January 29, 2006

(3) North Carolina 74, (2) Duke 70

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Now the fun starts for North Carolina, the last remaining unbeaten team in Division I.

"We know that we can't let down in any way, shape or form," coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "You've got that big zero on you."

Not to mention No. 1.

Erlana Larkins had 17 of her season-high 23 points in the second half, Ivory Latta added 17 points and a steadying influence down the stretch and the third-ranked Tar Heels rallied to beat No. 2 Duke 74-70 Sunday night.

Since the Blue Devils knocked off No. 1 Tennessee earlier in the week -- and the Lady Vols lost again a few days later -- the winner in the renewal of this Tobacco Road rivalry was all but assured of moving to the top spot when The Associated Press poll is released Monday.

"I've been doing it 31 years, this is nice," said Hatchell, who led the Tar Heels to the NCAA championship in 1994. "I'd like to have it the last game of the season. It happened to me one time before, and there's nothing sweeter than that."

It would be the first time North Carolina has been No. 1, and denying Duke (20-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) the same honor likely will feel just as good. The Tar Heels (20-0, 7-0) continued the best start in school history with their fourth straight victory over the Blue Devils.

The rematch comes Feb. 25.

"This was by far the most physical game, and you can't just turn it on in one game," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "You have to prepare for that, I think, every single day in practice. I know that we will be better because of this game."

Camille Little scored 14 points for North Carolina, while teammate La'Tangela Atkinson tied a career high with 15 rebounds and added two clinching free throws in the waning seconds. Mistie Williams led the Blue Devils with 16 points, and Monique Currie finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Tar Heels had to work for this one. Duke led 40-27 at halftime and still was ahead by 12 midway through the second half. But most of that came with Larkins on the bench in foul trouble, and when she returned, the game changed.

"We were expecting them to come back," Currie said. "They're a really good team, so I wasn't surprised."

Larkins had nine points in the first 4 minutes following the break, then helped North Carolina come back from that double-digit deficit.

After Little had consecutive layups, Larkins worked inside for two of her own to make it 58-54 as the Blue Devils suddenly went cold. Abby Waner momentarily stopped the drought with a jumper, but Larkins helped free Atkinson with a screen on the ensuing possession to keep the lead at four.

"We just came out and played with the intensity we didn't have in the first half," Larkins said. "We got out in the passing lanes and got on our players, and our help defense was good."

The Tar Heels tied it for the first time since midway through the first half on a putback by reserve LaToya Pringle, and it was 64-64 when Larkins was fouled with 3:11 remaining. She calmly converted both shots at the line, and Alex Miller drove for two more points.

"We stayed tight with each other, we tried to be confident and positive," Little said. "We just stuck together, and we knew we had to keep playing hard. We knew that we could come back and win the game."

Atkinson scored again off an assist from Larkins to make it 72-69 with 22 seconds on the clock, and when Williams made the first of two free throws, the margin was two. She intentionally missed the next one, but Atkinson was there to corral the miss and was fouled.

"I had a talk with coach Hatchell before the game, and basically she told me to rebound and play defense," Atkinson said. "I was just focused on that on the ride over and stayed focused throughout the game."

As she headed to the line, Latta began strutting a bit, clearly proud of the effort she and her teammates showed in bouncing back. Atkinson swished both free throws, and Currie missed a desperation 3 just before the buzzer.

"I'm just happy it ended like that," Latta said with a smile.

January 26, 2006

1st Black Oscar Winner Honored With Stamp

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to win an Academy Award, was honored Wednesday with a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp.

McDaniel is the 29th person honored in the Postal Service's long-running Black Heritage stamp series.

The 39-cent stamp depicts the plump-faced McDaniel in a 1941 photograph in the blue dress she wore when she received the Oscar for best supporting actress in "Gone with the Wind" in February 1940.

McDaniel played Scarlett O'Hara's maid in the 1939 movie about the Civil War.

"She was a most special lady," McDaniel's "Gone with the Wind" co-star Ann Rutherford told AP Television News.

Rutherford recalled how McDaniel thought some of her friends looked down on her for playing a maid.

"But (McDaniel) said, 'I'd rather play a maid than be a maid,'" Rutherford said.

Rutherford, who portrayed Scarlett O'Hara's sister "Carreen," was joined at the ceremony by fellow "Gone with the Wind" cast members Cammie King Conlon ("Bonnie Blue Butler") and Mickey Kuhn ("Beau Wilkes").

McDaniel was born in 1895 in Kansas and arrived in Hollywood in 1931 after starting her career in vaudeville and on radio. She died in 1952.

The ceremony took place at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where the Hattie McDaniel collection includes photographs of McDaniel and other family members, as well as scripts and other documents.

The collection also contains a large number of recordings from her radio program, "Beulah," which was broadcast on national radio and the first to feature a black star.

The new stamp was made available Wednesday in Beverly Hills and will be sold nationwide Thursday.

January 22, 2006

Steelers, on Road, Advance to Super Bowl

DENVER - Big Ben, The Bus and all those Terrible Towels sure are traveling well this postseason. Next stop, the Super Bowl, the final destination of a Pittsburgh road trip the Denver Broncos were powerless to derail.

Ben Roethlisberger had a brilliant afternoon, throwing for 275 yards and two scores, and Jerome Bettis extended his career one more game, lifting the Steelers to a dominating 34-17 victory in the AFC title game Sunday.

Bettis said, "We're going home!" as the game wore down and he celebrated on the sideline. He is, indeed, back to his hometown of Detroit for Pittsburgh's first appearance in the Super Bowl since 1995.

"I thought we could get there. It's come true," he said. "Detroit, watch out. Here we come!"

Outschemed, outplayed and pushed around all day, the Broncos (14-4) shuffled off to their locker room, heads down, after their first home loss in 10 tries this season.

"They had a great game plan," said Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, now 2-1 in AFC title games. "They played big on the road, very well-coached game, very well-played game."

Though Pittsburgh's next game, against either Seattle or Carolina, will be a homecoming for Bettis, the Steelers (14-5) have looked extremely comfortable on the road.

They became the first team to win three away games to make it to the Super Bowl since the 1985 New England Patriots. Some might look at that as a surprise. Anyone who has watched the Steelers over the past decade — and especially the last two months — certainly wouldn't.

