Football games are long, long endeavors. Battles of attrition. Game of inches. Field position. And such. The previous week, the NFL set a league record for most combined points in a weekend, which is exciting on paper. But this week, and last, a lot of games were simply horrible.
Half the games were won by more than two touchdowns. The average margin of victory was 15½ points. The “closest” Thanksgiving game was the Cowboys’ 25 point squeaker over Seattle. Week 12 wasn’t much better; last week’s points-a-palooza had an average victory of almost 17 points, with only three games featuring a single-digit victory. In a season where the median margin of victory is 10 points, the last two weeks have had median wins of 16 and 18 points. Hey, football’s fun. And it’s a never-ending cycle to find the good ones. You have to watch the 41-17 clunkers to find the 31-28 photo finish. Good thing I skipped the action today to go Christmas shopping.
(”It’s funny ’til somebody gets SHOT IN THE LEG.”)
If it wasn’t for the human tendency to honor anniversaries, not many people would connect the diametrically opposite incidents of Plaxico Burress and Sean Taylor. (Also, their teams were, y’know, playing each other.) A year ago, Taylor was murdered in his home. Last Friday, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg. The location of the bullet wounds might have been remotely close, and they were both football players, but that’s pretty much all the two things had in common. Was Burress carrying a gun to protect himself in light of the Taylor murder? Well, maybe, but isn’t that what friends and bodyguards are for? He ought to be rich enough not to have to actually handle one of those firearms. We’ll all find out more when he surrenders tomorrow and talks to police about potentially carrying a weapon without a legal permit.
What’s Dabo Swinney looking at, other than seeing the “interim” diamond-encrusted plate being taken off his Clemson head coach office door? He’s trying to figure out who first reported it. ESPN! Multiple sources told them. WYFF GREENVILLE! Multiple sources told them. CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER! Multiple sources told us, but they told us first. Put them all together, and multiple sources have told SPORTSbyBROOKS that Dabo Swinney will be the new head football coach at Clemson University. You (might have) heard it here first.
- Arbitration time! Today is the deadline for MLB teams to offer cash to their free agents and potentially scrap some draft picks out of the process in the event the free agent leaves. Milwaukee could offer it to Sabathia. Boston might give it to Captain Varitek. The Royals could … let anyone with talent sign elsewhere and bring up some young people.
- Old-ish news, but it’s new to you! Warren Moon was on TV and mentioned that maybe the Patriots should trade Tom Brady and keep Matt Cassel. Yes, and maybe they’ll turn Bill Belichick into a French sous chef. That’ll show them.
- David Chalk of BUGS AND CRANKS weighs the odds of who will be SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s Sportsman Of The Year. David’s a Rays fan, so you know who’s the odds-on-favorite.
- THE 700 LEVEL watches Derrick Rose block the tar out of Andre Miller’s shots last night. Chicago won 103-92.
- THE STAR LEDGER reports on Devin Harris’s 47-point barrage to help the Nets beat the Suns. 21 of the points were in the final quarter.
- Peyton and Tom have huge games against each other! No, not those ones. Hillis and Jones. They both ran for over 120 yards but Hillis’s Broncos trounced the Jets 34-17.
- With the Browns down to their last Dorsey this season, Browns fans are praying to Santa Claus and the Kwanzaa Llama for Bill Cowher as a head coach.
- The woman who had bathroom sex in the Metrodome (what a way to be named) is claiming she was victimized and would never ever have drunken sex if it was up to her. Hey, wouldn’t we all. That would be absolutely disgusting if she was date-raped, but there doesn’t seem to be any proof other than she’s embarrassed. Let’s all move on.
- So Lane Kiffin is the new Tennessee Volunteers coach. Neat. But will his daddy Monte, a Buccaneers assistant, follow him to Knoxville? PFT can’t get a word out of the senior Kiffin about it. He’s not talking. Lips. Sealed. (For now.)
- And finally, the Michigan State basketball game was delayed by rain. Wait… what?