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BOOM! Eli Manning offers Eagles a blueprint to win the Super Bowl

Reuters

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning knows a thing or two about beating the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl and thinks the Philadelphia Eagles can do the same in the NFL’s championship game on Sunday.

Manning is the only quarterback to beat a Tom Brady-led New England team in the Super Bowl, having done it in 2008 and 2012, and offered the Eagles a blueprint for success.

“In both Super Bowls our defense played outstanding,” Manning told Reuters on Friday. “We got a great pass rush on Tom and we were able to disrupt him a little bit and then when it came to the fourth quarter we played our best football.”

The Patriots are 4-1/2-point favorites heading into Sunday but Manning feels the underdog Eagles have all the pieces necessary to pull out a victory in Minneapolis.

“They have a great defensive front and they can get pressure on the quarterback,” said Manning, who is in Minneapolis to promote the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Contest.

“They run the ball well, their quarterback is playing at a high level in Nick (Foles) so they have the ingredients. Now can they put it all together on gameday?”

At 40, Brady is well past the age when quarterbacks tend to be much less efficient but he is playing as well as ever and often saves his best for the NFL’s biggest game.

Last year, with the Patriots trailing 28-3 in the second half, Brady led his team to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Manning said for the Eagles to prevail over the defending champions, they must emulate his Giants teams and nullify the five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s timing.

“Obviously Tom’s playing at a high level. But the best way to slow down any quarterback is get pressure on him and make him throw the ball earlier than he wants to,” said Manning.

UNDERDOGS

The Eagles are the NFC’s top seed but they have been home underdogs in both their playoff games, a label the players have embraced with many wearing dog masks after games and even during the buildup to the Super Bowl.

But Manning said that while the Eagles appear to be having fun with their underdog status, they are likely also using it as motivation going into the biggest game of the year.

“They’ve kind of used that approach all through the playoffs as motivation that they’ve been the underdog and they’ve embraced that role,” said Manning.

“That’s definitely been kind of something that has been a little chip on the shoulder and helped them get through it. On paper they are the underdog again so I know they are talking about that.”

Manning did not reveal his prediction for the outcome of Sunday’s championship, saying only that the game will likely be a close encounter.

“I don’t have a favorite of who’s going to win. It’s tough to say that the Patriots aren’t going to win. They seem to get to this game a lot and find ways to win it,” he said.

“But I think it will be a tight game and come down to whoever has the ball last with little time left.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Pop Culture

George Clooney Donates $500,000 and Pledges to March in Student-Led Gun Control March

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Reuters

Thousands of teenagers are taking matters into their own hands after last week’s shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, replaced Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting on American soil. Outspokenly unwilling to sit on their asses and wait for adults to do something to help prevent more massacres from taking place, they’re advocating for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources for treating their peers, swiftly mobilizing in a way that is commanding attention of the world.

Calls to action have spread across social media, from school walkouts to a march on Washington.

Student organizers got the surprise of their lives when George Clooney donated half-a-million dollars in support. The actor even pledged that he’d be there, alongside wife Amal.

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“The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues,” according to their website. “No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”

Other celebrities have voiced their support for the students’ efforts on social media, including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Cher.

The March For Our Lives will take place on March 24.

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Haters can say it’s fake, but Justin Timberlake has No. 1 album

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Justin Timberlake snagged the No.1 Spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart with “Man of the Woods,” despite harsh reviews and a Super Bowl halftime show that was deemed underwhelming on social media and by music critics.

“Man of the Woods,” Timberlake’s first studio album since 2013, sold more than 242,000 units in its first week of release, according to Nielsen Music data released on Monday.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

“Man of the Woods” marks Timberlake’s fourth Billboard No.1 album and was the biggest-selling album in the U.S. since Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” in December 2017, Billboard said.

It debuted at No.1 after a Feb. 4 Super Bowl performance consisting mostly of Timberlake’s old hits that also featured a controversial segment featuring a huge projection of Prince, who died in 2016.

The former NSYNC singer also took heat on social media for failing to mention, or perform with, Janet Jackson after an infamous 2004 Super Bowl appearance which ended with Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s top and accidentally briefly exposing her breast.

Nevertheless, the Super Bowl and halftime show were watched by some 103 million Americans on television. Nielsen Music reported last week that on-demand audio and video streams for all of the songs performed by Timberlake jumped 45 percent on the day after the game, compared to the day before.

Timberlake, best known for pop tracks like “SexyBack” and “Rock Your Body,” promoted “Man of the Woods” as a country-inspired album that took him back to his Memphis roots.

But the album had few fans among music reviewers. Esquire called it “disappointing” and “kind of embarrassing,” while USA Today said the album “can’t pull off its Americana-pop fusion.”

On the digital Billboard songs chart, which measures online single sales, Timberlake had three songs in the top 20 – “Say Something” featuring Chris Stapleton, “Man of the Woods,” and his 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Canadian rapper Drake took the top spot with “God’s Plan,” with more than 55,00 units sold.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Kanye West settles lawsuit of Saint Pablo tour cancellation

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Kanye West and Lloyd’s of London insurers have resolved a $10 million lawsuit over the rapper’s cancellation of his 2016 tour.

A California federal court judge on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit brought by West’s Very Good Touring company against syndicates of Lloyd’s of London insurance markets after requests by both parties, court documents showed.

Paul Schrieffer, the attorney representing Lloyd’s, said on Thursday that the dispute “was resolved amicably” but gave no details. West’s attorney did not return a request for comment.

West sued Lloyd’s for nearly $10 million in insurance payouts after he abruptly canceled his Saint Pablo tour in November 2016 with more than 20 shows left.

His lawsuit said he canceled because he was hospitalized with a “serious, debilitating medical condition.” The nature of West’s medical issues, which followed a week of no-shows, curtailed concerts and on-stage political rants, have never been disclosed.

Lloyd’s filed a countersuit saying there were “substantial irregularities” in the rapper’s medical history and noting that its policies exclude any losses caused by the possession or use of illegal drugs, the impact of prescription drugs not used as prescribed, or the use of alcohol.

West has kept a low profile, with few public appearances, since November 2016. He and his wife Kim Kardashian last month announced the arrival of a third child, this time born to a surrogate.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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