Tuesday’s List of 13; Happy New Year, everyone!!!!

13) This is the first NFL season ever where no team finished 8-8; NFL went to the 16-game schedule in 1978, with two seasons since then shortened by work stoppages. 

12) Eight NFL head coaches were fired Sunday/Monday, 25% of the league’s coaches. 

11) Steelers’ star WR Antonio Brown missed Sunday’s game with the Bengals, but apparently he wasn’t hurt, he was being disciplined after an incident in practice with a teammate, who was Ben Rothlisberger. Witnesses say it was a fairly ugly incident. 

Sounds like it was an unhappy year in Pittsburgh, with Le’Veon Bell’s holdout and the coach screwing up game management situations and now Brown at odds with teammates. Throw in the defensive coordinator not knowing that Bengals’ TE Tyler Eifurt was hurt back in October, and it wouldn’t be surprising if whole lot of people were let go Monday, but they weren’t. 

10) Oakland Raiders hired NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as its GM; Mayock has been contributing to NFL Network and NFL.com since 2004, mostly in scouting, but he’s never worked in an NFL front office before. 

Raiders have three first round draft picks in April and $100M in cap room to work with. 

9) UCLA’s basketball team is 7-6 and has lost its last four games, which cost Steve Alford his job Monday. Bruins lost at home to Belmont, Liberty- those teams are both ranked in the top 80, but the coaching change was made, even before conference play begins. Our society isn’t terribly patient. Alford is a good guy; not sure why a move had to be made right now. 

Alford/UCLA never seemed like a great match; will be fascinating to see where Bruins set their sights for a new coach. Murry Bartow is the interim coach; his father Gene was the coach who replaced John Wooden at UCLA, and who later started UAB’s basketball program. 

Would Billy Donovan have any interest in the UCLA job? I’d have to ask, if I’m UCLA. 

8) Mark Richt was fired as football coach at Miami; official word was “retired”, but guys don’t quit jobs like that. Richt is 58, would be curious to hear him on TV, hopefully learn from him. 

Houston fired coach Major Applewhite; Dana Holgorsen has been mentioned as a potential target for the Cougars, but how is Houston a better job than West Virginia? Kliff Kingsbury has apparently turned down “a lucrative offer” from Houston to stay on as an assistant at USC. 

7) Manny Diaz left as DC at Miami to become head coach at Temple, but when Richt retired (or was fired), Diaz quickly bolted Temple and is now the head coach at Miami. Oy. 

6) Ole Miss signed former Michigan/Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez as its new OC, joining former Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre as its new DC, giving the Rebels an impressive staff around relatively inexperienced head coach Matt Luke.

6) This from the Grand Forks Herald:

Dan Shrader is a 38-year old full-time sanitation worker in the Minneapolis/St Paul area, who spends 50 hours a week driving a daily garbage route, dumping trash at the landfill and helping manage a 32-truck fleet. 

He never played in the NHL, he never played college or pro hockey, he never played organized hockey growing up, period, but he is an amateur scout for the Winnipeg Jets, in charge of watching the Minnesota region for prospects. Pretty good second job for a garbageman. 

If you like something a lot and work hard enough at it, all things are possible. 

5) Hartford 79, Boston College 78 OT— ACC teams shouldn’t lose to America East teams. 

4) City of Toronto had free bus/subway service from 7pm-7am New Year’s Eve, which is really good. More cities should do that; the less people who drive on New Year’s Eve, the better. 

3) Stanford 14, Pittsburgh 13— Condoleeza Rice was on the Stanford sidelines for this game; not sure if she was auditioning for a coaching job or not. Pitt finishes year 7-7; always wondered if kids like enjoy going to El Paso for a bowl- seems like an unusual place for a bowl. 

2) Oregon 7, Michigan State 6— In its last four games, Michigan State scored 6-6-14-6 points. That not good. Before Monday, last time they completed more than half their passes was October 27.

Mario Cristobal gets a bowl win in his first year at Oregon; it was Ducks’ first bowl wins since 2014, in a season when they had their third HC in last three years. 

1) Hope you guys out there all have a Happy New Year; thanks for reading. I’m hoping that 2019 will be a year when we all get along better and tolerate each other’s opinions more. Our diversity is part of what makes this country unique, in a good way. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Cowboys 36, Giants 35— Not sure why Dallas played QB Prescott whole game, but they did and WR Beasley made a great catch with 1:12 left to win this game. Cowboys host Seattle next week; they’re in playoffs for only third time in last nine years. 

Giants split their last eight games, scoring 27+ points in four of last five; six of those eight games were decided by four of fewer points. Big Blue lost nine of its last 11 games with Dallas. 

Ravens 26, Browns 24— Baltimore was 4-5 and everyone assumed John Harbaugh was history, but they started rookie QB Jackson after their bye week and went on a 6-1 run that won them a division title. Ravens led this game 20-7 at halftime, then hung on for dear life; Browns had ball on their 40-yard line in last 1:20, but couldn’t get in field goal range. 

Cleveland finished 7-8-1, their best record in 11 years; Mayfield is entrenched as their QB, and if you watched Hard Knocks this past summer, that probably surprises you. Good for them, but it sounds like Cleveland is going hire Mike McCarthy as head coach, instead of Gregg Williams. 

Ravens host Chargers in playoffs next week; they upset Bolts 22-10 in Carson last week. 

There was huge call in Ravens’ favor in last 2:00 of first half; Jackson fumbled near goal line, but whistle blew while Browns were running ball back for TD. That call may have kept Steelers out of the playoffs. 

Colts 33, Titans 17— Colts bounced back from 1-5 start to make playoffs for first time in four years. Indy visits Houston next week; they split a pair of 3-point decisions with the Texans this season. In second half of season, Colts were 4-0 in games decided by 3 or fewer points. 

Mariota didn’t play, Titans didn’t win; Tennessee finished 9-7 for third year in row; they fired Mike Mularkey after he made playoffs LY, but Vrabel didn’t make playoffs this year, despite winning four of last five games. 

Patriots 38, Jets 3— Bill Belichick has been the Patriots’ coach since 2000; Jets fired Todd Bowles after the game. Patriots are #2 seed in AFC; as for rest of AFC East since 2000……..

— Buffalo coaches: Phillips, Williams, Mularkey, Jauron, Gailey, Marrone, Ryan, McDermott
— Miami coaches: Wannstedt, Saban, Cameron, Sparano, Philbin, Gase.
— Jets coaches: Groh, Edwards, Mangini, Ryan, Bowles. 

