Turkey of the Year 2004: Red McCombs

  • Updated: November 21, 2012 - 8:15 PM

There have been complaints within the Turkey Committee for several years that decision-making power was centralized with a bunch of heathens left over from the Summer of Love.

A growing faction of religious conservatives on the committee offered its first show of strength a couple of years ago, when it forced the Turkey Chairman to take down his favorite placard in the board room, the one with the painted flowers that read, "Make Love, Not War."

The empowerment this faction felt only increased with the events of Nov. 2, when George W. Bush rode the coattails of a higher power (no, not Karl Rove) to a second term.

The chairman's political problems were clear again Wednesday, when he walked into the board room for the final Turkey of the Year selection meeting and the head of the faction announced:

"We're giving you one more chance, Mr. Chairman. What's your position on gay marriage?"
Without a hem or a haw, the Chairman said: "I'm all for it. I feel as though the folks with alternative lifestyles should be permitted to suffer as much as the rest of us."

Much shouting and debate ensued, and finally it was decided the chairman would be allowed to announce the roll call for one more flock of Turkeys:

- Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou. This pair of Greek sprinters brings with them an impeccable resume: fleeing from a pre-Olympic drug test, faking a motorcycle accident in order to hide out at a hospital and disgracing the home country on the eve of the Athens Games.

- Alvin Shackelford. This was the smooth dude with the oversized hero jersey who walked onto the Pistons court last Friday night and gave Indiana's Ron Artest a "what-you-got?" shrug.
Whack! Down went Alvin. As he wobbled to his feet, Alvin turned into the path of Jermaine O'Neal, Artest's teammate. Whack! Down went Alvin again.

Poor Alvin has hired a lawyer - but he also has some explaining to do to his boyz.

- Gary Bettman. What sound does the shutdown of the commissioner's hockey league make in the Lower 48? Far from a gobble-gobble - more like a peep-peep.

- Todd Bertuzzi. Right, Todd, there's no hockey, but your admirers here in Minnesota on the Turkey Committee have not forgotten the Vancouver winger's attack last March on Colorado's Steve Moore.
- J.C. Romero. There were two lefthanded pitchers of prime talent employed by the Twins this season. Johan Santana, 25, won the American League's Cy Young Award. Romero, 28, briefly was sent back to the minors. At season's end, he was completely distrusted by his manager - all because of a refusal to throw strikes.

- World Cup of Hockey. The Wild gave its season ticketholders an ultra-hard sell on what a breathtaking attraction this early September hockey tournament would prove to be. Someone paying those stiff prices to watch sleepwalking-on-skates should have sued the Wild for false enticement.

- Joel Maturi. Two years on the job as Gophers athletic director and already Maturi is a Turkey Banquet invitee. Allowing men's basketball coach Dan Monson to put together the current nonconference schedule was an invitation to the most loyal of Williams Arena season-ticket customers to cancel. There also was the attempt to negotiate a high-buck extension with a guy who is now an eighth-place football coach.

Keep it up, Joel. You have Grand Turkey potential.

- Mike Krzyzewski. Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas, Billy Packer and all the stooges for the Duke men's basketball coach could not cover up his classless display at the end of the Blue Devils' choke against UConn in the NCAA semifinals.

He blamed the refs for the loss, then followed with the charade of being interested in coaching the L.A. Lakers in order to have the Duke administration prove again how much it loves him.

- Lou Holtz. A former Grand Turkey (1985), Lou has been invited back to tell the banquet audience about his glorious final Saturday as a college football coach. First, his South Carolina Chickens offered a woeful effort against archrival Clemson, then they ended Holtz's career by engaging in a brawl.

- Nomar Garciaparra. The shortstop took his poisonous attitude from the Red Sox to the Cubs on July 31. The Red Sox responded by winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years, while the Cubs faded in the stretch. It wasn't a coincidence.

