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The Daily Word in Black Friday, Black Widow and Giant Tortoise.

Nerves still high in Israel, despite cease-fire.

Black Friday started on Thursday this year, and some people are really unhappy about it.

Tragedy strikes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Scientist believe they can bring a particular species of giant tortoise back from extinction.

World famous pool player “Black Widow” sues Albuquerque company over endorsment deal.

Chickenpox outbreak in Indiana is apparently the largest in US history.

Family of Hector Camacho wrestles with life support decision.

Bernalillo County commissioners gain international attention over upcoming vote to amend animal ordinance.

Yesterday in the NFL: The Texans won, the Cowboys lost and the Patriots embarrassed the Jets.

Black Friday in a nutshell: an incredibly overwhelming nutshell.

I hope you had a better Thanksgiving than this cat had.

sports

Superbowl recap

Manning might be Brady's kryptonite

Photo by Paul Sancya

The Giants beat the Patriots again, and all of a sudden, we've got a new meme. The idea that Tom Brady is incapable of beating Eli Manning gained some serious traction on Sunday night, as the New York G-Men beat New England's favorite son for the second time in the biggest game of them all.

While a big story at the water cooler today might revolve around the half time show and the maybe-controversy of Madonna's guest M.I.A. flipping the bird, there was plenty of football to comment on, too. The game, while sloppy in many places, proceeded at a pace that was far from predicted. The 38 total points fell pretty easily under the Vegas-based line of 53, and probably surprised many people who were expecting an offensive slugfest.

With two points scored in the first six minutes of play, the Giants seized control of the game quickly, thanks to an unusual safety. Brady had attempted a pass from his own end zone, which was ruled intentional grounding, resulting in the two points and a return of possession to the Giants.

Just five and a half minutes later, the Giants cashed in on that drive, making the score 9-0. The Patriots were seemingly on the ropes. However, New England started the second quarter by chipping in a field goal after five minutes. They proceeded to make two strong defensive stands, sandwiched by an anemic offensive set of three-and-out, but followed up that weakness by going 99 yards in just under 4 minutesa performance that netted them a touchdown and the lead to go into halftime.

After the halftime controversy that wasn'talthough it's probably a good thing Heather Wilson isn't our Representative here in New Mexico anymorethe big surprises started coming. The slow start might have been expected, given Super Bowl-sized nerves, but surely no one counted on 19 points in the first half being repeated in the second.

The Patriots grabbed a lead, seemingly confident even as the Giants first kicked one field goal and then another, to pull within two points. But the fourth quarter opened with Brady throwing it deep, only to be intercepted. The following drive by the Giants, while resulting in no points, killed enough clock that things were getting to an end point, no matter what. With that same two-point lead, the Patriots were in a delicate position.

That perilous footing proved to be disastrous when, following a null Patriots set, Eli Manning orchestrated a big drive, sparked by a dazzling 38-yard Mario Manningham sideline catch. The Giants milked the clock and got deep enough field position that Patriots coach Bill Belichick gambled on allowing the touchdown to go through, leaving Brady and co. just under one minute to put together a game-winning drive.

But it wasn't to be. Patriot receivers had ket drops as the game dwindled, and Brady's final Hail Mary pass was batted up in the end zone, falling just out of reach of a diving Rob Gronkowski. It resulted in a 21-17 G-Men win.

Belichick and Brady are now 3-2 in Super Bowls together, and Manning is 2-0. No one can deny the Patriots their place as a dynasty, but it appears there is a new force to be reckoned with at the top of the heap.

sports

NFL conference championships coming up

A potential Superbowl rematch is in the cards
A potential Superbowl rematch is in the cards

So, it'll be San Francisco versus the New York Giants and New England versus Baltimore. All for the right to go to the biggest game of the year. No more upstart Broncos, no more defending-champ Packers. No more surprise Texans, and no more record-breaking Saints.

Obviously, the majority of the public wants to see a rematch of Super Bowl XLII with the Patriots facing the Giants. It's not that simple, though.

In order to get past the 49ers, the Giants will have to overcome the underdog story of the year. With Alex Smith (he of the No. 1 pick who has disappointed in almost every one of his six previous seasons in the NFL) gunning, the 49ers have impressed upon nearly everyone by now the fact that they are a serious team. By beating the New Orleans Saints in dramaticif not overwhelmingfashion, the 49ers have proved that its sometimes-anemic offense (especially in regards to the passing game) is not a problem and its defense is a facet upon which they may hang their collective hat.

The Giants, on the other hand, rolled over the Green Bay Packers in such demonstrative fashion that their offense, which was well-heralded previously, may become secondary to a defensive unit that sacked opposing quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times. The Giants also had their way on offense, with Eli Manning picking apart the Packers' defense in way that was rather embarrassing.

In the AFC, the New England Patriots put an end to the miracle story of Tim Tebow's Broncos. The team-that-could just ran into a buzz saw and was clearly outmatched. Tebow outlived expectations this year and should be proud of the wins he (and the Broncos defense) managed this season, as well as making it to the playoffs, but the Patriots offense hung 45 points on the vaunted Broncos defense.

New England looks to continue its performance next weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, whose defense is miles ahead of the Broncos. The only hitch in the Ravens' game plan could be found in their regular season record: Of the four games they lost, all were away from home. Next week they'll play at Gillette Stadium, where New England is a tidy 7-1. That sole loss, by the way? It came to the New York Giants.

Both games will be televised on Sunday, with Baltimore and New England at 1 PM on CBS, and New York playing in San Francisco at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

Diaz retires Penn, Ravens escape Cardinals, Steelers hold off Patriots

Diaz was too much for BJ Penn.
Diaz was too much for BJ Penn.
UFC 137

Despite the UFC 137 main event changes, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz delivered an exciting bout featuring a back and forth, crowd-pleasing battle. In the first round, Penn was very aggressive by getting the better of the striking and momentarily taking Diaz' back. But in the second and third rounds Diaz' conditioning enabled him to give Penn the worst beating of his career. Diaz demonstrated pinpoint accuracy by nailing Penn with lethal combinations to the head and body. Despite Penn bleeding for the first time in his career, he still showed fighting spirit by not allowing the former Strikeforce champion to finish him. But getting beat up by Diaz forced BJ Penn to unexpectedly retire from the sport. No one knows for certain if Penn has truly retired, but if he has, Penn doesn't have anything to be ashamed about. Meanwhile Diaz’ performance was enough to convince UFC President Dana White to grant him a title shot against George St. Pierre. While GSP vs. Diaz will be a money maker for the UFC, Albuquerque fighter Carlos Condit lost his title shot and will be forced to climb the ladder again to regain his spot.

It wasn't all bad news for Albuquerque fighters as Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone destroyed Dennis Siver on the Spike TV prelims. Cerrone has gone 4-0 this year and can make a case to fight for the title. But his main goal is to stay active and now is rumored to face Nate Diaz at UFC 141.

Ray Rice had three TD’s.
Ray Rice had three TD’s.
NFL

Last Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens went through a nightmare when they got embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. So when the Ravens welcomed the Arizona Cardinals, many thought Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis would take out their anger on one of the worst teams in the league. Instead, the Cardinals humbled the Ravens defense by taking a 24-6 lead into halftime. But Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin’s seven receptions for 145 yards and running back Ray Rice’s three touchdowns helped fuel a 21-point comeback. The Cardinals tied up the game in the fourth quarter but Flacco’s pass to rookie Torrey Smith set up a Ravens game winning field goal.

Steelers vs. Pats

It's rare to see the New England Patriots get bullied by any team in the NFL. Often Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick push around and frustrate their rivals. But when New England traveled to Pittsburgh, the Steelers turned the tables and dominated the Patriots defense. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made Belichick’s defense look amateur by going 36-50 in the air with two touchdowns. Despite having long offensive drives, New England was unable to finish off their longtime AFC foe. Brady threw a red zone touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cut the lad to six. But a botched onside kick and a safety sealed Pittsburgh's 25-17 victory. With Roethlisberger finally finding his rhythm, the Steelers have recovered from their opening day disaster against the Ravens and look primed for a deep playoff run.

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup: Cowboys, Patriots, Lobo Football

Mike Locksley, UNM’s head football coach, looking concerned
Mike Locksley, UNM’s head football coach, looking concerned

NFL

America's game made its yearly debut yesterday and as usual delivered great drama and compelling action. Despite penalties and the lack of scoring, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins had the intensity of a playoff game. Even though Tony Romo outplayed new Redskins QB Donovan McNabb, Romo was unable to score touchdowns. However the Cowboys had a chance to win the game on the final play, but a holding penalty cost “America's Team” the season opener.

If the Cowboys want to be a playoff team they will have to fix basic mistakes they should have corrected in training camp. Meanwhile McNabb showed the world he can take the Redskins to a division championship.

The New England Patriots looked like a Super Bowl contender against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns with star receiver Wes Welker catching two of them. So after a dominating victory, why is Patriot receiver Randy Moss angry? After watching Brady receive a new contract, Moss made his feelings known during the 15 minute press conference, stating his team is disrespecting him by not giving him a new contract. Time will tell if Moss's crying will become a distraction for a Patriots team that has to play their best football each week to win.

Every football fan thought Eagles quarterback Michael Vick’s days as a starter was a faded memory. But when Eagles starter Kevin Kolb went down with an concussion, the Michael Vick experience was back open for business. Despite losing to the Packers 27-20, Vick showed he still had the ability to become a starter in the league. Even if Kolb returns, Eagles coach Andy Reid was impressed with Vick's performance and may decide to keep Vick as the starter.

Lobo Football

UNM Fans were looking to erase the memory of the embarrassing 72-0 beatdown given by from the Oregon Ducks. The Lobos made some positive strides with an improved passing and running game against Texas Tech. But the Lobos never gave themselves an opportunity to win because of fundamental mistakes and foolish false start penalties. They lost 52-17 and now are in a must-win situation against Utah next week.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a new coach and remain outside the Top 25, but they are considered a power team from the Big 12. For the Lobos to be so unprepared and undisciplined is a massive concern. Lobo Head Coach Mike Locksley needs to repair the mistakes from the past couple of weeks against Utah or else he could be looking new job on Monster.com.

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