Friday, December 29, 2006

Last Blog of 2006

That was awesome. What a game between the Suns and the Mavs. It is either great sport or a 2 ½ hour headache. Either way, when Dirk delivers in the clutch like that, the headache goes away. Nice win, and especially nice to see the Mavs get so many stops in the 4th Quarter when they needed them so badly. And what about young Devin? Up and down, but I like his fight.

DMN Report

“It was a really great basketball game with two heavyweights going at it," coach Avery Johnson said. "Not just because he scored, but Jason Terry was special. We challenged him. We didn't like the way he played in the last game. He wasn't playing like himself. And he responded.

"We needed a close game, and fortunately, we won it."
Terry finished with 35 points, but it was his eight assists that kept the Mavericks rolling during difficult situations.

"He was running the team," Howard said. "Dirk and I were struggling, but he found us on key shots."

Terry's pass to Howard late was a thing of beauty as he found his teammate under the basket for a layup and a foul. Howard (16 points, 12 rebounds) missed the free throw, and the Suns tied the game on Shawn Marion's layup with 6.3 ticks remaining. Nash found him on a brilliant pass along the baseline.

Nowitzki was the only option on the game-winner. "We didn't have a plan B," Johnson said.

It worked brilliantly as Nowitzki took a pass on the right wing and rose up over Marion for the 20 footer.

"For them not to score 100 and for us to shoot 41 percent and to still win the game when they shoot 51 percent, I would have thought I was dreaming," Johnson said.
The Mavericks had won the previous seven games in the winning streak by an average of 15 points. This one was a nail-biter most of the way.

Here are some notes from the Mavs PR Dept:

• With the win tonight, Dallas goes up 2-0 in the season series over Phoenix after dropping the final two regular season matchups in 2005-06.

• The Mavericks have now won eight in a row, which is tied for the eight longest win streak in franchise history. Phoenix has dropped two of its past three games after having won 15 straight.

• The Suns fall to 1-2 in games decided by three or fewer points this season after going 0-7 in 2005-06.

• Tonight marked just the fifth time this season that Phoenix failed to score 100 points. Ironically, it is the Suns first loss when failing to reach the century mark this season. Dallas has not allowed 100+ points in any of the past seven games, which is a season-high.

• Jason Terry scored 14 of his game-high 35 points in the third quarter. Terry’s only other 30+ game this season also came against the Suns on 11/9 (30 points even). Terry hit five 3-pointers tonight after not having any in the Mavericks last game. Dallas improves to 7-0 this season when Terry has 4+ 3FGM after going 12-0 in 2005-06.

• Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, marking the eighth time this season he has scored 10+ points in the fourth. Nowitzki accomplished that feat an amazing 22 times last season.

• Dallas won despite being outshot 51.4% to 41.2%. The Mavericks improve to 4-1 when their opponent shoots 50.0% or better from the floor after going just 4-8 last season. Dallas is now 6-6 when shooting below 44.0% this season and 5-7 when having a lower FG% than its opponent.

Aggies Destroyed in San Diego

Texas A&M's week of fun in the California sun ended with the Aggies flat on their backs.

The California Golden Bears ran roughshod over the Aggies, 45-10, in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl before 62,395 people at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday night.
It was a somber ending for what had been a turnaround season for 21st-ranked A&M, which had played an exciting brand of football after a disheartening 5-6 season in 2005.

The Aggies (9-4) lost three regular season games by a combined six points. They also won six times in the closing minutes.

There was no late-game magic this time in a bowl game that has a history of fantastic finishes.

The 20th-ranked Bears (10-3) allowed fans to hit the exits early after two third-quarter touchdowns for a 28-10 lead.

Cal needed to cover only 41 yards after an A&M punt netted zero yards. The Bears then muscled their way 72 yards, capping it with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Lavelle Hawkins on fourth-and-1. Hawkins was wide open after the Bears had rushed five times on the drive for 51 yards.

Cal rushed for a season-high 235 yards as its offensive line dominated A&M's defensive front six. Running back Marshawn Lynch had 111 yards on 20 carries with a pair of touchdowns.

Cal fans shouted "One more year! One more year!" when Lynch was announced as Co-MVP along with Cal quarterback Nate Longshore.

If Lynch opts to come out for the NFL draft, fellow junior Justin Forsett showed there might not be a dropoff.

Forsett, who wasn't heavily recruited coming out of Arlington Grace Prep, gutted the Aggies for 124 yards rushing on only eight carries.

A&M had no answer for the 217-pound Lynch and 186-pound Forsett, who were each tackled behind the line only once against a defense that had allowed only 123 yards rushing per game.

The Aggies held Texas to 70 yards rushing in a 12-7 victory, but Lynch had more than that by the end of the third quarter. Then Forsett tacked on 83 more yards in the last quarter.

"No one played good," A&M senior safety Melvin Bullitt said of the Aggie defense. "No one had a good game."

The Bears scored on seven of their last nine possessions after three three-and-outs following the opening kickoff.

Ouch. It may have actually been worse than the Cotton Bowl of 2004. Seriously.

Texas Tech loses; Knight waits for record

Zito is rich; Rangers still have a void

least Barry Zito promptly complied with the Rangers' request for an answer to their contract offer.

Rangers officials confirmed early Thursday they were told Zito will sign elsewhere. San Francisco, according to multiple reports, has agreed to a seven-year deal with the left-hander worth approximately $126 million.

The reported offer dwarfs the Rangers' final bid, which included $88 million in guaranteed money for six years. The offer was for six years at an average of $14 million per season. The offer also included a vesting option for a seventh season at $15 million. The option would have vested if Zito pitched 200 innings in the sixth year of the contract. If the option was not picked up, Zito would have received a $4 million buyout.

The Rangers tweaked their offer on Christmas to include the seventh season/buyout. The total worth, if he had pitched seven years, would have been $99 million.
"We made a heck of an offer," general manager Jon Daniels said. "[Owner] Tom [Hicks] really stepped up and offered to make a huge investment in our rotation for a long time to come. But Barry had a chance to stay at home. I can't blame him for doing that."

The Giants got into the bidding only after they lost Jason Schmidt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in early December. The New York Mets and Seattle had also pursued Zito.

Sorry, Jon. But when you lose an auction bid by $27 million, you did not make a “heck of an offer”. You lost the bid. 2nd doesn’t’ count in auctions unless you want to be able to tell the public how hard you tried. Similar congratulations were also extended for the posting bid on Matsuzaka two months ago when the Rangers lost that auction by $22 million. Did the Giants and Red Sox commit absurd financial suicide this winter, or did they want an ace and weren’t concerned with the price?

The following is not to say that the Rangers should have out-bid 7 years/$126 million. Honestly, I am not sure Zito is an Ace to begin with. It is to say that the Rangers should not be allowed to sign Lofton and Gagne to 1 year deals and claim that they upgraded their team. That isn’t allowed any more than the Stars should be allowed to say a 1 year deal to Eric Lindros was a financial commitment. 1 year deals are awesome for an owner who has lost his nerve in the spending game. By the way, who is the owner of the hockey team?

So the Rangers talk with great courage about their interest in Matsuzaka and Zito, but in both hands they folded when the competition went all in. It looks like the right move, I suppose, if you are interested in responsible spending and good business sense. It looks like the wrong move if you are interested in competitive baseball and winning. Silly Boston and San Francisco will no doubt not turn profits in 2007 for their silly spending, but time will tell if they will win more.

