Update on the latest sports
Coaches fired in Miami, Chicago, Minnesota
UNDATED (AP) – Back-to-back winning seasons were not enough for Brian Flores to keep his job as coach of the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have fired Flores in a somewhat surprising move that came less than 24 hours after the team finished a 9-8 season.
Flores went 24-25 in his three seasons in Miami, not making the playoffs in any of those seasons, but finishing this year with eight wins in the final nine games. Miami started 0-7 in his first season, 1-3 last season and 1-7 this season. But it always found ways to get better as the season went along, going 20-8 in games played in November, December and January under Flores.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy, hoping new leadership in the front office and on the sideline will lift a struggling franchise. Nagy’s fate seemed sealed as Bears struggled through a 6-11 season that ended with a loss at Minnesota on Sunday. But it was not clear if Pace would also be let go or retained in either his current role or a different capacity. Whoever the Bears hire will need to develop rookie quarterback Justin Fields and surround the former Ohio State star with more talent to help him grow. Nagy went 34-31 in four seasons.
And according to a person with knowledge of the decision, the Minnesota Vikings have fired general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer. The move comes after a second straight absence from the playoffs. Zimmer went 72-56-1 in eight seasons, plus 2-3 in the playoffs. The 65-year-old Zimmer had the seventh-longest tenure among NFL head coaches this season. Spielman was with the team since 2006 and general manager since 2012.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Alabama seeks second-straight championship
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Top-ranked Alabama is one win away from claiming its second straight national championship. No. 3 Georgia needs one more win to snap a 41-year title drought.
Tonight, the two SEC foes will meet for the second time in a month, this time playing for the College Football Playoff title in Indianapolis.
The Crimson Tide has won seven straight in a series that is being played outside the school’s respective state borders for the first time. But the Bulldogs are a 2 1/2-point favorite as they try to avenge their only loss of the season, to Alabama in the SEC championship game.
Djokovic resumes training after winning court fight
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Novak Djokovic has returned to the tennis court for training, having won a legal battle to stay in Australia and play in the Australian Open after his exemption from strict coronavirus rules was questioned. But the government is still threatening to cancel his visa and deport him.
Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstated Djokovic’s visa on Monday. It was pulled after his arrival last week because officials said he didn’t qualify for an exemption to a rule that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated.
Djokovic’s lawyers say that since he recently recovered from COVID-19, he didn’t need to be inoculated. But a government lawyer has told the judge that the immigration minister might use his personal power to cancel the visa again.
76ers try to extend win streak
HOUSTON (AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers carry a six-game winning streak into tonight’s game against the Rockets in Houston. Joel Embiid has scored at least 31 points in every game during the winning streak. The Rockets, meanwhile, sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, with an 11-and-30 record.
In other action:
– The Brooklyn Nets have to play for a second day in a row, with a coast-to-coast flight in between, as they take on the Trail Blazers in Portland. The Nets beat the Spurs in overtime Sunday to snap a five-game home losing streak.
– The Milwaukee Bucks, who’ve lost three of their last four, are still in Charlotte for a second game against the Hornets, who beat them Saturday night.
– The Indiana Pacers, who snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the Jazz on Saturday, are in Boston the play the Celtics, who are coming off of a split of a home-and-home series against the Knicks.
– The Jazz, who lost both games of a weekend back-to-back, visit the Pistons in Detroit.
– The San Antonio Spurs are in New York to play the Knicks.
– And the Cleveland Cavaliers are in Sacramento; the Kings have lost four straight.
Kings host Rangers
LOS ANGELES (AP) – In the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings have won three of their last four, heading into tonight’s matchup at home against the New York Rangers. The Rangers, meanwhile, have won four of their last five to move into a tie with Carolina for the Metropolitan Division lead.
In other action:
The Colorado Avalanche, who’ve already set a franchise mark with eleven straight home victories, try to make it 12 in a row when they host the Seattle Kraken.
The Boston Bruins are in Washington to skate against the Capitals.
NASCAR veteran will retire
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR veteran Aric Almirola will retire from competition at the end of the 2022 season to spend more time with his young family. Almirola revealed his plans to the employees at Stewart-Haas Racing at the same time Smithfield Foods announced its 11th season sponsoring the driver. Almirola turns 38 in March. He has three career Cup wins but has qualified for the playoffs every year since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018.