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Winners and losers in the world of sports
IT’S BEEN A GOOD WEEK FOR TONY PULIS: Unlike, say, the NFL – which can rightly boast of its parity after getting at least four teams who sat at home last postseason into this year’s dance for the 23rd consecutive season – the Premier League is more in tune with the English monarchy, often turning into a procession to crown the richest teams in the land. The Stoke City manager, whose team is definitely more serf than sovereign, was forced to pay New Year’s Day tithes to “Moneybags” Manchester City in a 3-0 whitewash, but when asked the difference between the sides, Pulis hadn’t lost his sense of humour. “About £220-million.”
(Jon Super/The Associated Press)
IT’S BEEN A GOOD WEEK FOR PHIL JACKSON: The Zen Master may have missed out on his third go-round as Los Angeles Lakers head coach two months ago, but it was one of the rare disappointments in the NBA legend’s career. Case in point was Thursday night, when he got more involved with the 16-time NBA champions on a personal level, getting engaged to Playboy playmate and Lakers executive Jeanie Buss after 14 years of dating and causing her to tweet: “Phil finally gave me that ring I wanted.”
IT’S BEEN A BAD WEEK FOR STEPHEN JACKSON: They say things can change in a New York minute, and the San Antonio Spurs forward is well aware of that after Thursday’s contest against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Not only did the Spurs lose, but Jackson was lost to the Spurs, inadvertently colliding with a courtside waitress, turning his ankle and being forced from the game. The server continued to do her job and made sure New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got his popcorn. But it should come as no surprise to Jackson: Let’s face it, wherever you go in pro sports, buying concessions is always a costly proposition.
IT’S BEEN A BAD WEEK FOR GREG JENNINGS: Having seen their team win an NFL-record 13 titles, the Green Bay Packers fan base can be a notoriously difficult one to please. But it has nothing on the sister of Green Bay’s star wideout, who seems to have a particular problem with the team’s star QB. “My God Aaron Rodgers holds the ball forever! GJ was wide open 5x for that touchdown!” she tweeted, followed by, “ARod is the most overrated QB in the league! He is no where near Peyton [Manning] or [Tom] Brady! It sickens me, Peyton would avg. 5 TD with this squad!!!” And Jennings thought Minnesota the Vikes’ Adrian Peterson would be difficult to contain Saturday
IT’S BEEN A BAD WEEK FOR JONATHAN VILMA: After sitting out the first five games of the NFL season due to his role in “Bountygate,” it hasn’t exactly been the best year for the New Orleans Saints linebacker, let alone week. But he took umbrage with a report that quoted an anonymous teammate calling for defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo to be fired. “We’re not the Jets,” Vilma hissed angrily, clearly overlooking the fact that if they were, there would be no controversy. After all, New York only gave up a fairly respectable 5,174 yards this season compared to New Orleans’s 7,042 – setting an NFL mark for defensive inadequacy in the process.
(Seth Perlman/The Associated Press)