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T-U 2

T-U 2

"She taught us that being a lady and a wonderful person is way more important than anything that you accomplish on the basketball court."


WNBA star and former Tennessee player, on Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt


Another exciting NFL season has come to an end, so it seems a good time to list some of my highlights.

-- Falcons and Dolphins: Two of the 2007 season's worst teams did a complete turnaround in 2008. In '07, Atlanta finished 4-12, was abandoned by its coach and was reeling from the incarceration of its star quarterback. In '08, the Falcons finished 11-5 and made the playoffs behind rookie quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner. Ryan might have some fans saying "Vick who?" Miami looked worse than Atlanta in '07, winning just one game, but the Dolphins came back behind quarterback Chad Pennington (a Jets reject) to finish 11-5 and win the AFC East.

-- Loser Lions: Detroit's history of losing is extensive, but the Lions really broke the mold in 2008, going 0-16. In several games, it looked as if luck was even rooting against the Lions.

-- Ed Reed: I love good defenses. Personally, I'd rather see low-scoring games with lots of sacks, big tackles, and several interceptions than a high-scoring affair full of long touchdown runs or big passes, so the Baltimore Ravens safety didn't disappoint. Reed had nine interceptions, 16 pass deflections and 41 tackles in 2008. But more importantly, Reed was fun to watch, and I could almost see the fear in the eyes of opposing quarterbacks -- with good reason.

-- Dallas' drama: Soap-opera storylines always make for an interesting dialogue, and leave it to the Cowboys to perform their own version of "Days of our Lives." Terrell Owens, ever the damsel in distress, was reportedly upset that leading man Tony Romo had dumped Owens for a much younger Jason Witten. ESPN reported that T.O. was angry because Romo and Witten held private meetings and created plays without including Owens. I think they also wouldn't share their dolls. Maybe after the summer hiatus, T.O. could find out that he and Witten are really long-lost brothers, but Owens was brainwashed by an evil scientist who had them separated as part of a diabolical plan. Tune in next season to see how it plays out.

-- DeAngelo Williams: Unlike T.O., the Carolina Panthers running back was all about teamwork, and he helped created one of the best running duos in the league with Jonathan Stewart. Emerging from DeShaun Foster's shadow, Williams finished 2008 with 1,515 rushing yards and 18 TDs. More importantly, he carried my fantasy Football team into the playoffs and secured a raise and a second season on Peyton's Place's roster in '09.


Tonight, Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt will try to earn her 1,000th career victory as the Lady Vols go against second-ranked Oklahoma.

Summitt is already the winningest coach in college basketball, and she's unlikely to be caught. It's an even more amazing accomplishment when you consider that no other Division I women's team other than Tennessee even has 1,000 wins.

When Tennessee hired a 22-year-old Summitt in 1974, there was little emphasis on women's basketball. The Lady Vols, as they exist today, are solely the result of Summitt's hard work and dedication.

Summitt commands more than a million dollars a year now and has brought eight national titles to Knoxville.

Other teams saw Summitt's success at building a marketable team. Now schools like UConn, Duke, UNC, LSU, Baylor, Rutgers and many more draw legions of fans and generate revenue.

But what Summitt has really done is spearhead a culture of support and respect for women's basketball, and for women's sports in general. And that accomplishment can't be measured by any amount of wins.

Compiled by PARIS MOULDEN/The Times-Union

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 4, 2009

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