Eagles 24, Redskins 0— Philly outgained Redskins 360-89, held Washington to 8 first downs, 0-9 on third down plays. Eagles made playoffs when the Bears won in Minnesota; they visit Chicago in first round game next week. Foles re-injured his ribs, didn’t finish this game, but defending Super Bowl champs won five of their last six games. 

Redskins started season 5-2, but were ravaged by injuries; they scored 16 or fewer points in their last five games, starting four QB’s in their last seven games. 

Bears 24, Vikings 10— Chicago won/covered nine of last ten games; in their last four games, they allowed only two offensive TD’s on 41 drives. Bears host Philly in playoffs next week. 

Since 2004, Minnesota has had 11 different QB’s; Zimmer fired his OC during the season this year. Vikings are 47-32-1 under Zimmer, but he needs to get his offense in order next year. 

Texans 20, Jaguars 3— Houston won 11 of last 13 games; they host Colts in playoffs next week. Texans are in playoffs for fifth time in last eight years. 

Jacksonville went 10-6 LY and made playoffs for first time in decade; they lost 3-9 in last 12 games, scoring 17 or fewer points in last five games. Kyler Murray would look very good in a Jacksonville uniform next fall. 

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32— Atlanta swept the Bucs this year, scoring 34 points in both games; Falcons showed some grit, winning last three games after a 4-9 start. Average total in last six games in this series is 59.2. 

Tampa Bay fired Dirk Koetter after the game; kind of unfair to keep the GM and fire the coach when the QB is the guy who got suspended for off-field hijinx which threw the Bucs’ offense into disarray. Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007- they were -18 in turnovers TY. 

Bills 42, Dolphins 17— Miami went 4-9 after starting season 3-0; they lost their last seven road games, and were 2-6 as road underdogs this year. Dolphins converted 10 of last 50 plays on third down; I’m really not sure why they’re so committed to Tannehill as their QB. 

Buffalo is 8-4 in its last dozen games with Miami, winning six of last seven series games played here; they outgained Dolphins 796-400 in two meetings this season, but split the games. 

Steelers 16, Bengals 13— Pittsburgh misses playoff for first time in five years; they lost four of their last six games- four of their last five games were decided by exactly three points. 

Bengals were one of six teams not to score an offensive TD this week; Cincy lost nine of its last 11 games, missing playoffs for third year in row. Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. 

Chargers 23, Broncos 9— 12-4 Chargers didn’t win AFC West, so they’re going to Baltimore for first-round playoff game this week; they were upset 22-10 at home by Ravens in Week 16. LA won five of its last six games overall. Chargers are 7-0 outside of LA this season. 

Denver finishes with consecutive losing season for first time since 70’s; have to think they’re going to be changing head coaches this winter. 

Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24— Seahawks won six of last seven games, will visit Dallas in most interesting of the four playoff games next week; their last seven games with Arizona were all decided by 6 or fewer points. Cardinals had won their last three visits to Seattle. 

There are rumors that Arizona will fire HC Wilks after only one year; would be second year in row that the coach QB Josh Rosen played for got fired— his coach at UCLA (Jim Mora) got the boot after last season. Redbirds should hire a QB guru to tutor young Rosen. 

Arizona gets the #1 pick in drat for first time since 1958, when they were based in Chicago; that year, Redbirds took QB King Hill with first pick- he started only 29 games in 12 years, and most of those were for the Eagles. 

Rams 48, 49ers 32— 49ers turned ball over on their first three drives; on their first two drives, Rams started on SF 7 and SF 13-yard line, scoring TD’s both times. 49ers went 0-8 on road this year for first time since 1979, the year the Rams made Super Bowl for the first time. 

LA gets a first-round bye and will host a playoff game on January 12th, a Saturday night. 

Lions 31, Packers 0— Six highest-paid QB’s in the NFL missed playoffs this year:
— Aaron Rodgers: $33.5M
— Matt Ryan: $30M
— Kirk Cousins: $28M
— Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5M
— Matthew Stafford: $27M
— Derek Carr: $25M

Chiefs 35, Raiders 3— Oakland was 12-4 only two years ago, but things change quickly in the NFL- they went 10-22 the last two seasons. If I was paying a coach $100M over ten years, I’d have expected more than a 4-12 first season. Here is the draft order for April’s draft:

1) Cardinals
2) 49ers
3) Jets
4) Raiders
5) Buccaneers
6) Giants

Panthers 33, Saints 14— The game meant nothing for New Orleans and it showed, since Drew Brees was in street clothes. Teddy Bridgewater is a free agent this winter, so the game meant a lot to him; have feeling he’ll be a starter somewhere in NFL next season. 

Carolina snapped a 7-game skid here; Ron Rivera will return as coach next season. Had they lost this game, Panthers would’ve been first team ever to finish season 6-10 after having been 6-2. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……

13) Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3— Oversimplification: the players in the orange uniforms ran a lot faster than the players in the white jerseys.

Clemson DC Brent Venables makes $2.2M a year, the 2nd-highest paid assistant in the country. LSU’s DC Dave Aranda makes $2.5M a year. To be an assistant coach. 

ABC had 50 cameras covering this game; thats a lot of cameras and people working those cameras. Funny how ESPN did Mack Brown a huge favor by having him host Coaches’ Film Room— Brown is the coach at North Carolina now. Good exposure for his recruiting. 

12) Alabama 45, Oklahoma 34— Back-door cover by the Sooners, who trailed 28-0 two minutes into the 2nd quarter. Game wasn’t as close as final score indicates; Alabama averaged 11.7 yds/pass attempt and converted 7-10 on third down. 

11) Clemson-Alabama will play for the national title in Santa Clara, CA, of all places; if you care about such things, Crimson Tide opened as 6.5-point favorites. 

10) Kentucky 71, Louisville 58— These teams are both really young. Interesting when Jay Bilas was saying how a Kentucky player transferring to Washington helped the Wildcats, because it opened the door for another player to step in and now he is more comfortable in that role. It is possible for a team to have too many talented players- it squelches team chemistry. 

9) Florida 41, Michigan 15— Wolverines lost 62-39 to Ohio State, then got drubbed here, not the best ending to Jim Harbaugh’s season. When four starters sit a bowl game out to preserve their health for the next level, thats a death knell for that team. 

In four years under Harbaugh, Michigan is 3-9 vs Michigan State, Ohio State and in bowls. 

8) New Jersey Giants’ WR Jawill Davis dislocated his kneecap while dancing in the Giants’ locker room this week. Seriously, he did. 

7) Baseball doings:
— Angels signed C Jonathan Lucroy to a 1-year, $3.35M deal.
— Yasmani Grandal turned down a 4-year, $60M deal with the Mets. 

