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Alison Yin / AP Images for Discovery Communications

Super Bowl Sunday is rapidly approaching, and that means another week of water cooler discussions about how the game went, which commercial featuring a dog made people cry the most and how the referees must have been watching a different game than everyone else. 

Season ticket prices for 2017 range from $360 to $4050.
Courtesy of Atlanta United FC

Atlanta's new professional soccer team, Atlanta United, will likely play the first ten to 12 games of its first season on the road as it waits for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be completed.

Vice President of Business Operations of Atlanta United Ann Rodriguez said the team plans to play all of its home games next year in the new stadium and that it's not looking at other venues right now.

"We're looking at potentially opening on the road, playing the first 10-12 games on the road instead of the usual half home, half away," Rodriguez said. 

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton celebrates after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers won 49-15 to advance to the Super Bowl.
Chuck Burton / Associated Press

Peyton Manning is the only five-time MVP in NFL history, one of the faces of the league and, at 39, the oldest starting quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

Slowed by age and injury, he is no longer the record-breaking passer he once was. Most folks figure Manning's fourth Super Sunday appearance will be his last game as a pro.

Cam Newton is at the opposite end of his career, just 26, making his debut in the big game. He also is expected to earn MVP honors for the first time, part of a new breed of dual-threat QBs as good at running as they are at throwing.

Marietta City Council approved the site plan to the Atlanta United soccer team for a practice facility. A previous deal with DeKalb County ended abruptly.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

Atlanta United FC can now move forward on building its new headquarters and six soccer fields in Marietta, Georgia.

It's part of an effort to make the city a soccer magnet.

Marietta City Council gave the professional soccer team, Atlanta United, final approval recently to build six practice fields and offices for its team and youth academy programs.

The team plans to spend $50 million to build the complex and has signed a 30-year lease. 

It will pay $1 per year for the first 10 years and $300,000 per year after that.

Brenna Beech / WABE

When the North American Soccer League (NASL) season starts in March, it will be missing the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Monday night, NASL announced that it is shutting down the team for the spring 2016 season, and possibly forever, because it can't find the right owner.  

“Unfortunately in Atlanta -- a market we continue to believe could be successful in the NASL -- there wasn’t an ownership group identified that met the very specific standards we hold ourselves to as a league,” NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson wrote in a statement.

Gregory Smith / associated press

Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz has been promoted to Fox's lead baseball analyst and will work alongside play-by-play man Joe Buck, displacing Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.

Fox made the announcement Tuesday. Network spokesman Dan Bell said Fox was discussing different roles with Reynolds, who also works for the MLB Network, and Verducci, who also works for the MLB Network and Sports Illustrated.

Winner of the 1996 NL Cy Young Award, Smoltz was a first-ballot pick for the Hall this year. He has been a Fox analyst during the last two seasons.

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

A coroner says autopsy results show the death of former Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy Hanson was caused by cocaine and alcohol use.

Coweta County coroner Richard Hawk said Friday the combined effects of cocaine and alcohol ultimately caused the death of 29-year-old Hanson, who died Nov. 9.

Hanson wasn't breathing as rescue crews tried to help him at a friend's home in Newnan, south of Atlanta.

It's not immediately clear when Hanson might have ingested the cocaine and alcohol.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

The new University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is set to be paid a $3.75 million a year for the next five years, according to a memorandum of understanding released Sunday on the UGA Athletics website.

The university will pay $400,000 of Smart's salary, while the remaining $3.35 million will come from the University of Georgia Athletic Association, Inc. in return for endorsements and radio, television and sponsored event appearances.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Bulldog Nation has its new leader.

On Monday afternoon, the University of Georgia will introduce Kirby Smart as the head coach of its football program.

Smart, a former player at UGA, will succeed Mark Richt, who stepped down as head coach after the end of the regular season.

During a press conference on Monday, Smart focused on the UGA football player's actions both on and off the field, mentioning multiple times that he was looking for "the right kind of player."

