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Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Talented 49ers roster finally comes of age
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Barely three years since being derided as a sorry parody of the franchise which once dominated the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers have a chance to claim a record-equaling sixth Super Bowl win on Sunday. It has been 18 years since the 49ers last appeared in a Super Bowl - their fifth victory coming against San Diego Chargers in Miami in 1994 - and in that time the franchise endured some poor seasons.
Predators dethrone Kings in shootout
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The struggling Nashville Predators snapped a three-game losing streak when they upset the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings with a nerve-jangling 2-1 shootout victory on Thursday. Despite being outshot 22-11 in regulation, the Predators kept coming up with crucial blocks to stay alive before left wing Sergei Kostitsyn scored the decisive goal in the eighth round of a tense shootout.
Thunder maul new-look Grizzlies in Oklahoma
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Harbaugh overcomes hurdles to finish season at Super Bowl
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Football was in his blood, and coaching was a natural career path for John Harbaugh, who paid his dues and learned his craft rung by rung on his way to taking the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl. The son of a coach and brother of the man who will direct the San Francisco 49ers on Super Sunday, Harbaugh was not blessed with the athletic skills of younger brother Jim, an NFL quarterback for 14 seasons.
49ers' Culliver under fire at Super Bowl for anti-gay remarks
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver faced intense media scrutiny on Thursday for saying he would not accept a gay teammate in the team's locker-room. Culliver came under fire for the comments he made this week on comedian Artie Lange's radio show but apologies from the player and National Football League team in statements late on Wednesday did little to diffuse the situation.
Rebuilding Ravens at pinnacle again with Super Bowl bid
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Built on the NFL draft and a vision of the type of player that can lead the way, the Baltimore Ravens have climbed once again to the pinnacle, with a shot on Sunday at claiming their second Super Bowl title. The Ravens were born in 1996 when the late Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell moved his team to Baltimore to fill a void left by the Baltimore Colts after their move to Indianapolis, and fashioned by the deft hand of general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Player safety remains top priority for union
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - The National Football League (NFL) players union has a number of ongoing disputes with the league but player safety is the top priority, Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on Thursday. Smith, head of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), cited the union's recent $100 million grant to Harvard University for a study on a range of health problems, from brain damage to heart conditions.
49ers' return to Super Bowl still a family affair 2013-01-31T200145Z_1_BRE90U195_RTROPTC_0_US-NFL-SUPERBOWL-YORK. XML () -
Ravens' Bisciotti turns boyhood dream into reality 2013-01-31T200517Z_1_BRE90U199_RTROPTC_0_US-NFL-SUPERBOWL-BISCI OTTI.XML () -
After 20 years of booing, Gary Bettman still standing
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