Sports Outside the Beltway

Detroit Lions end ‘perfect’ season, lose to GB 31-21

They become the first ever NFL team to go 0-16. From AP-

Facing one last chance to avoid their dubious destiny, the Lions lost Sunday’s season finale to the Green Bay Packers 31-21 to complete the league’s first 0-16 season. The 1976 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14) were the last NFL team to complete a season without a victory.

Last year I endured a year with 1-15 Miami, so I can sympathize with Lion fans. Matt Millen is no longer GM and maybe Detroit can finally get some people who know how to put together a pro football team.


Jockey Sam Thompson Jr. dead at 36

He died as a result of injuries from being thrown from a horse he rode on December 20th. Arguably the most famous track related fatality in horse racing history, was the death of Harness Hall of Famer Billy Haughton who died in 1986. Haughton was one of the sport’s legends and my father knew him.


Ellerson leaves Cal Poly to take over at Army

Three of his family members went to the US Military Academy. From ESPN-

Rich Ellerson, who led Cal Poly to the FCS football playoffs this season and is considered one of the top coaches in the country at running the triple-option offense, has been picked to rebuild the Army football program.

Ellerson, 60-41 in his career as a head coach and 56-34 at Cal Poly, takes over for Stan Brock, who was fired on Dec. 12, days after the Black Knights lost to Navy 34-0.

Army went 3-9 in 2008 for the third straight season. Brock was 6-18 in two seasons as head coach.

“One of our primary goals of the search was to find someone capable of turning around our program immediately and we are confident Rich is the perfect individual to accomplish that,” Army athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a school-issued news release.

Ellerson’s offensive philosophy of running the triple option is appealing to Army, which uses the option as a base offense. He also has family ties to West Point.

Army hasn’t had a winning season in over a decade. Ellerson has his work cut out for him.


Lakers snap Celtics 19 game winning streak

Boston hadn’t lost a game since November 14th. From AP-

Kobe Bryant had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Pau Gasol scored seven of his 20 points in the final three minutes, and the Lakers beat Boston 92-83 Thursday to snap the Celtics’ franchise-record 19-game winning streak.

The game was the first between the teams since the Celtics romped to a 131-92 victory in Game 6 of the Finals last June to win their first championship in 22 years and league-high 17th title.

LA coach Phil Jackson also notched his 1,000th victory.


#9 Georgetown holds FIU to 38 points, wins 76-38

Reminds me of college basketball scoring before the shot clock was introduced. From AP-

On Tuesday night, the Hoyas polished off undermanned Florida International 76-38.

Austin Freeman scored 17 points, Chris Wright had 14 and DaJuan Summers added 13 for Georgetown (9-1).

The Hoyas, who won their sixth straight, completely outclassed the Golden Panthers (4-9), who scored the fewest points in their history.

Florida International dressed 10 players — five of them walk-ons — and it was quickly apparent they weren’t in the Hoyas’ class. Georgetown led 23-4 with 10:31 left and were ahead 43-16 at halftime.

FIU was without its 3 best scoring players and shot barely 30%. This game was basically a warmup for Georgetown who faces #2 UConn on December 29th.


NHL trying to find new revenue for cash-strapped Phoenix Coyotes

There is a precedent for the league to take over the financially troubled franchise. From ESPN-

The NHL hasn’t taken over control of the Phoenix Coyotes, but it is taking an active role in trying to find new investors or ownership for the financially strapped franchise and is being kept apprised of any “significant” financial decisions the team makes, has learned from team and league sources.

The league also is trying to help broker changes to the existing lease with the city of Glendale in the hopes of making the situation more attractive to new investors or owners.

Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes is in dire financial straights, with his outside business interests — most notably Swift Transportation, a large trucking firm — having been hammered by high gasoline costs, followed by the dramatic downturn in the economy.

And although team officials say the club has never relied on Swift revenues to run the team, the Coyotes aren’t in much better shape and are expected to lose another $30 million or more this season, on top of the more than $60 million they are reported to have lost the past two years.

With money tight because of the economic downturn, finding a new investor is going to prove difficult to impossible. Can Phoenix maintain a NHL team? Ice Hockey in an area that sometimes sees temperatures in the 110 degree range during does seem out of place.


