New Delhi: Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and wife Geeta Basra on Sunday pledged to distribute ration to 5,000 families.”Geeta_Basra and I pledge to distribute ration to 5000 families from today May waheguru bless us all,” Harbhajan said in a tweet.Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan had paired up with former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed thousands of lives across the world.Harbhajan had also praised Afridi for the valuable social work he was doing in these trying circumstances.The pair were criticized for their effort by a section on social media. Harbhajan reacted by uploading a video on his Twitter handle showing Sikhs preparing and distributing food to needy in England. “No religion, no caste, only humanity…that’s what it is…stay safe, stay home…spread love not hate or virus…let’s pray for every single one…May Waheguru bless us all,” he wrote. IANSAlso Read: Harbhajan starts new innings with Geeta BasraAlso Watch: War against COVID-19: Assam Health Department signs 22 MoUs with private hospitals in Silchar
Now that Week 9 is in the books, it’s time to assess who the legitimate Super Bowl contenders are in each conference, what they bring to the table and their most important remaining games. AFC San Francisco 49ers The Patriots were convincingly defeated Week 9. The team traveled to Baltimore only to let Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson run all over them and hang 37 points on a defense which many thought was on track to be the greatest ever. Despite the rough showing, the Pats still lead the AFC with an 8-1 record and will almost certainly be one of the two teams to earn a first-round bye. The team’s remaining schedule includes two games against the Panthers — whose fate likely rests on currently-injured quarterback Cam Newton — and home games against the 49ers and Colts in consecutive weeks. It appears highly unlikely the Saints lose their grip on the NFC South. Looking at the bigger picture in the NFC, it looks as though the winner of the Saints-49ers Week 14 game could claim the No. 1 seed, home-field advantage in the playoffs and the best shot at the Super Bowl. The 49ers are the last undefeated team in the league this season, a remarkable feat regardless of schedule. They’ve won in the mud at Washington and blown out a solid Panthers team. Their best unit is their defense, led by defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, cornerback Richard Sherman and a loaded line. However, they lost star linebacker Kwon Alexander to a season-ending injury in last week’s win over the Cardinals. The 49ers’ offense has also been exceptional, with head coach Kyle Shanahan at the helm of a potent rushing attack. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had yet to show out this season until he carried the team against the Cardinals with 317 yards and four passing touchdowns. Their recent trade acquisition wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has already had a massive impact and will likely remain a threat to opposing defenses despite suffering a torn Achilles last December. Baltimore Ravens While quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ knee injury continues to loom over the team, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Damien Williams were able to put the team on their backs for a surprising win at Minnesota in Week 9. Once Mahomes does come back, this offense could be a force to be reckoned with. Their toughest remaining matchups are at New England and Chicago, especially since they both figure to be cold-weather games where the Chiefs’ dynamic passing game may be limited. The rest of the AFC West poses a very minimal threat to the Chiefs, so they will likely end up hosting a playoff game. Whether they get a first-round bye could come down to their tiebreaker over Baltimore by virtue of a head-to-head win in Week 4. New England Patriots The Ravens’ Week 4 loss to the Browns is looking worse with each passing week, though, as the Browns continue to lay one dud after another. Baltimore will have to prove it can back up its win against New England in its remaining games against Houston, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco and Buffalo. This four-game stretch will tell us much more about what to expect from the Ravens come January. NFC The biggest question for the Saints is how big of a step forward the offense will take now that Brees is back. The formula for winning with Bridgewater will not be as reliable when they face better teams in the playoffs, so Brees will have to prove he is still on his A-game before I feel comfortable concluding the Saints are at the heart of the Super Bowl race. The story of the season for the Saints has been an incredible 5-0 run while future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees was out with a thumb injury. Stellar play from the defense and special teams allowed backup Teddy Bridgewater to play with a lead in most games. The 49ers have a daunting second-half schedule after their stroll to 8-0. They have two games left against the Seahawks and two tough road bouts at Baltimore and New Orleans before taking on the Rams again in Week 16. Coming off the franchise’s biggest win in a few seasons against the Patriots, the Ravens have firmly entrenched themselves as a Super Bowl threat in the AFC. Their offense is the best run-first offense in the league with the threats posed by Jackson, who leads the team in rushing yards over Pro-Bowl running back Mark Ingram. It’s also important not to undersell Jackson’s abilities throwing the ball, as he’s well above the league average in yards per attempt and passer rating. Kansas City Chiefs New Orleans Saints Dario Offstein is a junior writing about sports. His column, “Deep Dive,” runs every other Tuesday.
