I know some of these are kind of late but I have been busy…..
Congratulations go out to Drew Brees who reached 50,000 career yards in the NFL. He also accomplished this in the least amount of games for those quarterbacks with more than 50,000 yards. Brees is 5th on the career yards list.
Congratulations also go out to Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox for their unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Torre has won 4 World Series and is the only manager to have more than 2,000 wins and 2,000 hits as a player. His record was 2,326-1,997, 5th on the career win list. La Russa won 3 World Series, guiding Oakland in 1989 and St. Louis in 2006 and 2011. He ended up with a record of 2,728-2,365, 3rd all-time . Cox turned the hopeless Braves into winners, winning 14 straight division titles and a World Championship in 1995. He finished 4th in career wins with a record of 2,504-2,001.
I Don't know about you, but I never considered manager Bobby Cox a clutch manager. For a coach to win 14 consecutive division titles and only win one World Series is beyond me. With the pitching and defense they had the team should have one more. In another word, if La Russa or Torre were managing the Braves at the time, an easy 5 to 6 World Series wins.
Andrew McCutchen’s big announcement:
Seattle Mariners are trying to make a statement with the signing of Cano, Willie Bloomquist, Logan Morrison, Corey Hart?
Arizona Diamondbacks were trading with anyone that would listen… LF Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox, A.J. Schugel from the Angels. Todd Glaesmann from the Rays, Mark Trumbo from the Angeks.
Even the Minnesota Twins were involved in the action by signing two free agents, Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco.
It's always been my favorite football league, perhaps because it brought a home team to my life at age 10. Up to then we had football on TV because the Giants were broadcast every Sunday at 2, with the Gillette 'To Look Sharp' march providing the intro and Chris Schenkel providing the call. It was fun but it wasn't a real home team. Neither were the Browns, broadcast later in the afternoon as the 'Greatest Show in Football'. We hadn't had one since the Redskins (soon to lose their storied name to the censorship of Political Correctness) left town.
But, voila! The AFL came around and we had a team. Nobody liked their name. Most preferred 'Minutemen', which rolls off the tongue a bit better. And the league was, of course, considered a joke by the NFL. But it was a dangerous joke because it meant competition, and the 'joke' part of it was surely put into the senior league's set of what would be known later as 'talking points'. Get rid of these guys before they become dangerous... translation: 'cost us money'.
When NBC gave the new league a TV contract the NFL knew it was in for trouble. When Sonny Werblin snatched up both Joe Namath and John Huarte for unheard-of money in 1964 it was their worst nightmare. They were in for a bidding war against people who could afford one. The AFL would no longer be made up of aging NFL castoffs and second-rate college talent.
In reality, the few good teams that existed even near the outset may have been competitive in either league. The early AFL was ruled by the Houston Oilers, who were led by George Blanda. He had been in pro football since 1949, having played college ball for Bear Bryant (at Kentucky!). He was clearly no kid, but he was also clearly no mere mortal, and no one knew he had his best years ahead of him (he would play for 24 seasons). He went on record several years ago as saying his Oilers could have beaten anybody. Maybe they could have.
They did, at least in the AFL, for two years. Then they hit a roadblock from cross-state in the Dallas Texans, who upset their bid for three AFL titles in a row. Those unknown Texans, property of league founder Lamar Hunt, would then confound the Metro area by leaving town with a fresh ring to become the Kansas City Chiefs. Whatever their motives, that title in Dallas would help make them the most successful franchise of the old AFL, as they'd win 3 titles in the league's 10 years of existence. Houston would win no more.
Starting in desperate straits, stocked with bargain-basement local players from Boston College and Holy Cross, the Boston Patriots never seemed to have a home. After a few seasons they had settled in Fenway Park. After their first season they would hire old BC All-American Mike Holovak as head coach. He would turn the team around with tactical brilliance that helped disguise their shortcomings. Quarterback Butch Songin found himself alternating each series of downs with a newcomer, NFL long-timer Babe Parilli, who had followed George Blanda as QB of Kentucky under Bear Bryant. The defense, which lacked speed in the backfield, would introduce the safety blitz as part of its standard package, often lining up in an 11-man front led by safety Chuck Shonta. They couldn't cover, but they sure could 'chuck' the receiver anywhere on the field. It worked. Within a year Parilli would be the unquestioned starter.
