Yahoo Sports AM: Double sweep?

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🚨 Headlines

🥊 McGregor withdraws: Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler will no longer headline UFC 303 after McGregor withdrew with an injury. The Irishman hasn’t fought in the UFC since July 2021, when he lost a trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier via TKO.

🏈 Super Bowl rings: The Chiefs received their Super Bowl rings on Thursday in a private ceremony. Each ring includes a removable top that reveals a mini football field, individualized details for each player and a playbook diagram of the pass that won the game.

🏀 Shannon not guilty: Ex-Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. was found not guilty of sexual assault by a Kansas jury, opening a pathway for him to proceed with the pre-draft process.

🏒 Utah Hockey Club: Utah’s new NHL team will officially be called the Utah Hockey Club next season before choosing a long-term name, and their permanent colors will be rock black, salt white and mountain blue.

🏈 Falcons forfeit pick: The Falcons will forfeit a 2025 fifth-round pick and pay a $250,000 fine after the NFL found they had improper contact with Kirk Cousins and others prior to the start of free agency.


🏆 Double sweep?

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics aren't the only team going for a sweep this weekend. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)Jayson Tatum and the Celtics aren't the only team going for a sweep this weekend. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics aren’t the only team going for a sweep this weekend. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Get the brooms ready. For just the third time in history, we could see a “double sweep” in the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final.

Where it stands: The Celtics go for the sweep tonight in Dallas, and the Panthers will do the same tomorrow night in Edmonton. They beat the Oilers, 4-3*, on Thursday behind Conn Smythe favorite Sergei Bobrovsky, who has stopped 82 of 86 shots in the series.

The history of the “double sweep”: There have been 20 Stanley Cup Final sweeps and 10 NBA Finals sweeps, but only twice have they happened in the same year.

  • 1983: 76ers swept Lakers, Islanders swept Oilers

  • 1995: Rockets swept Magic, Devils swept Red Wings

Of note: Both series starting out 3-0 is quite rare in its own right. The last time it happened was in 1996,** when the Avalanche blitzed the Panthers en route to a sweep and the Bulls won three straight games against the SuperSonics before eventually winning the title in six games.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over (but it’s probably over): While the Mavs and Oilers still believe they can win a championship, history isn’t on their side. No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit (0-156 all-time, 0-14 NBA Finals) and it’s happened only four times in the NHL, with just one occurrence in the Stanley Cup Final (Maple Leafs over Red Wings in 1942).

*Story of the series: Edmonton’s top five point-scorers during the regular season (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Evan Bouchard, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) have failed to score a single goal in the Stanley Cup Final.

**Just to give a sense of how long ago 1996 was… That was the first year that more e-mails were sent than postal mail in the U.S. It was also the year “Independence Day” topped the box office, “Macarena” topped the charts***, the Beanie Baby craze began to reach its peak, and Yahoo! (hey that’s us!) went public.

***(Footnote within a footnote!) Speaking of ’90s music, country singer Mitchell Tenpenny just released a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ 1998 hit song “Iris” and it’s quite good. Give it a listen.


⛳️ Rory in position to end “The Drought”

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay tied the record for low round at a Pinehurst U.S. Open on Thursday, shooting 5-under 65s to take a one-stroke lead into the clubhouse.

Déjà vu: This was McIlroy’s 51st U.S. Open round and just the second time he’s gone without a bogey, notes SI’s Bob Harig. The other time? The opening round of the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, which he won for his first of four major titles. (Fun fact: Cantlay was the low amateur at that tournament.)

What he’s saying: “Certainly the major championships that I’ve won or the ones that I’ve played well at, I’ve always seemed to get off to a good start, and it’s nice to get off to another one,” said McIlroy, who hasn’t won a major in 10 years.

Further down the leaderboard… After a ridiculously low-scoring PGA Championship at Valhalla, Pinehurst looks to be a much tougher test. Scottie Scheffler (+1) finished over par for a change, while notable names like Tiger Woods (+4), Dustin Johnson (+4), Viktor Hovland (+5), Justin Thomas (+7) and Phil Mickelson (+9) are buried among the amateurs.

