Five things we learned this past weekend: Nov. 9-11

Lakers interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff argues a call during Sunday’s game against Sacramento at Staples Center. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Just a little help staying ahead of the sports world learning curve heading back into the work week:

1. So Phil Jackson can do home games, Mike D’Antoni is cool with the roadies, Mike Dunleavy has the second game of a back-to-backs, Kurt Rambis is available on Sunday afternoons,  Jerry Sloan has every game against the Jazz, Nate McMillan has odd-numbered holidays and Bernie Bickerstaff takes only games involving Golden State or Sacramento, especially when Devin Ebanks is not available. The Lakers just ask Time Warner Cable for more money so they can pay everyone to coach this team, and the deal is done. Oh, wait. You’ve got another plan? D’Antoni, by himself, for four years? And everyone’s on board? Especially Nash, who may not even be around past this year? Let us know when Laker fans start chanting “D’Antoni” when Kobe’s at the free-throw line.

2. Who killed Mike Brown? A series of tweets from Magic Johnson began Sunday as he was at Staples Center for the Lakers-Kings game: “I’d like to address some rumors related to my role in the firing of Mike Brown. I had NO conversations w/ Dr. Buss, Jim Buss or Mitch.” Followed by: “I’m not involved w/ the @Lakers day-to-day, only the @Dodgers.” And:  “The last time I spoke to Dr. Buss, was 3 months ago & we were merely reminiscing about the Showtime @Lakers days.” The grand finale: “If I was involved w/ the firing of Mike Brown, I would own it like I did w/ Paul Westhead.” So there. And what again was the lesson from that Twitter response? Magic can type fast with his thumbs when he feels he needs to defend his untarnished image.

49ers quarterback Alex Smith gets hit bySt. Louis linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar during a run in the first quarter Sunday. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

3. Michael Vick, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler were all knocked out of games in the first half Sunday because of a concussion, and their teams aren’t sure if they’ll be around for next week. Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell aren’t the guys that fans really pay to see. Or start for fantasy teams. What’s Roger Goodell supposed to do? Make sure more people see these things happen in stadiums rather than on TV. The NFL commissioner lamented this past week that high-def TV is one of the biggest challenges facing the league. “HD is only going to get better,” he said. He may have also overlooked that because of TV improvements, the league receives billions more per year in rights fees. Or maybe a better comeback to that was delivered by Seth Meyers on “Saturday Night Live.” Reporting that Goodell said HDTV is hurting attendance at games “since the experience of watching at home is so good,” Meyers added: “‘Is it, though?’ said guys with wives.”

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4. Nice window dressing on the new Pauley Pavilion. We gotta admit, there didn’t seem to be all that much of a change in watching a game from inside the basketball shrine on the UCLA campus. Maybe the seats were new, and a few closer to the baskets underneath. The scoreboard, bright and brassy, still took awhile to figure out what size of numbers to use to tell everyone what the score was in the Bruins’ season-opening win over Indiana State. Structurally, the outside presents a stunning, visual change, with the glass shell over the previous structure, more room to maneuver around and a bigger place to shop for team gear. Otherwise: $136 million for that kind of facelift? Might have found a surgeon to do it cheaper in Beverly Hills.

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5. Get to know the legend of “Johnny Football.” Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel wasn’t the clear starter when the season began. But by the time he was leading the Aggies to an upset over No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, his family and the school were scrambling to protect the trademark of his new-found nickname, “Johnny Football.” business writer Darren Rovell reported that in order to keep Manziel’s eligibility, neither his family nor the school can sell products with the “Johnny Football” slogan that connects it to Manziel, but it can at least stop others from doing so. The 8-2 Aggies, in their first year playing in the SEC, jumped up to No. 8 in the latest BCS poll, still four spots below Alabama, heading into a game against (for real?) Sam Houston State, which isn’t even on any national TV carrier. Neither will A&M likely get a sniff at the BCS title game – heck, there probably won’t be any SEC team near it now, as long as Kansas State and Oregon (as well as perhaps Notre Dame) remain undefeated.

Oh, and one more thing …

If you’re part of the Yahoo Fantasy Sports tribe, maybe you got this email at 12:30 a.m. today:

I want to sincerely apologize to all of you about today’s Yahoo! Sports Fantasy outage. As the head of Yahoo! Sports and as a Yahoo! Sports fantasy player myself, I am disappointed that we failed all of our fans today. Our first priority is having the best experience for our users, and today we fell short.
The outage started around Noon ET (awful timing we know) and while our team was on it immediately we are still working on various pieces. Our team is continuing to work on identifying and resolving the root cause. We have restored full functionality on the website, and we’re working for a final fix for our mobile apps. Currently data and scores can be viewed but for now you cannot make transactions or change line-ups from the apps. We will also use today as an opportunity to improve our set-up so that we hopefully never have an outage like this again. Our fantasy commissioners and players are our biggest priority – we pride ourselves in being able to offer our users with the best fantasy sports experience possible and we take our job to deliver that to you very seriously. Rest assured we will work hard to make sure we continue to deliver on that commitment.

Thanks for playing with us and your patience today,

Ken Fuchs
Head of Yahoo! Sports

Veteran move by those who did their lineups before the purge.

And our photo of the weekend:

Tweeted out to the 200,000-plus followers of @Dodgers, this shot along with the message: “A very pleasant commute to you, wherever you may be!”

Added @ivette923: I park in the same lot for work as this guy. Still haven’t seen who drives it though lol

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