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Morning briefing

November 27, 2007|Larry Stewart Times Staff Writer

Witness to another miracle? No!

Television viewers throughout the country no doubt couldn't believe what they were seeing. The New England Patriots, favored by 24 points, were losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter Sunday night before pulling out a three-point victory.

However, some of the Patriots' players were not overly stunned by it all.

"You guys have gotten spoiled," cornerback Ellis Hobbs said after the game. "You've got to understand this is the NFL. You can't expect a blowout every time."

Said offensive lineman Stephen Neal: "We expected their best shot. There's a reason they call them the Screaming Eagles. They come from everywhere."

Said veteran safety Rodney Harrison: "Hey, they get paid too."

Still, for a while there it seemed Al Michaels, calling the game for NBC, might have to dust off that classic line of his: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

Trivia time

What was the name of the cartoon character involved in the deal that allowed Michaels to get out of his contract with ESPN so he could join John Madden at NBC before the 2006 season?

Big difference

The Patriots' Harrison, released by the San Diego Chargers after the 2002 season, appeared on HBO's "Inside the NFL" last week and talked about the difference for him and longtime teammate Junior Seau between playing in San Diego and New England.

"What you've got to understand," he said, "is we go from Ryan Leaf to Tom Brady."

USC-Notre Dame

During Sunday's telecast of Cincinnati's win over Tennessee, CBS analyst Steve Beuerlein made a gaffe. Titans running back and former USC player LenDale White and the Bengals' Marvin White were in an altercation and both received personal fouls.

Then after a commercial break former Notre Dame star Beuerlein was heard saying "USC thugs, man" -- apparently to his broadcast partner Bill Macatee. CBS spokesperson LeslieAnn Wade explained the incident: "Steve and Bill like to kid each other about USC and Notre Dame. They were just bantering back and forth, the way friends do when they are supporters of different schools.

"CBS and Steve Beuerlein did not expect it to be on the air.

"Both Steve Beuerlein and CBS are not happy it went out over the air."

Wade said she had not received phone calls complaining about it. "Just a couple reporters from Nashville." She said she also received one e-mail about it -- from a fan in Florida.

Smart move

ESPN's Lee Corso recently talked to the Dallas Morning News about the brilliance of Babe Laufenberg, who was the quarterback at Indiana when Corso coached there.

"He started out at Stanford," Corso said. "Only smart guys go there. Then John Elway arrived to play quarterback, and he transferred out. That's genius."

Carrying a torch

David Israel, vice president of the Coliseum Commission, got a few laughs when he delivered this line at a news conference to announce the Dodgers' exhibition against the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum: "We always knew the Dodgers would return to the Coliseum before the NFL."

Trivia answer

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the forerunner to Mickey Mouse. His rights, which belonged to NBC, had long been sought by the Walt Disney Co., which owns ESPN.

And finally

Tiger Woods nailed this one on Thanksgiving Day. The ESPN announcers on the USC-Arizona State game interviewed sideline spectator Charles Barkley for what seemed like an eternity during the first half. Later, Bob Davie reported that during the interview, Woods text-messaged his friend Barkley: "Shut up so I can watch the game."

That was great advice, but it didn't keep ESPN from another long-winded interview in the second half -- this one by phone with Keyshawn Johnson. Why Johnson, when 1981 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen was at the game? Because Johnson is an analyst on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."

It's called cross-promotion.

--

larry.stewart@latimes.com

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