6) North Carolina 82, Davidson 60— Davidson has players from seven countries, including this one; is it tougher to have good team chemistry with players from such diverse backgrounds? 

Nationally, Maine has most international players (12); Saint Mary’s has 10. 

5) Wizards’ G John Wall is expected to have surgery on his left heel soon and will miss 6-8 months, which is obviously bad news for coach Scott Brooks’ job security. 

4) Upsets of the Day:
— Texas Southern (+16.5) 88, Texas A&M 73
— Princeton (+14.5) 67, Arizona State 66
— Florida Atlantic (+14) 73, Illinois 71 OT
— Longwood (+11.5) 110, Citadel 94
— Brown (+10) 82, San Diego State 61- Aztecs were down 28 at the half.
— Santa Clara (+8) 79, Washington State 71
— Western Kentucky (+7.5) 83, Wisconsin 76
— Liberty (+7.5) 73, UCLA 58— Bruins lost last two home games, to Belmont/Liberty. No bueno.
— Montana State (+7) 92, Southern Utah 62
— Gardner-Webb (+6.5) 73, Wake Forest 69

3) Rick Pitino won his debut coaching in Greece, leading Panathinaikos to a 96-84 win over CSKA Moscow Friday night. If you think I typed out “Panathinaikos”, no way. Copy/paste. 

2) Dumbest college football rule: 15-yard penalty for taking your helmet off on the field- if you do it twice, you’re out of the damn game. Just a ludicrous rule. 

1) If you’re in Las Vegas and like betting NFL props, the Westgate SuperBook is by far the best place to go; lot of different wagering options for you there. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Random lists of 3

13) Best 3 NBA players of all-time:
1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 2) Michael Jordan 3) Lebron James. 

12) Favorite Las Vegas hotels:
T1) Aria/Vdara 3) Mandalay Bay 4) SouthPoint

11) Favorite Las Vegas sports books:
1) Westgate 2) Aria 3) Golden Nugget

10) Favorite Batman villains:
1) Riddler (Frank Gorshin) 2) Egghead (Vincent Price) 3) Mad Hatter (David Wayne)

9) College football bucket list:
Games at: 1) LSU 2) USC 3) Rose Bowl

8) College basketball bucket list:
1) NC State 2) Iowa State 3) Colorado State

7) Favorite non-sports movies:
1) Rounders 2) The Bodyguard 3) Begin Again

6) Favorite QB’s (non-Rams) to watch:
1) Dan Fouts 2) Aaron Rodgers 3) John Elway

5) Best Oakland A’s managers:
1) Dick Williams 2) Bob Melvin 3) Tony LaRussa

4) Best LA/St Louis Rams head coaches:
1) Dick Vermeil 2) Sean McVay T3) George Allen/Chuck Knox

3) My favorite comedians:
1) Steve Martin 2) Bill Murray 3) David Letterman

2) Favorite dinners:
1) Pizza 2) Spaghetti and meatballs 3) Scrambled eggs and bacon

1) Favorite TV characters:
1) Oscar Madison (Odd Couple) 2) Jonathan Higgins (Magnum PI) 3) Henry Blaker (M*A*S*H*)

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) How is it that Duke hasn’t won an ACC regular season basketball title since 2010, and they tied with Virginia that year? Last time Duke won regular season title by itself was 2006. 

12) There are 80 offensive linemen in NFL on IR or PUP; Cardinals/Redskins have seven each, followed by Jacksonville with six. Staying healthy is a big part of winning games. 

11) Baltimore Ravens’ safety Eric Weddle made the Pro Bowl, so if Baltimore makes it to the playoffs, Weddle cashes in on a $1M incentive he gets for a Pro Bowl/playoff quinella. 

10) DH Nelson Cruz signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. Cruz has homered 203 times the last five years, more than anyone else in the majors. 

9) Duke 56, Temple 27— Owls led this game 20-7 early, 27-21 at the half, then the roof fell in. Duke scored on seven straight possessions, plus added a defensive TD during that run. Been a rough bowl season for the AAC. 

From 1940-2011, Duke went to seven bowl games; they’ve been to six bowls the last seven years. It is way easier now to go to a bowl than long time ago, but David Cutcliffe has done a great job with the Blue Devils. 

8) Old Dominion’s QB Blake LaRussa threw for 495 yards in an upset of Virginia this season, but is leaving ODU and skipping his senior year of football in order to enroll in seminary school.

7) Nevada sportsbooks won a net $27.1M in November, including $18.4M from football, both NFL and college. 

Total of $581.1M was wagered in Nevada sportsbooks in November, compared to $527.9M in November, 2017. 

6) From Saturday-Tuesday, CG Technology sportsbooks will be offering -108 on all football wagers. This includes: Cosmopolitan, Venetian, Palazzo, MResort, Palms, Venetian and Hard Rock casinos. 

5) Right now, no NBA teams are on pace to win 60+ games this season; last time there was an NBA season with no 60-win teams was 2000-01. 

4) Jets TE Eric Tomlinson went on IR because he needed surgery on his foot after he dropped a weight on the foot in the weight room Wednesday afternoon. 

3) Alabama’s starting left guard Deonte Brown is suspended for the Oklahoma game this week, and maybe beyond that, if the Crimson Tide advances. Bad news for Alabama’s OL. 

2) Wisconsin 35, Miami 3— This score won’t go over well in south Florida. Total yardage was 406-169, Badgers, and it wasn’t that cold in the Bronx. 

1) Wouldn’t want to be a policeman in Las Vegas; there are no quiet days here. Lot of places, there are plenty of days where not too much happens, but I’ve heard sirens here all week and at all hours of day/night. Every night here has a little bit of New Year’s Eve in it.

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) NFL made it very difficult for gamblers this week; all the games that are connected in the standings are being played at the same time. For instance…….

— Eagles/Vikings both play at 4:25 Sunday.
— Rams/Bears both play at 4:25 Sunday.
— Chiefs/Chargers both play at 4:25 Sunday.
— Patriots/Texans both play at 1:00 Sunday.
— Ravens/Steelers both play at 4:25 Sunday.

This will be one day where in-game wagering could be a big help for gamblers. 

12) Oregon QB Justin Herbert is staying in college next year, which takes one of the better QB prospects off the board for the 2019 NFL Draft. 

11) So far this basketball season, Pac-12 teams are 0-7 vs Big 14 teams, 2-6 vs Big X teams, 3-9 vs SEC teams. I’m thinking Arizona State is only Pac-12 team right now with great shot of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA’s in March. 

