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Morning Briefing

Double headers coming up?

October 15, 2006|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

Two soccer balls instead of one?

No, that isn't the latest addled brainstorm from FIFA President Sepp Blatter. That actually happened last weekend in a match in Ecuador, when an extra ball on the field enabled LDU to defeat local rival Deportivo Quito, 2-1, in the 89th minute.

The ad-libbed experiment began after Deportivo goalkeeper Daniel Viteri knocked away a shot that wound up out of play. Viteri reached down and picked up the ball -- just as LDU's Elkin Murillo grabbed another ball and took a hurried corner kick.

Viteri couldn't believe his eyes. Out of desperation or confusion or both, Viteri flung his ball at the other ball, trying to knock it out of air. Viteri missed, and LDU's Agustin Delgado headed the second ball into the net. Referee Daniel Salazar allowed the goal to stand and, despite vehement protests by Deportivo players, LDU walked off the field as the winner.

The Ecuadorean Federation was expected to review the play. Meanwhile, rumors persist that Blatter is looking into the viability of an American two-ball soccer league, and Versus is hoping to televise it.

Trivia time

The Denver Broncos are the second team since 1940 to give up only one touchdown through their first four games of the season. Which was the other team?

Six of one ...

While waiting for Harrington Fever to continue its sweep through south Florida, Briefing takes time out for a few NFL picks:

* Atlanta over the New York Giants: George Steinbrenner is still not quite right after losing to the Tigers. Friday, he announced he was firing Tom Coughlin.

* Carolina over Baltimore: After five weeks, the NFC leads the AFC in head-to-head meetings, 9-6. Which sounds like your basic Baltimore Ravens final score.

* St. Louis over Seattle: Can the Seahawks, still De-Shauned, foster some goodwill in St. Louis?

* Dallas over Houston: The Texans, in their 2002 NFL debut, beat the Cowboys, 19-10. That game is also remembered as "The Greatest Moments in Houston Texans History."

* Miami over the New York Jets: Daunte Culpepper applauds the decision to start Joey Harrington at quarterback. That's one more than those who applauded the same decision in Detroit last year.

* Philadelphia over New Orleans: Reggie Bush leads the league in receptions. Is anyone surprised? Bush comes from a family that excels in receiving.

Half-dozen of the other

As the Raiders, Lions, Titans and Buccaneers continue their relentless march toward pro football history, Briefing has time for six more picks:

* Cincinnati over Tampa Bay: Ever the rebel, Chad Johnson has found a way around the NFL's new edict against excessive end-zone celebrations. He has stopped scoring.

* Washington over Tennessee: "It's hard being the quarterback. People don't understand, but they expect you to go out and be perfect every week." So says Vince Young after two starts for the Titans.

* Pittsburgh over Kansas City: His next touchdown pass will be Ben Roethlisberger's first of the season, moving him within two of Charlie Batch.

* San Diego over San Francisco: Because both San Diego and San Francisco have already defeated Oakland, some say the Chargers and 49ers are playing for the California championship of professional football. Everybody else backs USC.

* Denver over Oakland: Did you hear the one about Jake Plummer sharing a flight with Ken Stabler? They're calling it "Snakes on a Plane."

* Buffalo over Detroit: What back-to-back games against former coaching stops proves to Dick Jauron: Last Sunday's 40-7 loss at Chicago? You can't go home again. Today's game at Detroit? Oh, yes you can.

Trivia answer

The 2000 Miami Dolphins also yielded one touchdown in their first four games.

And finally

Chelsea Coach Jose Mourinho, assessing his soccer team's 1-1 draw against Aston Villa: "I think it was a game that neither side lost."

*

mike.penner@latimes.com

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