From the "Mama McNabb stage here at the Al Davis Studio," here we go...
College football Monday morning quarterback
In this photo provided by the Heisman Trophy Trust, Robert Griffin III, of Baylor University, holds the Heisman Trophy award after being named the winner, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Heisman Trophy Trust, Kelly Kline)
Here are the five things you need to know about this morning:
— RG III won the Heisman. We got no beef with that. And the highlight of the ceremony may have been Les Miles telling the Alabama fan outside the ceremony "Nice hat." That Les Miles, he's some kind of awesome. If you get hat heckled by the guy known as "The Mad Hatter" and as "The Hat," well that's some haberdashery right there.
— Auburn has suspended leading-rusher Mike Dyer. There were no specifics given on the reasons and Auburn coach Gene Chizik will meet with the media today. After a unexpected odyssey ended with the 2010 national title, this has been a really strange year on the Plains. There seems to be some internal turmoil that goes beyond the fact that the Tigers struggled because of youth and allergic reactions to tackling.
— Now that Kevin Sumlin has landed at Texas A&M, the biggest jobs other than Penn State have been filled. We still believe that the UNC-Larry Fedora pairing appears to be the best right now, edging Rich Rodriguez and Arizona. There are still some mid-level jobs open, such as the openings left by Sumlin at Houston and Fedora at Southern Miss.
— The UT Vols lost another coach when special teams coach Eric Russell left to join Mike Leach's staff at Washington State. Sure, Eric Russell is from the area and has ties with the Pirate, but when assistants are jumping ship for lesser jobs, it's not a good thing PR-wise. That is, unless of course this move was not unlike Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof finding a new gig before the pink slips were handed out. Who knows, but after adding former Vols star Jay Graham as the replacement for "retired" receivers coach Charlie Baggett last week, UT head coach Derek Dooley now has another opening to fill.
— The 5-at-10 bowl challenge will be announced Wednesday morning, so if you have any last minute suggestions, you best send them in shortly.
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow runs during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears in Denver, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Tebow, the legend continues
The legendary status of Tim Tebow has charged past Paul Bunyon and is approaching the hallowed ground of the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch. If someone told you that he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac or jumped his motorcycle over the Grand Canyon, you'd believe it.
During his historic college football career at Florida, Tebow joined Chuck Norris in the internet joke Hall of Fame (There are hundreds of them. Two of our favorites: Chuck Norris doesn't lick stamps, he stares at them until they wet themselves; Ghosts sit around the camp fire and tell Tim Tebow stories.)
Now, after being much-maligned for his mechanics and his accuracy, Tebow has embraced the most simple and fundamental stat in all of sports. He wins. Period. He's 7-1 as a starter this year and has led the Broncos to six consecutive wins. The Broncos, who were 4-12 last year, are now 8-5 after Sunday's 13-10 overtime win over Chicago. Tebow and Co. trailed 10-0 with less than two minutes to go, but rallied to tie the game before forcing a fumble in OT and winning on a 51-yard field goal.
Tebow's stats are pedestrian, but he wins and he has managed to rise to a place that two special things have happened. First, you now expect Tebow to pull off the miraculous. A late drive with no timeouts and down eight, no sweat, he did that two weeks ago. Needing two scores in less than two minutes, that's doable. When you are expecting the unthinkable, then anything is possible.
Second, Tebow's last name has multiple meanings. This is rarified air. Occasionally legendary players have had their last names take on a suffix and be used as an adjective. That move was Jordan-esque; that drive was Montana-like, etc.
Tebow the word has moved into "smurf" territory. Explainer for the youngsters: The Smurfs were a cartoon clan of little blue people who were known as Papa Smurf, Grumpy Smurf, Happy Smurf, etc. The central word of their language was "smurf" and it could be used in all manners — as a verb, a noun, as anything really. "Tebow" is now in a similar class.
Look at these options: The Bears got Tebow-ed Sunday. He pulled a Tebow. Wow, that was simply Tebow. And, as he continues to pull out stunning victories highlighted by late-game heroics, fourth-quarter highlights and stat lines that make quarterback purists spit up, the usage of the word Tebow — like the usage of the quarterback Tebow and the size of the legend of Tebow — continues to grow.