10) Bucknell 97, UNLV 72— Scores like this get a coach fired:
— Patriot League is the #22 league in country; Mountain West is #11.
— UNLV was only a 3-point favorite, but losing by 25 to a Patriot League team is pretty much rock bottom.
— Bucknell was 14-25 on arc, UNLV was 4-25
— Bison scored 1.35 pts/possession, which is really high.
— Bucknell is only 6-6, with two losses to teams ranked outside top 200.
— UNLV lost five of its last seven games; their best player is out for the year.  Could be a long winter on the Strip. 

9) Michigan is favored by 6.5 points over Florida Saturday; SEC-Big 14 teams have played 33 bowls the last eight years- this is only 6th time the Big 14 team has been favored (3-2 vs spread in first five). SEC teams are 18-14-1 vs spread in those previous 33 games.

8) Boise State-Boston College bowl game was cancelled Wednesday because of lightning in the Dallas area Wednesday; teams played about half the first quarter, with BC leading 7-0. Not sure why the game couldn’t have been played tonight or tomorrow, but it is cancelled. 

Boston College was only bowl team this season that didn’t win or cover any of its last three regular season games. According to betlabs.com, since 1982, teams like that are 19-10 vs spread in their bowl games.

7) Guy who runs the Outback Bowl made $1,045,000 last year, just for doing that. Good work, if you can get it. 

By way of comparison, guy who runs the freakin’ Rose Bowl made $412,000 LY; guy who runs the Peach Bowl made $710,500. You would think the Rose Bowl is more prominent than those other two games, but their directors make lot more money- go figure.

6) There are 21 players left in the NFL who were playing back in 2004; seven of those 21 guys are quarterbacks.

5) Why do dogs always look like they enjoy posing for pictures? I see all these dogs on Twitter, and its like they’re enjoying the attention.  

4) Nets 134, Hornets 132, 2OT— Brooklyn has won nine of its last ten games; they’re 16-19, only a game out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. 

3) Suns 122, Magic 120, OT— Phoenix won five of its last seven games, covering all seven; they are still 6.5 games away from getting out of cellar in the West, but Suns are playing better. 

2) TCU 10, California 7, OT— There were 7 points, 7 punts and 6 turnovers in the first half; this was the worst bowl game I’ve ever seen, simply a terribly played game on offense.

— There were nine interceptions, 25 completions in this game
— TCU won the game, but was 8-21 for 28 passing yards for the whole game.
— Teams combined to convert 9-31 third down plays. 
— TCU almost won in OT on a pick-6, which would’ve been fitting. 

1) Do we get a rebate on our federal taxes for the days the government is shut down? 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) Spent a while in Harrah’s sportsbook Monday night; they’ve improved it some. While I’m there, ESPN is playing Scott Van Pelt’s “Bad Beats” segment on weird losses in gambling- the 10 or 12 people in the book loved the segment. Was fun to watch it there. 

12) Walking on the Strip for a half hour or so on Christmas Eve was fun; cars totally covered in Christmas lights on the strip, people throwing candy out of the back of a pickup truck to kids on the sidewalk. Lot of people walking, most of whom did not speak English, almost all of whom were taking pictures with their phones. Interesting experience. 

11) Case Keenum’s NFL career:
— 2012-14 Texans— Went 2-8 in ten starts, all in 2o13-14. Went to the Rams during 2014 season, traded for a 7th round draft pick.
— 2014-16 Rams— 7-7 in 16 games (14 starts): those weren’t good Ram clubs and Jeff Fisher was the coach— he didn’t hire the best offensive assistants. 7-7 in those games wasn’t too shabby.
— 2017— Vikings— 11-3 in 14 starts, then split two playoff games, including the GW pass to Diggs that might be the greatest moment in Vikings’ history.
— 2018— Broncos— 6-9 this year, and the ship is sinking. Looks like coach Joseph will be told to take a hike. Will Keenum follow him out of town? He could be playing for his 4th team in four years next season. 

10) ESPN’s Monday night analysts, Jason Witten/Booger McFarland, have been more critical the last couple weeks- they were KILLING the Broncos Monday night, and were circling players for lack of effort late in that game. 

I’m not criticizing them for doing this; think it would be nice if more analysts simply told the truth, but it is unusual to hear. 

9) Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush is transferring; he started 12 games LY, four games this year— his W-L record as a college starter is 12-3. He has one year of eligibility left. 

How come every former starter/backup QB in the country transfers, but not Jalen Hurts??? LOL

Some notes on NBA back-to-backs……
8) Road underdogs who are playing 2nd consecutive night on road: 22-23-1 vs spread.

Road favorites playing who are 2nd consecutive night on road: 7-7 vs spread. 

7) Home favorites who played on road night before: 10-12-1 vs spread.

Home underdogs who played at home night before: 5-5 vs spread. 

6) Road underdogs who played at home night before: 10-15-1 vs spread. 

5) Over/under of road teams who played night before: over 46-34. 

Elsewhere…….
4) Arizona Cardinals signed DJ Swearinger after the Redskins cut him because he wouldn’t stop criticizing Washington’s coaches/team. 

Swearinger has played for four teams in his six-year NFL career; this is his second tour of duty with Arizona. If he wants to keep playing in the NFL, maybe he should try shutting his mouth for a while, whether he is right or wrong about what he says.

3) Understood that the NBA doesn’t give a rat’s ass what a 59-year old Caucasian thinks, but the uniforms Knicks-Bucks wore Christmas Day were ugly, really ugly.  

2) Liev Schrieber’s character Ray Donovan almost got thru a whole hour of his Showtime series this week without getting beat up. Almost. 

Ray Donovan is a really well-done show; they have Susan Sarandon/Jon Voight as supporting actors, and added Alan Alda this week a a psychiatrist. Quite a cast, but Ray has taken a severe physical beating this year. It isn’t always the most uplifting, optimistic show.  

1) Here at the Vdara Hotel, a terrific place to stay, it turns out that if you decline maid service 2-3 days in a row, they send someone to your room, to make sure you’re not dead. Seriously.

Lady knocked on my door Tuesday morning, called it “a wellness check”; I’m just fine, ma’am, you have a nice Christmas, too. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!

13) Maybe the biggest downside of fantasy football being so popular is when guys don’t do so well at this time of year, they sometimes take a decent amount of grief from people who have them on their fantasy teams. 

I have a fantasy baseball team and must admit that I take it pretty seriously, but I know enough to take it in stride when things don’t go my way. Fantasy football can be pretty random, as far as who gets targeted in the red zone, etc, take defeats in stride, please?!?!?!

