Sunday, March 25, 2012


New York City is addicted to superstars like most of us are to Facebook. They want to discover
them, cultivate them, and usher them down Broadway for the entire world to see. And when
the Big Apple gets something new, they are consumed with it much like everyone is with the
mother  of all social media networks. New York fell in love with Jeremy Lin but after NBA
teams discovered the Knicks guard had trouble going to his left, "Linsanity" became like
MySpace, boring and not worth our time anymore. There have been many other "phenoms"
in the Big Apple before who started out like MySpace and fizzled like it, as well. Kevin Maas
and Shane Spencer of the New York Yankees come to mind.

On Monday at noon, the biggest phenomenon New York has ever seen will be introduced by
the Jets. The organization is expecting such a huge turnout for Tim Tebow,  they've moved
the press conference to the team's indoor practice facility to accommodate everyone. Former Jet Damien Woody and ESPN analyst questioned why all the pomp and circumstance for a
"back-up quarterback." I'm not sure if Woody is on the list of former players suing the NFL
for head injuries, but he should get his cranium checked out.

Tebow is not a back-up quarterback. He is a rock star and a cult hero. He is a brand and one
of the powerful, if not polarizing figures the sports world has ever seen. Heisman Trophy
winner, two-time national champion, first-round draft pick, humanitarian, virgin, and a man
of God,  New York City has NEVER seen anything like him. Tebow was huge before he
arrived in the Big Apple, now he's sure to become one of the most recognizable figures in the
world, right up there with Ali, Jordan, and Woods. Don't laugh. The media, public relation
agencies, and marketing companies will take Tebow to a place where no athlete has ever
gone  before. Tebow is a dream for the New York Post, who creates headlines better than any
publication on the planet. This will be pure entertainment. He is God's gift to Madison Avenue,
which will make his rich beyond his dreams. Who cares if he can't hit the broad side of a
barn with a pass. Tim Tebow is a magnet. He draws people from all walks of life in all parts
of the world. You think he's big now? Just wait.

The New York Jets ownership and front-office have been bashed for trading for Tebow, saying
it will crush the confidence of Mark Sanchez and create a circus atmosphere in the locker room.
Both may be true, but so what? This is Woody Johnson's hobby. The Jets owner won the
lottery when he was born into the Johnson & Johnson family. He inherited a company that is
worth 10 times the value of the Jets.  This is fun for him. He, like Steinbrenner and Donald
Trump, know that if you want to make money, you have to invest money, and you also have
to create a buzz, especially when you're a franchise like the Jets, who have always played
second fiddle to the Giants.

Johnson really should think about changing the team's name to the "New York Kardashians",
the franchise has become all style and no substance. They've managed to get a lot attention
and  recognition despite having very little or no talent at all. Johnson loves his stars, we saw
that with his desire for Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez, and now Tim Tebow. Tebow is a
merchandising God who will sell more jerseys, t-shirts, and anything with a Jets logo on it,
in the history of the franchise. He may not be able to complete 45 percent of his passes, but
Tebow's bigger than "The Hunger Games" or "Harry Potter" and he belongs to the New York
Jets. Cha-Ching!

The Jets will use him to sell tickets, luxury suites, and PSL's. They had to pay an extra $2.5
million to acquire Tebow, but they got that back in the first day with all the merchandise they
sold. The Jets can't beat the Giants on the field and Johnson figured he had to do something to
keep them relevant and on the back pages. Tebow was it and it was a stroke of genius. Everybody
is talking about the Jets and Tebow. It's feeding the monster, which is Johnson's ego. He can
worry about what Tebow does on the field and how it's going to impact the fragile psyche of
Sanchez later. The Giants won the Super Bowl and nobody is talking about them in the Big
Apple. All Vinny from the Bronx and Rico from Staten Island want to do is call up WFAN
in New York and wax poetic about Tebow and the Jets. Woody Johnson is loving it. It's about
the buzz and the Benjamins.

