From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» In a poll conducted by ESPN and calculated monthly, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow topped the December list as the United States’ favorite athlete. Tebow is “just the sixth different athlete to finish No. 1 in the monthly rankings since 2007” and, in the 18 years of the poll, only 11 different athletes have ever held that distinction.
» In addition to the Top 10 list OGGOA posted Wednesday from CBS’s the Late Show with David Letterman, Tebow was also brought up on TBS’s Conan. Host Conan O’Brien, claiming he was absent the budget to air actual game footage, had his staff put together a recreation of his game-winning play from Sunday…with peanuts replacing the players.
» While on the topic of Tebow videos, here is the latest Taiwanese animation creation, which depicts Tebow getting crucified by the media, angels helping him score, God taunting Satan, and the entire Pittsburgh team being sent to hell.
» Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons has started his NBA career by turning some heads and did just that on Tuesday with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting with seven boards in an 82-70 victory over Charlotte. Parsons, who has started three-straight games for Houston and has seen 17 or more minutes in seven of 10 games this season, filled up the stat sheet Wednesday with eight points, six boards, four assists and three steals. Below are highlights from his performance on Tuesday.
» Joining Parsons as an early surprise this NBA season is new Denver Nuggets F Corey Brewer, who was traded to the team this offseason. Brewer played double-digit minutes for the sixth time in 11 games this season on Wednesday and was on absolute fire, scoring 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 16 minutes. Brewer went 3-for-3 from downtown, had a great block and also threw down an exciting dunk on an alley-oop, as you can see below. “This is the first time since my college career that I get to play in a style that I came from in college, so there’s no more slow-down basketball,” Brewer told the Denver Post. “Right now, my role is to spark the team, so whenever I do get a chance to get in, I try to spark the team.”
» Another interesting note about the Nuggets has the team’s mascot (Rocky) recently taking half-court shots during a break in the action at a game. He was unsuccessful at his attempts…until he went Tebowing in the middle of the court and hit his very next attempt.
» Playing in the NFL Playoffs has a lot of advantages – like getting to meet celebrities. Below is a picture of former Florida Gators defensive end Justin Trattou (now a member of the New York Giants) posing with WWE superstar Triple H.
» A number of coaching moves involving former Gators have taken place this week. Florida tight end Mike Mularkey, a professional football coach since 1994, got the second head coaching gig of his career Wednesday with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also Wednesday, former Gators wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, who left the program to become passing game coordinator at LSU, was hired by Illinois to be the team’s next offensive coordinator. Finally former Florida QB Brian Schottenheimer, offensive coordinator with the New York Jets since 2006, resigned from his post and is seeking new employment. It was recently reported that Alabama interviewed Schottenheimer for their open position.
» New Kansas Jayhawks head coach Charlie Weis plucked another staffer from the Gators, this time hiring graduate assistant Jeff Blasko as his team’s tight ends coach. Weis has already added Adam Sitter as director of high school relations, Scott Vestal as the assistant director of football operations and Scott Holsopple as director of strength and conditioning.
» Capitalizing on Tebow’s great play recently (and rightfully so), endorsement partner Jockey has a brand new splash page at the front of their website featuring the simple saying: “Playoffs. It’s Tebow Time.” The company is also running a $1 million “super” challenge with that much money on the line should Denver wind up winning the Super Bowl. If the Broncos are victorious, Jockey will award a winner $15,000 and every other entrant a $25 gift card.
» Florida assistant basketball coach John Pelphrey’s name was the first one to come up when Western Kentucky fired their head coach recently, but Pelphrey has recently “respectfully declined” comment on the open position through UF’s sports information department. Though Pelphrey will undoubtedly be interested in returning to a head coaching role with a college program, the comfort factor in Gainesville, FL could lead him to hold on and potentially wait for a more prominent position. Either way, Pelphrey is not going to make a decision until March at the earliest.