12) Former NFL player/GM Matt Millen had a heart transplant over the weekend; the surgery was said to go well. Pretty amazing stuff medical people can do. Hope Mr Millen is back feeling well soon.

11) Tennessee Titans signed QB Austin Davis as insurance, with Marcus Mariota banged up and Matt Cassel his backup. Titans play Indianapolis for a playoff spot Sunday night.

10) Milwaukee Bucks are playing on Christmas Day for first time since 1977.

College basketball stats for Christmas morning…….
9) Teams that force the most turnovers:
Auburn, Virginia Tech, Manhattan, NC State

8) Teams with the best defensive eFG%:
Texas Tech, VCU, Old Dominion, Houston

7) Teams with the best offensive eFG%:
Gonzaga, Creighton, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois

6) Teams with best 3-point %age:
Indiana State, South Dakota State, Virginia Tech, Creighton

5) Teams with best FT %age:
Hofstra, Toledo, LaSalle, Davidson

4) Most experienced teams in country:
Nevada, Jacksonville State, San Diego, The Citadel

3) Teams who have played hardest schedule so far:
Middle Tennessee State, Cal State-Fullerton, Kansas, Creighton

2) Teams whose subs play the most minutes:
Manhattan, Denver, NC State, New Mexico

1) I still can’t believe the Steelers faked a punt Sunday night in their own territory with a 28-24 lead and 4:10 left. Just a totally unnecessary risk.

Someone on Twitter said “You can’t judge the call by the result” The hell you can’t; pro sports are a result-based industry. You win, you’re a hero, you lose, you get fired. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Saints 31, Steelers 28— Wth 4:11 left, Steelers had ball on their own 42, 4th-and-5, while leading 28-24. They faked a bleeping punt, and it failed. Football coaches have gone off the rails this season, going for it on 4th down, and all the ex-player TV analysts applaud them for it. 

Here’s a hint, Mike Tomlin; your QB is going to the Hall of Fame, he’s really good. Steelers gained 429 yards in this game, converted 6-13 third down plays. How about putting the game in Roethlisberger’s hands, instead of a special teamer? Just a thought. 

Should be mentioned that if the Steelers had punted and pinned the Saints back deep in their own territory, New Orleans had zero TD’s on their previous three drives, but Saints only had to drive 46 yards for the game-winning score. It is almost like Tomlin is trying to get fired. 

Pittsburgh needs to beat the Bengals next week and hope that the Browns upset Baltimore, or else they’ll miss playoffs for first time since 2013. 

Seahawks 38, Chiefs 31— Mirage sportsbook here in Las Vegas took a $220,000 wager on the Chiefs to cover this game as a 1-point favorite; whoops. 

Seattle clinched a playoff spot and likely will play at Dallas in one of the Wild Card games; they ran ball for 210 yards in this game. Under Carroll, Seahawks are 13-5 as home underdogs. Six of last seven games for both teams went over the total. 

Chiefs need to beat Oakland next week to claim the #1-seed and a first round bye in playoffs; 

Eagles 32, Texans 30— Are we sure that Carson Wentz should be the Eagles’ starting QB? Nick Foles threw for 471 yards, four TD’s, and led a drive for the game-winning FG at the gun.  

Houston scored pair of TD’s in 4th quarter to rally from a 29-16 deficit and looked to have ended the Eagles’ season, but they couldn’t hang on and slipped to the #3 seed in AFC, letting Patriots move ahead of them in the race for a first round bye. 

Darren Sproles scored a TD and gave the ball to Mike Trout, who has season tickets just behind one end zone. Like Trout needs another souvenir for his trophy case. 

Packers 44, Jets 38 OT— Late in this game, with Jets leading 35-20, I turned to guy next to me and said, “Can you believe a team led by Aaron Rodgers is going to go 0-8 on the road?” Well, not so fast, my friend. 

Green Bay still trailed 35-23 with 7:00 left, but actually took a 38-35 lead before Jets tied game with 0:17 left- Rodgers ended things with a TD pass to Devante Adams in OT. 

Jets lost eight of last nine games, but rookie QB Darnold threw for 341 yards and three TD’s. Gang Green averaged 8.7 yards/pass attempt, ran a kick back for a TD, but still lost. 

Packers are 20-42 on third down their last three games.  

Cowboys 27, Buccaneers 20— Tampa Bay is 5-10 this season; they lost seven of their last nine games, lost their last seven road games after winning opener 48-40 in the Superdome.

— In their five wins, Buccaneers are +4 in turnovers.
— In their ten losses, Buccaneers are -22 in turnovers. 

If you had to make the call, would you pay Jameis Winston $20M a year to be the face of your franchise going forward, or would you move on to someone else? It is an interesting decision. 

Dallas wins NFC East, will probably host Seattle in their first playoff game; they’ve won six of last seven games, finished 7-1 at home in the regular season. 

Patriots 24, Bills 12— New England catches a huge break when the Texans lost in Philly; now the Patriots are the #2 seed in AFC and need only to beat the Jets next week for a first round bye. 

Change in tactics for NE with WR Josh Gordon suspended by the NFL; Patriots ran ball 47 times for 273 yards, throwing only 25 passes. Teams combined to connect 5-25 on third down; both teams turned ball over three times. 

Patriots are 33-4 in their last 37 games vs Buffalo; must be nice to have six games every freakin’ year against Jets-Bills-Miami.

Falcons 24, Panthers 10— Carolina lost last seven games (1-6 vs spread); backup QB Heinecke got KO’d for a while from his first NFL start but came back later. Even less experienced #3 QB Allen came in and was 4-4 passing for 38 yards. 

— Carolina ran 84 plays for 436 yards; they scored 7 points on four red zone drives.
— Atlanta ran 48 plays for 427 yards; their two 2nd half TD’s were on plays of 75-44 yards.

Panthers turned ball over four times (-2) on 11 drives; rough end to their season- they’ve lost six of their last seven games with Atlanta. 

Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7— Looked like Jacksonville knew the Dolphins’ play calls before Miami did; several times when the Dolphins tried misdirection, there was a Jaguar standing waiting for it, and one of those plays resulted in a crucial turnover. 

Officials in this game might need rotator cuff surgery from throwing so many flags; both teams were called for 10 accepted penalties. Subtract penalty yardage and Jacksonville won yardage battle, but by 147-88 margin. This was an ugly game played in perfect weather. 

Dolphins are 7 for their last 37 on third down; Ryan Tannehill is in his 6th year as an NFL QB; his career W-L record is 42-45. If I was a Miami fan, I’d be an unhappy human, with him as my team’s franchise quarterback- he was a WR until his junior year in college. 

