LeBron’s Christmas Jersey, Beliveau Collection at Auction; Value of LSU’s Championship Football

Big time NBA jersey collectors are zeroing in on the Christmas Day jerseys that have hit the auction block, including the one worn by LeBron James.

NBA Auctions is offering jerseys from the Lakers, Sixers and Pelicans, all worn in the holiday games.

Bidding for the James jersey has already passed $30,000 with more than two weeks left. He missed a triple-double by one rebound in the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers that day. He’s now played in 14 Christmas games during his career.

Jerseys worn by Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Lonzo Ball and other players are also on the block with others likely to be added in the coming days.

Small town Joe Burrow walked out of the Superdome Monday night, having enjoyed a big night. His 463 yards passing and five touchdowns polished off a perfect season for LSU. Burrow enjoyed a post-game victory cigar–and was seen walking around with the game ball that was in play when the Tigers completed their win over Clemson.

While there’s no indication yet that he’ll get to keep it–or ever sell it if he does–it’s worth a bayou full of cash according to Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions, who talked about it Tuesday morning.

The family of the late hockey Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau has consigned several items to Classic Auctions. The company will sell them in its upcoming Winter Auction along with some other items previously sold in a sale featuring Beliveau’s career memorabilia that took place in 2005.

Among the items up for bid:

1962-63 Montreal Canadiens Game-Worn Captain’s Wool Jersey
1970-71 Montreal Canadiens Career Presentational Trophy Featuring His 500th Goal Milestone Puck
1958-59 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Championship 10K Gold Ring
Hockey Hall of Fame Induction 10K Gold and Diamond Ring
Montreal Canadiens “1955-56 to 1959-60 NHL’s Greatest Dynasty” Stanley Cup Championship Trophy
1958-59 Stanley Cup championship 10K gold and diamond ring
1955-56 Art Ross Trophy

Bidding for that Mickey Mantle pinstripe Yankees jersey from his 1956 Triple Crown season has reached $230,000. Mile High Card Company is offering the jersey in its current catalog, which runs through January 23.

Game-used sticks and practice jerseys used by the Nashville Predators in the New Year’s Day Winter Classic in Dallas are on the block at MeiGray.

A crowd of 85,630 at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, saw the Stars beat the Preds, 4-2 in the 12th annual contest.

Twenty-three sticks and 23 jerseys are offered in the auctions.

College Football Playoff National Championship Uniform History

The 2019-20 college football season comes to a conclusion on Monday evening when No. 1 LSU meets third-ranked Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m. on ESPN).

But before the Tigers go to battle in New Orleans, we’ve decided to take a look back at the uniform matchups of five previous playoff title games and preview tonight’s matchup.
2015 – Ohio State 42, Oregon 20

Fourth-ranked Ohio State wore the home version of its 1968 throwback uniforms despite being the lower-ranked team, while No. 2 Oregon opted to wear a white and gray rendition of its apple green Rose Bowl set. Both uniforms featured a fractal diamond Swoosh on the jersey and pants, which has been a staple of the playoff since it’s inception.
2016 – Alabama 45, Clemson 40

In their first meeting in the College Football Playoff, No. 1 Clemson wore its orange jersey with orange britches against Alabama, which donned its standard road set as the nation’s second-ranked team.
2017 – Clemson 35, Alabama 31

Round two between Alabama and Clemson had both teams outfitted in the opposite uniforms of their first matchup, as the top-ranked Crimson Tide were in their standard home set while the Tigers wore white jerseys with orange britches as the No. 2 seed. This game also had the inverse result.
2018 – Alabama 26, Georgia 23 (OT)

Despite not winning its division — let alone its conference — Alabama returned to the national championship for the third straight season in 2018 as the No. 4 team in the country. The Tide faced SEC champion Georgia, which wore its home uniform by virtue of being the higher seed (3).
2019 – Clemson 44, Alabama 16

Aside from the change in venue, the national championship game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson looked the exact same as their previous title game matchup. It was the same result, too.
2020 – LSU vs Clemson

In a bit of an interesting twist, both No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Clemson will don their home uniforms in tonight’s game. The Bayou Bengals typically wear white at home, which will allow the other Tigers to go with their all-orange getup.

