Brandon Brooks receives special message on package: The Latest on Eagles in Super Bowl

The Philadelphia Eagles will be playing in the third Super Bowl in team history on Sunday, Feb. 4. Super Bowl LI, or 52, will be a rematch against the team the Eagles faced the last time they were in the NFL championship, the New England Patriots.  Make sure to check back throughout the day and each day leading up to the big game for the latest updates on Eagles coverage. 8:22 a.m.: Offensive lineman Brandon Brooks received a special message on a packaged delivered to him Tuesday afternoon.  8 a.m.: If you want to watch the Super Bowl live in Minnesota, it's going to cost you. Tickets range anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, according to and 7:30 a.m.: Eagles Pro Bowl offensive lineman Lane Johnson and defensive end Chris Long created hundreds of their own 'underdog' shirts. They've donated all the proceeds to Philadelphia schools. The two challenged the NFL to do the same with their shirts. The NFL said it too will donate all proceeds to Philly schools.  7 a.m.: A 3-year-old Egg Harbor Township girl and her father sing the Eagles fight song together. Just check out how cute she is.  6 a.m.: Sports Illustrated announced Tuesday that there will be two covers for its Super Bowl LII preview issue. One featuring Patriots QB Tom Brady, the other with Eagles QB Nick Foles. Here's a look at the cover. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, SI predicts a Patriots victory, 27-16. Continue Reading

BMW X3: SUV drives like a sports sedan

What’s not to like about an SUV that drives like a sports sedan? I really like when bigger cars feel like they drive “small” and the BMW X3 xDrive 30i Sport Activity Vehicle delivers just that. With a twin-turbo 2.0- liter 248-hp engine quietly burbling beneath the simple two-creased hood, this five-passenger ute is sporty, tight and responsive. And with surprisingly good gas mileage — 22 mpg city, 29 highway — this is an impressive package in the upscale compact SUV marketplace. As always, I found the “sport” mode, one of three available, to be the best for a pure driving experience. It’s what you’d expect and demand out of a Bimmer. The precise steering, dynamic handling, seamless 8-speed gearshifts and instant power found in the company’s sedans translates nicely to the handsome Sport Activity Vehicle. The all-wheel-drive feels natural and with power being distributed to the wheels, the X3 stays tall on its feet and nimble in the corners. Unlike some longer-body vehicles, the tail doesn’t feel like it’s hanging out too far, allowing for relatively easy parking and maneuvering through traffic. As an added bonus, a good-sized cargo area is easily accessed through a power tailgate. I thought the clean lines embraced true BMW styling. The classic split front grille with the iconic blue and white nose badge buttoned on the curved hood lead the way to the upswept rear windows. There are no hard edges on the X3 as the LED headlamps fold around the hood. Yet it still maintains an air of masculinity. Sliding into the comfortable tooled Vernasca leather seats, your command of the vehicle is instant. The leather-wrapped steering wheel frames a four-gauge cluster with a digital info display between the tach and speedometer. Infotainment, car performance info and phone controls are at your fingertips, but thank you BMW for traditional knobs on the radio. The panoramic sunroof allows light to flood the Continue Reading

Ratings and Review: The updated 2017 Cadillac CTS is a refreshingly fun sport sedan that no one thinks about

Full Car Details More Reviews Already boasting enthusiast-approved dynamics and award-winning safety, the 2017 Cadillac CTS is updated with new design elements and more technology. The list of changes includes addressing long-standing criticism of the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system. The next-generation system is now faster, more intuitive, better designed, and offers individual profile settings. But will it be enough to entice consumers? Global sales are up Cadillac, which recently announced a 15-month streak of continuous growth. This boon, however, sits largely on the shoulders of emerging markets like China where year-to-date sales have increased by nearly 66.5 percent. Cadillac’s home market offers a different story with total U.S. sales sliding 5.4 percent year-to-date. Specifically, the CTS model has dipped 33.8 percent during the same time frame. Even with headquarters now based in trendsetting Manhattan, Cadillac continues to be stymied by ancient assumptions associating its product portfolio to everything but the current reality, which is to say modern, performance-oriented luxury. But after spending a week with a CTS and commuting more than 1,000 miles between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, my extended family was given little choice but to experience a new Cadillac—some for the first time. Suffice to say, they now look at that familiar crest with a fresh set of impressed eyes. Starting at $46,990 (including the $995 destination charge), trim levels are streamlined to match the rest of Cadillac lineup with the 2017 CTS offered in base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport, V-Sport Premium Luxury, and the performance-tuned CTS-V. My options-laden desert duster carried a hefty as-tested price of $58,195. A rear-wheel drive CTS Luxury model equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, this midsize sedan not only exceeded expectations but welcomingly soothed a temperamental 4-year-old. Continue Reading

