If Tom Brady and the New England Patriots hadn’t lost in the 2008 Super Bowl after an unbeaten regular season, perhaps the pursuit of perfection would have been more agreeable to Coach Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts. . . .
The ring’s the thing, as Eli Manning and the history-shifting New York Giants showed the Patriots two seasons ago. . . .
Don Nelson, coach of the Golden State Warriors, echoed the opinion of Lakers fans when he said of Kobe Bryant’s 44-point, 11-assist effort Tuesday, “That guy is amazing.” . . .
And Bryant, bum finger and all, shows no signs of slowing. . . .
The Baron Davis who helped the Clippers knock off the Boston Celtics is the Baron Davis the Clippers envisioned they’d acquired when they signed him two summers ago. . . .
Too often instead, a far less engaged Davis has shown up. . . .
Including Sunday’s loss to the Clippers, Ray Allen and the Celtics are 0-4 at Staples Center since Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals, when they memorably erased a 24-point, third-quarter deficit to take control of the series against the Lakers. . . .
When Matt Leinart and top-ranked USC played Virginia Tech five years ago at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, the game drew a sellout crowd of 91,665. . . .
When Akeem Ayers and UCLA played Temple at RFK Stadium, former home of the Redskins, Tuesday’s game drew 23,072. . . .
That, believe it or not, was only the second-smallest crowd to see UCLA play in a bowl game, the Bruins and Fresno State drawing only 20,126 to the Silicon Valley Classic in 2003. . . .
For wary USC fans, Joe McKnight’s decision to drive a vehicle owned by a Santa Monica businessman amounted to yet another fumble by the butterfingered junior tailback. . . .
David Shinskie, who quarterbacked Boston College against USC, was the 118th pick in the 2003 amateur baseball draft. . . .
The 114th was JonathanPapelbon. . . .
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals are the Sporting News’ picks to be the top players of the next decade. . . .
All are 26 or younger. . . .
Rodgers, who famously replaced Brett Favre in Green Bay, is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter. . . .
Former USC linebacker Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans was one of only three rookies named to play in the Pro Bowl. . . .
Alabama, set to play Texas for the BCS title Jan. 7 in Pasadena, has such a long history with the Rose Bowl that the game is mentioned in the school fight song, “Yea, Alabama.” . . .
Goes the lyric, written in the 1920s, “Fight on, fight on, fight on men! Remember the Rose Bowl we’ll win then!” . . .
Bama is 4-1-1 in Rose Bowl games. . . .
Mike Gerrity has given hope to USC basketball fans. . . .
Long Beach State, which has faced Texas, Kentucky and Duke this month, plays the kind of nonconference schedule that UCLA should play. ...
We all knew the day would come when a television commercial touting the PGA Tour would make no mention of Tiger Woods, but nobody would have expected to see it in 2009. . . .
Jason Bay would have been a nice fit in Anaheim. . . .
Taking issue with the so-called “Ramirez Provision,” which would require Dodgers contracts to include a mandatory charitable pledge, reader Connie Comiskey Quickle of Manhattan Beach e-mails to note, “Charitable giving = one of man’s best impulses; charitable giving as a condition of employment = extortion.” . . .
The late Jim Murray, a Pulitzer Prize winner as modest as he was magnificent, would have turned 90 this week. . . .
He died in 1998. . . .
Snow would be perfect, but rain might fall instead on Friday’s NHL Winter Classic game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. . . .
The Winter Classic, in its third incarnation after being played at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008 and Wrigley Field in 2009, is the NHL’s coolest concoction in eons. . . .
Perennial X Games star Travis Pastrana will try to break the world record for longest rally car jump tonight, taking off from a ramp on the Pine Street Pier in Long Beach and landing, he hopes, on a floating barge near the Queen Mary. . . .
For the thrill-seeking Pastrana, who will cover about 270 feet through the air if all goes well, every year’s a leap year.