- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 17, 2006

If anybody’s looking for me this weekend, I’ll be at the Red Roof Inn in New Orleans. I didn’t rent a room or anything; I’m just staying on the roof.

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Before you start throwing things, remember the motto of the Sunday Column: We laugh so we don’t cry.

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A reminder to the Redskins: New Orleans law is based on the Napoleonic code. That means a holding penalty today will cost you not only 10 yards but also one of your hands.

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The day after Christmas, I want the Bears’ Devin Hester making all my returns.

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Send him into Macy’s with a nose hair trimmer, and I guarantee he’ll come back with a flat-screen TV.

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In the Seahawks’ last two games at Qwest Field, they’ve had to deal with snow (vs. the Packers) and torrential rain (vs. the 49ers). Not to worry, though. Their grounds crew says they’re well prepared for the next home game — and the probability of locusts.

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Sorry to see Tom Brady has broken up with actress Bridget Moynahan. It makes me wonder, though, if the Patriots’ offensive struggles might have more to do with Tom’s separation from Bridget rather than with his receivers’ separation — or lack thereof — from defenders.

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They were such a lovely couple, too. But Bridget, apparently, was looking for a husband more along the lines of “I, Robot.”

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is a big fan of coaches wearing suits on the sideline, convinced it “reflects well on the coaches and well on the National Football League.”

It might also put an end to that most tired of football traditions, the Gatorade bath. Players wouldn’t do that to a coach wearing Armani, would they?

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Goodell was all over the news last week. After the Bengals had their eighth player arrested this year, Roger — clearly the proactive type — offered to send the club a couple of trunks of lithium.

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Oh, happy day! The University of Miami will play Florida International in football next fall — despite the ugly brawl that marred this year’s meeting. As a precaution, though, the three-knockdown rule will be in effect.

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If Boston College hires Steelers assistant Mark Whipple as its new football coach, they might as well rename the place the University of Massachusetts at Chestnut Hill. Whipple, after all, was the head coach at UMass from 1998 to 2003, and BC basketball coach Al Skinner went to school there.

• • •

Baseball isn’t the only sport affected by the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing, it seems. Why, just the other day, Shaquille O’Neal threatened to start shooting 3s if the Heat didn’t pay him a $51.1 million low-posting fee.

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D-Mat’s agent proved so stubborn during negotiations, I hear, that the Red Sox nicknamed him “20-Mule Team Boras.”

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Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe offered this advice to the Japanese ace: “Be wary of a large teammate with a blond mullet wearing No. 38 [Curt Schilling]. He will explain that he is a spokesman for all of the other players and instruct you on everything from tipping the clubhouse kids to throwing the splitter. He will show you his copious notes on all major league umpires. He will tell you which media members to trust and which ones are snakes. He will also urge you to vote Republican.”

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Well, the NBA is going back to leather basketballs. Commissioner David Stern made one last pitch for the new PETA-approved balls, made of a microfiber composite, but the players were unswayed — or is it unsuede?

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I’m worried about ESPN’s Jim Gray. Ever since he was duped into thinking he was interviewing Allen Iverson on the phone, he’s been telling colleagues, “I see dead people.”

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Or maybe he was just talking about the 76ers without AI.

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Speaking of Iverson, hope he doesn’t mind that I used him as a guinea pig the other day. I got this crazy idea — no, not from Jim Gray — to plug an NBA player’s stats into the NFL’s passer rating formula, just to see how it turned out. Here’s how I did it:

Instead of passes attempted, I used shots taken, including free throws.

Instead of completions, I used shots made, again including free throws (with a successful 3-pointer counting 1.5).

Instead of yards, I used points scored — multiplied by 10 (making a 30-point game the equivalent of a 300-yard passing day).

Instead of touchdowns, I used assists.

And instead of interceptions, I used turnovers.

Iverson’s rating this season: 86.2. He’s Mark Brunell! (86.5)

For the record, Kobe Bryant came in at 94.9 (Donovan McNabb) and Steve Nash at 106.9 (Drew Brees).

So teams might want to think twice before they bring in Allen as their quarterback. (Especially since Jason Terry graded out to a 91.2.)

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Yeah, you’re right. I should probably lay off the eggnog.

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Nimrod of the Week: Rick Lisko, the Wisconsin hunter who accidentally ran over a deer with his truck — a very unusual deer that had seven legs — and then ate it.

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The man stumbles across a veritable spider-deer, and his first thought is: Dinnertime!

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Lots of Disney potential in that story.

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Did you see that East German athletes who were systematically subjected to steroids during the pre-testing days are being given $12,210 in compensation? For the men, by the way, that figures out to $6,105 a breast.

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Turning to golf, Tiger Woods’ desire to outdo Jack Nicklaus knows no bounds. Should Tiger win the Target World Challenge today, it would be the third time he has won his own tournament. Jack won the Memorial, which he founded, only twice (1977 and 1984).

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And finally …

Bode Miller is reportedly ticked off that he’s being required to sleep in hotels with the rest of the U.S. ski team instead of in his motor home.

Bode, Bode, Bode … you’re missing the big picture. I mean, imagine a TV commercial in which you go flying off a cliff and cry out as you disappear from sight, “But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last niiiiight!”

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