Mark Richt To Not Coach UGA Football Team In Bowl Game

Dec 3, 2015
John Bazemore / Associated Press

University of Georgia Football Coach Mark Richt will not coach the Bulldogs in their upcoming bowl game, according to the university. UGA officials say Richt informed the team this afternoon.

According to a press release from the school, assistant coach Bryan McClendon has been named the interim head coach and will take over the last game of the season.

John Raoux / Associated Press

Mark Richt is going back to where his college career began.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the former Miami quarterback has reached a tentative agreement to be the Hurricanes' next head coach, pending the completion of contract talks. Richt spent the last 15 seasons as the head coach at Georgia, averaging nearly 10 wins a season and leading the Bulldogs to a pair of Southeastern Conference championships.

John Raoux / Associated Press

For the first time since 2001, Bulldog Nation is looking for a new leader.

On Sunday, one day after the University of Georgia football team beat Georgia Tech, UGA officials announced that Mark Richt was stepping down as head coach.

"Georgia football is going to be around a whole heck of a lot longer than I'm going to be alive ... I just appreciate everybody and how they've treated me and my family," Richt said at a press conference Monday morning.

Chuck Burton / Associated Press

Georgia coach Mark Richt is stepping down after 15 seasons in what is being called a "mutual" decision.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity says he met with Richt on Sunday morning "to discuss the status of our football program" and "mutually agreed that he would step down as head coach and would have the opportunity to accept other duties and responsibilities at UGA following the bowl game."

The decision was announced in a statement released by Georgia.

Georgia (9-3) concluded its regular season with Saturday's 13-7 win over Georgia Tech.

David Graham / Associated Press

Jeff Gordon ended up with a goodbye party instead of a championship celebration.

Gordon failed to add a fairytale ending to his storied career Sunday, finishing sixth in the NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But it did little to dampen the four-time NASCAR champion's day, which was filled with family, friends and farewell tributes.

Jon Barash / Associated Press

This will be a rough weekend for Atlanta Braves fans.

The team traded Andrelton Simmons, their popular shortstop, to the Los Angeles Angels.

This summer, football players at Northwestern University came very close to successfully forming a union — not to demand that they be paid, but to demand better scholarships and safety protocols. Had their bid succeeded, it might have changed college athletics — and, indeed, higher education — in some fundamental ways.

The DeKalb County Commission voted in August to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would have involved a $12 million investment by the county.
Atlanta United FC

A planned $30 million soccer training complex in DeKalb County for Atlanta’s new professional team will not happen.

That is according to the DeKalb County government, which issued a news release late Friday saying the deal had broken down in the due diligence process.

The statement quoted DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May: “…After reviewing the reports with Atlanta United FC, we decided together that the numbers going into it have changed so much that proceeding would not be a responsible decision for either party, and certainly not the DeKalb taxpayers.”

John Raoux / Associated Press

Georgia freshman Natrez Patrick and Chauncey Rivers have been suspended for Saturday's game against Kentucky following their arrests on marijuana charges early Wednesday.

Georgia confirmed the two were arrested on misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Each was released on $1,000 bond Wednesday morning, according to the Athens-Clarke County jail report.

Patrick, a linebacker, has 13 tackles in seven games. He was the top backup to starting middle linebacker Jake Ganus.

Rivers, a defensive end, has one tackle in two games.

Georgia State University fans won't have trouble finding the Panthers basketball teams.

The school's athletic department announced all home games will broadcast live on ESPN-3, according to a press release from the college.

This agreement is for both the men's and women's basketball teams.

Johnny Cueto pitched a two-hitter, Eric Hosmer drove in two more runs and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 7-1 Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series.

Cueto struck out four, walked three and reinforced why the Royals got the dreadlocked ace from Cincinnati in late July. The crowd at Kauffman Stadium fed off the excitable righty, standing and chanting his name.

In the longest World Series Game 1 ever, the Kansas City Royals outlasted the New York Mets 5-4 in 14 innings to gain the early edge in the 111th Fall Classic.