First Look: BMW takes its Sports Activity Coupe design in a new direction with the 2018 X2

Take one SUV, sand the roofline down for a rakish fastback appearance, reduce rear passenger space and cargo volume, charge customers more money, and you have the recipe for a BMW Sports Activity Coupe. To create the new 2018 BMW X2, this is precisely what BMW has done to its entry-level X1. However, the result, which the company characterizes as “sporty,” “urban,” and “extrovert(ed),” is to this critic’s eye a much more successful transformation than those which produced the BMW X4 or the BMW X6. Why’s that? Well, it still looks like an SUV. Based on the X1, the new X2 is 3.2 inches shorter and 2.8 inches lower to the ground. Such diminutive dimensions likely prevented BMW designers from employing a true fastback roofline for the X2, and in turn that preserves its more traditional silhouette and familiar proportions. Personally, I like the result far more than the rather awkward and ungainly X4 and X6 models. New stylistic flourishes include “reinterpreted” kidney grilles that widen from top to bottom, BMW roundels affixed to the rear roof pillars, and Frozen Gray lower body detailing on the new X2 M Sport X versions, which BMW says is inspired by rally racing. Naturally, the squat greenhouse tapers into a Hofmeister kink at the rear roof pillars. Standard equipment includes LED headlights, running lights, and taillights. Twin exhaust outlets provide a sporty look at the rear, along with an optional M spoiler over the rear glass. The X2 is equipped with standard 18-inch aluminum wheels, with 19- and 20-inch wheels available. A bold new color called Galvanic Gold also debuts on the X2. Room for four, coupled with the latest tech Traditional BMW design themes and a driver-focused layout characterize the X2’s interior. SensaTec upholstery is standard, with leather an option. Depending on equipment and Continue Reading

With websites like FanDuel, DraftKings and a new television network, fantasy sports is blowing up

Mike Penoro, a 49-year-old court clerk from Garden City, L.I., has been playing fantasy sports for roughly 25 years. He and friends from work play in football and baseball leagues that date back 20 years. He has experienced the evolution and explosion of fantasy sports firsthand, from the days of charting your own players by hand and paper to fantasy websites doing all that meticulous, time-consuming tabulating for you. So too has Jacob Schuck, a 30-year-old physical therapist from Edison, N.J., who since he was 12 has been in the Rick & Bill’s tavern league, a 14-team group split into AFC-only and NFC-only divisions named for the watering hole his father used to own. Both men were avid fantasy players when fantasy sports was still a niche hobby, long before the days when people even thought of getting paid to be full-time fantasy analysts, before online drafts, before a cable comedy series about a bunch of guys and their fantasy football league and well before a 24-7 fantasy network. Fantasy has changed so much that traditional season-long leagues are no longer the only option. Daily fantasy sports are on a meteoric rise, and Penoro and Schuck have both qualified for FanDuel’s Fantasy Football Championships, which will take place in Las Vegas in December. Each qualified for the 100-person tournament, which features a top prize of $2 million, by winning a contest within the first two weeks of the NFL season. For Penoro, it was Week 1, when three Detroit Lions garnered him 74 points in the first game of a Monday-night doubleheader. He had to sweat out the West Coast game before claiming victory. “I was up all night pretty much, until 2 o’clock in the morning,” he says. Forty-one million people play fantasy sports. About 3% of those partake in daily leagues, a number expected to increase significantly over the next several years. All of them, though, have changed the way sports are consumed. Fantasy has entered the Continue Reading

