Incites | NFL throwing its weight around

While the NFL remains the most successful sports venture in the world, it also seems to go out of its way to create the image of corporate bully.

For instance, the league is in the process of obtaining a trademark on the term "The Big Game."

Stanford and California have been playing "The Big Game" since 1902, whereas the Super Bowl has been around only since 1967, and wasn't even called the Super Bowl in its early years.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the two universities have taken steps to oppose the trademark through Collegiate Licensing Co., and have obtained a three-month extension while considering their legal options.

But that's not the worst example of the NFL's throwing around its weight like a defensive lineman in a Vegas strip show.

Before this year's Super Bowl, NFL executives noticed an unofficial "Super Bowl Bash" advertised on the Web site of an Indianapolis church. The next day, according to the Times, the pastor received a cease-and-desist letter by overnight mail demanding the party be canceled.

When news of that spread, churches around the country nixed similar events.

So before you put your Super Bowl party pics on the Web, think twice.

Somebody out there is watching.

PhilaTrivia: How many current Phillies have a World Series championship ring?

Flyers disease? Goaltender Martin Biron was obtained in a trade Tuesday and took the ice Thursday night still wearing his old Buffalo Sabres pads. It took him less than five minutes to give up a goal.

Welcome to Philadelphia.

History lesson. When the Dallas Cowboys re-signed Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar to a five-year, $8.5 million contract last week, it brought up some old names.

McBriar led the NFL with a 48.2-yard average last season, the best in the league since Hall of Famer Yale Lary's 48.9-yard average in 1963.

He was also the first Cowboys punter to make the Pro Bowl since Ron Widby in 1971.

Be thankful. A new women's soccer league is forming.

There will be no team in Philadelphia.

What's in a name? Musical Echo, winner of last Thursday's sixth race at Santa Anita Park, has a sire and a dam with an identical name: Distant Music.

Normally, such a coincidence would be impossible with horses bred in the United States, where the Jockey Club regulates all thoroughbred names. However in this case, the sire of the cleverly named Musical Echo was an American-bred, while her dam was bred in England.

My favorite equine name of all time? Cigar, naturally.

Where's Temple? The NCAA is phasing out the terms Divisions I-A and I-AA in football. I-A is now the Football Bowl Subdivision, while I-AA is the Football Championship Subdivision.

Where's Jim Kaat? The former American League star who spent three seasons with the Phillies at the end of his career was passed over for election to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee last week.

While national attention focused on omissions like Ron Santo, Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva, there's a case to be made for Kitty, too.

Kaat won 283 games, more than such unquestioned Hall of Famers as Jim Palmer (268), Bob Gibson (251) and Whitey Ford (236). He won at least 20 three times and had a career ERA of 3.45.

Tommy John won 288 career games and Bert Blyleven won 287, so there are other guys out there, too.

There already are 70 pitchers in the hall. But the three named above deserve another look.

P.S.: A total of 21 pitchers have won 300 games in the major leagues. Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux are active. The 19 others are in the hall.

Trivia answer: Four players on the Phillies' active roster have been part of a World Series winner: Antonio Alfonseca (Florida, 1997), Rod Barajas (Arizona, 2001), and Aaron Rowand and Freddy Garcia (Chicago White Sox, 2005).

Post a question or comment

for Don McKee at, or by email at