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."
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: