"And so this is Christmas and what have you done..." It seems B-Dub and Old Harry paid a visit to The Beezer's house and took care of some of his Christmas decor. Apparently, they're just not into the cool yule thing. I have to ask though, Beeze, What the hell is a Yule Goat anyway?
I figured rather than the regular Tavern fare today, I'd take my virtual column space and talk about the season....um, the Christmas season although I have to admit the NFL season is an appealing topic, what with the Titans and Chargers playing today. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I've never been one for wanting to receive the BIG present - I much prefer the stocking stuffers and a bunch of moderately priced things. A handful of hardcovers or other trinkets over that one blockbuster present - it's kind of funny, I can usually see my way clear to save my pennies for that big present for myself, but never really seem to get myself those $40 things.
This year, the kids are getting BIG presents. The girl, a freshman, has been asking for months for a notebook computer. The boy, however, is a lot more like his dad: he's been asking Santa since Thanksgiving for a belt and a pencil sharpener. Had the kid on Santa's lap and he still came out with a belt and a pencil sharpener. This week he finally realized he may have sold himself short, so he started asking for other things - like one of those battery powered cars. As luck would have it, he's getting an Orange County Chopper ride on. Who would have thought he'd get a motorcycle before his old man?
This past week, some of the buzz around the Gab has been "Guilty Pleasures." I have a huge guilty pleasure at Christmas time. Jose Feliciano. I can't help myself.
THAT is some kicking tune-age when you're tooling around in the rig by yourself.
I remember when I was a kid, being so excited at the prospect that Santa was coming. I'd sing 3 or 4 different verses of "Silent Night," and catch all of the Christmas specials on TV. We'd take in midnight mass. I really miss those Christmases. We had one of those first plastic christmas trees - the ones that were hopelessly fake looking and would take hours to put together. The branches were made of this polyethylene molded plastic that you'd stick into the wooden trunk of the tree. One year, my parents got those big honking bulbs to put on the tree, but sadly enough they were TOO big and in no time melted the tree. Years later, I was working in a printing company and every time I went to the bindery while they were shrink wrapping, I'd get flashbacks to my childhood Christmases from the smell...kind of like a perfume that reminds you of someone. Of course the woman running the shrink wrapper thought it was funny to see me get all googly-eyed, but that's okay.
Gilbert Arenas is in the middle of giving himself a nice little Christmas present - seems he decided he didn't want guns around after his daughter was born, so he just did what everyone else would do - he took them to work. I've been known to hide Christmas presents in my desk or whatnot, but it seems a little odd that he didn't want the guns around his daughter so he'd just bring them to the Verizon Center where 15,000 or so people come every night to see him play. "Hey, look what I found in my locker!" There's some crazy, thinking going on there. All kinds of people are investigating.
I'm sure you may have heard by now that the Philadelphia Eagles players selected Michael Vick as the recipient of their Ed Block award this year. A courage award? Michael Vick? I've got to tell you, that's one hell of a Christmas gift under his tree. How do you go so quickly from the naughty list to the good list? If Donte Stallworth were to re-sign with the Eagles next year, I'd bet he'd have a pretty good chance at the Block Award.
I have to admit to another Christmas guilty pleasure. When the record was released around Thanksgiving 1984, I was a punk hanging out at a local record store. The entire back wall of the store was filled with copies of the 12" version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and it was literally played from open to close. But even to this day, I love that song. I'll give it a try in the car...Boy George throws me off, but he always did.
It's just one of the most pure songs. it's not a commercial effort, it's not someone throwing together a Christmas record, not someone trying to get famous. Bob Geldoff and Midge Ure literally put the song and the band together within weeks and recorded it over a 24-hour span. A week later, it's one of the worlds' fastest selling singles ever. And yeah, I know, it doesn't usually snow in Africa and generally speaking the African populace don't know it's Christmas because they're muslim. No matter, the sentiment is there and the motivation true. I really appreciate this song and what it stands for.
