Monday, January 23, 2012


Sterling Moore. Unless you are part of Sterling Moore's family or happen to be Mel Kiper, Jr. in disguise., you probably never heard of him until Sunday. In the final minute of the AFC championship when New England's paper thin defense was getting carved up by the immortal Joe Flacco, Moore made the biggest play of the season for the Pats. Sterling Moore, a guy few had ever heard of, coming through to help the Brady Bunch get back to the Super Bowl. Unreal.

To appreciate what Moore did, one has to understand where he came from and the road he took just to get into a Patriots uniform, much less star in the AFC title game. Moore didn't play football until he was a senior in high school. He went on to play at SMU, not exactly Alabama, in terms of a football school (It was when they were paying guys like Eric Dickerson to go there), and wasn't drafted out of college. The Raiders took a flyer on him, but they cut him in September, then signed him the next day to the practice squad. Then they cut him from the practice squad, which is like being released from the kick-ball team during recess in middle school The Patriots, in need of a warm body for a defense backfield that was porous at best, signed him to their practice squad. They promoted him to the big team, but cut-him a few weeks later. Bill Belichick was so desperate, he had guys like receiver Julian Edelman, who had NEVER played defensive back, covering guys big-play receivers, he brought Moore back again. This time he stuck.

With under a minute to go in the game and trailing by three, Lee Evans, an established and experienced receiver, beat the rookie misfit and cast-off in the end zone. Moore was about to be posterized like the weak and feeble ones who used to gawk at Michael Jordan as he finished off a dunk. Moore was about to become a "Buckner" in the New England. He was clearly beaten, clearly toast. But he didn't quit. He didn't give up on the play, didn't 'quit the ship' like the captain of the Costa Concordia. Moore didn't quit until the referee signaled touchdown. He never would. Moore hacked Evans like NBA thugs used to molest Shaq to send him to the line to make him earn his points. Moore slashed Evans with one desperate attempt to save his job and save the Patriots season. He struck the pigskin flush, and the ball came out and  hit the ground before the two feet of Evans could touch the ground. Incomplete.

However, the game wasn't over. The Ravens went right back at Moore and he deflected another pass to force Baltimore into attempting a game-tying field goal. It was attempted and not made. Patriots are in the Super Bowl, thanks to a player who refused to give up, or refused to pack it in.

The New York Giants are going back to the Super Bowl because a quarterback believed in himself when others didn't. Before the season started, Eli Manning, who already has a Super Bowl ring on his finger, felt that he was in the same class as Tom Brady. Many people thought that was absurd, like Rex Ryan predicting a Super Bowl victory for a third straight year. Even the so-called experts thought their was a big gulf between Brady and Eli Manning. Who is laughing now?

Manning believed it and he's now going to his second Super Bowl, the same number as his older and gifted brother who many thought was ahead of Brady before this season. Eli didn't say he WAS Tom Brady, just that he was in the same class as him. It's funny how we're all taught to BELIEVE in ourselves, yet when somebody else actually does, we laugh or criticize them. We all want to believe in ourselves, don't we? Sometimes it's not a  bad thing to try to trick our minds. All the great ones believe in themselves and because Manning did and came through in big game after big game, the doubters and critics are silent, and that is a great thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


If you played for the Cleveland Indians, you'd probably want to change your identity
like Fausto Carmona did. But the veteran pitcher may have gone a little too far.
He was arrested in the Dominican last February while trying to get his visa to come
to the United States in time for spring training.

Authorities said that Carmona's real name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia and that
he's 31-years old, not 28, as the Indians media guide states. A Dominican or
Venezuelan fudging his age? No, way! That NEVER happens. (Wink, wink. See
Miquel Tejada and about 100 other players.)

I will give Roberto Hernandez Heredia credit for being creative. You just can't pull
the name Fausto Carmona out of a hat. It takes a real imagination to come up with
a name like that.

