San Francisco 49ers scored come-from-behind 27-20 victory over Green Bay, forcing Western Division playoff with Detroit Lions, who defeated Chicago 21-13 (see page 10). Los Angeles spoiled Baltimore's hopes for three-way tie, knocking down Colts 37-21. In East, Cleveland's champions closed out regular season by healing New York 34-28.
Pacific Coast Conference, heading for ruinous explosion ever since it threw heavy penalty marker at, four member schools for giving illegal aid to athletes, blew up with loud bang heard as far as Big Ten, when three southern members, California, UCLA, USC, decided to secede (see page 19). Drastic move may terminate PCC-Big Ten Rose Bowl tie-up, could also be beginning of end for 42-year-old conference.
Dallas Highland Park clicked on 59-yard pass play in closing minutes to earn 20-20 deadlock before 30,000 at Dallas, broke Abilene High School's record 49-game winning streak when peculiar lie-breaking formula (one point for each penetration of 20-yard line) put, them ahead 5-3 and into state title final.
North Carolina, its winning streak stretched to 36, and Kansas were still among nation's unbeaten teams at week's end, but Kentucky came to grief at hands of scrappy Maryland 71-62, then bounced back to beat St. Louis 73-60. In first of many holiday tournament finals, Duquesne defeated Pitt 81-64 in Pittsburgh's Steel Bowl; Mississippi State outdefensed Auburn 52-37 in Birmingham Classic; Cincinnati outscored Xavier 79-68 in own invitational.
St. Louis Hawks, fired up by slick-shooting Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan, ran off five straight, including 97-94 triumph over near-invincible Boston, began to put plenty of daylight (and 5½ games) between themselves and second-place Cincinnati Royals, who dropped four in row, in NBA Western Division. Celtics proved to be human after all, bowing to Hawks and New York Knicks 106-103, but were still so far ahead in East, that major battle was for second place with Syracuse, which took three out of four, leading Knicks and Philadelphia.
Vic Seixas, picking up slack when jittery young Herb Flam and weary old Gardnar Mulloy stumbled badly, gave one of his better performances to beat Belgium's Jackie Brichant 10-8, 6-0, 6-1 in payoff singles for 3-2 victory at Brisbane, moved U.S. into Davis Cup challenge round against imposing Australians. Seixas and Flam won opening singles, but Brichant and Washer struck back to take doubles, and Washer upset, below-form Flam 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3 to even score. Close call gave Captain Bill Talbert food for thought, indicated possible shakeup which may put power-hitting young Barry MacKay into singles spot for bout with Aussies, who named Mal Anderson, U.S. champion and winner over Ashley Cooper for Victorian title last week, Neale Fraser, Mervyn Rose and Cooper to defend Cup at Melbourne Dec. 26-28.
USLTA, meanwhile, gave Seixas his due, tentatively ranked him No. 1 in men's singles for 1957, ahead of Flam and Dick Savitt, but dropped last year's leader. Ham Richardson, and Budge Patty, both of whom (along with Savitt) turned down bids to join Davis Cup team, for "insufficient data." Also ranked No. 1: Althea Gibson, first Negro to win Wimbledon and U.S. titles, women's singles; Brooklyn's Alan Roberts, junior singles; San Diego's perky Karen Hantze, girls' singles (see below).
Toronto Maple Leafs, on upbeat these past weeks, went puck-happy to beat Chicago 4-1, Boston 3-1, moved up to tie Bruins for third place in NHL, only four points behind second-place New York Rangers, who were still sputtering. Montreal Canadiens, despite injury to Jean Beliveau, held even firmer grip on first place, increasing their lead to nine big points at expense of Rangers, Bruins, Black Hawks.
Jim Bryan, cigar-chomping throttle-pusher who powered his way to three national racing titles in Dean Van Lines Special, will shift to George Salih's revolutionary Belond Exhaust Special—same car in which now-retired Sam Hanks won 1957 Indianapolis "500"—for next year's Memorial Day race. Still uncertain: which car Bryan will be roaring around dirt tracks in 1958.
Don Carter, unorthodox shovel-style St. Louis bowler who gave up minor league pitching to knock down tenpins, lost his final match lo young Tom Hennessey lie-fore nationwide TV audience, but had more than enough Petersen points (313.36) in hand to win first world's invitational match game title and $5,000 at Chicago (see page 19). Women's champion: perennial All-Star titleholder, Mrs. Marion Ladewig, 43-year-old grandmother from Grand Rapids, Mich., who averaged 205 for 32 games, piled up 158.10 points.
Torpid, Max Hochberg's nimble-footed 3-year-old pacer, finished second to trotter Hoot Song in earnings ($114,887 to $113,982) but first in eyes of U.S. Harness Writers, who overwhelmingly voted him Harness Horse of Year at Columbus, Ohio. Other year-end intelligence from U.S. Trotting Association: Billy Haughton, 34, steady-handed reinsman from Brookville, N.Y., was far and away nation's leading driver, winning dollar crown for fifth straight time with $586,950 and race-winning title for sixth year in row with 156 victories.
Herman (Muggsy) Taylor, rumbly-voiced little promoter who numbers some of underworld's best names among his acquaintances, wasted little time hooking up with IBC after getting back into good graces of Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, was given his reward by good friend Jim Norris: Jan. 15 TV welterweight elimination bout between Gil Turner and Vince Martinez in Philadelphia, Taylor's first local promotion since dope-tainted Harold Johnson-Julio Mederos fiasco in May 1955.
BORN—To Bobby Morrow, Meet triple Olympic gold medal winner. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's 1956 Sportsman of Year, and wife Jo Ann; their first children, twins, at Abilene, Texas. Names: Ron Floyd (weight: 5 pounds, 11 ounces); Viki Jo (weight: 5 pounds, 4½ ounces). Cracked Morrow's coach. Oliver Jackson: "That boy does everything first class."
DIED—Maurice Evans McLoughlin, 67, broad-shouldered California Comet, who came booming out of West in 1909 to revolutionize Eastern (and U.S.) tennis with slam-bang, violent style, Davis Cupper in 1909, 1911, 1913, 1914, when he beat Australia's Norman Brookes 17-15 in one of sport's most thrilling sets, U.S. champion in 1912, 1913, member of Tennis Hall of Fame; of heart attack, at. Hermosa Beach, Calif.