This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
You know that old sports cliche: it ain't over till it's over.
And it wasn't over for Larry Miller.
As recently as Wednesday, The Salt Lake Tribune's annual listing of the 25 Most Powerful People in Utah Sports had Dave Checketts No.1, toppling his nemesis, Jazz owner Larry Miller.
Checketts' aquisition of the St. Louis Blues and the continued ascension of Real Salt Lake on the state's sports scene, highlighted by Checketts' deal to bring Real Madrid here for an exhibition in August, gave him the edge over Miller, despite the auto magnate's market improvement of the Salt Lake Bees and the debut of Miller Motorsports, a world-class racing facility.
Neither was enough to overcome the Jazz' on-court struggles, however, so profound that Miller himself couldn't watch the team for one spell this past season. Plus, Checketts clearly joined the ranks of big-time owners with an NHL franchise.
However, then came Sandy stadium debacle - the County Council's 5-4 vote this week appears to have doomed the project - and Checketts' baffling response: It was all Miller's fault.
Even if Checketts' claims that Miller was lobbying key players behind the scenes is true - Miller insists it isn't - his image of power sustained a significant blow. Certainly, if Checketts was more powerful, little ol' Larry wouldn't be able to "torpedo" him so easily. Miller's credentials are further backed by the presence on our list of three others who report to him.
Again, our list considers influence, money and, most importantly, impact on the state's sports in the past year. Because of that latter requirement, nearly half of the Top 25 were unranked in 2005 and others saw their positions plummet, or rise, significantly.