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.

Letter: There's still steel in Sheffield

I LIKED James Sherwood's article on Sheffield's Devonshire Quarter ("A new friend in the North", Real Life, 5 December) but I react like Pavlov's dog when people say Sheffield's industry is dead. It is not. More than two million tons of special steels have been made here this year, far more than at the height of the Second World War. Sheffield provides the steel that has to withstand extreme stress or conditions. The steel is used, for example, in jet engines and landing gear, North Sea oil platforms, medical instruments and surgical implants, and nuclear shields and waste containers.

Boxing: Ali absent as daughter struggles for second victory

LAILA ALI'S second fight was much longer than her first, but the result was the same. The 21-year-old daughter of Muhammad Ali stopped her opponent, Shadina Pennybaker of nearby Pittsburgh, with three seconds left in their four-round bout on Wednesday night, watched by 2,000 fans at the Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort in Chester, West Virginia.

SPORT ON TV: The sadist, the loving father and a knockout end

THEY DO not care much for grey areas in the full-on world that is "Dubblyer Dubblyer Eff", unless you count the eternal question of whether the whole Lycra-clad shebang is sport or entertainment. You're a good guy or you're a bad guy, and there's an end to it. But if you think that's as much as anyone needs to know about professional wrestling, you obviously didn't catch Hitman Hart (BBC2) last night.

Official: Internet users can suffer clinical addiction

IF YOU have risked a significant relationship to carry on web surfing, or stayed online longer than you intended, you could be suffering from what is now a formally recognised illness: Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). The syndrome includes a wide variety of behaviours, including cyber- sexual addiction, cyber-relationship addiction, and net compulsions, such as online gambling or shopping, according to a paper published today in the Student British Medical Journal.

US Airways bids for new route under open-skies

US AIRWAYS yesterday called on the British and American governments to "jump-start" their stalled open-skies talks by allowing the carrier to begin flying the unused Pittsburgh-Gatwick route.

MUSIC: PROMS 99: THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS

PROM OF THE WEEK

Edinburgh Classical: Neither spontaneous nor vulgar

JUGENDORCHESTER/ ABBADO

E.X.H.U.M.E.D.

She was the First Lady of Country and she was a survivor. She'd lived with drug addiction, depression and D.I.V.O.R.C.E. And then she died. What killed Tammy Wynette? And why?

Rudder fault caused Boeing to crash, says inquiry

THE CRASH of a USAir Boeing 737 airliner near Pittsburgh in 1994 was caused by a rudder malfunction, United States officials said yesterday after a four-year investigation.

Workers look to Labor for help

THEY WANT a 32-hour week, a national health service and the right to work to be made a legal requirement. Welcome to New Labor.

New world's New Labor to fill union gap

THEY WANT a 32-hour week, a national health service and the right to work to be made a legal requirement. Welcome to New Labor.
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
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news
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Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
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Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
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Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect