A – Artest, Ron. On a recent appearance on “Pardon the Interruption,” Lakers forward Ron Artest was asked if he wanted to play in the NFL. Artest gave his usual head-scratching/hilarious response, “We only live once, if I’m not mistaken.”
B –Bernie Ecclestone. The Formula One racing CEO was recently mugged and robbed of $315,000 of jewelry, including a luxury Hublot wristwatch. The mugging left Ecclestone with a nasty looking black/purple right eye, but Ecclestone and Hublot decided to turn the incident into an ad. The ad shows a picture of Ecclestone’s beat up mug with the phrase, “See what people will do for a Hublot.”
C – Connolly, Dan. The AFC special teams player of the week went to offensive lineman Dan Connolly and it was completely deserved. Connolly, not soon to be confused for Devin Hester, picked up a pooch kickoff and rumbled 71 yards to the Green Bay Packers four-yard line. It was the longest return by an offensive lineman in NFL history, and it broke the previous record by 71 yards (we think).
D – Donovan McNabb. According to posted NFL odds on Bodog McNabb is more likely to be the starting quarterback for the Vikings (5/2) than the Redskins (7/1) in Week 1 of the 2011 NFL regular season. Other possibilities for McNabb include not being on an NFL roster (15/1), starting for the Cardinals (4/1), starting for the 49ers (15/2) or the favorite, starting for any other NFL team (3/2).
E – Eastern Washington. Why should Boise State have all the fun? Eastern Washington debuted a red turf this season at their home field. Of course, nobody knew about this until the Eagles finally had a game televised. Their showdown in the Division I-AA playoffs against North Dakota State was on ESPN and had plenty of people at home trying to adjust their television sets. Eastern Washington had North Dakota State seeing red: they won, 38-31.
F – Foot Fetish. A number of Internet videos surfaced allegedly showing Rex Ryan’s wife, Michelle, in foot-fetish videos. Ryan did not deny it and basically confirmed it by simply saying “it was a personal matter” every time a reporter asked about it. The Jets are headed to Chicago this week for a big game and Ryan said of the game, “I’m focused on the job at hand,” I guess as opposed to the job at foot.
G – Girlse State. Before the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl even started on Wednesday night, Utah made its first mistake. Utah wide receiver DeVonte’ Christopher decided to tweet, “I can’t wait to get out here with these Boise State, or should I say Girlse State, they a bunch of cheerleaders…lol.” Christopher never even caught a pass and the Utes were crushed, 26-3.
H- Hester, Devin. Kick returners and punt returners stole the show in NFL Week 15. Devin Hester set the all-time touchdown record for returnmen with a 64-yard punt return against Minnesota. That gave him 14 for his career (10 punts and four kickoffs), passing the previous record set by Brian Mitchell. Hester was not the only returnmean getting in on the fun. Brad Smith opened the Jets game at Pittsburgh with a kickoff return for a touchdown, DeSean Jackson had a ridiculous punt return for a score with no time remaining in a tie game at the New York Giants and, of course, there was the incredible return by Connolly (see C).
I – Ice Cold. The Bears and Vikings Monday Night Football game was moved outdoors in chilly conditions. The game ended up being worse than the weather, with the Bears pounding the Vikings, 40-14. Minnesota had to go with no-namer Troy Webb most of the game after Brett Favre was injured. The combination of the freezing weather, no alcohol, horrific football and a blowout game led fans to toss snowballs at the Bears AND the home-town Vikings.
J – Jake Locker. Probably trying to take his mind off a date with Nebraska on Dec. 30 in the Holiday Bowl as two-touchdown underdogs, Washington quarterback Jake Locker recently got engaged to former Washington jock Lauren Greer, an outfielder for the Huskies softball team.
K – Kardashians. Kobe Bryant and Kim Kardashian are feuding over Bryant’s business agreement with Turkish Airlines. Bryant plays for the Lakers, obviously, as does Lamar Odom, the husband of Khloe Kardashian, Kim’s sister. Kim Kardashian is upset because many Armenians believe that the 1.5 million deaths of fellow Armenians in Turkey during the early 20th century was genocide. There are many Armenians living in Los Angeles and Kim Kardashian started a campaign to have the genocide recognized and she has turned to Odom to help sway his teammate to drop his business deal with them.
L – Landon Donovan. The 28-year-old midfielder has officially filed for divorce from his wife of four years, “Rules of Engagement” actress Bianca Kajlich. And in a move you could expect from a soccer player, Donovan is asking for spousal support from Kajlich.
M – Michael Vick. Former felon and current Eagle, Michael Vick has recently expressed his interest for owning a dog. According to his probation he will be permitted to own a dog in May 2010. Bodog went ahead and posted odds on what kind of dog he will own first with Pit Bull (1/1) and Bulldog (2/1) as the favorites. The dark horse is the German Sheppard at 7/1 and the long shots are the Poodle at 25/1 and Chihuahua at 30/1.
