NFL’s playoff races almost all come down to Week 17

NFL’s playoff races almost all come down to Week 17

(c) 2015, The Washington Post.

The Denver Broncos’ overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night provided a little bit of clarity in the AFC playoff race, but not enough to render this weekend’s finales meaningless. In fact, there’s still much fun to be had on the final Sunday of the regular season (remember: there’s no Monday night game in Week 17).

Here’s how the playoff field looks in each conference after Week 16’s action. All times EST for Sunday’s games.

AFC

1. New England Patriots 12-3 (at Miami, 1 p.m. , CBS)

The Patriots have clinched a first-round bye. They will be the No. 1 seed with a win over the Dolphins. New England would fall to the No. 2 seed with a loss to Miami combined with a Denver win (the Broncos hold the head-to-head tiebreaker). If the Patriots lose and the Broncos and Bengals both win – giving the AFC three 12-4 teams – Denver would be the No. 1 seed and New England would be the No. 2 seed.

2. Denver Broncos 11-4 (vs. San Diego, 4:25 p.m., CBS)

The Broncos have clinched a playoff berth. They will be the No. 1 seed with a win combined with a Patriots loss. Denver will clinch a first-round bye with a win, a tie combined with a Bengals loss or tie, or a Chiefs loss or tie combined with a Bengals loss. If the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win, Denver will be a wild-card team.

3. Cincinnati Bengals 11-4 (vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m., Fox)

The Bengals have clinched a playoff berth and will play their first playoff game at home, no matter what happens Sunday. Cincinnati will clinch a first-round bye with a win combined with a Denver loss or tie, a tie and a Denver loss, or a Denver loss and a Kansas City win. Otherwise, they will host a wild-card game.

4. Houston Texans 8-7 (vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m., CBS)

The Texans will clinch the AFC South with a win or a tie or a Colts loss or tie. They can also clinch the division with a loss and a Colts win, provided they win the strength-of-victory tiebreaker. That would mean a Houston loss, an Indianapolis win and a win or a tie from just one of the following teams: New England, Cincinnati, New York Jets, San Diego or New Orleans. Or, alternately, a Houston loss, an Indianapolis win and wins or ties by both Kansas City and Baltimore, provided both teams don’t tie. Got all that?

5. Kansas City Chiefs 10-5 (vs. Oakland, 4:25 p.m., Fox)

The Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth. They will clinch the AFC West with a win and a Broncos loss. Otherwise, Kansas City will be a wild-card team.

6. New York Jets 10-5 (at Buffalo, 1 p.m., CBS)

The Jets will clinch a wild-card berth with a win or a Pittsburgh loss.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-6 (at Cleveland, 1 p.m., CBS)

The Steelers will clinch a wild-card berth with a win combined with a Jets loss.

8. Indianapolis Colts 7-8 (vs. Tennessee, 1 p.m., CBS)

As explained by NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus, the Colts’ chances of making the playoffs are astronomically slim. Basically, it starts with a win combined with a Texans loss. Then the following teams all need to win for Indy to earn the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Houston: Baltimore, Buffalo, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland. ESPN puts the chances of this all happening at 0.03 percent.

NFC

1. Carolina Panthers 14-1 (vs. Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m., Fox)

The Panthers have clinched a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win or a tie, or a Cardinals loss or tie.

2. Arizona Cardinals 13-2 (vs. Seattle, 4:25 p.m., Fox)

The Cardinals have clinched a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win combined with a Carolina loss.

3. Green Bay Packers 10-5 (vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m., NBC)

The Packers have clinched a playoff berth. They will win the NFC North with a win or a tie.

4. Washington Redskins 8-7 (at Dallas, 1 p.m., Fox)

The Redskins have clinched a playoff berth and are locked in as the NFC’s No. 4 team. Their game against the Cowboys has no bearing on their playoff position. They will host a playoff game against either the Seahawks, Vikings or Packers on wild-card weekend.

5. Minnesota Vikings 10-5 (at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m., NBC)

The Vikings have clinched a playoff berth. They will clinch the NFC North with a win.

6. Seattle Seahawks 9-6 (at Arizona, 4:25 p.m., Fox)

The Seahawks have clinched a wild-card berth and will either be the NFC’s No. 5 or No. 6 seed.

