Rick Reilly Go Fish: Kobe Bryant

I wrote, you wrote

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
1:47
PM PT
TIM TEBOW
We've had about 2,000 comments about this article already -- and over 90,000 Facebook shares -- and 98 percent of them are positive. That's preposterous. You could opine that people not stick sharp things in the eyes of children and you'd get only 95 percent positive reaction. Naturally, we start with the negative ones.

Tebow is all about grandstanding to highlight political-religious issues. He combines lucking into a few wins with this "tourist community service" -- always in plain view of photographers and video cameras -- to push his concerns. The sad part is that so many people (whose number now includes you) have been fooled. There are hundreds of thousands of people doing real service, not photo ops, around the globe, helping people with real, long-term contributions rather than seeking to promote their "brand."
--John (Columbia, Mo.)

You're not just wrong, you're loud wrong. Tebow spends an hour with these kids and their families after the game in a private room off the Broncos Family Room. No photographers or media are allowed. He does the five minutes before the game on the field just to give the kids the thrill of it, but most of the time is private. Tebow constantly makes children's hospital visits and doesn't allow media in the rooms with him. I know because people write and tell me about it. You question his "long-term contributions"? The kid is the son of missionaries! He's been giving time to perfect strangers since he was a small boy in the Philippines. He's trying to build a hospital there now. I'm not a religious person, don't want to be saved, but how can you not be impressed by somebody this bent on helping others?

Those folks Tebow spends time with; I wonder if any of them are LGBT?
--Lester Ballard (Wheeling, W.Va.)

He doesn't ask.

Were any of those sick people non-Christians?
--Rex Hannigan (New York)

He doesn't ask.

Is Tim Tebow nice to anyone who ISN'T terminally sick? How about just regular, everyday schmucks? It's easy to feel sorry for people who about to die.
--mistercrispy (Denver)

Since you asked -- with such charm, I might add -- Tebow is unfailingly polite, kind and friendly to everybody I've seen him interact with, whether it's at a party or in a hallway. I take that back, he's startlingly polite, kind and friendly. Put it this way -- the guy is respectful with sportswriters! Believe me, brother, I was as skeptical as you, but there's not a gram of fake in this kid. I've looked everywhere.

As both a lifelong (62 great years worth) Chicago Bears fan and a confirmed atheist, I should despise Mr. Tebow. As clearly shown by your article, nothing could be further from the truth.
--Dave Grossfeld (Chicago)

Some of my children are curious to know: How does Tim Tebow pick which person gets to come to a game? My (special needs) son asked me, "Mama, does Tim Tebow know us?"
--Kristi Schache (Dunlap, Ill.)

Mostly, Tebow picks from among people suggested to him by W15H, his charity that runs the game trips. W15H is run by his foundation, which is timtebowfoundation.org. But sometimes, Tebow reads about kids he wants to host, like the kid who "Tebowed" during chemotherapy, and makes sure they get invited.

I am an agnostic. I don't know whether God exists, but, if so, I think that God would really like Tim Tebow. I do too.
--Gary Owen (Calgary, Alberta)

Great article on Tebow, but why couldn't you at least give a mention to Tim's belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior as being the motivation behind his actions?
--Steve Edmondson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

I purposely didn't use the words "God," "Jesus" or "faith" in the column because I wanted people to see that this kid gives of himself tirelessly purely because he cares about others. Whenever you bring religion into it, some people immediately reject whatever comes next. Yes, most of the guests turn out to be Christian simply because a vast percentage of Tebow's most ardent fans are Christian and they write him. But from what I've seen, Tebow's generosity and selflessness to the sick and suffering have no religious borders.

TEBOW VS. BRADY
You forget...Tom has 9 seconds to throw. Tim has 2.
--pipo16 (Detroit)

You forget. It just seems that way.

Tom Brady is not a sex symbol for all, nor does Tim Tebow lack sex appeal. My girlfriends and I consider Tebow a far sexier man than Tom Brady because he is genuine, confident, and resonates sincerity. Sticking to one's beliefs has got far greater sex appeal than Brady could ever have for us.
--Jillian (Corvallis, Ore.)

