Running back Saquon Barkley dodged and bulled his way to a 5-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage in Sunday’s game between the Giants and Denver Broncos. Barkley, the cynosure of the Giants’ offense until a torn knee ligament kept him out of 14 games last season, seemed whole again, and the home fans at a packed MetLife Stadium leapt to their feet in response.
Moments later, the Giants third-year quarterback, Daniel Jones, threw a 42-yard pass to his favorite receiver, Darius Slayton, which advanced the Giants into Denver territory. There was more unbridled euphoria in the grandstand.
But then the Giants lost eight yards on the next two plays, squandering any chance of scoring even a field goal. One drive later, the Giants ran three desultory plays without gaining a yard and punted. Soon they were trailing Denver by three points. Then by 10 points, then by 17.
A new Giants season suddenly looked no different than last year’s 10-loss disappointment. The fans slumped back into their seats.
The opening day of a football season always has an air of rebirth — until it feels like a repeat.
As the final seconds of Denver’s thorough 27-13 thumping of the Giants wound down — the home team would score a meaningless touchdown on the game’s final play — the MetLife stands were mostly empty. That had been the case last season, because of pandemic restrictions. The void this time, however, felt different, especially since the remaining soundtrack of the event was the raucous cheering of a few thousand Broncos fans.
In the end, Barkley rushed for only 26 yards on 10 carries. Jones, charged with reducing the costly turnovers that have been the scourge of his first two seasons as a starter, lost a fumble deep in Denver territory at a pivotal juncture of the game. The Giants’ much ballyhooed defense repeatedly failed to force the Broncos off the field as Denver converted seven of 15 third-downs — and all three fourth-down tries.
It left Joe Judge, the second-year Giants coach, cognizant of why Giants fans scurried for the MetLife Stadium exits by the midpoint of the fourth quarter, if not earlier.
“We have to earn their respect,” Judge said of the fans. “We have to give them something to cheer about. There was great energy and a great atmosphere in the stadium but we’ve got to do more as a team to make them want to stay and cheer.”
The star of the game was the resurgent Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who completed 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards and two touchdown passes. The less-observed constituent who had significant impact on the outcome was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, the former Giants coach who on Sunday flummoxed his old team’s defense.
Jones completed 22 of 37 passes for one touchdown. Neither quarterback had an interception and each was sacked twice, although Bridgewater faced only sporadic pressure from the Giants pass rush.
After a 15-play drive that took nearly nine minutes, Denver opened the game’s scoring in the second quarter with a 23-yard field goal by Brandon McManus. On their next possession, the Giants came out aggressively on first down with Jones throwing a 17-yard pass over the middle to receiver Kenny Golladay, one of the team’s foremost off-season free agent acquisitions.
Four plays and a defensive pass interference penalty later, the Giants pushed into the Broncos’ end of the field. On a first down, Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured Giant, ran a lengthy crossing route and caught a precise Jones pass before diving into the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown that gave the home team a 7-3 lead.
In roughly two minutes at the end of the first half, led by the poise, elusiveness and accuracy of Bridgewater, Denver had regained the lead. Bridgewater completed six consecutive passes, the last a 2-yard touchdown toss to Tim Patrick that sent the Broncos into the game’s intermission with a 10-7 lead.
Denver picked up where it left off after receiving the second-half kickoff. Although the Broncos’ running game was nonexistent, the Giants’ pass defense was still overwhelmed, in part because the feeble Giants offense kept it on the field for so much of the game.
It took the Broncos 16 plays to traverse 75 yards, as Bridgewater continually used his legs to extend plays. On the final play of the drive, a fourth-and-1 at the Giants 4-yard line, Bridgewater scrambled to his right as he was closely pursued by Giants safety Xavier McKinney, who was grasping at Bridgewater’s headgear and shoulder pads. On the run, Bridgewater flipped the football into the end zone where Albert Okwuegbunam made an acrobatic catch in traffic for the Broncos’ second touchdown, extending their lead to 17-7.
On the following possession, the Giants did mount a comeback — of sorts.
After the Giants advanced to the Denver 22-yard line, Jones burst through the middle of the Broncos defensive front for a 7-yard run then wrapped two hands around the football in an attempt to prevent a fumble. But Denver linebacker Josey Jewell punched the ball free from Jones’s grasp and Jewell’s teammate Malik Reed fell on the football at the Denver 15-yard line. Once again, a promising Giants possession ended with a Jones turnover that resulted in a 36-yard McManus field goal that increased the Giants deficit to 20-7.
The game was, at that point, all but over.
Boxer Manny Pacquiao Joins Filipino Presidential Race
MANILA — Former boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has shuffled his way into the presidential race in the Philippines.
Mr. Pacquiao, the country’s best-known athlete, already holds a seat in the Senate but faces tough opposition as a presidential candidate. He was formerly the president of the PDP-Laban, the ruling party in the Philippines, before being ousted by a faction loyal to President Rodrigo Duterte, whose government Mr. Pacquiao has accused of corruption.
“To government officials who continue to rob government coffers, you will soon find others in jail,” Mr. Pacquiao warned on Sunday when he announced his candidacy. “Your time is up.”
The constitution bars Mr. Duterte from seeking a second six-year term in the May election. He has instead said he would run for vice president, in what some analysts have described as an attempt to avoid prosecution from the International Criminal Court. The I.C.C. last week announced an investigation into Mr. Duterte’s antidrug campaign, which critics have said was marred by extrajudicial killings.