Quick links: Leaderboard | Tee times


⚽️ Euro 2024 has arrived

(Gregory Hodge/Yahoo Sports)(Gregory Hodge/Yahoo Sports)

(Gregory Hodge/Yahoo Sports)

The 17th European Championships begin today in Germany, where 24 nations will spend the next month fighting for continental soccer supremacy.

  • Venues: Stadiums in Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart will host all matches.

  • Schedule: Group stage (June 14-26) followed by a 16-team knockout round featuring each group’s winner and runner-up, plus the four best third-place teams. The final will take place on July 14 at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.

The contenders: England, seeking its first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, is the favorite (+350 at BetMGM), followed by France (+400), Germany (+550), Portugal (+650), Spain (+700) and defending champion Italy (+1400).

  • Group A: Germany (world No. 16), Switzerland (19), Hungary (26), Scotland (39)

  • Group B: Spain (8), Italy (9), Croatia (10), Albania (66)

  • Group C: England (4), Denmark (21), Serbia (33), Slovenia (57)

  • Group D: France (2), Netherlands (7), Austria (25), Poland (28)

  • Group E: Belgium (3), Ukraine (22), Romania (46), Slovakia (48)

  • Group F: Portugal (6), Turkey (40), Czechia (36), Georgia (75)

Players to watch: France’s Kylian Mbappé is favored to win player of the tournament over a trio of English stars in Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane. German legend Toni Kroos will retire after Euros, while Croatia’s Luka Modrić, 38, and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, 39, continue defying father time.

Summer of soccer: The next month is absolute soccer bliss, with Copa América kicking off in six days and the two tournaments crowning champions hours apart on July 14. It’s not the World Cup, but with 23 of the world’s top 25 teams in action, it’s the next best thing.


🏈 Wade Phillips: A title shot at last

Phillips celebrates with players after advancing to the championship. (Dilip Vishwanat/UFL/Getty Images)Phillips celebrates with players after advancing to the championship. (Dilip Vishwanat/UFL/Getty Images)

Phillips celebrates with players after advancing to the championship. (Dilip Vishwanat/UFL/Getty Images)

Wade Phillips has, by all accounts, had an incredibly successful career in football. But the one thing he’s never done is reach a championship game as head coach — until now.

One win from glory: Phillips’ San Antonio Brahmas face the Birmingham Stallions on Sunday in the inaugural UFL championship game, marking the first time in his 55 years of coaching that he’s led a team to the final two.

A football life: Phillips’ résumé reads like one of those comically long drug store receipts. For starters, he was a head coach (or interim head coach) for an NFL record six teams, going 82-64 across parts of 12 seasons with the Saints (1985), Broncos (1993-94), Bills (1998-2000), Falcons (2003), Cowboys (2007-10) and Texans (2013).

  • But those are just six of the 22 (!!!) roles he’s held across high school, college and professional football since first becoming a coach in 1969 — the year after he graduated from Houston as a three-year starter at linebacker.

  • Phillips, the son of NFL head coach Bum Phillips, had nine stints as a defensive coordinator and won his lone Super Bowl as the Broncos’ DC in 2015. Five players won DPOY under his guidance: Reggie White, Bryce Paup, Bruce Smith, J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald.

Second act: Phillips, 76, hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2019 but he’s thrived since returning to the sidelines as a spring league head coach. He led the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks to the playoffs last year and now he has the Brahmas, picked to finish last, on the brink of a title.

Good read: In spring football, Wade Phillips has been anything but a “lousy” head coach (Texas Monthly)


📆 June 14, 1998: MJ’s last shot

(Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)(Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

26 years ago today, Michael Jordan nailed the game-winner over Bryon Russell in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to clinch Chicago’s second three-peat of the decade.

End of an era: This was MJ’s last shot as a Bull, a fitting end to one of the most successful chapters in sports history. In his six NBA Finals appearances, Jordan never played in a Game 7. This shot kept that streak alive.

More on this day:

  • ⚾️ 1870: The Cincinnati Red Stockings finally lost a game, snapping an 81-game winning streak (?!) that began when they launched as the first pro baseball team a year earlier.

  • 🏀 2009: The Lakers beat the Magic to clinch their 15th championship, and Phil Jackson’s 10th, which moved him past Red Auerbach for the most all-time* among NBA coaches.

*The top five: Jackson (11), Auerbach (9), Gregg Popovich (5), Pat Riley (5), John Kundla (5).


