Mike Tomlin’s Heart Grew Three Sizes That Day

The Steelers managed to find someone who isn’t as cuddly and easygoing as Bill Cowher, if you can believe it.

Mike Tomlin and Santa

This isn’t a still from a screen test for possibly the greatest action comedy Hollywood has ever produced.

This is Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference, which was hijacked by Santa Claus. Tomlin played grinch, looking like he would’ve given anything to put his team through a tackling drill, with Santa as the tackling sled. (Video after the jump.)

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Speed Read: Black Friday Turns To Boring Sunday

Football games are long, long endeavors. Battles of attrition. Game of inches. Field position. And such. The previous week, the NFL set a league record for most combined points in a weekend, which is exciting on paper. But this week, and last, a lot of games were simply horrible.

Fans asleep

Half the games were won by more than two touchdowns. The average margin of victory was 15½ points. The “closest” Thanksgiving game was the Cowboys’ 25 point squeaker over Seattle. Week 12 wasn’t much better; last week’s points-a-palooza had an average victory of almost 17 points, with only three games featuring a single-digit victory. In a season where the median margin of victory is 10 points, the last two weeks have had median wins of 16 and 18 points. Hey, football’s fun. And it’s a never-ending cycle to find the good ones. You have to watch the 41-17 clunkers to find the 31-28 photo finish. Good thing I skipped the action today to go Christmas shopping.

Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis - Armageddon

(”It’s funny ’til somebody gets SHOT IN THE LEG.”)

If it wasn’t for the human tendency to honor anniversaries, not many people would connect the diametrically opposite incidents of Plaxico Burress and Sean Taylor. (Also, their teams were, y’know, playing each other.) A year ago, Taylor was murdered in his home. Last Friday, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg. The location of the bullet wounds might have been remotely close, and they were both football players, but that’s pretty much all the two things had in common. Was Burress carrying a gun to protect himself in light of the Taylor murder? Well, maybe, but isn’t that what friends and bodyguards are for? He ought to be rich enough not to have to actually handle one of those firearms. We’ll all find out more when he surrenders tomorrow and talks to police about potentially carrying a weapon without a legal permit.

Dabo Swinney, new Clemson coach

What’s Dabo Swinney looking at, other than seeing the “interim” diamond-encrusted plate being taken off his Clemson head coach office door? He’s trying to figure out who first reported it. ESPN! Multiple sources told them. WYFF GREENVILLE! Multiple sources told them. CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER! Multiple sources told us, but they told us first. Put them all together, and multiple sources have told SPORTSbyBROOKS that Dabo Swinney will be the new head football coach at Clemson University. You (might have) heard it here first.

Moneyball

  • Arbitration time! Today is the deadline for MLB teams to offer cash to their free agents and potentially scrap some draft picks out of the process in the event the free agent leaves. Milwaukee could offer it to Sabathia. Boston might give it to Captain Varitek. The Royals could … let anyone with talent sign elsewhere and bring up some young people.
  • Old-ish news, but it’s new to you! Warren Moon was on TV and mentioned that maybe the Patriots should trade Tom Brady and keep Matt Cassel. Yes, and maybe they’ll turn Bill Belichick into a French sous chef. That’ll show them.
  • David Chalk of BUGS AND CRANKS weighs the odds of who will be SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s Sportsman Of The Year. David’s a Rays fan, so you know who’s the odds-on-favorite.
  • THE 700 LEVEL watches Derrick Rose block the tar out of Andre Miller’s shots last night. Chicago won 103-92.
  • THE STAR LEDGER reports on Devin Harris’s 47-point barrage to help the Nets beat the Suns. 21 of the points were in the final quarter.
  • Peyton and Tom have huge games against each other! No, not those ones. Hillis and Jones. They both ran for over 120 yards but Hillis’s Broncos trounced the Jets 34-17.
  • With the Browns down to their last Dorsey this season, Browns fans are praying to Santa Claus and the Kwanzaa Llama for Bill Cowher as a head coach.
  • The woman who had bathroom sex in the Metrodome (what a way to be named) is claiming she was victimized and would never ever have drunken sex if it was up to her. Hey, wouldn’t we all. That would be absolutely disgusting if she was date-raped, but there doesn’t seem to be any proof other than she’s embarrassed. Let’s all move on.
  • So Lane Kiffin is the new Tennessee Volunteers coach. Neat. But will his daddy Monte, a Buccaneers assistant, follow him to Knoxville? PFT can’t get a word out of the senior Kiffin about it. He’s not talking. Lips. Sealed. (For now.)
  • And finally, the Michigan State basketball game was delayed by rain. Wait… what?

What should the Giants do with Plaxico Burress?