This could be the biggest identity theft since Michael Vick used the name, Ron Mexico,
to pick up his order of medication for herpes.

I'll never forget the sight of people walking around Atlanta with number 7 Falcon jerseys
with the name, "Mexico"on the back. Classic. How did Vick come up with the name, Ron

If I could steal ten names for one day, here are the ones I'd pick:

10. BUSTER CRABBE. Former Olympic gold medalist
      in swimming, who was also an actor. Played the original
      Flash Gordon.
  9. DINN MANN. Editor-in-Chief and brains of
      Great guy with a name that has perfect balance. Four letters
      and two n's in each name.

  8. I.M. HIPP. Played running back at Nebraska when they
      were dominant. He was also big on the local bar scene,
      telling the ladies, "I.M. HIPP". He was also money.

  7. FRENCHY FUQUA. Former defensive back on the great
      Steelers teams in the '70's. He was so cool, he used to
      wear clear elevator shoes with live goldfish in them.


  6.  JOHN "BLUE MOON" ODOM.  Former pitcher
       with the Oakland A's in 70's.

  5.  WAVE RYDER. Defensive back for Navy. His
       parents must have been surfers in Cali, dropping
       some serious acid to come up with this name. Or
       have the stones to, anyway.

  4.  BRONCO NAGURSKI. This names oooozes with
       toughness. What else would he be besides a hall
       of fame football player.

  3.  COCO CRISP.  Well, it'd be great at parties and
       for a good laugh.

  2.  JARVIS REDWINE. He came after I.M. Hipp
       at Nebraska and also played running back.

  1.  FABIAN ASSMAN. Soccer player in Europe and
       burden with two bad names that somehow come
       together. "Hi, I'm Fabian Assman". Excuse me?
       You're Mr. Assman?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012


10. VINCE YOUNG. In November of 2010, Vince Young was
      quarterback of the Tennesse Titans. After an overtime loss against
      the Redskins where he was booed off the field and threw his
      shoulder pads into the stands, VY, now the unofficial captain of
      the "Dream Team" in Philadelphia, got into a verbal tiff with then
      head coach, Jeff Fisher. Fisher told Young not to quit on the team,
      Young responded by saying, "I'm not running out on the team, I'm
      running out on you." Young never played for the Titans again.

 9. JOHN DALY. He's picked up his ball in so many tournaments,
     I don't have an official number on the times Daly has packed his
     Marlboro's, Diet Cokes, ugly pants, and gone home. He usually
     leaves his bag on the course. One time, he pulled the Roy McIvoy
     and hit everyone of his Pro-V1's into the drink before calling it
     a tournament.

 8. LEBRON JAMES. Remember the playoffs against the Celtics
     in 2010? Hello? Lebron? Are you here tonight? The King pulled
     a vanishing act in the biggest game of the season. His heart wasn't
     in the game and he was clearly tanking it. Perhaps, he had just found
     out that teammate Delonte West was sleeping with his mother. Which
     come to think of it, would put a lot of players in a funk.

 7. MANNY RAMIREZ. After failing his second test for a female
     fertility drug and finding out he wasn't pregnant, the enigmatic
     baseball superstar, took his bat and went home for good. Rather
     than takes his 100-game suspension, Ramirez quit on the Tampa
     Bay Rays and went home to retire. Manny being Manny now wants
     to return to the game and says he'll be a role model. LOL.
 6. SCOTTIE PIPPEN. In the 1994 NBA playoffs, Phil Jackson drew
     up a play for the final shot. Michael Jordan was retired at the time
     and Pippen thought he was "the man" for the Chicago Bulls. The
     Zen Master was feeling it for Tony Kucoc and called his number.
     Pippen went all diva and said he wasn't going on the floor. No
     biggie, Kucoc sank the game winning-shot and the Bulls went home
     happy as Pippen was crying.