Source : From The Washington Post

Keywords: nfl, nfl playoff scenarios, nfl playoffs, nfl playoff field, nfl postseason, nfl playoff seeds

Attentats de Paris : qui est Charaffe al Mouadan, djihadiste tué en Syrie ? / IS leader linked to Paris attacks ‘mastermind’ killed in Syria

Attentats de Paris : qui est Charaffe al Mouadan, djihadiste tué en Syrie ? / IS leader linked to Paris attacks ‘mastermind’ killed in Syria

Attentats de Paris : qui est Charaffe al Mouadan, djihadiste tué en Syrie ?

Il est suspecté d’avoir été en lien avec les auteurs de la tuerie la plus meurtrière du 13 novembre. Charaffe al Mouadan, un combattant du groupe Etat islamique, a été tué en Syrie dans des frappes de la coalition internationale, a affirmé mardi le colonel américain Steve Warren, porte-parole de la coalition anti-Etat islamique. Sa mort a été confirmée par l’Etat islamique. Le jeune homme, âgé de 27 ans, était un ami de Samy Amimour, l’un des kamikazes du Bataclan. Surnommé Abu Souleymane, il était « lié directement » au djihadiste belge Abdelhamid Abaaoud, instigateur présumé des attentats de Paris. Selon les autorités américaines, Charaffe Al Mouadan « préparait activement d’autres attaques ».

Un projet de départ avorté. Le nom de Charaffe al Mouadan, ce Français qui a grandi en Seine-Saint-Denis, apparaît dans les radars des services de renseignements en mars 2012. Cette année-là, en compagnie de Samy Amimour et d’un autre jeune radicalisé, Samir Bouabout, il s’essaie aux tirs sportifs dans un club de la police à Paris. Parallèlement à cette activité exercée en toute légalité, le trio se radicalise sur Internet, et prépare son départ au Yémen ou en Afghanistan, via la Somalie. Les trois individus s’étaient équipés de matériel paramilitaire, et avait contracté un prêt à la consommation de 20.000 euros, selon une source proche du dossier.

Mais leur projet échoue, faute d’expérience et de contacts. Peu après, les trois amis, qui ont passé leur jeunesse à Drancy, sont arrêtés en octobre 2012. Aux enquêteurs, Charaffe al Mouadan avait affirmé avoir abandonné tout projet de départ en zone de djihad et avait reconnu un bref séjour au Maroc avec Samir Bouabout. Mis en examen pour « association de malfaiteurs terroriste », le trio est laissé libre sous contrôle judiciaire. Mais les trois hommes rejoignent les rangs de l’Etat islamique, un an plus tard.

Il viole son contrôle judiciaire pour partir en Syrie. En août 2013, Charaffe al Mouadan viole en effet son contrôle judiciaire et quitte la France, direction la Syrie. Il est rejoint un mois plus tard par Samy Amimour et Samir Bouabout. Là-bas, Charaffe al Mouadan se lie d’amitié avec d’autre djihadistes, dont Omar Ismaïl Mostefaï, un autre kamikaze du Bataclan. Le jeune Drancéen prend alors le nom d’Abu Souleymane.

Un nom qui interpellera plus tard les enquêteurs lorsqu’ils ont auditionné les victimes du Bataclan. Selon un otage, l’un des terroristes a demandé à son complice s’il « comptait appeler Souleymane », rapporte Le Parisien. Aujourd’hui, Charaffe al Mouadan est suspecté d’avoir été en lien avec Abdelhamid Abaaoud, le chef d’orchestre présumé des attentats de Paris. Les autorités américaines estiment qu’il préparait activement des attaques contre l’occident. Il a été tué d’une frappe de missile le 24 décembre. Et compte désormais parmi dix autres responsables de Daech tués ce mois-ci.

Source: Europe 1
http://www.europe1.fr/faits-divers/attentats-de-paris-qui-est-charaffe-al-mouadan-djihadiste-tue-en-syrie-2642391

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IS leader linked to Paris attacks ‘mastermind’ killed in Syria

Washington (AFP) – An Islamic State leader with « direct » ties to the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks was among 10 of the group’s higher-ups killed in Syria and Iraq this month, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The US military says such strikes are helping to weaken the jihadist group, which captured large parts of Iraq and Syria last year but has recently seen significant setbacks including this week’s loss of Ramadi in Iraq.

