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Family version of New England Patriots’ Tom Brady Super Bowl LI ring sells for record $344,927

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A family version of the New England Patriots‘ Super Bowl LI championship ring with “Brady” on it sold Sunday morning for $344,927, a record for a football ring.

The ring, which has 265 diamonds compared to the 283 that Tom Brady‘s actual ring has and is about 10 percent smaller, has the same engraving that Brady’s ring would have. The ring comes with a letter of appraisal from its maker, Jostens, for Brady that assesses its jewelry value at $29,700. Ken Goldin, president of Goldin Auctions, which sold the ring, would not say who consigned the ring or how it was obtained. Goldin also said the buyer prefers to remain anonymous.

To put the astronomical price paid for the Brady ring in perspective, only one piece of sports memorabilia from the past 25 years sold for more than this ring: Mike Piazza’s uniform from the New York Mets‘ first game after Sept. 11, 2001. That jersey was sold in a private sale by Goldin for $365,000 in April 2016.

The nearly $350,000 price point obliterates the previous record paid for an NFL championship ring. The Super Bowl XXV ring of New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor sold for $230,401 in 2012.

Friends and family rings don’t commonly surface for big stars, but when they do, they are often competitively bid on. Prior to Sunday morning, the most a friends and family ring sold for was $173,102. That was the price paid in July 2013 for a Kobe Bryant 2000 Los Angeles Lakers championship ring owned by his father Joe. The auction was also conducted by Goldin.

Considering they have won five times, Patriots rings have been relatively rare to surface at auctions. In February 2005, former Patriots backup cornerback Leonard Myers sold his Super Bowl XXXVI ring for $32,600. Lineman Maurice Anderson sold his Super Bowl XXXVI ring for $41,825 in 2016. A staff ring from that same Super Bowl, the Patriots’ first, sold for $36,000 last year.

Rings of more significant players sold recently include the Super Bowl XXX ring of Raiders CB Larry Brown, who was MVP in that game, for $71,700 in 2016. The Super Bowl XVIII ring of Lester Hayes also sold that year for $54,970.

Other big-ticket items Goldin sold in the auction on Sunday morning include the racket Bobby Riggs used in his “Battle of the Sexes” match against Billie Jean King for $27,500. An unopened box of 1966 Topps football cards sold for more than $75,000 and a head of the famous San Diego Chicken sold for $9,820.

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Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan says win over Carolina Panthers may be ‘confidence builder’

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It has been a disappointing and, at times, embarrassing season so far for the Atlanta Falcons, but quarterback Matt Ryan wants to think that Thursday’s victory in Carolina could be the spark for yet another second-half surge.

The Falcons held on to a fourth-quarter lead for just the second time in five games in 2020 thanks to a Todd Gurley touchdown run and an interception by Blidi Wreh-Wilson and beat the Panthers 25-17 at Bank of America Stadium.

“I hope it’s the start of something,” Ryan said. “I really feel like, although we’re 2-6, I feel like we’ve been in some tight ones. We’ve played some good football. I think we can play some really tough football here in the second half of the season.”

The Falcons did that in 2019, following a 1-7 start with a 6-1 finish that included victories in the final four games. Can they repeat that over the next two months?

It won’t be easy. They have a winnable game against Denver next week, but after their bye they play New Orleans twice in a three-week span. Then there’s two games against Tampa Bay and one against Kansas City, as well, in addition to games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos and Chargers are the only opponents remaining with losing records.

“We’ve been in every game we’ve played this year,” Ryan said. “We’ve had some crazy losses, just to be frank, and I really believe that we’ve got the caliber of team to go be in the games we’re going to play the rest of the season.

“Why can’t we win them all? That’s the mindset that I have.”

The way the Falcons beat the Panthers gives Ryan hope. They overcame a 2-for-6 performance in the red zone and the loss of leading receiver Calvin Ridley to an ankle injury. The Falcons held a 13-minute advantage in time of possession, totaled 401 yards, held the Panthers to 2-of-10 on third down and sacked quarterback Teddy Bridgewater three times.

Ryan also pitched in with a 13-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career, to become just the third quarterback in franchise history to have double-digit rushing touchdowns. He trails only Michael Vick (21) and Steve Bartkowski (11).

Thursday was just the second time this season that the Falcons won a game in which they entered the fourth quarter with a lead. They had been 1-3 in that situation, including last week’s loss to Detroit on the game’s final play. The Falcons led the Lions 14-13 in the fourth quarter but Todd Gurley’s touchdown run left the Lions with too much time and Matthew Stafford’s TD pass to T.J. Hockenson gave the Lions a 23-22 victory.

That was just the latest — and most painful — fourth-quarter flop. The Falcons blew a five-point lead in Week 2 in a 40-39 loss to Dallas and a 16-point lead in Week 3 to Chicago.

Until the victory over the Panthers, the Falcons’ only hold on a fourth-quarter lead was two weeks ago against Minnesota.

“It just felt like it was going to be a different night,” Ryan said. “Our defense stepped up and did a great job making plays. I’m happy for them. To come through in that type of situation, that’s a confidence builder for us moving forward.”

And, Ryan hopes, the start of another second-half rally.

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Hit on Carolina Panthers’ Teddy Bridgewater draws ejection for Atlanta Falcons’ Charles Harris

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Atlanta Falcons defensive end Charles Harris was ejected in the third quarter of Thursday night’s 25-17 win over the Carolina Panthers after a vicious hit that briefly sidelined quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater was scrambling on the third-and-7 play when he was tripped and went down for a 2-yard loss. Harris came in after Bridgewater was down and delivered a blow to the helmet.

Bridgewater went to the sideline tent to be checked for a possible concussion. He came out a few minutes later and began throwing on the sideline.

Bridgewater returned in the fourth quarter after clearing concussion protocol.

Former XFL star P.J. Walker took over at quarterback for three plays and the Panthers settled for a 39-yard field goal to pull within 19-17.

Bridgewater was 10-for-15 passing for 112 yards and a touchdown before the play.

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Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley ruled out vs. Carolina Panthers with ankle injury

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Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley suffered a left ankle injury during the first half of Thursday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Ridley was hurt when he was tackled by safety Jeremy Chinn at the end of a 19-yard catch-and-run late in the first half. He limped off the field and went to the locker room. He was originally listed as questionable to return but was ruled out early in the second half.

Ridley, who had three catches for 42 yards at the time of his injury, entered the game as the Falcons’ leader in receptions (40), receiving yards (615) and receiving touchdowns (six). The Falcons have relied on him heavily because Julio Jones had missed two games with a hip injury.

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