» As if fans did not already know Tebow was the most popular athlete in America, the fact that his name is starting to show up in tabloid stories should undoubtedly be proof. Singer-songwriter Katy Perry, who recently divorced actor-comedian Russell Brand, has been connected to Tebow through OK! Magazine, which has Perry’s parents trying to set up the duo. “[Katy’s] mentioned on more than one occasion how much she likes Tim,” a “source” told the publication. “Katy’s mom firmly believes the best cure for heartache is to quickly fall in love again. In her mind, Tebow is the perfect guy for her daughter. He’s handsome, charming, intelligent and above all, a good Christian.” Apparently the Perrys have even reached out to Tebow to speak at their church in Huntington, CA (which Katy also attends when in town).
» Florida basketball’s double-overtime loss to Rutgers on the road on Dec. 29 may be looking a bit better now that RU has defeated No. 8 Connecticut (67-60) and Pittsburgh (62-39) in consecutive contests. That being said, Pittsburgh is on a major downswing this season and Rutgers also lost a pair of games to South Florida (65-67) and West Virginia (64-85) in between.
» Tebowing has even reached the NHL as Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jack Johnson did the pose after scoring a goal during his team’s 5-2 victory over Washington on Monday. The opposing team was none-too-pleased with the move.
» In an interview with the Associated Press, Tebow admitted that a number of Republican candidates have asked for his support in their candidacy for the party’s nomination. Though he refused to say which candidates asked him, he did let it be known that he declined all of the offers. “I think you have to have so much trust in who you support, just from product endorsements to endorsing a candidate because if that person or company does something [bad], it reflects on you,” he said. Playing off of that, the International Business Times mocked up what some of those endorsement requests from the candidates might look like.
» Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, with his team out of the playoffs, has spend the last few days breaking some news on Twitter. First was a rather fun item, Pouncey publishing a picture of either him or his brother (Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey) riding an ATV on Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger’s property. Then on Thursday, Mike announced that Maurkice was indeed under the knife having surgery on his ankle, something that Steleers head coach Mike Tomlin said was a possibility.
» Here’s a picture of Harlem Globetrotters center Tiny Sturgess (7’8″) “Tebowing,” which makes him likely the tallest person in the world to perform the act.
» ESPN will be re-airing both Tebow documentaries the network has the rights to on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, from 11 p.m. through 1 a.m., ESPNU will air Everything in Between and Faces of Sports: Tim Tebow back to back. The former documentary will also air at 7 a.m. (ESPN2) and 8 a.m. (ESPNU) on Saturday with the latteralso being replayed at 9 a.m. (ESPNU) Saturday.
» Gators senior outfielder Michelle Moultrie, a former walk-on with the team, was one of 12 athletes across the country named to the 2012 USA Softball Women’s National Team on Wednesday. This will be Moultrie’s second-straight year earning a roster spot on the team as she was on the squad that won gold medals in 2011 at the Pan American Games and the World Cup of Softball.
» Tebow is not the only player doing good things with the Broncos. According to the Denver Post, defensive tackle Marcus Thomas began doing community service with the National Child ID program in 2007 and it has become something that he has continued through his tenure in Denver, providing “ID kits to every kindergartener in the state of Colorado since 2007.” The Post reports that “Thomas was the first NFL player to become involved in this program and his initiative and work was recognized Tuesday night before 7,000 coaches attending the American Football Coaches Association convention in Florida. “I’m hoping it goes bigger than that. I’m going back to Florida and try to see what I can do to keep it rolling this offseason,” Thomas said.
» Gators redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard has decided to be represented by Drew Rosenhaus as he prepares for the 2012 NFL Draft. Howard is the second Florida player to sign with an agent since the season ended as redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey picked Joel Segal last week.
» Picture of U.S. soccer star and former Gators striker Abby Wambach acting a fool in a team photo as tweeted by long-time teammate Heather Mitts.
» In one non-Florida item, we tweeted that a funny moment occurred during the Alabama-LSU basketball game Wednesday evening as Alabama fans taunted the LSU basketball team the first time they dribbled the ball across half-court. (LSU’s football team barely crossed midfield against Alabama in the BCS title game on Monday.) Check out the video below for a good chuckle.