1. Birthday Boys
LeBron James, whose Miami Heat (23-7) play at Denver this evening, turns 29 today. Tiger Woods, whose girlfriend/fiancée Lindsey Vonn (29) is recuperating in Vail, Colo., turns 38. Woods is not on the list of players competing in this weekend’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui, which means that he may be in Colorado today, which means that it is possible that he and James could celebrate together –or did last night. Unlikely, but possible.
James has won four league MVPs and two NBA Finals. Woods has won 14 Majors. LBJ is still chasing Michael Jordan, while Woods is still chasing Jack Nicklaus. Both maintain their permanent residences in Florida, cuz no state income tax, yo.
Also celebrating birthdays today: Dodger immortal Sandy Koufax (78) and Today’s Matt Lauer (56).
2. Rodgers, Over and Out
It was a de facto playoff contest, Packers versus Bears, at Soldier Field. Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he of the broken clavicle and “Discount daaaaaable check!” ads, makes his first start after missing seven games. Fourth-and-eight at midfield with the Pack trailing 28-27 in the final minute. Rodgers escapes the grasp of Bear defensive end Julius Peppers, rolls left and finds a wide-open Randall Cobb behind the secondary for an easy game-winning touchdown.
3. “Well, I Can Thank God Nobody Got Decapitated”
Such were the words of St. Katherine College coach Scott Mitchell after his Firebirds lost, 118-35, at San Diego State. But who has time to lament an 83-point defeat when you have to fly to Salt Lake City for a game the following afternoon at Utah, who will beat you by 73? The final at the Huntsman Center: 124-51.
St. Katherine is located in picturesque Encinitas, Calif., a sleepy beach community. It opened its doors in 2010 and I have no idea of its enrollment, only that tuition is $17,850 per year and it is an Orthodox Christian school that competes in the NAIA. The basketball team calls itself the Firebirds, although at this stage with an 0-4 record and an average losing margin of just below 70 points per game, Martyrs is more appropriate.
3. Manti Does It Again
Last year, during his senior season at Notre Dame, linebacker Manti Te’o was involved in a controversial field-goal play. Pitt missed a potential game-winning field goal that would have knocked the Irish from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the referees’ miss on the play was worse than the Panthers: two Notre Dame players who were wearing No. 2, cornerback Bennett Jackson and receiver Chris Brown, were on the field. (Watch the video; you can see Jackson line up on the offense’s left and Brown line up behind the play). That’s a no-no, but the refs missed it.
Notre Dame won and advance to the BCS National Championship Game, the outcome of which and the opponent escapes me at the moment.
Yesterday Te’o, now a rookie with the San Diego Chargers, was involved in a field goal that would have won the game for the Kansas City Chiefs, knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs. The Chiefs missed, but the Chargers had seven players lined up on one side of the ball, a rule that “IS FROWNED ON IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT”, apparently.
Again, the refs failed to catch it. Chargers win. Steelers are out of the playoffs.
The losers –Pittsburgh, both times–will whine, but if the kicker makes his field goal, there’s no story here. For the record, Pitt’s Kevin Harper missed a 33-yarder (in bad weather) last year and K.C.’s Ryan Succop missed a 41-yarder yesterday.
(Thanks to reader Ken Fowler for the heads up on this)
4. Sunny and a Slight Chance of a Sharknado
In Manhattan Beach, which is just a couple of coastal towns south of Santa Monica, where the Sharknado hit last July, a mom snaps this photo of two boys playing in the surf while a shark decides to get all Chris Bosh and photo-bomb them. No one was harmed. Humans don’t taste very good, after all.
There are two ways to assess this photo: 1) It may not be safe to surf in Manhattan Beach or 2) It’s 15 degrees where I live right now; I’ll take my chances.
5. “Notre Dame basketball, Chris Fowler…”
Answer: Things that choke in New York City at Notre Dame games on Saturdays in December. And thank you for playing the “$20,000 Pyramid.” On December 21 the Irish blew an eight-point lead versus No. 2 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden with :58 remaining. This past Saturday, at halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl between Rutgers and the Fighting Irish at Yankee Stadium, ESPN announcer Chris Fowler choked on a dry chicken sandwich (we had the wings, which were slathered in sauce; safety first, I always say) and had to be Heimlich’ed by Jesse Palmer, which surely resuscitated not only Fowler but also memories for a slew of women who once appeared on “The Bachelor.”
Well THAT is not supposed to happen. Anderson Silva. This is another reason I never watch UFC. I appreciate that they are supreme athletes and that they could kill me in a matter of seconds. I just would rather watch men beat one another into submission while trying to advance a sow’s hide down a field, okay?
The must-see viral videos of the year have been compiled by The Daily Beast. Don’t miss Jimmy Kimmel’s punking of the internet, or the hashtag video from the comedy team of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake if you haven’t already seen them. Am I the only one who wonders if Jessica Biel is jealous of Jimmy Fallon?
Even Vince Gilligan never conjured this scene. Let’s not visit Iggy’s Bar & Grill in Salem, Ore., at least for a week.
Birdman, Birdman: Wing suit studs on “60 Minutes.” “Is anybody in the whole world having more fun today than we are?” No, probably not.
An ugly girls high school basketball game in Indiana. Notre Dame alum Skylar Diggins, who was having her number retired by her alma mater, South Bend Washington (in green) was in attendance. The girl on Oregon-Davis who took the shot to the face is the coach’s daughter. Deadspin is 80% sure it’s Diggins’ fault.
Brian Kelly hires the Brawny Paper Towel guy to become Notre Dame’s next defensive coordinator.
The Alamo Bowl
No. 10 Oregon vs. Texas
ESPN 6:45 p.m.
Mack Brown’s final game as Longhorn coach after 16 seasons. Will the Longhorns play an inspired finale in the Lone Star State or will the Ducks’ speed be far too much for them to handle, turning this into the A-LMAO Bowl? Marcus Mariota kicks off his 2014 Heisman campaign.