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.

`Breakthrough'on arthritis

A 68-year-old American woman has become the first recipient of gene therapy to treat rheumatoid arthritis, scientists said yesterday.

American Football: Mid Term Report: Journeymen venturing into the unknown

At its half-way stage the 1996 NFL season has produced any number of unlikely heroes, writes Matt Tench

Emergency safety checks on world's most popular jet

All Boeing 737 jetliners, the world's most widely used passenger planes, will be tested within 10 days for potential safety problems in the rudder systems, it was announced yesterday.

Mr Mysterioso

Moody, magisterial and magnificent: that's Ahmad Jamal's jazz

Lottery winner is a loser in life

The parable of Buddy Post is one that should be printed on the back of every lottery ticket. Like the health warning on packets of cigarettes, it would remind players that even if - by some remote chance - they should land the jackpot, the effect on their lives could be ruinous.

Sports Betting: 49ers displace Dallas

After their third Super Bowl victory in four years, it seemed inconceivable that the Dallas Cowboys would start the new NFL season as anything but firm favourites. After a summer of mishaps, however, it is San Francisco who have attracted all the money.

Tom Weiskopf wins Pittsburgh Senior Classic

Brian Barnes fired a tournament best six-under-par final round 66 but it was not enough to deny Tom Weiskopf, of the United States, victory at the Pittsburgh Senior Classic in Midway, Pennsylvania. The Briton, a Senior Tour rookie who was playing under a sponsor's exemption, finished at eight under par to tie for second place with J C Snead.

ARTS; THE IMPORTANC; E OF BEING ANDY

Like Oscar Wilde, Andy Warhol only put his talent into his works, while reserving his genius for his life. Nine years after his death his influence looms larger than ever

Two Trains Running Tricycle Theatre, London

Come the millennium, we can expect a spate of plays that try to sum up "the experience" of the 20th century from the perspective of a particular group of people. For some dramatists, it may well be a sweat to meet this deadline. August Wilson, though, can sit back and relax because he will already have accomplished such a project - by instalment.

O'Donnell lets down Steelers

SUPER BOWL XXX: Two second-half interceptions hand Dallas a third title in four years

A legend in the running

Phoenix are steeling themselves for a Cowboy whose stardom has no end zone.

Stewart the jock of all trades

Matt Tench on Kordell Stewart, the running, catching, passing quarterback

Super Bowl chance to beat the odds

The NFL - like most of American sport's administrative bodies - claims to detest gambling on its games, but yet again they may have the bookies to thank if anyone is still watching at the end of Super Bowl XXX. Dallas, 1-4 with the Tote, are long odds-on favourites to pulverise Pittsburgh in Phoenix on Sunday, but the question for punters is, can they also beat the spread?

city slicker Pittsburgh

This Sunday, American football fans will be glued to the Pittsburgh Steelers against hot favourites the Dallas Cowboys, in Super Bowl XXX. This week in Pittsburgh, one of the USA's most surprisingly likeable cities, they're decking the place out in the team colours, with black and gold banners, and the weekend will be one big party - whatever the result

Underdogs just fail at final hurdle

AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Dallas and Pittsburgh struggled to reach Super Bowl, reports Matt Tench
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
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Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?