Ryan Newman, Dad of Two, Survives Crash at Daytona 500

Ryan Newman Survives Daytona Crash
(Instagram/little_newmans)

It can be easy to forget that famous people are still human. That actors and athletes and celebrities, despite seemingly glamourous lifestyles, are actually working professionals, with lives and families. And for some of them, particularly the athletes, their jobs involve a lot of risk.

Especially when that job involves racing a car at speeds over 200 mph.

Ryan Newman is one such professional, a NASCAR driver who participated in the Daytona 500 over the weekend. Ryan has a wife and two daughters, and Sunday afternoon could not have been easy for them. Newman was closing in on a victory at the fabled race when he was involved in a fiery crash and failed to immediately emerge from his car, which had viewers fearing the worst. Among those viewers was his wife.

After witnessing the crash, Newman’s wife, Krissie, with whom he’d just announced a separation after 16 years of marriage, tweeted her reaction. Hopefully, their two daughters weren’t also watching.

Krissie wasn’t the only one worried about her husband, as fans gathered outside the hospital awaiting word on his condition.

Thankfully, NASCAR announced that while Newman is in serious condition after the crash, his injuries are not life-threatening.

That’s promising news, especially for the two little girls Newman dotes on, as evidenced by his social media feeds, on which he shares images of hanging out with his kids and teaching them about the outdoors.

Clearly Newman relishes being a dad.

Our thoughts are with Ryan and his family and we’re rooting for him to make a full recovery.

Finally: A Driving Range You Can Actually Drive

(YouTube/John Imrie)

There’s something deeply therapeutic about pulverizing a golf ball and watching it fade seamlessly into the middle distance. John Imrie and his buddy Kurt acknowledge this, which is why they set out to create the world’s first mobile driving range.

The ingenious idea came about while the two men were road tripping across Europe. “We had turned the car into a boy racer,” John explained. “We made it look utterly repulsive and took it around 12 countries in 11 days to film videos for our YouTube channel.”

(YouTube/John Imrie)

The two buddies decked out the roof of the automobile with synthetic turf, transforming a once boring set of wheels into the nomadic golfer’s dream car.

“We have hit a few wild balls in the countryside,” John added. “But we’d like to put this car to good use and may be contacting some golf courses, driving ranges and companies to see how we can use this car to encourage more people to pick up some golf clubs and have a bash!”

(YouTube/John Imrie)

John and Kurt plan to take their ingenious, admittedly hideous creation to the North Coast 500, a 516-mile scenic route along the top of Scotland. Safe travels, gentlemen. Also double check the conversion rates in Europe, as they may yell a number other than “four.” 

Peep the video below to see how they pulled off this impressive feat of ingenuity.

Is the New XFL Actually Good?

Is the new XLF Good?

The first iteration of the XFL was pretty cool, all the way until play started and it was clearly another watered-down football retread. Yeah, they had a neat logo and cool ball, but it quickly fizzled. Which is why the XFL reboot flew under the radar for a lot of sports fans. With the bar set pretty low, and after an entertaining NFL postseason, there was next to no chatter about the XFL’s relaunch. And it turns out…it might actually be kind of good? While week 2 wraps up here’s my two cents on opening weekend.

One of the first things I noticed was the score displayed on the broadcast also has the spread and over/under listed. As sports gambling bills continue to march through state legislatures across the country, with more states legalizing it by the day, it seems crazy that the NFL and other sports haven’t adopted this yet. And now that we’ve seen it, it won’t take long for others to catch up.

The entertainment aspect was pretty on point for week one. The sideline interviews are pretty in your face, and maybe too in your face as one player did let loose an f-bomb. But there’s also the type of thing a fan might be interested in hearing, like an interview with a player that just messed up.

Some NFL players seemed to be tuning in and liking what they saw, especially when it comes to some of the league’s rules differences.

We saw some promising NFL prospects that never quite panned out getting another shot at football success, we saw some entertaining action and we even had the league’s first ejection.

Former All-Pro punter Pat McAffee was a hit as a sideline reporter, as the punter-turned-comedian-turned-podcast host went berserk after a beautiful punt was ruined by a special teams player.

And honestly, the new kickoff rule (among others) was pretty entertaining.

It was a strong start for a league that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as we enter a bit of a dead period for sports (before March Madness), it could start to make a niche for itself with a few more entertaining weeks like its debut.

