There was no shortage of stars on show on Tuesday as the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Lakers on the road. A clash of such magnitude, pitting Giannis Antetokounmpo against LeBron James and Anthony Davis would normally be the highlight of a Los Angeles sports week, but this is no ordinary Los Angeles sports week.

Indeed, Giannis, LeBron and Co. were in the position of warm-up act as Los Angeles plays host to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on Sunday. In a city they and the Los Angeles Dodgers have long since dominated, the Lakers must reconcile themselves with playing second fiddle as the Rams attempt to win their first Super Bowl for the city of Los Angeles.

That the Rams are part of the headline act is not especially surprising given their level of elite talent and the blockbuster trade for quarterback Matthew Stafford made with this end goal in mind. What is more eyebrow-raising is that any fallout from the latest Lakers defeat will quickly be buried for hype surrounding a title game involving the team that arrived at LAX prior to tip-off at Crypto.com Arena.

Cincinnati's is a true tale of the underdog. From 4-11 last year with their number one overall pick Joe Burrow tearing his knee ligaments in 2020, to a 10-7 campaign and consistent Houdini acts under pressure from Burrow in postseason wins over the Las Vegas Raiders, top-seeded Tennessee Titans and three-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals are the team nobody saw coming.

And, going into Sunday's meeting with the Rams, they are the team few expect to pull off a shock again despite their evident proclivity for upsetting the odds.

Antetokounmpo's sublime 44-point effort, in which he silenced a Lakers crowd trying to will a largely uninspiring team to a comeback that only briefly seemed possible, was almost routine. If Burrow and this team from the Midwest thwart a stacked Rams squad built to deliver immediate Super Bowl glory, the response will be anything but.

There is no expectation on the shoulders of the Bengals, whose young quarterback appears completely undaunted by the prospect of playing on the grandest stage in American sport for a team that prior to this season had not won a playoff game this century.

"At the end of the day, your mindset stays the same. When I played in the state championship in high school, it feels the same as playing in the Super Bowl does now," Burrow said in Tuesday's media conference. "At that moment in my life that was the biggest game I had ever played in, so everything kind of feels the same, I've just had more reps in those situations so I'm probably even a little calmer.

"Honestly we've never even spoken about the playoff drought once this whole season. We have a really young team that doesn't really understand the historical significance of what we're doing. We're just out there playing football and getting better while we're doing it."

Burrow is not feeling the weight of history, but he is appreciative of the significance of getting a Bengals franchise that has too often been a laughingstock to the cusp of a first Lombardi Trophy.

He added: "Being from Ohio and being the quarterback of the Bengals is something that I'm really proud of. Growing up there really weren't a lot of Bengals fans in high school and in the middle school, it was all Steelers and Browns and there were a few Bengals fans here and there that kind of got made fun of a little bit, so I think as a team we're excited to put a product on the field that the fans are proud of and kind of gives them bragging rights they haven't had that in a little while, so I'm excited to give that to them."

Free of expectation and free of pressure, the Bengals' position as underdogs could well be to their advantage. Regardless of whether they complete a remarkable run with the ultimate triumph on Sunday, with Burrow under center the Bengals look destined to compete for headline billing for years to come.

Tom Brady is at peace with his decision retire after 22 seasons in the NFL but the legendary quarterback will "never say never" about the possibility of a sensational comeback.

The 44-year-old,who became the first man to be named Super Bowl MVP with two different franchises when winning Super Bowl LV with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, announced his retirement from the sport last week in the aftermath of the Bucs' 30-27 playoff defeat to the LA Rams.

Speaking publicly for the first time after announcing his intention to quit the sport, Brady said he is looking forward to challenges outside of football even if the prospect of a return will never be completely off the table.

"I'm just going to take things as they come," Brady told Jim Gray on the "Let's Go!" podcast. "I think that's the best way to put it, and you never say never.

"At the same time, I feel very good about my decision. I don't know how I'll feel six months from now.

"I try to make the best possible decision I can in the moment. And, again, I don't think it's about looking to reverse course. I'm definitely not looking to do that. 

"But at the same time, I think you have to be realistic and you never know what challenges there are going to be in life. I loved playing, [but] I'm looking forward to doing things other than playing."

Brady, who led the New England Patriots to 17 division titles between 2000 and 2019, cited a desire to spend more time with his family as a major factor in his decision to retire. 