Forget about Jeter, A-Rod, or Jeremy Lin, Tebow is the biggest star in New York right now.
He's the squeaky clean quarterback who visits dying kids in the hospital. He wears his faith
on his sleeve and always has his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, close to his heart. The paparazzi
will swarm Tebow wherever he goes and every female model, actress, and diva in the Big Apple
will try to win his attention. They know that if you're with Tim Tebow, the ridiculous attention
will follow. This should be interesting. New York City has NEVER seen anything like Tim
Tebow before, and Tebow has never experienced anything like the Big Apple in his lifetime.

As Giants defensive back Terrell Thomas tweeted, "Good thing Tebow is a man of God. New
York is tough. He's going to need it." I'm not sure if Tebow can walk on water, but I do think
he's capable of pitching a tent. The Jets may have him to do that for the 3-three circus that's going
to start on Monday. My oh, my. This could be the greatest show on earth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


You won't see a clip of him on "SportsCenter" in a rant and telling the media "that you play to
win the game!" You'll never see video of him anywhere on ESPN coming out of a courthouse
after seeing the judge about a DUI, spousal abuse, or even a parking ticket, for that matter. The
only time you Jerry York on the World-Wide Leader is when he's hoisting a trophy, and that's
become more and more frequent as his Boston College hockey team continues to steamroll
everybody in it's path.

Jerry York is a true coaching legend. He's won more than 900 games, captured national championships with two different schools (Bowling Green, Boston College (3) and he was so
good as a player, Boston College retired his number. On a sports landscape dominated by the NFL, overpaid petulant athletes, and coaches who feel the fans pay to see them, York can get
lost in the shuffle. But he is everything good and everything right about college and professional sports today. There is no ego with York, nor is there any tantrums or outlandish motivational
tactics. He doesn't fall in love with every camera or microphone he meets (see Bobby Valentine)
and his biggest fault is that he my be TOO nice. Think Mr. Rogers on skates. Imagine the Pope
with a hockey stick, and see Tim Tebow with a whistle.

York is courteous, respectful, and the most humble man in college or professional sports.
People talked about Tebow being a breath of fresh air in a sports world that had turned into
a cess pool thanks to Tiger, steroids, Michael Vick,  and every other athlete who got arrested for beating up theirs wives or busted for cocaine, well, then York is the heavy-duty cleanser who
could get out even the toughest dirt stains.

In his 18th year as head coach and 40th overall, York has built a powerhouse program the
right way. "The right way", can be an overused statement, and it's been used before in the same sentence with  Jim Tressel, Bruce Pearl, and Butch Davis, but with York, it's real. He doesn't
have to do anything illegal (not that he'd ever think about it) because he's built a program where
kids would pay HIM to play for Boston College. If a star recruit doesn't have the grades to get
into the beautiful school in Chestnut Hill, he just takes the next great player who's standing in line.

Several years ago, BC's rivals ,who are just a few quick stops down the Green Line on the "T",
built the Taj Majal to hockey. Boston University's hockey facilities were glorious and the made
the ones at Boston College look like a glorified high school hockey rink. Many people thought
this would give the Terriers a huge advantage over the Eagles when it came to recruiting. It did
not. Not even close. In fact, the gulf between Boston College and Boston University got bigger, with the Eagles rolling to more national titles, Beanpot Championships, and Hockey East titles than Boston University. BU Coach Jack Parker may get more attention than York because he can
give a better soundbite or smile just right for the cameras, but York sits way higher on the
mantle of great hockey coaches. Nobody rests above him.

York is loyal to his players and his coaches. Mike Cavanaugh, Greg Brown, and Jim Logue have
been with York longer than peanut butter has been with jelly. York trusts them, respects them,
and  gives them a long leash on teaching and instructing players, as well as in recruiting, which
as the numbers of championships the Eagles have, demonstrates just how good they are.