- Hal Sutton. Captain Hal opened his Ryder Cup duties by putting together Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, two egos that clearly could not fit into one pairing. This was the first of several failed brainstorms for Sutton, ultimately the boss of the most-embarrassing Ryder Cup effort in Yanks history - an 18 1/2-9 1/2 loss on home turf (Oakland Hills) to Europe.

The Turkey Committee, before we get to our finalists, would like to thank NBA Commissioner David Stern for using Artest's lost wages to pay for an entire table of guests to today's banquet.

Ron the Rapper is here, as well as Kobe Bryant, Stephen Jackson, Latrell Sprewell, Vince Carter, Anthony Peeler and Carmelo Anthony, elbow to elbow with Stern himself, as Turkey honorees.

Now, it's time to reveal the final three, the drama that annually causes quivering among all Turkey Banquet attendees - righties, lefties, fundamentalists, agnostics, Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians.

- Second runner-up: Kris Humphries. When basketball coaches of the future seek to teach the "turn and dribble into a triple-team" maneuver, they will search the archives for tapes of Humphries with Monson's Gophers. Kris' father, Bill, has agreed to come out of his shell and present his son with the coveted prize, the bronze cranberry dish.

- First runner-up: Glen Mason. The Turkey Committee has received public pressure for a Grand Turkey candidate in the past, but nothing to compare with the e-mails, notes and calls demanding Coach Mason as a first-ever back-to-back Grand Turkey winner, following the Gophers' football season of monumental failure.

The committee members have chosen to proudly thump our chests and simply remind you that we were ahead of the curve in honoring Mason with the big prize on Thanksgiving 2003.
Our guy Sid Hartman, who has been double-crossed previously in hyping Gophers football but never like this, is here to present Mason with the silver gravy boat for finishing second.

- Grand Turkey: Red McCombs.


After consecutive Thanksgivings as the first runner-up, the Vikings owner came out firing this fall with more "I Love L.A." rhetoric and more nickel-squeezing at Winter Park. Remember, in actual dollars, Red has the Vikings much closer to the salary-cap minimum than the maximum.

Presenting McCombs with the Golden Gobbler is Mike Tice, who might feel safer as a citizen with a Texan in the White House, but shouldn't feel the same way as a coach with this Texan in the owner's suite.