"Everything certainly comes at a cost," he said. "The cost is, 'what am I missing out on in other aspects of my life?' 

"As you get older, you experience things outside of the sport that demand the level of attention and energy that football has always gotten, and it's time for me to commit to those types of things.

"I felt like it was just the right time to do it.

"There's a time and a place for everything. I've had an amazing time, and I'm really excited for what's ahead. I don't know what that means or where it will take me, but I know that it'll be fun and exciting, and I'm going to make the most of whatever opportunities present themselves."

Brady, who would remain under contact with the Bucs for the 2022 season if he did opt to reverse his retirement decision, led the NFL for both passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2021's regular season, and maintained his record of never experiencing a losing season in his career.

The New Orleans Saints are set to hire defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as their new head coach to replace long-time leader Sean Payton, according to reports.

Payton stepped away from the head coaching role two weeks ago after the Saints missed the NFL playoffs with a 9-8 record.

Allen previously held the head coach role with the Oakland Raiders from 2014 to 2014 but struggled with a 8-28 record.

Former NFL head coaches Brian Flores and Doug Pederson were also interviewed for the role along with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and their own special teams coordinator, Darren Rizzi.

The Saints have improved drastically in scoring defense since hiring Allen as defensive coordinator in 2015 and are not looking for an overhaul.

"Those eight teams that let go of head coaches, I think their situations are different than ours," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said prior to the coaching search commencing.

"We had our coach retire with a lot of really good things in place already. That doesn't mean that it can't be improved and built upon. But we don't see it as a wholesale culture change, roster change, anything like that."

The Miami Dolphins have confirmed the appointment of San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel as their new head coach.

McDaniel has joined the Dolphins on a four-year contract according to ESPN, taking over from Brian Flores who was sacked in January.

The Dolphins had been searching for a new head coach for a month, with McDaniel edging out Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

The Miami job is 38-year-old McDaniel's first head coaching role at any level, having spent 15 seasons in the NFL and two in the UFL.

He was also previously an assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Washington Football Team, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.

McDaniel replaces Flores who had a 24-25 record after three seasons, including the Dolphins finishing third in the AFC East with a 9-8 record in the 2021-22 season.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr has lavished praise on teammate Cooper Kupp ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, and believes his fellow receiver "deserves" to win at SoFi Stadium.

Beckham Jr joined the Rams in November on a one-year contract after being released by the Cleveland Browns, and is now just one game away from winning his first Super Bowl after the Rams beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.

Kupp led the NFL this season in the key receiver statistics with 145 receptions, 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns, and has 386 receiving yards so far in the postseason, which is the third all-time most in playoffs history before the Super Bowl.

During media duties for the NFL ahead of the Super Bowl, Beckham Jr laid out how impressed he has been with the 28-year-old, stating his belief that Kupp deserves to win on Sunday.

"Coming here and being with Coop has just been really amazing for me," he said, "You come in somewhere where they have their guy and you watch and you witness greatness between him and [Matthew] Stafford as far as the attention to detail, the relationship that they have.

"That's everything you want from a QB and a receiver, details, the way he actually runs routes, the football knowledge.

"I've learned so much from him, he's a great guy, obviously an incredible talent and I'm just happy that I made the right choice [to join the Rams]. Now I just feel like he deserves this trophy and he deserves a ring and I just want to help them finish the job."

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford also gave his thoughts on the game, insisting that despite having stars such as himself, Von Miller, Kupp and Beckham Jr, they have reached the Super Bowl because of the efforts of the entire team.

"As far as a superstar heavy team, I think that's what the outside world probably thinks of us, but for us we just come in to work every single day and we've got nothing but guys who want to work hard."

Stafford also reserved praise for Kupp and Beckham Jr, adding: "Getting to work with Cooper and Odell has been a blast. Obviously I've gotten a full year with Cooper and his greatness and his ability to affect the game both with the football [and] without the football... such a great teammate, such a great friend and football player.

"Then with Odell he's come in since day one, his ability to grasp what we're asking him to do mid-season with no OTAs, no training camp, it was really impressive from my standpoint what he's been able to grasp, go out there and execute and play. He's been huge for us in the playoffs.

"It's been a blast working with those guys, really everybody on this team. I pinch myself sometimes thinking about the opportunity I'm getting to do, getting to play this game, the Super Bowl, with a bunch of great teammates and a bunch of great coaches, just happy for the opportunity." 

