Mack Brown lost, but at least they held the mayo.

The North Carolina coach fell 38-21 to South Carolina’s Shane Beamer in Thursday’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl but came out a winner of sorts because he avoided taking a postgame mayonnaise bath.

That’s because the coaches had agreed beforehand that the 4½ gallons of Duke’s Real Mayonnaise would be dumped on the winner’s head — in lieu of the traditional Gatorade shower — in exchange for a $10,000 donation to charity.

Headlines

• At TheOnion.com: “Historians confirm Lewis and Clark set out on expedition to justify purchase of expensive camping equipment.”

• At Fark.com: “Aaron Rodgers won’t keep anyone in suspense, he’ll be running for U.S. Surgeon General in 2022.”

Can’t drink to that

Revelers faced an unexpected problem as they cheered in 2022: a shortage of high-end Champagne.

At least you can’t blame the Mariners for that one.

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Heavenly conversation

The late John Madden, once a top coach and broadcaster, is mostly known to the present generation only as the namesake for “Madden NFL Football.”

“Hold my coffee,” said Joe DiMaggio.

Second chance

For New Yorkers who missed seeing the ball drop in Times Square on Friday night, the Giants and Jets play on Sunday.

John be John

Another reason it’s a shame actor John Candy died so young: His outsized persona would have been perfect for “Boom! The John Madden Story.”

Now serving #542

Honk if you’ve yet to play in the NBA!

Veteran center Greg Monroe, signed to a 10-day contract, made league history by becoming the 541st player used in the league this season.

Bench that bird

The Seahawks — going nowhere fast at 5-10 — should switch to a buzzard on their helmets for the rest of the season.

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It’s a Madden world

From the John Madden quotebook, who died Dec. 28 at age 85:

• “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

• “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.”

• “Winning is a great deodorant.”

• “Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.”

Shooting 9.5%

4-for-42: North Korea’s scorecard on long-range missile tests?

No, the Celtics shooting from threeland in a loss to the Clippers last week.

Why not Willie Makeit?

Don’t say we didn’t warn them: The Cleveland Browns have tempted fate by signing free-agent kicker Chris Blewitt.

Sick bay

Atlantic COVID Conference?

Four ACC teams — Boston College, Miami, N.C. State and Virginia — had their bowl games canceled or were otherwise unable to play because of the virus.

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Twitter patter

• Troubled ex-big-leaguer Lenny Dykstra, with cause for celebration: “Just 62 hours to go to make it through 2021 without being arrested!”

• @CodifyBaseball: “Babe Ruth hit 552 home runs after Betty White was born.”

• @TheCousinSal: “John Madden is the reason every 13-year-old boy is better at time management than Mike McCarthy.”

Father Time is calling

QB Ben Roethlisberger said “this could be it” — he’ll likely play his final home game Monday night after 18 seasons as a Steeler.

If anybody knows it’s time, it’s a guy known as Big Ben.

Talking the talk

• Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the Oakland Coliseum hosting a vaccination clinic when fans returned for the A’s home opener April 2: “In the parking lot: medicine for the body. Inside the ballpark: medicine for the soul.”

Sponsored

• Corpulent Chiefs coach Andy Reid, to reporters, on whether he has any New Year’s resolutions: “I was going to say eat less, but then I’d feel like Pinocchio.”

• Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, on players who “do their own research” in ignoring vaccines and mask mandates: “How long would they stay on a team if they reacted that way to what their coach told them to do?”

• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, via Twitter, on New Orleans playing with 22 players on the COVID list last Monday: “The Saints were the first NFL team to have to use name tags in the locker room.”

• Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on Minnesota’s playoff chances entering Week 17: “The Vikings are still in the hunt. So was Elmer Fudd, and he never got anywhere.”

Defense rests

This week’s Bad Timing Award goes to recently named Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry, who proclaimed “We are gonna play a great brand of defense” in a live ESPN interview as he watched his future team in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Just as the Hokies were giving up a 70-yard touchdown pass to Maryland.

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Quote marks

• Shehan Jeyarajah of CBS Sports, via Twitter, after Hawaii freshman DB Michael Graham — son of head coach Todd Graham — has entered the transfer portal: “So I take it Christmas did not go great.”

• Dan Daly of @DalyOnSports, after the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott amassed 321 yards passing — more than halfway to the NFL single-game record — before halftime against Washington: “Norm Van Brocklin is beginning to pace nervously in the afterlife.”

• Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “If survival of the fittest really applies to the human race, the Super Bowl finalists will be a test case.”

• RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, after researchers successfully tested a pillow that will awaken snorers without disturbing anyone next to them: “The final tests were completed during Sunday’s Jaguars-Jets game.”

• North Carolina football coach Mack Brown, to reporters, on his potential mayonnaise bath: “If we won a game, I’d let someone hit me in the face with a frying pan. I don’t care.”