Baghdad-based US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that French national Charaffe el Mouadan was killed in a US-led coalition air strike on December 24.

Mouadan had been plotting further attacks against the West, Warren said, without giving additional details.

« He was a Syrian-based ISIL member with a direct link to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Paris attacks cell leader, » Warren said in a video call, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.

Abaaoud was killed in a police raid in northern Paris five days after the November 13 attacks that left 130 people dead and hundreds more wounded in a series of coordinated suicide attacks and shootings across the French capital.

A French law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP there was no immediate evidence showing Mouadan was involved in the Paris attacks.

But the official said Mouadan had been close to Samy Amimour, one of the suicide bombers who attacked the Bataclan music venue.

– Grew up in Paris suburbs –

Mouadan, 26, was the son of Morocco-born parents and the last of eight children.

He grew up in the Paris suburbs, and was arrested in October 2012 while preparing to leave with Amimour and a third man, Samir Bouabout, for either Yemen or Afghanistan, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

Though the men faced criminal charges, they were nonetheless set free, and within a year had found their way to Syria.

The source said a witness at the Bataclan heard one of the attackers ask whether a fellow assailant was going to call a certain « Souleymane. »

Souleymane was the name Mouadan used on Twitter and in Syria, but it’s a common name and French investigators aren’t sure whether the attacker was referring to Mouadan.

The United States has since August 2014 led an international coalition attacking the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

France started bombing Syria in the wake of the Paris attacks, but Warren would not say if France was involved in the strike against Mouadan.

– ‘Striking the head of this snake’ –

Among the other leaders killed this month was Abdel Kader Hakim, an « external operations facilitator » who was killed in Mosul, Iraq on December 26.

Warren said Hakim was a veteran fighter and forgery specialist who had links to the Paris attack network, but he did not give additional details.

« His death removes an important facilitator with many connections in Europe, » Warren said.

And on December 10, Siful Haque Sujan, a Bangladeshi man who was educated in Britain and was allegedly an IS hacker, was killed near the IS stronghold of Raqa in Syria.

After months of preparations, the Iraqi military declared the city of Ramadi liberated from the IS group on Monday after clinching a landmark victory against the jihadists.

Warren said that part of the success in Ramadi and other areas was due to the killing of IS leaders.

« We’re striking at the head of this snake, » he said, while cautioning that « it’s still got fangs. »

The Pentagon listed the other slain IS leaders as:

— Rawand Dilsher Taher, an « external operations facilitator, » who was killed near Raqa

— Khalil Ahmad Ali al-Wais, the IS « emir of Kirkuk province » in Iraq

— Abu Anas, a roadside bomb expert who was killed near Kirkuk

— Yunis Khalash, IS’s « deputy financial emir » in Mosul

— Mithaq Najim, IS’s « deputy emir » in Kirkuk Province

— Akram Muhammad Sa’ad Faris, an IS « commander and executioner, » in Tal Afar, Iraq

— Tashin al-Hayali, an « external operations facilitator, » who was killed near Mosul in Iraq.

Source : Yahoo News (AFP)
https://news.yahoo.com/leader-linked-paris-attacks-mastermind-killed-syria-pentagon-160333532.html

Who Is Charaffe Al Mouadan? Islamic State Leader Killed In Anti-ISIS Syria Airstrikes Linked To Paris Terrorists

An Islamic State group militant who had been actively planning attacks on Western countries was among several terrorists killed in a recent series of U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday. Charaffe al Mouadan had ties to the alleged architect of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and was reportedly childhood friends with another perpetrator of last month’s Paris terrorist attacks, for which the terrorist group, aka ISIS, claimed responsibility.

“We will hunt ISIL leaders working to inspire attacks against U.S. and our allies,” Army Col. Steve Warren, the top spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition, said Tuesday, the Guardian reported. “As long as ISIL external attack planners are operating, the U.S. military will hunt them and kill them,” he said, using another term for the group.

