January 11, 2005
NFL MVP Peyton Manning:
This was the biggest no-brainer award pick of 2004. The bigger question is: Who *wouldn't* vote for him? (See DQ'ed for the shocking answer.) QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

If Randy Johnson was a celebrity like Ashlee Simpson, yesterday's violent run-in with a pesky New York cameraman -- heading into today's introductory press conference and appearance on Letterman -- would seem awfully staged sketchy.

But as Johnson learned, there's no need to manufacture drama in New York; it's a way of life. The media doesn't cover sports as much as literally create it. Welcome to the big city, Big Unit! (Smack!)

If he's put off by aggressive cameramen, what will he think of this morning's tabloid headlines: "Pitching a Fit" (Daily News) and "Big Jerk" (Post). NYC's version of the Welcome Wagon is to throw you under the Bandwagon.

From anger management to media management: The dueling crosstown press conferences today aren't a quirk of the schedule; the Mets know exactly what they are doing, introducing Beltran at 11 (before the Yankees introduce Johnson at 2).

The back page of the tabloids is officially up for grabs. The biggest question is: Are these two franchise foundations ready for it?

Moss Over-Reax
The NFL is actually considering a $5K fine? Or worse?! Here's a handy rule of thumb: If the refs themselves don't flag it, it's probably not worth the hoo-hah.

Yesterday's overreaction was the true embarrassment, and fan opinion (via SportsNation) statistically bears that out:

Here are "should-know" stats:
59%: Labeled moon "funny"
54%: Said "no fine" needed
69%: Want Moss on their team
74%: RM/TO antics? Let it go
68%: Moss is good for NFL

(Source: SportsNation polls)

More Moss
Thank you, Tony Dungy, who explained that the origin of the Moss mooning might have been the abusive way Packers fans moon opposing players as the

Boston College: Eagles make CBB top 25 debut ... at No. 17!
Romeo Crennel: Pats D-coordinator wows Browns in interview
Mehmet Okur: Beats buzzer, Spurs; snaps Jazz 9-G L streak
Pro Player: Miami arena to be renamed "Dolphins Stadium"
Kobe: Lakers rally past T'wolves while Bryant sat on bench
New York media: Wait less than 24 hours to tick off Unit
team bus exits the parking lot. Put in that context, and not only is it tit-for-tat, but downright clever. Don't give it if you can't take it, Cheeseheads.

NFL Draft Watch
Virginia TE Heath Miller: Arguably the best TE in ACC history (record-holder for receptions, yards and TDs) -- and one of the best TEs in college football history. And no K2-like baggage!

NHL Update
50 percent of sports fans "would not be disappointed at all" if the NHL season was cancelled, says a new poll. Come on: Does that shock anyone?

What's WAY more surprising is that, by inference, that means that 50 percent of fans would have at least some level of disappointment. You'd never know it.

Of course, that probably didn't count the overwhelming number who simply said: "What's this 'N-H-L' you speak of?"

Kings Trade Christie
Doug Christie for Cat Mobley: "Just when Mrs. Christie thought she had a handle on the local sports media vixens ..."

Someone alert the TV producers in charge of "The Christies" reality-TV series that they're going to have to relocate from Sacramento to Orlando.

Looking for classic reality-TV angst? Keep your eye on Steve Francis, who isn't happy that his team shipped out best buddy, Cuttino Mobley.

Quickie Book Club
"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell:

Anyone who writes a column called the "Quickie" should love a book called "Blink" (by the author of "The Tipping Point.") It's a must-read about the science of snap judgments.

Note to SABR-haters: It's not an endorsement of "gut" or "instinct"; rather, it presents a skill that is undervalued as something you can develop.

Give me "Blink," "Moneyball" and 2004 fave "Wisdom of Crowds" (Surowiecki), and I'll call it a complete package for a fans' decision-making theory.

Vick for NFL MVP:
Voter Mike O'Hara (Detroit News) should be banned after casting a ludicrous first-place ballot for Mike Vick over Peyton Manning. What a joke!
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
Len P: Colts gear up for Pats
Crasnick: End of line for Clemens?
Non-Peyton NFL MVP Ballot
Terrell Owens
Took Philly to next level
Daunte Culpepper
39 TDs, 4,717 yards
Donovan McNabb
Needs huge postseason
Antonio Gates
Led Super-Chargers
Tom Brady
Him, not just BB's system

Quickie Vocab: "Panto-Moss." Definition: Going through the motions -- be it ambling through a route or mooning friends in the end zone ...

MLB Fray Agency: Mets not done! While in P.R. introducing Beltran, they're wooing Delgado; Derek Lowe to Dodgers (Neyer has must-read) ...

Leinart update: Says he'll likely announce his stay-or-go decision on Thursday ...

49ers coaching search: Interviewing Titans O honcho Mike Heimerdinger (let's call him "Coach H" for simplicity). SF fans, in unison: "Who?!" ...

Happy retirement to the LPGA's Ty Votaw, whose legacy will be his widely publicized plan to play up his players' sex appeal ...

Congrats to Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, who became the first Big East coach to record 300 conference Ws ...

The new Syracuse AD (ne USC) isn't looking at his old school for a new football coach; Texas D-coord Greg Robinson will get the job ...

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