Highest rated Super Bowl since 1996
NEW YORK (AP) – Peyton Manning had a lot of witnesses to his soggy super win, with the estimated 93.2 million viewers representing the second most-watched Super Bowl broadcast ever.
Only the 1996 Super Bowl between Dallas and Pittsburgh, which had 94.1 million viewers, had a bigger audience, according to Nielsen Media Research. Behind that 1996 game and the M-A-S-H series finale, Sunday’s game was the third most-watched program in television history.
It was the highest-rated Super Bowl game since St. Louis-Tennessee in 2000. The ratings were lower this year than in 2000, but, because there are more homes with television sets than seven years ago, there were more people watching. Last year’s Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Seattle drew 90.7 million viewers.
Colts return for parade
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indianapolis Colts shared triumphant shouts and high-fives with fans who braved the 8-degree chill to flock to their floats as the Super Bowl champions paraded through downtown.
An estimated 40,000 fans packed the RCA Dome to welcome the team home at a post-parade rally. Some had been there for hours.
Brewers and Bill Hall agree to four year deal
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Bill Hall and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a $24 million, four year contract.
Hall, who is slated to play center field for the Brewers, gets a $500,000 signing bonus, $3 million this year, $4.8 million in 2008, $6.8 million in 2009 and $8.4 million in 2010. The Brewers have a $9.25 million option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout.
Former Oriole pitcher Steve Barber died
BALTIMORE (AP) – Steve Barber, the first 20-game winner in modern Baltimore Orioles history and the losing pitcher in one of baseball’s wildest no-hitters, has died. He was 67.
Barber became ill last week and died from complications of pneumonia Sunday at a hospital in Henderson, Nev., the Orioles said.
Michael Jordan to judge slam dunk competition
NEW YORK (AP) – Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins lead four former champions who will serve as judges for the slam dunk competition during All-Star weekend. They will be joined by Hall of Famer Julius Erving and two other champs who will play in the All-Star game: Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter.
New York guard Nate Robinson will try to defend his title in the Feb. 17 event in Las Vegas. Orlando All-Star Dwight Howard, Chicago rookie Tyrus Thomas and Boston’s Gerald Green round out the field.
Former Penn State player settled lawsuit against coach
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – A former Penn State women’s basketball player settled a discrimination lawsuit against longtime coach Rene Portland, more than a year after claiming that Portland had a “no lesbian” policy on her team.
Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon and the lawyer for former player Jennifer Harris said the agreement called for settlement terms to remain confidential.
In a December 2005 lawsuit, Harris accused Portland of “humiliating, berating and ostracizing” her, and claimed she was told that she needed to look “more feminine.” The suit alleged that Portland tried to force Harris, who says she is not gay, to leave the team.
Sean Avery traded to Rangers
NEW YORK (AP) – Sean Avery, the NHL’s most-penalized player the past two seasons, was traded to the New York Rangers in a deal that sent checking forward Jason Ward to the Los Angeles Kings.
Avery had 10 goals, 18 assists and 116 penalty minutes in 55 games this season with the Kings, who also acquired the rights to unsigned forwards Marc-Andre Cliche and Jan Marek. Los Angeles sent 19-year-old prospect John Seymour to the Rangers.
The 26-year old Avery had 257 penalty minutes in 75 games last season along with career highs of 15 goals, 24 assists and 39 points. He signed a one-year contract with the Kings before this season worth $1.1 million and can become a restricted free agent in the summer.
Soccer fans not allowed into stadium in Italy
ROME (AP) – Soccer fans won’t be allowed into stadiums in Italy unless security measures are met, a decision that comes days after rioting at a game in Sicily in which a police officer was killed.
Interior Minister Giuliano Amato also said that clubs will not be able to sell blocks of tickets to visiting fans, allowing for better control of those entering stadiums. These decisions and others need to be approved at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Amato added.
Luca Pancalli, the Italian soccer federation commissioner, said the decision on resuming professional play would be made after the Cabinet meeting. He said that would give the league enough time to schedule games for next weekend.
Games in the country’s top league, scheduled for last Saturday and Sunday, were called off because of Friday’s riot after Palermo beat host Catania 2-1.