Another sure sign it’s 2020: Illinois punted on fourth-and-goal against Minnesota.

But then again, it was fourth-and-48.


• At @NotSportsCenter: “Report: Trevor Lawrence says his doctors have told him he’ll be cleared from COVID to play football again as soon as the Jets draft another QB.”

• At “Cora gets another kick at the can in Boston.”

2 out of 3 ain’t bad

Tommy Tuberville — the former Auburn football coach and newly elected senator from Alabama — rattled off the three branches of the federal government as “the House, the Senate and executive.”

At least he didn’t say offense, defense and special teams.

News flash

Dateline Washington, D.C.: Donald Trump finally concedes he lost — to the Baltimore Stars in the 1985 USFL playoffs.


NFL quiz

Players for the winless Jets, seeking to avoid possible embarrassment, complained to the NFL after discovering that video cameras were filming their:

a) locker room

b) games

Tweet of the Week

“Stop the count.” — @SouthamptonFC, upon sitting atop England’s Premier League standings for the first time ever

Wake up the COVID

Social-distancing went out the window when giddy Notre Dame football fans stormed the field after their team’s double-OT win over No. 1 Clemson.

There went any plans for the school’s “Notre Dame Fighting Virus” public-service ad campaign.

The name’s a hit

What an apt surname for an NFL defender: Jets linebacker Tarell Basham.

Stat-nerd alert

Breaking news: Flacco just passed Montana for most NFL yards thrown by a quarterback named Joe.


Going south

The Washington Nationals invited President-elect Joe Biden to throw out the first pitch on opening day in 2021.

Biden immediately vowed he’d learn to throw it from the left side.

Political football

Must be football season — the president just fired his defensive coordinator.

Never mind

Call off the search party: The Seahawks say their missing defense — which apparently missed the flight to Buffalo last weekend — has been safely located.

Talking the talk

• Ex-heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, in a “Hotboxin’” podcast, on why he put his child’s urine into a “Whizzinator” to pass pre-fight drug tests: “One time I was using my wife’s and my wife was like, ‘Baby, you better not hope that it comes back pregnant or something.’ ”

• Montezuma High School QB Eddie Burgess, to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, after his team lost 108-94 in the Iowa 8-man state football semifinals: “Credit to them. They kept us contained for some of the game.”


• Jim Dunaway of Birmingham’s WJOX Radio, via Twitter, on LSU players’ COVID cases scuttling the Bama-Tigers game: “Geauxing Geauxing Gone.”

• Janice Hough of, on the glut of 49ers on the NFL’s Injured Reserve and COVID-19 lists: “At this point the Niners may need to allow fans in the stands just to have a pool of players for pregame tryouts.”

Batting .000

All 16 pregame panelists at NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network predicted that the Buccaneers — who wound up losing 38-3 — would beat the Saints in last weekend’s Sunday night game.

“Now you know how we feel,” said presidential pollsters.

Quote marks

• Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, after USC and its perpetually embattled coach pulled out a 28-27 season-opening win on a fourth-and-nine TD pass: “As a survivor, Robinson Crusoe had nothing on Clay Helton.”

• Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, after the Red Sox rehired Alex Cora, fresh off his one-year suspension, as manager: “ Adjusted bromide: ‘Cheaters Almost Never Prosper.’ ”

• Jason La Canfora of, on why Vegas oddsmakers were reluctant to favor the Bears, even in their 5-1 start: “Simple: The Bears are basically the Lions, but luckier.”


• Myron Medcalf of, on Fighting Irish fans rushing the field en masse after beating Clemson: “Is Justin Turner Notre Dame’s crowd consultant?”

• Blogger Chad Picasner, on baseball’s offseason: “The Silly Season, where all 30 teams think they are just one player short of being favored to win their division.”

Stop the counting

The Texans fired vice president of communications Amy Palcic, the first woman to run an NFL team’s PR department.

New team motto: Make Bad Trades, Shoot The Messenger.