Out West, one team dominated the early years. They began as the Los Angeles Chargers, with uniforms that were clear and shameless emulations of their intracity rivals, the Rams. After one season they'd move to booming San Diego. Their 1963 team, coached by Sid Gillman and featuring true pro stars like Lance Alworth, Ron Mix, Walt Sweeney, Earl Faison and Ernie Ladd, demolished Boston in the championship game. It would be revealed decades later that the '63 Chargers had pioneered steroid usage in football. It worked.
The Chargers were always competitive in the AFL, but their star was eclipsed in the second half of the decade by both the Chiefs and the Raiders, now under former Gillman protege Al Davis.
Meanwhile, back East, fired Patriots' coach Lou Saban had moved to Buffalo where he had assembled perhaps the best team the AFL would see, though its run was short. The Bills had everything --- a great defense, great running backs, great receivers, great linemen, and a great quarterback, the one and only Jack Kemp. They'd win in 1964 and 1965, almost getting a shot in 1966 at the first Super Bowl except for a championship game upset by the mighty Chiefs. But the real story of 1966 was that the Bills had gotten that far because of a young quarterback in New York.
The Patriots, no longer competitive in 1965, had whipped overweight former Syracuse fullback Jim Nance into shape for the 1966 season. Nance would respond with over 1400 yards rushing in 14 games. He was unstoppable. When Boston went to Kansas City for a rare nationally-televised night game (called by Curt Gowdy the 'best game he'd ever seen') and tied the Chiefs 27-27, despite a later revelation that Hank Stram had stolen their playbook, it was clear that they were a contender for the first interleague title game.
Late in the season they faced East leader Buffalo at home and beat the Bills 14-6. Jim Nance's breakaway 65-yard TD run was captured brilliantly in black and white and put on the cover of Sports Illustrated, a major publicity coup for the junior league.
Clearly the undermanned Patriots could beat anybody with Nance. Anybody but a young and, to date, mediocre quarterback in New York. All the Patriots had to do to win the East was beat the lowly Jets. Joe Namath picked that day for his professional coming-out party and put up 38 points against Boston's slow secondary. The Patriots' dreams of facing an NFL opponent in January were dashed. Namath was reported to have been upset in the locker room following the game, knowing what the loss had done to Boston, saying "I didn't mean to do that to them."
The Chiefs would, of course, be humbled by the Packers in the first Super Bowl (not given the name yet). The senior league would crow. They'd crow more the next year as Daryl Lamonica's Raiders, no longer an AFL doormat, came to play after wresting control of the AFL West from the Chiefs and were as easily beaten by the Packers. Both games seemed to utterly prove NFL superiority.
What they really proved was Green Bay superiority. No one in his wildest dreams could have predicted that the Jets, still led by the now-brilliant Namath and upset winners of the AFL title over the mighty Raiders, stood a chance against a Colts team said to be stronger than Green Bay had been. It was likely a miscalculation. The Jets controlled the line of scrimmage in that early 1969 Super Bowl. Yes, Joe Namath was the best quarterback on the field next to Earl Morrall and an aging and injured John Unitas, but the Jets won the game where they were supposed to have lost it --- in the trenches. Likely, Oakland would have controlled those same trenches.
No one of course believed that, and the game was widely considered a fluke. That assessment would change drastically in 1970. The Chiefs managed to return, somehow besting Oakland and New York, and faced a Vikings team that had lost Fran Tarkenton, practically their trademark, and replaced him with Joe Kapp. The result had been a 12-2 season in which the Vikings had lost their first and last games, the latter being of no importance, then had beaten the Rams and Browns in the postseason. The Chiefs were the team that the Packers had manhandled a few years earlier. The Vikings were going to redeem the NFL and prove for all to see that 1969 had been a fluke.
