How good is New England? Well, Tom Brady throws three interceptions, Randy Moss is barely a mention in the game and yet the Patriots efficiently dismantle the San Diego Chargers, 21-12 in the AFC championship game. Kevin Faulk catches eight passes, Laurence Maroney rushes for 122 yards, including critical first downs on the clock-chewing final drive in the fourth quarter. Jabar Gaffney catches a touchdown pass, Wes Welker catches a touchdown pass. The ageless Junior Seau makes key defensive plays. Rodney Harrison pressures Philip Rivers. And, the offensive line continues to stake a case as the best in the NFL, whether run or pass blocking. Yeah, New England is that good.
How improbable is winning three games on the road, including defeating not only the frequently sleeveless Green Bay Packers, but the ghosts of the legends oozing from the frozen tundra (minus one degree, the third coldest game in NFL post-season history) of Lambeau Field? Well, the New York football Giants (love the sound of that!) accomplished one of the most difficult feats in sports to reach their fourth Super Bowl and create the second consecutive championship game that features a Manning at quarterback.
CHESS CLUB, PACMAN?
Perhaps tiring of the metaphorical black eye that he represents to the National Football League, Adam "Pacman" Jones decided to lay a real one on an acquaintance, who alleged that he sucker punched her at a strip club.
Maybe Left Field is just old fashioned, but in our book, when a man hits a woman - any woman - it's a sucker punch by definition.
Seems Pacman Jones desperately needs a hobby. Try Guitar Hero III (Left Field suspects the former West Virginia cornerback could easily afford Rock Band!). Needlepoint. Hiking. Or better yet underground tunneling to China. We'll provide the shovel.
And we can't help but wonder if the former Titan's cornerback reached an "out of court" settlement in the criminal case since, for unknown reasons, the victim has decided to drop the charges. Too bad.
As more than one friend offered, "Can Pacman be convicted of stupidity?"
Speaking of West Virginia, if anyone doubted the apocalypse was near, witness the reaction of West Virginia supporters, fans and alumni to the departure of Rich Rodriguez, who accepted the position of head football coach at the University of Michigan. Death threats. Multimillion dollar lawsuits over Rodriguez' buyout. Outrageous and just this side of bizarre public statements. Allegedly lost files.
People, it's football! Football! Not global warming, the sub-prime influenced mortgage crisis, or the war in the Middle East. Football. A game.
As Jeff Duncan, who covers sports and does play-by-play in Idaho, offered, "Rodriguez took over a program that barely had a pulse and turned it into a BCS-caliber program. People should be grateful for his service. You can't blame him for moving on to Michigan. Michigan is IBM. West Virginia is some start up company in your cousin's garage."
So Kelly Tilghman utters an exceptionally offensive reference on the Golf Channel, an off-the-cuff remark on a live television broadcast. Let me emphasize-a live television broadcast. No replay, no rehearsal, no script. Live television. GolfWeek's latest issue features a noose on the cover. Which should engender more outrage-the spontaneous, ill-advised choice of words or the pre-meditated decision to feature a symbol of racial revulsion on the cover of a national magazine?
If the editors of GolfWeek sought reaction, sought to spur dialog, well, they succeeded. Might not have been the desired content or the preferred discourse, but, really, was the hope to spur dialog or to spur sales of magazines?
GRABBING THE PLAYER BY THE COLLAR
Bobby Knight has never been the poster child for "How to Win Friends and Influence People" fanatics. But, boy, 900 wins in a sport, college basketball, that features 30 some games per year is an amazing accomplishment. Hey, Bobby, Left Field will toss a chair onto a court in your honor!
MR. HONO GOES DOWN UNDER
And January would not be complete without seeing the Lazarus of sports broadcasting, Bud Collins, wearing a loud, Hawaiian-style shirt at the Australian Open. There's something downright inspiring about the colorful Collins in the throes of a snowy Central Oregon winter.