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MORNING BRIEFING

Cowboys' video board becoming another statistic

Sportswriters can now keep track of the number of times a football hits the screen, which hangs 90 feet above the field.

September 01, 2009|Mike Penner

The Dallas Cowboys have added a new statistic for sportswriters to keep track of: number of times football hits video board.

Punters went 0 for 10 in Saturday's Cowboys game against the San Francisco 49ers, making punters one for 24 after two games.

Once, however, was enough for a weeklong controversy about whether the video board should be raised. In the end, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled that the video board could remain 90 feet above the field.

After the game, Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips said: "I'm not surprised at all. They kicked them high, and they kicked them long. They kicked them all types of ways. I didn't think it would be a factor, and it wasn't."

San Francisco punter Andy Lee told the Dallas Morning News, "[The video board] is up there pretty far. You can definitely hit it. . . . I think it might get hit a couple of times, but I don't think it's going to be as much as people think."

Trivia time

How many punters are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Hold that syrup

The International House of Pancakes has struck a deal to become an NFL sponsor. The deal will incorporate NFL-themed menu items, including AFC/NFC Stuffed French toast, shaped like a football, and the Quarterback Scramble. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will appear separately in a pair of 15-second ads supporting the sponsorship.

As Sports Illustrated senior editor Dick Friedman wrote in a Twitter feed, "IHOP deal with NFL could lend whole new meaning to term pancake block."

Where's the Batmobile?

Calling himself "a superhero fan," Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger is building a "Batcave" in New Mexico, complete with an underground garage and surrounding moat.

According to the Wall Street Journal, designs for "a hidden underground tunnel entrance recently hit a snag because of state building codes," but the cave is "supposed to be livable within a couple of years."

Trivia answer

Zero.

And finally

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason told Sporting News Today that he is concerned about Carson Palmer as Palmer prepares for another season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I lived it; I know," said Esiason, who spent nine years with the Bengals. "He's a great talent who is going through the Cincinnati Bengals' car wash, and there's no wax."

--

mike.penner@latimes.com

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