Miami(Ohio) to name Mike Haywood as its next football coach

He had been the Fighting Irish’s Offensive coordinator since 2005. From AP-

Miami of Ohio named Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood as its head coach on Tuesday.

The hiring of Haywood brings the number of black football coaches in the Bowl Championship Subdivision to six of 119 programs. He succeeds Shane Montgomery, who resigned last month.

“I knew this was the place because there were so many similarities in education [and] the type of student-athletes that are recruited there,” Haywood told The Associated Press late Tuesday.

The RedHawks were 17-31 during Montgomery’s four seasons as head coach and went 2-10 this season.

Haywood joins Turner Gill at Buffalo, Randy Shannon at Miami (Fla.), Mike Locksley at New Mexico, Kevin Sumlin at Houston, and Ron English at Eastern Michigan as the only black coaches in college football’s top tier.

Miami of Ohio has quite an illustrious football history. To name just a few of its College and Pro football Hall of Famers- Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, and Ara Parseghian. Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger played college football at Miami. The Redhawks were last to a Bowl game in 2004.


You gotta believe?- Florida and Tomas Vokoun shutout Nashville 3-0

The Czech goaltender shutout his former team The Nashville Predators by stopping all 27 shots on goal. Michael Frolik scored two of Florida’s three goals. The other was netted by Cory Stilman.

Florida is now 9-2-3 in their last fourteen games. That included a 5-game winning streak, so they are 5-1-1 on the road 4-1-2 on the road. This was the second straight whitewash by Florida with Vokoun in goal, they beating Colorado two days ago by the same score of 3-0.

With the win Florida is now 16-13-4. A month ago they were 7-11-1. What a turnaround and it happened with the team missing three of its biggest scorers for 5 or more games. No matter the outcome of other games tonight, Florida will still be 3rd in the Southeast Division going into the Christmas break. Next up is struggling Tampa two games in a row.


Wizards’ DeShawn Stevenson start streak to end at 275

The last time he wasn’t in a NBA starting lineup was three years ago. From ESPN-

With the Washington Wizards off to a 4-21 start, lineup changes were to be expected. Unexpected is DeShawn Stevenson volunteering to sacrifice his 275-game starting streak to help give the team a spark.

Stevenson, who has started 189 straight games since joining the Wizards for the 2006-07 season, will come off the bench Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Stevenson is shooting 31.7 percent from the field this season.

“In a real team gesture he basically told me: ‘Tap, I’m struggling a little bit. Why don’t you let me come off the bench and see if I can’t get my swag back,’ ” interim coach Ed Tapscott said.

Tapscott said he hasn’t settled on the exact lineup for Tuesday’s game. One possibility would have Caron Butler moving to shooting guard and Dominic McGuire starting at small forward.

Washington matched a franchise record for the worst 25-game start with Sunday’s 97-86 loss to Dallas, equaling the mark set by the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets.

Stevenson is being unselfish, which is a good example for other players. The firing of Coach Eddie Jordan I see has done wonders for Washington. NOT! I doubt Stevenson’s gesture, which is the right thing to do, will be make in substantive changes in this team.


Report questions age of New Jersey Nets’ Yi

A basketball twist to the sports question of 2008- What is the real age of a Chinese athlete?

NBA player Yi Jianlian is being investigated by a Chinese-language magazine which claims he is one of many of the country’s athletes guilty of lying about their age on official documents.

Yi, who plays for the New Jersey Nets, has long been reported in the Chinese media to be older than his records show. Earlier this month, China’s Sports Ministry reported that it found 36 players in China’s professional basketball league whose dates of birth may have been changed.

The December issue of the Chinese-language edition of Sports Illustrated said a reporter for the magazine found records from Yi’s middle-school registration in his hometown in southern China that said he was born in 1984.

His official basketball records say he was born in 1987. He is also listed by the Nets as being born Oct. 27, 1987.

A spokesman for the Chinese Basketball Association could not be reached Monday for comment.

Yi could be quizzed again about his age on Monday night when the Nets face the Houston Rockets and fellow Chinese star center Yao Ming in New Jersey.

The only people that would be cheated by Yi’s age being older would be the Nets. I know at least with baseball, a team won’t even look at a amateur prospect if they are past a certain age.


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