Christopher Lawrence Go, a senator and Mr. Duterte’s longtime aide, was considered a party favorite for the presidential nomination, but he has yet to announce his candidacy. The president and the vice president are elected separately in the Philippines. If both men were to win, analysts said, Mr. Go could step aside for Mr. Duterte or let him rule the country by proxy, allowing him to escape prosecution.
Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter and the mayor of Davao City, said she would not seek the presidency if her father continued with his plans to run for vice president.
All candidate must submit their final filings in October.
Mr. Pacquiao, 42, signaled a break with Mr. Duterte earlier this year when he accused the government’s health department of corruption tied to the coronavirus pandemic and the purchasing of face masks and other protective equipment. The senator, who as a boxer won world titles in a record eight weight classes, was once an ally of Mr. Duterte, but recently became more critical of the president.
“We are ready to rise to the challenge of leadership,” Mr. Pacquiao said on Sunday when he accepted the nomination from his faction of the party.
“It is now time for the oppressed to win,” he said. “It is now time for the country to rise up from poverty.”
Aries Arugay, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, said that he was not surprised by Mr. Pacquiao’s announcement but that the boxer may be in over his head. While Mr. Pacquiao is internationally recognized, “he is not ready” to be president, Mr. Arugay said, adding that Mr. Pacquiao had not passed any major legislation.
“His performance at the Senate was underwhelming,” he said. “However, that has not prevented people and politicians in the past from winning public office.”
Mr. Pacquiao has also been a vocal supporter of Mr. Duterte’s bloody antidrug campaign.
The Commission on Elections will have to settle the matter of the separate factions of the PDP-Laban before the final candidacies are filed in October. If Mr. Duterte’s faction emerges with a clear mandate, Mr. Pacquiao will likely step aside or run as an independent, chipping away at Mr. Duterte’s chances of regaining public office, Mr. Arugay said.
Melvin Matibag, the general secretary of PDP-Laban and the leader of the pro-Duterte wing of the party, said that Mr. Pacquiao was acting against the party’s wishes by announcing his candidacy.
The meeting on Sunday during which Mr. Pacquiao announced his candidacy was “not sanctioned nor called by the party’s chairman, President Duterte,” Mr. Matibag said Monday on national radio.
In a Scheduling First, Pac-12 and SWAC Plan Home-and-Home Basketball Games
Pac-12 leaders similarly welcomed the home-and-home agreement, which Bernard Muir, Stanford’s athletic director, predicted would “open our eyes and our fan bases to an opportunity that we don’t traditionally get.”
“Certainly, there’s games that occur between Power 5s and H.B.C.U.s, but to do this across the board in both conferences, I think it’s really unique,” he said.
Dana Altman, Oregon’s coach since 2010, said he expected the trips to become important learning experiences for players in the two leagues. In an interview, he recalled a 1999 trip to Mississippi Valley State, in Itta Bena, Miss., with one of his Creighton teams as revelatory.
“It was good at the time, just that our guys went to a small campus in a very small town,” said Altman, who once had Florida A&M’s coach, Robert McCullum, on his staff at Oregon. “I think this trip will be good for our players, especially when they learn about the school and get some of the history of the school.”
Some SWAC schools, officials said, are considering playing their home games under the arrangement at bigger, off-campus arenas in their areas.
Although the SWAC commands large home crowds for football games — the most of any conference outside the Power 5 or Group of 5 leagues that dominate Division I football — it has struggled to draw audiences for men’s basketball. For the 2019-20 season, the league ranked 29th of the 32 Division I conferences in home basketball attendance, and its schools averaged fewer than 1,600 people per home game.
The Pac-12’s schools, by contrast, typically drew more than 7,000 fans per game.
Jason Cable, the athletic director at Alabama State, said U.S.C.’s appearance there in 2023 would be the university’s most significant nonconference game at home in memory. He said that the exposure and opportunity would be valuable to a university like Alabama State, the lone Division I school in Montgomery, and he predicted that those benefits would outweigh the value of a check that would be earned through another road trip.
The Mannings Give TV Sports Yet Another Alternate Viewing Option
“We really lean into a specific driver for a little bit longer, and it creates a stronger bond between the driver and audience,” Flood said.
If the future of sports watching is fans choosing exactly the kind of announcer or experience they want, why not take the idea further? Amazon, which shows N.F.L. games on Thursdays and owns the rights for a number of different sports in Europe, already provides several different commentary streams for those games.
But Amazon also owns Twitch, the streaming platform most heavily associated with video games — where at any given moment you can find thousands of people, some of them professionals with a huge audience and some of them amateurs with no audience, commenting while playing video games or doing other things. Amazon has shown some games on Twitch with handpicked and hired hosts, but it is not a free-for-all open to thousands of different commentators.
For one, there is a rights issue. The N.F.L. sells Amazon the right to do very specific things, which does not include allowing anybody who wants to comment on games on Twitch, and therefore allow anybody to watch on Twitch and bypass traditional ways of viewing.
But even if they could do so, Marie Donoghue, the head of global sports at Amazon, is not sure they would want to. “We don’t know if infinite choice is what fans want,” she said. “We do think fans want great optionality, but we have to learn, because if you give fans infinite choice it may become overwhelming, and they get lost in the experience.”
Infinite may not be on the horizon then, but more certainly is.
Next year, when Amazon actually produces the N.F.L. games they show, there will almost certainly be more options. Meier said Triller was getting ready to “rock the world with a completely new concept” in boxing, while Rolón said ESPN would expand its alternate telecasts as technology allowed it to do so.