The Houston Texans will appoint Lovie Smith as their new head coach, reports claim.

Smith has just completed his first season with the Texans, where he is associate head coach and defensive coordinator.

However, the 63-year-old – who was the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2012 and led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2014 to 2015 – is now expected to be promoted to the head coach role.

The Texans fired first-year head coach David Culley last month after a disappointing 2021 in which Houston went 4-13.

Smith was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 2005 and has reached two Super Bowls, with the Bears in 2006 and as defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams in 2001.

He has won 89 games as a head coach in the NFL, losing 87 and is replacing the only coach to have been sacked after just one season in the history of the Texans franchise.

Eight of the nine head-coaching roles that were vacant heading into the NFL's offseason have now been filled.

Zac Taylor believes Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is "built for this stage" ahead of Super Bowl LVI on Sunday.

The Bengals face the Los Angeles Rams in their first Super Bowl in 33 years following a dramatic AFC Championship Game win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Burrow completed 23 of 38 attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns in that game as the Bengals rallied from 21-3 down to win 27-24 in overtime, equalling the biggest comeback win in a Championship Game.

Sunday's game at SoFi Stadium will be Burrow's first taste of the Super Bowl, yet Taylor thinks the 25-year-old will take it in his stride.

"He is built for this stage. He's played for state championships, he's played for national championships, now he's playing for the Super Bowl," the Bengals' head coach told a media conference.

"I think that's been his expectation all along. He's not surprised by it. He rises to these occasions, and we're certainly happy to have him.

"When you believe that your quarterback can take it the distance, it allows everybody just to play that one per cent better because they know on the other side that the trigger man's capable of doing some really special things.

"So I think he's helped us take us to these heights. We have a lot of confidence in him. He's got a lot of confidence in himself. It's fun to be a part of."

Burrow agreed with Taylor's assessment of his confident nature and does not think he will be overawed by the magnitude of Sunday's game.

"I have always been a confident player," Burrow said.

"More so now than I have ever been before, because I feel like I've proven to myself that I can play at a high level at this level of football.

"I think as a quarterback, it's really important to exude that confidence, not only in yourself but all of your team-mates.

"The quarterback sets the tone for the culture in the locker room, and so I try to be that kind of player and person for everybody here."

Justin Herbert and Maxx Crosby took MVP honours as the AFC landed a fifth consecutive Pro Bowl victory, fending off a fightback to win 41-35 against the NFC in Las Vegas.

At Allegiant Stadium, which staged the game for the first time, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Herbert completed seven of 11 attempts for 98 yards and two touchdowns to take the offensive MVP award.

Herbert said of the game, played in a spirit of bonhomie: "I think it's an awesome opportunity to come out here and play with the greatest football players this game has to offer. I had a lot of fun out there."

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Crosby engaged with the showpiece occasion and made five total tackles, three pass deflections, two sacks, and three tackles for loss, earning the defensive MVP honour.

Last year's match was cancelled due to the pandemic, and this game made up for lost time early on. Kyler Murray threw an early pick-six as Darius Leonard danced his way through to put the AFC ahead. The NFC were soon level as Kirk Cousins found Kyle Juszczyk with a 14-yard pass, only for the AFC to respond in kind when Mark Andrews was found with a 15-yard pass by Herbert.

Antoine Winfield Jr. picked off Patrick Mahomes to take the NFL within one point, only for Myles Garrett to dash in for another TD to widen the gap between the teams. The AFC could not pull away at that point, and Murray's 35-yard touchdown pass for Mike Evans meant it was 22-21 to the AFC early in the second quarter.

Andrews was found by Herbert for a second time as the AFC stretched their lead once more, before Mac Jones found Hunter Renfrow to nudge the AFC 34-21 ahead.

Stefon Diggs helped himself to a touchdown as the AFC opened up a 41-21 lead, before TDs from Kyle Pitts and Dalvin Cook ate into that.

LeBron James was left stunned by Tom Brady's decision to bring his storied NFL career to an end this week, commenting that "a small piece of me definitely left".

After a few days of speculation, Brady announced on Tuesday that he was calling time on his long career at the age of 44.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback decided he could no longer commit himself 100 per cent to the sport.

Brady's retirement saw tributes pour in from all over the sporting world, such has been his impact on the NFL – he holds the record for the most Super Bowl wins (seven) and Super Bowl MVP awards (five).