I get that women find Tebow sexy, but to what end?

Are you really comparing Tim Tebow as a pro with Tom Brady? Seriously? That would be insane.
--Kelley Whitmire (Atlanta)

Yes, I was comparing them. You can compare a Humvee to a hummingbird if you want. Doesn't mean they're the same.

TEBOW AND FOX
Really? You think Broncos coach John Fox deserves credit for playing Tim Tebow? Seems like nothing could be further from the truth. He and John Elway only did so grudgingly in hopes he would fail so they could tell the Denver faithful, "See? He's no good. Now can we go and get us a 'real' NFL quarterback?"
--Brian McNulty (Dallas)

Must be wonderful to know everything. And from Dallas no less! Do you read the paper in the morning to see what they left out?

The only reason Fox played Tebow is because Kyle Orton was playing like such crap and they had to do it to keep fan interest. Strictly a PR move in my opinion. Now Tebow and that ridiculous defense are making Fox look like a genious. As a Raider fan living in Denver, this is brutal to watch.
--Adam Pope (Denver)

That's poetic -- a Raider fan misspelling "genius."

49ERS KICKER DAVID AKERS
Great piece on Akers. So often in sports we cheer and boo without considering the human sides of our heroes and villains. At the end of the day, we all have our dreams and demons, and the trifecta of a sick child, financial chaos and professional ambiguity would fell many, if not most. To follow that up with a record-setting achievement and high recognition among your peers is an inspiration and a half -- and, I can't stand the Niners.
--Jay Cooke (Alameda, Calif.)

When you said the fans booed Akers and sports radio blasted him, you forgot to mention that none of the fans knew about his daughter's condition. As soon as that news became public, there was no bashing of Akers.
--Andrew Mackenzie (Philadelphia)

You're right. I should've mentioned that.

You also fail to mention that he loved the city of Philadelphia enough to pay for a billboard, out of pocket, thanking the fans for their support throughout his career.
--Flare f'orDramatic (Philadelphia)

I try to keep all my columns under 900 words so people don't have to quit their jobs to read me. It's just sports, not the American Medical Journal. Not everything fits in 900 words. I never insinuated that Akers had any hard feelings towards the city or the fans, did I? So I think you're wrong. I didn't need to mention that.

Touching blog about David Akers.
--David F (Worcester, England)

No, no, no! Not a blog. It's a column. For some of us, there’s a big difference.

KOBE
C'mon! Kobe is averaging 6.0 assists per game {at time of writing} this year, which is good for 18th in the league, third best among shooting guards. Heck, that total is better than some starting point guards! To not bring up that part of the equation is shortsighted. Fact is, Kobe shoots that much, and still manages to be a better passer than most of the league.
--Andrew (San Francisco)

I agree. Somehow people got the idea that I think Kobe shoots too much. This is because Kobe does shoot too much. But he's Kobe and he'll never change so why mention it? It's like asking a cheetah to go vegan. He's always shot too much and he has five rings. He gets to shoot as much as he wants. He will still be shooting three years after he retires. This year, though, is beyond the pale. He's averaging six more shots per game than his career average. Then again, he's shooting better than he has since the 2001-2002 season. My question is: What happens when he cools off?

BENGALS
Any chance we can get an apology column for your single-handed dismantling of the city of Cincinnati, the Bengals, and their owner? [Ed note: Reilly predicted Bengals wouldn't win a game this season.] Now that Mike Brown has won executive of the year, lowered season ticket prices, won back (some) of his fan base, and re-energized the least successful franchise in professional sports? If not for Harbaugh in San Fran, Marvin Lewis would be coach of the year. If not for Cam Newton, Andy Dalton would be rookie of the year. And if not for Andy Dalton, AJ Green would be rookie of the year. Any chance you might apologize for being SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wrong?
--Sam Dobrozsi (Philadelphia)

Did it on Cincinnati radio, but I'll do it here. Didn't count on the Red Rifle. Didn't count on Mike Brown finally making a good move. Didn't count on A.J. Green being the reincarnation of Art Monk. So, yes, I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRY!


