Today's Names to Know: NFL Network, Motor City Mania, Curtis Painter, Dan LeFevour, Holiday Bowl, Eddie Sutton, Mark Prior, Monta Ellis, Kevin Durant, 2008 CFB Predictions, Top 40 Sports Names of the Year and More!
NFL Network to broadcast Pats 16th win on CBS *and* NBC (in addition to the NFL Network). The NFL turns this from what could have been a debacle into a HUGE win, giving the league an unprecedented platform for its biggest regular season game in decades. (Except they're still using Bryant Gumbel, right? Oh, the national humiliation!)
Most-watched regular-season game ever? Not only should this be the highest-rated Saturday football game in history (not a high bar), but it could be the most watched regular-season game (network, cable, whatever) in decades. This is the closest thing that the NFL will get to a regular-season Super Bowl; it's the perfect storm: It's history, it's the one team that is a proven ratings monster AND it's a Saturday night of a holiday weekend.
One big question: Can NBC and CBS run their own pre-game or halftime or post-game or in-game shows? Because, if so, I would load up their pre-game shows and also go to hyper-quick cut-ins before and after commercial breaks to give their on-air talent the chance to impact the broadcast. Forego the ad revenue for the chance to add value to the game and build the brand.
It's going to be fascinating to see if more fans tune in to NBC or CBS to watch the game: Which network will truly be able to lay claim as
(Another question: Why didn't ESPN or Fox get their chance to simulcast the game, too? I get Fox: It's an NFC network; but is ESPN limited to only MNF games? If so, how did NBC get the Saturday game when they are a Sunday network? Is the theory that NBC would have claimed the Pats-Giants game as a "flex" game? Like CBS wouldn't have protected it?)
QBs were the stars: Curtis Painter set a Purdue passing record with 546 yards. Meanwhile, CMU's Dan LeFevour had 292 yards passing (4 TDs) and 114 yards rushing (2 TDs). For the record, he finished the season with 27 passing and 19 rushing; undoubtedly, he will join Tim Tebow in the "20/20 Club" next season.
Tonight's Bowl Mania: Pac Life
Player to Watch: John
CBB: Eddie Sutton is coming out of retirement to take over at
Sutton is at 798 career wins and apparently wants to use this team to see himself reach 800; it is unclear whether he cares at all about the kids or program. He never even visited the school before accepting the job.
I appreciate that the school and the players will get more attention now from Sutton than before (none), and I presume the USF president and AD are just as complicit in this mockery.
NBA Last Night: The Bulls still stink, even without Scott Skiles. Doesn't help that their first game of the Post-Skiles Era was against the defending champs; the Spurs beat the Bulls by 15.
NBA Stud of the Night: Monta Ellis, who had a career-high 35 points leading the Warriors to a win over the T'wolves.
MLB Hot Stove: Mark Prior signs with Padres for 1 year/$1 million. Is that what you'd call a "hometown discount?" Or just a "pity discount?" If they're doing it to attract fans, can they expense it against their marketing budget?
Sports Law: MSG settled with that ex-Rangers cheerleader who sued for sexual discrimination. If only they were as smart about the last one. (Actually, if only they were smart enough to avoid the sexual discrimination in the first place.)
CFB Superlatives: In my latest Deadspin CFB guest-post, I bust out the extra-shallow season-ending superlatives, including 5 quality predictions for 2008. Let me recap my top predictions for next season.
Biggest Game of the Year: Ohio State-USC
National Championship Game: USC-Florida
Heisman Winner: Percy Harvin
Big Headline: "Plus One" approved (gack)
Coaching Move: Notre Dame fires Weis
Baseless, unaccountable predictions are one of my favorite parts of the end of the year.
Yahoo Sports' Top 40 Names of 2007: For the second year in a row, Jamie Mottram included me in his panel of sports bloggers determining the Top 40 sports names of 2007. (What he didn't tell me was that it would be the lead story on the front page of Yahoo.com yesterday.)
It's a really fun list, headlined by Michael Vick, but scattered with both memorable names and pithy commentary from those on the voting panel (I was shut out ). Here's a link: Definitely today's must-read.
Sports Blogs: Draft Kevin Durant actually interviews Kevin Durant. I suppose this would be like me interviewing Tim Tebow. (You readers who are following my added-bonus Twitter feed would know I was actually in Tim Tebow's hometown of