But, if you needed an ace, this winter was your chance…twice. They don’t grow on trees. They also don’t come cheap. So, you can pay the price or you can pat for your wallet and complain that spending has gone out of control.

Perhaps it is your fault, Rangers fans. We were all told that if more of you would go to more games, the Rangers would commit more money to the cause.

If you come, they will build it.

Mr. Hicks: There is a reason that Mr. Jones and Mr. Cuban are highly regarded here. More highly regarded than you, that is. It is called commitment to excellence. Not commitment to profit. That means there are times when they won’t finish 2nd in an auction. If they have to drastically overpay to accomplish their objectives, they see that as a fine alternative to the shrug and self congratulations that finishing 2nd in an auction brings.

Meanwhile, I shall look forward to hearing from all of your defenders who will assure me that $75 million is plenty on your payroll and that you tried your best to improve the team this winter. The other two owners in this city make more than their share of mistakes. But never is cash the deciding factor. Chasing the trophy is. Can’t wait to see how we can finish 3rd in a 4 team division again.

But, there is no doubt San Francisco broke the bank

The seven-year, $126 million deal with the San Francisco Giants, which will become official after Zito’s physical examination today, was confirmed by a high-ranking baseball executive with direct knowledge of Boras’s discussions with various suitors in recent weeks. The deal was first reported by

Zito, 28, who spent his first seven major league seasons across the San Francisco Bay with the Oakland Athletics, will change his uniform without changing his lifestyle. He switches leagues but stays at home, on the coast where he grew up, and will continue working in a pitcher-friendly stadium, the spacious AT&T Park in San Francisco. He selected the Giants over the Mets, the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers, whose decision to set a Saturday deadline for him to accept their offer accelerated the bidding process.

The Rangers extended a six-year, $84 million offer to Zito and recently added a $15 million vesting option for a seventh year, according to the executive, who did not want to be named because the deal with the Giants was not official. The Mariners visited Zito in Southern California, as did the Mets, who were considered the favorites to land him but declined to budge from a five-year offer worth about $75 million.

The Yankees became interested in Zito, too, but never made an offer because they first wanted to resolve the status of the 43-year-old Randy Johnson, who may soon be traded.

At least one general manager, the Mets’ Omar Minaya, was gracious in defeat. “They got themselves a very good pitcher,” he said of the Giants.

In pursuing Zito, the Giants took a similar route as the Chicago Cubs did with signing Alfonso Soriano to a $136 million deal last month. They offered a contract worth so much more money than what other teams had offered that Zito, and Boras, could not resist snapping it up.

Pitchers do not usually receive as handsome a contract as do position players because the stress of pitching makes them more susceptible to injury. But the Giants, eager to find a new face of the franchise after Barry Bonds departs, seemed to feel compelled to perhaps overspend for Zito. Until now, the largest contract given to a pitcher was the eight-year, $121 million deal Mike Hampton received from Colorado in 2000.

Zito will also receive an $18 million option for 2014 that will kick in based on innings pitched.

Oh No!

Mike Tyson was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of cocaine after police stopped him leaving a Scottsdale nightclub early Friday.

Sgt. Larry Hall said the heavyweight boxer was stopped after his car almost struck a sheriff's vehicle while leaving the club at about 1:45 a.m.

"He showed signs of impairment, and voluntarily submitted to field sobriety tests," said Hall, a member of the Buckeye Police Department who was working in the area as part of a holiday DUI task force.

Hall said Tyson was placed under arrest after "showing more signs of impairment" during the field sobriety tests.

Police subsequently searched Tyson and found cocaine on him and in his car.

LA Times feature on Tito Ortiz

I think I have to stay with Chuck over Tito, and Griffin over Jardine in a very close call.

Your first NFL Mock Draft of 2007

Hey Now

American Idol winner Carrie Underwood has capped off an amazing year by snagging a new boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

She made a surprise Christmas Day appearance at Texas Stadium, hugging her new man on the field before the Cowboys' game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now Tony, 26, who has been linked with Jessica Simpson, has confirmed that he and Carrie are a couple in an interview with a small-town paper in Charleston, Ill., where he played college football. The article will appear in Wednesday's Journal Gazette/Times-Courier.

Sports editor Brian Nielsen tells In Touch: "After I asked him all my usual football questions, I said, 'My wife really wants to know if the Jessica Simpson dating rumors are true.'

"He laughed and replied, 'No. Tell her I'm dating Carrie Underwood.'"

Carrie, 23, looked on in disappointment from the stands as the Cowboys were beaten 23-7. NBC commentators Al Michaels and John Madden openly wondered if she was too much of a distraction for Tony.

It wasn't Carrie's first visit to the stadium. She was there on Thanksgiving when she sang during the halftime show at the Cowboys' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Richie Whitt points out that the Cotton Bowl is here, and nobody cares

Psssst. Hey, buddy, wanna buy some watches? No? OK then, how about a sweet deal on some Cotton Bowl tickets? I know, I know — Nebraska vs. Auburn doesn’t exactly hit close to home. But that’s the point. That’s why this year’s Cotton Bowl has become a buyer’s market. As in, $90 face value tickets are selling for as little as $40.

“It’s one of the worst Cotton Bowl markets I can remember,” says Scott Baima, who runs Dallas-based Texas Tickets and has been in the market for 25 years. “It’s no fun getting half the value, but that’s what’s happening. On the secondary market there’s just nothing.”

Nebraska lost to OU in the Big 12 title game, and Auburn lost to Georgia late in the season, so neither team arrives with much momentum, pizzazz or happy-camper fans. Oh, and the 10:30 a.m. kickoff probably isn’t helping interest. I’ll be at the game, me and my bowl of Tylenol cereal.

Reggie says no to Dancing

Reggie Miller won’t be following in Emmitt Smith’s footsteps.

The retired Indiana Pacer’s star and TNT NBA analyst, 41, tells Us Weekly that he was approached to be on Season 4 of Dancing With the Stars, but decided to pass. The former basketball player said that he was flattered by the offer, but declined due to scheduling conflicts.

Another reason he said no? Blame reigning champ Smith. Miller tells Us, "Emmitt ruined it for all athletes because he was so good."

Vote for Rory. Not Pronger.

Amusing solution to Iraq

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm Back For You

It has been a few days (almost 2 weeks) since you have gotten the daily delivery out of me. But, it starts again today, so check here M-F at about 9 or 10 am for your daily sports fun.

A very busy night tonight on the sports landscape, as the Phoenix Suns play in Dallas, the Aggies are in their bowl game, and Bob Knight tries to become the all-time leader in Wins. Not bad for a Thursday night, eh?

Holiday Bowl, 7pm, ESPN

The first A&M victory over the Longhorns since 1999 was significant for the program and coach Dennis Franchione, often maligned during his four roller-coaster seasons with the Aggies.

"I would say the biggest win in his career here," said Bullitt, who joined the program with Franchione in 2003. "I always knew he could be a coach who could take us over the edge."

After this remarkable season in which nearly every game teetered on the edge, Franchione is fond of saying his gritty team is a minute-and-a-half from being undefeated and playing Ohio State.

Then, he rightly adds, it's also about a minute-and-a-half from being 6-6.
So as the No. 21-ranked Aggies (9-3), winners of five conference games by an average of five points, face No. 20 California (9-3) in the Holiday Bowl, has the program left hard times behind? Did the 12-7 upset of Texas signal a shift in the Big 12 South?