I hope and trust you have a wonderful Christmas. It seems like every week I'll post a note that begins with the phrase 'I can't believe how quickly the week has flown by" and since the year is made up of those weeks it leads to the inevitable conclusion - every year flies by quickly. The time we have together is elusive and fleeting. My hope for everyone this holiday season is that you have the opportunity to hold those who are close to you dear and that you cherish that time together. Be thankful for those you have in your life and those whom you have had in your life. Life is a journey through the time which passes so quickly. Make the most of it. Remember those who are less fortunate and remember those who face personal challenges and know that your support gives them great strength. Most of all, take the time to reflect on those in your own life who have influenced you and whom you influence. Have a wonderful holiday season. We'll be back here next week with a wrap up of the decade in sports...Mo's Tavern style. Until then, take the best of care.
Christmas Ham? Ready to heat and eat
Picks? The Christmas one today, the rest sometime either Friday or Saturday
Lines? Provided by USA Today Sports Weekly and are for comparison and entertainment purposes only, you should know why by now.
The NFL didnt play a game on Christmas from 1972 to 1989 after the Dolphins & Chiefs went double overtime in an AFC playoff game, now they only play one game on that as the calendar allows.
NFL SCHEDULE – WEEK 16
Friday, December 25 (Merry Christmas!!!!!)
Chargers (11-3) @ Titans (7-7)
LP Field, Nashville 7:30 (NFLN)
Favorite Titans by 3
Fast Fact: The Chargers are gunning for their 7th road win this season, which would be a team record
Playoff implications: The Chargers can clinch #2 seed and first round bye with win
Despite the Titans abysmal start, the Titans are still on the fringes of the AFC playoff hunt. The Chargers haven’t stopped winning since mid October and are riding the precision passing of Philip Rivers. As tempted as I am to pick the underdog Titans to continue their stunning turnaround, the Chargers are just too balanced.
Heres wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best of the Holidays!
The Washington D.C. area lost one of their broadcasting giants today when sportscaster George Michael passed away from complications due to cancer.
Michael is known nationally for his Sports Machine, which broadcast every Sunday night from 1984 to 2007. It also could be heard in the movie "There's Something About Mary", where the character played by Cameron Diaz could be seen watching it.
His Sports Machine had tremendous influence on ESPN, and the network implemented many of his ideas for use on their own network. The show, as did his nightly newcasts on NBC WRC-TV, would cover all sports. Ranging from pro wrestling, hockey, most auto events, rodeo, and equestrian, Michael made sure his viewers were entertained and educated.
He started his career as a disk jockey, working in places like Philadelphia for years until moving on to New York City. He became very popular there, and even did color commentator work with Tim Ryan on New York Islanders telecasts.
Michael came to Washington D.C. in 1980, when the late Glenn Brenner was the most popular sports anchor in town. Brenner was likeable, and known for his humor. Michael worked hard to get his station, the last place network in town, to get more viewers. By the mid-80's, he was gaining as many, if not more, viewers than the legendary Brenner.
The Sports Machine was not the only reason he gained such notice. He also hosted shows that would cover local teams in the area on a weekly basis throughout the seasons. The broadcasting careers of John Riggins, Tony Kornheiser, David Dupree, Michael Wilbon, and many more started under Michael's wing. Sonny Jurgensen, the Washington Redskins Hall Of Fame quarterback, was always his main partner on all Redskins related telecasts, and their friendship made the show even better to watch.
George liked to tell it like he saw it, and he never held back. He toughened up Kornheiser and Wilbon, which enabled the pair to parlay that gained wisdom to hosting a popular television show on the ESPN network. Riggins, a local hero, also sharpened himself under the tutelage of Michael.
After winning a Sports Emmy in 1985, he was on his way to legendary status. Brenner passed away from brain cancer, so most of the locals all then tuned into Michael. Sports like NASCAR and hockey got a lot of publicity from him, which greatly helped each sport increase in popularity.