The U.S. and its allies, including France and Turkey, revved up airstrikes throughout December in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. At least eight militants, several of whom were trained by ISIS, massacred 130 people in the city the night of Nov. 13, descending upon cafes, restaurants and other scenes of Parisian nightlife, using semi-automatic weapons and suicide vests.

Al Mouadan, 27, who went by the nickname « Souleymane,” was plotting to attack a target in the West, Warren said, without naming a specific country or site. The Syria-based terrorist was friends with Samy Amimour, one of the reported gunmen at the Bataclan concert hall, where 90 people died during the Paris attacks, making it the deadliest of several targeted locations .

The pair grew up together in the northeastern Paris suburb of Drancy and began training at local gun ranges in 2012, French newspaper Le Parisien reported. Al Mouadan traveled to Syria in 2013 and had been operating as a militant ever since.

Investigators made the connection between al Mouadan and the alleged Paris terrorists after a survivor of the Bataclan massacre told authorities he heard the gunmen talking about a man named Souleymane, the Guardian reported. Al Mouadan was killed in Syria Dec. 24.

Airstrikes since Dec. 7 have killed at least 10 leaders of the Islamic extremist group, the Washington Post reported.

Source: Ibtimes.com
http://www.ibtimes.com/who-charaffe-al-mouadan-islamic-state-leader-killed-anti-isis-syria-airstrikes-linked-2242857

Fifteen best sport female athletes of 2015

Fifteen best sport female athletes of 2015

At The Comeback, we love sports and pop culture all year ’round, including December, so we don’t understand why so many best-of-the-year lists are announced before the year is actually over. This week, the last of 2015, we want to share with you some of our bests. From the best male and female athletes, to the best new TV shows and movies, to the best coaches, the best superheroes, the most memorable moments and storylines, to who had the best year of anyone on the planet, we’re running down the best list of best lists of anyone in 2015.

Next up on the list of lists, the 15 Best Female Athletes in 2015. (Click here for our list of the top 15 male athletes of 2015.)

Rankings are, by their very nature, subjective. Attempting to compare, contrast, and then rank, an incredible group of women who play a variety of different sports? Yeah, it’s safe to say that opinions may vary. So let’s start with something that likely everyone can agree on. 2015 was an incredible year for female athletes. These 15 women, and countless others, accomplished amazing things on the field, the court, the octagon. But then, that’s not hardly new, or novel.

What made this year remarkable, and encouraging, were the strides made in the exposure, the coverage, the recognition that so many of these exceptional women received.

That’s not to be naive of course. Women’s sports still face obstacles, and a steep uphill climb, when compared to the attention, and economic rewards, bestowed on their male counterparts. But many of the women listed below helped this year to demonstrate not only that they could deliver incredible feats of athleticism, but that if given the proper platform, they could certainly attract an audience. So quibble with the specifics of these rankings, (and hey, feel free to send along your thoughts), but there’s really no arguing the impact of these women. Sometimes literally.

15. Flavia Pennetta

Have to give some love to the one non-Serena winner of a Grand Slam in 2015. And Pennetta’s story, winning her first Slam at the age of 33, and then announcing she would soon retire during her victory speech, is the stuff of legend.

14. Erica Enders

In addition to winning her second consecutive NHRA Pro Stock World Championship, 2015 also saw Enders break the record for most wins by a female driver in a single season.

13. Celia Sasic

The 2015 Women’s World Cup wasn’t just about the USWNT, so here’s to Germany’s Golden Boot winner, who scored six goals in six matches, and then announced her retirement, capping an incredible career at the age of just 27.

12. Katie Ledecky

In quantitative, timed sports like swimming, the numbers tend to speak for themselves. So here goes. Five gold medals—and three world records—at the 2015 World Championships, along with being named FINA’s Female Swimmer of the Meet.

11. Breanna Stewart

Connecticut Women’s Basketball has been so strong, so consistent, that we almost take it for granted. It is saying something, then, that the incredibly well-rounded Stewart will bid to become the first player in women’s hoops history to win four national titles in four years.

