Quick Takes


    The University of Missouri Tigers now control their own BCS destiny, or so it would appear. They are ranked #1. This team is for real. A Mizzou win next weekend over Oklahoma will put them in the title game. I haven’t seen a better team all season, and neither had Kansas. Not bad for a Mizzou team that was 8-5 in 2006.


    It would have been a good trivia question, but I’ll share it with you at no charge. During the 1959 and 1960 seasons, the San Francisco Giants actually had three position starting players on the team named Willie. You should know Hall-of-Famers Mays and McCovey. The other Willie was outfielder Kirkland.


    The lop-sided NFL season is sporting just 13 teams with a .500+ record at this writing. Two of the 13 play tonight, with the game having a link to home field through the playoffs in the NFC. It’s Green Bay at Dallas, both 10-1 now. Don’t be surprised at anything that old guy at QB for GB accomplishes tonight. Ya gotta absolutely love Brett Favre.


    Per Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine:

Say you are looking for a frontline starting pitcher. An ace. Somebody capable of helping to lead your team into the playoffs.

You could back up your organization's truck and offer two Grade A prospects and a couple of Grade B prospects and call the Minnesota Twins about Johan Santana. And if you arrange a conditional deal with the Twins, you would have the opportunity to try to convince Santana to waive his no-trade clause. That could cost you merely the largest salary for any pitcher in the history of baseball: six years, $150 million, on top of the $13.25 million he is owed for next season.

Or you could back up the organization's truck and offer three or four prospects for Oakland's Dan Haren. No strings attached, no no-trade clause. And here's the really good news: You would have to pay Haren just $4 million for 2008, $5.5 million for 2009, and he has a $6.75 million option for 2010.


    My prediction is the Yankees will make the deal with the Twins for Santana. And if so, Johan, as great as he is right now, should be concerned, no matter how much money they pay him. Why? The Yankees aren’t exactly blessed when they go after and sign available star pitchers. Just remember Kevin Brown and Carl Pavano among others. And as Colin Cowherd pointed out yesterday on ESPN radio, Santana at 29 might have reached his peak as his numbers have been falling with his overworked arm. But so what…………financial expenditure is the very last concern of the Yankees as their revenues top $400 million annually.


Story of the Week



    George Allen, who was born April 29, 1918, attended Alma College, Marquette University, and the University of Michigan before starting his coaching career at Morningside College in 1948. He moved to Whittier College in 1951 to begin a six-year tenure. Allen’s first pro coaching experience was as an assistant to Sid Gillman with the Rams in 1957. A year later, he joined the Chicago Bears as a defensive assistant. In a rare move, he was presented a game ball following the 1963 NFL Championship Game in which his defense recorded five defensive turnovers.


    Hall of Fame head coach George Allen owns the distinction of never having a losing season in 12 years as a head coach in the NFL. In 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams from 1966 through 1970 and the Washington Redskins from 1971 through 1977, George Allen compiled a 116-47-5 regular season record as a head coach.


    A native of Detroit, Michigan, Allen had the reputation of being a coach who could transform perpetual losing teams into winners. The Rams, prior to Allen taking the reins in 1966, had experienced seven straight losing seasons, including a 4-10 record in 1965. In Allen’s first year, the Rams posted an 8-6 mark, and then won the NFL’s Coastal Division with an excellent 11-1-2 record in 1967. That year, Allen was NFL Coach of the Year.


    Allen moved to the Redskins in 1971 to lead a team that had had only one winning season in 15 years. Allen never had a losing season in seven years with the Redskins. The 1971 team finished second in the NFC’s Eastern Division with a surprising 9-4-1 record. George Allen was NFL Coach of the Year. The next year the team marched to an 11-3-0 record, an NFC championship victory over Dallas and a Super Bowl VII appearance against the Miami Dolphins. Three times in the next four years, Washington had 10-4 seasons and wild-card berths in the post-season playoffs.


    Adopting the “Future Is Now” theme, he made numerous trades, sacrificing future draft choices for veterans who could help immediately. In his 12 seasons in the NFL, he made 131 trades, 81 of them coming during his Washington tenure as he built his “Over The Hill Gang.”


    Allen's final head coaching job was with Long Beach State in 1990. George Allen passed away on December 31, 1990 at the age of 72. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.


    No coach ever worked harder and was ever more prepared for a game than George Allen. And no coach was a greater motivator than Allen. He was the ultimate players coach. If I had to pick one coach I’d most like to have played for, my choice would have been George Allen.


Championship Teams:
1967 Los Angeles Rams: NFL Coastal Division champions.
1969 Los Angeles Rams: NFL Coastal Division champions.
1972 Washington Redskins: NFC Eastern Division champions, NFC champions.


Super Bowl Teams:
Super Bowl VII - Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7.


NFL Coaching Record:

Regular Season































Last Week’s Trivia


    What is the highest scoring game in NFL history? 113 points. On November 27, 1966, the Washington Redskins hammered the New York Giants, 72-41. Lots of home runs!


Trivia Question of the Week


    What is Reinhold Messner’s claim to fame? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.