On this day in sport: Niners take Smith as Rodgers slides, Long & Gayle set records

By Sports Desk April 23, 2020

A large part of sport's huge appeal is the chance for the seemingly impossible to be achieved.

Shane Long and Chris Gayle realised that potential on April 23, each entering the record books in their respective sports.

Long and Gayle etched their name into the history books for delivering in quick time, but on this date 15 years ago Aaron Rodgers' NFL Draft experience was anything but swift.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 23.

 

1991: Borg way past his best on comeback

Having initially retired as an 11-time grand slam champion in 1984, Borg made his return to the tennis court, but was a shadow of his former self.

The 34-year-old proved too slow to compete with Jordi Arrese at the Monte Carlo Open, his Spanish opponent easing to a 6-2 6-3 win in just 78 minutes.

Borg went on to suffer first-round exits in 12 tournaments before putting the racquet down for good.

2005: Niners go with Smith over Rodgers

The San Francisco 49ers held the first pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and the sentimental choice was clear.

Quarterback Rodgers, a Northern California native who had starred across the bay from San Francisco in Berkeley for the California Golden Bears and grew up a 49ers fan, was among the cream of the crop.

However, instead of selecting Rodgers, the 49ers went with Utah quarterback Alex Smith, leading to a now-infamous draft-day slide.

Rodgers was eventually selected 24th overall by the Green Bay Packers and, as Smith experienced a rollercoaster career with the Niners, went on to establish himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

He won a Super Bowl with Green Bay at the end of the 2010 season, but revenge over the Niners has not been forthcoming. Rodgers has faced the 49ers three times in the playoffs and lost on all three occasions, including in last season's NFC Championship game.

2013: Universe boss sends records world records tumbling

West Indies star Chris Gayle is famed for his explosive batting, and he delivered in record-breaking fashion seven years ago.

Playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, Gayle struck an incredible unbeaten 175 against Pune Warriors.

Hitting 13 fours and a scarcely believable 17 sixes in a memorable 66-ball stay, Gayle set records for the fastest Twenty20 century and the highest T20 score of all time.

It truly was a day on which the self-titled 'Universe Boss' lived up to his moniker.

2019: Shane didn't need long to score

April 23, 2019 is a date Ledley King may want to forget, as the former Tottenham defender saw his record for the fastest Premier League goal broken by Shane Long.

The Southampton striker needed just 7.69 seconds to score in a 1-1 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road.

His effort was over two seconds quicker than King's, who netted for Spurs after 10 seconds against Bradford City back on December 9, 2000.

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    Mauricio Pochettino and Raul are waiting in the wings to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

    Madrid head coach Zidane is in danger of losing his job following Tuesday's Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

    Los Blancos have suffered back-to-back defeats and three in their past five outings across all competitions to be seven points adrift in LaLiga and on the cusp of Champions League elimination.

    Thursday's Mundo Deportivo, Diario AS and Sport report former Tottenham boss Pochettino and Madrid Castilla coach Raul are eyeing the hot seat.

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    - Bayern Munich star David Alaba is hoping to strike a January agreement with Chelsea, according to Fabrizio Romano's 'Here We Go Podcast'. Alaba is a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    Juventus have shown an interest in Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti, according to Calciomercato. Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic are also on the shortlist.

    Madrid are eyeing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, reports Calciomercato. The Uruguay international has also caught the attention of LaLiga rivals Barca.

    - What does the future hold for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? Heavily linked to United, Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and even Barca, Calciomercato says Juve are monitoring the Norwegian closely.

  • Tomlin scathing of Steelers despite 11th straight win: It was really junior varsity Tomlin scathing of Steelers despite 11th straight win: It was really junior varsity

    Mike Tomlin was brutal in his assessment of the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite maintaining their unbeaten start to the NFL season.

    The Steelers improved to 11-0 – the 13th team to achieve the feat in the Super Bowl era – courtesy of Wednesday's hard-fought 19-14 victory over the Lamar Jackson-less Baltimore Ravens.

    It was a scrappy encounter at Heinz Field, where the clash went ahead after being rescheduled three times due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Ravens organisation.

    The Steelers stand alone in the NFL, but head coach Tomlin was far from impressed with his team's performance.

    "It was really junior varsity, to be quite honest with you," Tomlin said post-game. "It was in all three phases. We couldn't run the ball effectively when we needed to.

    "We dropped too many significant passes, very catchable, makeable passes. We didn't make significant plays in the special teams game.

    "Our kick-off coverage unit wasn't good enough. We turned the ball over. We gave up big plays in critical moments on defense. Can't have it."

    Tomlin continued: "[The Ravens] converted a long run on a possession down before the half. Unacceptable. They had a 70-yard touchdown late in the game. Unacceptable.

    "We're fortunate tonight. It's good to proceed with the victory. I acknowledge that. But not a lot happened tonight to be proud of or to be excited about other than that."

    "We make no excuses," he said. "We seek no comfort. We didn't play well, coach well tonight."

    Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 36 of 51 passes for 266 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

    Roethlisberger was 13-0 as a starter in 2004, now he is 11-0 this season. The two-time Super Bowl champion joined Peyton Manning (2005 and 2009) as the only QBs since at least 1950 to win each of their first 11 starts in a season twice, per NFL Research.

    According to Stats Perform, Roethlisberger is also the first quarterback to have four consecutive games with 250-plus passing yards and no sacks taken since Dan Marino in 1988.

    "I need to be more accurate with my passes," Roethlisberger said. "I need to give them better chances to make the plays. There weren't some plays made today when they needed to be."

  • Steelers overcome Ravens to improve to 11-0 Steelers overcome Ravens to improve to 11-0

    The Pittsburgh Steelers maintained their unbeaten record in the NFL this season with a 19-14 win over the depleted Baltimore Ravens.

    The Steelers became the 13th team to start a season 11-0 in the Super Bowl era after a scrappy win at Heinz Field.

    Ben Roethlisberger completed 36 of 51 passes for 266 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Pittsburgh.

    Depleted after a coronavirus outbreak, with star Lamar Jackson among those sidelined, Baltimore struggled, slipping to 6-5 and further behind their rivals, while they are also adrift of the Cleveland Browns (8-3) in the AFC North.

    Taking Jackson's place, Robert Griffin III was seven of 12 for 33 yards and an interception, while he rushed for 68 yards before being replaced by Trace McSorley.

    The win meant the Steelers swept the Ravens for just a second time in 12 seasons.

    Rescheduled three times after a coronavirus outbreak at the Ravens, the Week 12 clash finally went ahead on Wednesday.

    After early turnovers by both teams, it was fitting the opening score came via a pick six.

    Joe Haden intercepted a Griffin pass and took it 14 yards to put the Steelers ahead.

    Another mistake handed the Ravens a chance, though, after Ray-Ray McCloud fumbled, the error punished as Gus Edwards rushed in for a TD.

    But neither team was able to get much going offensively, with the Steelers taking a 12-7 half-time lead following two Chris Boswell field goals.

    The Ravens finished the first half with 11 net passing yards. Only the Denver Broncos (zero) against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday had fewer first-half passing yards in a game this season, as per NFL Research.

    Pittsburgh extended their lead early in the fourth, Roethlisberger finding JuJu Smith-Schuster to complete a 12-play, 61-yard drive.

    After replacing Griffin, McSorley combined with Marquise Brown for 70 yards with three minutes remaining to give the Ravens hope.

    But Roethlisberger and James Washington combined for a crucial play for the Steelers to keep them unbeaten.

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