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ND Irish Hesitant On Offering Hawaiian Hospitality

• Looking to get lei’d? Then don’t go to Saturday’s Notre Dame game.

Notre Dame leprechaun Hawaiian lei girls

• Could Bill Cowher be convinced to coach the Cleveland Browns?

Bud Selig is tweaking postseason play, weather you like it or not.

Eric Musselman may not know if Bill Walsh is still alive, but the ex-NBA coach knows he’s got it good with sideline-reporting Fox Danyelle Sargent.

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Bill Cowher Leaving CBS To Coach The Browns?

Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage is having himself quite a week, and his profane email outburst may be the least of his worries. If coach Romeo Crennel is shown the door after this season, there’s a good chance Savage will follow him if Crennel’s replacement is who it’s rumored to be:

Bill Cowher throw

Bill Cowher has been sitting around laughing at bad jokes for two years now in the “NFL Today” studio, which means it’s probably just about time to cut loose from Marino and Esiason and get back on the field, even if it is for the Browns, the hated rival of his former Steelers. I’m sure the people in Pittsburgh would take this very well.

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Daily Groundless NFL Rumor: Cowher To Dallas?

Here we go again. After losing star QB Tony Romo with a widdle bwoken pinky, Dallas has gone 1-2 and is in no position to contend for the division crown, not with the Giants looming large over the NFC. Still, even in the overloaded NFC East, Dallas is 5-3 and seemingly on pace to make the playoffs (though they’d hardly be the first 10-6 team to stay home).

Wade Phillips

Should Dallas miss the playoffs, however, there will be hell to pay, because there’s always hell to pay with Double J (do you see what I did there? I rhymed.). So for some reason, the Internet has begun to speculate on a successor for a coach with a winning record and a seemingly safe contract. And surprise, there’s no evidence presented to support it, either!

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Katarina’s Playboy Past Too Provocative For ESPN

We’re a little camera shy, so we’ll take our next Philippe order to go.

• Is Katarina Witt’s Playboy past too worrisome for the Worldwide Leader?

Katarina Witt skating

Bruce Pearl uses the ol’ hug excuse to text Erin Andrews. Does this guy know how to operate or what?

• A funny photo of Kyle Korver cowering on the court.

David Stern puts the hammer down on homer TV announcers.

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Cowher Responds To Penn St. “Internet” Rumors

Yesterday Michael David Smith of COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK speculated that Bill Cowher might be considering a move.

Bill Cowher throw

Not because his current Raleigh home was up for sale. Try as the new Penn State football coach. Read more…

Blog-O-Rama: Adriana Lima Dating Some T-Wolf

• LE BASKETBAWL finds at least one winner on the 10-39 T-Wolves, as Marko Jaric is apparently dating Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima:

Adriana Lima Marko Jaric

• SOCCERLENS focuses in on the real goal for a successful World Cup in South Africa - legalizing prostitution.

Jason Whitlock of the KANSAS CITY STAR wants his March Madness now, as he’s bored with the college b-ball regular season.

• THE BIG LEAD is rooting for Dudley Hart to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, considering he missed a lot of golf time caring for his lung cancer-stricken wife.

• FAN IQ’s 100% INJURY RATE suggests that if the Olympic discus toss doesn’t thrill you, why not try the live-goat-into-the-lions’-den toss?

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‘Skins Shed Gibbs As Washington Coach Resigns

The WASHINGTON POST reports today that “according to Redskins sourcesJoe Gibbs has resigned. A press conference will be held this afternoon to make the news official.

Joe Gibbs Hall of Fame Washington Redskins Coach

DC-based MISTER IRRELEVANT thinks that former Buffalo Bills head coach and current Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams could be the next Washington coach, but the Post reports “No decision has been made on a replacement for Gibb.

UPDATE: The Post is reporting that Bill Cowher is #1 on Dan Snyder’s hit list to replace Gibbs.

Blog-O-Rama: Hot Baseball Wives And Girlfriends

• THE BIG LEAD knows which players hit one out of the park, as they list their lineup of the hottest baseball wives & girlfriends:

Danielle Gamba Dating Nick Swisher

• Well, that didn’t take long: ARMCHAIR GM finds Terrell Owens dissing his own quarterback again.

• DIE HARD STEEL reports Bill Cowher won’t be coaching again - at least while his daughter’s in high school.

• BUGS AND CRANKS hopes to tempt Roger Clemens’ palate with a little Yankee Squirrel Roast:

Roger Clemens Rocky Squirrel

• THROWING SMOKE makes a run for the border, as the son of New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan was refused entry back into Canada.

• THE FIRE PIT feels as cool as the other side of the pillow in declaring their love for SportsCenter catchphrases.