Ouch: In Jacksonville Wednesday, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper spontaneously gave a paralyzed local athlete two diamond necklaces worth about $75,000 during an NFL awards ceremony Wednesday, then subsequently took them back. ... read more

The highlight of attending NFL Experience, the Super Bowl event near Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium, was seeing Hall of Fame exhibits on loan from Canton. Until I saw the Birth of Pro Football display, I didn't know the first pro player had the Dickensian name of Pudge Heffelfinger. A standout at Yale, in 1892, Heffelfinger earned $500 ($10,200 in today's dollars) to play one game as a ringer for the Allegheny Athletic Association, a cheat that wasn't confirmed until 70 years later. He was the first pro, the first ... read more

Tony Kornheiser wrote a column in the Washington Post ripping Jacksonville as a Hooters-loving, foul-smelling, remote city of doublewides that only got the Super Bowl because Tuscaloosa was booked: Jacksonville is where Pat Boone was born (sometime around the Martin Van Buren presidency), and where the Southern hair band .38 Special got together. Somehow it doesn't sound like hip-hop. It's more like I-Hop. As a seven-year resident, I'm more offended by Kornheiser's laziness than anything he wrote about ... read more

Jack Newfield, a muck-raking journalist and author whose expose, The Shame of Boxing, was one of the best investigative sports pieces in years, has died of cancer at age 66. Newfield, who loved boxing writing so much he celebrated A.J. Liebling's 100th birth anniversary in October, had this take on the sweet science: At its infrequent best, boxing can be the art of hitting and not getting hit -- a ballet with blood, geometry with guile. At its frequent worst, it is fakery, burlesque, cruelty, injustice, ... read more

Samuel Francis, a newspaper columnist distributed by Creators Syndicate, believes the Terrell Owens/Nicolette Sheridan skit on Monday Night Football was an insidious effort to promote interracial sex: If only morals and taste had been the targets, the producers could easily have found white actresses who are less obviously Nordic than the golden-locked Sheridan, but Nordic is what the ad's producers no doubt wanted. For that matter, if you only wanted to take a swipe at morals and taste, you could find a black ... read more

The only thing I miss about the Yankees' absence from the playoffs is the performance of "God Bless America" by Ronan Tynan. Having him perform so often and so well at Yankee Stadium reminds me of the Philadelphia Flyers bringing out Kate Smith to sing it as a good-luck charm. The U.S. could significantly reduce noise pollution by making "God Bless America" the national anthem. I endure 500 excruciating renditions of the "Star-Spangled Banner" a year on streaming baseball games. Only in the cacophony of battle ... read more

After the Boston Red Sox defeated the Curse of the Bambino last night by a score of 10 to 3, Nike aired this Fenway Park 1919 commercial to celebrate the achievement. ... read more