In doing so, LSU actually received the 2020 College Football Playoff patch that is reserved for the team wearing a colored jersey. The Tigers will also wear said patch on their right shoulder, whereas every other national championship participant — including their opponent tonight — have worn it on the left.

One additional difference between this year’s national championship and those in the past is the lack of black end zones. That, too, has been a staple of the playoff staple but the Superdome’s grounds crew went a different direction for tonight’s game.

Major League Soccer announces plans for 25th season celebration

Major League Soccer today unveiled plans for its historic 25th Season Celebration in 2020. The Celebration will feature unique experiences, marquee events, robust content, innovative programming, and the special 25th Season commemorative design integrated throughout MLS and partner initiatives. The season will celebrate the League’s past, while expanding on the foundation it has built over an extensive period of explosive growth. In addition, MLS will welcome new clubs in Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC for the 2020 season.

“Our 25th season will celebrate our rich history by honoring the countless people behind the growth of our League and reflecting upon many of the memorable moments in our history,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “During this season-long celebration, we’ll also focus on our exciting future as we continue on our path to become one of the top leagues in the world.”

The 25th Season officially kicks off this Thursday, Jan. 9 with the new MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, live on Twitter, and continues all the way through MLS Cup. The League’s popular “Our Soccer” marketing campaign will continue in 2020 with a 25th season theme, supported by amplification from clubs, corporate partners, broadcast partners (ESPN, Fox Sports, Univision, TSN and TVA Sports), and international media partners around the world.

The following highlights 25th Season Celebration programming, with additional extensions to be featured in the future.

DEBUT OF EXPANSION INTER MIAMI CF AND NASHVILLE SC – Two new expansion teams in Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will make their debut for the 2020 season. Inter Miami enters MLS in 2020 with an ownership group comprised of a diverse team that combines strong local connections and global star power, including soccer and cultural icon David Beckham. With former Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre at the helm, Nashville will kick off the season in primetime with the club’s inaugural match on FOX, as the club hosts 2018 MLS Cup champions Atlanta United on Feb. 29.

MOST EXPANSIVE NETWORK COVERAGE IN LEAGUE HISTORY – MLS’ 25th season will also feature the most expansive network coverage in league history. An all-time high 46 network broadcast windows across ABC, FOX, Univision and UniMás in the U.S. will be complemented by eight matches broadcast on CTV in Canada. In the U.S., the nationally broadcast matches will be available in both English and Spanish-language through ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes as well as FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes. Matches will also air in Spanish on Univision, UniMás, and TUDN. In Canada, TSN will broadcast matches from all three clubs in Canada, including every Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps match. TVA Sports will broadcast every Montreal Impact match. In addition to the games airing on national broadcast partners, MLS LIVE will showcase every out-of-market match in the U.S. on ESPN+ and MLS fans in Canada can view more than 300 regular season matches through the DAZN live streaming service. Univision and UniMás matches will be streamed live in English on Twitter. All broadcasts will include new 25th copyright animation and feature unique elements as part of their graphic package. The world feed for MLS’ international broadcasts will feature a 25th logo watermark.

FORWARD25 JERSEY REVEAL AHEAD OF NYC FASHION WEEK – On Wednesday, Feb. 5, adidas and MLS will unveil the league’s complete collection of 2020 jerseys in advance of New York City’s Fashion Week. MLS’ diverse fan base will be in the spotlight as celebrity fans from many teams will model the kits along with MLS Greats. For example, Houston Texans All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will model for Houston Dynamo; actor and director Colin Hanks will represent Los Angeles Football Club; and OVO Sound’s Canadian R&B duo, Majid Jordan , will feature for Toronto FC. More celebrity ambassadors will be announced in the coming weeks. Fans are invited to experience the action by following #FORWARD25.

