So Tony Dungy doesn't like that Rex Ryan swears so much...Especially on HBO's "Hard Knocks"...Dungy isn't alone...There seem to be many people who feel this way...I was listening to Mike and Mike this morning, and the topic came up...Eric Kasilius was filling in for Mike Greenberg, and he was bothered by how much Ryan swears...The he went to the mythical emails, and texts from parents who would love to let there kids watch the show, but they can't because Ryan swears too much...
Hey dolts, there's a reason why the show premieres at 10:00 PM Wednesday nights...It's not for kids! It's real life, and it's how many coaches talk...Christ I remember a coach in calling a kid a cunt in 6th grade...Coaches swear! At least the good ones...Yep, I just said Tony Dungy isn't a good coach! Hey, maybe he is, but fuck him...It's none of his business how another coach doe his job, and talks to his players... Remember those good teams he had in Tampa Bay, that just couldn't get over the hump...Then they brought in John Gruden and his awesome ability to swear, and what happened? Fucking Super Bowl Bitch!
Kailius tried to say this is bad for the league...It can't be any worse then the rapists, the stoners, the dog killers, the drunk drivers, and the wife beaters that still have jobs in the NFL...You know what's bad for the league, and the human race? Antonio Cromartie, who was featured in this week's "Hard Knocks" trying to name all of his children...All 8...Only 2 with the same mother...8 children, and 5 of them are 3 years old...
Okay, but Rex Ryan swearing is the problem...
Oh, and by the way, Tony Dungy, Eric Kasilius, and over sensitive parents...HBO films all week long, then edits it up into an hour long show...They show what they want...Rex Ryan has no control over how they edit their film, and what they show...And what makes the show good, is he doesn't change how he coaches, and who he is, just because some guy is following him with a camera...And he sure as hell isn't gonna change it for a bunch cock sucking, ball licking, ass-hat, fuck-stains, douchebags like you!
Why are the Vikings kissing Favre's ass. It is not like he is going to take the team to the Super Bowl. Minnesota's best chance was last year. Brett says its about the team and not about the money. Well, regardless of his ankle injury, he could have still told the Vikings last year he was coming back and if his ankle was still bothering him during training camp he would retire. Oh no, but not the Drama Queen. He had to go home, and stay home while the Vikings had OTA's and the start of training camp. Oh, the Drama Queen, had to stay home and make the Vikings wait. Meanwhile Taravris Jackson is being taken for a ride. If Minnesota doesn't want Taravris they should trade him or release him. Stop jerking his chain. As for Brett, your statistics might say your the greatest, but I would take 4 other Quarterbacks (Montana, Bradshaw, Young, Manning) before I would even possibly consider you.
1973 - 1984
145 Games Played
Seven Pro Bowls
1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Randolph Charles Gradishar was drafted in the first round of the 1973 draft by the Denver Broncos. He was the 14th player chosen overall. He attended college at Ohio State University under legendary coach Woody Hayes. Hayes, who sent over 98 players to the professional football level in his Hall of Fame career, called Gradishar the finest linebacker he ever coached.
In his three years as a Buckeye, starting in every game, he set then-school records for 320 tackles in a career and 134 in one season. He was ejected in the 1971 game against rival Michigan University, causing a ten minute brawl after he punched a Wolverine in the face. It happened one play after a famous meltdown by Hayes, where the coach threw a penalty flag and yard marker he had previously destroyed after being thrown out of the game himself.
Not only is he a member of the schools All-Century Team and their Hall of Fame, but Gradishar is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. An excellent student in college, he is also inducted into the GTE Academic Hall of Fame and is on the ABC Sports All-Century team.
Denver brought him along slowly in his rookie year, starting just three of 14 games behind veteran Ray May. May was the 1971 NFL Man of the Year and a member of the Super Bowl V champion Baltimore Colts.
He started every game the next year, the last season the Broncos would run a base 4-3 defense during his tenure with the club. He was named to the Pro Bowl after grabbing three interceptions and taking one in 44 yards for a touchdown. He scored once again the following year off of another three picks and had seven quarterback sacks.
Denver went into the 1977 season running the 3-4 defense under coach Joe Collier. With players like Gradishar, Louis Wright, Tom Jackson, Bill Thompson, Reuben Carter, Bob Swensen, Lyle Alzado, and Barney Chavous, the Broncos had one of the most feared defenses in all of football history.
They were dubbed the "Orange Crush", and a soft drink named after them soon became very popular. Five members of the defense was named to the Pro Bowl that year and four were named First Team All-Pro, including Gradishar. They led Denver to a 12-2 record and an appearance in Super Bowl XII. Though they lost the game, the defense left a permanent mark on NFL history with their excellence by allowing just 10.6 points per game that year.
