- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2009

SATURDAY’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

Remember when the Chargers beat the Colts in the playoffs last year despite Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson being on the sideline? Peyton Manning does. 8 p.m., Chs. 4, 11

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO CLASSIC

The NHL’s Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day was good for hockey, but the talk surrounding the game got more than a little out of hand. Articles in numerous media outlets, including The Washington Times, suggested the game could soon be among the best traditions in sports.

Hold on a second. The Winter Classic has been around for only two years. Contrary to what league officials would have you believe, an event takes a while to become a tradition - as in years or even decades. Variations of the World Series were first played in the late 1800s, but the first “true” Series wasn’t until 1903 (and it was canceled the following year when the Giants refused to play Boston). What is now the Super Bowl was the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game” for its first two years and was nothing close to a worldwide spectacle.

Those traditions have accumulated the one thing leagues can’t buy or create with slick TV ads and news conferences: time. So don’t get tangled up in the media hype. NHL teams playing outdoors is a nice change of pace, but it has a long way to go before it’s a tradition.

TWT FIVE ” BOWLING FOR EVOLUTION

When Charles Darwin wrote of the “survival of the fittest,” he wasn’t referring to bowl games - though he could have been. Here are a few that didn’t make the cut:

1. Refrigerator Bowl, 1948-56 - Played in Evansville, Ind., which at the time held the lusty title of “refrigerator capital of the United States.” Sam Houston State Teachers College schooled Middle Tennessee State College 27-13 in the finale.

2. Cigar Bowl, 1947-54 - Ah, the days when major sporting events were named after tobacco products. Brooke Army Medical Center defeated a team of Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., in the 1951 edition. You can’t make this stuff up.

3. Salad Bowl, 1948-52 - Salad Bowl? Seriously? That’s about as preposterous as Peach Bowl, Cherry Bowl, Raisin Bowl or Glass Bowl. Oh … right.

4. Gotham Bowl, 1961-62 - Something that would never happen today - a bowl game designed to benefit a charity (in this case, the March of Dimes). Today, bowls raise money for the coaches’ wallets.

5. Presidential Cup Bowl, 1950 - It’s a wonder how this game lasted only one year. After all, what major program wouldn’t want to trek in the dead of winter to tropical College Park?

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