The Aggies hope so. Still, a loss tonight sends A&M into the off-season as loser of three of its final four games, with a difficult 2007 schedule. But distinguishing such a finish from last season's ugly four-game slide or losing four of five to end the 2004 season, was the competitive spirit in games that hinged on a play or two.
"I just saw the program really take a step ahead," A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said. "With all the kids coming back, most of our difference-makers are coming back, our offensive and defensive lines are coming back, and that's where you build programs."

At least eight starters look to return on both offense and defense. And for the first time in Franchione's tenure, seniors and juniors will permeate the depth chart. Seven starters on both sides are likely to be seniors.

In the trenches, where games are won and lost, and apparently programs are built, three of four defensive linemen look to be seniors and possibly four of five on the offensive line.

Bob Knight goes for the record tonight at 8, ESPN 2

Knight gets his first chance at his 880th victory -- and breaking a tie with legendary coach Dean Smith for most victories -- when Texas Tech (10-3) plays host to UNLV at 8 tonight at United Spirit Arena.

"[Smith] happened to be in a really good situation, and I have, too," Knight said. "It's a thing that just happens. And you've got to coach a long time. If you coach a long time, and you can coach at all, you've got to win some games."
He's won more than "some" games. In his first 40 seasons, he has won 20 or more games 28 times, which is tied for the most among active coaches, and 30 or more games with four different teams.

Heading into tonight's game, he's won 71.3 percent of his games. Among NCAA Division I coaches who have won 500 or more games in a career, that winning percentage ranks 14th all-time.

"I think he is one of the brilliant basketball minds that ever came down the road," Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "I know him to be a superb teacher. I have learned a lot about how I teach watching him."

Knight started his career taking over an Army program for the 1965-66 season that had won 20 games or more just once in its history and had made only three postseason trips.

In his six seasons at Army, Knight took the team to the postseason four times and won 20 or more games twice.

Only Mike Krzyzewski, who Knight originally hired as an assistant coach at Army, has had a 20-win season at the school since then, and Army has not had a winning season since 1985.

Mavs-Suns, 7pm, TNT

The Mavericks and Phoenix Suns came out of their first meeting this season with a combined 2-9 record.

Things have changed considerably.

The Mavericks are 20-3 since then and would be the hottest team in the NBA except that the Suns have gone 18-2 since.

This is the kind of competition the Mavericks had better get used to, because the degree of difficulty goes up substantially from now through mid-January.
Over the next 16 days, Dallas will play 10 games, seven of them against teams above .500 and four against teams that consider themselves legitimate title contenders, including today's 7 p.m. tip against Steve Nash and the Suns.

All Phoenix did was win 15 in a row, a streak that ended last week. The Mavericks own a seven-game winning streak.

These are the kind of games the Mavericks need if they want to continue a season-long growth spurt that coach Avery Johnson says is never-ending. No matter who the opponent is, he wants to see improvement.

But his players know that Phoenix, San Antonio, Indiana (twice), Utah, Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers – all on the schedule in this stretch – are better barometers for a good team.

By the way, who has played better than Josh Howard recently? Nobody.

The NBA announced today that All-Star candidate Josh Howard was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, December 18 through Sunday, December 24. It is the first time in his four-year career that Howard has received the honor. Teammate Dirk Nowitzki was the last Maverick to be named Player of the Week back in mid-November.

This season, Howard is the Mavericks second-leading scorer with 18.7 points per game. He’s also averaging 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.21 steals and 1.26 blocks while committing just 1.5 turnovers per game. Howard has scored 20+ points in eight of the past 13 games and is averaging 20.3 points over that span. Dallas is 8-1 when he scores 20+ points after going an amazing 19-0 in 2005-06.

Despite winning 58 games in 2004-05 and a franchise-high tying 60 in 2005-06, Nowitzki has been the Mavericks only All-Star the past two seasons. Since the shortened 1998-99 season, a total of nine teams have won 60+ games and Dallas was only the second to have fewer than two players selected to the All-Star game.

With the help of Howard, Dallas has won six straight and 20 of its last 23 games. In the three games last week, Howard averaged a team-high 22.7 points (55.1% shooting), 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.00 steals and 2.00 blocks.

Over the past seven games, Howard has not missed any of his 30 free throw attempts and he is shooting 84.5% from the line this season after shooting just 72.9% for his career entering 2006-07.

Howard has hit 35 3-pointers in his 19 games played this season after having just 26 in 59 games played in 2005-06. He’s also shooting 44.9% from behind-the-arc, which is 12th best in the NBA.

One of only six players currently averaging at least 1.2 steals and blocks, Howard has already blocked 24 shots this season after recording 26 in all of 2005-06.

Haven’t talked much about the Stars lately, but after last night’s nice win in Colorado, I thought they deserved a little love. You know, just when you want to count those guys out, they get a win like last night or last week in San Jose and totally redeem themselves.

They have big injuries, and it was debatable whether they had enough horses when everyone was healthy. But, this team does seem to have some fight in it down the roster, and I really like what a few of the kids have shown me. Even when everyone is healthy, Chris Conner needs to be in the lineup every night. Last night, in just his 3rd NHL game, he has again demonstrated some ability in the offensive zone and tenacity all over the ice. Loui Eriksson is really starting to show flare with the puck, too. I think Eriksson has plenty of talent, but now he is showing that the nerves are leaving him, and he can just play. The key for him will be finishing the chances, and maybe he is starting to do it. There are plenty of kids on this team, but kids that look like they may have something are rare around here, so Conner and Eriksson are promising.

Turco gave up at least one Judge Softy last night, but in the end he looked much better than Jose Theodore, and made the late saves to secure the win. I still think they are an average team in just about every department, but it is nice to see how they respond to bad news.

Wonder if Doug Armstrong has plans to help out the team before it is too late with a nice trade? I say this somewhat as a joke, but have you noticed Bill Guerin has 16 goals and is +5 on a team that is -35? You are already paying his salary…

Stars win in Denver

Thrust into the spotlight by injuries, the Stars' prospects are going to have to grow up quickly if Dallas wants to avoid falling behind in the Western Conference.
But the Stars' kids seemed up to the task Wednesday night in a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, a game in which the lead seesawed frequently before Dallas finally took control with three unanswered goals in the final 30 minutes.

"We had a lot of guys really contribute," coach Dave Tippett said. "We're scratching and clawing right now, with missing some people and playing back-to-back [nights]."
Dallas' power play also pushed the pace, going 3-for-4 and generating Jeff Halpern's game-winner from the right circle 1 minute, 52 seconds into the third period.

For the Stars, Steve Ott, Mike Modano, Eric Lindros and Brenden Morrow were out with injuries -- with Morrow's being the most recent and the most serious of the maladies, after the captain underwent wrist surgery Tuesday night in Chicago.
So some of the Stars' burden fell on players such as 21-year-old winger Loui Eriksson, by now a fixture in the Stars' thinned lineup but not yet a regular offensive contributor, and 23-year-old winger Chris Conner, who was called up from minor-league Iowa earlier Wednesday to take Morrow's roster spot.

Both players contributed first-period goals; Conner's was his first in three career NHL games.

"Early on, Conner and Eriksson were both very good, very quick on the puck, and gave us some energy," Tippett said.

JJT jumps on the Terrell bash fun

only a Narcissist could drop a critical third-quarter pass – good for about 50 yards – in a game for the NFC East championship and then complain about your involvement in the offense.