UNFAIR NFL RULES
Why isn't there more questioning of the NFL's playoff seeding? Isn't it time the NFL ditch the "win division rule"? The Titans were 9-7 to Denver's 8-8, they scored more points, allowed less points, and beat them head-to-head. Why should Denver be a 4 seed? Just like last year, the team with the much better record has to go on the road. It just doesn't make sense. Pittsburgh lost the tiebreaker to the Ravens, and by doing so, they dropped from a 2 seed to a 5?
--Eric H (Joliet, Ill.)

I've railed against this rule on Twitter (@ReillyRick). Pittsburgh was 12-4 and had to go on the road to play 8-8 Denver. In doing so, the Steelers lost their fastest safety, Ryan Clark, who couldn't play at altitude or risk life-threatening illness. So what happens in overtime? Demaryus Thomas outruns the Steelers' Clark-less secondary 80 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Dumbest rule in the NFL.

GUARANTEES
I am sick of the "guarantee". Every year Rex Ryan or some other big mouth guarantees a "Super Bowl" or a victory, and then doesn't deliver. And then they either pout or say, "I have no regrets" and then "guarantee" again. From now on, it should cost them significant dollars, or dress up in a ballerina outfit, or work for free.
--Gary Groenewold (Villa Park, Ill.)

Genius! I'm behind you. Here would be my schedule of fines for reneging on a guarantee that ...

... you'll win a game: Duct-tape mouth for one day.
... you'll win a series: Wear opponent's jersey, mouthpiece and slippers for four days.
... you'll sweep a series: Sweep opposing coach/manager's driveway wearing page 6 from Victoria's Secret catalogue for a week.
... you'll win the World Series: Work as beer vendor at opponent's stadium, one month, unpaid, in SCUBA fins.
... you'll win a championship: Shave head, take vow of silence, move into Tibetan monestery for a month.
... you'll win a Super Bowl: Buy plane, get pilot license, and skywrite every day for one year: (Your Name) Is A Big Hairy Incontinent Liar!
... Jimmer Fredette will not start an NBA game his rookie year: Pay $5000.



JIMMER
Re: Your $5000 pay-up. I like people who keep their word. Now, I'll keep mine and start reading your column again.
--Thomas Bigham (Yorktown, Ind.)

Thanks Reilly. Jimmer started a PRESEASON game. It doesn't count. Our office bet was that he wouldn't start his "first" game. Because of your article my betting friends think that preseason games suddenly count. You're killing me Reilly.
--Matt Jensen (Brigham City, Utah)

Yeah, sorry about that. But he was going to start a regular-season game sooner or later and it turned out to be sooner -- the 10th game of the season (20 minutes, 4 points.) What's weird is he was SO much better in the preseason. Since the regular season began, he seems to be sleeping in a refrigerated truck. He's shooting only 34 percent from the floor, and 28 percent from 3-point range. He seems a little lost and timid. Maybe virginity and the NBA just don't mix?

Your column showed up in some spam, work was slow and so I thought I'd read it. You are an unmitigated class act. I have never heard of anyone in your profession with such a degree of honor ($5K??)...and relentless humor.
--Steve Brown

Spam? (Large sigh.)

ROSE BOWL DONOR FLOAT
Thanks for writing about this float in the Rose Bowl Parade. I am one of the lucky ones that actually received my new kidney from my junior high school girlfriend. Who knew that 33 years later she would wind up saving my life?
--Eric Leviton (New York)

Eight and a half years ago I received the gift of life from unknown hero. The kidney I received then allowed me to watch my son swim in high school and now allows me to be able to coach my daughter.
--Brett Swihart (Evansville, Ind.)

Thanks for the column. I'm a 2-time kidney recipient, now 72, who was given 6 months to live when I was 21. I am a lucky lucky guy.
--Bill Sharp (Long Beach, Calif.)

As a transplant recipient myself, I thank you many times over for the sensitivity you brought to our cause. If it were up to me you would be voted SOTY for the 12th time.
--Gary Foxen (Orange, Calif.)

It IS up to you. Go get a job in the business and cast a vote.

