Thank you, Tokyo Olympics, for bringing us the ‘beast mode’ we all needed

Many wanted the Tokyo Olympics cancelled, but in the end, they were incredible.

The best.

Pushing past the flimsiest steel barrier ever constructed, into a restricted area he clearly shouldn’t have had access to, Boxall ripped off his required mask and proceeded to… dry hump a fence like The Ultimate Warrior circa Wrestlemania 6?

Like I said. Beast Mode.

The best part: In the background, a Japanese Olympic official, doing her level best to provide resistance, raises her hands like a frightened gazelle and then succumbs. Slowly those raised hands are lowered, evolving into confused claps. OK, she seems to say. You’re here now. There’s nothing I can do about this. I’m just going to try and enjoy this front row seat to Beast Mode, starring Dean Boxall.

In this metaphor, Boxall is the Tokyo Olympics. Both as an event and an idea. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic both probably shouldn’t be here. As the world reels from the effects of the delta strain and global vaccine hesitancy, this is the Olympics no one asked for. Dean, what are you doing here? Bugger off, Dean. Now is not the time.

High jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi gave each other their gold medals. This is too much.

Me? I’m the Japanese official. We’re all the Japanese official. Nervous, unsure how to react, ultimately acquiescing to this moment completely out of our control. Even in Japan, the host country, people were protesting the Olympics. First we collectively raised our hands in passive resistance. Seconds later we were all clapping.

And we were clapping because Dean Boxall is awesome. Reckless, sure. But so awesome. The Olympics were reckless too — but also awesome.

This is what the Olympics delivers: Beast Mode direct to your screen and your heart. It’s in the business of providing iconic moments like Boxall’s. Moments that simultaneously inspire and subvert our sense of what’s possible. Weird shit, displays of pure athleticism.

Two men collapsing into one another’s arms when they realize they can share a gold medal instead of duelling to the death for it. Skateboarding girls cheering each other on, making quick friends in the face of fierce competition. Runners stumbling, falling over in potentially race-ending collisions, miraculously recovering to win races.

Incredible, awe-inspiring moments.

Maybe it’s because we live in a universe where moments like these are worshipped, contorted and shaped into GIFs, tweets and memes in an infinite social media content spiral, but it somehow feels like we’ve had more of these moments compared to previous Olympics. That these Olympic Games have meant more than we ever could have expected when we cynically, reluctantly invited them into our homes.

Personally, as a man living in Sydney, a city wrestling with strict lockdowns that could potentially last for months, the Olympics was been a salve I didn’t realize I needed. It was a welcome distraction as I juggled home-schooling, work and a near-permanent dread at the daily ritual of waiting for Sydney case numbers to drop so we can all go back outside and live relatively normal lives.

There were a million reasons why the Olympic Games shouldn’t have happened in 2021. A million reasons why we shouldn’t have watched and supported what is arguably an irresponsible event run for the wrong reasons. But it’s also equally possible that — this year — the Olympics were more useful than ever.

The Tokyo Olympics probably shouldn’t have happened because of COVID-19. But I’m also happy it happened — because of COVID-19. If that makes sense.

None of it makes sense.

But right now, sport — with its simple rules and digestible outcomes, with its warm blanket of normalcy and straightforward narratives of triumph over adversity — is maybe the only thing that makes sense.

The Olympics, much like Dean Boxall, busted its way into our homes and televisions and refused to leave. An unwelcome guest. But, like the uncertain Olympics official dealing with the uncontainable Boxall as he dry humped a fence, I’m glad the Olympics forced their way into my life. I couldn’t have done lockdown without it.

Is Tom Brady’s viral video real or fake?

Tom Brady is great, but he’s not that great. Is he?

The experts are calling “fake.”

“Training camp starts this week,” the quarterback for the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers writes. “I’m looking forward to having some actual receivers again…”

Brady is good, but this is Minnesota Fats trick shot good. And it turns out even an athlete as good as Brady needed some help with this one. When he posted the video on Instagram, Brady tagged video director Ari Fararooy and creative agency Shadow Lion, a company that was founded “with the goal of supporting Tom Brady’s off-field media efforts.”

Fararooy captioned the video on his own Instagram by saying, “haters will say it’s fake,” and then explained things/muddied the waters further by crediting himself as the director and person in charge of VFX (visual effects), Shadow Lion as the producer, and creative studio Warm N Fuzzy TV with the CGI, or computer-generated imagery.

Fararooy and representatives for Shadow Lion and Warm N Fuzzy TV didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. But urban-legends site Snopes.com seized on the viral video and started pointing out that, in addition to the credits given to people who work to create special effects, there are other indicators that this isn’t real.

Snopes points out a three-tweet thread from the Captain Disillusion account, which often points out and explains fake or misleading images and videos.

“Note how the patch of the background behind/above the machine wobbles differently from the rest of the environment,” the account noted. “It’s hiding a person who was catching/throwing back the ball I guess. Also……check out how the machine & its cord slide around on the field. The perfect isolation and the single rigid toy bounce with which it falls tell me it’s CG! They prob didn’t want to crash a real machine because for some reason they cost $2K dollars.”

Fake or real, fans had fun with Brady’s video, Remember that deflated football issue back when Brady was with the New England Patriots? Twitter users sure do.

“Is that fully inflated?” wrote Andrew Feinberg.

Another person thought the machine could make an NFL team, writing, “Sign that thing to a 3yr 15mil contract.”

Said one Twitter user of the video, “I can’t tell if this is real or nah.”

And someone else responded, “the fact that we have to consider it, shows his greatness lmao.”

It won’t be long before Brady will be out there throwing for real again. The Bucs’ first preseason game is Aug. 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Bucs will play the Dallas Cowboys in the first real game of the NFL season on Sept. 9.

Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers to take part of salary in Bitcoin

The MVP quarterback is partnering with Cash App to facilitate the crypto payment.

“I’m excited about the future of cryptocurrency, and am a big believer in Bitcoin,” Rodgers said in a release from Square, the parent company of Cash App.

Cash App is an app-based money transfer service that allows people to send and receive money. People can also buy and sell stock shares, as well as Bitcoin, using the app. Pro football athletes are starting to invest in Bitcoin. Earlier this year, Kansas City tight end Sean Culkin became the first NFL player to convert his entire salary in Bitcoin.

In the video posted to Rodgers’ official social media accounts Monday afternoon, the star quarterback is wearing a Halloween costume. Rodgers dressed as action movie protagonist John Wick. The video starts with Rodgers taking a drink, then looking at the camera to say, “Bitcoin to the moon,” before going over the details of his partnership and the sweepstakes.

The week-long $1 million Bitcoin social giveaway campaign began at 1 p.m. PT on Monday and runs through Nov. 8.

Surfing at the Tokyo Olympics: How to watch and what to know

Surfing is [cough] making waves at the Tokyo Olympics.

Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in Japan. Athletes will surf at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan.

Check out the full Olympic schedule of events here.

There are many types of surfboards, but the primary categories include shortboard and longboard. Olympic surfers will use shortboards, which are known for their pointed noses and excellent maneuverability.

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you’re a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package — pay an upfront fee and you’ll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads.

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It’s a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

US residents don’t need a cable or satellite TV subscription in order to watch the Olympics on NBC’s family of channels. NBC itself will be the main channel, but you’ll also find coverage on NBCN, CNBC, USA Network, Olympics Channel, Golf Channel and Telemundo. The major live TV streaming services include most or all of these NBC-related channels, and each one includes NBC though not in every market. The Olympics will also stream in 4K HDR on two of the services, FuboTV and YouTube TV.

Surfing consists primarily of two disciplines: shortboard and longboard. At the Tokyo Olympics, all athletes will surf shortboard. A shortboard refers to any board that’s shorter than seven feet in length. They usually have a pointed nose and are lightweight. They’re designed to be quick and accurate, and are more suited to fast and powerful waves than are longboards.

Judges will rate athletes on the type and difficulty of maneuvers performed. One example of an advanced surfing move is the aerial, where a surfer finds a ramp within a wave and launches off of the lip, gains air and lands back on the face of the wave. For even more jaw drops, a surfer would spin in a complete circle while in the air and still manage to land gracefully — a surfing move known as the 360.

The judges will also account for speed, power and flow. Like other Olympic events, judges will score surfers from 1 to 10 with two decimals, for example, 7.91.

Only one surfer may ride a wave at any given time, and athletes may lose points for failing to use common surfer etiquette, which rules that the surfer closest to the peak of a wave has right of way for that wave.

Amazon’s NFL Thursday Night Football exclusive now starts in 2022

The technology giant and the NFL are bumping up the start date for their new agreement.

