Your morning roundup for Feb 4, the day we learned we were elite, too. Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors..

What we watched: The Lakers eke one out against the Nuggets. Two things struck me during this game. One, it is just weird that Mike Brown is the coach of the Lakers and two, God bless Ron Artest.

Maybe I've got a soft spot for him because he is a New York guy, but I get such a kick out of his insanity. I don't think I'll ever refer to him as "Metta World Peace" but that's what makes him so great. Listening to Hubie Brown and whatever lesser version Mike Breen that was doing play by play constantly refer to "World Peace" just makes me chuckle every time. You know a little part of them dies each time they say it in that professional tone that belies their true feelings of embarrassment.


What we're watching (all times EST, unless noted): NHL: Pittsburgh at Boston at 1:00 p.m. (NHL Net). NBA: Philadelphia at Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. (local comcast), Denver at Portland at 10:00 p.m (NBA TV). College Basketball: Virginia at FLorida State at 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3), Vanderbilt at Florida at 1:00 p.m. (CBS), Kansas at Missouri at 9:00 p.m. (ESPN).

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Poor, poor Philadelphia: "'Eli Manning reminds me of Wil Wheaton in "Stand by Me," ' the late-night radio host began. 'He's the kid brother whose older brother died and every one is always comparing him to his older brother, saying how great the older brother was. And so Eli is like that younger brother that we all know who has always labored under this shadow.' What was surprising about the comment was not the fact that, in the realm of sports talk radio, evocations of obscure '80s actors are rare and somewhat nuanced, and that pop culture-based psychological comparisons are rarer still. No, what was notable was the city where those utterances were made. It wasn't in New York, on WFAN. Nor was the source of those Manning-related musings some eccentric's ham radio pulsing out signals from a loft in Poughkeepsie. The city was Philadelphia, and the station 610 WIP, was one on which sensitively conceived, positive insights regarding Eli Manning or the Giants are heard as frequently as statues of Rocky are glimpsed in Manhattan. But these are strange days for Eagles fans who have an uncomfortable choice between two equally contemptible foes in the Super Bowl. There are the Patriots, reviled for squelching the last and most fruitful opportunity for the Eagles' first Super Bowl title, in 2005. And then there are the Giants, who are, well, the Giants." [NY Times]



Good thing everyone gets the NFL Network: "The most revealing part of Goodell's session related to Thursday night games on the NFL Network. More Thursday night games will be played next season, with every team playing at least one Thursday game following a Sunday game and each team having at least one prime-time game, either on Thursday, Sunday or Monday. Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams, and cities the primetime stage, Goodell said. 'Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend in the season's first 15 weeks,' he added. There will be a total of 17 Thursday games, including the season opener and three games on Thanksgiving. Thursday night games will be played every week between Weeks 2 and 15. The NFL Network, which aired eight games last season, will broadcast 13 in 2012. The league is currently negotiating deals with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision to carry the network. 'We think it's great for the fans, for the teams - and great for the network,' Goodell said." [NY Daily News]

Yes, I said 'baloney" your honor: "The Los Angeles Dodgers asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge on Friday to disallow claims against the team filed by Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan nearly beaten to death outside Dodger Stadium last spring. Stow and his family sued the Dodgers in California state court, then filed the claim with the federal court in July, weeks after owner Frank McCourt put the team in bankruptcy. 'The Stow claim is, when stripped to its core, based on the faulty premise that a landowner is an insurer of the safety of persons on its property,' the Dodgers said in a 37-page motion filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross. Stow's attorney, Tom Girardi, disagreed with the Dodgers' filing. 'All of these issues that they're raising now have already been raised in the California state court, and they were already denied,' Girardi told 'It took the court about 14 seconds to say "baloney." These are triable issues of fact. And that case is still pending.'" [ESPN LA]


Your unnecessary explanation Interlude:

Genius or troll, or genius-troll?: "On Wednesday, the Patriots took a 30-minute break during practice, the length of the extended halftime period for Sunday's games. The regular halftime period lasts 12 minutes. 'It really gets into a whole restarting mentality,' coach Bill Belichick said today at his morning press conference. 'It's not like taking a break and coming out in the second half. It's like starting the game all over again. It's like playing a game, stopping, and then playing a second game. It's like a double-header in baseball, if you will.' Belichick said he wanted his players to go through the adapted routine to get used to it, both mentally and physically." [Newark Star-Ledger]


"He didn't disclose the reason for the decision": "Federal prosecutors dropped their investigation of Lance Armstrong on Friday, ending a nearly two-year effort aimed at determining whether the seven-time Tour de France winner and his teammates participated in a doping program. Armstrong has steadfastly denied he doped during his unparalleled career, but the possibility of criminal charges threatened to stain his legacy as the world's greatest cyclist and could have cast a shadow over his cancer charity work. 'This is great news,' Armstrong attorney Mark Fabiani said in a statement. 'Lance is pleased that the United States Attorney made the right decision, and he is more determined than ever to devote his time and energy to Livestrong and to the causes that have defined his career.' The probe, anchored in Los Angeles where a grand jury was presented evidence by federal prosecutors and heard testimony from Armstrong's former teammates and associates, began with a separate investigation of Rock Racing, a cycling team owned by fashion entrepreneur Michael Ball. United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. announced in a press release that his office iis closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong.'" [TIME]

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