Clearly, you don't understand how self-indulgent that makes you look. Then again, you probably don't care. You're all about numbers. If they happen to come in the midst of victories, then fine. Otherwise, you've got a problem.

So let's look at your numbers.

You've got 79 catches. So what. You've got 1,063 yards. So what. You've got 12 touchdowns. In franchise history, Frank Clarke (14) and Bob Hayes (13) are the only receivers with more. Again, so what.

You haven't made the Cowboys a better team, which is what adding a dynamic receiver with game-breaking potential was supposed to produce. If the Cowboys beat Detroit, as expected, they will finish one-game better than last year, but without the coveted NFC East crown or a home playoff game.

Jerry Jones deserved more, considering he's paying you $10 million this season.
He deserved a catch on fourth-and-2 against the Giants in October with the game still in doubt. He deserved that apparent 74-yard touchdown catch against the Redskins in November that would've never given Washington an opportunity to rally. And he deserved the 50-yard catch that might've given Dallas enough impetus to slip past the Eagles on Monday.

You dropped all three. After Monday's game, you had the audacity to say it's difficult to concentrate when you're not involved early in the game. You say every other team you've played for has made sure you got the ball in the first half.
Your memory is faulty. In the last five seasons, 2003 is the only time you've had considerably more passes directed your way in the first half (62.3 percent) than the second half. Every other year, the percentage of passes directed your way in the first half has been about 50 percent.

Cowboys crumble at the wrong time

Three weeks ago, the Cowboys were in position to win the NFC East and also had a shot at the No. 2 seed in the conference. Dreams of hosting a playoff game after a first-round bye were within reach.

Three weeks later, the Cowboys are on track to be a wild-card team playing a first-round road game. Only a Cowboys win Sunday coupled with a Philadelphia Eagles home loss against the Atlanta Falcons will save Dallas from going on the road in the first round.

And there is no sign they are this year's Pittsburgh Steelers and capable of winning three consecutive road playoff games to reach the Super Bowl. Instead, over the past three weeks the Cowboys wasted their chance.

"You have to say that," Cowboys nose tackle Jason Ferguson said.

The Cowboys are currently in line to travel to Seattle and play the defending, but reeling, NFC champion Seahawks in the first round.

The road to Seattle has been paved by the Cowboys' losses. By losing two of their past three games at home, the Cowboys have demonstrated they are not one of the NFC's premier teams.

They are 4-4 against teams with a winning record at the time. Their past two home games have resulted in two losses by a combined score of 65-24.
And the 23-7 loss to the Eagles on Monday reinforces the doubts that have permeated throughout Valley Ranch.

"You are what you are in this league," quarterback Tony Romo said. That's football speak for, we're not good, but we're dealing with it.

"We'll find out when we get into the tournament," Romo said.

Gerald Ford could have been a Packer

A decision involving the Green Bay Packers played a role in Gerald Ford’s path to the White House and his place in U.S. history.

In 1935, following his stint as center on the University of Michigan football team, a young Ford played in the East-West Shrine Game.

After the game, Packers founder and coach Curly Lambeau offered Ford a contract with the team for $200 a game for a 14-game season.

Ford chose a different career path. He turned down the offer and headed to law school at Yale University.

Jason Taylor bashes Shawne Merriman

Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor says the candidacy of his likely chief rival for NFL defensive player of the year, Shawne Merriman, was tainted by a four-
game steroid suspension in November.

"You really shouldn't be able to fail a test like that and play in this league, to begin with," Taylor said Wednesday. "To make the Pro Bowl and all the other awards, I think you're walking a fine line of sending the wrong message."

Merriman, who plays outside linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, has denied he's a steroid cheat and blamed his positive test on a tainted supplement.

"A performance-enhancing drug is, obviously, what it is," Taylor said. "You enhance your performance by doing that. You fail that test, I think it's not right, it's against the rules and ultimately I think it's sending the wrong message to the youth in America and the people who look at this game not only as entertainment but also to learn lessons from it."

When told of Taylor's comments, Merriman said he tries to be a good role model, and he said he has taken his punishment for the positive drug test.

"If I wasn't having the kind of season I'm having, this wouldn't even be a conversation," Merriman said. "The NFL will always have the level of integrity. That's what makes the NFL. In my situation, everything happened in an appropriate way. I sat out my four games, my money was taken away from me, my four games were taken away from me, and I came back and played my rear off."

Merriman leads the NFL with 16 sacks in 11 games for the AFC West champion Chargers (13-2). He has four forced fumbles and has one interception.

Sports Illustrated bashes Fox Soccer’s FanZone?????

LOW: Objectivity goes out the window -- with raucous results -- on Fox Soccer Channel's Fan Zone, a Premier League game called by one unabashedly rabid fan from each team. There's plenty of taunting, rooting and screaming; for a more authentic experience you'll have to fly to England and buy a ticket.

I Seen Da Leprechaun ….

See all the old episodes of Heroes Here ….

And now, a few emails:


i can't believe you're joining the dark side about terrell owens. i've heard so much criticism of him today and not one numb nutted critic has mentioned that he also leads the league in touchdown receptions. i wonder if they even know it.

theismann said he was not even a good player. when is the last time a receiver had over 1000 receiving yards, over 80 catches and lead the league in touchdown receptions? it's never happened and never will happen.

and you say he's not worth it. ridiculous.

i know he's had drops. every receiver drops passes, but him more than most. but you cannot deny his production more than makes up for it. he also makes romo a better quarterback. WE WOULD NOT BE SOLD ON THE THOUGHT THAT ROMO IS THE COWBOYS QB OF THE FUTURE IF OWENS WAS NOT HERE.

you know for a fact that his presence makes perfect economic sense for the cowboys. no one can deny that.

as for him speaking out, i've never cared about any player speaking his mind. he's never said anything you or i weren't thinking, and i give him props for being honest and not sugar coating everything with that "one game at a time" b.s. i pray for death every time i hear a player use that
brutal cliche.

and you, bob. you must be hitting the pipe a little too hard. when owens says something, you basically claim he's being a bad player/teammate/human, BUT terry glenn says the EXACT SAME THING, oh, he has a great point.


haven't you ever thought that sometimes, owens may be right? actually he may even be right more often than not. (i tried no to sound too much like that terrible dick vermeil commercial)

owens is a great player and should be back with the cowboys next year. it'll be great to have him with a healthy hand and romo with a year of playing experience under his belt.

now, what do we do at free safety?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?



I think the term that would be appropriate for Monday's Cowboys/Eagles embarrassment would be "Reality Check"

Romo: A QB that Played like a 1st Year Starter

Offensive Line: Got pushed around, couldn't protect the passer and couldn't get the ground game going as Philly beat by more then a 2 to 1 margin in yards.

Defensive Line: Couldn't contain Jeff Garcia, allowed Brian Westbrook to have a good game, and couldn't stop a passing game that sprayed the ball to all of the receivers multiple times.....

Special Teams: Who is Miles Austin? Really.....That's another name for your spare list on WTDS....

And yet, I'm not shocked.... The NFC is pathetic and could be the home for all types of chaos in the playoffs.... If the Giants can still be in contention with a 7-8, that shows how bad this conference really is.....


And some youtube:

Tito – Chuck 2

Brashear Destroys Downey

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Eagles 23, Dallas 7 (9-6)

How is that even possible from this team after all it has been through?

How could it again fall on its face in its own building?

We must protect this house? Please.