You are everything that is wrong with ESPN these days. If I wanted to read your "Feel Good" stories I would tune in to CNN. I want to read about sports, not the sensationalized, drama based articles that you and your network continue to publish.
--Don McGrew (Phoenix)

I know. I feel terrible about myself when I try to tell compelling stories that inspire people to help each other and help themselves. I suck. I'll go back to writing about pro athletes knocking up women by the half dozen and angrily rejecting $100 million offers. Btw, what's for breakfast? Boiled kittens?

RODGERS VS. FAVRE
Trying to compare Brett Farve with Aaron Rodgers is almost like comparing Babe Ruth with Lou Gehrig - except Rodgers isn't yet anywhere near Lou Gehrig.There is no question that Brett Farve is the Babe Ruth of professional football.
--Bob Patterson (Picayune, Miss.)

If he's the Babe Ruth of football, why can't you spell his last name?

FANDOM
I'm soon to be the father of a baby boy. I've always been a die-hard Cubs fan. However, I've relocated to central Florida. I'm not sure I want my future child to endure the life of "We'll get them next year" and the agonizing feeling when next year never comes. Should I raise him to be a Tampa Rays fan to save him from the pain I have felt, or continue the line of Cubs fans?
--Mat Steckman (Ocala, Fla.)

I'm sickened that you're even asking this question! You'd turn your back on your team just because you MOVED? When American soldiers fought at Normandy, you think they suddenly started liking soccer? What's wrong with you? Of course your kid should be a Cubs fan! There's no choosing! He's born into it! Just as you were! Fandom is not about switching teams just because you're going through a little 104-year championship drought. Have a vinegar and water and man up! You'd trade Tampa for the Cubs? Tampa fans only go to games in hopes of SEEING the Cubs! Tampa is a football town first and a Matlock town second! The Rays might not even BE in Tampa in five years! And when they're gone, it will be another TWO years before the papers notice! But the Cubs will always be in Wrigleyville! And Cubs fans will always have a community blanket of heartache and hope and passion-against-all-odds to warm themselves. It's what binds them together in a bittersweet, wholly inescapable concept called loyalty. Loyalty is what you sorely lack, sir. Tampa? Please. When your kid grows up, I'm going to recommend he seek adoption.



Rick Reilly's Mailbag

November, 9, 2010
11/09/10
10:06
AM PT
I don't mind getting your e-mails, I really don't. But you don't have to SHOUT.

HELMET TO HELMET HITS

This issue drove people crazy both ways. I called for the NFL to round-file fines and issue suspensions to players who tackle helmet-to-helmet. Hundreds of you said, "What happened to the gladiatorial aspect of the NFL we all love?"

Just a reminder: Most gladiators died in competition.

Man's game Reilly. Don't play if you can't hack it. Don't want hit by Harrison? Go the other direction. You want finesse? Go to the ballet and enjoy the hell out of it. -- Neil Hennigan, Pittsburgh

Geez, relax, Andrew Dice Clay. Throughout history, the NFL has changed its rules to protect its employees. Here's just a few:
  • Banned facemask tackles (1956)
  • Banned clothesline tackles (1960s)
  • Banned the head slap (1977)
  • Banned blocking below the waist (1970s)
  • Stopped play when QB was in the grasp (1979)
  • Banned clipping anywhere on the field (1999)
  • Banned horse-collar tackles (2006)
Did the NFL die after any of those changes? Did football become "soccer" or "two-hand touch" or "ballet"? No, it only got more insanely popular.

I JUST DON'T THINK YOU OR ANYONE ELSE IN THE MEDIA SHOULD PILE ON JAMES HARRISON BECAUSE HE IS THE BEAST THAT THE NFL HAS MADE HIM. -- Ron Vaught

Disagree. Nobody's "made" Harrison into a head-hunting contract hitman. In fact, a slew of NFL coaches have come out and reiterated that this is NOT how they teach their players to tackle. Here's what Browns head coach Eric Mangini said:

"That drives me nuts, they should wrap them up, wrap them up, wrap them up, because you can do both. You can be technically sound and bring the back to the ground and wrap up and they teach it from pee-wee on. Head across the bow, good base, exploding up through, hitting with leverage. Not wrapping up drives me crazy. Usually what happens is they go for that big shot and the back spins off them and goes for another 25 yards. It’s low-percentage football. You see guys do it and they get one big hit and the crowd cheers and all that stuff happens and then there’s six other times where they do the same thing and the back runs for 35 yards."

