Friday, December 30, 2011

Strange but True Tales of Football, 2011

The Colleges

---It wasn't Astro-Turf: LSU suspended three players for smoking synthetic grass.

---Maybe they should have radioed the Air Force for assistance: Army, apparently using a 19th century manual, completed no passes in four attempts in a 48-21 loss to Ball State.

---Unclear on the concept: Wofford's Stephon Shelton neglected to kneel in the end zone after catching a kickoff and was tackled, causing him to fumble. The ball was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Northern Iowa, which won, 28-21.

---Roughing the furniture: Terrell Brown, a 6-11, 390-pound defensive tackle at Ole Miss, broke a folding chair on the sidelines when he attempted to sit in it during a game against LSU.

---Good/bad news for Troy: USC's football team outscored its basketball team on the same day. The Trojan gridders defeated Oregon, 38-35, on Nov. 19 while the Trojan hoopsters were losing to Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo), 36-42.

---When Tennessee's two injured placekickers became unavailable the day of a game against Middle Tennessee, a call was placed to the frat house of third-string kicker Derrick Brodus. Coach Derek Dooley later recalled quipping to his staff, "Hey, an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody." Brodus, who was sober, made a field goal and three conversion kicks, earning a game ball in the 24-0 win.

---A streaker disguised as a ref ran on the field during the Arizona-UCLA game. ``People realized the streaker wasn't an actual college football official," Omaha columnist Brad Dickson quipped, "when his microphone worked."

---Georgia tight end Aron White eluded defenders in the end zone to snare a touchdown pass and then leaped over band members before being brought down by a thick hedge. He required the help of several teammates to escape the grip of the limbs.

---Best time in the 40: Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris was pulled over by officers after speeding 118 m.p.h.---a Division 1 record.

The Pros

---Inauspicious Starts Dept.: San Diego Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding suffered a season-ending injury on the first play of the Chargers' opener, tearing ligaments in his knee while diving at Minnesota returner Percy Harvin. "There was no contact on the play," coach Norv Turner reported, somewhat in disbelief.

---Lay off the coffee!: Kaeding's replacement, Nick Novak, was observed urinating on the sidelines against Denver later in the season while teammates attempted to shield him from the spectators. Novak explained that he gets the call of nature ``two to three times a game."

---It's called ``Pulling a Plaxico": A 51-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the leg as he put his licensed gun in his car before a New England home game. The Patriots were playing the Giants (of course).

---Unclear on the Concept, II: A Miami man accused of stealing several Dolphins jerseys showed up at his court hearing wearing a Dolphins jersey.

---The Cleveland Browns lost 11 consecutive coin tosses, the streak ending Dec. 3 against Baltimore. Mathematicians seemed uninterested.

---It seemed like a good idea: The 49ers' Vernon Davis called for a fair catch on an onside kick by Washington. Davis was flagged for an invalid signal because he made it after the ball touched the ground.

---The Vikings' Harvin returned a kick 104 yards against Atlanta but did not score. He was tackled on the 4 (not by the kicker). What's worse, the Vikings then failed to get into the end zone on four attempts.

---Quote of the Year: "The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep," Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said before a game against Denver and Tim Tebow. The not-so-awake Jets lost, 13-17.

---It was a one-vehicle accident: Denver's Knowshon Moreno fell off an exercise bike during a game against Green Bay.

---From Hail Marys to Bloody Marys: Miami cornerback Vontae Davis was suspended for one game for showing up for practice with alcohol on his breath.

---Unclear on the Concept, III: Dallas coach Jason Garrett iced his own kicker, Dan Bailey, by calling time out just as Bailey was converting what would have been a game-winning, 48-yard field goal. On his second try, Bailey was wide. The game went into overtime, with Dallas losing to Arizona, 13-19.

---A horse-collaring penalty was called against a Colt---Indianapolis linebacker Philip Wheeler.

---Three NFL head coaches, New Orleans' Sean Payton, Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio and the Giants' Tom Coughlin were injured in collisions on the sidelines. However, Dallas cheerleader Melissa Kellerman emerged unscathed after 265-pound tight end Jason Witten ran into her.

---Fashion police report: The NFL fined New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas $5,000 for a uniform violation_wearing Christmas-theme green and red tape on his black and gold saints uniform. Just the NFL's way of saying, ``Happy holidays!"

---And, in a sad development, the Miami Caliente team of the Lingerie Football League folded. "At least every player was given a pink slip," noted Seattle columnist Dwight Perry.

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