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MORNING BRIEFING

This Cowboy is a celebrity Samaritan

September 13, 2008|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

You can't buy this kind of publicity.

After Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo ignored a chin injury and took apart the Cleveland Browns, 28-10, in their season opener, he reportedly stopped to help a couple fix a flat tire on his way home.

Then Romo's celebrity girlfriend, Jessica Simpson, stirred the pot this week by trash-talking the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys' opponent Monday night, on national television.

Sharon White of Irving, Texas, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that while she and her husband tended to their flat tire on the side of a busy street, a well-dressed man "with something strange on his chin" pulled over and offered to help.

White said she asked twice whether the man was Romo, and Romo -- his chin bandaged to cover 13 stitches -- finally replied, "Yes, ma'am."

What jinx?

Simpson, of course, caused a stir last year when Dallas lost to the Eagles as Simpson sat in a luxury suite wearing a pink Cowboys jersey, and a month later when Dallas lost a playoff game after the couple enjoyed a Mexico getaway.

Talk of the "Jessica Jinx" was on.

Undaunted, Simpson said on "Good Morning America" that Dallas would kick the Eagles' butts Monday night, sparking the expected backlash from Eagles fans and Cowboys haters.

But Associated Press columnist Jim Litke wrote that "just because Romo's girlfriend likes to chirp is no reason to be a hater."

"Besides," Litke added, "Tom Brady's girlfriend, Gisele Bundchen, was the very supermodel of discretion and look what good it did him."

Trivia time

Where was Romo born and where did he attend college?

NASCAR gloss

Politics, as they say, makes strange bedfellows.

Pouncing on the frenzy surrounding Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Atlanta Motor Speedway said it would include lipstick in a ticket package it's selling for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Oct. 26.

"Hockey and soccer moms alike can load up the van and bring a family of four to see a NASCAR race, eat together and, afterward, reapply lipstick for just $159," speedway President Ed Clark said.

Filling the void

The Yankees are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993, but Fox Sports -- which will broadcast the National League Championship Series and World Series -- isn't worried about losing New York's marquee value.

"Not that many years ago, not having the Yankees would have been a big issue," Fox Sports President Ed Goren told Forbes magazine. "But in recent years, other teams have become postseason-competitive and have become national teams," including the Boston Red Sox and Angels.

Plus, the long-suffering Chicago Cubs -- if they do well in postseason play -- could spark the same ratings boost that the Red Sox provided when they ended their 86-year title drought in 2004, he said.

Trivia answer

Romo was born in San Diego and went to Eastern Illinois University.

And finally

NBC already has sold 85% of its advertising spots for Super Bowl XLIII, which is still five months away, SportsBusiness Daily reported.

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james.peltz@latimes.com

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