EA SPORTS™ FIFA 20 JERSEY DROP – In partnership with EA SPORTS FIFA, the adidas jerseys will be revealed virtually across EA SPORTS FIFA channels following the real-world unveiling. Fans can also represent their favorite MLS team currently playable in FIFA 20 and use the jerseys across various game modes, including Kick-Off, Career Mode, and more ahead of the start of the season. Stay tuned for more details on @EASPORTSFIFA channels.

NEW MLS FONT USED BY ALL CLUBS – The official MLS name and number jersey font for 2020 is a dynamic, energetic and bold graphic typeface that introduces a layering tri-line effect.The font was designed in collaboration with MLS by Rick Banks, lead designer and typographer of Face37, an award-winning graphic design studio based in Manchester, England.

MLS & BODYARMOR 2020 KICKOFF EVENT – MLS and BODYARMOR Sports Drink, the League’s Official Sports Drink partner in the U.S, will kick off the 25th Season in 2020 with a media event and youth soccer skills challenge at Los Angeles Football Club’s Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The event will feature NBA legend and BODYARMOR investorKobe Bryant, MLS players and executives.

MLS 25th SEASON CELEBRATION MEDIA DAY IN NEW YORK CITY – MLS Commissioner Don Garber, owners, coaches and players are scheduled to participate in the 2020 MLS Media Day in New York City at the end of February leading into opening weekend games to kick off the 25th season.

TELLING THE MLS STORY – Throughout the 2020 season, a full slate of content, including video series, feature films, and fan-engagement programming will bring to life the stories that have defined MLS’ first quarter century — and what comes next. Highlights include:

“The 25 Greatest” – A special, year-long content and fan-engagement program to determine the top 25 players from the first 25 years of MLS. Fans, media, MLS Greats, and club technical staff will select “The 25 Greatest,” which will be unveiled in November.
“The Greatest Goal” – After MLS Cup in November 2020, fans will choose the greatest goal in 25 seasons of MLS through a bracket.
MLS Feature Film – The critically-acclaimed teams at Box to Box Films and EVO Films are developing a definitive documentary about the birth and growth of MLS during its first 25 years. The biggest names in league history will reveal how MLS overcame skepticism and adversity to become one of the fastest-growing sports entities in North America.
“El Toque Latino” – A three-part video series featuring exclusive interviews and rare archival footage showcasing the unique contributions and tremendous influence of Latin American players in 25 years of MLS. Produced in coordination with longtime MLS media partner TUDN.
“Legacy” – A 12-part longform editorial series exploring some of the lesser-known moments and personalities that have laid the foundation for MLS’s next 25 years.

2020 MLS ALL-STAR GAME PRESENTED BY TARGET – As part of the league’s milestone 25th season, the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will reach new heights as the best of MLS take on the LIGA MX All-Stars in a first-of-its-kind All-Star matchup at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday, July 29. The game will feature a special edition 25thSeason All-Star jersey and MLS Greats will participate throughout the week-long series of experiences. The 2020 MLS All-Star week will include elevated programming, including a concert and the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge, among other events to be announced in the coming months, to celebrate the sport and culture of soccer as part of the league’s 25th season festivities. MLS WORKS will conduct various charitable initiatives, including the unveiling of a mini-pitch to commemorate 25 seasons of community service by the league, players and our partners.

THE NATIVO XXV 25TH SEASON CELEBRATION ADIDAS MATCH BALL – The official match ball for the League’s milestone 25th season will be the 2020 MLS adidas NATIVO XXV. Featuring blue and green colors, this reimagined NATIVO is a nod to the first MLS ball in 1996.