They came out passing, not running, much the same way they did when they upset Indianapolis last week. Roethlisberger called pass plays on seven of Pittsburgh's first 11 snaps and threw completions on five of those.

The first drive resulted in a field goal. On Denver's next possession, Pittsburgh's Joey Porter blitzed to force a Jake Plummer fumble. Five plays later, Roethlisberger hit Cedrick Wilson for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead, quieting the Invesco Field crowd much as the Steelers did in Indy last week and Cincinnati the week before.

After a Denver field goal, the Steelers essentially salted this game with a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ate up nearly 7 1/2 minutes and had the Broncos defense totally off balance and gasping for air. The Steelers converted six of seven third downs in the first half.

Bettis capped it by bulling in from the 3 for a 17-3 lead to put him well on his way to the Super Bowl. Jut-jawed coach Bill Cowher smiled widely for that one, remembering Bettis' near disaster on the goal line last week in Indy.

"This is a great group of guys, how we got here, we're a different team," Cowher said. "We're a focused team, no matter what's happened, we've stayed together. We've got a resilient group."

The Broncos trailed by two touchdowns, but they had escaped worse predicaments in the past.

But there was no Drive, no Fumble, no comeback and no you-know-who on the field this day.

John Elway was on hand, but sitting in a luxury suite, watching the Broncos fall short of the ultimate destination for the seventh straight year since he led them to their second championship.

Plummer, who had played so well in the lead all season, finally faced some comeback pressure and failed miserably. He went 18-for-30 for 223 yards with two lost fumbles and two interceptions.

He threw one pass underhanded, scrambled for his life and, though valiant as always, proved what had been proved many times before — that he can't do it by himself.

Trailing by two touchdowns, Jake the Snake lobbed a terrible pass into the flat that was easily intercepted by Ike Taylor. Moments later, Bettis ran it in from 12 yards for an apparent touchdown on third down.

A penalty nullified that, but it only set up Roethlisberger for his best throw of the day — a 17-yard touchdown that barely cleared the fingertips of Al Wilson and Nick Ferguson, before finding Hines Ward tucked neatly in the back of the end zone.

That made it 24-3.

Roethlisberger ran to the sideline and celebrated by pretending to fire six-shooters from his hip. Yep, he was on target all day in this one — 24 yards to Heath Miller, 17 more to Wilson, 21 to Ward and 18 to Wilson again, all after being given ample time against Denver's ill-timed blitz.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Denver pulled within 27-17 and got the ball back at its 20.

But Plummer lost a fumble on fourth-and-10 and that pretty much made it official: The Steelers would be back in the big game, searching for that long elusive fifth world championship — that "One For The Thumb" — to add to the 1970s legacy of Bradshaw, Swann, Stallworth and Harris.

It has been a long road between then and now for the Steelers. Five AFC title games since 1994, all at home, resulted in only one victory, leading many to wonder if the pressure of being a favorite, or doing it in front of the home crowd, was something the Steelers could handle.

Cowher, now in his 14th year, kept his job through it all — the Rooney family cherishes stability over all else.

"It feels great today, I'll tell you that," Steelers owner Dan Rooney said. "The coach already told me we're going to the Super Bowl to win it, not just to be there."

As the clock wound down, Cowher was still going full tilt on the sideline, jabbing his finger at Bettis, preaching ball control and no repeat of last week's fumble in Indy.

Roethlisberger put this one away, diving in on third-and-goal and sending the crowd home.

Except, that is, for the loyal Pittsburgh partisans.

They stayed 'til the end, watching Cowher share hugs with Roethlisberger, Joey Porter and especially The Bus.

They blanketed the corners of Invesco with black and gold, waving those Terrible Towels and holding up their Steelers banners.

"Next Bus Stop: Detroit," one said.

In all, it looked like a home away from home for the Steelers — pretty much like every stop they've made on their magical ride this postseason.

January 21, 2006

(17) Oklahoma 73, (8) Baylor 70

WACO, Texas Kendra Moore made two 3-pointers in the final 17 seconds, the game-winner coming with less than a second left, and No. 17 Oklahoma beat Baylor 73-70 on Saturday night to break the Lady Bears' 25-game home winning streak.

After Moore put the Sooners (15-4, 5-0 Big 12) up 70-68 with her first 3-pointer of the game, Baylor pushed the ball up the court for Angela Tisdale's driving layup with 7.2 seconds left. Play continued, and Moore drove to an opening on the right wing and hit with 0.8 seconds left.

Baylor got a timeout, but Jordan Davis' desperation inbound pass was knocked down at midcourt as time expired.

Courtney Paris had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Oklahoma. Paris, a 6-foot-4 freshman center, entered the game second in the Big 12 in scoring with a 20.7 average and tops in rebounding at 15.0. Moore finished with 14 points and Erin Higgins had 11.

Sophia Young led Baylor (13-3, 3-3) with 18 points, three below her Big 12-leading scoring average. She also had nine rebounds. Tisdale had 16 points, Chameka Scott 15 and Abiola Wabara 13.

Oklahoma trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, but tied it at 43 when Paris made an inside basket and then hit a free throw with 13:40 left. Paris missed all four of her free throws in the first half, then made all five after halftime.

The game was tied eight more times after that, and the margin was never more than four points.

Moore, blocked by Abiola Wabara on the previous offensive possession, penetrated the lane and hit 13-footer with 1:38 left to tie it at 67. Wabara then drove and hit her second free throw after being fouled.

Higgins' 3-point attempt hit both sides of the rim before popping out, then Baylor missed two shots of its own before Oklahoma crossed midcourt and called timeout with 31 seconds left.

The Sooners worked the ball inside, with both Paris sisters -- Courtney and 6-3 Ashley -- touching the ball before kicking it out to Moore for her first go-ahead basket from the left wing.

Tisdale was part of eight straight points that put Baylor up 21-11. She had a pass to Scott for a layup, then hit a 3-pointer and three free throws.

Oklahoma scored eight straight to get to 27-25 on a 3-pointer by Higgins with five minutes left in the half. The Sooners didn't get closer before halftime, when they trailed 35-31.