Colts 28, Giants 27— Indy is now 9-6 after starting season 1-5; they play Tennessee on Sunday night, in what is a play-in game for the #6 seed and likely a trip to LA to play the Chargers in the first round of the playoffs. Steelers’ loss in New Orleans opened the door for that to happen. 

Jets and Giants both led 14-0 Sunday, and both lost; Giants finish season 6-1 vs spread as road underdogs. Six of their last seven games went over the total. 

Vikings 27, Lions 9— On their first four series, Minnesota ran 12 plays for five yards, and trailed 9-0, even though Detroit was putrid in the red zone. On the last play of the first half, Vikings completed a 44-yard Hail Mary for a TD that gave Minnesota the lead- Detroit never scored again. 

Vikings are the #6-seed in NFC right now; they play the Bears next week, while the Eagles are in Washington. This was Minnesota’s first win in their last four road games. 

After going 36-28 in four years under Jim Caldwell, Detroit is 5-10 this year, proving that just because you know Tom Brady doesn’t mean you can win NFL games without him. 

Browns 26, Bengals 18— Cleveland was eliminated from playoff hunt, but they’ve won five of last six games- Browns play Baltimore next week while trying for a winning season, a pretty big accomplishment for a team that was 4-44 the last three years. Backdoor cover here for Bengals; they trailed 23-0 after third quarter, but Cincinnati scored couple of TD’s in the last 5:00 to beat the spread. 

Bengals lost six of last seven games overall but they covered five of last six games as underdogs vs divisional rival Cleveland. 

Rams 31, Cardinals 9— Rams ran ball for 269 yards as they moved to 12-3 and got within one game of clinching a first round bye in playoffs- they won their two games vs Arizona this year by a combined score of 65-9. LA won in Glendale for 4th year in a row, even though Todd Gurley sat this game out with a knee problem. CJ Anderson was signed by the Rams on Tuesday, but ran ball for 167 yards and a touchdown. 

In their last three games, Cardinals were outrushed 606-225. 

Bears 14, 49ers 9— Chicago won/covered eight of its last nine games, are 3-3 SU on road, 2-3 as road favorite; they can still get first round bye if they win and Rams loss to San Francisco in the LA Coliseum. Otherwise, they’ll probably play either Vikings/Eagles in first playoff game. 

Four of Chicago’s last five games stayed under the total; under is 6-3 in 49ers’ last nine games.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday…….

13) Titans 25, Redskins 16— Tennessee lost QB Mariota (stinger), but backup Gabbert came in, threw GW TD pass with 4:30 left. Titans scored a defensive TD on the last play of the game, exciting some people in the Aria sportsbook who were beneficiaries of that play. 

Tennessee is 9-6 and still in mix for a playoff spot; Washington isn’t. 

12) Ravens 22, Chargers 10— This score means Kansas City can clinch AFC West with win in Seattle today; it also puts pressure on the Steelers to win in New Orleans, or else they’ll be out of the playoff picture, for now. 

At one point in this game Baltimore had outgained the Chargers 164-14 but led only 3-0; they totally controlled this game and will be a dangerous team if they get a home game in playoffs. 

11) So I’m sleeping late Friday night and I wake up because a dog is barking, which is odd in a hotel, especially a really nice hotel like Vdara; I figure someone has their TV on too loud or something, but when i went downstairs Saturday morning, lady in the next room is taking this large canine out for a walk. Go figure. 

10) Baylor Bears have a good defensive team; they’ve held both Arizona and Oregon under 50 points, so if Baylor was in a down Pac-12 this year, they might be favored to win it. 

9) Wizards 149, Suns 146 3OT— Guy sitting next to me in the sportsbook wagered on the Suns just before I left; game wound up going three OT’s- if he stayed and watched whole game, his wife probably wasn’t really happy about it. He was telling her how pointspreads worked just before he went to make the bet- she didn’t look terribly interested. 

Suns were +5, so the guy cashed his ticket. 

8) The status of Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry for Thursday’s Pinstripe Bowl is in doubt after a sexually-explicit video was posted on his Snapchat account, according to the Miami school newspaper. The video reportedly involves two people having sex, and was posted after Miami’s win over Toledo September 15. The video resurfaced among Miami students this week.

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Cal-Riverside (+9) 60, LMU 53
— Indiana State (+8) 72, Colorado 67
— Seton Hall (+7.5) 78, Maryland 74
— Georgia (+5) 70, Georgia Tech 59
— Arizona State (+3.5) 80, Kansas 76

6) Auburn 93, Murray State 88— Racers will be an interesting Cinderella team in March; Auburn was 13-33 on arc in this entertaining game. Murray led by as many as six points in the second half, but Auburn got hot- they had been 9-47 on arc in their previous two games. 

5) LaSalle 57, Towson State 51— Kid on Towson caught an inbounds pass in the backcourt, got confused and laid the ball in the wrong basket, scoring two points for LaSalle and guaranteeing he’ll be on SportsCenter every week for at least a year. 

4) Army 70, Houston 14— You give up 70 points in a bowl game, tying the all-time record, it is a problem, but giving up 70 to a service academy is even worse— your athletes have to be bigger and faster, albeit not tougher. 

Houston’s best defensive player skipped this game to prepare for the NFL Draft, after he and the coaches 

3) Couple of ESPN’s college basketball analysts now go on the court during TV timeouts to illustrate a point they want to make about the game. This bugs me; if you need attention that bad, then go back into coaching. Use a grease board to make your points; stay off the floor. 

2) Other college basketball stuff:
— Kentucky 80, North Carolina 72— Best win by far for this year’s Wildcats.
— Ohio State 80, UCLA 66— Still think Steve Alford should be coach at Indiana.
— NC-Greensboro 83, Samford 75— Spartans were down 12 at halftime.
— San Francisco 74, Stanford 65— Bill Russell’s alma mater is 12-1. 

1) Some well-known people who have birthdays today:
— Musician Eddie Vedder
— Soap opera star Susan Lucci
— Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh
— Former Steelers’ LB Jack Ham
— Political pundit Bill Kristol
— Former Mets’ pitcher Jerry Koosman

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) Dodgers traded Matt Kemp/Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood to the Reds, making it obvious they’re clearing roster/payroll space to go after free agent Bryce Harper. 

Not sure what the Reds are thinking, unless they’re going to flip Puig to a contender. 

12) Washington Nationals signed P Anibal Sanchez, Cardinals signed reliever Andrew Miller. 

