Bald is beautiful.BC's last-second kick sealed the team's seventh straight bowl win, three weeksafter coach Tom O'Brien bolted for N.C. State. In Philly the high-flying Iggleswrapped up the NFC East behind Jeff Garcia (above), six weeks after QB DonovanMcNabb went down for the year.
No Dirk Nowitzki,no prob: The Mavs won their 10th straight (in Denver) and coach Avery Johnson(right) came home as the fastest to reach 100 NBA wins. And good times on theAmerican Airlines Center ice: The Stars (25--15) have Dallas pumped for the NHLAll-Star Game this month.
They didn't makethe playoffs at 7--9, but they KO'd the Broncos, were three games better thanlast year and look like they've got a QB for years to come: Alex Smith, whosaid after the win in Denver, "This was the start of next year forus."
The righthander,who won 12 games with the Cardinals last year, saw his postseason success (2.49ERA) lead to four years and $42 million with the Brewers.
Be kind to yourweb-footed friends. Oregon's 38--8 bowl loss to BYU was one painful blow.Here's another. NHL's Anaheim lost all-world defenseman Chris Pronger (right)to a broken left foot. Said Pronger after blocking the fateful shot, "Itdidn't feel very good."
Where have yougone, Allen Iverson? (Duh, we know, page 54.) Through Monday the 76ers (8--21)hadn't scored 100 points in a month, had lost five of six home games and werestill trying to make Chris Webber relevant. Their Wachovia Center roommates cansympathize: The Flyers, who are an NHL-worst 10-24-4, just had a 10-game losingstreak.
Pittsburgh'sfive-game losing streak meant no bowl for the second straight year--and coachDave Wannstedt has been firing people. Carolina's Super hopes died with an 8--8record, and as receiver Keyshawn Johnson told The Charlotte Observer, "Theymay clean house."
The righthander,who won 15 games with the Mets last year, has seen his postseason blowup (14.54ERA) render him a nonentity in the free-agent market.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Is the new ball better, worse or about the same as theold one?
FAST FACTS After a player revolt--some complained ofsmall cuts on their hands, and the players' union filed an unfair laborpractice charge--the NBA abandoned the new microfiber composite ball andreverted to the traditional cowhide one as of Jan. 1.... Of players at the fivepositions, point guards were the least bothered by the new ball, with 41%saying it was "the same" or "better." ... Only 47% of playersunder 25 years old said the new ball was "worse" while 90% of players30 or older said that.
[ Based on a survey of 271 NBA players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.