Former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore, the Women's Basketball Hall of Famer who Mulkey-Robertson played and coached for, attended the game. Barmore was recognized during a timeout in the first half, and Mulkey-Robertson came out of Baylor's huddle to hug her former coach at midcourt.

Mulkey-Robertson was a point guard during a four-year stretch when Louisiana Tech had a 130-6 record and won back-to-back national titles. She then spent 15 seasons on Barmore's staff and was part of another national title there, before coming to Baylor in 2000 and leading the Lady Bears to last year's national title.

January 20, 2006

Stormy Actor Anthony Franciosa Dies at 77

Anthony Franciosa, who turned in a string of moody, charged performances in a string of movies and TV shows in the late 1950s and 1960s, but whose combative behavior also hampered his career, died Friday of a massive stroke at UCLA Medical Center. He was 77.

His wife of 35 years, Rita, and other family members were present, according to his publicist Dick Guttman.

Franciosa was nominated for a best actor Oscar in 1958 for his performance as a junkie's beleaguered brother in "A Hatful of Rain," a portrayal that previously won him raves on Broadway.

Franciosa's movie career began with a sizzle in 1957, when he was cast in major productions for the top directors. He debuted as an introverted nightclub owner in Robert Wise's "This Could Be the Night" and played a sleazy personal manager in Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd." The same year, he re-created his Broadway role for film, starring in Fred Zinnemann's adaptation of "A Hatful of Rain," which also starred Eva Marie Saint and Don Murray.

Franciosa was part of the new wave of mid-20th century performers who revolutionized film acting with their introspective, intensely realistic approach to their roles. Most of them were schooled in the method acting of New York's Actors Studio. They included Marlon Brando, James Dean, Rod Steiger, and Paul Newman.

Franciosa's sly smile and athletic grace won him notice. He was among the hottest rising stars and was cast in juicy parts in such steamy films as Martin Ritt's adaptation of Tennessee Williams "The Long Hot Summer," starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Orson Welles. In George Roy Hill's "Period of Adjustment," another Williams's adaptation, Franciosa starred with Jane Fonda and Lois Nettleton. The film was a potboiler of wayward romance and unstable characters.

He was acclaimed for his volatile performance as the artist Francisco Goya in "The Naked Maja." And with his electric performances garnering praise, Franciosa was signed to star "The Pleasure Seekers," a restyled "Three Coins in the Fountain," which also starred Ann-Margret and Carol Lynley.

In the early 1960s, he went from "Anthony" to "Tony," to lighten his image for frothier roles. Accordingly, "Tony" signed to star in a TV sitcom, "Valentine's Day" (1964-65). He hit his TV stride with "The Name of the Game" (1968-71), "Search" (1972) and "Matt Helm" (1975-76). However, he gained a reputation for being difficult, a description he acknowledged. Franciosa was fired from "The Name of the Game" and his part was rewritten to accommodate a series of performers, including Robert Culp, Peter Falk and Robert Wagner.

"I went to Hollywood in the mid '50s, and I would say I went out there a little too early. It was an incredible amount of attention, and I wasn't quite mature enough psychologically and emotionally for (it,)" he once said.

Anthony Papaleo was born Oct. 25, 1928, in the Little Italy section of New York City. Following high school, he toiled in a number of jobs, including shipyard worker, before he took up acting when in early twenties, accelerating to Broadway after a relatively short period of study.

Following his peak career period in the late 1950s and 1960s, he subsequently appeared in such action films as "Firepower" and "Death Wish II." He starred in such fare as "Death House," a direct-to-video project where he played an innocent man unjustly sent to Death Row who uncovers a military plot to use criminals for medical experiments. His last film appearance was in Harold Becker's depiction of shady urban politics in 1996's "City Hall."

On TV, his more recent acting credits include: "Finder of Lost Loves," "Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife" and "Ghost Writer."

During the course of his career, he guest-starred on numerous shows, among them: "Goodyear Television Playhouse," "Studio One," "Kraft Television Theatre," "The Virginian," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Twilight Zone."

Franciosa was married four times, including a three-year marriage in the late 1950s to Shelley Winters, who died Saturday. He had three children -- a daughter Nina, with his second wife Judy Kanter, and two sons, Christopher and Marco, with his fourth wife Rita.

January 15, 2006

Steelers Upset Colts in Classic

INDIANAPOLIS - The Pittsburgh Steelers gave the Colts every opportunity to steal their playoff game Sunday. In the final moments of one of the most thrilling playoff games anyone can remember, Indy couldn't figure out how to take it.

So the Steelers survived a goal-line fumble by Jerome Bettis and one of the most mysterious replay reversals in NFL history to shatter the Colts' dream season with a 21-18 win. Pittsburgh (13-5) became the first sixth seed to make a conference championship game and will journey to Denver next Sunday for a shot at the Super Bowl.

They will do so breathlessly. Both benches seesawed between elation and agony with every possession as the game hung in the balance, stirring the crowd into waves of deafening sound.

This victory should have been so much easier. The Steelers dominated the Colts (14-3) until a fourth quarter with almost unimaginable twists and turns that ended when Mike Vanderjagt missed his first field goal at home, wide right from 46 yards. Vanderjagt then slammed his helmet to the turf, obviously forgetting how fortunate he was to have the chance.

After Pittsburgh's ferocious defense sacked a befuddled Peyton Manning twice, taking the ball on downs at the Colts 2 with just more than a minute left, Bettis fumbled when hit by Gary Brackett. Nick Harper, whose knee was cut with a knife Saturday in an apparent domestic dispute with his wife, grabbed the ball and headed toward the end zone.

But Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, brilliant all game with his arm and head, tumbled, reached out a hand and made a saving tackle at the Indy 42.

"I was frustrated," Bettis said. "That shouldn't happen, I'm supposed to take care of the football. I was upset that it happened. My defense bailed me out. I can leave here with my head up high."

Given life, Manning passed the Colts into field goal range, but Vanderjagt missed.

"It is disappointing. We had a great regular season, didn't play well enough in the playoffs," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "That is disappointing, we have to pick it up from here. Pittsburgh came in and ratcheted things up and played a great game."

With 5:26 remaining and Pittsburgh on top 21-10, referee Pete Morelli overruled Troy Polamalu's diving interception at the Pittsburgh 48. Replays shown in the stadium and on CBS clearly showed Polamalu catching the ball as he fell, rolling and tumbling with it in his hands, then fumbling it as he got up to run.

Dungy had no choice but to challenge; the Colts were reeling.

After keeping the ball, Manning made some vintage throws — something missing almost all day. Passes of 20 yards to Marvin Harrison and 24 to Reggie Wayne set up a 3-yard TD run by Edgerrin James. When Wayne got a 2-point conversion pass, the lead was down to three.

The Steelers, who won at Cincinnati last week while the AFC South champion Colts were off, built their advantage thanks to a superb game plan they seemed to steal from Indy. Bill Cowher showed why he has been a winning coach for 14 seasons in Pittsburgh, which has won two straight road playoff games for the first time.

Pittsburgh has one of the league's most varied running attacks, but Cowher, mirroring Indy's image, opted to open it up. Roethlisberger threw for two first-quarter touchdowns while Manning was wildly missing his first four passes and feeling pressure from everywhere. He wound up being sacked five times in all.

When the Steelers needed to run, they turned to the speed of Willie Parker and the power of Bettis.

Then everything went wacky.

The Colts were left to wonder where the magic went. They started 13-0, threatening the 1972 Dolphins' perfect season, only to drop three of their next four — including the most meaningful game, Sunday's defeat.

It was a bitter loss for Manning, who has few major wins to go with his individual honors. Until the frenzied final minutes, he was mostly a non-factor.

And it was a sad ending for Dungy, whose son died of an apparent suicide last month. Dungy's team clearly was the NFL's best for 13 weeks. But in the most important weeks, they faltered.

Antwaan Randle El's 6-yard TD reception for a 7-0 lead was his first since the season opener, hardly an impressive stat for a starting receiver. But it capped one of Pittsburgh's most impressive drives of the season, 84 yards in 10 plays, with seven passes, including 36- and 18-yarders to rookie tight end Heath Miller.

Quite a difference from the Steelers' previous trip to the RCA Dome, where the crowd noise caused several false starts and the Colts scored on an 80-yard pass to Harrison on their first offensive play.

With the defense plaguing Manning, the Colts did nothing early. Then Hines Ward broke two tackles on a 45-yard completion, leading to Roethlisberger's 7-yard TD pass to Miller. With 3:12 remaining in the first period, it was 14-0. Shockingly, Pittsburgh had the 14.

Shortening Manning's drops, at times sliding the blocking pocket, the Colts marched 96 yards in 15 plays, taking up nearly 10 minutes of the second period. But their best drive, on which Manning went 6-for-6, ended with only Vanderjagt's 20-yard field goal.

Could three points be any more deflating to the team that scored them?

The potent Colts had all of 123 yards at halftime, 74 in the air, and trailed by 11.

It didn't get better early in the second half. Manning saw pressure for rush linebackers, ends, blitzing backs and even nose tackle Casey Hampton. He nearly was sacked for a safety late in the third period and was downed at the 1, which eventually led to Bettis' 1-yard drive for his 11th TD of the season — and ninth since the Steelers' 26-7 loss here on Nov. 28.

They haven't lost since and now have a shot at their first Super Bowl trip in 10 years.

January 14, 2006

Screen legend Shelley Winters dies

Shelley Winters, the forceful, outspoken star who graduated from blond bombshell parts to dramas, winning Academy Awards as supporting actress in The Diary of Anne Frank and A Patch of Blue, has died. She was 85.

Winters died of heart failure early today at The Rehabilitation Centre of Beverly Hills, her publicist Dale Olson said. She was hospitalised in October after suffering a heart attack.

The actress sustained her long career by repeatedly reinventing herself. Starting as a nightclub chorus girl, she advanced to supporting roles in New York plays, then became famous as a Hollywood sexpot.

A devotee of the Actors Studio, she switched to serious roles as she matured, and she won her Oscars portraying mothers. Still working well into her 70s, she had a recurring role as Roseanne's grandmother on the 1990s TV show Roseanne.

In 1959's The Diary of Anne Frank, she was Petronella Van Daan, mother of Peter Van Daan and one of eight real-life Jewish refugees in World War II Holland who hid for more than a year in cramped quarters until they were betrayed and sent to Nazi death camps. The socially conscious Winters donated her Oscar statuette to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

In 1965's Patch of Blue, she portrayed a hateful, foul-mouthed mother who tries to keep her blind daughter, who is white, apart from the kind black man who has befriended her.

Ever vocal on social and political matters, Winters was a favoured guest on television talk shows, and she demonstrated her frankness in two autobiographies: Shelley, Also Known as Shirley (1980) and Shelley II: The Middle of My Century (1989).

She wrote openly in them of her romances with Burt Lancaster, William Holden, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and other leading men.

"I've had it all," she exulted after her first book became a best seller. "I'm excited about the literary aspects of my career. My concentration is there now."

Typically Winters, she also had a complaint about her literary fame: while reviewers treated her book as a serious human document, she said, talk show hosts Phil Donahue and Johnny Carson "only want to know about my love affairs".

Winters, whose given name was Shirley Schrift, was appearing in the Broadway hit Rosalinda when Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn offered her a screen test. A Columbia contact and a new name -- Shelley Winters -- followed, but all the good roles at the studio were going to Jean Arthur in those days.

Her early films included such light fare as Knickerbocker Holiday, Sailor's Holiday, Cover Girl, Tonight and Every Night, and Red River.

Her contract over, Winters returned to New York, replacing Celeste Holm as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!

She would soon be called back and signed to a seven-year contract at Universal. She vamped her way through a number of potboilers for the studio, including South Sea Sinner, with Liberace as her dance-hall pianist, and Frenchie, as wild saloon owner Frenchie Fontaine, out to avenge her father's murder.

The only hint of her future as an actress came in 1948's A Double Life as a trashy waitress strangled by a Shakespearian actor, Ronald Colman. The role won Colman an Oscar.

A Place in the Sun in 1951 brought her first Oscar nomination and established her as a serious actress. She desperately sought the role of the pregnant factory girl drowned by Montgomery Clift so he could marry Elizabeth Taylor. The director, George Stevens, rejected her at first for being too sexy.

