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Goodbye, Georgia Dome – thanks for the memories!

As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.

The Atlanta landmark was demolished at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The last event was held in the 25-year-old building in March, and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened next door in August.

>> Watch a video of the implosion here

>> Head to WSBTV.com for complete coverage of the implosion 

From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics, the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events

1996 Summer Olympics

The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.

On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.

The team – made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps – is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.

>> On WSBTV.com: Crews make last-minute preps for Georgia Dome implosion

On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.

The team – coached by Lenny Wilkens – defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.

Super Bowl XXVIII

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.

After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.

The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.

Super Bowl XXXIV

The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.

The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.

>> Read more trending news 

The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.

The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.

Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.

The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.

The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.

The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.

Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.

That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

2012 NFC Championship game

The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl. 

2017 NFC Championship game

In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome. 

NCAA Tournaments

Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game. 

State Championships

The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage. 

In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 

Soccer at the dome

Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome. 

In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch sits for U.S. national anthem, stands for Mexico's

Star NFL running back Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders was spotted sitting on the sidelines as the U.S. national anthem played before a Sunday afternoon game in Mexico against the New England Patriots.

>> Read more trending news

Lynch appeared to take his demonstration a step further by standing during the Mexican national anthem, according to reporters at the game:

Some social media users responded, claiming that this was “false news" and that Lynch was sitting because his equipment was being worked on.

According to Sports Illustrated, it’s not the first time Lynch chose to sit during the anthem. In fact, he’s been doing it all season.

 The Bleacher Report said over the summer that Lynch claimed he had been sitting during the anthem for 11 years, and his coach, Jack Del Rio, responded to that by saying, “It’s a non-issue for me.”

“On Marshawn, talked to Marshawn trying to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said. “He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’ I said, ‘So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem. But I’m going to respect you as a man, you do your thing. We’ll do ours.’ It’s a non-issue for me.”

Earlier on Sunday, Rare covered a retired NFL running back who strongly disagrees with the protests occurring during the national anthem.

Former NFL stand-out Herschel Walker blamed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing protests during the national anthem to become routine occurrences during the 2017 season and potentially beyond.

Walker said that he finds the protests “upsetting” and that they should have been stopped when they started.

“I absolutely think the protests are so upsetting, and I blame the commissioner,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I know people are going to be angry when I say it, but he should have stopped the protests at the very beginning.”

Walker said that if people want to protest they should do so in Washington, D.C.

“Our flag is very special, and black lives matter, but what we should do is go to Washington after the season and protest there instead. We have young men and women fighting for the flag. And we have to respect the White House,” he added.

Previously, Walker said that the NFL should make a rule that says players can only protest while “off the job.”

>> On Rare.us: NFL players take a knee on Veterans Day weekend

“I do, I think it means making a league-wide rule that if you want to protest, protest off the job. One of the things I want to say about the protests, where was everyone before the season started?” he asked. “I didn’t see anyone protesting in front of the White House, protesting in front of Congress or protesting in front of police officers. Why did we wait until football season started to start this again?”

Venus Williams' Florida home burglarized, $400,000 in goods stolen during U.S. Open

The Florida residence tennis star Venus Williams calls home was burglarized as she played in the U.S. Open in September, according to a Palm Beach Gardens police report released Thursday.

>> Watch the news report here

Though what was taken from the home at BallenIsles Country Club is redacted from the report, police indicate more than $400,000 worth of items were taken from the residence.

>> Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview

Palm Beach Gardens police indicate in the report that the last time the items were known to be in the home was Sept. 1, the day Williams’s sister, Serena, gave birth to her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

That was the same day Williams beat Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari in the U.S. Open in New York. Williams made it to the semifinals where she lost to U.S. player Sloane Stephens in three sets on Sept. 7.

The burglary was reported on Sept. 5, according to the report.

>> Read more trending news 

This is not the first time this year Williams has been part of a Palm Beach Gardens police report. On June 9, Williams collided with Linda and Jerome Barson at an intersection near her home. Jerome Barson died weeks later from complication of blunt traumatic injuries.

Williams was not charged in the crash, but Barson’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against her.

WWE releases James Ellsworth

It’s official: On Wednesday, the WWE announced that it had released SmackDown Live wrestler James Ellsworth.

Ellsworth debuted on WWE television in the summer of 2016, where he was promptly destroyed in a match by Braun Strowman. However, Ellsworth’s unique look and “two hands and a fighting chance” line grabbed hold, and the WWE eventually brought him back to work with the SmackDown Live brand.

>> Read more trending news

Though Ellsworth was purely used as comic relief, he had an incredible year in the WWE. Ellsworth was in two WWE Championship matches against AJ Styles, was a participant in the Royal Rumble, and perhaps most notably and controversially, he was a bit part of the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

With the release, WWE has now released several talents over the past month. Main roster wrestlers Darren Young, Emma and Summer Rae were among releases a couple of weeks ago.