10. Sasha Banks

Yes, the outcomes in professional wrestling are predetermined. Sure, WWE is “sports entertainment” rather than pure competition. But if you’re going to deny the athleticism of Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, well, then you just haven’t seen her work. And we highly recommend you remedy that right away. Banks is at the forefront of a group of women whose physical abilities are changing what people think is possible for female talent in pro-wrestling. When you combine that with the electric, compelling, charismatic, “Boss” persona that she has created, you begin to understand why so many have her pegged as one of the foundational stars that WWE will build around in the future.

9. Abby Wambach

Admittedly, Wambach’s selection is something of a « lifetime achievement award, » given that she was undeniably past her prime by the time she took the pitch in Canada. That’s all fine, but Wambach deserves a place on this list, not only because of 255 appearances for the national team, or her 184 goals, an international record for women or men. The retiring captain of American soccer belongs here because 2015 was the year in which she finally achieved the only goal that had thus far eluded her, a World Cup victory, and she did it by virtue of her dedication, her longevity, and her leadership, allowing an incredible group of young teammates, players that she helped inspire, and grow, to carry her to soccer’s ultimate prize.

8. Crystal Dunn

Striker Crystal Dunn was one of the final cuts for the USWNT’s World Cup roster, a moment that would be undeniably crushing for any athlete. “I think as soon as I got that news, I went through my venting stage,” she told Laken Litman earlier this year. By her own admission, Dunn had seen very little adversity in her career to that point. She handled it about as well as anyone could, turning in a standout season for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League, scoring 15 goals to lead the league, and take home the Most Valuable Player award. She joined the USWNT after the World Cup and doesn’t look likely to relinquish that spot anytime soon.

7. Lydia Ko

– New Zealand’s Lydia Ko wasted no time in letting the golf world know that, yes, the high expectations placed upon her were justified, and great things are in store. Back in September, Ko took home a six-stroke victory in the Evian Championship. It’s the first major win of her career, and it’s probably a pretty safe bet that it won’t be the last. Much has been made, and justifiably so, about the new wave of young guns on the PGA Tour, from Rory McIlroy, to Jordan Spieth, to Jason Day, to Rickie Fowler. But oh, by the way, at just 18 years old, it’s Ko who is the youngest No. 1-ranked player, man or woman, in golf history.

6. Holly Holm

When Holly Holm delivered the leg kick that ended Ronda Rousey’s reign as the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champion, she did more than simply win a fight. She also pulled off one of the biggest upsets in combat sports history, made herself immediately into a household name, and perhaps most importantly, demonstrated the next evolution of women’s MMA. It remains to be seen if Holm can attain anything close to Rousey’s crossover stardom, or, for that matter, if she can even keep the belt from “Rowdy” in the inevitable rematch. But no matter what happens moving forward, Holly Holm is a sign that women’s MMA is getting stronger, and deeper.

5. Megan Rapinoe

It’s hard to imagine a more indispensable piece of the USWNT than Megan Rapinoe. From her midfield position, Rapinoe was, quite literally, the center of everything for the American women in Canada. When the team looked somewhat listless in early matches, much of the conversation centered on how she could better facilitate the attack. But after missing the team’s quarterfinal match thanks to a second yellow card, the U.S. finally ignited in Rapinoe’s return, posting overwhelming wins over Germany and Japan, two of the team’s biggest international rivals.

Those wins ensured that Rapinoe would become one of the biggest breakout stars of the World Cup, with casual fans getting to know her guitar stylings, her boisterous personality, and her obvious comfort in her own skin. (Let’s be honest, she probably deserves a place in the Top-5 for this Vine alone.)

Sadly, Rapinoe’s most recent headlines came as a result of a torn ACL suffered in training. But it undoubtedly won’t be long before the U.S. star is back in form, anchoring one of the most impressive teams in all of sports. And in the meantime, because, well, nothing can contain Rapinoe’s positive vibes, she decided to find some new training partners.

4. Elena Delle Donne
The story of Elena Delle Donne’s journey away from basketball, and back again, is well chronicled. A highly touted recruit who was expected to become UConn’s next generational star, Delle Donne instead stepped away from the game, enrolling at Delaware to remain closer to home, and taking a break from hoops to play volleyball. On a human level, one couldn’t help but applaud her decision to do what was best for her, personally, despite outside pressures and expectations. But as a fan of basketball? One can’t help but be grateful she found her way back again.

