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Celebrity NFL Picks: Turn out the lights, the party’s over — wait! No it isn’t

Sal DeFilippo

Celebrity Picks

Lance Burton, Monte Carlo master magician (16-14)
Saints -5 ½ at Chiefs
49ers -6 vs. Rams
Browns +5 ½ at Bills
****
Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular" (19-11)
Jaguars +3 at Titans
Bengals +9 at Eagles
Steelers -4 ½ vs. Chargers
****
Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (13-16-1)
Dolphins -10 ½ vs. Raiders
Colts -8 vs. Texans
Panthers -14 vs. Lions
****
Danny Gans, Mirage headliner (16-14)
Falcons -6 vs. Broncos
Raiders +10 ½ at Dolphins
Packers -4 vs. Bears
****
Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (14-16)
Titans -3 at Jaguars
Colts -8 vs. Texans
Cardinals -3 at Seahawks
****
Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist (14-14-2)
Falcons-Broncos over 51
Steelers -4 ½ vs. Chargers
Giants -6 ½ vs. Ravens
****
Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (18-12)
Texans +8 at Colts
Packers +4 vs. Bears
49ers -6 vs. Rams

There are certain things an NFL player simply can’t do. You hear about them all the time from announcers.

If a receiver drops a pass because he took his eyes off the ball to look at would-be tacklers, the announcer, without fail, always says the same thing: “He tried to run before the caught the ball.”

If the receiver catches a third-down pass, but is a yard or two short of the first-down marker and is tackled immediately, the announcer is quick to chastise him for not knowing how much yardage was necessary and for running an improper route. We’ve heard it a million times – and often, it’s justified.

A quarterback who gets sacked is criticized for “not keeping that clock inside his head” that tells him when he needs to throw the ball away. Same cliché, and every announcer uses it. And again, sometimes it’s warranted.

But on Monday night, the tables were turned. Instead of a player making a bush-league mistake, in this case, it was ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser who should be penalized.

With a little more than two minutes remaining and Arizona clinging to a 29-24 lead over San Francisco, the 49ers’ Shaun Hill threw an interception, giving the Cardinals possession.

Here’s where Kornheiser committed a Cardinal sin of sorts – he proclaimed the game over at that point, even going as far as to say that his cohorts in the booth probably weren’t comfortable saying that Arizona has the game in hand, but he was.

Sure, Kornheiser is supposed to be opinionated. But this was a ridiculous assumption on his part – the 49ers had a timeout remaining, and the two-minute warning was still to come. The Cardinals needed at least one first down to secure victory – otherwise, San Francisco would get another crack on offense. This game was far from over.

As fate would have it – perhaps this was the football gods punishing Kornheiser – the Cardinals failed to gain a first down, were forced to punt, and the 49ers marched down the field, reaching the 2-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. Two running plays – one of which was reviewed by instant replay – fell short for the 49ers, and Arizona held on for a victory.

As I watched the final seconds tick off, I could almost hear Don Meredith in the background, signing his signature song. Turn out the lights, the party’s over …

He may not have had the greatest singing voice – but at least he knew when it was safe to open his mouth.

The party is far from over for me this season. Another 3-0 week against the number has the season ledger at a sparkling 19-10-1. This week, I’ll go with the Broncos-Falcons over 51, the Saints -5 ½ at the Chiefs and the Buccaneers-Vikings under 38 ½.

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