| PULLED |
From ESPN's Monday Night Football telecasts, the program's opening sequence that featured Hank Williams Jr. (above) singing an adapted version of All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight (including MNF's signature line, "Are you ready for some football?"), after Williams came under fire for comparing Barack Obama with Adolph Hitler on Fox News's Fox & Friends on Oct. 3. Both Williams and ESPN issued statements claiming as their own the decision to remove the song, a staple of MNF since 1991. On Monday, before the Bears-Lions game, ESPN substituted an introduction narrated by former Detroit running back Barry Sanders, and a network spokesperson said that a new song for the telecast was unlikely to be used during the current season.
| WITHDREW |
From the Big East barely a year after announcing its move there and before ever having competed in any Big East sports, TCU, which announced on Monday night its intention to join the Big 12 for the 2012--13 season instead. The Fort Worth school has bounced around in recent years from the Southwest Conference to the WAC (1996) to Conference USA (2001) to the Mountain West ('05), where it now plays, and had pledged last November to move to the Big East in '12. But an invitation from the Big 12, which is looking to replace departing Texas A&M (SEC), proved too tempting. There, the Horned Frogs will rekindle rivalries with such SWC foes as Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech. While TCU may have to pay a $5 million exit fee to the Big East, it will benefit from a revenue-sharing deal struck last week by Big 12 chancellors and presidents, entitling the school to an equal share of profits from the conference's TV deals. Meanwhile, the Big East, left with only six BCS football schools following the departures last month of Syracuse and Pittsburgh (for the ACC), is said to be considering adding six new teams, with Air Force, Army and Navy believed to be among the candidates.
October 16, 2011
| WON |
By the Minnesota Lynx, the team's first WNBA championship, with a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Dream, capped by a 73--67 win last Friday. Rookie of the Year Maya Moore scored 15 points for Minnesota, and teammate Seimone Augustus (below) added 16 en route to being named series MVP. Center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who started the series winner despite having left Game 2 with a sprained right knee, pitched in with another seven points, including four crucial free throws in the last 1:07. The Lynx's triumph, after a 27--7 regular season and six straight playoff wins, including a conference finals sweep of the Mercury, ended a streak of six straight losing seasons.
| ARRESTED |
Under suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, as part of an investigation into alleged betting irregularities surrounding a Scottish Premier League soccer match, nine men, including Wayne Rooney Sr., father of the Manchester United striker. The allegations stem from a Motherwell versus Hearts match last December on which several bets were placed, at odds of 10--1, that a red card would be issued. Also among those detained was Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings, who saw red for arguing a penalty late in the same game. Jennings and Rooney Sr. denied wrongdoing. Last Friday, a day after his father's arrest, the younger Rooney received his own red card, for kicking a Montenegro player while playing for the English national team.
| WON |
By Sebastian Vettel, with a third-place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, his second consecutive Formula 1 world championship. The German driver, who at 24 became the youngest two-time champion in F1 history, held the lead at the Suzuka circuit until Lap 20, when he was passed by the race's eventual winner, Jenson Button (who had nearly collided with Vettel at the first corner), but his finish was enough to clinch the title with four circuits remaining this season. Vettel has claimed nine wins so far in 2011. In '10 he didn't seal his title until he placed first in the final race of the season, at Abu Dhabi.
| HIRED |
As manager of the White Sox, Robin Ventura (left), the club's third baseman for much of the 1990s, who had been working as an adviser to Sox player development director Buddy Bell since June. It's the first managerial position at any level for the 44-year-old Ventura, who was selected 10th overall by Chicago in 1988 and played there for a decade, hitting .274 in 1,254 games. He retired in 2004 after a 16-year career that included six Gold Gloves and stints with the Mets, Yankees and Dodgers. Ventura takes over a club that struggled to a 79--83 record under his former teammate Ozzie Guillen, who asked to be released from his contract after failing to secure an extension. Guillen has since taken over as the skipper of the Marlins.
Consecutive weeks, dating to 1982, in which at least one team from Florida was in the AP college football Top 25 before Florida and Florida State were dropped following weekend losses.
Career passing yards by 39-year-old Montreal Alouettes QB Anthony Calvillo, who on Sept. 30 eclipsed Brett Favre (71,838) and on Monday edged past former CFLer Damon Allen (72,381) to become the alltime leading passer in NFL and CFL history.
Consecutive years in which a Harris poll has determined the Cowboys to be Americans' favorite NFL team. The Steelers, Packers, Pats and Bears round out the top five in the latest results.
Weight, in pounds, of the cured and salted ham won by golfer Elliot Saltman for making a hole in one on the 3rd hole last Friday at the Madrid Masters, the prize for which is one's own body weight's worth of the meat.
Consecutive wins by the Cheshire (Conn.) High girls' swim team—a record dual-meet streak that started in 1986—before the Lady Rams fell to Glastonbury on Oct. 6.
In the MLB playoffs, celebratory team gestures. The Brewers busted out Beast Mode, the Rangers shook the Antlers (and the Claw), and the D-Backs charmed with the Snake. Here are some ideas for other teams next season:
The Billy Goat
NFL PLAYERS POLL
Who is the meanest player in football?
James Harrison, Steelers LB 35%
Ray Lewis, Ravens LB 15%
Ndamukong Suh, Lions DT 5%
Richard Seymour, Raiders DT 4%
No, commissioner Roger Goodell did not have a vote, but Harrison, the NFL's most-fined player of 2010, was still the runaway winner. (And getting sidelined indefinitely with an orbital fracture on Oct. 2 isn't likely to mellow him.)... . Sixty-eight players were named at least once, with linebackers (13) leading the way. Four QBs each got a single nod, as did the Lions' Jason Hanson, who must be one ornery kicker... . In a Facebook poll, Suh (40%) led Lewis (31%) and Harrison (23%). No one else was above 1%.
Based on 287 NFL players who responded to SI's survey