About Last HolidaysAndrew Bernstein/NBAW via Getty Images
In case you were out picking up smoking as an excuse to avoid your relatives, here’s what you missed in sports during the holiday season.
- December 22 UCF crushed Ball State 38-17 in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, and I’m not going to start my first About Last Night with a joke about how, after hearing about the game, Andy Reid started looking for college coaching opportunities so that, one day, he could maybe get a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s bowl of his own. I’m not going to start it out like that, people. Not after everything Andy Reid went through these past couple of weeks. Instead I’m going to highlight Blake Bortles and his four touchdowns. And not make an easy joke about Andy Reid. Deep breaths. OK … Moving on …
- December 23: The Seattle Seahawks were the standout team in the NFL’s pivotal Week 16, delivering a 42-13 thrashing to the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick blamed the loss on being unprepared for the Seahawks’ “12th Man” home field advantage, which he had assumed would be one really loud guy yelling at him and not an entire stadium full of football fans.
- December 24: Twas the night before Christmas and all through the world of sports, not a decent game was stirring, not even a Memphis Tigers men’s basketball game, which would have involved assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” in his playing days. Nor was Stoudamire’s pet mouse Rod Strickland the Mouse stirring, even though Stoudamire was considering trading it for a hamster named Sam Cassell the Hamster if the right offer came along. It wasn’t going to, though, as head coach Josh Pastner has actively discouraged Stoudamire’s friends and colleagues from engaging in a ’90s point-guard, rodent-exchange market with Damon, on account of it seeming really weird to potential recruits.
- December 25: The Lakers outlasted the Knicks at home on Christmas Day, winning 100-94, in Steve Nash’s second game back from a leg injury. Kobe Bryant was so pleased with his team’s resurgent performance that he stared without blinking at Steve Blake in the locker room for half an hour before shouting profanities at Pau Gasol in Italian.
- December 26: A 4-3 Manchester United win over Newcastle, which featured a number of controversial officiating decisions, headlined the Premier League’s annual Boxing Day slate of matches. After the match, United striker Robin van Persie calmly explained to his teammates that just because referees are supposed to be impartial, advanced human concepts such as morality and justice frequently contain subjective elements that cannot be easily explained to them. Wayne Rooney thoughtfully responded to van Persie’s argument by throwing a full can of Carlsberg at his teammate, and calling everyone in the locker room a “wanker.”
- December 27: Penguins star Sidney Crosby slotted home 2 goals, including what would prove to be the winner, in a 3-2 Pittsburgh win over the Detroit Red Wings. In other on-the-ice action, the Kings won a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals, 4-2, against the Phoenix Coyotes. Moments after the conclusion of that game, a space knight named M’inYakin from the planet Centurion 9 teleported into my TV room and took me back in time to help him conquer his species’ mortal foes, the Galegians, before they overtook his ancient kingdom. Though initially overwhelmed by the responsibility, I eventually accepted my role as his planet’s savior. The battles we waged together were epic, and it sure was hard for me to leave the beautiful Centurion princess Mi’a’loo’koo behind, but Earth is my home, and I have duties and commitments here that I must attend to. Fortunately, everything appears to be the same back in the present, except for the haunting memories of taking dozens of Galegian lives, and the absence of any record that the aforementioned hockey games ever happened.
- December 28: The Los Angeles Clippers survived a threat to their franchise record 15-game winning streak, coming back from 19 down in Utah to stun the Jazz. The previous Clippers’ franchise record for consecutive wins was yes.
- December 29: Louisville’s men’s basketball team topped archrival Kentucky, 80-77, behind 21 points and seven rebounds from junior guard Russ Smith. When asked if he was disappointed with his team’s defeat, Wildcats head coach John Calipari told reporters, “We beat them where it counts,” before winking several times. When asked to elaborate, Calipari threw a wad of hundred-dollar bills in the air and shrugged sarcastically.
- December 30: Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings won a thriller against the Green Bay Packers, 37-34, setting up a first-round playoff matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. The winner of that game will then either play the Green Bay Packers or Minnesota Vikings, depending on who lost the first-round game. The eventual winner of that game will be given Michigan as a reward.
- December 31: Andy Reid and his staff were among the coaches let go as part of the NFL’s annual Black Monday bloodletting. Guys, I’m not going to pile on with easy jokes. Look, we all know he likely drowned his sorrows with Beef ‘O’ Brady’s famed Steak Bowl. That’s not a joke. So I’m not going to talk about it anymore. Instead, I’m going to wish Reid and his entire staff well as they look for new — BEEF ‘O’ BRADY’S HAS A STEAK BOWL ON THEIR MENU, WHICH IS JUST A BOWL OF STEAK, AND ANDY REID WANTS TO EAT IT BECAUSE HE’S SO SAD AND HE PROBABLY PROCESSES EMOTION THROUGH EATING AND I CAN’T STOP PICTURING HIM WITH FLECKS OF STEAK IN HIS MUSTACHE WHILE HE FROWNS. WHY WAS HE FIRED NOW? I JUST GOT TO START MAKING JOKES ABOUT HIM HERE AND HE’S ALREADY GONE! IT’S NOT FAIR! … Ahem. I’m really sorry about that. Again, moving on …
- January 1: In a battle of teams who just missed out on the BCS, the no. 7 Georgia Bulldogs topped no. 16 Nebraska, 45-31, in the Florida Citrus Bowl. When asked, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini blamed the defeat on game-planning for a team of 11 bulldogs, not a whole team of accomplished college football players. When asked if he knew Colin Kaepernick, Pelini responded, “Kaepernick … I haven’t heard that name since my high school prom back in Reno,” before drifting deep into thought and abruptly ending his press conference.