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
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

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Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

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Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

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'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
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How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

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Winter blunderlands

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'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital