Every week, Eric Mirlis will name winners of four awards: Winner, Loser, Quote and Moment of the
Week. These four awards comprise "The Mirly Awards".
Week ending January 8
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Vince Young - The star of the Rose Bowl proved the nay-sayers wrong by
leading Texas over USC for the National Championship. With his legs (200 yards and three
touchdowns) and his suspect arm, expect him to be a Top Six pick in the upcoming Draft - and expect
to see him in more endorsements that you can imagine.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: NFL Coaches - Mike Tice...Mike Sherman...Norv Turner...Jim Haslett...Dom
Capers...Mike Martz. With that kind of security, why would anyone WANT to be a coach? Of course, this
doesn't even talk about those who made their own decisions, such as...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Herman Edwards - "This is best for everyone." That quote, by an unnamed
person familiar with the situation (credit: Bob Glauber, Newsday, Jan. 7), sums up the saga of
Edwards moving from the Jets to the Chiefs to replace the retired Dick Vermeil. And so goes yet
another bizarre chapter in Jet history. Jet fans truly deserve better.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Rose Bowl - What a game!!! This is what a National Championship game
SHOULD be. Expect to see it run over and over on ESPN Classic.
Week ending January 1
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Washington Redskins - By running the table on their last five games, the
Redskins earned their first playoff berth since 1999, holding off arch-rival Dallas in the process.
Picked by many (including myself) to finish in the NFC East cellar, Dan Snyder now gets his first taste
of the postseason, while Joe Gibbs silences the critics by showing he still has a little magic left.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Houston Texans - In losing to San Francisco on Sunday, the Texans "earned"
the first pick in the NFL Draft this April, and the right to draft USC star running back Reggie Bush.
Sometimes, losing is actually winning.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Mike Adkins - The Chairman of the MPC Bowl committed a major faux pas on
Monday at the Bowl's banquet, insulting BC star linebacker Mathias Kiwankua by saying, "No one in
either city can properly pronounce Mathias Kiwanuka" and then mispronouncing the name while
reading a list of the Top 10 things Boise and Boston have in common. Kiwankua's grandfather was
Uganda's first Prime Minister and was murdered by Idi Amin. Adkins issued an apology on Thursday.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Alamo Bowl - One of the more excited plays in recent college football
memory occurred at the Alamo Bowl on Thursday. The final play of the game between Nebraska and
Michigan featured multiple laterals, some across the width of the field, and numerous non-uniformed
people wandering on the field, reminding many of the famous Stanford-Cal "The band is on the field!!"
play from the early 80s. If not for a game saving Nebraska tackle on the 13, Michigan would have
pulled the game out.
Week ending December 25
WINNER OF THE WEEK: NBA - The Christmas doubleheader is an NBA staple, but this season's
matchups clearly took the cake and gave the fans what they crave - marquee players and teams
playing the headline games. Pistons-Spurs and Lakers-Heat are what the fans want, and the
Association provided just that, proving that they understand in this case, it is all about the fans.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Alfonso Soriano - Following his trade to the Washington Nationals, Soriano
has announced he refuses to move to the outfield, which was the plan of the Nats since they all ready
have Jose Vidro to place second base. He also has made it a point to say he does not want to play in
the National League and is openly campaigning for another deal this off-season. When are players
just going to shut up and play the game? This isn't life or death - ready the Moment of the Week for a
little perspective, please.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Mike Tice - "Maybe they're not really diehard season-ticket holders or maybe
they needed the money for Christmas presents. I don't know. One of the two." Clearly, Tice is from the
"Do as I say, not as I do" school, as he ripped Viking fans for scalping tickets to visiting fans. Of
course, Tice was punished by the NFL this past spring for scalping his league-provided Super Bowl
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: James Dungy - Our condolences to the Dungy family on their loss. It is a
shame that a tragedy such as this had to happen during the holiday season, but as with cases as
this, it certainly puts the world of sports into proper perspective.
