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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