Parcells, Sapp, Carter among seven Hall inductees
NEW ORLEANS — Bill Parcells was a winner everywhere he coached. Time and time again, he took over struggling franchises and showed them what it takes to be a success, including a pair of Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants.
Parcells pulled off another victory Saturday — election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Getting in on his fourth try, Parcells led an induction class that also included mouthy defensive lineman Warren Sapp, prolific receiver Cris Carter and a pair of stalwarts from the trenches, offensive linemen Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen.
The class of 2013 also included a pair of senior selections, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson. The announcement was made in New Orleans, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Almost as noteworthy were the finalists who didn’t get in, including running back Jerome Bettis and owners Art Modell and Edward DeBartolo Jr. Players and coaches from the Baltimore Ravens, who will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, spent all week lobbying for Modell, their former owner who died last year, to claim a place in the hall.
Peterson double winner of AP NFL awards
NEW ORLEANS — Adrian Peterson called it a blessing in disguise.
Strange way to describe career-threatening major knee surgery.
The Minnesota Vikings’ star came back better than ever, just missing Eric Dickerson’s longstanding rushing record and closing out the season with two of the top NFL awards from The Associated Press: Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.
As sort of an added bonus, he beat Peyton Manning for both of them Saturday night.
J.J. Watt: AP Defensive POY
NEW ORLEANS — Houston end J.J. Watt won The Associated Press 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, missing a perfect ballot by one vote.
The NFL’s sacks leader with 20 1/2 and a pass-blocking fiend, Watt earned 49 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Denver linebacker Von Miller received the other vote.
Watt, a versatile second-year player with a tremendous burst off the line, also forced four fumbles and recovered two in helping the Texans to their second straight AFC South title. With his long wingspan, he blocked a stunning 16 passes.
Watt is the first Texans player to win the award. Last year, Miller ran away with the top defensive rookie award while Watt was not in contention.
RG3, Arians, Kuechly win AP NFL awards
NEW ORLEANS — Washington’s Robert Griffin III beat out fellow quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson to win The Associated Press 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
From a brilliant rookie class, RG3 was a strong winner Saturday night in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.
Griffin, who underwent knee surgery last month, said, “It’s truly a blessing to be up there — to be able to stand, first and foremost.”
Bruce Arians became the first interim coach to win NFL Coach of the Year honors. Arians, now the head coach in Arizona, replaced Chuck Pagano in September when the Colts’ coach was diagnosed with leukemia. Arians went 9-3 before Pagano returned, and Indianapolis made the playoffs at 10-6.
Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, the league’s leader in tackles with 164, won the top defensive rookie award.
Mavs coach Carlisle fined for officiating comments
DALLAS — Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Saturday for criticizing the officiating after Dallas’ loss to Golden State.
With the Mavs trailing 98-97 on Thursday, Brandan Wright had the ball knocked away while going up for a shot, and no foul was called. The Warriors went on to win 100-97 at home.
Carlisle was particularly frustrated because the NBA had acknowledged the referees made a mistake in the final seconds of a loss at Portland two days earlier. O.J. Mayo was called for a charge with 1.5 seconds left in a tie game, and the league conceded the next day it should have been a blocking foul, which would have given the Mavericks two free throws to try to take the lead. Instead, LaMarcus Aldridge hit a buzzer-beater to win it.
“The game came down to the call that wasn’t made. Brandan Wright got hit on the arm,” Carlisle said Thursday. “And it’s obvious. And it’s two (games) in a row. … And I’m very concerned about what’s happening at the end of games with the officials. I can only be honest.”
Brazil upsets Bryan brothers, cuts US lead to 2-1
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Brazil’s doubles team of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares upset the top-ranked Mike and Bob Bryan 7-6 (6), 6-7 (7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and kept the United States from clinching the first-round Davis Cup match.
It was only the third time the Bryan brothers had dropped a Davis Cup match. It was just the second time that they had dropped a five-set match in ATP competition. Their only other five-set defeat was in a 1999 match at Wimbledon.
The United States has a 2-1 advantage heading into Sunday’s reverse singles.
The United States’ John Isner faces Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in the opening match. If Bellucci wins to even the score at 2-2, Sam Querrey of the United States and Brazil’s Thiago Alves will meet in the deciding match.
Errani to play Barthel in Paris final
PARIS — Top-seeded Sara Errani of Italy will play for her seventh career title against Mona Barthel of Germany in the Open GDF Suez final after comfortable semifinal wins on Saturday.
Errani advanced when lucky loser Kiki Bertens retired from their semifinal with back pains when trailing 5-0. Barthel followed up with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.
The 25-year-old Errani reached the French Open final and U.S. Open semifinals last year. Her last title came on clay at Palermo last July — her fourth title of 2012.
The 22-year-old Barthel is aiming for her second career title. She came through the qualifiers for a 2012 win in Hobart, Australia.
Kirilenko, Lisicki reach Pattaya Open final
PATTAYA, Thailand — Second-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia and fifth-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany advanced to the final of the Pattaya Open with straight-set victories on Saturday.
Kirilenko used a powerful return of serve to defeat fourth-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-0, 6-2 in only 67 minutes and take a 3-2 lead in head-to-head encounters.
Lisicki boosted her chances of a fourth WTA title, firing eight aces to beat Nina Bratchikova of Russia 7-5, 6-3 at Dusit Resort.
Lisicki saved five of eight break points during the 90-minute match against her 130th-ranked opponent.
By wire sources