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How Donna Howard's win over Dan Neil is like Denver versus Houston

By Richard Whittaker, 3:01PM, Mon. Feb. 14, 2011

Buck Wood: We rate his statement hilarious
Buck Wood: We rate his statement hilarious

So the numbers are in, and Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, is one step closer to finalizing her victory in the November election. But what does that have to do with her challenger Dan Neil and what the Denver Broncos did over Christmas?

In his report as master of discovery, Rep. Will Hartnett, R-Dallas, recommended that Howard's margin of victory be cut to four votes, but that a win's a win and "accordingly, Contestant Neil's contest should be dismissed."

The report goes to a nine-member panel and then to the full House (unless Neil withdraws his challenge), and it is unlikely they would reject Hartnett's proposal.

But in this battle of numbers and disallowed votes, one statistic stood out. It was a metaphor used by Howard's attorney Buck Wood in his closing argument about former Bronco's offensive linesman Neil.

"Mr. Neil, with his background in football, knows that at the end of the game if somebody's got 23 points and the other person's got 24 points, the person with 23 points loses."

Since Neil joined in 1997, the Broncos have been in three 24-23 games. In 1999, when Neil was in his third year on the team, they lost away to the New England Patriots. In 2003, the year before his retirement, they went down to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

However, the Broncos also gave themselves a little post-Christmas gift last Dec. 26, when they beat the Houston Texans. The scoreline? 24-23.

So was Wood rubbing in some old losses from Neil's days on the line, or subtly congratulating him and his former team mates for their final win of the last regular season? (Of course, in this case, Howard would be the 2010 Broncos, but we'll let that slide.)

When asked, Wood just laughed and said, "It was a coincidence. It was just one of those things that came to me."

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