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WHO'S Hot/WHO'S Not

Jan. 10, 2005
Jan. 10, 2005

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Jan. 10, 2005

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WHO'S Hot/WHO'S Not

WHO'S Hot

This is an article from the Jan. 10, 2005 issue

Doug Flutie

Will his minimarvels never cease? At 42, 20 years after winning the Heisman at Boston College, the 5'10" ex-USFL, ex-CFL, Chargers QB made what may be his last NFL start. "It was fun to go out and play with the kids again," he said after running for a TD, passing for another and assuring San Diego that it has some sweet playoff insurance behind Drew Brees.

Miami

Despite a sore-ribbed Shaq, Heat (behind smokin' point guard Dwyane Wade, left) reeled off a three-week winning streak. And--Happy New Year!--Hurricanes stomped rival Florida in Peach Bowl and started crowing about a national title next season, while Dolphins, new coach on the way, at last closed out nightmarish '04.

Mike Martz

One week after his Rams whipped the Eagles and gave him the game ball, the coach presided over a playoff-saving win over Jets, and players rallied to support their maligned leader. "He's a piñata to you guys," St. Louis lineman Tyoka Jackson told reporters. "[But] for everybody in here [that's] a joke."

Steelers

Before Sunday's kickoff, police snagged three men who'd allegedly taken $63,000 in goods from WR Plaxico Burress's town house. Then Pittsburgh's backups stole win in Buffalo and became, in the words of exultant RB Duce Staley, "15-1, baby!"--the only AFC team ever to do so.

Vincents

Vince Carter's averaged 22 points while reviving Nets; Texas QB Vincent Young engineered Rose Bowl win; Steelers guard Keydrick Vincent, in career season, is up for free agency; and Vince McMahon took WWE Smackdown! to Iraq for troops' holiday fun.

WHO'S Not

Eddie George

Fox's studio yakker Terry Bradshaw gave George one of his Time to Hang It Up awards and TB's ESPN counterpart Michael Irvin cited George as the biggest disappointment of 2004--and those guys may be right. At 31 he started just eight games for Dallas, was a healthy scratch for the first time and, on Sunday, ran for two yards while his heir apparent, Julius Jones, broke loose for 149.

Michigan

As Pistons trailed Cavs in NBA Central, Lions ended once-promising season with drubbing by Titans. And Wolverines' last-second Rose Bowl defeat wasn't state's only loss to Texas: Detroit rocker Ted Nugent's moved there and says he'll officially become a Texan--driver's license and all--in '05.

Matt Cavanaugh

Ravens offensive coordinator's season of poor production (NFL's 31st-ranked offense) led to his resignation under pressure after Monday meeting with coach Brian Billick. With Snowplow Game holder (page 30) gone, Billick may bring in old pal and 2004 Ravens consultant Jim Fassel as a replacement.

Happy Endings

Compelling runs by Bills (won 8 of 9) and Julius Pepper's Panthers (6 of 7) ended in losses that cost playoffs. ("I'm a bit in shock," said Bills QB Drew Bledsoe.) Even the comeback team that won--the Saints, their fourth straight--was shut out of postseason after gathering in locker room to watch Rams edge past Jets in OT.

Randy Moss

Yes, the Vikes backed into the playoffs--not that Moss was there to see it. He skulked off field before final play in loss to Redskins. Meanwhile the child of a hotel housekeeper in West Virginia is on eBay peddling Moss's socks found left behind in room.

COLOR PHOTOGREGORY R. BANNER/WIREIMAGE.COM (FLUTIE)COLOR PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (WADE)COLOR PHOTOGARRETT ELLWOOD/WIREIMAGE.COM (BURRESS)COLOR PHOTOAGGIE SKIRBALL/WIREIMAGE.COM (GEORGE)COLOR PHOTOTIM MOSENFELDER/GETTY IMAGES (NUGENT)COLOR PHOTOBOB ROSATO (PEPPERS)