This weekend, BC is the number one seed in the NCAA tournament. They are the best team in hockey right now and are a good bet to win the national championship. When you see York on
"SportsCenter" hoisting the trophy, remember that he's a far better man, than he is a hockey coach
and York is the best one in the country.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I had been in denial for a long time. I'd go out to a restaurant and when the menu turned into
hieroglyphics that I could not read, I just blamed it on dirty contact lenses or the dim lighting.
When the bill came and I couldn't tell what the damage was, I'd just give my girlfriend the
credit card, tell her I had to go to the men's room in the worst way, and have her sign the
check. It was easier that way, and sure as heck, less painful.

When I'd start to read a book in bed at night, I'd get the, "WTF's????! The words were all blurry
and fuzzy. I'd stretch the book out at arms length and they'd become clear. Then I'd bring them
back into reading position and the words would go out of focus. I could blame the wicked crows
feet around my eyes to more than 40 years of laughter and sun damage, but when the eye sight
starts to go, it's a tell-tale sign that you're making the turn and playing on the first hole of the
back nine of life. You're probably closer to wearing Depends than Diesel jeans and when you
have to break down and buy "reading glasses", well, the Grape Nuts and Metamucil are close to
being part of your menu.

I had put going off to the drugstore to buy a pair of cheap ones for  quite some time. I had
always made fun of my parents when they broke out their funny-looking glasses while we were
out at a restaurant and swore that I'd never wear those things. They were just not cool Well, it happened to me. Last week, just as God told Albert Pujols to take the $300 million and be an
Angel, He suggested I go to CVS to get a pair. I had to go there anyway and fill-in up on the
alcohol-laden, liver damaging cold & flu products to give me some relief from some kind of nasty thing that was penetrating my immune system. As I was strolling the aisles of CVS, I walked into
the shrine for those with bad sight. There was the rack of reading glasses, a tower  that was neat
and tight, filled with specs for those with bad sight.

Like a 17-year old buying condoms for the first time, I looked both ways to make sure nobody
would come down my lane to see me trying them on. That would be truly embarrassing. No, not
the condoms, but the reading glasses. Get your mind out of the gutter. First thing I noticed, was the
price. My late father said they'd be a couple of bucks at the drugstore, but I thought he was
kidding. They had reading glasses for 1.50, 2.00, 2.50, 3.00. I was like 'wow', that is cheap
and in this economy, that's a helluva deal. I didn't worry too much about the style, as long as
didn't pick out red-rimmed glasses that would've made me look like Sally Jessy Rafael. I found
a pair with pretty think frames that were black. Think Martin Scorsese. I was into a different
look, something that made me appear more artsy than intelligent. Does that happen in a mid-life crisis?

I got the pair I wanted and walked sheepishly went to the counter as if I was going to hand
over two boxes of Preparation H to the pharmacist. Don't you ever wonder how much those
guys are laughing when they see the items that people bring to the counter? Depends,
Preparation H, Tampons, Super Magnum condoms, Enemas,  good lord. I guess we all get
used to the pain and temporary embarrassment. We can always give them that look that says,
"Oh, it's not for me,' and then make a a bee-line to you your car as fast as Usain Bolt runs the 100-meter dash. It's all good.

As I was paying for my glasses, a sense of accomplishment came over me. I had actually
bought a pair of reading glasses. Wow.  A big step. When the cashier said, "That will be $22.14,"
I became flustered, "Whaaa? The glasses are marked, 2.50." Then the cashier looked at me
like one of my old teachers who was about to inform me that I failed the class. "Um, no, these
glasses are $21.00 plus taxes. The 2.50 is for the strength of the glasses." D'OH!

I could do nothing but laugh my ass off to mask the embarrassment. "Yeah, I knew that" I said
to myself even I though I clearly didn't. That's funny. I thought the glasses were $2.50.  Does
anything you put on your body cost $2.50 these days. Well, as I walked out of CVS I knew
that I had purchased the "Cadillac" of reading glasses. As I looked at my paper thin plastic bag,
I noticed a speck of light bouncing up and down. As I reached in, I was surprised to discover
that the glasses had lights installed on both sides of the frames. How cool was that? Who got
the bargain?! Man, I couldn't wait to get home and try those puppies on in the dark with a book
in hand. How cool was I? I bet none of my friends had reading glasses like this. I might just
 start wearing them to church to make a statement and let the cougars know that they don't have
to drop down that far in age classes knowing that I have these cool reading glasses.

Then it hit me. There's a reason you only take the glasses out to read the menu before quickly
putting them back in. There's a reason, you use them to read when you're in the comfort and
privacy of your own home. Reading glasses don't look cool on a man. (Beautiful woman is
another story.) They don't look cool even if they have lights installed on both sides of the frame.
Oh, well, at least I can see clearly again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Ten years ago, I was working as a sports anchor/reporter for NESN in Boston. I was the beat
reporter for the New England Patriots and covered them every day for two years. To this day,
it remains one of the best jobs I've had in the business. To watch how that franchise operated
up close and personal was pretty special. It didn't hurt that they went 34-4 over two years
and captured a Super Bowl. Covering the NFL is a passion for me.

In May of 2006, I got a call from MasterCard to see if I was available to host a business outing
where Peyton Manning was going to be the featured speaker. I was like "Hell, yeah! I'll do it",
while soiling my shorts at the same time. It's one thing to be in front of the camera, it's quite
another to be in front of 800 business suits talking on stage. I had a bad experience when I was
13 years-old and public speaking has frightened me ever since.

Now, I was going to be hosting a business outing with Peyton Manning on stage in Boston.
And he was not only in the Patriots backyard, but the hotel where the business meeting was being held, was a stone's throw from Tom Brady's bachelor pad on Commonwealth Avenue. If you're in Boston as the enemy of the Patriots, chances are you're not going to be well-received,  especially if you're Peyton Manning.

I met with Manning's representatives at the hotel and they took me to meet with Manning
as if they were secret service agents for the president of the United States, the only thing missing
were the sunglassess and ear piece.When we arrived in the business room where Manning was,
I noticed that he was studying intently, as if he were breaking down a scouting report on the
Patriots defense. He had five index cards laid out in front of him on the table. The reigning NFL
MVP was preparing for his speech as if he was getting ready to play for the Super Bowl.

His managers interrupted him politely to introduce me to him. After the pleasantries, he said,
"Man, I know you from somewhere, you look really familiar." I was incredulous that he had
recognized me from anyplace, considering I had never covered the Colts or the University of

Manning is from Louisiana and I used to work there and I also did a college football
recruiting show for Fox Sports Net that was seen in the Pelican State. I mentioned that and he
said, "Nah, I don't think that's it. It will come to me, but I just know I've seen you before."
Manning then snapped his fingers and said, "I got it! It was 'Bull Durham'! You were in Bull
Durham and I saw you hit that home run."

I smiled and looked at his representatives from MasterCard who burst out laughing. I had
been had. Tom Murphy, Manning's rep and a person I had known for a while, had set me
up and told Manning to ask me about that. It was a pretty funny moment.

One of the things that surprised me about Manning, though, was his size. I'm 6'3" 225lbs and
he dwarfed me. Made me look like Muggsy Bogues standing next to Manute Bol. When he
stood up, he towered over me. He's listed at 6'5" but he's closer to 6'7" and around 260lbs and
he made me feel real, real, small.

After I cleaned the egg off my face, Manning and I worked our way down to the stage where
I had to introduce him and ask him 10 questions for the audience. Manning was funny, focused,
and it was obvious that he was preparing for a television life after football. Talking on stage
with Manning was a serious adrenaline rush and I needed a cold one to wind down after the
event. I was talking to Manning's reps about going out on Newbury Street for some drinks.
They were like, "No, he's too tired."