So it's not only NOT what they've been taught, it's lousy football. Worse, it's the kind of football that can leave somebody paralyzed.

As a player, when you are busting your butt and going full speed, it is very difficult to hit someone so that they cannot be injured. Those moments are so quick, it's difficult to think, "Don't hit him in the head." You are instructed to hit people as hard as you can basically, and sometimes that is the difference between winning teams and losing teams. When you are a receiver and come over the middle, it is SCARY. If the NFL keeps making these limited contact rules, offenses are going to be able to run the field without worrying about getting "Lit Up". Make every player aware of the dangers that come with their profession and if they don't want to play, they don't have to. -- Mark Flood

Watch the tapes. These guys are launching themselves at other players. They're leaving their feet. Their arms are to their sides. There's zero intention of trying to wrap up. It's a human missile aimed at a man's head. And in most instances, they lower their helmets at the last instant to double the impact.

You say the new rules will result in "limited contact." Wrong. There will still be oodles of contact, but no more trying to purposely rearrange a guy's brain synapses.

Imagine the damage guys like Harrison are doing to their own brains!

There is no going backward here. The NFL has made the only humane decision it can. The science is finally there to show how much permanent, life-altering damage is going on out there. Suspensions are the only answers. The players need to know the NFL is serious and wimpy cash fines aren't doing it.

James Harrison knows that his brain might be oatmeal in 10 years, but he's still playing the game. He's making a conscious decision to put himself in that danger. If he can't find his car in 10 years because he liked to light up receivers, it's his fault. Taking money away from him now only hurts him in the future when he'll need that $75,000. -- Nick Brundage, Pittsburgh

Fine. What about the guys he hits?

College players and pros pulverizing each other into early dementia? College ball being decided by a computer? No thanks ... I'm taking a pass until these guys get their act together. --Dave, Woodland Park, Colo.

Boy, does it take guts to decapitate a defenseless player. Rather, it takes the character of a savage. I for one do not need crushing head to head contact to enjoy our greatest sport. -- Wayne, Peacock East Greenwich, R.I.

Marvin Harrison did exactly what he's been coached to do probably since pee wee football. -- Bruce, Boynton Beach, Fla.

Hey Bruce, Marvin retired two seasons ago. How many hits have YOU taken?

Why you would bring up the fact that James Harrison's dad was a truck driver? Why the personal attack? I bet you wouldn't say that to his face. Another writer hiding behind the pen. -- Peter Eckman, Port Orange, Fla.

Read much? If you reread the column, you'll see it was HARRISON who said he was considering retiring from football and driving a truck like his dad. I've got no trouble with truck drivers. Who doesn't like truck drivers? My only point was I hope in THAT career, he doesn't have as many head-ons as he does in football.

MIAMI HEAT NAMES

I asked you to come up with a good nickname for the Miami Heat's troika of superstars -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and (always third) Chris Bosh.

Sadly, you didn't do much better than I did:

Bron's Zoo -- Rex Post, Phoenix

The Trifecta -- Miguel Reyes, Miami

The South Beach Boys -- Kirk Beitz, San Diego

Trilight (Like "Highlight") -- Eddie Lepp, Williamsburg, Va.

The Three Basketeers -- Jeff Iredell, Pottstown, Pa.

LCD -- John Mercado, Sicklerville, N.J.

Threegos -- Bryan Howell, Washington D.C.

The Miami Cheat -- Tyler Smith, Commack, N.Y.

One-Ring Circus (D-Wade is the only one with a ring) -- Mike, Los Angeles

RILEY 3:16 (Their jersey numbers) -- Ben White, Orem, Utah

The Sisterhood of the Traveling That Never Gets Called -- Chris Kytic, Sydney


BOISE STATE

Mail ran about 2-to-1 against my calling the BCS computers cross-wired, flawed and SEC-biased for continually leap-frogging teams over undefeated Boise State, which happened again this week, by the way.