N – Nebraska. Not only did a second-half meltdown against Oklahoma cost Nebraska a Big 12 title, but it will also end up costing the school a pretty penny. The Cornhuskers have nearly 4,000 remaining tickets to sell to its Holiday Bowl game and will end up losing money by playing in the Holiday Bowl. Nebraska is not alone (see U).
O – Ohio State. Trouble is brewing at Ohio’s third professional football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes. When the NCAA began investigating rumors Buckeye players were receiving free tattoos in exchange for memorabilia, they found even more condemning evidence. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor sold his Big Ten championship ring, a Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants. Pryor was not the only one. There was also Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, Devier Posey and Solomon Thomas. The group is suspended for five games next season but somehow eligible for the Sugar Bowl. Pryor will now almost definitely declare for the NFL Draft after this season and skip the suspension.
P – Phil Jackson. Another Christmas Day, another Lakers game and another complaint from Lakers Coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers have played on every Christmas since 1999, but Jackson still does not understand it. If he wants to have Christmas off maybe he should try applying to coach the Bobcats or Raptors.
Q – Qualcomm Stadium. Somehow the Poinsettia Bowl went on as scheduled even though San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium was completely flooded 27 hours before kickoff. The fact that Navy was playing in the game certainly did not hurt. Bowl officials were concerned about the playing surface, but the biggest problem was actually getting to the game without a hover craft or kayak. Good thing the Chargers are not likely to host a playoff game.
R – Romo, Tony. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback is on the injured reserve list, making him off limits for the rest of the season. Now the 30 year old is off the market after proposing to 24-year -old girlfriend Candice Crawford.
S – Shaq. The most followed professional athlete on Twitter is Shaq, and that is no surprise. He has 3.3 million followers. But to put that in perspective, he is only the 19th most followed twitter account. He has less than half the followers of the most-followed Twitterer, Lady Gaga (7.3 million).
T – Terrell and Tom. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs have feuded for years on and off the field. Now the feud heads to the Pro Bowl ballot, where Suggs recently admitted he left Brady, a clear-cut MVP favorite, off his Pro Bowl ballot in favor of Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If he really did not like Brady he would vote him to the Pro Bowl because we all know how much Brady loves playing in that meaningless exhibition.
U – UConn. Maybe winning the Big East was not such a good idea. The Huskies reward for winning the conference is a role as sacrificial lamb in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma as 17-point underdogs. On top of that the school is about to sustain a seven-figure loss after only selling 4,500 of its 17,500 ticket allotment. Another BCS bowl is struggling with ticket sales as Stanford has sold less than half of its allotted 17,500 tickets to the Orange Bowl. The worst showings are Florida International, selling only 1,000 tickets to a bowl game in Detroit, Tulsa selling 800 tickets to its game in Hawaii and Fresno State selling 250 tickets to its bowl game in Boise, Idaho. Clearly something is wrong with the bowl situation.
V – Videogames. No longer is Madden the premier sports video game, at least internationally. That honor now goes to FIFA Soccer. Its latest release, FIFA Soccer 11, broke the record for biggest opening ever for a sports video game with 2.6 million copies sold.
W – White, Roddy. The Monday Night Football season closes this week with a huge showdown, New Orleans at Atlanta. The Falcons are 12-2 and two-point favorites against the 10-4 Saints. Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White took to Twitter to hype the game even more. He tweeted, “No chance in hell the Aints come into the dome and win.” Of course Saints defensive end Will Smith had to respond by tweeting,” Wondering how Roddy White has the audacity to call us the AINT’S.” Smith attached a photo of his Super Bowl ring to his tweet.
X – X-max Football. Nothing rings in Christmas like a Saturday night showdown between the 5-9 Dallas Cowboys and the 4-10 Arizona Cardinals in Arizona. The Cowboys are favored by 6.5 in a game that probably did not even seem like a good idea before the season. Needless to say good seats are still available.
Y – Yankees. There are indications that Johnny Damon will return to the American League East, the place he called home for most of his career with the Red Sox and later the Yankees. At first it seemed that Damon and the Yankees were going to get the deal done, but now the reunion may not happen as Damon’s talks with AL East rivals Tampa Bay and Baltimore have heated up.
Z – Zebras. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers playoff hopes were dealt a tough blow on Sunday and the zebras can partly be blamed for a 23-20 overtime loss to Detroit that dropped the Buccaneers to 8-6. On Tuesday the league acknowledged that the referees made a mistake on an offensive pass interference call against tight end Kellen Winslow that negated a would-be go-ahead touchdown. The Buccaneers now need all kinds of help to get into the playoffs and it starts at home this week against Seattle as 6.5-point favorites. If Tampa Bay were to win that game and everything else goes right on Sunday, the Bucs could play a defacto play-in game at New Orleans in the regular-season finale.