SINCE ’96 COLLECTION – Celebrating the League’s start in 1996, this retro collection features clubs from the 1990s with merchandise available from Mitchell & Ness and New Era. The collection is will launch this summer and feature retro gear from the Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas (Burn), D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City (Kansas City Wiz), LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, New England Revolution, San Jose Earthquakes (Clash), Seattle Sounders FC, and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Eighty-Sixers).

SOCCER FOR ALL – Since the launch of MLS, the League has been dedicated to supporting the communities where we live and plays our games and providing an environment in which staff, players, partners and fans are treated with dignity and respect — which is the essence of the League’s Soccer For All campaign. Throughout the season, and in partnership with our clubs, MLS WORKS, the League’s social responsibility platform, will highlight the collective efforts taking place League-wide to foster more inclusive communities including elevated programming and the third annual Soccer For All month.

2020 MLS CUP CULMINATES 25 SEASONS – The season will culminate at the 25th MLS Cup with an unforgettable pre-match ceremony highlighting 25 seasons of MLS. More celebratory initiatives will be announced in the weeks before MLS Cup.

Good luck finding a Joe Burrow jersey: LSU’s dream football season has merchandise flying off shelves

John Lett has been an LSU football fan for decades, ever since he moved from Missouri to Baton Rouge to get his degree from the college. And even though he’s seen some great Tiger teams that won college football national championships, he said he’s never seen anything like this year’s roster.

Because the Tigers have been so good this season, Lett said he’s been buying more purple and gold merchandise. He recently bought a new home in Ponchatoula, so he’s been decorating his “man cave” with LSU football gear.

“I don’t want to know how much I’ve spent this year,” he said. “For Christmas, I spent $700 on things for my wife, my five grandsons and my two daughters.”

LSU merchandise was a hot seller across Baton Rouge during the holidays. And those strong sales are expected to carry on into early 2020, with the Tigers facing Clemson in the College Football Championship game on January 13.

About 500 businesses are licensed with LSU to produce official products, ranging from T-shirts and caps to original artwork.

Brian Hommel, director of LSU Trademark Licensing, said the team’s 14-0 record has contributed to an increased demand for purple and gold items. But the exact size of that increase won’t be known for a while.

“At this time we are only one quarter into the current fiscal year and will not be able to compare our fall 19 sales and royalty data until early 2020,” Hommel said in an email.

In fiscal 2019, LSU generated $4.8 million in gross royalties from merchandise sales. In contrast, in 2011, the last time the team played in the college football championship game, gross royalties topped $5.6 million. And in 2007, the last time the Tigers won the national championship, gross royalties were $5.3 million, Hommel said.

The increased demand for LSU products has meant some items have been hard to find, such as replica jerseys for the Tiger’s Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. Nike, which makes the officially licensed adult LSU jerseys, only produces one run of replicas that stores order a few months in advance of the season. Because no one could predict the record-breaking season Burrow would have this year, number 9 jerseys have been sold out.

“Those jersey items can’t be restocked,” said Patrick Wilkerson, who owns Bengals & Bandits, an LSU clothing store. “We get 30 calls a day from people looking for jerseys.”

Bengals & Bandits doesn’t carry licensed adult jerseys because it concentrates more on unique, retro items. But the store has been producing T-shirts that look like Burrow’s jersey. “Those are our big seller this year,” Wilkerson said.

At Tiger Mania, an LSU merchandise store near Interstate 12 and Drusilla Lane, manager Melana Barton said the biggest sellers have been anything with Burrow’s number 9 on it – such as T-shirts and caps. The store does custom embroidery, so they put the number on anything, she said.

Tiger Mania wasn’t able to get any officially licensed Heisman Trophy items, commemorating Burrow being named as the top player in college football. But the store did produce purple and gold caps that said “He is the Man”.

Barton took over management of Tiger Mania earlier in 2019. She said sales have increased 190% over the previous year because of LSU’s historic season.

“It’s been extremely good,” she said.