James returned to NBA action on Saturday after a five-game absence, starring with a triple-double as the Los Angeles Lakers sealed an overtime 122-115 win over the New York Knicks, and that gave him the opportunity to join the praise for Brady.

The four-time NBA MVP was almost emotional in response to Brady's retirement, lauding him as one of his inspirations.

"I personally was just so in shock when I saw it," he said post-game. "I was one of the ones who didn't say anything when the first, initial announcement came out. I didn't retweet anything, say anything because I wanted to hear it come from him. Then when he came out with his announcement, I was like… You know?

"As a guy who's kind of been my motivation factor over the last few years, seeing what he's able to do at his age and always kind of being a leader of a team.

"Even at his age, people still gravitate towards him and gravitate towards his energy, and how he prepares and things of that nature.

"So, a small piece of me definitely left when Brady decided to retire, that's for sure."

Doug Pederson has been named as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL franchise announced on Thursday.

The Jaguars fired the previous man at the helm Urban Meyer back in December after a tumultuous 13-game spell in charge.

Super Bowl-winning coach Pederson was first interviewed by the Jags on December 30 and had a second one on Tuesday. Having spent the 2021 season out of the game, he has now secured a return to the NFL.

The 54-year-old previously spent five seasons at the Philadelphia Eagles between 2016 and 2020, making three playoff appearances and ending with a 42-37-1 record.

It was the 2017 season that was the jewel in Pederson's crown when, after going 13-3 in the regular season, the Eagles survived the loss of starting quarterback Carson Wentz to get through the playoffs and win Super Bowl LII 41-33 against the New England Patriots with backup QB Nick Foles.

Two more playoff appearances would follow but after going 4-11-1 in 2020, Pederson was fired at the end of that season.

"Doug Pederson four years ago won a Super Bowl as head coach of a franchise in pursuit of its first world championship," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said via a team statement. 

"I hope Doug can replicate that magic here in Jacksonville, but what is certain is his proven leadership and experience as a winning head coach in the National Football League. It's exactly what our players deserve. Nothing less.

"Combine this with his acumen on the offensive side of the ball, and you have why I am proud to name Doug Pederson the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I know our fans will warmly welcome Doug and his family to Duval and I personally look forward to having Doug as part of everything we envision for the team, downtown and community in the years ahead."

Mayer's brief tenure was riddled with issues, which included two videos going viral showing him dancing close a woman who was not his wife in Ohio in October.

There were reports of tensions between Meyer and the Jaguars players and coaches which included former kicker Josh Lambo alleging the head coach had kicked him in the leg while stretching in warm-ups prior to a practice.

Pederson inherits a team with a miserable record for over a decade. The Jaguars have lost 10 or more games in 10 of the of their previous 11 seasons, and have gone 4-29 over the previous two which included a 20-game losing streak – representing the second longest in the history of the NFL.

They went 3-14 in 2021 and will have the first pick in the NFL Draft.

The New York Giants insist they decided on their next head coach only after interviewing Brian Flores, disputing claims made in a class action lawsuit he filed against the league.

Flores alleged in the suit that the NFL is rife with racism and has a "disingenuous commitment to social equity".

He is suing the league along with teams at whose hands he claims he experienced racism, naming former team the Miami Dolphins along with the Giants and Denver Broncos as defendants, together with "John Doe Teams 1 through 29".

The NFL said Flores' claims "are without merit", saying it would put up a defence. The three teams named by Flores also rejected his allegations.

Among the allegations made by Flores is that he inadvertently learned he had failed to get the Giants job last week before his interview, which the lawsuit claims was "a sham" that "humiliated" him.

The suit contains screen grabs of an alleged text message conversation between New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Flores, in which Belichick congratulates Flores on what he believes is an impending appointment, only to realise he was messaging the wrong person, having intended to contact Brian Daboll, who got the Giants job.

During the text exchange, Flores questioned whether Belichick had messaged the correct person, with the Patriots coach having indicated he had inside knowledge on who would land the job.

According to the lawsuit's contents, Belichick at this point realised his error and apologised to Flores, who worked for him for 10 years with the Patriots.

However, the Giants released a lengthy statement on Thursday, saying: "The decision on who we would hire as head coach was made on the evening of January 28, one day after Mr. Flores spent an entire day in our offices going through his second interview for the position, meeting with ownership and other staff members, and receiving a tour of our facility."

