The countdown is on. In a few days the most hated man in New Orleans will arrive in town. As the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell serves as unofficial host for the league's championship week. He will attend meetings and banquets. A giant party will be thrown in his honor. A small fleet of cars will whisk him around the city. Usually a man in his role will be welcomed with warm applause. Except this time, New Orleans would rather he not come at all. The anger is still raw. Almost everybody here believes Goodell ruined the Saints' season with his yearlong suspension of coach Sean Payton over the team's bounty program. The most conspiratorial think he wanted to destroy the Saints. (Yahoo! Sports) Comment
Another day, another fire for the Los Angeles locker room. The revolving Lakers' 2012-13 season spun off in the latest new direction Monday night with Pau Gasol being sent against his will to take on a bench role. But is it evolving? Dwight Howard came away disgruntled on a night when Gasol tried to keep his spirits up. ... Howard was unhappy after getting just five field-goal attempts in the loss, rarely getting the ball early in the game. "Look at the stat sheet," Howard said. "Look at the stat sheet." Asked how he can get more shots, Howard said: "It's simple. Play inside-out." Asked if it is out of his power, he said quietly: "Just continue to play. Not get frustrated. As hard as it is, can't get frustrated." (The Orange County Register) Comment
The Marlins are set to run a little leaner in 2013 -- perhaps too lean for some. The 2013 payroll projects to $32.5 million, but it's $45 million counting money they owe other teams from salary-dumping trades. An MLB Players Association source said if owner Jeffrey Loria doesn't increase their payroll in the coming months, they plan to pursue the issue with commissioner Bud Selig. "We don't have to wait until next October to pursue it," the source said. If the Marlins don't raise payroll in 2013, former commissioner Fay Vincent expects "the commissioner and union will strongly encourage Loria to spend some money. They can make it very uncomfortable if he doesn't." In 2010, the MLBPA forced an agreement with MLB that required the Marlins to boost their payroll. (The Miami Herald) Comment
Antawn Jamison of the Lakers can only watch Jimmy Butler take off for a dunk at Chicago's United Center. Butler's Bulls won, 95-83, extending striuggling LA's woes. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean apparently has a twin brother.