In case you were busy arguing that Lane Kiffin really hasn’t gotten a fair chance to prove himself as a head coach with a particularly stubborn stop sign, here’s what you missed in sports last weekend:
- Tom Brady finally synced up with his young receiving corps, as the New England Patriots built an early lead and held on late, beating the Atlanta Falcons 30-23. “It’s tough to beat them when Brady is back on track, but we gave it our all, and I’m impressed with my team,” said a gray-haired man claiming to be Atlanta’s head coach. “Wait, seriously, I’m Mike Smith,” the man said, giving a clearly fake name, before adding, “You’ve heard of Dan Reeves? Well, I’m the most successful coach this franchise has ever had. We were in the NFC title game last year.” The man, likely a deluded extra who wandered off the set of Boardwalk Empire, then added, “No, I’m not the mayor from Boardwalk Empire. For chrissake, come on, are you messing with me?”
- The Major League Baseball regular season ended, but there’s yet more to be decided as the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers finished the season tied for the second AL wild-card slot, and will play a one-game playoff. That game will determine which team will face the Cleveland Indians in another one-game playoff, which will determine who will be the AL wild-card representative in the postseason. This will be followed by a series of three-inning “mini-games” to determine home-field advantage in each round, which will be followed by a series of three-out home run derbies to determine which manager will be forced to turn in his lineup card first. Then, naturally, will come the dizzy bat competition, which will be just for fun, followed by a three-legged race, which will supplant this year’s World Series, and for which, naturally, the Boston Red Sox are the favorites to win what with their flashy red socks likely to be advantageous for maintaining a three-legged race rhythm.
- Georgia outlasted LSU in a 44-41 shootout, reasserting itself in the national title picture, while handing the Tigers their first loss of the season. “All part of the plan,” said LSU head coach Les Miles at 3:41 on Sunday morning, as he stood alone on the sidelines of Sanford Stadium in Athens, “now we have them right where we want them.” Miles then called in a Statue of Liberty play using a headset he constructed out of a discarded nacho tray, before wincing when the play failed to pick up the necessary yardage to convert on fifth down. Despite the perceived setback, Miles clapped aggressively at the empty field, before going back to his playbook, which appeared to be nothing more than a tattered copy of the “Tigers” Zoobooks issue.
- Though their vaunted defense gave up yards early, the Seattle Seahawks scored 20 unanswered points late to beat the Houston Texans 23-20 in overtime, securing the team’s first ever 4-0 start. “PETE CARROLL,” yelled Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll as he entered his team’s postgame press conference at a full sprint, “PETE CARROLL PETE CARROLL PETE CARROLL.” Carroll then tried to lead the assembled press in a set of what he called, “MY PATENTED PETE CARROLL JACKS,” which appeared to be regular jumping jacks punctuated by yelling “PETE CARROLL” on every jump, while Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman looked on and muttered to himself, “Too much, man. Too much.”
- Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter clinched by a walk-off wild pitch, as the Miami Marlins finished their season in style with a 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers. The game was a poignant reminder of the unpredictability of baseball, which allows even the worst teams to have their uplifting moments, so long as we aren’t talking about the Houston Astros, who amassed exactly zero uplifting moments over the course of their 111-loss season.
- It was a tough weekend in Manchester as both United and City fell to mid-table foes West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, respectively, in English Premier League play. “Well, to be fair, if we had beaten West Brom, they would have fallen to a mid-table side,” said United manager David Moyes with a grin, before adding, “So put that in your pipe and smoke oh I’m so fired aren’t I?”
- Jimmie Johnson won his record eighth career race at the Dover mile, pulling within eight points of leader Matt Kenseth in the Sprint Cup standings. The race turned when Dale Earnhardt Jr. failed to successfully bring his car in for fuel, completely missing the entrance to pit road, costing himself a critical 13 seconds in the process. “I’m embarrassed by my mistake, and I know I should have double-checked my directions,” Earnhardt said after the race, “but that smug, ‘I told you so,’ look on [pit chief Steve] Letarte’s face?” Earnhardt then quietly fumed for a second before exploding, yelling, “You think it’s easy? Being me? I have to go to work every day bringing in everything for the Hendrick Motorsports family. And yes, I inherited a lot, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work hard. And what does Steve do? Is he out there busting his butt? No, he’s in the pit road, managing ‘the family.’ He thinks I don’t want to get to stay in pit road all day? God, I wish I could just leave him and this whole damn family — ” Earnhardt then paused, took a deep breath, and said, “I’m sorry, I’m just, tired. So very, very tired.”
- The NBA Finals will likely be changing formats after the league’s competition committee unanimously approved a switch back to the 2-2-1-1-1 home-court format instead of the current 2-3-2 format. The competition committee, in a series of unexpected decisions, also approved granting home-court advantage for the Finals based on the conference of the winner of the NBA All-Star slam-dunk contest; a mandatory game of 21 (checking after all changes in possession) to determine which side the referees will be biased toward; the Vin Baker Dizzy Dunk competition, which will be just for fun; and a three-legged race, which, if approved, will replace next year’s NBA Finals. Expect the Los Angeles Lakers to be favored in this new format, because, let’s face it, who is going to let down Kobe Bryant in a three-legged race?