Former NFLer Wins Oscar for Short About Dads, Daughters, and Hair

Hair Love
(Twitter/MatthewACherry)

Former NFL receiver Matthew Cherry scored a huge honor for his second career when his animated short, “Hair Love”, won an Oscar. Cherry, a journeyman receiver who went undrafted out of Akron and bounced around several NFL rosters before retiring a decade ago, started his project with a robust Kickstarter campaign. And it ended with him holding an Academy Award.

“Hair Love” is a touching short film about an African American dad trying to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. A little over six minutes, the animated short has been viewed almost 20 million times. And it’s very much worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

Cherry is not the first professional athlete to find success in film, as NBA legend Kobe Bryant won one in 2018 in the same category (for his short “Dear Basketball”). Cherry called this out during his acceptance speech and dedicated his win to the late basketball great.

Cherry was confident in the idea from the start, as he put out a call for help on Twitter several years back, in which he confidently declared the idea worthy of an Oscar. And history bore out his prediction, so huge props to him for that.

The short has since been translated into other languages and even features a book component.

Cherry said his motivation was to bring some positivity and representation into the animated short realm and to channel the joy that dads had in helping do their daughter’s hair.

“Black fathers get one of the worst raps in terms of stereotypes—we’re deadbeats, we’re not around,” he told the NYTimes. “The people I know are extremely involved in their kids’ lives.”

The NFL player turned filmmaker is just getting started, and he’s always been confident in his vision.

NFL Donates Over 30,000 Lbs of Super Bowl Leftovers to Florida Shelters

NFL and Local Organizations donate food to shelters
(Twitter/NFL Green)

The issues of food waste and food insecurity are major problems facing millions of people in the United States. Thankfully, individuals and organizations are working in communities around the country to address this often unnoticed epidemic.

Following the massive celebration at this year’s Super Bowl, over 30,000 pounds of food was left uneaten at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. In past years, that food likely would have ended up rotting away someplace, but thanks to a partnership between the NFL and several organizations battling food insecurity, that food never ended up in a landfill. Instead, thousands of Floridians in need were the beneficiaries via missions and food banks located around the state in a massive, coordinated effort.

Carol Shattuck, CEO of Food Rescue US, knows exactly how much a donation like this can mean to communities in the area. “We know food insecurity impacts one in seven people in the state of Florida. Through our work with Centerplate and NFL Green, we can make sure excess food from Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Beach Convention Center helps to feed individuals and families throughout Miami, while also not contributing to the growing food waste crisis in the U.S.”

All told, it’s estimated that the wings, ribs, and other food donated will help to feed an estimated 20,000 individuals over half a dozen different organizations including Lotus House, a shelter that feeds 500 women and children each and every day.

Emily Bowen, the Miami regional director for Food Rescue also highlights the impact individuals can have on fixing the problem, telling ESPN “It’s a full volunteer job for everyone. We just want to help people in need. It’s amazing to see how much food there is that otherwise would have been thrown in the trash that can now feed so many people.”

While the NFL has had food donation programs in place for years, Bowen says this is their first major operation at scale with the organization. Although it was a major success, the problems of food insecurity and food waste continue day in and day out. Thankfully, partners on-the-ground like Miami Rescue Mission, the Broward Outreach Center, and Camillus House continue to work to ensure those most in need are cared for on a regular basis.

While the story focuses on issues and solutions in Florida, the problems facing residents there exist in communities across the country. To make a donation or to find a local food bank in your area, visit Feeding America’s Food Bank Finder.

The Rock’s Daughter Signs With WWE and Begins Training

Simone Johnson Signs with WWE
(Instagram/simonegjohnson)

In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, the #girldad hashtag took off. The hashtag celebrated both Kobe’s relationships with his daughters, especially young GiGi, who was on that fateful helicopter ride with her dad and the relationships all dads have with their female offspring. Kobe was especially vocal in his support for his daughters and dismissed the idea that he needed a boy to carry on his legacy.

Gigi was set to follow her father’s footsteps, aspiring to play basketball at UCONN and then professionally, and Kobe couldn’t have been prouder. A mere weeks before the helicopter crash, the paid was spotted courtside at the Staples Center, watching the Lakers, with Kobe schooling his daughter on the intricacies of the game. The Lakers legend was clearly supportive of his daughter’s dreams.