After the Giants and Saints did it, the Eagles ransacked the house of the Dallas Cowboys with absolute ease. It was really disheartening to anyone who has asked the question about the Cowboys in the NFC, “why not us?” Now we know.

Here are my notes from Eagles 23, Cowboys 7.

• This defense has all sorts of issues and problems. We saw them earlier in the year, but I guess were not convinced they would be the death of the Cowboys. Well, guess what? This team’s utter lack of a pass rush and inability to play a decent deep defense against the pass is killing them. The only thing worse than watching the Cowboys attempt to put pressure on the QB through normal means is watching them try to blitz. There cannot be a worse blitzing squad in football. That LJ Smith catch and run is a perfect example of the complete lack of timing and scheme of the Cowboys safeties. They blitz and get swallowed up by the linemen. Somehow, other teams blitz and get a free run on the QB, but not the Dallas Cowboys.

• Terrell Owens is not worth the trouble. His drops are now an epidemic he cannot shake. His drop in the 3rd Quarter was nearly the Cowboys last prayer, and the second his play has eroded below “top 5” WR in the league was the second that his behavior became enough to send him away in the off-season. I supported his signing, but that was before the Sunday tradition of drive-ending drops that he has introduced this season.

• The Eagles have fabulous character. I can’t stand their city. I can’t stand their fans. But, if you want to find a veteran group of players who show enormous pride and professionalism that won’t let them quit, look no further than Philadelphia. Dawkins, Trotter, Westbrook, and others demonstrate what we all desire in our teams – guts.

• In December, Tony Romo has thrown 7 interceptions in 4 games. In the 4 games played during November, he threw 1 pick. These are the ups and downs of a young QB. I don’t question his talent, but I do question if he was as good as we saw right out of the gate. Is this what we should expect?

• 3 downs from the 1 yard line and you cannot move the pile. This is a small example of how the Cowboys got whipped at the line of scrimmage all day long.

• I don’t care what Owens has to say about play calling. We all know that he isn’t happy that 100% of the passes aren’t going his way. But, when Terry Glenn says anything, I listen. Why aren’t the Cowboys finding their weapons? Good question. I want Glenn to have more than 1 catch for 17 yards in any big game. He doesn’t drop many passes, and he also doesn’t speak up often. Evidently, the unity and happiness that the Cowboys had when Bledsoe went out and Romo went in has come to a close.

• How would the game have been different if Anthony Henry could have scored on that interception? If it was Newman, nobody is catching him from behind. But Henry was caught, and the ensuing drive ended with no points. I can’t say the outcome would have been different, but in theory, the Cowboys would have had a 14-13 halftime lead as opposed to being down, 13-7.

• Brian Westbrook is wonderful. And before we blame the Cowboys defense for not stopping the pass, let’s not forget that they haven’t been gangbusters against the run recently, either.

• The Division was on the line. The Rivals were in the building. And the Cowboys had very little ability to even compete in the game. They never put pressure on the Eagles lead. It was just disappointing all the way around. At what point do we complain about coaching? I think it has never been more appropriate.

• Yesterday, someone emailed me that Mike Zimmer is the same as Rudy Jaramillo. A guy who everyone says we are lucky to have here, but also a guy who is not allowed to be criticized. I am surely not suggesting it is all his fault, but how many huge money players are on this defense? Ferguson, Henry, Ayodele, James, Williams, Newman. How may other top picks are on this defense? Ware, Spears, Carpenter, Burnett. Basically, everyone but Canty and Watkins are highly paid or highly picked. That only leaves scheme and strategy as possible blames. What can’t be argued is that this team isn’t playing to its paper.

• 4 epic matchups at Texas Stadium this year: The Giants humiliated them, The Saints dominated them, and the Eagles did both. Only that Colts win is on the positive side of the ledger. 1-3 will not get it done at home for an “elite” team.

• Don’t worry about the TE, Roy. No worries.

• Now, after wetting the bed for the NFC East title, the Cowboys appear destined to play in Seattle during wildcard weekend. If any team has as many offensive weapons as the Saints, it would be the underachieving Seahawks. I really don’t like the chances of the Cowboys in that one.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shameless Plug...

In my final act before handing the blog back to Bob, I just wanted to make you P-1's aware that I have designed a handful of t-shirts and other items that you may find humorous. I would appreciate it if you'd give them a look at this address. Thank you for your support...merkin.

Prediction Time...

After scouring all the numbers going into the Cowboys-Eagles game Monday afternoon...


Various Cowboys' notes:

QB TONY ROMO has won 6 of 8 career starts & has completed 167 of 249 passes (67.1 pct.) for 2,178 yards with 13 TDs vs. 7 INTs for 100.1 passer rating … RB MARION BARBER has TD in 10 of past 13. Leads NFC with 15 TDs & 13 rush TDs … RB JULIUS JONES rushed for 100 yards in last meeting. Cowboys are 9-3 (.750) when Jones rushes for 90+ yards … Former Eagle (2004-05) WR TERRELL OWENS has 10 TDs in past 10 games, incl. 2 TDs last week. WR TERRY GLENN has 246 rec. yards (123.0 per game) in past 2. When Glenn has 100+ rec. yards, his teams are 17-5 (.773) … LB DE MARCUS WARE had 69-yard FR-TD in last meeting. Had 41-yard INT-TD last week. Has 11.5 sacks in past 16. ROY WILLIAMS has 5 INTs, most by S in NFC. is time to give my prediction on the game, which you have all been waiting for...


*Tony Romo got back on track last week and the Eagles will have a lot more trouble getting to him that they did Bledsoe the first time the teams played back in October.

*I think Julius Jones will have a big day on the ground. He has struggled much of the second half of the year, but showed in the first meeting that he can run on the Eagles defense.

*Terrell Owens can't help but have a bigger game that he did when the teams played in Philly. That will be another big plus.

* The Dallas defense should be able to put the clamps on Jeff Garcia, both passing and when he tries to make things happen when he scrambles.

How's that for analysis?


Marty Turco and the Stars wrap up the quick 2-game trip to the West Coast on a positive note by blanking San Jose.


The Mavs, with or without Dirk Nowitski (sorry, Nowitzki...I apologize if that spelling error has ruined your blog-reading experience) host the LA Clippers tonight (7:30, FSNSW).


If it was his last home game at Lambeau, it wasn't the thing of beauty Brett Favre would have hoped for...kinda helped my fantasy team, though. Appreciate ya, Brett...

It may have been a cold and rainy night in Green Bay, but
the vacationing Sturminator was giddy at the result. (Thanks to PopsicleStickChick for the photo)



Some fantastic finishes to make your football pants go crazy

Tommy like wingy

Spanky Rules


I just discovered Vida Guerra, but my horny level is definitely rising...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Oh No...

Damp & the Mavs come up with a gutsy effort to beat the Sonics for their 5th consecutive victory, but now we wait to see just how badly Dirk injured his left ankle in the win.


The Anaheim Ducks showed the Stars firsthand why they are the best team in the NHL by whipping Dallas 4-1...

...and the Stars are right back on the ice tonight as they play in San Jose. (9:30, FSNSW)


TO Owens and DeAngelo Hall kiss and make up...thanks to Prime Time...

...meanwhile, the Cowboys continue their preps for Monday's game with Philly. The guy responsible for keeping the Eagles in the playoff chase? Jeff freakin' Garcia


Thursday Night Football tonight at Lambeau as 6-8 Green Bay hosts 6-8 Minnesota...Brett Favre's last game at home????