When WRC decided to have budget cuts in early 2007, they wanted cut much of his staff from the payroll. Michael opted to retire as a sports anchor, in hopes he could save people their jobs. He also stepped down from the Sports Machine, which was off the air within weeks of his departure. He kept doing the weekly shows on the Redskins and Wizards until they also were taken off the air because of budget cuts in December, 2008 in spite of their being amongst the networks most popular shows.
Watching George Michael work was like watching a master take his craft to another level few could reach. He was so respected that he could score the interviews that no one else could. He was the only sportscaster allowed to broadcast within the Redskins stadium for years as well.
His death on the day before Christmas is one of mixed emotions, in a way. Knowing death is part of life still does not make his departure any less sad, yet we were all treated to a gift of having him a part of our life that will be remembered and honored each time ESPN goes on the air to try to replicate his brilliance.
1970 - 1982
166 Games Played
13 Fumble Recoveries
8 Pro Bowls
Lemar Parrish was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 1970 NFL Draft. He was the 163rd player picked overall that year. Parrish went to college at Lincoln University of Missouri. Parrish was a running back in college.
In 1969, Lamar set the schools record for for longest punt return, when he returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown against Southwest Missouri State. He also set school records for most punt return yards in a game (129 yards on 3 returns), and highest average per punt return in that game (43 YPR). That year, Parrish averaged 16.8 yards per punt return. That, and his career average of 15.5 YPR, are still school records. He made the NCAA All American Team in 1969.
He is the most famous athletic figure in the schools history since the 1950's, when tennis great Althea Gibson taught there, and Canadian Football League Hall of Fame Running Back Leo Lewis attended the school. Parrish has returned to his alma mater, and is the head coach of the schools football team. Lemar Parrish is in the Lincoln University Hall of Fame.
In his 1970 rookie season, he was incredible. Parrish had five interceptions,and scored a touchdown on both a punt return and kickoff return. He averaged 30.1 yards per kick return and recovered a fumble. He also scored on a blocked field goal return. He would go to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons.
He followed that up next season with seven interceptions. He took one interception 65 yards for a touchdown, and one fumble for a touchdown. In 1972, Parrish picked off five passes and took two in for touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a touchdown. In 1973, he has two interceptions and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
The 1974 season saw Parrish returned to the Pro Bowl by setting a still standing Bengals record with an NFL leading 18.8 yards per punt return average. He also scored two touchdowns on punt returns. One went for 90 yards and is presently the second longest in Bengals history. He also recovered a fumble and took it 47 yards for a touchdown.
He would go to the Pro Bowl every year up until the 1977 season. In 1977, Parrish had three interceptions and took one in for the last touchdown of his career.
After the 1977 season, Parrish was traded to the Redskins, after a contract dispute, with defensive end Coy Bacon by the Bengals to Washington for the Redskins’ first-round pick in the 1979 draft. That first-round pick ended up being the 12th overall selection, which Cincinnati used to pick running back Charles Alexander out of Louisiana State.
Parrish was not asked to return kicks on the Redskins, yet still made a immediate impact on the Redskins defense his first year with four interceptions. The next year, he had nine interceptions and was named First Team All-NFL and to the Pro Bowl.. He followed that up with seven interceptions in 1980, and was named to his last Pro Bowl. Parrish left the Redskins after 1981, and joined the Buffalo Bills in 1982. He retired after that year.
Lemar Parrish is the Bengals All-Time leader in touchdowns scored by "return or recovery" with 13. This is still tied third All-Time in NFL history with two others. His two interceptions returned for TDs is still tied for the most in a game, with many others in NFL history. He was also the only player in Cincinnati history ever to score two "return or recovery" touchdowns in a single game, which he did separate 3 times.
When he retired, his three fumble returns for touchdowns tied an NFL record. He still fourth All-Time in Bengals history for interceptions in a career, and second in touchdowns scored by interception.
His four punt returns for touchdowns ranks first in Cincinnati Bengals history. He also is first in career average for kickoff returns with 24.7, touchdowns in a season on kick off returns, interceptions made in one game, and touchdowns returned via interceptions in a season and a single game.