Week ending December 18
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Chicago White Sox - Talk about the rich getting richer. Javier Vazquez,
acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Orlando Hernandez and spare parts, joins a rotation
that already had Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia. With their previous off-season trade
for Jim Thome to go along with this one, The ChiSox are the clear cut favorite in the American League
on the heels of their first World Series win in 88 years. Could a dynasty be brewing on the South Side?
LOSER OF THE WEEK: New York Knicks - Lottery Larry and the boys hit new lows during the week,
going 0-4, including an embarrassing loss in Atlanta to go with three Ls at home. The bloom is most
definitely off the rose at Madison Square Garden, and the Isiah Watch should be starting very
shortly...unless he can dump Stephon Marbury on someone first (although I can't imagine there are
too many teams out there that would want him right now).
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Stan Van Gundy - "If I'm getting forced out, I would have gotten absolutely every
dollar on my contract and walked out the door," Van Gundy said. "That's not what happened here. ...
Anybody who's speculating otherwise has to do so in total disregard of the facts of the situation."
When Pat Riley took over the reins of the Miami Heat, the speculation began - was Van Gundy let go
or did he really resign, as he insists.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: San Diego Chargers - Nobody is perfect, as the Chargers proved when they
knocked off the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, ruining the Colts' dream (and many NFL Fans' dream) for
a 16-0 regular season and showing the rest of the league that the Colts are far from unbeatable. Now
let's see if the Chargers can win their way into the playoffs.
Week ending December 11
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Duke basketball - Just when everyone started doubting whether the Blue
Devils were living up to their#1 basketball ranking, they destroy #2 Texas, 97-66, Saturday at the
Meadowlands. Led by J.J. Redick's 41 points, The Blue Devils served notice that they are, in fact, the
top team in the land.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: USA Soccer - Talk about bad luck. At the World Cup draw this week, the balls
definitely did not bounce in the U.S. team's favor, as they were placed in a group with Italy and the
Czech Republic via a random draw. With only two of the four teams in the group advancing out of pool
play (Ghana is the fourth team), it is going to be a difficult task fort the U.S. to advance out of the first
round and match their quarterfinalist result of 2002.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Rick Dickson - "Today is a day of great loss," the Tulane AD said this week.
"As far as I am concerned, no student-athlete is any more important than any other." New Orleans
based Tulane is forced to cut men's track and cross country, women's swimming and soccer, men's
and women's golf, and men's and women's tennis due to budgetary issues in the wake of Hurricane
Katrina. Approximately 100 student-athletes are affected, but will be eligible to play immediately
should they choose to transfer so they can continue their collegiate athletic career.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Gary Barnett - Finally, Colorado decided to sever their relationship with their
football coach. Barnett has been under fire as long as sports fans can remember and, following two
straight losses by a combined score of 100-6, the school finally had enough. How ironic that Barnett,
who has been dodging scandal after scandal during his tenure leading the Buffaloes, is let go due to
on-field performance. Of course, only time will tell whether he is leaving any dirt behind that will affect
the school in the future.
Week ending December 4
WINNER OF THE WEEK: The BCS - They got the matchup everyone wanted to see in the Rose Bowl,
this year's BCS Championship Game - #1 USC vs. #2 Texas. It is a rare year when there is no
controversy surrounding the BCS, but this is one. Get ready for potentially one of the greatest
matchups in college football history - it certainly is the most anticipated ever.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Ruben Patterson - The Portland Trail Blazer forward was de-activated by the
team after complaining about his playing time. "I don't think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a
game is acceptable," Patterson told The Oregonian. "I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they
want me to play 12 minutes [like he did in his last game against New York], then they can just put me
on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes." So they did exactly that, until he decided to
return to the team under their conditions. It is just a matter of time before the Blazers dump this
malcontent, who has been more trouble than he is worth for a long, long time.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Dre Bly - "If we'd had production on offense, in particular the quarterback
position, Mooch wouldn't have been fired," Bly told the Detroit Free Press. "If Jeff Garcia hadn't gotten
hurt, we wouldn't be in this position today. Mooch wouldn't have gotten fired." Bly apologized for his
comments the next day, but at least he had the nerve to stand up and say what everyone was thinking.
