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The Baltimore Sun

Event is second to one for greatest viewership

super bowl

The Arizona-Pittsburgh matchup riveted an estimated audience of 95.4 million people, second only to last year's game as the most-watched Super Bowl. Viewership peaked in the fourth quarter, when the Cardinals took the lead on Larry Fitzgerald's 64-yard catch and sprint to the end zone only to have it snatched back when Santonio Holmes' end zone leap gave the Steelers the 27-23 win Sunday night. More than 100 million Americans watched between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research. The game was the third-most-watched program in American TV history, after the 106 million people who watched the M-A-S-H series finale in 1983 and the 97.4 million who watched the 2008 Super Bowl.

Steelers: : When he threw the pass that won the Super Bowl, Ben Roethlisberger thought he had just blown the game for Pittsburgh. The quarterback went on the Late Show with David Letterman last night and told the host his pass to Holmes with 35 seconds to play was his third read and he thought a defensive back would intercept it. "I was getting ready to start running, and then I saw about five guys closing on me. I knew my life was about to end," Roethlisberger told Letterman.

Comcast: : A cable television provider has apologized to Tucson, Ariz.,-area customers for a 30-second porn interruption during the Super Bowl. Philadelphia-based Comcast said the company is "mortified" and is conducting an investigation. Comcast has some 80,000 customers in the Tucson area, and the company said only customers receiving the standard-definition feed - not high definition - received the porn. Affected customers have been offered a $10 credit. The porn was aired just after Fitzgerald scored on a long touchdown reception during the game's final minutes.

Panthers' Richardson has heart transplant

nfl

Owner Jerry Richardson, a former Baltimore Colts wide receiver, was recovering yesterday after a heart transplant. The team issued a statement that said Richardson, 72, underwent the overnight five-hour procedure in Charlotte, N.C. Richardson, who caught the winning touchdown pass from John Unitas in the 1959 NFL championship game, had been on a heart transplant list since December. The normal recovery time is three to six months, the team said.

Obituary:: Nancy Neville Adams, who co-owned the Titans with her husband Bud Adams, has died. She was 84. The team announced that she died Sunday in Houston but did not release the cause.

Selig's salary in 2007 jumped to nearly $17.5M

baseball

Commissioner Bud Selig made more than all but three of his sport's players in 2007. Selig received a raise of about $3 million to nearly $17.5 million that year, according to Major League Baseball's latest tax return. His compensation was listed at $17,470,491 for the 12 months that ended Oct. 31, 2007, the return said. That was up from $14,515,071 in the previous 12 months. In 2007, the only players who received higher cash compensation were a trio of Yankees: Alex Rodriguez at $23 million (plus $4 million deferred), Derek Jeter at $22 million (including a $2 million payment as part of his signing bonus) and Jason Giambi at $21.5 million (including $500,000 as part of his signing bonus).

Dodgers: : Slugger Manny Ramirez has been offered a one-year, $25 million contract to stay with Los Angeles, according to several published reports. General manager Ned Colletti said he met with Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, to present a new offer Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported. It is believed that Ramirez has 48 hours to accept the offer, ESPN.com reported.

Mets: : Pitcher Oliver Perez has reached a preliminary agreement on a three-year, $36 million contract. The deal is subject to Perez's passing a physical, two people familiar with the talks told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Braves: : First baseman Casey Kotchman and Atlanta avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2,885,000.

Torre: : A new book by former Yankees manager Joe Torre contains allegations that members of the Blue Jays used amphetamines while former pitcher Roger Clemens was with the team. The Yankee Years by Torre and Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci contains allegations by Brian McNamee, Clemens' former trainer, that the Blue Jays were enveloped in the amphetamine use that was allegedly widespread in baseball at that time.

Rockfish regulators withhold judgment on Md.

et cetera

The regulatory agency that sets striped bass quotas for Eastern Seaboard states took no action against Maryland yesterday for potential overfishing by a black market broken up by a task force of undercover investigators. Tom O'Connell, Maryland's fisheries service director, told the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Alexandria, Va., that officials are waiting to learn the scope of the alleged scheme in which millions of dollars worth of striped bass, also known as rockfish, were illegally caught in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River and shipped to markets and restaurants across the country. Seven watermen, two fish dealers and a Georgetown restaurant have been charged, with more expected. The commission, which will meet in May, could cut Maryland's commercial quota of 2 million pounds to compensate for overfishing. O'Connell said Department of Natural Resources officials have twice tightened commercial regulations after learning of the sting operation from investigators last summer. The newest rules will take effect April 6. ASMFC will be sending a letter to federal prosecutors, asking them to press for the maximum penalties - five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and forfeiture of boats and vehicles used. CANDUS THOMSON

College football: : Florida State wide receiver Preston Parker was dismissed from the team after his second arrest in less than a year, coach Bobby Bowden announced in a statement. The junior, 21, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence Saturday.

NHL: : Craig Hartsburg was fired as coach of the Senators 48 games into a season in which the team has the league's third-worst record (17-24-7). Cory Clouston, promoted from the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators, becomes the team's fourth coach since Ottawa lost to Anaheim in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.

MORE NHL: : Capitals captain Chris Clark will have surgery on his right wrist Thursday and is expected to miss the rest of the season. ... Marian Hossa had the game-winner in a shootout after scoring twice in regulation, lifting the host Red Wings to a 4-3 victory over the Blues, ending a season-high five-game skid. ... Kings defenseman Denis Gauthier was suspended five games without pay for hitting Josh Gorges in the head during a game Friday against the Canadiens. ... Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy was suspended one game for leaving the bench to start a fight Saturday against the Maple Leafs.

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