Gradishar may have had his finest season the following year, where he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and UPI. He also was named the winner of the George Halas Award and Linebacker of the Year by Football Digest. Denver's defense was second in the league in points allowed, and Gradishar was one of five Bronco defenders to go to the Pro Bowl.
Football Digest named him NFL Linebacker of the Year again in 1979 despite not starting in one of the 16 games he played. Other than his rookie season, it was the only game in his career he failed to start. He was once again selected to the Pro Bowl.
Though he failed to make the Pro Bowl in 1980, he did take one interception a career long 93 yards for the last touchdown of his career. He was also named First Team All-NFL by the Sporting News.
Gradishar then made the Pro Bowl the next three years before retiring after the 1983 season. He never missed a game in his entire career, an amazing feat for someone playing such a violent position where he had to give up his body on virtually every play to prevent the opponents from success.
Not only was he durable, very intelligent, quick on his feet, and a big hitter, but Gradishar was also a masterful technician. He had the innate ability to diagnose a play and was seldom fooled. This, along with his foot speed, allowed him to defend just about any opponent on a pass play. This ability allowed Denver the luxury of blitzing their outside linebackers, knowing he could cover their assignments.
His specialty may have been the short yardage situation. With a superb ability to sift would-be blockers, he often filled the holes the opposing running backs would run to. Though he didn't have the toothless snarl of Jack Lambert or easily seen nastiness of Dick Butkus, he was just as good as those two Hall of Famers.
Some of the best running backs in NFL history, Walter Payton and Tony Dorsett, are on record espousing his tremendous hitting ability. "The chance for a real good shot comes very seldom, but when it's there I take full advantage of it." Gradishar once said.
There have been few linebackers to take the gridiron on his level. He is a member of the Broncos Ring of Honor and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Why he has yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is beyond bewildering. He has been a finalist twice and a semi-finalist four times.
Now he is in a gigantic pool of candidates in the Seniors Committee list. Though he should have long been inducted before he made it that far, he is caught in a quagmire of a selection process where no more than two candidates yearly can just make it to the final vote process.
It would behoove Canton to double that, allowing the Seniors Committee to try to induct at least four each year. The backlog of excellent players is too long, and it is frustrating seeing lesser modern players go in as superior players are caught in a numbers crunch that is much harder to win than a slots machine jackpot.
Watching a player as great as Randy Gradishar wait this long to get his deserved respect truly shows the ineptness of the Canton voter. Though no one can question the recent inductions of linebackers like Andre Tippett, Ricky Jackson, and Derrick Thomas, no one would ever say that any were better football players than Gradishar. Though deserving, it is a travesty the much more deserving Gradishar continues to wait on his rightful placement in the hallowed walls of Canton.
Notable Players Drafted In 1974 (* Denotes Hall of Famer)
1. Ed "Too Tall" Jones, DE, Dallas
5. John Dutton, DT, Baltimore Colts
19. Henry Lawrence, OT, New Orleans
21. Lynn Swann, WR, Pittsburgh *
24. Roger Carr, WR, Baltimore
34. Steve Nelson, MLB, New England
35. Keith Fahnhorst, OT, San Francisco
45. Dave Caspar, TE, Oakland *
46. Jack Lambert, MLB, Pittsburgh *
49. Delvin Williams, RB, San Francisco
51. Matt Blair, LB, Minnesota
53. Danny White, QB, Dallas
78. Nat Moore, WR, Miami
82. John Stallworth, WR, Pittsburgh *
87. Mike Boryla, QB, Cincinnati
88. Frank LeMaster, LB, Philadelphia
109. Henry Childs, TE, Atlanta
116. Steve Odom, WR, Green Bay
125. Mike Webster, C, Pittsburgh *
169. Efren Herrera, K, Dallas
199. Eddie Brown, S, Cleveland
365. Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, WR, Houston Oilers
Somewhere in every contract signed by every professional sports player there is a clause that deals with “personal conduct” or however it's worded. These clauses all mean the same thing, rules that define how one is expected to conduct themselves both on and off the place of play. It's a “routine” clause and one that is seldom if ever negotiated by attorneys but perhaps they should. It's the clause that can trip up practically anyone if contracts are to be honoured to the letter. And show me a Pro Sports Contract that is ever honoured to the letter on any clause save the parts dealing with finance. Those parts are as scrutinized more carefully than an average treaty ending wars. Yet increasingly as the line to the locker room often detours through the court room some attention might be given to these lines that, theoretically, guarantee that the player will be an all around swell kid and peachy dancer. The problem is that many players already arrive with what is often discretely called a “troubled” history. It would nice to think that putative players are all free of at least felonies but that's not the case.