Bobby Doerr, Red Sox Hall of Famer, dead at 99

The Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday the death of Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.

Doerr, who is regarded as the greatest second baseman in Boston Red Sox history, died in Junction City, Oregon, at 99.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

Born in Los Angeles on April 7, 1918, Doerr was the oldest living Major League Baseball League player prior to his death.

He's also the only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to live to be 99 years old.

“Bobby Doerr was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one himself,” Red Sox principal owner John Henry said Tuesday. “And even with his Hall of Fame achievements at second base, his character and personality outshined it all. He will be missed.”

>> Read more trending news

Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy said the entire Sox family is mourning his passing.

“There is something fitting about Bobby Doerr becoming the patriarch of baseball, outliving all of those he played with and against,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Bobby was a special player, to be sure, a Hall of Famer, but he also commanded universal respect from all those fortunate enough to have crossed his path. We celebrated his return every time he came back to us here at Fenway Park, and we now mourn his passing, grateful for the wonderful memories he left.”>> Visit Boston25News.com for complete coverage

3 NFL players take a knee on Veterans Day weekend

Although it was noticed during the early NFL games on Sunday that no players had as of then decided to take a knee during the national anthem this Veterans Day weekend, that changed later in the day.

>> On Rare.us: Miko Grimes is slammed for saying Raiders allowed Derek Carr’s injury

Before the 4 p.m. game between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, players from both teams demonstrated. One of the Giants, Olivier Vernon, was seen kneeling behind a large American flag.

>> Read more trending news

Eric Reid and Marquise Goodwin with the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick's former team, also joined.

The NFL Players Association had asked all players to observe a two-minute moment of silence before games to honor veterans. Many players and teams did show support of the military.

Even players who have been protesting most of the season stood for the anthem this week, including the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who stood before Thursday night’s game. Titans receiver Rishard Matthews walked onto the field holding hands with soldiers and stood with teammates for the anthem for the first time since President Donald Trump criticized players for protesting.

Bennett in particular wanted to show that his participation in the protest was not about the military.

Regardless of how the players planned to act this week, many people were open about the fact that they would be boycotting the NFL this weekend, including Sarah Palin.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kate Upton weds Astros' Justin Verlander days after celebrating his World Series win

Model Kate Upton is officially off the market.

Just a few days after celebrating fiancé Justin Verlander’s World Series win, the couple exchanged “I do’s” in front of family and friends in Italy, according to People.

>> See the photo here

The bride wore a long-sleeved lace gown while her groom donned a classic black tux. E! News reports that the nuptials took place at the Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco resort, and the ceremony was in a medieval church on top of a hill overlooking the Montalcino Valley and vineyards.

>> Read more trending news

Following the 30-minute ceremony, the couple and their guests retreated to the restaurant on the property for dinner and dancing.

The couple began dating in 2014 and were engaged two years later. They kept their engagement private for a few weeks before going public at last year’s Met Gala.

>> On Rare.us: 18 months after the devastating loss of his wife, Patton Oswalt marries again

“I’m really excited. He asked me right before season started so we’ve been keeping it on the down low for quite a while,” she told E! at the time. “So, I’m excited to finally be able to share it with the world!”

Upton has always been supportive of her baseball beau and took to Instagram on Saturday to celebrate his World Series win with the Houston Astros.

>> See the post here

Ahead of the wedding, Upton celebrated with a few gal pals at a lavish bachelorette party at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.

>> See the photo here

At the end of 2016, Upton and Verlander reportedly purchased a Beverly Hills home for $5.25 million. The home is complete with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a tennis court and a pool.

UFC 217 results: Georges St-Pierre defeats Michael Bisping for middleweight title

Georges St-Pierre (26-2) choked Michael Bisping (30-8) unconscious to win the Middleweight Championship at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

>> Read more trending news

Here’s a recap:

Round 1

St-Pierre looked as good as he ever has opening up the first round, connecting on stiff jabs and a takedown of the champ.

Round 2

Bisping slipped an overhand and popped St-Pierre to stun him momentarily. St-Pierre landed the takedown of Bisping, but the champ was able to hip escape.

Round 3

St-Pierre got the takedown to open the third round yet again. He looked gassed in the second round, and it was an interesting decision to go to the ground, exerting more energy early. From his back, Bisping cut St-Pierre. St-Pierre rocked Bisping late, then took his back and choked him out.

Bisping won five consecutive bouts heading into Saturday night’s main event. The defending middleweight champion won three consecutive fights before beating Luke Rockhold for the title in June 2016 by knockout and Dan Henderson by decision in the legend’s retirement fight in October 2016.

St-Pierre returned to the Octagon after five years off. His last loss came all the way back in 2007, with 13 consecutive wins before his sudden disappearance from the UFC. His last seven fights ended in decision.

ESPN to air documentary about pro wrestler Ric Flair on Nov. 7

Ric Flair can’t stop the “Nature Boy.” The professional wrestler, whom many fans consider the greatest of all time, has always upheld the on-camera persona of a self-proclaimed “stylin’, profilin’, limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun.”

