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Friday, December 26, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2004

Why is nobody blaming NFL?

A warm sports stew on another chilly day:

• This has been festering on the back burner for awhile, and I know it s a left-over, but indulge me.

Enough already about MTV and CBS and a federal communications investigation and potential fines. How come nobody is placing the blame for the Super Bowl halftime show where it belongs? On the National Football League.

Nobody could have anticipated Janet and Justin booby-trapping the finale, but there was plenty of poor taste to go around that the NFL certainly knew about with its representatives watching rehearsals all week leading up to the game. In fact, you might be interested to know that prior to Janet s “coming out,” the crowd at Reliant Stadium in Houston had witnessed a much raunchier show than was seen on TV because CBS, having viewed rehearsals, planned certain shots and camera angles to spare its viewers of considerable garbage.

The NFL absolutely knew what kind of show it was getting, give or take a bare breast. MTV ain t Disney, after all. The league and its sponsors are trying to market to a young, hip-hop audience where sex sells - just watch the beer ads.

For the NFL to be indignant over the halftime show, a savvy PR move that somehow has distanced the league from the controversy, is the ultimate hypocrisy. When you hire P Diddy and Kid Rock and Nelly and turn your show over to today s entertainment environment of filth, you get what you pay for.

• Forget NBA [especially without LeBron and Carmelo] and NHL all-star games. The No. 1 all-star game of the year began last night and continues tonight with the Westminster Kennel Club show. Whether you know a Pomeranian from a Papillon from a Pekingese, an Irish Water Spaniel from a Portugese Water Dog, or a Cardigan Welsh Corgi from a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, it s the best two nights on television.

Our Golden Retriever, Maggie, sits attentively and never takes her eyes off the screen, unless she is called outdoors by duty to torment the bunnies that have taken up residence under the deck or to chase back into the trees those pesky squirrels that come out under cover of darkness. Which, after all, is what real dogs do.

• NASCAR has new rules and a new look this season, including radical changes to its Cup championship scoring system which, as recently as last year, rewarded consistency above winning. That s how Matt Kenseth took home what was then called the Winston Cup title with only one victory in 2003. Now, race winners earn additional points and, after 26 events, the top 10 left-hand-turners and any within 400 points of the lead will be separated into a “chase for the championship.”

When they re done swapping sheet metal, it says here that the top five, in whatever order, will be Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon.

• The movie Miracle allows America to look back fondly on one of our finest moments in sport. Team USA s Olympic hockey victory over the Soviet Union ranks among the greatest upsets of all time, joining Joe Namath s Jets in Super Bowl III, Jim Valvano s North Carolina State team stunning Houston for the 1983 NCAA basketball championship, Buster Douglas whipping Iron Mike Tyson for the heavyweight title in 1990, and Villanova beating Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the 85 NCAA hoops final on our top-five list.

• Speaking of Tyson - and don t we always fantasize that the next time will be the last - he hasn t fought in more than a year, rarely works out in a meaningful way and doesn t even have a trainer right now. But when Oscar De la Hoya announced he was targeting June 5 for a fight on HBO, Showtime immediately went to work finding an opponent for Tyson on the same night. Now, just maybe, if none of us watched ...

• The oddest thing about Bob Knight and the Texas Tech chancellor s recent shouting match is that it occurred while both were loading up plastic trays at a supermarket salad bar. Lubbock must be a fine dining wasteland.

• The quote of the week goes to Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich who, while explaining (not really) point guard Steve Wright s suspension, said: “I don t even have rules, and he broke a rule.” We all know Dakich doesn t eat at salad bars, so maybe Wright lipped off over a cheeseburger at Al-Mar Lanes.



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