4 notes on a cold Tuesday:
1) Like many NFL fans, I used to watch Dandy Don Meredith and Howard Cosell go at it on "Monday Night Football" and revel in their rivalry. It was a rite of passage for me when I was finally old enough to stay up late enough to hear Meredith sing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over" when the game's outcome was decided. Meredith was a former NFL star who didn't take the game that seriously -- he was playing a Texas cornpone role in those broadcasts and was bright enough, and funny enough, to pull it off for years. When you see those studio analysts yakking it up every Sunday -- well, they all owe a debt to Dandy Don.
"MNF" did a nice tribute to Meredith at halftime last night -- the most touching part being when Frank Gifford, being interviewed live by Mike Tirico, said of Meredith "I loved him like a brother," then got teary-eyed and couldn't go on. RIP Dandy Don, who died Sunday at age 72.
2) My column today on the Panthers is called "To Win or Not to Win" and concerns the Panthers' hunt for the No.1 draft pick in 2011 and how many fans are now hoping they go ahead and finish 1-15 to guarantee it (and, likely, Andrew Luck if he declares early). On his way out the door, wouldn't it be ironic if John Fox messed that up for Carolina?
3) Thanks again for those who turned in fake names for a fake book about the Panthers' 2010 season in a blog post a couple below this one -- I used some of those for comic relief in today's column (right toward the end). I gotta say, you "Scott Says" readers are very creative.
4) I will be doing an online chat this week from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec.9th. If you have a question but can't make it during that time, e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to post it and answer it live, time permitting, during the chat.