Smoke Room Cross Post

David Hookstead | Reporter

Johnny Manziel made his return to pro football Sunday night, and it didn’t disappoint.

The Memphis Express quarterback didn’t take a ton of snaps in his first game in the AAF against the Birmingham Iron, but he looked damn good when he was on the field. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Talks Journey To The Alliance Of American Football Ahead Of Debut)

He completed three of five passes for 48 yards, rushed for 20 on two carries and had a nice deep ball dropped by a receiver. The Express won the game 31-25.

It was known ahead of time that Johnny Football wouldn’t get the start but would likely get a couple snaps. I was more impressed by what we saw in his limited action. Watch his highlights below. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

Given that he was only taking limited reps last night, I’m surprised by how comfortable and loose he seemed.

It was just like watching Johnny Football circa 2012 at Texas A&M. He was just out there playing, slinging and even got into some moments of trash talking.

Given what we saw last night, you can expect Manziel to get worked into the rotation more and more. Obviously, they weren’t going to throw him to the wolves after a week of practice.

I still think it’s fair to say that he’s ready to go, and that’s a good sign for fans. The AAF made a brilliant decision by bringing him in.

You can watch his next game Saturday against the Orlando Apollos on Bleacher Reporter Live.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

Danica Patrick’s birthday is March 25. To celebrate her birthday, we made a slideshow of her greatest photos.

Danica Patrick is an American race car driver born in Wisconsin. Patrick began racing go-karts in Wisconsin at 10 years old. When she turned 16, she moved on to racing Formula Fords. Patrick dropped out of high school to pursue her dream racing cars. (RELATED: Danica Patrick Bids Farewell To Nascar Racing)

Patrick was the first female race car driver to win an IndyCar Championship event in 2008 with her first place win in the Firestone IndyCar 300 race. In 2011, Patrick moved to Nascar racing full-time. She was the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 300. She was also the first woman to lead a lap in the race and finished eighth.

Patrick’s role as a woman in racing landed her various media roles. She has hosted Spike TV and has been featured on the cover of “Sports Illustrated.” In 2017, Patrick announced she was retiring from racing. She now makes wine at her vineyard in Deer Park, California.

Check out her photos below.

Source: The Daily Caller

TheDC Entertainment | Contributor

Singer and actress Katharine McPhee was born on March 25, 1984 in Los Angeles, California.

McPhee turned 35 years old on Monday. The multi-talented Hollywood celebrity has already had an incredible career, but her star seems like it’s destined to continue to grow. (RELATED: Actress Shares Unrecognizable Photo Of Meghan Markle From When They Were Younger)

McPhee has been active for roughly 15 years now, but her first taste of real fame came in 2007 when she was a contestant on “American Idol.”

McPhee became a sensation on season five of the hit show where she finished in second place, just behind Taylor Hicks. In the dozen years since coming onto the scene, McPhee’s name recognition and popularity has only increased. McPhee has released several albums, including the popular 2010 album “Unbroken.”

McPhee has also become a star on the big screen. She starred as Karen Cartwright in the NBC show “Smash,” as well as Paige Dineen in the CBS show “Scorpion.”

McPhee has become an immensely popular pop culture figure, and there is no better way to celebrate her milestone birthday than by checking out some of her best looks.

See for yourself below:

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Duke got the scare of a lifetime Sunday against UCF.

The Blue Devils won 77-76, but the dramatics were high. Coach K’s guys took a lead with seconds remaining, and then nearly blew it on two missed shots from the Knights. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

If you have a heart condition or a weak stomach, I wouldn’t recommend watching the ending sequence below.

Simply an unreal finish. UCF had two chances to win after Tacko Fall fouled out. Two of them in the closing seconds!

This game was everything I hoped for and much more. Fall was incredibly entertaining to watch, Zion Williamson was incredible down the stretch and Duke survived to fight another day.

That’s what March Madness is all about. You fight to earn the right to play 40 more minutes. It doesn’t get much more American than that.

There was no reason for Duke to win that game. Absolutely none at all, but they did. That ending was literally the type of situation you can’t script.

Welcome to March, gentlemen. It’s always one hell of a fun ride.

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is done playing football.

The three-time Super Bowl champion wrote the following in part on Instagram Sunday when explaining his decision:

It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field.

You can see his whole post below.

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It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

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What a crazy development on a Sunday afternoon. There appeared to be some serious hints that Gronk was going to be done sooner than later. He’d been very open about his injuries in the past and the physical toll of the game on his body.

What an incredible career he has had. He’ll go down in history as arguably the greatest tight end to ever pick up a football. (RELATED: Patriots Beat The Rams In The Super Bowl)

Plus, he gets to go out after winning another Super Bowl. What more could you ask for?

Gronk will retire with 79 career receiving touchdowns and 7861 receiving yards. He also made more than $50 million in his career.

I have no idea what the former Patriots star will do in retirement, but I do know that he’ll have plenty of options. He’s an incredibly entertaining guy, he’s charismatic and seems to crush it in front of the cameras.

My guess is that he’ll have no shortage of suitors in the entertainment world. Props to him for an incredible career, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

The Wisconsin Badgers are national champions.

My women’s hockey team defeated Minnesota 2-0 Sunday afternoon in dominating fashion to win our fifth national title in the past 13 years.