The fluke turned out to be that Green Bay had represented the NFL in the first two Bowls. Minnesota was no match for Kansas City at any position. The Chiefs' win was likely the NFL's worst embarrassment since the Browns had come to the league from the AAFC in 1950 and proceeded to win the title over the mighty Rams. The AFL had won two Bowls in a row, both with dominating line play, the true mark of superiority. The leagues were 2-2 in Super Bowls. The Packers weren't coming back to restore order for the senior circuit.
The sad result of the victory was that it precipitated the merger of the AFL and NFL. Gone was the prospect of a true World Series between competing leagues, a mystery game that was as intriguing as any hockey match between teams from different sides of the Earth. And, of course, it happened just as the AFL demonstrated that it had reached parity.
It was the dream of such founders as Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams but was fought fiercely by Al Davis, who wanted to maintain the AFL's independence and was outraged that as the league's Commissioner he had been stabbed in the back by his owners who had conspired secretly with his rival, the monopolistic Pete Rozelle. The league that had opened up offensive football again was being sucked into a large mass it could not control, and the addition of Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh to the now-AFC further diluted the differences. Despite the presence of powerful Oakland, Kansas City, New England and Miami, all pure AFL stock, the 1970s would see five championships go to ex-NFL teams now playing in the AFC.
For genuine AFL fans such as yours truly, the last two real Super Bowls had become pyrrhic victories at best, and the last truly 'fun' league was gone forever. The NFL, like the government, deplores competition. One wonders what might have happened if Al Davis had gotten his way and the leagues had remained apart. Surely the Super Bowl would have meant more. The NFLPA and free agency may never have gotten traction with players involved in an interleague bidding war. But it's probably naive to think it would have lasted long. Money talks, and that's how the system works. It ain't perfect, but it's the best we've got, and attempts at perfection have proven disastrous.
Race #3 of The Chase could end many of championships hopes with "Miles The Monster" lurking in the shadows of this one mile race track.
Miles is a concrete monster that will eat you up if you make any type of mistake on the narrow one mile track and many of drivers seen there championships hopes go down the toilet over the years.
Kasey Kahne done put a fork in himself last week at Loudon by racing Brian Vickers last week with 47 laps to go running in the top ten only to spin into the infield wall, he still needs to mature if Kasey wants to win a championship and now joins Earnhardt Jr and Joey Logano out of this years championship in my opinion.
Jeff Gordon almost put a fork in himself last week also after running in the top five only to over shoot his pit box during green flag pit stops, his on the verge of joining Kahne and the gang of also ran.
The three drivers a top of this years championship are very good here, JJ, Kyle and Kenseth have all won here and Toyota's have won the last two races after the Chevy stranglehold by Jimmie Johnson in particular who loves this place.
All in all it should be a good fight to the finish for Chase race #3 so grab those belts and pull em tight, here's the ten best over the last five years at Dover:
10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr- finished 12 in the Spring for his first stat at Dover and should get another top 20 finish.
9 Matt Kenseth- is like the song by Adell, on fire! 1 win, 6 top 5's and 6 top 10's.
8 Kyle Busch- has been a brides maid to long and I think he gets the win on Sunday. 1 win, 3 top 5's and 6 top 10's.
7 Kurt Busch- lost the handle of his Front Row Chevy last week and should have a top ten this week. 1 win, 4 top 5's and 4 top 10's.
6 Clint Bowyer- needs to play with the big boys this weekend if his going to make a run. 0 wins, 1 top 5 and 5 top 10's.
5 Jeff Gordon- might have taken himself out of Chase contention with his pit stop mishap, maybe a top 15. 0 wins, 2 top 5's and 3 top 10's.
4 Kevin Harvick- did his best "where's Waldo" impersonation last week and I think it continues. 0 wins, 1 top 5 and 5 top 10's.
3 Mark Martin- can tame the Monster Mile but not in Stewart's ride. 0 wins, 3 top 5's and 5 top 10's.
2 Carl Edwards- somehow seems to pulls it together late for a top ten run and it should happen again. 0 wins, 3 top 5's and 6 top 10's.