Delle Donne elevated her game to a whole new level in 2015, posting a PER of 32.7. (Psssst …. that’s higher than LeBron has ever managed in the NBA.) She took the Chicago Sky to the playoffs for the third straight season, won her first WNBA MVP, and basically asserted herself as the best women’s basketball player in the world, in an era that also features Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Brittney Griner, and Candace Parker. In short, she commands her sport as well as any athlete in the world, and the only question that remains is if she has an even higher level still to achieve.

3. Ronda Rousey
Yes, she was defeated. And yes, the woman who ended her title reign sits below her in these rankings, which, admittedly, is a little counterintuitive. But Holly Holm has a lot of work to do, not simply to equal the length of Ronda Rousey’s reign, but also to equal her cultural impact. Because let’s be honest, calling Rousey an exceptional athlete, while true, almost shortchanges what she was able to accomplish in 2015.

In addition to becoming one of the most bankable stars in the UFC’s history, Ronda Rousey appeared in major film franchises, became a regular on the talk show circuit, stole the show at Wrestlemania, and basically became a pop-culture icon. In the wake of her stunning loss to Holm, plenty are wondering what happens now, if Rousey will be able to retain the same cultural cache and star power without that same air of invincibility. It’s a fair question, but in this space, we’re taking a moment to acknowledge and honor just how incredible it is that “Rowdy” grew to this stature in the first place. Just a few years ago, Dana White claimed we’d “never” see women in the UFC. Today, there are two divisions, as compelling as any in the sport. All hail the power of Ronda Rousey.

2. Carli Lloyd
When you hold the world at rapt attention, you deserve a place near the top of any list. And on July 5th, all eyes were on Carli Lloyd, as she authored one of the great championship performances in history. A hat trick, in the early stages of the World Cup final, turned what many had expected to be a tense, dramatic, tightly contested affair, into essentially a coronation for the USWNT. American women’s soccer had gone 16 years since their last World Cup win, and it only took 16 glorious minutes for Carli Lloyd to ensure that the waiting was over.

Our nation’s national team has never been more stocked with talent. Hope Solo. Becky Sauerbrunn. Alex Morgan. Tobin Heath. Ali Krieger. Christen Press. Julie Johnston. Morgan Brian. Head Coach Jill Ellis had arguably the easiest and hardest job in the world, trying to figure out how to effectively employ such an embarrassment of riches. And it’s a testament to Carli Lloyd that even alongside such phenomenal teammates, she left no doubt of her status as the best of the best, something recently reinforced, as she was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year and was put on the short list for Fifa Women’s Player of the Year.

1. Serena Williams
In the end, there was a controversy. Of course there was a controversy. When Serena Williams was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, her decision to pose for the magazine’s cover seated on a throne came in for criticism, in at least one writer’s mind, because, well, because it was too powerful? Because she was too sexy? Because it wasn’t tennis-ey enough? (To be perfectly honest, we’re still not entirely sure.)

But it still somehow seemed fitting, because let’s be honest, Serena Williams is quite used to this sort of thing. She’s heard literally every form and fashion of criticism in her illustrious career, from her fashion choices, to her priorities in life, to her fitness level, to her choice of celebrations. Serena Williams has been through it all, and in fact, 2015 saw her, in one of the most powerful moments of the year, forgive some of the most ludicrous and painful treatment she ever received, returning to Indian Wells for the first time since the brutal treatment she and her family received back in 2001.

This time, even as she was forced to withdraw with an injury, Serena was hailed by the crowd as a conquering hero. And why not? Serena has been under scrutiny, much of it wholly unfair, for her entire career. But she has always manage to overwhelm it, overpower it, through her performance, and 2015 was no exception.

Her 19th, 20th, and 21st career Grand Slam titles.

A record of 53-3.

A wire-to-wire No. 1 ranking, for the second year in a row.

This.

It’s accomplishments like these that allow Serena Williams to tune out all the noise, to live her life, and chart her career, on her own terms. Chances are there will be some new Serena Williams “controversy” in 2016. And chances are, she’ll run right through it, like she’s been doing for almost two decades now, as one of the most iconic athletes in history.

Plus i greatly wanted to add our French female cycling athlete Pauline Ferrand-Prévot for her remarked 2015 year.

