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Chris Snee would have liked to sit down on Super Bowl Sunday and watch the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, like any other football fan.
The problem is, Snee is no longer just a football fan. It is a good problem for Snee to have.
Snee, an offensive guard from Montrose and Boston College, completed his second professional football season when the New York Giants were eliminated from the National Football Conference playoffs.
"I'd like to say I'll just sit back and enjoy the game," Snee said in an interview with the Susquehanna County Transcript prior to the game while making plans to watch it with his wife, son and some friends, "but I know the whole time I will be watching the offensive line versus the defensive line.
"Seattle has a great guard and so does Pittsburgh. I'll watch them and try to pick up some things and I'll just be watching how the lines play against each other."
Snee was in Montrose to visit his family the week before the Super Bowl. As the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers were finishing preparation for the biggest game of this season, Snee was beginning to work toward next season.
"I've taken three weeks off," he said. "I'm going to start working out and looking forward to next season.
"We improved from year one, but we have to keep getting better."
Snee said the thrill of winning a division title has been offset by a 23-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.
"It might still be too early to look back and be too happy with the way the season went," Snee said. "I'm still bitter about the way it ended, being shut out at home.
"Maybe when there's no more football on TV, I'll feel better about it. I'm sure most of the other guys watching (the Super Bowl) are kind of looking at what we're missing out on."
By most measurements the 2005 National Football League season was a successful one for the Giants as a whole and Snee as an individual.
As an offensive lineman, Snee's accomplishments are easier to measure in the numbers put up by others, such as Tiki Barber's franchise-record 1,860 rushing yards. Eli Manning went from being sacked once every 15 attempts as a rookie to once every 20 attempts.
"The number of yards Tiki has is one indicator," Snee said. "Also, one of our goals was decreasing the number of sacks from our rookie year. We did better there, but that's still not where we want it to be. We're very confident that if we give Eli time, he will make the throws.
"I try to judge it on everything - yardage, sacks, but really most of all, overall wins."
With Snee starting every game in an offensive line that was otherwise disrupted by injuries, the Giants managed to make significant improvements in the most important area, jumping from 6-10 in 2004 to 11-5 in 2005.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose remained perfect in Lackawanna League Division III girls' basketball play when it defeated the only other second-half unbeaten with a 49-37 victory over Carbondale.
Amanda Lass scored 15 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked three shots in the win. Ashley Jones added 14 points and seven assists.
In boys' basketball, Lackawanna Trail handed Mountain View its first Division III loss, 78-69, in a meeting between second-half unbeatens.
The result means that if Lackawanna Trail can complete the second half with a perfect record, there will be a playoff with first-half champion Mountain View for the division's all-season title.
Justin Herbert, a freshman from Blue Ridge, is second on Franklin & Marshall's wrestling team in wins.
Herbert is 15-7 at 165 pounds for the Division I team.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Regular-season basketball schedules come to a close this week.
The boys' schedule ends Wednesday night.
In girls' basketball, Montrose can clinch the Division III all-season title if it can win two more wins to complete a second straight perfect league season. The Lady Meteors are at Forest City Tuesday and home with Lackawanna Trail Thursday.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
BURTON Grabs Pole For Sunday’s Daytona 500, Daytona Beach, FL – The “Comeback Kid,” is how several members of the news media are now referring to Jeff Burton.
Car owner Richard Childress and Sunday's Daytona 500 pole winner, Jeff Burton.
With only three previous poles, who would have thought that Burton would start this year’s Daytona 500 from the number one position?
Burton went out 34th in Sunday’s Daytona qualifying for the front two spots and turned 189.151 mph in the No. 31 Richard Childress Chevrolet on a cool, windy day to win the pole for next Sunday's Daytona 500.
It was just the third pole that Burton has won in more than 400 career Nextel Cup starts, and his first since Sept. 9, 2000 at Richmond. He has endured four straight winless seasons in Nextel Cup competition.
The two Jeff’s will make up the front row as Jeff Gordon’s speed of 188.887 mph was good enough to get the only other spot that was officially up for grabs Sunday, but not good enough to knock Burton out of number one.
"Our guys have been working very hard, but we caught a break, too," Burton said. "The wind was blowing so hard when we were out there. I knew we had a good car and when I saw the flags like they were I knew we had a chance. We just caught it right. It played into our hands and we took advantage of it.
“I’m telling you guys ahead of time that the Richard Childress teams are going to be different this season. We found a lot of things during the off season that’s going to show up as the season progresses. This is just one of them.”
Burton’s two Childress Racing teammates, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick were the seventh and 13th fastest.
Jeff Gordon’s teammate, Jimmie Johnson was fifth fastest.
The remainder of the 43-car starting field will be determined by two qualifying races on Thursday and NASCAR driver provisionals.
ROOKIE HAMLIN Takes The Budweiser Shootout, Daytona Beach, FL – Rookie Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Shootout on Sunday, driving the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. edged Tony Stewart, Hamlin’s teammate for second place, while Stewart was third.
Finishing order: 1. Denny Hamlin, 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 3. Tony Stewart, 4. Scott Riggs, 5. Jimmie Johnson, 6. Matt Kenseth, 7. Mark Martin, 8. Jamie McMurray, 9. Joe Nemechek, 10. Dale Jarrett, 11. Michael Waltrip, 12. Bill Elliott, 13. Elliott Sadler, 14. Ken Schrader, 15. Kyle Busch, 16. Carl Edwards, 17. Ryan Newman, 18. Kasey Kahne, 19. Jeff Gordon, 20. Kevin Harvick, 21. Brian Vickers.
