1. Quick Hits
- The Denver Broncos clinched a playoff spot as Broncos kicker Matt Prater booted an NFL record 64-yard field goal (Preview) in Denver’s 51-28 win over Tennessee. Indianapolis also clinched the playoffs. The Giants and St. Louis were eliminated.
- Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the last 61 seconds to rally New England past Cleveland 27-26, but an MRI today for star tight end Rob Gronkowski. It’s feared he has a torn ACL in his right knee.
- It’ll be Auburn against Florida State in the BCS Championship Game January 6th in the Rose Bowl.
- Kobe Bryant played his first game of the season after Achilles surgery. He scored 9 points but had 8 turnovers in 28 minutes as the Lakers lost to Toronto 106-94.
- U.S. soccer fans have been fretting all weekend how the U.S. can possibly get to the second round of the World Cup this summer with both Portugal and Germany in their group.
2. Cano, Don’t You Know
As they say in baseball free agency, all it takes is one dumb team. And when it comes to Robinson Cano, that team is the Seattle Mariners. The last time the Mariners were in the World Series? That would be never. So will Cano get them there? If you’ve watched him play every day, flashes of brilliance punctuated by lackadaisical moments, you’d have to answer no. And yet he’s getting $240-million over 10 years. Only Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols’ contracts are as large or bigger and how have they worked out exactly? As for the New York baseball teams throwing big bucks at Curtis Granderson and Carlos Beltran, being over 30 and playing outfield can be very lucrative (for the player). But as a fan, wouldn’t you rather see that money poured into your farm system?
3. Playoffs? You’re Talking About Playoffs?
So Auburn and Florida State will decide the national championship in college football. This is the last year for that. Next year there will be 4 teams involved. If this were next year, the howling would come from Baylor and Ohio State, both with one loss and Stanford with two, all would be on the outside looking in. So it’s fairly obvious, no matter how many teams are in, somebody will feel slighted. The truth is, if you held a round robin this year with Alabama as the third team, the Crimson Tide might just win it all. That’s the way the ball bounces. Just ask Auburn.
Welcome to the Walk-off interview. After Florida State punched its ticket to the championship game by pounding Duke, sideline reporter Heather Cox had the job of interviewing Jameis Winston, the quarterback who was not charged with rape last week. She didn’t duck the issue, and finally when Winston heard enough he simply walked away. (Preview) Read the comments below the clip. Some people even want Cox fired. If she hadn’t asked Winston anything, as many sideline reporters wouldn’t, she’d be criticized for not doing her job.
5. What Am I Bid?
For me it was sad to see one of Jesse Owens’ 4 gold medals go on the auction block. The medal is not just another piece of sports memorabilia, it’s part of history in so many ways. You know the big picture, how an African-American upstaged Hitler at the 1936 Olympics. But there was so much more to the story. Jesse came home a hero but he couldn’t find work. And how about this? After his ticker tape parade in New York City he went to the Waldorf for his celebratory lunch and was forced to ride the freight elevator because of the color of his skin. FDR didn’t invite him to the White House because he was afraid it might cost him Southern votes. If nothing else the auction gets us to pause and reflect on Jesse’s greatness and some of the injustices he had to endure. By the way, the medal fetched nearly $1.47 million a record by far for any piece of Olympic memorabilia.
Happy Birthday: Former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. 71.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Kirk Douglas. 97.
Today in Sports: The famed “Sneakers Game.” The New York Giants trailing at halftime put on basketball shoes and beat the Chicago Bears in the NFL Championship Game 30-13. 1934.
Bonus Event: Now the Yankees grounds crew can dance between innings to a Village People song. (Preview) The first YMCA is founded in North America in Montreal. 1851.
Attention holiday shoppers! Need a gift for that young sports fan in your life? Check out my books. And if you’d like a personally autographed copy contact the Dolphin Bookshop at 516-767-2650.