"So I scrubbed off all my makeup, pulled my hair back and sat next to him at the Hollywood Athletic Club without his even recognising me because I looked so plain. That got me the part," she recalled in a 1962 interview.

She received her final Oscar nomination, for 1972's The Poseidon Adventure, in which she was one of a handful of passengers scrambling desperately to survive aboard an ocean liner turned upside down by a tidal wave. By then she had put on a good deal of weight, and following a scene in which her character must swim frantically she charmed audiences with the line: "In the water I'm a very skinny lady."

Although she became in demand as a character actress after her first Oscar nomination, Winters continued to study her craft. She attended Charles Laughton's Shakespeare classes and worked at the Actors Studio, both as student and teacher. She appeared on Broadway as the distraught wife of a drug addict in A Hatful of Rain and as the Marx Brothers' mother in Minnie's Boys.

Among her other notable films:

Night of the Hunter (Laughton's only film as director), Executive Suite, I Am a Camera, The Big Knife, Odds Against Tomorrow, The Young Savages, Lolita, The Chapman Report, The Greatest Story Ever Told, A House Is Not a Home, Alfie, Harper, Pete's Dragon, Stepping Out and Over the Brooklyn Bridge.

During her 50 years as a widely known personality, Winters was rarely out of the news. Her stormy marriages, her romances with famous stars, her forays into politics and feminist causes kept her name before the public. She delighted in giving provocative interviews and seemed to have an opinion on everything.

Robert Mitchum once told her: "Shelley, arguing with you is like trying to hold a conversation with a swarm of bumblebees."

The revelations in her autobiographies provided endless material for interviewers and gossip writers. She wrote of an enchanted evening when she and Burt Lancaster attended South Pacific in New York, dined elegantly, then repaired to his hotel room.

"This chance meeting proved to be the beginning of a long but painful romance," she wrote. "Despite the immediate and powerful chemistry between us, the love and the friendship, some wise part of me knew that he would never abandon his children while they were young and needed him."

She also told of a dalliance with William Holden after a studio Christmas party. In a glamorous, real-life version of the play Same Time, Next Year, they continued their annual Yuletide rendezvous for seven years.

She wrote that despite their intimacy, they continued to refer to each other as Mr Holden and Miss Winters, and when they met on the set of the 1981 film S.O.B., she said: "Hello, Mr Holden." He smiled and replied: "Shelley, after your book, I think you should call me Bill."

Shirley Schrift was born on August 18, 1920, and grew up in New York City's borough of Brooklyn, where she appeared in high school plays.

"My childhood is a blur of memories," she wrote in the first of her autobiographies. "Money was so scarce in my family that at the age of nine I was selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door.

"It was during this stage of my life that I developed a whole fantasy world; reality was too unbearable. Every chance I got, I was at the movies. I adored them."

Working as a chorus girl and garment district model helped finance her drama studies. She gained practical training by appearing in plays and musicals on the summer Borscht Circuit in the Catskill mountains.

During the Detroit run of a musical revue, she married a businessman, Paul "Mack" Mayer on January 1, 1942. He entered the Army Air Corps, and after the war the pair found they had little in common. They divorced in 1948.

Winters' second and third marriages were brief and tempestuous: to Vittorio Gassman (1952-1954) and Anthony Franciosa (1957-1960). The combination of a Jewish Brooklynite and Italian actors seemed destined to produce fireworks, and both unions resulted in headlines.

A daughter, Vittoria, resulted from the marriage to Gassman. She became a successful physician.

January 05, 2006

(2) Texas 41, (1) USC 38

PASADENA, Calif. -- Vince Young and Texas are second no more to Southern California and its Heisman Trophy twins, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.

With the national championship down to a final play, Young scrambled for an 8-yard touchdown on fourth down with 19 seconds left and the No. 2 Longhorns stunned the top-ranked Trojans 41-38 in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday night.

The high-scoring game everyone expected to see broke out in the second half -- yet it was a defensive stop that was the key for Texas. The Longhorns stuffed LenDale White on a fourth-and-2 at midfield with 2:09 left, giving them a final chance.

Young, the Heisman runner-up, took advantage, scoring a TD and running for a 2-point conversion.

With the two highest scoring teams in the country, many figured it would come down to which team had the ball last.


USC crossed midfield one more time, but on the last play of the game, Leinart's pass sailed high over Dwayne Jarrett's head around the 25 and USC's 34-game winning streak was over.

V. Young, Texas QB
30-40, 267 yds
20 Rush, 200 yds, 3 TDs

January 04, 2006

Community Heartbroken Over Miners' Deaths

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. - In a stunning and heartbreaking reversal, family members learned early Wednesday that 12 of 13 trapped coal miners were dead — three hours after they began celebrating the news that their loved ones were alive.

The sole survivor, Randal McCloy, was in critical condition with a collapsed lung and dehydration but no sign of brain damage or carbon monoxide poisoning after being trapped by an explosion for more than 42 hours, a doctor said. At 27, McCloy was among the youngest in the group.

The last of the 12 bodies were taken out of the mine at midmorning. The cause of death was not disclosed, but it appeared the men survived the blast itself. Officials said the 12 were found together behind a curtain-like fabric barrier they had set up to keep out carbon monoxide gas, which was detected in deadly concentrations inside the mine.

It was the nation's deadliest coal mining disaster in more than four years.

The devastating new information about the dead shocked and angered family members, who had rejoiced with Gov. Joe Manchin hours earlier when a report began to spread that 12 miners were alive. Bystanders applauded as they saw McCloy brought from the mine early Wednesday, not realizing he would be the only one to come out alive.

"I can only say there was no one who did anything intentionally other than risk their lives to save their loved ones," Manchin told ABC's "Good Morning America."

"No one can say anything about that would make anything any better," he said. "Just a horrible situation."

McCloy, who officials said was found in the same area as the other men, was unconscious but moaning when he arrived at a hospital, the hospital said.

McCloy was transferred to the intensive care unit of West Virginia University's Ruby Memory Hospital at Morgantown. Doctors said he was under sedation and on a ventilator to aid his breathing and there was no immediate sign of brain damage.

"He responds to stimuli and that's good," Dr. Lawrence Roberts said. Most of the other miners were in their 50s, and doctors said that McCloy's youth may have helped him survive.

