January 14, 2005
Randy Moss:
Fined $10K, but remained defiant: "No, 'cause it ain't [expletive]. Ain't nothing but 10 grand. What's 10 grand to me? Ain't [expletive]." QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Remember back in the 1980s and early '90s when the NFC title game used to be the de facto Super Bowl?

Pats-Colts is 2004's version. (Yes, even though the winner has to potentially win AT Pittsburgh before even getting to the Super Bowl.)

But that's the level of hype, of anticipation, for this divisional playoff between New England and Indy.

The NFL's reigning dynasty. The NFL's greatest QB ever (single season). The Pats are the NFL's Yankees; the Colts are more like its pre-2004 Red Sox. (Great: Now I've offended Blitzburgh AND Red Sox Nation.)

If any team can derail the Colts, it's the Pats -- and vice versa. That's why even though it's "just" a quarterfinal, it's the biggest game of the playoffs -- including the Super Bowl.

Jets at Steelers
QB subplot: How will Big Ben fare after sitting out for two weeks? Is Chad Pennington over the flu?

Pick: Steelers. Because the Jets can't back into wins forever -- and the Steelers D can support a sluggish QB. (Sat., 4:30, CBS)

Dramatic X-factor for ...
PIT lock: Crazy crowd noise
NYJ upset: Chad channels Ben

Rams at Falcons
QB subplot: We know Vick can do it on the ground, but how about on the air? Bulger is a poor man's Peyton right now.

Pick: Falcons. Because I'm not sure that NFL fans can handle Mike Martz coming one step closer to the Super Bowl. (Sat, 8, Fox)

Dramatic X-factor for ...
ATL lock: Vick gets 200/100
STL upset: Bulger gets 450/0

Vikings at Eagles
QB subplot: If any QB deserved a non-Peyton MVP vote, Culpepper is the guy; McNabb faces more pressure than ever before.

Pick: Vikings. "Next time I might shake my [expletive]." Who else wants (badly) to see Randy Moss make good on that threat. (Sun, 1, Fox)

Tim Floyd: Finds career CPR replacing Rick Majerus at USC
Bobby Sura: Scores 35 (6-7 on 3's) as Houston beat NJ in OT
"Coach Carter": Samuel L. Jackson is the new Gene Hackman?
Michelle Wie: Shoots rough 5-over in Sony first round
Sprewell trade rumors: Headed to Heat for Jones? Unlikely
Kidd trade rumors: Nets PG says he won't ask to be traded
Dramatic X-factor for ...
PHI lock: Westbrook rules
MIN upset: Shut down W'brook

Colts at Patriots
QB subplot: A record-smashing season means hardly anything if Peyton loses this game; but, oh, if he wins ...

Pick: Colts. Because even sports fans in New England -- especially sports fans in New England -- know that nemeses are created to be conquered. (Sun, 4:30, CBS)

Dramatic X-factor for...:
IND lock: Sick depth at WR
NE upset: Belichick's genius

MLB and 'Roids
Mixed reviews, as expected. Some praise (mostly of the "good start" variety), some criticism (mostly of the "not far enough" variety).

Hasn't some progress been made? Most ESPN.com users don't think so: 51 percent are unsatisfied by the policy, and only 36 percent think it's "substantive progress" versus a p.r. ploy.

Now, back to the reality -- where most fans simply don't care.

LeBron vs. Kobe
Without Kobe, who had a nasty ankle sprain early in the game, the rest of the Lakers withstood an inspired game from LeBron (28 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists) and beat the Cavs.

Haven't seen the plus-minus stats, but doesn't it seem that the Lakers play better without Kobe on the floor, hogging the ball?

If he's out for any substantial number of games, watch out for a seemingly unlikely Lakers run.

More From Moss
Next time I might shake my ...

Because we can't get enough, here's even more Randy talk:

Reporter: "Write the check yet, Randy?"

Moss: "When you're rich you don't write checks."

Reporter: "If you don't write checks, how do you pay these guys?"

Moss: "Straight cash, homey."

Pleasepleaseplease let there be another "incident" this weekend. Frankly, if the Vikings can go into Philly and beat the Eagles, Moss will have earned the right to shake whatever he wants.

New England's groundskeepers:
If they intentionally let the Foxboro field get swampy to help stop the Colts, that's taking HFA too far -- it's cheating. MUCH worse than post-TD antics. Where's the NFL outrage NOW?
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
Baseball's great debate
Clayton on NFL playoffs
Favorite Coaches in Film (inspired by "Carter")
Morris Buttermaker
Matthau in "Bad News Bears"
Herman Boone
Denzel in "Remember/Titans"
Norman Dale
Hackman in "Hoosiers"
Jimmy Dugan
Hanks in "League/Own"
Larry Hockett
Wuhl in "Bull Durham"

College hoops game of the weekend (no: the season!) No. 4 UNC at No. 3 Wake; if UNC wins decisively, they should get some No. 1 consideration ...

Matt Leinart delays his stay/go decision until Friday; OK, NOW he's acting like a dilettante. At this point, don't care WHICH way he goes ...

More NFL fines: Jets LB Eric Barton fined $7500 for hit on Brees; no funny Moss-style quotes, however ...

Delgado watch: Those free-spending Mets met with him Thursday; the Marlins, O's, Rangers and others remain in the mix ...

A great non-NFL weekend must-read: the debate between baseball scouts and baseball statheads. See Q It Up for a link ...

More movie coaches: Pop Fisher (Brimley, "The Natural"); Tony D'Amato (Pacino, "Any Given Sunday"); Reggie Dunlop (Newman, "Slap Shot") ...

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