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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

As if the League Didn't Have Enough Publicity

February 08, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

The debut of the XFL was certainly not ignored by a majority of our nation's sports columnists, many of whom seem personally offended by the gimmicky new league. A sampling:

* Dave Kindred in the Sporting News: "With all due disrespect, the XFL is the trashiest creation in legitimate-sports history.

"It's brilliant marketing of the sort remarked upon by P.T. Barnum, who said, 'There's a sucker born every minute,' and by Henry L. Mencken, who said, 'No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.' "

* More outraged was Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote: "For however much longer the XFL has, there's really only one scorecard worth keeping.

"It's the one that notes all the sellouts who lent their names, careers, reputations and consciences to this predictably unmitigated piece of garbage."

* Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News had a ho-hum take on the new league:

"Not as scripted as feared, not as gritty as promised, not as interesting as hyped, and not as outrageous or [gulp] revolutionary as most of us sports-TV critics assumed and awaited. . . . A bauble. A fun thing, easily discarded."

* Caryn James, writing in the arts section of the New York Times, said: "Presenting 'The West Wing' and the XFL means that NBC now has the smartest and dumbest shows on network television."

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Trivia time: What was significant about the UCLA men's basketball team's 42-37 overtime win over USC in 1943?

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You complain too: Maryland basketball Coach Gary Williams, annoyed at the relentless criticism of Terrapin fans after their behavior following a devastating loss to Duke on Jan. 27:

"They're great fans. This is overkill, what's going on right now. Everybody should shut up. I think this is being made into something because this is Duke and Duke complains."

*

No hero: Michael Bauman of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the statement by Mark Chmura's attorney, Gerald Boyle, that Chmura showed courage usually displayed by those who win the Medal of Honor:

"Some of us thought that the medal was awarded to people such as Sgt. Alvin York, who charged a machine-gun nest. The medal is not typically awarded to someone who charges into a hot tub with booze and adolescent girls."

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No decision: Mike Tyson was reportedly wrestling with one of his pet tigers when it pinned him to the ground. "The tiger's foot was on his head," a source told the New York Post. "He had to pet it for three or four hours before it got off him."

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Wardrobe dilemma: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Bombardir, explaining why he has worn his New Jersey Devils' Stanley Cup ring only twice: "It's pretty hard to go out in a shirt and jeans and a $40,000 ring."

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Trivia answer: It ended a 42-game Trojan winning streak over the Bruins that began in 1932.

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And finally: Former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Drew Pearson is the vice president and general manager of the XFL's New York/New Jersey Hitmen.

During a practice session, says Tom Rock of Newsday, "He stands on the edge of the field, wearing a suit and a cell phone, waiting.

"Every so often a player will run past him and Pearson will lower his shoulder and slam into the player. Then, he'll stand up, unwrinkle his suit, and return to his telephone conversation."

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