Charles Green, McCloy's father-in-law, told ABC that when he found out his son-in law was the only survivor, "I was still devastated. My whole family's heart goes out to them other families."

At the White House, President Bush said the entire nation mourns the loss, and he saluted the rescuers "who risked their lives to save those miners for showing such courage."

The 13 miners had been trapped 260 feet below the surface of the Sago Mine since an explosion early Monday. The mine is bout 100 miles northeast of Charleston. As rescue workers tried to get to the men, families waited at the Sago Baptist Church during a grueling two-day vigil.

But late Tuesday night, families began streaming out of the church, yelling "They're alive!" The church bells began ringing and families embraced, as politicians proclaimed word of the apparent rescue a miracle.

As an ambulance drove away from the mine carrying what families believed was the first survivor, they applauded, not yet knowing there were no others.

Though the governor announced that there were 12 survivors, he later indicated he was uncertain about the news.

Ben Hatfield, chief executive of mine owner International Coal Group, blamed the wrong information on a "miscommunication." The news spread after people overheard cell phone calls, he said. In reality, rescuers had only confirmed finding 12 miners and were checking their vital signs. At least two family members in the church said they received cell phone calls from a mine foreman.

"That information spread like wildfire, because it had come from the command center," he said.

Hatfield said it became clear within 20 minutes that the news was terribly wrong. But he said families were not told of the mistake until three hours later because officials wanted to have all the information right first.

"Let's put this in perspective. Who do I tell not to celebrate? I didn't know if there were 12 or one" alive, the executive said.

When the bad news was delivered to the families, "there was no apology. There was no nothing. It was immediately out the door," said Nick Helms, son of miner Terry Helms, one of the dead.

Chaos broke out in the church and a fight started. About a dozen state troopers and a SWAT team were positioned along the road near the church because police were concerned about violence. Witnesses said one man had to be wrestled to the ground when he lunged for mining officials.

The explosion was West Virginia's deadliest coal mining accident since 1968, when 78 men — including Manchin's uncle — died in an explosion at a mine in Marion County, an hour's drive from here. Nineteen bodies remain entombed in the mountain. It was that disaster that prompted Congress to pass the Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969.

It was the nation's worst coal mining disaster since a pair of explosions tore through a mine in Brookwood, Ala., on Sept. 23, 2001, killing 13.

Federal Labor Department officials promised an investigation. Acting Assistant Secretary David Dye, who heads the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said it will include "how emergency information was relayed about the trapped miners' conditions."

The 12 miners had stretched a piece of fabric across an area about 20 feet wide to block out the gas, Hatfield said. The fabric is designed for miners to use as a barrier. Each miner had carried a breathing apparatus to purify the air and had been able to use it, according to mining officials.

A hole drilled into the mine nearby earlier during the ordeal found deadly levels of carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion. The odorless, colorless gas can be lethal at high doses. At lower levels, it can cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, fatigue and brain damage.

Manchin, who had earlier said that the state believed in miracles, tried to focus on the news that one had survived.

"We're clinging to one miracle when we were hoping for 13," he said.
12 of 13 Trapped W.Va. Miners Found Alive

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. - Twelve of the 13 miners trapped in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive late Tuesday after more than 41 hours underground, turning a community's worst fears to unbridled joy. Family members streamed from the church where they had kept vigil, shouting "Praise the Lord!"

Bells at the church rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation. Relatives yelled "They're alive!"

"They told us they have 12 alive," said Gov. Joe Manchin, leader of the nation's No. 2 coal-producing state. "We have some people that are going to need some medical attention."

The miners' conditions were unknown, and several ambulances with flashing red lights were parked at the mine entrance.

Mine officials earlier found extremely dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the part of the mine where the men where believed to have been. The odorless, colorless gas can be lethal at high doses. At lower levels, it can cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, fatigue and brain damage.

Rescue crews found the body of a 13th miner earlier Tuesday evening and said they were holding out hope that the others were still alive, even as precious time continued to slip away.

The mine's owner, International Coal Group Inc., did not immediately confirm that the 12 other men were alive. A relative at the church said a mine foreman called relatives there, saying the miners had been found.

A few minutes after word came, the throng, several hundred strong, broke into a chorus of the hymn "How Great Thou Art," in a chilly, night air.

"Miracles happen in West Virginia and today we got one," said Charlotte Weaver, wife of Jack Weaver, one of the men who had been trapped in the mine.

"I got scared a lot of times, but I couldn't give up," she said. "We have an 11-year-old son, and I couldn't go home and tell him, 'Daddy wasn't coming home.'"

There were hugs and tears among the crowd outside the Sago Baptist Church near the mine, about 100 miles northeast of Charleston.

Helen Winans, whose son Marshall Winans, was one of those trapped, said she believes there was divine intervention.

"The Lord takes care of them," she said.

The body was found about 700 feet from a mine car, and it appeared the employee was working on a beltline, which brings coal out of the mine, said Ben Hatfield, chief executive officer for ICG of Ashland, Ky.

Michelle Mouser of Morgantown said her family believed the dead miner was her uncle, Terry Helms.

"You've got the 12 that went in the buggy and the one who was dropped off at the belt," said Mouser, who was to identify the body. "It was my uncle who gets the belt running."

The mine car was empty, which led rescuers to believe the others may have been safe somewhere else in the mine.

"I'm really glad for all the others; it's a miracle," she said.

The miners had been trapped 260 feet below the surface of the mine since an explosion early Monday.
Penn St. Beats Florida St. in Three OTs

MIAMI - This really was one for the ages. For more than four hours, Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden paced the Orange Bowl sidelines, searching for offense and enduring one missed kick after another. Finally, in the third overtime, at 1 a.m. Wednesday, Kevin Kelly made a 29-yard field goal, giving Paterno and Penn State a 26-23 victory over Bowden's Florida State Seminoles.

"I told him we're too old for this," the 79-year-old Paterno said afterward. "It's almost past my bedtime."

Paterno had said he didn't want the game to be about him and 76-year-old Bowden, who rank 1-2 in career coaching victories. It turned out to be about missed opportunities, improbable twists — and epic length.