As per the earlier announcement, Amazon will carry 15 Thursday Night Football games as one well as one preseason NFL game. The deal runs through the 2032 NFL season.

Although Amazon has been streaming Thursday Night Football games on its Prime Video platform for the past few seasons, it was doing so in conjunction with a traditional broadcaster like Fox. The NFL’s new deal marked the first time a streaming platform would be the sole home for the games without a traditional TV partner, with Amazon saying Monday that additional production details will be shared “in the coming months.”

How to rewatch the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics

Missed the opening ceremony? Here’s how to rewatch…

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony takes place at Japan’s new Olympic Stadium.

NBC rebroadcast the event at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) Friday, but that’s been and gone. Thankfully, NBC’s Peacock streaming service also has a page for the opening ceremony, noting it will be streamable the day after it airs.

In addition the Opening Ceremony and the replay will also stream in 4K HDR on two services, FuboTV and YouTube TV. See below for details.

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: Watch in 4K HDR with FuboTV, YouTube TV or broadcast

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, but only in 11 major markets. Unless you live in one of those markets, you won’t be able to stream NBC live. Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area. Read our YouTube TV review.

To watch in 4K HDR you’ll need to subscribe to be signed up for the company’s new 4K option that costs an extra $20 per month on top of the $65 regular monthly rate — although there’s a 30-day free trial that’s long enough to last through the entire Olympics. The 4K feed isn’t available in every market however; here’s the full list.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code. Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes the five NBC channels. Click here to see which local channels you get. Read our FuboTV review.

Unlike YouTube TV, Fubo’s 4K coverage of the Olympics doesn’t cost anything extra. Unfortunately it’s only available in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Boston.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes NBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live. Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. Peacock won’t show the Opening Ceremonies live but you’ll be able to watch the replay on either of the Premium plans. Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier), and all allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

In the UK the BBC and Eurosport have the rights to the Tokyo Olympics. It was broadcast live on BBC One and available to stream on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. Now it’s over, you’ll be able to catch up on iPlayer.

Much like in the UK, the Tokyo Olympics is available to watch on free-to-air TV. The opening ceremony will be available to rewatch via the 7plus streaming service.

Want to watch the Olympics via a streaming service from another country, or in another language? Try a VPN to change your IP address. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Triller wants anyone who illegally streamed Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren to pay up

“It is no different than walking into a store and stealing a video game off the shelf,” said Triller’s head of piracy Matt St. Claire.

Jake Paul defeated Ben Askren in one of the biggest combat sports events of the year.

According to Triller, if those payments are not made, the company will pursue the full $150,000 fine for anyone they can prove streamed the content illegally.

“VPNs all have to comply and turn over the actual IP addresses of each person who stole the fight in discovery,” Triller’s head of piracy Matt St. Claire told Reuters.

“We will be able to identify each and every person, VPN or not, as each stream has a unique fingerprint embedded in the content.”

The request is connected to a lawsuit filed by Triller against the owners of the H3Podcast website among others, who it accused of streaming the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren event. Triller believe upwards of 2 million people watched the fight illegally. News regarding the suit was first broken by Kevin Iole. Triller believes it lost $100 million as a result of illegal streams.

“We are taking this position because it is outright theft,” St. Claire said. “It is no different than walking into a store and stealing a video game off the shelf.”

Regardless of the piracy, the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren was huge success by most metrics. Analysts believe the event sold somewhere between 1.2 and 1.6 million PPVs, which is a massive number compared to most recent boxing or MMA live events. The fight itself, however, ended somewhat anti-climatically, after Jake Paul knocked out Ben Askren in the first round.

His brother, Logan Paul, is set to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in June this year.

French Open 2020: Tennis schedule, how to watch and more

Cord-cutting tennis fans have many options for livestreaming the matches on the red clay of Roland-Garros.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams will go for her 24th Grand Slam singles title to tie the legendary Margaret Court. Defending French Open champion Ash Barty is not playing due to coronavirus concerns, and Naomi Osaka is skipping the tournament with a hamstring injury, but the women’s draw is still loaded with 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Karolína Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin and Kiki Bertens all playing.

Rafael Nadal has his eye on his 13th French Open title as the tournament gets underway not in May but September this year.

First-round matches begin on Sunday, Sept. 27. The women’s final is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10, and men’s final is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11.

