Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Celtics, Favre, Baugh

Today's Calls: Celtics vs. Sharks, Brett Favre vs. Tim Tebow vs. Sammy Baugh, Chris Paul vs. LeBron, Tiger vs. Padraig, Dodgers vs. Braves and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: We are witnessing history ... twice. ↵

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↵With a win last night — their 16th in a row — the Celtics tied the best start after 26 games in NBA history (24-2). ↵

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↵Boston was, oh, pretty good last year, and that was when the Celtics were on a mission of desperation. Now, they are playing with the swagger of a champ — like a team that knows it has the potential to make history as one of the game's greatest teams ever. And is fulfilling it. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, the Sharks have gotten off to the best start in NHL history (52 points in 30 games). ↵

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↵San Jose was snagged in Columbus last night in overtime, so now the Sharks are now "only" 25-3-3 — with a nine-point lead over the next best team in the Western Conference ... and a 16-point lead over the next best team in the Pacific Division. ↵

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↵It would be one thing to be watching such unprecedented dominance in the NBA alone. Or the NHL alone. But to watch them happening at the same time — even at the start of their respective seasons — strengthens the case that 2008 is one of the best sports years ever. ↵

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↵There is no display of megalomania in sports like Brett Favre's annual dalliance with retirement. Or "retirement." Or not. Or whatever it is at this point. ↵

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↵"It very well could be my last" year, he said Wednesday. Oh, Brett! Please don't tease us ... again! ↵

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↵Can anyone really take him seriously about this anymore? Retire or don't — just stop making a production out of it. ↵

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↵BCS Title Game Hype: Tim Tebow filed his paperwork with the NFL to find out where he might be drafted — but hasn't committed to leaving (yet). Let the Great Tebow NFL Draft Debate commence. Is he the next Eric Crouch? Danny Weurfful? Vince Young? Matt Jones? Daunte Culpepper? ↵

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↵At worst, Tebow can be a Wildcat specialist, racking up TDs (and fantasy points) as a team's designated ball-handler inside the 15; at best, he is the next Donovan McNabb. ↵

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↵Most "experts" have Tebow going in the second round — at the earliest. I think he can and will move into the first round. (Conspiracy theory: He needs a coach smart and fearless enough to deploy him innovatively; how about Urban Meyer's buddy Bill Belichick?) ↵

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↵Don't forget: Even if Tebow isn't a first-round pick, he is a lock to be the top endorsement-dollar winner of his draft class — Nike, EA covers, Gatorade, jersey sales, Kenny Chesney albums. Even in an economy like this one (and even out of the first round), Tebow's marketing appeal is once-in-a-generation. ↵

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↵SN College Football Awards: Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Graham Harrell share Players of the Year and Nick Saban wins Coach of the Year. It is hard to dispute the Big 12 QBs, although I would have thrown Tebow in there, making it a four-way. As for COY, Saban was an obvious choice, but how about love for Paul Johnson, Joe Paterno and Pat Fitzgerald? ↵

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↵R.I.P. "Slingin'" Sammy Baugh, 94: Condolences to his family, friends and fans — although if you're under the age of 70, you likely have no first-hand memory or experience in rooting for him. It cannot be overstated: An NFL uber-legend. The prototypical "modern" quarterback, if ever there was one. ↵

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↵Consider: He was in the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame class. He was on the NFL's 75th anniversary team. At one time, he held every significant (and likely insignificant) passing record. He revolutionized the QB position AND played punter. Now, back to mere mortals like Favre and Tebow. ↵

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↵NBA Milestones: Chris Paul set a new NBA record with a steal in his 106th straight game. Amazingly, the streak began in April 2007, when the Hornets were still playing in Oklahoma City. Oh, and CP3 finished with 19 points and 12 assists (and, naturally, 3 steals) in a Hornets win over the Spurs. ↵

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↵There are three definitive types of team-sports milestones: Career, single-season and consecutive games. I would argue that Paul has set one of the toughest standards in the NBA record books. It doesn't just demand longevity, but defensive intensity. (Scoring in double-figures? Meh. If you shoot 20 times, how hard is that, really? Try taking the ball away from another player — 106 games in a row.) ↵

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↵If you were starting an NBA franchise from scratch right now and had the opportunity to take any player as the cornerstone, I think Paul has to be in the Top 3 — LeBron, Dwight Howard, CP3. ↵

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↵NBA Injury Watch: Elton Brand has a dislocated shoulder. But the Sixers beat the Bucks anyway. ↵

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↵NFL Symbolism Alert: Within 24 hours of Mario Williams earning a Pro Bowl starting spot, the Saints put Reggie Bush on injured reserve, ending his season. Bush isn't even the best RB on his own team, let alone the best player from his draft class. How many more seasons until "Reggie Bust?" ↵

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↵Joe Horn won't join the Giants: Remember the ridiculous outrage over Joe Horn's TD "celly-bration?" Compare that to, say, illegally bringing a loaded gun into a nightclub in the band of your (cough) sweatpants, then having it go off, shooting you in the leg. Horn would have been a refreshing change. ↵

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↵More Indiana hoops scandal: So in addition to having a coach who cheated, the Hoosiers had a widespread drug problem. At least that’s according to former IU star Eric Gordon. I'd rather have a clean bunch of losers — like this year's bunch! — than last year's winning (sort of) team of misfits. ↵

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↵CBB Last Night: Syracuse shook off the loss in the Dome to Cleveland State at the buzzer — the CBB Shot of the Season (so far) — to rout Canisius by 22. ... Meanwhile, something is up with Memphis: Days after losing to Georgetown in OT, the Tigers had to hold on to beat Arkansas-Little Rock — and they couldn't even break 60 points. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Rafael Furcal stays in L.A. for 3Y/$33M. Not quite like re-signing Manny, but certainly a core part of the Dodgers' success in 2008. The only problem: The Braves insist they had a deal with him earlier this week. Furcal can expect a wonderful reception from Braves fans next season. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, the Yankees signing Manny Ramirez, as is rumored to be a possibility, would be a genius move for both sides — even if the Yankees overpaid annually and even if Manny "settled" for a two-year deal. ↵

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↵It would give NY the best 1-2 punch in baseball (A-Rod and Manny? Yeesh.) and it gives Manny a homecoming. He'd instantly become one of the most beloved Yankees of the past 25 years. ↵

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↵Are the Mets for sale? The Wilpons say "No." But is this the equivalent of an owner or GM giving a coach the dreaded "vote of confidence?" Does that translate to team owners talking about team finances? Don't trust any vote-of-confidence about finances these days. ↵

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↵Padraig who? If Tiger Woods says he is on track to play in the 2009 Masters, it instantly eclipses Padraig Harrington winning PGA Player of the Year on Tuesday. ↵

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↵"Long-term, this is the greatest thing that could have happened. Now it's better than it's been in over a decade." That's Tiger on his miss-most-of-'08, won-the-Open-on-one-leg, we-can-rebuild-him surgically repaired knee. ↵

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↵Tiger can yawn and it is the biggest news in golf. Isn't it exciting? ↵

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↵The Last Word: "If I was following sports, I'd be like 'Enough already' sometimes when they talk about us.” ↵

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↵Um, "sometimes?" ↵

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↵That's Tony Romo, about the drama that seems to follow the Cowboys — including questions yesterday about why Romo missed T.O.'s birthday party on Monday night. And does anyone NOT agree with him? ↵

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↵"Things that really wouldn't be a story at other places they make them out to be here. ... You let it roll off your back and move right along." ↵

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↵Nothing is as manufactured as the drama out of the Cowboys camp from Tuesday through Friday. And yet we continue to talk about it. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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