New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area idolizing Joe Montana, Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers. Now, after winning his fourth Super Bowl on Sunday, Brady has helped the Patriots cement their place alongside the 49ers among the top NFL dynasties of all time.Whether the Patriots or the 49ers rank as the top modern NFL dynasty depends on the length of the period you consider. In the chart below, I’ve measured the top franchises over periods ranging from one year to 25 years.1I’ve listed the top three teams for each period, but there is no overlap allowed: For instance, if the 2003-2007 Patriots are the top five-year dynasty, I won’t also list the 2004-2008 Patriots. Rankings are based on a team’s average Elo rating at the end of each season. (We’ve calculated Elo ratings back to the AFL-NFL merger year of 1970, so great teams before that — like the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s — are not considered.) Here’s the list:Brady’s 2007 Patriots finished with the highest single-season Elo rating ever, despite being upset in the Super Bowl by the New York Giants. Even if you’re no fan of the 2007 Patriots, another Brady team ranks second: the 2004 Patriots.But when we’re thinking about dynasties, we’re thinking about success over a multi-year period. Brady’s 2003 and 2004 Patriots are one of seven franchises to have won consecutive Super Bowls, and on the Elo list they’re essentially tied with the 1992-93 Dallas Cowboys and 1972-73 Miami Dolphins for the best two-year runs ever. The early 1990s Cowboys earn the nod for the top three- and four-year peaks, although it’s a close call in each case.For periods of longer than four years, the top two franchises become pretty clear: the Patriots and the 49ers:The Patriots rate as having the best five- and six-year runs;The 49ers have the best seven- and eight-year stretches;The Patriots then overtake the Niners as the best dynasty for periods of nine through 12 years;But the 49ers win again for periods of 13 years and longer.The 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers is the other franchise that can make a case for being the top modern dynasty. The Steelers won four Super Bowls in a six-year stretch in the 1974 through 1979 seasons and are extremely competitive with the Patriots and the 49ers in Elo for the top six- and seven-year runs.But those Steelers did not have the longevity of the 49ers or the Patriots. Pittsburgh’s quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, was not terribly effective before or after his Super Bowl run. Brady, by contrast, has been anywhere from good to MVP-caliber since he first took over the Patriots’ starting job in 2001, and the Patriots have not had a losing year since. The 49ers, meanwhile, had 16 consecutive winning seasons from 1983 to 1998.
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In a development that signals the end of the Sahara India-Mirach Capital saga, the US-based Mirach Capital Group has returned the $2.65 million it received from Sahara, to the SEBI-Sahara Fund.As per the agreement signed between the two sides, Sahara underwrote Mirach’s expenditure related to legal fees, accounting and transaction related charges. ReutersIn a bid to clarify its stand, Mirach said it sent multiple requests asking for wiring instructions for the SEBI-Sahara Fund account, which went unanswered, prompting Saransh Sharma-led Mirach Capital Group to remit the funds via mail, the company said in a statement issued on Wednesday.”Though incurring expenses to date of $1,075,000 in related closing costs, Mirach has remitted the full amount back to Sahara, in an effort to show the Honorable Supreme Court of India the group stands willing to incur costs while waiting for a fair ruling on February 20th,” the statement added.In a separate letter, Sharma informed the SEBI, the amicus curiae and Sahara representatives about the remittance, reports PTI.Sharma added that a bank would contact all applicable parties within the week to confirm the blocked and earmarked funds being available towards completing the initially embarked loan transaction, which would however, be only applicable in the case of Sahara selling its hotel properties.”Mirach stands ready, willing and able to close this transaction in an expedited manner should the Apex court and SEBI wish to see a swift resolution in favor of the creditors who have waited several years for some form of solace,” read the letter.Full Purchase of HotelsThe letter said that Mirach is ready, willing and able to close the agreed deal, if the Supreme Court and SEBI decide to go for a swift resolution of the case, which has seen Sahara’s Chairman Subrata Roy and two of his senior colleagues, stay behind bars for almost a year now.The letter stressed that the group and its investor syndicate was willing to close the deal concerning Sahara’s assets, while seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter. ReutersThe Supreme Court has stipulated 20 February as the deadline for the closure of the Sahara-Mirach deal. However, the transaction fell apart after Bank of America put out a disclaimer stating that it was not part of the transaction as claimed by Mirach.Sahara alleged that its internal verification has found the bank document to be ‘forged’.Mirach denied the allegations, and both sides threatened legal action. Mirach said in its statement that it has “made an offer on all of the assets previously involved in the loan package, which could provide Roy and his creditors relief in the form of $2.05 billion.”