Given two earlier chances to win the game, Kelly missed field goal attempts of 29 and 38 yards. Paterno calmly patted the freshman's back after the second miss, then sent him onto the field on second down for the winning kick.

Florida State counterpart Gary Cismesia missed an extra point in the first half and field goal tries of 44 and 38 yards in overtime.

"Sometimes you miss at the wrong time," Bowden said. "Joe was having that problem for a while."

The No. 3-ranked Nittany Lions finished 11-1, with the only loss coming when they gave up a touchdown to Michigan on the game's final play. The season represented a big rebound for Paterno's program, which went 7-16 in 2003-04.

No. 22 Florida State fell to 8-5, Bowden's worst season since 1981.

Moments after the game ended, the two old friends came together and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a crush of cameras and microphones to exchange warm words.

"No animosity. No animosity. I mean that," Bowden said.

"Both teams played so hard," Paterno said.

"Both teams played as well as they could play," Bowden said.

In a bowl season that started before Christmas and has included plenty of lackluster affairs, this one really was worth staying up for. And it served as a perfect warmup to the biggest game yet: No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Texas in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.

Florida State mostly contained Big Ten most valuable player Michael Robinson, who threw a touchdown pass with six seconds left in the first half but was limited to 253 yards passing and 21 rushing. One scrum knocked off his helmet.

He hit two clutch completions to give Penn State a chance to win the game in regulation. But Kelly, hampered by a shaky hold, was wide left on a 29-yard field goal attempt with 35 seconds left.

Cismesia kicked a 48-yard field goal with 4:08 left in regulation to tie the game at 16-all, but on the first series of overtime he was wide right on a 44-yard attempt.

Then it was Kelly's turn. He again pushed a try wide left, this time a 38-yarder with a perfect hold.

Austin Scott's 1-yard run put Penn State ahead. B.J. Dean pulled the Seminoles even with a 1-yard scoring run.

After Cismesia's 38-yard attempt hit the right upright, Kelly finally came through. The kick gave Paterno his 354th career win, second in Division I-A only to Bowden's 359.

Paterno improved to 7-1 against Bowden. The only loss came the last time they met, when Florida State beat Penn State in the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl — also at Miami.

With his first win in the Orange Bowl since 1974, Paterno improved to 21-10-1 in bowl games.

Both offenses spent much of the game going backward, but there were fireworks, too. Ethan Kilmer made a leaping 24-yard scoring reception with six seconds left in the first half to give Penn State a 14-13 halftime lead.

The Seminoles scored two touchdowns in 80 seconds — on an Orange Bowl-record 87-yard punt return by Willie Reid, and on a 57-yard reception by Lorenzo Booker.

But they totaled only six first downs before Drew Weatherford drove them 65 yards for the tying field goal late in the fourth quarter.

Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, the Butkus Award winner, appeared to hurt his right knee during the drive and was carted off the field.

Tony Hunt, a 1,047-yard rusher for Penn State, departed in the first quarter with a left ankle injury. Replacement Scott ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

The teams punted 20 times. In the second half, they swapped eight possessions before either made a first down — on a pass-interference penalty.

Defense produced the first score of the half. Weatherford, working from his end zone, was called for intentional grounding — a safety — when Penn State's Jim Shaw forced a throw.

Leading 16-13, the Nittany Lions had a chance to take control with nine minutes left. But on first-and-goal at the 4, Florida State recovered a botched snap.

The Seminoles netted 26 yards rushing and were penalized 129 yards. Despite the lack of punch, they stayed in the game thanks to two big plays.

They trailed 7-0 when Reid weaved up the middle on a runback, cut left and dashed to the end zone. The punt return broke the Orange Bowl record of 80 yards by former Florida State athletic director Cecil "Hootie" Ingram for Alabama in 1953.

January 03, 2006

West Virginia Edges Georgia in Sugar Bowl

ATLANTA - Enough with those jokes about the Big East. West Virginia clearly deserved its place in the Bowl Championship Series. Steve Slaton rushed for a record 204 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No. 11 Mountaineers to a 38-35 victory over eighth-ranked Georgia, which couldn't take advantage of the home-field edge Monday night in the first Sugar Bowl played outside of New Orleans.

West Virginia (11-1) stunned all those red-clad fans at the Georgia Dome by jumping to a 28-0 lead by the opening minute of the second quarter. The Bulldogs (10-3) rallied, twice closing within a field goal in the second half, but they couldn't finish one of the greatest comebacks in bowl history.

"I think we took to heart some of the criticism of our league and the fact that no one was predicting us to win," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Basically, we were playing in their home environment, their home state."

Give most of the credit to Slaton, who wasn't even the Mountaineers' best freshman runner in fall camp and didn't crack the starting lineup until the sixth game of the season. Georgia certainly had no answer for the speedy back, who squirted through big holes and left defenders such as All-American safety Greg Blue in the dust on a pair of 52-yard touchdown runs.

Slaton eclipsed the previous Sugar Bowl rushing record, a 202-yard performance by Pitt's Tony Dorsett in a national championship-clinching victory over Georgia in 1977.

"It was just our speed," Slaton said. "They couldn't match up with us."

The Mountaineers saved their biggest surprise for the end. Georgia was poised to get the ball back when West Virginia dropped back to punt on fourth-and-6 at the Bulldogs 48. Phil Brady hauled in the long snap but took off running, gaining 10 yards on the fake and a game-clinching first down.

"We were definitely playing for a return," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We didn't think they would do that. Give them a lot of credit. It takes a lot of nerve to do that."

The last of Slaton's touchdowns gave the Mountaineers a seemingly comfortable 38-28 lead with 8 1/2 minutes to go. D.J. Shockley brought Georgia back with his third touchdown pass, a 34-yarder to Bryan McClendon with 5:33 left, but never got his hands on the ball again.

The teams combined for 1,003 yards, much of it coming in a wild first half that ended with the Mountaineers holding a 31-21 lead.

"West Virginia did a heck of a job jumping on us," Richt said. "The only consolation is we didn't lay down and die."

The 72nd Sugar Bowl was shifted to Atlanta after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, flooding the Big Easy and leaving the Superdome in no shape to host a Pop Warner game, much less a major bowl.

