Spanning the Nation: Now That's What I Call Detroit Lions Football Edition
The Detroit Lions were up to their old tricks Sunday afternoon in San Diego, ripped apart by The Other LT (original LT = Paul Jacobs) and the Chargers 51-14. At left you can see some pics from those of us lucky, or perhaps unlucky, enough to be in attendance. As a corollary to this Sunday afternoon jaunt down to San Diego, there was a Saturday night of much drinking, rejoicing, foose-ball and beer die. I remember most of it, but not what I'm sure must've been a hilarious/embarassing ending. Apparently it featured at least two phone calls/hilarious voicemails to Mike Devitt. Consult him for all the messy details. Now, on with the roundup...
Angelo Suozzi - Hometown: Pittsford, NY
When the updates began flowing in from Cleveland, I was indeed certain that my prediction concerning this football game meaning the final judgment for one of the two perennially-losing cities was going to come true. There were the Bills and Browns, slip-sliding their way through a forgettable 8-0 game that ended when Trent Edwards figured a short screen pass would convert a fourth-down attempt from the 10 yard line. The 7-7 Bills are now eliminated from playoff contention and wound up having to take buses back to Buffalo when their chartered plane couldn't get out of the muck in Cleveland. The Sabres, meanwhile, continue to surge up the charts in the Eastern Conference despite being in last place in the Northeast division. They beat Buffalo native and hotshot rookie Patrick Kane & the Blackhawks Saturday by a score of 3-1, having already beaten the Islanders and Capitals earlier in the week.
Thomas McCall - Hometown: Lake Charles, LA
The conspiracy theorists can finally rest, with Les Miles not only back in the fold at LSU but Michigan having found itself an honest-to-God footbawl coach in West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez. In what I'm sure comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, Nick Saban's representatives have contacted WVU to express an interest in the vacancy. Life in the bayou remains stressful for the Saints, who continue to flirt with disaster yet got a super impressive performance yesterday from Drew Brees in beating the Matt Leinart-less Arizona Cardinals 31-24. Brees was 26 of 30 for 315 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Marques F*(kin' Colston, who has now scored three times since my fantasy football team was eliminated from playoff contention. You're dead to me, Marques.
Pat Girouard/Joe Long - Hometown: Cretin Derham Hall, MN
Original Recipe Adrian Peterson is preparing to bust loose on the Bears once again tonight as the Minnesota Vikings mount their second improbable late-season playoff charge in three seasons. 2005...not quite able to get over the hump. Will things turn with Brad Childress, O.R.A.P., and Tarvaris Jackson calling the shots? Tune in to ESPN and find out. The Twins are still talking with anybody who will listen about Johan Santana, but unless somebody can guarantee the Twinkies the entire Triple-A All-Star team, I say hold on the lefty. Wisconsin eagerly awaits the Outback Bowl, but I think Long could tell you all of Madison has turned its attention to the Badgers b-ball team, which has without question some of the greatest names in NCAA hoops at the moment. Whether it's fantastic comic book style alliteration (Brian Butch), the sidekick of the next James Bond villain (Tanner Bronson), a name that just sounds badass (Morris Cain), or the star of the upcoming Hoosiers sequel (Joe Krabbenhoft), these Badgers are stone-cold locks to make this year's edition of the All-Name Team. The Wild had a solid week on the ice, bouncing back from a loss to San Jose with easy wins over Anaheim and Los Angeles.
Brian Fallon - Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
With the Lions' collapse now complete and the Tigers in offseason sleep mode, Brian is free to put all his passion back into Detroit Red Wings hockey. The Wings need dedicated fans like Fallon, since they recently got stripped of their designation as the team of "Hockeytown" - despite questionable attendance, the Wings are as unbeatable as ever on the ice, recently reeling off a 10-0-1 streak that hopes to continue tonight against the worst team in the NHL, the Washington Capitals.
Kevin Braun - Hometown: Lancaster, PA
Victory never tasted so sweet for the Eagles, who spoiled Tony Romo's latest audition for a buxom blond with a 10-6 victory in front of Jessica Simpson and the hometown Dallas fans. It's the second straight year Terrell Owens has been left playing the part of the Grinch during a Christmas-season matchup against Philadelphia, and it was welcomed early present from Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, and the Eagles organization to the great city of Philadelphia.
George Heidkamp - Hometown: Hinsdale, IL
Brett Favre is still slinging it at age 38, to the joy of Packers fans everywhere. On Sunday he claimed yet another milestone record from Dan Marino, this time for career passing yardage in the middle of a strong 33-14 victory over the Rams which bumped the Pack to 12-2 (and, with the assist from Kev's Eagles, revived hopes of earning the NFC's top playoff seed). The media blackout continues for Kenny Williams and the White Sox, while Reinsdorf's Bulls continue to wallow through the Eastern Conference at a weak 8-13. The Blackhawks road back to respectability has also hit a snag, seeing as they've lost six of the previous seven games.
Paul Jacobs - Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Well, the Cardinals did trade one of their aging, underperforming former All-Stars...just not the one who wanted to be traded. Jim Edmonds was shipped back to Southern California, where he grew up and became a star for the Anaheim Angels, in exchange for a minor-leaguer and cash. Paul's reaction upon hearing the news Friday night after six grueling weeks of Air Force training was sadness and shock, but hopeful that young phenoms Brian Barton and Colby Rasmus can fill Big Jim's shoes one day soon.
Mike Devitt - Hometown: Marion, IN
Blow out the Ravens, hang tough with the Patriots, rally the troops versus Oakland...that Peyton Manning can do it all. You know, if you like 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterbacks...laser...rocket arm. The Colts improved to 12-2 and clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs, but I think Mike would be the first to tell you that they need to get healthy over the next month to be a threat to repeat.
Meanwhile, Back at Headquarters...
Irish basketball took the week off for final exams, with the cagers back on the floor Dec. 22nd versus the University of San Francisco, proud alma mater of Bill Russell. Unless the Celtic legend has been reincarnated, it shouldn't be a very close contest. Even though all was quiet inside the Joyce Center, Mike Brey could be close to claiming a significant victory in the re-recruitment game. Current freshman point guard Alex Legion announced he was transferring from Kentucky last week, and reports are now emerging that Legion will end up in South Bend. He would be eligible to play for the Irish starting in January '08. Legion was an All-America selection last year at Detroit Country Day and is a former AAU teammate of current Irish floor general Tory Jackson. It doesn't seem like playing time was an issue, as Legion averaged 18 minutes per game in his first six contests with the Wildcats, but he struggled to find a comfortable fit after signing with Michigan during the initial recruiting process before seeking out a new school when Tommy Amaker got fired. Notre Dame recruited him hard throughout high school, so maybe this will end up being the best overall fit for him. Brey has had some successes with players who transferred (Ryan Humphrey, though he initially came to ND to play for Matt Doherty, and Danny Miller), so time will tell if Legion a) ends up coming to Notre Dame and b) ends up helping the Irish program succeed.