Putting the NBA in the penalty box
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, right, and LeBron James speak during the last minutes of the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Miami. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Since we're not discussing the NBA until mid-January (after the labor stalemate lasted 27 days into the regular season, the 5-at-10 has put the NBA in a 54-day timeout), we're not at liberty to discuss any of the weekend's deals and debacles.
We will say this, though: If the Chris Paul trade and subsequent veto that became a world-class fiasco had happened in your fantasy league, someone would have gotten a face full of knuckles. Seriously, this was a legit three-team deal that puts one team (the Lakers, who would have acquired Paul) in a spot to make a run this year, gives a bad team (the Hornets, who would have acquired three players from the Rockets and Lamar Odom and a pick) better pieces and a first-round pick, and gives the third team (the Rockets, who would have received Pau Gasol) a chance to deal good players for a great player. And the league denied it.
And it — a disgruntled player getting dealt to the Lakers in a move that actually benefitted the teams but perpetuated the feeling that the power franchises collect stars like Tebow collects scalps so the smaller market clubs (led by Cavs owner and charter member with JordanRules in the "He Man LeBron Hater" fan club) complained and the deal was denied by the NBA — actually happened. Yes, the NBA owns Paul's current team, and that makes this even worse.
Now Odum has been dealt for pennies on the dollar to the Mavs and Chris Paul may be sent to the Clippers. This is not good, and Dan Gilbert can bemoan the plight of small market clubs all he wants, but strong arming star players into less than marquee locales is awful for the league. Simply put, the NBA needs the Lakers, the Celtics, the Knicks and the Bulls to be good. Period. The random Dallas surge or the fact the Oklahoma City has a great young base is great, but no matter how much talent is spread around the league, for the NBA to be fantastic, at least three of the Big 4 need to be among the elite.
What was all the labor stress for if this is now possible? Remember, this is weeks into the new labor deal, and we're already to a contentious point between players and management. One thing is for sure, this never would have happened if David Stern was still alive. Wait, he's still the commish... Really?
Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin signals to his team as they take on Louisiana-Monroe in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 85-62 over Louisiana-Monroe.Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
This and that
— It will be interesting to see how Chas9's Top Ten college hoops ranking of the schools in Tennessee turns out today after Memphis lost to Murray State, UT lost to Austin Peay and UTC lost to Mercer. Yes, Mercer. (Quick, how many nicknames can you name among the power trio that is Murray State, Austin Peay and Mercer?) Right now college hoops in this state looks like Vandy and a bunch of NIT hopefuls. This is completely 9er's poll, but here's saying that Jay Price and Chatt State could make a move on this group.
— What a crazy weekend in college hoops. Great games — Kansas beating Ohio State; Indiana pulling off a crazy upset over Kentucky — were common place. So were the images from the stomach-turning brawl between Cincinnati and Xaiver. Wow, it was worse than bad. And the limited suspensions that were handed out were less than impressive. Missing a few games — especially when those games are the throwaway, holiday tournament kind — is hardly enough of a reprimand for the street fight that ended Saturday's game early.
— The NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape. We'll get to the upper-crust of the league in Tuesday's power poll, but the Texans are in and the Falcons and New York Giants really saved their seasons Sunday with Tebow-esque comebacks. The Falcons were down 23-7 at halftime before steam-rolling Carolina on the way to a 31-23 win. The Giants were down 12 in the final four minutes Sunday night and rallied to beat Dallas 37-34. All-in-all, it was a great Sunday of NFL football (other than having no other option than watching the afternoon thumping the Packers handed the Raiders while Tebow was being Tebow on another network). Here's an idea, if the NFL Network wants to really take off, they should have a trump card rule in which five times a year, they can go live and show whatever amazing game is happening. Heck we can call it TebowTV.
The 5-at-10 loves, Loves, LOVES Christmas. Always has and always will. Now you know this.
So we're going to go Christmas questions all week (and maybe the rest of the year).
Today's opportunity is right up the alley for some of you witty folks. Write the most back-handed Christmas card message between sports people from 2011 (remember to keep it clean, this is a family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column).
Here's a starter:
Hope the move to Kansas helps you lose those 100 pounds you've always talked about so you can get down to just obese. Good luck and thanks for all your efforts, even if they didn't translate to yards or points this fall.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...