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Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Page 2's Couple of the Year

Page 2 staff

Time magazine's "Man of the Year" is a pretty prestigious honor. But then again, Adolf Hitler once won.

The Kiss
Kissing your sister: Britney and Madonna couldn't quite pull into a tie for the PCS' No. 1 ranking.
Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year" is an award for all the good guys out there ... but it can get a little syrupy for our taste.

Entertainment Weekly's "It List" honors the trendy, new-wave of cool. Then again, Page 2's Bill Simmons made the list a couple years ago.

It seems everyone's got a year-end honor they want to trumpet during this part of the calendar, so why should your friends at Page 2 be any different? For 2003, we're announcing the start of our annual Couple of the Year and Person of the Year awards.

With so many worthy candidates over the last 12 months, however, we were a bit confused about how to narrow down the field. So, of course, we immediately decided to implement a system based on the most fair, most equitable and most respected formula that we could think of.

Obviously, we're talking about the BCS.

So, welcome the PCS (Page 2 Computer Series) as we rank our candidates for Couple of the Year. Below is the final PCS poll for '03 -- based on rankings from the Page 2 computer, the Tabloid computer and Jeff Sagarin's computer. We've also added in "strength-of-schedule" points for Sex Appeal, Fitness, Star Power and Staying Power.

Check out the top eight -- plus our synopsis of each couple's "season" -- and then vote in the poll at left to determine the winner.

2003 Couple of the Year Rankings
Couple P2 Tabs Sag. Sex Fit Star Stay Total
1. Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher 2 1 6 2 3 1 6 3.0
1. Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren 3 6 2 3 2 3 2 3.0
3. Madonna & Britney Spears 1 2 7 1 5 2 4 3.14286
4. Mia Hamm & N. Garciaparra 8 8 3 6 1 7 1 4.8571
5. Kobe Bryant & Shaq O'Neal 6 3 1 7 6 5 7 5.0
6. Anna K. & Enrique Iglesias 4 5 5 4 4 6 8 5.1429
7. J. Simpson & Nick Lachey 7 4 8 5 7 4 3 5.4286
8. Don Zimmer & Pedro Martinez 5 7 4 8 8 8 5 6.429
Also receiving votes: Bill Callahan & Charles Woodson, Danny Ainge & Antoine Walker, Ben Affleck & Jennifer Lopez, Jeff Nelson & Karim Garcia.
Legend: P2: Page 2 computer; Tabs: Average rankings from US Weekly, People, National Enquirer and Star; Sag: Jeff Sagarin; Sex: Sex appeal; Fit: Fitness factor; Star: Total star power; Stay: Staying power.

1. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher
Season: The critics can't figure it out, but Hollywood's "It" couple earns a share of the top spot on the strength of popular support. Making up for a weak schedule -- Moore has made three movies since 1997, and Kutcher may wish he had done the same after "My Boss's Daughter" -- by dominating Tabloid and Q rankings, the couple emerged as front-runners this summer with nifty slogans like "Piece of Ash" -- describing a reverse Michael Douglas-Catherine Zeta Jones relationship -- and the always-creepy specter of Bruce Willis lingering in the background.

Moore's comment: We're very appreciative to enter this competition as the top seed, but after more than 40 years in this business, I know better than to take anything for granted. This is probably my last shot at a title, and like John Elway in the Super Bowl, I'm willing to put my body on the line for a win.

Kutcher's comment: I agree with whatever it is Ms. Moore said.

1. (tie) Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods
Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods
Talk about a slump: Tiger will wake up to Elin's same face every morning.
Season: Imagine Nebraska abandoning the run or BYU breaking out the wishbone, and you get an idea of what Tiger Woods accomplished this year. Known for winning golf tournaments with steely determination and unparalleled skill, Woods completely shifted the paradigm of his celebrity by entering the realm of couples. Voters responded to Woods' new look -- or possibly Nordegren's bombshell blonde looks -- and overlooked the fact that he failed to win a major title and was regularly outdriven by guys with roman numerals after their name. Undisputed victory could have been achieved with at least a few lurid details to overcome Kutcher and Moore's tabloid dominance, but Woods and Nordegren will be back.

Woods' comment: Success in golf is all about putting it in the hole with the fewest number of strokes. This is completely different.

Nordegren's comment: He-a hes inurmuoos preeze-a muney

3. Britney Spears and Madonna
Season: Spears isn't the first half of a celebrity couple to bounce back from breakup as part of a new power team, but she might be the first to bounce back playing for the other team. One big win wasn't quite enough to earn them the title, but as with Zimmer and Martinez -- and trust us, it's the only way these two couples are related -- Britney and Madonna generated enough buzz with their Parisian smooch to earn their final ranking. Both also deserve credit for not sullying their Q Rating by trying to act in any movies this year.