GERHART Gets His Fourth ARCA Daytona 200, Daytona Beach FL – ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Bobby Gerhart, in his own Lucas Oil Chevrolet, capped off a picture perfect week with a dominating and historical victory Sunday at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
After earning a record fourth consecutive Pork Pole award on Friday, the Lebanon, Pennsylvania driver etched his name even deeper in the history books after winning a record fourth Daytona ARCA 200. Gerhart had been tied with the late six-time series champion Iggy Katona with three victories at the renowned 2.5-mile track. Additionally, Gerhart became the first-ever back-to back RE/MAX Series winner at Daytona, which ran its inaugural race there in 1964.
“We prepared so much more for this race this year than ever before, and here we are,” said a jubilant Gerhart from victory lane. “There is more focus on this race than any other place we go; if you’re going to win somewhere, this is the place to do it.”
Top-10 finishers: 1. Bobby Gerhart, 2. Matt McCall, 3. Matt Hagans, 4. Burney Lamar, 5. Damon Lusk, 6. Ken Weaver, 7. Billy Venturini, 8. Mario Gosselin, 9. TJ Bell, 10. Frank Kimmel.
Quote of the Week
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he thinks he has "the car to beat" in the 2006 Daytona 500, and predicted that he'll rebound after missing the Chase for the Nextel Cup a year ago.
"We’ll be in the top three in points when we get to the Chase," he said. "We’ll win about six or seven races and if we don't win the championship we won't lose it by much."
Meanwhile Earnhardt was 39th fastest in Sunday’s qualifying for the Daytona 500.
Weekly Television Racing Schedule
Wednesday, February 15: Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck practice from noon until 5 p.m. (EST) on Speed Channel.
Thursday, February 16: Busch and Craftsman Truck Series practice continued on Speed Channel from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.; Gatorade Duel at Daytona Race One on TNT at 2 p.m., followed by Gatorade Duel at Daytona Race Two. Spots 3-36 for the Daytona 500 starting field will be determined by their finishing position in the Gatorade Duel Races. The remaining seven positions (37-43) in the 43-car field will be filled by NASCAR provisionals. Truck Series practice continues on Speed Channel at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, February 17: Beginning at 1:30 p.m., there will be Daytona 500 practice for Cup cars, followed by Busch practice on Speed Channel; The Craftsman Truck Series 250 race will begin at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 18: Busch Series Hershey’s Kissables 300; Starting time: 1 p.m.; TV: TNT.
Sunday, February 19: Daytona 500, race 1 of 36, Starting time: 1:30 p.m.; TV: NBC; Length: 500 miles/200 laps; Defending champion: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet.
Racing Trivia Question: Which driver holds the record for most poles in a season?
Last Week’s Question: What year did Daytona International Speedway open? Answer. 1959. Lee Petty was the winner, and he took home a whopping $19,050. By comparison, the 2005 winner, Jeff Gordon hauled away $1,497,154.
We forgot to include the answer to last week's trivia question. It is: Who will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s teammate this season. Answer. Martin Truex, Jr.
You may read additional stories at The Racing Reporter’s website, www.race500.com.
Date Race Track
Feb. 11 Budweiser Shootout Daytona Int’l. Speedway*
Feb. 19 Daytona 500 Daytona Int’l. Speedway
Feb. 26 Auto Club 500 California Speedway
Mar. 12 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Mar. 19 Golden Corral 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Mar. 26 Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway
Apr. 2 Virginia 500 Martinsville Speedway
Apr. 9 Samsung/Radio Shack 500 Texas Motor Speedway
Apr. 22 Subway Fresh 500 Phoenix Int’l. Raceway
Apr. 30 Aaron’s 499 Talladega Superspeedway
May 6 Richmond 400 Richmond Int’l. Raceway
May 13 Dodge Charger 500 Darlington Raceway
May 20 Nextel All-Star Challenge Lowe’s Motor Speedway*
May 28 Coca-Cola 600 Lowe’s Motor Speedway
June 4 Dover 400 Dover Int’l. Raceway
June 11 Pocono 500 Pocono Raceway
June 18 Michigan 400 Michigan Int’l. Raceway
June 25 Dodge SaveMart 350 Infineon Raceway
July 1 Pepsi 400 Daytona Int’l. Raceway
July 9 USG Sheetrock 400 Chicagoland Raceway
July 16 New England 300 New Hampshire Int’l. Raceway
July 23 Pennsylvania 500 Pocono Raceway
Aug. 6 Allstate 400 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug. 13 Sirius at the Glen Watkins Glen
Aug. 20 GFS Marketplace 400 Michigan Int’l. Raceway
Aug. 26 Sharpie 500 Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 3 Sony HD 500 California Speedway
Sept. 9 Richmond 400 Richmond Int’l. Raceway
Sept. 17 Sylvania 300 New Hampshire Int’l. Raceway
Sept. 24 Dover 400 Dover Int’l. Raceway
Oct. 1 Banquet 400 Kansas Speedway
Oct. 8 UAW-Ford 500 Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Oct. 22 Subway 500 Martinsville Speedway
Oct. 29 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Nov. 5 Dickies 500 Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 12 Checker Auto Parts 500 Phoenix Int’l. Raceway
Nov. 19 Ford 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway
* Denotes non-points race
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