In fact, now people are trying to take away BCS-conference wins this season they've already earned. Robert Smith, one of ESPN's college football analysts, said recently, "I'm trying to keep an open mind about all this. But I'm not so sure if Boise State plays Virginia Tech today, they beat them."

I'd hate to see Smith on The History Channel. "I'm trying to keep an open mind about all this, but I'm not so sure the Allies win World War II if they fight today."

Keep up the controversy. That is what good reporters do to get everyone talking and hopefully a plus-one or 8-team playoff will happen. But please don't expect people to believe Boise could finish a season in a major conference undefeated. It just wouldn't happen. -- Scott, Glendale, Calif.

No, of course not. And Utah could never beat Alabama. And Boise State could never beat Oklahoma. And Larry Bird's 1979 Indiana State basketball team, from the hopelessly lame Missouri Valley Conference, would never get through even one game in the NCAA basketball tournament, much less the final, right?

If Boise State wants to be seen as legitimate, they can play Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, etc., on the road. I'm sure OSU would take a home game vs visiting Boise. They would also win by 14. -- Mike W., Cleveland

It's wonderful hearing from people who already know the future. Why aren't you playing the stock market?

College football bias continues to fan the flames of nonsense. If Notre Dame strings two consecutive wins together against FCS squads they're automatically a top 10 team in the hunt for a national championship. Why you ask? Because 30 years ago Notre Dame was an elite program. -- Dev Sky, Los Angeles

Can you point me to any articles you wrote in 2004 regarding the BCS, when a 12-0 Auburn team, which had defeated four top-15 teams, was left out of the championship game? I'm just having trouble seeing how Boise State's current hypothetical situation is a greater travesty. -- Richard Schmitz, Washington, D.C.

It's not. It's a travesty every year.

Imagine, just for a second, if the rest of sports worked like the BCS:
  • The Miracle New York Giants of 2007? Wouldn't have been voted into the Super Bowl.
  • Duke, last year's NCAA hoops champions? Wouldn't have been voted into the final.
  • Texas and San Francisco, the two teams in this refreshing World Series? Never heard of 'em.
There are some people in Eugene that would remind you of 2001. -- Keith Fancher, Montgomery, Ala.

Yes, that's the whole freaking point. College football is the only sport in the world where winning every game doesn't mean you progress toward a championship.

My God, if we simply had the plus-one playoff system this season -- just ONE extra game -- you could include all four undefeated teams: Auburn, Oregon, TCU and Boise State. As things stand right now without it, it's quite possible that TCU or Boise State won't even make the Rose Bowl!

Someday, we will all look back on this with shame.

There's another way (for Boise State). Beat a top ten team 3 out of 4 weeks like Auburn just did. Or if we're going to look back, let's make it 6 years so we include Auburn's undefeated season winning the SEC, beating 6+ top 25 teams. The one where they did all that and ended the season ranked 3rd and left out of the BCS Championship. As for an article idea, try this one. If there is a SEC "bias" in the computer polls, does it reflect the fact that the SEC has won 7 out of the 8 times they played in the BCS championship game even though they were the underdog and just barely made it in 6 of those years because they had a loss ... to another SEC team? -- Rupert Patton

All the more reason that SEC fans should be leading the lit-torch vigilantes-heading-to-Dr.-Frankenstein's-house mob to demand a playoff! If the SEC is as unbeatable as you say it is, they'd win every year! Get on board before it happens to you AGAIN!

Need I remind you of how many times it's happened just since the Blatantly Corrupt System began? I need? OK ...

