Sport Seattle, led by Russell Wilson, are favourites to win next month's Super Bowl

For devotees of the NFL, this is as good as it gets – the divisional round of the play-offs, four games pitting the regular season’s finest against four challengers already battle-hardened by victory in last weekend’s ever-treacherous wild-card round. And in 2014 there’s an extra twist: the prospect that one of the longest, most painful droughts in US sport might be near an end.

Lives Remembered: Eric Dehn

Eric Harold Dehn, my former colleague at Bristol Grammar School, was a remarkable man, of short stature but huge personality, who was born in 1916 and spent his working life between 1939 and 1976, apart from the years of the Second World War, as a French teacher at Bristol Grammar School. His teaching methods were idiosyncratic, conducting the whole of an 11-year-old's first lesson entirely in French and giving each boy a French name based on his surname, for example, but he gave the same care and attention to the pupil having trouble with French verbs as he did to the potential Open Scholar.

Felony fail: iPhone thief's photo sent to victim

A Philadelphia teenager who authorities say used a stolen cell phone to snap a photo of himself that automatically got sent to the victim has turned himself in.

Paul Wendkos: Director who made his name as a pioneer of made-for-television films

Paul Wendkos, who has died aged 84, had the misfortune of seeing his first Hollywood film become a massive hit. Gidget (1959) starred Sandra Dee as the eponymous 16-year-old “girl midget”, a prototype “beach bunny” chasing fun and romance among California’s surfers. It marked the beginnings of the surf craze which encompassed pop music typified by the Beach Boys and a slew of movies, including two Gidget sequels which Wendkos also directed. Trapped at Columbia Studios, Wendkos never directed a major feature, or had another big hit, but became a mainstay of episodic television, and in the 1970s carved out a substantial career as one of the first, and best, directors of “made-for-television” movies.

I met Abraham Lincoln – and here's the proof

Letter to a schoolboy on yellowed paper, valued at $60,000, shows a new face of the President

Al Martino: Singer who had Britain's first No 1 single and played Johnny Fontane in 'The Godfather'

There have been several impressive recording debuts but few, if any, have shown more confidence than 24-year-old Al Martino's 1952 performance of the romantic ballad, "Here In My Heart". Back then, a singer had to perform along with the orchestra and nothing could be changed afterwards. Martino soared to the top of his range for a thrilling top E, equalling anything his friend, Mario Lanza, had done.

Gore Vidal's United States of fury

At 84, the writer and activist may be confined to a wheelchair, but his rage – at his country, its leaders and citizens – burns as fiercely as ever. Johann Hari watches the sparks fly

Rodney King vs the police: round two

Victim whose beating in 1991 sparked riots across LA agrees to box renegade Philadelphia officer in charity bout

Album: The Rebel Yell, Love & War (BBE)

James Poyser has been a vital part of Philadelphia's Soulquarians generation, his production and keyboard skills crucial components in the success of such as Erykah Badu, Common, D'Angelo, Jill Scott and The Roots. With 'The Rebel Yell', he steps out as prime mover of his own project, fronted by lead vocalist SupaStar.

Benjamin Jealous: The Future of the NAACP? Radio 4<br/>Between Ourselves, Radio 4

A campaign marred by bickering and led by a mouse

Obits in Brief: Philip D. Curtin

Philip D. Curtin, who died on 4 June at the age of 87, was an historian best known for his work on the slave trade, and for changing the way the subject is taught.

Randy Cain: Founder member of the Philly soul group the Delfonics

The falsetto soul hits "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", "La-La (Means I Love You)" and "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" by the Delfonics are so evocative of the early Seventies that they regularly feature on the soundtracks of films like Quentin Tarantino's blaxploitation homage, Jackie Brown. Yet the records made by the Philadelphia vocal trio still sound fresh and distinctive and have been covered by Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Todd Rundgren and Prince. The grooves and melodies devised by producer Thom Bell have proved so infectious that they have been sampled on myriad hip-hop and R&B releases by Notorious B.I.G., Missy Elliott and the Fugees.

Groove is in his heart: Chic's Nile Rodgers on the unlikely inspiration for 'Le Freak'

Nile Rodgers, the funkmaster general, talks candidly to Nick Coleman about the death of his musical partner Bernard Edwards, why he started touring again &ndash; and how Chic's biggest hit began as an ode to doormen

Steven Wells: Journalist celebrated for his 'ranting poetry' and iconoclastic pop writing

Few cancer memoirs have happy endings. Nine days before his death from enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma, the British journalist and pop, sport and political polemicist Steven Wells – "Swells" to all who knew him personally – wrote his last column for the Philadelphia Weekly. In it, he struggled to sum up his life's work as a socialist and moralist of unbending principle, tempered, but never contradicted, by an outrageous gift for tragicomic fantasy and verbal fireworks.

Fayette Pinkney: Singer with the Three Degrees

In the 1970s, the Three Degrees embodied a certain style of classy, sophisticated, orchestrated soul, and were equally at home on Top Of The Pops, TV variety shows, in cabaret or in the presence of royalty. Indeed, the easy-on-the-ear, easy-on-the-eye girl trio from Philadelphia who topped the UK charts in 1974 with the soft, smooth, seductive "When Will I See You Again", became favourites of Prince Charles and were even tagged "Charlie's Angels" by the British tabloids.

Am I Black Enough For You (12A)

If you've heard of Billy Paul at all, it's almost certainly because of his one hit back in the early Seventies, "Me and Mrs. Jones": his next single, from which this documentary takes its title, was a flop and his career tumbled.

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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

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Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
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Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
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In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

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Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

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Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

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Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice