The announcement several weeks ago by the America's Cup Organizing Committee that Red Star '92 will be recognized as the Russian challenger for the America's Cup still leaves one important question unanswered:
Does Red Star '92 have a boat? If so, where is it?
Background: Two rival Russian syndicates, Red Star '92 and Age of Russia, have been bidding to become the first-ever Russian challenger for the Cup.
And anyone suggesting a merger is told to forget it by Tom Griffin, the Maryland-based licensee for Red Star '92 merchandise.
"There's no chance of a merger because Red Star views Age of Russia as traitors, controlled by the Russian mafia," he said.
Griffin said the Red Star-Age of Russia battle has included "suspected forgeries," the death of the Red Star executive director in a "mysterious" helicopter crash, the defection of Red Star skipper Guram Biganishvili to Age of Russia and the "mysterious" disappearance of one of Red Star's two carbon fiber boats--meaning, apparently, the Age of Russia boat that's now in San Diego.
Also, Griffin said Red Star's drive to build a state-of-the-art boat involved a barter arrangement with a "specialized Siberian labor force" and the swap of 5,000 pounds of potatoes for 100 pounds of titanium.
Meanwhile, after Cup officials recognized Red Star '92 as the only challenger, the Age of Russia crew arrived in San Diego with its boat for the Cup races, which begin Jan. 25.
No sign so far of a Red Star '92 boat, and Cup officials say they know of no one who has seen a Red Star '92 boat.
A little late, Tony: The Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse, Wis., recently made its point with the Green Bay Packers' highly-paid offensive tackle, Tony Mandarich.
The club sued Mandarich not only because he failed to show up for its annual awards dinner but also because his agent, Raymond Pearson, would not return a $500 down payment for the engagement.
A club spokesman said Mandarich not only returned the $500, but sent a second check for another $500.
Trivia time: When Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders set an NCAA record of 295.5 all-purpose yards per game in 1988, whose record did he break?
Laterally speaking: Coach Jerry Glanville of the Atlanta Falcons acknowledged this week that it was over-aggressive of Tim McKyer and Deion Sanders to lateral an interception in the final minute of Saturday's 27-20 victory over New Orleans.
That came after the Falcons lateraled the ball around the field on a kickoff that ended the first half with the ball at one point rolling free on their 10-yard-line.
So, did anyone notice what happened Sunday?
Cris Dishman and Bubba McDowell of Houston did the same with an interception in the final seconds of the Oilers' 17-10 victory over the New York Jets. And who was the first head coach that Dishman and McDowell had in the NFL?
For what it's worth Dept.: Cal State Long Beach sports historian Charles Kokaska points out that there are more Heisman Trophy winners than Outland Trophy winners in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, by a margin of 5 to 4.
The Heisman is awarded to the "most outstanding college player," but the winner is almost always an offensive back. The Outland goes to the most outstanding interior lineman.
The Heisman has been awarded since 1935, the Outland since 1946.
Heisman winners in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Doak Walker (1948), Paul Hornung (1956), Roger Staubach (1963), O.J. Simpson (1968), Earl Campbell (1977).
Outland winners in the Hall: George Connor (1946), Jim Parker (1956), Merlin Olsen (1961), Bobby Bell (1962).
Trivia Answer: Byron (Whizzer) White, who averaged 246.3 yards per game for Colorado in 1937. He is now a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Quotebook: Atlanta Falcon Coach Jerry Glanville: "My coaching career is marred by two regrets. The first is I never met George Halas or Vince Lombardi. The other is that I have met so many of the guys who are coaching now."