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Winners and losers from the world of sports

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GOOD WEEK - JAMES HARRISON: Considering American football is derived from rugby, it’s amazing NFL players don’t look to the older version of the oval-ball game for tips more often. The 34-year-old Steelers linebacker, long the league’s poster boy for illegal hits, has decided to tackle low in a bid to avoid fines and suspensions, something that rugby coaches teach their players at around, oh, 8 or 9. After all, it’s kind of hard to run when someone has a hold of both your ankles.

GARY HERSHORN/REUTERS

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GOOD WEEK - HIROYUKI NAKAJIMA: The Japanese shortstop has 6.5 million reasons to celebrate this Christmas after signing a two-year deal for that dollar amount with the Oakland A’s on Monday. But Nakajima seemed just as excited to be playing for the team that featured in the movie Moneyball, and especially for Oakland general manager Billy Beane, whom he described as “extremely sexy and cool.” Perhaps someone has since pointed out that Brad Pitt just played Beane in the movie and doesn’t in fact run the entire A’s organization.

Eric Risberg/AP

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GOOD WEEK - LIONEL MESSI: His 90 goals and counting this calendar year may have put him into the conversation when it comes to the world’s greatest athlete, but not so in his home country of Argentina. Argentine journalists voted boxer Sergio Martinez as the country’s top athlete for 2012, and Messi couldn’t even garner a runner-up award, being edged into third by Sebastian Crismanich, a taekwondo fighter who won the country’s only gold medal at the London Olympics. But since when do journalists know anything about sports?

GUSTAU NACARINO/REUTERS

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GOOD WEEK - JOHN DALY: What does Arnold Palmer have that the former British Open champion doesn’t? Well, other than five more majors, pretty much nothing, not now that Daly also has a drink named after him on the market. But while the Arnold Palmer is fun for all the family with its iced tea and lemonade ingredients, the John Daly kicks it up a notch, in true Wild Thing style, with the addition of vodka, which will make it as big a hit at the local watering hole as it will be on 1 through 18.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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BAD WEEK - ERIC WOOD: The Buffalo Bills’ centre pulled no punches Monday, calling the team’s annual games in Toronto “a joke” after Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. While we’d argue that any one of the 40,770 spectators who attended that 50-17 loss at Rogers Centre might say the same thing given the one-sided nature of the game, Wood then went on to criticize the crowd for not getting behind the nominal “home” team enough. Yes, because it was the fans’ fault that Buffalo parted like the Red Sea to allow Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to rush for a franchise-record three first-half touchdowns.

Gary Wiepert/The Associated Press

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