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NFL moves 2021 Super Bowl to Tampa Bay from LA

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CHICAGO (AP) The 2021 Super Bowl has been moved by the NFL from Los Angeles to Tampa.

Five days after the opening of the $2.6 billion football stadium in Inglewood, California was pushed back to 2020 because of construction delays caused by Los Angeles’ uncommonly wet winter, league owners approved the move Tuesday. Owners voted unanimously to give the February 2021 game to Tampa and have the Rams’ and Chargers’ new home host the 2022 Super Bowl.

The NFL would have needed to waive a rule that prohibits a Super Bowl being played at a stadium before it has hosted two full regular seasons. Instead, it chose to move the game to Tampa, runner-up to Los Angeles in the bidding.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

“Our focus in this process is this building should host multiple Super Bowls over many generations, and we need to make sure we deliver a building that is an exceptional, Super Bowl-quality building,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said last week. “Our focus is more on the caliber of building than the exact year of the Super Bowl.”

Earlier, the NFL showed it wants to bring back a little bit of Broadway back to an end zone near you next season.

After years of limiting how -and how much – players could celebrate following touchdowns, the league decided to loosen up its rules, allowing players to again use the football as a prop,celebrate as a group and roll around or flap their arms like snow angels on the ground again if they choose.

In an email from Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to fans in an effort to deliver “a more exciting game experience,” the commissioner said the new guidelines came after conversations with more than 80 current and former players.

Asked whether he celebrated the new guidelines approved at Tuesday’s spring meetings, Goodell laughed.

“I did,” he said. “I can’t tell you how.”

Goodell said the moniker “No Fun League” had been thrown around since he was an intern in the league office. He welcomed the looser guidelines, also endorsed by Falcons President Rich McKay, who heads the NFL competition committee.

“The pendulum had swung a long way” in restricting players too much, McKay added.

The league, however, will continue to penalize any celebration deemed offensive or in bad taste, including those that embarrass opponents or mimic the use of weapons. If celebrations are deemed a violation by on-field officials, players could still be penalized under existing unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting violations, as well as fined.

“Everybody has a different idea where the line is,” the commissioner said.

There is no set time limit on how long such celebrations can continue. But the league is placing an emphasis on speeding up the pace of games. The 40-second play clock will begin once an official signals a touchdown and teams will have to snap the ball for their extra-point play at the end of the clock.

League officials will review celebrations during the preseason and anticipate providing guidance as the regular season progresses. Former player Jon Runyan, who is in charge of on-field disciplinary actions, will hear any appeals for players.

“I actually think it will be easier” for officials to determine which celebrations are appropriate, said Alberto Riveron, the league’s new senior vice president for officiating. “But some things will still be open to interpretation.”

Bridgewater, Vikings beat Chargers 23-10 in stadium opener

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Teddy Bridgewater was sharp in his return from a sore shoulder, completing 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in the first half for the Minnesota Vikings in a 23-10 exhibition victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers in the official unveiling their new stadium.

After sitting out last week at Seattle, Bridgewater found Kyle Rudolph for a 27-yard score and led the Vikings to points on three of five possessions. Bridgewater even put a slick juke on strong safety Adrian Phillips to further a 22-yard run that set up one of three short field goals by Blair Walsh.

Melvin Gordon, aiming to rebound from a rough rookie season, cruised through the middle of Minnesota’s starting defense for a 39-yard touchdown run. San Diego lost running back Branden Oliver, though, to an Achilles tendon injury on his right leg that required a cart to take him off. Oliver is the primary kickoff returner and a contributing backup behind Gordon and Danny Woodhead.

With sunlight streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling glass on the west side and through the translucent, space-age roof, the Vikings enjoyed a gleaming debut for U.S. Bank Stadium. The sold-out crowd of 66,143 was the largest at home in franchise history.

The Chargers undoubtedly felt some envy, with their decade-and-a-half quest to replace 49-year-old Qualcomm Stadium still unfulfilled and a move to Los Angeles still a possibility. This game was conveniently scheduled for national broadcast on Fox, in case folks in San Diego were still on the fence about public funding.

Philip Rivers went 5 for 9 for 54 yards and an interception, one of three by the Vikings. Rookies Jayron Kearse and Mackensie Alexander picked off Chargers third-stringer Mike Bercovici, who’s competing with Zach Mettenberger for a roster spot.

Bercovici threw three straight passes into the end zone in the fourth quarter that the Vikings had their hands on, the last one finally intercepted by second-round draft pick Alexander.

With Adrian Peterson resting on the sideline, backup Jerick McKinnon rushed eight times for 56 yards. Stefon Diggs caught five passes for 71 yards, all in the first half. Cordarrelle Patterson recovered MyCole Pruitt‘s fumble, one of two lost by the Vikings, in the end zone for a touchdown.

ROOKIE WATCH

Chargers: Sixth-round draft pick Drew Kaser dropped three punts inside the 10-yard line.

Vikings: WR Laquon Treadwell made a tricky catch on a fade route in the corner of the end zone on a 2-point conversion pass from Shaun Hill.

POSITION BATTLES

Chargers: DE Darius Philon had a sack in the first half, continuing a decent training camp in place of holdout rookie Joey Bosa. With Bosa unsigned in a public dispute over his contract, DT Damion Square suspended for the first four games for an NFL substance abuse policy violation and DT Sean Lissemore (shoulder) out for the season, the Chargers need Philon to help stabilize a depleted front.

Vikings: Joe Berger played the whole first half with the first team at center over John Sullivan, who missed last season with a back injury and has not been assured of getting back his job. Berger, entering his 12th NFL season, is also the primary backup at both guard spots.

INJURY UPDATE

Chargers: Beside Oliver, RT Joe Barksdale also came out of the game in the first half, limping off with a left ankle injury.

Vikings: Backup safety Antone Exum, hurt playing on the kickoff return team, left on a cart for X-rays on his leg.

Online:

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL coverage on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Social media reacts to Rams relocation to L.A.

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After 20 years in St. Louis, the Rams are officially headed back to Los Angeles.

The news was understandably met by a variety of reactions across social media, starting with the opinions of current Rams players:

Some former St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams players didn’t miss out on the opportunity to chime in either:

Even players who have never had any connection to the Rams but have played in Los Angeles as college quarterbacks at USC got into the mix:

The impact of the relocation wasn’t lost on backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, Chase Daniel:

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