Roger Ebert's influence was too great to be confined by a single section of the newspaper. He sometimes overflowed into sports.

I discovered this a few years ago when I wrote that super-prepared 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill "watched more film than Roger Ebert."

Just before I filed, I ran a Google search to see if any scribe in history had ever been so clever. As it turned out, I would have joined a long list of lame sequels: Roger Ebert had long been established as the go-to metaphor for dedicated athletes.

Here's a highlight reel:

ESPN. com: Tony Gwynn hit off a tee more than Vijay Singh. He looked at more film than Roger Ebert.

USA Today: LeBron James watched more film than Roger Ebert getting ready for the Spurs' defense.

The Sporting News: Rob Johnson is still at it, reviewing more film than Roger Ebert.

The Bergen Record: Lawrence Frank was a relentless worker, an assistant who watched more film than Roger Ebert.

The Cincinnati Post: Akili Smith, the Bengals' second-year quarterback spent the winter watching more film than Roger Ebert.

The Badger Herald: As a student of the game, however, Jonathan Casillas realizes he can't get by on athletic talent alone, which is why he has been watching more film than Roger Ebert.

MSG. com: Peyton Manning watches more film than Roger Ebert and Jeffrey Lyons combined.

The Denver Post: During those sessions, Jake Plummer watched more film than Roger Ebert.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Jamil Porter's 26.4-yard average ranks second in the Big East ... and he has caught the attention of Orange coach Paul Pasqualoni, who studies more film than Roger Ebert.

The Colorado Springs Gazette: As the Denver Broncos prepare for the 2001 season, sizing up their opponents involves ... more film than Roger Ebert watches in a year.

The Seattle Times: Yesterday, on his day off, after he already had watched more film than Roger Ebert at Oscar time, Jerheme Urban moved from one room to another and watched yet another reel.