Fifteen best sport male athletes of 2015

Fifteen best sport male athletes of 2015

At The Comeback, we love sports and pop culture all year ’round, including December, so we don’t understand why so many best-of-the-year lists are announced before the year is actually over. This week, the last of 2015, we want to share with you some of our bests. From the best male and female athletes, to the best new TV shows and movies, to the best coaches, the best superheroes, the most memorable moments and storylines, to who had the best year of anyone on the planet, we’re running down the best list of best lists of anyone in 2015.

First up on the list of lists, the 15 Best Male Athletes in 2015.

When we set out to rank only the 15 top male athletes of 2015, we realized the task was nearly impossible. Is winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a bigger deal than capturing the American League MVP award, or is being the college player of the year enough to earn a place among the greatest pros? Is this from an American-centric perspective or a global one, and with that, should the popularity of a sport matter? Is there such thing as lifetime achievement points? Do off-field factors matter?

After some healthy debate and plenty of rough drafts, we’ve come up with a pretty solid list of the top 15 male athletes of 2015.

Before we get to our final 15, here are 15 guys who just deserve honorable mention:

Jason Day — the world’s second-best golfer doesn’t quite make our list despite a fantastic 2105
Russell Westbrook — his injury and the Thunder’s overall performance hurt his standing
Usain Bolt — he had perhaps the best week of anyone in sports in 2015, but he wasn’t a yearlong headline-maker
Aaron Rodgers — he was not as good in 2015 as he was in 2014
Kyle Busch — the NASCAR champ surely deserves at least a little love
Lewis Hamilton — absolutely dominant in an under-the-radar sport in America
Cristiano Ronaldo — he is going to hate it when he sees how many Barcelona players made the list and he didn’t
Patrick Kane — off-ice allegations mitigate a great on-ice year
Frank Kaminsky — a great college season, and winning the title would have likely earned him a spot
Derrick Henry — the Heisman winner this season, but let’s talk about the Playoff
Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta — it was impossible to pick just one, so we didn’t pick any
Floyd Mayweather — he’s a bad guy and a boring fighter
American Pharaoh — we decided to go humans only here
15. Conor McGregor

McGregor’s remarkable 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo at UFC 194 catapulted the MMA star onto the list after solidifying himself as the face of UFC.

14. Cam Newton

Who was even sure a year ago that Cam Newton would even be playing football after his horrific car crash. He stormed onto this list this season, leading a 14-1 Panthers team back to the playoffs and making a strong case for NFL MVP.

13. Neymar

Neymar broke out for Barcelona in 2015 in Lionel Messi’s absence, earning a spot on stage for the Fifa Ballon D’or, and earning a place as one of the best athletes in the world … and almost the best player on his team.

12. James Harden

Harden had the best year of his career in 2014-15, finishing second in NBA MVP voting and lifting the Rockets to second place in the Western Conference.

11. Carey Price

The NHL’s MVP in 2014-15, Price has the Canadiens back in first place for the second straight year.

10. Josh Donaldson

Donaldson batted .297 with 41 home runs and played stellar defense to help the Blue Jays to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. For that performance he won AL MVP, though some of us would have voted for someone else…

9. Mike Trout

With a better average, OBP, slugging percentage and OPS than Donaldson, Trout deserved another AL MVP, as he continued what could be the best start to a career in MLB history. The 24-year-old has played four seasons and finished top-two in MVP voting four times.

8. J.J. Watt

2015 has seen Watt win his second defensive player of the year award in three seasons (a reward for his 2014 performance) and follow up with an almost-as-impressive output this year, one game away from leading the quarterback-less Texans to the playoffs. Off the field, he has shifted from an NFL fan’s hidden treasure to a mainstream superstar/folk hero, with national endorsements and network TV cameos.

7. Lionel Messi

Messi looks likely to reclaim the Ballon D’Or award after putting up huge stats (43 goals, 18 assists in La Liga last season) for a Barcelona team that won the Champions League, La Liga and Copa Del Rey. He also led Argentina to the Copa America final, a national team achievement more notable than any of his best-in-the-world competitors can claim. Messi’s recent ankle injury knocked him down a few spots here, but he was 2015’s best soccer player.

