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Thursday, December 22, 2005
Sports' Night Before Christmas

By Dan Shanoff
Page 2

EDITOR'S NOTE: A Page 2 holiday tradition continues with Dan Shanoff's sports take on Clement Clark Moore's famous holiday poem. This is its fifth straight year. Here are the previous renditions: 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Page 2
A year full of memories came flooding through:

The Pats went dynastic: Cheers to Bill Belichick!
(Philly needed a T.O.; did McNabb really get sick?)

Speaking of Owens, no news maker did more headlining:
From his Super Bowl status to his protracted whining.

The new NFL season came this fall, and just so you wouldn't snooze:
There was girl-on-girl cheerleading and a boozy sex cruise.

Is this the Colts' year? Can the Seahawks break through?
(Could the 7th-best AFC team win the NFC title, too?)

College football began the year with a BCS mess;
There's no Auburn this fall; USC-Texas? (BCS: Yes!)

Baseball's spring was defined by the huge steroid scandal,
After Congress and fans didn't buy that MLB had a handle.

Giambi spoke with silence; Canseco yakked in "Juiced";
Palmeiro failed the smell test (that was no B-12 boost!)

The player who had it roughest was one-time hero Mark McGwire;
His lame "Won't talk about the past" just drew the fans' ire.

Thank goodness we could fall back on the game in either league;
Despite suffering from Fever Pitched, Queer Eyed Red Sox fatigue.

A new Sox started White hot, though disbelief was on fans' faces;
Finally took complete playoff games by Chi-town's Four Aces.

On Theo! On Kenny Rogers! On King Felix! On A-Rod and Papi Ortiz!
Was Anna Benson serious with her "offer," or just being a tease?

Meanwhile, in the NBA, the Suns reinvented the game in a new gear;
Though the fundamentally sound Spurs won for yet another year.

Phil went back to the Lakers, Larry jumped to the Knicks;
Brown's "right way" was the wrong way; that team is beyond even his fix.

UNC coach Roy Williams finally outlasted an NCAA Tournament bracket.
Thanks to Bucknell, Pitino and Illinois for helping make a racket.

Here's to one-name minor sport heroes like Lance and Phil and Danica;
And to rising stars of women's golf: Wie's coming; watch out, Annika!

Hurricane Katrina forced a depressing change to a year's sports plans;
Support poured in, highlighted by a moment of "We're all Saints fans."

Wishing greats a fond retirement: Messier an all-time star on the ice;
And here's hoping "Dancing with the Stars" appreciates having Jerry Rice.

On Brady and Bruschi! On Spurrier and Weis! On Big Ben and Reggie Bush!
Thanks to Moss for turning a TD strut into a full moon of his tush!

There are so many other sports topics which won't get mention;
That doesn't mean they weren't worth our fleeting attention.

To try to cover them all would surely beget short shrift.
The last thing I want to do is screw up this poetry gift.

Best wishes to all this holiday season and next year.
May your days be filled with peace, love and sports-induced cheer.

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His Daily Quickie column appears every weekday morning and he hosts the Morning Quickie on SportsNation, 9-10 a.m. ET , Monday-Friday.