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New Orleans is going to 'Fly like an Eagle'

Musician Steve Miller loves New Orleans and in the past has been one of the marquee names at the city's massive Jazz and Heritage Festival. So the fact that he's well known for singing, "Fly Like an Eagle," did not deter Saints officials from inv...

Musician Steve Miller loves New Orleans and in the past has been one of the marquee names at the city's massive Jazz and Heritage Festival. So the fact that he's well known for singing, "Fly Like an Eagle," did not deter Saints officials from inviting Miller to perform at a pregame concert outside the Louisiana Superdome on Saturday evening.

They also booked Miller to sing the national anthem before the Saints host the Eagles in the NFC divisional playoff game.

"He wanted to be here. He wanted to be part of it - part of the great feeling out there for New Orleans and its music community," said Quint Davis, a top local music festival organizer who helped the Saints book the acts for the concert.

When someone brought up the fact Miller sings "Fly Like an Eagle," the partisan Davis said he didn't mind, as long as the Eagles "get on a plane and go back to Philadelphia, enjoying the offseason."

Speaking of songs that relate either to eagles or Philadelphia, the theme from "Rocky" could be heard blaring from the Saints' weight room for several days this past week.


Saints coach Sean Payton said he didn't know whose idea it was to play it, but bulky Saints fullback Mike Karney said he loved it.

"It takes place in Philadelphia, but that has nothing to do with the fact we had it on," Karney said. "It's the pure fact that it's 'Rocky' more than Philadelphia. It gets you going. That's by far the greatest of all time when it comes to training. The soundtrack is unbelievable. It's perfect for getting ready for a game."

Tony K reportedly

to return to MNF

Tony Kornheiser will return to ESPN's "Monday Night Football" next season. ESPN said it wants him back in what likely will be another pairing with Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann.

Kornheiser seemed to pick up the flow as the season progressed, but he knows there's still work to do.

"I don't think that anybody is going to send my tapes to Canton for imminent enshrinement," Kornheiser said. "I would like to be better at it and I think I can be."

Crowded backfield


Good things run in bunches as far as the New York Jets are concerned.

After using an ever-changing rotation of running backs throughout the season, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum thinks that's becoming a trend in the NFL.

"One thing we've seen in the league over the past few years is running back-by-committee really has evolved," Tannenbaum said. "You could look at New England, Dallas, Atlanta, and all around the league. Jacksonville has a good running back in Fred Taylor, then they went and drafted a guy like Maurice Jones-Drew, so I think that position is evolving to where it's more than just one person."

The Jets finished with 1,738 yards rushing in the regular season, ranking 20th in the league. Rookie Leon Washington led the team with 650 yards on 151 rushes, followed by second-year back Cedric Houston (374) and veteran Kevan Barlow (370). Even rookie wide receiver Brad Smith got in on the ground attack, finishing fifth on the team with 103 yards on 18 carries.

Of the 19 teams ahead of New York in rushing, only New England - Corey Dillon, 812 yards on 199 carries, and Laurence Maroney, 745 yards on 175 carries - had no one with 1,000 yards or 200 rushes.

Lesson learned

Tony Dungy has been coaching in the NFL for a quarter-century, and continues to learn new things.

He would have preferred avoiding the latest lesson.


In their weekly meetings with the game's broadcast crew for last Saturday's wild-card game, NBC's representatives started asking about the terminology Indianapolis uses in its offense.

Dungy never expected the play call to be flashed on the screen. But that's exactly what happened during the first quarter. Showing an image of offensive coordinator Tom Moore, NBC flashed the play call "dice right slant check-with-me alert base 80 basic" on the screen as Cris Collinsworth announced that it was really three different plays and broke down some of the details.

Needless to say, Dungy was not happy.

"That was upsetting and something we'll be careful of, obviously, in the future," he said.

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