  5. RICKY WILLIAMS. The Zen Master of South Beach quit on
      the Miami Dolphins just a few days before the start of the 2004
      season. He totally sold out the Dolphins organization and his
      teammates. I think that was the year, Williams went to see the
      Dhali Lama or was it Cheech and Chong? I forget. Doesn't really
      matter. Talent rules in the NFL an the Dolphins welcomed him
      back to the team a couple of years later.

  4. JORGE POSADA. Last spring, the Yankees catcher was hitting
      the weight of one of my ex-girlfriends (.167) and manager Joe
      Girardi dropped him to 9th in the batting order for a Sunday Night
      game on ESPN against the Red Sox. How dare Girardi do that?
      I'm Jorge Posada! Hip-hip Hor-Hay! Posada got his panties in
      a bunch and said he needed to "clear his head". Oh, boy. That was
      the only nick on Posada's career, but it was unnecessary.

  3. INDIANPOLIS COLTS (2009) Peyton Manning and the Colts
      had a 14-0 record and chasing history. Playing the New York Jets
      with a lead, head coach Jim Caldwell took out Manning and the
      starters. The crowd booed and Peyton pleaded to go back in.
      No dice. Caldwell had his orders from President Bill Polian, The
      Colts laid down and the Jets won to end the dream season. They
      didn't win the Super Bowl. Polian got fired a few weeks ago,
      Caldwell got the ax today.
   2. JEFF TARANGO. WHO? Nobody really knew of Tarango
       in the tennis world until 1995. That was the year the 3-time
       all-american from Stanford quit his third round match against
       Alexaner Mrunz or something like that. Not important. Tarango,
       channeling his inner John McEnroe, who also played at Stanford,
       cried about every call. He said the umpire was "corrupt" and
       quit. Just walked off the court. That's something no player had
       done in the Open era. No more breakfast at Wimbledon for
       Tarango. Good tennis name, though.

   1. ROBERTO DURAN. In his welterweight match for the WBC
       championship against Sugar Ray Leonard, Duran uttered the two
       words that will haunt him forever: "No Mas". In the 8th round of
       his match against Leonard, Duran was tired of chasing Leonard
       around the ring and getting suckered by his antics. Duran, who
       was one of the great boxers of all-time, just threw up his hands
       and said, "No Mas". So every time somebody quits, it's "No, Mas".

Monday, January 9, 2012


"For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall
 much be required." -- Luke 12:48

God must've looked down on Tom Brady one day and said,
"Son, I have blessed you with size, smarts, athletic talent, and
movie star good-looks, but if you want to be my quarterback,
you must earn it." The Patriots quarterback has done his part,
using a legendary work ethic and a fire that burns deep from
within to become arguably the best player in the game.

The Lord and Savior of Tim Tebow blessed his child with
size, speed, toughness, but a weak throwing arm and said,
"Junior, if you want to make it as a quarterback in the NFL, you
must believe in me and believe in yourself because with that
chicken wing, you're never going to be Tom Brady."

Brady and Tebow will meet on Saturday night in what will
be the most watched playoff game in NFL history. This divisional
game is not so much about the New England Patriots and the
Denver Broncos as it is about Brady, the perfect quarterback,
and Tebow, the quarterback who is far from it, but has
seemingly willed his team to victories.

Saturday's game will be one in which NFL fans will not
be able to take their eyes of because of Brady and Tebow.
They are very much the same, but also very much different.
Both are squeaky clean who always seem to say and
do the right thing. Oh, sure, there are people who get on
Tebow because he publicly thanks his Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, every time he breathes, but as Bill Belichick
likes to say, "It is what it is." I'd rather hear that than read
one of Chad Ochocinco's stupid tweets.

Brady came out of college as an afterthought, a player that
was passed over in the NFL draft by 31 teams at least five
times. He was the 200th player pick in the draft. If he didn't
make the Patriots roster, nobody would've even noticed.