2014 BMW 228i M Sport reminds us why we love BMWs

BMW is known for building sporty cars, even if not all of them feel all that sporty anymore, thanks to added size, weight, and luxury goodies. But the all-new 2-Series, which replaces last year’s small 1-Series coupe and convertible, is not only sporty in the traditional BMW sense, but it looks sexy, and just plain feels special. This is BMW at its very best, bringing sheer emotion to the entry-luxury segment. For starters, the 228i is a sensuously designed two-door, not overly spacious in front or in back and as such, it feels like a very intimate and personal car. It’s longer than the old 1-Series by 2.8 inches; it’s more than an inch wider, too, and the styling is sleeker and more aggressive. A shoulder-level crease wraps around the car, culminating in a ducktail rear end with a subtle integrated spoiler. The hood looks longer, and the rear wheels also appear to flare out more. A 1.3-inch stretch in wheelbase adds space in the back seat, and the trunk has been enlarged as well. Even so, BMW says overall weight has not changed much compared to the 1-series. Our tester arrived with pretty much zero options besides the M Sport line contents, a $3,000 upgrade package that dresses up the car with aggressive front and rear fasciae and large 18-inch wheels. The cabin included a pair of delicious sport seats, a thick-rimmed padded leather steering wheel, and aluminum hexagon-pattern trim on the inside. Even sparsely equipped, the 2-Series doesn’t feel cheap. The “Sensatec” leatherette upholstery does a very convincing impression of cowhide, and the interior plastic parts look and feel expensive. Pecking around a bit, we noted what was missing: a moonroof, an integrated garage door opener, dual-zone climate control, premium audio, the wide-screen iDrive infotainment screen (a 6.5-inch screen is standard), navigation, and other extras. You can always add those features – for an added cost, of Continue Reading

New N. Plainfield sports bar features fresh, quality fare

NORTH PLAINFIELD – With a reputation for unhealthy, processed foods and dingy surroundings, families and couples tend to steer clear of sports bars.However, Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar, which will hold its grand opening at 1250 Route 22 East in North Plainfield on Sunday at 11 a.m., is paving the way to show that sports bars don’t need to sacrifice their food quality to make way for those looking for a cold beer.Arooga’s conscientious food options make it so that the bar and grill isn’t just for those looking to watch the game — it’s for everyone, including families looking to bring the kids or couples out for date night. READ: A spot for upscale dining or a cold brew at Capital Craft READ: Lubrano's celebrates 10 years of homemade pizza READ: Sip away the heat with these 11 summer cocktails That’s because visitors to Arooga’s can eat assured that their meal isn’t prepared by factory workers. All of their menu items are house-made and feature antibiotic-free and cage-free chicken and eggs paired with five award-winning sauces as well as 75 gluten-free items — with price tags ranging from $8.99 to $17.99."We are Whole Foods meets casual dining in a multimedia environment," said Cordell Toson, Millstone resident and owner of the North Plainfield location. Plus, to make the restaurant more family-friendly, a section separated from the bar called The Dugout takes up one side of Arooga's and features booth and table seating. This section also has access to televisions for those who want to bring their kids but still catch the game. “It’s a little bit of everything for somebody,” said Andrea Molina, hospitality and marketing manager for the North Plainfield location.Some of their signature menu items include the peanut butter and jelly burger ($11.79), the wagyu doughnut burger ($11.99), the Continue Reading

Financial crisis could take bite out of sports’ bottom line

So far, there are only hints of the fiscal contraction to come, some fraying at the udder of the cash cow that is New York professional sports. The Mets do not intend to substantially raise their player payroll for 2009, in part because of economic uncertainties. The Nets, having trouble again selling season tickets, are offering a buy-now, pay-later plan - hauntingly reminiscent of the consumer seduction that drew this whole country into a financial mire in the first place. GIANTS & JETS: WE HAD NO CHOICE ON PRICEY PSLsHere in New York, luxury suites have sold well at the new baseball stadiums, as the rich buy their thrones at the newest, cushiest castles. The hottest tickets are still hot, for now. But the middle-class fan is re-thinking his priorities. A reasonably priced ($1,599), four-seat package to the final six Jets home games, parking passes included, attracted zero bids last week as time expired on e-Bay. And prices on StubHub are down for most events, including baseball's playoffs, proving that even Red Sox Nation is watching its wallet to the north. As the global economic crisis deepens, the trickle-down effect is starting to sock sports - and will inevitably impact New York's battery of pro sports teams. Wall Street may lose 60,000 jobs before this is all done, which means the disappearance of both potential ticket buyers and sponsors along the way. Alex Rodriguez may never feel the pinch, but the next Alex Rodriguez may find it tougher to land that 10-year, $275 million contract. Transactions of every sort are getting second and third looks, often put on hold. Decisions on free agents may be delayed. Mark Cuban, who was one of the bidders negotiating with the Tribune Company to purchase the Cubs, says that because of the failing economy talks have broken off for now. PHOTO GALLERY: THE STADIUM NAME GAME"Historically, sports have been insulated from the business cycle," says Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College. Continue Reading

