December 23, 2004
Nick Saban:
Dolphins offer a holiday gift: Their head-coaching job. Expect him to take it. Two questions: (1) How much power? (2) Who'll LSU get to replace him? QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

With Festivus upon us, I present the holiday's key ritual:

The Airing of Grievances!

NFL steroid sanctimony
Blaming the sports spouse
BCS. (Oh, just get over it.)
"Desperate" backlash vs. T.O.
The Kobe Channel on TV
"Thanks, beautiful." (Gag.)
"System QBs" winning Heismans
$230-million MLB payrolls
(And passing costs onto fans)
NFL draft "standards"
@##$%^![Five-second delays.]
No PT for LeBron in Athens
Coach/exec opps for minorities
"I need to feed my family."
BCS coaches' poll voters
MLB writers who fear math
Red Sox Nation griping

Now, everyone gather 'round the aluminum pole for the Feats of Strength ...

NFL W16 Subplots
Friday NFL Rules! NFC North title game (GB at MIN). What more could you want?

Xmas NFL Rules! (If you like Titans QB Billy Volek!)

Game of Week: NE at NYJ. Was Pats' MNF L a fluke? How about Jets' 30-plus points last week?

Game of Week II: SD at IND. Battle of 11-3 AFC teams for the clear-cut No. 3 spot. SD TE Gates *and* IND QB Peyton can both set single-season TD records at their positions.

6-Seed Mania!
AFC 8-6 dogfight:
HOU at JAX: Driver's seat
BUF at SF: Bills gimme!
DEN at TEN: Trap game?
BAL at PIT: Under Bowl

NFC 6-8 dogpile:
CAR at TB: Right the 'wagon!
ATL at NO: No Vick? NO hope
PHI at StL: MNF with no TO

Bulls: Break 'em up! Chicago d. Pistons, wins 5th straight
"Alou and Son" in SF: Moises signs to play for dad Felipe
"A Christmas Story": 24-hr 'thon of Best. Xmas Film. Ever.
AI's 50 streak: Instead, he gets 40 (in a W! Take it!)
CFB Playoff: Really, get over it (you're part of problem)
Derrick Williams: Prep chooses ... Penn St?!?! (Good luck)
Kobe vs. Shaq
Heat at Lakers: Kobe needs to worry less about Shaq and more about Dwyane Wade, who could easily school Bryant on national TV in perhaps the most widely watched NBA regular-season game since MJ's heyday. (Sat., 3 ET, ABC)

Kobe also needs to worry about simply making the playoffs, which is no given (like it is for Miami). "Kobe's Team" is, for now, a dud.

Shaq Daddy? He can kick back.

The Brawl (Cont'd?)
Pistons at Pacers: Assuming that there's no Brawl II, the most intriguing plotline is how the Indiana fans in the arena will react to the Pistons -- and how that will come across on TV. (Sat., 12:30 ET, ESPN)

Simply vociferous boos? There's a fans' "mess-with-us-we'll-mess-with-you" code of honor that must be upheld, which is in direct competition with the "we'll-show-'em-we're-better-than-that" sense of restraint.

Over/under on number of items tossed at players en route to the locker room: 3.

Pro Bowl Picks
Nine Eagles, which either shows you how talented Philly was this season -- or is yet another indicator of how thin the talent pool is in the NFC. Speaking of Eagles talent ...

"Reasonable possibility": That's the judgment of the surgeon who worked on Terrell Owens, on his chances of returning healthy (enough) for the Super Bowl. We know what Eagles fans want for the holidays!

T.O., on ESPN's Sunday Convo: "I've set the table. Now all they have to do is go eat." Extending the metaphor, let's hope that while they do it they don't ... choke.

Jermaine O'Neal:
Arbitrator clears him to play Saturday, but expect the NBA to go all Grinch on him in court Thursday, as it contests the arb's right to make that call.
Today on
Quickie Live!
The Page 2 Xmas poem
Can McCain save sports?
Ranking "Fat Albert" Characters
Fat Albert
Hey, hey, hey: Who else?
Weird Harold
The hat with 2 eyeholes!
Cosby's voice genius
Dumb Donald
That's a pretty harsh name
He was so surly!

Picks: MIN (Fri), KC (Sat), TEN (Sat), CIN, DET, IND, ATL, PIT, JAX, BUF, NE, DAL, SEA, CAR, MIA (SNF), StL (MNF) ...

The Red Sox pull another coup, signing high-risk, high-reward P Wade Miller ...

Who else wants to bet that R-Jeff won't sniff career-high 42 points once a certain Vince Carter joins the lineup next week ...

Speaking of VC, coincidence or irony: Tor 2-2 since trade ...

Channel your rage over no CFB playoff into thinking of productive modifications to the existing system ...

Twas the Night Before Xmas, and all through Page 2: Check out my annual Page 2 tradition (now in its 4th year!) in Q It Up (Yes, it'll rhyme) ...

Happy holidays! Have a safe, enjoyable weekend. Quickie returns on Monday ...

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