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The veteran center gets the nod almost by default. He was the local hockey team's best player, but in one of its worst seasons. In a forgettable year that saw the Stars miss the playoffs with a 37-31-14 record (fourth-worst in the NHL's Western Conference), Richards was the team's most consistent scorer. In 80 games he produced 24 goals and 67 assists for 91 points, 20 more than the next Star. In an indication of just how bad a season it was, Richards was one of the best players despite having a plus/minus of -12. Unfortunately for Richards, the 2009-10 season won't be remembered for his decent play, but more so for the ugly debuts of coach Marc Crawford and general manager Joe Nieuwendyk and the sad departures of Marty Turco and Mike Modano.
Go to a Dallas Desire game ready to criticize the lack of tackling and the small crowds and the void of hard hits and, before you can say "Hey, this ain't real..." you'll get a shut-your-mouthful of, well, let's be honest, tits 'n' ass. Past the skin there is also some decent, full-contact football as the Desire advanced to the Lingerie Football League's semifinals last year. But, come on, let's be honest. The attraction to the Desire, which graduated from Grand Prairie's Quick Trip Park to the Cotton Bowl, is that the players wear tiny, curve-hugging, bun-exposing panties and provocative bras, accented by what amounts to downsized shoulder pads and hockey helmets. There is cleavage. There are catcalls. And when the centers bend over to snap the ball between their legs, there is little left to the imagination. Here's to fantasy football.
Vladimir Guerrero. Cliff Lee. Colby Lewis. Need we go on? It's been a long road for the Texas Rangers general manager to make it from 20-something punch line to savvy veteran brainiac. But, what do ya know, here he is. The same guy who traded Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres for Adam Eaton and who dealt John Danks to the Chicago White Sox for Brandon McCarthy is suddenly giving his team a competitive advantage with his crafty maneuvering. Because of Jon Daniels, the Rangers have the best farm system in baseball. His deal that netted the Rangers Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz for Mark Teixeira remains one of the best trades in metroplex sports history. Daniels has taken a beating. Time for him to take a bow. Or two.
And to think, he only entered the starting lineup in Week 5 after an injury to Roy Williams. What a debut it was. Filling in for Williams, the undrafted free agent from tiny Monmouth College caught 10 passes for a franchise-record 250 yards including the game-winning touchdown in overtime in a season-altering victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. With soft hands, uncanny escapability from defensive backs and blinding speed, Austin went on to lead the Cowboys in receiving yards and touchdown catches and make the Pro Bowl. In a season in which Williams was supposed to ascend to stardom, it was Austin who became Dallas' No. 1 receiver. Just for kicks, Austin has made two Sports Illustrated covers and started dating Kim Kardashian. Please, don't pinch him.
With the boxed body of the Big 12 Conference seemingly sawed into pieces and displaced from coast to coast, the embattled commissioner of our state's prestigious football fraternity dramatically, magically reassembled the body parts into a living, breathing, working whole. The result is that the Big 12 lives, rebooted and repackaged as a leaner, stronger-than-ever conference eternally bonded by tradition, unity and loyalty. Not bad for a conference that was twice pronounced dead during a chaotic May. Thankfully, Dan Beebe is David Blaine. His trick? Beebe didn't use smoke or mirrors or duct tape. He kept the Big 12 together via dollar bills. Greed begat the Big 12. Greed almost tore it apart. And in the end, mo' money saved it. Colorado and Nebraska will be gone come 2011 but, thanks to Beebe, the Big 12 will live on.