1 Jimmie Johnson- is a stud here at Dover and if Kyle doesn't take the checkers, Jimmie does. 4 wins, 6 top 5's and 7 top 10's.
Streakers- Stewart Mart fan is making a serious bid to join the party at the top with a 8 spot going. BonBon still leads the league followed by Qulindo and Varoom Varoom:
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. After reading about Cardinal safety Rashad Johnson losing the tip of his middle finger last Sunday, I got to thinking about tough players that I have watched or heard about over the years. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a list of players that have revealed themselves as tough.
In reading about tough players…Ronnie Lott’s name always seemed to be mentioned. He also lost the tip of a finger, but what is incredulous is that he instructed the Dr. to amputate the finger. His finger had been terribly mashed while making a tackle in the playoffs and simply had not healed properly, so the amputation was performed to allow him to be ready for the start of the next season. It is one thing to suffer an injury, but to choose to lose part of a finger to be able to play is pretty damn tough.
Jack (Hacksaw) Reynolds is another player that has to be mentioned as he suffered a broken leg and played the last three games of the 1979 playoffs by having his trainers tape up his broken leg. Yep…that is tough.
A favorite tough player of mine is Don Meredith. I think I remember reading that over his career, he broke 17 bones. I know that in the 1968 playoff game against the Browns, he checked out of the hospital and played…despite a punctured lung, broken ribs and pneumonia.
An old time Steeler that was as tough as anyone was Ernie Stautner. All you have to do is read this game account from Andy Russell to realize Stautner’s toughness…
“Ernie Stautner comes in the huddle, and his thumb is broken back against his wrist. There's a tear near the break, and his bone is sticking out. He has a compound fracture of the thumb. He takes his thumb in his hand and wrenches it down into his fist. Doesn't show it to anybody. Doesn't say anything.
So he stayed there for the rest of the series, and then we came off, and I'm watching him because I'm the only guy who saw that he had a compound fracture. I saw the bone. So I'm figuring now he's going to ask for the doctor, and he may have to go to the hospital because this thing could get infected, and he says, “Give me some tape.” So they throw him some tape and he just starts taping this huge ball. He makes this big fist. Then we go back in. He plays the entire game. Never misses a down. I'm just astounded, and he's using this hand that is broken as a club. He's beating people with it. After the game, we go into the locker room and he says, “Hey Doc, I think I got a problem.”
Another favorite player of mine was Walt Garrison. As you would expect from a real life cowboy…he was also a very tough player. In a playoff game in 1970, Garrison broke three ribs in the first quarter and continued playing after he was carried off the field. He rushed for over 100 yards, caught several passes, and helped the Cowboys continue their path to the Super Bowl. Garrison has also played through a separated shoulder, a severely broken nose and a broken collarbone. Teammate Charlie Waters recalls the time that Garrison accidentally cut his thumb with a knife so that it was dangling from his hand. Garrison wrapped his thumb in tape and played the next day, rushing for over 100 yards.
So, yes…while the game is still pretty tough today, I don’t think it compares with the NFL of yesteryear. It should be mentioned that Rashad Johnson did not play with his injured digit. Of course, when the end of your middle finger is ripped off…there is surely going to be a search for the source of the blood. I knew that my son was pretty tough when he suffered a bruised liver and a couple of broken ribs in 8th grade and finished the game. We had no idea the ribs had been broken until a week after the injury and did not realize that he had injured his liver until we got to the hospital. I happened to be on the sideline and asked him if he was okay. He grabbed a drink of water and went back into the game. In 9th grade, he played the first half of a game as he was suffering an appendicitis attack. His coach figured out that something was wrong and at halftime, we headed to the hospital. I sure miss those games, but don’t miss the emergency room visits.
As fans, we glorify the toughness of sports. It is what I think we appreciate most of all about football. The gladiator mentality is slowly leaving sports and our society in general. I think football and probably hockey give athletes a toughness that serves them well the rest of their life. I do however, worry about concussions and the long term effect on players…especially players that begin playing while young. It is something that I think may in time eliminate youth football. As a parent, I am torn…but I am glad that my son was able to play football.
