Some stocking stuffers:
Most think that the NFL only plays football games and make gobs of money. In truth, its main purpose is to forgive and forget.
Remember Michael Vick? The dogs are undoubtedly gone, or still in doggie hospitals, but Vick is still with us.
And do we think for one moment that Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson won't be back in helmet and pads and doing some legal hitting next season?
Not this season, of course. That might stir criticism of their presence alongside a steady stream of NFL-created TV ads that decry domestic violence. "No More," say the husky men with the familiar faces of players or ex-players.
One guess is those ads will be gone by next September's kickoffs, and Rice and Peterson will be back then, or shortly thereafter. We are a country of second chances, after all. When we follow the noble Nobel lead of the NFL, we can rehab these guys in football games, rather than jail, where the rest of us would be.
Then, there is not forgiving and forgetting.
If the name rang a bell as you watched, hearken back to Sept. 4, 2009, a college football opener, Boise State versus Oregon. It was also Chip Kelly's Oregon head-coaching debut, a job that led him to his current spot as the Philadelphia Eagles coach.
When the loss to Boise State ended and the players streamed onto the field, Blount, the Ducks' starting running back, took exception to something said to him. In the milling around, Blount cold-cocked Boise State's Byron Hout.
It was a solid right hand that, at first, cost Blount a season's suspension. But Oregon, perhaps finding inspiration from the NFL Second Chance League, allowed him back for the last four games of the season. He played in two, including the Rose Bowl.
Still, there might be some lack of gratitude for the Ducks' generosity and second chance.
When Sunday night's telecast flashed each player on the screen as a way of introduction — you know, where a bunch of players identify themselves as being from "THE Ohio State," as if there was another one — Blount said he was from "Tyler County High School."
Television's pandering to Tiger Woods can be mind-boggling. If Woods were watching, rather than playing, he'd probably be embarrassed.
Last week's Golf Channel telecast of the annual Woods Foundation invitational tournament in Florida — it moved from Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks and is now called the Hero World Challenge — broke away at one point to report that Lindsey Vonn, Woods' girlfriend, had won a ski race. There were even pictures to go with the golly, gee-whiz report.
Steve Alford has put himself in a tough position at UCLA, using his son, Bryce, to run the team as starting point guard. So far, mostly against a diet of teams you won't be putting in your Final Four bracket, Bryce has shown good shooting range and the attribute needed by all great point guards — eyes in the back of his head.
Sons playing for fathers is never easy. Al McGuire once dealt uniquely with that at Marquette in the late 1970s, when his son, Allie, turned out to be a high school All-American. When it came time to recruit him, Al walked down the hall and knocked on Allie's bedroom door.
Then, there was the inevitable question at the news conference announcing this. How would Allie fit into the lineup, Al was asked. "He will start," Al replied. "He's my son."
Little candy canes: When will football players stop reaching over the goal line with the ball as they lunge toward the end zone? Maybe after 100 of them fumble, coaches can start passing out T-shirts and signs that say: CARRY IT OVER. …Is there a chance that the same psychologist who must be attending to the befuddled Notre Dame football team after its midseason collapse is also huddling with the San Francisco 49ers? ... Broadcaster Al Michaels may have given the movement for a new stadium in San Diego its best shot yet. On Sunday night's telecast, he said that walking through the halls underneath the stands at Qualcomm is like "walking through the ruins."… The Chargers want a new stadium. If not, they might move up the freeway to hated, despised, reviled Los Angeles. That move would cause massive San Diego community depression, as well as a run on hooded sweatshirts, allowing longtime Chargers fans to drive to L.A. for games without being seen.