And as you look ahead to the NFL weekend, here are the games and, for those with Direct TV, the broadcast teams for FOX & CBS...


Kansas City at Oakland (NFL Network)



Baltimore at Pittsburgh (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon)

Carolina at Atlanta (Curt Menefee, Daryl Johnston)

Chicago at Detroit (Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan)

Indianapolis at Houston (Ian Eagle, Solomon Wilcots)

New England at Jacksonville (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)

New Orleans at N.Y. Giants (Dick Stockton, Troy Aikman)

Tampa Bay at Cleveland (Matt Vasgersian, J.C. Pearson)

Tennessee at Buffalo (Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker)

Washington at St. Louis (Kenny Albert, Brian Baldinger)

3:00/3:15 STARTS

Arizona at San Francisco (Ron Pitts, Jesse Palmer)

Cincinnati at Denver (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)

San Diego at Seattle (Dick Enberg, Randy Cross)


Granny proves her grandson isn't a bomb...the hard way.


The new Rocky movie came out yesterday...count me among those definitely interested in checking it out. (reviews)


Desmond Howard is an idiot...

...and this is his 'apology' from last night on Sportscenter...

Another crack journalist who refused to admit an on-air mistake...


Oh jeez...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Romo yes, T.O. no...

The Pro Bowl invitations have been sent and poor TO Owens is on the outside looking in...

NFC Roster

AFC Roster

In case you missed this story: Everson Walls coming to the aid of former Cowboys teammate Ron Springs...

Grubes posting up on Dirk...

Mavericks try for win #5 in a row when they finish up the 3-game road trip tonight in Seattle.

The Denver Nuggets now have the league's top scorer (Carmelo) and number-two scorer after picking up Allen Iverson from Philly...yeah, that's gonna work out.


Dallas Stars play the first game of a 2-night trip to the West Coast tonight when they face the Anaheim Modano on the road trip.
You Tube

Planes Trains & Automobiles...God bless John Candy

Family Guy - Brian & Meg make out


Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Twas The Tuesday Before Christmas

Hey there sports...
Sorry again about Monday's was 'Bare Minimum Ty' since I was fighting with my computer all morning long. Anyway, with that fixed, I hope to do a better job the rest of the week...

Mavs make it 4 in a row & 18 of their last 21 with an easy victory in Sacramento...

Can't we all just get along???

Punishment handed out to those involved in the Nuggets-Knicks brawl over the weekend...

...except for Isiah Thomas, and that has George Karl ready to go postal.


T.O.'s original punishment
Speaking of punishment, TO Owens fined, not suspended for that loogie he fired at DeAngelo Hall Saturday night...
"We don't condone that kind of activity, that's for sure...I think the commissioner (Roger Goodell) is trying to be pretty strong on a lot of these disciplinary cases this year. I think this will be one of them." - Bill Parcells
"The fine does not surprise me...I know the Commissioner is making a point of emphasizing the importance of player behavior that takes place before, during and after our ball games. As an organization, we don't condone any acts that detract from, or take away from, so many of the positives that our games produce." - Jerry Jones

Someone console Dick Hicks...Anheuser-Busch pulling its sponsorship of Nascar's number-2 race after 2007.


The latest edition of The Barry Gibb Talk Show...

New trailer for the new season of The Shield...sweet...

Clip from one of the greatest movies ever: Strange Brew


Hope I did a little better job today...have good sports...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sorry Sports...

A little late with the blog today because of internet issues. Anyway here's your stuff...
Cowboys are officially in the playoffs, thanks to losses by both the Vi-Queens & Panthers on Sunday...

but how about those Eagles? The Cowboys' Christmas Day game that looked like a gimme after McNabb's injury has now turned into a pretty interesting matchup...

T.O. calls his shot as he fires a loogie into Row 13...
The latest on TO Owens and Spitgate: The NFL still deciding what to do...DeAngelo Hall thinks the league should hand down a suspension.

From the 'Wacky Injury' department: a video game is the possible culprit for an injury to Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya...

The forearm injury that sidelined Tigers flamethrower Joel Zumaya during the playoffs is now being blamed ... on a video game. The symptoms apparently cleared up when Zumaya stopped playing the PlayStation 2 game "Guitar Hero," which features a guitar-shaped controller to simulate the actions guitarists use to crank out rock music. "That was probably what was taking place," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press.


You Tube:

For you last-minute shoppers who have run out of ideas...NOT SAFE FOR WORK


George Lucas in Love...


Friday, December 15, 2006

Last Day before Vacation

Well, it is the last official blog day until Christmas. I will be back December 26th on the blog, and back December 27th on the air after today. Otherwise, I will continue Cowboys duty (so expect some post game Cowboys notes Sunday here) and that will be all.

Handling the blog duties will be the capable Ty Walker. So expect more pictures, and perhaps some Christmas bikinis from him.

Will Romo bounce back?

the Cowboys will learn what Romo is made of Saturday at Atlanta.

The first six weeks of Romo's tenure were nothing short of spectacular. He was hyped for the Pro Bowl in leading the Cowboys to four straight wins. He tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes on Thanksgiving Day against Tampa Bay.

In the last two games, against the New York Giants and New Orleans, Romo has been intercepted four times and has thrown only one touchdown pass. His passer rating for the last two games was 58.1 and 58.8.

As opposing coaches see more of Romo, the more tendencies they will pick up – but Parcells, Romo and tight end Jason Witten don't believe the quarterback has been figured out.

"Different defensive coordinators see different things when they watch the film," Romo said. "It's not one play we run or one thing we do you're going to be able to take away."

On Monday, Parcells attempted to deflect attention away from Romo.

"I'm anxious to see how we respond," Parcells said about the team as a whole. "We are at a critical time of the season."

Trying to replace Greg Ellis has not worked

The Cowboys haven't come close to filling the pass-rushing void left by Greg Ellis' season-ending injury.

Ellis still ranks second on the team with 4.5 sacks. He tore his left Achilles' tendon Nov. 12 against Arizona.

Al Singleton and Bobby Carpenter haven't recorded a sack or quarterback pressure since replacing Ellis at outside linebacker four games ago. Jason Hatcher, who has assumed Ellis' role of third-down defensive end, has one sack and three pressures in that span.

"You lose one of your best pressure players, you're not just going to roll out there and replace him," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "We haven't done that."
Said owner and general manager Jerry Jones: "It was quite a blow for our defense. But you would have thought that's where we had our depth, at linebackers."

Don't expect to see any personnel changes to address the problem. Parcells said he doesn't have any other options to replace Ellis. In their four games without Ellis, the Cowboys have only four sacks. Atlanta has allowed 35 sacks this season, ninth most in the league.

"It's on a lot of guys to get some pressure on the quarterback," linebacker Bradie James said. "But we said it when Greg went down: His presence would be missed."

Roy Williams says the pass coverage is fine …ok, dude.

Cowboys Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams said he doesn't hear the criticism about his coverage skills.

But Williams does remain hyper-sensitive to questions that he and the secondary have struggled in coverage. The Cowboys' secondary was picked apart Sunday by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for 384 yards and five touchdowns.
The Cowboys' pass defense fell to 19th in the league and is giving up 212 yards per game.

"I think we've done all right in coverage," said Williams, who has a team-high five interceptions. "Everybody is not going to have a perfect game. Stop making it seem like everybody is perfect. Just because it happened last week doesn't mean we've had horrible coverage the whole season. Get over it. Yeah, we didn't perform like we wanted to, and this week is another week and we can try to make up for last week."

