead of six. Sounds like a good way to even things up. Oh, wait, the Patriots still would’ve won their last two games and gone to overtime in the season opener at Arizona. Next.
MISTAKE BY THE LAKE
Belichick wasn’t always the evil genius of the NFL. Remember when he coached the perpetually hapless Cleveland Browns? Remember when he got fired? For five seasons in the early 1990s, Belichick and his hoodie compiled a record of 36-44 with only a single trip to the playoffs. It didn’t even help to have soul mate Nick Saban as his defensive coordinator. The Browns wound up moving to Baltimore and changing their name to the Ravens, while then-owner Art Modell gloriously decreed that “to get to the next level, a change at head coach is necessary.”
Maybe it’s time to banish Belichick back to Cleveland. It worked before.
GOING TO THE MAILBAG
Actually, since we don’t have time for everyone to mail in their letters, let’s hit up social media for a few suggestions.
Defensive linemen must count “one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi” before rushing. Belichick has to coach in a suit, tie and houndstooth hat, instead of the latest fashions from the Hobo Collection. The training table gets catered by Dunkin Donuts or, better yet, Krispy Kreme.
Field goals can only be attempted after a pile of snow is dumped on the spot, in honor of another New England classic (why wasn’t that called Plowgate?). No Patriots player is allowed to use his hands, like that sport known as football to the rest of the world.
Or maybe we could … ahh, who are we kidding?
It doesn’t matter what you do to the Patriots.
Belichick & Co. will find a way to keep on winning.
(Corrects that Belichick was not coaching Patriots during snow plow game)
Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at email@example.com or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
WASHINGTON (AP) — Carol Jones knows what she wants to hear Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discuss during their first televised debate: education and jobs. She’s far from sure which candidate will earn her vote on Election Day.
“All we see is the cat fighting,” says the Shirley, Arkansas, retired substitute teacher. At Monday’s debate, the 70-year-old says, “they need to talk about their programs … but I don’t think they will.”
A majority of Americans, like Jones, say they’re frustrated, angry — or both — with the 2016 presidential election, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Most Americans aren’t feeling proud or hopeful about the race, and half feel helpless, the results find. Majorities of Americans want more focus on issues that are important to them, starting with health care, Social Security, education, terrorism and homeland security.
Apathy isn’t the problem, the survey found. Eighty-six percent of Americans are paying at least some attention to the race.
The campaign is certainly hard to miss. Trump and Clinton are the two least popular presidential candidates in history, and their ferocious battle is smashing precedents and dominating public discourse.
Trump has built his campaign in large part on attention-getting —and frequently untrue — accusations, such as that his opponent “is the devil” and President Barack Obama “founded” the Islamic State group. But he’s found success linking the nation’s immigration woes to its national security concerns, the latter of which is rated by Americans as among the top issues facing the country.
Clinton is a former senator and secretary of state who is an avowed foreign and domestic policy wonk. She has tried to make the election, in part, a referendum on Trump’s fitness for office. Her recent stumble during an abrupt exit from this year’s 9/11 memorial ceremony, captured on video, added to the reality-show quality of the election. Her campaign disclosed that she’d been diagnosed with pneumonia.
Clinton and Trump have clear political and stylistic objectives during their first debate Monday, the first of three such showdowns certain to influence the race in its final six weeks. For both, it’s about rattling the other candidate — and not being baited into a less-than-presidential performance. Trump is looking to shore up his credibility with moderate white voters, particularly women, after more than a year of remarks that appeared intolerant or bigoted. Clinton is trying to appeal to young Americans, who are unenthusiastic about her candidacy.
Issues? Jones suggests the candidates owe more on that front it to potential voters who don’t have access to the internet or the time she has to hunt down their policy positions.
“I went looking on the internet for (Clinton’s) position on free (college) education, and it was hard, but I finally found it,” says the lifelong Democrat, who isn’t sold on Clinton because she doesn’t trust her, or husband Bill, the former president and governor of Jones’ state. “They need to talk about their programs on this, this and that.”
Whether the candidates ever get to informative discussions of their policy positions and their professional qualifications is unclear. But the demand is there.
The survey found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say the campaign focuses too little on the issues that matter to them personally. More than 6 in 10 Americans of both parties agree. A bit more than half say there’s been too little focus on the candidates’ qualifications, with Democrats being more likely than Republicans to feel that way, 61 percent to 45 percent. And more than half of Americans in the survey said the campaign is focused too much on the personal characteristics of the candidates, with Republicans and Democrats about equally likely to feel that way.
The issues Americans care most about? Health care comes in first, with 81 percent listing that as very or extremely important, while similarly high percentages said the same about Social Security, education, terrorism and homeland security. The next most-cited issues: crime and economic growth, which three-quarters of respondents listed as at least very important. Similar majorities cited poverty and taxes. Ranking lower, according to the findings: immigration, with just 61 percent listing the issue as very or extremely important to them.
There’s bipartisan agreement on the importance of some issues. Nearly identical percentages of Democrats and Republicans call crime and unemployment top issues. At least three-quarters from both parties call Social Security very important.
On many other issues, their priorities diverge: Democrats are particularly likely to call health care and poverty top issues, while Republicans are particularly likely to rank terrorism, taxes, debt and foreign policy as very important. About 7 in 10 Democrats but less than half of Republicans named as top issues call gun control and income inequality. Three-quarters of Democrats, but only about a third of Republicans, say the same about racism, the environment and climate change.
Republicans are far more likely to name international trade agreements as a very or extremely important issue. And 7 in 10 Republicans, but only about half of Democrats, call immigration a top priority. Among Americans with a favorable opinion of Trump, nearly 8 in 10 say so.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,022 adults was conducted Sept. 15-18 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.
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AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/