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Do you still believe in miracles – yes

Rick Chandler
Tahoe Daily Tribune

“..Eleven seconds, you’ve got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk…five seconds left in the game…Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!”

STATELINE – Al Michaels still believes.

How could he not believe in miracles, with his name atop the leader board all day Thursday at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Stateline?

Actually, Michaels was tied for the top spot. Who was he tied with? Irony of ironies, it was Mike Eruzione, who was the captain of the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” hockey team that shocked the Soviet Union, 4-3, in the semifinal round of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

“Is that great or what?” asked Michaels, whose call of the game in 1980 for ABC TV has become one of the signature moments in broadcasting history. The game itself was voted the greatest sports moment of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.

“And it’s legit,” Michaels said of his 68 total on Thursday. “Totally legit. It was so fun to share it with Mike. I got a real charge out of it when I saw t up there.”

And Michaels’ top score was legit … if you factor in that Thursday was a practice day; the final one before the tournament begins in earnest today. Also, his score was achieved early in the day; several players were still playing on the back nine when Michaels was being interviewed by the Tahoe Tribune.

Does Michael still keep in touch with the members of the 1980 team?

“Yes I do,” he said. “I talk with them quite a bit. Mike Ramsey, Dave Christian, I just talked with him the other day. Jim Craig I see from time to time; Mark Johnson.

“The great thing is that all of those guys are still alive. Everyone from that team is still around, except for the coach Herb Brooks.”

After nearly three decades with ABC Sports, in which he became a fixture with Monday Night Football, among other things, Michaels joined NBC in 2006 to join John Madden to broadcast football on Sunday nights.

In exchange for letting Michaels out of his contract with ABC and ESPN, NBC famously sold to parent company Disney the rights to the vintage cartoon character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon character developed by Walt Disney in 1927 which is generally regarded as the precursor to Mickey Mouse. (ESPN also got cable rights to Friday coverage of four Ryder Cups and increased usage of Olympic highlights in the deal).

Soon afterwards, after it was noted that the Kansas City Chiefs gave the New York Jets a draft pick as compensation for releasing coach Herm Edwards from his contract, Michaels said: “Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice. I’m going to be a trivia answer someday.”

QUAYLE LIKES HILLARY?

We have a winner. Former Vice President Dan Quayle has called the Presidential race, and his choice is not who you might expect. Well, OK, it was all quite inadvertant, but Quayle seemed to tab Hillary Clinton as the next permanent resident of the White House.

During a radio interview on Thursday, Quayle was asked about the war in Iraq, responding in part: “It’s going to be a long struggle. The American people need to realize that. Of course, it will go on past the Bush adminsitration; Hillary is going to inherit this.”

There was a pause, and Quayle scrambled to recover. “I hope that it’s not her, of course. But the next President is going to inherit this.” Oh, and also, “The economy is strong.” Thanks, Dan.

FAULK’S GOAL

Marshall Faulk’s golf game improved immensely while he was still active in the National Football League.

Now that the former All-Pro running back with the St. Louis Rams is retired, how much better can he become. Last year, Faulk finished a career-best eighth – the only time in eight tournaments that he’s cracked the top 10.

” I’m sure gonna try to (build on last year),” he said. “I’m playing well. I want to get better.

“I’m just learning to deal with the different dynamic of golf here. Golf, basketball, football and baseball fans and trying to mix it all in, because it’s a different crowd.”

Faulk has transitioned into a career as an analyst for the NFL Channel.

“I love football. You can’t replace it, but I’m still around it.”

“If you give me two new knees I’ll go back out there,” he joked.