His MMA debut, against an opponent roughly half his age, 47-year-old former NFL and USFL running back Herschel Walker (above). The Heisman Trophy winner in 1982 and an Olympic bobsledder in '92, Walker began training for his latest endeavor in November. Last Saturday he faced 26-year-old Greg (Dangerous) Nagy at a Sunrise, Fla., Strikeforce event. Despite an upright stance and unorthodox punch, Walker dominated with a barrage of late strikes and got the stop two minutes into the third round. Walker called his fight "the hardest thing I've ever done" and said that his trainers would determine if and when he'll fight again.
Of cancer last Friday at age 78, former All-Pro Philadelphia Eagles defensive back and sports broadcaster Tom Brookshier. A 10th-round draft pick out of Colorado in 1953, Brookshier had eight interceptions as a rookie before a two-year Air Force stint put his career on hiatus. When he returned, he became one of the mainstays of Philadelphia's last NFL title team, which won the 1960 championship game over Vince Lombardi's Packers 17--13. A broken leg the next year ended his career at age 30, but by '74 he was a football fixture again, this time as an analyst alongside play-by-play man Pat Summerall at CBS. They became running mates and one of the sport's fabled announcing teams, calling three Super Bowls before "Brookie" was replaced in '81 by John Madden.
The number of births in the Catalonia region of Spain in late January, nine months after F.C. Barcelona won La Liga and Champions League hardware within a 25-day span. According to a survey conducted by a local radio station, COMRadio, hospitals saw an almost 50% increase in children born last week. Locals have dubbed the babies "the Iniesta generation" after winger Andrés Iniesta, who scored a 93rd-minute goal to lift Barca to the Champions League final on May 27. "When we notice some sort of surge, we look for the reason," a staffer at the city's Quiron Clinic told the newspaper El Mundo, "and it's evident that the cause of the increase is the euphoria of Barca fans."
By the Calgary Flames to the Toronto Maple Leafs, defenseman Dion Phaneuf (right), a former first-team All-Star, in a seven-player blockbuster deal. In four-plus seasons in Calgary, Phaneuf, 24, demonstrated all the eye-catching attributes of an elite blueliner—a Hammer of Thor shot, seismic checks, swift skating—but deficiencies in decision-making and a middling outlet pass held him back. After securing Phaneuf on Sunday, Toronto sent winger Jason Blake and goaltender Vesa Toskala to Anaheim for goalie Jean-Sébastien Gigu√®re, who backstopped the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup victory. In a 30-minute span the team traded six of the 20 players who had dressed the previous night.
By ESPN, freelance columnist Paul Shirley, for a Jan. 26 blog post in which he suggested that earthquake-afflicted Haitians "use a condom once in a while" and stop building "flimsy shack-towns." Shirley has played for 11 teams since 2001, including the Phoenix Suns, for whom he was riding the bench in '04 when he achieved celebrity status as one of the first to blog candidly about the life of a pro athlete. That earned Shirley his own column, "My So-Called Career," on ESPN.com; he also contributed to a site called flipcollective.com, which first posted his off-color thoughts on Haiti. Shirley wrote again last Thursday, stating, "My goal was to question the psychology of donating and the nature of responsibility.... Regardless of the outcry that followed, I think I did those things."
For the next two African Nations Cup tournaments, the team from Togo, which withdrew from this year's games in Angola following a terrorist attack. On Jan. 8 gunmen shot up the club's bus en route to the competition, killing a driver and two team officials. (Angolan separatists claimed responsibility.) Despite the willingness of players to compete one day later, the Sparrow Hawks were called home by Togolese prime minister Gilbert Houngbo, who deemed the team's protection inadequate. Last Saturday, citing "government interference" and the last-second withdrawal, the African Football Confederation fined Togo $50,000 and disallowed its participation in 2012 and '14, a punishment that Togo's captain, Emmanuel Adebayor, later called "monstrous." On Sunday, Egypt won this year's title with a 1--0 victory over Ghana.
To a minor league contract by the Milwaukee Brewers, 39-year-old outfielder Jim Edmonds, who sat out 2009 without ever officially retiring. The eight-time Gold Glove winner turned heads with his acrobatic catches in Anaheim and St. Louis, where he helped the Cardinals to 100-win seasons in '04 and '05 and a World Series triumph in '06. He split his 16th season, '08, between the Cubs and the Padres. Now the Brewers hope that Edmonds will show enough this spring to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, thus adding a lefty power threat (382 lifetime home runs) to their righty-heavy lineup. "He may have lost a step or two," said Brewers G.M. Doug Melvin, "but we know what he brings."
THEY SAID IT
British tennis player (left), after losing to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, alluding to the tears Federer shed in 2009 following his loss to Rafael Nadal:
"I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him."
Years between NBA All-Star Game selections for the Chicago Bulls (Michael Jordan, 1998; Derrick Rose, 2010).
Median cost, in millions of dollars, of a 30-second commercial on Super Bowl XLIV.
Percent of viewers who enjoy Super Bowl commercials more than the game, according to a Nielsen survey.
Tickets bought, as of last week, by German fans for the nation's first three 2010 World Cup games in South Africa, raising fears of sparsely filled venues.
Points scored in five seconds by Hofstra's Charles Jenkins on Jan. 27. The Pride junior guard was intentionally fouled by UNC Wilmington while making a layup. He hit four free throws (two for a technical on Seahawks coach Benny Moss), then stole the inbounds pass and scored.
Wins in a row by the Flyers over the Islanders following last Saturday's 2--1 Philadelphia victory—tying the NHL record for consecutive triumphs by one team over another.
ESTHER LIN/COURTESY OF STRIKEFORCE (WALKER)
ELLA LING/BPI/ICON SMI (MURRAY)
BOB FRID/ICON SMI (PHANEUF)