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For Safety, the Cheese Stands Alone

The yellow, foam rubber cheese heads worn by Green Bay Packer fans look silly. But the headwear, as such, saved a Packer fan from serious injury.

Frank Emmert, 36, was flying home to Superior, Wis., recently, when the small plane he was in crashed.

As the plane dropped, Emmert grabbed the wedge-shaped cheese head and covered his head with it. Once on the ground, he discovered that the pilot, Baron Bryan, 25, had a head injury. Emmert suffered only a broken ankle.

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Trivia time: One of the most prestigious awards in sports is named after the biggest loser in his sport’s history. What is the award?

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Soccer fan: Gene Collier in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “This just in: Zurich, Switzerland (AP): FIFA president Joao Havelange agreed in principle to rotate the World Cup tournament among soccer’s regional confederations.

“What a relief! Oh, it’s going to be a great Christmas after all!”

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Predictable: David Letterman, on Thanksgiving night: “Quarterback Boomer Esiason of the New York Jets passed the gravy today, but it was intercepted and run back for a touchdown.”

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Puppy love: J.J. Stokes, former UCLA standout wide receiver, caught two touchdown passes for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams--his first scores in the NFL.

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“Now Stokes needs to work on his end zone shtick,” Scott Ostler wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. “After scoring his first touchdown, Stokes spiked the ball, then remembered he wanted to keep it as a souvenir and chased it down like a guy trying to corner a runaway puppy.”

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Win, or else: Dominique Wilkins, former NBA standout, now playing for Panathinaikos, a club in Greece, told Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe of the highs and lows of playing for his new team:

“When you lose, oh man, it’s crazy. But when you win, you’re God. You have to see it to believe it.”

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Fashion drawback: Charles Oakley of the New York Knicks told Harvey Araton of the New York Times that he doesn’t like the team’s new uniform--black stripe with orange and blue:

“I wouldn’t mind looking ugly in uniforms with two championships. We’re looking ugly, and we ain’t got no rings.”

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Private matter: Reader Doug Hays points out that the USC-Northwestern matchup in the Rose Bowl is the first time that two private universities have played in the game since 1939, when USC defeated Duke, 7-3.

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Counterpoint: John Steigerwald in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “The NBA replacement refs have been getting a lot of complaints from the players. What have they been doing, calling traveling and palming violations? How dare they.”

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Trivia answer: Baseball’s Cy Young Award. Young lost 315 games, still the all-time record and probably unbreakable.

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Quotebook: San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young, after appearing in an episode of “Beverly Hills 90210": “I wouldn’t focus on it too much. I unfortunately play myself.”


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