In Atlanta, They are worried about Cowboys fans taking over the Georgia Dome

The Falcons have a big game with playoff implications.

The last thing they want is for the Georgia Dome to be converted into another Texas Stadium with a massive influx of Dallas Cowboys fans for Saturday night's game.
"We can't have that this weekend," Falcons linebacker Ike Reese said. "The Cowboys have a good following, just like Pittsburgh."

Against the Steelers on Oct. 22, a significant portion of the Georgia Dome was filled with Terrible Towel-waving Pittsburgh fans.

"We are calling on all of our fans to not sell their tickets to Cowboys visitors, coming here from out of town looking for tickets," Reese said. "We need all of the Falcon fans in the stadium that we can get because we need this thing rockin' Saturday night. We need that playoff atmosphere."

I got the Cowboys bouncing back 27-17...if you care.

Another frustrating game for the Dallas Stars, As the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist won’t give in

Having decided at the beginning of the month that his goaltenders would split the first two games of this road trip, Tom Renney picked Dallas for Henrik Lundqvist because the Stars had never seen him before.

Pardon them if they never want to see him again.

The Rangers' again-sensational sophomore simply stole a game from the Stars last night at the American Airlines Center. Stopping a career-high 43 shots, Lundqvist got the Rangers a 5-2 victory that sends them to tomorrow night's trip closer in Toronto on a five-game winning streak.

Center Matt Cullen, who did everything but score for 17 straight games, now almost can't help but put the puck in the net. Cullen scored his second and third goals in two games - neither a highlight-reel candidate - to turn a 1-1game into a 3-1 Rangers lead early in the third.

And defenseman Karel Rachunek, who had another profoundly troubled game in his own end, scored his first two goals of the season - shorthanded and on a power play - as the Rangers overcame 11 minor penalties. Lundqvist was the reason.

"Oh my God! You know what, he kept us in the game," defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said.

"That was like Triple-A-plus," Rangers coach Tom Renney said when asked to grade Lundqvist's work. "That's All-Star goaltending. That's MVP goaltending. That's Stanley Cup goaltending. That's everything."

And on this night, it was even more special. Because, for the first time in their lives, Henrik and identical twin brother Joel opposed one another in an organized hockey game.

Just called up from the minors, Joel Lundqvist played just 5:44. But while he was fending off wave after wave of Dallas attacks, the normally oblivious-to-the-opposition Henrik monitored every second.

"Every time he was on the ice, I was extra nervous, actually," said Henrik, the elder by two periods (40 minutes). "It was a very special feeling - an amazing feeling to get this chance. Just thinking about it makes me very happy.

"It's funny, I never see players out there during the game. But always, my brother, I could see him. I mean, growing up we played together. I was concentrating on the puck, but every time he was on the ice, I'd just see him."

ESPN Radio, wondering why they aren’t winning decide to ban their people from appearing with the enemy ….what will we do with no Trey Wingo interviews???

ESPN sent down an internal directive this week that bans any of its on-air personnel from appearing as a guest on WFAN, The Post has learned.

As part of a larger memo that impacts its owned and operated stations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Dallas, ESPN is preventing its analysts from appearing on non-ESPN radio stations in those markets.

This means that guests such as Peter Gammons or Kirk Herbstreit will have to go against company policy if they want to appear on FAN.

"It makes good business sense that ESPN should be the home of ESPN talent,'' ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn said.

Speaking of ESPN Radio, Here is this week’s Unintentional Comedy V-Cast …Amazing.

Liverpool draws Barcelona …yikes…

Three of the four English teams left in the tournament were today given handsome rewards for topping their groups in the last round when the Champions League draw pitted them against opposition they will expect to beat. The unlucky club were Liverpool, who will face reigning champions Barcelona.

Manchester United will take on rank outsiders Lille, Arsenal will face PSV Eindhoven, who finished behind Liverpool in the group stages, and Jose Mourinho will have another reunion with the club he sensationally guided to the title in 2004 as Chelsea were paired with Porto. Celtic's prize for reaching the last 16 of the competition in its current format for the first time was a mouthwatering tie with six-times winners AC Milan. Elsewhere, Roma will meet Lyon and Bayern Munich must overcome Real Madrid.

Christmas Vacation Lights

Michael Vick tribute

Make Gretzky’s head bleed – language warning

Thursday, December 14, 2006

He will be missed

We lost a legend: Lamar Hunt, 74

Lamar Hunt loved telling the story of his 1966 meeting with Tex Schramm at Dallas Love Field. Mr. Hunt was the founder of the American Football League and the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. Schramm was the president and general manager of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

Their meeting led to a championship game between their two leagues — the birth of the Super Bowl — and a merger that took effect for good four years later.

“[Mr. Hunt] said, ‘I’m not sure what some people thought when they saw us get ” Chiefs President and general manager Carl out of one car and into another,’ Peterson said of the meeting at a time when the leagues were bitter rivals.

Mr. Hunt died Wednesday at 9:40 p.m. at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after a long battle with prostate cancer, the Chiefs’ organization confirmed. He had been hospitalized since the night before Thanksgiving with a partially collapsed lung. He was 74.

“He was a founder,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a neighbor of Hunt’s in Highland Park. “You’d be hard-pressed to find anybody that’s made a bigger contribution than Lamar Hunt.

“But what he was all about for me was, he’s always been in a relatively small market. Yet they were always able to have the Kansas City Chiefs be exciting and viable and be one of the top-five marketing teams, and they were never a team that complained about being in a small market and having low revenue. He was always my example of really how to do it from the standpoint of promoting the NFL and promoting the fans’ interest in our game.”

Mr. Hunt was born Aug. 2, 1932, the son of legendary Texas oilman H.L. Hunt. He grew up in Dallas and graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in geology. He was a three-year reserve end on the SMU football team, and his interest in sports continued as he unsuccessfully tried to buy an NFL team for years. Instead, he was instrumental in the formation of the AFL in 1959 (the first season was 1960) to compete with the NFL.

His Dallas Texans competed with the Cowboys — who also began play in 1960 — for fans. But after the Texans won the AFL title in 1962, he moved the team to Kansas City in 1963, and it took on the Chiefs mascot.

At the end of the 1969 season, the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings to win Super Bowl IV.

Mr. Hunt was given a large share of the credit for the use of Roman numerals in the Super Bowl game designation.

In 1972, he became the first AFL figure inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The trophy given to the American Football Conference champion every year is named after Mr. Hunt, and he was mostly responsible for the name Super Bowl , inspired by one of his children’s toys, Super Ball.

Mavs win with a nice 4th Quarter

Though neither side had any quit Wednesday, the Mavs had the deciding push and persevered for a 110-101 victory Wednesday night before a sellout crowd of 20,424.
Dirk Nowitzki flirted with a triple-double, Josh Howard came close to a career high, and Jason Terry turned in maybe his best game of the season.

The Mavs (15-7) were a picture of offensive execution and defensive poise in the fourth quarter in rebounding from Monday's 22-point loss at Utah.

"After that loss in Utah, we had to bounce back against a very good team and against one of the best players in the league," Mavs backup center DeSagana Diop said. "And I think we did that."

They overcame Bryant's second-half onslaught and held the rest of the Lakers in check. Los Angeles (15-7) had lost triple-double threat Lamar Odom to a knee injury in Tuesday's impressive victory at Houston.