Tebow came out of college as one of the most decorated players
in NCAA history. All-American, Heisman Trophy winner,
2-time national champion and had a cult-like following. Despite
having a weak arm, Tebow was drafted in the first round by the
Broncos. If he didn't make the team out of training camp, echoes
of "I told you so" would have rung out in NFL offices
throughout the league.

Tebow and Brady were given little chance of being elite players
in the NFL. Everybody but Jesus was criticizing Tebow because
he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn at Churchill Downs. Brady
was considered too slow and too weak to be more than Drew
Bledsoe's back-up in New England.

But Brady and Tebow had an ironclad belief in themselves,
a last-to-leave the weight room work ethic, and a competitive
fire that burned like a raging inferno. Critics said they would
never make it, their stone-cold confidence said they would.

Brady got his shot when Mo Lewis of the Jets almost put
Drew Bledsoe six feet under with a bone-crushing hit. He
never looked back, winning Super Bowls and MVP's as if
he owned them.

Tebow got his shot when Kyle Orton and the Broncos
sputtered to a 1-4 start. The former Florida QB hasn't looked
back, but he sure as hell has been criticized by everyone
from Merril Hoge to Meryl Streep. At times, he has played
real ugly, looking like the worst passer in NFL history and
Ryan Leaf played in the league at one time. But he has
provided some magic that has made a lot of us believe and
in some cases, cheer for him.

As Brady is in New England, Tebow is a God in Denver.
God blessed each with a lot of gifts and has seemingly
expected much in return. Brady has delivered, while Tebow,
for all his football faults, just might be on his way.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Up until he challenged Tom Brady in a sideline shouting match in early
December, very few people ever heard of Bill O'Brien. On Friday,
for better or for worse, the Patriots offensive coordinator was the
lead story on "SportsCenter",  sports talk radio, and Googled by

O'Brien is set to become the next head coach at Penn State and the
first one other than Joe Paterno in the last half-century. He's walking
into a Nittany Lions den that is one big mess, thanks to the biggest
scandal in college sports history. Jerry Sandusky and his alleged
child-sex abuse followed by a cover-up of epic proportions has left
the school and football program with a stain that might take a while
to get out, a long while to rinse away. And Bill O'Brien is Mr. Clean?
Is he the best Penn State could do? Really? I realize many coaches
would rather date the OctoMom than try to clean-up the Exxon
Valdez of college football, but it's still Penn State.

Fans in Happy Valley are anything but thrilled with the choice of O'Brien
to succeed Paterno. O'Brien is not big name, has zero head coaching
experience, and no ties to Pennsylvania, a hot bed for recruiting.
Ex-players are upset, as are trustees and the fans. Bill O'Brien? Huh?

Oh, sure, he was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots high-octane
offense and had the stones to stand-up to Tom Brady. But being a
visible assistant with the Pats hardly guarantees success as a head
coach anywhere. Charlie Weis? Failure at Notre Dame. Josh McDaniels?
Not good in Denver or as an assistant in St. Louis. Romeo Crennel?
Oh, Romeo, oh, Romeo, you were not good in Cleveland and you
definitely didn't look cool in brown. Eric Mangini? Good grief. They
all failed. This is a testament to Belichick and his genius. It's all Belichick.
The assistants ride his coat tails and reputation and then sink on their own.

Penn State did little right in handling the scandal, making dumb decisions
and PR blunders. Nobody looks good at the center of a child-sex
abuse scandal, but they dumped a tanker filled with gasoline on the
blaze, making it like a California wildfire: Lengthy and out of control.

O'Brien is not the first guy not to be wanted. Joe Torre was called
"Dumb" Joe after being named Yankees manager in the mid-90's.
He had been fired by three teams already, including the Mets. He
rode the wave of some great talent to win four World Series titles,
earning a ticket to Cooperstown in the process.

However, the cupboard is bare at Penn State. Recruiting are
de-committing or not even bothering to show up for their visits.
Times are going to be lean in State College for awhile. I don't what
Penn State was thinking in hiring O'Brien and I really don't know if
Penn State was thinking, either.