Spears' comment: There is nothing to all this rumor and speculation. I admire Madonna as a performer and a mentor, but the performance was nothing more than an artistic expression designed to captivate the audience. Now does anyone have Kate Bosworth's phone number?

Madonna's comment: I've had better.

4. Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra
Nomar Garciaparra, Mia Hamm
Paparazzi catch a glimpse of Mia on the set of her new movie.
Season: The consensus preseason No. 1 among sporting couples, Nomar and Mia couldn't hold on after a late-season slide. Always short on charisma points but long on production, the duo were hurt by on-field failures and off-field silence. Garciaparra wasn't a factor in Boston's postseason run, while Hamm could do nothing to save her team from defeat against Germany in the Women's World Cup. With no lurid details, compromising photos or juicy gossip to otherwise keep them in the news, these two finished the year with little momentum. Given the uncertainty of Nomar's future in Boston and the demise of the WUSA, fourth is a good finish for a couple without any home-field advantage.

Garciaparra's comment: Mia and I are very happy. I'd also just like to reiterate that I'm very happy in Boston -- although I'd be happier with $15 million a year -- and I have no interest in leaving these wonderful fans and their intrusive, belittling, overzealous, unfair and generally miserable reporters.

Hamm's comment: (crickets chirping)

5. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
Season: It takes a lot of public appeal for a couple to make the cut without romantic implications or physical confrontations, but it's not every day you get Hall of Fame teammates launching all-out verbal assaults in the press -- just most days if you're talking about the Lakers this preseason. Kobe and Shaq went toe-to-toe, landing shots with quotes like "childlike," "fat," "unprofessional" and "jealous." The quick cessation of hostilities cost them rankings points, but it was a good run while it lasted.

Bryant's comment: My lawyers have advised me not to make any comments about anyone, even fat blobs like Shaq.

O'Neal's comment: How about me and Brian Shaw? Couldn't we get in this field? Why do I always have to deal with this loser.

6. Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias
Enrique Iglesias, Anna Kournikova
Anna just likes guys with moles.
Season: Like Garciaparra and Hamm, these preseason contenders limped to the finish line. Living off past rankings for much of this year, Kournikova slumped badly. Her tennis failures were expected, but the Russian underachieved in public sightings, television appearances and general tartness. News of a possible breakup and rumors of Enrique's impending romance with "O.C." hottie Mischa Barton provided a boost in the gossip and innuendo portion of the rankings, but this was still a one-man team at the end of the year. It's just a shame they missed out on the top four, as Anna is the field's most proven postseason performer.

Kournikova's comment: Now I know how it feels when doves cry. And you know that mole was fake, right? He borrowed it from Cindy Crawford.

Iglesias' comment: I'd like to think Anna and I could overcome any difference we might be having in pursuit of an honor as historic and rare as Page 2's Couple of the Year.

7. Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
Season: Most teams look to avoid dumb mistakes on the road to a championship -- just ask Bill Callahan -- but Simpson and Lachey rode the blonde singer's lack of intellect to a spot as one of the top eight seeds. The computers don't understand their appeal, but just as great athletes ignore press clippings, we're sure Simpson has never turned on a computer. Championship hopes likely vanished with the release of a pair of summer solo albums -- reminding the public that their singing and songwriting skills had little to do with their fame.

Simpson's comment: I don't really believe in seedings, they always get stuck in my teeth and ruin my photo shoots.

Lachey's comment: I must have killed a lot of people in a former life.

8. Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez
Season: Not all great couples have staying power. Actually, odds are none of these couples has much staying power, but the intersection of 72-year-old paunchy bench coach and 32-year-old petulant pitcher was no less powerful because of its brevity. And like a movie generating Oscar buzz at the right time, Zimmer and Martinez gained points for coming together late in the year on a national stage like the ALCS. Success in the polls is all about creating indelible images, but when push came to shove -- literally -- the wispy Martinez chucking the rampaging septuagenarian to the ground just wasn't enough to make the cut in this field.

Martinez's comment: I was going to return to the dugout before Zimmer came out, but Grady told me to stay out there a little longer.

Zimmer's comment: I have no ill will toward Pedro. It was something that happened in the heat of the moment, and we both reacted. It's unfortunate that two baseball warriors had to settle things in such an unprofessional manner. I wish him well next season. Now Steinbrenner, I'd like to get that SOB in a dark alley.