11) Pac-12 basketball teams are 5-27 vs spread as underdogs so far this season. That is a hard stat to believe, but I checked it twice. They don’t have any teams in KenPom’s top 40, which pretty much means the conference tournament winner might be the only Pac-12 team in the NCAA tournament in March. 

10) A’s traded for 2B Jurickson Profar in a 3-way deal with Texas, Tampa Bay. Profar was one of five American Leaguers LY with at least 35 doubles, 20 home runs, 75 RBI and 10 stolen bases. 

— A’s traded two prospects, a draft pick and international bonus money for Profar.
— Texas got four prospects and international bonus money
— Tampa Bay got two pitching prospects and a draft pick. 

9) Rick Pitino will coach EuroLeague powerhouse Panathinaikos in Greece, starting Thursday. His team is currently in 10th place with a 6-7 record- his roster has Giannis Antetokounmpo’s younger brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, former Kings big man Georgios Papagiannis, and ex-NBA point guard Nick Calathes.

The team’s owner is notorious for being a volatile human who once threatened to kill the refs, so this could be interesting. 

8) Couple years ago I spent this week at the Aria hotel, which is very nice but the pizza I had there was lame. Last night, I gave the same pizza place a second chance and it was very good. Not really sure why there was such a difference; they probably just had a bad day back then. 

Will probably be there again Sunday watching NFL games, so more pizza is in the offing.

7) New Jersey Jets have thrown 58 passes this season that went 20+ yards downfield but completed only 17% of them, which isn’t good. 

Bills/Packers have both thrown 78 such passes, most in the league, Buffalo completing 27% of them, Green Bay 35%. Giants have thrown 57 of them, completing 44%. 

6) FIU 35, Toledo 32— First underdog to win a bowl game this season; this was the 9th bowl. 

5) BYU 49, Western Michigan 18— Cougars were down 10-7 at halftime, then dominated the second half. Both teams finished the season 7-6. Favorites are 8-2 vs spread in bowls so far. 

4) Rockets’ PG Chris Paul has a hamstring issue, is expected to be out 2-3 weeks. Houston is 0-5 without Paul this season. 

3) Six former G-League head coaches have become NBA head coaches; 40% of players on NBA rosters played at one time or another in the G-League. 74 other G-League coaches have moved up to the NBA as an assistant.

2) Buffalo Bulls of the MAC split a couple road games with Syracuse/Marquette this week, but more impressive than that is this: Buffalo was a small underdog in both games, getting 3.5 points at Syracuse, 2 points at Marquette- thats the oddsmaker telling us that Buffalo is at least as good as their more brand-name opponents. 

Buffalo hammered Arizona in the NCAA’s last year; they’ll likely be a force this March, too. 

1) Looks like the Oakland Raiders will play home games at AT&T Park in San Francisco next year, where the baseball Giants play. Raiders are moving to Las Vegas in 2020 and the city of Oakland is suing them, so the Coliseum is out for next year. 

Friday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…..

13) How about this idea for the NCAA basketball tournament? 

Committee picks the 68 teams, sets the four play-in games, and seeds the top 32 teams, but then there is a nationally-televised draft, where teams can choose who they play in the first round, essentially filling out the first-round matchups in real time on national TV. 

12) It would work this way; the play-in games are set by the committee so those eight teams can get started on preparation, but say Kansas is the #1 national seed- they can choose any of the four #16-seeds to play in the first round. 

The #2 and #3 seeds would then choose which 16-seed they wanted to play, the #4 seed would get the last remaining #16 seed, then they move on to the #2-15 matchups. The #5-seed would have first choice of the #15 seeds to play, and so on…….

It would create some more drama and a little transparency- I think people would watch in on TV, for sure. 

11) Duquesne +5.5 or +6 Wednesday night was one of worst beats in recent memory; with game tied and 0:05.4 left. Duquesne was called for a foul under the basket- Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot (Lebron James’ high school coach) lost his mind at the call, was given two technical fouls and Penn State made all six foul shots. 

Duquesne threw away the inbounds pass and that was that; weird thing about Dambrot going nuts was that Dukes were 29-32 on foul line for the game, Penn State 17-26, so not like he was getting the short end of the stick the whole game. 

10) Patriots’ WR Josh Gordon is stepping away from football to focus on his mental health; he had been averaging 65 receiving yards a game. 

9) Houston Rockets made 26-55 3-pointers in their 136-118 win over the Wizards Wednesday, setting an NBA record for most made 3’s in a game; they only took 30 2-point shots (19-30). James Harden scored 35 points in 34:00 for Houston, which won its fifth straight game. 

8) Carolina Panthers are shutting QB Cam Newton (shoulder) down for the last two games; Carolina lost its last six games, Taylor Heinicke is the Panthers’ new QB; he’s thrown five NFL passes in mop-up duty in six games, five this year and one for Houston LY. 

Heinicke played college ball at Old Dominion; this is his first NFL start. 

Panthers have won six divisional titles in their 24-year history, but they’ve never had two winning seasons in a row.

7) There were 66 touchdowns scored in Week 15’s NFL games, nine less TD’s than in any other week this season. 

In weeks 1-12 this season, NFL teams averaged 23.0 ppg.
In weeks 13-15 this year, NFL teams averaged 19.7 ppg. 

6) New Jersey Giants’ combined record the last five years: 31-48, 0-1 in playoff games; they seem intent on moving forward with QB Eli Manning, who turns 38 on January 3rd. 

Manning helped the Giants win two Super Bowls, going on 4-0 playoff runs in both ’07 and ’11, but 2011 was seven years ago; he has a career playoff record of 8-4. 

Giants have had three head coaches the last four years, but never changed QB’s; interesting decision they have here; if I was them, I’d move on to a younger QB, but thats me— this will be interesting to follow next summer/fall. 

5) Favorites won the first eight bowl games this month, going 7-1 vs spread. 

4) Dallas Cowboys have scored TD’s only 47.6% of time when they had 1st-and-goal this year, the only NFL team with a %age under 50%. 

Giants (52.4%), 49ers (54.5%) have next worst marks. Carolina (88.5%), Denver (86.4%) have the best TD percentage on 1st-and-goal series. 

3) Newly-signed Mets’ catcher, the oft-injured Wilson Ramos gets a $500,000 bonus next season if he catches 100+ games. He’s caught 100+ games in three of nine MLB seasons. 

2) Angels gave Matt Harvey $14M, Trevor Cahill $9.5M to pitch for them next season. 

1) People on Twitter are crazy; someone was bashing Drew Brees the other day; now chances are the guy lost his fantasy league playoff game or lost his bet on the Saints or the over, but bashing Brees is pretty bleepin’ stupid- his team won that game and is 13-1. Grow up!!! 