At Purple & Gold Sports Shop, a Siegen Lane store that specializes in LSU merchandise, co-owner Sara Sanders said this year’s sales are “blowing away” the business from previous years.

“We’re definitely seeing a higher volume of sales now than we have in years,” she said. “And while the season is normally coming to an end after Thanksgiving, it’s been starting all over again. We’re looking forward to a longer season than we typically have.”

Miami Heat to retire Dwyane Wade’s No. 3 jersey on Feb. 22 against the Cavaliers, per report

There isn’t a more celebrated player in Miami Heat history than Dwyane Wade.

For 15 seasons in South Beach, he donned the No. 3 jersey while dazzling fans on a nightly basis as he hit career milestones, won championships and repeatedly claimed Miami as his city. His farewell tour last season was emotional, as he swapped jerseys with a different player on the opposing team following every game, was named an honorary All-Star for his final season alongside Dirk Nowitzki and ended his career by putting up 30 points in his final home game inside American Airlines Arena.

Wade has made a huge impact on the NBA and basketball as a whole, and when the time comes will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, before that happens the Heat are making sure that no one else will ever wear the No. 3 jersey in Miami as the team has plans to retire Wade’s jersey on Feb. 22 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, as reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The celebration will take place over two days, with a more expansive ceremony happening the night before on an off day for the Heat, while the raising of his jersey to the rafters will happen before Miami’s game against the Cavaliers the next day. Wade will become the fifth player in franchise history to have his jersey retired, the most recent being Wade’s former teammate Chris Bosh who was honored in March 2019.

Wade retired with the Heat as the franchise’s all-time leader in points (21,556), assists (5310) and steals (1.492), and led the charge to help Miami win its first championship in franchise history in 2006, by overcoming a 2-0 NBA Finals deficit against the Dallas Mavericks. After LeBron James and Bosh joined Wade in 2010, the three formed one of the most fearsome Big 3s in NBA history, making the Finals four straight times, and winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

Sixers’ Josh Richardson says locker room lacks accountability

Josh Richardson didn’t hold back when asked what’s wrong with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tuesday’s 115-97 setback to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse marked their third consecutive loss since beating the NBA’s top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day.

“I don’t think there’s enough accountability in our locker room right now, honestly,” he said. “I think that we got some new guys, who don’t want to step on toes, including myself. I feel like we kind of go play and don’t compete as much.”

Richardson wasn’t done with his assessment.

“There’s been games that we have (competed), and it’s been great,” he said. “But when it’s not going good, we got to hold each other accountable. I think that’s where a lot of our problems start.”

He added: “I think our locker room has some growing to do.”

It’s no secret that last year’s Sixers were a talented team that had a bad culture. The belief was that some bad habits would be erased with the addition of Richardson and Al Horford, great locker room guys. They also re-signed Tobias Harris, who they initially acquired at February’s trade deadline from the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Sixers sent Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade and acquired Richardson in the deal. Meanwhile, they signed Horford to a free-agent deal. The 13-year veteran spent the last three seasons with the Boston Celtics.

In all, the Sixers have eight new players on their 17-man roster. That doesn’t include Harris, Mike Scott and James Ennis III, who all re-signed after being acquired in February trades.

Yet, as Richardson stated, the same lack of accountability exists from the Sixers of past seasons.

In the past, sources have said several key players lacked the work ethic and accountability to become championship players.

Harris and point guard Ben Simmons also talked about the need for accountability following Tuesday’s loss, which dropped the Sixers to 23-13 and sixth place in the Eastern Conference. All-Star center Joel Embiid sat out the game with a sore left knee.

“In all honesty, I think what we have to do is look one another in the eye and look ourselves in the mirror and kind of evaluate it and take ownership on our own individual play,” Harris said.

“Then figure out what individually we can do better one-on-one as men, and come to the table and try to mesh that together.”

Harris added it’s easy to say the Sixers didn’t play good defense or failed to get out in transition.

