Monday, January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, and more Richard Sherman. I'm pretty sure we'll
be hearing about the All-Pro cornerback from now up until the Super Bowl. I'll bet that
outside of Peyton Manning, Sherman will be the most popular player at the circus known
as media day. While the squeaky-clean Broncos quarterback will be the star leading up
to the biggest game of the year, Sherman is on his way to being the biggest freak show.
But say this about Richard Sherman: He may be arrogant, obnoxious, and low-class, but
the Stanford man is a pretty smart guy because he's figured out how to feed the media
monster and become a household name in this NFL-obsessed country.
In Sunday's post-game interview, Sherman went on a rant and called Michael Crabtree of
the San Francisco 49ers a 'sorry' wide receiver. He supposedly said a few other things to a
few other networks, but I didn't hear them, because I hit the 'off' button on my TV clicker.
On Monday, Sherman's post-game hate-fest flooded the Internet, sports talk radio, and
every still-existing paper in the country. He even authored a column for SI.com on why he
said what he said about Michael Crabtree.
Yep, the media rewards people for being controversial, colorful, and often times, downright
right despicable. Television executives do it all the time as well. Heck, CNN gave Elliot
Spitzer, the former governor of New York who resigned after his scandal with a hooker, his
own television show! Is this a great country or what. Same thing happened north of the border
after Toronto mayor Rob Ford was outed for being a crack-smoking, foul-mouthed, near-
frat boy politician. (Although, Ford never resigned. )
The media nor television executives care that much about morality and character because,
after all, it's all about the ratings. Athletes who don't deliver the great sound bite or call
teammates or opponents out, don't usually get calls to be on "PTI", "Around the Horn"
or be the subject of ESPN's "Sunday Conversation", unless they are Manning, Brady, or
Derek Jeter, but there are so few of those athletes around in today's, "You-Face-Twit" world.
(that's short for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, if you're scoring at home.)
By Tuesday, I'm sure just about every significant media outlet in the country will have
called the Seattle Seahawks public relations department requesting Sherman for an interview.
It's how it works. Producers often feel they have to get someone who is colorful and
with an 'edge'. You know, that athlete who is "trending" or in the Buzzfeed.
Sherman knows how to play the media, that's for sure. He plays cornerback in Seattle, which
is pretty much non-existent to the people outside of, well, Seattle. Sherman wears dreadlocks
just like every other defensive back in the league and he's far from being happy with just
being an All-Pro. He wants to be an 'it' guy and get all the attention. And how may I ask is
he going to accomplish that without tooting his horn or yanking the chain of others?
Sherman's rant to Erin Andrews of Fox has made him Stephen A. Smith with dreadlocks.
He is a man most of the country loves to hate but man just about every producer has to
have in their sports television program.
Two weeks before the Super Bowl, Sherman is getting the attention he feels that he deserves.
There will probably be appearances on the Late Night talk show circuit, television commercials,
and a bigger contract down the line. That's how it works these days, doesn't it?
Sherman's behavior isn't exactly worth of being a role model, but I don't think he cares one
bit about that. I'm sure a lot of high school kids doing post-game interviews will feel inclined
to diss an opponent or thump his chest like a buffoon because after all, Richard Sherman
did it. He's in the NFL, so they can do it too.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Name another team could lose all those players like the Patriots did before and during the season
and still make it to the AFC championship game.
You can't because there is none.
No team deals with injuries and adversity better than the New England Patriots. Ever. Aaron
Hernandez, an All-Pro, impact player gets charged with murder and the team barely blinks before
saying good-bye to him and moving on. It's like he never existed.
Bill Belichick lets Wes Welker walk over a couple of measly million dollars and the fans and
experts say that the Patriots won't be able to replace Welker's production. Really? Julian Edelman,
a former college quarterback and seventh-round draft pick catches 105 passes, just about the
same amount Wellker averaged during his career as Tom Brady's favorite.
During the season, the team loses three Pro Bowl players in Vince Wilford, Jerod Mayo, and
Rob Gronkowski and what happens? They finish 12-4 and are now just a win away from
going to the Super Bowl again.
It's all because of Belichick and his genius. Under his watch, the Patriots are strengthened by
adversity instead of coming apart. They are fueled by the doubters and all those who said they'll
come apart. It happens all the time. Remember when Brady went down in the first game of the
2006 season with a torn-up knee? Yeah, they finished the year at 11-5 record with a quarterback
Matt Cassell, who took about seven snaps in college as a back-up to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
It's the genius of Belichick. It's his system, his way, and the Patriots have never crumbled
no matter what the circumstances. 11 straight seasons with 10 or more wins. That's an insane accomplishment in this day and age of the NFL's parity.
Few people cared when the Patriots sent Jeff Demps and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa
Bay for running back LaGarrette Blount. He had some baggage like Corey Dillon once did and
Blount is carrying it for the Patriots like "Clock-killin' Dillon did for the team the last time
they won the Super Bowl. Blount has been a beast the last few games and he could be the
key to winning the AFC Championship game against the Broncos.
A 260 lb machine for a 7th-round pick? That's the genius of Belichick.
The Hoodie is head and shoulders about any coach in the NFL. It's not even close. I just wish
the Patriots fans would learn their lesson when Belichick decides to let a player go a year
too early rather than a year too late.
He was the guy who cut Bernie Kosar, the most popular player in Browns history outside
of Jim Brown, and replaced him with Vinny Testaverde. Belichick was the guy who told Drew Bledsoe, a franchise quarterback on his way to the Hall of Fame before Mo Lewis knock
him out, to take a seat in favor of an untested QB named Tom Brady.
I've heard people say that Belichick is just a .500 coach without Brady. That's totally
absurd, but if you want to believe that argument, then you can say the same thing about
Chuck Knoll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, and Don Shula. I'm sure if they didnt have
Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Bob Griese, and Dan
Marino, there's a good chance they wouldn't have been the coaches they were.
The key is finding those franchise quarterbacks. Nearly every team passed on Brady
six, I repeat, SIX times before the Patriots drafted him. Belichick had a franchise
QB in Bledsoe, but saw something in Brady that made his say good-bye to Bledsoe.
He knew. That's the genius of Belichick. He knew that Edelman could replace the
production of Welker. Yes, he knew. He knew the team could once again overcome
injuries to All-Pro players.
This is his team, his system, his way. Belichick had all those great assistant coaches
and player personnel guys but once they went out on their own, they were nothing.
Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, and Scott Pioli were
supposed to be the next big things (and Belichicks), but they flopped when they
became the men in charge.
It's further proof of Belichick's genius. Coaches and players come and go, but Belichick
is the one constant, as well as Brady, the guy Belichick found and groomed for greatness.
It's the genius of Belichick. Pure genius.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
You can gauge the pulse of the sports nation by checking out the news feed of Facebook
during the weekend. Once you navigate through the pictures of food and the bare feet by the
ocean, there is usually a plethora of comments posted by sports "experts" across the nation.
It doesn't take a rocket-scientist to figure out the type of fans out there. There are the ones
who think their teams and players should win every game, championship, and post-season
award. (Boston fans). The ones who think their teams should win everything, but never do.
(Jets, Mets, Rangers, and Knicks). Finally, there are experts who aren't happy unless they
are bitching about their teams. They can't do this, can't do that, and just plain suck. It
really is quite entertaining.
A lot of these folks talk about their favorite teams using "we" and "us" in the same sentence,
as if they have actually sweated through two-a-days together or took part of a champagne
celebration in the clubhouse. Wearing authentic laundry of your favorite team during a
two-hand touch football game on the weekend, doesn't actual make you a part of it. And
in all reality, we all are cheering for laundry with the name of the team stitched across the
front of it.
Saturday was a day not to root for a team, but rather to just admire and inhale the beauty of
sports. There was no script and nothing was routine. It was spectacular. Ohio State-Michigan,
which is quite possibly the best rivalry in college football, was a scintillating game not
decided until the Wolverines had the courage to go for the win, but came up short. I could've
used the word, "failed", but that doesn't quite fit for a team that played so valiantly and
played for a monumental win, instead of a tie. Who can get on them for that? Who can
get on a bunch of kids and young men, which we often seem to forget.
That game was just a teaser for one that turned out to be one for the ages. Alabama-Auburn,
heated rivals, the Iron Bowl, a trip to the SEC championship on the line. There was Nick
Saban, the control freak who often preaches about "the process" matching wits with Gus
Malzahn, an offensive wizard who has resurrected a proud program in less than a year
in the toughest conference in the country.
The Tide are the like the New York Yankees of college football, a program steeped in
tradition where success is defined by the number of national championships, not division
titles, they've won. To Alabama, Auburn is the red-headed step child and the program that
has always taken a back seat to the Tide.
Saturday was different. You could just feel it from the opening kick-off. This game had
everything: big plays, bad calls, taking chances, and finally, a sequence that will go down
as one of the most important in the history of this great rivalry. Even if you were just a
casual fan, it was easy to get totally engrossed in this game. You didn't dare click away
or get up for food or to take a long bathroom break. This was just too good. This is what
sports is all about. This was a beautiful thing.
Good is not a word many used to describe Saban's decision to try a seemingly unmakeable
57-yard field goal. Of course, most of the experts used it after Auburn returned the miss
for a touchdown with no time left on the clock. Saban went for the win. What's the crime
in that? He had to at least try to win the game. Anything can happen in overtime, right?
The control freak that Saban is, he wanted to his team to decide it.
It's another great thing about sports: the debate.
However, there is no debating the beauty of this game, even if you didn't like the final
score. If you didn't really care who won or who lost, this game personified the beauty of
sports. In any given game, you can see something you've never seen before, even in
a world that's experienced millions of games over more than 100 years. Oh, sure, a failed
kick has been returned for a touchdown before, but it didn't end a game the magnitude of
the one played between Alabama and Auburn.
It's never happened to a coach like Saban who prides himself on being meticulously prepared
and teaches his players to be ready for any situation. He prepared him team for a return
on a failed field goal, and they still failed to stop it.
It can happen in sports and that's the beauty of it. We should always appreciate it.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I am thankful for my health. The groin pulls and calf strains may occur more frequently now
and the grooves around my eyes are deeper, but I'm thankful that I'm still upright and strong
enough to run marathons, swim across lakes, and bike to Montauk.
I am thankful that I have a job that I love and work with people who share the same passion, commitment and interests that I do. Love what you do, do what you love, and not have to worry about co-workers stabbing you in the back and throwing you under the bus is a beautiful thing.
I'm thankful I still have a lot of hair and women between the ages of 75 and 98 on Christian.
Mingle.com find me cute as a button.
I am thankful to have an unbelievable circle of friends. From Rye, New York to Lake Forest, Ill.
to New Canaan, CT. to Chapel Hill, NC to Atlanta, Ga. to Boston, MA, I have met some
great people who are loyal and just flat-out incredible.
I am thankful that God has blessed me with six incredible nieces and nephews who I treat
as if they are my own children. Wow. They touch my heart every time I see them.
I am not wealthy, but I'm thankful I've been enriched with opportunities that have made this
a truly wonderful life. Baseball at UNC, with the Red Sox, "Bull Durham", a sportscaster
covering Super Bowls, World Series, Olympics, Final Fours---yeah, sorry, but I do sometimes
feel like Walter Mitty. Oh, sure, I've had some serious hard knocks a long the way- been
fired, laid off, and thrown under the bus, but it's all been part of a wild and exciting journey.
Most of all, I am thankful for an incredible family. Kara is one amazing sister. She is filled
with so much love, thoughtfulness, and one giant heart. Those who know her, know she
was blessed with not only great athletic talent, but humbleness and a terrific sense of humor, too
Brother Pat is a beautiful human being. Has never uttered a bad word about anybody and
has become a great father and husband. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but we've always
been on the same page and he would do anything for me without asking anything in
My mom. Wow. I am so thankful to have her as my mother and great friend. So selfless,
giving, and understanding. After my father passed away, she became the rock of the family.
Simply amazing. She took care of my ailing dad for five years, 24/7 and did it with
strength, courage, and such amazing dignity. I love and admire her so much for that. I
was truly blessed to have such tremendous parents.
I am thankful, truly thankful during this holiday season.
I wish you all and your families all the best during this most special time of the year.
Monday, November 25, 2013
No parent should ever have to experience what happened in a small town in the southwest
part of Connecticut last December. No community should have to be forever linked to one
of the worst events imaginable. No resident should ever have to hear the words, "Oh, I'm so
sorry," after identifying where they are from to outsiders.
The massacre of 20 innocent children and six adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School is
always going to be a part of Newtown, Ct, just as Dallas is forever woven into the JFK
assassination. The town is trying hard to move on from the tragedy that seared its soul and
punctured its heart. On December 14, the one-year anniversary of the event, there won't
be a moment of silence for the victims. Church bells won't ring and there won't be a
a gathering in the center of town for the people to come together. It's all part of a
coordinated and calculated effort to try to put the past in the past, as well the unimaginable
pain behind them.
Unfortunately, an insensitive and unscrupulous world is not helping them. In the days,
weeks, and months after innocent children were ambushed by a crazed gunman, despicable
behavior followed. A woman in New York falsely claimed to be a grieving family member
of one of the victims and set up a fake charity to defraud donors. She is currently serving eight
months in prisons.
The parents of a child who actually survived the shooting, attempted to sue the state for $100
million just two weeks after the event that shook this country at its core. They said their child
suffered irreparable damage for the shooting at the school. Irreparable damage? Your child
survived. Think about the 'irreparable damage' the parents of the children who died, have
to endure. The lawsuit was dropped after their attorney got death threats.
And less than a month before the anniversary of the event, a manufacturer produced a vile
video where a gunman walks into an elementary school and massacres children, then gives
the participant options of what to do next, which includes committing suicide as the police
entered the building. It doesn't get any more heinous than that.
Now, something more for the parents and community to deal with. The final report on the
shooting and events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School is to be released to
the world, on-line, of course, at 3pm on Monday. There will be more pain, more sorrow,
and more questions as to why, which will never be answered because Adam Lanza and his
mother are dead.
In reality, Newtown will never be able to move on from this tragedy. It will always be
Newtown followed by, "yeah, that's the place where 20 little children were murdered."
That's tough for any resident of that small, quiet community to deal with, especially for
the parents who lost a child that day.
However, there is some joy in Newtown, thanks to its high school football team. Yes,
football is merely a game where one team wins and another team loses. In the grand scheme
of things, football, whether it be the NFL or a small-town conference, is really not all
that important. But it can help bring a community a little closer together and bring more
The Newtown Nighthawks are undefeated (11-0) and are ranked first in the state in Class
LL. They are a fun and exciting team to watch with a Johnny Manziel-type quarterback
in Drew Tarantino. Their top running back, Cooper Gold, has a name straight out of
Hollywood. Their best player, Julian Dunn, is a junior and already being recruited by
several Division I schools.
The team proudly wears "Newtown" on the front of its jerseys. On the helmet is specially-
designed logo that pays tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The school
colors of Newtown are blue and gold, but they added a touch of green this year. Green is
the school color of Sandy Hook Elementary School. There is a the number '26' that boldly
stands out on the logo for everyone to see. The players have been advised by the First
Selectman in town not to talk about the tragedy a year ago, but they have not forgotten
the 20 children and 6 teachers and administrators who were senselessly murdered that day.
There is a Hoosiers-type feel to this team. They are a small-knit group who are quite
capable of doing great things. The division they play in is quite stacked with teams that
are bigger and more talented than them, but the Nighthawks have a big heart and appear
to be on a mission.
If everything falls their way, the Newtown Nighthawks could play for the state championship
on December 14--the one-year anniversary of one of the worst tragedies on American soil.
If that happens, the word Newtown could be followed by 'state champions'. It won't erase the
bad memories of a terrible day, but it will bring more pride to the town and truly help them