Then Manning sauntered up to me and said with his southern drawl, "Paul, Brady said I should
go to Son-see's. Do you know where that is?" Did I know where Sonsie's was? It was practically
my front porch of where I lived and one of the best bars in Boston. We were on our way.
Manning was fired up to go out and mingle with the Boston public.

When Manning walked into the bar, jaws dropped and cellphone cameras lit up like Christmas
trees. People were texting their friends and taking pictures of Manning like he was the second
coming of Jesus Christ. And he heard from the Boston fans, who are never shy about insulting
anybody. "This is Brady's town!", "Belichick owns you." "Brady's got three Super Bowl rings,
how many do you's got?!" Manning was a good sport and took it all in. He mingled with the
crowd, told a lot of funny jokes, and acted like he was no different than anyone else. He bought
people drinks and picked up the entire tab for our party, which was well over $200. A lot of
stars think they should get a free ride, a free-meal, and get away scott-free without paying for
anything. Not Manning. He was more than happy to pay the tab---in cash.

We left Sonsie's and walked down Newbury Street to another drinking establishment. To see
the looks on the faces of people who had noticed Manning was priceless. It' was like OMG-WTF?
Yeah, WTF, for sure. It's not everyday you see Manning walking down the streets of Boston
in a suit. We closed down the next bar at 2 a.m. and once again Manning was mingling with the
fans and taking their insults along with the compliments. He was a funny, courteous guy, who
was just trying to be like everyone else. It was one helluva night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I really thought today would be the day that changed my life forever. I had visions of appearances
on Letterman, Access Hollywood, and the Today show. But when I woke up this morning and
scanned the Internet, I realized that I had become like Bill Murray's character in "Groundhog Day."
No matter how hard I try, not matter what I do, I get the same result. For years, I've been trying
to get chosen as Sports Illustrated's Cover Model for the swimsuit issue. And every year, I get
rejected like the two guys who ring your doorbell while toting a bible and outfitted in a black tie
and white short-sleeved shirt. They always say something about being Saints fans back in the day.

After a month of hard core training and dieting on nothing but Krispy Kreme donuts, I thought
I was in prime shape to make my dream come true. I was shredded like Terrell Owens' mother
and studied with the Dali Lama to ensure that I was poised and of a clear mind to produce
a remarkable photo shoot. The award-winning photographer, Elizabeth G., suggested the
banks of the Croton-on-the-Hudson just outside of New York City as our location. She wanted
to use the chocolate-colored river to bring out the true contrast of my frightening white body
(Think Larry Bird or the population of Maine whose flesh doesn't see the sun until mid-August).

We decided to expand our portfolio with body painting. I knew this had become popular with
the people of Sports Illustrated and fans of the issue. Elrod Neiman, the son of world-renowned
painter, Leroy Neiman, was chosen to turn my pasty-white body into a cover of deep black with
blue striping. I thought it worked well, and with the variety of my portfolio, I certainly thought
it would give me a better chance at making it onto the pages of Sports Illustrated.

The latex-based paint from Sherman Williams made the hair in my arm pits a little crunchy,
but other than that, and the eight hours it took to canvass my 240 pounds of meat, it was
a good experience. After a healthy dosing of air-brushing and glossing, I was confident that
I'd finally become a household name after my appearance in SI. This would surely be the day
that my dream would come true.

My agent got a call in mid-December from Sports Illustrated saying they were going to
produce an "Over 40 and fat issue" and wanted to know if I was interested in that one, which
comes out in August. "No chance," I said. "It was all or nothing. You can play in the big
leagues in Tampa or you can do it on the big stage of New York." I wanted the February
issue or nothing at all. I got nothing. Not a crumb, not a scrap, not an insert for Viagra on page

That's ok. There's always next year. If Randy Moss and Manny Ramirez can make a
comeback well past their prime, then so can I.