The tournament will be broadcast on the Tennis Channel and NBC. NBC’s new streaming service, Peacock — which is finally coming to Roku — will also show some third- and fourth-round matches from Saturday, Oct. 3 through Monday, Oct. 5.

Coverage starts at 5 a.m. ET and ends at 3 p.m. ET most days. Early round coverage is on the Tennis Channel, with NBC picking up afternoon coverage on the weekends. The men’s and women’s semifinal and final round matches are on NBC.

You can livestream the tournament on TennisChannel.com and NBCSports.com, but you will need to prove you have a pay TV subscription. Serious tennis fans can subscribe to Tennis Channel Plus for $110 a year to stream the match live from the French Open and hundreds of other tournaments.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can watch the French Open with a live-TV streaming service. For the big matches at the end of the tournament on NBC, however, you will need to make sure you can get a live feed of NBC in your area. In some markets, you can watch on-demand but not live content from NBC and the other local networks.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch matches on NBC for free just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

NBC is included in Sling TV’s $30-a-month Blue package. The Tennis Channel is part of the Sports Extra package, which you can add to Sling Blue for an extra $10 a month. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and the Tennis Channel. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes NBC. The $11-a-month Sports Plus package adds the Tennis Channel. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV Now’s basic $55-a-month Plus package includes NBC but there is no way to get Tennis Channel. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes NBC but not the Tennis Channel. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. You need one of the Premium plans to watch French Open matches live.

Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier), and all allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

EA Sports removing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22

The disgraced former Raiders coach will be replaced with a generic likeness.

EA Sports is scrubbing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22.

Gruden’s resignation came after The New York Times detailed emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist statements about a union leader.

One of the higher-profile coaches in the league, Gruden won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before becoming a top analyst for ESPN. He returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the Raiders, which he had coached years before.

According to the gaming news website Kotaku, which reported the removal earlier this week, in addition to re-creating NFL players, Madden NFL 22 shows each team’s head coach on the sidelines and cuts to them frequently throughout games. They’re also part of the game setup process.

March Madness Championship: How to stream Baylor vs. Gonzaga tonight on CBS

The final showdown in the NCAA’s men’s March Madness tournament takes place tonight.

The biggest game of the Big Dance airs tonight on CBS at 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT). Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 men’s tournament.

Jalen Suggs, No. 1, celebrates with his Gonzaga teammates after making a game-winning three-pointer in overtime during the 2021 NCAA Final Four semifinal.

Tip-off for tonight’s contest is set for 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT) on CBS.

Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top teams in the tournament, each a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. After Illinois was knocked out early in the tourney, Michigan lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight, leaving just Gonzaga and Baylor as the only top seeds standing heading into the Final Four.

Those two teams will play for the title Monday night, but those looking to relive the tourney can find the full bracket on the NCAA’s website.

Yes, you can.

Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV all offer CBS, which is what you’ll need to catch the final game. They start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV’s $35 per month Orange and Blue packages do not have CBS.

You can also get CBS with an antenna or with Paramount Plus, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.

The game will be available to stream on the NCAA’s March Madness Live website and app, with the tournament’s CBS-broadcasted games — including tonight’s championship decider — available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.

Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes CBS. You can use its channel lookup tool to see if you get a live feed of CBS and the other local networks in your ZIP code.

You can watch the CBS games on Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access), if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month or $10 a month for no commercials.

FuboTV costs $60 a month and includes CBS. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Outside the US? Consider using a VPN: CNET editors choose the best VPN

The NCAA took a number of precautions to protect players, coaches and fans and to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to disrupt play. Usually, the tournament is spread all across the country in various venues, but this year, to reduce travel, all 67 men’s games are taking place in Indiana with the bulk of the action happening in Indianapolis. Teams were also required to quarantine upon arrival, and in-person attendance by fans is limited to 25% capacity to allow physical distancing.

COVID-19 also has impacted some games, with Oregon advancing past VCU in the first round due to the Rams’ having multiple positive tests.

Per the NCAA, this year’s tournament was played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts) plus Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler’s stadium), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (home of the IUPUI Jaguars), Mackey Arena in West Lafayette (Purdue’s arena) and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington (home of the Indiana Hoosiers).

The National Championship will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On March 18, the NCAA tweeted out more images of this year’s floor layout for the courts at Lucas Oil Stadium.