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.

Man shoots girl he mistook for skunk

A 9-year-old girl who dressed up for Halloween was shot in the shoulder by a family member who mistook her black and white striped costume for a skunk.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky, 103mins (12A)

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson

Duran Duran cancel third US gig

Duran Duran have cancelled a third consecutive American concert after a band-member contracted a suspected viral illness.

Submarine commander Michael P Ward II faked death to end affair

A US Navy submarine commander who faked his own death to end an extra-marital affair has been relieved of his duties.

US protests boost sales and fears of sonic blaster

Police deployment of sonic blasters at Occupy Wall Street and G-20 protest rallies is fuelling both sales and criticism of the devices, which emit beams of sound with laser-like intensity.

The Reading List: Strikes

Classic

In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck, Penguin Modern Classics £14.99

Steinbeck's novel about politics and labour in the United States, In Dubious Battle, is set in California apple farming country, where a strike by migrant workers spirals out of control, becoming a bloody clash of ideologies.

Gloves come off in the fight for the soul of ice hockey

The NHL faces calls to ice the mayhem after the latest brawl. Rupert Cornwell reports

Rupert Cornwell: 'Steel Town' shows US the art of survival

Out of America: Pittsburgh, heart of the rustbelt, reinvented itself after industrial collapse in the 1980s. Its rebirth offers hope to other smitten cities

Packers' Super Bowl victory could be the last NFL action of the year

Rodgers leads Green Bay to tense victory but brewing salaries dispute could lead next season to be cancelled

American Football: Penny drops as Big Ben finally grows up

After sex assault allegations and a horror motorbike crash, the Steelers quarterback lines up in tonight's Super Bowl as a 'changed man'

James Lawton: Forget Lombardi's Packers, Noll's 1980 Steelers were the masters of this blue-collar game

Noll built a defence of such power they were christened the Steel Curtain and his offence was a thing of great athletic beauty

Album: Bob Marley &the Wailers, Live Forever (Island)

Taken from a show in Pittsburgh in September 1980, Live Forever is the last recorded concert by Marley and The Wailers, but while it represents them at the broadest extent of their appeal, it by no means captures the band at their most potent.

American Football: Pittsburgh Steelers join Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl

Ben Roethlisberger does not expect to ever win a passing title or be voted the NFL's most valuable player but the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback does plan on adding another Super Bowl ring to his collection.

Rupert Cornwell: Twitter dialect says you are what you tweet

Out of America: Got 'sumthin' or 'suttin' to get off your chest? Go ahead. But from your 140 characters, experts will work out where you come from

George Blanda: American footballer who played in the NFL at the age of 48

In a sport where the average career lasts less than four years, George Blanda's lasted 26 seasons. Blanda retired after the 1975 season, at 48 the oldest man to play in a National Football League game, and at the time the only one to have played in four separate decades. His career record for points scored (2,002) stood for 25 years, but his reputation as the ultimate clutch player was cemented in one five-week period in 1970.

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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk