KSL TV
Tom Hackett and Andy Phillips represented Team Utah against Riley Nelson and Braden Hansen for Team BYU during the inaugural SportsBeat Rivalry Championship at Hidden Valley Country Club.

SALT LAKE CITY — Tom Hackett cemented his place in BYU-Utah rivalry lore up there with Lenny Gomes and Max Hall leading up to the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl when he gave an unforgettable speech at a pep rally.

“I’m lucky enough to be one of the football players on the team who’s never lost to these (naughty word),” Hackett said to cheers from Utah fans and players. “Which leads me to end and say this is Utah’s world and BYU’s living in it.”

More Ute football players have since been added to that lucky list of Utah players to have never lost to the Cougars, who’ve dropped eight straight to their rivals. But Hackett has been added to the list of former players who’ve matured and found some good in their sworn (or sworn at) enemies, too.

Hackett, who now works for KSL Sports, explained what he likes about BYU and why his hatred grew so deep in a column this week.

“I want you to know, the main reason behind those comments were due to my disdain for former head coach Bronco Mendenhall and the culture he fostered at BYU,” Hackett wrote, “Close friends to me would mention the self-righteous attitude of the BYU players and coaches who hide behind the BYU brand who claim to be living more faithfully.

Despite his bitterness toward BYU after arriving to Utah via Australia, the former punter and two-time Ray Guy Award winner admitted he likes multiple things about the Cougars, including Kalani Sitake.

“I love the man. I really do. I respect him, I look up to him, and I still lean on him for guidance occasionally,” Hackett wrote. “I have visited Coach Sitake numerous times down at the BYU football facility, and I will continue to visit with him to see how he is doing and if there is anyway I can help him. Coach Sitake has even given me BYU merchandise before – a gesture I greatly appreciated yet decided to share with my crazy BYU neighbors (I don’t think he knows that, so lets keep that one between us).”

Don't worry, Hackett. It's our secret.

20 MILLION REASONS

As we wrote about earlier this week, there are some people who believe Colin Kaepernick should try to revive his football career in the upstart Alliance of American Football league.

That could happen, according to an AP report, but it would come at a certain cost.

That cost: $20 million.

That’d be quite the increase from the amount all other AAF players earn — an across-the-board $250,000 over three years.

“It’s uncertain if Kaepernick ever will play football again,” the AP wrote, “but at his asking price, the only place would be the NFL.”

THANKS, BUT NO

Orlando coach Steve Spurrier said another out-of-football quarterback of interest — Tim Tebow — has turned down an opportunity to play in the AAF.

"No," Spurrier told NBC's Pro Football Talk. "And I don't blame Tim. Tim’s got a chance to go to Major League Baseball. I think he starts in the Triple A this year. I think Tim’s probably headed in the baseball direction right now, and I certainly don’t blame him. I think if I was in his situation, I might do the same thing."

Tebow continues to pursue his baseball career as an outfielder with the New York Mets, the USA Today wrote. He has a spring training invitation for the second straight year and will report this week with the rest of the MLB team's players. The 31-year-old Tebow hit .273 last year in Class AA and is expected to start with Class AAA Syracuse, according to the national paper, which also reported that Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen claimed Tebow is "one step away" from playing in the big league.

WEEKEND PLANNER

Friday, Feb. 15

  • ECHL: Grizzlies vs. Kansas City, 7 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State at Adams State, 5:30 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis: BYU at Fresno State
  • Wrestling: UVU at Northern Colorado, 7 p.m.
  • Prep sports: 3A/4A wrestling tournament, at UVU

Saturday, Feb. 16

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  • ECHL: Grizzlies vs. Kansas City, 7 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: BYU at Gonzaga
  • Women’s basketball: Utah State vs. Air Force, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Weber State at Montana State
  • Women’s basketball: SUU vs. Portland State, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State at Fort Lewis, 5:30 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Snow at SLCC, 3 p.m.
  • Wrestling: UVU at Air Force, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s tennis: Weber State vs. UC Irvine, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis: Utah at North Carolina State
  • Women’s tennis: BYU vs. Cal Poly, at Fresno
  • Women’s tennis: Weber State vs. Grand Canyon, 10 a.m.
  • Prep sports: 3A/4A wrestling tournament, at UVU
  • Prep sports: 3A/2A girls basketball play-in
  • Prep sports: 3A/2A boys basketball play-in

Sunday, Feb. 17

  • NBA All-Star Game, at Charlotte
  • Men’s tennis: Utah vs. New Mexico/Idaho State
  • Women’s tennis: Weber State vs. Idaho, 10 a.m.