“But it’s hard to say, ‘Oh, I didn’t bring enough energy for the group tonight,” he said.

Harris thinks he needs to do a better job of picking the Sixers up and figuring out how they can get out of a deep run, like the Pacers had. Indiana broke the game open with a 17-2 run at the start of the second quarter.

“I look at a game like today and a loss like today, it’s easy to say we need to switch it up (schematically),” he said. “Switch it up to what? What we did three games ago when we beat the Bucks? You know what I’m saying?

“This is the league. It’s one game after another. Obviously, we need to build consistency. That’s a big thing,” Harris said. “But, I think, as an individual, one-on-one, man-to-man, we got to look ourselves in the eye and come to the table on what individually we can do better as collective group.”

Simmons said the team needs to come together, sit down as a group, and chat.

“There’s nights like this that we don’t even look like we should be here,” Simmons said. “We got to take ownership of that. Look in the mirror and say what we want out of this team.”

The point guard noted that the Sixers look like a championship team at times and have all the pieces, with great off-the-court chemistry.

“But on the Xs- and Os-side of things, we need to be on the same page,” he said.

After the Sixers’ road loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday, Simmons said that team plays with a lot of energy in spurts. Embiid disagreed.

But, it’s been obvious that the Sixers don’t always play with a lot of energy. That led to Friday’s road loss to the Orlando Magic and other road setbacks to the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets.

Bills’ Josh Allen, Sean McDermott sport Buffalo Braves gear

Bills quarterback Josh Allen continues to endear himself to Western New York sports fans. He arrived for Sunday’s season finale at New Era Field wearing a Buffalo Braves jersey with his No. 17 and name on the back.

The jersey is the style that the Los Angeles Clippers are wearing a few times this season that harkens back to their original days before moving to San Diego and then Los Angeles.

Allen also arrived with Buffalo Bandits hat.

He wore the jersey and hat in his postgame news conference.

Bills coach Sean McDermott did a pregame interview with CBS while wearing a Buffalo Braves hoodie.

The Braves, of course, have been gone for 40 years, but the memories remain.

Lamar Jackson fever has hit NFL, but Ravens’ QB won’t change temperature of game

Patrick Mahomes was a central fixture in the football constellation last season, the type of quarterback every NFL team should covet.

He wasn’t just the playmaking leader of the Kansas City Chiefs, he was treated like a fifth Beatle and an undeniable Starr — part Bart, part Ringo.

Not much has changed about Mahomes. He’s still a terrific player, still the unquestioned leader of the AFC West champion Chiefs. But if he were to throw a no-look pass, would it lead “SportsCenter? “Probably not. People have grown accustomed to seeing him complete those.

Been there, gunned that.

The juggernaut du jour resides in Baltimore, where Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has reinvented the game, or so it seems. A sports-talk host asked this week, “Will Baltimore ever lose another game?” and, in light of all the hype, some might consider that a legitimate question.

Jackson is locked in as the next most valuable player, and for good reason. The Baltimore Sun made a compelling statistical case this week that his season could be the greatest of any NFL quarterback.

There was no calling an audible and giving somebody a Jackson jersey for Christmas. In the days leading up to that holiday, all of those were sold out on the team’s website, as was every item advertised on Jackson’s personal website, era8apparel.com.

Without question, the spotlight has swung from Kansas City to Baltimore, and there’s a new flavor of the month. That’s not discounting what Jackson has done, only an acknowledgment that the next big trend is always just around the corner.

Consider all the players and events in recent years that were predicted to fundamentally change football.

There was Robert Griffin III as a Washington Redskins rookie — he’s now backing up Jackson in Baltimore — Colin Kaepernick during the height of the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco, the “Legion of Boom” secondary in Seattle, Sean McVay’s offense with the Rams and his oversized impact on the coaching world … each one was the talk of the league at one point or another.

Each was going to “change the game.”

If the game changed at all after those, it was a subtle tweak as opposed to a seismic shift.

