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Downey's 11: Some predictions for 2006


Chicago Tribune


Downey's Eleven:


1 A few predictions for 2006, some of them serious, some of them not:


In the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings mend their ways. No more sex orgies at sea. From now on, only on land or in the air.


The Houston Texans get to draft Reggie Bush. It almost makes it up to the city for blowing the World Series.


"Monday Night Football," in a bold experiment on ESPN, gives its viewers a good game to watch instead of a game no one wants to watch.


The Detroit Lions go 0-16. Matt Millen gets a 50-year contract extension anyway. Any fan at Ford Field who protests is removed by security and run over by a `97 Explorer in the parking lot.


Brett Favre returns to the Green Bay Packers for one more year. Thanks to his line, the quarterback once again gets the living cheddar beat out of him.


The Oakland Raiders sign Terrell Owens to catch passes with Randy Moss. In practice, both men suffer painful ego damage. Each player is listed week by week as "probable," "questionable" or "unstable."


In the same game, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning throw for a combined 10 touchdown passes, Peyton throwing 10 of them.


NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announces definitive plans to put a team in Los Angeles by the year 3000.


2 In baseball, Barry Bonds is back. He passes Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron on the home-run list, a shocking development after Bonds reports to spring camp weighing 125 pounds.


Johnny Damon of the Yankees shaves his head and tries to sneak into Boston disguised as David Wells.


Sammy Sosa's offer to play for the Florida Marlins free backfires when Marlins management decides to slash payroll to minus-zero.


3 In pro basketball, Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat loses a bet with a teammate before the NBA Finals and must wear his hair exactly like Tim Duncan's or Pat Riley's.


Kobe Bryant becomes the first basketball player since Wilt Chamberlain to score 100 points in a game and the first to take 500 shots.


The NBA fines Ron Artest $50,000 for being Ron Artest.


LeBron James retires, saying "I'd like to spend more time with my family" or else play baseball for the White Sox.


4 In hockey, the NHL plans to ban for life the next 100 players beaten into a coma.


5 In golf, Michelle Wie becomes the first woman to win the Masters. When the green jacket is presented to her by Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson, she asks if he would please stop referring to her as "honey" and "little lady."


Tiger Woods stuns the golf world by giving up his Buick to drive a Pontiac.


A course record of 59 is broken when John Daly smokes his 60th cigarette.


6 In college football, Notre Dame goes 11-0 after it spends the entire off-season working on the play where the running back bumps the quarterback into the end zone.


Dozens of Miami and Florida State football players are not arrested.


7 In tennis, Venus Williams defeats Maria Sharapova to win Wimbledon in straight sets, despite the match being interrupted hundreds of times by TV commercials starring Sharapova.


A dress worn by Serena Williams at the U.S. Open gets her disqualified for being the most horrifyingly ugly outfit worn by a woman in the history of professional sport.


8 In boxing, Don King announces a plan to have all 48 heavyweight champions of the world box each other in the same ring on the same night.


Mike Tyson is paid $1 million for an exhibition fight against a George Foreman grill.


9 In college basketball, Bob Knight fails to win another NCAA national championship but does win the reality TV show "Dancing With the Stars."


Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says he is fed up with losing all of North Carolina's top high school players to the University of Illinois.


Notre Dame says it is so pleased with Charlie Weis he can coach basketball there if he wants to, too.


10 In the Winter Olympics, a bronze medal makes Michelle Kwan believe she must wait for a gold medal until 2010 or 2014, latest.


11 In auto racing, Danica Patrick wins the Indy 500 even though she spends 250 miles of it checking the rear-view mirror to see how her hair looks.


Happy New Year's Eve.


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