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Super Bowl losers hangover? Not for the Patriots

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ATLANTA — How did the New England Patriots get over a Super Bowl loss against the Philadelphia Eagles to make it back to Super Bowl LIII?

The better question, at least for the Patriots, might be: What Super Bowl loss? “Flush it and get back to work,” Patriots guard Shaq Mason said at Super Bowl opening night Monday. “I’d have to go back in time to remember that,” Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon said about last year’s Super Bowl. “I’m here now.”

Selective amnesia is good for the Patriots, who barely acknowledged last year’s Super Bowl when asked Monday night, but those who hate the team will happily recite the details. The Patriots played in a tight game against the Eagles, leading with less than three minutes left. Then the Eagles took the lead, got another field goal after a Tom Brady fumble, and New England’s Hail Mary at the end fell incomplete. All that work, just to watch the Eagles celebrate as you dodge confetti leaving the field.

A team could use a Super Bowl loss as motivation for the next season. Many Patriots said it never came up after they got back together, which is perhaps what you’d expect from Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Dwelling on the past would go against their laser focus on the present. Maybe that’s where the many, many Super Bowl losers who don’t make it back the next season go wrong. They spend too much time dwelling on the previous season.

“That’s the wrong thing to do,” Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen said. “Last year’s success or failure has no bearing on this team. What last year’s team did was last year’s team. The worst thing you can do is try to draw on inspiration from the previous team.”

The Patriots are back, partially because they never concerned themselves with losing the Super Bowl last season. What they accomplished, getting right back to the Super Bowl after losing, is surprisingly rare.

History of Super Bowl losers isn’t good

The Patriots are chasing the 1972 Miami Dolphins again, but not in the pursuit of perfection this time. Amazingly, the last team to lose a Super Bowl and then win the next season was the ’72 Dolphins. The only other team to do it was the 1971 Dallas Cowboys.

The Patriots have already bucked a trend just by making it back. The last team to lose a Super Bowl and make it back the next season was the 1994 Buffalo Bills. Of course, the 1992 and 1993 Bills did it too.

You’d think a team talented enough to win a conference championship would be sufficiently motivated the next season and have a good shot to make it right back to the Super Bowl after losing it. But it almost never happens.

Of the first 51 Super Bowl losing teams, 15 didn’t even make the playoffs the following season. From the 1999 Falcons through the 2008 Patriots, eight of 10 Super Bowl losers missed the playoffs, with seven of them posting a losing record. Recent Super Bowl runner-up teams have had better success. Since the 2008 Patriots missed the playoffs, due in large part to Brady’s ACL injury, nine of 10 have made the playoffs after losing the Super Bowl. The only exception was the 2016 Carolina Panthers, who went 6-10.

Still, what the Patriots did this season has been elusive. Only three of the past 24 losing Super Bowl teams even made it back to a conference championship: 2012 Patriots, 2013 49ers and this season’s Patriots.

It’s not like the Patriots didn’t hurt after losing the Super Bowl. They just didn’t let one loss carry into another season.

“It lingers however long you let it linger,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Perspective is important whether you win or lose a Super Bowl. Certainly we lost a Super Bowl, but nobody died. If you hold onto that, it can be debilitating. You have to be able to move on.”

Patriots were able to put loss to Eagles behind them

Had the Patriots not beat the Chiefs in the AFC championship game, people might have cited a Super Bowl hangover for New England.

It’s not like the Patriots were a dominant force from beginning to end. They went 11-5 with a some weird road losses. It wasn’t a vintage Patriots team. But many talked about the character of the team, not only in overcoming the Super Bowl hangover but in getting through adversity during the season.

“We had to call on that character, certainly with the way this season went, to get ourselves back to this position,” Slater said.

And here the Patriots are, back in the Super Bowl, trying to become the first team in 46 years to win a title after losing a Super Bowl the year before. There weren’t many long speeches on Monday night about the Eagles loss and what it meant, or how the Patriots used it every day as motivation to get back. It’s just a new season, a new team, and the crushing disappointment of last year’s Super Bowl doesn’t matter to them anymore.

“That’s in the past. We’re here right now,” Cannon said. “We’re back and we have the chance to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

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Magic’s Jonathan Isaac stands for national anthem as teammates, opponents kneel

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Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart … deciding against both kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.

The league’s coaches, refs and players — from LeBron James to Zion Williamson — have been using the anthem demonstrations to raise awareness as games pick back up in Orlando … a gesture that is being supported by NBA commish Adam Silver.

Isaac became the first player to choose to stand as the anthem was played before the Magic’s match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday … while the rest of the team’s players and staffers took a knee.

It’s worth noting — Silver says everyone will have the option to kneel during the anthem without consequence … despite a league rule requiring players to stand.

The same goes for anyone who wishes to stand — no one is saying the players HAVE to kneel, either.

So far, Jonathan hasn’t commented on his decision to stand publicly — because the game is currently being played. But, when he does, we’ll update here.

Charles Barkley spoke about the demonstrations on Thursday during TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” saying, “The national anthem means different things to different people.”

“I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”

The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, “The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color.”

“We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity.”

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Sports

Reggie Bush: Paying college athletes will ‘destroy some people’

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College athletes getting paid for their services has been a worthy argument for a long time, but the NCAA finally supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and receive payment for their work after some of the best basketball recruits in the country have declared for the NBA’s G League instead of attending college.

While being paid for their work certainly is a step in the right direction, former NFL star Reggie Bush doesn’t think it’s such a great idea.

“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Playboy, according to ESPN. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.”

A formal proposal for the new rules is set to be submitted no later than October to the NCAA board, and they will then vote on the proposal sometime before January 2021.

Bush was a two-time All-American running back during his days at USC, and helped the school win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player in 2005, but forfeited the award in 2010 after the NCAA found that Bush received money and gifts from sports agents when he wasn’t allowed to do so.

The 35-year-old went on to have a successful NFL career after his collegiate days at USC. He played for the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers before hanging up his cleats in 2017.

It’s weird to think that Bush is against athletes being paid for endorsement deals, especially considering he improperly accepted cash during his collegiate days.

Many college standouts will be able to use the money they earn to take care of their families, and that alone is a terrific reason why paying them is the right thing to do. They perform like professional athletes, earn their colleges and universities massive amounts of money and provide entertainment to fans, so why shouldn’t they be paid?

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Victims In Kobe Bryant Crash Have Now All Been Identified

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Here’s what is known so far about the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight other people.

Nine people were on board the Sikorsky S76 when something went wrong just before 10 a.m. Sunday.

The passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down.

The helicopter’s flight path shows it going from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley and then hovering over the Glendale area as it waited for clearance to travel through the Valley to Calabasas. The tracking ends at the crash site in Calabasas.

Kobe Bryant’s 13-year old daughter Gianna was among those killed. Gianna — often called “Gigi” — was the second oldest of Bryant’s four daughters.

Bryant had coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team out of his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks for the past two years.

They were all reportedly headed to an AAU game when the crash happened.

In addition to Bryant and his daughter, three members of one family died in the crash.

John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. His wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were also on board.

The husband of Christina Mauser posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash. Mauser was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. Mauser’s husband says he and his kids are devastated.

Sarah Chester and her middle school aged daughter Payton were on also on board the helicopter piloted by Ara Zobayan.

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