Which team can say it created the greatest dynasty in sports history?The New England Patriots, under coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, could be considered the best answer after winning Super Bowl 53 and delivering a sixth championship in the last 18 seasons. It’s one of the longest-running success stories in major sports history, college or pro. When you also consider his relentless player and coaching staff turnover, what Saban has done is better than what anyone has done before — until you get to Bill Belichick.The Patriots have both the best coach and individual player in any American sport, in all of time. Belichick’s defensive acumen is his calling card, but echoing just as loud is how he gets unheralded versatile personnel to “do their jobs” in his unwavering successful systems. Then there’s Brady. He has six Super Bowl titles leading the Patriots, and they’ve enjoyed nine AFC championships in his 18 seasons as starting quarterback. He is playing into his 40s with no slowdown.The Bulls had Jordan and Phil Jackson, ‘Bama has had a bunch of future NFL stars and Saban. When talking dynasties, however, the player-coach combination of Brady and Belichick knock out all the rest. Everything has changed around them, and they are still delivering rings. Sporting News’ writers voted the Patriots No. 1 out of the top 15 dynasties in sports history, but they didn’t exactly agree on the top spot. There were several different points of view, and we share them here. MORE: Ranking top 15 sports dynasties of all timeMike DeCourcy’s pick: PatriotsTop three: 1. Patriots, 2. Alabama, 3. UCLADeCourcy’s take: It never occurred to me it was all that hard to define a dynasty: a team that wins a lot of championships over an extended period of time. Obviously, there are different sorts of dynasties, though, and there are different ingredients that lead to them happening.What UCLA did in basketball from 1964-75 was amazing because it encompassed a lot of different styles and a changing cast of players. It was less so because a smaller segment of the college sports world was deeply invested in the sport than today. That’s also true of the Celtics’ 1957-69 dynasty, when there were far fewer teams in the league.I’m more impressed by the ones that stand today because of professional free agency, the college transfer contagion, the growing interest in sports at all levels and the growing number of teams in the pros. That’s why, for me, it’s New England.MORE: Why Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl mattersDavid Steele’s pick: UCLATop three: 1. UCLA, 2. Patriots, 3. CelticsSteele’s take: Sports — especially college basketball — have changed drastically since the years 1963 and ’75. But it hasn’t changed so much that winning 10 national championships in 12 years is no longer the most untouchable accomplishment ever in team sports.A deeper, broader talent pool, an expanded tournament field, early player exits, coaches chasing more money at other schools … please. It’s not as if Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton were staying for nine or 10 years — in Alcindor’s case, he couldn’t even play a full four years because freshmen were ineligible, the opposite of one-and-done. (Also, it was illegal for him to dunk in his last two seasons. Probably not relevant for this discussion, but always fun to point out.)The nature of the game is constant turnover, no matter what the era. The programs, legendary players and coaches of Wooden’s era played under the same rules and never got a sniff of the success UCLA had. We’ll see NBA teams match the Bulls’ eight-year run — and even the Patriots’ stretch of six trophies in nine trips over 18 years — before any college basketball program comes within a thousand miles of the Bruins dynasty.MORE: Ten greatest UCLA playersMichael McCarthy’s pick: PatriotsTop three: 1. Patriots, 2. Bulls, 3. CelticsMcCarthy’s take: There’s a difference between dynasties in sport that encourage dynasties — and those that don’t. No sport has done more to discourage dynasties than the modern NFL. What makes the Patriots’ run so amazing is it took place in a league that demands parity. The NFL wants everybody to finish 8-8. The Patriots have torn up that script — and made the rest of the league look bad while doing it. Start with their players. Belichick’s teams have never had players with the sheer physical talent of Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio. Instead, they do it with sixth- and seventh-round draft picks (Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Trent Brown) and cast-offs from other teams.Unlike older dynasties from a different sports era (Lakers, Yankees, Canadiens), the Pats can’t hang on to their best players for years at a time. Instead, Belichick has perfected the art of buying low and selling high. He knows he’s always drafting at the bottom — and that other NFL teams will pick off his top free agents. So, he gets rid of stars just before their big payday.Take a look at how Belichick protected Brady’s blind side this season. He let 30-year-old left tackle Nate Solder walk. The Giants then overpaid him with a ridiculous $62 million deal. Meanwhile, Belichick replaced Solder with 25-year-old Brown, another former seventh-round pick. Result? Another Super Bowl. And his left tackle of the future. That’s why the Pats are still playing chess while the rest of the NFL plays checkers.MORE: Ageless Brady’s act continues to impressRyan Fagan’s pick: YankeesTop three: 1. Yankees, 2. Celtics, 3. UCLAFagan’s take: You’ll read a lot of stipulations and distractions and framing in this article, but there’s only one correct answer to this question. The Yankees own the greatest dynasty in American sports history — and as long as you define “dynasty” as consistently winning championships (Spoiler: There is no other accurate definition), it doesn’t even really matter whether you prefer short stretches or a longtime span.If you’re looking at short term, the Yankees won six World Series titles in seven years (1947-53), and that was right on the heels of winning six World Series