>> Read more trending news

But when on Tuesday, Nov. 7, ESPN Films premieres its “Nature Boy” “30 for 30” documentary, the American television audience will be introduced to a question Flair himself still cannot answer: Where does Ric Flair stop, and Richard Morgan Fliehr, 68, begin?

As the documentary details, Flair is an almost pathological extrovert who has spent much of the past 30 years drinking and socializing in public places, riffing with bartenders and fans, and flirting with women. His fiancee, former WCW talent Wendy Barlow, thinks she understands why.

“He’s never discovered what he likes, or what he wants to do beyond being Ric Flair. All the going out, it’s about him getting older, and still needing to get the attention and accolades from fans,” she says. In addition to feeding Flair’s ego, the wrestler himself suggests his drinking problem was masked beneath the social nature of his habit.

“I never drank at home alone. I liked to be amongst the people. But I drank 20 vodkas a day easy,” Flair said. “I spent almost $1.2 million on drinking last year alone.”

Drinking has not been Flair’s only traditional vice. He echoed in our interview the claim from the forthcoming “30 for 30” that he has slept with more than 10,000 women, reportedly including actress Halle Berry.

“I had three major problems. I was as addicted to women as I was to wrestling and liquor. I said 10,000 women, but that’s rough math. It could’ve been 8,500. I needed company at night, man. What are you gonna do? Gotta find something to do at night in Kansas.”

Flair has been married and divorced four times. Flair tells other stories, too. About his son Reid’s heroin overdose, for which Flair blames himself.

“He died on my watch. The night my son died, I didn’t call the police. I knew he was high, but I didn’t know it was on heroin. And I went to bed thinking he needed to sleep it off, and I had been drinking, and in the morning, he was gone.”

Flair says he moved to Atlanta because of The Charlotte Observer’s coverage of his son’s heroin overdose death.

>> Flair: Wrestling brought fame but also was disease

He bemoans the notion that his life makes headlines at every transgression. Yet, he profits from his public persona and leverages it to make his living. So where in all of that does Flair end, or Fliehr begin?

On Aug. 11, 2017, both nearly met their shared end, when Flair — a Lawrenceville resident — left the Arena Tavern bar with a stomachache. He’d spent the day drinking vodka and eating oysters, but the pain felt different than illness from food or alcohol.

Within hours of Flair getting home, Barlow had checked Flair into a hospital, where doctors said Flair was experiencing congestive heart, liver and kidney failure, and that an obstructed section of Flair’s bowel required removal. Flair was ultimately placed in a medically induced coma for 10 days while doctors treated those issues, and inserted a pacemaker into Flair’s heart. Doctors told family to return to Atlanta to say goodbye to Flair (and Fliehr), whom they gave a less than one in five chance to live.

Flair did live, and he was released Sept. 21. He says his medical bills for the recent emergency ran above $1 million, and that his recovery included learning to walk again.

>> The top 10 best quotes of “The Nature Boy”

For Flair, the brush with death showed him the need for a calmer life surrounded by people he can trust.

As ESPN’s “Nature Boy” and Flair’s new autobiography, “Second Nature,” suggest — not knowing whom to trust, in the case of Flair, is an uncertainty Flair could perhaps extend even to himself. For now, though, Flair insists he is a changed man.

“Two months clean! I don’t know what is next, exactly. But I’m never drinking again. And I did discover binge-watching Netflix this month. And I do hope to use this experience in a positive way.”

 

Houston Astros win first-ever World Series title, make history after devastating Hurricane Harvey

Following a second straight World Series implosion from Yu Darvish of the Los Angeles Dodgers early in Game 7, the Houston Astros made history with their 5-1 win.

>> WATCH: Houston Astros' Carlos Correa proposes on live TV after World Series win

Their World Series title is the first in franchise history and comes following Hurricane Harvey, which brought devastation to the city.

“This one’s for Houston,” Astros owner Jim Crane said after the game.

>> PHOTOS: Houston Astros win first World Series title in franchise history

“I always believed that we could make it,” All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve said after the game. “We did this for them.”

George Springer led off the evening with a double against Darvish, and soon it was 2-0. Springer hit his fifth homer — tying the mark set by Reggie Jackson and matched by Chase Utley — when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it 5-0 in the second inning.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“We’re coming home a champion, Houston,” Springer said after accepting the World Series MVP trophy named this year after Willie Mays for the first time.

Altuve, one of four carry-overs from a club that lost an embarrassing 111 times in 2013 after switching from the NL to the AL, and this collection of young stars silenced Dodger Stadium from the get-go.

>> Read more trending news

Normally a starter, Charlie Morton finished up with four stellar innings of relief for the win.

“We held down a really tough lineup,” Morton said. “For my teammates, for the city of Houston, it’s just unbelievable.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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