Today in sports: The NFL Isn't done making Londoners watch pro football, the Miami Dolphins are poised to botch another coaching search, and a Mayweather/Pacquiao fight keeps finding ways to seem plausible.
According to The Miami Herald, the hiring of the new Miami Dolphins coach is "imminent," which in Dolphins-speak means at least a day away. The two finalists are said to be Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin -- the Zelig of the 2012 coaching carousel -- and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who's so confident he's Miami's man he cancelled an interview and removed himself from consideration for the Oakland Raiders coaching vacancy. Shrewd! Owner Stephen Ross likes Philbin, while general manager Jeff Ireland is said to prefer to McCoy, and Ireland's opinions are said to "carry considerable weight" with the Dolphins owner. If Ross is unable or unwilling to choose between his gut feeling and that of undistinguished general manager (which happened last summer, when Ross botched his chance to hire Jim Harbaugh), the Herald reports he might just give the job to current interim coach Todd Bowles as a "fall back option." Turning to a fall back option when you have two candidates that ownership and the front office both like, but the Dolphins have led the league in incremental non-decisions since Ross bought the team in 2007. [Miami Herald]
You know boxing's fight of the century, the one between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao that seems like it's never going to happen? It's starting to look like it might -- might -- happen. Apparently Mayweather placed a call to Pacquiao in the Philippines on Wednesday without any promoters or business-types on the call to gauge his interest in fighting May 5 in Las Vegas. That would have been noteworthy enough, considering the chilling effect Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has had on previous negotiations for a bout, but Pacquiao went on to tell a reporter for The Philippine Star that he "told [Mayweather] we should do the fight as long as he agrees to 50-50 sharing." That's very do-able, though Arum has already started insisting the fight will need to be at the end of May, right before Mayweather starts serving his jail sentence, or in November once he's out, to give Pacquiao more time to recover from a cut he suffered in a bout last November that required 29 stitches to close up. The participants actually seem to want to make the fight happen, which didn't really feel like the case during the lead-up to their planned March 2010 fight that fell apart at the last moment. to discuss [USA Today]
The NFL announced that the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots have been sentenced to play in the NFL's annual international game in London next year. The London game, which the league has been trying to make work since 2007, is dreaded by players and and coaches, since the trip is long and the playing surface at Wembley field is substandard. The Rams will have to get used to it: they signed a deal to appear in the next three London contests, which unlike Rams home games, usually sell out. [AP]
Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber thought he was going to be a globetrotting correspondent for NBC News after retiring in 2007, but a messy divorce and an affair with a 23-year-old Today show intern put those dreams on hold. Since then, he's been nursing a grudge against Giants coach Tom Coughlin for vague and confusing reasons, offered widely ignored opinions about Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and attempted a comeback this year at the age of 36 that went nowhere. In the last two days, his fortunes have changed: he's signed a TV deal with Reelz (it's a start) and is reportedly close to joining SportsNet New York as a studio analyst following Giants game (again, it's a start.) Lest anyone think Tiki Barber is no longer the Casandra of retired NFL running backs, he went on ESPN New York 1050 to complain that Coughlin won't meet with him and pretend there's value in burying the hatchet with a cranky running back who hasn't played football in five years. He also made a point of noting how he "put it on the line everytime I put on my uniform," even though he retired at the age of 31 to join NBC, which is young for a running back, especially one who didn't start until his fourth season.) Then, of course, he circled back to Coughlin (him again!) saying that the coach was out "to vilify me" and favored"demeaning" coaching tactics, one of which has been widely credited with curing Barber's hellacious fumbling problems. The moral of the story, to paraphrase Nixon: Don't hate people, especially people who don't hate you back, because it will destroy you and set your broadcasting career back. [ESPN]
An MRI has revealed that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, 57, has "several new spots/tumors on his brain," according to a blog post written by his daughter on the family's Web site. A source says the family is weighing whether to continue with cancer treatments, and the New York Daily News described the 11-time all-star's condition as "extremely grave." Carter only learned of his condition back in May when he collapsed and was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors discovered four tumors on his brain. "Massive doses of chemotherapy" and radiation were used to treat the tumors, and as of early December they hadn't grown any bigger, but the Carters says he suffered two big falls in the ensuing weeks, and suffered a torn rotator cuff. Carter was on the 1986 New York Mets team that won the World Series. He played five seasons with the Mets, but spent the bulk of his 18-year career with the Montreal Expos. He made the Hall of Fame in 2003. [New York Daily News]