📺 Watchlist: Champions could be crowned

Eetu Luostarinen (L) and Vladimir Tarasenko celebrate after Tarasenko's goal in Game 3. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Eetu Luostarinen (L) and Vladimir Tarasenko celebrate after Tarasenko's goal in Game 3. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Eetu Luostarinen (L) and Vladimir Tarasenko celebrate after Tarasenko’s goal in Game 3. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NBA and NHL champions could be crowned this weekend, with the Celtics one win away from their 18th title and the Panthers one win away from their first.

  • 🏀 NBA Finals: Celtics (up 3-0) at Mavericks (Fri. 8:30pm ET, ABC)

  • 🏒 Stanley Cup Final: Panthers (up 3-0) at Oilers (Sat. 8pm, ABC)

More to watch:

  • ⛳️ PGA: U.S. Open (Fri-Sun, NBC/USA/Peacock)

  • ⚽️ Euro 2024: Group stage (Fri-Sun, Fox/FS1)

  • ⚾️ CWS: Bracket play (Fri-Sun, ESPN/ESPN2)

  • 🏈 UFL Championship: Birmingham Stallions vs. San Antonio Brahmas (Sun. 5pm, Fox)

  • ⚾️ MLB: Rangers at Mariners (Fri. 10pm, Apple); Angels at Giants (Fri. 10pm, Apple); Cardinals at Cubs (Sat. 2pm, FS1; Sun. 1pm, Roku); Yankees at Red Sox (Sun. 7pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 WNBA: Sun at Wings (Sat. 1pm, CBS); Liberty at Aces (Sat. 3pm, ABC); Sky at Fever (Sun. 12pm, CBS); Storm at Mercury (Sun. 3pm, ABC)

  • ⚽️ MLS: 14 games (Fri-Sat, Apple)

  • ⚽️ NWSL: KC vs. Chicago (Fri. 8pm, Prime); Louisville vs. NJ/NY (Sat. 12pm, ESPN); Seattle vs. Portland (Sun. 4pm, CBS); Bay FC vs. Utah (Sun. 10pm, CBSSN)

  • 🏏 T20 Cricket World Cup: USA vs. Ireland (Fri. 10:30am, WillowTV) … The U.S. must win to advance to the Super 8 round.

  • 🇺🇸 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials*: Days 1-2 (Sat-Sun, NBC/USA/Peacock)

  • 🏁 NASCAR: Iowa Speedway (Sun. 7pm, USA)

  • 🥍 PLL: Week 3 in Philadelphia (Sat-Sun, ABC/ESPN+)

  • 🏀 BIG3: Week 1 in Oakland (Sat. 4pm, CBS)

*Swimming in Lucas Oil Stadium: In a bold ploy to expand the reach of swimming, the 70,000-seat home of the Colts has been transformed into the world’s biggest aquatic arena.


🏈 NFL trivia

(Logan Bowles/NFL via Getty Images)(Logan Bowles/NFL via Getty Images)

(Logan Bowles/NFL via Getty Images)

Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars have reportedly agreed to a five-year, $275 million extension that includes $142 million in fully guaranteed money.

Question: Five QBs were drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and Lawrence is the only one still with the team that drafted him. Can you name the other four?

Hint: Three were traded this offseason.

Answer at the bottom.


🎓 Coming soon: Allstate 12?

(Tim Warner/Getty Images)(Tim Warner/Getty Images)

(Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The Big 12 conference is exploring a naming-rights partnership that would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sources tell Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger.

Details: The latest conversations have centered on retaining “12” in the “Big 12” name and removing “Big.” One of the companies under consideration is the Allstate insurance company, and a possible new name would be “Allstate 12.”

My take: The funniest part about this whole thing is the Big 12 wanting to retain the “12” despite having 16 members. Look, I get keeping “Big 12” for brand awareness, but once you muck it up with a sponsor, you might as well call it the “Allstate 16” so at least it’s accurate.

In related news… It sounds like Conference USA is exploring a similar deal. One of the companies under consideration is Globe Life Insurance, and possible new league names include Globe Life Conference USA or, simply, Globe Life Conference. Yuck.


Trivia answer: Zach Wilson (Jets → Broncos), Trey Lance (49ers → Cowboys), Justin Fields (Bears → Steelers), Mac Jones (Patriots → Jaguars)

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