He ranks second in Bengals history with 130 punt returns, and punt return yardage in a season and career. He is third in franchise history in interception return yardage in a career. His 95 yard kick off return currently is the sixth longest in Bengals history.
Parrish did not win the 1970 Rookie of the Year Award probably because the Bengals had two players win the award the two previous seasons, even though he had a superior season to the winner, 49ers CB Bruce Taylor.
Lemar Parrish is a member of the Cincinnati Bengals 40th Anniversary Team.
Parrish epitomized the definition of "play maker" in his career. He was a shut down cornerback who teams tried to avoid. He would make the opponents cringe when he was asked to return kicks or punts. Parrish teamed with Ken Riley to form, perhaps, the best cornerback duo in the NFL in the 1970's.
He was also noted for his ability to stop the run, which is something he had to supply often due to the Bengals porous front seven. Safety Tommy Casanova was a beneficiary of this cornerback tandem, and made 3 Pro Bowls from 1972 to 1977. Casanova retired after Parrish left the Bengals.
Teams could not beat the Bengals by passing the ball, but they would win by running the ball up the middle. The Bengals often challenged the great Steelers teams of the 1970's, but would come up short. The pass defense was never the reason.
While with the Redskins, Parrish also made fellow cornerback Joe Lavender a better player. Lavender made the Pro Bowl twice in his career, the same years that Lemar did. Parrish was a complete player. He could do it all. His penchant for taking the ball to the end zone was prodigious. He made his teams better, his teammates better, and now is teaching his students to be better.
Every year of his career saw him intercept at least one ball, except for his 1974 Pro Bowl season. To be named to the Pro Bowl by your peers, despite having no interceptions, truly shows his greatness and is an example of how opposing teams feared him. The following two Pro Bowl years of 1975 and '76 are further examples to make this fact concrete, because he had three interceptions total over this time.
I find it amazing to see Lemar Parrish yet to be inducted into Canton. Recent inductee Roger Wehrli went in with finally, so hopefully the voters are going to right long standing wrongs. It would be fitting to see Parrish and Riley inducted together.
Notable Players Drafted In 1970 * Denotes Canton Inductee
1. Terry Bradshaw, QB, Pittsburgh *
7. Mike Reid, DT, Cincinnati
9. Cedric Hardman, DE, San Francisco
10. Ken Burrough, WR, New Orleans
13. Doug Wilkerson, OG, Houston
17. Bruce Taylor, CB, San Francisco
18. Norm Bulaich, FB, Baltimore
19. Steve Owens, RB, Detroit
22. Jack Reynolds, LB, LA Rams
23. Duane Thomas, RB, Dallas
24. Raymond Chester, TE, Oakland
29. Jim Mandich, TE, Miami
30. Dennis Shaw, QB, Buffalo
31. Leo Brooks, DT, Houston
36. Joe "Turkey" Jones, DE, Cleveland
39. Art Malone, RB, Atlanta
43. Bill Brundige, DE, Washington
46. Richard Caster, WR, NY Jets
53. Mel Blount, DB, Pittsburgh *
55. Tim Foley, DB, Miami
66. Charlie Waters, DB, Dallas
76. Gerald Irons, DE, Oakland
80. Ed George, OT, Pittsburgh (CFL Hall of Fame)
110. Ron Saul, OG, Houston
114. Manny Sistrunk, DE, Washington
153. Pat Toomay, DE, Dallas
159. Jake Scott, DB, Miami
201. Mike Holmgren, QB, Saint Louis Cardinals (Noted Coach)
204. Rich Saul, OG, LA Rams
218. Jim Otis, FB, New Orleans
248. Joe Dawkins, RB, Houston
259. Stu Voight, TE, Minnesota
287. Butch Davis, DB, Chicago (Noted Coach)
335. Mark Washington, CB, Dallas
346. Mark Moseley, K, Philadelphia
348. Doug Sutherland, DT, New Orleans