Thursday’s List of 13: Questions, questions, always questions……

These are questions to discuss with friends or ponder while you’re trying to get to sleep at night:
13) If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you choose? 

12) If you had to do it all over again, what college would you have gone to, or would you have even gone to college? 

11) All-time favorite movie? 

10) If someone was going to buy you a car, any car, which one would you choose? 

9) Whats your favorite vacation destination(s)? 

8) When college coaches get fired, how often does the new coach talk to the old coach to share information? It has to happen sometimes, just not sure how much. 

7) OK, 2:00 to go, your team is down 3 and you have the ball on your own 25-yard line. Of any QB ever, who would you want running your team for that last 2:00? 

6) Someone is going to buy you dinner, anything you want, anywhere— what would you order? 

5) If your son was a great college basketball player and he let you choose where he would go to college, where would you send him? 

4) You can go to one concert; which performer/band wold you choose to see? 

3) Bases loaded, two outs, you’re down a run in last inning; what hitter, past or present, would you want up at the plate for your team? 

2) You can go on a date with anyone (assuming you’re single for that night), and not with your spouse; who would you choose? 

1) My last question isn’t a question, its a thought: Live your life, do things you want to do. Life is short; do what you can, while you can. Have fun.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……

13) Few weeks ago, I asked you, the reader, to submit your favorite Christmas songs; I figured four or five songs would get all the mentions. Not so much. 

33 different songs got at least one vote, including a few I’ve never heard of, which is fine. Took a while for a few songs to jump to the head of the class. 

12) First of all, a surprising number of people dislike Christmas songs, some intensely so. 

Devin, a new mom who I figured would like Christmas: “Christmas music makes me want to slam my head into a door.” Alrighty then. 

Diverse opinions are part of what makes our country fun; we all like different stuff. 

11) Silent Night won our poll, not surprising. Traditional song, but it was close. 

10) Baby Its Cold Outside finished 2nd; the Vanessa Williams version got a couple special mentions. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus also got a lot of support, as did The Little Drummer Boy. 

You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch was mentioned by people trying to ingratiate themselves with me, because they know of my fondness for the Grinch. 

9) My personal favorite? All I want for Christmas Is You, the Mariah Carey version. 

Elsewhere……..
8) Monday night, Christian McCaffrey became the first player with 50 yards rushing, receiving and passing in same game since Walter Payton in 1985.

7) Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera grew up on five different military bases in three different countries; his father was in the army.

6) If Georgia backup QB Justin Fields transfers as expected, that would mean over the last nine years, 10 of the 18 HS quarterbacks ranked #1-2 in their senior class wound up transferring in college, and one of those kids transferred twice!! 

5) Spent five hours on an airplane Tuesday, five feet in front of a child who enjoyed yelling very loudly; great fun. Then an older woman passed out on the plane a few minutes before we landed here in Las Vegas- she was OK, just a little dehydrated apparently. 

4) There were 108 international players on NBA rosters when this season started. 

3) In The Natural, Wilford Brimley is the manager and he only seems to have one coach, but both of them are in the dugout when the Knights are batting; who coaches the bases?

2) Tommy Hawk, mascot of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, was attacked by a man on the concourse of the United Center Friday nite. There was a short video of the incident on the Interweb; the mascot more than held his own and actually body slammed his assailant. 

1) RIP Penny Marshall 75, a very funny lady who was Laverne in Laverne & Shirley and Myrna Turner in The Odd Couple. She also made movies, including Big and A League of Their Own. She was a big sports fan and had season tickets for the Lakers and Clippers- someone said on Twitter that she has a great sports memorabilia collection. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Before the NFL season started, a courageous gambler wagered $70,000 on the Cleveland Browns to go over 5.5 wins this season. Now that person can put his/her feet up and relax for the last two weeks of the season with a winning ticket in pocket. 

Well done, but wonder how often a team has fired its coach during the season and still went over its win total for the season? 

12) My nomination for most underrated sports achievement of the last 20 years; Butler playing for the national title in college basketball two years in a row. Bulldogs are in the Big East now, but they were in the freakin’ Horizon League back then.

In seven years since Butler played for the national title, Horizon League teams are 0-7 in the NCAA tournament, 2-5 vs spread and they were the underdog in all seven games.

Brad Stevens coached Butler back then; now obviously, he is doing well in the NBA in Boston.

11) From Rick Gosselin: The Bill Vinovich officiating crew has called the fewest penalties in the NFL this season. The Vinovich crew also has worked five Sunday night prime-time games. The NFL prefers its primetime games not to have a lot of penalties called.

10) This is pretty cool: Drew Brees sent a customized game ball and a personalized letter to anybody that caught a pass from him or started on the offensive line during his career for their contributions to his all-time NFL passing yardage record. 

9) From The Athletic: Since 2014, Houston Texans are 30-1 when leading at halftime; Dallas is 32-11, the Browns are 10-12. 

8) Teams leading at halftime have won 76.3% of NFL playoff games since the league expanded to a 12-team playoff field in 1990.

7) Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger will miss the remainder of this basketball season with a torn ACL; very big loss for a young Fighting Irish team (#282 in experience) that is 7-3. 

6) Texas Tech is the only college basketball team in country that still hasn’t allowed more than a point per possession in a game this season; they play Duke Thursday night.

5) Cincinnati Reds sent 61 employees to Las Vegas for the winter meetings; they have all kinds of meetings/trade shows at the winter meetings, from front office people to trainers to souvenir sales. Plus its a reward for lot of hard work during the season. 

4) If you’re in a dynasty league in fantasy baseball and you have Daniel Palka on your team, the Yonder Alonso trade is bad for you, because now Palka either plays LF or comes off the bench, with Jose Abreu/Alonso slotted to man the White Sox’ DH/first base spots.

3) Jeurys Familia got $31M from the Mets for three years, and another $1M if he gets traded; is this a great country or what?

2) Big money college sports claimed another casualty last weekend; the seven-year old Hy-Vee Classic, an annual doubleheader with Iowa’s four Division I hoop programs, is done after this week because the Big 14 is going to a 20-game conference schedule. God forbid Iowa play a non-conference team they could actually lose to. 

Basically, Iowa is afraid of playing Drake and Northern Iowa every other year; imagine that?

1) Saints 12, Panthers 9— Cam Newton threw an INT in end zone near end of first half, then Carolina fumbled after a long run in Saints territory. Panthers’ defense played their hearts out, but Newton looks terrible, not sure if he is injured or not. He throws like his arm hurts.