Eric Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly that scored Alcides Escobar from third base to end it and give the Royals a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The game took 5 hours, 9 minutes. The losing pitcher was 42-year-old Bartolo Colon, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 12th before running out of luck in the 14th inning.

Baseball's World Series gets under way Tuesday evening in Kansas City as the American League Champion Royals entertain the National League champion New York Mets.

By virtue of the American League winning the All-Star Game, the Royals have the honor of hosting the first two games of the best of seven series before it shifts to New York for games 3 and 4 and, if need be. five. Should a sixth and/or seventh game be called for, they would be played back in KC.

David Goldman / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Atlanta Hawks have confirmed that Kent Bazemore will be in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's season opener against the Detroit Pistons.

The 6-foot-5 swingman started throughout the preseason at the small forward spot that belonged to DeMarre Carroll the last two years.

When Carroll signed a $60 million deal with Toronto, Bazemore seized his chance to join a lineup that includes four All-Stars — Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver.

Brandon Wade / Associated Press

Matt Ryan threw for 251 yards and a touchdown pass, and Devonta Freeman ran for 116 yards as the Atlanta Falcons held off the Tennessee Titans 10-7 Sunday.

The Falcons (6-1) bounced back from their first loss this season by grinding out a road win and overcoming two interceptions. Freeman notched his third consecutive game with at least 100 yards, and Atlanta outgained Tennessee 378-256.

With clinical efficiency, the New York Mets have swept the Chicago Cubs and are going to the World Series for the first time in 15 years. The Mets topped the Cubs 8-3 to finish a four-game sweep of the National League Championship Series in which they never trailed once in a game.

They jumped ahead of the Cubs early in the finale. Lucas Duda launched a three-run home run and Travis d'Arnaud followed with a solo shot in the top of the first to give the Mets an early 4-0 lead. Duda added a two-run double in the second to make it 6-0. Duda had five RBIs.

Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press

Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius can leave prison and move to house arrest this week.

A parole board at the prison where Pistorius has served nearly a year of his five-year sentence for manslaughter made the decision. It came after an initial ruling to release the double-amputee athlete in August was canceled.

Pistorius was convicted of shooting his girlfriend to death in 2013.

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints have handed the Atlanta Falcons their first loss of the season.

Drew Brees threw for 312 yards and Ben Watson had 10 receptions for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown as the Saints downed the Falcons 31-21 in New Orleans. Watson's two-yard scoring grab put the Saints ahead 24-7 late in the third quarter.

Mark Ingram ran for two short touchdowns for the 2-4 Saints, and New Orleans' defense recovered three fumbles, two inside its own 20.

New Orleans native Michael Mauti blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Brandon Wade / Associated Press

Unbeaten Atlanta faces struggling New Orleans to kick off the NFL weekend Thursday at the Superdome.

The Falcons are off to a 5-0 start despite trailing in the fourth quarter in four of those games. A big reason for their success is running back Devonta Freeman, who is first player since 1966 to rush for at least seven touchdowns in his first three starts to begin a career.

Atlanta's Julio Jones is listed as probable as he recovers from a hamstring injury. He leads the NFL with 43 receptions.

Sports Great Bill Curry Working Off The Gridiron For Kids

Oct 14, 2015
Courtesy Bill Curry

When it comes to inspiring quotes, perhaps there's no better place to find one than from an iconic NFL football coach like Vince Lombardi.

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary," Lombardi once said.

Legendary Georgia football coach and Super Bowl champion Bill Curry is quite familiar with Lombardi’s famous quotes and more. After all, the College Park native played for Lombardi.

Wade Payne / Associated Press

Updated at 1:09 p.m.

Steve Spurrier says he made the decision to resign as South Carolina's head coach because the team was heading in the wrong direction.

He told a news conference Tuesday: "We've slipped. It's my fault. I'm the head coach."

Spurrier was in the middle of his 11th season. The Gamecocks were 2-4 overall and 0-4 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in Spurrier's career.

He had never had a losing season in 25 previous seasons coaching at Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001) or South Carolina, where he has been since 2005.

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