Caught the Champions League final Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday was the first day since the NBA and NHL postseasons began that there wasn't at least one basketball or hockey playoff game on, so I was kind of jonesin' to sit on my butt and stare at the TV for a couple of hours.
AC Milan beat Liverpool 2-1, as you surely know by now if you care even a little bit. You also know if you read this column that you aren't getting any expert analysis on soccer here, except I will say that they sure do keep that grass green in Athens.
The first goal of the game, on a deflection by Filippo Inzaghi of a free kick by Andrea Pirlo in the last minute of the first half, got me thinking about a column the other day by Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune in which he gave a rundown of "The 10 worst things in sports."
It got me thinking about what some of the best things in sports are. I'd have to give it some thought to come up with a list. Hey, I'm told you readers love lists, so maybe you can chime in with your ideas. We'll write some future column together, and I'll collect the paycheck! OK? OK!
But one of those best things in sports has to be the first goal of a big soccer match. Is it possible for human beings to be any happier than, for example, Milan's fans, not to mention the players, were Wednesday after Inzaghi shouldered that ball home? To say the fans were delirious would be like saying that crowd in Times Square was mildly pleased with the end of World War II.
We educated each other on the importance of a first goal in soccer during the World Cup last year, though astute readers will recall that the really important goal in international soccer is the second one.
And who scored the second goal Wednesday? Milan. And who won? Milan.
You can't argue with science, people. Especially junk science.
In case you're wondering, Canepa's 10 worst things in sports were, in order: the designated hitter, the NBA draft lottery, Barry Bonds, David Stern, the New York Yankees, Conference tournaments in college basketball -- and college baseball too, as a lagniappe -- polls and the BCS, the NHL, equipment (as in high-tech golf clubs and tennis rackets), and Tiger Woods.
NFL drops idiotic trademark application -- for now [PERMALINK]
The NFL has dropped its efforts to trademark the phrase "the big game," ending a process that this column called "pushing a really dumb rock up a really big hill here, with little payoff at the really silly top."
It's one of the trademarks of this column to quote itself.
A league flack told the San Francisco Chronicle that the NFL has withdrawn its application to register the phrase with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because the application was written too broadly, which had led the University of California and Stanford University to consider official objections. The annual Cal-Stanford football game is known as the Big Game.
The spokesman, Brian McCarthy, said the league may re-file with language that makes it clear it's not interested in messing with college football traditions but only wants to stop marketers from piggybacking on the Super Bowl without paying for the use of that trademarked name by saying things like "Get a new plasma TV in time for the big game."
Duh. As if trademarking the phrase "the big game" would stymie the retail world.
Gee, marketing departments coast to coast would be saying, if only we could find some way to communicate to our customers that they should buy our product in time for Sunday's game, for the big championship, the huge contest, the ballgame everybody talks about in February, the gridiron clash, the title game, the big one, without using the words "Super Bowl" or "big game."
Does the NFL just have too many lawyers and too much time on its hands or what? Has it finally maxed out the body count in the Office of Hosiery Violation Enforcement?
Perhaps the league should devote a little more time to educating its players about cruelty to animals in the wake of the Michael Vick dogfighting allegations, Clinton Portis' comments last week -- "It's his property. It's his dogs. If that's what he wants to do, do it" -- and his world-class non-apology apology this week.
In his apology, issued as a statement by the Washington team, Portis supposedly said, "I want to make it clear I do not take part in dogfighting or condone dogfighting in any manner."
Thanks for the clarification, Clinton. When you said "If that's what he wants to do, do it," you meant that you didn't condone him doing it. Got it.
Vick has denied knowledge of dogfighting activity at the house, which he said he rarely visited. No charges have been filed.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has made player conduct a priority in his brief tenure, issued a statement that said, "I'm extremely disappointed and embarrassed for Clinton Portis. This does not reflect the sentiments of the Redskins, the NFL or NFL players."
The Humane Society of the United States doubts that last part. It called the allegation that 66 fighting dogs were found on property Vick owned and Portis' subsequent comments "a sign that the [dogfighting] subculture has taken root within the NFL ranks and is not being seriously addressed by the league."
Well, listen. The league has important issues to deal with. It has to make sure a couple of dozen people in Indianapolis don't threaten the business by getting together at their church to watch the Super Bowl. I mean the Big Game. I mean that thing that happened on that one day in February that a lot of people talk about.
By the way: This column is the Super Bowl of sports columns. It's Fan-tastic. I live for this!
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