Monday, December 29
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Truth & Rumors
T.O. backs Romo, has advice for owner
Magnanimous guy that he is, Terrell Owens sent Tony Romo a text message yesterday telling him that no matter what happened against the Eagles, no matter how awful the quarterback played, he would shed tears for him again, the way he did last season after Romo stumbled against the New York Giants in the playoffs. And Romo was indeed awful, unable to lead the talented Cowboys into the playoffs, or even into the end zone, as the Eagles humiliated them, 44-6, before a delighted crowd at Lincoln Financial Field. "I just told him, no matter what, I'm still the same guy who shed tears for him at last year's press conference, and I'd do it again, because that's the type of person I am, regardless of what anybody thinks or says about me," Owens said. But T.O. said he would be on board with whatever changes the Cowboys make during the off-season. He even offered to help owner Jerry Jones get things straightened out, if Jones asked him. Asked if the players supported the coaching staff, Owens said, "I'm not sure. All I know is, I want to win. I want to be put in a position to win. I think we have the pieces here to get the job done. Whatever unfolds during the off-season has my full support. If Jerry asks for any advice, I will give him my honest opinion." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Did Sox botch Texeira talks?
Any suggestion that the Red Sox could not (and can not) compete for free agents with New York is utter nonsense because the Sox have signed free agents in the past. With Mark Teixeira, the Sox were not nearly as aggressive. The bottom line is that other teams (excluding the Yankees) were in the same neighborhood, which allowed Teixeira to drag out the process. Had the Sox come out of the gate with, say, an eight-year offer for $184 million, maybe they could have gotten the deal done. Maybe it would have taken $192 million. But if the Sox came out strong -- very strong -- and gave Teixeira a short window to accept, their chances might have been better. If Teixeira then had balked, the Sox would have had their answer: Teixeira never wanted to come here. Instead, the Sox left the door open for the Yankees to swoop in, which created an array of issues. Most notably, by the time Teixeira made his decision, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett both had signed with New York, making the Yankees a more attractive destination; earlier on, that was not the case. By allowing the process to drag, the Sox enhanced New York's position. (Boston Globe)
Blazers allowing for Oden Rules?
Paul Allen's customized jet has a bedroom at the back. The bedroom is for Allen's personal use, and while the Trail Blazers utilize the 757 aircraft "Blazer One" for travel during the NBA season, Allen's room has been off limits to players. All, except one. Greg Oden used the bedroom last year so he could stretch his injured leg out on flights. And even this season, team insiders tell you the now-healthy Oden will sometimes disappear to the back of the plane, and close the door, and spend the flight by himself while his teammates socialize up front. I bring this up today because the franchise has one set of standards, rules and expectations for the majority of players -- and apparently another for Oden. And this is how a team aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons ends up starting a player at center who hasn't earned it. Oden's not a bust. This isn't saying the team should give up on him, but developing him doesn't mean he has to start. I know Joel Przybilla deserves to start at center. You know he does. Your spouse knows. Your children know. Your dog knows. Even Oden knows. The Blazers rookie center said Friday, "Whichever one of us is playing better should be starting. If Joel is playing better than me, he should be starting. And I think he is right now." Look. You can talk about defensive issues. And offensive issues. But if we can't talk about the elephant standing in the Blazers locker room we're all in trouble. And that issue is the one revolving around the franchise's decision to baby its No. 1 pick, wrap him in protective bubble-wrap, pamper his psyche and hand him a starting position that should belong to Przybilla today. (The Oregonian)
Must-See Photo
Blanketed by defeat: Running back Kevin Smith goes undercover as his Detroit Lions put the finishing touches on the first 0-16 regular season in NFL history with a 31-21 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Must-See Video
Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel shows some leg with a 57-yard punt against the Bills. Of course, the 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts in Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium helped a bit...

Game To Watch
Missouri (9-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3), 8:00 p.m. ET -- The Wildcats try to become only the second 10-win team in Northwestern history by stopping Missouri's high-powered offense in the Alamo Bowl.
Missouri Tigers
Northwestern Wildcats
This Day In Sports History

SI Vault: More Detroit Lions
1862 -- Bowling ball invented
1957 -- Detroit Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 50-14 in the NFL Championship Game
1958 -- Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants 23-17 for the NFL Championship in what is now called "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

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