Something tells me that fellow #girldad Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson feels the same way Kobe did, and he must be beaming today.

Simone Johnson, The Rock’s 18-year-old daughter, has officially signed with WWE to become a professional wrestler and has already begun training at the performance center in Florida.

“It means the world to me,” Simone said in a statement from WWE. “To know that my family has such a personal connection to wrestling is really special to me and I feel grateful to have the opportunity, not only to wrestle but to carry on that legacy.”

Simone follows in the footsteps of her father, obviously, but also her great-grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maivia, and her grandfather, the late Rocky Johnson. This makes Simone the first fourth-generation wrestler in the history of WWE. And the organization is thrilled to have her.

“Simone Johnson’s unbridled passion and incredible drive has earned her a coveted spot training with the elite athletes from around the world at the WWE Performance Center,” said WWE Executive Vice President and former wrestling Superstar Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

The Rock himself has yet to speak about his daughter’s accomplishment, but I’m sure he smells what she’s cooking, and is more proud than ever.

Simone took to Instagram proudly sporting a WWE t-shirt to make the announcement:

He also recently gave a beautiful eulogy celebrating his pioneering father.

The Rock Delivers Touching Eulogy for Pioneering Father

The Rock Delivers Touching Eulogy
(Instagram/therock)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest stars in the world, more rich and famous than most of us can ever dream of. But when it comes to losing a parent, he’s exactly the same as the rest of us.

The Rock’s father, pioneering wrestling star Rocky Johnson, passed away on January 15th. Johnson was a star for the WWE in the 70s and 80s, becoming the first African-American to win the tag team belt, and joining the WWE Hall of Fame. His death stunned the wrestling world and obviously had a major impact on his son, a wrestling legend in his own right who is well aware of the path his father blazed for him.

The Rock, very active on social media, has already shared a bit about what his father meant to him on his Instagram account. On Saturday he went back online and shared the nearly 11-minute eulogy he gave at his father’s funeral with his fans.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

You trail blazed and even harder, you changed people’s harsh behaviors toward a man of color. Paving the way for me, my family and generations to come. You loved us with the capacity of which you could – given all the givens. Raised me with an iron hand and a tough complicated love. A love that now, as a father and man, I’ve learned to refine as I raise my own children. I wish I had one more shot. To say one more thing. You were taken too fast. Slipped right thru my hands. But you were so loved, lived so full, defined culture and now you rest high. Peacefully. And that makes my heart smile. I love you and now I have an angel to call by name. I’ll see you down the road, Soulman. Til we meet again. Your son 🥃🖤

A post shared by therock (@therock) on

The caption to the speech touches on Rocky’s role as both a father and a groundbreaking wrestler of color.

“You trail blazed and even harder, you changed people’s harsh behaviors toward a man of color. Paving the way for me, my family and generations to come. You loved us with the capacity of which you could – given all the givens. Raised me with an iron hand and a tough complicated love.”

The Rock also used it to let people – and his father – know that he is living, and raising his own kids, by his dad’s example.

“A love that now, as a father and man, I’ve learned to refine as I raise my own children.”

Watching the superstar struggle to get through his eulogy, it’s clear how much The Rock loved and admired his dad, and it’s refreshing to see a renowned tough guy open up about the pain and sadness he feels.

It’s equally clear that Rocky Johnson did a good job raising his son, and that The Rock is doing well to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Mahomes and Kelce Had Magical Moments With Their Dads After the Game

Mahomes and Kelce Hug Their Dads
(Twitter/NFLFilms)

Nobody sacrifices more for athletic glory than the athletes themselves. The hours, days, weeks, months, years of working out, practicing, playing in games, getting better, striving to make the next goal, hit the next milestone, win the next game, capture the next trophy; it’s never-ending, and it requires an enormous amount of dedication and commitment. Nobody but fellow athletes can really know the toll it takes.

Except maybe their parents.

After the Kansas City Chiefs completed their stunning 4th quarter comeback to win Super Bowl LIV on Sunday night, the field was awash with confetti, celebrating players and coaches, and cherished loved ones who’d come down to the sideline to congratulate the winners. Among the most vocal celebrants were the game’s MVP and the league’s golden boy, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and outspoken tight end Travis Kelce.

