We're quickly approaching Super Bowl XLIX, and the New England Patriots will top the Seattle Seahawks, according to Microsoft's Cortana. Cortana predicts a narrow 24-23 victory, using Bing's predictive algorithm that takes a number of statistics into consideration before cranking out a final prediction.
So far in the NFL playoffs this year, Cortana has an impressive 8-2 record.
Gambling lines in Las Vegas agree with Cortana, and the Patriots are favored by about one point - such a close line, it'd be fair to say the game is up for grabs.
The halftime shows of Super Bowl are usually massive extravaganzas, but guess who is going to be putting on a big show at this year's Super Bowl? YouTube.
Google's video sharing service will be hosting its first-ever halftime show on February 1, with the live Internet event bringing in YouTube stars such as comedy duo Rhett and Link, EpicMealTime's Harley Morenstein and Freddie Wong performing a bunch of stuff during the show to fake Super Bowl spots.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a future Hall of Famer, became the NFL leader in touchdown passes on Sunday night, breaking Brett Favre's record of 508. During the Broncos' dismantling of the San Francisco 49ers, Manning threw four touchdown passes, and now has 510 career touchdown passes.
In front of 77,047 fans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Manning went 22-26 for 318 yards, including four touchdown completions and no interceptions.
"Quite an honor," Manning said following the game. "I do have an appreciate for the quarterbacks who have played this game over the years. A lot of people helped get me to this point. I'm very honored."
Irish fighter Conor McGregor backed up his trash talk by destroying Dustin Poirier in a highly-anticipated featherweight fight at UFC 178. He picked up a TKO win at 1:46 in the first round against Poirier, netting him a $50,000 Performance of the Night post-fight bonus. McGregor broke into the UFC in 2013 after winning the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) featherweight and lightweight titles earlier in his career.
"He's a humble guy and he came to fight," McGregor noted about his opponent. "Make no mistake, though: I'm cocky in prediction. I'm confident in preparation, but I am always humble, in victory or defeat."
True to form, McGregor could be next in line for a title shot against Jose Aldo, and the Irish fighter noted: "The division is filled with rookies and has-beens," he said during the post-fight press conference.
The San Antonio Spurs basketball team topped the Miami Heat to capture the 2014 NBA championship, winning the series in five games. Playing under coach Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobi and Tony Parker are the winningest trio in NBA playoff history - and have captured multiple championships together.
"We had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and that's why they're the champions in 2014," said opponent LeBron James, admitting the Spurs were just too dominant.
The Spurs-Heat series was a rematch from the 2013 season, which the Heat went on to win.
UFC flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson completely dominated Ali Bagautinov during their UFC 174 main event fight from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Johnson controlled the five-round, 25-minute fight, using both speed and great technique to keep Bagautinov from implementing his game plan.
Johnson scored a clean sweep on the judges' scorecards, easily winning the fight 50-45, with the champion now expecting the winner of Ian McCall vs. Brad Pickett. It's still unsure what is next for Johnson, as he has looked good since winning the flyweight title in 2012.
The lighter weights in the UFC struggle to capture attention from casual fans, as viewers like to see bigger fighters slug it out. However, the UFC has a true star in Johnson, with his 8-1-1 record in the UFC, successfully defending his championship four consecutive times.
Colombian cycling climbing specialist Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) won the 2014 Giro d'Italia grand tour cycling race, finishing the 21-stage race 2 minutes, 58 seconds ahead of Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and 4 minutes, 4 seconds ahead of Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team). Incredibly, this was Quintana's second grand tour, and he looked comfortable in the mountains, able to maintain pace with any attacks on steeper inclines.
"Now that the final finish line is crossed, I am so happy," Quintana said after sealing the overall victory. "I had the support of my team, and the support of my nation. I am very content to win this Giro. It was never easy, but the team backed me in all the hard moments."
It's an impressive victory for the 24-year-old, as he also won the best young rider classification and two stages throughout three weeks. Although Quintana will skip the Tour de France in July, he could lead the Movistar team during the 2015 Tour next season.
Dutch fighter Gegard Mousasi (35-4-2) dominated veteran Mark Munoz (13-5) in their middleweight main event fight of UFC Fight Night 41 in Berlin, Germany. The former Dream and Strikeforce champion displayed excellent striking, effective takedown defense, and good submissions to set up the rear-naked choke at 3:57 of round one. Incredibly, this marked the 27th time Mousasi had a first-round finish during his 11-year-career.
"I worked a lot on the rear-naked choke and guillotine," Mousasi said post-fight. "He's a strong wrestler, so he always comes forward. I want to pick up the angle and slowly go forward."
Mousasi is now 2-1 in the UFC and shows steady improvement - despite being promoted as one of the most skilled fighters in the world just a few years ago, Mousasi was accused of being lazy and not caring about training. However, this should quickly elevate him up the ladder in a middleweight division that is fairly desperate for legitimate contenders to face current champion Chris Weidman in the future.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will reportedly purchase the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team for a record $2 billion. Several serious bidders offered to pay $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion, though Ballmer's winning bid must now be approved by the current Clippers owner and by the NBA.
Despite the news, until current owner Donald Sterling signs off, nothing has been finalized. "There's been no sale," said Bobby Samini, an attorney representing Sterling. "There can be no sale without Donald's signature." Sterling has owned the team since 1981, when he paid just $12 million for the franchise.
Despite past efforts to keep basketball in Seattle, Ballmer said he wants to keep the Clippers in Los Angeles - though with the Lakers also in Los Angeles - he could try to push for a team relocation in the future. However, Los Angeles is the No. 2 media market in the United States, so it would make monetary sense to keep the Clippers in California.
BMC Racing Team time trial specialist Taylor Phinney captured the individual time trial and won the U.S. national championship, able to wear the national jersey during time trials. He controlled the 19.2-mile course in 37:48, winning ahead of 2013 champion Tom Zirbel, who came across 51 seconds slower. Phinney already had his custom skinsuit picked out and made, ready to wear it as he prepares to show off his stars and stripes in Europe.
Here is what Phinney said post-race: I'm really happy with this. This is a big weight off my shoulders. I was confident going into today, but I was actually super nervous, mainly because it was one of the first time trials I've gone into where I've been the overwhelming favorite. I still can kind of play the underdog card in all the World Tour time trials, so this is the first one where everyone was looking at me, so I was quite happy to pull it off."
Phinney will now try to win the U.S. national road race championship race on Monday, an intense 102-mile race which should prove to be exciting for cycling fans. Current U.S. road race champion Freddie Rodriguez wants to defend his jersey, though will face stiff competition from young, motivated riders trying to fight for contracts in Europe.