The team added Belichick would have no knowledge of any decision, as the alleged conversation suggested.

"The allegation that the Giants' decision had been made prior to Friday evening, January 28, is false," the Giants said.

"And to base that allegation on a text exchange with Bill Belichick in which he ultimately states that he 'thinks' Brian Daboll would get the job is irresponsible.

"The text exchange occurred the day before Coach Daboll's in-person interview even took place. Giants' ownership would never hire a head coach based only on a 20-minute zoom interview, which is all that Mr. Daboll had at that point.

"In addition, Mr. Belichick does not speak for and has no affiliation with the Giants. Mr. Belichick's text exchange provides no insight into what actually transpired during our head coaching search."

The Giants included a timeline of Flores' day at their facility and said: "We hired Brian Daboll as our head coach at the conclusion of an open and thorough interview process. No decision was made, and no job offer was extended, until the evening of January 28, a full day after Mr. Flores' in-person interview and day-long visit to the Giants."

Tom Brady was restored to the 99 Club on the Madden NFL video game after announcing his retirement. 

After 22 seasons in the league during which he won seven Super Bowls and set a new record for all-time passing yards, the 44-year-old quarterback confirmed he would not return to the field for the 2022 season. 

EA Sports, the creators of Madden, ensured Brady finishes his career with the highest overall rating possible on the game. He had been rated 97 this year.

"Celebrate 22 years of playing Madden with the GOAT," the game's official Twitter account posted. "Welcome back to the #99Club: @TomBrady." 

Brady led the NFL with 5,316 passing yards and 43 passing touchdowns this season but called time on his career following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. 

The veteran QB said he was ready "to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention" in a lengthy statement confirming his decision on Tuesday. 

Denver Broncos president of operations John Elway has dismissed "sham" interview accusations made by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores as "false and defamatory".

Flores has launched a class action lawsuit, alleging the NFL is rife with racism and has a "disingenuous commitment to social equity".

In the suit, Flores alleges that when he interviewed for the role of head coach with the Broncos in 2019, Elway and former Denver executive Joe Ellis were late and appeared "completely dishevelled" from an evening of heavy drinking.

Flores is suing the league along with teams from which he alleges he has personally experienced racism, naming the Dolphins and the Broncos along with the New York Giants as defendants, together with "John Doe Teams 1 through 29".

The suit, filed at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, demands a jury trial. The NFL said Flores' claims "are without merit", adding that it would put up a defence. The three teams named by Flores have also rejected his allegations.

The NFL has a 'Rooney Rule' in place that requires all teams seeking a new head coach "to interview at least one or more diverse candidates".

It is alleged in the lawsuit that Flores "was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule" by the Broncos and was never intended to be "a legitimate candidate", while also criticising the interview board.

The Broncos described the various claims against the franchise as "blatantly false" and "baseless and disparaging", to which Flores responded on ESPN's Get Up! show on Wednesday, saying: "I deal in truth, that's my reaction. I deal in truth. Honesty, integrity is important to me, and hopefully, there's a day we find out the truth on that one."

Elway released a statement on Thursday to further deny the claims made by Flores, saying: "While I was not planning to respond publicly to the false and defamatory claims by Brian Flores, I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked.

"I took Coach Flores very seriously as a candidate for our head coaching position in 2019 and enjoyed our three-and-a-half-hour interview with him. Along with the rest of our group, I was prepared, ready and fully engaged during the entire interview as Brian shared his experience and vision for our team.

"It's unfortunate and shocking to learn for the first time this week that Brian felt differently about our interview with him.

"For Brian to make an assumption about my appearance and state of mind early that morning was subjective, hurtful and just plain wrong. If I appeared 'dishevelled,' as he claimed, it was because we had flown in during the middle of the night - immediately following another interview in Denver - and were going on a few hours of sleep to meet the only window provided to us.

"I interviewed Brian in good faith, giving him the same consideration and opportunity as every other candidate for our head coaching position in 2019."

The Broncos recently appointed Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach, having parted company with previous head coach Vic Fangio, who was hired in 2019.

Fangio achieved a 19-30 record during his three seasons with the franchise, failing to reach the playoffs throughout his tenure.

New York Jets offensive lineman Cameron Clark will retire at the age of 24 due to a spinal cord injury.

