By the Las Vegas Locomotives, the inaugural United Football League championship. The Locos—who were 4--2 in the regular season under former Giants coach Jim Fassel (inset) beat the Florida Tuskers (6--0 under former Saints coach Jim Haslett) 20--17 in overtime before a crowd of 14,801 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas. DeDe Dorsey (above), who had a 38-yard TD run, was the game's MVP. "They fought like I haven't seen a team fight," Fassel said of his players, each of whom received a $10,000 winner's share. "There's something about how it was so important to these guys." The fledgling league reportedly lost $30 million this year, but it plans to expand from four teams to six and play a 10-game schedule in 2010.
To consider an extension of his contract, Bud Selig, 78, meaning the MLB commissioner will step down at the end of 2012. Selig was reportedly approached by a group of owners who wanted him to stay on longer, but he said no. The former owner of the Brewers, Selig became acting commissioner in 1992 and took the job on a permanent basis six years later. "I want to start writing a book," Selig told MLB.com. "I don't have time while I'm doing this job, but I need to do that. I want to do some teaching.... God willing, on December 31, 2012, you'll be saying goodbye to me."
December 7, 2009
By the players of Wigan Athletic, refunds for fans who paid to see a 9--1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur. About 565 fans traveled from Wigan to London on Nov. 22 to see the second-most-lopsided game in the history of the English Premier League. "There is not a lot else to say, just that as a group of professionals we were embarrassed by the way we performed, we feel it was below our standards and this is something we feel we owe to the fans," said Wigan captain Mario Melchiot. Ticket prices ranged from $24 to $45.
After five seasons as Notre Dame's football coach, Charlie Weis (right, with quarterback Jimmy Clausen). After taking the Irish to BCS bowls in each of his first two seasons, Weis was only 16--21 the last three years. As pressure mounted on Weis last month, he admitted that his record (6--5 at the time) was "not good enough." He was let go on Monday, two days after a last-minute, 45--38 loss to Stanford—Notre Dame's sixth loss by seven points or less in 2009—and with six years left on his contract.
By Virginia after nine seasons as football coach, Al Groh. The Cavaliers lost to Virginia Tech last Saturday to wrap up a 3--9 season, their third losing record in four years. The former coach of the New York Jets and a two-time ACC coach of the year ended his uneven tenure in peculiar fashion; when asked about his future at the postgame press conference, he recited the 20-line poem The Guy in the Glass by Dale Wimbrow. (The message of the 1934 poem is that a man needs to be able to look himself in the mirror.) When he finished all five stanzas, Groh added, "When I visited the guy in the glass, I saw that he's a guy of commitment, of integrity, of dependability and accountability. He's loyal. His spirit is indomitable. And he is caring and loving. I'm sure I will always call the guy in the glass a friend." Groh then left the press conference and was fired the next day.
At age 85, Abe Pollin, the owner of the Washington Wizards (formerly the Baltimore Bullets) for the past 45 years. Pollin, who made his fortune in construction, also owned the Capitals for more than 25 years. He was one of the leading philanthropists in D.C.—UNICEF and affordable inner-city housing being among his favorite causes—and his death inspired a wide range of tributes. Former Bullets center Wes Unseld said, "It's a great loss of a great person." Maureen Dowd eulogized Pollin in her Sunday New York Times column, and President Barack Obama said, "Abe believed in Washington, D.C., when many others didn't—putting his own fortune on the line to help revitalize the city he loved."
At age 52, Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner, who made headlines when he announced in a 2007 column that he was a transsexual and would begin living as a woman (SI, July 2, 2007). A longtime staffer who covered a variety of beats, Penner changed his name to Christine Daniels and started a blog called Woman in Transition to detail his experiences. (Penner, who was married at the time of the announcement, said he was undergoing female hormone treatments, but declined to discuss if he planned to have a sex-change operation.) In 2008 he dropped the blog and changed his byline back to Mike Penner. A cause of death was not disclosed, but the Times reported it was believed to be a suicide. "He was one of the most talented writers I've ever worked with," said Times sports editor Mike James. "He was a gentle man, a kind man."
In a car accident returning from a game last Saturday, Eastern Illinois offensive line coach Jeff Hoover, 41. A school spokesman said Hoover was traveling with another coach and their families in an SUV when they swerved to avoid a deer and the car flipped over. Hoover had just completed his third year at Eastern Illinois, following a 48--7 loss at Southern Illinois.
Points scored by Denver's Carmelo Anthony in the Nuggets' win over the Knicks last Saturday.
Percentage of 50-point games in the NBA in 2009 (four of 10) that have come against New York; Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have also torched the Knicks for at least 50.
Third-period goals conceded by the Hurricanes on consecutive nights, in a 6--4 loss to Atlanta last Friday and a 5--1 loss at Buffalo the next day.
Other instances, through Sunday, in which an NHL team had allowed five third-period goals this season.
Career punt return yards for Alabama's Javier Arenas, an SEC record; Arenas, a senior, has two games to pick up the 37 yards he needs to break Wes Welker's NCAA record.
Consecutive games in which Chris Johnson of the Titans has rushed for 125 or more yards, tying Earl Campbell (1980) and Eric Dickerson (1984) for the longest streak in NFL history.
THEY SAID IT
Chargers coach—born Norval Eugene Turner—on what baby names he might suggest to soon-to-be-father LaDainian Tomlinson: "Not mine."