It may be difficult to put into legal language but it does seem that players signing up to play should be willing to agree, in writing, that they won't carry guns in public places, kill people, father children without paying child support, have gang affiliations, use “recreational” drugs, sell “recreational” drugs....things like that. The problem with that is that many of these potential players would see those requests as a violation of their civil rights. Their friends and families carry weapons-it's a family tradition I suppose. People they know and associate with drink to excess and use all manner of drugs not to mention sell them. Just as dog fighting has been claimed as a “cultural thing” then, I suppose, we need to see the other “minor” crimes as permissible so long as they can prove-court documents are admissible as evidence-that what they're doing is what all their friends and relatives are doing. I grew up with traditions: Presents at Christmas, flowers on Valentine's Day. Things like that. I was given a shotgun when I was twelve to go bird hunting, a sort of American rite of passage. This ended badly. The first time I was taken hunting for birds I was told that our group was alone in the field and if I saw something rise, I should shoot it. Regrettably my American Father and his brother squatted down to get sandwiches from a container and then rose. So I shot them. No one stopped to admire my skill in getting two at once-one in the flank and the other in the posterior-but the day ended rather abruptly at a Veterinarian's office in Sedan, Kansas. (He was also the coroner and a dentist.) While I suppose we could have made this a tradition, certainly it was discussed sufficiently that one might believe it was a tradition, but that proved to be a one time thing. Still, I know many fathers and sons who have a Thanksgiving tradition of going hunting or to a ball game, (And in one rather progressive household to a whore house in the city where they live.)
Traditions have their places as does proper conduct, something the “Pros” are trying to enforce to little or no effect. To this day I still recall the day a Titan player pulled the helmet from a Cowboy player and stomped on his head. With his cleats. Certainly there were some penalties handed out but had I been a police officer “working the game” I would have marched onto the field and arrested the stomp-er. Forget that this clearly was an egregious example of “poor sportsmanship” but it constituted a criminal assault and battery. Beyond what might have happened on the moment, doesn't the district attorney have a sort of mandate to pursue a criminal complaint? Of course, this is why the thugs/players have decided that whatever they do will be “taken care of” by someone or some organization. They don't care who and when or how. They have no fear that anything much will happen to them apart from a fine from the NFL which their players association will bargain down to a pittance compared to what they are paid. And that clause about conduct? Apparently it was inked out. However the NFL can and should be held culpable for these acts whether on field or in the course of the private lives of the players. That it isn't is an effrontery to public conscience and decency is surprizing. The implication is that we, the NFL, are our own entity and do not need to or have to respond to the court system.
Here's an interesting way of handling some of these problems that trouble us-and it's legal too-is that long standing possibility of the “citizen's arrest”. What if on that day in Nashville someone had been mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore? What it they'd walked onto the field and made that sort of arrest? Now I know and you know that no one could have gotten that far. “Security” would have prevented that even if the mission of the person was explained. (And by the way, who is “Security” protecting? I've often wondered that and apart from handling drunks or the terminally unruly they don't seem to have a clear cut role.) But perhaps players do need to understand at some visceral level that the public has had it, they're not going to take it and they are going to take action. My goals here are too lofty and, to be fair, only speculative. Players are generally their only mirror which is rather unfortunate but there it is. Whether they're too afraid to confront reality or too stupid is an interesting point for debate and I'd be delighted to start that dialogue. However as a country we're too concerned with “the game” to be genuinely concerned about the players, an interesting version of the forest and the trees. We care about “our team” winning although increasingly we understand that “the team” may consist of a revolving cast of characters depending on whose contract is being negotiated or who is seeking greener pastures. We are expected to be loyal, they are not. Increasingly as we look back to those we admired, we look further and further. Boy Brett Favre is the last of the dinosaurs still walking the earth. Eventually, I assume, he'll stop playing although possibly not in my lifetime.
And, oddly, Favre brings me back to personal conduct. Like him or be puzzled by him, his life has been publicly lived, not always well, but we're willing to forgive him his personal shortcomings because he acknowledged them and made them public. The player of today wants to live however he wants, be paid to do so and to block access from those who would disapprove, a group that generally includes most of the public and, on occasion, the NFL and similar groups. Perhaps the most outrageous of their conduct is the increasing tendency to carry arms wherever they please. How dumb do you have to be to attempt to carry a gun on an airplane? And, one of the more amusing side events of the Arenas affaire in Washington was that his “associates” quickly-and almost quietly-turned in over a hundred other “weapons” under a sort of amnesty, one apparently negotiated by attorneys and the players union. (Interesting isn't it that if you remove certain letters from the word “attorney” one finds the word “atone” something they're seldom willing to let their clients do.)