The Detroit Lions are the epitome of dysfunctional these days, which has to make you wonder how
GM Matt Millen is hanging on to his job.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Joe Thornton - It seems rare in sports today when trades are made with
sports in mind, not money. But that is exactly what happened when the Boston Bruins dealt the
cornerstone of their team, Joe Thornton, to San Jose for three players. Simply put, the Bs needed to
shake things up and decided to deal their captain in stead of shake up their coaching staff or front
office. It is always a shock when a deal like this happens, especially in this case, since it came out of
nowhere. The Bruins can only hope they don't regret moving a superstar like Thornton.
Week ending November 27
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Chicago Bears - They are legit. The NFL's best defense has led the Bears to
an 8-3 record and impressive back-to-back wins - over Carolina last week and at Tampa Bay this
week. This team is for real. They don't score much, but they don't have to, allowing just 11 points a
game, which is better than the vaunted '85 team.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Florida Marlins - First Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, then Carlos Delgado.
Now the Marlins are talking of moving. It is starting to look real bad for baseball's future in South
Florida, with no stadium deal even close to being done and the dismantling of yet another team.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Jiri Fischer - "I wasn't scared about the abnormality. But I was scared about
not playing hockey again. That was a shock for me." OK, the quote is just over three years old. But
when Fischer suffered a seizure on the Detroit Red Wings' bench Monday night, his heart abnormality
became an issue again. After needed CPR and spending time at the hospital, it fortunately looks like
Fischer will be fine. But let's hope he calls it a career before this happens again. And let's also hope
the Knicks' Eddy Curry and the Patriots' Tedy Bruschi watched this situation very carefully.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Iona College - The early part of the NCAA basketball season sees some
teams pad their schedule against weaker conference teams to help improve their won-loss record.
So, when Iona visited #23 Iowa State Saturday, everyone expected a rout. What they got instead was a
rout by the Gaels in the finals of the Cyclone Challenge. Iona's 89-72 victory gave all the mid-majors a
solid kickoff for the season. Remember this game when Jeff Ruland's squad makes the NCAA
Tournament and you are filling out your bracket.
Week ending November 20
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Albert Pujols - The Cardinals slugger finally won his first NL Most Valuable
Player Award this week, an honor long overdo for baseball's best hitter. In his five seasons in the
majors, he has finished not lower than fourth in the voting and has numbers that, if he continues at
his current rate (and there is no reason to believe he won't), will be among the most prolific the game
has ever seen. Something tells me this won't be the only time he receives this honor.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Philadelphia Eagles - After earning accolades from many for kicking Terrell
Owens off the team, the Eagles endured one of the toughest weeks possible. First, they give a game
away to Dallas on Monday Night Football. In that game, Donovan McNabb not only throws an
interception that is returned for the game winning TD, but also suffers what looks like a season
ending injury. Following a hearing on the T.O. punishment (results due soon), the Eagles drop
another game to a division rival (the Giants). Basically, the Eagles, everyone's overwhelming choice
to win the NFC East, season came to a screeching end this week. Of course, the T.O. saga isn't over
yet, so expect the Eagles to end up back in the space again...and again...and again.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Rev. Jesse Jackson - "This does not warrant a one-year ban from the game."
Speaking of the wide receiver that won't go away, now non-sports figures are voicing their opinions on
the T.O. punishment. One year? Says who? Stick to more important topics, please, Reverend
Jackson. This punishment was just fine, thank you very much.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Penn State football - The return to prominence of the Nittany Lions is
complete. With their win over Michigan State this weekend, Joe Paterno's squad earned their first
BCS bid ever. Who says you can't teach a 78-year-old coach new tricks?