Down as many as 14 points in the first half, the Lakers began their run behind Bryant in the third quarter and tied it at 83-83 less than a minute into the fourth.
The Harris-Bryant sequence followed not long after, and the Mavs never trailed again.

Each of the Mavs' starters shot better than 50 percent, as the team finished at an even 60 percent (39-of-65). The Lakers were held to 20 points in the final period after scoring 34 in the third.

Nowitzki tallied 23 points, a season high-tying 14 rebounds and matched his career high with eight assists. He had five assists in the first quarter.
Howard scored 29 two games after tying his career best with 30 against Denver.
Curiously, he didn't have a rebound and recorded his only assist late in the fourth quarter.

Terry contributed 26 points and a game-high nine assists. After not reaching 20 points in 13 games, he's done so twice in the last three.

The LA Times viewpoint on Mavs-Lakers

The Lakers kept it whisper-close for a while, just enough for hushed Dallas Mavericks fans to shift uncomfortably in their seats going into the fourth quarter.

Then came the final 12 minutes, and a reminder of how tough things could get without Lamar Odom.

On the day they found out their second-best player would be out four to eight weeks because of a sprained ligament in his right knee, the Lakers hung with Dallas longer than expected before reality caught up with them in a 110-101 loss Wednesday at American Airlines Center.

It was too much basketball — the second night of a back-to-back situation — with too little time to adjust to life without Odom, their second-leading scorer and top facilitator.

Kobe Bryant had 33 points, but only Luke Walton had more than 12 points, and it took him 13 shots to score 13.

If you can stand it, more Terrell

He has put up big numbers as expected - leading the team with 72 catches, 971 yards and nine touchdowns. But his play has been offset by 12 dropped passes.
His disjointed stay has also been wrought with controversy, including a training camp hamstring injury, missed rehab sessions, an accidental overdose, a fractured thumb, sleeping in meetings and battles with receivers coach Todd Haley.

Owens said he has tried to come through on his promise of being a better teammate and better person in Dallas than he was in previous seasons in Philadelphia. He now feels betrayed by locker room snitches who have leaked every transgression to the media, he says.

"I just felt like I was out there and I didn't feel like I was part of the team," Owens said. "One of the coaches came to me after one game and I told him I felt alone in this locker room. It was weighing on my mind during the course of the game and my mind wasn't clear to play football."

As a result, Owens said he felt like he was "kind of faking it" on the field, resulting in a lack of focus and a high number of dropped passes.

Still, he said the dropped passes are only a big deal because it's him.
"I'm not Superman," Owens said. "I am human. Michael Jordan doesn't make every shot. Jerry (Rice) hasn't caught every pass. Tiger (Woods) doesn't make every putt. I understand the expectations of people want me to catch every ball. I understand."
While Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he is not surprised by Owens' drops, as that has been a problem in previous stints with Philadelphia and San Francisco, he declined to discuss Owens' problems within the locker room.

News out of Atlanta …as we begin to gear up for a must-win on Saturday night…

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is set to play in his first home game since he made obscene gestures to fans after the loss to New Orleans on Nov. 26.

"I'm trying to put that behind me," Vick said. "I think there is a mutual respect
between me and the fans. I still think they love me and appreciate what I do, and I love and respect them in the same sense. I'm going to be here, so we've got to love each other."

Vick issued a statement after the game and publicly apologized the next day. He was fined $10,000 by the league and donated $5,000 to the Warrick Dunn Foundation and $5,000 to the family of Atlanta firefighter Steven Solomon, who died from injuries suffered battling a Thanksgiving night fire.

Vick said he was going to dedicate his performance against Dallas to the fans.
"I'm going to go out this week and this game is going to be for the fans," Vick said. "I'm going to give them 100 percent effort, everything I've got. Like I said, it's a mutual respect between Mike Vick and the fans. We both love each other."
Injury update

Cornerback Jason Webster (torn groin, sports hernia) returned to practice for the first time since Nov. 8. He hasn't played since the Detroit game on Nov. 5.
"Jason did practice today for the first time in a long time, so that's a good sign," Falcons coach Jim Mora said.

Webster is listed as questionable for Saturday night's game against Dallas, as are running backs Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood.

The Stars play the New York Rangers tonight, And we all wonder why the Stars cannot score …well, actually some of us know: it is because they don’t have scorers…

When Stars general manager Doug Armstrong and coach Dave Tippett put together this season's lineup, they preached group scoring. If everyone simply did his share, the team would be fine, they said.

But after 31 games, the Stars are consistently underachieving on offense. Team scoring is down from 3.23 goals last season (ninth in the league) to 2.61 (22nd) this season. A team filled with career-best performances last season has one guy on that pace – Philippe Boucher – this year. And several players are on pace to have seasons that rank among the worst offensively in their careers.

Andrew blogs it best

Ten times in the last 18 games the Stars have scored one goal or been shutout in a game. The breakdown is they've scored one goal eight times and been shutout twice. That's not exactly a recipe for success. That's a recipe for mediocrity at best and the Stars record during those 18 games reflects that. They are 9-9-0.

Hitch has the Blue Jackets playing well

Ken Hitchcock heard the whispers but ignored them.

He knew what some people were saying after he got fired by the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this season. The new NHL wasn't for him, they said. Wonder what they're saying now. The Columbus Blue Jackets have been re-energized since Hitchcock's hiring Nov. 23, going 6-3-0 under his guidance, all three losses coming by one goal. They're currently riding a five-game win streak heading into Thursday night's game at Phoenix.

Apparently he can coach in the new NHL just fine, thank you.

"I don't really concern myself with that," Hitchcock said Wednesday. "Because the new NHL was here last year and in Philadelphia we were leading the National Hockey League, we were having an incredible season until the injuries caught up with us. So I don't really listen to that, I don't worry about it. I don't even think about vindication.

"I know what you can and cannot do in the new NHL," he added. "I don't find the new NHL that different from the old NHL, you just can't hook and hold, that's the biggest difference. You have to move your feet."

That, the Jackets are doing indeed. They're also playing smarter defensively. They've allowed only four goals against during the five-game win streak.

"It's really about pressure and position," Hitchcock said from Phoenix, explaining his system. "We have a team that can play physical and we want that element in our game. But we also want to reload back to strong positional play. ...

All I want for Christmas: The Directv Titanium package – just $7500 a year, honey

So if you like watching TV -- and we mean really, really like watching TV -- then DirecTV has a new offer that will fill your set with more content in a week than you could hope to watch in a lifetime -- but it's just a little bit more expensive than the company's regular service packages. For an eye-popping $7,500-a-year (that's about $625/month, or at least six times what you're currently paying), the company is offering membership into the so-called DirecTV Titanium club, which basically gives the wealthy couch potato access to every single bit the satellite provider streams down from up above. That's right, instead of picking up a new KIA, you could be watching every DirecTV channel (including all of the HD stations), every broadcast sporting event, and every Pay-Per-View movie -- even all the dirty ones -- not to mention the fact that you get up to ten HD DVRs to situate around your mansion and 24/7 concierge service (that means they send someone to your house to operate the remote for you). While this package certainly isn't for everyone, if you're already getting all the DirecTV content anyway (read: you're a pirate using illegal access cards), soon you'll have a better way to do it (ETA: June 28th) that won't result in a hefty fine and an embarrassing summons showing up at your door.

Clark Griswold’s moment of composure:

Rubberboy (in case you didn’t see him last night at halftime):

Thanks to Deadspin for this image of greatness: