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News » PAGE 2


Playing by the rules . . .

One of the reasons people enjoy sports is the clarity of the rules. In most every situation there is an easily defined right and wrong, and violators are punished, either with the use of penalty flags, personal fouls or, in some rare cases involving illegally filming opponents' signals, a karma-induced injury to a franchise quarterback.

But even given the sports world's voluminous rule books filled with almost every imaginable precedent, there still are times when the people who play, organize and run the games either stray outside the lines or lose sight of them. Sometimes it's because of ignorance; other times it might be more malicious. But the examples are plentiful, including the following four from the past week:

The rule: In NFL regular-season games, if neither team scores during the 15-minute overtime period, the game ends in a tie.

The sports personality: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The story: After the Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals played to a 13-13 draw - the first tie in the NFL since 2002 - McNabb and several other players admitted they had no idea there wasn't a second overtime. According to the Associated Press, McNabb said he "never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way," while Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back Correll Buckhalter said they found out from trainers during overtime that a tie was possible.

The fallout: In a city where fans are known to have no qualms about voicing their displeasure, McNabb has been mocked for not knowing the rules, even to the point where some have wondered whether his lack of information might have affected the way he played in overtime. Eagles coach Andy Reid called those suggestions "absurd," but then admitted he should have known something was amiss when he'd heard McNabb and his teammates talking excitedly about the potential for Texas Tech to meet Florida in the Final Four of the NCAA Football playoffs.

The rule: Even in the case of an illegal forward pass, a play in the NFL shall be allowed to continue, as long as the illegal pass doesn't hit the ground.

The sports personality: NFL referee Scott Green.

The story: On the final play of Sunday's Pittsburgh-San Diego game, the Chargers threw a forward pass that did not hit the ground, and later in the play, Steelers defensive back Troy Polamalu (above) picked up a loose ball and ran it in for an apparent touchdown. But Green and his crew erroneously waved off the touchdown, saying the ball should have been blown dead after the illegal forward pass. That meant the Steelers won by a score of 11-10 instead of 17-10.

The fallout: For the Steelers, it hurts their chances to win a potential point-differential tiebreaker in the unlikely event it is needed to determine playoff teams at the end of the regular season. But more importantly, Green's decision created what has been estimated by R.J. Bell of Pregame.com as a $64 million swing in worldwide betting on the Steelers-Chargers game. The Steelers were favored by 4.5 points, and most bettors took Pittsburgh, meaning that if the last touchdown had been allowed to stand, bookmakers would have lost big. There is no truth to the rumor that Tim Donaghy was working as the back judge.

The rule: Investors are not allowed to buy, sell or trade stock based on inside information not available to the general public.

The sports personality: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

The story: It didn't happen on the court or on the field, but it could wind up having an impact on both. Cuban was accused of insider trading in a civil lawsuit filed against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cuban denied the governments claims that he used confidential information to avoid losing $750,000 in a June 2004 stock sale.

The fallout: If Cuban ever had realistic hopes of purchasing the Chicago Cubs, this latest round of controversy probably ensures Major League Baseball owners won't let him join their fraternity now. And if he's found guilty of the charges, it could be viewed as another blow to the credibility of the NBA, which is already under scrutiny for its handling of the Donaghy betting scandal. Although Cuban could defend himself by saying he obviously had no inside knowledge when he bought low on Jason Kidd.

The rule: Golfers playing in PGA Tour events are not allowed to use golf balls that haven't been approved by the United States Golf Association.

The sports personality: Professional golfer J.P. Hayes.

The story: During a qualifying tournament for the PGA Tour last week, Hayes inadvertently used the wrong ball for two shots before realizing his mistake, notifying an official and accepting a two-stroke penalty. Later, he discovered the ball was a prototype not approved by the USGA, and even though he likely never would have been found out otherwise, he called a PGA Tour official and disqualified himself.

The fallout: Hayes, who would have been in line for a 2009 PGA Tour card, cost himself that opportunity by fessing up. He refused to blame his caddy for the error, even though the caddy tossed him the ball before the two fateful shots. He's already made about $7 million on tour, and he'll have limited opportunities to play in other events, but he won't be able to earn as much as he would have if he'd secured a Tour card.

Some think he's crazy. But in a realm where rules mean everything, it's nice to know someone is still paying attention.


To Carlos Boozer (27) and Richard Dawson (76). Celebrate by dunking viciously over someone's head, then kissing him on the cheek.


A glance at the top 10 trends of the week, along with the people making them popular:

1. Prolonging perfection? Mike Leach

2. Trying for a tie:

Bob Stoops

3. Securing a future:

Will Muschamp

4. Climbing out of the cellar: Art Briles

5. Hitting the bottom:

Mike Sherman

6. Bullying back into contention: Marion Barber

7. Filling a void:

Roger Mason Jr.

8. Getting used to drama: Tim Duncan

9. Becoming the youngest to 11,000 (points):

LeBron James

10. Limping again:

Tracy McGrady


It's the recruiting, stupid: Responding to criticism about his program's historically bad season, Michigan Football coach Rich Rodriguez this week suggested that fans who yell personal attacks or post them on the Internet should "get a life," and added, "There's a whole lot bigger problems. Look at the economy." Unfortunately for Rodriguez, the citizens don't think much of his proposed stimulus package.

He says he's had enough ofrehab; the world says, "No! No! No!": Troubled Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones has finished alcohol counseling, his attorney said this week. Now, we're not necessarily saying he needs more time, but reportedly, even Amy Winehouse thinks he should stay in.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 21, 2008

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Luis Castillo Name: Luis Castillo
Position: DE
Age: 24
Experience: 4 years
College: Northwestern
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