Tranquill won Chess.com’s “BlitzChamps II” event over several other current and former NFL players on Friday, earning the right to call himself the league’s best chess player.
“I’m so excited just to be a part of this. I’ve never really played in a chess tournament at all. I have just enjoyed playing chess throughout my time in the NFL,” Tranquill told Chess.com. “This was so cool to get out here and raise some money for charity.”
Indeed, Tranquill’s efforts garnered a $25,000 donation from Chess.com to a charity of his choice. It was the largest donation from the $100,000 prize fund that was split between the eight competitors, which included former Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, San Francisco 49ers’ defensive lineman Arik Armstead and Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray.
The competition: Kadarius Toney vs. Rashee Rice vs. Richie James
Patrick Mahomes proved effortlessly in 2022 that he doesn’t need a traditional No. 1 WR to own the NFL, though of course tight end Travis Kelce makes a difference. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is all but locked into a starting gig, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman gone, snaps are up for grabs. Toney easily has the most juice as a new Swiss Army Knife for Andy Reid, but James quietly thrived as a high-volume target with the Giants late last year.
Touchdown Wire recently took a look at the average ticket prices for every NFL team, listing the tickets priced from lowest to highest. According to data from the folks at TicketSmarter, the average Chiefs ticket prices on the resale market are the highest in the NFL at $577. That’s up $200 over last season when the average ticket for a game in Kansas City cost $371.
This shouldn’t come as a major surprise as the Chiefs are the NFL’s reigning Super Bowl champions after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. That’s always going to lead to a bump in ticket prices on the resale market — even for the losing side. Philly saw a $336 increase in their resale ticket prices from last season, which is good for the largest jump in the NFL.
Orlando Brown Jr. on blocking for Joe Burrow:— Jordan Foote (@footenoted) June 26, 2023
“Now, as opposed to having to play in a lot more space with guys on my edge, guys have got to rush through me because Joe isn’t necessarily at 12-1/2 or 13 yards on certain drops. He’s going to be at 7-1/2 getting the ball out.”
Around the NFL
PICK: Cincinnati Bengals
I’m going with a team that has been oh so close to success, only to fall agonizingly short: the Bengals. Cincinnati has yet to win a Super Bowl despite making three appearances, with the last being a 3-point loss to the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals nearly notched a fourth last season, but their bid to represent the AFC on Super Sunday was ruined by a 3-point loss to the eventual champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. In the 32 seasons between their two most recent Super Bowl appearances, Cincinnati posted a winning percentage of .412 (209-299-4), worse than all but three teams (Cleveland, Detroit and Arizona) in that span. But now, the Super Bowl window is open, with Joe Burrow leading the charge. Who Dey nation needs this.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen ran his fastest time in the 110-meter hurdles this year Saturday at the USATF NYC Grand Prix.
Allen ran in a time of 13.04 seconds — tied for the fourth-fastest in the world this year — and finished second behind Daniel Roberts, who had a 13.01.
Allen has improved his time in each of the five 110-meter hurdles he has competed in this year, starting with the event at the Penn Relays, where he won with a time of 13.46 in April.
9. Tyrann Mathieu
Tyrann Mathieu at age 31 doesn’t play quite like the whirling dervish of his early years that earned him the “Honey Badger” moniker and 2010s All-Decade Team accolades, but he still remains stout in coverage. Mathieu was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded safety in coverage last season with a grade of 88.1. He earned the mark by only surrendering 7.6 yards per reception when targeted (tied for the fourth-fewest among safeties with a minimum of 500 coverage snaps), as well as just a 65.9 passer rating when targeted (the sixth-fewest among safeties with a minimum of 500 coverage snaps). The LSU product’s return home to Louisiana last season with the New Orleans Saints helped Dennis Allen maintain a top-10 scoring defense, 20.3 points per game allowed (ninth-fewest in the NFL), in his first season as New Orleans’ head coach.
As long as he remains healthy — he did play all 17 games in his 10th NFL season in 2022 — Mathieu should continue to age gracefully as one of the league’s best at the position.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
What is the Chiefs’ contingency plan at offensive tackle?
Going into this offseason, the biggest priority for the Chiefs was what they would do with the offensive tackle position. Former tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie were free agents, and the Chiefs decided not to re-sign either player to a long-term extension. They would need to replace two starting tackles in one offseason, which is never easy.
Kansas City was aware of this, going out on the first day of free agency and giving former Jacksonville Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor a massive four-year, $80 million contract. Taylor’s pass protection pedigree and skill are considerably better than either Wylie’s or Brown’s, so it made sense the Chiefs decided to pivot to him as a long-term solution at tackle.
Going into the NFL Draft, there was a lot of speculation that the Chiefs still wanted to take another tackle with a premium draft pick. The Chiefs brought in tackles Broderick Jones, Anton Harrison and Darnell Wright for top-30 visits — but all three were drafted before the Chiefs’ pick at 31.
The Chiefs would eventually take a tackle, selecting Oklahoma tackle Wanya Morris in the third round. Morris was a touted high-school prospect with a ton of athletic potential, but he fell because he still needed development before he could play at an NFL level.