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Thursday Flakes: RIP John Madden

Football’s Greatest Ambassador

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These two guys are probably having a nice chat upstairs right now.
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Joe Madden had an impact on many people’s lives for around 40 years as a football coach, sports broadcaster and the face of a popular video game. A decent chunk of my childhood was spent with my Dad and younger brother playing FIFA, NHL and of course Madden video games. As I grew to love sports, I respected how much knowledge and enthusiasm John Madden had for the game of football along with his witty sense of humor. Even when the game wasn’t exciting to watch anymore, Madden found clever ways to keep the audience engaged to the broadcast. There will never be another John Madden...RIP.

Frosted Flakes

Nebraska Women’s Basketball vs. Michigan State Preview | Basketball | Corn Nation

This game was originally not going to be televised, but BTN couldn’t resist the opportunity to showcase an unbeaten team against a 2020-21 NCAA tournament team. The Spartans have lost a lot of key pieces from that team, but are always a tough opponents and get to play at home. Nebraska has played a weak schedule and the pollsters are waiting for victories against highly regarded opponents before moving them into the rankings.

Is This The Toughest Wrestling Field Ever? | Wrestling | Corn Nation

All in all, there are 13 wrestlers in the field that have won an NCAA title, with all 10 defending champions returning. Those 13 individuals have won a combined 16 total titles, led by 3-time champ Spencer Lee of Iowa.

Mailbag: Women’s and Men’s Basketball, New Food Ideas For Memorial Stadium and More | Sports | Hail Varsity

We tackle men’s and women’s basketball questions, the timeline for solidifying the Husker football coaching roles, which local food joint should get be added to Memorial Stadium and much more.

Nebraska Recruiting: Three Under the Radar 2022 Husker Signees | Football | Hail Varsity

The hope is the team will add a handful more including at least one quarterback. Nebraska has had so much news happening around the program the last few weeks. It’s even easier for players in the 2022 class to fly under the radar. Let’s take a look at a few players flying under-the-radar who have signed to be Huskers.

Padding the Stats: On Schedule Flexibility, B1G Surprises and Disappointments and High School Shot Clocks | Basketball | Hail Varsity

Overall, I’d call the Big Ten’s nonconference performance decent, relative to expectations. Big Ten teams went 26-25 overall against teams from the other top-seven leagues, and KenPom has the Big Ten as the second-best conference currently behind only the Big 12.

Kristina Novak Claims Slovenian National Title | Tennis | Huskers

Nebraska women’s tennis sophomore Kristina Novak won the Slovenian National Championship this week in Medvode, Slovenia. Novak beat Noka Juric 6-4, 6-3 to clinch the title. With the championship, she wraps up an impressive year after earning First-Team All-Big Ten honors for the 2020-21 season, while also being named to the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll in both the fall and spring semesters.

The Likely Move for Nebraska’s Defensive Line Coaching Vacancy | Football | Lincoln Journal Star

Frost is likely going to shift Dawson back to defensive line coach — his position in 2018 before leaving for the NFL — where he’d essentially replace Tony Tuioti, who left for Oregon last week. Several of NU’s outside linebackers also essentially play defensive end, and Dawson can continue coaching most of them in addition to the big guys up front without overloading himself.

The Genius of John Madden | Football | The Ringer

Professor Madden stood in front of a board that was like the Telestrator he later used on TV. Madden drew X’s and O’s and carefully studied his students’ faces. “I wanted to see at what point I lost ’em,” he told me years later. Madden was trying to find the most simple way to explain a complex game. He was converting passive football fans into smart fans. For the next 30 years, Madden performed the same trick on TV every week.


Looking Ahead to a New Year of Travel | Travel | Conde Nast Traveler

You’ll be reading these words in the last days of 2021, or perhaps the early days of 2022. I think that 2021 was, for most of us, a better year than 2020, and yet, just as few of us realized in March of that year that this damn thing would last so long, I think few of us realized that once the vaccines arrived the journey out of this morass would be so slow.

Top Air Travel Stories from 2021 | Travel | Travel Pulse

The past year has been a rollercoaster, highlighted by an industry turnaround that happened far more quickly than expected but lowlighted by an escalation in passenger violence against crew members that, quite frankly, has gotten out of hand.

Top 2022 Travel Trends | Travel | Travel Pulse

Could 2022 be bigger than 2019 when it comes to travel? After two years of being plagued by COVID-19 travel restrictions and postponed trips, Americans are ready for a vacation. These factors are reshaping travel trends in the coming year.

Where Do Young People Want to Go in 2022 | Travel | Travel Pulse

According to Contiki, the most popular bookings are for Greek Island Hopping, European Discovery and European Magic. Other destinations popular with younger travelers at the moment are South Africa, Egypt, Thailand and Ireland.

The 15 Most Exciting New Airlines Routes for 2022 | Travel | Airfarewatchdog

Surprisingly, three new airlines launched service in the domestic U.S. market in 2021, which is indicative of a trend towards leisure-friendly locations closer to home. In 2022, this means new routes to Mexico and outdoor-friendly destinations in the U.S. along with a handful of new transatlantic routes.

The Best Place to Travel in Every Month of the Year | Travel | Lonely Planet

While ever-changing COVID-19 regulations have added challenges to trip-planning, it’s still a great time to start dreaming of your 2022 adventures.

Passport Renewals Are Getting More Expensive | Travel | Travel + Leisure

The fee for a passport book is increasing by $20, according to the State Department. The price increase is in addition to the current application fee of $110 for an adult passport and the $60 people can pay to expedite their applications. Children under 16 currently have to pay $115 ($80 for the application and $35 for an execution fee), which will increase to $135 next week.

The Rest

A Year in Limbo | Review | The New York Times

If you managed to stay up late, you probably already knew: The very first moments of 2021 arrived with weird vibes. New York’s traditional New Year’s Eve celebration was uncharacteristically muted. No sloppy kissing crowds jammed into Times Square, no messy bar crawls through the streets.

Our 51 Best Charts of 2021 | Review | FiveThirtyEight

n 2021, FiveThirtyEight’s visual journalists told stories of the pandemic, political gridlock and the world of sports. We’ve fought to make our work more accessible and to sharpen our storytelling. Through it all, we kept it weird. Now we continue our tradition of celebrating our best — and wackiest — charts of the year.

The World Ablaze: Captured by AP Photographers in 2021 | Photography | Associated Press

“Some say the world will end in fire,” wrote the poet Robert Frost — and for much of 2021, Associated Press photographers captured scenes of a world ablaze, amid rumblings of ruin.

2021 Northern Lights Photographer of the Year | Photography | Capture the Atlas

There aren’t many events as moving as seeing the aurora borealis dance and illuminate the night sky with mesmerizing movements and vibrant colors. To help you find inspiration for planning and executing your images, in this new edition of the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year, we present the 25 best aurora images captured around the world.

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2022 | World | Foreign Policy

Battle deaths may be down, but regional wars continue to rage as great-power confrontations loom, from Ukraine to Taiwan, amid declining U.S. influence.

10 Scientific Discoveries from 2021 That May Lead to New Inventions | Science | Smithsonian

The 100 Best Inventions of 2021 | Innovation | TIME

Best Books of 2021 | Literature | NPR

Last But Not Least