Super Bowl XXXIII: Falcons `guarantee' victory

NOT SINCE the New York Jets 30 years ago has there been such a surprise Super Bowl participant as the Atlanta Falcons, writes Nick Halling.

NFL: Elway can confirm his place in history

Denver's legendary quarterback is ready for one more Super Bowl on Sunday. Will it be his last?

American football: No stopping rampant Vikings

AFTER WINNING 15 of their 16 regular season contests and breaking the NFL all-time record by scoring 556 points along the way, expectations are high amongst the players, coaches and fans of the Minnesota Vikings. Despite qualifying for four previous Super Bowls, the most recent in 1977, the Vikings have yet to taste success in America's premier sporting spectacle. Following Sunday night's 41-21 drubbing of Arizona Cardinals, however, the feeling is growing that the current Vikings are simply unstoppable.

American football: Atlanta coach's happy return

THE ATLANTA FALCONS survived a late flourish by the San Francisco 49ers to book their first appearance in the NFC Championship game with a 20-18 win at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

American football: Officials cause play-off mayhem

IT IS not only managers and players from the Premiership who are unhappy about refereeing standards. Their counterparts across the Atlantic have been seething all year about a series of blown calls and debatable decisions, and the clamour for the return of the instant replay system will doubtless intensify after two of the weekend's four play-off games were effectively determined by officiating errors.

American Football: Miami win keeps Marino's dream alive

Miami win keeps Marino's dream alive

American Football: Jacke comes up trumps for the Cards

THE ARIZONA Cardinals have not won a play-off game since 1947, have failed to win their division since 1975, and last qualified for post- season play 16 years ago. For much of their long but less than illustrious history they have come to embody futility and ineptitude. In this, their centenary year, things are finally changing because the Cardinals are through to the play-offs following an extraordinary 16-13 triumph over the San Diego Chargers.

American Football: Inspired Falcons fly high on emotion to claim title

WITH JUST one week remaining in the regular season, the play-off picture is finally starting to make sense. In the NFC, the Minnesota Vikings clinched home advantage throughout the play-offs with a remarkable 50- 10 humiliation of the Jacksonville Jaguars, while victories for the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons confirmed their continued participation into January. The Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers have earned wild card berths, while the final spot will go to either Arizona, Tampa Bay or the New York Giants.

American football: Giants stand tall to end Broncos' run

IT HAS been a weekend of celebration around the National Football League, but in Denver the champagne has left a particularly nasty aftertaste. The Broncos finally lost their unbeaten record, losing 20-16 to the New York Giants in the shock result of the year.

American Football: Depleted Vikings too strong for Bears

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

American football: Marino passes magical 400 total

THE MIAMI quarterback, Dan Marino, has been overshadowed by the other passing legend, Denver's John Elway, for much of the season, but on Sunday the veteran Dolphin reclaimed centre stage when he threw the 400th touchdown pass of his 16-year career.

American Football: Broncos seek place in history

A PLACE in history continues to beckon for the Denver Broncos. The reigning Super Bowl champions extended their 1998 record to 11 wins in a row with a 40-14 crushing of the Oakland Raiders, and they remain on course to emulate the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in league history to enjoy an unbeaten season.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Stampeding Broncos look hard to stop

TRADITIONALLY, THE half-way point of the season is a time for pundits to assess whether those teams which have so far managed to avoid defeat can maintain their progress and join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team in history to have enjoyed a perfect campaign.

American Football: Patriots brought to earth by Jets

CURTIS MARTIN was stopped short of the line by the New England Patriots, but Vinny Testaverde still made the end zone as the New York Jets made a remarkable recovery to defeat the Patriots 24-14 in Foxboro in Monday night's NFL programme.

American Football: Jaguars lose battle at Bills

NOBODY SERIOUSLY expects the Buffalo Bills to be among the candidates for end-of-season honours, but few of the contenders will fancy a visit to their Rich Stadium home in upstate New York, which is becoming a graveyard for those with Super Bowl aspirations.
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