- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2008

Did you see Tony Romo, the Cowboys’ heartthrob/quarterback, took a homeless man to the movies recently?

Unless, of course, it was just Bill Belichick messin’ with him.

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Romo, ever in the news, also showed up unannounced at high school pep rally in Dallas on Wednesday - with Will Smith in tow. Smith was in the area to promote his upcoming movie, “Seven Pounds,” which I’m pretty sure is about one of Nate Newton’s drug busts.

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Fearless prediction: Jim Zorn will have a special play cooked up for his old Seahawks team Sunday afternoon - and Shaun Alexander will be the beneficiary.

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Is it just me, or is the NFL a little fine-happy this season? Hardly a day goes by, it seems, that somebody doesn’t get hit in the wallet. Come to think of it, it might make for decent programming on the NFL Network. Bring in all the players cited for violations every week and have them spin a big wheel to determine how much money they have to pay.

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The show could be called “Wheel of Misfortune” or “The Price … of a 15-Yard Penalty.”

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Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe made a plea to college bowl officials the other day not to favor Notre Dame this year at the expense of Boston College. Some of his logic:

— The combined record of the six teams ND had beaten (before Saturday) was 18-46.

— Under Charlie Weis, the Irish were 2-14 against clubs with winning records.

— They have lost their last nine bowl games.

— BC, meanwhile, has won its last eight bowl games.

— Over the past five seasons, BC has averaged slightly more than nine wins (while the Golden Domers have averaged a little more than seven over a 12-year period).

— The Eagles have beaten the Irish six straight times, the last a 17-0 victory Nov. 8.

“And yet,” Blaudschun wrote, “unless BC wins the next two games and the Atlantic Coast Conference title (with the automatic bid to the Orange Bowl), the Eagles will go to a less prestigious, lower-paying bowl than Notre Dame.”

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Yeah, it can be awfully hard to compete with Knute Rockne, George Gipp and Joe Montana - especially when you’re countering with Ed McMahon, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Romanowski.

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Out of consideration for Native Americans, the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk trophy was retired after Saturday’s Northwestern-Illinois game. Not to worry, though. The tomahawk may be gone, but the teams will continue to spear one another.

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Number of the Week:

654 - Combined points by which Washington (0-10) and Washington State (1-10), who met Saturday, had been outscored by opponents (average: 31.1 per game).

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Annika Sorenstam might say she’s through, but these early retirements rarely stick. I mean, a year from now, for all we know, she could be quarterbacking the Jets.

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A story that simply must be shared:

Everybody’s heard of the Elias Sports Bureau, right? Well, the following tale about one of Elias’ statisticians - I’ll withhold his name out of courtesy - was told by a poster a while back at one of my favorite Web sites, SportsJournalists.com:

“First time I meet [the Elias Guy] it’s at the Little League draft. I have no idea who he is. He later became commissioner of the league.

“We’re picking rosters of 11- and 12-year-olds. Now, if you’re coaching your own kid, it has to be decided what round he would have gone in and you lose your pick in that round.

“It was debated what round [the Elias Guy’s kid] would/should be assigned to. He breaks out all kinds of statistics to argue that not only was his son not very good, but in fact [he] should go in the 12th - and last - round.

“Now remember, I have no idea that he’s [one of the honchos at] Elias. I’m just thinking, ‘Who is this guy with all the stats on his son and who would argue that his son [was] so bad?’

“His son got assigned to the 12th round. He was a lot better than that. Not a star, but a lot better than my 12th-round pick.”

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Maybe sports should have a second DL, a Disgruntled List to go with its Disabled List. The thought occurred to me after reading about “disgruntled [Golden State] Warriors forward Al Harrington” getting traded to the Knicks on Friday. Is anybody else sick and tired of reading about “disgruntled” athletes?

Some determined Googling turned up the following players who are currently - or have recently been - described in the media as “disgruntled”:

NBA (besides Harrington): Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, Clippers guard Baron Davis.

NFL: Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, Browns tight end Kellen Winslow, Bills defensive tackle John McCargo, former Lions wideout Roy Williams, Jets tight end Chris Baker.

NHL: Erstwhile Senators forward Alexander Nikulin.

Baseball: Ex-Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez, Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield, Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun.

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It’s always interesting to see whether a guy snaps out of his funk quickly or whether he has to be moved to the 30-day Disgruntled List or even the 60-day Disgruntled List.

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Heck, Marbury is in a category all his own: PUP-Disgruntled.

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When they signed him for five years and nearly $80 million, the 76ers thought they were getting Elton Brand. It’s looking more and more, though, like they got Elton Brand X.

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Friday night NBA scoreboard:

Celtics 95, Players the Celtics Didn’t Want (aka the Timberwolves) 78.

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So I’m reading about Texas Tech scoring 167 points in a game, and I’m thinking: Was this football or basketball?

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Turns out it was the men’s hoops team, now coached by Pat Knight, Bob’s son. Ten Red Raiders scored in double figures, I hear, including the mascot and the student manager.

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Ninety of Tech’s points - 90! - came in the second half. Just wondering: Is there any chance Pat is really Paul Westhead’s love child?

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Seriously, I’m going to do some checking and find out if Indiana and Loyola-Marymount were ever in the Rainbow Classic together, say around 19- … Ah, never mind.

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And finally …

If one of the General’s teams ever scored 167 points - and gave up 115 in the process - well, put it this way: There isn’t a folding chair on campus that would have been safe.

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