So all the talk about this being the golden age of dual-threat quarterbacks — Jackson, Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray — doesn’t mean every team is going to move in that direction. What’s more, it doesn’t mean that clubs suddenly are going to view it as a negative if a quarterback has a prototypical 6-foot-5 build.

Jackson is phenomenal, and he could lead Baltimore to their third Super Bowl title. The Ravens are 19-3 with him as their starter, and his 19 victories since Week 11 of last season ranks as the most among all starting quarterbacks.

Jackson is the only NFL quarterback to produce at least 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing in a season, and he’s at 1,206 on the ground.

That said, it often takes defenses a while to catch up with offenses, and yet they eventually do.

Some teams will play Jackson differently next season than they played him this year, and that will bump up the degree of difficulty for him. The pieces around him will change, and injuries can take a greater toll at times. Look at the way the Rams changed, for instance, when they no longer had a healthy offensive line.

This is Jackson’s time in the spotlight. That stay could be long or brief. But if history is a guide, Jackson probably won’t have as profound an effect on offenses as some might predict. He’s an ultra-rare talent, so a lot of this stuff won’t be repeatable with another player plugged in.

The spotlight will swing somewhere else, maybe next season.

It’s a truism in a league where the shiny new object that matters most isn’t an individual player or a scheme, but a glistening trophy.

Zidane asks for patience after Real Madrid held by Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane called for patience after his side lost ground at the top of LaLiga following a frustrating goalless draw against Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu.

Barcelona had gone into the Christmas break on the back of Saturday’s 4-1 win over Alaves to keep the pressure on in the title battle.

After El Clasico finished 0-0 in midweek, failure to find a breakthrough against a resolute Bilbao side – hitting the woodwork on three occasions – meant Los Blancos recorded successive goalless draws in the league for the first time since 2006.

Zidane’s men are now once again two points behind their rivals, but the Frenchman is confident the goals and results will soon come again when action resumes in January.

“I am very disappointed for my players and their effort. They have made a great game, but they have missed getting a goal again,” the Real Madrid boss said.

“We had three or four chances, but this is football and there are runs. You have to be calm because the work has been phenomenal again.”

Zidane told a press conference: “I am very happy for the evolution of the team. We had difficulties at the beginning (of the season), but we are much better – and we are strong defensively.

“Today we lacked a goal, but the important thing is to create occasions. We are going to change this in 2020.”

Quizzed on if Madrid need more attacking reinforcements in January after a run of three goals from their last four league games, Zidane insisted: “No, absolutely not.

“It’s streaks, it’s only two games we haven’t scored. When we get back to winning, we’re going to get over it, with peace of mind. In the end, we don’t need anything. We need to get on with what we’re doing.”

Bilbao – who had not won a LaLiga game at the Bernabeu for almost 15 years – threatened when Inaki Williams held off Militao to send a low shot towards the bottom corner, which Thibaut Courtois palmed past the post.

Mikel Vesga picked out Kenan Kodro, who drilled the ball past Courtois into the top corner – only for the goal to be ruled out by what looked a marginal offside decision.

Madrid upped the tempo following the restart but continued to face a resolute Bilbao rearguard.

With three minutes left, substitute Luka Jovic saw his downward header from Dani Carvajal’s cross clip the inside of the post and bounce out as Bilbao held on.

Visiting manager Gaizka Garitano told reporters: “To get something here you also have to have some luck, but we have finished the game very well.

“In the second half I liked what we have done more. The work of the group has been very good.

“We have to improve and keep growing. We are working as much as we can. We have to improve away from home because in San Mames we are very well. As it is Real Madrid, this point has a lot of merit.”

A design expert and an idiot review ‘The Simpsons’ themed hockey jerseys

The Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL are making a big play to get Springfield, Massachusetts recognized as the true Springfield to coincide with the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons.

