Farewell to The Spectator . . . Aretha’s NFL reign . . . Change coming to express lanes?


A Thanksgiving Day tweet from @TheFakeESPN: “Aretha Franklin had a longer NFL career than Johnny Manziel.” . . . If you missed it, the Queen of Soul handled the U.S. anthem prior to the Thursday game in Detroit between the Lions and Minnesota Vikings. She did it in a nifty four minutes 35 seconds, too. . . . That led CBS-TV to put up a late first-half graphic that showed times of possession: Vikings 10:48; Lions 14:37; Aretha Franklin 4:35.” . . . “Her rendition of The Star-Mangled Banner went on so long that the leg Colin Kaepernick was kneeling on at home fell asleep,” noted Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post. . . .
BTW, Hamilton, a veteran of the print wars at the Leader-Post, has taken a buyout and his column — The Spectator — ended its run on Saturday. Hamilton wrote: “The last word this week goes to The Spectator, who is ending this column’s run after 13 years. Thanks for reading and (hopefully) laughing once in a while. Adios!” . . . “A popular Heinz television ad showing people drumming on baked bean cans was banned by British regulators as unsafe,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Probably a decision by a bunch of old farts.” . . .
“The Miami, Ohio, Redhawks, with a 21-20 victory over Ball State, have become the first team in FBS history to become bowl eligible after starting the season 0-6,” reports Bill Littlejohn, our crack South Lake Tahoe, Calif.-based correspondent. “The only more impressive turnarounds involve cable cars and Robert Downey Jr.” . . . Littlejohn wonders: “With Fidel Castro gone, the world’s most notable dictator is (a) Kim Jong Un; (b) Vladimir Putin; (c) John Tortorella?” . . . Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, with an interesting NFL-related note: “Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has as many wins playing in Cleveland (10) as any Browns QB since 1999.” . . .
Ahh, football coaches are a special breed. First, we watched Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll blow a Super Bowl with the overthink, and then Dave Dickenson of the Calgary Stampeders does it in the Grey Cup game. And yet football coaches are the first ones to tell everyone to keep it simple. . . . The Regina Pats are the best WHL team that I have seen to this point in the season, and that was without centre Sam Steel, the league’s leading scorer, in the lineup. . . .
After Andre Ward got the decision over Sergey Kovalev in a recent light-heavyweight title fight, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald noted: “In a sign of the times, Kovalev won the popular vote.” . . . Here’s Dickson, after LeBron James signed a three-year, US$100-million contract extension with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers: “That will take him through the next six Cavaliers head coaches.” . . . One more from Dickson: “I read that supermarket chains around the country are relaxing a limit on the number of items you can have in the checkout line. Oh, great. So instead of 45 items in the ’12 items or less’ express line, now people will have 108.” . . .
We close this week with a final paragraph in honour of the aforementioned Hamilton by using three clips from his swan song. . . . “Two Buffalo Bills fans who threw a sex toy onto the field during a game have been banned for life from New Era Field. Team officials wanted to find a suitable penalty, so they thought long and hard about it.” . . . “Green Bay Packers fan Glenn Seefeld told WKOW in Madison, Wis., that he won’t wear pants until his struggling team wins another game. A Wisconsin winter is fast approaching, but Seefeld is vowing not to shrink from the challenge.” . . . “In a Thanksgiving Day clash, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman threw verbal (and left) jabs at each other. Norman told reporters that Bryant at one point said, ‘Where I’m from, we unload the clip.’ Who does Bryant think he is, Plaxico Burress? . . . What a pair of turkeys.” . . . Adios, pal.
(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at greggdrinnan@gmail.com and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)
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