The duo could be seen raucously celebrating their newfound and hard-earned status as world champions with their teammates and loved ones, but there were two interactions that were more meaningful than others.

First, Mahomes sought out his dad as he was leaving the field, embracing the elder Mahomes, a former major league pitcher, and telling him, “We did it, baby. I love you.”

There’s also footage of Kelce on the sideline, reuniting with his father after the game, with Dad telling his son how happy he is for him, saying, “you’ve worked so hard, all your life, and never ever really got the recognition you deserved.”

Those parents weren’t the ones sweating through every gym session, agonizing over bad throws and dropped passes, spending every off-season getting in shape, rehabbing injuries, busting their asses all season long just to get a shot at the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. But you can bet they felt every triumph and trip-up along the way, as every parent does, whether their kids are star athletes or merely performing in the school play.

These moments are as meaningful for moms and dads as they are for their children, and just watching those short clips, you can hear it in those dads’ voices, and you can feel it in the strength of their embraces.

The Chiefs had their victory parade on Sunday, reveling through the streets of Kansas City with millions of fans, but something tells me Mahomes and Kelce didn’t receive a single high-five or shout-out as significant as the hugs they got from their dads.

Andy Reid Celebrates Super Bowl With a Cheeseburger and a Dad Joke

Andy Reid Celebrating With Cheese Burger
(Twitter/usatodaysports/SportsNation)

Here’s the scenario: after a long career as a head coach in the NFL, you finally lead your team to a Super Bowl. How do you celebrate? Massive party with friends and family? Go to bars and buy rounds for fans you’ve never met, who now love you more than you thought possible? If you’re Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, the answer is much simpler, and much tastier.

After the Chiefs dramatic come-from-behind win, Reid told reporters he was going to celebrate by getting “the biggest cheeseburger you’ve ever seen…might be a double.”

Oh, that’s just an off-the-cuff remark, you might think. Nope, because he clarified it in the post-game press conference. And now the cheeseburger even has extra cheese.

Cheeseburgers are a go-to staple for celebrating wins for Reid, as it was the same answer he gave after a win earlier in the playoffs. Reid did get a big laugh from reporters on Monday when they asked if he spent the night with the trophy.

“No, I spent it with my trophy wife instead,” he said. Smooth, Andy! You can tell that is a coach fully enjoying the moment, when he answers with a borderline dad joke in a press conference.

And for more Andy Reid highlights, and some cool behind the scenes celebrations videos, check our the IG story from Chiefs Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce.

Patrick Mahomes Broke the Fabled EA Sports “Madden Curse”

Mahomes Breaks "Madden Curse"
(Twitter/EAMaddenNFL)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback did something no other player in football has successfully achieved: he killed the Madden curse.

Mahomes put the Chiefs on his back throughout the playoffs, engineering three significant come-from-behind wins. His 4th quarter performance in the Super Bowl is a huge reason why the Chiefs were able to rally and stun San Francisco 31-20 and was the reason Mahomes captured the Super Bowl MVP. But there’s a Super Bowl MVP every year, but so far, no one has completely broken the curse.

For the longest time, football fans have generally understood that the cover athlete for EA Sports Madden franchise was, well, pretty much doomed. It’s a curse with few exceptions and more than a handful of major examples. There was Daunte Culpepper in 2002, Michael Vick in 2004, Shaun Alexander in 2007, and the list goes on. Troy Polamalu, Rob Gronkowski and Peyton Hillis are also victims of the curse.

The lone exception could be Tom Brady two years ago, but even that team, which was a heavy Super Bowl favorite, came up short. But then there was Patrick Mahomes…

 

Patrick Mahomes put the talk of the Madden Curse to bed, forever, with his Super Bowl performance, capping an outstanding playoff run. And he looked pretty happy to be the curse slayer.

And even though he didn’t mention it by name, we can assume the reason Paul Rudd, Chiefs superfan, is so happy here, is because the video game voodoo is over.

And maybe Mahomes has created a new Madden trend, where every cover athlete leads their franchise to a crazy Super Bowl run.

Chiefs Player Covers Adoption Fees at Local Shelter to Celebrate Super Bowl Win

Derrick Nnadi donates adoption fees for shelter dogs
(https://www.instagram.com/p/B74pnrXpMfw/)

Athletes have found many ways to celebrate after a big win. Some buy lavish gifts. Others go to DisneyWorld. But Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi is making headlines for his latest financial expenditure after yesterday’s big win in the Super Bowl.