2009: Boise State (14-0, beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl 17-10) final rank -- AP and Coaches: 4

2008: Utah (13-0, beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 31-17) final rank -- AP: 2 Coaches: 4

2006: Boise State (13-0, beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl 43-42 in OT) final rank -- AP: 5, Coaches: 6

2004: Utah (12-0, beat Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl 35-7) final rank -- AP: 4 Coaches: 5

2004: Auburn (13-0, beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, 16-13) final rank -- AP and Coaches: 2

1999: Marshall (13-0, beat BYU in the Motor City Bowl 21-3) final rank -- AP and Coaches: 10

1998: Tulane (12-0, beat BYU in the Liberty Bowl, 41-27). final rank -- AP and Coaches: 7

I have a great idea for feature article.... You (the media giant) and I (the ground-roots football fan) should trade emails discussing the Boise State/BCS situation. You and I should exchange perhaps, 3-4 emails (each way, so 6 or 8 total) discussing back and forth the arguments for and against Boise State's presence in the title game. Shoot me an email and let me know what you think. (-- Jonathan Dennis

Wait, wait ... I have a better idea! Let's not!

KOBE VS. LEBRON

Reacting to Kobe Bryant's claim that he could beat LeBron James one-on-one in his "sleep," I explored the possibility with experts, who picked LeBron by about 2-to-1.

I haven't watched a whole game of the NBA since Barkley retired, but I'd pay my 50 bucks to the cable company to watch this. -- Lee Riley, Pelham, Ala.

Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. I'll pick Kobe with the refs or I'll pick LeBron without the refs. -- Jon Lapuz, California

By the way, the ESPN stat department broke down the times Kobe and LeBron have gone one-on-one without any doubling or help from teammates. Kobe scored far more points against LeBron than LeBron did against Kobe.

Over the past six seasons, Kobe has scored 20 points on 27 isolation plays when guarded only by LeBron, while LeBron has scored seven points on 13 isolation plays when guarded only by Kobe. Then again, LeBron looks to pass more often than Kobe.

Anyway, when I e-mailed Kobe to show him the results of the research, he e-mailed back: "OMG!! Really??"

Apparently, he didn't need to see the research.

IADS: LATEX BALLOONS

I lamented the Incredibly Annoying Decision made by the principal of Boulder High School in Boulder, Colo., (my alma mater) for popping more than 100 balloons at a football pep rally because one of the students had a latex allergy. You'd be amazed how many people in this country have (a) latex allergies and (b) time to e-mail me about them.

I'm allergic to latex. After running to a third conference championship in cross country, I ended up in the hospital because the finishing chute was lined with latex balloons. Would it have been that hard for them to find mylar balloons? -- Alex

I'm allergic to every kind of animal myself, but does that mean that if I play for USC, they shouldn't run Trojan on the field? If I’m allergic to grass, should we only play on turf? Life is unfair. The kid was allergic to latex. When he sees balloons, he's got to either risk it or go home. The world shouldn't stop for one person.

As a physician and pediatrician, let me try to provide a bit of balance. Latex allergies are real and for some children and adults can cause life-threatening reactions ... That being said, you are absolutely correct in calling out the principal who demanded all the balloons be popped. That likely released way more latex into the air than the intact balloons ever would. -- Marc Williams, Salt Lake City

FANTASY FOOTBALL

My newfound addiction to fantasy football prompted this:

Maybe Tiger should have gone this route years ago -- it would have saved him a $100 Million or so. -- Mitch Moore, Rutland, Vt.

BUZZ-WORTHY

Buzz Jordan, 49, was an unforgettable golf nut whose life -- and death a month ago -- still moves people.

I am sobbing at my computer right now. --Katie Jaquin, Liverpool, N.Y.

One of Buzz Jordan's many nicknames was Party Starter... and his funeral was another party he started. -- Lauren Dundon, Denver

How about publishing the address of the college fund so that we can send in a donation for the kids? -- Joe Tait, Maple Glen, Pa.

The Zack and Brooks Jordan Fund is set up at:

Colorado State Bank and Trust

3610 E. First Ave.

Denver, CO 80206

Phone: (303) 318-6006

Checks to be made out to "The Zack and Brooks Jordan Fund."

AND LASTLY ...

We recently added a West Highland Terrier to our household. While trying to come up with a name my 17 year old son said, "Why don't we name it after my favorite sports writer?" So our dog will be hence forth known as Reilly. -- Ron Lape

Be patient with us Reillys. It took my wife almost three days to teach me to beg.

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