Week ending November 13
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Philadelphia Eagles - Thank you, Eagles, for finally taking a stand. Goodbye
and good riddance (for now, at least), Terrell Owens.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Sacramento Kings - While introducing the visiting Detroit Pistons Tuesday
night, the Kings showed pictures of abandoned buildings, burned-out cars, piles of rubble and other
negative images of Detroit. Getting your crowd pumped is one thing. Insulting your visitors in this way
is just plain stupid and unsportsmanlike. The Kings have apologized, but let's hope the NBA makes
them pay a little for this.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Paul Tagliabue - "We're one step closer, two or three steps closer. Whether
it's 2009, 2010, or 2000-whatever, our goal is to have definitive agreements on all subject matters
well before our league meetings in March." That is how the NFL Commissioner termed things when
announcing the imminent return of the NFL to Los Angeles. I think otherwise of course...Ladies and
gentlemen, your 2007 Los Angeles Saints.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Steve Spurrier - The Old Ball Coach faced his old team Saturday...and
handed his former team a good old ass whooping. South Carolina's 30-22 win over Florida was
more than an upset. It was formal closure for Spurrier, who left the Gators in 2001. It was also
something that never happened in Spurrier's tenure in the Swamp - his squads were 10-0 against
the Gamecocks - or since 1939 (a span of 14 games)
Week ending November 6
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Joe Paterno - The Nittany Lions are, indeed back. Penn State is now alone
atop the Big Ten following their trouncing of Wisconsin Saturday. The reports of Joe Pa's demise now
certainly seem exaggerated.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Tom Benson - After shoving a camera crew and shouting at a fan at a Saints'
"home" game last weekend in Baton Rouge (without punishment from the league, by the way, making
them a very close runner-up in this category), the Saints owner has declared he will not return to the
city to see his team play (he was true to his word on Sunday). With the passing last week of
Wellington Mara, the owner all others should pattern their behavior after, it is a shame we had to
witness the antithesis so quickly. All this also comes one week after word camr out that he doesn't
want the team to return to New Orleans. Benson is the typical money-grubbing, front-running owner
that has helped tarnish sports.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Theo Epstein - "By this time next year, I would hope to be a general manager
somewhere." I'll never be able to do the Epstein-Red Sox saga justice here. For the best take, I direct
you to the Sports Guy, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Terrell Owens - Now that your days in Philly look numbered, please don't let
the door hit your ass on the way out. Better yet, let it. All Eagles fans, repeat after me...Good riddance!
Week ending October 30
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Chicago White Sox - You win your first World Series in 88 years, you make
this choice very easy. Congrats to the ChiSox on their sweep of the Astros in a Series that not enough
people watched - the series may have ended four games to none, but it was a much closer Series
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Jan Van de Velde - When the story of Van De Velde talking about playing in
next year's Women's British Open broke, I supported him. "Why not?", I said. "If women can play in
men's tournament's, then the reverse should be fine, too." But then it dawned on me. After his
legendary meltdown a few years back at the British, Van de Velde probably realized this would be the
only way he'll ever become more than a punchline and a real life "Tin Cup". So, methinks his motives
are a bit more than just proving a point. Now, of course, he is a laughing stock yet again.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Sheryl Swoopes - "I'm just at a point in my life where I'm tired of having to
pretend to be somebody I'm not. I'm tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about.
About the person I love." Swoopes, the WNBA's reigning MVP, becomes the first front-line, active
athlete to come out of the closet and announce she is gay. While this is unquestionably a heroic and
unprecedented move, it is truly a shame that it has been met with the skepticism and scorn that all
WNBA-related stories brings. Let's hope a prominent male athlete soon follows her lead.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Wellington Mara - His passing shed a new light on just how great of a man
he truly was. And the Giants' 36-0 thrashing of the Redskins in his honor is just a small way of paying
him back for all the love he showed his team. Wellington Mara was a truly special owner and should
be the prototype of how an owner should behave. Our condolences to the Mara and Giants families.