The groups that run these sports must do more to effect control over what their respective players are doing. The players won't like it, may well seek protection of the law but for the amounts of money they demand, they need to conform to certain basic behaviors. What they need to do-which is just what everyone usually does-is respect one another. It's that simple and yet for them that complicated. “Personal Conduct” to them means the right to do as they please with no consideration for others. That's one interpretation, the wrong one, but the one they choose. At this rate they're going to need “Security” to protect them from themselves and the public.
Wow, what a stick. As a football fan I must admit to watching the game and reveling in the big hits, and I am not alone. Sports fans are drawn to hockey and football because they are contact sports. Although there have been changes in rules and equipment over the years, exactly what long term risks still exist to the athletes?
You probably remember Chris Henry? He died tragically in a bizarre accident falling/jumping from a truck. This is old news of course, but new light has been shed following an autopsy of Henry's brain. Here is an AP report regarding what was discovered:
"Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers said Monday.
The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry's brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, announced their findings alongside Henry's mother, Carolyn Henry Glaspy, who called it a "big shock" because she knew nothing about her 26-year-old son's underlying condition or the disease.
Henry died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It's unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.
But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it's easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omalu found when staining tiny slices of Henry's brain.
Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL, have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer's disease and other memory problems.
What's interesting, Bailes said, is that Henry was only 26, and neither NFL nor WVU records show he was diagnosed with a concussion during his playing career.
But it doesn't take a collision with another player for brain trauma to occur.
"The brain floats freely in your skull," Omalu said. "If you're moving very quickly and suddenly stop, the brain bounces."
And over time, with repetition, that causes big problems.
CTE carries specific neurobehavioral symptoms, Bailes said — typically, failure at personal and business relationships, use of drugs and alcohol, depression and suicide.
"Chris Henry did not have that entire spectrum and we don't know if there's a cause and effect here," Bailes said. "It certainly raises the question and raises our curiosity. We're just here to report our findings. That may be for others to decipher."
Henry's personal struggles were well documented.
Although he was a vital part of the Bengals' offense as a rookie, he ended that season with an arrest for marijuana possession. After a playoff loss to Pittsburgh, he was arrested on a gun charge in Florida.
Henry was suspended for half a season in 2007 as the league cracked down on personal conduct.
When he was arrested a fifth time, a judge called Henry "a one-man crime wave" and the Bengals released him.
But Henry got a second chance and played 12 games in the 2008 season.
Teammates said they'd noticed a change his demeanor, and at the start of the 2009 season, he described himself as "blessed" and said he was turning his life around.
Glaspy gave Bailes permission to examine her son's brain in detail.
"I was a little scared," she said. "It was something new to me. I'm still trying to educate myself as to what it means. Some of it makes sense with some of the behavioral patterns in Chris — just like mood swings and the headaches.
"Hopefully I can share whatever they share with me with other parents and help the NFL deal with the matter of being hit in the head and concussions and to educate ourselves as mothers and fathers when we send our kids out there on the field."
Omalu first came across CTE, a condition often seen in boxers, after studying the brain of Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame lineman Mike Webster. Webster died in 2002 of a heart attack at age 50. He had suffered brain damage that left him unable to work following his career.
Bailes said he and Omalu have now analyzed the brains of 27 modern athletes, and the majority showed evidence of CTE. But it's found in only a small number of players, he said.
"I think football is a great sport, and we want to make it safer," Bailes said, "but we have to continue to move forward with changes made recently and take the head impacts out of the sport as much as possible."
There are many issues here that immediately strike me. I cannot dismiss all of Henry's trouble to CTE...this is simply too easy. It was apparent that Henry found a new level of maturity last year and seemed to be on his way back. He recognized his mistakes and made adjustments to become a good teammate and a successful NFL player. Obviously, Henry was learning...
What really startles me is that at only 26 Henry already had signs of CTE. I guess I always assumed that this affected older players that experienced multiple concussions.
As a fan, it saddens me to watch professional athletes players struggle later in life with dementia and other neurological maladies. As a parent, it scares the hell out of me. I have a son that will be playing varsity football as a sophomore next year. Since he is a linebacker, he plays a position that demands much contact.
Several years ago, I remember a blog that Petr wrote. I don't remember the circumstances, but Petr was in the hospital. Petr wandered down to visit a doctor friend in the emergency room. Since it was Monday morning, he assumed that it would be slow...he was wrong. Apparently, many seeking help were athletes that were suffering from hits taken on Friday night. I have never forgotten that and I am acutely aware of just how bad a concussion can be.
I certainly don't have the answers. I do know that contact sports should continue. There are so many wonderful lessons that our young are taught in football or hockey. There has to be a way to make the game safer, right?