Super Bowl XLIII
The Steelers and the Cardinals are working on a dream, every player hoping Sunday will be one of those glory days. Is Willie Parker born to run? Will Kurt Warner be the man at the top? Fans of both teams will find reason to believe, but at the end of the night some will be dancing in the dark and others will have sad eyes. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at halftime.
Georgetown vs. Marquette
No team has had it rougher in the ultracompetitive Big East than the Hoyas, who have the nation's toughest schedule. Since upsetting UConn on Dec. 29 to improve to 10--1, Georgetown has lost four of six, including a clunker to unranked West Virginia last week. It only gets harder on Saturday for the Hoyas: Marquette is 6--0 in the Big East and hasn't lost at home.
The honor of a cheerleader doll
A Boston-based children's advocacy group is asking consumers to choose the worst toy of 2008 from among five finalists. One is Mattel's Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, which, the group says, "combine[s] two classic symbols of gendered stereotypes." If you disagree—or think a kid-size Escalade, another finalist, is worse—vote at commercial exploitation.org.
Jim Leyland's pipes
During a team visit to Detroit's Motown Museum last week, the Tigers manager broke into a surprisingly soulful rendition of the 1972 hit Betcha by Golly Wow. (See video at the Detroit Free Press's site, Freep.com.) You'd never guess Leyland has spent his career sneaking dugout smokes. If the Tigers sing the blues again in '09, at least the skipper will be in tune.
The World Baseball Classic returns this spring, but in Latin America there's a more pressing test of national pride. The champions of the Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan winter leagues meet in Mexicali, Mexico, for their annual round-robin, beginning Monday. (The Series wraps on Feb. 7.) Several big league stars will be there; all games will be on MLB Network.
The Pop Culture Grid
HouseA Team Canada pictureI don't want to say LOU WILLIAMS Sixers G Priscilla Presley Gucci U.S. Marshals A TV and two pictures my mom gave me years ago Titanic RYAN CALLAHAN Rangers F Heidi Montag from The Hills Hugo Boss Family Guy Black-and-white photos of NYC Burn After Reading (left)
INSIDE THE GRID
For Beasley, Leatherface is just beyond the pale. "It's too scary," he says of Chainsaw, the horror classic. "I mean really, someone going around cutting people's faces off?" Despite winning 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and becoming the highest-grossing film ever ($1.8 billion), Titanic put Williams to sleep. "It's boring. They drag it out for three hours trying to make it a love story," he says.
STUART RAMSON/AP (SPRINGSTEEN)
ANDY ALTENBURGER/ICON SMI (GEORGETOWN)
ANDY ALTENBURGER/ICON SMI (LEYLAND)
JOSE BUENO/EPA (CARIBBEAN SERIES)
AMY GRAVES/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (STALLONE)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BEASLEY)
NEW LINE/EVERETT COLLECTION (CHAINSAW)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (DOAN)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (CALLAHAN)
AL TIELEMANS (WILLIAMS)
STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (PRESLEY)
COURTESY OF NICKELODEON (SPONGEBOB)
MACALL POLAY/FOCUS FEATURES/AP (BURN AFTER READING)