NFL admits officiating mistake
NEW YORK (AP) — Redskins coach Mike Shanahan spoke with the NFL’s director of officiating after the league said Sunday night’s crew made an error on Washington’s final drive.
The league said officials should have stopped play and eliminated confusion about the down and distance at the end of the Giants’ 24-17 victory at Washington.
“I talked to Dean earlier today, he gave me a call and just went over the scenario,” Shanahan said, referring to Dean Blandino, who oversees NFL officiating. “Obviously they made a mistake and you live with it.”
A 4-yard completion to the Redskins’ Pierre Garcon was spotted short of a first down. Referee Jeff Triplette signaled third down. But the head linesman, with Washington in a hurry-up offense, incorrectly motioned for the crew to advance the chains, which caused the down boxes to read first down.
Blandino said Monday in a statement that “in this situation where there is obvious confusion as to the status of the down, play should have been stopped prior to third down and the correct down communicated to both clubs. This should have occurred regardless of the fact that Washington had no timeouts and it was inside two minutes.”
Texans’ Smith sorry for comment
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston defensive end Antonio Smith is apologizing for using the word “spying” about New England, but isn’t exactly backing down from the accusations he made after the Texans’ loss to the Patriots.
After Houston’s 34-31 loss on Sunday, Smith told reporters that the Texans had some new wrinkles in their defense and it was “miraculous” how the Patriots changed their offense to key on the defense.
He said then: “Either teams are spying on us or scouting us. I don’t know what it is.”
On Monday, he said that he thought reporters in Houston knew him well enough to know that he could be joking and still be curious about something like this at the same time.
He says: “I’m sorry I said the word spying because of a prior engagement of them being caught spying before.”
Spartans remain atop AP poll
UNDATED (AP) — Michigan State stayed No. 1 for a third straight week in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, receiving all but two of the first-place votes.
Arizona moved from fourth to second, drawing the other No. 1 votes from the 65-member national media panel.
Kentucky remains third while Syracuse jumps from eighth to fourth. Ohio State moves up two spots to fifth and is followed by Kansas, which had been second. Completing the top 10 are Louisville, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Duke, which dropped four spots after losing to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Nets’ Pierce sidelined up to month
NEW YORK (AP) — Paul Pierce will be out two to four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand, the biggest loss yet for the injury-plagued Brooklyn Nets.
Pierce was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal of his right, shooting hand, the team said Monday. He was hurt Friday in the first half of a loss at Houston.
Sarkisian tabbed new USC coach
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Steve Sarkisian was hired as the coach at Southern California on Monday, leaving the University of Washington to return to the Trojans’ storied football program for another run at national titles.
Two days after USC’s regular season ended with a home loss to UCLA, Trojans athletic director Pat Haden replaced interim coach Ed Orgeron with yet another assistant coach from Pete Carroll’s championship-winning era at the school.
The 39-year-old Sarkisian is a Los Angeles-area native who went 34-29 in five seasons at Washington, rebuilding a decimated program into a bowl contender. He is the permanent replacement for Lane Kiffin, his former co-offensive coordinator at USC under Carroll.
• UNDATED (AP) — The Big Ten Conference issued a public reprimand of the Cornhuskers’ head coach and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini’s comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week.
University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini’s compensation.
Alabama fan charged with murder
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A woman charged with killing a fellow Alabama fan after the end of last weekend’s Iron Bowl football game was angry that the victim and others didn’t seem upset over the Crimson Tide’s loss to archrival Auburn, said the sister of the slain woman.
Adrian Laroze Briskey, 28, was charged Monday with murder in the killing of 36-year-old Michelle Shepherd.
Hoover police Capt. Jim Coker said both Birmingham women were Alabama fans and at the same party for the annual game between intrastate rivals.
Broncos’ Fox returns to team
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver Broncos coach John Fox returned to work from what he called “the longest bye week in history.”
“Really, the hardest part was watching the team play and not being there,” Fox said upon his return four weeks after having open-heart surgery in North Carolina.
Fox had hoped to put off aortic valve replacement surgery until after the Super Bowl but fell ill while golfing with friends near his offseason home in Charlotte on Nov. 2 during the Broncos’ bye. He underwent surgery 48 hours later.