A conductor leads an orchestra as delegates stand for the national anthem during the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: ReutersChina’s ruling Communist Party reveals its new leadership line-up on Wednesday when President Xi Jinping introduces his Politburo Standing Committee, culminating a week-long party congress.A key measure of Xi’s rising influence leading the world’s second-largest economy will be how many of his allies are installed on the Standing Committee, the apex of power in China. It is currently made up of seven people, all men, and headed by Xi, who is also party and military chief.Five members are expected to retire due to an unwritten rule limiting new five-year terms to those under 68.One of the five, a close Xi ally, the anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan, 69, was left off the new Central Committee, which elects the Standing Committee, but he could get another job a few months down the line, sources have said.The new line-up will be announced around midday (0400 GMT) at the first plenum of the congress. The congress itself formally ended on Tuesday, with Xi having his political theory written into the party’s constitution, putting him in the same company as the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong.The world should not be worried about China’s growing confidence, the influential state-run tabloid the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Wednesday.“We are creating a strong nation that is friendly toward others and understands the importance of sharing the benefits reaped from development, a trait that has yet to emerge in human society,” it said.Who gets on the new Standing Committee remains a closely guarded secret until Xi leads them out before the media in a room inside central Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where all top party events take place.Names in contention include vice-premier Wang Yang, Xi advisers Li Zhanshu and Wang Huning, Shanghai party chief Han Zheng, Guangdong province party boss Hu Chunhua and Zhao Leji, who runs the powerful organisation department that oversees personnel decisions such as promotions and demotions.Other contenders include Chen Miner, who heads the party in the southwestern city of Chongqing; Beijing party boss Cai Qi; and Jiangsu province party boss Li Qiang, all of whom are close to Xi. Chen and Cai have enjoyed meteoric rises up the party ranks.Premier Li Keqiang is the only other member of the current Standing Committee apart from Xi who will remain, unless he is unexpectedly left off, which seems unlikely.Previous party congresses have anointed successors for the roles of party head and premier, with Xi and Li both vaulting on to the Standing Committee in 2007 before they were then further promoted to their current roles in 2012.Speculation has swirled in Beijing this week that Xi may break with precedent and not appoint an obvious successor, who would have to be young enough to serve three consecutive terms in the Standing Committee.
A Thai forensics unit scours the aftermath of a motorcycle bombing which killed three civilians and wounded others at a market in the restive southern Thai province of Yala on 22 January, 2018. Photo: AFPA motorcycle bomb killed three civilians and wounded 22 others on Monday morning at a market in Thailand’s insurgency-hit south, officials said, the first such attack on a ‘soft target’ in the Muslim-majority region for months.A rebellion against Thai rule in the culturally distinct Thai “Deep South” bordering Malaysia has left nearly 7,000 dead — the majority civilians — since 2004.The death toll in 2017 from the insurgency was the lowest in 13 years of conflict as peace talks edged forwards and the Thai junta boosted its security lockdown on the region.But Monday’s bomb at a packed market in Yala town popular with Buddhists and Muslims suggests a return to attacks on civilian targets.Chunks of torn corrugated roofing and parts of destroyed motorbikes and stalls littered a narrow alleyway in the market, as police picked through a scene of devastation shortly after the bomb.”The suspects parked the motorcycle in front of a stall selling pork in downtown Yala… it detonated 10 minutes later killing three civilians and wounding 19 others,” the policeman told AFP, requesting anonymity.”It’s the first big attack in downtown Yala in two years and is quite serious because people died.”It was not immediately clear if the bomb deliberately targeted the pork stall — and potentially its Buddhist customers.The wounded were taken to the main hospital in Yala, which is the main town of the province with the same name.Pramote Prom-in, an army spokesman for the region, confirmed the death toll, adding 22 were wounded “mainly with minor injuries”.Thailand, which colonised the ethnically Malay south roughly a century ago, has for decades been confronted by ethnic fighters seeking more autonomy, but the conflict flared up into its bloodiest phase in 2004.Rights groups have accused both the insurgents and security forces of widespread human rights abuses.The shadowy militant cells, who operate from remote communities and the forested Malaysia border zone have in recent months stepped back from targeting civilians amid heavy criticism.Monday’s attack could mark a dangerous new turn in the tactics.”If it was the work of the insurgents, then it’s a sign of things to come — a stern message to the authorities that they will resort to hitting soft targets,” Don Pathan, a Thailand-based independent analyst, told AFP.Pathan speculated the market blast could be “retaliation” for a specific incident in a conflict defined by tit-for-tat operations by insurgents and security forces.”But over recent years the insurgents haven’t targeted civilians out right… this is a big concern.”