titles in eight years (1936-43). If you want long term, between 1947 to 1964, the Yankees reached the World Series 15 times in 18 years and won 10 championships. And if you want really long term, from 1936 to 1964 — a stretch of 29 years — the Yankees reached the World Series an incredible 22 times and won 16 titles.The franchise went from Lou Gehrig to Joe DiMaggio to Mickey Mantle — all scouted and signed as amateurs, before the benefit of a draft or free agency, by the way — without ever skipping a damn beat. (And two of the seven years in that stretch they didn’t reach the Fall Classic? In 1944 and 1945, when most of the regulars were overseas fighting in World War II. Hard to hold that against the Yanks.)You’ve no doubt heard lots of people today — here and elsewhere — saying the Patriots are the greatest American sports dynasty after winning their sixth Super Bowl in 18 years this weekend. I’m sorry, but no. Not even close. Best football dynasty? Sure. But in those 18 years, there was a stretch of nine consecutive seasons where the Patriots didn’t win the championship. NINE! You can’t go nine years without a title and contend for ‘best American sports dynasty ever’ consideration. The Yankees missed the World Series only seven times in 29 years and never went more than three years without a title (and that lone stretch, 1944-47, included the two WWII years).Look at it this way: The Patriots’ best 18-year stretch included six titles, three runner-ups and nine ‘nothing’ years. The Yankees’ best 18-year stretch included 10 titles, five runner-ups and three “nothing” years. In no rational world where results are more important than stipulations can you possibly conclude that what New England accomplished was more impressive.Sean Deveney’s pick: PatriotsTop three: 1. Patriots, 2. UCLA, 3. BullsDeveney’s take: Any discussion of dynasties needs to be put into context, and for me, the context must include some degree of difficulty. You can’t look at the record books of teams like the post-War Yankees, the early Celtics and the UCLA hoops teams of the 1970s and be anything but impressed. But those teams were operating in different eras, in leagues that are not nearly as competitive as they are now and with rules that allowed them to remain atop their sports for extended periods.With the Patriots, all that is different. NFL rules are designed to encourage parity, and for most of the league, parity is what we’ve seen. Consider the Rams — the team New England beat for its first Super Bowl title in 2002 and its most recent on Sunday — made the playoffs only three times in the intervening years, underwent seasons of 2-14 and 1-15 and moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles. That’s how NFL salary cap rules are designed. You might be good one year, decent the next and gawd-awful after that. For the Patriots to reach nine Super Bowls in that environment, and win six of them, is the most impressive achievement in modern sports.Bill Bender’s pick: BullsTop three: 1. Bulls, 2. Patriots, 3. AlabamaBender’s take: Some dynasties ran longer than others, and some produced more championships than others. To this day I still haven’t seen a higher dose of concentrated dominance at the highest level than the Bulls’ run to six NBA championships in eight seasons, a stretch that was interrupted by Michael Jordan’s retirement and subsequent comeback at the midpoint.The Bulls were simply the best. Jordan was the best player. Phil Jackson was the best coach. Scottie Pippen was the best wingman. Dennis Rodman was the best role player. They had the best system on both sides of the ball. They had a 10-point lead before ‘Sirius’ by The Alan Parsons Project hit the United Center loudspeakers, and if they trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, that was OK, because Jordan was the best clutch performer of all time. Tom Brady is a close second. That’s why the Pats are No. 2.The Bulls, however, were the best that’s ever been, and they have six championships in eight years to prove it. That’s why I’ll take MJ over LeBron James and yesterday’s Bulls over today’s Warriors, and I don’t think twice about it. Anybody who argues should ask his or her self: Have you ever seen the Bulls in Game 7 of the NBA Finals?The answer is no. Nobody ever saw the Bulls in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The series was always over by then.Vinnie Iyer’s pick: PatriotsTop three: 1. Patriots, 2. Alabama, 3. BullsIyer’s take: Let me first explain my obvious football and recency bias. Football is the hardest sport in which to sustain excellence. The modern era is also hardest period in history in which to maintain excellence. To be honest, it is virtually impossible to compare the best of different eras across vastly different sports. But if we’re going to do it, we need to weigh in the varying degrees of difficulty.To know how I got to this final trio, let me explain why classic teams from many decades past such as the New York Yankees, Boston Celtics, Montreal Canadiens and UCLA basketball didn’t make the cut.I respect the hell out of that kind of greatness. But back then, it was easier to keep teams together with no salary cap and early defections. There also were lesser competitive teams all-around and fewer playoff rounds. There was no real parity to crash the party. That also was a big factor in eliminating the ’80s San Francisco 49ers and ’90s Dallas Cowboys early in the process.The Jordan Bulls made the cut because, in this time, I’ve never seen a team make the inevitable look so easy. When they got to the NBA Finals to win six championships in a eight-year stretch, it was more of a coronation than competition, even though they played multiple strong opponents in each three-peat.With Bama, it’s insane how Saban both can consistently recruit a high-volume of elite talent and then take it to another with big-game scheming and preparation. Since his third season in Tuscaloosa in 2009, he’s batting 5-for-10 in national championships, during both the BCS and CFP eras. The Tide have been to seven title games and have won the brutal SEC six times.