The jerseys will be used as part of a promotional night on February 1st where the team will be renamed the “Ice-O-Topes,” in honor of the sports franchise of the same name in the show. The first look at the jerseys is astonishing. The bright yellow is eye-catching, the donut accents are a bold touch — but how good are these uniforms really?

It’s time for Tyson Whiting, Senior Designer at SB Nation and a design expert to review these for their worth alongside me, James Dator — resident design idiot.
Tyson, an expert:

Color: Right off the bat, the colors were the first thing that hooked me. They are SO strong. The yellow, the soft light blue, the pink! The color carries this jersey and drives home the Simpsons vibe. Maybe I am just a suckers for a nice deep yellow. Oh my god the socks are so good too!

Layout: I love the center stripe because it highlights the logo really well. The number on the sleeve sits nicely on there too. I feel as though the bottom stripes could have gone with one or the other. The detail on both compete in the hierarchy, and creates a slight distraction. I’d personally stick with the donut pink stripe, but I would make the sprinkles feel more random and less uniform. The horizontal sprinkles feel unnatural, and tad forced. The neck design on this jersey is unique and simple and considered with its blue tones. I wanted to mention it because something like that goes unnoticed and it is very nice.

Logo: I love this logo. Everything plays nicely together. I’d maaaaybe make the electric bolts a little bigger, but not totally necessary. I prefer the jersey logo where the center (nucleus?) is just a pink dot, and not a donut. I see what they are doing there to really drive home the Simpsons theme but it gets back into the idea that too much detail on a logo makes it busy. I don’t hate the donut when all is said and done though. It might not have needed the white boarder around it, but I can take it or leave it. Boarders tend to make things feel trapped but I don’t think it goes that far here. It is a nice logo considering what it is trying to do. It pays homage to the original logo and also the Simpsons as a whole.

Alt Logo: This logo knocks it out of the park. The remake of their usual logo in the Simpson style is clever and perfectly executed.

Overall thoughts: I picked at a few subjective details and I think it was fair considering how awesome this jersey is technically overall. If I was a T-Bird fan I’d buy this so fast (Hershey Bears fan here!) Everything goes together so well and does an incredible job at being one of those “theme night” jerseys without looking like hot trash. Because, we all know “themed” jerseys are all trash and I stand by it. I love hockey. I love The Simpsons. I love this jersey.
James, an idiot:

Color: I’m getting some SERIOUS Nick At Nite nostalgia vibes here which I’m super into. I know this is for The Simpsons, one of my favorite shows of all time — but this has a serious Hey Arnold! feel too, which I’m into. I personally don’t think I can pull off yellow, but if i had to wear yellow it would be this yellow.

Layout: There is so much going on and I’m here for it. I know Tyson thinks it’s a little busy, but when I’m looking for a tacky-ass theme jersey I’d rather it go all the way and blow me away with just how much it all is. I like donuts. I’m less of a fan of radiation since watching Chernobyl, but I can still get down with everything this jersey is giving me.

Logo: “Yassssssss!” is pretty much my only reaction here. I love the typical atom design with the donut at the center because it confirms my personal bias that donuts should be at the center of everything. This might sound weird when we’re talking about a tacky theme jersey, but there’s something almost classy about the logo. It looks like it could be a real logo a team is using seriously (and not just for a theme night) aside from the donut. I really like the juxtaposition.

Alt logo: I’m a tad bit disturbed the bird has Homer’s hair because it creates a fanfic rabbit hole I don’t want to travel down. Otherwise it’s perfect. This was either done by an actual Simpsons’ artist, or a really, really good facsimile of one.

Overall thoughts: I really want to buy one of these jerseys. I wish the team had gone for “Isotopes,” which the show uses for the minor league baseball team — rather than the extremely on the nose “Ice-O-Topes,” which was notably in the hockey episode, but I like it decidedly less. Really that’s a pretty minor quibble. This is the best theme jersey I have ever seen in any sport, and that is an astonishing accomplishment for any team.