BMW 435i ZHP Coupe is an M car spelled with a Z

The 2016 BMW 435i ZHP Coupe Edition is the type of car that’s going to get you massive amounts of street cred, at least amongst diehard fans of the Bavarian automaker. Less than a full-bore M4, but far more than the typical 4 Series, this performance coupe has been fitted with some of the choicest parts from the BMW catalogue. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. This includes a Track Handling Package, which is new for the 2016 model year, and includes 18-inch Orbit Grey alloy wheels, M Sport brakes, along with Adaptive M Suspension and variable sport steering settings. Don’t worry, there’s more to come! The 4 Series ZHP also comes with an M Performance limited-slip differential, revised engine air intake, and a stainless-steel exhaust that is 8.8 lbs. lighter than stock. Software tweaks have also helped boost power and, according to BMW, helps to amplify exhaust “burble” in all driving conditions. This all adds up to some very real performance gains. Horsepower and torque are boosted to 335-hp and 332 lb.-ft. – though the latter figure dips to 317 lb.-ft. if you choose the 6-speed manual, versus the 8-speed automatic with paddle-shifters. READ ABOUT OTHER BMW MODELS. Yes, we know that some BMW fans will bristle over the fact the manual gearbox has less torque. You can’t please everyone, after all. BMW calculates the 435i ZHP as being 0.2 seconds quicker to 0-60 mph than the standard model, which equates to a run around 4.8 seconds. In case you're not in the loop with BMW trivia, the ZHP option code first rose to fame with the 2003-2006 E46 3 Series. Like this recent incarnation, it was a subtle way to add some hardcore performance hardware, but not quite the full-on M treatment (or M price). Sales begin in July, though BMW hasn’t pegged the 4 Series ZHP to a specific price. Continue Reading

Infiniti QX70 keeps the SPORT in sport-utility

There are a few cars and trucks that I consider true ‘sleepers,’ overlooked models that deserve to be sales homeruns, but for some reason get overlooked for less worthy models. The nimble and seductive Mazda6 midsize sedan is a perfect example. The gorgeous new Corvette Stingray is sometimes still saddled with the midlife-crisis-mobile badge, despite being a world class sports car. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. I’d include the 2015 Infiniti Q70 3.7 AWD amongst this company, too. This is a sport-utility that actually makes good on the promise of being sporty. The 3.7-liter V-6 delivers a strong 325-horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque, and comes paired with a 7-speed automatic gearbox. Working with the optional all-wheel-drive system, you have the power of a sports sedan and, believe it or not, this SUV also has the driving manners of one. I’m not talking about BMW M5 acceleration or Cadillac CTS-V top speed, naturally. But the QX70 has tons of street presence; it remains a great looking truck, especially when rolling on 21-inch black alloys, like our tester. And the fact that the handling is linear and consistent, the ride firm not punishing, and the straight-line speed is there whenever called upon…well, why don’t more people buy this Infiniti SUV? Possibly because they already have, perhaps several times over. The QX70 name is relatively new, but the core of this SUV stretches back more than a decade, to the first-generation Infiniti FX35 and FX45 released all the way back in the 2003 model year. READ ABOUT THE 2016 QX70. If you’re old enough to remember when they were new – I’m raising my hand – then you know how dramatically different this Infiniti was at the time, especially given the boxy lines and dull drives afforded by most of its contemporary sport-utes. Since it first arrived, the FX has had a couple facelifts, a cabin Continue Reading