January 7, 2003
Mike Pereira:
NFL refs czar owns day with
Hall of Fame mea culpa.

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

In the end, this whole Giants non-call hysteria was everyone's fault -- a complete process failure, "The Perfect Storm" of boneheadedness. The ref missed the call. The holder didn't hit the deck and call timeout. The center muffed the snap. The coaches' didn't communicate the contingency plan to the kick team. The offense couldn't extend the lead. The defense couldn't hold. Does it suck that technically the Giants should have had another shot? Absolutely. In a lesson for everyone, classy, Zen-like Giants GM Ernie Accorsi explained the proper perspective: The team never should have been in the position to lose the game in the first place. 49ers coach Steve Mariucci put the smirky, maddening -- yet most appropriate -- final word on this story: "Bummer."

Ripken's Vote
Cal Ripken told ESPN yesterday that he "absolutely" thinks Pete Rose should "be celebrated in the Hall of Fame." Here's a different spin on the presumption that Cal meant Rose should be on the ballot and voted in, and maybe this will assuage people on both sides of the debate: Until his lifetime ban from baseball is lifted, Rose should never be enshrined; however, what would be wrong with a permanent Rose exhibition in the Hall "celebrating" (Ripken's word) Rose's accomplishments as a player? It's less than giving him full-on Hall status (which anti-Petes would freak out about), but more than ignoring him and pretending he didn't do what he did (which makes pro-Petes the hottest).

Voting scuttlebutt:
Love that Jayson Stark put 10 guys on his Hall of Fame ballot. (Make your own picks: see "The Big Q"). Consensus seems to be that only Eddie Murray is a "lock." Gary Carter missed by only 11 votes last year, so he gets a tentative nod. Ryne Sandberg, one of the most popular players ever in his home city (not that fan

1. "The Non-Call" joins "The Tuck" in "F&$#$% Refs!" H.O.F.
2. Will that "wet 'n wild" beer ad make it into the Ad H.O.F.?
3. Keith Hernandez: First-ballot, "Seinfeld Subplot" H.O.F.
1. Art Modell (Left off finalists ballot from last year)
2. Art Monk (No mo'; tainted by sharing name w/ Modell)
3. Bill Parcells, for at least 4 (... 3? ... 2?) years
sentiment matters to Hall voters), is on the fence.

McGahee's Hedge
"Chance of injury" has always been a key issue for critics of extending the college-football season an extra game or two. Miami super-back Willis McGahee kept that in mind. Perhaps the only silver lining from McGahee's horrifying, career-threatening injury is that the player took out an insurance policy two weeks before the Fiesta Bowl that will pay him $2.5 million if he doesn't recover fully enough to pursue a pro career. Here's hoping a full recovery means he never has to make a claim.

NFL Coaching Dope
Let's play "Six Degrees of Separation," from Tuna to the Bungles: Parcells snagged loyalist Maurice Carthon from the Lions to be his offensive coordinator, but quizzically

retained Cowboys defense honcho Mike Zimmer (1), who did such a great job that Jerry Jones fired his boss, Dave Campo (2), who finds himself interviewing today for the d-coordinator position in Seattle, which relieved Mike Holmgren (3) of his GM duties and should take a look at in-demand Bills personnel guru Tom Modrak (4), who may or may not be on the short list of Jags owner Wayne Weaver (he's not confirming), who intimated that if candidate Dennis Green wants to be coach AND personnel guy, he's not paying attention to recent precedent -- Weaver's dismissal of Tom Coughlin (5), who would like a second interview with the Bengals (6), who are looking to make a coaching decision by the start of next week's college-showcase Senior Bowl practices.

NFL official Scott Green:
Needless to say, won't be making a return trip to the Super Bowl.
Who's on your baseball Hall of Fame ballot?
Vote at SportsNation

Today on ESPN.com
HOF: Stark's ballot
IN: Coaching rumors

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