:: DETROIT LIONS POISED FOR WORST SEASON EVER (Pro. Football):: NFL ENTERS FINAL WEEK OF REGULAR SEASON (Pro. Football)
:: TYLER HANSBROUGH SETS SCORING RECORD (College. Basketball)
WORST. TEAM. EVER.
The New Orleans Saints crushed the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon, bringing the Lions’ record to 0-15, the worst record in NFL history. If the Lions lose next week, they would hold the dubious honor of being the only team in the history of the NFL ever to go 0-16 in the regular season.
The Detroit Lions are one of the most famous train-wreck franchises in professional sports. The Lions have had ten or more losses in seven of the past eight years, and the last time they won a playoff game was in 1991. The man who had been responsible for putting together these awful teams, Matt Millen, was finally fired in September of this year. Detroit fans have called for Millen’s firing for years, holding “Fire Millen” signs at games, and organizing the “Millen Man March” to protest his continued employment by the Lions.
The Lions have one last chance to avoid the humiliation of an 0-16 season. Next Sunday, they play the Green Bay Packers (at Lambeau Field, in Green Bay). Neither team can make the playoffs, so the only thing on the line will be pride.
Quote of the Week: “You know what was ‘a Brees,’ Detroit Free Press headline writers? The Saints’ beatdown of your winless Lions.” — Marcel Mutoni, Deadspin
Further Reading: ”Saints add to Lions’ misery with rout as Detroit is first 0-15 team in NFL history” — Associated Press, via ESPN
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME PLAYOFFS?
With one week left in the NFL regular season, teams are priming themselves for the playoffs. The NFL playoffs are the culmination of the football season, and they ultimately lead to the Super Bowl, the biggest sports event in the country.
Many teams have already locked up their spots in the playoffs: the New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, and Atlanta Falcons have all secured playoff spots. The Tennessee Titans, who defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, also secured home field advantage for the playoffs. However, a handful of playoff spots have yet to be decided, and will come down to next weekend’s games.
Like every sport, the final week before the NFL playoffs can be an unpredictable time, where several unlikely playoff contenders can still reach the post-season if a number of things happen. For casual fans, these scenarios can be hard to follow. During the middle of the week, www.nfl.com will publish season recaps for many of the teams still in contention, and explain all of the possible playoff possibilities.
Quote of the Week: “The playoff picture will still be fuzzy with a week to go. Here’s what we do know: the AFC’s road to Tampa Bay will go through Tennessee.” — ESPN.com
Further Reading: “Rapid Reactions” — This piece, written by ESPN’s staff writers, summarizes what happened this past weekend in the NFL, and offers a look forward to some of next week’s games
Passing of the Guard
This week, University of North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough became the all-time leading scorer at UNC. Hansbrough was last year’s college basketball player of the year, and he is the face of the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels.
Before Hansbrough broke the scoring record, it had been held by Phil Ford for 30 years. Ford is one of the most famous players ever in the UNC basketball program. His record outlasted some of the greatest players in college basketball history, including Michael Jordan and James Worthy. While Hansbrough has been one of the most successful college athletes of his time, with this record, he has truly left his footprint on the game.
Many people were surprised last year when Hansbrough announced that he would be declining to enter himself in the NBA draft in order to complete another year at North Carolina. For the time being, though, Hansbrough is probably pleased with his decision. He has now established a record that should last a long time, and his Tar Heels are currently the best team in the country.
Quote of the Week: “I’m usually not nervous before games, and I was a little nervous before tonight just because I felt like there was a lot of pressure. One thing for me, I didn’t want us to strictly focus on trying to break a scoring record. We had a game and I was trying to do whatever I could to help the team.” — Tyler Hansbrough
Further Reading: ”Hansbrough sets career scoring record in UNC win vs. Evansville” — Associated Press, via ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: PRO. FOOTBALL: Are the Detroit Lions the worst team in the history of professional football? We’ll find out this week, as the Lions play the Green Bay Packers at 1 ET on Sunday. Before that, though, there is a big game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers tonight. The Bears-Packers rivalry is one of the biggest in sports, and the Bears need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 season is currently underway. It runs from late October to April of 2009, when the playoffs commence. [Official NBA Website]
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): The college basketball season is currently underway and runs through “the Tournament,” which takes place in March. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): The regular season only has one week left, after which the playoffs begin. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The regular season is over and the bowl games have already started. Florida and Oklahoma will play each other in the national championship game. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. Now that the PGA Championship is over, mainstream golf news will most likely revolve around Tiger Woods’ return from injury and preparation for next year’s Majors. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The hockey season runs through April of 2009. By the new year, the league power rankings should be pretty well set. [Official NHL Website]
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in this year’s World Series. During the off-season, baseball news will focus on major trades and player signings. [Official MLB Website]