It’s not a fancy car or a second home. Instead, Nnadi has pledged to cover the adoption fees of every single dog available at one local animal shelter.

The KC Pet Project, a nonprofit that operates a shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, announced the generous gift via their social media channels this morning.

“We are so excited to announce that the Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle, Derrick Nnadi is choosing to celebrate the Super Bowl win by paying for the adoptions of all the adoptable dogs currently at KC Pet Project! We have had an amazing, season-long, partnership with @dnnadi and he couldn’t have thought of a better ending.”

Tori Fugate, the chief communications officer at Kansas City Campus for Animal Care, told ABC News “Thanks to his incredible support, more than 100 available dogs in our care will have their adoption fees sponsored starting today.”

Nnadi also shared the news via his Twitter account:

According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter a shelter each year in America, so while this single gesture won’t solve the overcrowding problem in shelters around the country, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

The move is a major win for pups in Missouri, as well as an example for others around the nation with the means to make such an incredible donation.

Our hats — or helmets – are off to Mr. Nnadi and his continuing efforts.

NFL Receiver Goes Into Beast Mode in Epic Two Minute Dodgeball Battle

Jarvis Landry Dominates Dodgeball
(Twitter/ESPN)

We have seen some incredible performances from numerous football players in the postseason. Perhaps the most incredible didn’t even happen in a football game though, it was on the dodgeball field (yes, dodgeball isn’t normally played outdoors, but it was a field this time).

10 of the best professional football players in the world came to Orlando for the NFL Pro Bowl skills competition. Sure, they ran through some football-related competitions, but the real showdown came in the dodgeball game, which would serve as the tie-breaker between the AFC and NFC teams.

Jarvis Landry completely took it over, changing the approach to dodgeball as we know it.

As his team was quickly outnumbered, Landry and real-life teammate Nick Chubb were in a tough spot. But then Landry went on the defensive and put the entire conference on his back in the process. He started using his Pro Bowl hands to catch his opponent’s throws, knocking them out instead.

It was so insane that Landry, in a total baller move, started rolling balls back to the other team, daring them to throw at him again. Of course, no pro athlete is going to leave that bait untouched, and they came with their best. It was nowhere near good enough to knock Landry out, as his circus catches eliminated the opposition in the most humiliating way possible, one-by-one.

Naturally, an NFL receiver is going to rely on what got him there, and Landry has the best hands in the game (well, he won the “best hands” competition at least). And while Landry may be one of the best receivers in football, there is no question he’s the best dodgeballer out there.

Vanessa Bryant Announces ‘MambaOnThree’ Fund to Support Families of Other Victims

MambaOnThree Fund
(MambaOnThree)

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, released a heart-wrenching statement on Instagram Wednesday about the horrific tragedy that occurred last weekend when her daughter and husband, along with seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California.

Bryant also mentioned how devastated they were for the other families who lost loved ones and how they will forever share their pain. She announced the family’s Mamba Sports Foundation has set up a special fund to help support the other families affected by the tragedy.

The MambaOnThree fund was set up “to honor our Team Mamba family”, according to Bryant, and donations can be made (eventually) at MambaOnThree.org. She also said The Mamba Foundation will help further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports. The foundation has provided diverse sports opportunities to underserved California communities as well as additional funding for underserved athletes.

Vanessa changed her IG to a touching photo of Kobe and Gigi and she posted a beautiful photo of the Bryant family in the post, which thanked everyone for the outpouring of support and prayers. “We definitely need them,” she said.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.

I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.”

The Mamba Sports Academy also posted a statement, which read in part:

“Kobe Bryant was so much more than a partner in Mamba Sports Academy. He was a caring father, husband, coach, and champion of youth sports. We mourn not only one of the greatest athletes of all time, but an active and engaged member of our community, and a visionary whose impact was only beginning to be felt by society….
“Through the shared values of attention to detail, relentless pursuit of passions, and dedication to excellence, we remain committed to honoring Kobe’s mission of inspiring the next generation of leaders in the world of sports and beyond.”

You can read more about the others who lost their lives in the crash, and about how one ESPN anchor’s meeting with Kobe inspired #GirlDads to trend on social media.