6. Bryce Harper

2015 began with debate over whether Harper was overrated and ended with conversation about whether he is the best player in baseball. That’s what happens when you bat .330/.460/.649 with 42 home runs and win the MVP award unanimously. Given the year he had, it was hard to keep Harper out of the top five. Blame Matt Williams for that.

5. Tom Brady

At one point in 2014, Brady was considered yesterday’s news, playing out the string of a great career. But his play picked up in November and December, and by the time the ball dropped he was back to his former-MVP self, throwing for 921 yards in three playoff games, including 328 (with four touchdowns) in the Super Bowl.

Brady further stepped up his play this season, ranking among the NFL leaders in just about every passing category and establishing himself as one of two or three legitimate candidates for the league’s MVP. A Super Bowl title to start the year and MVP-caliber performance to end it makes 2015 one of the better years of Brady’s remarkable career, flat balls, suspensions, appeals and court-room drama notwithstanding.

4. LeBron James

LeBron didn’t win an MVP award or a title in 2015, but it’s still hard to keep him too far from the top of this list. For one thing, King James has continued to be among the NBA’s best players, averaging 25-6-7 in 2014-15 and upping his stats to 26-8-6 so far this year. He finished third in MVP voting and could have been higher, and he will likely rank up there again in the spring.

But it was LeBron’s playoff performance that earns him a top-five slot here. James dragged a beaten-up Cavaliers team all the way to the Finals and by some miracle stole two games when he got there. The Warriors won the title, but our enduring memory of the series will be LeBron carrying a team starting Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavadova to within two wins of a championship.

3. Jordan Spieth

Few players in golf history have had year like the one Spieth carded in 2015. First, the 25-year-old crushed the Masters field, tying Tiger Woods’ course record at Augusta. Then he won the U.S. Open, becoming the first golfer in 13 years to win the year’s first two majors back-to-back. He “slacked off” with a fourth-place finish at the Open Championship and a runner-up result at the PGA Championship—either or both of which he could have, and maybe should have, won—ascending to the top spot in the world rankings along the way.

All in all, Spieth won six PGA Tournament events in 2015, dominated the earnings leaderboard, won the FedExCup in virtually wire-to-wire fashion, was named tour Player of the Year and established himself as the future face of golf. For good measure, he also signed a 10-year extension with Under Armour worth untold millions of dollars.

2. Novak Djokovic

Djokovic’s dominance has become almost routine, but it’s hard not to marvel at all he accomplished in 2015. Djokovic spent the entire year ranked No. 1 in the world and fended off all challengers with relative ease. He won three Grand Slam events and finished second in the other one, becoming on the third player ever to reach all four major finals. Overall, he was 82-6 in 2015.

This was also the year that elevated Djokovic into the Greatest of All-Time Conversation. He now ranks 10th all-time in tournament titles and tied for 7th in Grand Slam championships, and, at age 28, has plenty of time to add to his trophy case. We might remember 2015 as the absolute peak of one of the best players ever, but there’s little to suggest he can’t do the same or better in 2016.

1. Stephen Curry

This was the only spot on the list that didn’t require a lot of deliberation. In Steph’s first game of 2015, on Jan. 2, he dropped 32 points and 12 assists on the Toronto Raptors, and he never looked back. He won the 2014-15 MVP by averaging 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game for the Warriors, then upped his game in the playoffs, putting up 28.3 points a game, leading Golden State to the NBA title.

Last season’s performance alone would have put Curry in the top five on this list, but what he’s done these past few months earns him the top spot. Curry is the best player in the league and the leader of a team that began the season on a historic 24-game winning streak. He’s leading the NBA in scoring by more than 3 points and seems to have the 2015-16 MVP all but locked up before New Year’s. Start to finish, it was truly the year of Steph Curry.

As Rugby Union and handball aren’t very popular in the USA i have and greatly want to mention Dan Carter and Richie McCaw for great 2015 year with All Black New Zealand Rugby Union Team World Champion and also Nikola Karabatic for handball for good year with France Team.

Plus i wanted to add Teddy Riner in Judo, Florent Manaudou in swimming, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi in Moto GP, Sébastien Ogier in World Rally Championship, Christopher Froome in Cycling for Tour de France winner again.