Clark's agent confirmed the decision with the risk of paralysis if he continued to play, having suffered the injury in a training camp.

The 2020 fourth-round pick was injured on August 3 in Jets training and was motionless for several minutes.

At the time, the Jets labelled the injury a spinal cord contusion and said he would make a full recovery but Clark missed the entire 2021 NFL season and has now opted to retire.

"Based on the advice of Dr. Andrew Hecht, a prominent orthopedic surgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, Cameron will not be able to continue to play football for the New York Jets," Clark's agent Alan Herman told ESPN.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh told ESPN: "A great young man, with a bright future, I am thankful for Cameron's peace in making his decision, however bittersweet it may be.

"He made it to the league because of his talent, hard work and attitude and I have every confidence that they will all continue to serve him as he transitions to the next step."

Brian Flores believes the NFL is at a "fork in the road" with its hiring practices after the former Miami Dolphins head coach filed a class action lawsuit against the league.

Flores alleged in the suit that the NFL is rife with racism and has a "disingenuous commitment to social equity".

He is suing the league along with teams at whose hands he claims he experienced racism, naming the Dolphins along with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos as defendants, together with "John Doe Teams 1 through 29".

Amid the allegations made by Flores is that he inadvertently learned he had failed to get the Giants head coach job last week before his interview, which the lawsuit claims was "a sham" that "humiliated" him. 

The NFL has a 'Rooney Rule' in place. It requires all teams seeking a new head coach "to interview at least one or more diverse candidates".

The suit also alleged that Flores "was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule" by the Broncos in 2019 and was never intended to be "a legitimate candidate".

In addition, it claims Flores was offered $100,000 for every Dolphins loss in 2019 by owner Stephen Ross, who was said to be angered by the team's competitiveness compromising their draft position. Miami fired Flores at the end of the 2021 season despite the team finishing with a winning record in successive seasons.

The NFL said Flores' claims "are without merit", saying it would put up a defence. The three teams named by Flores also rejected his allegations.

Speaking alongside his attorneys on CBS Mornings, Flores said: "I love coaching, I'm gifted to coach and I want to coach. This is bigger than coaching, this is much bigger than coaching.

"We filed the lawsuit so that we could create some change. I think we're at a fork in the road right now, we're either going to keep it the way it is, or we're going to go in another direction and actually make some real change where we're actually changing the hearts and minds of those who make decisions to hire head coaches, executives, et cetera."

Asked about the claims he made against the Dolphins and owner Ross, Flores replied: "This game's done a lot for me. I didn't grow up with a lot, this game changed my life.

"To attack the integrity of the game, that's what I felt was happening in that instance and I wouldn't stand for it.

"I think it hurt my standing within the organisation and ultimately was why I was let go."

The suit contains screen grabs of an alleged text message conversation between New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Flores, in which Belichick congratulates Flores on what he believes is an impending appointment, only to realise he was messaging the wrong person, having intended to contact Brian Daboll, who got the Giants job.

During the text exchange, Flores questioned whether Belichick had messaged the correct person, with the Patriots coach having indicated he had inside knowledge on who would land the job. According to the lawsuit's contents, Belichick at this point realised his error and apologised to Flores, who worked for him for 10 years with the Patriots.

"It was a range of emotions, humiliation, disbelief, anger," Flores said of that episode. 

"I have worked so hard to get where I am in football to become a head coach. Put 18 years in this league, and it was, to go on what was going to be a, what felt like and was a sham interview, I was hurt.

"The Rooney Rule is intended to give minorities an opportunity to sit down in front of ownership, but I think what it's turned into is an instance where guys are checking the box.

"I've been on some interviews in the past where I've had that feeling. There's always no way to know for sure, but you know. I know I'm not alone."

The NFL on Wednesday published its response to the suit, which read: ​"The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organisations.

"Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit."

A spokesman for the Giants, Pat Hanlon, was quoted by the New York Times on Tuesday as saying the team was "confident with the process that resulted in the hiring of Brian Daboll", adding that Flores was "in the conversation to be our head coach until the eleventh hour".

The Broncos have described the various claims against the franchise as "blatantly false" and "baseless and disparaging claims".

Several allegations are made in the suit about Flores' time with the Dolphins, which came to an end only last month.

The Dolphins responded by saying they "vehemently deny any allegations of racial discrimination and are proud of the diversity and inclusion throughout our organisation".

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