Athlon's Essential 11 Links of the Day

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<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for December 21.

• If you're reading this, the world didn't end. To celebrate, here's a gift from Athlon Sports to you, our readers: NFL cheerleaders in Christmas costumes. Merry Christmas.

• More pictures: The 100 Most Powerful Sports Photos of 2012.

• Bizarre sports story of the day: Olympic athlete-turned-high-priced Vegas escort.

• Much like Arnold Palmer, John Daly has his own drink now, except, shockingly, it replaces iced tea with booze.

Today in Being Johnny Football: Steve Kerr spotted Manziel courtside at a Mavs game and unleased the social media world on the unsuspecting Heisman winner.

• Picking things that are underrated or overrated is a nationwide sports obsession. Our friends at Grantland have chosen some superlatives in both categories.

• Apparently, cheerleading is a gateway drug to general celebrity-hood. Here's a gallery of famous people who were once cheerleaders.

• One Baseball Hall of Fame voter included Bonds, Clemens and Piazza on his ballot. He explains himself here.

• It's early, but we have a candidate for MVP of bowl season.

• I know you're getting tired of me picking on the Jets, but I can't help myself. Here's the Jets season set to Yakety Sax (the Benny Hill theme song).

• Tis the season for Bad Santas: 10 Crimes Committed by Santa Claus.

• Blake Griffin has a new Kia ad out. It's pretty funny.

 

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


December 20

Tim Tebow's back on the market. And more importantly for some, so is his ex, actress Camilla Belle. Pictured at right, the couple in happier times.

The most valuable team in college football doesn't reside in the SEC. It does have its own network, though.

• You might want to lock your doors and plug your chimney — Santa Dirk is coming to town.

• Your year-end countdown of the day: the most influential athletes on the Internet in 2012.

• Also influential on the Internet, but occasionally incoherent: baseball scribe and aging hippie Peter Gammons. Here are his best tweets of 2012.

Mark Sanchez's no good, very bad year, presented in GIF form. The buttfumble's still the best, but there are plenty of gems here.

Sanchez wasn't the only guy who embarrassed himself this season. Here are 5 humiliating moments (yes, the buttfumble did make this countdown).

• Some unfortunate bowl winners will have to drag some ugly swag back to their trophy cases.

The front page of today's New York Post, presented without comment. Okay, one comment: Beware of photoshop, guys.

The most surprising photos of 2012.

• This one isn't sports-related, but for a grammar and punctuation nerd like me, these are gold.

• Today's video: an early candidate for Assist of the Year.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


December 19

• Whoa, that didn't take long. Sorry fellas — Christian Ponder has officially taken Samantha Steele off the market.

• Aaron Rodgers sees a kindred spirit in Alex Smith and wants him to go where he's appreciated. Expect Colin Kaepernick to bookmark this article should the Niners meet the Packers in the playoffs.

• Forty years ago this Sunday, the Immaculate Reception happened. A Steelers fan still has the ball. He held on to it, even though he was broke at the time. Now that's a fan.

Joe Namath weighs in on the Mark Sanchez situation. Money quote: "I think he's going to be around for a long time. I hope for his sake it's not with the Jets."

• Johnny Football is great and all, but he's not the greatest freshman in college football history according to my colleagues at Athlon Sports.

• This is sad (or hilarious, depending on your perspective). The guys at Mandatory bring us a slideshow of athletes who have let themselves go.

• Joe Posnanski makes the case against Jack Morris' Hall of Fame candidacy, while conceding that he'll probably get in this time.

Merry Christmas from the Concordia College hoopsters, who have made an impressive trick shot video for your holiday enjoyment.

• Not to be outdone, the MMA folks have their own Christmas video. Click only if you like girls in red bikinis.

2012 in pictures. If the end of the world is nigh, this was quite a year to go out on, as these pictures prove.

The POTUS is the POY, according to Time Magazine. The social media world is weighing in.

• Today's video: Your moment of anti-Dwight Howard schadenfreude. Gerald Henderson throws down a monster slam on the embattled Laker.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


December 18

• One of the many perks of being Johnny Football: You hang out with Megan Fox at The Tonight Show.

It was not a good night for Mark Sanchez. Not even Jon Gruden could find anything nice to say. "This guy Mark Sanchez... ah, screw it." It was left to Mike Tirico to put the finishing touches on last night's abomination, and on the Jets' season.

• There was one highlight worth celebrating last night: Chris Johnson's 94-yard run, the longest in Titans/Oilers franchise history and the second-longest in Monday Night Football history.

This poor schlub on the Jets' sideline provides a tidy summary of the evening's ineptitude.

Watching this pigeon elude capture at the Raiders-Chiefs game was somehow more entertaining than the game itself.

• Jim Boeheim is synonymous with Syracuse basketball. Last night, he earned his 900th win, all of them for the Orange.

• From the archives: Here's some vintage game show footage features a rematch of the 1980 World Series between the Phillies and Royals — this time, playing Family Feud. One nugget: Mike Schmidt pronounces "wash" as "warsh." He also fails to get a single right answer.

• You didn't ask for it, but here it is anyway: Up close and personal with the Jungle Bird guy from the U.S. Open trophy ceremony.

• The Jungle Bird guy provided only one of many odd moments in golf this year. Here are 10 of them.

• Today in historic badassery: During World War II, the late Sen. Daniel Inouye pried a grenade from his own partially detached hand and threw it at the Germans. RIP, Senator.

• In honor of Chris Johnson's 94-yard run on MNF, we bring you the longest run in Monday Night Football and NFL history: Tony Dorsett's 99-yarder.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


December 17

• Hoops cheerleaders are no less fetching than their gridiron counterparts. We have compiled photographic evidence from the SEC.

• If we're lucky, last night's game between the 49ers and Patriots was a Super Bowl preview. In case you went to bed, Tom Brady erased a 31-3 deficit before the Niners tacked on 10 to win 41-34. So does that make the Niners the best team in football? Grantland says yes.

• NFL players are gonna spike the ball when they score. If they gotta take out an eye, those are the breaks.

• Today's NFL GIF is an instant classic: Knowshon Moreno hurdling Ed Reed. Reed later blamed the stomach flu. I blame the fact that, sadly, the future Hall of Famer is getting old.

• Apparently, Adrian Peterson was serious about challenging Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. He broke off an epic 82-yard TD run yesterday, and fortunately, Gus Johnson was on the mic.

• There were countless simple, elegant tributes to the Newtown victims over the weekend. Here's one, from Victor Cruz.

Colin Kaepernick wrote himself a letter in the fourth grade that said he wanted to grow up to play for the 49ers. I wonder if he ever weighed in about the Mayan calendar. 

• There was a full moon visible at Cowboys Stadium yesterday. It belonged to DeMarco Murray.

• Today's best headline can be found at this link. Trust me.

• Cy-onara: The Mets trade Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays. A quick round-up of reactions here.

Ten things you didn't know about classic Christmas songs, like the fact that "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." was written during a summer heat wave, and "Jingle Bells" was originally a Thanksgiving song.

• Bowl season is off to a rousing start. Arizona scored two TDs in the final minute to stun Nevada.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


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