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Cleveland 113
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Detroit 98
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Minnesota 86
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Houston 102
Utah 82 FINAL
Oklahoma City 97
Indiana 100 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Denver 112 FINAL
Phoenix 120
Memphis 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 93
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Buffalo 1
Washington 2 FINAL(OT)
NY Islanders 3
Philadelphia 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
Florida 1
Toronto 3 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Minnesota 0
Chicago 3 FINAL
Colorado 2
Calgary 2 FINAL
San Jose 0
Robert Morris 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 61
Rochester College 35 FINAL
Eastern Mich 68
Marist 68 FINAL
Fresno State 64
Butler 74 FINAL
North Carolina 66
Liberty 50 FINAL
Morgan State 51
Denver 57 FINAL
Belmont 78
American Univ 64 FINAL
Hampton 60
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
James Madison 79
Northeastern 54 FINAL
Massachusetts 79
Samford 71 FINAL
Kennesaw St 84
Coastal Carolina 61
Hawaii 75 FINAL
East Carolina 73
Missouri 74 FINAL
Chaminade 60
Oklahoma 75
North Florida 72 FINAL
Elon 65
Oral Roberts 69 FINAL
Milwaukee 66
Chicago State 61 FINAL
Western Carolina 66
Purdue 87 FINAL
BYU 85
Furman 54 FINAL
Duke 93
San Francisco 72 FINAL
Evansville 79
Wisconsin 72 FINAL
UAB 43
Davidson 95 FINAL
UCF 69
Albany 75 FINAL
Colgate 71
Longwood 66 FINAL
George Washington 91
Delaware State 76 FINAL
Iona 126
Trinity Baptist 57 FINAL
Jacksonville 69
Cleveland State 33 FINAL
Louisville 45
St Johns 70 FINAL
Minnesota 61
PSU-Harrisburg 42 FINAL
Navy 67
Richmond 72 FINAL
NC State 84
Grambling St 54 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
Georgia State 83 FINAL
Oakland 78
Campbell 64 FINAL
Ohio State 91
Goucher 43 FINAL
Towson 97
Bryant 47 FINAL
Vermont 73
Miami-Ohio 63 FINAL
Virginia Tech 78
Mount St Marys 49 FINAL
Wake Forest 83
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Yale 82
Youngstown St 66
Canisius 60 FINAL
Cornell 67
Va Military 72 FINAL
West Virginia 103
Lehigh 86 FINAL
DePaul 74
UC Riverside 62 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 66
Morehead State 77 FINAL
Marshall 68
Miss Valley St 52 FINAL
North Texas 67
UNC-Asheville 75 FINAL
South Carolina 89
Tenn Tech 65 FINAL
SE Louisiana 86
Texas Southern 59 FINAL
SMU 72
Radford 50 FINAL
TCU 74
TX-Pan American 48 FINAL
Utah 85
Wayne St-NE 69 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Kansas State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 70
Northern Ill 49 FINAL
Iowa 70
Fla Gulf Coast 45 FINAL
Green Bay 59
Carroll (MT) 52 FINAL
Montana 75
Florida A&M 33 FINAL
New Mexico St 78
Auburn 71 FINAL
Oregon State 69
Eastern Ky 73 FINAL
Southern Utah 64
Stetson 41 FINAL
Wyoming 65
Northern Ky 60 FINAL
Eastern Wash 81
Utah Valley U 60 FINAL
Idaho State 57
Florida 65 FINAL
Georgetown 66
Northwestern 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 61
Georgia 76 FINAL
Gonzaga 88
Cal Poly 52 FINAL
California 72
Utah State 70 FINAL
UC Davis 77
Arizona 61 FINAL
San Diego St 59
Alabama State 68 FINAL
North Dakota 75
Portland State 63 FINAL
CS-Northridge 55
Tulsa 58 FINAL
Oklahoma State 73
Pacific 71 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 62
Missouri State 61 FINAL
Colorado State 76
Ohio U 24 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
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Western Mich
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Penn State
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(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
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(1) Florida State
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San Diego St
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Ga Southern
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Texas-El Paso
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Oregon State
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(25) Boise State
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Washington St
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Northwestern 61
UT Martin 75 FINAL
Samford 79
Niagara 63 FINAL
Binghamton 52
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Pittsburgh 72
East Tenn St 69 FINAL
Indiana 97
North Dakota 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 52
Marshall 49 FINAL
Cornell 58
Oral Roberts 43 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 54
LSU 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Boise State 59 FINAL
Yale 53
Evansville 39 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 83
(4) Tennessee 63 FINAL
Chattanooga 67
Delaware State 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 73
Bradley 74 FINAL
Columbia 81
Providence 56 FINAL
Dayton 72
Presbyterian 43 FINAL
Xavier 45
Albany 64 FINAL
Canisius 59
VA Commonwealth 48 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Alabama A&M 44 FINAL
Alabama 75
Colgate 35 FINAL
(22) Georgia 66
Memphis 75 FINAL
Southern Ill 82
Oakland 64 FINAL
(16) Michigan State 79
Utah Valley U 49 FINAL
UC Davis 59
Butler 62 FINAL
BYU 81
TX-Pan American 45 FINAL
(6) Texas 72
McNeese State 27 FINAL
(7) Texas A&M 93
Milwaukee 80 FINAL
Marquette 85
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
TX-Arlington 80
Jackson State 70 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Indiana State 74 FINAL
South Alabama 53
Kansas State 0 Postponed
Santa Clara 0
Long Beach St 69 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 60
Iona 49 FINAL
Kansas 90
Fresno Pacific 60 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 82


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