The 10 Spot: Jan. 22, 2007
1. Peyton Manning finally has gotten the Colts past the Patriots. Good for him. It was starting to look like the closest Peyton would get to the Super Bowl is starring in 23 different ads during the game.
2. Manning led the Colts back from a 21-3 deficit in a dramatic 38-34 win over the Patriots in Sunday's AFC Championship Game. The Colts were pretty fired up when it was over. Still, it might have been disrespectful to re-enact Bill Belichick's patented "Shove a Photographer" dance at midfield.
3. The Colts will meet the Bears, whose fans are ecstatic. In fact, an Illinois woman asked her doctor to induce labor on Friday so her husband, a big Bears supporter, could attend the game after the birth of their baby boy. Now they're furiously trying to prepare their son to step in if Rex Grossman struggles again in the Super Bowl.
4. Now come reports that Falcons quarterback Michael Vick wasn't carrying marijuana when he was stopped by airport security last week. Indeed, that likely means he didn't have any weed at all, since it's hard to believe that he successfully passed it off to someone else.
5. 10 Spot scoop: We'd like to announce that Pete McEntegart will NOT be the new head coach of the Steelers. Remember, you heard it here first. While we're here, he also denies any interest in the University of Alabama job.
6. Former Falcons coach Jim Mora has been hired as the Seahawks' secondary coach. Well, at least he's (literally) closer to the University of Washington job.
7. Hawks forward Josh Smith extended both middle fingers when he left the court after being ejected on Saturday night in Charlotte. Relieved Atlanta fans are just happy that Smith did his flipping-off on the road.
8. Vote for Rory update: As we've discussed, Canucks plugger Rory Fitzpatrick fell just short in his write-in bid to become a starter in the NHL All-Star Game. Or did he? Slate has come up with a pretty convincing conspiracy theory that the NHL "cooked the books" by manually erasing votes for Fitzpatrick. The story even includes three fancy graphs, something I haven't done myself in about 13 years since my previous career as a fledgling investment banker. Now which is the X axis and which the Y again?
9. Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija will give up football after accepting a five-year, $10 million deal to pitch for the Cubs organization. Samardzija wanted to stick with a team that traditionally gets more publicity that its performance alone would dictate.
10. Reader feedback: Several hundred readers chimed in on Friday's 10 Spot list of the best players (retired only) to never win a championship. In response to the suggestions, I added Reggie Miller and Warren Moon to the list of honorable mentions. I had intended to include Miller originally but whiffed, while upon reflection Moon should be there as well (and sorry, esteemed Canadian readers, but we don't count his five Grey Cup titles). The two most intriguing suggestions were for Hall of Fame second baseman Napoleon Lajoie, who played from 1896-1916; and legendary soccer player Johann "Flying Dutchman" Cruyff, who was unable to win a World Cup or European championship with the Dutch national team during the fabled "Total Football" era (though his pro teams won several European club championships). Here are some other prominent ring-less nominees, by category: baseball (Rod Carew, Phil Neikro, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Andre Dawson, Carlton Fisk, Jeff Bagwell, Juan Marichal, Ralph Kiner, Don Sutton); football (Steve Largent, Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Cris Carter, James Lofton, Archie Manning, Ozzie Newsome, Tiki Barber, Jackie Slater, Anthony Munoz); hockey (Cam Neely, Gilbert Perrault, Dale Hawerchuk); and coaching (Bo Schembechler, Gene Mauch).