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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Rule changes in sports that would make us all feel better about life.
By DAVID MURPHY
Published December 10, 2006
Law No. 1
All Buccaneers fans who suggest Jon Gruden give Mike Alstott 20 carries a game shall henceforth have two vertebrae surgically fused in their backs and be repeatedly pummeled by an NFL linebacker.
RATIONALE: Gruden isn't an idiot. He might play one on TV sometimes, but the man has been in this league long enough to realize that a fullback doesn't solve a team's offensive woes.
Look, Alstott is great. If I had to pick five people to have my back in a bar fight, he'd be at the top of the list. But the guy was born in 1973. In fullback years, he's pushing Bob Barker.
There's nothing wrong with getting him five to eight touches per game. But even at his peak, Alstott only had one year averaging 4 yards a carry. Besides, he was always most dangerous when he was able to reach a defense's second level and splatter linebackers like lovebugs. But behind the current edition of the Bucs offensive line, the only level he would reach is the seventh level.
Law No. 2
While announcing an overturned call, NFL referees are henceforth required to perform a 30-second rendition of the "Ashlee Simpson dance."
RATIONALE: A referee is the only party in this replay system who has nothing at stake when he blows a call. A coach risks losing a timeout. A player risks losing statistics. And a fan risks losing a minute and half of his or her life.
Instead of erring on the side of caution with every borderline call, let's give referees a reason to take their jobs a little more seriously. Ed Hochuli will pay a lot more attention to the moment Michael Clayton's knee hits the ground when utter humiliation is on the line.
Law No. 5
Jon Gruden is no longer allowed to use Carnell Williams' nickname in a play on words. In fact, all metaphorical references to vehicles are henceforth banned from public discourse where the Bucs running back is concerned.
RATIONALE: We get it. His nickname is Cadillac. He runs hard. But the poor kid's name is going to be a cliche before he's 30.
By the way, any chance we can change Kenyatta Walker's name to "Edsel"? (Looks great out of the dealership but breaks down every year.)
Law No. 4
The Best Damn Sports Show, Period shall henceforth be required to legally change its name or risk being sued for false advertising.
RATIONALE: Ever wonder what the "jock table" in the high school cafeteria will look like 30 years from now? Tune in to Fox Sports Net weeknights at 10:30!
We're not suggesting they call it the Worst Damn Sports Show, Period. (Cold Pizza works just fine.) But at least call it the Second-Worst Damn Sports Show, Period. Or maybe, Four Meatheads Sit Around and Make Flatulence Jokes.
If I ever feel like watching John Salley, above left, I'll pull out my 1996 Chicago Bulls championship video and look for him on the bench.
Law No. 3
Any sports figure who refers to someone throwing another person "under the bus" shall henceforth be thrown under an actual bus. A big one. Perhaps a Greyhound.
RATIONALE: It's time for a new phrase.
"Run through the wood chipper" (as in, "Boy, Tom Coughlin really ran Eli Manning through the wood chipper").
Or "microwaved the cat" (as in, "Boy, Manning really microwaved the cat Sunday when he threw that interception").
Whatever the case, let's drop the bus business, unless we're talking about throwing Terrell Owens under Jerome Bettis. That might be fun to watch.
Law No. 6
All athletes who speak in the third person after games must also speak in the third person in everyday life.
RATIONALE: See the name on the back of your jersey? That's not for you. That's for us. So you don't have to remind us who we're talking to every 30 seconds. Maybe if you're forced to speak in the third person in everyday life, you'll remember not to do it in postgame news conferences.
"Karl Malone wants a Big Mac with fries. And Karl Malone wants a large Diet Coke, too."
"Jason Williams has a 102 degree fever, Dr. Jason Williams has been throwing up all night. And Jason Williams feels like he head-butted a reindeer."
"Aubrey Huff loves you, baby. Will you marry Aubrey Huff?"