Star Annie Pankowski shredded apart the Gophers, and our neighbors to the west really never had a chance. (RELATED: Watch ‘Miracle On Ice’ Legend Mark Johnson‘s Wisconsin Jersey Retirement Ceremony)

I know that I regularly trash women’s sports, but women’s hockey is different. Whether it’s the national team or the top teams in college, those gals are exciting as hell to watch.

Just days after our hearts were broken by Oregon in March Madness, my beloved Badgers are back on the top of the world. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

What an incredible time to be a Wisconsin Badgers. Five titles since 2006. Mark Johnson really has done something incredible with this program.

Again, I know you’re probably shocked I tuned in for a women’s sporting event, but you just don’t know what you’re talking about if you don’t understand the high level of play in elite women’s hockey.

It’s incredibly entertaining and we’re here for every single second of it. Major props to my ladies back home for taking care of business. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Finally, Wisconsin star Sophia Shaver is an absolute smoke.

With women like that on our roster, we were winners before they even dropped the puck.

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Source: The Daily Caller

William Davis | Contributor

Alabama has officially decided to “mutually part ways” with head basketball coach Avery Johnson.

The Crimson Tide announced its decision in a press release on Sunday. Johnson had been Alabama’s coach for four years, and finished his career with a record of 75-62. (RELATED: Avery Johnson Could Be Out At Alabama, Says Report)

“After meeting with Coach Johnson, we made the decision to mutually part ways,”  Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne said. “This was not an easy decision, and we thank him for his contributions over the past four seasons. We wish Coach Johnson and his family the very best.”

Johnson handled his departure with the same class that he displayed over his four years at Alabama. (RELATED: Nick Saban And Bill Belichick Photographed Together At Alabama’s Pro Day)

“This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and we truly enjoyed our experience at Alabama,” Johnson said.  “I also want to thank my family for all of their support and contributions to the program.”

I had the opportunity to meet Coach Johnson a few years ago when I was a student. He’s a class act and a good basketball coach, but he couldn’t get the program over the hump. Best of luck to him and his family.

The question now becomes who Alabama hires next. We have an incredibly talented roster returning, and a good recruiting class. This is clearly one of the best open jobs in the country right now, but Alabama has to get this hire right.

Many fans are going to want the Crimson Tide to look at Rick Pitino, but that seems unlikely given all of his baggage. Alabama alum Steve Prohm has been solid at Iowa State, although he appeared to deny interest in the job.

Regardless of who Alabama hires, it’s time for this program to finally start living up to its potential. Alabama basketball is a sleeping giant, but it has to wake up now.

It’s now or never.

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Source: The Daily Caller

The TV ratings for March Madness are huge.

According to a release from March Madness TV on Twitter, the Friday primetime slot across CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV hit a 28-year high of 7.7 for the tournament. Streaming numbers on March Madness Live were also up 20 percent from 2018. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

Duke playing in primetime obviously helped the numbers, but these ratings are outstanding. It initially looked like the ratings were going to take a substantial dip after Thursday. Clearly, that wasn’t a trend that would actually hold. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

You know that things are going good in America when college basketball TV ratings hit a near three-decade high. Our founding fathers would be proud as hell.

The other thing worth noting that’s so impressive is the fact these games haven’t been particularly close, but people keep watching. That’s a great sign.

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Make sure to keep tuning in for all the action as we go down the stretch this beautiful Sunday and into next week. Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss one second of the action.

God bless this beautiful country!

Source: The Daily Caller

William Davis | Contributor

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was born Mar. 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The legendary ex-athlete and American television icon turned 43 years old on Sunday. A star quarterback at Tennessee, Manning was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Manning played in the NFL for nearly two decades before retiring in early 2016. (RELATED: Vote: Who Is The Best Quarterback Of All Time?)

Over the course of his career, Manning amassed five MVP awards and two Super Bowl titles. He is deservedly considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. (RELATED: 18 Times Peyton Manning Looked Like An Average Guy Than An Athlete [Slideshow])

Manning overcame some early playoff struggles to finally win a Super Bowl in 2006, and he was named the MVP of Super Bowl 41 with the Colts. Nine years later with the Denver Broncos, Manning won another Super Bowl, solidifying his career as a champion.

He then retired two months later.

While Manning’s future plans are still up in the air, I can’t imagine anybody with more options than he has. Will he head to the broadcast booth? Or, will he head to Congress?

Millions of Americans are anticipating his next move, but for now, we wish him a happy birthday!

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Dr. Dre is very proud of his daughter for getting into USC.

The superstar rapper posted a photo of himself on Instagram late Saturday with his daughter Truly holding her USC admission letter, and captioned the post, “My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!”

It’s an obvious shot at the likes of Lori Loughlin and others who allegedly bribed their children’s way into schools such as USC and others. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Hottest Women On Instagram)

However, it is worth noting that Dr. Dre did make a donation of $70 million to USC in 2013 to start the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts and Technology, according to the Daily Mail.

Now, I’m sure a lot of people would pile on her and claim that Dr. Dre’s donation is the reason his daughter got in. Who really knows? Sure, writing a check for $70 million probably didn’t hurt, but that happened when she was in middle school.

That’s one hell of a long game strategy if he was trying to get her into USC.

The reality of the situation is that if you’re dad has a building named on campus after him, then you’re probably going to be just fine when admission time comes around.

Of course, that’s not to say Truly isn’t super smart herself. Her dad is one of the best businessmen that the entertainment world has ever seen.

Either way, writing a check for $70 million is one hell of a power move!

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Source: The Daily Caller

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