I saw a picture today that brought a smile to my face. Can you imagine going to your son’s first football practice and finding out that Joe Gibbs is one of the coaches? What was even funnier to me is that Gibbs was serving as an assistant for his son. But you know what, from what I know about Joe Gibbs…that does not surprise me one bit. I found a comment by Gibb’s son very interesting…he would not let them play until they were in 7th grade. When his son asked why it was okay for his grandsons to play youth football, Gibbs replied…”because I am coaching them.”
Tuesday night, The Book of Manning aired on ESPN. In case you missed it, you should make it a point to watch it. I loved the show and very highly recommend it. Everyone knows that Archie Manning played professional football, but I had forgotten how athletic he was. After watching Archie being pounded as a Saint, I suppose I should add him to my list of great tough players. The show featured plenty of football, but what I really got from the show was how dedicated a father that Archie is. I also did not realize that Archie’s father committed suicide when he was a sophomore in high school. I know that the Manning family took much heat for his trying to prevent Eli from going to San Diego. But, after watching this show, I understood better what Archie was doing. Archie’s father wanted only for Archie to be a good guy…he certainly succeeded in my opinion.
This year, the Manning brothers are headed in different directions. I have never seen Peyton play better than he has this year. Watching Peyton shred the Raider defense, it was as if the defense just gave up. Instead of trying to disguise their coverages, they simply parked their safeties deep so that Peyton would keep handing the ball off to his trio of running backs. It seemed to me that the Raiders were willing to allow the 5 and 6 yard gains as opposed to allowing Manning to beat them through the air. There is something different about watching Peyton play. I am not sure I have ever seen a QB that is as good at reading defenses as Peyton. It is almost not fair to watch the talent Manning has to work with. It has to burn Brady’s ass to look at the weapons available to Peyton. Seattle and Denver do not play during the regular season, but I have a hunch these two teams may be playing later this season. I am not sure how good Seattle is, I guess we will see after this weekend in Houston.
I felt pretty good about the Cowboys chances this year. I really did not think that the NFC East would be as tough as in years past. Honestly, I don’t think that the Giants, Eagles or Skins have a solid identity. The Eagles are adjusting to a new offensive system. The Giants don’t have a running back to run the Coughlin typical game plan and Washington is not the same without a healty RG3. Dallas has a real chance to separate themselves from the division…if Murray can stay healthy. I love what Kiffin has brought to the Cowboys defense. It has been forever since the Cowboys have been this aggressive on defense. It is a very good thing that Romo does not have to throw for 350 for the Cowboys to win. I have a feeling Cowboy haters will have a bad year.
I want to finish with a few random sports thoughts…
We can debate the schedule for Ohio State and other D1 schools, but why in the world do you go for a first down on 4th and 4 when you are up 55 to 0? No idea what Meyer was thinging about.
Have you ever seen running backs decide who gets the carry from the 1 yard line by doing rock/paper/scissor? Hilarious.
Admittedly, I am a hockey novice. I caught a minute of a video on Pardon the Interruption that had Phil Kessel using his stick to fend off a giant attacker. I could not see who the attacker was, but it was clear that Kessel wanted no part of him. Wilbourn argued that he is a scorer and that he was within his rights to protect himself from a much bigger guy. Kornheiser said Kessel will get a long suspension. My money is that Kornheiser is right. What do you think?
Apparently there was more to this story than I thought. The goon that went after Kessel was sent out to get him on the faceoff. Kessel's teammate Clarkson came off the bench to defend Kessel. It was announced today that Kessel was suspended for the remainder of the preseason, but because Clarkson came off the bench, he actually is allowed to play during the remaining preseason games, but is suspended for 10 games once the regular season begins. I guess hockey officials agreed with Wilbourn that Kessel was defending himself.
Have you ever heard of a replacement nose being grown to replace a damaged one? I had not either. Those Dr's in China are getting pretty freaky...
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey:
Children need encouragement. So if a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way, he develops a good, lucky feeling.
"If you're a cowboy and you're dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...