Monday, December 27, 2004

Weekend Update honors Dan Marino

After 20 years of unreachable comfort, Dan Marino succumbed to the magic of Peyton Manning. Marino’s 48-touchdown season of 1984 has now gone the way of VHS tapes: a fun discussion of the greatness of the 1980s, but still in second place when compared with today’s technology.

Manning threw his 49th touchdown pass on Sunday to help the Colts tie the Chargers and eventually win in overtime. Manning is the new gold standard for touchdown immortality . . . and he has one more game left this season.

In honor of the record holder that was, we here at Weekend Update deliver the top events from Christmas weekend using movie and show titles from Dan Marino’s acting career.

Bad Boys II
The Pacers played the Pistons on Christmas Day. Not even Santa Claus could have delivered such a juicy gift under our virtual sports tree. A bunch of coal-filled players, including the newly reinstated, played a clean, dull basketball game. Sad, but true. Oh, how that grinch David Stern stole Christmas.

Holy Man
Brett Favre did it again. In a dome, no less. He led the Packers on two scoring drives in the final minutes to beat the Vikings and win the NFC North Division. Surely, he’ll meet St. Peter at the gates of Heaven one day and there’ll be no discussion. Favre will just flash his E-ZPass and stroll into another sacred atmosphere.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Maybe Ventura can help the Jets find their quarterback again. Last week, Chad Pennington turned into a chameleon and shunned the media, then lectured then the following day. This week, he turned into a dog against the wolves of New England. These Jets now must beat the Rams to make the playoffs. And Pennington has to lead them. Alllllllllll righty then! Perhaps the Jets can hire Ray Finkel or Lois Einhorn as a backup.

Little Nicky
Check out those gritty little Knicks. Another three calendar days went by and the Knicks still remain in first place. And they have no big men inside. That’s about as predictable as the box office success of Adam Sandler.

Inside the NFL
Nick Saban left the wonderful world of college football at Louisiana State to coach the Miami Dolphins, the former team of Mr. Marino. Even on the weekend when Marino became No. 2, he still found a way to make news. Oh wait, he quit as Miami’s top executive way back in the beginning of the year . . . after three weeks on the job.

The NFL Today
Ben “Do you think your Wu-Tang Sword can defeat me?” Roethlisberger got hurt, but still won . . . Eli Manning still stinks . . . The Raiders’ defense continues to decompose when on the field with the lead in the final minute of a game . . . Without Michael Vick, the Falcons are unbelievably not that good . . . Minnesota will never win the big game so long as Central Islip’s favorite son Mike Tice is the coach . . . Are the 49ers on the clock yet?

Honorable mentions
* Since Marino’s acting career is not nearly as prolific as his NFL career, we’re limited in our title selection. However, making no mention of Reggie White would be as tragic as his death at the age of 43. White was a ferocious defensive end who amassed 198 sacks in his NFL career, a record that stood until Bruce Smith got 200 and retired two years ago. I wish I grew up an Eagles or Packers fan because then I’d definitely still own that “Ministry of Defense” poster.

* Shaq vs. Kobe was an exciting game, one worthy of the hype surrounding it. Amazing how the NBA can get us to care about its league on a day when such delicacies as cream puffs, Christmas cookies, bragiole and Italian bread from Brooklyn are available at the ready.