While poignant, the Sugar was the least heralded of the BCS bowls, a distant fourth to the Fiesta matchup between Notre Dame and Ohio State, the Joe Paterno-vs.-Bobby Bowden showdown at the Orange and, of course, the national championship game between No. 1 Southern Cal and No. 2 Texas at the Rose Bowl.

But the Fiesta — a 34-20 romp for Ohio State — didn't come close on the excitement meter. And both the Orange and Rose will be hard-pressed to produce a game this thrilling.

West Virginia also did its part to stymie criticism of the Big East. OK, so the league isn't as strong since Miami and Virginia Tech bolted to the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Mountaineers proved they're one of the best teams in the country.

They certainly came out with a chip on their shoulder, facing the champion of the powerful Southeastern Conference just 75 miles from its Athens campus.

West Virginia, which had lost 11 of its last 12 bowl games, was up 28-0 by the opening minute of the second quarter, with Slaton and Darius Reynaud scoring two touchdowns apiece.

Slaton showed his speed on the first of his 52-yard runs, which capped West Virginia's opening possession. His other first-half score came on an 18-yard burst through a tiny hole, the freshman prancing across the goal line in front of Blue.

Reynaud caught a 3-yard pass from Pat White, then caught the Bulldogs off guard on a 13-yard reverse that left all but a couple of defenders running the wrong way.

But Georgia didn't fold.

Kregg Lumpkin got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with a 34-yard touchdown run, sparking a little life in the mostly Georgia crowd. They were roaring by the time the teams trotted to the locker room, having cut the deficit to a more manageable 10 points.

Thomas Brown had a 52-yard touchdown run for the Bulldogs, getting loose after appearing stuffed at the line by the Mountaineers.

West Virginia kept the big plays rolling when fullback Owen Schmitt, a transfer from Division III Wisconsin-River Falls, rumbled for 54 yards on a third-and-1 play. But the Georgia defense finally arrived, stuffing Slaton for a 3-yard loss on another short-yardage play at the 7 and forcing the Mountaineers to settle for Pat McAfee's 27-yard field goal.

Georgia reclaimed the momentum before halftime with an 11-play, 80-yard drive. The Bulldogs converted on fourth-and-1 at their own 42, then Shockley bailed them out on third-and-10 by scrambling away from pressure and delivering a 32-yard pass to Mario Raley.

Shockley followed with a 15-yard run, then connected with Leonard Pope on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 58 seconds left in the wild half.

With 62 points by halftime, the teams set both Sugar Bowl and BCS records for one half. Running up and down the field with little resistance, Georgia piled up 311 yards and West Virginia had 200 of its 294 yards on the ground.

The only thing separating the teams was turnovers. Shockley and Danny Ware both fumbled the ball away, and the Mountaineers capitalized each time with TDs.

Late in the third quarter, Shockley tossed a 34-yard touchdown to A.J. Bryant, pulling the Bulldogs to 31-28. They never got any closer.

Shockley completed 20-of-33 passes for 277 yards and also rushed for 71 yards on eight carries.

But it wasn't enough against West Virginia, which ripped through the Bulldogs for 382 yards rushing. Schmitt had 82 yards on the ground and White rushed for 77.

January 01, 2006

Flutie converts NFL's first drop kick since 1941

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For 21 years, Doug Flutie's career has been defined by one play. Now the "Hail Flutie" has its historic bookend.

The 43-year-old Patriots backup converted the NFL's first successful drop kick since 1941, making an extra point in the fourth quarter of the Miami Dolphins' mostly meaningless 28-26 victory Sunday over New England.

"I think Doug deserves it," said usually dour Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who broke into a wide smile when his sprightly quarterback split the uprights off one bounce. "He is a guy that adds a lot to this game of football, has added a lot through his great career – running, passing and now kicking.

"He's got a skill and we got a chance to let him use it, and I am happy for him. First time since '41," said Belichick, a football historian who last month brought out a leather helmet in his media session. "It might be 60 years again, too."

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site, the league's last drop kick for points was on Dec. 21, 1941 – two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor – when Ray "Scooter" McLean converted for the Chicago Bears to beat the New York Giants 37-9 in the NFL championship game.

"Flutie might have been there the last time it happened," placekicker Adam Vinatieri joked.

The ball was more round until 1934, making the bounce more predictable. And the rules were changed to require the kicker to be behind the line of scrimmage, relegating the drop kick to a riskier version of a place kick or extra point.

But when ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman mentioned to Belichick that he'd seen Flutie drop kick, the coach called his quarterback into his office and asked if he could do it.

"I said, 'I could do it,'" Flutie said. "'There's no real application for it, but I could do it.'"

A native of nearby Natick, Flutie won the Heisman Trophy at Boston College after connecting with Gerard Phelan on a 48-yard touchdown pass to beat Miami as time expired. That is his signature play – and one of the most memorable in college football history.

With the Patriots already happy with their playoff seeding, Tom Brady sat out most of the game so Matt Cassel, who's usually No. 3 behind Flutie, could get some snaps. He hit Tim Dwight for a 9-yard touchdown with 6:10 left, and Flutie came onto the field with the kicking unit.

"It sort of screwed me up," said Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who needed a timeout to get things straight. "I couldn't figure out what was going on. They had a quarterback in, four tight ends and a receiver and there was no kicker."

Flutie took his position for a regular shotgun snap, then retreated to the 12 yard-line to await the ball; he caught the ball, dropped it to the grass and kicked it off the short hop straight through the uprights. After getting a hug on the field by his teammates, Flutie ran off to embrace Belichick.

Even Saban appreciated the moment.

"I was kind of pleased to know that somebody can still drop kick," Saban said. "Man, when I was a kid we all practiced that. Thought it was a lost art.

"But," he added, "you know Flutie showed his age on that one."

The 1984 Heisman winner went into the USFL and the NFL, but only achieved stardom in the Canadian Football League, where he was a three-time Grey Cup champion and six-time Most Outstanding Player. He returned to the NFL in 1998 and played three years with Buffalo and four with San Diego before returning to New England for a second stint with the Patriots.

He hasn't said he will retire, but the impression that this is his final season was reinforced by Belichick's postgame valedictory.

"It's possible, but I'm not going to rule anything out," Flutie said. "But if that ends up being my last play, it wouldn't be bad."